Day At The Track

Aussie News

04:05 PM 13 Aug 2019 NZST
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Ararat Harness Racing Club,Harness racing
Ararat Harness Racing Club

Dual-code horsewoman Rita Burnett had every reason recently to be "over the moon."

Rita was one of harness racing's female trail blazers, along with contemporaries Debbie Quinlan and Roma Pocock, but these days shares her time between the standardbreds and thoroughbreds.

Burnett, of Kilmore, cheered home four-year-old pacer Cheeky Major in the Happy Birthday Master Paddy Vicbred Pace at her home track last Thursday.

And the win was made that little bit special with her daughter Monique taking the reins.

Cheeky Major (Art Major-Mademoiselle Gigi (Towner's Big Guy) showed plenty of gate speed to zip to the head of affairs. Beautifully rated on a rain affected track by Monique, the pair reeled off quarters of 29.6, 31.7, 31.5 and 31.1 to cruise the line with a handy six metre advantage.

Long-time supporters of harness racing in Tom and Jean O'Donnell race the winner.

"Despite being at it for probably over 30 years, mum is still enthusiastic as ever," Monique said.

"She has six standardbred racehorses in work but does heaps of breakers and that's probably what she enjoys most, doing the babies," she said.

"But she just loves getting a winner now and again and that's the first time for a while that we've combined to land the money, so it was extra nice."

Rita Burnett                                                                    Monique Burnett 


Much-travelled Myrniong reinsman Greg Sugars is leading the Driver of the Year award at Shepparton with two meetings to go.

Greg is 36 points ahead of master Victorian driver Chris Alford, an opponent he holds with much respect.

Astute Avenel trainer David Aiken is well clear on the trainers' premiership. He has a 31-point buffer over Bendigo's Glenn Douglas, who has been in red hot form. Quiet achiever Chris Svanosio is next best.

Concession Driver of the Year leader is Kima Frenning, who came out backpacking from Sweden a few years ago, and is now going places in harness racing. Local young talent in Ryan Duffy is holding down second place.

The Horse of The Year title sees bay gelding Ramblenroller (Blissful Hall-Cheryl's Fancy (Classic Garry), prepared by Stuart Govers, at the top of the table. Ultra-consistent gelding Enforce the Law (Lawman-Angel Force (Vittner) is a slender two-point leader in the Trotter Of The Year Award. Enforce the Law is prepared by Justin Torney.

A brief look at the seasonal awards with meetings (tonight and August 18) remaining:

Driver - Greg Sugars 147, Chris Alford 111, Kima Frenning 85 and John Caldow 78.

Trainer - David Aiken 102, Glenn Douglas 61, Chris Svanosio 48, Laura Crossland 42 and Donna Castles 41.

Horse Of The Year - Ramblenroller 20, Crocodile Kid 16, She Envy 14 and Roslyn Gaye 14.

Trotter Of The Year - Enforce The Law 14, Nica Macdonon 12, Starlight Storm 12, Tetra 9, Popcorn Sutton 9, Majestic Time 9 and Col Du Galibier 9.

Concession Driver Of The Year-Kima Frenning 85, Ryan Duffy 49, Zac Phillips 36, Brad Chisholm 27 and Tayla French 26.

Greg Sugars


Ararat Harness Racing Club has sent out an SOS to participants and followers of our industry.

Club vice-President Phil Ralph has undertaken the monumental task of researching 100 years of harness racing in the Victorian central highlands city.

Phil is seeking names of drivers, trainers and others going back "as far as you can remember".

Any relevant photographs stacked in cupboards and old newspapers are also on Phil's hit list.

He has been out and about in recent weeks visiting people to hear their stories.

But Phil isn't stopping there - he's hungry for information!

Anyone with suggestions of people who can make life a little easier for Phil is urged to send an e-mail to


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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