An Introduction From The CEO A very successful Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup Carnival has concluded with a big crowd attending and strong growth in wagering turnover. Click here for a highlights package of Hunter Cup night. Some exciting news is imminent with our next major event, the Pryde's Easifeed Great Southern Star on March 22. Follow HRV on Twitter @HRVnews Stakes Rises I am pleased to confirm that the second phase of stakes rises for the year will come into effect on March 1. A summary of the main changes: The minimum career penalty stake will rise to $6,000 (a 20% rise this year); A payment of $115 (which includes the driver's fee of $65 will be added to the stake for horses which finish between sixth and last); Metropolitan class minimum stake will rise to $17,000 for M1 or better and $16,000 for M0; With effect from July 1, the Vicbred first win bonus will rise to $7,000 for two and three-year-olds. Other stakes rises previously announced on September 1, 2013 remain in force. Fires The past week has been a tough one for many participants, with serious fires burning through several regions of country Victoria. Several of those regions housed industry people. In particular the areas of Riddells Creek, Kilmore and the Goulburn Valley were severely threatened by raging fires. HRV was monitoring the course of the fires and the likely impacts. I am pleased to say that quick action by the authorities and many in the industry meant no loss of life and minimal loss of livestock. However there has been significant damage reported to properties. Some of the areas which were closely monitored: In the Riddells Creek fires several trainers/owners in the area were forced to relocate horses as the fires headed in their direction. HRV's own Craig Rail was evacuated as the fires were close by.Apart from damage to his property his house remains intact. In the Goulburn Valley, Warwick Stud was the worst affected with the loss of barns, fencing, stallion boxes and other buildings. HRV has been assisting in replacing infrastructure to get much needed water to the property. A number of trainers in the region suffered losses to sheds and fencing and HRV is currently assisting with replacement. The local industry has responded in typical fashion and I know those affected have appreciated the extent of the industry's support. The Kilmore area was under threat for several days. A special thanks to the Kilmore Club for acting as a temporary refuge for concerned members of the racing community. The Club provided stabling, food and water for a variety of animals, which I'm sure was appreciated. A huge thank you goes out to the many fire fighters (including the helicopters) who fought so bravely to protect so many properties. Teal for Ovarian Cancer Research While on the subject of community action, the month of March will be a special one for the awareness of Ovarian Cancer. Agreement has been reached for all Victorian female drivers to wear Teal coloured driving trousers, in support of the Ovarian Cancer Institute, for the entire month of March. The initiative is being generously funded by Duncan McPherson OAM and Michael Taranto as part of the promotion of the Pryde's Easifeed Great Southern Star which is run in conjunction with the Women's Cancer Foundation - Ovarian Cancer Institute Girls Night Out. Once again, it presents an opportunity for the industry to display its leadership in supporting community causes and messages that are so close to many people's hearts. Well done to all the girls who are supporting this great initiative. And while on the subject of the Great Southern Star stand by for an announcement of two highly recognised international identities who will play an ambassadorial role for the series. Major release scheduled for next week. International Expansion Over recent months there been some debate regarding the strategic importance of building international relationships and promoting the export of HRV product into overseas jurisdictions and vice versa. In 2012/13 HRV generated more than $600,000 in International Rights Product Fees from the export of our product for wagering in overseas jurisdictions. For the first half of 2013/14 those International Rights Product Fees have increased by 68%, therefore HRV forecast generating in excess of $1 million in revenue from the export of our product this year. When we consider that the French market wagered around AUD$300,000 into the win/place pools alone for the three Trotting races exported on Hunter Cup night, it's likely this forecast could grow even further. In addition to exporting our product overseas, under these reciprocal arrangements, we've seen a recent expansion of product imported from Sweden and France into our own wagering market. Over the past few months this has resulted in $500,000 in harness wagering turnover on the Victorian tote, from which HRV derives direct revenue and market share benefit. With further expansion planned, it's important the industry understands we operate in a global racing and wagering environment and strategically it is of significant value to our bottom line. Josh Duggan - Victorian Representative Josh Duggan has been selected to represent Victoria in this year's Australasian Young Drivers Championship to be run in conjunction with the 2014 Inter Dominion in Sydney. Representatives from each State and the two New Zealand Islands will participate in a 10 race series in NSW from February 25, culminating in a final heat on Inter Dominion Grand Final Day. It is always a great experience for the young drivers. HRV last won the Championship in 2012 when Ellen Tormey was successful in Perth. We wish Josh well - seen here photographed receiving his Big V colours from Chairman, Ken Latta and Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, Craig Ondarchie. Milestones Congratulations to Nathan Cahir who drove his 100th winner at Hamilton on January 29. Young guns Matt Craven and Michael Stanley are within reach of 500 winners, both currently in the 480's. Get Well Paul Sad to hear of the severe injuries suffered by Paul Morrissey at his Bendigo property as a result of a training accident. Paul is currently in intensive care in Bendigo Base Hospital with broken bones and head and spinal injuries. We wish Paul a full recovery. Vale HRV passes on its condolences to members of the Jack family, many of whom are involved in the industry, on the passing of patriarch Robbie Jack. Robbie was a stalwart in the Riverina as a trainer, driver and administrator. He was 81. Did You Know? HRV will be honouring the retirement of champion Melpark Major this Saturday night, February 15 at Tabcorp Park Melton. He will lead out the field for the Inter Dominion Heat with Amy Tubbs in the sulky. Melpark Major won $980,000 in stakes, having won a Victoria Cup and a host of other feature races. He will enjoy retirement on owner Don Smith's Melton property.
An Introduction From The CEO At the Community Clubs Association of Victoria Awards night on October 15, Tabcorp Park was a finalist in the Victorian Club of the Year which is great credit to the venue staff. Congratulations go to the winner, Buckleys Entertainment Centre in Geelong. HRV Annual Report The HRV Annual Report for 2012/13 was tabled in Parliament on October 16. Click here for the Premier and Minister for Racing’s press release which coincided with the tabling. Chris Alford – Children’s Tumour Foundation The dust has now settled on the Charity Football Match recently held at Melton. The industry got behind the day which was a fundraiser for Chris Alford’s charity, the Children’s Tumour Foundation (CTF). As we know Chris’ daughter Katie suffers from NF, a tumour related disease and the Alford family have been great supporters of the Foundation. With the support of the Harness Racing Industry Chris and Alison Alford have raised over $85,000 for NF since Katie’s diagnosis – a fantastic achievement. Congratulations go to them both, and HRV will continue to support their efforts in raising awareness of NF. As an unfortunate post script to the football match, Chris suffered an injury in a crunching tackle and missed three weeks in the sulky, which only slightly delayed his quest for 5,000 winners (currently 4,986). Website Usage The harness.org.au website continues its extraordinary growth. For the month of August 2013, the website attracted 780,000 visits, compared to 690,000 last August, a rise of 13%. Most popular area visited remains “Fields” with 440,000 visits (up 15%) followed by “Results” 195,000 (up 15%). Mobile usage of the site for August was 46,000 visits, up from 25,000 the previous August. The HRV Facebook page has over 3000 “Likes” – 80% from within Australia. Brazil is 7th on the list with 16 people liking our page. The Old and the New There cannot possibly be any other sport where the age range of participants who can succeed at the highest level is so varied and where gender is no barrier. Our sport has been infiltrated by young people in recent years. If you take a look at the premiership lists for the 2013/14 season so far, you will see youngsters such as Greg Sugars, Emma Stewart, Nathan Jack, Amy Tubbs, Matthew Craven, Kate Gath, Josh Duggan, Jason Lee, Michael Stanley, all at the top of the tree. Yet only recently, horses driven by Matt Donaldson, Dick Lee and Brian Gath filled the trifecta in a race at Bendigo, with combined ages of 226! Male, female, young or old all compete on an equal basis in our great industry. Harness Review – 20 Years Mid October signified the 20 year anniversary of the popular radio show Harness Review. Congratulations to evergreen Len Baker who has been with the show since its inception. Well done also to long time co-hosts such as Clinton Welsh, Brian Dobson and Alexandra Hurley as well as a band of regular contributors, including our own Craig Rail. The show has a loyal band of followers on Melton 979fm from 8pm to 10pm every Monday night. The internet now takes the show to a wider audience. Well done to Len and the team! Vale Peter Nova Peter had a long association with HRV, predominantly as a representative for Radio 3UZ and in later years for Sky Racing. He was a hail and hearty character well known across the industry. Sadly Peter passed away in September. Apart from his infectious nature, Peter was top of mind with many of HRV’s corporate supporters. About five years ago, when driving in the annual Go Kart Day, Peter suffered a massive heart attack, and was clinically dead for some time. As a result of several people’s efforts Peter was miraculously brought back to life and we were able to see his smiling face for a few more years. HRV and the Pegasus Club were represented at the funeral. Dick Collinson Dick was one of trotting’s most colourful characters. He passed away in late September at the age of 90. He was a prominent trainer during the Showgrounds era with several top line horses including Grand Monarch, Rich Dale and Sandy Spring. HRV Legend Gordon Rothacker drove for Collinson. Away from the trots, Dick was a keen Bulldog fan and was President of Footscray between 1974 and 1978. Bill Lanyon Bill passed away on September 20, at the age of 75. The Lanyon family have been publishers of newspapers for generations, most particularly in the Mildura region. They have been supporters of the trots industry over a long period. Our condolences go to Bill’s son Ross who continues the family tradition with the Sunraysia Daily and ownership of pacers. Ross is also Chairman of Country Racing Victoria. Did You Know Congratulations go to Tabcorp Park employee Kathleen Mullan, who managed to get her former pacing racehorse MF Hollywood through to the prestigious Garryowen final during the Royal Melbourne Show. Affectionately known as “James,” he became the first ever standardbred to make it through to the Garryowen. Kathleen and James performed with distinction before a large and enthusiastic crowd.
A total of $850,000 in stakes was up for grabs at Tabcorp Park Melton over two night's of harness racing last weekend, with the running of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for two, three and four year olds.
For years female jockeys have been on par with their male counterparts, and Australian female reinswoman have been very well represented by the likes of Kerryn Manning, Jodi Quinlan, Kate Gath, Amanda and Emma Turnball, Lola Weidemann, Kerry-Ann Turner, Lisa Miles, Cindy Rixon and our now very own Natalie Rasmussen.
Two harness meetings were held in Victoria on Wednesday March 27 with Maryborough racing in the afternoon and Geelong at night.
Nine year old home bred Iraklis/Golden Forrrest gelding Melpark Major moved a step closer to cracking one million dollars in harness racing stake earnings after winning the $25,000 TAB Geelong Pacing Cup for M0 or better class over 2570 metres at Geelong on Saturday.
Melpark Major recorded a stunning upset win in capturing todays $60,000 Group 2 Wimmera Mail-Time Horsham Pacing Cup. In downing a star studded harness racing line up that would have done justice to a Grand Circuit race, it was Melpark Major's biggest win since capturing the Victoria Cup in 2008.
Old timer Melpark Major showed that he is far from a spent force, by producing a top class staying performance to capture the harness racing $60,000 (Group 2) Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Pacing Cup for M0 or better class over 2700 metres.
Campbells Creek harness racing trainer Keith Semmens has enjoyed great success over the seasons with horses featuring the "Poem/Poet" name, the latest being 5-Y-0 Yankee Paco/A Poem Kept mare Yankee Poem who broke her maiden status in the Amrod Plumbing Vicbred Platinum Country Series E for Trotters T0 & T1 class over 2180 metres at Kilmore on Thursday October 18.
Harnesslink's "run of the day" at the Maryborough harness racing meeting held on Monday September 17 belonged to 4-Y-0 It Is I/Miss Clare gelding Fanagalo in the Bob Butt Concessional Driver Of The Year Pacers Handicap for C0 class over 2190 metres.
Horses from the Western District dominated at the Horsham harness racing fixture held on Wednesday July 25, with five winners in the eight race program.
Popular Cranbourne was the venue for a terrific night of harness racing on Tuesday July 10, with well backed winners the order of the night.
Friday's Tabcorp Park Melton harness racing fixture was huge for the Melton area, with the Bacchus Marsh trained Brunelleschi winning the $50,000 Vicbred Super Series Three Year Old Trotters Final and bonny mare Bellas Delight the $100,000 Vicbred Super Series Four Year Old Mares Final, both over 2240 metres.
Harness Racing Victoria conducted a restricted grade meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton on Thursday, with mixed results during the afternoon.
Grand, seasoned harness racing performer Melpark Major looks the major player in Sunday afternoon's (January 8) $60,000 (Group 2) Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Pacing Cup.
Five year old Artsplace/Lils Dream mare National Gallery chalked up her third harness racing victory in as many starts over a period of 25 months, when successful in the Geelong Australia Pace for C0 class (mares) over 2100 metres at Geelong on Tuesday January 3.