Outstanding gesture by our many female drivers to spread the awareness message during March by wearing the teal pants (see photo attached).
Pryde's Easifeed Great Southern Star night has quickly become one of the most important nights on the Australasian trotting calendar. Some of the activities that make this night a must: The Great Southern Star (GSS) brings together Australasia's best trotters to compete in a $400,000 series of heats into a final on the same night. The two heats will be races 3 and 4 on the card, with the final to follow as race 9;
A sold out function in the Toolern Room raising funds for the Women's Cancer Foundation. Last year over $80,000 was raised - in memory of Lyn McPherson who sadly succumbed to ovarian cancer in 2010. Many thanks to our female drivers who have worn the teal pants through March in support of the ovarian cancer cause.
Fashions on the Field offers $6,000 in prizes with GSS Ambassador Chantal Sutherland to judge. The Girls' Night Out theme extends to the exclusive Cocktail Marque.
The Breed for Speed trotting series finals;
In action will be America's top driver this year
HRV also appreciates the work of Duncan McPherson and Michael Taranto in promoting the GSS and the Women's Cancer Foundation - Ovarian Cancer Institute.
I often hear comment (positive and negative) on HRV's strategy to promote our sport internationally.
With a mature wagering market in Australia, the future growth of harness racing in Victoria is largely dependent on international growth.
It is important for HRV to increase the import of international product which Sky Racing telecasts and Tabcorp offers wagering on. Equally important is Victorian product being exported which also provides strong financial returns to HRV.
As an example of the opportunity presenting itself, HRV exported three trot races on Hunter Cup night into France, where trotting enjoys a 50/50 share with thoroughbred racing.
Despite the races being telecast into France in an unfavourable timeslot (late morning), the French Tote (PMU) held $568,000 on the three races. That is the equivalent of an entire Saturday night meeting in regional Victoria.
It indicates the importance of pushing Victorian trotting further into European markets for future revenue growth.
The French have also taken The Knight Pistol (March 7) and the Australian Trotting Grand Prix (March 15). We look forward to seeing strong returns from these two feature races.
I would like to congratulate the racing industry's drug laboratory Racing Analytical Services Ltd for the establishment of its Biological Research Unit (BRU). The BRU was set up two years ago, courtesy of welcome State Government funding of $1 million over four years.
The BRU has quickly established itself as one of the leading laboratories in the world. In the past 12 months it has developed screening methods for proteins and peptides.
The peptide screening developed by the BRU has resulted in the first prosecution for illegal peptide use. Ongoing research will provide a comprehensive solution to peptide doping as well as significant improvement in protein screening technology.
Several industry participants were affected by the fires during February. Fortunately there was no loss of life or racing stock, however there was significant property damage. As usual the industry rallied around those affected.
In the case of HRV's own Craig Rail, his property was damaged so badly he has been forced to hand feed his horses until there is sufficient growth in his paddocks. Accordingly the HRV stewards' panel and the Mildura Club have chipped in and raised sufficient funds to finance enough bales of hay to keep Craig's stock going until the growth returns, for which he has expressed his gratitude.
Hot on the heels of the first standardbred to compete in the Garryowen (courtesy of Kathleen Mullan's 'Jimmy') comes another great story of a potential 'first' for a standardbred.
Nicole Tassone does a great job of training up retired race horses for a life after the track, under the banner of "Raising The Standards".
'Bob' is now a couple of months into training to become a member of the Victoria Police's Mounted Branch. If he is successful, he will become the first standardbred to be accepted into the Force. ('Bob' raced as Mossdale Allan which had 44 race starts for 4 wins and 8 placings.)
'Bob' picture is attached proudly leading out a patrol in South Melbourne. Nicole is rightly proud of her achievement and we wish 'Bob' all the best in being accepted for a new career.
Vale Rocky Baker
The Toolern Room at Tabcorp Park was the venue for a memorial service for popular industry figure Ray 'Rocky' Baker. Rocky passed away suddenly on February 15.
Speakers at the service followed a consistent theme of Rocky's love for the people in the industry and his generous nature. Through his company Carbine Chemicals, Rocky donated a significant amount of product to Clubs and participants on a regular basis - particularly to those in need.
Rocky was also a sponsor of several Clubs and HRV, including prominent signage at the Tabcorp Park track. Our condolences go out to his family.
Several drivers have achieved or are nearing milestones: drove his 100th winner for the season on Artique at Yarra Valley on March 12;
is sitting on 99 winners for the season;
Another of our young guns
HRV Finance Manager, James Cardona and his wife Andrea, welcomed their first child on March 4, a daughter Emilia. Congratulations to the proud parents.
Did You Know?
On February 25, the APG Trotters Handicap at Menangle was won by 4YO gelding Vincennes. He was TAB number 20. When was the last time a horse carrying saddlecloth 20 won a trot?