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Bad Boy Brad’s ascension continued on Saturday night in front of a large harness racing crowd at Tabcorp Park Melton, taking out the 2017 Exclusive Homes Maltese Cup. The Diane Giles trained six-year-old produced a withering sprint for driver Lance Justice to capture the silverware in a stirring four-way finish, with first through to fourth separated by not much more than a long head. The Gunbower Cup winner has already won six races from 21 starts this season, Bad Boy Brad’s assessment climbing from C7-M0 to M3-C12. Video: Re-live Bad Boy Brad's Maltese Cup win Bad Boy Brad (Righteous Hanover-Bubbas Babe) rated 1:54.1 to overhaul south-west Victorian pair Jivin Cullen (trained by Brad Hunt and driven by Glen Craven) in a photo finish officially by a half-head, with a head further back to Roy George (Matthew Craven) and another head to Upanatom (David Aiken/Mark Pitt) in fourth. Bad Boy Brad launched late down the outside against a 27.7 last quarter and a 28 secs third split and looks destined for bigger assignments again. Long Forest husband and wife team Andy and Kate Gath secured a winning double and three second placings for the night, successful with trotters Clover Mac (Dream Vacation-Clover Lass) in the SEW Eurodrive Trotters Handicap in 2:00.3 from the 2240-metre standing start and Posseidon (Fling It-Maori Acacia) in the Rayner Real Estate 3YO Trot over 1720m in 1:59.8. Click here to view all results from Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night Click here to listen to the winning drivers on HRV YouTube  Cody Winnell

The East Grampians Health Service Cranks and Defibrillators will take their bikes to the trots this month. The two teams are in training for the annual Murray to Moyne Cycle Relay, a 525-kilometre relay from Swan Hill to Port Fairy in April. The teams are aiming to raise $25,000 to assist with the purchase of a new bus for the Patricia Hinchey Centre at EGHS and one of their major fundraisers will be a trots meeting at the Ararat Harness Racing Club on Thursday, February 16. Team members will attend the twilight Murray to Moyne Race Meeting and they will be out and about the track selling raffle tickets and shaking donation tins. Racegoers can also make a gold coin donation at the gate. The team has also sold race names to local businesses for the seven-race event as part of their fundraising. “East Grampians Health Service has been participating in the Murray to Moyne Relay for many years and has raised thousands of dollars to purchase equipment for the health service in that time,” EGHS community liaison officer Jodie Holwell said. “This year the teams are helping to raise funds for a new bus for the Patricia Hinchey Centre, which will enable clients to attend community events and go on outings as part of their activities’ program. “The teams are training twice a week for the gruelling relay, which will start at Swan Hill on April 1 and finish at Port Fairy on April 2. “The teams develop great camaraderie and work hard together not only in training and riding, but in running a number of fundraising events in the lead up to the relay. They are great ambassadors for the health service.” Ararat club president Tony Bond said all were welcome to come along for a great night of trots racing action and help to raise funds for the Patricia Hinchey Centre’s new bus. “The Ararat Harness Racing Club is very pleased to be able to support the East Grampians Health Service again this year by hosting a race meeting for the Murray to Moyne Cycle Relay fundraising team,” Mr Bond said. “We hope to see the Ararat community at the track on Thursday night and encourage them to dig deep for a great cause.” Meanwhile, the #TeamTeal campaign will continue at Ararat, the national trots initiative raising important funds for the Women’s Cancer Foundation through donations for every winner driven by a female driver until March 12. Women drivers in the trots are wearing teal driving pants for the length of the campaign and Harness Racing Victoria and TAB.com.au are each donating $200 per win, meaning $400 goes to the Foundation for every Victorian #TeamTeal winner. Last month Harness Racing Victoria donated $12,500 to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia via a similar campaign. HRV and TAB.com.au are also raising funds for the Good Friday Appeal via the Good Friday Appeal Charity Tipoff on its weekly Trots Talk show, aired across Victoria. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Ararat, Thursday 16 February 2017 Form guide for Ararat, Thursday 16 February 2017

Long-serving Ballarat administrator Dennis Foley has announced his retirement. Ballarat and District Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse paid tribute to the harness racing club’s long-time treasurer – Mr Foley has been in the role continuously since 1982 – and wished him well for the future. “Dennis wants to spend more time with his family, being a first-time grandfather, and pursue other areas of his life he has enjoyed more in in recent times including world travel and building his racing empire,” Mr Rowse said. “Dennis has been an integral part of the success of the Ballarat club for a long period of time. His business acumen and huge network of contacts accrued over 35 years with the club will be a big void to fill in the future. He should be immensely proud of the condition he’s leaving the club in. “On a personal note, Dennis has been a great role model in my professional and personal life. His attention to detail is second to none. “For those who were lucky enough to have been on tour with him to the feature race carnivals in Australia and New Zealand, we will all remember those trips fondly as the reason we love this sport so much. The community feeling that is harness racing.” Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) CEO David Martin also paid tribute to Mr Foley and acknowledged his long service to the industry.  “Harness Racing Victoria takes this opportunity to thank Dennis for his long and dedicated period of service to the Ballarat and District Trotting Club and the industry more broadly," Mr Martin said. “It takes passionate and devoted people to drive the country clubs and Dennis ticks both of those boxes. HRV wishes him all the best for the future.” Ballarat club president David Young said Mr Foley had played a huge role in Ballarat’s many achievements over the years. “On behalf of the BDTC committee we would like to congratulate Dennis on what is an amazing stint in serving the BDTC as treasurer. He has for 35 years taken ownership and shown such passion for our club and business,” Mr Young said. “He has been a great assistance to our management team on a daily basis. There have been many achievements at the club in which Dennis has played a major role. He is a life member and received club legend status last year. Our club is indebted to Dennis for his contribution.” Country Clubs Association CEO David Brick also took the opportunity to wish Mr Foley well. “Dennis has been a strong supporter of the club network and a leading advocate for maintaining on-course patronage and atmosphere,” Mr Brick said. “The Association of Country Clubs congratulates Dennis on his significant contribution to the Ballarat club and broader club community for close to four decades. We wish Dennis all the best for the future.” At a special committee meeting Ballarat appointed Leon Underwood, previous assistant treasurer, to the position of treasurer.  Mr Underwood works for the City Of Ballarat as a Socio Economic Development Officer and has been mentored by Mr Foley over the last 12 months in line with the club's succession plan. Rob Kerr was appointed to the position of assistant treasurer. Mr Kerr, who is the Ballarat Branch Manager for the Bank Of Melbourne, has been on the club committee for over 15 years including time as the vice-president. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Our Little General (Mach Three-Kabbalah Karen) caused a minor harness racing upset by taking out this year’s $200,000 Victoria Derby on Hunter Cup night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Last season’s Breeders Crown winning two-year-old rated 1:56.8 to beat a Mark Purdon trained pacer, not the $1.40 All Stars favourite Vincent, but the $25.60 shot Motu Meteor driven by Grant Campbell. Vincent copped a bad flat tyre and had to be pulled out of the race at the mile mark, much to the chagrin of punters. All the while Our Little General was in front, out of trouble, making his own luck for champion reinsman Chris Alford. The General pumped out quarters of 30.3, 30.7, 28.1 and 26.6, Alford looking around at the bell, no doubt wondering where his much vaunted opponent was. Trained by Victoria’s leading trainer, champion horsewoman Emma Stewart, Our Little General has now earnt over $360,000 in stakemoney. “He’s a great little horse,” Alford said. “Emma and (partner) Clayton (Tonkin) do a great job. I went in with confidence, not that I could beat the favourite, but that he would run a great race. “When he kicked on the turn he was really strong.” Motu Meteor ran second, beaten 4.1m, while Luke McCarthy guided Astride into third.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria’s (HRV) Own the Moment (OTM) program is breaking down the walls that harness racing trainers have to scale to advertise syndicates legally. An OTM Marquee will be set up at Sunday’s Melbourne APG Sale, with HRV offering trainers the opportunity to legally syndicate horses through the correct channels and advertise on OTM website trotsownthemoment.com.au In an industry first, HRV will cover the associated costs involved in producing the documentation required by Victorian law to advertise syndicate opportunities legally. This gives trainers the opportunity to advertise and promote the sale of shares, greatly increasing their chances of securing new owners. “Harness Racing Victoria is committed to assisting trainers to legally promote syndication opportunities,” HRV Ownership Manager Tori Glenister said. “This new initiative will be a game-changer, with trainers able to actively and legally promote syndication on our Own the Moment website and through their own channels.” HRV will also be offering all owners of eligible yearlings the chance to save over $500 on their Futurities payments for Vicbred and Breeders Crown in a one-day-only opportunity. Click here for more details on that offer. For more information on ownership email Tori Glenister. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Vincent had to be vulnerable after covering so much ground on the first lap in his heat of the harness racing VHRSC Victoria Derby tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton.  But when he put paid to Sydney star Blue Moon Rising approaching the home bend – with daylight to the rest of the field – he looked anything but susceptible. The Mark Purdon trained and driven three-year-old son of Art Major-Kept For Pleasure gapped them, 12.3m his winning margin. He glided through the last half in 55 seconds flat, 26.9secs the final quarter-mile. “He’s got everything going for him. He’s a lovely horse. He’s got a great heart,” Purdon said after the 2240-metre race. “He was unlucky he got injured as a two-year-old otherwise he would have been here for the APG but that’s the way it went and it may have turned out a blessing for it.” While Vincent looks clearly the one to beat come next Saturday’s $200,000 three-year-old classic, Purdon-trained stablemate Motu Meteor (Bettors Delight-Silksngems) might be the opportunist should he draw well. The Merv and Meg Butterworth owned gelding won the third heat of the Derby at Melton in 1:57.3, sprinting sharply up the sprint lane after getting smother throughout behind race leader Jilliby Kung Fu. “He got the perfect run and capitalised. He’s a nice little horse. He has probably flown under the radar a little bit,” Purdon said. “He’s not without a chance (in the big one) and if he draws like he did tonight it’ll play right into his hands.” Jilliby Kung Fu stuck on for second beaten 2.6m after crawling through his first half in 62.7. They ripped home in 28.4 and 26.4. Meanwhile, making it three out of three for “Purdon-trained Derby heat winners” was Be Jacks Legend (Bettors Delight-Larissas Rose), trained by Barry Purdon – Mark’s older brother and NZ’s most successful trots trainer ever. Be Jacks Legend went 1:55.0 from barrier seven to topple Emain Macha by 2.2m with Wrappers Delight third. The winner was driven by Zac Butcher and is owned by leviathan all-codes owner Terry Henderson, who has won a Melbourne Cup with Doriemus and also owned two-time Kiwi harness horse of the year Chokin.  “I love being back here,” Henderson said post-race. “Especially on nights like tonight when you see the best of the best … it’s just fantastic to be involved.” Butcher said Be Jacks Legend would only continue to improve. “He was a January foal so he is still growing and developing and learning the way of the game,” Butcher said. “This guy did it pretty tough over the last lap and he really stuck to his guns.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Vincent has a stranglehold on the VHRSC Victoria Derby if you believe the harness racing markets. The three-year-old member of Mark Purdon’s All Stars squad is long odds-on favourite according to some markets following his demolition job win at Geelong last Thursday night. Vincent led from gate two and comfortably accounted for older horses in a C2-C3 with a mile rate of 1:58.7 for the 2100-metre trip. He only really clicked up at the finish with a 27.7 final 400m dash. And he was in second gear. But the rising star Kiwi winner of six out of seven races has secured the visitor’s draw in his Derby heat (Race 4 at Melton on Saturday night), the son of Art Major-Kept For Pleasure to come out of gate seven. Despite the barrier, TAB.com.au has installed Vincent $1.30 favourite for his heat ahead of Team Tritton trained Blue Moon Rising (gate two, $6) and Emma Stewart-trained Rocknroll Icon (gate three, $6.50). Derby heat one sees Be Jacks Legend top of the market ($2) despite his gate seven draw, with South Australian border-hopper Emain Macha $5.50 second pick, polemarker Somewhere Secret $6 and last-start South Australian Derby winner Our Jimmie $7. Last season’s Breeders Crown two-year-old champ Our Little General is favourite in the final of the three heats on Saturday night, the Stewart-trained gun a $2.30 favourite ahead of equal second picks Motu Meteor and Jilliby Kung Fu (barriers one and two, $4 apiece). Andy Gath trains unbeaten Beach Surge, who is on the fifth line of betting in heat three at $10 from gate six. “It’s a tough draw and in my opinion it’s the strongest heat,” Gath said. “I like him and he should only get better.” Meanwhile, last year's Derby winner Lazarus is favourite for the Eynesbury Victoria Cup on Saturday night. For odds on the Victoria Derby heats and other races click on this link. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The barrier draw for Saturday night’s Group 1 Eynesbury Victoria Cup was held this morning at the offices of Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and hot favourite Lazarus drew barrier six. The draw was broadcast live across HRV’s Twitter and Facebook channels and hosted by Good Form’s Jason Bonnington. “Huge twist, Vic Cup barrier draw, Hectorjayjay 9 and Lazarus 6. Massive advantage Lazarus. Will be $1.40 now,” Sky’s Adam Hamilton tweeted. “Lazarus looks to have mortage on Vic Cup following seminal barrier draw just moments ago. I expect $1.30. Cruz Bromac the shortener from 3,” tweeted Bonnington. While Lazarus looks a short-priced favourite, punters will note he was toppled in the weekend’s PETstock Ballarat Cup when long odds-on. 2017 Eynesbury Victoria Cup, Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton 1: Mach Doro 2: Major Crocker 3: Cruz Bromac 4: Tact Tate 5: Major Secret 6: Lazarus 7: John Of Arc ----------------------- 8: Bling It On 9: Hectorjayjay 10: Messini 11: Young Modern 12: Yayas Hot Spot (emergency) 13: Allblack Stride Book your Summer of Glory experience now at www.summerofglory.com.au Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

It looks as though the Victorian Summer of Glory Carnival is going to be lots of fun for harness racing trainer/driver Darren Hancock. The astute horseman has seven-year-old gelding On Thunder Road absolutely flying and tonight they combined to give nothing else a chance in the E.B. Cochran Trotters Cup at Ballarat. The son of Bettor's Delight – a sire better known for his pacing production prowess – worked to the front early in the 2200-metre Group 2 feature and always travelled well, producing a superb performance to break the track record – a 1:58.2 mile rate – to defeat gun mares High Gait (Chris Alford) and Glenferrie Burn (Todd Matthews) in second and third placings. Next up it’s a Group 1 double for On Thunder Road, Hancock hoping his stable star will prove the boss in the Group 1 Haras Des Trotteurs Dullard Cup next Saturday at Tabcorp Park Melton on night one of the Summer of Glory, and then the big dance – the $300,000 Group 1 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star on A.G. Hunter Cup night a week later. “He went to the line good. I’m happy with him and he’s got plenty still in the tank,” Hancock said post-race. “It was a good run. He’s only had a couple of runs in the last month and they’ve been spaced out, so he hadn’t run for a little while. This will be a nice blowout for the other races ahead.” Hancock looked confident in the run and for good reason. “Yeah, he’s a pretty hard horse to get past. He’s pretty tough,” Hancock said. As for his Great Southern Star chances, Hancock is feeling good. “We left him at home last year because he was still learning a bit; he’s starting to step up now,” he said. Meanwhile, star New Zealand trotter and reigning Great Southern Star champion Speeding Spur has been nominated for this year’s GSS but a final decision on him coming will be dependent on how he pulls up after his next assignment in NZ on Thursday. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Following the running of Race 4 at Cobram on June 22, 2015, the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Integrity Department commenced an investigation into the training arrangements surrounding the winning horse Airbournemagic, the tactics adopted during the running of the race and the associated betting on the race. In November 2015, as a result of evidence detected, the HRV Integrity Department referred its investigation to the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit (SIIU) of Victoria Police in order for a criminal investigation to be undertaken.   This continued investigation of the SIIU culminated in Victoria Police today advising HRV that criminal charges have been issued against licensed participants in connection with the race conducted at Cobram. With respect to the actions taken by Victoria Police today in the issuing of criminal charges against licensed participants, the HRV Stewards will now give consideration as to whether to invoke any of the provisions of Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 183 which provides: Pending the outcome of an inquiry, investigation or objection, or where a person has been charged with an offence, the Stewards may direct one or more of the following – that a horse shall not be nominated for or compete in a race; that a driver shall not drive or otherwise take part in a race; that the horses of certain connections shall not be nominated for or start in a race; that a licence or any type of authority or permission be suspended In accordance with established legal principles announced in precedent cases (such as NSW Court of Appeal matter of Day & McDowell v HRNSW) regarding the use of AHRR 183, the HRV Stewards have provided licensed participants Mr Nathan Jack, Ms Lisa Bartley, Mr Mark Pitt and Ms Amanda Turnbull until 5.00pm on Thursday, January 19, to make any submissions to the HRV Stewards as to whether any provisions of AHRR 183, such as the suspension of licences, are applied in the circumstances.  The HRV Stewards acknowledge any such actions are serious measures and thus all available information needs to be considered. The HRV Stewards are mindful of the decision of the HRV RAD Board Chairman on September 14, 2016, after HRV Stewards initially suspended the licences of participants after they had been arrested by Victoria Police on August 28, 2016. In this decision the RAD Board Chairman remarked when reinstating the licences of the individuals: “No person is yet charged. Even charges of themselves carry little weight as it is the evidence underlying those charges which becomes relevant. They (Stewards) invoke quite rightly, the need to maintain and protect the industry and the need to preserve public confidence in the industry. That however must be balanced against the damage to livelihood and reputation of the applicants.” HRV acknowledge the commitment of the Victoria Police SIIU in terms of conducting investigations into matters that threaten the integrity of the harness racing industry. HRV respect these matters are now before the Court and thus will not be commenting any further at this stage.   Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

New Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) CEO David Martin has already been racking up the miles visiting country tracks across the state. Although Mr Martin’s first day as CEO was officially Monday, he attended Horsham’s pacing cup meeting on Sunday and was at Kilmore on Tuesday night. “I’m keen to meet and hear the views of as many trots industry participants, club officials and other stakeholders as I can. I can already feel the pride and passion people have for our industry, so I’m really looking forward to both the Shepparton and Hamilton Cups this weekend,” Mr Martin said. The Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup will be held on Saturday night, while Hamilton will host the Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup on Sunday. For more on the Trots Country Cups Carnival visit trotscountry.com.au Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Great Western gelding Wheatsheaf Avaball will greet the harness racing starter for the 200th time in the APG Sale Pace on Monday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. It will be the popular 11-year-old’s last time at the races. Trainer-driver Michelle Wight said “Charlie”, as he’s known in the stables, would spend his retirement years on the family property. “He’s here for life,” she said. “He has been preparing for his retirement. He has been broken to saddle and he even made an appearance at the Ararat show this year, finishing third in his lead class before backing up at Horsham races the next day sporting curls from being plaited up!” Wight and husband Craig first leased Wheatsheaf Avaball in 2010 from Darren Cole, Terang horse trainer and Wheatsheaf Hotel proprietor. The couple purchased him three years later when their lease expired. Now, in the words of Wight, “Charlie is so much part of the family that we bought his mum from the Alabar sale a few years ago. We now also have Charlie’s three-year-old sister by Grinfromeartoear and a yearling three-quarter brother by Mafioso”. RE-LIVE WHEATSHEAF AVABALL'S TERANG WIN FROM MARCH LAST YEAR Although he’s never won a metropolitan race, Wheatsheaf Avaball has been a rock-solid competitor every time he’s stepped on to a racetrack, earning over $111,000 with 17 wins and a further 60 minor placings. “He is such a tough and honest horse that I have often gotten Facebook messages from random people asking after him or congratulating us after a win,” Wight said. “We were going to retire him last year when he got to $100,000 (in stakes) but he was still going so well that we decided to aim for the 200 starts. “He loves local tracks and has an amazing record at Horsham. He hasn’t won many races there but produced some huge runs. “It’s funny when you go back through his race replays, so many times the caller says as they go over the line, ‘big run by Wheatsheaf’ or something along those lines.” Wheatsheaf Avaball has drawn barrier five in the third race on Monday night at Melton.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Monday 09 January 2017 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Monday 09 January 2017

The $400,000 Victoria Cup has a new sponsor. Eynesbury has backed the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Summer of Glory night one jewel, the January 28 race to be known as the Eynesbury Victoria Cup. “Eynesbury is delighted to put its name to such an iconic event as the Victoria Cup,” Eynesbury General Manager Fred Blevin said. “Our sponsorship of the Victoria Cup in late January will launch an exciting year ahead for Eynesbury with the release of more than 120 house and land packages nestled around a stunning 18-hole golf course.” Interim HRV General Manager Commercial Ryan Stanaway said the announcement was “an ace” for Australasia’s premier summer trots carnival. “HRV has a long and strong relationship with Eynesbury and for them to be coming to the fore and driving the Eynesbury Victoria Cup is a real ace for the trots industry,” Mr Stanaway said. The Summer of Glory is a $1.87million two-night trots spectacular at Victoria’s metropolitan home of harness racing, Tabcorp Park Melton. Night one on Saturday, January 28, is headline by the Eynesbury Victoria Cup (Group 1) but also features heats of the VHRSC Victoria Derby – Australia’s premier three-year-old colts and geldings’ pacing event, the Haras Des Trotteurs V. L. Dullard Trotters Cup (Group 1), the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Trotting Mares Sprint Championship (Group 2) and the Pure Steel. The second night, on Saturday, February 4, features the $500,000 Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup (Group 1), the $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star (Group 1), the Alabar Ladyship Cup (Group 1), the Edgell Sidewinders 4YO Bonanza (Group 1), the VHRSC Victoria Derby Final (Group 1), the Caboolture Cheese Rising Stars Pace Final (Group 3), the Bertocchi Pacers Free-for-All (Group 3) and the Nestle Vulcan Trotters Free-for-All (Group 3). WATCH OUR LOVE THE SUMMER – LOVE THE TROTS VIDEO For bookings or more information visit www.summerofglory.com.au Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria welcomes Andrews Government HERO Program Funding 16 December 2016 Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Chairman Dale Monteith has welcomed today's Andrews State Government announcement of a joint funding package of $362,000 to help ensure harness horses are afforded a quality life in retirement after their racing career has finished. The Government is providing $181,000 to the Harness Education Re-homing Opportunities (HERO) program, HRV's flagship and industry-leading horse welfare program, to retrain retired racehorses to become trail riding ponies, competitive show and eventing horses, or simply pleasure animals and family pets. "HRV is extremely grateful to the State Government for this ongoing funding, which will help us to recruit suitably-skilled people as registered re-trainers and to increase the number of horses in the HRV HERO program," Mr Monteith said. "The response to the program has been overwhelming and we are receiving enquiries on a daily basis from owners and trainers who are interested in offering horses. "We look forward to further increasing the number of horses re-homed each year with this vital assistance." Speaking to media today at Aldebaran Park in Nagambie, Victorian Minister for Racing Martin Pakula said the Government was proud to be supporting the HERO program. "The HERO program has been an outstanding success in its first 12 months and we're proud to be supporting it for another year," Mr Pakula said. "This program is vitally important because it improves the welfare of harness racehorses by re-training and re-homing them." Also at today's announcement were former top-line pacing racehorses turned HERO ambassadors Villagem and Tanabi Bromac. In the first year of the HERO program, more than 200 horses were either re-homed or placed with a registered HERO trainer in preparation for re-homing. So far this financial year, more than 60 horses have been brought into the program and many of them have already been placed in their new homes. The HERO program is also working with the Victoria Police Mounted Division to identify horses that may be suitable for police duty. Funding for the program will be sourced from the Government's Victorian Racing Industry Fund. HRV will also contribute $181,000 to support the program. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said Government funding was vital for the horse racing industry. "This funding boost will help to support the racing industry which delivers thousands of regional jobs and economic benefits to the community," Ms Symes said. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

When owner Mark Gurry and harness racing trainer-driver John Justice purchased Hickstead from New Zealand the Australian cups scene was front of mind. On Sunday at Wedderburn the four-year-old son of Mach Three showed his class with a tough win in the Travel Managers Wedderburn Pacing Cup over 2555 metres. Despite travelling wide for the final 900m, the Justice-trained gelding – a grandson of Il Vicolo, who sired Hickstead’s mother Il Informed – had too much potency for Lucky Lombo and Uroc Mman in a mile rate of 2:00.9. Justice said Hickstead was originally purchased because of his standing start manners, but his mobile gate form is also impressive, and he has won seven races since crossing the ditch despite Victoria's decision to cease stand-start pacing races – including a Mildura Guineas and Sunday’s Wedderburn Cup. “He’s a really good distance horse. I think he could develop into a very nice open class horse hopefully,” Justice said. “He seems very suited to Australian racing conditions and so far so good. He appreciated the extra trip on Sunday.” Justice has earmarked Hickstead for South Australia Cup night at Globe Derby on January 7, where he could contest either the Justice Family Plate – a race sponsored by Justice’s family – or the Group 1 South Australian Cup. “It’s always a special night for the whole family. We all get together and hopefully we can continue to be involved and keep it going,” Justice said. Hickstead picked up four points in the $25,000 Own the Moment Trots Country Cups Championship as a result of his success. Hectorjayjay leads the ladder on six points, one point clear of Major Secret, whose Geelong Cup success on Saturday took him into second placing on the ladder.  Earlier on the card Brent Lilley combined with Rod Petroff to win the Richmond and Associates Wedderburn Trotters Cup off a 10-metre mark with seven-year-old Sundon-Niamey gelding Sun Of Anarchy, defeating Coimadai Lodge and Herecomes The Cat in the 2555m race in a mile rate of 2:05.0. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria Chairman Dale Monteith will join RSN Racing Ahead host Michael Felgate on Wednesday morning live from 9am. Trainer/driver Lance Justice (president of the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association) will also join the panel live in the studio to discuss Harness Racing Australia’s decision to ban the whip as a tool to make horses run faster from September 1, 2017. HRV today refuted ill-informed media reports that suggested the harness racing industry had no whip restrictions in place and tried to compare stock whips, such as those used in the cattle industry, to modern harness racing whips. Both of these remarks are completely misleading. Modern day harness whips are nothing like stock whips and the harness racing industry places strict restrictions on the use of the whip. Rule 156 (1) (a) of the Australian Harness Racing Rules states a driver shall only use a whip of a design and specification approved by the controlling body. Further, over 20 restrictions are placed on whip use as an extension of that rule. In Victoria these rules are strictly policed by stewards, who do not issue cautions or reprimands, but rather impose mandatory penalties starting at a fine for first offence ($200), doubled for a second offence ($400) and becomes a two-week suspension of licence for a third offence. HRV has committed to working closely with its trainers and drivers to ensure a smooth and safe transition to no-whip racing from September 1, 2017. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

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