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A regally bred harness racing filly from the Lauriston Bloodstock operation set a new fillies’ record at the Melbourne Australian Pacing Gold Sale today. The daughter of Alabar’s headline act, Art Major, out of Smyrna Duruisseau pulled $160,000 to become the 2018 ‘topper’ and the highest priced filly ever at an APG sale. The bidding was hot for Lot 223 at the famous Inglis Sales Complex and she fetched $60,000 more than any other yearling for the day. Smyrna Duruisseau was no star on the track, but her breeding barn career was off to a flyer via Follow The Stars – the brilliant 2014 $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold Final and $297,000 Australasian Breeders Crown champion, who went on to win 19 races from 29 starts for over $700k in prizemoney. And this filly is a full-sister. A Nixon Bloodstock prepared and bred colt, a stunning son of Mach Three out of Bettors Delight mare Bettor Give It, was the second-highest priced yearling to go under the gavel today. He went for $100,000, while Benstud Standardbreds prepared the third and fourth highest priced youngsters, two colts – a Sportswriter-Mendelico half-brother to Heaven Rocks snaring $92,500 and a Well Said-Beninjurd relation to Philadelphia Man $77,500. Bling It On’s ($1.6 million in prizemoney so far) full-brother rounded out the top five today at $72,500, the son of American Ideal-Alldatglittersisgold having no shortage of admirers. The Australian Pacing Gold wagon rolls into Sydney on Sunday February 25. Cody Winnell Full Melbourne 2018 APG Sale results    

Red Hot Tooth is the big firmer in harness racing markets for Saturday night’s Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park Melton after drawing gate three for the $300,000 Group 1 trotting feature. The barrier draws for Saturday night’s features were conducted live at Harness Racing Victoria offices this morning and Red Hot Tooth pulled the three marble, while some key rivals Temporale (eight), Sparkling Success (10), My Tribeca (12) and Speeding Spur (13) drew the back line. Listen to Zac Phillips on the Trot Line “It couldn’t have worked out any better,” Phillips told “She looks the obvious early leader, and what we do from there we’ll work it out through the week.” The Boss Man was also a big winner at the draw, the Ellen Tormey trained and driven trotter drawing barrier one and no doubt eager to improve on his fifth place finish in last year’s Great Southern Star. Derby delight at draw for Code Bailey Two of the big guns for the VHRSC Victoria Derby Final drew wide for the $200,000 final with Lumineer Poster Boy in barriers six and seven respectively. Terang-trained Code Bailey, an impressive second placegetter in his heat, drew pole for the final and his chances have significantly improved as a result. Mark Purdon’s heat winner Spankem has barrier four, while stablemate The Devils Own will come out of gate 13. Golden draw for Goddess in Alabar Ladyship Cup Kerryn Manning was the big winner of the Alabar Ladyship Cup barrier draw with her two big-gun mares drawing barriers one and eight respectively. Our Golden Goddess has the plum cherry draw, while Ameretto will trail in barrier eight. Kiwi sensation Partyon is drawn alongside Our Golden Goddess, making it harder for the Purdon-trained filly to extend across the polemarker early, while another of the All Stars team, A Piccadilly Princess, has gate 10. Stars Align for showdown in 4YO Bonanza The TAB Multiplier 4YO Bonanza pits two-time Breeders Crown champion Our Little General against a top-quality line-up of adversaries, and the chances of Stars Align took no harm at this morning’s draw. The Dean Braun-trained pacer drew barrier three and looks likely to find the lead, while Emma Stewart-trained Our Little General will certainly get his opportunity from gate one.   $300,000 Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star (Group 1) 1: The Boss Man 2: Daryl Boko 3: Red Hot Tooth 4: On Thunder Road 5: Hey Yo                             6: Kyvalley Blur                  7: Vincennes 8: Temporale 9: Sky Petite 10: Sparkling Success 11: Fabrication (Emergency) 12: My Tribeca 13: Speeding Spur   $200,000 VHRSC Victoria Derby Final (Group 1) 1: Code Bailey 2: Tam Major 3: Maraetai 4: Spankem 5: Corzin Change 6: Lumineer 7: Poster Boy 8: Major Times 9: Yankee Roller (Emergency) 10: The Brooklyn Brawler 11: Colt Thirty One 12: Little Peanut 13: The Devils Own   $100,000 Alabar Ladyship Cup (Group 1) 1: Our Golden Goddess 2: Partyon 3: Carlas Pixel 4: Delishka 5: Berisari 6: Shakahari (Emergency) 7: Whirily School 8: Ameretto 9: Keayang Kallisto 10: A Piccadilly Princess 11: Nikkibadwagon   $100,000 TAB Multiplier 4YO Bonanza (Group 1) 1: Our Little General 2: Gotta Go Dali Queen 3: Stars Align 4: Mustang Bart 5: Motu Meteor 6: Beach Surge 7: Jilliby Kung Fu 8: Makoa 9: Jilliby Road Runner 10: Hashtag 11: Waimac Attack   $50,000 DNR Logistics Casey Classic 1: Lennytheshark 2: San Carlo 3: Messini 4: Bernie Winkle 5: Bling It On 6: Upanatom 7: Clancys Fobwatch 8: Lets Elope 9: Last Flight In Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Tabcorp Park Melton will stage the inaugural Summer of Glory - Del-Re National Breakfast of Champions on Wednesday January 31. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) is inviting all industry participants to attend the breakfast, which is also proudly supported by Schweppes, with the entertainment being a live outside broadcast of RSN's Racing Pulse program. Regular Racing Pulse host Michael Felgate will be joined by guest hosts Jason Bonnington and Adam Hamilton for a 90-minute show focused on the upcoming Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup. A roving panel of guests will also feature, including Victorian voice of the trots Dan Mielicki and some of the key drivers and trainers involved in the Hunter Cup. Some of the Hunter Cup equine competitors will also take to the track to show off where they're at ahead of the $500,000 Grand Circuit Classic (to be run Saturday night February 3). Also in attendance will be the legendary retired pacer Smoken Up and his trainer/driver Lance Justice. A breakfast barbecue and tea/coffee will be provided. Gates open 8am for an 8.30am start with Racing Pulse to wrap up at 10am. More details will be announced in coming days. To register your interest in attending the breakfast, please sign up to receive updates and RSVP by clicking here CODY WINNELL  [Harness Racing Victoria]

The trainer of today's Matthews Petroleum Group three $30,000 Hamilton Pacing Cup winner Bad Billy is daring to dream with his harness racing stable star. Gary Lawlor, based at Camperdown, is likely to set Bad Billy for a tilt at the Inter Dominion in Victoria this year after the six-year-old rated 1:57.5 to overhaul gun mare Berisari for a 1.6-metre win in today's feature. “He can run home in 54, so he’s a serious racehorse,” Lawlor said.  “We always knew he’d be a better horse over 2600m. Now he’s had three starts over 2600m for a second in the Stawell Cup, third in the Bendigo Cup and won here.” Today's win made it five wins from five starts at Hamilton for Bad Billy a son of Badlands Hanover, who clearly relishes one of the state's fastest tracks. “He’s more of a speed horse this grade,” winning reinsman Jason Lee said. “Today he showed though he can do a bit of work. He probably hasn’t been able to do that against the absolute elite yet, but I just thought today talking to the boys before the race we might have to do a little bit of work to find the right position.” Lee drove a masterful race, making his move to the breeze early before Berisari circled the field to give Bad Billy one-one cover. Berisari’s driver Chris Alford, a four-time Hamilton Pacing Cup winner (Justa Jomahl in 1992, Earlsplace Ego 2003, Lady Lisa 2004 and Cruz Bromac last year), made a bold bid for victory at the home turn when he moved the Emma Stewart-trained mare to a clear lead.  And it all but worked out perfectly, but for Bad Billy's trademark late fortitude, which came to the fore at the tail end of a 27.2secs last quarter (55.7secs last half).  Bad Billy In glorious sunshine the excited connections hoisted the cup aloft, while Lee scored a glistening watch donated by local legend Peter Hyde.  It was the 50th watch donated by Mr Hyde to the Hamilton Cup winning driver, and Lee was clearly grateful for the generous gesture. "Well done young man," Mr Hyde said. Pre-race the local trots supporter had thought he was going to be giving another watch to Alford. "I think it might be Chris ... he's already got a few though!" he said. Lawlor said Bad Billy may have one more run or head to the paddock for a spell after being “up for 12 months”. “He’s won $150,000 in that time, so that’s pretty good,” he said. “He’s never ever disappointed me, not once. He always finishes off with his last 100m the best whether he wins or not. And as far as I can remember there’s never been a horse really pass him in the last 200m.” Rather than rush Bad Billy to this level before his time, the Lawlor camp has been selective with the gelding’s strategy. Lawlor explained “because we own him we don’t have to answer to anyone, so we can do what we like, which makes a big difference.” Berisari boxed on solidly to run a clear second today, while Mustang Bart enjoyed an economical trip for Gavin Lang on the pegs and captured third. Both Alford and Emma Stewart snared winning trebles. Anne-Maree Conroy won the Porthaul Hamilton Trotters Cup aboard Mick Barby-trained Regal Pepperell. A history of Metro success Lawlor is no stranger to metropolitan success in Victorian trots. He’s trained a winner at the Showgrounds, several at Moonee Valley and also success at Tabcorp Park Melton. “When I was 19 I trained Abbe Pete to win at the Showgrounds ... my father (Joe) had a champion in those days Heytesbury Meadow. He was one of the best of his time,” Gary explained. Among the Lawlor winners at Moonee Valley was Hellas Boy, who contested a Hamilton Cup for the family operation. “He won 15 races or so. He was a really good horse. I also had Paul Michael and Bert Butler," he said. Interestingly Lawlor’s equine nous was not exclusive to one code. He enjoyed three years of success training in the gallops. “I trained an Avoca Cup winner and a couple of other cup winners,” he said. “I think I had about 33 winners in three years, so that was quite good. Galloping was good because the kids were teenagers but they grew up got married and took off so I focused on the trots.” Key to the success of the Lawlor harness stable are his sons Darryl and Brian. Both are hands-on, Darryl and Gary making the decisions regarding the programming and training of Bad Billy, while Brian is an A Grade farrier. “He shoes them all," Gary said of Brian. "He was taught by Ron King and Ron King shod 12 Melbourne Cup winners. He was our next-door neighbour, so we’ve got a bit of knowledge there." The team recently retired exciting mare Lagertha and sent her to stallion Captain Treacherous. “She could have won a heap more but I said to Darryl ‘wouldn’t a colt out of her be much better to train’. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

When Regal Pepperell began badly in today’s Porthaul Hamilton Trotters Cup the mare’s supporters wouldn’t have known how much a blessing it would end up. “It’s very lucky she bungled the start, which put me three-back,” harness racing winning driver Anne-Maree Conroy said. “I was thinking I’d be behind the leader, and if I’d been behind the leader I think the leader would have stopped and I wouldn’t have got out in time. I just got out in time because of the luck of being three-back, so it worked out well.” Regal Pepperell rated 2:03.7 in winning today’s squaregaiting feature event at Hamilton on Cup Day, defeating Crown Dream (Neil McCallum) by 3.7 metres after the pair engaged in a stirring duel.  Last year’s Trotters Cup winner El Paco finished third beaten 28.4m for Taleah McMullen. Trained by Conroy’s husband, Michael Barby, today’s win meant plenty for the tightknit team. Conroy’s father, trots legend Bob Conroy, passed away tragically last month. “This was special,” Anne-Maree said post-race today. “I’m very thrilled. Sometimes I think Dad’s giving me a bit of a push.” Bred by Geoff Hood, Regal Pepperell is one of six winners out of mare Special Code from seven at the races. “She’s the last one out of Special Code for Geoff,” Anne-Maree said. “She’s always had a rocky gait, which has seen her lose races and lose races on protest because she trots rough, but Mick’s been trying lots of different things. “The last start (a win at Geelong) was the best she’s ever trotted. She’s gone one better today and won a big race. Hopefully fingers crossed he might have sorted her out.” Race favourite My Skypocket finished in fourth place after losing about 50m at the start. The first four over the line spaced the remainder, with Super Zeck fifth (107.9m behind the winner) winning what basically became a race within the race, beating home Mister Oz, Mister Gunsen and the resuming local Irish Whisper.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Franco Nelson and Yayas Hot Spot will spearhead the Victorian Summer of Glory raid by New South Wales harness racing trainers Shane and Lauren Tritton. The pair will target the $500,000 Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup on February 3, a race in which Yayas Hot Spot finished runner-up to Bling It On last year. “Yaya has come through the Perth trip extremely well and will line up for another crack at the Hunter Cup to go one better,” Shane Tritton said. In Perth last month, Yayas Hot Spot ran second in a Bunbury Inter Dominion heat behind Galactic Star and defeated Lennytheshark. He went on to run seventh in the Inter Dominion Consolation. Franco Nelson, a $743,093 stakemoney winner with 18 wins from 65 starts, hasn’t raced since May last year when second to Heaven Rocks in New Zealand. He recently won a Menangle trial. “Nelson will look at the Goulburn Cup and then the Hunter Cup if he comes through that well,” Tritton said. Of note, the Goulburn Cup path is the exact journey trekked by Yayas Hot Spot before his runner-up effort in last year’s Hunter Cup. Meanwhile, Tritton said precocious three-year-old Divine State was potentially a VHRSC Victoria Derby contender, however the son of Tintin In America is no guarantee to make the trip. This year’s Summer of Glory will feature the inaugural Summer of Glory Breakfast with the Stars on Wednesday January 31, which will follow the annual Caduceus Club Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup Official Barrier Draw the night before at the MCG Members Dining Room on Level 2 (Ted Webster taking bookings on 0417 327 636). Details for the Summer of Glory Breakfast will be announced next week. This Saturday night features the Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup and Summer of Glory contenders San Carlo, Moonrock and Major Secret will lock horns. In South Australia the annual Group 1 SA Cup will feature gun Victorian Shadow Sax on Saturday night, along with fellow Victorians Messini, Sams The Master, Tee Cee Bee Macray and recent former Victorian Major Crocker.  Then on Sunday the weekend Victorian country cups’ double-header heads south-west to Hamilton for the Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup featuring Keayang Kallisto, Bad Billy, It Is Billy and returning top-line mare Berisari. The summer spotlight shines on Ballarat next Saturday night when the big guns step out in the $100,000 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup at Bray Raceway. Heats of the VHRSC Victoria Derby and the Group 2 E.B. Cochran Trotters Cup will make for an action-packed night. Then, seven days later, the Tabcorp Park Melton fireworks sparkle as we launch the 2018 Summer of Glory with the $300,000 Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star the highlight on a night of stars. The Group 1 $200,000 VHRSC Victoria Derby Final, $100,000 4YO Bonanza, $100,000 Alabar Ladyship Cup, $50,000 Group 2 Casey Classic and $30,000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Trotting Mares Sprint Championship Final will all be contested. Visit for more information. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and the Bendigo Harness Racing Training Centre (BHRTC) are excited to publicly announce the two recipients of the inaugural Pony Trots Victoria Scholarship. Taylah Markham and Chelsea Prothero have been granted scholarships, both impressing the selection panel with their applications. The Pony Trots Victoria Scholarship program aims to foster the development of junior trots participants and encourage them to consider harness racing as a career option. Scholarship recipients are covered by HRV for the cost of obtaining their C Grade drivers’ licence (valued at $405), receive accredited training at the BHRTC at no cost, a grant of $1000 to purchase driver and/or horse gear and 12 months of mentoring by a HRV A Grade driver. “We are delighted to offer the Pony Trots Victoria Scholarship to help these passionate youngsters pursue a potential career in our industry,” HRV Manager People and Culture Isabella Galati said. “The Pryde's EasiFeed Pony Trots Victoria program provides important professional development for young people participating in our industry and I’d like to congratulate both Taylah and Chelsea for securing these scholarships. “I also must publicly acknowledge the wonderful work of Vicki Moro at the Bendigo Harness Racing Training Centre, who has been absolutely instrumental in helping drive this initiative.” Chelsea Prothero  Ms Moro said the interview panel was “impressed” with the quality of applicants. “We were so impressed … and we look forward to supporting Taylah and Chelsea with their studies,” the BHRTC CEO said. “As part of the scholarship Taylah will complete Certificate II in Racing to fit in with her paid commitments. Chelsea will complete Certificate II in Racing as part of her VCE. Her school, Mildura Senior College, has been very supportive of the plan. The certificate will contribute to Chelsea’s VCE completion and her ATAR. “The aim of the scholarship is to encourage young people to consider a career in the industry. It is an ageing workforce and we need young ones to join the ranks.” Both scholarship recipients said they were honoured and excited to have received the opportunity. Taylah said: “I feel extremely honoured and proud to be chosen. I really hope that I can achieve a successful driving career and the ultimate goal would be to be training and driving my own horses one day. I’ve always been passionate about horses and in primary school one of my close friends invited me to come to the trots. I learnt a lot from my friend and his family. They taught me how to drive ponies and I was lucky enough to get a pony of my own. I have been racing my pony ever since. I’d also really like to thank the Herbertson and Douglas families for their great support.” Chelsea said: “I am honoured to be selected for this scholarship as it will be a great pathway into a future in the industry. I would like to become a trainer and a driver, while also focusing on marketing within the industry. I enjoy working with horses and it has been a great industry to be a part of. I was brought up in the trots and have enjoyed being a part of it from a very young age.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has rescheduled last night’s postponed Tabcorp Park Melton metropolitan trots meeting to Monday afternoon. The meeting will be a ‘Geelong at Tabcorp Park Melton’ meeting and will be followed by Monday night’s scheduled Melton program, creating a Massive Monday at Melton. HRV made the decision today after consultation with media and wagering partners, Tabcorp Park Melton and the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association. “Thursday night’s rain was torrential at Melton resulting in the track being unsuitable for racing and unable to be repaired for that night,” HRV CEO David Martin said. “The decision to move the meeting to Monday afternoon means connections of the horses who missed a run due to the washout get a second chance to race for the substantial prizemoney on offer.” The fields, race order and barrier draws will remain unchanged as per Thursday night’s meeting. All scratchings will initially be reinstated before each horse’s relevant eligibility is to be determined by HRV. Any horses unable to race on Monday afternoon will be able to be scratched penalty-free. “I’d like to thank HRV employees and everyone involved in helping us reschedule this meeting. For the sake of our industry we must be flexible and consultative in our approach and I’m looking forward to a Massive Monday of trots at Melton,” Mr Martin said. Geelong was selected as the ‘host’ club for the Melton meeting due its close proximity to Melton, and to provide separation from the existing Melton meeting scheduled for Monday night with trotting races to be exported to France. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV), the peak racing body in the heartland of Australian harness racing, and The Farm Ventures – developers of the popular international trots app game Off and Pacing – have partnered to deliver players an exciting realistic ‘Victorian trots’ experience. HRV is thrilled to announce some of the highlights of the Australian harness racing calendar, Vicbred Super Series, Breeders Crown, A.G. Hunter Cup and Alabar Queen of the Pacific have been added to the Off and Pacing stakes race calendar, while Trots Melton becomes the first 1000-metre track in the game. VIDEO: Learn more about Off and Pacing “Finding ways to reach new audiences including young people and engage them with our sport helps create trots fans for life and that’s the potential genius of this particular game,” HRV Media and Communications Manager Cody Winnell said. “Players program and race horses, they also breed horses and compete with big-name stables across the world. I know Canadian superstar reinsman Yannick Gingras is an avid Off and Pacing player and the same can be said about Shane Tritton here in Australia. “These guys see the benefit of marketing the product to the masses and digital is an ever-growing beast. Given it is so easily accessible on your tablet or mobile phone, it especially helps to promote the sport to a new generation and across multiple jurisdictions.” The Farm Ventures founder Ryan Clements said he was thrilled to be associated with the Victorian trots. “We get great support out of Australia with so many players enjoying Off and Pacing down under,” he said. “Hopefully those guys will really enjoy being able to target stakes races that they know and they can also now race regularly at Melton. “From a marketing viewpoint, these Victorian assets are now being promoted across New Zealand, Canada, North America and in many other countries where players are getting on to Off and Pacing and playing every day. We have about 3000 active users playing daily.” Clements explained some of the philosophy behind the game in a recent article: “A lot of mobile games are designed to help pass five minutes while you are on a bus,” explains the developer. “While you can certainly enjoy playing Off and Pacing for that amount of time, but the real challenge is trying to build a championship stable over the course of a year or two. Building a successful breeding operation in Off and Pacing could be a challenge that takes even longer to accomplish. A season in the game lasts 26 days, so there is an overload of excitement as you watch your star horse’s three-year-old campaign pan out in under a month.” Off and Pacing can be downloaded in the App Store or the Google Play Store. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Durham Park Stud today issued a media release informing of the sad passing of 2017 Australian harness racing three-year-old filly of the year, Petacular. Durham Park confirmed the Breeders Crown champion was euthanized after breaking a cannon bone while spelling in the paddock. Owner and breeder Bruce Edward was devastated. “It’s an absolute shame, but after discussions with the surgeons at Ballarat Veterinary Practice we decided it was unfair on the mare to put her through a complex operation and six to eight months of recovery in a box with expected complications for a low chance of recovery,” Mr Edward said. During her racing career Petacular won 19 races and had seven placings from 26 starts for earnings of $454,083, including Group 1 wins in the two-year-old Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final and the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown 3YO Fillies Final. She will also be remembered for her four brave second placings in Group 1 finals, including the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Fillies Final, the Victorian Oaks, the NSW Oaks and the 2YO Fillies Breeders Crown Final. Mr Edward said Petacular would have gone on to be “an important broodmare at Durham Park Stud”. Re-live Petacular's memorable 3YO Fillies Breeders Crown victory At trainer/driver Michael Stanley’s request Petacular was buried on his farm. The Stanley stable issued a statement today, which read: “It is with much regret and a tremendously heavy heart that I inform the racing industry of the tragic loss of our beautiful, brave mare Petacular (Bonnie). "Whilst spelling, she had a freak accident in the paddock. Petacular was dearly loved by all involved at the Stanley Stable and will be deeply missed, particularly  by Mick, who shared a very special bond with her, as did her best friend RoRo (Soho Angel). She was treated like the Queen and she knew herself that she was so special. "We would like to acknowledge Bruce Edward and the and the PETstock Racing Syndicate for entrusting her in our care. Every moment with Bonnie was a pleasure and we are privileged to have been a part of her life. Thank you for everything BonBon. RIP big girl”. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) extends sincere condolences to all involved with Petacular. Fans are continuing to send tributes to the filly on social media. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The most prestigious event in Australasian harness racing is returning to Victoria after a 10-year hiatus. Harness Racing Australia (HRA) today confirmed it had endorsed a proposal from Harness Racing Victoria (HRV), Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ), and Club Menangle/Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) to rotate the time-honoured Inter Dominion series between those organisations, starting right here in Victoria in 2018. Click here to read Harness Racing Australia's Media Release. "The gallops have the Melbourne Cup and the Spring Racing Carnival, which has been built up over time to be the international event it is today. Today's exciting announcement in our code means we can start working to ensure the Inter Dominion will remain the greatest trots series in Australasia and we're thrilled that in 2018 Victoria will be hosting this wonderful event," HRV Chairman Dale Monteith said today. "We all have a common interest in ensuring the longevity of the Inter Dominion and I'm thankful for the cooperation between all partners, which has led to this exciting news." HRV CEO David Martin echoed Mr Monteith's sentiments and said Victoria was pleased to be able to work so closely with other jurisdictions to deliver a sustainable Inter Dominion for the next decade. "One of the most pleasing aspects is the collaboration that occurred with NSW and New Zealand to achieve this outcome. By working together, we've achieved more than we could have on our own", Mr Martin said. Mr Martin explained that HRNZ, HRNSW and HRV had achieved an outcome that ensured the Inter Dominion series was financially viable and sustainable for the next nine years. "Given the strength of trotting in Victoria, we will also align a feature trotting event with the Victorian Inter Dominion pacing final," Mr Martin said. "It is also our intention to run non-Melton heats prior to the December 15 final at Tabcorp Park, so that we increase the exposure of this great series, providing a boon for local economies, clubs and trots fans." Long-time trots expert and Media Manager Adam Hamilton said he was "excited by the commitment to the Inter Dominion" and congratulated all involved in today's announcement. "Australia and New Zealand have several headline events throughout all regions and across the calendar, but nothing matches the Inter Dominion for the interest of sports and racing fans. It's clearly the most marketable and newsworthy event we have," he said. "Today's announcement is great news for fans of the sport and the wider industry and is another exciting chapter in the story of this amazing series." Meanwhile, this year's Inter Dominion series begins on Friday night in Perth. "I'm very much looking forward to the Perth Inter Dominion getting under way this year, especially with so many Victorian stars among the leading chances," Mr Monteith said. "I'd also like to congratulate Western Australia on the wonderful job hosting and promoting the Inter Dominion in recent years and wish all involved another great series." Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Andrew English will join Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) as General Manager – Marketing, effective Tuesday November 28. Mr English is an experienced marketing manager, previously holding executive positions at United Petroleum, Essendon Football Club, Melbourne Cricket Club and Australian Hospitality Management. Prior to his time in hospitality and sports administration, Mr English spent a decade in the tourism sector after successfully completing his Bachelor of Business degree. HRV CEO David Martin said Mr English’s extensive experience had him well-positioned to lead HRV’s marketing and communications functions. “Andrew has achieved success in some challenging environments and demonstrated an excellent understanding of opportunities for HRV to build our brand,” Mr Martin said. “I look forward to Andrew joining the team and I know he is keen to get started.” Mr English said he had always been fascinated by the racing industry and was looking forward to joining the HRV team. “My interest in racing began at an early age and I’ve always been fascinated with the characters and the stories,” he said. “I’m also aware of the vital role all stakeholders play and that harness racing is a major contributor to the Victorian economy and our regional communities. “We have some exciting opportunities ahead and I’m looking forward to playing my role to help the industry achieve its marketing goals.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Former Kiwi pacer Stroke Of Luck is the Weirs Supa IGA St Arnaud Pacing Cup champ for 2017 after an all-the-way win in today’s harness racing feature for trainer/driver Kerryn Manning. The five-year-old son of Major In Art/Bonton Lady was heavily backed into $1.6 and held off second-placegetter Keep On Rocking at the completion of the 2150-metre race, with Coldplay Road up from three-back-the-pegs for third. Manning rated the Merv and Meg Butterworth-owned winner of seven races in New Zealand a treat, guiding him through a 62.3secs first half after copping some early heat to hold the front. Stroke Of Luck upped the ante down the back straight as Spiritwriter challenged strongly (28.7secs third quarter) and got home in 27.9secs to rate 1:58.3. Keep On Rocking was given the perfect trip by Nathan Jack and the Geoff Webster-trained five-year-old comfortably held second place, while Julie Mifsud-trained Coldplay Road continued his super form with a third placing for reinsman Phillip Walters. Animated finished fourth and Spiritwriter was fifth. Stroke Of Luck’s win means the Trots Country Championship is now a five-way tie with Lennytheshark, San Carlo, Messini and My Field Marshal all alongside today’s victor on four points in the race for the $25,000 end-of-season bonus courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria. Pocket rocket secures Caldows third St Arnaud Trotters Cup John Caldow won his third St Arnaud Sporting Club Trotters Cup today aboard six-year-old gelding My Skypocket. Backed into $1.80 favourite, My Skypocket stepped safely from behind the tapes at the 2520-metre start before powering to the lead early. The son of Skyvalley out of Pocket Fantasy ran quarters of 31.6 and 31.4 to open the last mile on the 800m St Arnaud track and Caldow was looking around for his challengers after a 29.2secs third split. Video: Re-live My Skypocket's St Arnaud Trotters Cup win Ainthatrightmacca boldly emerged wide out and powered into second place, but My Skypocket had plenty in reserve and kicked on through a 29.7secs last quarter for a 2.2m win in a mile rate of 2:06.0.   It was My Skypocket’s eighth career triumph, his career stake earnings edging towards $50,000 as a result of the victory. It was also the trotter’s first start for the Caldow operation, having done all his prior racing for the Mick Barby and Anne-Maree Conroy stable. Today’s win was the third time Maree and John Caldow have captured the St Arnaud squaregaiting feature, having previously won it back-to-back in 2012 and 2013 with Posimistic. My Skypocket moves to equal first on the Maori's Idol Points Tally alongside Sparkling Success, Vincennes and Cyclone Lucky Seven. The Maori's Idol Points Tally at season's end receives a $10,000 bonus courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Sixty-two trotting yearlings have entered for the 2018 Australasian Premier Trotting Sale to be held at Tabcorp Park Melton on Sunday, March 11. Majestic Son (nine) has the most representatives, the son of Angus Hall last season ranked No.2 on the national two-year-old trotting stallion chart with nine individual winners from 27 starters. Bacardi Lindy and Angus Hall both have seven yearlings entered. Angus Hall was last season’s leading sire of three-year-olds and ranked No.5 on the two-year-olds’ chart. Bacardi Lindy was ranked No.4 on the three-year-old table last season, and was No.2 and 3 on the two- and three-year-old premierships respectively the season prior. Andover Hall has five yearlings at the APTS, the powerhouse sire’s progeny yet to hit the track in Australia but he is well-credentialed on his North American stats. Muscle Hill, ranked No.3 on the two-year-old charts last season, also has five at the sale, while the brilliant trotter Trixton, a son of Muscle Hill, makes his APTS debut with four yearlings in the catalogue. Crazed and Great Success both have four yearlings nominated, while Yield Boko and Pegasus Spur both have three representatives. Tennotrump features again among the APTS with two yearlings available, while Wishing Stone, Armbro Variable, Skyvalley, Dejarmbro, Muscles Yankee, Danny Bouchea, Orlando Vici, Yankee Spider and Imperial Count all have one nomination. Visit the APTS website to view the nominations Nominations for the 2018 APTS are now closed. Further details will be provided on all yearlings closer to sale date. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The 2016/17 Annual Report for Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) was tabled in State Parliament today, documenting a consolidated group net loss of $1.695m, largely attributed to a $1.6m reduction in revenue from HRV’s share of distributions from the Tabcorp Joint Venture. HRV Chairman Dale Monteith issued the following statement: “After a period of decline, the industry has undergone significant change, including the appointment of David Martin as CEO in January this year. “Since that time, a range of initiatives have been implemented to reduce costs, increase participation, improve revenue and to ultimately grow market share. “The benefits became evident late in the financial year and have continued into the current financial year. While this loss is obviously disappointing, we know HRV is now moving in the right direction. “The HRV Board is particularly grateful for the continued support from the Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula, as evident with the announcement in September of a $3.1 million investment in the HRV integrity department and the ongoing support for HRV infrastructure. “Throughout the last 12 months HRV has sought to work closely with owners, breeders, participants, clubs and kindred bodies, as the confidence of all participants and wagering customers is of paramount importance for the future growth of our industry.” Click here to view the 2016-17 Harness Racing Victoria Annual Report Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The Bendigo Harness Racing Training Centre (BHRTC) last week hosted Jasmine and Annabelle from Catholic College Bendigo on Work Experience. BHRTC hosts work experience children regularly and both Jasmine and Annabelle enjoyed their experience working with horses. Annabelle wrote:  “My week at the Harness Racing Training Centre Bendigo has been rewarding and so much fun! I met and worked alongside some amazing and friendly staff and students. I was also given the opportunity to work and care for some beautiful horses. Everyone that is involved at the HRTC Bendigo is so friendly and easy to talk to and always there to help if you need it. I was given the opportunity to drive Patrick in the sulky and go in the mobile in a trial race. It was so exciting and fun watching the horses pace up to the starter gate and race off past the car. I wish the work experience week was more than just a week! I had so much fun and met some amazing people. I look forward in coming back in a year or 2 to complete their course.” Jasmine wrote: “This week on work experience I have had a good time at the HRTC Bendigo.  We have been doing heaps of things like: taking the horses out of their yards and into the stables, taking their rugs off, putting them in the walker, harnessing them up, exercising the horses and washing them down, rugging them back up and putting them away. I had a great week and learnt a lot of new things.” Anyone interested in completing work experience at the HRTC Bendigo is encouraged to contact Vicki Moro on 0447 032 770 or Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

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