Day At The Track

Aussie wrap

04:00 PM 09 Sep 2019 NZST
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Gary Merkel and Roslyn Gaye,Harness racing
Gary Merkel and Roslyn Gaye
Echuca HRC photo

TONGALA couple Gary and Kathy Merkel are enjoying a purple patch at the moment - thanks to the deeds of their speedy harness racing mare Roslyn Gaye.

The five-year-old mare posted her fourth win in her last five starts with another all-the-way recent victory, this time at Echuca.

Roslyn Gaye (Artistic Fella-Madam Narryna (Fake Left) was ignored in betting, starting at the generous odds of 16/1, but the pacer has shown she is very hard to run down when in front. She's formed a sensational combination with Bendigo reinsman Chris Svanosio, who's now driven her on 12 occasions for four wins and four placings, as well as a couple of close-up fourths.

Svanosio also enjoyed a great 2018-19 season with 68 wins and 165 placings for $572,000.

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ASTUTE Gisborne trainer-driver Shannon McLean admits his family "is enjoying the ride" with one of Victoria's brightest prospects in Live On Broadway (Art Major-Broadway Play (Safely Kept).

The six-year-old scored nicely at his first start in the "big smoke" at Melton last Saturday night in the $20,000 DNR Logistics Pace in a more than respectable 1.55-4 (27-4 and 27-9 last two splits).

Live On Broadway was bred by Shannon's brother Christian and is owned by their father, Rick, a former AFL goalkicking great, who played with Carlton and Richmond.

The gelding has now won his past eight starts in a row. His only blemish was at his race debut when he finished fourth. Ian McMahon was successful on Live On Broadway at his first win and Chris Alford has since taken the reins and continued on the winning way.

Outside of harness racing, the family is mostly involved with Rick McLean Designer Bathroom, a successful company which employs over 20 people.


A successful team:  Reinsman Chris Alford with Rick, Jess and Shannon McLean, and their children Hunter and Jensen (Stuart McCormick photo)

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RELATIVELY new CEO at Mildura, Michelle McGinty-Wilson has a "feather in her cap" after recently negotiating the biggest sponsorship deal in the history of one of country Victoria's most successful clubs.

The far north-west club, which continually attracts near-capacity fields with competitive racing and boasts betting figures other clubs would be proud of, secured a lucrative one-year deal with successful bowling and recreation club, the Euston Club and Resort.

"We have an agreement that offers an option to extend the sponsorship to three years-we are so excited," Ms McGinty-Wilson said.

The Euston Club is situated on the banks of the Murray River, between Mildura and Swan Hill, and is renowned as a popular entertainment venue as well as offering spectacular accommodation.

The small township was once a busy inland port with paddlesteamers and barges transporting consignments of wool and wheat along the rivers to Victorian, NSW and South Australian towns.


Euston Club CEO Ray Jones and MHRC CEO Michelle McGinty-Wilson shaking hands on the record sponsorship deal

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HARNESS racing fans have been saddened by the recent passing of two Mallee harness racing identies, Ian "Joey" Gould and Bill Symes.

Both were popular and respected former Victorian trainer-drivers.

Bill Symes, who farmed for most of his life in the Millewa district, near Mildura, had a long association in the sport. Apart from enjoying racetrack success, Symes and his wife Flo loved nothing better than catching up with friends at the various meetings.

The couple raced the consistent Little Topar years ago. More recently they teamed up with well-known Sunraysia horseman Frank Cavallaro and had success with the now retired That's Rite, a winner of 18 races and 18 placings for $160,000. Other handy members of their team included Buckland Belle and Yarrara Ben, the latter still racing.


The late Ian “Joey” Gould with the last pacer he raced, Road to Retirement, which started a new career with the HRV Hero Program earlier this year

Likeable "Joey" Gould, of Rainbow, was a popular figure throughout the district. As well as regularly working a horse or two, he was known for his football prowess and more times than not wore guernsey number 13. Fittingly "Joey" will be farewelled this Friday (September 13) at Yaapeet Community Centre.

He was associated with capable pacers in Lochlee Lotto, Road to Nowhere and Road to Rainbow (winner of more than $100,000), which provided the Gould family with its biggest thrill in the sport, the Charlton Pacing Cup.

Harnesslink passes on its condolences to the Symes and Gould families.

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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