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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

Former Tasmanian reinsman Alex Ashwood has taken the next big step in his young harness racing career by establishing himself in Bendigo. Ashwood, the son of astute Apple Isle trainer and driver Rodney Ashwood, has recently settled in Bendigo with girlfriend and trainer Kate Hargreaves, with the couple basing themselves at the Shelbourne property previously owned by former trainer Larry Eastman. It’s been a long road to Bendigo for the talented 24-year-old, who left his home state as a 17-year-old to work with the Long Forest husband and wife team of Andy and Kate Gath. An initial three-year stretch with the multiple Group 1-winning stable was followed by a stint with Dean Braun, before a return to the Gaths. Ashwood said he would be ‘forever grateful’ for the support and opportunities afforded him by the Gaths, but the time was ripe for him to branch out on his own with Hargreaves. “It’s exciting times ahead, we have a great group of owners behind us supporting us and backing us,” he said. “We just need to get the results on the board now. “(Bendigo) is a great harness racing community, it’s very central to most of the main tracks in Victoria. “We have a variety of options to place the weaker horses.” Their first three weeks at Shelbourne have produced a few placegetters, but as yet no winners. But with a few of the team’s better horses returning to action in the next few weeks, Ashwood believes a breakthrough success is close. “The year ahead, we have a couple of nice two-year-olds coming through,” he said. “We have two we are hoping qualify for the VicBred series later in the year and we can chase that Group 1 glory.” An exciting and busy settling-in period for the couple just got even busier, with Hargreaves this week returning to her full-time job as a teacher at Kennington Primary School. A typical day for the young trainer begins at Shelbourne at 5am, before a trip back into Bendigo at 7.30pm in time for a day in the classroom. Ashwood, whose busy driving schedule has taken him from Junee last Sunday, Stawell (Monday) and Bendigo (Wednesday), to Cranbourne (Thursday night) and Mildura (Friday), did not hesitate in choosing his father and Andy Gath as the biggest influences on his career in the sulky. Alex Ashwood@albieashwood Want to say a big thankyou to @apgath68 and Kate for the past 6 years. You guys have gone above and beyond for me and if it wasn't for you both I wouldn't be where I am today. You took me in as a 17 year old and made me part of the family which I'm forever grateful for. See Alex Ashwood's other Tweets   “Dad has been alongside me the whole way giving me guidance; in saying that Andy Gath has been great too,” he said. “They (the Gaths) train about 50 horses – divided between trotters and pacers – and do a wonderful job. “They are very organised and the care they give to their horses is second to none. “They pay a lot of attention to detail and they get the results.” Set on 60 acres, the couple’s training complex includes a 1280m track, two dams and 16 yards. Future plans include the addition of a water-walker, though Ashwood admits the couple are in no hurry having finally realised the dream of a place of their own. “Two years ago we only started off with one horse; I bought a horse at the yearling sales called Aldebaran Pete and then I owned a horse with Terry Stone called Mojo Major,” he said. “Then we had a horse called Drayton (who won a Gammalite Cup at Terang), who did a good job. “From there, a couple of dad’s clients from Tassie sent over a few horses over and it’s snowballed from there. “We’re getting more and more horses and more owners behind us – we’re looking forward to what the future will bring.” By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of the Bendigo Advertiser

A TOUGH draw at Bendigo on Friday night should have no impact on Whats In The Esky continuing his unbeaten record for the season. Successful at his four starts for the term, Whats In The Esky will begin from the outside of the second row for trainer Allan McDonough who is positive the Australian Pacing Gold purchase can extend his winning sequence. “I think he can still win,” McDonough said. “He is up in grade a little, but is still lightly-assessed based on his potential. “At least over 2100 metres he has a chance of getting into the race from the draw. “His work since his win at the same track last week has been great and he’ll be right in it.” Despite Whats In The Esky’s impressive form McDonough has no major plans in mind for the four-year-old. “At this stage I will just keep going through the country fronts with him,” McDonough said. “A heat and Final series would be ideal if I can find one. “There is an M0 series towards the end of the year, so if he keeps going the way he is, it is something I will look at when it gets closer.” APG Media

Harness Racing Victoria’s Trots Vision at will deliver extended coverage of the 2018 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series (VSS18) first round of heats tonight and tomorrow night from Bendigo and Kilmore. Tonight’s coverage will feature live streaming of all races from Bendigo, including the two-year-old pacing Empire Stallions VSS18 races at, with caller Lachie McIntosh’s pre-race thoughts, followed by post-race interviews by Bendigo’s Kirsten Graham. AFL star Josh Jenkins will also be on track and part of the coverage. Tomorrow night Dan Mielicki will be the voice of the from Kilmore for the three-year-old Empire Stallions VSS18 pacing races, with Trots Media’s Cody Winnell track side for the live streamed post-race interviews. RSN and HRV have also teamed to deliver RSN listeners exclusive Good Form late-mail thoughts in the lead-up to all Empire Stallions VSS18 heats tonight and tomorrow, with Blake Redden and Jason Bonnington on hand with their thoughts eight minutes prior to each race. All the action can also be viewed on Sky Racing 1, channel 526 on Foxtel. Don’t miss any of the action, live and free, at and join the social media discussion on all platforms using the hashtag #VSS18 CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA 

New general manager Erik Hendrix believes Bendigo Harness Racing Club has plenty to offer for more than just the regular racing follower. And he’s keen to ensure as many new patrons as possible get to share that experience at Lords Raceway. Hendrix has replaced Brendan Baker as the club’s general manager, effective from May 1. He joins the club following a six-year stint as the PGA professional at Neangar Park Golf Club. Hendrix is confident the business, event management and administrative skills gained through his previous role would stand him in good stead in his new position. He has quickly identified attracting new patrons as a priority for the club and hoped to position it as a family-friendly venue, with a reputation for fine catering. “For me coming in, I can see Adrian Hensley, our head caterer, is producing fine meals on our race nights, which are super affordable,” he said. “We want people to go down that path, to come out and have a meal and watch the races with their family.” The new general manager said he would not be lost to the golf course entirely, albeit with a shift in focus. “I’m actually playing a tournament over at King Island next week, but from a playing point of view it will only be in the social sector from now on,” he said. “I won’t be playing for money anymore, but at the end of the day, my role (at Neangar Park) was more about teaching and running the pro-shop. “I’ve been in the golf industry since I can remember and Neangar Park for six years, it’s been a great environment for my family to grow and helped cement ourselves in the community. “I now look forward to the future here.” BHRC will host its next meeting on Friday, May 18. By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

The result of every harness race run in Bendigo from 1855 to 1954 will soon be available at the click of a finger. It follows months of pain-staking research from passionate Melbourne-based harness racing historian John Peck. His 304-page Trotting Annals Bendigo and Environs 1855 – 1954 is expected to be available online at the Bendigo Library within weeks. Peck, who was last year inducted into the Victorian Harness Racing Media Association Hall of Fame, has spent countless hours delving into the records and old newspapers at the State Library over the last 12 months to compile his research. He describes it as a labour of love. “Dad and granddad always went to the races – they never owned a horse, but they always went to the races at the Showgrounds,” he said. It is not the first time Peck, who previously worked for the former Australian Trotting Record publication, has compiled in-depth works for Victorian harness racing clubs. His previous research works include histories of the Ballarat and Horsham clubs, with plans to eventually add Geelong. He says his motivation for compiling the history was simple. “Trotting just doesn’t get the coverage it deserves,” Peck said. “There’s no officials results pre-1954. I have just done Bendigo, there’s a file I work on twice a week which is now up to 3400 pages. That’s every trotting race in Victoria since 1838. “And it’s still being added to because I have done everything on Trove on all the metropolitan newspapers and now I’m going through all the country ones. “I’m doing Kyneton at the moment.” The annals record Bendigo’s first trotting race as taking place at Myers Flat on November 22, 1855, when the Tennant family-owned Bobby defeated a Mr Brown’s horse in a match-race for 20 pounds over a distance of one-and-a-half miles. Among the more popular match-race courses in the 1850s and 60s were from the former Glasgow Arms in Kangaroo Flat, to the Victoria Hotel in Pall Mall, Black Swan Hotel and Victoria Hotel, many of them starting at 5am. Peck’s research also includes an extensive list of trotting results from Bendigo Agriculture Society Sports meetings conducted at Bendigo Showgrounds and long-since disappeared tracks like Axedale, Eaglehawk, Goornong, Marong, Myers Creek, Raywood, Sebastian and Toolleen. Trotting just doesn’t get the coverage it deserves. John Peck Bendigo Harness Racing Club historian Noel Ridge said the research shed plenty of light on the history of the sport in Bendigo and dispelled a few myths. “A lot of people think trotting started with the opening of Lords Raceway in 1954, but in actual fact it’s been going for more than 100 years,” he said. “This research is not all about the horses, but it’s the people and the places and the whole social aspect that was going on at the time. “In the (gold) boom, they had some serious horses – the wealthy people engaged in horse racing big-time, so it’s a big part of Bendigo history.” Ridge said the club was indebted to Peck for his tireless work and looked forward to it being made available to the public.  Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Lord's Raceway has been a second home for harness racing driver Chris Svanosio. His father Peter has been on the committee of the Bendigo Harness Racing Club for the best part of 40 years and Chris has been attending the Bendigo Pacing Cup meeting since he was old enough to walk. It was fitting that the Bendigo harness racing driver broke through for his first Group One victory on Bendigo Pacing Cup night. Svanosio steered Sparkling Success to a stunning victory in the Group One $28,500 Aldebaran Park Maori Mile on Saturday.   For the locals, Svanosio's victory overshadowed Messini's win in the Petstock Bendigo Pacing Cup. "To win my first Group One race at Bendigo in front of a lot of family and friends was terrific,'' Svanosio said. "It's great to win a big race. You do a lot of travelling, a lot of late nights, a lot of early mornings...this is the reward." Svanosio didn't bustle Sparkling Success out of the gates and he settled ideally in fourth place. Svanosio made a key move with 1000m remaining when he moved Sparkling Success to the death seat outside the leader.  Chris Svanosio and the winning connections after Sparkling Success' victory. Picture: STUART McCORMICK   The six-year-old trotter travelled sweetly outside Glenferrie Typhoon and put the race to bed at the top of the home straight. Sparkling Success won by 6.5m in a track record time of 1:53:9. It was also the quickest time for a trotter over a mile in Victoria. "He felt terrific all the way and he just cruised home,'' Svanosio said. "I was happy to stay out of trouble early on and I knew once the race settled down that the death seat would be available. "The horse races well from the death seat and he never looked like losing. "Once he gets a length or two in front... he sometimes waits for the others, but he just did it so easy." Svanosio said Sparkling Success was likely to have one more run before its grand final in the Great Southern Star.  Chris Alford and Messini win the Bendigo Pacing Cup. Picture: STUART McCORMICK   Meanwhile, master driver Chris Alford put on a clinic at Lord's Raceway on Saturday night. Alford won five of the eight races, including the Petstock Bendgo Pacing Cup with Messini. The Cup was expected to be a two-horse war between Moonrock and Ideal For Real, but it was Messini, Alford and trainer Brett Lilley who had the last laugh. Messini enjoyed the hot tempo out in front and Alford produced a well-timed run to win by six metres from Mister Wickham and Bad Billy. Missrock and Ideal For Real finished fourth and seventh respectively.  Waikare Astronomer was impressive in winning race two on Bendigo Pacing Cup night. Picture: STUART McCORMICK   Longlea trainer Graham McDermott celebrated a home track win with Waikare Astronomer. Aided by a great Gavin Lang drive, Waikare Astronomer stormed home on the sprint lane to win his second race from just nine career starts. By Adam Bourke Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) will start post-race endoscopic horse examinations at Bendigo Harness Racing Club and Tabcorp Park Melton. This initiative will start at Bendigo on 8 February, 2018, and be trialled for 12 months at these two venues.  The program, the only one of its kind in Australian harness racing, will allow veterinarians acting upon the request of stewards to conduct thorough and timely post-race endoscopic examinations of horses that perform below expectations to identify any abnormalities and the need for further treatment. HRV Senior Veterinarian Dr Julia Aspinall said the examinations would allow vets to check horses’ airways and provide immediate feedback to owners and trainers on course while their horses were cooling down. “This service will assist the trainer and owner in identifying potential medical conditions which may be treated as early as possible to enhance horse health and welfare and therefore reduce costs to owners,” Dr Aspinall said. Trainers and owners also have the option, subject to the demands of the on-course veterinarians at Bendigo and Melton, to request endoscopic examinations for their horses. Official endoscopic examinations requested by the stewards will take precedence over requests from trainers for elective post-race scoping. A charge of $100 will be made for this service and digital images can be provided on request. Official endoscopic examinations requested by the stewards are free of charge. The examinations’ launch in Bendigo is an acknowledgement of the work of the club’s veterinarian Dr Kath McIntosh, who proposed post-race endoscopic examinations and then helped develop the concept with HRV General Manager-Integrity Brent Fisher. Mr Fisher said stewards would be provided with full details of those endoscopic examinations that were conducted by the veterinarians and these would be included in the stewards’ reports.    Notwithstanding Harness Racing Australia rules that apply to a horse’s nostrils, there will be no action taken on voluntary post–race scoping results unless a substantial trachea problem is evident that may require clearance by the stable veterinarian.  There will be more information provided to the Industry prior to the commencement date, but anyone seeking information can contact the HRV Integrity Department on (03) 8378 0222. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

For the sixth time since the series started in 2011, Bendigo Harness Racing Club will turn back harness racing’s clock as the club stages its Memorial Race Night . The BHRC has assembled one of the best lists of master drivers available in Victoria to compete in the feature race, the $10,000 Oxley Feed Mills Veteran Drivers Trot. Combined the veteran drivers have four Inter-Dominion wins as well as Hunter Cups, Victoria Cups, Breeders Crowns, a New Zealand Trotting Cup, Oaks, Derbies, Country Cups and just about every other major race feature listed on their career records.  The combined total of winners driven by the 10 competitors is more than 11,200, with Longlea based Inter Dominion winning driver Brian Gath heading the group with more than 3300 wins. Newly crowned Gordon Rothacker medallist, two time Inter-Dominion winning driver, and twice leading Australian trainer Jim O'Sullivan, based at Heathcote is in the field, along with Elmore’s Cliff Powell who trained and drove Derby Royale to win the 1978 Trotting Inter Dominion at Moonee Vallee, famously ending the legendary Maoris Idols winning sequence. The wizard of Great Western, Peter Manning, a perpetual state leading trainer who on several occasions topped the national rankings, will don his silks, along with  recent additions to the “65-year-old veteran ranks” Noel Shinn and Ginger Gleeson.  Veterans of trotting at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, dual Maryborough Cup-winning driver Bill Spitiri and Tatura;s multiple Victoria Trotting Derby, Russell Thompson return.. New to the race this year following the retirement of legends Graema Lang and Neville Welsh are veterans of the Showgrounds and Moonee Valley John ”Bulldog”  Nicholson and Bridgewater’s Peter Rothacker. As a further highlight of the Memorial Race night seven races have been named to remember the significant contributions to Bendigo district harness racing of past participants Merv Dillon, Henry McDermott, Ted Manton, Ron Pocock, Les Pratt, Daphne and Ken Pocock and Bob Birthisel. The Bendigo Harness Racing Club has developed a significant trotting history and memorabilia collection that will be open to the public for viewing throughout the night. Oxley Feed Mill, Bendigo Veteran Drivers Trot Bios Brian Gath A member of the famous Gath dynasty. Drove his first winner at the Royal Melbourne Show in 1960. Has trained and driven multiple champions from Corop McEwen to Bendigo Cup winner Safari. Brian  won the 1978 Inter Dominion Pacers Final with Markovina and finished second with Franco Tiger in 1992 and Shakamaker in 2002. Has driven in Europe and the U.S.A. Leading Vic driver: 73-73, 76-77, 80-81. Leading Victorian trainer: 80-81 Ginger Gleeson Drove his first winner Gay Tonic, at Terang in 1967 aged 16. Freelanced for many big stables, with nine Group One winners including Cunning Lad (Qld 4yo Championship), two Melbourne Pacing Cups with Constant Rhythm and Cunning Lad and a Shepparton Cup on Game Oro. Other wins include an Ouyen Cup with Go Van, Victoria Cup with Robert Preneur and two Trotters Oaks with Rainbow Idol and Rainbow Billy.  Trains at Bacchus Marsh Peter Manning. Master trainer of juveniles before expanding to train a large team at Great Western. 2007 Rothacker medalist. His three training/driving daughters include world record holding driver Kerryn. Standout horses include star juveniles Kathryn Dancer, Pelicanrama and Boa Vista Lombo. Trained the champion international trotter Knight Pistol and 1996 Australian 2yo Pacer of the Year Sheza Mona. Continues to train a large team. Leading Australian trainer in 2004/5. Leading Victorian trainer: 99-2000, 2004-5, 2005-6, 2006-7. John (Bulldog) Nicholson Started in trotting by working for legendary trainers Sid McLean and Ron (Tubby) Peace. His first winner was Hospitality. John’s list of good winners includes Sammy Karamea, Landscape, Mi Coconut, Molly Darling, Ginger Bliss, Halyer, Marbles and Kid Coconut. Buster Punter was a favorite as King of the Claimers.  In the early 1980s John won the Macau International Invitation Series, against drivers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA. Trains at Melton. Jim O’Sullivan Trained and drove standouts including Margaret Shannon, Quite Famous and It’s Motor Power. Jim is a dual Interdominion winning driver winning the 1987 Inter Dominion Pacers Final with My Lightning Blue and the 1989 Inter Dominion Trotting final with Yankee Loch. Trains locally at Heathcote. Leading Australian trainer 1978 and ’79. Cliff Powell Trains at Elmore. First winning drive at Bendigo was Convive. Cliff trained and drove Derby Royale to victory in the 1978 Inter-dominion Trotter’s final in Melbourne to end Maoris Idol’s unbeaten streak. Has trained and driven many top pacers including Our Grattan (Ouyen Cup), Modern Man, Belgian Accent (Shepparton Cup) Bendigo Cup winner Taronga, and Paula Morley (Echuca Cup and Ladyship Cup). Peter Rothacker Member of the famous Rothacker family from Bridgewater and Serpentine. Son of Interdominion winning owner/trainer/driver Eric. Hobby owner/breeder with wife Dianne. Peter won his first race at his first drive aged 16, on Go Go Girl at Echuca. Won races at the Showgrounds with Wigo. Alex won the Ararat, Horsham and Nyah Trotting Cups, Gazoline won the Boort Trotting Cup. Won the Tontine Pacers series with Kiwi Conference. Noel Shinn A member of the Shinn Family with a century of participation in trotting. Noel’s grand-father Hubert won races in four States and captured a Melbourne driving premiership in 1933/34, had 3 sons: Bill, Frank and Reg. Noel, son of Reg, has achieved the most Melbourne driving (158) and training (198) successes of any of the family. Had the first triple Victorian Sire Stakes champion Colbruce, and Inter-dominion finalists Colbruce and Stormrider. Galarion won 10 of only 14 starts. Trains at Wallan. Bill Spiteri  Commenced driving his own trainees at the Showgrounds in 1961, but drove his first winner Provoke at the old Ararat track in 1962. Frayne Again 1975 and Wise Ruler 1976 won consecutive Maryborough Cups. Lara General and Frayne Again raced on in the USA. Brigadier General and Tee Cee Country were good winners for Bill. He trains a small team at Mt Cotterell. Russell Thompson Former New Zealander, based at Tatura. Russell trained and drove Banana Spring in 1971 to wins in the Central Victorian Championship and HR Boyd Cranbourne Cup. Holy Smoke was a star of the stable in 1987-88 when it won the Victorian Sires Stake and Nyah Cup. His trainees, champion trotting relatives Son of Flair and A Touch of Flair both won Victoria Trotting Derbies, while Mighty Maori won the rich Vicbred 4yo Trot. He bred the millionaire pacer Hector Jay Jay.  

Hosting students on work experience or Structured Work Place Learning (SWL) provides staff of the Bendigo Harness Training Centre with some of their most rewarding experiences, says the centre's Executive Officer Vicki Moro. This year the centre has hosted a SWL student from Bendigo Senior Secondary College for a week and two students from local schools for one week during work experience placement. "The Training Centre has really enjoyed having Stacie and other work experience students here learning with us," Ms Moro told Trots Media. Work experience student Stacie Carbone took the opportunity to share her thoughts on being involved in the trots industry for a week and write about her future career ambitions. My name is Stacie Carbone. I am 15 years old and come from Axedale, just out of Bendigo. I go to school at Bendigo South East College and play footy for a girls' under-18 team. I have been around horses all of my life. My dad and grandparents train and drive horses. My grandpa, Vin, and dad, Mick, have taught me so much over the years about working horses. My dad and pa only train a few horses at the moment and do it as a hobby. I have been involved in pony trots for the last five years. I wanted to work with horses and learn new things from different people, which is why I wanted to do work experience at the Harness Training Centre Bendigo. I had also heard that all the people at the centre are great to learn from and have very good experience around horses. That is definitely true! The best thing I have learnt so far is how to read an Australian Standardbred freeze brand. The best thing I have seen is how much the horses get cared for and how well they are treated. The facilities and environment are great. Oh, and learning to remove and tack on a shoe with the centre's farrier, Nathan Monk, was pretty good too! My plan is to become an equine vet nurse and an equine AI technician. I also plan to go for my C Grade drivers' licence and then train a few of my own horses down the track. My favourite driver is Greg Sugars but I like to watch Kerryn Manning too. My favourite horse would be Lennytheshark at the moment. If you, or someone you know, would like to participate in a similar placement please contact Vicki Moro at HRTC Bendigo on 0447 032 770 or   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER  

More races will be offered in March and April to give as many horses as possible the chance to compete. Following on from offering a supplementary race on every card, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has boosted programs with three extra races for three-year-old trotters and two extra races for two-year-old pacers. These additional races are recognition of the considerable amount of horses being readied for racing in these categories. A $5000 mobile start three-year-old trotters race has been added to each of the programs at Maryborough on March 23 (2190m), Charlton on April 10 (2100m) and Bendigo on April 26 (2150m). The first of those, at Maryborough, has been well patronised by trainers, with 18 nominations already received. In addition, $5000 two-year-old pacing races have been added to programs at Kilmore on April 12 (1690m) and Bendigo on April 20 (1650m). HRV will also program $7000 consolation races at Tabcorp Park Melton on March 31 and April 22 for horses balloted out of the M0, M1 and M2 races. The intention is to provide opportunities for horses in these classes to compete against similarly graded horses and should help keep these horses in our racing population by providing more chances for them to win and to earn. The announcements follow the running of three supplementary races since the trial started on March 6, with a further three to be run in coming days, one at each of Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, Boort on Sunday and Tabcorp Park Melton on Monday. Michael Howard

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