The Choice Hotels Country Cup Season is in full swing. Over the weekend we saw Savesomtimetodream win the Yarra Valley Cup and Macho Comacho win the Wedderburn Cup. The next Cup is at Cobram on December 27 followed by Horsham on January 5.
SEW-Eurodrive Victoria Cup Night
Once again the SEW-Eurodrive Victoria Cup lived up to expectations as one of Australasia's greatest races.
Congratulations toand the connections of For A Reason on becoming the latest addition to the heavyweight championship honour roll.
For the punters, courtesy of a TAB jackpot, the First 4 on the Victoria Cup paid over $6,000. That is an enormous dividend given that the First 4 comprised the three placegetters from the Miracle Mile (Beautide, Christen Me and For A Reason) plus the reigning champ Caribbean Blaster. All four were excellent runs and it looks like a new breed of Grand Circuit competitors has arrived.
In the Dullard Cup the striking looking Habibti blew everyone away which adds more excitement for the trotting gait. We now have the prospect of two 4yos going head to head, the mare Habibti and the outstanding colt Blitzthemcalder. Both will be major drawcards for the Great Southern Star in March.
One of the most impressive wins on Victoria Cup night was 3yo Young Modern forin the 3yo Sires Classic, franking his trial form at Ballarat a week earlier.
Finally, a special thanks to Rob Merola and the team at SEW Eurodrive for their support of the Carnival.
Vicbred 1st win bonus - $7,000
The first 2yo race for the season in Victoria was run at Geelong on December 5.
While it may have gone relatively unnoticed, it was a significant event for Darren Cole - owner of winner Spot Ona Shadow.
Darren was the first owner to benefit from the increased first win bonus under the Vicbred scheme from $5,000 to $7,000 this season.
Added to the winner's stake for the race of $3713, meant a total earn of nearly $11,000 for the win.
The second 2yo race at Kilmore on December 11 was also won by a Vicbred eligible filly (Viva) therefore she also provided the Azzopardis with a $7,000 first win bonus.
I was surprised to hear that Ian Kitchin has stepped down as Secretary of Harness Breeders Vic (HBV) at its recent Committee Meeting.
Ian has been a tower of strength for HBV in that role for the best part of a decade.
In that time HBV has become a respected organisation representing its membership of 700.
In particular, Ian has been a great supporter of the HBV sponsorship deal with HRV, which promotes fillies and mares racing opportunities. The depth of Victoria mares racing is largely attributable to the support of HBV.
I hope that Ian remains involved with HBV and continue his breeding interests. He has been a terrific servant to the industry.
Australasian Premier Trotting Sale
The second Australasian Premier Trotting Sale will be conducted the day after the Great Southern Star on March 23, 2014, following the very successful inaugural sale this year.
Click here for the 2014 Sale Catalogue including the pedigrees for some outstanding trotting yearlings.
A reminder also that the APG Yearling Sale is set down for Sunday February 2, the day after the Hunter Cup.
HRV Community Grants
As part of HRV's commitment to the community, through our venue at Tabcorp Park, HRV makes available $50,000 per annum for:
Welfare of the Community; and
On Thursday December 5 HRV Chairman Ken Latta, presented the $50,000 cheque to the City of Melton, to be distributed to this year's successful applicants:
Kurunjang Primary School
Coburn Primary School
Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association of Victoria
The Gap on Graham
Derek Foden Rover Crew
Rotary Club of Melton Valley
Little Diggers Playgroup
Western Regional Health Centre
Melton Combined Youth and Special Needs Club Association
Melton Community Safety Register
Melton Chinese Friendship Association
HRV once again has been a major supporter of charities during 2013. Quite apart from the $50,000 Community Fund above, HRV has supported the following charities in 2013:
Children's Tumour Foundation
Women's Cancer Foundation - Ovarian Cancer Institute
Leigh Plunkett Foundation - Leukaemia
Melton Rotary (State Emergency Services - Local Community Groups)
Neal has been appointed to the position of Chairman of Stewards, having been acting in the role for some months. Neal is a highly regarded member of the HRV integrity team and together with General Manager Integrity Andy Rogers they form a formidable team to deal with the both the industry challenges and the demands of the statutory governance requirements. I wish Neal well for a long and successful career.
Gary Bennetts is the latest staff member to achieve a milestone having completed 20 years continuous service. In reviewing the list of milestones, I am amazed to see that HRV has no fewer than 25 full time employees who have served 10 years or more at HRV. Of those 25, 3 have achieved 30 years and a further 4 are in the 20 years plus category.
Vale Con Rigby
HRV was saddened to hear of the passing of Con - a respected trainer driver - at the age of 83. Based in the Macedon Ranges area for a long period of his life, Con was involved with a number of well performed horses such as Champagne Soky, Romile, Bullengar Tealsby, Polish and the smart trotter Carol Rose. Con's last winning drive was on Funnyfaceiloveyou at Kilmore in June 2004.
Victorian trotting's longest serving bookmaker Arthur Bell passed away suddenly in late November. Arthur had worked at every Victorian track at one stage and quite often in the early days would work a double header travelling hundreds of miles between venues. One of his great loves was the Mildura Cup meeting each year, rarely missing one.
HRV also recognises the contribution made to the Australian breeding industry by, which passed away recently at the ripe old age of 27. Having sired 2,238 Australian bred foals, his progeny here went on to earn $37.3m in stakes. His highest earner was Fleur De Lil. She earned in excess of $1m.
Did You Know?
The first 2yo winner for the season Spot Ona Shadow was by Alabar's- that stallion's first Australian starter.
The Manning family trained the entire card at the Ararat meeting on December 10 - Peter (4), Kerryn and Michelle each training winners.
Christmas/New Year Office Hours
HRV's office will close at 3pm on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. It's business as usual on all other days except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe, prosperous 2014!