Day At The Track

Swedish young driver exchange announced

08:00 AM 27 Nov 2019 NZDT
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Harness Racing Australia

Harness Racing Australia, in partnership with Aldebaran Park and leading Swedish media company, Travronden have today announced a once-in-a-lifetime driver exchange program for the leading Australian and leading Swedish young drivers.

The three year agreement will see the leading Australian driver in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship (AYDC) invited to drive in the famed Swedish Guldklockan (Gold Watch) series, held at Sovalla, Stockholm in December each year.

Conversely, the winner of the Gold Watch will be invited to compete in the AYDC the following year, being the first time a non-Australasian driver will compete in the series since its inception in 1993.   

Andrew Kelly, Chief Executive of HRA spoke of the initiative which is designed to both strengthen international relations and invest in the sports youth - "The concept and idea of being involved in a collaboration like this with Travronden and Aldebaran Park are so well aligned to Harness Racing Australia's vision of increased association with international partners.  This is a prime example of bringing the trotting world closer together and investing in young people”.

Travronden's Project Manager Dennis Engelbo was pleased to make the announcement, stating that ‘’The investment in young people in the sport feels absolutely right and the winner now has the opportunity to broaden their horizons in a country that breathes equestrian sports. Similarly, we are excited to show off the Swedish horse racing to the Australian representative.”

Duncan McPherson OAM of Aldebaran Park was thrilled to be able to sponsor the exchange – ‘’Our future is based on bringing in and retaining more young people in the sport.  For me, it feels absolutely right to sponsor a competition series like this.‘’

The official full media release as translated courtesy of Travronden is provided below. For any further enquires, contact Travronden's Project Manager Dennis Engelbo on +46 72 076 88 46 or Andrew Kelly, Chief Executive of Harness Racing Australia on +61 488 358 285.

 

Renewal of Guldklockan (Gold Watch)

Travronden's Gold Watch has been decided since 1957.  During these years, greats such as Örjan Kihlström, Torbjörn Jansson, Stefan Melander and Daniel Redén have won the honourable prize.

Travronden's Gold Watch has a clear focus on the active and through trials - and the final races in the series are highlighted by the talented stable workers. To further raise the series, a big change will now take place and from 2020 the final of Guldklockan will have a new look.

Travronden, in collaboration with Duncan McPherson, the man behind one of Australia’s biggest Stud farms, Aldebaran Park, and Andrew Kelly, Chief Executive of Harness Racing Australia Association, have developed a new concept around the gold clock.

As before, the active qualifiers will qualify for the final day through races at Solvalla during the year. What is new, however, is that one of the twelve seats in the final is reserved for the one in Australia licensed to win/position himself highest in Australasian Young Drivers Championship. As a result, it is also clear that whoever wins the Guldklockan also gets - in addition to the very fabled gold clock - the opportunity to go to Australia to participate in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship and to advance in the Australian horse racing.

The news also means that the 2019 winners are affected.  Both the winner of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship and Travronden's Gold Watch 2019 will be allowed to travel to the other side of the world, this to be in the 2020 finals.

The sponsorship agreement spans three years, which means that at least the winners in 2019, 2020 and 2021 have a cool journey to look forward to.  The hope is to raise the status further, both for the Guldklockan and the Australasian Young Drivers Championship, among the young active.

With the venture, the series gets a new name. Travronden's Guldklockan, which runs at Solvalla during the month of December each year, will instead change its name to Aldebaran Park presents Travronden's Gold Watch.

"The importance of Guldklockan among young stable employees running races is great.  Big names have won over the years and it has been a clear springboard towards even greater success.  Travronden is passionate about making more people love the trot, and part of this is supporting the young people in the sport.  In addition to the said sponsorship on the winner of Guldklockan, there will also be a holistic approach to the final day, so that all finalists feel that the day has been memorable and valuable.  The investment in young people in the sport feels absolutely right and that the winner now has to broaden their horizons in a country that breathes equestrian sports, we are very happy about to have been given.   Similarly, we are excited to show off the Swedish horse racing to the Australian representative”, says Travronden's project manager Dennis Engelbo.

"From 2020 we will frame the competition and the road to the final in a completely different way than we have done before.  Final day will look different, where all the finalists are invited to a day of activities, lunch and lectures.  The hope is that there will be a big fight for the places in the Guldklockans final. It should be something that everyone under the age of 35 wants to be part of”.

The ambition of Aldebaran Park presents Travronden’s Gold Watch is something Duncan McPherson through his Aldebaran Park feels strongly about: Strengthening young people’s competitive opportunities in the sport.

"Our future is based on bringing in and retaining more young people in the sport.  For me, it feels absolutely right to sponsor a competition series like this.  In horse racing, over the years we have been bad at working together, including with other countries and that is something I am really passionate about as we have a lot to learn from each other. It is also something I hope and believe that the young people who get the opportunity to visit Australia and Sweden respectively notice, says Duncan McPherson.

Andrew Kelly, Chief Executive of Harness Racing Australia, is also happy to get through this venture.

"The concept and idea of being involved in a collaboration like this with Travronden and Aldebaran Park are so well aligned to Harness Racing Australia's vision of increased association with international partners.  One of our goals is to bring the trot world closer together - but also to invest in young people - which this is a prime example of”, says Andrew Kelly.

"We at Harness Racing Australia believe that investing in our active - especially young people - is important for the long-term sustainability of the sport.  I see a partnership like this between two trotting countries, thanks to Travronden and Aldebaran Park as a great victory.

"I have been involved in a lot of meetings and conferences where many people talk about increased cooperation with other countries.  When you step out of the meeting room, however, it doesn't happen very much.  Either you get busy with other things, forget, or just want to sound good in that moment.  We in Australia, on the other hand, we stand for what we say. This cooperation is a clear example of the fact that international partnerships with substance can be worked out and I hope this can last for generations.  I'm sure this will be a fantastic thing - both for the Australian person who gets to go to Sweden and drive, but also the Swede who gets go to Australia.  Australia is now a member of the Eurovision Song Contest for a couple of years... the question is whether we get an Australian winner of Aldebaran Park presenting Travronden's Gold Watch before we win the big music competition?  It remains to be seen,” Kelly says. 

The Guldklockan has been decided at Solvalla for all years since its inception in 1957 and the capital line is also satisfied with the new arrangement.

"It's a very fun venture that we at Solvalla are very happy about.  Guldklockan has always been an important springboard for future careers and with this arrangement the series will be further   strengthened.”, says Solvalla's Sports Director Anders Malmrot.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Duncan McPherson and Andrew Kelly, for a fantastic journey that now means that we are standing where we are doing today - with sponsorship of rarely seen kind of on a series for the young active.  This is exactly what Travronden stands for, to make more people love the trot and protect the young people in the sport.  The hope is that this will give a carrot to the young people to go for running at Solvalla.  I would also like to pay tribute to sports director Anders Malmrot for good cooperation and a good dialogue in the work around Guldklockan, says Dennis Engelbo.

Facts about Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship

The Australasian Young Drivers Championship is a series of ten races on different courses over a period of at least a week, where participants pick points in each race.  The restrictions on participation are   that you have to be under 25 years old (but at a winner of the Guldklockan who is over the age of 25, gets waiver).  The contestants in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship are a mix of active from the six Australian states - three from New Zealand and its islands - as well as the title defender from the year before.  Normally the series  runs  in  connection  with  when the grand race Inter Dominion is decided,  where  the  last  race is often  decided on the  same race day  as the big race. The driver with the most points at the end of the ten-race series is crowned Champion.

Facts Aldebaran Park presents Travronden's Gold Watch

Travronden's Gold Watch has been decided since 1957. Over the years, apprentices have accumulated points in apprenticeships at Solvalla during the year, where the twelve with the most points progressed to Guldklockans final day.  Two trial races are run – followed by a final – where the collected points determine the order in which the horses may be chosen.  The winner takes home a coveted gold watch (the Guldklockan). From 2020 there will be some changes, when the concept of apprenticeship will no longer exist. Instead, races for drivers under the age of 35 will be included to qualify for the Gold Watch's final day which 2020 runs December 11.  In order to participate in the final races, he should be employed in a trotting stable.

 

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