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There's an old Chinese proverb that says, 'good things come in pairs', and for harness racing driver Shane Organ, it has proved true. Just weeks after scoring a drought-breaking training win with his only horse Tiza Nightmare, the 23-year-old buttered up by landing his first win as a driver aboard the Glenn Sharp-trained Mystic Chip at Lord's Raceway, Bendigo on Monday night. Organ, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was still on cloud nine the morning after his first driving win, while busy at work at trainer Gary Donaldson's Junortoun stables. "The last couple of months I have been getting a couple more of drives and it's starting to get better and better," he said. "He only won by half a head, but a win's a win, it doesn't matter how you get there. "I have had heaps of placings on Glenn's horses. I drove Goodtime Rusty (for Terry French) a few times and got a third on him last week, so things have been good. "It's been an amazing time, hopefully it leads into a good career in harness racing." Organ's first driving win did not go unnoticed by his peers, who were only to happy to remind him of his success. "Everyone at the track was pretty happy," he said. Among the first of the well-wishers was trainer Sharp. "Shane was more than happy, he couldn't stop talking," he said. "To drive his first winner after getting that training winner the other week, it's great for a young bloke." Mystic Chip, a seven-year-old mare, broke a six-month drought in recording her fifth career win from 74 starts. With nearly a month in between starts, Sharp, who has been training trotters for about 17 years, said Mystic Chip was arguably a little underdone, but he would gladly take the win. "It's been hard the way racing has been programmed, you don't get a run every week. It depends on the race and the number of horses," he said.     Shane Organ gets his first driving win aboard the Glenn Sharp-trained Mystic Chip   "She is probably underdone because she hasn't had enough racing, but she goes well fresh. "That's the positive we got out of it." Mystic Chip will back-up at Bendigo on Thursday night in a standing-start event. "She's usually a pretty good beginner, so if she can get away good and get to the pegs, she can get an earn again," said Sharp. "Whether she can win, I don't know." The Longlea trainer also has Bellmac Bambi knocking on the door of a win, with the filly producing three placings from her last five starts. "She's a nice little horse, touchwood, she hasn't done anything wrong up to this point," he said. "She's close to winning one. "After this she will go out for a bit of break, but once she comes back in the spring she will be a better horse next season."  Shane Organ with his only horse Tiza Nightmare. Picture: DARREN HOWE   Meanwhile, Strathfieldsaye trainer Glen Douglas extended his lead at the top of the Central region trainers' standings with a treble. Meanwhile, Strathfieldsaye trainer Glen Douglas extended his lead at the top of the Central region trainers' standings with a treble. Douglas bookended the meeting with wins with Ozzie Sunshine (driven by Ellen Tormey) and Motu Cullen (Alex Ashwood), and also picked up a victory with Diesel Don, who was having his first start for the stable. Other winners on the card included the Donaldson-trained Flaming Fives, who blitzed the field in the NR 46 to 51 trot, to win by 19.2 metres, Edwin Bromac (Greg Norman), Streitkid (Kate Hargreaves) and Rigondeaux (Maddie Ray and Haydon Gray). Rigondeaux has now won three of his five past starts since April 1, starting with a victory at Stawell before the move to regional racing. By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of THe Bendigo Advertiser

A 10-year-old that's been off the harness racing scene for nearly six years has notched up a victory that must surely rank as one of the greatest comebacks since Lazarus! All-but-forgotten bay gelding Von Ponder (Ponder-Heide Von Beltz (Bistro Lobell) apparently showed only modest capacity as a youngster, and was last despatched to the paddock as a four-year-old - where he remained until a little over four months ago. But he's certainly flourished under the careful attention of Bendigo trainer Shaun McNaulty, and his assistant Ben Pell. And after three handy performances, the big fellow scored a tidy win at his home track recently. "I think he was one of those horses that gets put out in a big paddock and sort of forgotten about," McNaulty said. "There may have been a few minor niggling problems, but the horse was pretty much retired," he said. "He was at a Marong property just down the road from me. Ben, who's one of the part-owners, helps me out and he was working another horse that got injured back in November. He wanted something else to work and he remembered Von Ponder was out running around in a paddock." After seven starts in Queensland as a three-year-old at his first race campaign (way back in 2012) Von Ponder was off the scene for nearly 18 months. He reappeared at a Victorian meeting at Maryborough in 2014 where he was unplaced-and was then banished for nearly six years before reappearing. To be precise, Von Ponder had a break of 2169 days or three weeks short of six years! "Ben owns the horse with a mate in Drew Gray," McNaulty explained. "They purchased him from Queensland back in late 2012," he said. After four months of jogging up, it was off to the trials and Von Ponder showed he hadn't forgotten what the racing caper was all about. "He went well at his first trial, and then we thought he went extra good at his next hit out," McNaulty said. "At his return race start on April 3, he finished down the track, as we expected, because of being away from racing for so long," he said. "He pulled up a little lame and we were all a bit disappointed, but it only proved to be a hoof abscess." A fortnight later Von Ponder ran a nice second placing at Bendigo and repeated the dose seven days later in a sub two-minute mile rate. Then a victory last Thursday repaid connections for their enduring patience and perseverance. After being eased off the gate by reinsman Rod Lakey, Von Ponder was caught three wide and then worked to the death seat. Shaken up on the home corner, the big lump of a horse responded nicely to post his unlikely comeback win in 1.57-2. To watch the video replay click here. And McNaulty has no doubts the old-timer can make his presence felt for some time to come. "He works nicely at home and he's been steadily getting better at each of his race outings. He hasn't got any issues, so I reckon the boys are going to have a bit of fun, that's for sure," he said. Prior to his latest success, Von Ponder was previously in the winner's circle at Brisbane's Albion Park on October 22, 2012. His lifetime summary now stands at 12 starts for two wins and three runner-up cheques for $8400 in stakes. Central Region (Bendigo) Trainer Statistics Trainer                   Starts      First       Placings       Average win S/P Glenn Douglas          82           16               20                  $5.35 Kate Hargreaves       45             7               13                  $7.38 Shaun McNaulty        19             5                5                 $13.26 Justin Brewin             17             5                1                   $5.72 Keith Cotchin              20            4                 5                  $2.50 Gary Donaldson          15            4                 3                  $7.53 Trevor Patching            7             3                 3                  $5.07 Anthony Crossland        5            3                 1                  $1.73 Ross Graham              26            2                 13                 $5.85 Ray Cross                   18            2                    4               $16.50 Terry Gange

There's been plenty of win droughts broken since the move to regional-based harness racing in Victoria in early April. You can now add Frank Barac to the list. The Elmore hobby trainer notched his first winner since Anzac Day 2016, when Madam Reactor won the three-year-old maiden pace at Lord's Raceway on Thursday night. The filly's first win came at career start number 12 and followed a pair of previous placings, including a third at Bendigo the previous week. Barac said once back at home he celebrated with a glass of Wolf Blass Eaglehawk Shiraz. "It's been a long time (between wins), a couple of years," he said. "This filly has always had ability, but it's taken a long time to get her where she is. "She's a bit immature. I gave her a long break (after her eighth start) and gave her four months off and brought her back in slowly and suddenly she's turned the corner for me." Despite putting win number one on board, Barac said there was no rush to get Madam Reactor back to the track, albeit a crack at another three-year-old fillies pace next Thursday will surely prove tempting. "It helps when there is no long travelling involved, she's not the best traveller. Short trips to Bendigo probably suit her." he said.  Frank Barac and daughter Yvette with Madam Reactor and winning driver Rod Lakey.  CLAIRE WESTON PHOTOGRAPHY   Madam Reactor, by Auckland Reactor out of Madam Altissimo, is owned and bred by Barac and his wife Laura, with daughter Yvette charged with the strapping duties. She was driven to victory by comeback driver Rod Lakey. "He's come back with a vengeance, he's driving winners from the left and the right," Barac said. "The bloke who was stabled next to me last night said I reckon if we could put Rod on a broomstick we could win with that. "He did very well out in front, I was very happy with his drive."   To watch Madam Reactor win at Lord's Raceway click here   Before Thursday, Barac's last race win was with Shebetterwin in the Ray Woods Memorial Pace at the Kyabram Harness Racing Club meeting at Echuca on April 25, 2016. Night eight of regional racing was highlighted by a training double to Glenn Douglas with Ozzie Playboy and Torrid Saint, driving doubles to Lakey (including Nikita Adele) and Alex Ashwood (Keilah and Surbiton Pretender), and a second win on the trot for the trainer/driver combination of Darryl Pearce and Shannon O'Sullivan with Paying Your Way.   By Kieran Iles   Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Easy-going Bendigo harness racing trainer Shaun McNaulty still pinches himself when he recalls the day he received a telephone call "out of the blue". McNaulty said he didn't recognize the number at all, but when the caller started chatting about a horse named Hashtag he immediately took notice. "I used to watch Hashtag probably from when he first of all started racing for (Shepparton trainer) Laura Crossland," McNaulty said. "He'd do a few things wrong, but there was always plenty of bottom to him," he said. Crossland won 10 races with the pacer before he was transferred to the Sydney stables of Craig Cross, who won three. Hashtag then headed to Queensland for a stint with Grant Dixon which produced one victory. Then connections-the Charantoss Racing Syndicate-decided it was time for Hashtag to return to Victoria. "That was my lucky day when I took the call from Charles Merola, who was ringing on behalf of the syndicate made up of 10 mates. The horse is undoubtedly the best I've ever had," McNaulty said. And Hashtag (Shadyshark Hanover-Elvira Bromac (Badlands Hanover) showed just why he's so highly-rated by McNaulty with a brilliant performance at Bendigo on Wednesday night. The brown gelding stopped the clock in winning the $12,000 Garrards Horse and Hound Pace in a time of 1.51-9, equalling the track record set back in February by the Maree Campbell-trained gelding Belittled. "We really had the best run in the race, sitting on the fence behind the two leaders, and they kept the pace on. The track is on fire at the moment, but the front ones didn't back off," McNaulty said. Streitkid (Shannon O'Sullivan) led with Form Analyst (Tayla French) up on the outside. Both horses were stirred up and pulling hard with the first quarter a blistering 26.2secs, followed with splits of 28.0, 28.2 and 29.4. Recent comeback driver Rod Lakey shot Hashtag up the sprint lane to record an easy win over Courageous Saint and Animated, the latter certainly being one to follow after charging home from the clouds. Driver Rod Lakey with Hashtag McNaulty said his pacer had a perfect attitude, with an unbelievable desire to win. "He just tries his heart out every time and loves getting out there. He's an absolute ripper. I'd compare him to one of those blokes that you always want to go to the pub with!" McNaulty laughed. Hashtag joined the Marong stable of McNaulty last August and has since won four races-the others being at Melton (twice) and Mildura. "I had planned on taking him up the highway to Mildura again for the Pacing Cup Carnival. But that got scrubbed with the coronavirus pandemic," he said. "With the regionalisation racing restrictions we haven't any option but to keep racing him at Bendigo, but that's okay because there are going to be some interesting battles ahead with Animated because he's certainly one of the best in the area at the moment." Gifted reinsman Rod Lakey, who recently returned to race driving after an absence of more than a decade, went home with a double. Apart from Hashtag, he was also successful with the Lynne Mercieca prepared pacer Art Finest (Art Official-Finest (D M Dillinger).   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The Bendigo Harness Racing Club is delighted to announce that Aldebaran Park, Australia’s home of the straightout trotter, will be the new sponsor of the Bendigo Trotters Cup.   The announcement further strengthens Aldebaran Park’s commitment to promoting square-gaiters races in Victoria, particularly at Bendigo where it has sponsored the Club’s signature race for trotting mares, the Group 1 $50,000 Aldebaran Park Maori Mile, since its inception in 2010.   The Group 3 Aldebaran Park Bendigo Trotters Cup will be held on Friday, June 26 over 2650 metres from a standing start with discretionary handicapping.   The race carries basic prizemoney of $25,000 with Aldebaran Park providing a service voucher of $2,000 to the winning owner to be used for a service to one of the Aldebaran Park stallion roster in the 2020/21 season.   The Aldebaran Park stud lineup is spearheaded by former champion Skyvalley NZ, the current leading Australian-bred trotting stallion and sire of the mighty Tornado Valley, and the royally-bred, well-performed Muscle Hill horse Aldebaran Eagle, whose first crop are yearlings.   The Bendigo Trotters Cup was inaugurated in 1972 and has been won by many of the greats of the Australian trotting turf including Scotch Notch, True Roman, Knight Pistol, Lenin, Stormy Morn and Just Money.   Aldebaran Park principal Duncan McPherson OAM said: “Aldebaran Park is delighted to extend its relationship with Bendigo HRC and coupled with our existing sponsorship of the Maori Mile it again strengthens our resolve to ensure that we promote trotting in Australia.   “There is little doubt that as an Industry we are internationalising and globalising the trotting gait in the Southern Hemisphere thus ensuring that we are a significant market of interest for Northern Hemisphere investors.”   Eric Hendrix, the general manager of the Bendigo Harness Racing Club, said:   “Already being involved at Bendigo with our Group 1 Aldebaran Park Maori Mile, I felt this was a great opportunity to once again help grow the exposure and compliment the hard work Duncan McPherson has already done for trotting.   “The BHRC has a fantastic relationship with Aldebaran Park and we look forward to growing both the Trotters Cup and Maori Mile in the years to come.”     Peter Wharton

There was a bittersweet irony to former Bendigo harness racing trainer-driver Chris Svanosio's wins aboard Surbiton Hartbreak and Pinevale Victoria at Lord's Raceway on Tuesday night. Svanosio, who moved his training base from Bendigo to Romsey late last year, does not know when he will next get the chance to compete at the venue he still regards as his hometrack. With Harness Racing Victoria moving to a region-based model from today (Thursday) in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Svanosio finds himself away from the Bendigo-based central region and zoned in the east, which has racing bases at Kilmore and Cranbourne. As he does with most things, Svanosio is taking the new regulations in his stride and is fully supportive of the move. "I'm just happy to be racing - none of us have anything to complain about, it could be a lot worse," he said. "We don't know what will happen the next few months, so it was good to go back home and get a couple of winners. "Any winner from here on in is a bonus, I just hope we can keep on racing as long as we can." Svanosio, who is enjoying another productive season with 31 training wins and a similar number of driving wins, said he was rapt to get a win for veteran Eddington-based trainer and long-time friend John Douglas on Surbiton Hartbreak. To watch the race click here "He was one of the first people, who ever gave me drives, when I first started years ago," he said. "I've known John now for a long time. "I don't drive much for him these days, but we have always been good mates, so it was good to get a winner for him."  Surbiton Hartbreak is pictured during an earlier win at Maryborough.   The Courage Under Fire four-year-old has now won two races in his eight career starts for Douglas, who oversees just a small team of horses. Svanosio was similarly chuffed to notch a victory with one of his own horses, the improving three-year-old Pinevale Victoria. "That's her third win for the season, she's not a champion, but she's a real honest little trotter," he said. "She ran in a Group 1 race a little while ago, it was good to get a win on the board. "She was bred by Terry Forster and Helen Lyttleton, who used to have the Sandhurst Road milk bar, and have leased her out to a group of Bendigo people, which was exciting for them." To watch this race click here Meanwhile, Svanosio said Norquay and Repeat After Me would be spelled after productive campaigns, which yielded multiple metropolitan wins. Two of his stable's stars Magicool and Anywhere Hugo will continue to race and are entered at Kilmore on Friday. "We have a lot of young ones who have just qualified the last few weeks - some there will be races for and some there won't," Svanosio said. "We'll just play it by ear. "We'll leave it up to the owners a bit, if they want to give them a spell they can, or if they're happy to have them keep trying to win a race or two, we're happy with that too." By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Bendigo harness racing reinsman Jayden Brewin has been left a little battered and shaken following a car crash on Wednesday but has vowed to be in the sulky on Friday night at Lord's Raceway. The 19-year-old avoided major injury when he swerved to miss a kangaroo on the Avoca-Dunolly Road, en-route to Shepparton from Stawell. Brewin had earlier notched up a winning double aboard the Adam Stephens-trained pair Fowsands and Wingate Guy, but had to forego all drives that night at Shepparton. Despite a harrowing experience, the former South Australian, who relocated to Bendigo last October, conceded the accident could have been a lot worse. Damage to the car Jayden Brewin was driving when he crashed on Wednesday.   Damage to the car Jayden Brewin was driving when he crashed on Wednesday. "I have gone to swing around a skippy and as I have done that I half lost control of the car and veered off the road," Brewin said. "I couldn't quite the steering wheel underneath me and have slid off the road and smashed into a few signs that were protecting a creek. "I must have just hit the edge of the creek, which sent the car flying. I veered off the road trying to stop it and I ended up about 10cm away from smashing into a big gum tree. "The worst thing was I took mum's car because mine needed a service. Cody Winnell@codywinnell   Big relief with reinsman @jayden_brewin lucky to escape serious injury after being involved in a bad car crash today after leaving Stawell. He drove two winners there.   Jayden brewin  · Mar 13, 2020   Replying to @GiddiebK Wow I have had 35 drives in nearly a fortnight I’m on a roll "She was a bit distraught looking at it and thinking about how bad it could have been." With a day in between to recover, Brewin declared himself fit and ready for action on Friday night at Bendigo, where he has been booked for seven drives. "I'm alright, I'm just a bit sore in my back, but that's about it," he said. "I worked a couple of horses this morning (Thursday) and everything was alright. "I was thinking how good is this (driving a double) and I thought the day would only get better, but it didn't end up that way." Race 1 won by number 8 Fowsands. Driven by Jayden Brewin for trainer Adam Stephens. Mile rate 1:59.9. Next race 2.28. Race 1 was sponsored by Premix King in Stawell. @TheTrotsComAu   Stawell Harness RC@StawellHarnessR   Race 2 won by number 6 Wingate Guy thats a double for driver Jayden Brewin and trainer Adam Stephens.@TheTrotsComAu Brewin will have little time to reflect on the accident, with him and his father Justin in the midst of moving their 12 horses from Danny Curran's Marong property to their new training base at Lord's Raceway. "Tomorrow (Friday) is our official move-in day, but we're moving most everything in (Thursday), so we don't interfere with the trots tomorrow night," he said. "We're very thankful to Danny for giving us a place to set up shop. "Making the move, we think Bendigo has got everything we need, especially now that we have got quite a few young ones in the stable." He said he was grateful for the support and well-wishes following news of his accident. Brewin, who has 33 wins and 89 placings this season, nominated the Gary Donaldson-trained Liberland (race one) and the Wayne Gretgrix-trained Manassa Sky in the feature race (race five) as perhaps is best chances on Friday night. The meeting will be the first to be run under Harness Racing Victoria's new region-based model, which restricts trainers and drivers from competing outside their own designated region. "Manassa Sky has been going pretty good and is a good chance if we can zip across to the fence," Brewin said. "It depends on what Glenn Douglas does, if he rolls off the arm (on Vandanta) he will lead on his ear. "He was a bit stiff last start, Manassa Sky, if he had got out any earlier he would he have won. He should be around the mark." By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of the Bendigo Advertiser  

A tireless dedication to preserving harness racing history has landed Bendigo's Noel Ridge industry acclaim. Ridge, the curator of the Bendigo Harness Racing Club's history and memorabilia collection at Lord's Raceway, was bestowed with a Harness Racing Australian Meritorious Service Award. The award was presented at a function on night two of the Summer of the Glory at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Ridge said the award came as 'a total shock'. "I am still shocked, I had no idea this was coming," he said. "Judy Rothacker, from the Harness Racing Victoria board presented it, and it was to do with my researching harness racing industry, particularly in central Victoria and the other bits and pieces I do, like writing. "I was there under the guise of being invited to the official function and low and behold this happened."  Noel Ridge at Lord's Raceway in 2016.   The award is the third industry honour for Ridge in the past five months. In September, he was appointed to the Victorian Harness Racing Hall of Fame (VHRHOF) selection committee. He also picked up the Graham Goffin Memorial Award for best historical feature for an article he penned on the late former horse owner, breeder, trainer and driver John Phyland. For Ridge, his passion and dedication for racing history is a labour of love. "If we haven't got a history, we haven't got an industry," he said. "I'm thrilled (by the award win), particularly from a club point of view. "What the Bendigo Harness Racing Club has established with the collection is a pretty unique point of difference." The meritorious service award was the only one presented on Saturday night. Bendigo Harness Racing Club committee member Paul Campbell said there could be no more worthier winner than Ridge. "I'd hate to think how many hours he puts in behind the scenes trying to capture history, and to store it and display it," he said. "It's a real labour of love for him. "Even the other night when the award was being presented he was still chasing history while were there (at Melton). "He doesn't stop. He's tireless and he is infectious as well. "Because of him, I and a lot of others, have a greater awareness of the history of our sport and the fact we need to store it and display it because once it's gone it's gone for good." By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Bendigo's Harness Racing Club's cup meeting at Lord's Raceway this Friday sees the eleventh running of the Aldebaran Park Maori Mile, a Group 1 sprint race for trotters worth $50,000. Not only will the winner receive the major part of the prize money and a gold cup, there will be the possibility of an invitation to one of the two most prestigious trotting events in the world, Sweden's Elitloppet, or The Yonkers International Trot in New York. Trotters and their owners, trainers and drivers from the USA, Canada, France, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand and Australia have been invited to both events in the past. Two of the past winners of the Maori Mile at Lord's Raceway in Bendigo received international invitations. The 2015 winner Maori Time - the fastest trotting mare bred in Australasia - travelled to Sweden in 2018 to compete in the Swedish Elitloppet, run at the famous Solvalla Racetrack in Stockholm, but was unplaced. The 2018 winner Sparkling Success, driven by Bendigo reinsman Chris Svanosio, was invited to the $1 million Yonkers International Trot, conducted at Yonkers Raceway in New York. Unfortunately, Sparkling Success was unable to make the trip due to injury, but his connections were able to travel to New York to be part of the event. Duncan McPherson and Aldebaran Park lent their support formalising arrangements for Maori Time's Elitloppet campaign, and the cancelled trip to the US by Sparkling Success. Along with Harness Racing Australia, they combined to subsidise and assist the connections of the horses with the provision of transport, training, preparation and some travel expenses. The Aldebaran Park Maori Mile commenced as a Group 3 event of $20,000, when won in 2010 by Acacia Ridge. In the 10 years since, it has grown into a Group 1 event of $50,000. Remarkably, the winning time for the mile race has been slashed by over five seconds from 1:59.1 by Acacia Ridge, to the scorching mile in 1:53.9 by Sparkling Success. In addition to the international pathway, the Maori Mile winner will have the opportunity to advance to the Great Southern Star, Australia's richest race for trotters at Tabcorp Park Melton on February 1, with prize money of $250,000. The Andy Gath-trained Tornado Valley was the 2019 winner of the Maori Mile at Lord's Raceway "The Aldebaran Park Maori Mile is Australia's premier Sprint Mile for Southern Hemisphere trotters, and is internationally recognised as the Invitation Race for our trotters to advance to the world stage," said Aldebaran Park's principal Duncan McPherson. "This race again represents Aldebaran Park's vision of the internationalisation and globalisation of our sport here in Australia". With the $70,000 Garrard's Horse and Hound Bendigo Pacing Cup and a great card of supporting races, BHRC chief executive officer Erik Hendrix said a great night out for the family is assured. "We have an amazing night installed catering for all age groups with kids zone activities, including a water slide, face painting, live music, food trucks and dinning packages with reserved seating available," he said. "The BHRC has a fantastic grass area so we encourage families to bring a blanket and enjoy a great night of family fun and racing." This year entry is only a gold coin donation with all money raised going to support a fantastic local charity in the Community Kitchen. With much of the community currently experiencing drought conditions and financial hardship, the Community Kitchen is bringing volunteers, farmers and isolated people together. Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Bendigo Harness Racing Club has announced its 2020 pacing cup sponsor is Garrard’s Horse and Hound. Garrard’s already has strong ties to the club as a current sponsor and most importantly owns the local Garrard’s Horse and Hound store on premise under the grandstand. CEO Daren Garrard said "opportunities like this don’t come around often, so when Erik approached us to take over as the new major sponsor of the pacing cup we felt it was a great fit for our brand and on-course business". The Garrard’s Horse and Hound Bendigo Pacing Cup has moved from its traditional Saturday night due to a clash of major events in Bendigo. Now racing one day earlier on Friday night (January 3 ), club CEO Erik Hendrix said “we don’t see this date change as a negative". "With several thousand visitors staying in town to attend the Red-Hot Summer Tour event at Bendigo Racecourse on Saturday night we are looking to take advantage of the increased numbers in Bendigo,” Mr Hendrix said. The night will attract public and industry attention as, in addition to its cup, Bendigo will also host the Group 1 Aldebaran Park Maori Mile. In recent times winning horses of this race have been earned the interest of international followers with invitations to race overseas on a global scale. Not only will there be sensational action on the track, this will also be complemented by a large array of off-track entertainment. Free Zone activities for the kids including laser tag, jumping castle, a water slide, as well as face painting, Hero Horses, live music and food trucks. Dining Packages for reserved seating are now available. For more information call 5449 3205.   BHRC

Champion Melton harness racing trainer-driver Lance Justice has achieved it all over the years. But last night at Bendigo, he secured a win that is sure to always be special. Justice was seen at his best to come up trumps in the eighth running of the $10,000 Oxley Feed Mill Invitational Veteran Drivers Trot- the highlight on the 10-race program. The wily horseman combined with Blue Sparkler (Danny Bouchea-Argyle Grace (Lawman) to score a comfortable win for Ballarat trainer Emma Stewart. Competitors in the feature event have been outstanding ambassadors of the sport over many years, including such legends as Brian Gath, Geoff Webster, Ginger Gleeson, Jim O'Sullivan, Mark Hayes, Debra Wicks-Moss, Glenn Conroy, Noel Shinn and Graeme Whittle. Gath, who lives at nearby Longlea, had been victorious in two of the past three races including defeating Justice last year. "I was thrilled to get the call-up last year and got rolled by Brian Gath. I thought I was the winner until he swooped. So it's fantastic to now make amends," Justice said. "Competing in this event is one reason I'm still driving-I seriously thought about giving it away a month ago," he said. "I was offered an invitation in this event again, then the guy at Wayville in Adelaide rang me about competing at their special meeting next month. "I won that last year, so I thought I'd better go back again for another crack!" Justice is still in Victoria's top three reinsmen, behind Chris Alford and Gavin Lang and has more than 3400 winners on his record. "I'll weigh up my options after that. I've had a good time of it." Lance Justice It was a significant night for honouring harness racing greats at Bendigo, which is home to the Victorian Harness Racing Museum, with the club hosting the Victorian Harness Racing Hall of Fame awards ceremony. Edgar Tatlow was inducted as the eighth Legend of the Victorian Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Mr Tatlow's Derby Lodge dominated Australian trots, producing 13 Inter Dominion winners and the horse he stood at stud, Globe Derby, was elevated to Legend status in 2015. Mr Tatlow is in the elite company as an industry "legend". Previous inductees include Gordon Rothacker (2012), Maori's Idol (2013), George Gath (2014), Popular Alm (2016), Vin Knight (2017) and Bill McKay (2018). At the awards ceremony, there were also six inductions to the Hall of Fame: Horse inductee: Gyro Horse inductee: Noble Scott Trainer-driver inductee: Alice Laidlaw Trainer-driver inductee: Ken Pocock Trainer-driver inductee: Dick Lee Associate: Harry Holmfield Current-day reinsman Greg Sugars was awarded the inaugural 'Fan Favourite' award and John Azzopardi was awarded the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association Award.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Lord's Raceway has played host to plenty of history-making events, and the the Bendigo Harness Racing Club was not about to let Chris Alford go without a reminder of where one of his biggest achievements happened. The champion reinsman notched up his 7000th career winner, when he steered the Kelvin Barker-trained No City Chick to a trademark conspicuous win in the second race on Friday night's card in Bendigo. The 50-year-old, known as 'The Puppet' brought up his 6999th victory aboard the Graeme Dalton/Sutton Grange-trained Missus Matilda on Thursday at Maryborough. He would need just two more drives to become the first in the sport in Australia to get to 7000. BHRC marked the milestone with the presentation of a plaque to Alford, who earlier this year nabbed his 100th Group 1 winner. The popular reinsman left behind a permanent reminder of the night by signing a racebook below the magical 7000 number. The book will soon be framed, to be preserved in the Bendigo Harness Racing Museum, operated by historian Noel Ridge. An appreciative Alford was quick to praise the generous support of owners and trainers in helping him reach the milestone. "It's good to have something I can say I've done and that no one else has done before," he said "In years to come that will be broken I'm sure by all these young ones coming through; they are doing very well. "I will just have to try and keep on getting more winners as we go along just to stay in front of them. "I can't thank the owners and trainers enough for putting me on. I go out there and make blues as much as anyone else, but I get to drive lot of fast horses too. "I'd like to thank my family - I don't get to see them much as I am always away racing, but I am sure they would have been screaming at the TV at home. "Hopefully I can keep doing a good job for a little bit longer." Alford's 7000th career win capped a big August for the brilliant reinsman, who earlier in the month went past 400 winners for the 2018-19 season. His last 1000 winners have come in the period from May 2017 and tonight (August 30).   By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

It was cold and chilly last night at Lord's Raceway, Bendigo, but the form of the most feared harness racing partnership in the land, Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, was nothing short of incandescent. The meeting marked the start to the Vicbred Super Series for 2019 and the Ballarat-based pair showed utter domination, going home with a clean sweep. They won all seven of the two-year-old heats and finished with nine out of nine runners qualifying for the semis. The seven-wins tally fell one short of Stewart's best ever "night at the office", when in June last year at a metropolitan Melton meeting, she trained eight winners on the night - as well as six runner-ups and two third placings. Stewart and her long-time partner Clayton Tonkin last week passed the 200 mark for winners this season and make no secret they have a hard work ethic. Their incredible success is no doubt due in large part to the consistent workload poured into the huge team, the pair paying tribute to the dedication and commitment of their staff to ensure each horse is trained in the cart daily. Clayton's father Peter is an astute horseman, well known for his ability to pull off a good old-fashioned plunge, and a great trainer in his day with an incredible strike rate. At Bendigo, rising star Kima Frenning started the ball rolling in the opening event with an impressive win with Pandering (Courage Under Fire-Pandalay Bay (Artsplace) in the first heat for the boys. Leading New South Wales reinswoman Amanda Turnbull, again accumulating a host of frequent flyer points as she criss-crosses the country to compete, stole the limelight in the next two events. Turnbull scored a convincing win with Amelia Rose (Art Major-Bennies Daughter (Falcon Seelster) in the first of the fillies heats but was forced to earn her driving fee in the next. Piloting Treasure (Art Major-O Narutac Bella (Western Ideal), Turnbull was on the receiving end of some early interference, broke at the start and settled last. After getting balanced up, she slipped around three wide to sit outside the leader Realnspectacular (Blake Jones) approaching the bell lap. The two fancied runners raced head-and-head over the last 450 metres with Treasure, going for a hat-trick, doing best over the concluding stages. Crack freelance reinsman Greg Sugars was given an armchair ride on Mirragon (Art Major-The Waratah (Mach Three) in the colts and geldings second heat. After summing up the situation in a flash, Sugars took off three wide early to sit parked. The heavily backed son of Art Major, an eye-catching type, did all the work and then strode away when Sugars gave him an inch of rein. The final two splits were identical in 27.8 apiece. Most impressive! Champion Melbourne reinsman Chris Alford, who had been cooling his heels watching the action unfold from the sidelines, made the most of his available chances with consecutive wins in races six and seven. He piloted $2.50 favorite Jemstone (Bettors Delight-Hawaiian Hottie (American Ideal) for Stewart and Tonkin in the third heat for the fillies, and then got the chocolates nicely in the boys' third heat with Beale Street (Art Major-Shezacullen (Christian Cullen). Jemstone Beale Street In the fourth and final heat for the fillies, punters put their faith in Kima Frenning aboard another Stewart-Tonkin runner in Artemede, sent out at $1.70 favorite. Frenning did her best with a cushy lead time, and then a slow speed early but the tempo picked up when Greg Sugars allowed stablemate Maajida to stride up outside. It was Sugars who got the chocolates, Maajida (Somebeachsomewhere-Arterial Way (Art Major) too strong, running to the line to score by a neck. Final Peace (David Murphy), who was behind the leader all the way, tried valiantly to upset the party with a fast-finishing burst along the sprint lane, ahead of Artemede hanging on for third. The VicBred Super Series mission marked the end of an incredible 10 days for the team, winning no fewer than 17 races, including the $100,000 Allwood 2YO at Globe Derby Park (with Pandering), and the $25,000 NSW Breeders Crown semi final at Menangle (with Be Happy Mach). Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E   W      

Experienced South Australian harness racing trainer-driver Greg Norman has decided the time is right to border hop and try his luck in Victoria. Norman, 54, will soon set up base at Charlton, about an hour north of Bendigo, with a team of at least six pacers. The successful horseman, who is private trainer at the Two Wells property of prominent owners Terry Cormack and his sons Adam and Paul, said the plan was to “test the waters” during a three-month trial period. “We all talked it over and come to the decision to give it a go,” Norman said. “The game is not travelling all that well in South Australia, so that was probably the main reason for the shift,” he said. “Over the years we’ve had a few short campaigns in Victoria to chase Vicbred and Breeders Crown bonuses – and we’ve done quite well.” Norman will be based at the Charlton harness racing training complex, located on 12 hectares at the edge of town. There are 11 tracks within 120 kilometres of the centre, and Norman said he was excited at the prospect of having nearly 150 meetings each season within easy reach. “It’s just a perfect spot. I’ve spent virtually my whole life living in country towns and I’m impressed with what I’ve seen here,” he said. “At the training complex we’ll have unrestricted use of a 820 metre training track and there’s also a 2000 metre straight track and a swimming dam.” Tenants at Charlton have their own 60 x 30 shed with electricity, access to town water, lock-up harness and feed areas, a wash bay, harness-up area and two boxes. “But one of the aspects I really love is the eight adjoining huge day yards because I train all of our horses out of the paddock at home.” Norman has been around horses all his life, coming from a strong harness racing pedigree. His late grandfather Reg Norman and late father Rex prepared a string of quality pacers during the halcyon days of the 1950s through to the end of racing at Adelaide’s tight, 502 metre (two-and-a-half-furlong track) Wayville track in 1973. The Norman stable-stars list reads like a who’s who in South Australian golden era of harness racing: Machine Again; Bylaw; Chief Spring; Blue Proof; Pewter; Aladdin’s Lamp; Merchant; Peter Adios; The Judge; and, of course, Aachen, the 1960 SA Cup winner (famous for creating what was, at the time, a record winning sequence of 20) and later going on to become a champion sire. Greg Norman has been successful in his own right, winning at least 13 country cups and a group three Victorian Cup at Melton for the Cormack family. “There will be mares and foals, and a host of yearlings back at the Two Wells property, and these will be under the care of two great workers in Jamie Williams and Paul Butterworth,” Norman said. “What has stood out for me here is the passion shown by the harness racing people at Charlton.  They are trying to attract more horsemen to the area and people bring people. They are a very pro-active and progressive club.” Norman is hoping a foray into Victoria to race at Ouyen last weekend will be the beginning of good things to come. Bay gelding Cee Cee In America (American Ideal-Ultimate CC (Christian Cullen) was impressive in taking out the first heat of the Ray and Grace Hepworth Memorial 3yo Pace. The pacer, a warm $2 favorite, was driven a treat by Kerryn Manning. “I’m not really officially counting that win as the start of the Victorian venture, but I do hope it’s a good sign,” Norman said. Although he’s had two previous stints in Victoria, at harness racing stables in Healesville and Avenel, Norman is keeping his powder dry about any shift in his footy allegiances. With the move east, he’s instead planning a few Melbourne trips on his days off. “I’m an enthusiastic Port Adelaide follower so I’d love to get down to the city and cheer on the boys,” he said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

He might have stepped down from the Bendigo Harness Racing Club Committee, but Peter Svanosio is not walking away from the sport he loves. Anything but. The Bendigo and indeed Australian harness racing stalwart and former trainer was honoured for 42-years of service at a gathering of past and present committee members on Tuesday night. It officially marked the end his time on the committee. But the BHRC life member has no plans on exiting the harness racing scene. "I just felt my time was up on the committee, but I will still be helping around the club," he said. "I'll still drive the mobile for them and I'll still have my horses. "I'll help out when I can. (Son and trainer/driver) Chris and I have got plenty of horses and I'm busy at the trials. "We have got a mobile driver, who I trained up. I drove it for a while last year when they didn't have anyone. If he goes away or has a week off, I won't let them down and I'll step in. "If there's something else that needs to be done, I'll do it. "I had probably been trying to give it away the last three or four years, hoping someone would come along and take my spot, so the president was well aware that if there was something wanting to fill a spot it was there." Svanosio officially tendered his resignation the day after the 2019 Bendigo Pacing Cup meeting. He said he looked back with great pride on his involvement with both the committee and a progressive club. Svanosio felt privileged the club's members had continued to show faith in him throughout his more than four decades on the committee. "When I came onto the committee, you had to be elected and face an election every two years - I was in people's hands," he said. "It's not like these days when clubs and organisations struggle to get people on to committees. "I take some pride in the fact that members of my club continued to re-elect me. "That is why I was still there all those years and then went off on my own volition." Svanosio said the horses he raced with son Chris would continue to take up plenty of his time. One of those, Artful Christian will line up on Bendigo Powder Coating 2019 Anniversary Cup night at Lord's Raceway on Friday. The six-year-old gelding, who was breed by former BHRC executive Dennis Bice, will contest a C2 to C3 event, and will be driven by emerging driver Tayla French. A high-calibre field for the Anniversary Cup (C6 or better) is headed by the Emma Stewart-trained Somerocksomeroll and Idealsomemagic, who is chasing a fourth-straight win for the Tindale stable. BHRC general manager Erik Hendrix praise 42 years of 'wonderful' service from Svanosio. "Introduced to the club as a young boy, Peter has truly seen this club built from the ground up," he said. "I have never seen anyone serve such a long time on any type committee. "It's a testament to Peters character and shows how well loved he was around the club to be continually voted on as a committee member. "Peter will now have time to concentrate on helping trainer, driver and son Chris Svanosio with his growing stable. "As a life member you will still see Peter around the club and at most meetings." Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.  By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Hard-working Bendigo harness racing freelance driver Neil “Pecker” McCallum has reason to be proud of an impressive record as a motorist criss-crossing the State to compete at meetings. Despite travelling around 100,000 kilometres annually for the past 25 years McCallum had managed to avoid accidents or incidents on country roads or metropolitan highways. But that was until last Sunday week. McCallum suffered a broken back after tangling with a kangaroo while driving at about 8.10 am between his home at Lockwood, on the outskirts of Bendigo, to Maryborough. “I was just poking along the Maldon to Maryborough Road near Baringhup, when a kangaroo came out from near some big rocks at the top of a hill and cleaned me up,” McCallum said. “It was on a Sunday and it’s been a ritual of mine for a long time to go to Maryborough trials,” he said. “There was some light mist about, but that didn’t really matter.  I just reckon the ‘roo was headed somewhere in a big hurry.” McCallum said the front of his 2012 Ford utility was close to destroyed and there was damage to the windscreen and other sections of the vehicle. “I hit the roo and thought I was going to be okay and pull over, but as I shifted over to the edge of the road, my left wheel caught on some rocks and just dragged me in,” he said. “I flew up in the air and bounced around over all the boulders. They caused huge damage to the diff and smashed up underneath the ute. “When we came to rest, I couldn’t get the door open, but I crawled around and found my mobile phone to ring the police and ambulance.” McCallum was wrapped in an ice blanket at the scene before being transferred to Bendigo Hospital after complaining of severe back pain. “I was dosed up with a fair amount of pain killers and sent to Melbourne where I spent the night in hospital. There was barely a mark on my back, but the damage was inside,” he said. “Doctors found that I had broken my T12 vertebrae straight through, so that meant having an operation where two six-inch bolts and eight two-inch rods were inserted around it to keep the vertebrae in line. “I ended up with about a 14-inch cut down my back which they then had to sew up from the inside. Scars left from Neil’s surgery “I think the idea behind that is to fuse up my back and it’s also designed so that when I move, everything shifts in one big block.” While the popular reinsman is out of action at present, he certainly hasn’t lost his sense of humor saying he had a lot of swelling and was “feeling a bit like a humpback whale”. McCallum is now able to stand, but walking is more like a shuffle. “Not that I try to stand a lot because it absolutely kills me to then try and straighten up,” he said. “I’ve got a special bed to help me to rest up, so most of my day is lying about watching television. “I don’t think I’ve ever watched more harness racing meetings than what I have in the past eight or nine days!” On the day of the accident, after driving at the Maryborough trials, McCallum had planned to head to the Horsham Cup meeting where he was engaged to drive talented trotter The Penny Drops, for Ray Harvey, of Stawell. And the three-year-old flying machine, with late call-up driver Grant Campbell aboard, took out the Cheeky Fox Trotters Handicap at a short $1.80 favorite. McCallum had previously driven the horse to four wins and a placing from nine starts. Neil McCallum in action on The Penny Drops in January McCallum said when he was in Bendigo Hospital, he remembers his wife Leanne showing him the race involving The Penny Drops on her phone. “I was in-and-out of it a bit, but I do remember waking up just to see The Penny Drops go over the finish line and win. He’s a classy horse who has made two Group One finals.” McCallum said he hadn’t thought about when he might get back into the action on the harness racing scene. “It could be two months, or it might be six months. Of course, I’m missing it, but more importantly I’ve got to get myself right,” he said. “I know a bit about back problems because I’ve had a few over time. I reckon I’ll be seeing a physio regularly and it’s back to Melbourne in four weeks for a CAT scan.” McCallum said he had been enjoying a reasonable season with a “handful of nice horses” keeping him ticking along. He said he had been thrilled with many calls and cards from harness racing people. “Country harness racing people are a loyal bunch.  I’ve had a lot of well-wishers and I greatly appreciate it.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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