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The Industry celebrated the 2012/13 season at the Victorian Industry Awards Night at Tabcorp Park on Thursday (September 12).  Congratulations to the connections of Caribbean Blaster, the Victorian Horse of the Year and Im Stately, Victorian Trotter of the Year. For the full list of winners click here.   The Year That Was The Industry Awards night was a very successful night.  Thank you to all the staff involved in the preparation for the night. In particular we thank Premier Denis Napthine for attending and delivering a stirring address. During the evening an excellent presentation was shown on the big screens entitled “The Year That Was” - voiced by Andrew Bensley and produced by Rob Gild.  I encourage you to take a few minutes to view the video by clicking here. Chris Alford What a year for Chris Alford.  Below are several stats/facts that illustrate the 2012/13 season achievements of Victoria’s superstar driver: Leading Victorian Driver with 287 wins; Leading Australian Driver with 295 wins; Drove 53 winners in the month of August, the most ever by a driver in a month, surpassing Kerryn Manning’s 48 in May 2002; Was the first person to drive the winners of the three heats of the Victoria Derby in February – Guaranteed, Lennytheshark and Macha; Has taken his overall winning tally to 4,971, closing in on being only the second driver to achieve 5,000 wins.  Gavin Lang was the first to achieve this outstanding feat. Chris is 9 years Gavin’s junior! It has been an unbelievable ride for Chris Alford since his first win on a horse called Spring Vance, trained by father Barry and part owned by yours truly, which beat favourite Victory Banner at Wangaratta back in 1984. 2012/13 Season Now that the 2012/13 season is behind us, here are some of the Victorian statistics that don’t make the headlines: 4,055 horses races; On average each horse raced 9.1 times; 823 horses earned in excess of $10,000; 20 horses earned in excess of $ 100,000; 15 drivers drove their first ever winner in a race; Top Victorian stakes earner – Caribbean Blaster - $450,000; Leading sire wins – Art Major (245 winners); Leading sire stakes – Bettors Delight ($2.25 million) Leading trotting sire – Sundon (90 wins); Second on the trotting sire list – Earl (54) who sadly passed away recently. Milestones/First Wins Rodney Petroff drove his 500th winner on Walky Talky at Ballarat on Saturday September 7; Josh Aiken drove his first winner (Chevals Racer) at Shepparton on September 11.  His father David trained a treble at the same meeting; Peter Wells became the oldest person to register a driving double.  Now in his 80th year Peter drove Dell Boy and Donkiri to victory at Ballarat on August 24.   Mildura Congratulations to the Mildura Club for increasing their contribution to stakes this season by 27% - up $30,000 to $140,000. It is a fantastic decision, which complements the recent HRV announcement.  Mildura will bring forward the HRV March rises to January.  And with the support of Mark Gurry and Associates and Seelite Windows and Doors, several features also get a rise in stakes. Well done to Barry Bottams, Mark Kemp and the Mildura Committee. Audio Visual Services For the past 16 years, Provideo has been producing the harness racing pictures which flow through to television screens and mobile devices around the world. Following an extensive tender process HRV recently announced that internationally renowned media distribution company Mediatec was successful in its bid and will commence as HRV’s contractor on November 1, 2013 for a five year period. While we look forward to a new era in broadcast services, I would like to pay tribute to Frank Verstrepen and his staff for the outstanding service HRV has received from Provideo over a long period of time. HRV’s announcement of the change can be seen by clicking here. Race Field Policy HRV charges a ‘Race Field Fee’ to wagering operators who bet on our product, such as interstate totes, corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges. While the Joint Venture with Tabcorp remains our principal funding source, Race Field Fees have become an important funding vehicle. HRV’s previous policy was to charge 1.5% on all turnover.  However from September 1 the HRV Board has approved a revised policy, which in summary is: Up to a threshold of $100,000 turnover per month the fee is 1% of turnover; For turnover in excess of $100,000 in a month the fee is 2% of turnover. Community Awards Two prominent harness racing identities have received awards from Corrections Victoria – recognising excellence and commitment in supervising offenders or prisoners performing community work: Les Chapman (Maryborough) has worked alongside offenders for over six years providing support and work opportunities.  George Crane (Hamilton) similarly provides supervision for offenders in his local area. Congratulations to both gentlemen on a great community service. Yarra Valley Congratulations are also extended to the Yarra Valley Club on the 10 year anniversary of the amalgamation of the two racing Clubs. Formerly comprising a separate thoroughbred club and harness club, the Yarra Valley model is a wonderful advertisement for co-operation between the trots and the gallops since the Club formed a single entity a decade ago. The milestone was celebrated at a gala function at the venue on August 31. Vale Harness racing has lost two of its elder statesmen recently: Jack Shelley, a prominent trainer for many years passed away in late August.  Jack maintained his A Grade trainers licence until 2008 – in his 91st year.  His son Brian continues the family tradition having been a licensed trainer/driver since the early 1990’s. I did not know Jack, however everyone speaks highly of his skill and he was certainly well regarded by industry participants; and   Long serving Ararat Committeeman Milton McKinnis passed away this week.  Milton was involved with the Ararat Club for over 50 years and served as both President and Vice President during that time.  Milton volunteered for many tasks at the Club and will be sadly missed. HRV’s condolences go out to the families of both these great servants of the trots industry.  

The Hamilton HRC staged a well balanced eight event harness racing card on Thursday August 29 - the highlights being Mt Gambier (Allendale East) trainer David Kemp snaring the quinella in the Taylor Motors Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres with Forced Out and Arr En Special and Terang junior reinsman Jason Lee driving a treble. Four year old Safely Kept/May Be Trouble mare Forced Out driven by Jason Lee from the pole having her 28th outing for the season, settled on the back of the leader Franciselizabeth, before being relegated back a spot when Dam Lucky assumed control. Coming away from the markers to be one/one approaching the home turn, Forced Out when eased wide in the straight, finished best to defeat her stablemate Arr En Special who faced the open for the final circuit at season start number 22 after No Bettertime which had raced parked, strode clear along the back straight on the final occasion. Franciselizabeth weaving in-between runners in the straight finished third. The mile rate 1-58.1. Both horses have raced at almost every Hamilton, Terang, Horsham and Ararat meeting held this season. Jason Lee's second victory came up in the Alexandra House Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1660 metres aboard underrated Ballarat trainer Kelvin Barker's recent stable addition Cyclades, a 4-Y-0 gelded son of Armbro Operative and San Torini. In a masterful piece of driving, Cyclades possied on the back of the poleline leader Pas Mate from gate two on the second line, easing away from the inside to face the breeze at the bell after Pas Mate was crossed by The Avoca Flyer. Proving to be the better stayer, Cyclades was too strong at the finish, registering a neck victory over Ima Village Casper (three back the markers - one/one last lap) in a rate of 2-00 even, with Cheesy Grin running home late from last to finish third. Leg three came about with 4-Y-0 Mach Three/Jilliby Sparky mare Jilliby Showtime leading throughout from gate three in the Hunt's Auto Spares Pace for C0 class over 1660 metres to score by a nose over Haryda Hanover along the sprint lane which may have momentarily hit the front in the straight. Extra finished third off a three wide double trail last lap from near last. The mile rate 2-02.6. Cudgee (Camperdown) part-owner/trainer/driver John Meade's highly promising home bred Sundon/Maori Daunou 4-Y-0 gelding Maorisfavouritesun is going from strength to strength and brought up his 5th victory from 13 outings (all this season) when a convincing winner of the James & Son Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2160 metres. Coming off a terrific second to Rosalie Bay in the rich Australasian Breeders Crown Series at Tabcorp Park Melton on August 18, Maorisfavouritesun stepped safely from a 30 metre handicap, gradually making ground to settle mid-field in the moving line with Sunnyandcher rushing forward from 10 metres to assume control. Trailing up both Mountain Earl and Knapdale Girl three wide in the last lap, Maorisfavouritesun was taken four wide on the final bend, putting the race away on straightening to score by an untouched 8.3 metres over Knapdale Girl and Earl Of Charity which followed the trio home in a rate of 2-03.6. Glencoe (Mt Gambier) father and son - Barry & Jayson Finnis were successful with 4-Y-0 superbly bred Holmes  Hanover/Catch A Boquet mare Burston Holme in the Logical Property Services Pace for C1 class over 1660 metres, coming from last at the bell off a three wide trail on the back of Vee Jay Jazz. Although right of the track on the home turn, Burston Holme sprinted clear on straightening to register a 14.7 metre victory in 1-57.9 from Modern Hitch which was held up in traffic until the race was virtually over, with Panorama Wealth a game third after racing parked from the bell. Len Baker  

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, August 27, 2013--First-season fillies were on display once again Tuesday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $235,887 New York Sire Stakes Frank Becerra Pace for 2-year-old fillies. Three divisions--at $78,629 each--comprised the event. The first division saw Sweetnsinful (Jimmy Whittemore) take no prisoners, and no compassion. In play from post No. 2, the lass led through fractions of :28.1, :58.3; 1:27.3 and 1:55.1. It was 2-5 favorite JK Molly (Tim Tetrick) two-moving and chasing, though beaten a length-and-a-quarter. Zoe Blue Chip (George Brennan) was a pocket third. For second choice Sweetnsinful, a daughter of American Ideal co-owned by (trainer) Homer and Connie Hochstetler & James Michaels, she returned $7.20 for her second win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $15, with the triple returning $58.50. The second event saw Tetrick and 2-5 choice Mind Over Matter through down intervals of :28.2, :58.1 and 1:27.1, only to be unable to close the sale. Second choice A La Notte Hanover (Brennan) edged from the pocket, but she wasn't the problem. That title belonged to Rain Cloud Hanover (Mark MacDonald). Given the passing lane by "A La Notte," she did indeed pass both horses in front of her. Rain Cloud Hanover, in her south-of-the-border debut, whipped A La Notte Hanover by a half-length 1:55.4. Mind Over Matter faded to third--beaten three-quarters of a length--with Gentlemen's Delight (Yannick Gingras) fourth. For "Rain Cloud," an Art Major miss owned by Christopher Nicci and trained by David Taff, she returned $27.80 (third choice) and is 5-for-6 this season. The exacta paid $75.70, the triple returned $138.50 and the superfecta paid $506. Tetrick, accorded the role of people's preference yet again in third division, this time made the chalk players giddy. He lasted on the lead with Supplemental Income ($4). From post No. 6 and after sub-stations of :29.1, :59.2, 1:28 and (life-best) 1:56, she fought off the inside advances of 18-1 Jaded Dream (Jason Bartlett). The margin was a neck at the wire. It Was Fascination (Brent Holland) nosed Instant Respect (Gingras) for third. For Supplemental Income, a Bettor's Delight ma'am trained by PJ Fraley for owner Bamond Racing, she's won half of her six first-season tries while hitting the board each occasion. The exacta paid $39.60, with the triple returning $179. Statebreds return Friday night, with the $282,975 NYSS Bruce Hamilton Pace for 3-year-old fillies. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule. by Frank Drucker  

While Amanda Turnbull is in sight of becoming the first female driver in New South Wales to win 200 races in a season, her father Steve is in a battle of his own attempting to bring up 200 winners as a trainer in a season for the first time in his illustrious career. Turnbull will head into Wednesday's meeting at Bathurst on 196 winners but he believes he might just miss his target. "I think Amanda might get to 200, I think I'm going to struggle but we are going to give it a crack because on the last day of the season (Saturday) I'm taking a team to Menangle while Amanda will take a big team to Dubbo," Turnbull said. "It has been a great season for me, when you start every year you think if I can get to 100 winners then I have had a good season because that means you have effectively trained two winners a week but to get to 200 would be a very special achievement." The key to Turnbull's success has been the decision to send all of his young horses to son Josh to be broken in. "Normally I would have 40 horses in work but up to a quarter of them might be babies that are being educated so with Josh doing all of my breaking in and educating it has allowed me to keep my numbers up all year." "A lot of the younger horses will go straight out for a spell at the end of the season and that will make it a bit quieter at home because the team would drop back to about 25 but that is still enough to keep us busy." Turnbull is looking forward to enjoying a well earned break next month. "I'm going to head over to Hawaii for a couple of weeks in September, Amanda is off to Hamilton Island next week and as soon as she comes back then we will head off." "It would be nice for both Amanda and I to get to 200 winners and we are doing everything we can to get there because Amanda was even thinking about heading down to Wagga to race some if we had to, but if neither of us get there we can both be proud of a personal best anyway." Nancy O'Grady || Harness Racing New South Wales |  

CAMPBELLVILLE, ON - Division leaders Champagne Phil and Panongahela will be looking to maintain their perfect Grassroots records with a second victory over the Mohawk Racetrack oval on Friday, Aug. 9. Champagne Phil is conditioned by Hamilton resident Kenneth Oliver for ICR Racing of Pefferlaw and Cheltenham resident Dave Menary trains Panongahela for Peter Pan Stables Inc. of Pepper Pike, OH. The duo landed the top spot in the three-year-old pacing colt division standings by sweeping their respective Grassroots divisions at Mohawk Racetrack on June 21 and Georgian Downs on July 27. On Friday the leaders will line up at Post 1 in the eleventh race and Post 9 in the eighth race, with Panongahela facing the bigger test in Race 8. Among the horses hoping to bring Panongahela's Grassroots win streak to a halt is Stonebridge Adam, who currently sits third in the point standings. The Gary Kingshott trainee will benefit from Post 1 in the $18,000 contest and will be reunited with Campbellville resident Chris Christoforou, who engineered the colt's victory in the Grassroots season opener at Mohawk Racetrack on June 21. Rockwood resident Kingshott shares ownership of Stonebridge Adam with Shannon Bennett of Toronto, Gregory Kingshott of Rockwood and Terence Molony of Mississauga. Through 14 starts this season the Stonebridge Regal colt has tallied five wins and one third. Also hoping to unseat Panongahela in the eighth race are two colts tied for sixth spot in the standings. Chosen Hombre will make his bid from Post 7 for trainer Brian Collins of Peterborough and owner Brian Stephen Scott of Lakefield, while Dull Roar starts from Post 8 for trainer Jeff Gillis of Hillsburgh and his partners Ken Henwood of Vaughan, Mac Nichol of Burlington and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, NY. The three-year-old pacing colts will strut their stuff in Races 2, 4, 8, 9, and 11 on Friday evening's program, which also features the $43,100 Girls Night Out Pacing Series Final in Race 5. Mohawk Racetrack sends its first race into the starter's hands at 7:25 pm. For complete entries please go to http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/entries/data/e0809mohsn.dat by Sandra Snyder  

HONESDALE PA - Right about now, Tanah Merah Farms LLC owner Richard Kulle may be talking to his trainer about using this "E. Miller" fellow in the sulky more often. "E. Miller" is of course famous trainer Erv Miller, who yesterday became Honesdale track-record-setting trainer/driver Erv Miller after he guided Wicked Elphaba to a 2:01.2 score in a division of the Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes three-year-old filly pace, a Honesdale divisional track record and three seconds faster than any other race on the card, reserved for sophomores. Wicked Elphaba, a daughter of Western Terror named after the "bad witch" played by Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz and a combination of the initials of Oz's writer L. Frank Baum [el/ph(f)a-ba] , had shown herself quite capable on the circuit, with a 3-1-1-1 scorecard, but the teaming with Miller produced the bewitching clocking, and a 28.3 last quarter, that not only beat Keystone Wanda, a 13 length winner at Clearfield on Thursday, but also eclipsed the northeast PA oval's mark for her class, set by DVC Elegant Beauty just over five years ago, by a single tick. On the colt side of the sidewheeling action, veteran PA fair star Roger Hammer gave further evidence that his barn is heating up, taking two of the three divisions, including the fastest in 2:04.2 with Camturo Beach, a Somebeachsomewhere gelding he also trains and owns. Hammer's other winner was the Nuclear Breeze gelding Enjoy The Ride, also a full hometown Hammer production; the third cut went to Skylite's Finale, an Allamerican Native gelding who defeated a third Hammerite, Falcon's Breeze, to go one point up atop the divisional leaderboard over his stablemate in the Steve Schoeffel barn, Jungle Of Terror (who had been second to Camturo Beach). In the trotting contests, the stars were the Cantab Hall colt Markup Hanover, who defeated Roe Is Me in 2:05.4-29 for the fastest diamondgaited mile of the session; and the trainer/driver team of Syl King Jr. and Marc Mosher, who swept the filly trots with Chrissy O and Homepage (the latter defeating Monroe County). FINISHING LINES - Continuing an innovative formatting experiment, Honesdale will today finish the fair portion of its 2013 program with a card for two-year-olds starting at 2 p.m., featuring the sensational trotting colt Ruiz. They will then draw for the "2-day meet" portion of their action Tuesday (box closes at 10), with racing Wednesday (3 p.m.) and Thursday (noon) giving them four cards within five days ... Waynesburg will be drawing tomorrow (Tuesday; box open until 11) for their two harness racing cards on Thursday and Friday, which will begin (please take note) at 10 a.m. both days. by Jerry Connors  

Wednesday Victorian harness racing was held in the Western District at Hamilton where a neat seven event card took place.

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