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Want to be involved in the excitement of racing the first Auckland Reactors? Alabar is putting together a syndicate so you can do just that. As one of New Zealand’s greatest on the racetrack, Auckland Reactor has been extremely well supported at stud. His first yearlings will enter the sale ring next month – and the reports as to their quality continue to build. The yearlings for the syndicate will be hand-picked at the 2016 Yearling Sales by three of New Zealand’s top trainers – Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Geoff Small and Nathan Williamson. The appeal of having yearlings selected and trained by these outstanding horse-people is obvious – as is the fact that they represent a geographical spread throughout New Zealand with them being based in Auckland, Canterbury and Southland. Another point of interest with the syndicate is that fractional ownerships from 2% upwards will be available. This is a very popular system in North America with owners being able to choose the level of investment they are comfortable with – bringing a range of people together in the enjoyment of racing a horse. Full details will be available from Alabar after the 2016 Yearling Sales. There is a possibility the syndicate will also include the progeny of a proven Alabar sire. Alabar’s Graeme Henley says, “We’ve been thinking about starting up syndicates for a while now. It’s been watching the first crop of Auckland Reactor develop into such impressive types that’s got us excited to kick it off this year. “What’s more, Ivan Behrnes is going to look after the syndicate for us and he’s really passionate about it – you need someone with that level of enthusiasm and commitment to bring it all together for everyone involved. “It should be a lot of fun seeing the syndicate horses race from Invercargill to Alexandra Park and, who knows, maybe Australia as well. “We’ve already had a lot of interest so it looks like it will fill up pretty quickly. The plan is to do other syndicates in the future including ones specifically for breeding and another for the trotters - I’m sure there is a place and a demand for them.” For further information or to register your interest contact Ivan Behrnes - Alabar Syndicate Manager 03 615 6332, ivan@alabar.co.nz Alabar (NZ) Ltd is an authorised syndicator

One of the shocks that hit the harness racing industry in Victoria late last year was the fire that engulfed the well known Durham Park Standardbred nursery. Even though all the buildings and fences were burnt to the ground, by some miraculous luck, not one horse lost their life in the inferno that swept over the property. Proprietors Bruce and Vicki Edward were swamped with offers from within the industry with Alabar Bloodstock especially prominent, offering free grazing for all the stock and facilities at Alabar Stud from which the couple could have their yearlings prepared for this years Australian Pacing Gold at Oaklands Junction on February 7th. Durham Park has twelve yearlings catalogued this year and it presents an opportunity for Bruce and Vicki to get back to doing what they are best at which is selling yearlings with a truly international pedigree into the Australasian market. Seven of the twelve yearlings being offered at Oakland by Bruce and Vicki are from mares imported from North America and the star of the show is undoubtedly Lot 99. A son of American Ideal, he is a full brother to last seasons brilliant three year old Ideal For Real 1:55.8 ($182,485) and looks a potential sale topper for the Edwards. Others with a North American maternal family that have plenty to recommend them include Lot 41 - A Western Terror colt from the Bettor’s Delight mare Molly’s Lucky Star 1:54.2 ($96,700) who is from a half sister to the successful sire Pacific Fella 1:48.2 ($1,064,631) Lot 48 - A colt by  Courage Under Fire from the very quick Western Ideal mare in O Narutac Bella 1:51.2 ($154,536) Lot 156 - A filly by Courage Under Fire from the Artsplace mare Catapult 1:53.4 a half-sister to the Cane Futurity winner Lyonssomewhere 1:48.2 ($571,148) from the talented mare in Miss Kitty Hanover 1:51.1 ($461,684) Lot 175 - Another Bettor’s Delight colt out of the Rocknroll Hanover mare Diva DeVie USA, who is a  half-sister to the Stakes winner Sand Shooter 3, 1:49.4 ($471,957). Lot 188 - an Art Major filly from the Stakes-winning mare Garden Gate Tina Ca 1:53.2 ($146,804) who is from a half sister to Life Is A Cabaret 1:50.2 ($869,280). Lot 195 -  a colt by sire sensation Bettor’s Delight  from a daughter of American Ideal in Hawaiian Hottie USA (3, 1:55.2). The colt’s dam ranks as a half-sister to world champion and multi-millionaire Maltese Artist 1:48.6 ($2,340,872) and Artesian 1:49.2 ($987,884) The Durham Park yearlings are available for inspection at Alabar Bloodstock, Echuca. The chances of those twelve yearlings being sold at this years Australian Pacing Gold sale when the fire swept through Durham Park in December would have been next to zero but with the help of a lot of people within the industry it is now a reality. To view the twelve yearlings, you can do so by contacting either Kim Farnsworth on 0424 397 040 or Bruce Edward on 0412 951 633  To view the Catalogue click here. Harnesslink Media

Some times in harness racing it is hard to do justice in words with what you have just witnessed on the racetrack. So it was today with regards to the run of Golden Goddess in the Alabar three-year-old filly $150,000 Group 1 Sires Stakes Final at Alexandra Park. The daughter of Art Major produced a run that will long live in this writers memory as she did nothing right during the running, was wide for a good part of the journey and yet still won in New Zealand Record time. It was a freakish performance that should send a scare through all the owners of three year old fillies in Australasia. From two the second line, she put in a rough step early when trying to hold Killer Queens back and then over raced a touch when shuffled back beyond midfield by the three wide train. Once on to the three wide train, she followed her stablemate Piccadilly Princess around and found the death outside Killer Queen with just over a lap to go. These two went to war down the back before Golden Goddess went to the lead as they straightened for home. Lurking on her back was Piccadilly Princess who looked to be travelling but Golden Goddess was not to be denied and held on for a brilliant victory. Golden Goddess paced the 2200 metres in 2:36.9, a mile rate of 1:54.8 with closing sectionals of 56.2 and 27.1 Driver Natalie Rasmussen was suitably impressed post race. " She is a lovely filly and I am thrilled to bits with her." " As you could see she is still very green." " She put in some rough steps and over raced early on but she still won." " I was a bit worried about Piccadilly Princess on my back on the corner but she is such a genuine filly I knew they would have trouble getting past her," Natalie said. Now the winner of seven of her eight starts, the All-Stars trained Golden Goddess is quickly becoming the pin up girl of New Zealand harness racing.  Harnesslink Media

It is a fact of life in harness racing that having a season or two away from the track due to injury or illness can be career ending for some horses who never recapture their former glory once they comeback. Having a horse attempting a comeback after six and a half years on the sidelines due to injury and stallion duty would seem a herculean task but that is what the former age group star Gotta Go Cullect is attempting at the moment. Brought outright by Alabar (NZ) Ltd for stud duties when injury brought his racing career to a premature end , Gotta Go Cullect was given every show by breeders in his six years at stud. He has served 550 mares in those six seasons which has resulted in 399 live foals on the ground. As of today he has produced 45 winners including such smart types as Al Raza 1:52.1 (H) ($149,977), the Southland Oaks winner Royal Counsel, 1:54.2 ($88,202), the current form pacer Cullect A Guinness, 1:55.1 ($39,690 and Harrysul 1:57.1 ($45,056) but overall his numbers have fallen short of what is required in today’s hugely competitive stallion market and the numbers of mares he served each season has dropped accordingly. Alabar head honcho Graeme Henley was at a crossroads as the 2015-2016 breeding season drew close on what to do with Gotta Go Cullect – especially with the imminent arrival of high profile new recruit He’s Watching meaning Alabar needed to free up a stallion paddock. " I’d previously had a couple of approaches from Jay Abernethy to lease the horse and when I weighed it all up that looked to be the best option for Gotta Go Cullect going forward." "Especially with Jay having a water treadmill to get him fit without having to put pressure on his legs." " Jay had driven Gotta Go Cullect in his first five starts for four wins and a second and has a genuine fondness for the horse and was keen to be reunited with him." " Gotta Go Cullect has had six years as a stallion." "He’s kept himself fairly fit but without the stress of training and racing. As a result his legs were looking great when he went to Jay's." " The reports from Jay have been very positive and I think at this stage it is highly likely we will see Gotta Go Cullect back at the races early in 2016. We’re really grateful to Jay for looking after Gotta Go Cullect and hope it goes well for them both" Graeme said.   Gotta Go Cullect was an outstanding two and three year old racing against quality horses such as Stunin Cullen, 1:53.7 ($1,493,716), Highview Tommy 1:54 ($1,021,904) and Tintin In America 1:53.2 ($934,305) and while it is unrealistic to expect him to race at that level again at this stage of his career, class will ensure he won't disgrace himself where ever he lines up. Harnesslink Media

This writer is not a religious person by any means but I am a bit lost for an explanation for what happened to 53 harness racing horses over the weekend in at Durham Park Standardbreds. Situated on 400 acres of rolling countryside thirty minutes south east of Ballarat, Durham Park was established by Bruce Edwards in 2006 and has quickly become one of the pre-eminent standardbred nurseries in Victoria. Bruce had built up an outstanding band of North American, New Zealand and Australian mares and everything was on track for this years round of yearling sales when the fire struck late last week. The staff had to leave in such a hurry there was no time to grab any clothes or possessions and there was just no time to even think about moving the horses. When Bruce was let back in on Saturday afternoon, he was immediately confronted by evidence of the ferocity of the fire. What he saw left Bruce numb. " There was no fences, no sheds, no house, no water in the dams – just nothing." " There wasn't one blade of grass you could see on the property." " Unbelievably I came across the horses who seemed to have somehow survived the carnage." " However before we could do anything, we were kicked out again due to the danger from the fire," Bruce explained when talking to Harnesslink today. The next morning Bruce was allowed to go back onto his farm by authorities but he was quite nervous about what he might find. " The noise and smoke from the fire was huge and with the helicopters adding to that, I thought the horses would be spread far and wide over the property as we had no fences at all and I wasn't sure how many may have survived the inferno." " To my amazement they were still where they had been the day before." " I thought getting halters on them and loading them on to the floats would be fraught with problems but they stood there like lambs and walked straight on." "We had sixteen unbroken yearlings there but we caught them all with no problems and unbelievably they loaded onto Clayton Tonkin's truck as though they had been doing it all their life." "We moved the whole lot in four hours over to Clayton and Emma's property and after we did a headcount we found we hadn't  lost a single horse." " I didn't know some of the float people who turned up to help but I can't thank them enough." "Special thanks must go to Clayton and Emma who were just brilliant," Bruce said. Since the fire Bruce has been humbled by the offers of help from all over Australia. " I have had over 100 calls from all over Australia offering feed, agistment and help which is really quite humbling." " One call was from Alan Galloway and I was just gobsmacked by the offer he made to me"  " Alan offered to graze the whole 53 horses we took off Durham Park on Sunday for six months free of charge. "On top of that he gave us access to his barn complex so we now have somewhere to prepare our yearlings for the sales and there is accommodation included for my staff as well." " I grabbed the offer as my staff lost everything in the fire and this will help them get back on their feet." " The horses are being treated for smoke inhalation at the moment but will be moved to Alabar as soon as that has been completed." "I can't thank Alan Galloway enough, he has been a life saver," Bruce said Alan Galloway was also behind another initiative to help Bruce get back on his feet. "Bruce has been a great client of ours for many years and we were only to happy to step up and help out." " On top of the grazing and use of our facilities, Alabar Bloodstock has got together with Blue Chip Farms in New York, Pepper Tree Farm and Muscara Standardbreds to offer services to Art Major, He's Watching and Auckland Reactor. " We hope that Courage Under Fire will join the offer in the next few hours." All the money raised from the sale of the services will be forwarded to Bruce," Alan said. At the end of the day, we should be really thankful that no human or horse loss their life in this fire. Post fire we have been able to witness that great camaraderie that exists in the harness racing industry where industry participants will always reach out to those in need As to how to explain 53 horses going through a firestorm and coming out the other end unscathed, that one I can't answer Harnesslink Media

Alabar has announced its 2015/16 roster and service fees. The leading stallions Art Major, Mach Three and Majestic Son head the roster and all will stand for unchanged fees this season. Peak and Sunshine Beach will be exciting new additions to Alabar and they believe they will both really suit the Australian and New Zealand broodmare population. Peak, being bred in Denmark, brings some European flair to the roster and the fact that he is a Group One winner in both hemispheres will no doubt be appealing to breeders. Sunshine Beach is a World champion son of Somebeachsomewhere. He is a stunning looking stallion and hails from a maternal family that has produced many outstanding stallions. We of course speak of the Golden Miss family, which has given us Rocknroll Hanover, Safely Kept, Panorama and Grinfromeartoear. Two of the proven stallions, Courage Under Fire and Grinfromeartoear, will see their service fees drop and we believe both now represent even greater value given what their progeny have done on the track – especially with Courage having such a stellar year with his two-year-olds this season. “Being able to keep our flagship stallions at the same fee and also reduce the fees of some of our other stallions is extremely pleasing for us. It’s an acknowledgement to the breeders who have given us such wonderful support over so many years. “We’re really excited about the new season – the arrival of our two outstanding new stallions, the first foals by A Rocknroll Dance and Alta Christiano, the first yearlings to sell by Auckland Reactor and Betterthancheddar and the first two-year-olds to race by Big Jim – who is off to such a promising start with his first youngsters in North America.” Graeme Henley, on behalf of the Alabar group. For further details visit Alabar website – www.alabar.com.au Stallion Australian Fee (incl GST) New Zealand Fee (plus GST) A Rocknroll Dance $6,000 $6,000 Alta Christiano $2,750 $2,750 Art Major $12,000 $11,000 Artiscape (frozen) $2,200 N/A Auckland Reactor $3,000 $3,000 Betterthancheddar $4,400 $4,000 Big Jim $3,850 $3,500 Courage Under Fire $5,500 N/A Elsu $2,200 $2,200 Gotta Go Cullect $2,200 $2,200 Grinfromeartoear $3,300 $3,000 Mach Three $12,000 $11,000 Majestic Son $5,000 $5,000 Peak $2,500 $2,500 Shadow Play $4,400 $4,000 Smiling Shard $2,200 $2,000 Sunshine Beach $4,000 $4,000 Village Jasper $2,200 N/A  

The Bain family is certainly enjoying life at the top of the South Australian two-year-old hill. Hilltop Sophia gave the family another feature harness racing quinella with an impressive victory in the 2015 Alabar Bloodstock SA BOTRA Two-Year-Old Fillies Golden Nursery (1800m) at Globe Derby Park. In a revised market, the sensationally bred daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, Hilltop Sophia ($3.20) scored a three-and-a-half metre win from Hilltop Rose ($1.70 fav) with Nevada Roulette ($55.10) 16 metres away third. The result reversed the finishing order from the Ladyship Stakes on April 24 when the Rose bloomed. Without detracting from the marvellous effort by the Bains, the Golden Nursery series will be remembered as what might have been – but that’s racing. On Friday night, impressive heat winner Thepresidentslady, trained by Peter Manning, drew gate one and was backed from $1.40 into $1.25 but as the field was about to score up she got down behind causing a delay and a veterinary inspection which she failed and was scratched. A week earlier in the heats, Rocknroll Magic, a $1 money back favourite, galloped at release and put herself out of the series – but that’s racing. With the late scratching, driver Aaron Bain from gate six on Hilltop Rose pressed ahead with his plan to lead and after a short burn crossed to the rails and led.   As he did in the Ladyship, Bain walked with 32.8 and 32.7 first quarters. But Jake Webster on Hilltop Sophia decided to put his filly into the race and went around to sit outside the leader midrace. As a result it was a quicker 30.6 third quarter and Hilltop Sophia proved too strong for her stablemate coming home in 28.3 for a brilliant win. “Aaron wouldn’t hear of Hilltop Rose being beaten,” Peter Bain said. “He thought she could win even with Thepresidentslady in the race. “But I thought, on her work and attitude through the week, Hilltop Sophia could turn the tables. “However, she showed a different side of her makeup tonight. I wasn’t sure she could sit outside the lead and still win. “I knew she had a good sprint but tonight she showed us another attribute.” Both Hilltops are owned by Bain’s mother Val, with husband Trevor a willing and able supporter. The family bred Hilltop Rose out of their former good mare Carnival Rose but Hilltop Sophia was purchased from Glenferrie Farm at Roslyn, just outside Goulburn in New South Wales. Bain said he would look to try and pick up a Vicbred bonus with Hilltop Sophia and as she was also eligible would look to contest the Breeders Crown heat at Port Pirie this week. by Graham Fischer South Australia Harness Racing

There were plenty of talking points after the two semi-finals of the two-year-old harness racing feature last week, the Golden Nursery (May 22nd) at Globe Derby Park. After the Alabar Bloodstock first heat it was about the winner Thepresidentslady, and after the second, the manners of the money back $1 favourite Rocknroll Magic. But the two semi-finals again confirmed that Gawler trainer Peter Bain has two nice fillies in Hilltop Sophia and Hilltop Rose. In the Alabar Bloodstock first semi, Thepresidentslady a filly by Real Desire owned and bred by the Cormack family in South Australia, but trained at Great Western by Peter Manning, was backed from as much as $2.10 into $1.50 favourite and gave her rivals no cause for concern going straight to the front and scoring a nine and a half metre win. Hilltop Sophia ($5.10) came from well back in the field to grab second a metre in front of Don’t Tell Linda ($21.40). Driver Jock Dunlop got away with a 64.3 first half and the filly sprinted home 29.3 and 28.7 last quarters making it impossible for her rivals to catch her. Part-owner Ben Cormack said Thepresidentslady was out of a mare the family raced called Mixed With A Twist, herself out of another their mares Glowing Angel. The ease of the win did not surprise the family and they are looking forward to the final. The SA BOTRA semi-final saw the Emma Stewart trained Rocknroll Magic, a $1 – money back – favourite from gate one with David Harding aboard. Anyone who took the short odds was left white faced when the filly was refusing to score up properly, eventually galloping and putting herself out of the race. Driver Aaron Bain, on the $10.30 second favourite Hilltop Rose in gate five, saw the issues with the favourite and drover his filly straight to the front. In a repeat of the first semi, Bain recorded 34.7 and 32.8 first quarters allowing his filly to dash home in 29.5 and 28.6 to score by 17-1/2 metres from Comicopera ($21.30) with Gifted Artist ($96.20) three metres away third. “I could see the favourite wasn’t filling her position in the score up,” Bain said. “So when the mobile sped away I decided it was time to put the foot down and we were able to cross and lead and I was able to rate the race to suit. “She sprinted home beautifully to win and it is great to have both fillies in the final.” A filly by Rocknroll Hanover, Hilltop Rose is now unbeaten in three starts, including a Ladyship Stakes, and is proving one of the state’s best two-year-olds. David Harding said he was aware of a possible problem with Rocknroll Magic when the field went onto the track. “She had a bee in her bonnet,” Harding said. “She didn’t do things right in the preliminaries and then when asked to score up she wanted to run up the track and I had her on one rein and as a result she knocked  herself and went into a gallop – unfortunately that’s racing.” by Graham Fischer Harness Racing South Australia Related Links Race programme for Globe Derby Park, Friday 29 May 2015

Star performer Caribbean Blaster has joined an elite fraternity of harness racing champions. In front of a sell out crowd, Caribbean Blaster was announced Victorian Horse of the Year at Harness Racing Victoria’s awards function at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Also named Aged Pacer of the Year, Caribbean Blaster became just the fifth dual winner of the coveted title. The stallion’s season was highlighted by his South Australia Cup triumph – he was also among the placings in the Victoria, Ballarat and Hunter Cups. Unfortunately, Caribbean Blaster suffered a suspensory injury late in the term, which will see him sidelined for up to a year. Standing a term at stud while sidelined, Caribbean Blaster joins past greats Gammalite, Shakamaker, Sokyola and Smoken Up as multiple VHOTY winners. Part-owned by Alabar Bloodstock, Caribbean Blaster is standing at Yirribee Pacing Stud for a debut Service Fee of $2750. Trained by Andy Gath and driven by his reinswoman-wife, Kate, Caribbean Blaster’s record sits on 24 wins and 35 placings from 79 starts for earnings of $1,113,677. Boasting four Group One victories, Caribbean Blaster’s wins include the Victoria and South Australia Cups. PAUL COURTS

You all know Caribbean Blaster is a fantastic harness racing competitor which is a four-time Group One winner. You know he is by leading stallion Bettor’s Delight from one of Australasia’s hottest maternal families. And you know he is a truly magnificent looking stallion with exceptional conformation. What you may not be aware of is that if you breed your mare to Caribbean Blaster this season his owners will rebate the cost of registering and freeze branding your foal in 2015 anywhere in Australia! Furthermore, the generosity is not limited to one foal per customer – it is available for as many Caribbean Blaster foals as you breed. It should also be noted the offer is in addition to Harness Racing New South Wales’ Colonial Stallion Rebate of $500 for making the Breeders Challenge series sustaining payments. Owners of local mares only need to register their foal with HRNSW to claim the colonial stallions rebate, while for interstate mares simply tear off the slip on the bottom of the Service Certificate and send into HRNSW - it will cost $275, but you will receive $500 back from HRNSW! This all means that a service to Caribbean Blaster will not cost you as much as you think. Caribbean Blaster’s service fee after a 20 per cent discount (if you qualify) is $2200 (incl GST) minus the HRNSW Colonial Stallion Rebate of $500 & less $185 registration costs brings the cost down to $1515 (incl GST)! In Victoria your Caribbean Blaster foal will cost as little as $1660 (incl GST). It all adds up to a great deal! To book your mare into Caribbean Blaster please contact Alabar on (03) 5859 2201 or visit our website – www.alabar.com.au.

Former harness racing star Auckland Reactor is handing out the proverbial ‘cigar’ after becoming a father. The champion pacer’s first child, a masculine child, was born in New Zealand yesterday, with Australian-based owner-breeder Harvey Kaplan “thrilled with the new arrival”. Auckland Reactor needs no introduction as a multiple Group One winner for outstanding Kiwi trainer Mark Purdon. A bold striding son of Mach Three, Auckland Reactor was an instant sensation after making a winning debut at Timaru in September 2007. The colt then completed 17 consecutive victories, including three Group Ones and four Group Twos, before suffering his first defeat when second in the Four-Year-Old Futurity. Auckland Reactor bounced back to win his next three outings, including the Group One Auckland Cup. Making a smooth transition to the top echelon, Auckland Reactor won an addition three Group Ones before being retired to stud with an impressive record of 32 wins and three placings from 53 starts for earnings of $ $1,837,043. Just as he was on the racetrack, Auckland Reactor became an immediate sensation in the breeding barn where he served just under 400 mares, including 186 in Australia for Alabar Bloodstock. As for his son, from unraced mare Jet Spirit, Kaplan is hopeful the day-old youngster can eventually match his famous dad’s feats on the track. “I’m stoked to have a colt by Auckland Reactor,” Kaplan said. “Jet Spirit was the first mare served, and as it turns out, she was the first to foal. “Auckland Reactor was a super, super racehorse and I’ll be thrilled if this young bloke can be anywhere near as good as his old man. “I’m always keen to support colonial stallions which fit the bill and Auckland Reactor ticked all the boxes as he had speed, stamina, a great record and bloodlines. “I will be sending another mare or two back to him.” As for the new arrival’s name, Kaplan is calling upon readers for suggestions…of course, Paul would be a great start! “If anyone reading this has any ideas, I’m open to suggestions,” Kaplan said. “Please send in your comment and I’ll certainly give them some serious thought.” PAUL COURTS

It was a case of mixed emotions at Victorian harness racing’s biggest social event – TAB.COM.AU Charity Football Day – at Bendigo yesterday. As a high, the Melton girls cleaned up in the Aldebaran Netball Cup, but on the downside, the Melton fellas were smashed on the Tabcorp footy field. Melton is yet to win from four starts…the only team still waiting to enjoy a taste glory! On the opposite end of the scale, the skill and agility of the netballers placed them in a class of their own as they rocketed to success. Multiple Group One winning reinswoman Kate Gath was the recipient of the Yirribee Stud Most Valuable Player Award. Gath’s football counterpart was Heath Barton, who enjoyed double success as a member of the triumphant Shepparton squad. After dispensing of Ballarat in the opener, Shepparton then accounted for defending champions, Bendigo, to hold the Tabcorp Premiership Cup aloft. Tobey Courts,11, earned an honourable mention after booting four goals, including three against Ballarat. Away from the fun and games, the event had a serious side – raising awareness and valuable funds for the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. Thrilled with the wide spread involvement, organiser Robbie O’Connell declared both ‘goals’ were achieved by the 500-strong crowd. “The amount of publicity this day has generated has certainly helped raising the awareness of the cause,” O’Connell said. “Anyone in harness racing would have to have been living in a cave not to have known about the day and what it’s all about. “And I’m thrilled to say we eclipsed last year’s total and even bettered our target amount in money raised. After $14,000 last year we were hoping for $20,000 this time, but we’re sitting on $22,000 at the moment. “Everyone involved, be it sponsor, helper, player or spectator can hold their heads up high…well, except for the Melton footy team!” There were also plenty of fun activities for the kids throughout the afternoon, as they enjoyed the jumping castle, little athletics competition and the free Auckland Reactor soccer and footballs thanks to Alabar Bloodstock. Alexa Astin and Will Janky were big winners after scoring bikes thanks to Amart Sports Melton by guessing the amount of snakes in a jar. “I couldn’t believe Alexa guessed the exact amount,” O’Connell said. “I thought I was clever not making it an obvious amount like 125 or 120, so I left it at 123. “According to Alexa’s dad her guess was simple, she counted them one, two, three, so he wrote that down! “Overall if was a terrific day, everyone had fun and we achieved our goals thanks to the sponsors, the helpers and every person who came and participated in the spirit of it all.” PAUL COURTS

JUST days out from the TAB.COM.AU Charity Football Day and the generosity just keeps flowing. Already a major sponsor in two areas, Alabar Bloodstock has once again increased its involvement in what has developed in Victorian harness racing’s biggest social event. One of the first to support last year’s inaugural edition, Alabar was quick to return this time to cover the costs of the foot and netballs. On top of that, the leading breeding establishment has donated a service to Grinfromeartoear as the headliner for the mega raffle. Now Alabar has joined forced with Amart Melton and Burley to deliver ‘Auckland Reactor’ soccer and footballs to the first 60 kids to attend the big day. The latest gesture also compliments the two bikes Amart Melton has donated for the lucky boy and girl who guess the correct (or closest to) amount of snakes in a jar, which will be displayed throughout the day…entry is FREE!. Not to forget prominent owner Kevin Riseley, who has generously offered to cover the cost of hiring a jumping castle for children to enjoy, or Allan McNeil, who has donated lolly bags. “Alabar, Amart, Kevin and Allan have just been so generous,” event organiser Robbie O’Connell said. “Their focus on the kids’ activities will help turn this into a massive family day, just the kind of event harness racing needs. “Now we have the dads playing footy, the mums hitting the netball court and the kids going nuts, as kids should.” Other sponsors include Tabcorp, James and son, Seelite Windows and Doors and Glenn Sharp. A fun occasion for all industry participants, Sunday’s event also has a serious side – raising valuable funds for the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. That’s where a small fee of $50 for players and spectators (under 16 free) comes into play. Not only does the fee cover the costs of the games, sausage sizzle and the night’s function, it adds to the tally to aid children suffering from Neurofibromatosis. Last year’s event raised $14,000, which is outstanding considering the foundation receives just $18,000 from the government. Along with the fun and games, the function will also include a memorabilia auction. It was last year’s auction that proved to be the biggest money spinner for the cause. Paul Smart from Azuma International supplied the various pieces of memorabilia, which raised almost $8000. Smart will be back this year with “some sensational memorabilia”, so attendees better make sure their wallets are loaded! Teams from four districts – Melton (Go Blues), Ballarat, Shepparton and Bendigo – will do battle throughout the day, with the first event, a netball match, to begin at 11:30am at the Strathfieldsaye Sports Club. The first footy game is scheduled to start at noon. “The Strathfieldsaye Club has offered us free use of their grounds and facilities,” O’Connell said. They have two footy ovals and three netball courts, so it’s the perfect pl ace for us. “Last year’s day was big, but this year will be huge.” For more information please contact Robbie O'Connell on 0404 728 885. Paul Courts

Harness racing participants are widely-regarded as being among the most generous and that status has been proven yet again. Less than a week out from the TAB.COM.AU Charity Day, a host of star reinsman have declared they will donate their earnings from a specified meeting towards the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. Chris Alford and Shayne Cramp (Victoria), Luke McCarthy (New South Wales), Peter McMullen (Queensland), Ricky Duggan (Tasmania), Clint and Gary Hall junior (Western Australia) and Ryan Hryhorec (South Australia) will all ‘sport’ the foundation’s racing silks at a program of their choice and will donate all earnings from the day to the cause. On top of that, several of Victoria’s leading concession drivers have also dipped into their pockets. Josh Aiken, Alex Ashwood, Josh Duggan, Haydon Gray and Zac Phillips have joined forces to make a donation. Each has “thrown in” $200, with the collective $1000 - a great compliment to the recent $5000 from James and Son and the $1000 from Arthur Fullwood. Thrilled with the Fab Five’s gesture, event organiser Robbie O’Connell stated the friendship between the talented reinsmen will end come game day. “It is a wonderful gesture from the five of them,” O’Connell said. “One top of their game fee, they have thrown in an extra $200. “They may have come together as a group for this, but they will split up into three teams on game day, so I’m sure white line fever will creep in. “No doubt they will enjoy revving each other up on the field and give the odd hip and shoulder for the sake of it.” Other industry identities to support the day include Alabar Bloodstock, which has covered the costs of the footballs and netballs as well as donating a service to Grinfromeartoear, which will be the headliner of a major raffle. A service to Union Guy donated by John Campbell is also in the mix, with connections of Red Samurai also chiming in with a service to the former handy trotter. There are also plenty of prizes for the non-breeders, including a 10 kilogram block of Cadbury chocolate, Bolinda Publishing Audio Books and a Myer voucher. Yirribee Stud has returned with mugs for the Most Valuable Player in each code, while Tabcorp is back as the football jumper sponsor and will supply jumpers for the four teams. The squads will be assembled from four districts – Melton (Go Blues), Ballarat, Shepparton and Bendigo. Other sponsors include Seelite Windows and Doors, Kevin Riseley, Allan McNeil and Glenn Sharp. A small fee of $50 for players and spectators (under 16 free) covers the costs of Sunday’s sausage sizzle, the games and the night’s function. Last year’s event raised $14,000, which is outstanding considering the foundation receives $18,000 from the government. Along with the fun and games, the function will also include a memorabilia auction. It was last year’s auction that proved to be the biggest money spinner for the cause. Paul Smart from Azuma International supplied the various pieces of memorabilia, which raised almost $8000 for the Chrildren's Tumour Foundation. Unlike 99.9 percent of auctions, Azuma International didn’t place a reserve on the items. For examples, a supplier will put a $500 reserve on a particular item, and should it sell for $550, the charity only receives $50! Azuma International, however, split the takings down the middle. Paul Courts    

WHAT began as ‘we should have a…’ moment between a few horsemen has quickly developed into Australian harness racing’s biggest social event. Talking with his peers over a drink or three last year, Victorian mentor Robbie O’Connell decided to take the conversation beyond words and into action. A couple of months later, the inaugural TAB.COM.AU Charity Football Day was born! With trainers and drivers throughout the state, and a few from across the border, forming four regional teams, the event was a big hit. Not only did it provide industry personnel the opportunity to enjoy a fun day filled with laughter, the event raised valuable funds and awareness for the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. Match fees, raffles and a memorabilia auction saw $14,000 raised…a tremendous effort considering the foundation receives $18,000 a year from the government. Fast forward 12 months and the big day is on again. Not only will the four teams – Melton, Ballarat, Bendigo and Shepparton – do battle on the footy field in a ‘Round Robyn’ contest for the Katie Alford Cup, a netball section has been added to the agenda. Katie, daughter of premier reinsman Chris Alford, suffers from the rare disorder Neurofibromatosis, which affects one in 4000 people. Katie has become harness racing’s shining light for the charity. With O’Connell the driving force once again, the August 31 showdown at the Strathfieldsaye Sporting Club promises to be a day to remember. Tabcorp has returned as the major sponsor, donating the football jumpers, with Alabar Bloodstock covering the cost of the foot and netballs. Alabar has also chimed in with a service to Grinfromeartoear, which is the main prize of a mega raffle. The raffle also includes a service to Union Guy donated by John Campbell, with connections of Red Samurai also supplying a service to the former handy trotter. There are also plenty of prizes for the non-breeders, including a 10 kilogram block of Cadbury chocolate, Bolinda Publishing Audio Books and a Myer voucher. Other sponsors include Seelite Windows and Doors, Fernwood Melton, Amart Sports, Kevin Riseley, James and Son, Allan McNeil and Glenn Sharp. A small fee of $50 for players and spectators (under 16 free) covers the costs of a sausage sizzle, the games and the night’s function. The function will also include a memorabilia auction. It was last year’s auction that proved to be the biggest money spinner for the cause. Paul Smart from Azuma International supplied the various pieces of memorabilia, which raised almost $8000 for the sick children. Unlike 99.9 percent of auctions, Azuma International didn’t place a reserve on the items. For example, a supplier will put a $500 reserve on a particular item, and should it sell for $550, the charity only receives $50! Azuma International, however, split the takings down the middle. “To be honest, last year we were only cutting our teeth with the whole concept and were caught a little off guard by how big it turned out,” O’Connell said. “This time we’ll be on top of everything from the get go and it will be an even better time for all involved. “I’ve got no doubt those who played, or came along, last year will return, and with that in mind, the interest is expected to grow. “It’s open to all harness racing participants, be it owners, stablehands, trainers, drivers, club officials, administrators. “Even journalists…we’re open minded! “All that said, last year was an amazing effort to raise $14,000, this time around we’re thinking closer to $20,000. “So I urge everybody with an interest in harness racing to come along, either as a player or spectator…you won’t regret it.” Harnesslink Media  

The Horsham Harness Racing Club will stage their traditional 3YO features, the $9505 Alabar Horsham Guineas and $9505 Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera, on Wednesday August 27th. The contests have been part of the Club calendar since the early 1980’s, when the Horsham Ladies Committee sponsored the Horsham Oaks and Derby Trials, under the lights on the tight showgrounds circuit. Alabar Bloodstock has generously donated an inscribed rug and trophies for the winning owner, trainer and driver of the 2014 Guineas. They have also donated a free service to second season stallion, Smiling Shard (1:53.7 $1,089,831) or the proven entire, Elsu (1:53.6 $2,030,796). Rosehill Farm & Veterinary Services will provide an inscribed rug and trophies for the winning connections of the 2014 Princess of the Wimmera. In addition, they have donated a free service to the highly talented but injury dogged pacer, Maffisio. Some fine colts and geldings are listed as winners of the Alabar Horsham Guineas, including  Grand Circuit performer Robin Hood (2004) for trainer Clayton Tonkin, with Daryl Douglas aboard.  In 1991, Dark Paul went on to capture both the Victoria and NSW Derbies after his Horsham Guineas victory for trainer Trevor Martin and reinsman Ted Demmler. Albenz (1996), Wenbro (1998), Remember El (2010), Savesometimetodream (2011) and Magical Telf (2012) have also taken out the Horsham Classic. The Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera has been won by a number of smart fillies over the years, including the brilliant Sheza Mona (1997) for trainer Peter Manning and driver Kerryn Manning . Mother Courage took out the 1999 edition of the Princess during her 3YO season, on the way to success in the Victoria Oaks for the Bruce Morgan- John Caldow combination. Posh Jaccka (1998), Deanna Troy (2006), Very Chic (2008), and Our Surfer Girl (2010) also grace the honour board. The Horsham Club is greatly appreciative of the continued support  of Allan Galloway, John Coffey and all the crew at Alabar, along with Darren and Anne Jacobson from Rosehill, and are looking forward to two great contests on the 27th. Nominations for the Alabar Horsham Guineas and Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera, close with HRV at noon on Thursday August 21st. Further information can be obtained from Tony Logan on 0427 857411.

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