Day At The Track

An introduction from the CEO

07:19 PM 13 Sep 2013 NZST
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The Industry celebrated the 2012/13 season at the Victorian Industry Awards Night at Tabcorp Park on Thursday (September 12).  Congratulations to the connections of Caribbean Blaster, the Victorian Horse of the Year and Im Stately, Victorian Trotter of the Year.

For the full list of winners click here.


The Year That Was

The Industry Awards night was a very successful night.  Thank you to all the staff involved in the preparation for the night.

In particular we thank Premier Denis Napthine for attending and delivering a stirring address.

During the evening an excellent presentation was shown on the big screens entitled “The Year That Was” - voiced by Andrew Bensley and produced by Rob Gild.  I encourage you to take a few minutes to view the video by clicking here.

Chris Alford

What a year for Chris Alford.  Below are several stats/facts that illustrate the 2012/13 season achievements of Victoria’s superstar driver:

  • Leading Victorian Driver with 287 wins;

  • Leading Australian Driver with 295 wins;

  • Drove 53 winners in the month of August, the most ever by a driver in a month, surpassing Kerryn Manning’s 48 in May 2002;

  • Was the first person to drive the winners of the three heats of the Victoria Derby in February – Guaranteed, Lennytheshark and Macha;

  • Has taken his overall winning tally to 4,971, closing in on being only the second driver to achieve 5,000 wins.  Gavin Lang was the first to achieve this outstanding feat. Chris is 9 years Gavin’s junior!

It has been an unbelievable ride for Chris Alford since his first win on a horse called Spring Vance, trained by father Barry and part owned by yours truly, which beat favourite Victory Banner at Wangaratta back in 1984.

2012/13 Season

Now that the 2012/13 season is behind us, here are some of the Victorian statistics that don’t make the headlines:

  • 4,055 horses races;

  • On average each horse raced 9.1 times;

  • 823 horses earned in excess of $10,000;

  • 20 horses earned in excess of $ 100,000;

  • 15 drivers drove their first ever winner in a race;

  • Top Victorian stakes earner – Caribbean Blaster - $450,000;

  • Leading sire wins – Art Major (245 winners);

  • Leading sire stakes – Bettors Delight ($2.25 million)

  • Leading trotting sire – Sundon (90 wins);

  • Second on the trotting sire list – Earl (54) who sadly passed away recently.

Milestones/First Wins
  • Rodney Petroff drove his 500th winner on Walky Talky at Ballarat on Saturday September 7;

  • Josh Aiken drove his first winner (Chevals Racer) at Shepparton on September 11.  His father David trained a treble at the same meeting;

  • Peter Wells became the oldest person to register a driving double.  Now in his 80th year Peter drove Dell Boy and Donkiri to victory at Ballarat on August 24.


Congratulations to the Mildura Club for increasing their contribution to stakes this season by 27% - up $30,000 to $140,000.

It is a fantastic decision, which complements the recent HRV announcement.  Mildura will bring forward the HRV March rises to January.  And with the support of Mark Gurry and Associates and Seelite Windows and Doors, several features also get a rise in stakes.

Well done to Barry Bottams, Mark Kemp and the Mildura Committee.

Audio Visual Services

For the past 16 years, Provideo has been producing the harness racing pictures which flow through to television screens and mobile devices around the world.

Following an extensive tender process HRV recently announced that internationally renowned media distribution company Mediatec was successful in its bid and will commence as HRV’s contractor on November 1, 2013 for a five year period.

While we look forward to a new era in broadcast services, I would like to pay tribute to Frank Verstrepen and his staff for the outstanding service HRV has received from Provideo over a long period of time.

HRV’s announcement of the change can be seen by clicking here.

Race Field Policy

HRV charges a ‘Race Field Fee’ to wagering operators who bet on our product, such as interstate totes, corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges.

While the Joint Venture with Tabcorp remains our principal funding source, Race Field Fees have become an important funding vehicle.

HRV’s previous policy was to charge 1.5% on all turnover.  However from September 1 the HRV Board has approved a revised policy, which in summary is:

  • Up to a threshold of $100,000 turnover per month the fee is 1% of turnover;

  • For turnover in excess of $100,000 in a month the fee is 2% of turnover.

Community Awards

Two prominent harness racing identities have received awards from Corrections Victoria – recognising excellence and commitment in supervising offenders or prisoners performing community work:

  • Les Chapman (Maryborough) has worked alongside offenders for over six years providing support and work opportunities. 

  • George Crane (Hamilton) similarly provides supervision for offenders in his local area.

Congratulations to both gentlemen on a great community service.

Yarra Valley

Congratulations are also extended to the Yarra Valley Club on the 10 year anniversary of the amalgamation of the two racing Clubs.

Formerly comprising a separate thoroughbred club and harness club, the Yarra Valley model is a wonderful advertisement for co-operation between the trots and the gallops since the Club formed a single entity a decade ago.

The milestone was celebrated at a gala function at the venue on August 31.


Harness racing has lost two of its elder statesmen recently:

  • Jack Shelley, a prominent trainer for many years passed away in late August.  Jack maintained his A Grade trainers licence until 2008 – in his 91st year.  His son Brian continues the family tradition having been a licensed trainer/driver since the early 1990’s. I did not know Jack, however everyone speaks highly of his skill and he was certainly well regarded by industry participants; and

  • Long serving Ararat Committeeman Milton McKinnis passed away this week.  Milton was involved with the Ararat Club for over 50 years and served as both President and Vice President during that time.  Milton volunteered for many tasks at the Club and will be sadly missed.

HRV’s condolences go out to the families of both these great servants of the trots industry.


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