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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

Bendigo Harness Racing Club will host the biggest event on its calendar this Friday night, with the running of a cracking program featuring the Group 2 PETstock Bendigo Pacing Cup and Group 1 Maori Mile. The pacing cup is expected to attract an even field of the state’s open-class pacers, ensuring an open betting market. The Maori Mile, for the trotters, will include Glenferrie Typhoon, winner of Australasia's premier trotters race, the Great Southern Star, as well as many of the state's other leading trotters. The enthralling action on the track will be replicated by a host of off-track entertainment. Bendigo Harness Club sales and marketing manager Brendan Baker said “we have a cracking Kids Zone, with pony rides, jumping castle, ball pit, massive six-metre big screen TV showing Finding Dory in the big shed and plenty of food vans". “The Pony Trot races will also be of great interest to the kids and will take pride of place on the night. They will feature no less than four heats and finals for the state’s future generations of drivers and trainers. And, of course, all these activities come with free entry for all kids.” Harness Racing Victoria’s Country Cups Ambassador, Billy Brownless, will also be on course with autographed footballs to hand out to patrons. “The Hero horses, Villagem and Waikare Aristocrat, will also be present to lead the fields onto the track throughout the night, and will be available for a meet-and-greet where the kids will be able to get up close with these retired stars who have been re-trained for general riding under Harness Racing Victoria’s Harness Education and Rehoming Program. “We are also pleased that the HERO program will be on hand to showcase some of the horses who have benefited from this wonderful animal welfare initiative.” The night has been deemed “$5 Friday”, with adults gaining entry for just $5. They will also have the opportunity to win a range of huge prizes in the Cup Field Mega-Draw, to be conducted as a sweep on the feature race, the Bendigo Pacing Cup. First prize is a $2000 Supa IGA Strath Village Voucher, second prize a $1000 voucher at Lowes Petroleum BP, third prize is a $500 Supa IGA Strath Village, and there are other prizes for those drawing a horse. “The night’s entertainment has been provided with assistance from the Victorian State Government under it’s Raceday Attraction Program, and would be the perfect opportunity for people who are new to the sport to come along and appreciate the excitement, action and entertainment that is harness racing," Baker said. “The BHRC is grateful for the Government’s ongoing support which will allow the club to stage an exciting night of racing and entertainment.”  

It’s been billed as The Cockroaches vs the Mexicans and those harness racing drivers south of the border are brimming with confidence. “I think we’ll smash them,” said Brendan Baker, the Bendigo Harness Racing Club’s marketing chief who is Victoria’s team manager for a new series that will see Victoria and New South Wales’ best drivers go toe-to-toe. The state of origin rivalry has been born from the burgeoning bind between two sister clubs, an alignment in its infancy that plays on Bendigo and Bathurst’s gold rush and trotting histories. Victoria’s team for tomorrow’s inaugural Bendigo/Bathurst Drivers Invitational features Chris Alford as captain of Team Victoria aided by Greg Sugars, Kate Gath, Josh Duggan and Ellen Tormey. They will have to win on foreign soil, with the first invitational to take place at Bathurst tomorrow. “We think we can beat them on their own turf,” Baker said. “I’m confident in my team. I think we have the best drivers in Australia in Victoria and I expect they will go to Bathurst and handle the New South Wales drivers with ease.” The friendly rivalry should pave the way for a big night’s racing. “This is the first time we have brought everyone together. Bathurst has a new track and with it being the night before Australia Day they should get a good crowd,” Baker said. “It is not every day you get to see Chris Alford, Greg Sugars and a handful of the best drivers in Australia facing off.” It’s hoped the sister-city relationship will in the long-term benefit both clubs. Next year Bendigo will host the drivers invitational, while the two clubs will cross-promote their respective major meetings, Bathurst’s Gold Crown and Bendigo’s Gold Cup. “If anyone from Bathurst visits Bendigo we want them to know we are a sister club and that the trots is a natural affinity between the two cities,” Baker said. “That works both ways and also benefits Bathurst, especially at their gold crown, and also us at our gold cup.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

It was a case of the meeting of the generations at the Bendigo Harness Racing on Friday, November 11, with many of Victoria’s legendary drivers of the past uniting with the future stars of the sport to highlight the night’s racing. The Veteran Drivers Trot attracted a stellar list of Victoria’s most decorated drivers, with the line-up reading like a ‘Who’s Who’ of major race wins. Six Inter Dominion victories as well as Hunter Cups, Breeders Crowns, Oaks, Derbies, Country Cups and just about every other major race feature were listed on the career records of the drivers involved. The combined total of winners driven by the eleven competitors was over 11,000, with Brian Gath heading the group with over 3,300 wins. Other drivers involved included Graeme Lang, Jim O’Sullivan, Neville Welsh, Ginger Gleeson, Cliff Powell, Keith Pratt, Graeme Whittle, Peter Manning, Noel Shinn and Bill Spiteri. The crowd gathered in numbers around the Presentation Dias for both the pre-race introduction of the Veteran Drivers and the race itself, and were treated to a thrilling finish, with Brian Gath securing a narrow victory on the Christine Douglas owned and Jennifer Douglas trained Hanging On A Dream. Also on the same program was a heat and final of the Ted Manton Memorial Pony Trot for aspiring junior drivers. A massive field of 19 Pony Trotters took to the track, with the youngest competitor just six years old. And just to reinforce the links between the past and future of our sport, both the owner and trainer of Hanging On A Dream had children competing in the Pony Trot series. They were all very excited to greet Brian and Hanging On A Dream for a photo at the completion of the race. To round out the eventful night of racing, the favourite for the upcoming Perth Inter Dominion Hector Jay Jay, scorched around the Lord’s Raceway track in a near-record time to win the Markovina Free For All, convincingly recording a 1:55.2 mile rate. This race had been re-scheduled from Melton on the following night to accommodate  the participating Inter Dominion horses that were Perth -bound on a Sunday flight. by Bendigo Trots Club

Bendigo Harness Racing Club will turn back racing’s clock as the club stages its Memorial Race Night on Friday night. The BHRC has assembled one of the best lists of master drivers available in Victoria to compete in the Oxley Feed Mills Veteran Drivers Trot, a feature race of $10,000. Combined the veteran drivers have six Inter-Dominion victories as well as Hunter Cups, Breeders Crowns, 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 12 competitors is more than 11,000, with Brian Gath heading the group with more than 3300 wins. Longlea-based Gath and dual Inter-Dominion winning driver Jim O'Sullivan, based at Heathcote, are in the star studded line-up at Bendigo.  Melbourne Showgrounds harness racing veterans include dual Inter-Dominion winner Graeme Lang and Hunter Cup winner and driver of more than 1300 winners, Elmore’s Neville Welsh. 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 Inter-Dominion winning driver Cliff Powell (Elmore) and well-known Junortoun horsemen Keith Pratt. Recent additions to the “65-year-old veteran ranks” taking their place in the field are Noel Shinn and Ginger Gleeson.  Past winners of the Veteran Drivers Trot Dick Lee and Graeme Whittle are also back chasing further glory, while dual Maryborough Cup-winning driver Bill Spitiri rounds out the field. As a further highlight of the Memorial Race night six 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 and Daphne and Ken Pocock. The night will also feature the official opening of the Henry McDermott Collection. This includes the unveiling of a feature wall of memorabilia that documents Henry’s many successes and contributions to harness racing over a long period.  The collection was compiled with the assistance of the McDermott family, who will be on track for the official opening, and will add to the Bendigo club’s considerable history and memorabilia collection. The history and memorabilia room will be open to the public for viewing throughout the night. The combined total of winners driven by the 12 competitors is more than 11,000, with Brian Gath heading the group with more than 3300 wins. Fittingly the Markovina Free For all, in which Interdominion contenders Hector Jay Jay, Yankee Rockstar, Restrepo, Flaming Flutter Stunning Grin and warhorse Smudge Bromac clash, honours Markovina , which was was trained and driven by Gath to victory in the 1978 Interdominion  

Bendigo Harness Racing Club will host a Men’s Health Awareness meeting at Lord's Raceway on September 1. The meeting will be part of the inaugural Bendigo Community Health Services Men’s Health Marathon – 11 days of activities designed to get men out, active and thinking about their health. The marathon theme is ‘Make men’s health your business – before it’s too late’. Bendigo Community Health Services men’s health nurse practitioner Peter Strange will talk to trainers, drivers and patrons during the September 1 meeting on the importance of men’s health, while Bendigo trainer Paul Campbell will share his own journey. BCHS staff will be on hand at the meeting to raise awareness of men’s health and take bookings for a special day set aside at the organisation’s Men’s Health Clinic in Eaglehawk for harness racing industry participants to get free health checks. The first 200 patrons through the gate will receive a Men’s Health Marathon showbag containing important information to get men thinking about their health and taking action. A special pair of men’s health blue pants will be worn by a driver in each race while race names will promote a different men’s health message. “We have really appreciated Bendigo Community Health Services being involved in the Bendigo Harness Racing Club, which started after last year’s Staff Development Day and AGM held at Lord’s Raceway," BHRC manager Brendan Baker said. “It’s marked the beginning of a great relationship which will become stronger after our Men’s Health Awareness race night on September 1, which will benefit our patrons as well as industry participants. “I think it is crucial that we bring better awareness to not only the people within our own industry but also to the thousands of spectators on and off track right around Australia. I urge anyone from our region to try and get along and bring a mate to our race night on Thursday night, September 1, at Lord’s Raceway, and help spread the men’s health message further into our community.” BCHS men’s health nurse practitioner Peter Strange welcomed the Bendigo Harness Racing Club’s support in sharing the message that men must look after themselves. “We want men to be healthy enough to do what they love to do – be with their family, work, fish, golf or whatever their passion might be. I can’t think of a better reason why men should take action to improve their health,” Mr Strange said. “Men in rural regions of Australia may face distinctive health issues because of their location, work and lifestyle. Overall, men in rural areas are more likely than their urban counterparts to experience chronic health conditions and risk factors. Male deaths increase with remoteness. “Our message is simple. Get out, get active and get yourself checked regularly – that’s the best way to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Sadly, too many men don’t take this seriously enough and we have to change that.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Race programme for Bendigo, Thursday 01 September 2016

The harness racing starters for the 2016 TAB Breeders Crown two-year-old and three-year-old trotters finals are complete with line-ups to be finalised at tomorrow night’s barrier draws in Bendigo. The trotting heats were conducted at Maryborough on Wednesday with the pacing semi-finals to be held at Lord’s Raceway Bendigo from 5.33pm tomorrow night. Tomorrow night’s barrier draws will be covered live across Harness Racing Vitoria’s media channels @HRVnews on Twitter and TAB will be releasing fixed odds final markets on the Breeders Crown finals soon after completion of barrier draws tomorrow night. All-in markets are currently open and can be accessed here. Breeders Crown Trotting Starters 3YO Trotting Colts and Geldings ALEPPO MURPHY BIG JACK HAMMER CONON BRIDGE NZ CRUISIN AROUND ENROLLED HUDSON BAY MAORI LAW SKYFLYER SUN VALLEY ROAD SUNDONS COURAGE TEMPORALE NZ WAR DAN DESTROYER KYVALLEY TINMAN (1st Em) 3YO Trotting Fillies ALDEBARAN AY M NZ ALDEBARAN EVE COURCHEVEL NZ FEAR NOT HIGH GAIT NZ ILLAWONG BLISS PRINCESS PHOENIX SKY MAJESTY SOCIAL FIREBALL THE COOLER WILMAS MATE NZ 2YO Trotting Colts and Geldings CLARKES HILL CLAUDYS PRINCE CUSTODIAN NZ EMPIRE BAY ENDSIN A PARTY EYRISH MIST NZ ILLAWONG BYRON JUST OSCAR KHEIRON MANO DE DIOS RED RUSTLER SHANG FANG SWORD 2YO Trotting Fillies BETTY HALL DERRIE AIRE GARSTON GIRL IONA SPIDER KYVALLEY KYRIE MIDNIGHTATPINEVALE NIETA OUR REGAL LOVE NZ SVAL QUEEN TEN SPANNERS UNE BELLE ALLURE VALSUE ILLAWONG SHIMMER (1st Em) Breeders Crown draws to be held amid owners' celebrations Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

It has been some time in the making, but it feels like a whirlwind. Harness Racing trainer Donna Lewis’ aptly named three-year-old trotter Into The Unknown burst into the limelight with a blazing Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series heat, winning amid a stacked field to enter Friday night’s Group 1 final the favourite. “This is by far the most important race I have had a horse in,” Lewis said. “I had a runner in the semis of the Vicbred pacing years ago, and have had trotters before but only one got to the races. “Her being pacing bred and me not having much experience with trotters, we are learning as we go along.” There is plenty experience in her favour. The daughter of famed trainer Peter Manning, Lewis worked for trainer Graeme Lang for about four years before working with Harness Racing Victoria for about eight years in registrations and racing. She stepped away to pursue a family with husband and trainer Dean Lewis, who is now a full-time farrier, but continued training. Donna Lewis’ stable was once 10 horses strong, but with family commitments she likes to limit it to two or three and at present Into The Unknown is her only horse racing. The filly by Grinfromeartoear out of Dolly Jasper came into Lewis’ stable to be broken as a pacer. “Russell Hockham bred her. Two years ago when she was a weanling I got her, Shadow Sax and Spirituality,” Lewis said. “I had had Into The Unknown’s mum (Dolly Jasper) and her mum’s mum (Navy Girl), basically the whole family. Russell kept Shadow Sax, I trained Spirituality and said I’d love to lease Into The Unknown. “She broke into pace, but when she was pacing she wasn’t very good at it. I got Clarrie Hamilton, a friend of mine, to drive her and left the hobbles off her. She trotted and he said “I think she might make a trotter”. We left the hobbles off her and she run along really well.” Into The Unknown’s first taste of the track came as a two-year-old trialling at Bacchus Marsh on July 11, 2015, when was fourth of four starters. “She had two trials, on the first one she ran well but broke once and the second one she broke at every turn,” Lewis said. “I put her in the paddock, then the next time she was worse, so I put her in the paddock again and hoped that would fix things. “When she came out the next time she put every foot right.” She trialled twice in May of this year, then placed fourth on debut at Bendigo when up against the boys in a three-year-old trot, which had her start her second race as favourite at Ararat when she placed second on June 8. Next stop was the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series heat at Bendigo on June 22. “She did everything right before I went to Bendigo,” Lewis said. “I think she had the hardest of the heats. I thought that if she qualified for the final you would have to think she was going well and deserves to be there. “When she came up the back straight I thought it looks like she might qualify, and then she went straight past them.” Driver Kerryn Manning placed Into The Unknown in the breeze going around the back straight for the last time, and then with a 28.8 last quarter she blew away Rift Valley ($2.90) and leader Princess Phoenix ($1.80 fav) to win by 3.1m. And suddenly expectations are high. “We are still feeling our way of how much work we need to give her. She is just being her usual self,” Lewis said. “She has never done anything to inspire confidence at home. I have to growl at her all the time to get her to do anything like fast work speed. She just does it so easy.  “Now I feel like I can’t do any more. We will see what happens, I just hope that she goes around like she has the previous weeks.” Michael Howard

It was more than a little fitting that a harness racing stable on Bendigo’s outskirts claimed the Bendigo Bank 2016 Bendigo Trotters Cup at Bendigo’s Lords Raceway. It was also less than a little surprising, given the outstanding form of Strathfieldsaye trainer-owners Glenn and Christine Sharp’s Tenno Dance, who peeled off a fourth straight victory and claimed his first Group level success. The five-year-old gelding, by Tennotrump out of Disco Dance, has given young driver Josh Duggan a memorable month, having won at Geelong, claimed two wins under the bright lights of Tabcorp Park Melton and then followed up in last night’s Bendigo Group 3. “His last four starts he has been very strong,” Duggan said. “Those horses (he just raced against), they are real nice horses. Tonight was his toughest test really and he was good enough to ping to the front, have them sit outside him and (finish) really good.” From barrier four of the standing start, Tenno Dance stepped away well and soon found the front, with Matt Craven on Star Gun happy to hold for the box seat. Following an 80.8-second lead time across the first 1050m, Duggan grabbed a reasonably comfortable first quarter (31.6s) to keep plenty in the tank, and when it came time to drive home Tenno Dance had plenty to offer. A 29.8s second quarter preceded a 28.6s third quarter and by the final bend only Greg Sugars’ Illawong Helios was within a length. Duggan needed only a gentle urging to have Tenno Dance clear away from his rivals for a convincing 13m win ahead of Illawong Helios and third-placed Oh Nova, stopping the clock at a 2:01.4 mile rate. “That was what I hoped would happen. It was his first time back off the front tonight and he really got away good,” Duggan said. “Everything’s gone good tonight. When I found the front I thought if I could get a cheap lap or lap and a half I would take a fair bit of running down. Sharpy’s done a great job with him.” Michael Howard

Geoff Webster’s talented colts cut through the winter chill to register an Empire Vicbred Super Series double in the heats, with Misterfreeze and Wrappers Delight both first past the post. On a big first night of the series at Bendigo, class came to the fore in the two-year-old colts and geldings’ heats with Webster’s well-bred Bannockburn boys joining talented Terang two-year-old Jilliby Kung Fu and Emma Stewart’s contender Our Little General as heat winners. “(Wrappers Delight) is just a little bit better than (Misterfreeze),” was Webster’s typically frank assessment of his charges’ efforts. “(Misterfreeze) is just a real genuine racehorse, but (Wrappers Delight) has just a bit more class about him.” More will be learned in the series semi-final night at Tabcorp Park Melton on June 24 and, all going well, the July 2 final. But for now Webster can rest assured he has a strong hand. CLICK HERE FOR THE RESULTS AND REPLAYS FROM ALL THE NIGHT ONE HEATS Wrappers Delight, by Bettors Delight out of Charlotte Church, led from the pole mark and controlled the race to win by a neck, narrowly holding off Emma Stewart’s eye-catching Solid As A Rock, who Gavin Lang drove a treat to cut the corner and almost pinch it from the back of the field. “He’s a really nice little two-year-old,” Webster said of Wrappers Delight, who won for owners Dominic Martello and Douglas Webster. “He needed that run, he hasn’t run for a while. I was quite happy, he found the line quite good.  “He’s a typical Bettors Delight, he’s just lovely to have around the place. They’re good racehorses. The manners are fantastic. He’s a big horse for a Bettors, he’s not tall but he’s very thick. He should make a very nice horse later on as well.” Stablemate Misterfreeze, by Alabar Farms’ Art Major out of Trammell, won his heat – the fourth and final - by a head from Bundy Playboy, who Webster trailed around the final bend and won the swoop down the straight ahead of Paddy Lee’s first starter and Kevin Brough’s Canada Bay, with leader and favourite Lochinvar Delight a 3m beaten fourth. “They have all gone around in the mid 1:58s (mile rate) and that’s what (Misterfreeze) went, so considering (the weather) tonight it was good,” Webster said. Misterfreeze won for owners Dominic Martello, Josh Nelms, Peter and Zilla O’Shea, and Harvey, Shelley, Jordan and Ashleigh Kaplan. There were also some pretty chuffed owners in the Jilliby Kung Fu camp, with Terang mother-and-son Marg (trainer) and Jason (driver) Lee’s two-year-old producing the biggest win of the night, a 14m romp in the first colts and geldings heat. By Empire Stallions’ Four Starzzz Shark out of Slip Slop Slap, Jason Lee put Jilliby Kung Fu into the race at the bell when taking the death seat and come the straight leader and favourite Starofsahara faded while Jilliby Kung Fu cleared out around the bend and that was all she wrote. Winning for the Levarg Racing Group in a 1:57.3 mile rate, by some way the quickest of the heats, Jilliby Kung Fu won comfortably from Andy Gath’s second-placed Macchiato. “He’s a lovely horse, he’s very versatile,” Lee said. “That’s what I love about him the most and he’ll be ready for Glen (Craven) when he’s ready to jump back on. He still hasn’t really grown into himself. As soon as he hits the front he just sort of backs off and waits for them a little bit, he did that again tonight.  I think he will get better with time, but we will just have to wait and see. He is going good at the moment.” Joining him in the winners’ circle was Our Little General, the winner of five of seven starts and favourite in the night’s third heat for trainer Emma Stewart and driver Gavin Lang. Lang found cover for the terrific little sit-sprinter, who is by Mach Three out of Kabbalah Karen B, placing Our Little General in the box seat behind Amanda Turnbull’s leader Wardan Express. When the sprint lane opened Lang got to work and Our Little General hit the line a head in front of Shane Tritton’s Tingira Beach, who was super impressive having done a power of work. “They were going pretty leisurely in the middle stages and a pretty good last half, so to make up three or four metres in the straight was a pretty good effort really,” Lang said of Our Little General. “I was able to put him on the back of one and that’s probably the key to him. If he had have been left in the open maybe he might not have settled so good, but he is only a little guy this one and he is a great little racehorse and hence the reason he has such a good record.” Michael Howard

During the 31 days of May, Bendigo District trained trotters and pacers amassed over $190,009 in prize money, winning a total of thirty five races across Victoria.   Strathfieldsaye trainer Glenn Douglas led the way with seven winners, adding to the nine winners he trained in April Other multiple winning trainers were:  Shelbourne’s Larry Eastman: four  Maiden Gully trainer Paul Campbell: four  Longlea’s Glenn Sharp: four and  Sutton Grange’s Ross Graham with two wins. May highlights included:  Three Bendigo trained winners at the metropolitan meeting at Melton on May 27, with Tennodance (Glenn Sharp), Miss Dreamin (Paul Campbell) and Milly Perez (Larry Eastman) amassing $33,000 between them and  Locals winning four of the eight winners at the Bendigo meeting at Lord’s Raceway on Tuesday, May 31.  Junortoun based trainers Trevor Monk, Scott Dyer, Laurie Wills, Gary Donaldson, Bruce Morgan and Alan McIntosh trained winners off the Lord’s Raceway training complex. Other district winning trainers included David Van Ryn, Paul Drechsler, Graeme McDermott, Danny Curran, Lyn Merceia, Shane Hall, Robert Rothacker, Trevor Patching, Brian Gath and Ron Wicks.   The prize money to owners of the thirty five May winners was a staggering $156,280.   In addition, there were 26 second placings ($19,230) and 31 third placings ($17,671) during the same period. The total earned by Bendigo District owned and trained harness horses in May was $193,151.   The Bendigo Harness Racing Club Committee closely monitors the success of local owners, trainers and drivers and supports them by providing four well maintained training tracks at Lord’s Raceway that are open every day of the year, and conducts over sixty trials meetings during the year.   Noel Ridge Bendigo Harness Racing Club

Gold is not the only thing that binds the two “BHRC” harness racing clubs, Bendigo and Bathurst together. There are many surprising similarities between the two regional cities and clubs: Edward Hargreaves discovered a 'grain of gold' in a billabong near Bathurst in 1851 sparking the NSW gold rush, while alluvial gold was discovered along the banks of the Bendigo Creek in 1851 and resulted in a major gold rush Bendigo with 110,000 residents and  Bathurst with  42,000 are both major regional centres, with Bendigo 150km and Bathurst 200km from their state capitals Bendigo and Bathurst both began night trotting racing a year apart: Bathurst 1953, Bendigo 1954 Both clubs hold a large number of TAB meetings annually  with Bathurst  running 50 race meetings and  Bendigo conducting 34 in 2015 Both were once the home of the famous Cobb and Co coach service. Cobb and Co’s first services began in 1854 between Melbourne and Bendigo. James Rutherford (also the breeder of legendary sire Globe Derby) shifted the headquarters and  10 coaches and nearly 100 horses from Bendigo district to Bathurst in 1862, where a massive coach building factory was built Juvenile stakes racing was developed by both clubs: The Bathurst Gold Crown commenced in1987 while Bendigo developed the Breeders’ Crown in 1998 before it was taken over by HRV to become the Australasian Breeders’ Crown. Bendigo marketing manager Brendan Baker and Bathurst CEO Danny Dwyer have developed a joint initiative where the two BHRCs will become sister clubs. They see many opportunities for sharing of ideas, tourism opportunities around the Bathurst Gold Crown and the return to Bendigo of the Australasian Breeders Crown semi-finals. Both cities also host major annual events including the Bathurst 1000 car race and the Bendigo Easter Fair Carnival. Both Brendan Baker and Danny Dwyer see many benefits to the clubs and the communities from the establishment of sister club relationships: Sister club signage that will be seen during Sky Racing coverage of races from both tracks Reciprocal membership rights Promotion of the clubs in monthly club newsletters, to members, owners, trainers and drivers In-house marketing to promote each venue. This could involve yearly joint race dates with accommodation options for people visiting each city either for harness racing or holidays The clubs to organise a Gold Crown Tour and a Bendigo Pacing Cup Tour Two chances for “Dual Club” meetings that race on the same dates. In 2016 it is May 18 and June 22. Promotion through the Harness Racing Australia website with press releases and stories. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

With the biggest name in Australian harness racing on his way, Saturday’s PETstock Bendigo Pacing Cup is the talk of the town. Lennytheshark’s nomination for the Group 2 $60,000 showcase has further elevated Bendigo Harness Racing Club’s calendar highlight, says marketing manager Brendan Baker. “Since we tweeted (that Lenny was coming) and put it on Facebook we have had good momentum and a number of people have called up chasing details,” Baker said. “People around the course and up and down the street are all talking about Lennytheshark. He’s the best horse in the country at the moment, so it’s been huge for the club.” Lennytheshark drew barrier five for the cup – the eighth race on a 10-race program – and is fresh from following his Inter Dominion win with victory in last month’s Good Form Victoria Cup. “To give the people from the Bendigo area, up to Swan Hill and Echuca – people will come a long way – a look at Lenny is a big plus for the club,” Baker said. “He’s turned into a real people’s horse, which is all steering in the right direction for the club and Bendigo.” But, Baker said, this was not the Lenny show, it’s the pacing cup, and the superstar seven-year-old was but one of many coveting the prize. “You’ve still got Franco Ledger, a C22, HectorjayjJay a C17, Im Corzin Terror who won the cup a few years ago,” he said. “They will not just hand it to Lenny on a plate. It is a Group 2 worth more than $60,000 and they will make him work for it.” Lords Raceway will also feature a grand contest in the seventh race, the Aldebaran Park 2016 Maori Mile. Introduced to the card as a $20,000 race in 2010, the mile’s importance has quickly snowballed. “It’s grown from strength to strength since its inception and we are very happy it was elevated to Group 1 status this year,” Baker said. And, with the winner also gaining an automatic invitation to the Great Southern Star’s elimination heats, the race carries a field befitting its status. “We’ve got last year’s winner in Maori Time back to defend her title,” Baker said. “Glenferrie Typhoon, Andy and Kate Gath’s horse, is in great form, and local hope Claudys Princess is racing well. There is the New Zealand horse Quite A Moment and Anton Golino’s Duchess Ella.” Off the track the club will also have many offerings for what Baker called “our biggest day of the year”. “All year round you build up to your pacing cup,” he said. “Last year was the first time for this new management team. We learned a lot. “There are a few areas we were lacking in, particularly children’s activities, and now there will be a kids’ zone and lots of food operators. It will be 34 or 35 degrees on Saturday and should be magnificent.” by Michael Howard Fields for Bendigo, Saturday 13 February 2016 Form guide for Bendigo, Saturday 13 February 2016  

Well known Bendigo resident, former top class cricketer, footballer and now a member of the executive team of the Bendigo Bank Dennis Bice has been awarded Life Membership of the Bendigo Harness Racing Club. Dennis has been an active member of the BHRC for over 25 years He served nearly fifteen years on the BHRC committee with 5 year break when he moved to Queensland in his employment with the Bendigo Bank. On returning from Queensland, he was elected as a Vice President and then elected President in 2007. Dennis served BHRC as President for 8 years, stepping down in 2015. During this time Dennis led the committee and staff to many milestones which included: The Maori Mile for trotters was conceptualised, rising from Group Three to Group One status The Bendigo Cup was and now continues to be sponsored by Petstock Personal Digital TVs were installed on window dining tables at Lord's Raceway. The Race For Fun Club was launched with the Bendigo Advertiser He oversaw the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the opening of Lord’s  Raceway The Veteran Driver’s Challenge, now in its 6th year,  was created BHRC being awarded HRV Club of The Year BHRC developed and implemented a five year strategic plan Investigations into alternate steams of income were investigated, with a staffing restructure aimed at increasing non-racing income initiated Other highlights of Dennis’s time as President included Being a member of the Country Clubs Association representing middle-tier clubs With his wife Brenda, sponsored events and racing at BHRC through their Yorkshire Park Stud venture. Being a driver behind the conceptualizing of and growing of the Aldebaran Park Maori Mile trotter’s race, from a Group 3 race to a Group 2 and in 2016 a Group 1 race. Dennis has a long family involvement in Harness Racing. His grandfather Stan Lyon was an owner/trainer, owning the FFA pacer Mystic Robert which won several races at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds in the 1970s Graeme Lyon, Dennis’s uncle, is a trainer/driver with many successes including Inter Dominion final placed trotter Northsea Rover, and promising trotter MaybeToTheMax The Lyon family including another Uncle, Peter, have been involved in ownership of many harness racing horses. Brenda and Dennis are successful owners with a highlight being owners of Moonee Valley Cup winner Rare Courage, and recently have several fillies including Watch The Dream  racing. They are breeders and yearling sale vendors with Yorkshire Park Standardbreds at their property in Axe Creek. Dennis and Brenda will be guests at Lord’s Raceway this coming Wednesday, February 3, to celebrate the Life Membership. A race, the Dennis and Brenda Bice Pace has been named in their honour. Appropriately, nine of the ten starters are owned or trained in the Bendigo district.  

Arguably Australia's best trotter, Keystone Del will trial at Lord's Raceway Bendigo on Sunday morning. Harness racing trials start at 9 am, with Keystone Del scheduled to compete in trial 6. ​Entry is free, and breakfast is available from the track kiosk. Keystone Del has recently changed stables, with Brent Lilley training, and Anthony Butt driving the gelding at his first hit-out for the new connections. Keystone Del , 1'53.9 is the winner of 30 races and has earned over $770,000 in stakes. For Trial Fields, click  here:

The DLO Plumbing Veteran Driver’s Trot at Lord’s Raceway Bendigo will turn back harness racing’s clock with a driver’s list that could be right out of a Melbourne Showgrounds race book. The race features on the program next Saturday night, November 7 when the Bendigo Harness Racing Club celebrates the 61st year of racing at Lord’s Raceway. The Bendigo Club has assembled one of the best lists of ‘master’ drivers available in Victoria to compete in the DLO Plumbing Veteran Driver’s Trot, one of feature races at the Anniversary Cup meeting. It is certain to be a great spectacle on the big ten race card with the drivers’ list including well known reinsmen who have played a significant part in Harness Racing’s Inter Dominion history and Victorian racing in general over the past four decades. The veteran competitors driving records read like a ‘Who’s Who’ of major race wins with  Inter Dominion victories, Hunter Cups, Breeders Crowns, Oaks, Derbies, Country Cups and just about every other major race feature listed on their career records. Longlea master reinsman, Brian Gath who has more than 3000 wins to his credit, and dual Inter Dominion winning driver Jim O'Sullivan from Maiden Gully are in the star studded line-up at Bendigo. The wizard of Great Western Peter Manning, a perpetual state leading trainer who has also  topped the national rankings and super veteran Neville Welsh from Elmore who made his name on the tight Royal Melbourne Showgrounds circuit along with Tatura-based Russell Thompson will don driver’s silks along with Inter Dominion winning driver Cliff Powell (Elmore) and well known Bridgewater trainer-driver Colin Redwood (Bridgewater). Previous winners Dick Lee and Graeme Whittle will return. Noel Shinn, the winningest of the legendary Shinn family will drive along with first time competitor Bill Spiteri who first drove at the Showgrounds in 1962. Victoria’s Labor Government have put their weight behind the celebrations providing funding for entertainment through the Raceday Attractions Program. The main feature is the $10,000 SAMIOS Plumbing Supplies Anniversary Cup for C5-C7 Pacers. The 61st Anniversary Meeting also includes horse gearing demonstrations, meet the Clerks Of Course,  opportunities for Double Sulky rides with professional drivers and rides beside the starter in the mobile barrier. Kids will not be forgotten, with Pony Trot races, a Jumping Castle, Face Painting, free lollies and icy-poles and much more. The first race of the 10-race program commences at 6.30pm. Bendigo Harness Racing Club 2015 Anniversary Cup meeting, November 7 Previous winners 2012 Keith Pratt 2013 Dick Lee 2014 Graeme Whittle (2014 drivers pictured) Veteran Drivers for 2015: Brian Gath,  Dick Lee, Peter Manning, Jim O'Sullivan, Cliff Powell, Colin Redwood, Noel Shinn, Bill Spiteri, Neville Welsh, Graeme Whittle and Glenn Williams. Brian Gath (Longlea) 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 Safari. Won the 1978 Melbourne Inter Dominion Pacers Final with Markovina and finished second with Franco Tiger (1992 and Shakamaker (2002). Has driven in Europe and the U.S.A. Ian (Dick) Lee (Weering) Multiple Derby winning trainer/driver, who spent time in Wales at Prestatyn Raceway in the 1970’s. Top horses include 4 times pacing Derby winner Rufus Youngblood, Bendigo Cup winner Rhodonite, Dullard Cup winning trotters Glenfield Girl and Game Ebony, and Hamden’s Pride. Trains at Weering in the Western District. Dick won the 2013 edition of the BHRC Veteran Driver’s Trot. Peter Manning (Great Western) Master trainer of juveniles before expanding to train a large team at Great Western. Leading Australian trainer in 2004/5.  His three training/driving daughters include world record setting driver Kerryn. Standout horses include Kathryn Dancer, Pelicanrama, the champion international trotter Knight Pistol and 1996 Australian 2yo Pacer of the Year, Sheza Mona. Jim O’Sullivan (Maiden Gully) Leading Australian trainer 1978 and 79. Trained and drove standouts including Margaret Shannon, Quite Famous and It’s Motor Power.   He is a dual Interdominion winning driver winning the 1987 Inter Dominion Pacers Final with My Lightning Blue and the 1989 trotting final with Yankee Loch. Trains locally at Maiden Gully. Cliff Powell (Elmore) 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 Idols unbeaten streak. Has trained and driven many top notchers including Our Grattan, Modern Man, Belgian Accent (Shepparton Cup) Bendigo Cup winner Taronga, and Paula Morley ( Keiser Stuhl and Echuca Cup). Colin Redwood (Bridgewater) First drove in 1954. A member of Bridgewater’s Redwood family, immortalized by the annual Redwood 2yo trotters’ classic at Maryborough, named for Colin’s father Hugh. Colin and brothers Noel and Albert all trained and drove successfully. Colin’s trotter Rock n Dale raced in two Interdominions, 1976-4th and 1978-8th, and won the NSW Easter Cup in both 1973 and 1974.  Other trotters of note include Mount Alm. He represented Australia at the 1996 World Amateur Drivers Championship in Italy. He is best known now as a trainer having prepared over 210 winners since taking out his licence in the mid-1970’s. Noel Shinn (Wallan) A member of the Shinn Family with a century of participation, Noel’s grand-father Hubert won races in four States and a Melbourne driving premiership in 1933/34. His sons were 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. Noel drove all nine winning foals of broodmare gem Pilgrim. Bill Spiteri (Mt.Cotterell) Commenced 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 successive Maryborough Cups. Lara General, Frayne Again were good Showgrounds winners. Frayne Again was sold to the US. Brigadier General and Tee Cee Country were other good winners for Bill. Currently racing Marios Dream. Russell Thompson (Tatura) Former Kiwi, 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. Champion trotting relatives Son Of Flair and A Touch of Flair won Victoria Trotting Derbies, while Mighty Maori won the rich Vicbred 4yo Trot. Neville Welsh (Elmore) The 2012 Gordon Rothacker Medallist, and Hall of Famer who has driven winners in every decade since the 1950s. Began his career driving trackwork at a very young for father Lew first at Beaufort, then Sydenham, and drove his first winner Sea Witch at Horsham, aged just sixteen. His career highlights include the 1971 AG Hunter Cup aboard Son of Nancy and the 1974 National Drivers Invitation at the Melbourne showgrounds on Truant Armagh. Most notable however were his record breaking premierships in 1970/71 and 1971/72 where he drove 81 and 84 winners for the season respectively. Still drives his team sharing duties with son Clinton. Graeme Whittle (Bacchus Marsh) A hobby owner/trainer/driver who had some good horses and a lot of success at the Showgrounds and Moonee Valley. Some of his good horses were Tweedsmuire, (1977 Stawell Cup), Joueur (Echuca Cup), Slow Coach and recently Melpark Sunrise won the  Tontine for Trotters.  Graeme trains at Bacchus Marsh. Graeme won the 2014 edition of the BHRC Veteran Driver’s Trot. Glen Williams (Bacchus Marsh) Trainer and drove initially with father Les, at Digger’s rest and Woodvale, then Sebastian and Bacchus Marsh. Glen drove Truscott Boy early in its career, and won two VL Dullard Cups on top trotter Bundanoon Prince. Recent winners include Kadabra Dynasty.  

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