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Wednesday night trotting was held at the Swan Hill Racing Centre when the Nyah HRC conducted a neat seven event card, highlighted by the running of the $25,505 Alabar Bloodstock Northern Region Championship Final for C1 & C2 class over 2240 metres which contested the heats and Semi-Finals held at Mildura on March 6 and 12. Mildura’s Shayne Cramp (Victoria’s leading trainer of last season) held a strong hand with four of the 12 runners in the final and snared the quinella with four year old Mach Three/Aldebaran Bromac gelding Aldebaran Macha defeating Changing Code in a rate of 1-57. Driven by Nathan Jack, Aldebaran Machastarting from gate three on the second line settled a mile off the Lake Boga leader Gollahman (gate four). In a race where the position outside the leader chopped and changed several times as three of the Cramp runners took turns to face the breeze, Aldebaran Macha latched to the back of Beach Star from four back in the running line at the bell which originally parked outside the leader as the start was effected. Gaining a lovely ride home, Aldebaran Macha after an easy time raced to the front halfway up the running and in a punishing finish, held off Changing Code from mid-field by a half neck in a thrilling finale, with Beachstar  a game third after leading on turning. Wood Wood owner/breeder/trainer Greg Fleming does a grand job with his small team and captured the Ray & Grace Hepworth Memorial 3-Y-0 Pace Final over 2240 metres with Armbro Operative/Highly Rated gelding Rate Highly, giving the locals something to cheer about. Driven by Ararat’s Mick Bellman, Rate Highly possied three back in the moving line form gate six, with Dawson Street leading from gate three. Taken three wide in the final circuit, Rate Highly ran home stylishly to gain the day in advance of Billy Mack which raced in the open from the bell, with Glitzy Gal running home late from last to finish third. The mile rate 1-58.9. The wraps were huge on the first starter Midnitedelite in the Courage Under Fire 2-Y-0 Pace over 1609 metres and the Bettors Delight/Aimee Sheffield colt on debut didn’t let his supporters down. Trained at Elmore by Keith Cotchin and driven by Bendigo based Scott Dyer, Midnitedelite led throughout from the pole to easily account for Justbritell which raced outside him in a rate of 1-57.9. Will Cooper(one/three – three wide last lap) finished third. By Len Baker (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)

The Ararat Harness Racing Club has been devastated by what members have described as 'wanton destruction'. Offenders broke into the bar area of the club sometime between midnight and 5am on Sunday and caused more than $22,000 damage, which included destroying two large fridges - tipping one over - and badly damaging a third, as well as strewing cans and bottles of drinks across the floor and destroying much of the stock. To read the full article written by Jodie Holwell click on this link.  

CENTRAL VICTORIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS CONTINUE AT MARYBOROUGH Heats three of the Central Victorian Pacing and Trotting Championships continued at the Wedderburn HRC fixture held at Maryborough on Monday January 6, with Sapphire Swayze taking the C2 or better class pacers division over 2190 metres and Mallee Trapper the T0 or better class trotters over 2690 metres. Four year old Union Guy/Bold Sapphire gelding Sapphire Swayze was ultra impressive in his victory, returning a mile rate of 2-01.6 for the standing stat event. Trained by Adam Kelly at his new Riddell complex, Sapphire Swayze first up since June with stable reinsman Gavin Lang aboard, stepped cleanly from 10 metres to settle four back along the markers in a strung out field, with pole marker Whata Avenue pouncing straight to the front as the tapes released. Easing away from the inside to park in the open racing for the bell, Sapphire Swayze in a twinkling of an eye exploded to the front in the back straight with the race safely in his keeping. With Lang just sitting there in the straight, Sapphie Swayze coasted to the wire 4.8 metres in advance of Whata Avenue who struck to her task well, with Boyz Torque (three wide last lap) a further 10 metres away in third place after a tardy beginning. Popular Portarlington trainer Gary Bailey a devoted follower of the squaregaiter, received a boost when home bred six year old Wind Cries Maori/Trappers Girl gelding snared the trotters division. Driven by Ararat’s Michael Bellman, Mallee Trapper was quick to begin from a 30 metre handicap, going forward to surprisingly arrest the lead away from the last start Melton winner Invasive at the judge on the first occasion. Rated to perfection, Mallee Trapper defied all challengers to defeat the co 50 metre backmarker Loveyougoodboy (three wide last lap) by 1.1 metres, with Invasive a disappointing third after having every chance along the sprint lane a half head away in third place. The mile rate 2-05.8. Gary has been recuperating from a more than painful knee operation. Semi-Finals will be held at the St Arnaud HRC meeting at Charlton on Wednesday January 15, with the Finals at Maryborough five days later on Monday January 20. One of the highlights of the day was the victory of exciting Blissful Hall/Weona Rena four year old entire Bliss Man in the Wedderburn Motel Pace for C3 & C4 class over 1690 metres. Trained in the western part of the state at Hawkesdale (Hamilton District) by Graham Gee for wife Christine, Bliss Man again taking a concession for Terang’s Jason Lee was quickly away from inside the second line to press forward and park outside the pacemaker Aleppo Tiger (gate two). Pouring on the pressure in the last lap, Bliss Man cruised to the front on the final bend to score by 4.9 metres in a rate of 1-55.6 over Our Eastwood Cullen (four wide last lap) from near last, with Aleppo Tiger holding down third 3 metres away. It was Bliss Man’s 9th victory in 15 race appearances, the last six in succession. By Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria

The Gunbower Harness Racing Club held a compact eight event meeting at Echuca on Tuesday December 17. Kyabram trainer Mick Blackmore combined with Bendigo based Scott Dyer to land the opening race on the program - the Gunbower Electrical 3-Y-0 Pace over 1755 metres with Sutter Hanover/Grace Anatomy gelding Sutter Man. Beginning best from gate two, Sutter Man led throughout to score by a half neck in a rate of 2-01.2 from Glen Alpine Drive along the sprint lane after trailing from gate three, with Billy Mack third after following the pair. Orrvale trainer Steven Duffy's quality McArdle/Nuclearaccelerator four year old gelding Almost El Eagle notched up his 13th victory in 30 outings, when victorious in the Northern Herd Development Pace Final for C1 class over 1755 metres which qualified in the heats held at the Wangaratta fixture at Shepparton on December 8. Driven once again by Greg Sugars, Almost El Eagle from inside the second row was given a sweet passage trailing the well support pole line leader Khaleesi, before using the sprint lane to gain the day by 5.2 metres in advance of Sicilian Slumber (one/two) and Forever Arma which raced in the open. The mile rate 1-59. Campbells Forest husband and wife Greg and Julie Ryan were successful with 4-Y-0 Live Or Die/Princess Kiara gelding Bronco Apache in the James Godden Designer Tanks Pace for C0 class over 1755 metres in a rate of 2-02.4. Bred by the pair and driven by Nathan Jack, Bronco Apache was trapped four wide from outside the front line as the starter released the field, with Jack angling to be three back in the moving line as In Jet Spirit retained the front running from the pole. Not happy with the tempo, Bronco Apache was sent forward to park outside the leader racing for the bell, allowing Jack to dictate the terms for the final circuit. Surging clear prior to the home turn, Bronco Apache won as he pleased, cruising to the wire 8.7 metres clear of Direct Art along the sprint lane off the back of the leader, with Warrior Mac (one/one last lap) third. Narrandera's Shaun Snudden loves coming to Echuca and has a pretty good record on the track, adding another winner to his tally there when tough 4-Y-0 On The Attack/Dainty Lea gelding Brown Rice snared the Mawsons Pace Final for C0 class over 2160 metres which qualified at the Wangaratta meeting. Driven by the stable's Paul Diebert, Brown Rice after starting from the extreme draw settled at the tail of the field, with the almost unbackable favourite Major Meggs leading from the pole. Set alight mid-field to park outside the pacemaker, Brown Rice was able to drop to the back of Major Meggs approaching the home turn as Scott Stewart kicked away. Asked for a supreme effort on straightening, Brown Rice showed a "never give in" attitude to wear down the leader and score by a half head in a rate of 2-00.7, with Miss Tanami running on late from the rear to finish third 17.3 metres away. Jot down the name Amanda Turnbull as a reinsperson to follow as she is likely to be based in Victoria after joining a partnership with Nathan Jack. Amanda was successful aboard Marong trainer Trevor Patching's 8-Y-0 Safely Kept/Westmoor Elegance gelding Sherpa Star in the Joe Newitt's Service Centre Pace for C1 class over 1755 metres. Breaking his duck at start number eleven at the last Echuca meeting, Sherpa Star from the pole repeated the dose on this occasion after a cosy trip three back the markers from the pole as Lerrad Maharg led out before handing over to the heavily supported Mrs Devine a former NSW mare having her first outing in Victoria for Dylan Marshall. Extricated into the clear on the home turn, Sherpa Star finished strongly to defeat Goldiedomic (one/one at bell) through the centre by a half head in 2-00.3, with Look At Russo close up in third place after racing in the open from the bell. Nyah trainer Malcolm O'Bree is no stranger to Echuca meetings and landed the Steve Oliver Plumbing & Gas Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2160 metres with Cashisking, a five year old gelded son of Falcon Seelster and Better Motoring who has done most of his racing north of the border. Taking a concession for Melton based Zac Phillips, Cashisking led throughout from gate two, accounting for Hezfullarunning which shadowed him throughout. Border Patrol finished third off a three wide trail last lap. The mile rate 2-04.2. Yanco trainer Kim Hillier was successful with 4-Y-0 Dream Away/InThe Corner gelding Street Meets in the Brian & Lyn Wills Santa Claus Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2160 metres. Beginning on equal terms with both Double Happy and Gangster Boy inside him, Street Meets was eased to take a one/one trail on the back of Gangster Boy. Becoming pocketed at the bell as the favourite Quadentate moved forward three wide, Blake Jones angled Street Meets into the clear three wide on the final bend and he ran on best to nose out a game Gangster Boy in a mile rate of 2-01.3. Life Of Ted used the sprint lane off the back of the leader to finish third a head away. Bet Bet (Swan Hill) breeder/part-owner/trainer Greg Fleming was in the winners stall at Echuca, when 4-Y-0 Totally Ruthless/Tiny Gigi gelding Oils Jay Bee broke his maiden status in the Gunbower Committee Pace for C0 class over 1755 metres. Driven by Ararat's Michael Bellman, Oils Jay Bee making his 15th race appearance began swiftly from outside the second line to lob one/one trailing Fiddlers Lane, with Kim Hillier's Reckless Valour burning away from outside the front row to lead. Sent forward three wide along the back straight on the final occasion, Oils Jay Bee proved too strong at the business end of proceedings to register a 15.9 metre margin over Kiss ToLive(one/two) and Say Cheese from last in a mile rate of 2-00.4. By Len Baker                                

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

Monday trotting was held at Hamilton in the South West of the state on Monday December 16 and what a day it was for Ararat based Emma Hamblin who registered her first win as a trainer, when seven year old Keystone Salute/Downsouth Soon gelding Trappers Puzzle greeted the judge in the Bendigo Bank Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2160 metres. Also driven by Emma originally from NSW, Trappers Puzzle started from a daunting 70 metre backmark, but as there were no front markers, actually gave the leaders 60. Naturally settling at the tail of the field with the red-hot favourite Weregonnarock (10 metres) taking over from old timer Master Kiesey shortly after the start, Trappers Puzzle gained a lovely one/one trail in the final circuit when Idle Suntime came away from four back the markers ahead of him. Looming large on straightening, Trappers Puzzle raced clear in the shadows of the post to score by 10.1 metres in advance of Weregonnarock which gave nothing, with Idle Suntime third after making a break in the last lap. In winning, Trappers Puzzle bred and raced by squaregaiting devotee Gary Bailey returned a new track record mile rate of 2-02.3. Hawkesdale trainer Graham Gee's four year old BlissfulHall/Weena Rena entire Bliss Man continued his rapid rise through the classes when successful in the Taylor Motors Pace for C3 & C4 class over 1660 metres. Again taking a concession for Jason Lee, Bliss Man led throughout from the pole to street his rivals by 25.6 metres in a new track record of 1-54.1 over Alta Antonio which raced in the open for the last lap. Mosquito Flyer finished third 5.8 metres away. Bungaree's Julian Jobe combined with Greg Sugars to land the Alexandra House Pace for C1 class over 1660 metres with Cobargo Jack, a six year old gelded son of Village Jasper and Jewell Of Cobargo raced by wife Alison. Beginning swiftly from gate two, Cobargo Jack coasted at the head of affairs to record a comfortable 7.3 metre margin in advance of Ruby Heart which faced the breeze, with Latoya Lass (one/one) third. The mile rate 1-58.6. Mount Gambier (Glencoe) father and son - Barry & Jayson Finnis snared the Hunt's Auto Spares Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres with last start Globe Derby Park winner Paris To Berlin, a beautifully bred four year old gelding by Falcon Seelster from the good producer Roses In Paris a smart racemare herself. Despite racing in the open from gate three outside the heavily backed Jilliby Mac inside him, Paris To Berlin after dropping to trail the leader into the straight, finished strongly to score by 1.4 metres in a rate of 1-59.2 over The Jiggler (one/four - three wide last lap) and Jilliby Mac which got very tired over the concluding stages. The Finnis' were to make it two for the day when four year old Courage Under Fire/Surfing Queen gelding Flaming Hero scored in the Mountain View Stud Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres. Starting from the extreme draw, Flaming Hero possied near last in the running line, with the favourite Beau Ciel beginning fast from gate four to lead. Latching to the back of Tres Hombre ahead of him at the bell for a ride home, Flaming Hero when taken wide on turning, finished all over the top of his rivals to defeat a game Mayorofshinetown to give Mount Gambier the quinella, with Beau Ciel a disappointing third. The mile rate 2-00.4. Blacks A Fake's seven year old half brother The Avoca Flyer (Presidential Ball/Colada Hanover), trained by Peter Manning and taking a lift for Jason Lee, ran his rivals ragged from outside the front row in the Logical Property Services Pace for C1 class over 1660 metres. Always travelling under a tight rein, The Avoca Flyer scored by 1.4metres from the fast finishing Magical Bazz off a three wide trail from mid-field in the last lap. Mister Huxtable although very wide on the home turn, finished third. The mile rate 1-56.2. Jason Lee was to chalk up three for the afternoon after guiding border hopper Dagati Image to victory for Yahi trainer David Phillips in the Choice Hotels Pace Final for R0 class over 1660 metres which qualified in the heats held at Mount Gambier on December 8. Burning away from gate five, Dagati Image a 4-Y-0 gelding by Tinted Cloud from Cassels Atom led throughout to win in a breeze from Just Like Elle which trailed and Wings Of Delight (one/one) in a mile rate of 1-58.5. By Len Baker                                                        

Great Western's Manning family - father Peter and daughters Kerryn and Michelle may have created history at the nearby Ararat HRC fixture held on Tuesday December 10, by winning every race on the six event card. Peter prepared four winners Sunnyandcher, Znana, Rinashi and Valentino Rustler, Kerryn drove three Sunnyandcher, Znana and Suerte which she also trains, while Michelle scored aboard Shanira for herself and Rinashi. Seven year old ex-Kiwi mare Sunnyandcher a daughter of Sundon and Cherourwishes who at times can be a little risky, was successful in the Bricklayers Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2165 metres. Settling mid-field in the moving line from a 20 metre handicap, Sunnyandcher was sent forward three wide solo in the back straight on the final occasion to give chase to the leaders. Finishing determinedly, Sunnyandcher proved too strong for the ever reliable Stunning Jasper which raced outside the pacemaker Family Decision before leading into the straight, with Mister Beckham (one/one) third. The mile rate 2-06.7. Art Major/Ananz filly Znana brought up a hat-trick by taking out the Plumbers Pace for C0 class over 1790 metres in a rate of 2-01.7, much to the delight of Adelaide's Cormack family who also race Sunnyandcher. Speeding across the face of the field from outside the front line to lead, Znana treated her rivals with contempt, scoring by 4.5 metres over The Jiggler which led out from gate two before handing over to the winner. Onlyeconomyclass ran on late from mid-field to finish in third place. Former Kiwi six year old gelding Suerte (Falcon Seelster/Atomist) opened his Australian account by easily taking the Plasterers Pace for C1 class over 2195 metres. Making his third appearance on Australian soil, Suerte was never in any danger, leading throughout from gate three to register a 11.6 metre victory in advance of Thewaytolive which trailed from the pole, with Mayorshinetown third after racing in the open. The surprise winner of the evening was 5-Y-0 Armbro Operative/If Iseeyouinheaven mare Shanira in the Earthworks Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 1790 metres. Starting from gate two on the second line, Shanira enjoyed a cosy trip, with the well supported Viva Courage burning to the front from gate three. Sent forward three wide in the approach to the final bend, Shanira ran on gamely to gain the day by 1.9 metres over the pacemaker in a rate of 2-01.7, with Mystic Soldier (three back the markers) 12.9 metres away in third place. Four year old Town Champion/Epona Sunshine mare Rinashi was tough in her 1.8 metre victory of the Engineers Pace for C0 class over 1790 metres. Despite racing parked from gate five outside Artois Stone (gate three) from the outset, Rinashi surged to the front in the last lap and defied a strong challenge from Peters Ace all the way up the running. Shalamint which trailed the weakening front runner finished third 5.3 metres away. Tough as teak six year old Rustler Hanover/Cuddle Me Good gelding Valentino Rustler registered his 4th victory in 69 outings by winning the Builders Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1790 metres in a rate of 1-59.5. Taking a concession for Terang's Jason Lee, Valentino Rustler momentarily settled one/one from gate two with the pole marker Spiral Jet leading from Gnotuk (gate four). One the tempo slowed, Valentino Rustler was eased three wide to assume control racing for the bell and from that point, the race was as good as over. Racing clear on the home turn, Valentino Rustler was untroubled to score by 9.3 metres over Our Burning Desire (three back the markers) and Garabaldi Union (one/one) a stablemate of the winner. Len Baker  

Great Western trainer Peter Manning’s Art Major/Anannz filly Znana was successful in the Wimmera Mail-Times 3-Y-0 Pace over 1700 metres at the Horsham trots meeting held on Monday November 25. Bred and raced by Adelaide’s Cormack family, Znana (Ananz spelt backwards) was given a charmed passage by Matt Craven from gate two trailing her pole line stablemate Adam Cartwright raced in the same interests and when eased off his back on turning, finished full of running to score by 3.1 metres in a new track record mile rate of 1-55.3. Racer finished a further 30.2 metres away in third place after racing in the open. Ananz (Aces N Sevens) died while foaling to Somebeachsomwhere recently with the foal not surviving. On a day of multiple wins, Peter Manning landed a double when seven year old Presidential Ball/Colada Hanover gelding The Avoca Flyer, a half brother to the great Blacks A Fake snared The Horse Shed Shop Melton Pace for C1 class over 1700 metres, recording his first victory in almost 12 months. Driven by Matt Craven, The Avoca Flyer began with a wing on every foot from outside the front line to lead all of the way, defeating the heavily supported Suerte (three back the markers – outside the winner home turn) and Big Gorilla (one/one) in a mile rate of 1-56.3. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Four year old Union Guy/Echelon Express mare Sorority Sister broke her maiden status at start number eighteen by taking the Moore Bulk Haulage Pace for C0 class over 1700 metres in a mile rate of 1-59.2. Raced and trained by Marnie Bibby from nearby Navarre and driven by Daryl Douglas, Sorority Sister led throughout from gate three, accounting for the favourite Gee Mae which trailed, making no impression over the concluding stages, with Pandoras Jet third after facing the breeze. Daryl Douglas was to chalk up a successive double after piloting Ararat hobby trainer Gary Hull’s five year old mare Frameworks Pride to victory in the Become A Sponsor Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2200 metres. Beginning speedily from the 10 metre mark, Frameworks Pride a daughter of Framework and Yawithme was sent forward to take over from Family Decision within a lap, before cruising to the wire 4.1 metres in advance of Champ Devine which raced outside her in a mile rate of 2-06.1. Looks A Moral showed a return to form in finishing third from three back in the moving line. Making three for Douglas and two for Bibby was very much in-form four year old Attorney General/Bludegirl gelding Blude Master in the Finn-Tack @ Horze Aust. Pace for C1 class over 1700 metres. Restrained from inside the second row, Blude Master settled three back in the moving line, with the pole marker Thewaytolive retaining the front running. Sent forward to park outside the pacemaker for the final circuit, Blude Master led on turning and held a margin to the wire to score by 5.4 metres over Mightbeme from last and Venus Williams (one/three – three wide last lap) in a rate of 2-00.1. Michelle Manning’s highly promising Four Starzzz Shark/Talilia four year old gelding Jackabeams recorded his 3rd victory in 5 outings, when successful in the H&DHRC Membership Pace for C1 class over 1700 metres with sister Kerryn in the sulky. Coming off a disappointing 4th to Chilli Palmer at Melton nine days earlier after leading, Jackabeams an unbackable $1.10 favourite again led from gate two and was never headed in defeating father Peter’s Additallup which raced outside him, with Miss Dilly (three wide last lap from mid-field) third. The mile rate 1-57. Mildura (Merbein) trainer Brian McGinty made the journey south with Kiwi bred four year old Bettors Delight/Invisage mare Our Mischievious Miss a happy one, as she saluted the judge in the Horsham Salutes G.A. Lang Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2200 metres. Taking a concession, Our Mischievious Miss led from gate two and after looking to be in trouble on turning, just lasted to nose out Bubble Art (one/two – four wide home turn) in a rate of 2-00.2, with Peace Of Art (one/one – three wide home turn) a head away in third place in the most thrilling finish of the afternoon. Ararat trainer/driver Michael Bellman does a great job with his select team and landed the Wimmera Roadways Pace for C0 class over 2200 metres with Witzend, a four year old gelded son of Dawn Ofa New Day and Fake Trick, leading throughout from gate two in defeating Rinashi which trailed and Saab Magic which faced the breeze in a rate of 2-0 By Len Baker

Ararat has always been a happy hunting ground for nearby Great Western trainer Peter Manning and the Manning family and it certainly was on Wednesday October 23 when Peter chalked up three winners and daughters Michelle and Kerryn one training winner each, while Kerryn drove a winning double. The first of Peter’s treble was former Kiwi bred 7-Y-0 Sundon/Cherourwishes mare Sunnyandcher in the G. Ferguson Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2195 metres. Driven by Kerryn, Sunnyandcher starting outside the front row possied three back in the moving line, with The Final Cut leading from gate three. When Safe Leone another Manning runner surged past the leader in the last lap, Sunnyandcher was in hot pursuit making the final bend three wide, with Gavlenn Sunset (one/one) in the centre. Finishing best, Sunnyandcher scored by 6.6 metres from Gavlenn Sunset in a rate of 2-06.1, with Candy Digger (three back the markers) third. It was Sunnyandcher’s 4th victory in 51 outings. Iron 4-Y-0 Union Guy/Hot Reaction gelding Boyz Torque having his 7th start for the season and 56 overall, was once again a tough winner when successful in the Spiller Family Sprint Series Final for C1 class over 1790 metres which qualified in the heats held at the same track on October 13. Driven by Terang young gun Jason Lee for Peter, Boys Torque was trapped three wide out of gate three, before parking outside the leader Big Gorilla. Keeping the pressure on throughout, Boyz Torque outstayed Big Gorilla to record a 8.5 metre victory in advance of Big Gorilla who is probably better off with a sit. Peter Manning’s second stringer Additallup (three wide last lap from the rear) finished third. The mile rate 1-59.6. Five year old Union Guy/Miss Incline gelding Garabaldi Union made it three for the stable when victorious in the Benson Catering Pace for C1 class over 2195 metres with Terang’s Matt Craven in the sulky. Bred and raced by former HRV Board member Peter Bourke, Garabaldi Union was sent forward from gate five, working hard to park outside the 10-Y-0 pacemaker Vinnies Jet. Taking over approaching the home turn, Garabaldi Union showed tremendous fighting qualities to come again after being headed by the more fancied stablemate Armbro Speedster halfway up the running to gain the day by 1.6 metres in a rate of 2-01.8, with Graceful Affair 18.8 metres away in third place after always being handy. Kerryn Manning snared the Bill Sutton Claiming Pace over 2195 metres with 6-Y-0 Live Or Die/Chipover gelding Waterhorse in a rate of 2-00 even. Restrained from outside the front row to settle closer to last than first, Waterhorse ran home strongly wide in the last lap to defeat a game Cowboy Cadillac which moved to face the breeze mid-race by a neck in a punishing finish. Keeper Of The Fire (one/one) finished in third place. Michelle Manning’s smart 4-Y-0 Four Starzzz Shark/Tarlilia entire Jackabeams made it two from two when successful in the Mark Smith Pace Final for C0 class over 1790 metres. A winner of his heat on debut, Jackabeams driven by Kerryn led virtually throughout from gate three, accounting for a death-seating Modern Chic which went down fighting by 1.5 metres in 2-00.2, with Xbolt (one/one) third. On a night of multiple victories, Matt Craven continued his stellar season by driving a treble and Burrumbeet trainer Ashleigh Herbertson prepared a double. Matt’s other winners were Citysneak in the C. Dunn Vicbred Platinum Country Series F (1st Heat) for C0 class over 2195 metres and BlissfulKisses in the Life Members Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1790 metres, both trained by Herbertson. Citysneak a 4-Y-0 Metropolitan/Sneak Peak mare starting from the pole, broke her maiden status at start number eleven after using the sprint lane from three back the markers to blouse Michelle Manning’s Aheadofhistime which led by a head in 2-01.4, with Susie Badland third after following the pacemaker. Six year old Blissful Hall/Ebony And Ice mare Blissful Kisses was given a lovely passage one/one from inside the second row following the favourite The Red Opal, before being switched down to the markers approaching the home turn and using the sprint lane to score by 2.5 metres in 1-59.7 over The Red Opal which battled away gamely. Peter Manning’s Valentino Rustler (one/three) finished third after looking a big chance out wide approaching the final bend. By Len Baker  

Teenage reinsman Zac Phillips produced without doubt the "drive of the night" at the Echuca meeting on Tuesday October 1, when successful aboard 8-Y-0 E Dees Cam/Universal Alice gelding Juke Kartel in the $5500 Book Christmas Functions Now Pace for C1 class over 1755 metres. Raced by Judith Ferrie, Duke Kartel now trained in Melton by Robbie O'Connell (Zac's boss) after being in several different camps since he first graced the track, positioned on the back of the pole mark pacemaker and favourite Find Time To Cruise after starting outside the front row, receiving the run of the race. Easing outside the leader on the final bend, Juke Kartel put the race beyond doubt in a couple of bounds as he raced away over the concluding stages to score by 14.1 metres in a rate of 1-59.2 from Find Time To Cruise and Statelyness which recovered after a check at the start when Swift Sita which she was following galloped away. The annual Don Guy Memorial Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres, named after one of the all time great harness racing trainers in the state who's stables were situated on the raceway, went the way of Elmore trainer Matt Higgins' honest 7-Y-0 Blissful Hall/Armatrix mare Nova Arama with Brian Gath in the sulky, returning a mile rate of 2-03.8. Raced by mother Betty Welsh, Nova Arama led throughout from gate two, accounting for Chiquita Bromac which trailed giving Elmore the quinella. Jialiner (one/one) finished third. Rochester's Mark Thompson kept his impeccable record at the track going when 5-Y-0 Christian Cullen/Life Of Perfection gelding Stonethachristian driven by Ararat's Michael Bellman greeted the judge in the Lara Judd Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres.  Starting from gate two, Stonethachristian was unable to cross Attack On Command inside him at the start, but after persisting, strode to the front in the back straight on the first occasion. Appearing to be in trouble on straightening when Life Long Voyage off a three wide trail last lap from mid-field issued a strong challenge, Stonethachristian under desperate driving kept on giving to score by a half head in a rate of 2-02, with Hezupnabout (one/one - three wide last lap) third. Five year old Bettors Delight/Spirited Storm entire Stormed Out taking a concession for Josh Duggan was an impressive winner of the Echuca West Primary School Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2160 metres in a rate of 2-00.7.  Trained by Chris Alford at Bolinda, Stormed Out (gate four) spent the entire race parked outside the leader and hot favourite Timeseel from the Mark Thompson camp, before outstaying him to score by 1.3 metres. The Riverina visitor Ultimate Sheldon (one/one) finished third 2.3 metres away. Len Baker

The Industry celebrated the 2012/13 season at the Victorian Industry Awards Night at Tabcorp Park on Thursday (September 12).  Congratulations to the connections of Caribbean Blaster, the Victorian Horse of the Year and Im Stately, Victorian Trotter of the Year. For the full list of winners click here.   The Year That Was The Industry Awards night was a very successful night.  Thank you to all the staff involved in the preparation for the night. In particular we thank Premier Denis Napthine for attending and delivering a stirring address. During the evening an excellent presentation was shown on the big screens entitled “The Year That Was” - voiced by Andrew Bensley and produced by Rob Gild.  I encourage you to take a few minutes to view the video by clicking here. Chris Alford What a year for Chris Alford.  Below are several stats/facts that illustrate the 2012/13 season achievements of Victoria’s superstar driver: Leading Victorian Driver with 287 wins; Leading Australian Driver with 295 wins; Drove 53 winners in the month of August, the most ever by a driver in a month, surpassing Kerryn Manning’s 48 in May 2002; Was the first person to drive the winners of the three heats of the Victoria Derby in February – Guaranteed, Lennytheshark and Macha; Has taken his overall winning tally to 4,971, closing in on being only the second driver to achieve 5,000 wins.  Gavin Lang was the first to achieve this outstanding feat. Chris is 9 years Gavin’s junior! It has been an unbelievable ride for Chris Alford since his first win on a horse called Spring Vance, trained by father Barry and part owned by yours truly, which beat favourite Victory Banner at Wangaratta back in 1984. 2012/13 Season Now that the 2012/13 season is behind us, here are some of the Victorian statistics that don’t make the headlines: 4,055 horses races; On average each horse raced 9.1 times; 823 horses earned in excess of $10,000; 20 horses earned in excess of $ 100,000; 15 drivers drove their first ever winner in a race; Top Victorian stakes earner – Caribbean Blaster - $450,000; Leading sire wins – Art Major (245 winners); Leading sire stakes – Bettors Delight ($2.25 million) Leading trotting sire – Sundon (90 wins); Second on the trotting sire list – Earl (54) who sadly passed away recently. Milestones/First Wins Rodney Petroff drove his 500th winner on Walky Talky at Ballarat on Saturday September 7; Josh Aiken drove his first winner (Chevals Racer) at Shepparton on September 11.  His father David trained a treble at the same meeting; Peter Wells became the oldest person to register a driving double.  Now in his 80th year Peter drove Dell Boy and Donkiri to victory at Ballarat on August 24.   Mildura Congratulations to the Mildura Club for increasing their contribution to stakes this season by 27% - up $30,000 to $140,000. It is a fantastic decision, which complements the recent HRV announcement.  Mildura will bring forward the HRV March rises to January.  And with the support of Mark Gurry and Associates and Seelite Windows and Doors, several features also get a rise in stakes. Well done to Barry Bottams, Mark Kemp and the Mildura Committee. Audio Visual Services For the past 16 years, Provideo has been producing the harness racing pictures which flow through to television screens and mobile devices around the world. Following an extensive tender process HRV recently announced that internationally renowned media distribution company Mediatec was successful in its bid and will commence as HRV’s contractor on November 1, 2013 for a five year period. While we look forward to a new era in broadcast services, I would like to pay tribute to Frank Verstrepen and his staff for the outstanding service HRV has received from Provideo over a long period of time. HRV’s announcement of the change can be seen by clicking here. Race Field Policy HRV charges a ‘Race Field Fee’ to wagering operators who bet on our product, such as interstate totes, corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges. While the Joint Venture with Tabcorp remains our principal funding source, Race Field Fees have become an important funding vehicle. HRV’s previous policy was to charge 1.5% on all turnover.  However from September 1 the HRV Board has approved a revised policy, which in summary is: Up to a threshold of $100,000 turnover per month the fee is 1% of turnover; For turnover in excess of $100,000 in a month the fee is 2% of turnover. Community Awards Two prominent harness racing identities have received awards from Corrections Victoria – recognising excellence and commitment in supervising offenders or prisoners performing community work: Les Chapman (Maryborough) has worked alongside offenders for over six years providing support and work opportunities.  George Crane (Hamilton) similarly provides supervision for offenders in his local area. Congratulations to both gentlemen on a great community service. Yarra Valley Congratulations are also extended to the Yarra Valley Club on the 10 year anniversary of the amalgamation of the two racing Clubs. Formerly comprising a separate thoroughbred club and harness club, the Yarra Valley model is a wonderful advertisement for co-operation between the trots and the gallops since the Club formed a single entity a decade ago. The milestone was celebrated at a gala function at the venue on August 31. Vale Harness racing has lost two of its elder statesmen recently: Jack Shelley, a prominent trainer for many years passed away in late August.  Jack maintained his A Grade trainers licence until 2008 – in his 91st year.  His son Brian continues the family tradition having been a licensed trainer/driver since the early 1990’s. I did not know Jack, however everyone speaks highly of his skill and he was certainly well regarded by industry participants; and   Long serving Ararat Committeeman Milton McKinnis passed away this week.  Milton was involved with the Ararat Club for over 50 years and served as both President and Vice President during that time.  Milton volunteered for many tasks at the Club and will be sadly missed. HRV’s condolences go out to the families of both these great servants of the trots industry.  

Col Latter only has a small team of horses in work but it’s already been a successful week for the Shelbourne horseman. Based near Bendigo in Victoria’s Goldfields region, the experienced trainer produced George Street Lad to win at Ararat on Tuesday night. But he’s hoping the momentum continues to Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday when he lines up the rejuvenated Greek To Me in the BIG6 Jackpot Battle Of The Claimers Final. Since claiming the now 10-year-old gelding 18 months ago, he had struggled to win a race. There were a couple of handy placings and plenty of promising signs but the stable just couldn’t bed down that win. “We’d been mixing and matching the drivers a little bit and some of them sort of chose not to listen because you want them to go forward because he can’t really sit and sprint so we just tried Jason (Lee, driver) because he has a good record on front running horses,” Latter said. “He’s a nice horse who has just had a few niggling injuries. We’ve just had to keep plugging away and keeping him happy, he ran a few good races sitting in the death and things like that but he just hadn’t had a lot of luck.” A win at big odds two starts back was followed by a blistering 1:54.9 success at Melton in a heat of Friday’s race. The tide has seemingly turned and drawn barrier three this week, there will be no loafing if the son of Astreos can’t find the front according to Latter.  “It’s sort of his go to just get out and keep running, he can’t really sit back and sprint he just has to be up there and rolling so hopefully we can do that on Friday night,” he said. “His last two starts have probably been as good as he has gone for me, that’s for sure; he’s going good at the minute. “He’s an old horse but he’s still pretty athletic, we’ll just keep nursing him and he should go for a little while longer yet.” That longevity is hard to argue with given he ran his best ever mile rate the week he turned 10. And given he has been out of the metropolitan winners stall for so long, the drop back rule means options are starting to open up for the winner of 23 races. With the Claiming Masters just around the corner, Latter won’t be devoid of options in the coming months. “We’ve dropped back to an M1 now which helps a little bit but if he runs well this week which we are expecting then we’ll probably tackle the bigger claimer (Claiming Masters) but you get some pretty good horses in that series,” he said. Greek To Me is considered a $12 chance, according to Harness Racing Victoria price assessor Jason Bonnington, in an even race. by Blake Redden Harness Racing Victoria

Horses trained in the vicinity of Ararat had a profitable night at the Ararat trot meeting held on Tuesday September 10, winning three of the eight races on the program. Ararat owner/trainer Daryl Crone’s handy 6-Y-0 Jet Laag/Signing Autographs gelding Wicked Subwoofer returned to the winners list, when successful in the Kathy McGrath Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2165 metres in a mile rate of 2-08.8. Driven by Bendigo based Neil McCallum, Wicked Subwoofer was sent forward from the 20 metre mark avoiding a few gallopers to park outside the pacemaker Family Decision. Proving to be the best stayer, Wicked Subwoofer was too strong at the finish for Family Decision, scoring by 3.1 metres, with Drop Us A Line (one/one) third after angling to the back of the leader on the home turn and using the sprint lane to be a metre away. Great Western’s Peter Manning very rarely misses a winner at Ararat and chalked up a double with Elsu/Hanover Chic gelding Eliseos Falcon taking the Joey Collins 3-Y-0 Pace over 1790 metres and 6-Y-0 Rustler Hanover/Cuddle Me Good gelding valentine Rustler the Barry Davidson Pace for C1 class over 2195 metres. Eliseos Falcon (Kerryn Manning) raced in the open for the first lap from outside the front row, before sliding past the well supported leader In The Trenches which appeared to want to turn off and run out in the back straight. Kicking clear on straightening, Eliseos Falcon making his third race appearance, held an 8.4 metre margin to the judge in defeating Casey Isabella which trailed the weakening leader in a rate of 2-01, Catch Me If You can (one/one) finished third. Valentino Rustler (Matt Craven) was also sent forward from gate four to sit outside his stablemate Garabaldi Union and in a punishing finish, was too strong for the 10-Y-0 Vinnies Jet which raced three wide solo for the final circuit, with Garabaldi Union holding down third. The mile rate 2-02.1. Mt Gambier trainer Barry Finnis and reinsman son Jayson snared the Presidents Pace for C2 class over 1790 metres with 5-Y-0 Grinfromeartoear/Maybe The One gelding Cheesy Grin which at one stage was touted as being the next big thing to came out of Mt Gambier. Gradually working back into form, Cheesy Grin making his 16th race appearance was able to stride to the lead from gate three shortly after the start and proceeded to lead his rivals a merry dance, winning by 1.8 metres in advance of Make A Fuss (one/one – three wide home turn) and Guvs Boy which trailed the winner, using the sprint lane to no avail. The mile rate 2-00.8. Seven year old Village Jasper/Any Danger gelding Arber formerly trained in the area at Armstrong by Brooke Hansen greeted the judge in the Brad Hunt Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2195 metres in a slick rate of 1-59. Now in the care of Tim Bolitho at Anakie in the Geelong district, Arber bred and raced by Sports Bookmaker Philip Nott was restrained from outside the front row by Gavin Lang to settle at the rear of the seven horse field, with Kerryn Manning’s Lucky Dave leading out from the pole before being restrained to allow stablemate Kickittochris to assume control. Held up for one final dash at the leaders, Arber finished hard out wide on turning to register a 1.2 metre victory over Kickittochris which had every chance even though Voce kept him honest. Peaces Of You ran home late from the rear to finish third. Note:   Two winners from Ararat’s programme ARBER (recent track record holder at Geelong) and WICKED SUBWOOFER are from the sisters Any Danger and Signing Autographs out of the grand mare of  Linda Suzanne. She being the dam also of good western district race horses, Off the Old $ 184, 000+ and Doyouwantitagain $109, 000.+. This is the family of Cute Van, sire of Vandeport. Videos of all races are attached Len Baker  

The Horsham HRC held two of their season feature races on Thursday August 22 - the $8,000 Rosehill Princess Of The Wimmera for Three Year Old Fillies 3C0 to 3C2 class over 2200 metres and the $8,000 Alabar Guineas for Colts & Geldings over the same distance. Woorndoo trainer Bob Mahncke combined with Ararat reinsman Michael Bellman to land the "Princess" with Lombo Krista Bella, a daughter of Lombo Pocket watch and Arabella Lombo raced by wife Jenny. Despite racing in the open throughout from gate three, Lombo Krista bella dashed away at the straight entrance to record a big 13.7 metre victory in advance of Confusion Reigns which followed her home, with Cullen Time third after trailing the weakening front runner Fineandsunny. The mile rate 1-59.8. Great Western's Kerryn Manning snared the "Guineas" with much travelled Kiwi bred Washington VC/Robyns Measure gelding Willow Robyn in a rate of 2-02.3. Raced by Queensland developer Norm Jenkin, a part-owner of dual NZ Cup winner Flashing Red, Willow Robyn toyed with his rivals, leading throughout from the pole to score by 10.6 metres in advance of Galleons Warrior (one/one) and Faraway Man which trailed the winner. It was Willow Robyn's first victory in six race appearances. Kerryn had earlier in the day landed the Rosehill Veterinary Services Pace for C2 class over over 2200 metres with former Kiwi 4-Y-0 gelding Lucky Dav A gelded son of Armbro Operative and Jodie Dick, Lucky Dave from gate five was taken back to the tail of the field as the start was effected, with Ultimate Tycoon leading from gate two. Giving chase three wide in the last lap, Lucky Dave joined the hot favourite Cheesy Grin which had crossed Ultimate Tycoon in the final circuit on straightening and just lasted from Pas Mate which rattled home from last on the marker line in a rate of 1-59.5. Cheesy Grin held on for third. Consistent 4-Y-0 Real Desire/Calories gelding Indulgent chalked up his 7th victory (six this season) by taking the Metropolitan @ Morley Park Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2200 metres. Trained by Peter Manning at Great Western, Indulgent taking a concession for Mount Gambier junior Jayson Finnis was sent forward from gate five, crossing the pacemaker Superstar Express in the back straight on the first occasion. Travelling under a tight rein, Indulgent had too much in reserve at the finish for Bronze Destiny which issued a serious challenge on turning after racing in the open from the bell, with Wheatsheaf Avaball a remarkable third after spending the entire race three wide uncovered. A prohibitive $1.40 favourite, Indulgent returned a mile rate of 2-00.3. Local McKenzies Creek trainer Barry Dunn was successful with 4-Y-0 Grinfromeartoear/Regards gelding Wipethesmile in the Smiling Shard @ Alabar Pace (1st Division) for C1 class over 1700 metres in a rate of 2-00.6. Driven by Wayne Lane, Wipethesmile (gate six) ran home from three back the markers to score by a nose from The Avoca Flyer from last and the hot favourite Franciselizabeth which faced the breeze. The second division was taken out by astute Lara trainer Shaun Kittel's 5-Y-0 Life Sign/Jazz Opera gelding Jazz King. Formerly trained in the northern part of the state by owner Greg Fleming, Jazz King with Daryl Douglas in the sulky settled last from the extreme draw, with the well backed Cobargo Jack leading from gate two. Latching to the back of Arr En Special three wide in the final circuit, Jazz King despite making the home turn four wide, put pay to his rivals in a couple of strides to score by 5.1 metres in a rate of 1-58.4 over Arr En Special and Cobargo Jack. On what was a great day for the Manning's, Michelle combined with Terang's Matt Craven to land the Shadow Play @ Alabar Pace for C0 class over 2200 metres with 4-Y-0 Elsu/Whatsonyamind gelding Pacquiao in a 2-01.5 rate after racing in the open from gate two, scoring by a half head from the red-hot ($1.20) favourite One Wise Man which led. Chesney (one/one) finished third. Videos of all races attached. Len Baker  

The Stawell Harness Racing Club paid tribute to those who have assisted the club over the years when a seven event card was held at Laidlaw Park on Wednesday August 7 in very wet conditions. Former Ararat based trainer Aaron Brown now domiciled in South Australia, made a successful trip home when Presidential Ball/Lombo San Jan gelding Whata Player greeted the judge in the Reginald Cooper Life Member 2-Y-0 Pace over 1790 metres. Driven by Greg Sugars, Whata Player led throughout from the pole to defeat the well backed Just Call Me Mac (one/one - three wide home turn) in a rate of 2-05.8, with the first starter In The Trenches third after moving to face the open for the last lap. The Terry McManus Life Member 3-Y-0 Pace over 2175 metres was taken out by the Peter Manning (Great Western) trained and Matt Craven driven Armbro Speedstar in a rate of 2-03.9. Starting from gate two on the second line, Armbro Speedstar (Armbro Operative/Princess Of Stars) settled with most of the field ahead of him, with Sapper Ford leading from gate four. Sent forward three wide solo in the final circuit, Armbro Speedstar was too strong at the finish for the hot favourite Galleons Warrior which did a power of work from the outset to park outside the pacemaker.  When Galleons Warrior surged clear approaching the home turn, Armbro Speedstar was hot in pursuit and finished best to score by 2.2 metres in a rate of 2-03.9, with Rising Power third from mid-field. Ultra consistent P Forty Seven/Just Moonstrike 4-Y-0 gelding Arr En Special notched up his 4th victory for the season in the Leslie McLeod Life Member Pace for C0 class over 1780 metres. Trained at Allendale (Mount Gambier) by David Kemp and driven by David Murphy, Arr En Special was trapped four wide from outside the front row running into the first bend, before angling into the one/one spot. Easing three wide at the bell, Arr En Special raced three wide uncovered for the rest of the journey, exploding to the front approaching the home turn. Although tackled by Peters Ace (four wide last lap from last) on straightening, Arr En Special held a margin to the wire, registering a 4.9 metre margin in a rate of 2-02.1. Kurraca Knight (one/one last lap) finished third. Arr En Special usually races at most Western District meetings and was making his 51st appearance at the races (19 this season). Redan (Ballarat) trainer/driver Michael Stanley may have something special in ex-Kiwi 3-Y-0 Presidential Ball/Pamela Pamela gelding Hilltop Hustler who brought up a hat-trick of wins by taking the Life Members Pace Final for C1 class over 1780 metres. Settling three back in the moving line with the tearaway leader The Kingston Flyer making every post a winner, Stanley wasted no time in sending Hilltop Rustler forward to face the breeze at the bell. Doing a lot of chasing, Hilltop Raider dropped in for a short breather approaching the home turn. When asked for a super effort on straightening, Hilltop Hustler responded in grand style to record a four metre victory in 1-58.2 over the leader, with Roman Abbey a further 26 metres away in third place. Former Portland trainer Peter Tonkin now based in Ballarat, snared the Colin Prockter Life Member Pace for C1 class over 2175 metres with Guvs Boy, a 4-Y-0 gelded son of Artiscape and Natashas Rose. Taking a concession for much improved Bendigo youngster Haydon Gray, Guvs Boy from the pole led throughout,  ccounting for In The Frame Lombo which trailed, using the sprint lane to no avail, with Burston Holme third after following the pair. The mile rate 2-07.7. The Gregory Cooper Life Member Trotters Mobile went the way of Longlea (Bendigo) trainer/driver Paul Morrissey's 5-Y-0 Malabar Maple/Lady Clare mare Canadian Dream. Spending most of the race buried three back the markers from gate three, Canadian Dream was extricated to be three and four wide on the final bend, finishing with a wet sail to blouse the pacemaker A Stylish Jewel in the last stride, with Hezminenotyours a game third after racing in the open. The mile rate 2-11.8. Three year old Artesian/Soky Sue colt Easy Lighting trained and driven by Ahmed Taiba of Sushi Sushi fame, landed the Geoffrey Sanderson Life Member Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1780 metres in a rate of 2-01.7. Held in a firm pocket three back the markers after starting inside the  second line, Easy Lightning finished hard along the sprint lane to tip out  Make A Fuss also along the sprint lane ahead of him after trailing the weakening leader Tara Tom. Mathias a stablemate of the pacemaker finished third off a three wide trail last lap from last. Len Baker Len Baker len-baker@bigpond.com 03 9307 5265 0401 679 745  

Victoria's Kings of the country cup circuit - Strathfieldsaye trainer Glenn Douglas and reinsman brother Daryl, added yet another trophy to their collection after winning the $25,00 Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup for M0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2570 metres at Ararat last Saturday with seven year old Christian Cullen/Bella Joy gelding Jukebox Music.

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