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The champ's raring to go but the spotlight remains on McLovin in Andy Gath's camp after the stable's latest star added another Tabcorp Park Melton win. Kate Gath told Trots Vision that TAB Inter Dominion winner Tornado Valley was raring to get back into work but the reigning Victorian trotter of the year would continue to rest his heels while stablemate McLovin goes from strength-to-strength. "He was just out in front by himself and pretty laid back the big fella," Gath said of McLovin's win in Saturday night's Niota Bloodstock Sundons Gift Trotters Free For All. "He probably just needs one up there really pushing him to see what he can do. He's pretty nice and these races each week have been kind to him." Gath was pleased with McLovin's ability to easily shoot to the front from gate three, which could prove a valuable weapon down the track. "His gate speed was really good. He's getting faster and faster out of the gate. It's going to be a big bonus. "When (Tornado Valley and McLovin) clash it will be interesting if they are both going as good as they can at the same time. "Tornado Valley is still out in the paddock, but every time we go there he wants to come home. He can stay out there a little bit longer, he's a bit of a workhorse Tornado Valley and he doesn't like not doing much. We will give him a good spell, six weeks or something, and he will come back soon."   HRV Trots Media

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) late last week circulated the final 2019-20 racing calendar to clubs. HRV General Manager – Racing Stephen Bell thanked clubs for their “proactive approach, willingness to change and their understanding when some wishes were just not feasible to deliver”. “During the process we received approximately 100 requests from the clubs with 85 per cent of those granted,” Mr Bell said. Key changes to the racing calendar for 2019-20 include:  Cranbourne – 14 Sunday race meetings to encourage participants to travel without the obstruction of midweek traffic issues (up from seven Sunday race meetings in 2018-19).  Geelong – 12 Wednesday night race meetings as the club’s preferred racing night (up from nine Wednesday night race meetings in 2018-19).  Kilmore – 15 Thursday night race meetings as the club’s preferred racing night (up from eight Thursday night race meetings in 2018-19).  Mildura – 13 Friday day race meetings to provide additional racing product during the late afternoon to early evening period on selected Fridays from mid-April to August.  Maryborough Gold Cup returns to a Sunday race meeting on October 20, 2019.  Cranbourne Gold Cup returns to a Christmas function race meeting on Saturday December 7, 2019.  Gunbower Pacing Cup moves to a Christmas function race meeting on Sunday December 8, 2019. “We believe we have constructed a fair and balanced calendar that will maximise wagering opportunities for the 2019-20 racing season. The introduction of the new handicapping system in the near future should assist in ensuring full fields and exciting racing throughout the season. There is a lot to look forward to,” Mr Bell said. “I would also like to thank Gary Bennetts for the amount of time and effort he puts into preparing the calendar. There are many variables that he must take into account, not just within our own industry but external factors out of his control such as other racing codes and Sky Racing requirements. “Gary’s attention to detail and determination for perfection is to be applauded.” Click here to view the 2019-20 Race Dates Calendar   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Harness Racing Victoria

Luke Humphreys will join the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) race calling team.   Humphreys, 18, fills the position vacated by Craig Rail, who will move to New Zealand to start a new chapter in his life after 14 years with HRV.   HRV Media and Communications Manager Cody Winnell thanked Rail for his service and welcomed Humphreys to the organisation.   “Craig has made a magnificent contribution to HRV and Victorian harness racing during his 14 years with the organisation,” Mr Winnell said.   “It has been an absolute pleasure having Craig on the team and his professional approach and enthusiasm will be missed by his legion of fans and his colleagues.   “I’m pleased to say that Craig will not be lost to Victorian trots fans as he will perform a variety of roles in the media and form space as an independent contractor.   “It’s great to be able to welcome Luke Humphreys to the team. Luke is a passionate and talented young race caller, who we have worked closely with in recent years. He’s looking forward to developing his craft alongside two of the very best in the business in Dan Mielicki and Lachlan McIntosh.”   Rail’s final race meeting with HRV will be the Tasco Petroleum Mildura Pacing Cup Final night on Saturday, April 13.   “The first country cup I called in Victoria was Sokyola’s third Mildura Cup victory, which was a record at the time. It was a massive crowd and when Sokyola hit the lead at the home bend the whole crowd erupted and it was something I’d never felt before as a broadcaster. I was hooked on Mildura racing after that,” Rail said.   “It’s fitting that my last country cup will be back where it all began.   “I’ve had a great time in Victoria and met some terrific people along the way. I’m saddened to be leaving my position but my family’s my top priority. I look forward to continuing to work with HRV in a new capacity.”   Humphreys said it was “an honour and a privilege” to join HRV. “I have wanted to be a race caller since I was 10 or 11 years old. For years I practiced in the grandstand at Melton and was willing to travel anywhere for an opportunity to develop my calling,” Humphreys said.   “I love all of the three racing codes, but being brought up in harness racing it is my favourite.   “I’m looking forward to working closely with people who I’ve always looked up to in Dan and Lachie.”     Cody Winnell   MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA

Harness Racing Victoria HERO Program Ambassador Smudge Bromac will spearhead a charity fundraiser to benefit Motor Neurone Disease Victoria. The popular pacer wears dual ambassadorial hats, promoting standardbred life-after-racing and campaigning for MND awareness in memory of his part-owner, John Brain, who sadly passed away from the deadly disease. The event will be held at Shepparton's Kialla Paceway on Friday, April 26, to coincide with the running of the 2019 John Brain Memorial Pace and Shepparton Trotters’ Cup. Pictured is Smudge Bromac with caretaker Sue Terry. Picture by Issie Hill Organisers have set a fundraising target of $2500, principally through the sale of double-seater sulky rides with Smudge Bromac, a 209-start veteran who won 36 races and $460,000 in prizemoney and fellow HERO Ambassador Waikare Aristocrat, whose 69 starts as a trotter netted 15 wins and $124,000 in prizemoney. Patrons will also be invited to make a gold-coin donation to MND at the gate in lieu of entry, purchase MND merchandise and support a special effort, offering a hamper of Hygain animal health care products as first prize. In each of the evening’s races, with the permission of connections, the number one horse will carry MND promotional colours to highlight the cause. “The HERO Program is very proud to be co-ordinating and promoting this event,” manager Tanya McDermott said. “In addition to Smudge Bromac and Waikare Aristocrat, we will have the recently adopted HERO ambassador Suave Stuey Lombo on course, and a number of our supporters are donating their time to assist on the night,” she said. “Smudge is a valued member of the HERO team and we take every possible opportunity to highlight his important role as an official MND ambassador in parallel with his life-after-racing work. “The horse is an equine rock star and has enormous drawing power. “I feel sure that people will jump at the opportunity to sit behind him in a double-seater sulky, accompanied by one of our leading drivers.” MND Victoria Fundraising Officer Daniel Woodrow is likewise looking forward to the fundraiser. “We are always keen to explore new opportunities to both raise MND awareness and generate much needed funds," he said. “Our organisation has been working in the field for almost 40 years and we have a proud track record of providing tangible support and assistance where it is most needed. “This race meeting is a step into unchartered territory for MND Victoria and we’re grateful to both the HERO Program and Shepparton Harness Racing Club for their innovation and enthusiasm." MND is the name given to a group of diseases in which the nerve cells (neurons) controlling the muscles that enable a human to move, speak, breathe and swallow fail to work normally. With no nerves to activate them, muscles gradually weaken and waste. The patterns of weakness vary from person to person. At any given time in Victoria, MND affects around 400 people. There is no known cure. MND Victoria provides and promotes the best possible care and support for people living with MND and funds MND research. The organisation has two key mottos:  'Until there’s a cure, there’s care' and 'Never give up'. For more information about the April 26 race meeting, or to purchase a double-seater sulky ride for $200 with all proceeds going to MND Victoria, please visit the HRV HERO Facebook page, email hero@hrv.org.au or phone 0407 413 156 during business hours.   Tanya McDermott

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has made $115,500 in breeding bonus certificates available for Victorian breeders and owners during May and June. Every fillies and mares’ race worth more than $5000 (77 races programmed) in Victoria during May and June will carry breeding certificates worth $1000 to breeder(s) and $500 to owner(s) of the winning horse. These certificates can be redeemed for a service to any stallion for a Victorian based broodmare. “The certificates are part of a broader strategy to instil significantly more confidence in Victoria’s breeding industry,” Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) General Manager – Racing Stephen Bell said. “Today’s announcement will provide stimulus for local breeders and owners to reinvest next season. “As an industry it’s imperative we do what we can to reverse the worldwide season-to-season decline in foal numbers. For this to occur we need to think laterally, strategically and genuinely understand the problems our breeders face day to day.” HBV President Terry Lewis welcomed today’s news and expressed confidence that increased collaboration between his organisation and HRV was resulting in positive progress. “The breeding certificates will be the difference between some Victorian mares being served or not. Our breeders have a finite breeding budget each year, so often they will make the decision to have only some mares served. I'm confident this initiative will make a genuine difference and result in additional mares being bred,” Mr Lewis said. “The collaboration between HBV and HRV has significantly improved in the last 12 months or so and we are working on a number of new breeding stimulus initiatives and I'm certain we'll have more good news for breeders in the not-too-distant future.” HRV Trots Media

Record stakemoney will be just one of the highlights of the Warragul Downtowner Pacing Bowl Cup meeting which is approaching quickly.   The traditional Easter Sunday fixture, this year on April 21, will be headlined by record prizemoney for both pacing and trotting Cup races, and exciting trainer giveaways to increase interest in the event from horsepeople.   Warragul Sporting and Social Club have again thrown generous financial sponsorship behind Warragul's flagship harness race, and with additional statewide stakemoney increases previously announced by Harness Racing Victoria, this year's Cup will be staged for a record $35,000.   The time honoured Eddie Evison Memorial Warragul Trotters Cup will be run for $14,500, and is again sponsored by the Evison and Sherar families. Support races are also expected to draw strong entries.   In an effort to significantly increase industry participation in this year's event, three $500 cash giveaways are on offer for trainers who race on the day at Warragul.   Each trainer/training partnership which races on the day will receive one ticket into the lucky draw, regardless of how many starters they have, which means that all participants will have an equal chance of sharing in the cash, whether they win a race or not.   Local finance broker Rob Lee (Liberty Financial) is a harness racing enthusiast, and his company are generously backing Warragul Harness Racing Club with support of this trainer's incentive.   Winning Formula product will also be given away to trainers of all placegetters on the day, courtesy of Origin Powders and Liquids.   Warragul Harness Racing Club Operations Co-Ordinator, Des Hughes, said that his focus for the club's premier racing event is to foster the support of the industry people who put on the show day in, day out.   "We needed to get the focus back on the participants, particularly for the Cup meeting, and keep Warragul as an attractive racing alternative for locals and visitors," Hughes said.   "If you look after those who put on the show with good facilities, a few giveaways, that sort of thing, hopefully people go away with a positive impression of our club even if their horse doesn't win."   "The same applies for those who follow the sport...we need the die hard industry fans to come out and support us and make Warragul a go to destination on the Easter weekend, as this meeting is one of a number of great country events that every harness fan should have on their bucket list."   Warragul's close location to Melbourne with direct freeway and train access lends itself to a leisurely drive on a Sunday afternoon for a top day of racing.   Legendary harness form analyst Bill Glover will be trackside to run Warragul's Punters Club, and local officials are hoping Bill's reputation as an astute student of form will lead to record ticket sales.   The first class facilities at Warragul are available for dining package bookings, which are already selling well.   A bistro and barbecue will also be on offer during the day, along with the usual fare of lucky racegoer giveaways (including $2000 in holiday vouchers), pony trots and kids activities.   Punters are spoiled at Warragul with a giant indoor screen for race viewing, excellent tote facilities, and bookmaker Tom Hogan also represented, while all facilities are indoors, overlooking the track which is one of the best in Victoria for viewing harness racing.   So far this season horse numbers at Warragul are well up on last season, and club officials are quietly confident that trend will continue for their main event.     Kyle Galley  

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Chairman Dale Monteith has welcomed the reappointment today of six HRV Board members. "It is an honour to be able to continue to serve the Victorian harness racing industry following a strong 2017-18 period, which saw our industry return to profit after a period of decline, delivering record prizemoney and wagering turnover, as well as returning the Inter Dominion to Victoria for the first time in 10 years," Mr Monteith said. Minister for Racing Martin Pakula announced the reappointment of Dale Monteith as Chair, Rothacker Medal recipient Elizabeth Clarke who returns as Deputy Chair, veterinarian Catherine Ainsworth, marketing and communications expert Jane Brook, sports administrator and commentator Danny Frawley and experienced consultant Peter Watkinson. Read the media release issued by the State Government<https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/harness-racing-victoria-board-appointments-announced/>   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA 

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.

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) is pleased to advise the process of transferring horse ownership has been moved online, making the procedure easier than ever for Victorian participants. HRV and Racing Information Services Enterprise (RISE) have developed the process, which Victorian participants will welcome as it makes sending paper forms all over the countryside to transfer horse ownership a distant memory. “It’s great we can announce this as live because the old process was admittedly arduous,” HRV GM – Racing Stephen Bell said. “I’d like to publicly acknowledge the diligent work of RISE on this project. The hope is other jurisdictions will see this improvement and utilise the technology developed for the betterment of their participants.” Victoria becomes the first jurisdiction in Australian harness racing to offer easy, online transfer of horse ownership. Full detail in attached media release or online here.<http://bit.ly/2tJhlTl> Harness Racing Victoria

A service will be held on Friday to commemorate Albert Rothacker, a member of harness racing's famed family, after he passed last Sunday night at age 91. Along with his brothers Gordon and Eric, Mr Rothacker was a regular trots driver in the 1950s and '60s as well as a hobbyist trainer, said his son and current trainer Robert. "Dad drove quite a bit and took Arlen to Melbourne in the mid '60s and won a couple of metro races," Robert said. "In the '50s he drove Wilbur's Hope and all three brothers were in a race once and he did get up and beat Eric and Gentleman John and Gordon and Avian Again. Wilbur's Hope was a fantastic free-legged horse." Robert said his father's driving career came to an end after hurting his shoulder in a fall at Horsham in the early 1970s, but that he continued to train until 1994-95 as well as own, including Impala who Albert bred and owned and who raced with Robert until 2005. All are welcome to attend a service from 11am on Friday at Yarrayne Cemetery, Serpentine. Harness Racing Victoria extends its condolences to Mr Rothacker's friends and family.   Harness Racing Victoria  

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) will conduct a series of consultation sessions across Victoria in relation to the proposed national ratings handicapping system. All stakeholders are encouraged to attend one of the following sessions: Tuesday February 12 at Shepparton (7pm) Wednesday February 13 at Ballarat (7pm) Thursday February 14 at Cranbourne (7pm) Monday February 18 at Mildura (7pm) Light refreshments will be provided. View notice online   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA 

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards commenced an investigation on 26 January 2019 into the scratching of Perfect Major from Race 7 the Victoria Derby to be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on this date and the wagering activity on emergency runner Demon Delight. On 26 January 2019 a veterinary certificate was provided to HRV by the stable veterinarian advising that Perfect Major was not fit to start. Emma Stewart, trainer of Perfect Major, and stable employees were interviewed regarding the scratching of Perfect Major. As part of the investigation Perfect Major underwent an examination by a HRV Veterinarian and swab samples were taken. The investigation remains ongoing with wagering activity, veterinary records and other relevant information to be reviewed.   Harness Racing Victoria

Charlton’s Doug Gretgrix has become one of Victorian harness racing’s most recognisable faces after more than two decades of criss-crossing the State in his role as one of the sport’s official starters. Now after 21 years and an estimated 1.3 million kilometres of travel during his duties, Gretgrix, who celebrated his 75th birthday on Thursday, is preparing to wind down and call it a day. “The time has absolutely flown, but I can honestly say that I would gladly do it all again.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my job and have made so many friends in the industry,” he said. Known universally as Doug, “Mr Gretgrix” made his debut as starter at his home track of Charlton, first learning the ropes as trials driver in the 1980s. “I thought I’d like to finish my career at Charlton there as well, but unfortunately the Charlton meetings are being transferred at the moment because of work on the new $4.2M multipurpose facility, so my last meeting will be at Maryborough next Thursday January 31,” he said. “But I’m not complaining – the new facilities will be great for Charlton and the day is the final of the $25,000 Central Victorian Pacing Championship, so it’ll be a big meeting to go out on.” The starter’s role includes transporting the official HRV mobile start car to race meetings and Gretgrix said, although he officiates mainly at meetings in the north and west of the State, one of his aims over the years had been to start races at all Victorian meetings. “I proud to say I’ve done that, and that includes some clubs and tracks that don’t race all that often now, like Elmore and Birchip,” he said. Over the years, he has officiated at thousands of harness racing events, on average working at three to four meetings each week. “My wife Gill has been doing some research of late and she believes that the number will be close to 20,200 races which, looking back, is incredible,” he said. “I can tell you that I know every bump and sharp bend on a lot of the roads around the State, but I guess that all comes with the job.” Gretgrix said there has been just one occasion when he wasn’t able to get the mobile barrier outfit to a meeting. “I was rostered to do a Terang meeting and five kilometres out of St Arnaud with about 200kms to go some weld broke on the mobile and oil went everywhere,” he said. “There wasn’t any way of fixing it, so they just used their old club mobile barrier and there weren’t any dramas.” Gretgrix’s involvement with horses, which goes back to the 1970s, was through his older brother Stanley, a well-known and popular figure around Charlton. “Stan was playing around with a few stallions and doing some breeding; and of course I had a farm with a shed and yard so it all just worked perfect for him,” Gretgrix said. “He had Vivkay and Scottish Bret, and there were probably others. Anyway, he was lucky to breed a nice horse in Nancy’s Luck. “She was by Vivkay out of Charlton’s Pride and won 10 races and had 17 placings from about 60 starts. Her training was done around the back roads near my farm.” Gretgrix said that after being “conned” into going to Charlton Trotting Club’s annual meeting in 1979, he ended up with the role of assistant starter. He honed his skills helping the number one starter at the Charlton trials. “When the other guy had to give it away, I was thrown into the deep end during Easter, 1980,” Gretgrix said. Until the 1990s, the HRV would send a steward to the meetings to act as starter, until computerised mobile barrier vehicles were introduced in 1997. “I became friendly with former chairman of stewards Gerard Lalor and I was one of four starters rostered on to officiate at meetings – the others being Gary Chequer, Ian McIntosh and Phil Frost,” Gretgrix explained. “We had one mobile barrier vehicle between us, which was in the care of Phil Frost, so if for example there was a day meeting at Horsham and then Mildura at night, we would use the club vehicle at Mildura.” Gretgrix said he fondly remembers his first race meeting in an official capacity – a Geelong fixture on June 11, 1997. “I think I made more money through a travel allowance that was given to me to drive up from Charlton than what I earnt in actual wages,” he said. After officiating at his first Mildura meeting on March 21, 1998, Gretgrix said the far north-west venue became like “a second home.” “From October 2002, I’ve probably done nearly all of the Mildura meetings,” he said. Gretgrix said in the early days there were plenty of standing start races that kept the starters on their toes. “I enjoyed doing them but you had to keep a good lookout – one time at Echuca a barrier attendant had put up the front row tapes, and then when he was running back, he got tangled up and tripped over in a big heap. “It all turned out okay, but it could have been a bit nasty.” Gretgrix said since beginning as a starter he’d also had an ambition to officiate at what was, at the time, one of the world’s richest handicapped standing start events, the Hunter Cup. “My big chance came in 2005 and despite wanting to do it for all those years, it was absolutely hair raising,” he recalled. “There was a huge crowd, thousands on track, and people up on the fence yelling and screaming – and a standing start, so the pressure was huge.” Star Kiwi Elsu, trained by Geoff Small and driven by David Butcher, started from a 20-metre handicap and won the race well, sitting three wide for the last 1100m. Gretgrix said without doubt one of the greatest races he can recall seeing was the 2008 Ballarat Cup. “The final lap was a gruelling, head-and-head battle between two champions in Safari and Blacks A Fake. It was exciting stuff with Safari (Brian Gath) claiming a narrow victory,” he said. “But I’m leaving with lots of good memories – over the years you get to know so many participants, club officials, mobile barrier drivers, track attendants, clerks of the course and all the volunteers.” Gretgrix and his wife Gill, who have four children and nine grandchildren, plan to stay at Charlton. “I know Gill has a list of things she would like me to do around the house,” he said. “After that I’d love to go back to playing bowls, something I enjoyed before getting involved in harness racing. “And there’s a caravan parked in our shed that definitely needs to be taken out on a few trips...” For participants, there’ll undoubtedly be something missing, when “Mr Gretgrix” is no longer “letting them go”. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Brian Delaney, a driver of many winners at the Melbourne Showgrounds during the '60s, including horses Macaree and Naval Attack for late Cranbourne area trainer John Collins, passed away on January 11 at the age of 82. Brian had worked for the late Bob Parker in his younger days. Harness Racing Victoria extends its condolences to Brian’s friends and family.   Len Baker  

The barrier draws for this Saturday night’s four Group 1 feature races at Tabcorp Park Melton will be live streamed at Harness Racing Victoria’s Facebook page tomorrow from 10am. Join GoodForm’s Jason Bonnington as the draws are conducted for the $250,000 Woodlands Great Southern Star, $200,000 Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby Final, $100,000 Ladyship Cup and $100,000 4YO Bonanza. The program for Night 2 of the TAB Summer of Glory is shaping as a classic as in addition to the four Group 1 races the support card includes the Group 2 Casey Classic ($50,000), Group 2 Aldebaran Park Vicbred Platinum Trotting Mares Sprint Championship Final ($30,000) and Group 3Vulcan Trotters Free for All ($24,000). General admission to Tabcorp Park Melton is free for the TAB Summer of Glory. Exclusive dining packages for Woodlands Great Southern Star night can be booked here. Trots Media

Prizemoney for Victorian harness racing will exceed current record levels following a Daniel Andrews Labor Government’s commitment in October. Racing Minister Martin Pakula announced at the Gordon Rothacker Medal night that a re-elected Victorian Labor Government would commit to an additional $6m in funding over two years and reaffirmed that commitment at the Inter Dominion. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) said it would pass on that funding through increased stakemoney across all levels as follows:  Restricted class races increased from $4000 to $4500  $5000 Career Penalty races increased to $7000  Metropolitan class races increased from $16,000 and $18,000 to $20,000  Semi-feature metropolitan class races increased from $20,000 to $24,000  A $10,000 minimum race stake to be applied on all metro race nights at Melton  Country Cup prizemoney increased by $222,500  Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup prizemoney increased from $200,000 to $250,000  Minimum payment for fifth to last increased to $140 “With this additional funding from the State Government, we have aimed to ensure a broad spread of harness racing participants at all levels of the industry are rewarded for their hard work through these prizemoney increases, which will commence on 1 January 2019,” HRV CEO David Martin said.   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Harness Racing Victoria

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