The sun is shining, birds are singing, flowers are blooming and the temptation is to launch full-on into your horse-training endeavours. You may have kept fit throughout the winter on the ski slopes or at the gym but what about your horse? Unless you had access to an indoor arena or migrated south for a few months with your four legged friends, chances are your horse’s fitness level is not quite sufficient for competition or strenuous outings yet. While there is no fool-proof way to avoid all circumstances that could necessitate a lameness exam, there are precautions every horse owner can take to reduce the risk of injury. As with every great fitness program, the key to success is a logical progression and controlling the factors you can control such as footing, stable management and horse health care. Logical Progression Many training programs have a pinnacle event in mind. In this case, a work back plan is created based on when you want the horse to be in peak fitness. The journey leading up to the main event consists of weeks and months of conditioning including a lead up with smaller events to ensure the horse is ready for the more strenuous task ahead. It only takes one month off for a horse to start loosing fitness. If you are coming back from a winter of inactivity, it is wise to start slow with 20 minutes of walking and to build up from there. Increase the length of conditioning sessions first, before increasing intensity. It is not realistic for a horse to be in peak physical condition at all times. Good fitness programs do not ask a horse for maximum exertion on an ongoing basis but allow for peaking and tapering, muscle building and down time for repair. Increasing cardiovascular fitness, strength training and flexibility in a progressive way will increase fitness and make the horse stronger and more resilient when the time comes for a maximal performance. A horse that has been fit previously will return to fitness faster than one that has never been fit before. Each horse’s training program needs to be tailored to the individual with consideration given to: age, breed, conformation, discipline requirements and previous injuries. One of the learning objectives in the Equine Guelph, 12-week online course, Equine Exercise Physiology, is to design and monitor a year-round training program for a horse (using training principles, structuring the workout, monthly and yearly plans). Also addressed are topics such as: base conditioning, aerobic and anaerobic exercise and recovery, monitoring of conditioning gains and prevention of health and performance problems and more. No Footing, No Horse Back to that sunshine again. Oh boy, is it tempting to go ride outside now! Before you step out consider all the footing factors. If you have been lucky enough to train in an indoor ring all winter, chances are your horse has been enjoying consistent, even, well-maintained footing. The outdoor options will not be exactly the same. Even if you are simply moving to an outdoor arena, there will be changes in depth, surface material, drainage and so on. While riding on different surfaces can be hugely beneficial, it takes time for horses to adapt, both to the new surface and possibly to the new training intensity. Dr. Brianne Henderson explains in her archived article on legs, “Bone is always changing and responding to stress. Microdamage can occur within the bone as a consequence of repetitive strain. Overtraining causes this “microdamage” to occur at a faster rate than the body can fix and so the repair is never as strong as the original bone. A similar ‘micro-damage-repair’ cycle occurs within the tendons and ligaments.” The chance of repetitive strain injuries can be significantly reduced with judicious training and the incorporation of lighter work days and rest days. Training in deeper footing and muddy conditions can predispose horses to soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains. Those taking to the roads need to be aware of the impact on joints and bones, which can occur when training on harder surfaces. Training on hills is a great work out for both balance and strength training, but again logical progression of duration and intensity of workouts are all important to avoid fatigue and lameness issues. It pays to be choosy about the footing you ride upon. Not all surfaces are a good match for all disciplines. Dr. Jeff Thomason of the Ontario Veterinary College has done intensive research studying surfaces and how the horse interacts with a variety of footing. More information on this research can be found on the Equine Guelph website in archived news article: “From the Ground Up” . Shape Shifting Everyone knows about the importance of deworming and vaccination but no spring checklist would be complete without due diligence on the stable management aspects of dental care and saddle fitting. A painful mouth due to sharp points can manifest as reluctance to be ridden. There are many changes constantly occurring in a horses mouth and having a dental exam performed by a veterinarian once or twice a year is recommended for both digestive health and to avoid set backs in training. The saddle fitter is another important member of your healthcare team. Horses change shape over time and at different stages of training. Ensuring proper fit is important not only for the horse’s comfort but also for correct muscular development. Several appointments throughout a year are not uncommon and the spring check up is one of the saddle fitter’s busiest times of year. Know your Horse Health Knowing your horses’ normal heart rate, temperature and breathing rate before you begin a training program is important. “A work back plan falls into place once you have an understanding of your horses’ current fitness level and set an end goal,” says Equine Guelph’s director and former advisor for Canada’s endurance team, Gayle Ecker. A free 16-point horse health check is available with Equine Guelph’s Horse Health Tracker App as well as body condition scoring and a weight estimator. Knowing your starting point and what is normal for your horse is vital information for moving forward and monitoring your horses health through every stage of its training. Tracking how quickly vitals return to normal after exercise gives the horse owner a measurable indicator of fitness level. As a horses exercise routine ramps up, nutrition and electrolyte balance will also need to be adjusted accordingly. Early Detection Flexibility is of course a component of any training program. No matter how well we plan, setbacks can and will occur and it is of paramount importance to detect and address any health concerns early on. Early detection and treatment generally result in a more favorable prognosis. Archived article by Dr. Brianne Henderson, “Legs, Common Injuries, and how we can Treat Them” can be found on Equine Guelph’s news page. To practice your early detection skills for lameness, visit Equine Guelph’s free online healthcare tool, Lameness Lab, kindly sponsored by Zoetis. Lameness Lab reviews causes of lameness, goes over checklists, looks at when to call the veterinarian and what to expect in an exam. Finally, take the video challenge to see if you can spot the lame leg! To gain a wealth of information on conditioning programs, sign up for the Equine Guelph 12-week Exercise Physiology course beginning May 9. Equine Guelph would like to wish you all the best with your horse training programs. More resources promoting horse health and welfare can be found atEquineGuelph.ca.
Broken Hill's Carnival Of Cups meeting last Friday night was meant to be a celebration for the local harness racing community. Big prizemoney, a huge crowd and national coverage provided an exciting atmosphere for the participants. However a fall in the second event marred the evening. Local reinswomen Ashleigh Camilleri and Kasey Hocking both fell from their respective sulkies and were treated by medical staff immediately. After concerns Ashleigh may have suffered another serious injury to her left ankle, she received some good news from the local doctors on Monday afternoon. “I broke my left ankle in a fall previously and unfortunately my left ankle took another hit in the fall on Friday night so the doctors were worried I had done more damage,” Ashleigh said. “When they x-rayed my ankle on Friday night there was a lot of swelling and they couldn’t see the full extent of what had happened but the good news is the doctors have been able to have a good look at it today and there is no break. There is some soft tissue damage but they are pretty sure it should be right in a couple of weeks time.” Kasey Hocking admitted she was in a lot of pain on Saturday and is still suffering from a sore neck and shoulder as a result of the fall. “I had a bit of a rough day on Saturday, I’ve got a sore shoulder, grazes on my backside and arm, a swollen knee and a sore foot but I’ll be ok in the long run,” Kasey said. “The horse got out of it pretty well, Kirkelly has a small abrasion above the eye and cuts on the flank but it could have been much worse.” The fall took place as the runners rounded the home turn. Hocking’s horse was following the leader with Camilleri three back on the inside. “We were rounding the home turn and I saw the leader go roughly so I instinctively went to the inside and I thought initially I might have hit a peg but on watching the fall on replay, the horse has just become unbalanced and gone down,” Hocking added. “I’ve had one previous fall and that was in Brisbane but that was quite harmless. I really wanted to drive in the last race because I thought Eye Carly could go close but Cassie Robinson took the drive for me and she was able to win which made me feel a little bit better.” Friday night’s meeting was Broken Hill’s last for the season and Hocking will now concentrate on her move to Parkes. “My partner and I bought a property in Parkes a couple of years ago and we have been waiting for the right time to move and with Brendan getting a transfer we will make the big move. The property has stables and a track but the horses have deserved a break and can now spell until later in the year. “If I had suffered these injuries in the middle of the season I think I would have been right to start driving again in a fortnight.” The meeting itself was successful with a big crowd trackside to watch the six-race card. The $14,000 Rocky Baker Memorial Cup was won by the Ryan Hryhorec trained Plati. Other wins on the night included Circle Line, Ultimate Dawn, Northtoalaska, Cashwrangs Smoker and Eye Carly. Greg Hayes
On Saturday November 22nd J Harris went through something we all as harness racing drivers dread. We all hit the track at some point, we can only hope to bounce back up with minor injuries. A broken pelvis is not minor and very painful. I Know how charitable our industry can be. Although J won't die, none of us are rich and although he would never say it, Christmas will likely be less than joyous. Please help spread some cheer. Donate a few dollars to a good kid down on his luck. Anthony MacDonald
The horse racing for a great cause is due to have his first start under his new ownership on Sunday at the harness racing meeting at Motukarara. Spirit Eclipse is a standardbred racehorse that severely fractured his leg in a training accident in November 2014. This was a life threatening injury for the horse in that only two treatment options were available; euthanasia or attempt surgical repair of the fracture, in the hope that the horse would race again. Witnessing a fighting spirit in the horse, Canterbury Equine Clinic stepped in to save him. With Spirit Eclipse a symbol of hope, the idea arose to use this opportunity to raise funds for a much bigger and wider-reaching cause, The Ronald McDonald House South Island. Canterbury Equine Clinic successfully performed surgery on Spirit Eclipse. All costs associated with his surgery, convalescence and now ongoing veterinary care have been donated by the Canterbury Equine Clinic. After four months, Spirit Eclipse was fit to resume training again. A Spirit Eclipse syndicate, made up of Spirit Eclipse Charter Members, was formed to cover the costs of his training, provided at a significantly discounted rate by trainer Nigel McGrath. These Spirit Eclipse Charter Members are people from the general population who have embraced the opportunity to fundraise for an incredible cause. They have each donated $250 to join the syndicate. The Spirit Eclipse Syndicate will race the horse. He will race in specially commissioned Ronald McDonald House South Island colours. All stake money won during Spirit Eclipse’s ongoing racing career will be donated to Ronald McDonald House South Island. In addition to that, all money left over after racing expenses from the Charter member contributions will also go directly to Ronald McDonald House South Island. At the end of his racing career, Spirit Eclipse will be retired with a good home already arranged. Spirit Eclipse is set to race at the Banks Peninsula meeting at the picturesque Motukarara Raceway on Sunday (27th September). He is competing in the aptly named Spirit Eclipse-Racing For Ronald McDonald House (SI) Pace at 4.36pm. There is already interest from several news and media outlets to cover the race. Hopefully he will be able to give everyone something wonderful to cheer about. For more information visit www.spiriteclipse.co.nz Stacey Markham
BANGOR, Maine — Police have released the identity of the racetrack employee who was killed Wednesday in an accident at Bangor Raceway. Edwin “Ed” Reynolds, 64, of Machias died Wednesday afternoon after a starting gate vehicle struck him while he was on the track, Bangor police Sgt. Tim Cotton confirmed in a Thursday morning news release. Reynolds was a longtime employee at the track, where he did groundskeeping and managed the stables, according to previously published reports. He was active in the racing community, owning and breeding horses as well. An internal investigation has been launched, and Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway officials are cooperating with Bangor police and fire personnel and Maine State Police, according to company spokesman Dan Cashman. Races at the Bangor track scheduled for Monday and Tuesday have been canceled and will be rescheduled at a later date, Cashman said. Cashman has said the company planned to bring in grief counselors to help employees. Bangor police said they would release no further information Thursday about the incident. By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff Reprinted with permission of the bangordailynews.com site Watch bangordailynews.com for udpates. Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.
Batavia, NY---Western New York harness racing driver Drew Monti was taken to a local hospital Wednesday night (Aug. 26) after being involved in a post-race spill that took place just past the wire. After finishing second with Schooner or Later in the fourth race, Monti's horse locked wheels with another horse while pulling up after the finish line, causing him to fall off the race bike. Before he could get up, he was struck by a trailing horse and knocked down again. Track and first aid personnel were on the scene immediately to assist Monti off the track and into the ambulance. He was evaluated on the scene and then transported to the Erie County Medical Center as a precautionary measure. Monti suffered cuts and abrasions but no broken bones and was released from the hospital late Wednesday night. Drew Monti currently sits third in the Batavia Downs driver standings with 19 wins on the meet. He finished second at the recently concluded Buffalo Raceway meet with 139. For his career, the 20-year-old Monti has 417 wins and $2.1 million in earnings. Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations
Kyneton reinsman Tony Xiriha has been ruled out of the sulky indefinitely after a horrible fall at Stawell trots on Wednesday, July 22. Xiriha and trainer/driver Anthony O’Connor both came off their horses Good Looka and Peters Passion in the 2175-metre trot. O’Connor sustained broken ribs and a collapsed lung and spent time in Warrnambool hospital, while Xiriha was airlifted to Melbourne where he stayed in hospital until being discharged on Saturday night. Xiriha broke his hand in the fall and has had several scans on his neck region as doctors try to find out what is behind his neck pain. The popular trainer/driver also has very limited memory of the day, explaining that he recalls “scoring up before the race and I vaguely remember the helicopter”. “The nurse said I’d cracked vertebrae in my neck and I got a neck brace, and as I was leaving the hospital a nurse said I didn’t have a crack,” Xiriha said. “I took the brace off for the first time the other day to have a shower and it was a big mistake. “I’ve had a massive headache and I’ll be heading back to the doctors today.” Xiriha is still suffering the effects of severe concussion. “I’ll talk to you today and may not remember it tomorrow,” he said. “I know they said I was talking to the stewards and the first aid officials on track, but I can’t recall.” Despite the injuries Xiriha continues his work around the stables. “I just went and fed the horses before ... it’s a battle,” he said. Xiriha said he’d been buoyed by well-wishes in person and via social media. “It’s much appreciated." By Cody Winnell
Top reinsman David Butcher is in hospital with multiple internal injuries after being kicked in the chest by a horse at his Cambridge stable. Butcher, 50, is in the high dependency unit at Waikato Hospital with a lacerated spleen, perforated bowel and at least one broken rib after Tuesday's accident. Butcher's wife Wanda said her husband had been trying to catch a horse in his Cambridge yard, where he trains with his father John, when it kicked him and "sent him flying". The biggest racehorse on the property, it caught him squarely in mid-chest. "They're still waiting on some test results but his pancreas has been knocked around, too, and they think he might have a couple more damaged ribs as well. "He's been in the HDU since Tuesday but they're hoping to move him out of there today." With feeding tubes and drains attached, it was difficult for him to communicate with family and he was easily tired, she said. "The bowel is the biggest problem because it's slow healing and the doctors say he's looking at one or two months' recovery time." One of the country's best drivers, Butcher would find it hard being confined again – "he loves to be fit and active. But we'll get through it again". Last year Butcher was sidelined for nearly eight months after pulling his pectoral muscle off the bone in a training accident when a horse he was leading pulled back suddenly. But he made a successful comeback and since last November has driven 63 winners, placing him seventh on the drivers' premiership. Before his injuries Butcher was in the prime of his career. Winner of nearly every feature race in the country, including the New Zealand Cup, the Inter Dominion Final, the Auckland Cup and the Breeders Crown, he regularly finished near the top of the premiership, notching 131 wins in 2010 and 142 wins in 2011, second only to champion Dexter Dunn. In 2013 he represented New Zealand at the world drivers' championship in France, where he won a race at Caen. In a career of 33 years, he has driven 2080 winners who have won $21.5 million in stakes. The Butcher stable will line up three horses at Cambridge tonight in Star's Delight (race 3), Chrissie Jet (race 4) and True Legend (race 8). Barry Lichter
A South Jersey harness racing trainer and cinematographer has been indicted on nine counts of animal cruelty, the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office announced Tuesday. The indictment comes after officers from the NJSPCA seized several horses and a goat from a South Harrison Township farm where Monica Thors, 55, of Mullica Hill, was planning to shoot a documentary about the care of harness racing horses. Thors, who has worked for decades in harness racing and horse photography, had to euthanize three horses in 2013 for chronic foot infections. Neighbors who complained to the NJSPCA said she had been excessively filing the animals' hooves — a claim Thors later denied when she contacted the South Jersey Times to discuss her case this spring. She had obtained permission from bankruptcy courts in May to have a veterinarian of her own choosing examine her horses, which are in state care, after successfully arguing that the animals were her way of making a living. However, she said was still having problems finding a vet to work with in the weeks that followed. In the meantime, Thors has argued in civil court that the condition of her horses has deteriorated while they were in state care. She said on Tuesday that she needed to consult with her attorney before discussing the matter any further. Thors acknowledged that her horses had chronic laminitis — an inflammatory condition that causes lameness — beginning in the fall of 2013, but said that she had been compassionately caring for them with some success when her seven horses and goat were seized in December 2014. Officials with the SPCA also said that her horses were overweight, and that Thors had failed to comply with recommendations to change their diet. She is charged with third-degree animal cruelty the deaths of four horses that had to be euthanized: According To Prince, a 7-year-old standardbred stallion; According To Hoyle, a 14-year-old standardbred stallion; Aspiration, a 7-year-old standardbred mare and Princess Grey, a 13-year-old standardbred mare. All of the horses were overweight and suffered from chronic laminitis. Thors also faces five counts of fourth-degree animal charges for allegedly "causing serious bodily injury, also by failure to provide care" to four more horses and a goat, all of which were also said to be overweight and suffering from hoof problems. Andy Polhamus Reprinted with the permission of NJ.Com - Check site here
On April 26, 2015, I was photographing the horses at Saratoga Casino and Raceway (sorry, I still call it Saratoga Harness Racing), when I discovered a horse named Just Vic. I didn’t have money on him in that race; but by the end of that race, he was the only horse I could think about. Just Vic didn’t win that first race I watched – in fact, as the horses traveled along the final turn, Just Vic’s sulkey was “chariot-clipped” by another driver, and the horse was flung to the ground. Just Vic’s driver, Billy Dobson, got up, took two steps- and collapsed. Just Vic was on his back, his legs flailing and kicking in the air, unable to right himself. At the time, I worried that Just Vic would receive a visit from the white tent. And in horse racing, you never want to have the white tent surrounding a fallen horse. Thankfully, Just Vic survived the crash – and by “survived,” I mean that he received several facial injuries. I blogged about Just Vic in this post, and lamented that there was virtually no news about the horse’s condition – whether Just Vic survived the crash, whether the crash might force Just Vic into an early retirement or worse. It seemed people were more interested in some thoroughbred race in Kentucky than they were about the pain of a local racing colt. In my searches, I was able to contact the Dowd family, the owners of Just Vic (Stone Hollow Farm and Dowd Racing Stable in Stillwater). They were very appreciative that someone was calling to find out about the horse and his welfare. Over the next two months, Just Vic remained under veterinary care. The question wasn’t would he ever race again. The question was actually whether Just Vic would be able to live a remaining, noble life. Eventually his facial injuries healed. The hematoma that surrounded the side of his head subsided. After two months, it was time for Just Vic to race again. To compete against the top standardbred trotters at Saratoga. To battle against Northern Matador and Imperial Photo and the rest of his stablemates. Yesterday, Just Vic returned to the track for the first time in two months. It was now time to hook up the sulkey. But he couldn’t race with the other horses. Not yet. n order for Just Vic to officially compete, he needed to finish a qualifying run. He is an aged trotter (four years or older), so he had to complete two laps around the harness track in under 2:05. In other words, he had to go from start to finish in less time than it takes Ritchie Valens to perform “La Bamba.” Time it for yourself. Watch a harness race and sing along with this music clip. Now keep in mind, not only did Just Vic have to finish his qualifying run in 2:05, he also had to do it at a trotter’s gait. No sprints, no gallops. And he had to do it while pulling that sulkey behind him. Two minutes, five seconds. Two laps around the track. You think it’s easy? Maybe you do. But you’re not a horse. Yesterday afternoon, I received word from Amy Dowd, whose Dowd Racing Stable owns Just Vic and several other harness racing stallions. Just Vic had to complete that run in 2:05 to race with the other horses. Just Vic’s qualifying time? Two minutes – one point four seconds. He completed the qualifying run with a “Bamba” to spare! So now what does this mean? It means that at some point in time, Just Vic will race against other horses. He’ll have a jockey in the sulkey. He’ll make the trip around the track and line up with the rest of the horses, competing with that running start that’s so unique to harness racing. The horse is on a comeback. The comeback isn’t complete yet. It’s not over. It’s still in progress. There are more chapters to the story. And hopefully those chapters will equate to a “and he raced – and lived – happily ever after.” Fingers crossed. By Chuck Miller Reprinted with permission of Timesunion.com
The Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) held its monthly meeting on June 23, 2015 at 77 South High Street, 31st Floor, East B, Columbus, Ohio at 10 am. A quartet of requests by the Delaware County Agricultural Society was unanimously approved by the OSRC, including: conducting future win wagering on the 2015 Little Brown Jug program; simulcasting of all 2015 Little Brown Jug week races; requiring all horses entered in the Jug and Jugette to be on the grounds by 11 am two days prior to each race; and the implementation of the "preference rule" for all overnight races. "The future win wagering has been very popular at Delaware in the past," said Phil Terry, Delaware County Fair marketing manager. "It's not a huge wagering event, but it's a strong promotional tool. In other actions, the OSRC approved a request by Belterra Park to move their live Quarter Horse meeting from Aug. 8 to Oct. 11, 2015, and listened to negotiation updates between horsemen, Belterra Park and Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway regarding VLT percentages. HPBA Executive Director Dave Basler told the OSRC that thoroughbred horsemen would lose between "$20 to $25 million over the next ten years" in purse revenue if they agreed to numbers lower than what was agreed to contractually with ThistleDown and Mahoning Valley racetracks. "We are close to an agreement," Basler admitted. "We need to see what is included in the capital spend and get a rule in place. If we can get a good number in place, we will live with it." As well, the Ohio Harness Horsemen Association (OHHA) representatives informed the OSRC that the Standardbred horsemen have not yet come to an agreement with Dayton Raceway. "We are not in a stalemate over any particular issue but over a variety of issues," said Renee Mancino, OHHA Executive Director. "I think in the near future we will have a face-to-face meeting over these issues," said Mark Loewe, Vice President of Ohio Racing Operations for Penn National Gaming. "We don't need OSRC intervention but at this juncture, we will need legal representation to be present." William Crawford, OSRC Executive Director, presented the number of equine fatalities due to catastrophic breakdowns (training & racing), which occurred at Ohio racetracks in May and since the beginning of 2015 to the commission members. "We've had six Standardbred (three at Northfield, two at Miami Valley and one at Scioto Downs), and ten Thoroughbred (6 at Mahoning Valley, 2 at ThistleDown and 2 at Belterra) deaths since the beginning of the year," Crawford stated. "Those numbers also reflect six in May 2015-four Thoroughbreds and two Standardbreds." Dr. James Robertson, OSRC consulting veterinarian, presented an update on the joint Cobalt study with The Ohio State University. "We're in the final preparations for the pilot study which will determine the effects of IV Cobalt on equine athletes," Dr. Robertson said. "The proposal still has to be approved, but we hope this will be forthcoming and that we will be able to begin this study by early July." Via an invitation by the OSRC, Steve Bateson, OHHA Vice President and Renee Mancino, OHHA Executive Director both agreed to participate in educating Ohio harness drivers on the "Use of the Whip" rule (3769-17-17). This rule-which outlines where a whip may be used on a horses' body; types of whips; and the force a driver can deliver when utilizing a whip in a race-passed through the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) on June 22 and becomes effective July 19. Kimberly A. Rinker Administrator Ohio Standardbred Development Fund
Following an initial trial period at harness racing meetings at Tabcorp Park Melton of allowing drivers to warm up horses during the preliminary in the opposite direction (clockwise) to race direction (anti-clockwise), the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association requested and were subsequently permitted in March 2014, to perform this practice throughout all Victorian tracks. The permission was granted under conditions that if there was not strict compliance with the associated safety protocols, the permission to warm horses up during a preliminary in the opposite direction (clockwise) would be withdrawn immediately. Following a near incident at the Shepparton track on June 17, 2015, where HRV Stewards observed the safety of participants and horses to be compromised during a preliminary warm up, the permission to warm up in the opposite direction (clockwise) is immediately withdrawn by HRV. Therefore, effective immediately drivers are required to perform the preliminary in the race direction (anti-clockwise), unless otherwise directed in accordance with Australian Harness Racing Rule 160(1) which states: Every driver when entering upon the track to compete in a race shall unless otherwise directed by the Stewards only drive the horse in its preliminary the correct way of the course. In making this decision, Harness Racing Victoria considers that the safety and wellbeing of all participants and horses is paramount. The practice of reverse warm ups, which had been the subject of positive feedback from trainers and drivers, had been under review due to some safety concerns raised by other sections of the industry. HRV will continue to consult with industry groups regarding the issue into the future. Harness Racing Victoria
Champion South Australian harness racing reinsman David Harding will not drive again this season following a horrific fall at Globe Derby Park. Harding suffered serious injuries when his drive, the first-starter Bull Market, crashed to the track with about 300 metres left to run in the Patterson’s Hardware Three-Year-Old Pace (1800m). During the accident, Harding could be seen standing upright before falling and then clutching his left leg. Bull Market, the $3 favourite, was racing outside the leader and eventual winner Magic Too ($3.90) driven by Danielle Hill, Harding’s partner. Hill said that Harding had suffered a dislocated left hip, a fracture in the hip, and two fractures in his right ankle. “David has been told his right ankle will be in a moon boot for around 12 weeks,” Hill said. “Because his hip was dislocated and not put back until about three hours after the accident, it will also be a wait and see situation as to how quickly it heals. Apparently the sooner a hip can be replaced the better it heals because there is less damage to nerves and muscles.” Hill said Harding had been in great pain and was still very uncomfortable a week after the accident. In good news, Harding did go home only two days after the accident and was already working on his rehabilitation. “He gets up several times a day and can only walk with the aid of a frame. He never goes far and it is still painful but he knows it has to be done.” Hill said it was inappropriate to discuss whether the premier reinsman would return to driving. “Now is not the time to think about that (driving again), his, and our main focus, is on getting him healthy again. “There will be plenty of time when he recovers to make a decision about the future.” Hill knows what her partner is going through. She was badly hurt, and lost an eye, in a race fall at Globe Derby Park in May 2010, so she understands the emotions while recovering. The talented reinswoman made a magnificent return to driving and drove 94 and 91 winners in the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 seasons and currently sits on 90 winners this season and looks certain to crack the 100 mark. “I still have to battle hard mentally at times when driving, and obviously David’s fall, has hit me hard.” Hill’s battle is evident when she drives the promising Nevabendrules which scored at Globe Derby Park last Friday night. The big horse can be chancy at the gates and has had a tendency to race keenly, and on Friday night, he was reluctant to score up early in the Nevele R Stud Pace (1800m). “He is probably not the right horse for me to be driving but I challenge myself and I think he might be improving,” Hill said “He was a bit rough early but got into a pace early enough to catch the field by the start but the best thing was that he raced a lot more tractably in the field.” Hill took off early with the $2.50 favourite and he settled outside the lead, star three-year-old filly Whats Emma Got ($2.80) with a lap to go and the pair staged a two-horse battle over the final 800 metres. The younger horse held off the repeated surges by Nevabendrules during the last lap but over the last 20 metres, Whats Emma Got had had enough and the older gelding stuck his head in front right on the line. Leah Harvey, who drove Whats Emma Got, said the filly expended everything. “I thought she was going to win but 20 metres out she had given her all and her head dropped and the other horse stuck his head out,” Harvey said. Owner and co-trainer Sharon Newman said she was proud of Whats Emma Got and now would held to Mildura for a Vicbred race. Harding’s injury has also affected his father Les Harding who trains a team at Globe Derby Park. “I’m not as agile as I was and David was a key part of our operation so with him not being able to help for quite some time I’m going to cut back my team,” Harding said. One horse who has already left the stable is the veteran pacer Dartmoor. “I sent him home to Victoria after his last start win and told the owner to retire him. “After all he is 13, has done an amazing job, and you could see he was starting to feel his legs. He deserves a good retirement.” by Graham Fischer
Tamworth junior harness racing reinsman Scotty Welsh returned home on Monday after spending more than a week in Newcastle due to a fractured wrist sustained in a race fall at his home track on May 7. Seventeen year old Welsh had one metal plate and ten screws inserted into his left wrist and is unsure when he will be able to return to the sulky. "I am missing it, the day after the fall I thought I'd just start concentrating on training once I recovered but I am really looking forward to getting back out there and driving in races again," said Welsh. "My surgeon is unsure how long it will take to recover because it was a very serious fracture, he does 200 wrists operations every year and said he has only ever seen five injuries like mine." Welsh was transported to Tamworth hospital after the fall and was then taken to Newcastle several days later. "The ambulance officers cut my colours off me and I nearly passed out when I saw my wrist, I was taken to Tamworth on the Thursday afternoon, then on the Monday they took me down to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle and then I was transferred to Newcastle Private on Thursday before the operation last Friday." "It was very sore initially but it isn't as bad now as it was when it first happened because the painkillers work very well but I will definitely be out for the rest of the season." Welsh is unsure of what he will do after finishing school but confirmed it will involve horses. "I'm in Year 12 at the moment so the injury has come at a pretty bad time for me but I have spoken to the school and they're going to help me with all of the work that I have missed." "I'm not really set on anything after this year, I am looking at going to university to study equine science or something like that but I will wait and see what happens, whatever I do will include harness racing as a hobby that's for sure." Welsh has driven seven winners since having his first career drive on March 8th 2014. Greg Hayes
In harness racing you can be on top of the world one minute and in the depths of despair the next when you are dealing with 500 kg horses. That's how the owners of The Manipulator must feel tonight after their very promising three year old son of Panspacificflight broke down while racing at Addington Raceway today (May 9th). A warm favourite for the $23,505 Alabar Super Series final for C1-C3 pacers,The Manipulator went away well initially but then galloped after 100 metres when checked and settled well behind the field. The Manipulator made up a lot of ground during the race and would have finished a lot closer than ninth if he hadn't been badly held up in the home straight. Nothing was noticeably wrong with the horse as he was ungeared and washed but as he cooled down The Manipulator was favouring his offside front leg. The Addington Raceway vet Corin Murfitt was quickly on the scene and after a thorough examination was convinced that The Manipulator had either fractured a cannon bone or a suspensory. The Manipulator will be x-rayed tomorrow and then a course of action decided after the diagnosis has been made. Natalie Rasmussen was philosophical about the injury. " It is just one of those things when you are racing horses but it is still not nice when it happens." " You just hope that it is not as bad as it looks and that the horse can make a complete recovery," Natalie said. We here at Harnesslink echo those sentiments and wish The Manipulator a speedy recovery. Harnesslink Media
Well known harness racing trainer Robbie Holmes has been sidelined after a young horse lashed out and kicked him yesterday. Robbie waited all day at Christchurch Hospital for surgery to a broken hand but by late afternoon he was sent home due to time constraints with other surgery. He is due to go back in tomorrow morning for another attempt to reset his hand. Robbie was philosophical about the injury when speaking to Harnesslink this evening. " These things are sent to try us at times." " The top of the hand and the thumb got bent backwards so it was really painful when it happened." " I won't be much help round here for a while," Robbie said. Robbie was really looking forward to driving Saturday night, especially his wayward trotter, Willie Shine. " He went super last Wednesday at the trials where he stepped and ran them along and won easily." " If he steps on Saturday night I think he will be hard to beat," Robbie said. Working with horses always has its risks but it is still something everybody is aware of especially around young horses. Regardless of how careful you are there are times where trainers have little control over accidents such as the one Robbie has just had. Here at Harnesslink we wish Robbie a speedy recovery and hope the surgery tomorrow goes well. Harnesslink Media