Day At The Track
Dijon,Harness racing

Dijon wins 2019 Elitloppet

The 27.8/1 odds Dijon (6m Ganymede-Sonate d’Aunou-Coktail Jet) with Romain Derieux up for owner Mauricette De Sousa led gate to wire to victory in the Elitloppet harness racing final (3,000,000SEK first prize) timed in 1.10.3kr (fractions 1.08.1kr at the 500 meter mark and 1.09.9kr at the 1000).   He was off quickly and first from five post, placing second elim winner and favorite Aubrion du Gers (9g Memphis du Rib-J’Arrive du Gers-Baccarat du Pont) in the pocket.   Aubrion, handled by Jos, Verbeeck, vacated the pocket to avoid congestion, to follow Propulsion (8m Muscle Hill-Danae-Andover Hall) and he was shuffled some six lengths from Dijon when Propulsion, reined by Orjan Kihlstrom, stalled on the backstretch, necessitating a three-wide move. Aubrion rallied gamely in the lane finishing a diminishing second by a neck at the line.   ATG, Maharajah.se photos   Makethemark (6m Maharajah-Global Naughty-Conway Hall) and pilot Ulf Ohlsson finished third after a good trip on the pegs. Propulsion lasted for fourth and Milliondollarrhyme was fifth for Fredrik B. Larsson. The race was marred when then co-favorite Readly Express was a late scratch lame.   It was also quite obvious that the winning Dijon was pacing the final two strides but there was no inquiry.   Dijon won for 13 time in a 50 race career and now has earnings of 10,739,454SEK.   In elimination one (250,000SEK to the winner, 1609 meters autostart, eight starters) Readly Express (7m Ready Cash-Caddie Dream-Viking Kronos) scored in a rated 1.10.2kr for driver Bjorn Goop and trainer Timo Nurmos. Fractions were 1.08.4kr at the first 500 meters and 1.11.7kr at the 1000. Readly Express led throughout to score by a length over Makethemark and Looking Superb (6m Orlando Vici-Classical Pine-Silver Pine), that Ake Svanstedt drove for trainer Jean Michel Bazire.   Readly Express wins elim one   This one pressed the front from off the final bend and could not advance late in the lane.   Elim two had favored Aubrion du Gers as a front-end winner from post one for Jos. Verbeeck and owner/trainer Jean-Michel Bazire.   The victory was his 16 th in a row and 46 th for the career, and he was clocked in a rated 1.10.2kr (1.10.5kr at the 500; 1.10.7kr at the 1000 meter mark).   Aubrion du Gers takes elim two   When Verbeeck pulled the plugs late in the final bend he opened a three-length advantage and cruised home. Propulsion held second for Orjan Kihlstrom and Dijon rallied late for third driven by his trainer Romain Derieux.   As stated above, Readly Express was scratched lame just prior to the final and paraded before the fans, perhaps for a final time.   Thomas H. Hicks

David Moran and Laura Crossland,Harness racing

David is smokin' hot

Skillful harness racing reinsman David Moran, is hot property at the moment. Moran, based at Kialla, near Shepparton, landed a winning treble at his home track on Monday and four days later was at his very best with a bag of four winners at Wagga Wagga. "To be honest they all did look to be strong chances on paper at Wagga, but we've probably all learnt not to get ahead of ourselves in this caper!" Moran said. "It all worked out okay this time and I think I have been lucky enough to get four previously at Wagga, Leeton and Shepparton," he said. Moran's Shepparton meeting got off to a flying start with the boom youngster Lochinvar Art (Modern Art USA-Ponder In Paris (Ponder USA), trained by Moran with partner Laura Crossland, cruising to victory in a tick over 1.57 for 2190m. A relative newcomer to their stable, Mamas New Dude (Western Terror USA-Shake It Mama (Mach Three), looked good in bringing up Moran's second winner, taking out the Alabar 3YO Pace. To complete the trio of winners, Moran then piloted the Patrick Ryan-prepared Starsbythebeach (Somebeachsomewhere USA-Maid For You Lombo (Sportswriter USA) to take out the BMW 2yo Pace. (Bendigo conditioner Glenn Douglas, who has his team absolutely up-and-about at the moment, shared the honors with Moran at Shepparton-also landing a treble.) Moran said he was pleased the way Lochinvar Art went about his business. "He had a bit up his sleeve and it was his first start back after taking out the Gold Chalice Final at Bathurst about seven weeks ago," he said. "We're aiming him for the Breeders Challenge semi-finals and final at Menangle next month, so we are on target. "We chose the Breeders Challenge rather than the prestigious IRT Harness Jewels in Addington, NZ, next Saturday because over there we would have come up against a 'handy horseman' by the name of Mark Purdon!" Moran was the punter's pal in his trip over the border to Wagga Wagga on Thursday, duly getting the prize on three favorites and a second-favorite. It was again none other than the Kevin Gordon-owned flying machine Lochinvar Art, getting the ball rolling, zipping over the 1740m trip in 1.53-8. Moran then landed a double for the powerful Stewart/Tonkin team at Ballarat with Victoria Brew (Sportswriter USA-Charlotte Brew NZ (Mach Three) and Hardhitter (Mach Three-Grace Robinson (Perfect Art). His fourth for the day was for Victorian Gippsland co-trainers Gary and Deb Quinlan, of Drouin, in Rocknroll Pearl (Rock N Roll Heaven-Jazzam (Christian Cullen NZ). "It's nice to pick up a few drives for Emma and Clayton and it's good to do okay for them and stay in the mix because they have a lot of horses going around," Moran said. Moran's four-win efforts are not his best, though - he joined a select group of drivers in March, 2015, when he bagged five winners at a meeting. "That was exciting, and I remember it well because it was the Albury Pacing Cup meeting and I won five of the eight races on the card," he said. The in-form driver is also enjoying a great season as a trainer, with his partner and co-trainer Laura Crossland. The training partnership was formalised recently and has 11 wins, 16 placings from 44 starts. "Laura is a bit under-rated as a driver, because the horses do run for her," Moran said. "I'm always happy to watch her take the reins and I do think it's a bit surprising that more trainers don't use her services," he said. Demonstrating the commitment required of today's professional reinsmen, after driving at Wagga, Moran caught a plane to Shepparton and then drove his car to the Ballarat meeting that night. "The fairytale unfortunately didn't continue - I had one drive and didn't do any good as the horse jumped a shadow and ended up back in fifth spot in the 3yo Classic," he said. Moran, who has been at Kialla for eight or nine years, got involved in harness racing through well-known and highly successful trainer-driver David Aiken, of Avenel. "I grew up with his son David junior. We were best mates as kids," he said. "It was a natural transition to start with the Aiken stable once I finished school."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura      

Guy Chapple, harness racing

Chapple backs Roclea Star to shine

Maitland father-and-son harness racing team Guy and Mitch Chapple believe Roclea Star is the best pacer in his NSW Breeders Challenge heat at Newcastle on Saturday night. Roclea Star will start from the widest barrier in nine in the two-year-old colts and geldings heat. Two 2YO fillies heats of the group 1 series will also be held. My Ultimate Bondi, for visiting trainer-driver Jarrod Alchin, was the favourite for the male heat after winning easily on debut at Newcastle on May 11 and drawing gate one. Roclea Star has the edge in experience after seven races for one win and a last-start second in the Gold Crown Yearling Sale Graduate Final at Bathurst in April 17. Guy Chapple, who will drive Roclea Star for his son, Mitch, was confident of a top-two finish and a place in semi-finals at Menangle. "He's the one to beat but I think mine is a better horse," Guy said of My Ultimate Bondi. "Mine's raced the best at Bathurst and had to sit outside the leader, and he might have to do the same this week. "But he certainly hasn't gone backwards. He's definitely improved since the freshen-up." Roclea Star has had no recent luck in barrier draws but Chapple was hoping for a better start from out wide. "It probably suits him out there because he's got a ton of gate speed and from the inside you can't muster that quickly," he said. "We'll go forward and we'll press to try and get the lead." In the second fillies heat, Chapple will fill in for the injured Andrew Bourke in driving long-shot Illgiveuadaisyaday for Chris Bourke. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

Peter Svanosio,Harness racing

Club stalwart set to take back seat

Long-time Bendigo Harness Racing identity Peter Svanosio can deservedly look back on the past four decades with a great deal of pride and achievement. Peter, 74, recently stepped down after 42 years' service as a valued and dedicated committee member. "I certainly have fond memories because the club has made huge in-roads over the years through being progressive and forward thinking," he said. "The members continued to put their faith in me, as I've faced re-election over the years, and I feel privileged. I'm going to miss it, but felt my time was up." Peter vividly recalls the meeting he attended when he decided to stand for a committee position. "It was in 1977 and I'd been approached by the then Club President, Vic Rothacker to consider standing. I didn't know at the time, but Vic told me later he thought I'd be okay on the committee because of my passion for the sport," he said. "I decided I'd like to be elected because I didn't believe the trainers and drivers were getting a fair go in a number of areas, including the track training hours. "There was 15 on the committee and eight had come up for re-election that year for what were two-year terms back then. "About 400 members turned up and there weren't enough chairs, so we had to borrow some from a nearby school. I wasn't a shoo-in and I didn't end up with the most support, but I got enough and then actually wore two hats for between 20 and 25 years. As well as a committee member I was also president of the trainers and drivers' association. "The reason I stayed on the club committee so long was the quality of the people involved, especially the presidents over the years." Peter said one of the exciting improvements at Bendigo was the transformation of the track. "We had a flat track and constantly you would see horses breaking up and causing interference after getting out of rhythm," he said. "After floating an idea on a new concept involving building the track up with banking, we spoke with Graeme Mahar who was renowned for his revolutionary thinking regarding Victorian tracks." (Mahar, who died nearly two years ago, was a key player behind highly successful track maintenance seminars and manufactured a track conditioner. He was also largely responsible for the successful placement of canola oil on tracks.) American track guru Dan Coon, who was a friend of Mahar, was flown out by the Bendigo Club to discuss the new track design. "I still remember Dan telling me to stand on a 44-gallon drum on the outside of the track. That was roughly the height he envisaged building the outside banking up to," Peter said. "After tenders closed, Dan came back to oversee it--some weren't in favor of it, but it went ahead. "The difference was astounding as I found out while driving the mobile barrier. On the flat, you really had to gun the mobile vehicle to speed away from field, but with the track banking, you could nearly let the mobile go around itself. It's like a velodrome." Peter said two of the most successful industry-wide changes in his time were the introduction of sulky wheel discs and the removal of the running rails from tracks around the country. "Taking the rail away was considered a radical step because some people thought the horses wouldn't go around without the rail! And safety-wise, the wheel discs were fantastic for horse and driver safety, because in those days nearly every race someone would hit a spoke in a wheel." Peter, who had a stint running the Bulls Head Pub (now a medical centre) which his father bought in 1954, held a trainers-drivers licence for a while and started driving in the mid-1960s. "I didn't have many horses, mostly two at a time, and they were stabled at the rear of the hotel. It was only really a hobby," he said. "There were actually four stables there, but I would keep two vacant for South Australian people and other visitors when they come and raced. "I was very light and back then had to carry a 32-pound lead weight to get to the minimum 10 stone. I'd borrow the lead off a plumber, and a friend would bring it in a hessian bag and put it on my seat! "Our pub was a popular watering hole for harness racing people and a fair bit of talk and drinking would take place." Peter competed against the greats of past years in Gordon Rothacker, Neville Welsh, Tom Mahar, Ted Demmler and evergreen Brian Gath, who is still driving today. "I drove my first winner in 1966. The horse was Cascade Mac, trained at Strathfieldsaye by Ian Mackay, and we got the money at Kilmore on a wet and sloppy track," Peter said. "Probably the best horse I ever sat behind was Grand Pretender who was trained locally by Frank Power. He had a touch of class. "I haven't driven for about 20 years. I prefer to leave it to the young blokes." Peter is kept busy these days assisting his son Chris, a highly respected trainer-driver, who prepares a big team opposite the Bendigo Lord's Raceway. "I just love the sport-I could be involved seven days a week without a worry," he said. Peter, a life member at Bendigo, hasn't been lost to the club. "I'm still around - it's been a big part of my life and if anything needs doing, I'll help out when I can." Picture: Peter Svanosio hard at work on stablehand duties for his trainer-son Chris   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The stars come out at Sweden’s Elitloppet weekend, a glittering two-day occasion packed with quality harness racing, featuring the best trotters in the world. It is also the showcase for the world’s best sires with no less than 80 international stallions having runners in the feature races on both days. Super sires Muscle Hill from the US with 14 representatives, and French trio  Love You (10),  Orlando Vici  (9) and  Ready Cash (8), are the big four when it comes to the feature events, highlighted by the international Elitloppet and Sweden Cup, run in same day heats and final over a mile. Muscle Hill, Orlando Vici and Ready Cash all have two representatives in the Elitloppet itself while Love You has one. French sire Orlando Vici is the only stallion to have two horses in both the Elitloppet and the Sweden Cup, the so-called Mini-Elitloppet, which is the highlight of the first day’s racing. Sweden’s home grown stallions Maharajah, (6), Raja Mirchi (5) and veteran From Above (4), who won the 2003 Elitloppet, also feature prominently, with Maharajah having a runner in both main events and both Raja Mirchi and From Above having two runners in the Sweden Cup, while Italian supersire and former Elitloppet champion Varenne  (5) also has two horses in the Sweden Cup. Veteran US-bred former Hambletonian winner Scarlet Knight (5) who was a heat winner and placed third twice in three Elitloppet attempts, has one horse in the Elitloppet and two in the Sweden Cup. The first day features the five divisions of the Sweden’s elite class trotters and the nation’s top mares division.  International trotters supplement the Lady Snarts race for mares, and Sweden’s biggest staying race, the Harper Hanovers where the trotters often go faster than the pacers do in the equivalent distance NZ Trotting Cup, while headlining day one is the Sweden Cup. Day two features international age groups racing, from three to five years old, an elite monte, and of course the big race itself, the Elitloppet, in two heats and a final over a mile. Stallions with more than a single representative in Elitlopett weekend feature races (origin and total in brackets) include; Muscle Hill (US) (14), Love You  (FRA) (10),  Orlando Vici (FRA)  (9),  Ready Cash (FRA) (8), Maharajah (SWE) (6), Raja Mirchi (SWE) (5) Scarlet Knight (US) (5) Varenne (IT) (5) Andover Hall (US) (4), From Above (SWE) (4), Donato Hanover (US) (4), Pastor Stephen (US) (4), Pine Chip (US)  (4)  Quite Easy (US) (3)  Cantab Hall (US) (3)n Make it Happen (US) (3) Yakee Glide (US) (3) Gift Kronos (IT) (3) Yankee Glide (US) (2) Going Kronos (IT) (2) Googoo Gaagaa (US) (2) Citation Lindy (US) (2) Joke Face (SWE) (2) Lexus Font (IT) (2) Muscles Yankee (US) (2) Prodigious (FRA) (2) Quick Wood (FRA) (2) Scipion du Goutier (FRA) (2) SJ's Caviar (US) (2) Explosive Matter (US) (2).    

Surprise packet Savannah Jay Jay will be hoping to carve another fairytale chapter tomorrow night when the low-flying eight-year-old trotter zeroes in on Ballarat's trotting cup. The John Slack Memorial Trotters Cup, at 8.40pm at Bray Raceway, is the penultimate race of the Maori's Idol Trotting Championship, in which Shaun McNaulty's Fratellino has an unassailable lead. Savannah Jay Jay can jump to equal third with victory tomorrow night, which would add to his earlier success in November's St Arnaud Cup and, of course, last Saturday's Schweppes Australasian Trotting Championship win, which delivered trainer Stan Cameron and reinsman James Herbertson their maiden Group 1. "I had no idea that he could run the whole journey out," Cameron told RSN 927's program One Out One Back. "I thought, if he got a bit of cover he would have been right, but right up to the end I was right up on my toes I tell you. The horse just kept on fighting and fighting and fighting to the end." Savannah Jay Jay was priced a $2.25 chance at the TAB.com.au for the John Slack Memorial Trotters Cup, a win that would mean the world to Cameron. "I had a fair bit to do with John years ago," he said. "John used to always get a ride down to the start on the side of the cart, he used to always say 'you need to do this, you need to do that'. I picked up a fair few pointers off him over the years. He was a great bloke."   HRV Trots Media

Leading trainer Ben Yole rewrote the record books when he broke the record for the most number of wins in a season by a Tasmanian trainer in Launceston on Friday evening. That wasn’t the only record broken last weekend with the age record for three-year-old’s in Hobart on Sunday was also rewritten. This week the $12,000 Golden Mile in Launceston is the feature race of the weekend and is a part of an 8-race card on Sunday at the TAB Racing Centre Mowbray in Launceston, while the Tasmanian Trotting Club will stage a 6-race program on Friday evening. The Stars Ben Yole – the state’s leading trainer prepared seven winners last week to take his season total to 128 wins and 281 placings from a staggering 1857 starters. Yole has prepared 124 winners the past two seasons which has been the most number of wins by a trainer in the state until he smashed that record with three and half months remaining for the current season in Launceston on Friday night with Jeans Mattjesty being the successful horse to rewrite the record books. Spoilt Sport - it’s hard to believe this filly hadn’t won a race this season from her four starts prior to her win in Hobart on Sunday. But she was able to race up to her brilliant form that she had shown prior when she was a runaway winner on Sunday by 16.8 metres, Spoilt Sport recorded a time of 1m 56.6s for the 1609-metre journey which broke the previous age record in Hobart for that distance which was held by Scooterwillrev when he won at the venue on August 6, 2017. The Rodney Ashwood-trained filly is the $2.90 second favourite for next month's Group 2 Bandbox Stakes in Launceston. Redason - another runner from the in-form Rodney Ashwood stable who continued his good record this season when he made it back-to-back wins in Hobart. The gelded son of Majestic Son has won four of his 12 starts this season with a further seven placings to his credit. I Wanna Rock - continues to re-pay his trainer, driver, owner and breeder Sam Rawnsley for his perseverance with the injury-plagued six-year-old gelding who won his fifth race on Sunday at only his eighth race start. Izaha – remains on track for the Group 2 Raider Stakes in Devonport in mid-June when he recorded his fifth win of the season in the Pace Financial Services Discretionary Handicap on Sunday night. Multiple Winners Launceston – Friday evening  Ben Yole - training quartet; Mister Resister, Our Quinn, Perfect Mach and Jeans Mattjesty. Rohan Hillier - driving double; Boss Major and Perfect Mach. Troy McDonald - Our Quinn and Jeans Mattjesty Hobart – Sunday evening Ben Yole - training treble; Artiflash, Im Full Tilt and Monarkmac. Rodney Ashwood - training double; Spoilt Sport and Redason. Gareth Rattray - driving double; Redason and Resurgent Storm. Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action. Launceston – Friday evening Remember Joe 56.47s, Im Barney Rubble 56.60 and Jeans Mattjesty 56.63s. Outside of race eight; Perfect Mach 57.03s and Poker Storm 57.18s. Hobart – Sunday evening  Izaha 57.16s, Drifting Away 57.53s, Give Me The Night 57.57s, Touchwood Levista 57.63s and Spoilt Sport 57.70s. View all available Tasmanian Sectional Data by clicking here. Tasracing Official Price Launceston – Friday evening Hits: Perfect Mach $17 into $10, Our Quinn $8.50 into $6.00 and Boss Major $2.90 into $2.50. Defied The Drift: Jeans Mattjesty $4.00 out to $5.50, Drillittobits $4.40 out to $5.00 and Mister Resister $6.50 out to $7.00. Missed: Monarkmac $10 into $5.00, Lutetia Midfrew $12 into $8.50, Hez The One $6.50 into $3.40 and Spot Eight $3.40 into $2.80. Hobart – Sunday evening Hits: Spoilt Sport $3.30 into $2.90, Izaha $1.90 into $1.50 and I Wanna Rock $2.30 into $2.00. Defied The Drift: Monarkmac $41 out to $51, Im Full Tilt $21 out to $31 and Artiflash $7.50 out to $10. Missed: Our Quinn $31 into $16, Jeans Mattjesty $31 into $16, Tiwanaku $26 into $19 and Pockets Of Courage $15 into $9.50. Trial File Devonport - Monday evening  Three trials were held on a rain-affected track on Monday evening. The quickest winning mile rate of 2m 5.0s was recorded by unraced three-year-old Muchison in a 3C0 and better trial. The John Castles-trained pacer scored by a half metre with his nephew Charlie taking the reins on the three-year-old gelding who is by Blissfull Hall and is out of the Thorate mare Gypsy Byrd. Recording a time of 2m 26.9s for the 1930-metre trip, Muchison defeated open class pacer Exciteusinthecity and trotter Ten Caisses. Remaining trials were won by Goggo Gee Gee (2m 10.2s) and Pushkin (2m 14.9s) Week Ahead The state’s junior driver ranks have been bolstered with two concession drivers to call Tasmania home. Victorian reinswoman Olivia Weidenbach has been a regular fly-in driver in recent weeks and has now relocated to the state to take up a position with the Ben Yole stable, while Ben Woodsford will arrive in the state today (Thursday). Woodsford has been doing his recent driving in Queensland and has won 34 races, including two metropolitan wins from 139 drives since his first race drive in May 2016. The Queenslander has taken up a position with trainer Gavin Kelly who is currently expanding his team after gaining on track stables at the Brighton Training Centre. Both drivers will have their talents on show at the 6-race card in Hobart on Friday night that kicks off at 16:56. In Launceston on Sunday evening talented six-year-old Ryley Major will be looking to make it a double in the Launceston Pacing Club’s two premier sprint races. The Rohan Hillier-trained and driven pacer won the Launceston Mile four starts ago where he showed brilliant gate speed to lead from barrier seven and recorded a mile rate of 1m 56.7s for the 1680-metre journey on a rain-effected track. The other premier sprint race in Launceston is this Sunday’s $12,000 Bevan Lee’s Butchery Golden Mile. The gelded son of Art Major has a best winning mile rate of 1m 54.6s which he recorded at Melton five starts ago, and he bounced back into the winner's circle in the Degree C Quality last start which is the premier sprint race at the Devonport Showgrounds. He looks extremely well placed on Sunday night to record his fifth win of the season. The last horse to win the Launceston Mile - Golden Mile double was Greysteel in 2013, this year’s Golden Mile is race six on the card and is set down for 19:39 with the opening race scheduled to start at 17:04. Interstate this weekend we see; Menangle - Saturday night Race 7 Horse 7 Rykov Leis - Tasbred and owned. Melton - Saturday night Race 2 Horse 9 No Apachemee - Tasmanian owned, Race 3 Horse 9 War Dan Delight - part-owned by Tasmanian interest and Race 5 Horse 11 Isaac - Tasmanian owned.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Friday night's Studco Building Systems Fillies and Mares Free-For-All Pace (2130m) looks set to be a fascinating battle between the old and the new, with some of the state's best mares to clash. Five of the eight runners engaged are four-year-olds hoping to enhance their credentials for feature races later this year. Two of the three other runners in the race are seasoned veterans and know what FFA racing is all about. Perhaps the most intriguing runner in the race is the Mike Reed-trained Maczaffair. The Mach Three five-year-old is first-up since running second in the Past President's Cup and was third in the WA Pacing Cup the start prior. Her return to the track was delayed a week, after last week's FFA race didn't attract enough acceptances.  Maczaffair, under the guidance of trainer Mike Reed and reinsman son Mark, will have to be at her best to win from barrier seven on Friday.  Eden Franco has struggled to recapture her best form this campaign and that was no more evident than her unplaced finish in the Breeders Stakes a fortnight ago. The Colin Brown-trained and driven mare has now had six starts without a win, but has to be respected in this class from barrier three. Trainer Debra Lewis has enjoyed a strong run of form over the past month and The War Nurse is responsible for a large part of that. The War Nurse finished third in the Breeders Stakes two starts back, her biggest test to date, before she returned to the winners circle last Saturday. The four-year-old has barrier two on Friday night and gets a tremendous chance to beat a high quality field. Cott Beach always has to be respected from barrier one for trainer Kristy Elson. The Advance Attack mare held the front from barrier one the last time she had that draw, but will have a lot more pressure to hold the front this time around. Our Alfie Romeo was another mare who returned to the winners circle at her most recent start in the Breeders Stakes, thanks to a tremendous drive by Ryan Warwick. Trained by Greg and Skye Bond, Our Alfie Romeo strung five wins together earlier this campaign, before five unplaced runs in a row.  Dylan Egerton-Green has the drive on Friday night and looks set to get the perfect run from barrier four.  Progressive pacer Come Dance With Me and the Ross Olivieri-trained pair Madame Meilland and Veiled Secret make up the eight horse field. Although his pair may be the outsiders in the race, Olivieri was hopeful one of them could surprise.  "She (Madame Meilland) is very well," Olivieri told GPTV. "Unfortunately, she has got four very good horses drawn inside of her. "In the Breeders Stakes, she went to the line bolting and couldn't get a run. "I've changed the training around with her a little bit this week, but we will see Friday whether that will make a difference. "Veiled Secret, Gary Hall Jnr drove her and came in and said it's the best sixth I've run for a long time. "Barrier eight though, where's she going to go?" Although Olivieri didn't get the luck with barriers with his mares, four-year-old Carrera Mach looks set to play a big part in the Standing Start event of the evening. Carrera Mach and One Off Delight are the only two runners in the 10 horse field to start off the front line.   Tim Walker

Friday night's Group 2 Perth Plasterboard Centre Diamond Classic (2130m) for the three-year-old fillies shapes up as an intriguing edition of the feature. Trainer Justin Prentice's WA Oaks winner Has No Fear headlines the 12 horse field, along with stablemate Majorpride. Has No Fear has a significantly easier barrier in four for this week's event, but her stablemate may prove to be the hardest to beat from barrier one. Jocelyn Young retains the drive on Has No Fear, while Gary Hall Jnr will team up with Majorpride. Majorpride drew barrier one in a WA Oaks Prelude last month and was able to hold the front, before finishing third to Fake News. Hall Jnr said Majorpride's last start second to Countess Grace suggested she could hold the front again on Friday. "She went terrific last start in the breeze," Hall Jnr told GPTV. "I think she's in the form that suggests from this draw she can win the race. "We will be trying to make every post a winner from the draw and the way she's going I give her a big shot." The Mike Reed-trained Countess Grace and the David Thompson-trained Mandy Joan took out the two heats of the Diamond on May 14 but had contrasting fortunes at the barrier draw. Countess Grace will start from the outside of the front row in barrier nine, while Mandy Joan has drawn well in 12.  It was also quite the achievement from trainer Barry Howlett to qualify four fillies for the final, with All The Bells, Hello Hotshot, My Prayer and Millwood Gucci all doing enough in their heat runs. La Roue De Lamour, Bettor Pack It, Better Than Mint and Soho Interceptor round out the field.  The ever consistent La Roue De Lamour may have been a touch disappointing on face value in her heat, but barrier two is sure to see her play a prominent part in the final. Prior to her heat performance, the Annie Belton-trained filly had to be retired out of the WA Oaks in unfortunate circumstances.  The Bettors Delight filly was well respected in heading into the Oaks though, following meritorious displays in Oaks Preludes.  Belton said she was hopeful La Roue De Lamour had overcome issues stemming from her last start fifth to Mandy Joan. "After the last run I was disappointed," Belton told GPTV. "I got bloods done and she did have a virus and she'd carried it for a couple of weeks. "I'm not saying Mandy Joan wasn't a good horse, but I would've expected her to go straight past her. "When she (Mandy Joan) sprinted, we didn't so I knew there was something not quite right with her. "Hopefully I've got on top of it and she goes into the race on Friday nearly 100 per cent." Belton said she would leave it up to reinsman Kim Prentice as to whether La Roue De Lamour would try and cross Majorpride to lead the race. There was a welcome boost for Belton earlier this week when she found out Lady De La Renta would remain in her care for at least another month. The mare was set to head to America after her run in Friday night's Cubic Group Pace (2130m), but a change in plans to the transport arrangements has delayed her departure. Lady De La Renta was at her brilliant best in winning last weekend and will need to call on all that class to win from barrier eight on Friday night.  Belton said it was a hard decision to sell the mare to America, but the offers became too great to pass up. "Every day I look at her and wish I hadn't said yes," she said. "I just love her. "If she could win again for the Americans, I would be so delighted. "It's not going to be easy...if she's driven the same as last week, who knows." The Gary Hall Snr-trained Mister Bushido and Tact Major look set to be the major threats to Lady De La Renta, as do El Hombre and Chiaroscuro.   Tim Walker

The trots will be taking part in the 3AW Very Special Kids 24-Hour Treadmill Challenge. This Friday (May 24) Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) General Manager – Marketing Andrew English (pictured preparing at the gym) will pound the treadmill from 8.30am on the Neil Mitchell show and he’s encouraging the industry to dig deep to support a wonderful cause. “You simply can’t put into words the importance of the work performed by the Very Special Kids organisation,” Mr English said. “This vital service, looking after children with life-threatening conditions and their families, costs more than $8.5million every year to provide, so the organisation relies on the generosity of Victorians and corporate sponsorship. “I’m encouraging everyone today, all trots fans and industry participants especially, to dig deep and contribute what you can so that families and children receive the support they deserve at such a traumatic time in their lives.” Very Special Kids cares for children with life-threatening conditions by providing a children’s hospice and professional family support services.  3AW‘s studio treadmills will be in continuous motion for 24 hours and the station is hoping it can help contribute at least $20,000 to the overall goal of $1 million. Mr English has been getting into shape for the Challenge at the Racing Victoria on-site gym and says he feels ready to perform on the big stage. “I’m looking forward to doing my part although I would say to anyone who thinks time flies, try getting on a treadmill for half an hour! I’ll just be concentrating on staying upright for my slot,” he said. Various trots programs, HRV HERO, Trots Vision at thetrots.com.au, Own the Moment and GoodForm have kicked off the harness donations with $250 each adding to the industry’s early fundraising tally of $1000. To donate to the cause visit the website: https://vsktreadmill2019.everydayhero.com/au/andrew-9   Cody Winnell Trots Media

Harness Racing Victoria’s May and June $1500 breeding vouchers are helping keep breeders in the game. To date, 26 fillies and mares’ races have been run since HRV announced on March 28 that for a two-month period all 177 fillies and mares’ races would carry a $1500 breeding voucher bonus – $1000 to the breeder and $500 to the owner. This is a stimulus of $115,500 to the breeding industry. Ian Kitchin and Stephen Clarke are two of 25 individual breeders who have so far picked up a $1000 breeding voucher in May. Kitchin bred Larajay Macray, who he races with trainer Jess Tubbs, while Clarke bred, races and trains Miss McGonagall. Because Kitchin and Clarke not only bred their fillies but also race them, they will each pick up the full $1500 worth of vouchers. “I shelled out $35,000 two years ago and $25,000 last year, anything coming back the other way certainly makes things much more palatable and this will certainly help keep people in the breeding game,” Kitchin said. “Absolutely I welcome this initiative. It will help lessen the burden on the breeders and that’s really important.” Clarke, who calls himself a “small breeder”, said the $1500 incentive would probably be the difference between breeding next season and not. “Hell yeah,” he declared. “It certainly does help. Perhaps at this stage to be honest I hadn’t been thinking about breeding at all, but this helps out a lot and is probably not good news for my wife because she reckons I’ve got too many horses as it is. “The more we can get back the better. The more incentive, especially for the smaller breeders, perhaps this can help also get our mares served by the more upmarket stallions.” Breeding vouchers bonuses will continue to be attached to all Victorian fillies and mares’ races until the end of June, and HRV also announced this week that all 12 Vicbred Super Series winners would receive a $1500 breeding voucher this year.   Cody Winnell Trots Media

It's full steam ahead for Michael Stanley's Grand Circuit star Soho Tribeca after a successful return to the trials at Tabcorp Park Melton yesterday. Stanley partnered the six-year-old in a modest hit-out alongside stablemate Rackemup Tigerpie, who was driven by Gavin Lang. Soho Tribeca won the trial by a narrow margin, zipping home in a 57.48-second last half. The Burrumbeet-based Stanley said he was pleased with how both horses got through the run. "They both stepped away really clean and went the first lap pretty steady. We just let them find their feet and then just upped the pace gradually," he said. "They both hit the line under a hold and had a really good hit-out without going over the top first-up." Soho Tribeca hasn’t been seen at the races since July 2018 after fracturing a leg in the Sunshine Sprint in Queensland. Successful surgery and a long rehabilitation program has followed to get the star pacer back at the track, which is likely to occur in the Del-Re National Italian Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday, June 15. "Soho Tribeca will have a couple more trials and we will gradually increase the speed we go - just step him up each time," Stanley said. Stanley said it had been a long road to recovery for the one-time Inter Dominion favourite. "He spent three months in Queensland (post surgery) and then spent another three months here (at Burrumbeet) pretty well locked up in a small stable and taken out for a walk," he said. "It's been a long, slow process and now we are back to somewhere where we can start thinking about getting to the races again. "When it first happened you are always fearful they might not race again, so at least we have got to a stage where it looks a real possibility we are going to get back there." Rackemup Tigerpie, who last raced in the Group 1 Chariots of Fire in February, is being aimed at the Alabar Vicbred Super Series, which has heats in Ballarat on June 21. Stanley said he was likely to give the son of Rock N Roll Heaven one lead-up run prior to the start of the series. Arguably the horse's career-best effort came in last year's Group 1 Ballarat Pacing Cup when he finished a narrow second to Thefixer. Stanley sent around four other horses at Tuesday's trial program, including Macey Jayde, Vicstar Sharazzz, Iolanta and Keilah. Macey Jayde is also being sent towards the Vicbred Super Series, while Stanley was full of praise for Iolanta, an unraced two-year-old Bettors Delight filly who looks "above average".     Tim O'Connor for Trots Media

American author Earl Nightingale once wrote: Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. It's a well-used quote, but it still rings true - especially for harness racing's Ken Browne who was last week rewarded for his persistence in never giving up on a goal. Browne, of Gruyere, 50 km north east of Melbourne, could well be the oldest driver to land his maiden victory after driving his first-ever winner just a few days short of his 67th birthday. And after 173 attempts, the win carried a touch of polish that's for sure. After being locked away three back the pegs for most of the trip in the $7000 Trotters Handicap at Cranbourne, Browne moved out quick as a flash when a runner on his outside went off-stride. In a winning move, he slid up to the death seat with 600 metres to go with Chrisken Kiosk (Noopy Kiosk-Baby Button (Safely Kept USA) to join leader Just Anything (Gavin Lang) and got the upper hand, albeit narrowly, right on the wire. To watch race replay Click here! "Now that I've got the monkey off my back, I reckon the next winner will come a lot sooner. I've finally done it, so it will be way easier," Browne joked. Browne has harbored an ambition for over 20 years to get what he calls that "elusive quadrella" of breeding, owning, training and driving a winner. "If I could do that, I always thought it would be a rather big achievement. Just something quite special," he said. "I told my son Chris (his name combined with that of his father forms Chrisken) that when I finally got that long-awaited winner, I would give a salute with the whip going across the finish line. "But I didn't do it because, to be honest, I wasn't certain that I'd won and I didn't want to make myself look silly. "The race camera operator followed me around after the finish line which is usually a good indication that he thought I'd won, but it took ages for the numbers to go up. "I honestly can't remember how I felt. I recall thinking wow I just beat the ice man (Gavin Lang)!" Browne said he had a few drinks that night to celebrate after the reality sank in. "I think I may have overdone the Bundaberg Red Rum because I didn't pull up all that well the next day," he laughed. "I'd come close a few times with some second placings, and there's been quite a lot more thirds. My first-ever second was with Gordonsville, a pacer I purchased off Gordon Turner. "We also had a good run with a pacer named High Tech Fury, but reinsman Michael Bellman did the majority of driving with him." While Browne's needed persistence to notch up his first winner as a driver, he bobs up with a winner or two each season as a trainer, with Chrisken Kiosk his 16th career success. Browne's entry into the sport goes back to 1994 when he attended a clearing sale held by respected industry breeder/owner Kevin Riseley, of Sheron Park. "I paid $2000 for a weanling out of the first crop sired by Safely Kept," he said. "That horse was later to become Baby Button, who was dual-gaited. I raced her as a pacer because of her breeding, but I'm now wishing I'd given her a go as a trotter." Baby Button has had four foals, two of which have got to the races, with the obvious star being Chrisken Kiosk with six wins and 27 placings for over $60,000. Browne said he was virtually forced into obtaining a B Grade driver's licence 10 years ago when he was finding it difficult to get drivers at the trials. "The situation was that we'd have one trial of five horses and five drivers would turn up. There were no spares so a few times I ended up fast-working mine by themselves after the trials to get their fastwork done," he said. Browne is hoping that his seven-year-old stable star Chrisken Kiosk has at least another two seasons left in him. "He doesn't win out of turn, but he's so consistent. There's a bit of a trick to him and that's in his feet-he has to be shod a certain way or otherwise he's hopeless," Browne said. "We try and pick out the most suitable races for him and if that means travelling to Terang, Ballarat or even further, then that's what we do. "We are having a heap of fun and I have to thank Peter Goudie for allowing us to be stabled at his place. In addition to the trotter, we have a 2yo pacer by Metropolitan named Bundy Red, which I'm hoping is real good. He has to be with that name!" Browne said while he had nearly worn out the video replay of his winning drive, he was now eagerly awaiting the race photograph which would take pride of place on the lounge room wall.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Several in-form stables are targeting one of country Victoria's richest harness racing series for lowly-assessed pacers. The 2019 Mitavite Northern Region Championship, hosted by far north-west sister clubs Swan Hill, Ouyen and Mildura, gets underway tonight (Wednesday May 22) for C1 to C2 horses. The first round of qualifying heats at Swan Hill boasts representatives from the Shepparton-based stables of Laura Crossland-David Moran and Amanda Turnbull, as well as Glenn Douglas and Chris Svanosio of Bendigo; Leroy and Danny O'Brien of Armstrong; and Melton-based Rob O'Connell. Link: Swan Hill Fields https://www.harness.org.au/racing/fields/race-fields/?mc=FD220519 The spotlight then moves to Ouyen on June 2 with a second round of heats, going into a $25,000 final at Mildura on June 6. Douglas, who has won the championship several times in the past, said he always hopes to have an ideal runner up and going for the series each year. "You really don't get these sorts of races for this class of horse - they just don't come along very often," he said. "There's terrific stakemoney up for offer right through the three meetings and the big bonus is the final is worth $25,000 but the winner takes only a country penalty," he said. "The first three heats have attracted some nice horses, who are sure to go onto bigger things. The Swan Hill track is big and spacious so I think there could be some quick times recorded there." Douglas always enjoys heading north from his central Victorian base because he spent four years in the Northern Region in the late 1990s. His career was kick-started training horses for Eric and Heather Anderson, the parents of his wife Julie, who were at the time based in the Robinvale-Euston district. "We had some good times up there before we all up and moved to our present training complex at Bendigo. It just made sense to come down here because there's less travel and we're much closer to many more tracks," he said. Douglas has former Kiwi pacer Dublin Street in the first heat. He said while the mare was honest, she was going to have to produce her very best as The Brooklyn Brawler (David Moran) and Think About Me (Brad Chisholm) were full of class. "This will be a measuring stick for our horse, that's for sure," Douglas said. His next runner is Artistic Saint in the second qualifying heat, owned by enthusiastic Swan Hill horseman and club vice-President Noel Watson. "I'd love to get the money for Noel because he'd be over the moon with a hometown victory. I'll be wearing Noel's race colors, the colors of his beloved St Kilda Football Club, so that would be another reason for him to get excited," Douglas said. "I've actually got a bit of an opinion about this horse. His first start back after five or six months off when he finished third was enormous. "It was a super run because they went quick. He had a few things go wrong in his previous preparation, but they appear to be behind him now, thankfully." The third heat should see smart youngster Im Sir Blake continue on his winning way. World champion reinswoman Kerryn Manning has big wraps on the O'Brien-trained horse, who was sensational in winning during the recent Mildura Pacing Cup carnival. "He's just below the very best going around in Victoria - he's a lovely little fella and I thoroughly enjoy driving him," she said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has announced a crackdown on trainers presenting horses to race with an elevated TC02 (total carbon dioxide) level. HRV Integrity will implement a new policy on June 1 designed to reduce the number of horses presenting with elevated TC02 levels and disrupt/prevent the likelihood of illegal raceday treatment. For there to be a breach of the prohibited substance rules in regard to the elevated TC02 in a blood sample taken from a horse, the level needs to exceed 37mmol/L (36mmol/L +/-1mmol/L). From June 1, where a blood sample collected from a horse returns a TC02 level of greater than 35.1mmol/L, HRV stewards will implement one of the following options for that horse’s next three race starts. Option A 1. The trainer of the relevant horse shall ensure it is present on course no less than four hours prior to the scheduled start time in which the horse is entered at a Victorian harness racing meeting. 2. Should a trainer fail to present the horse by the required time the horse shall be withdrawn from the race and the trainer may be subject to penalty. 3. Should the horse be transferred to another trainer within the period of 3 starts the new trainer can make application for the restrictions to be lifted by HRV stewards. 4. HRV will publish a list on its website of all horses required to be presented under this policy. Option B 1. The trainer of the horse which returned an elevated TC02 level shall be retained on course for a minimum of three hours after the horse has completed its scheduled race at a Victorian harness racing meeting. 2. Should a trainer fail to abide by this requirement the trainer may be subject to a penalty. 3. Should the horse be transferred to another trainer within the period of three starts the new trainer can make application for the restrictions to be lifted by HRV stewards. 4. HRV will publish a list on its website of all horses required to be presented under this policy.   Option C 1. The Stewards shall attend the registered training address of the trainer of the horse which returned the elevated TC02 level for as long as is deemed reasonably necessary on the day of the race to supervise the pre-race preparation of the subject horse(s) when engaged at a Victorian race meeting. The intention of this action is to disrupt and prevent the likelihood of any race day treatment occurring. 2. Should a trainer fail to abide or hinder this requirement the trainer may be subject to penalty. 3. Should the horse be transferred to another trainer within the period of 3 starts the new trainer can make application for the restrictions to be lifted by HRV Stewards. 4. HRV will publish a list on its website of all horses required to be presented under this policy. One of the above options will be chosen at the discretion of stewards, with consideration given to factors which include – but are not limited to – current intelligence, venue of the race meeting, and other options that may have been utilised in respect of that horse and/or licenced trainer. Trainers may seek to spell the horse while these obligations are in place and stewards shall enforce these options irrespective of the time taken for the three starts to elapse. Trainers may also seek to race the subject horse in quick succession in order for their obligation to be completed as soon as possible. At this stage there will be no minimum time period allocated for such obligations to be completed by the trainer, however stewards will review this policy within six months and if deemed necessary make changes after further consultation with the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association.   Harness Racing Victoria Cody Winnell

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The 27.8/1 odds Dijon (6m Ganymede-Sonate d’Aunou-Coktail Jet) with Romain Derieux up for owner Mauricette De Sousa led gate to wire to victory in the Elitloppet harness racing final (3,000,000SEK first prize) timed in 1.10.3kr (fractions 1.08.1kr at the 500 meter mark and 1.09.9kr at the 1000).   He was off quickly and first from five post, placing second elim winner and favorite Aubrion du Gers (9g Memphis du Rib-J’Arrive du Gers-Baccarat du Pont) in the pocket.   Aubrion, handled by Jos, Verbeeck, vacated the pocket to avoid congestion, to follow Propulsion (8m Muscle Hill-Danae-Andover Hall) and he was shuffled some six lengths from Dijon when Propulsion, reined by Orjan Kihlstrom, stalled on the backstretch, necessitating a three-wide move. Aubrion rallied gamely in the lane finishing a diminishing second by a neck at the line.   ATG, Maharajah.se photos   Makethemark (6m Maharajah-Global Naughty-Conway Hall) and pilot Ulf Ohlsson finished third after a good trip on the pegs. Propulsion lasted for fourth and Milliondollarrhyme was fifth for Fredrik B. Larsson. The race was marred when then co-favorite Readly Express was a late scratch lame.   It was also quite obvious that the winning Dijon was pacing the final two strides but there was no inquiry.   Dijon won for 13 time in a 50 race career and now has earnings of 10,739,454SEK.   In elimination one (250,000SEK to the winner, 1609 meters autostart, eight starters) Readly Express (7m Ready Cash-Caddie Dream-Viking Kronos) scored in a rated 1.10.2kr for driver Bjorn Goop and trainer Timo Nurmos. Fractions were 1.08.4kr at the first 500 meters and 1.11.7kr at the 1000. Readly Express led throughout to score by a length over Makethemark and Looking Superb (6m Orlando Vici-Classical Pine-Silver Pine), that Ake Svanstedt drove for trainer Jean Michel Bazire.   Readly Express wins elim one   This one pressed the front from off the final bend and could not advance late in the lane.   Elim two had favored Aubrion du Gers as a front-end winner from post one for Jos. Verbeeck and owner/trainer Jean-Michel Bazire.   The victory was his 16 th in a row and 46 th for the career, and he was clocked in a rated 1.10.2kr (1.10.5kr at the 500; 1.10.7kr at the 1000 meter mark).   Aubrion du Gers takes elim two   When Verbeeck pulled the plugs late in the final bend he opened a three-length advantage and cruised home. Propulsion held second for Orjan Kihlstrom and Dijon rallied late for third driven by his trainer Romain Derieux.   As stated above, Readly Express was scratched lame just prior to the final and paraded before the fans, perhaps for a final time.   Thomas H. Hicks
Skillful harness racing reinsman David Moran, is hot property at the moment. Moran, based at Kialla, near Shepparton, landed a winning treble at his home track on Monday and four days later was at his very best with a bag of four winners at Wagga Wagga. "To be honest they all did look to be strong chances on paper at Wagga, but we've probably all learnt not to get ahead of ourselves in this caper!" Moran said. "It all worked out okay this time and I think I have been lucky enough to get four previously at Wagga, Leeton and Shepparton," he said. Moran's Shepparton meeting got off to a flying start with the boom youngster Lochinvar Art (Modern Art USA-Ponder In Paris (Ponder USA), trained by Moran with partner Laura Crossland, cruising to victory in a tick over 1.57 for 2190m. A relative newcomer to their stable, Mamas New Dude (Western Terror USA-Shake It Mama (Mach Three), looked good in bringing up Moran's second winner, taking out the Alabar 3YO Pace. To complete the trio of winners, Moran then piloted the Patrick Ryan-prepared Starsbythebeach (Somebeachsomewhere USA-Maid For You Lombo (Sportswriter USA) to take out the BMW 2yo Pace. (Bendigo conditioner Glenn Douglas, who has his team absolutely up-and-about at the moment, shared the honors with Moran at Shepparton-also landing a treble.) Moran said he was pleased the way Lochinvar Art went about his business. "He had a bit up his sleeve and it was his first start back after taking out the Gold Chalice Final at Bathurst about seven weeks ago," he said. "We're aiming him for the Breeders Challenge semi-finals and final at Menangle next month, so we are on target. "We chose the Breeders Challenge rather than the prestigious IRT Harness Jewels in Addington, NZ, next Saturday because over there we would have come up against a 'handy horseman' by the name of Mark Purdon!" Moran was the punter's pal in his trip over the border to Wagga Wagga on Thursday, duly getting the prize on three favorites and a second-favorite. It was again none other than the Kevin Gordon-owned flying machine Lochinvar Art, getting the ball rolling, zipping over the 1740m trip in 1.53-8. Moran then landed a double for the powerful Stewart/Tonkin team at Ballarat with Victoria Brew (Sportswriter USA-Charlotte Brew NZ (Mach Three) and Hardhitter (Mach Three-Grace Robinson (Perfect Art). His fourth for the day was for Victorian Gippsland co-trainers Gary and Deb Quinlan, of Drouin, in Rocknroll Pearl (Rock N Roll Heaven-Jazzam (Christian Cullen NZ). "It's nice to pick up a few drives for Emma and Clayton and it's good to do okay for them and stay in the mix because they have a lot of horses going around," Moran said. Moran's four-win efforts are not his best, though - he joined a select group of drivers in March, 2015, when he bagged five winners at a meeting. "That was exciting, and I remember it well because it was the Albury Pacing Cup meeting and I won five of the eight races on the card," he said. The in-form driver is also enjoying a great season as a trainer, with his partner and co-trainer Laura Crossland. The training partnership was formalised recently and has 11 wins, 16 placings from 44 starts. "Laura is a bit under-rated as a driver, because the horses do run for her," Moran said. "I'm always happy to watch her take the reins and I do think it's a bit surprising that more trainers don't use her services," he said. Demonstrating the commitment required of today's professional reinsmen, after driving at Wagga, Moran caught a plane to Shepparton and then drove his car to the Ballarat meeting that night. "The fairytale unfortunately didn't continue - I had one drive and didn't do any good as the horse jumped a shadow and ended up back in fifth spot in the 3yo Classic," he said. Moran, who has been at Kialla for eight or nine years, got involved in harness racing through well-known and highly successful trainer-driver David Aiken, of Avenel. "I grew up with his son David junior. We were best mates as kids," he said. "It was a natural transition to start with the Aiken stable once I finished school."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura      
Maitland father-and-son harness racing team Guy and Mitch Chapple believe Roclea Star is the best pacer in his NSW Breeders Challenge heat at Newcastle on Saturday night. Roclea Star will start from the widest barrier in nine in the two-year-old colts and geldings heat. Two 2YO fillies heats of the group 1 series will also be held. My Ultimate Bondi, for visiting trainer-driver Jarrod Alchin, was the favourite for the male heat after winning easily on debut at Newcastle on May 11 and drawing gate one. Roclea Star has the edge in experience after seven races for one win and a last-start second in the Gold Crown Yearling Sale Graduate Final at Bathurst in April 17. Guy Chapple, who will drive Roclea Star for his son, Mitch, was confident of a top-two finish and a place in semi-finals at Menangle. "He's the one to beat but I think mine is a better horse," Guy said of My Ultimate Bondi. "Mine's raced the best at Bathurst and had to sit outside the leader, and he might have to do the same this week. "But he certainly hasn't gone backwards. He's definitely improved since the freshen-up." Roclea Star has had no recent luck in barrier draws but Chapple was hoping for a better start from out wide. "It probably suits him out there because he's got a ton of gate speed and from the inside you can't muster that quickly," he said. "We'll go forward and we'll press to try and get the lead." In the second fillies heat, Chapple will fill in for the injured Andrew Bourke in driving long-shot Illgiveuadaisyaday for Chris Bourke. By Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald
Long-time Bendigo Harness Racing identity Peter Svanosio can deservedly look back on the past four decades with a great deal of pride and achievement. Peter, 74, recently stepped down after 42 years' service as a valued and dedicated committee member. "I certainly have fond memories because the club has made huge in-roads over the years through being progressive and forward thinking," he said. "The members continued to put their faith in me, as I've faced re-election over the years, and I feel privileged. I'm going to miss it, but felt my time was up." Peter vividly recalls the meeting he attended when he decided to stand for a committee position. "It was in 1977 and I'd been approached by the then Club President, Vic Rothacker to consider standing. I didn't know at the time, but Vic told me later he thought I'd be okay on the committee because of my passion for the sport," he said. "I decided I'd like to be elected because I didn't believe the trainers and drivers were getting a fair go in a number of areas, including the track training hours. "There was 15 on the committee and eight had come up for re-election that year for what were two-year terms back then. "About 400 members turned up and there weren't enough chairs, so we had to borrow some from a nearby school. I wasn't a shoo-in and I didn't end up with the most support, but I got enough and then actually wore two hats for between 20 and 25 years. As well as a committee member I was also president of the trainers and drivers' association. "The reason I stayed on the club committee so long was the quality of the people involved, especially the presidents over the years." Peter said one of the exciting improvements at Bendigo was the transformation of the track. "We had a flat track and constantly you would see horses breaking up and causing interference after getting out of rhythm," he said. "After floating an idea on a new concept involving building the track up with banking, we spoke with Graeme Mahar who was renowned for his revolutionary thinking regarding Victorian tracks." (Mahar, who died nearly two years ago, was a key player behind highly successful track maintenance seminars and manufactured a track conditioner. He was also largely responsible for the successful placement of canola oil on tracks.) American track guru Dan Coon, who was a friend of Mahar, was flown out by the Bendigo Club to discuss the new track design. "I still remember Dan telling me to stand on a 44-gallon drum on the outside of the track. That was roughly the height he envisaged building the outside banking up to," Peter said. "After tenders closed, Dan came back to oversee it--some weren't in favor of it, but it went ahead. "The difference was astounding as I found out while driving the mobile barrier. On the flat, you really had to gun the mobile vehicle to speed away from field, but with the track banking, you could nearly let the mobile go around itself. It's like a velodrome." Peter said two of the most successful industry-wide changes in his time were the introduction of sulky wheel discs and the removal of the running rails from tracks around the country. "Taking the rail away was considered a radical step because some people thought the horses wouldn't go around without the rail! And safety-wise, the wheel discs were fantastic for horse and driver safety, because in those days nearly every race someone would hit a spoke in a wheel." Peter, who had a stint running the Bulls Head Pub (now a medical centre) which his father bought in 1954, held a trainers-drivers licence for a while and started driving in the mid-1960s. "I didn't have many horses, mostly two at a time, and they were stabled at the rear of the hotel. It was only really a hobby," he said. "There were actually four stables there, but I would keep two vacant for South Australian people and other visitors when they come and raced. "I was very light and back then had to carry a 32-pound lead weight to get to the minimum 10 stone. I'd borrow the lead off a plumber, and a friend would bring it in a hessian bag and put it on my seat! "Our pub was a popular watering hole for harness racing people and a fair bit of talk and drinking would take place." Peter competed against the greats of past years in Gordon Rothacker, Neville Welsh, Tom Mahar, Ted Demmler and evergreen Brian Gath, who is still driving today. "I drove my first winner in 1966. The horse was Cascade Mac, trained at Strathfieldsaye by Ian Mackay, and we got the money at Kilmore on a wet and sloppy track," Peter said. "Probably the best horse I ever sat behind was Grand Pretender who was trained locally by Frank Power. He had a touch of class. "I haven't driven for about 20 years. I prefer to leave it to the young blokes." Peter is kept busy these days assisting his son Chris, a highly respected trainer-driver, who prepares a big team opposite the Bendigo Lord's Raceway. "I just love the sport-I could be involved seven days a week without a worry," he said. Peter, a life member at Bendigo, hasn't been lost to the club. "I'm still around - it's been a big part of my life and if anything needs doing, I'll help out when I can." Picture: Peter Svanosio hard at work on stablehand duties for his trainer-son Chris   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura
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