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Two harness racing drivers are recuperating in hospital after being involved in separate race falls at Charlton on Monday afternoon. Veteran Kilmore reinsman Austin "Aussie" Mifsud was taken by ambulance to Bendigo Base Hospital, while promising teenage driver Ryan Sanderson, of Avenel, was flown by helicopter to Melbourne's Alfred Hospital. As shocking as the incidents appeared, reports yesterday revealed Mifsud to be in intensive care with three broken ribs and suffering slight breathing problems. Sanderson is suffering a bruised lung while doctors are continuing to monitor whether he has any further internal injuries. The race falls happened in consecutive events, races six and seven, with Chair of Stewards at the meeting Kylie Harrison electing to abandon race seven as well as the final event on the program. Both drivers were tipped out in scrimmages soon after the start of their respective events. In race six, Mifsud was driving Wonderforce out of barrier three when the pacer broke just after the starter released the field, careering into the path of back-row horses Fancy Peach and Jilliby Roy. Mifsud's sulky locked wheels and overturned, and he fell heavily. Stewards subsequently called off the race, later restarting it with all bar Wonderforce cleared to compete. Aussie Mifsud In the following race, in almost the identical position on the track, junior reinsman Ryan Sanderson was driving the pole horse Frankie. It appeared to be contacted when the barrier 3 horse Lookin Fresh veered inwards soon after the despatch. Sanderson was catapulted into the air, crashing to the track and a trailing horse was unable to avoid the fallen driver. Club president Joey Thompson said with the incidents in consecutive races, the situation became quite hectic for a while. "Aussie (Mifsud) was being stabilized in one ambulance on course, then the paramedics that had been on standby were there to attend young Ryan (Sanderson)," he said. "It was good to see Aussie being able to walk assisted to the ambulance, but Ryan was still on the track for over an hour as they assessed his injuries. "The paramedics were worried Ryan might have had a broken pelvis, because of the pain he was complaining of in that area-but fortunately it sounds like he may have escaped without any broken bones." Thompson said Ryan's parents Shane and Naomi arrived from Sydney at the first opportunity to be by Ryan's side in hospital. "They came down as soon as they could, which will give him a kick along. But the way Ryan conducted himself while he was in so much pain and being attended to on the track was incredible. He's just 17 years of age and I told his parents they should be so proud of him. "He's a great young fellow. "He was asking someone where his helmet was because he was worried it had been scratched. And he's also bought a new one-piece driving suit recently, and he wasn't going to give that up without a fight! Everyone was wanting to cut the suit off him, but he was desperate for it to be saved." Ryan Sanderson Thompson said after talking to Ryan's father Shane yesterday, the suit didn't get saved. "It's now in a thousand pieces. But it was a big effort by Ryan up until that." Thompson said the club had also been in contact with the Mifsud family, of Kilmore. "They actually rang us and passed on their thanks for all that we did for Aussie, which was so nice. "Now we just hope that both the drivers make a speedy and complete recovery."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

It's been a week to savour for Charlton's tight-knit harness racing community. The club's joy at hosting its first race meeting in four-and-a-half months on Monday was only surpassed by two of the town's half-dozen trainers - John Tormey and Greg Norman - landing winners on the program. Two wins for the week became three on Wednesday night at Shepparton when the Mark Boyle-trained Gotonebettor broke through for a maiden victory at Shepparton. The four-year-old Bettors Delight gelding, driven by Greg Sugars, seized the lead soon after the start and was able to gradually stifle the challenge of Caesar Moon, despite narrowly being headed before the turn. His first win was achieved at start number eight. Gotonebettor headed to Shepparton with just one previous placing to his name, with the gelding having finished second on debut at Charlton back in April of 2018. If ever a horse could be termed a 'work in progress, Gotonebettor is it, according to Boyle. "His first start he ran second at Charlton as a two-year-old and he looked like a good horse," he said. "Then he ran fourth at Swan Hill and looked good again and I thought 'I've got a good horse here', but the next two starts he went terrible and I turned him out. "I got him back in and he couldn't run within five seconds of what he used to run, so I turned him out again for near enough to 12 months." Having his first start in a month after a trio of unplaced runs in July, Gotonebettor was able to dictate terms out in front and had enough in reserve to stave off the $3.10 favourite Caesar Moon. Boyle conceded it was a far from convincing performance, but any reservations were softened by the gelding securing his Vicbred bonus. "He's going okay, but he's not going as well as he can go - and I'm not sure why," he said. "I have had him vetted and they have found nothing wrong. "If you look at the race, they didn't go a real quick time and he's looking around everwhere. "Working him on his own on the training track at home, he's good enough to win anything, but once another horse comes onto the track he's distracted. "I've got a bit of figuring out to do." Boyle, who has five horses in work, expects Getonebetter to return to action in a fortnight's time. Adding to the stable's excitement was an encouraging second by the first-starter Yapper at Charlton on Monday. The Tell All/Slap On A Hat colt was a recent internet purchase by Boyle, with hopes high he can tick off a victory sooner rather than later. "I'm not sure when he will go around again, he might have a bit of a breathing problem, but whatever happens, he's way above average," he said "Every time I ask him to go, he just goes faster - not many of them do that." Gotonebettor boosted the number of Charlton-trained winners this week to three, following victories on Monday to Hancocks Hero (Tormey) and Edwin Bromac (Norman). Adding to the mix, fellow trainer Michael Gadsden picked up a pair of thirds on Monday with The Summer Cat and Markleigh Jill. By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

A chance to expand operations has led Mick Gadsden and Denbeigh Wade on a move to Charlton. The Ararat couple will be the latest harness racing industry participants to set up camp at Charlton's increasingly appealing training centre. It's another shot in the arm for the Charlton Harness Racing Club, following the unveiling of its new $2.4-million multi-purpose centre last last year and the long-awaited return to racing on home soil following an 18-month hiatus. Far from displeased during their tenure at Ararat, Gadsden said the trainer-driver combo simply did not have the space to accommodate an expanding number of horses. "We just outgrew the current set-up we have here in Ararat, and the Charlton complex seemed like a good way to expand without having to fork out copious amounts of money and investment, where if things don't work out we are lumped with financial hassles," he said. "We got talking to Joe Thompson and Greg Norman and learned about the ins and outs of it and it seemed like a perfect fit for us. "We are currently working six (horses), but it looks like we will be up to between 11 and 14 when we get into the swing of things in a couple of weeks." Gadsden, who is originally from Robinvale, moved to the Wimmera region in 2011, initially working for Peter Manning at Great Western. He and Wade eventually purchased property close to the Ararat harness racing track about four years ago, where they remained until the move north. "It was just big enough to be working four to five horses and we've hit that number now, and with a few more horses looking to come in, it's either we knock back horses or try something different," Gadsden said. "I'm a farrier full-time, but I am trying to get away from that a bit and more into the training of the horses." Their small team of horses has produced nine wins and 16 placings from 57 starts this season. Six of those wins and five placings can be credited to the stable's undoubted star Maorishadow, who was trained in the early part of his career by David van Ryn at Marong. The five-year-old mare has this season achieved back-to-back wins at Melton twice, with the highlight her success in the $30,000 Group 2 VicBred Platinum Trotting Mares Sprint Championship in January. Gadsen said the couple was grateful for the continued support of owners for allowing them to pursue their dream of expansion.  Maorishadow, driven by Denbeigh Wade, wins at Tabcorp Park Melton in December.  Stuart McCormick Photo   "Stephen Blacker has looked after us really well, he brought Maorishadow in with us and a couple of others, and with a couple of other outside interests, we've done well," he said. "We've had a good run the last couple of years, a couple of country cup wins and Group 2 wins with Maorishadow "Momentum and interest in the stable has really been building in the last 18 months. "Hopefully we can get the horses all settled before the end of this regional racing period and they are ready to hit the ground running when the racing opens up." By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of the Bendigo Advertiser

There's no doubt that Charlton Harness Racing Club has had more than its share of "false starts", but the innovative club just keeps rebounding with new ideas. The Central Victorian club has weathered setbacks from Mother Nature, in the form of record rains and floods in 2011, then at the other end of the pendulum, extreme heat waves forcing the rescheduling of one of the club's most important meetings in is history. In between, they've endured shutdowns for a track redesign, then again managed to hold the interest of supporters during their massive multipurpose sports centre redevelopment. And, now, just as they were up and going again, COVID-19 is testing their powers of ingenuity by again leaving the club for months without a meeting. But led by enthusiastic president Joey Thompson, Charlton HRC is again finding a new way to bounce back and generate new interest. "Yes it does get a bit frustrating at times. The floodwaters that inundated our racetrack and complex in 2011 certainly caused a great deal of damage to some of the old buildings," Thompson said. "Then when we were all set late last year to unveil our new $4.2M multi-function centre, grandstand and upgraded track, a heatwave caused us to reschedule the opening by a few days," he said. More than 800 people attended the December 22 meeting-the first to be staged at Charlton in 18 months. And since then, the club has managed only four home meetings at the new complex before the COVID shutdown, with local trainers zoned to Bendigo under the original regional zone model, now expanded to include Shepparton, Kilmore and Cranbourne tracks. But an new tipping competition is the latest innovation to bring local industry participants together and build networks in the sport. Joey Thompson’s “Bushy Lodge” is the “virtual tally room” for the lockdown tipping comp And President Thompson says it's had some unexpected - and positive - spinoffs. "Our lucky lockdown number one tipping comp we ran at the start of COVID generated plenty of interest. It was all about the fun of having a social punt, but it's actually increased our membership base through guest participation," Thompson said. "It's introduced our club profile to a new audience and what's surprised us is that it's been a bit of an education tool. We think ultimately it's probably going to lead to some new owners in the sport. "When you've been in trots a long time, you take the finer details for granted - but for some of the new tipsters it's been a real learning curve to find out about things like the meaning of sr1 (barrier one off second row) and even what a mobile barrier start is. "But it's fantastic that there's people out there getting to learn more about harness racing. Then in the long term when they come along to our trots meetings, they'll have some idea about the caper." The club has now launched its second round lockdown tipping competition. "We've tagged it 'bring a friend' round. It kicks off at the Bendigo meeting on Wednesday and costs $10 registration per player." The competition will be conducted over four meetings, with contestants to bet to the value of $15 on the final four races of each meeting, with only win and place permitted. The leaderboard and results will be available the following day and posted on the Charlton HRC Facebook page. Registrations are to be paid direct to the club account CHRC BSB 633000 Account 120810015. Players should text names to 0499701322 as well as their selections. Anyone forgetting to lodge bets will be allocated the race favorites. Prizes will be announced at the close of registration, while random betting vouchers will be awarded, which can be used at the Charlton Cup day meeting.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The big countdown to Charlton’s re-opening will tick over for an extra two days with the club’s meeting moved from Friday to Sunday. Forecast 45-degree heat has seen the long-awaited re-opening rescheduled to a twilight meeting on the Sunday, a move welcomed by club president Joey Thompson. “It’s a great result,” Mr Thompson said. “We’ve been looking at the weather for a while, the lowest it got to was a forecast of 42 and I thought ‘this is not good’. We went into overdrive to change from the Friday.” The re-opening is set to be a huge day for the club, which has undergone a significant redevelopment that has seen it be race-free for almost 18 months. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT CHARLTON'S 2020 PROJECT “We’ve been working pretty diligently,” Mr Thompson said. “We have focused on staying in contact with our members, increasing membership despite not racing, we are at 580-odd members and I reckon we will crack 600 this Sunday. “We just want to get racing. We’ve got a number of projects to get too, even more facilities, but on Sunday we have a significant building that will be open, a big lawn area, new trees, the revamped viewing area. The whole complex is six to eight metres off the track – you will feel like you are part of the action.” TRAINERS: CLICK HERE FOR RACING INFORMATION   HRV Trots Media

Racing in north-central Victoria is on the cusp of revealing an enormous present on the eve of Christmas with Charlton’s track reopening for racing on December 20. And the club wants as many people as possible to be on track to celebrate with them. A huge undertaking, the 2020 Project has been in the pipeline for more than 13 years and is a multi-purpose facility that shares with football, cricket and netball clubs. “It’s unbelievable that it’s here,” club Marketing Manager Andrea O’Gorman said. It’s been quite the journey for the club and its facilities, which suffered flood damage in 2011 that left some buildings extensively damaged. “They were just going to fall down at some point,” O’Gorman said. “We didn’t know that we were ever going to get this project off the ground, but (Chairman of 2020 Committee) John Harley was like a dog with a bone, he really worked hard on it.” The amount of time and effort that has gone into the new racing facility is astounding. O’Gorman, a former art teacher, has painted artworks depicting local identities and horses, all with an indigenous connection that reflects the club strong association with the local Dja Dja Wurrung people. In all that’s 94 horse stalls and 94 paintings. “We just wanted to give people something different to look at – make the place stand out a little,” she said. Development has meant an absence of racing at Charlton, with most meetings transferred to Maryborough, but despite this the club has still managed a great deal of success. It won Best Cup Day for medium-sized clubs for the second successive year for its 2019 Charlton Cup, which was held on March 16 at Tabcorp Park Melton. “We decided to hold a Punter’s Party and everything just worked,” O’Gorman said. “We had two competing punters’ clubs and the turnout from local members was just massive.” But she was less expansive about the club’s other major win, which was her being named the Frank Ryan Memorial Club Employee of the Year. “That’s a little embarrassing,” she said. “It really is an award for the club, however, and as such it’s invaluable.” The club is particularly indebted to the local community, with the small town and surrounding area helping to raise an incredible $1.35 million to help pay for the project. With its patrons in mind, the club delayed the first race meeting a little, with the big day originally scheduled for September 29.  “Everything that we needed was finished, but the outside was not nice – we didn’t want our participants looking at that,” O’Gorman said. Instead all has aligned for its December 20 meeting and O’Gorman hopes that, once again, the local community will show its support. “I really hope people come along,” she said. “Our participants and patrons come first. Of course, everyone is welcome, and we just want racing to be fun. It’s going to be one big party for racegoers and punters. That’s what racing is.”   HRV Trots Media - Lucy McCormick

There's a buzz of excitement around central Victorian harness racing, with the green light finally being given to the sport's new regional showpiece at Charlton. The Charlton Harness Racing Club's new shared $4.2 million multipurpose facility is officially open for business, and the club's first meeting at the track is scheduled for the end of the year. "Charlton Park is the headquarters for sport and recreation here now, and, as harness racing people we're very proud and excited to be part of the leadership that's allowed it to happen," club president Joey Thompson said. "There's a lot of interest from the community and a lot of energy around the club about what's happened here, so we're pretty confident there'll be huge numbers of participants and supporters and community people turn up on Friday, December 20, when we will be racing again," Thompson said. The complex draws together a raft of sporting organisations, including football, cricket, golf, hockey, netball, tennis, fishing, and, possibly the most high-profile of the precinct partners, harness racing. More than 250 people recently attended the official opening of the complex, with many community members getting their first look at the state-of-the-art facility. Explore the complex in 3D: Click Here! "We've certainly had to be patient, but we've made it - and at the moment we are one very proud community. The new building is really good; it's magnificent," Thompson said. To achieve the Charlton community's dream of a multi-purpose sporting precinct, the town, population 1100, raised a phenomenal $1.2 million - the equivalent of more than $1000 per head of population. "That's just an unbelievable effort when you think about it, and it's taken 13 years," Thompson said. "We've kept working away at it through a drought, a devastating flood in 2011 and now another drought, but we've made it. "There's also been financial assistance from former Charlton people who have moved to areas like Bendigo and Maryborough to live. But it just demonstrates the generosity of close-knit communities." Thompson said the Charlton Park 2020 committee, under chairman John Harley, deserved high praise for holding the community's loyalty and support for the project despite the challenges. "There've been dips as well as high spots along the way, but John has been there from the start. That's certainly something a bit special in my book," he said. The club was forced to hold its programmed meetings at sister Victorian clubs through much of 2019. "Maryborough and Melton have been fantastic hosting our meetings while the construction works have been in progress. But it will be so good to be back home," he said. "There's still some minor projects that need doing like landscaping, furnishings, parking and footpaths. And again, we've put out the call to raise more money because we've been stretched financially, and we still need maybe $200,000 to finish everything off as we'd like." Mr Thompson said a number of fund-raising ideas had been suggested, such as "buying" a tree on the landscaped lawns overlooking the harness racing track and oval. "For $1000 people will be able to place a plaque with names on it at the base of the trees. We've also sold artistic stable signs, some featuring Aboriginal art, for $25," he said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Charlton’s Joey Thompson has always been known as a passionate harness racing participant – and now his enthusiasm is spilling over with the building of a $4.2 million multipurpose sport and recreation facility at the town’s trotting headquarters. “This project is going to see a big change in the dynamics at Charlton Park – something that I believe has been missing for a long time,” an excited Thompson, who is club president, said. “From a harness racing point of view, the building being right on the track is going to add heaps more atmosphere and I can only imagine the echo when the bell sounds for a lap to go,” he said. “Fans just enjoy being up close to the action. That’s one thing I’ve noticed when I go to Mildura that being right on the track brings such energy to the racing. “That’s a little something that’s been missing at our meetings I think.” As well as current club president, Thompson is a well-regarded horse breaker and trainer and has been involved in harness racing for nearly 40 years. He is a Charlton person through-and-through, and can barely contain his excitement that electricians, plumbers and builders are now on-site, putting the finishing touches to an impressive-looking complex, with a plan for completion by early July. “We hope to stage our September 29 meeting there so the building will be ‘on show’ for all harness racing people and the community,” Thompson said. “It’s going to be a huge day and it really completes the package for harness racing here at Charlton.” Charlton Harness Racing Club was one of the spearheads for the Multi-Purpose Facility and it’s just one of many major projects this energetic regional club has managed to achieve. In addition to negotiating its 2015 track upgrade, the club successfully established a nearby Charlton Training Complex in 2012.  The community complex is available as a base for local trainers, or those wanting to relocate to the area with tenants having access to individual stabling complexes.  Each has a fully serviced 60 x 30 shed, lock-up harness and feed area, internal yoke up and wash areas, two internal boxes and eight adjoining day yards. They also have unrestricted use of the 820 metre Training Track, 2,000 metre Straight Track and a swimming dam on site. “This puts us in a really good position going forward,” Thompson said. “The new multi-purpose centre is going to take our 12 meetings a year to the next level, which we’re really excited about,” he said. “But there are also eleven tracks within 120 kilometres of Charlton, and they host something like 150 race meetings a year, so the racing opportunities from a base here at Charlton are huge.” As the construction has been underway on the new multi-purpose centre, Charlton meetings have been transferred to Maryborough, and Melton hosted the club’s Pacing Cup. The completed hub will also be home to other sport and recreation clubs with shared administration club rooms for football, netball, hockey, tennis, cricket, golf and fishing as well as the Agricultural and Pastoral Society. It will benefit the whole community with provision of state-of-the-art social and conference facilities with seating for 250 people and event catering, with a commercial kitchen. Thompson said a local fundraising campaign had raised $1.2M from a town of just over 1000 people and the project had been made possible with contributions from the Victorian and Federal Governments, the Buloke Shire, the Charlton and District Community Bank and Harness Racing Victoria.  “Some of the previous buildings on the site were in pretty poor condition being about 70 years old, and they were also badly damaged by floods,” Thompson said. “To be honest they were all disjointed buildings and now they will be all in the one large facility,” he said. “It has been a long time coming.  The community has been working towards this facility for the past 13 years and it’s been an amazing effort.  “There have been some wonderful, big donations and those people are very humble. But that signifies the community spirit of Charlton. Thompson said going forward, he could see increased visitor numbers to the precinct, with an emphasis on RV travelers staying on the nearby river. “Little towns like Charlton live off these people.  This complex will be a great thing for our whole community, so we’re excited and proud that we’re seeing it take shape.” he said. “We are still short of our target to fully complete stage one of the redevelopment, but we’ll get there.” Donations are tax deductible, and people making a donation of $100 or more, can stamp their mark on the building with a $20 purchase of a paver. More information and donations can be made through the Charlton HRC website Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

Strathfieldsaye harness racing trainer Glenn Douglas had a day out on Thursday, notching a treble with winners at two central Victorian tracks. Another successful day for Douglas, four times the state's leading trainer, kicked-off with a double at the Charlton Harness Racing Club meeting at Maryborough during the afternoon. He added the third leg of the treble when The Cobblers Piece made it three-wins in a row, with concession driver Abbey Turnbull in the sulky, at Kilmore on Thursday night. It continued a properous season for Douglas, who entered the day with 58 winners and 130 placings alongside his name, for stakes earnings of $437,172. Douglas was in the sulky for two of the wins, partnering Saucy Dreams and Dublin Street, both four-year-old mares, to victory at Maryborough. Saucy Dreams is only a recent acquisition for Douglas after having all but the last four of her 64 starts for former trainer David Druitt in New South Wales. Dublin Street, who started favourite at $1.60, was able to follow up his smart win at Shepparton in the Ray Woods Memorial Pace on April 14. The Christian Cullen-Pass The Sugar mare justified her short price with a convincing six-metre win over the Tim Mannix-trained Bolt The Bomb ($8.80) and Gollahgold. Douglas would no doubt be rapt with the progress of The Cobblers Piece, who ran his rivals ragged over the 1690m journey to win by 4.5 metres. The five-year-old gelding, has struck a real purple patch of form, with three-straight wins taking his career record to seven wins and 10 placings for 61 starts. It was the perfect lead in to Easter for the champion trainer, who figures on being reasonably busy after the break in racing for Good Friday. Douglas will have a trio of runners at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday, with the much-improved gelding Wotchawaiting For returning to the site of his March 30 win three starts ago at harness racing headquarters, and stablemates Fight Officer and Pocket Thedeal going head-to-head in the Hero Claiming Pace (2240m). READ MORE: Glenn Douglas-trained Wotchawaitingfor wins at Tabcorp Park Melton He also has promising three-year-old Vandanta entered at Bendigo next Tuesday, with the gelding looking to go one better than his recent seconds at Melton and also Shepparton in the Kyabram Pacing Cup. READ MORE: Six of the best on a super Sunday at Shepparton Meanwhile, there was success for two other Bendigo region trainers on Thursday. Axedale's Mick Carbone broke through for a win with the six-year-old gelding Lighting Colony at Kilmore, which followed that of the Trevor Monk-trained gelding Terrorleen in the night's opening race. Terrorlean, a four-year-old by Western Terror out of Purralong Rose, added his second win from his past five starts, and was confidently driver by Haydon Gray. READ MORE: Sentimental victory for Haydon Gray in Graeme Maher Memorial Trot By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Charlton Harness Racing Club and Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) are joining forces to deliver the first ever Punters Party at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night, March 16. Charlton will host its Cup night at Tabcorp Park Melton while development continues on the club’s new multi-million dollar multipurpose facility, and in addition to great racing the club and HRV are promising a night to remember for punters in the Legends Room (previously known as the Toolern Room). The Punters’ Club Challenge will be centre stage as the Carroll Brothers, Brett and Darren, represent Charlton, while the HRV GoodForm duo of Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden represent “the rest”. “We wanted to take the opportunity to create a fun and engaging way for people to learn about the best way to have a flutter on the trots and also see how our form experts use their expertise to tackle the punt,” club Marketing Manager Andrea O’Gorman said. “The punters can come and try their luck by buying a ticket in the popular punters’ club, either one or both, and we’ll have rolling progress reports on the Punters Club Challenge throughout screens at the venue and in the room, with MCs Cody Winnell and Toby McKinnon interviewing the punters’ club members and keeping the room updated with how their investments are tracking.” Leading bookie "Tara Tom Hogan" will be one of two bookmakers attending on the night and he'll be fielding in the room at the function for punters to 'Take on Tom'. For just $95 patrons will receive entry to the Legends Room Punters Party, a food and a drinks package from the first race to the last, a stack of entertainment and the chance to win a stack of great giveaways. There will be giveaways galore in the form of “second chance TAB ticket draws”, where losing TAB tickets can be entered into a barrel with draws taking place between races. Already other prizes include several $100 TAB bets and an In-Harness Experience for two ($770 value) courtesy of HRV, a four-person Redwood Rattler package ($380 value) including entry to the annual Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic Day courtesy of Maryborough Harness Racing Club, a table for six in the Terrace Dining Room ($210 value) at Ballarat trots courtesy of Ballarat and District Trotting Club, a $500 Members Draw betting voucher on the night courtesy of Charlton Harness Racing Club to celebrate its 500th member signed, and a Helloworld Bendigo Accommodation Package valued at $1100 courtesy of Charlton and its sponsor. There will be more exciting giveaway announcements as we get closer to the night. “We’re looking forward to putting on a great show, having a lot of fun, getting the room engaged in the punting side of our sport and hopefully making some cabbage,” GoodForm analyst Jason Bonnington said. “The Carroll brothers do a fantastic job volunteering their services right across Victoria to run punters’ clubs and they’re very knowledgeable. “There will be some great banter between us and them and patrons will enjoy hearing different angles to approaching form study.” But the punting side of things is just part of the fun, with an in-room DJ busting out tunes between races, a fully stocked bar and loads of opportunity for patrons to socialise as the night steps away from a traditional “sit-down meal” function and replaces it with a more casual, cocktail style affair. Punters Club tickets are $20 each on the night and you can choose to side with Team Charlton or The Rest. Or you can of course put your faith in both! Places are limited, so get in quick to avoid missing out by contacting Andrea O’Gorman on 0499 701 322. Seats are available on a shuttle bus from Crown Casino on the night at just $20 for a return ticket to and from Melton, making it easy for punters to attend. Ask Andrea for details.    Giveaways at the Punters Party (SO FAR) include: 10 X $100 TAB betting vouchers (courtesy of HRV) Value $1000 In-Harness Experience for two at Tabcorp Park Melton (courtesy of HRV)  Value $770 Four-person Redwood Rattler Package (courtesy of Maryborough HRC)  Value $380 Dinner for 6 in Terrace Dining Room at Ballarat Trots (courtesy of Ballarat Trots) Value $210 Helloworld Bendigo package (courtesy of Helloworld Bendigo & Charlton HRC) Value $1100 Members-only $500 betting voucher (courtesy of Charlton HRC)  Value $500 Legends Room booking options for Punters Party $95 per person Drinks package from first race to the last race, finger food and grazing table throughout night $50 per person  (non Charlton HRC members) One drink on arrival, finger food and grazing table throughout night $45 per person (Charlton HRC members only) One drink on arrival, finger food and grazing table throughout night Book by phoning Andrea O'Gorman: 0499 701 322.

The Charlton trots club was thrilled to again host the Dja Dja Wurrung people at the annual Dja Dja Wurrung Cup Day yesterday. As a gesture of thanks for permission granted to build the club's training facility, now a great asset to the club, this day has evolved into one of friendship and mutual respect. "With 40 representatives of the Dja Dja Wurrung People on-course to participate in the day, it was a great testament to the growing relationship between the two groups," club secretary Andrea O'Gorman said. "In a day of many positives perhaps the most important was the commitment made to work even closer together to develop this day into a showcase of the best that the club and the Dja Dja Wurrung People have to offer." Damien Burns and Village Tango won the Dja Dja Wurrung Cup in a mile rate of 1:56.9, defeating runner-up Nuggetpan by 7.5 metres. The club also welcomed Women's Cancer Foundation Teal Campaign founder Duncan McPherson on-course to accept the $2829 that was raised to support ovarian cancer research on Charlton Cup Day. The successful 'Bubbles in the Bush' campaign, which was sponsored by St. John Of God Bendigo Hospital, saw 104 ladies dig deep to support the cause. Rodney Carter, representing the Dja Dja Wurrung People, generously stepped forward on the day to announce they also would like to donate $1000 to the Women's Cancer Foundation. And so a new relationship was formed. It was with great pride that local and former president of the Charlton club Frank McGrath was given the honour of opening the new 'Milly Perez Bar' at the club. As a long-time supporter of trots and a passionate 'Charltonian', Frank was humbled to have this recognition given his super mare after her stirring win in the Charlton Cup in February. For more trots news visit Cody Winnell (HRV Media/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

Promising harness racing performer Barimah is certainly living up to his name and namesake. Successful at his five of his seven starts for trainer Tony Peacock, Barimah is the Ashanti word for ‘brave one’. Furthermore, the pacer is named in honour of Ghanaian-born triple world champion, Azumah Nelson, who showed a tremendous amount of guts, ability and bravery in the ‘square ring’. Nelson was given the title ‘Barimah’ by the Ashanti King at the height of his boxing career during the 1980s. Close friends with the former pugilist, Peacock stated he was waiting until he found “the right horse” before using the name in honour of Nelson. “I’ve used Azumah’s name in a couple of horses, but I was waiting for the right horse for this name,” Peacock said. “Meaning brave one, Barimah is an important title given to Azumah by the Ashanti King. “So with that in mind, I wanted to make sure any horse that carries this title had to have above-average ability. “I’m not saying Barimah the pacer is a superstar, but he’s better than average and will win his races.” Barimah continued his rise through the rankings with a stylish display at Charlton yesterday. Driven by talented reinsman Damian Wilson, the son of Bettors Delight led throughout to score by three-and-a-half metres from Teixeira, with The Ole Buckaroo a short half-head away third. “He’s done really well again,” Peacock said. “Once he got to the front I knew they were never going to run him down. “He is still only lightly-assessed and should get through the grades pretty quickly. “We will find out where is he at once he gets on a tougher mark, buy for now, he is doing a good job.” Peacock has no short term plans for the four-year-old, with the Vicbred Super Series the main target later in the season. “For now he will just keep working his way through the classes,” Peacock said. “I’ve got no doubt he is capable of winning a couple in town. “Further down the track I will put him in a heat of the Sires’ and see how he measures up.” PAUL COURTS

The mandatory two harness racing meetings were held in Victoria on Wednesday May 29, with Charlton in Central Victoria racing during the afternoon and Geelong holding the night time fixture.

Situated in close proximity of Melbourne are the Macedon Ranges, an area where many harness racing trainers are domiciled.

The Charlton Harness Racing Club has added a new Feature Race to its 2013 Cup Program, to be run as a Twilight Fixture on Sunday, March 3rd.

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