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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

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

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