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2020 was a year like no other, with the breeding season kicking off on 1 September under a cloud of uncertainty due to COVID-19, a raft of new Breeding Regulations, an uncertain economic outlook, lockdowns and transported semen interruptions. But the renowned resilience of Standardbred breeders has again shone through with all indications that records will tumble and trends reverse in what has been a stunning year and turnaround. The cut-off for Studs to load services for the 2020/21 Breeding Season passed on 31 March, and although there are still some Studs yet to load all of their services, once this administration is complete, Harness Racing Australia (HRA) is confident of officially reporting more than 5,000 services for the 2020/21 breeding season. Should this eventuate, that will be at least 355 services more than last season (4,645) and the first time since 2017/18 that more than 5,000 services have been recorded in a single breeding season. On current figures, total services have already increased 6% year on year, while for “Colonial Stallions” the increase is almost 10% on 2019/20 figures. The number of Registered Stallions also rose to 196 in 2020/21, which was eight more than the previous year (188). It is hoped that full details will be published by HRA on 12 April, which is well advanced from previous years. For more information, please contact Andrew Kelly on 03 9227 3000 or   Harness Racing Australia

REMOTE country city Broken Hill has become a boom town once again. Founded after the discovery of a rich silver ore during the 1880s, Broken Hill remains Australia’s longest running mining hub. During the last few weeks, however, Broken Hill has proven a boom town for teal. Following the weekend’s meeting, Broken Hill has been the base for nine Teal Pants Campaign victories. Beginning with six wins from the Robinson sisters, the tally was boosted by a treble from Kaela Hryhorec on Saturday night. Cassie Robinson has recorded five wins, while Stevie Robinson registered her initial driving success a fortnight ago. Thanks to the reinswomen’s wins $2600 has been added to the Teal Pants Campaign tally. Between February 1 and March 14 the sport’s ladies throughout Australasia wear specially-designed teal pants to raise awareness and valuable funds for ANZGOG – Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group. Along with the search for a cure, the funds are distributed to the research nurse program and ANZGOG’s education and prevention program Survivors Teaching Students, where ovarian cancer survivors go in to the classrooms of medical students to present about their journey of diagnosis and living with a life threatening disease Money is earned via each win during the campaign, with the various state governing bodies donating a set amount per victory, which is matched by the state’s major wagering company. On average a win is worth $400 for the kitty. “It ended up being a 22-hour trip there and back, but was well worth it,” Hryhorec said. “I went through to Adelaide from Mount Gambier and got a lift the rest of the way which made it a very long venture. “I’ll be back there in a couple of weeks where hopefully I can add to the tally during this important time for such a wonderful cause.” During the past week the Australian squad – which consists of 260 reinswomen - has lifted its tally from 168 to 228 – an average of eight wins a day! In monetary terms the nation’s leading ladies have raised more than $90,000….which doesn’t not include various fund raisers such as teal cakes, BBQ’s and sponsorships. Given the wonderful achievement, it is little wonder ANZOG refers to Harness Racing Australia as its “WomenCan Team Teal Champion”! For the record, Hryhorec’s wins were with Badland Star, Pinkie Promise and Courtney Katarina   Harness Racing Australia

The opening leg of the 2021 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit was dominated by Victorian pin-up pacer Lochinvar Art when he accounted for his rivals in the Gr.1 $500,000 Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup at TABCORP Park, Melton tonight (Saturday). Boasting brilliant recent form with victories at his past five starts, the David Moran trained and driven entire was sent off at unbackable odds ($1.30) before scoring easily from the Belinda McCarthy trained duo of Alta Orlando ($36.80) and King Of Swing ($5.60). In many ways, the race was billed as a match race between the local ace Lochinvar Art and defending Hunter Cup champion King Of Swing with both facing second line draws but the expectations fell flat when Moran confidently guided his burgeoning star to the lead within the first lap of the 2760m mobile start feature. It was at that point; the race was effectively over. With the weight of an entire state on his back, Lochinvar Art was untroubled thereafter. The lead time was covered in a comfortable 83.7 seconds. Settling closer to last soon after the start, King Of Swing looped the field three-wide to sit parked outside his arch-rival as the field passed the mile marker. With the two favourites dictating the tempo, rivals were not prepared to make any moves. The first half of the final mile was covered in splits of 29.9 and 30.1 seconds. Entering the backstraight for the final time, Moran released the brakes on his gun five-year-old and quickly had his rivals off the bit with a brilliant 26.2 second third quarter split. Lochinvar Art started to move clear as Alta Orlando briefly loomed as a threat while King Of Swing battled hard to stay in touch. In the straight, Lochinvar Art raced clear with Moran barely moving aside from giving the big crowd a big whip flourish as they combined for the seventh Gr.1 victory. The final section was timed in a swift 27 seconds. Lochinvar Art scored by 6.4 metres from Alta Orlando with King Of Swing a further 3m away in third. Watch the race replay click here! The overall time was 3:16.9 with the winning mile rate posted at 1:54.8 – well outside of the track and race record held by Tiger Tara at 1:53.2 when successful in this race two years earlier. Lochinvar Art is raced by Kevin Gordon who described the winning moment as a “Dream come true”. The Modern Art – Ponder In Paris entire takes his record to 28 victories from 50 starts while his earnings are well past $1 million. Lochinvar Art joins the likes of Koala King, Popular Alm, Preux Chevalier, Blacks A Fake, Mr Feelgood, Bling It On, Lazarus and Tiger Tara as winners of both Victoria open class features, the Hunter and Victoria Cups. The next major target for Lochinvar Art will be the next leg of the APG Grand Circuit, the $1 million Ainsworth Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle on March 6   Harness Racing Australia.

King of Swing has swept the 2020 Harness Racing Australia Awards in taking out the Harness Horse of the Year, Australian Pacer of the Year and Aged Horse/Gelding Pacer of the Year. Owned by B Richardson, M Congerton, Go Racing Group, K Hall, G Moore, S McGregor and R & F Patriarca, King of Swing (Rocknroll Hanover USA – Twist And Twirl NZ) , had an amazing season – winning $1.1 million dollars and amassing four Group 1 victories. In addition, his wins in the three Grand Circuit events, the TAB Blacks A Fake, Ainsworth Miracle Mile and Del-Re National AG Hunter Cup earned him the title as the APG Grand Circuit Champion for trainers Craig Cross and Gary Hall Snr. Star pacing mare Bettor Enforce (Bettors Delight USA – Their Excuse NZ) won the Australian Aged Pacing Mare title for owners E Basham, A Peacock and R Warner after a brilliantly consistent season in winning 13 races and only being out of the placings 3 times from 25 seasonal starts. Also trained by Craig Cross, Bettor Enforce took away an incredible 1:48.9 record. Trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin capped off another bumper season, each winning titles with horses in their own right.  Clayton secured his debut Horse of the Year award training 2YO Pacing Colt of the year, Major Moth (Art Major USA – Macy Lila), for owners L & I Parker.  Meanwhile, Emma added to her record with the 2YO pacing fillies title via, Ladies In Red (Mach Three CA – Kabbalah Karen B CA), for Lauriston Bloodstock, while also managing to secure her very first trotting title with two year old filly, Banglez (Majestic Son CA – Gypsy Flair), for a large contingent of owners in S J Murray, E Crews, R J Letch, K F Shelly, John Anderson Group no. 2, Slim Four Group, H Geraldene, S J Watt and I E Woolridge. Dual Group 1 winning filly, Dr Susan (Bettors Delight USA – Safedra NZ), took out the 3YO Filly of the Year category for pacers for owner Christina Dalgety. Dr Susan was trained during the year by the New Zealand partnership of Cran Dalgety & Nathan Purdon, in addition to Sonya Smith at Menangle later in the season. Owners Emilio & Mary Rosati continued their outstanding run of Horse of The Year titles, winning the 3YO colts and geldings divisions for both gaits with Line Up (Bettors Delight USA – Beach Parade NZ) and Elite Stride (Muscle Hill USA – Real Babe USA), who were both trained by Anthony Butt. Line Up was the dominant pacing colt winning two derbies, whilst Elite Stride won 9 from 14 season starts including a huge win in the Group 1 Need for Speed Final. In the trotting divisions, the Norm Jenkin owned and Andy Gath trained champion Tornado Valley (Skyvalley – Begin) took out his successive Trotting Horse of the Year title and Aged Trotter of the Year Title. The now five-time Group 1 winner added these accolades to his APG Trotting Masters Title for 2020. Star mare Dance Craze (Muscle Hill USA – La Coocaracha) also took out her second Aged Mare of the Year title after yet another brilliant season. Trained in partnership by trainers Anton Golino and Jack MacKinnon, she franked her class with victory in the Australian Trotting Grand Prix for owner Pat Driscoll of Yabby Dam Farms. Pink Galahs (Skyvalley NZ – Sweetasay) swept the voting in the 3YO trotting fillies division for trainer/driver Matthew Craven and owners C G Lewis, L J Lewis and B R Healy. In what was an astonishing season, Pink Galahs beat the best free-for-all trotters including Dance Craze and Tornado Valley in the Group 1 Bill Collins Sprint before returning to her own age group and securing successive victories in the Victorian trotters Oaks and Derby. Season 2020 was breakout season in the short career of the progressive trainer Kate Hargreaves. Not only did she record 119 training winners in the extended season, but 2YO trotting colt, Dont Care (Used To Me FRA – My Dreamweaver NZ), provided her with her first Group 1 victory.  Dont Care was also the winner of the Australian Two Year Old Trotting Colt or Gelding providing a great thrill for owners K P Hargreaves, B T Cairns, J G Mathews, A F Mathews, M Delzotto, B M Palfreyman, D G Carroll, K W Weidenbach, A Mifsud and T Cairns. Full Award Listing: Lawn Derby Awards Vancleve Awards   Harness Racing Australia

Harness Racing Australia (HRA) are pleased to announce the 2019/2020 Globe Derby Awards – proudly sponsored by IRT. The Globe Derby Awards celebrate the sports leading Sires. Bettors Delight USA continued his dominance of the Globe Derby Awards in winning both the Leading Sire by Stakemoney and Leading Juvenile by Stakemoney. Remarkably, season 2019/20 marked the 9th time in which the Woodlands Stud sire was the leading sire by Stakemoney. Alabar Farm’s Majestic Son CA was the Leading Trotting Sire by Stakemoney for the 5th time and was clearly the most outstanding trotting sire for the season. The remaining award winners are listed below, and Harness Racing Australia congratulates the connections of the Globe Derby Award Winners. BETTORS DELIGHT USA (for the 9th time) Leading Sire by Stakemoney BETTORS DELIGHT USA (for the 5th time) Leading Juvenile Sire by Stakemoney MAJESTIC SON CA (for the 5th time) Leading Sire of Trotters by Stakemoney 2019/2020 Statistics LEADING SIRE BY STAKEMONEY           BETTORS DELIGHT USA - 654 starters 460 winners 1438 wins $14,568,341 LEADING SIRE OF 2YO’S BY STAKEMONEY           MACH THREE CA - 43 starters 29 winners 69 wins $973,362 LEADING SIRE OF 3YO’S BY STAKEMONEY             BETTORS DELIGHT USA - 115 starters 90 winners 300 wins $2,930,908 LEADING JUVENILE SIRE BY STAKEMONEY (2&3YO’S)           BETTORS DELIGHT USA  - 192 starters 138 winners 397 wins $3,862,897 LEADING SIRE OF TROTTERS BY STAKEMONEY          MAJESTIC SON CA  - 174 starters 109 winners 293 wins $2,751,053 LEADING BROODMARE SIRE OF TROTTERS BY STAKEMONEY               SUNDON USA - 213 starters 136 winners 378 wins $3,671,438 LEADING SIRE BY WINNERS           BETTORS DELIGHT USA - 460 winners LEADING SIRE OF 2YO’S BY WINNERS           ART MAJOR USA - 48 winners LEADING SIRE OF 3YO’S BY WINNERS           ART MAJOR USA - 101 winners LEADING BROODMARE SIRE BY STAKEMONEY           CHRISTIAN CULLEN NZ - 423 starters 298 winners 903 wins $9,112,847 LEADING BROODMARE SIRE OF 2YO’S BY STAKEMONEY           ART MAJOR USA - 85 starters 45 winners 88 wins $887,898 LEADING BROODMARE SIRE OF 3YO’S BY STAKEMONEY           ART MAJOR USA - 106 starters 61 winners 209 wins $1,653,945 LEADING BROODMARE SIRE BY WINNERS           CHRISTIAN CULLEN NZ - 298 winners LEADING BROODMARE SIRE OF 2YO’S BY WINNERS           ART MAJOR USA - 45 winners LEADING BROODMARE SIRE OF 3YO’S BY WINNERS           BETTORS DELIGHT USA - 68 winners   Harness Racing Australia

Harness Racing Australia has gone ahead and put Rules in place just weeks before the breeding season and failed to consult properly with stakeholders. More mares are bred in Victoria than any other state yet the Harness Racing Breeders Association of Victoria executive were waiting for answers when Harness Racing Australia announced the limits. How many stallions does this affect? Based on the 2019 figures five stallions served over 150 mares; Art Major, American Ideal, Always B Miki, Sweet Lou and the deceased Alta Christiano.   After contacting the Harness Racing Breeders Association of each state it is clear they do not accept that a proper consultative process has taken place. Based on the number of outraged breeders contacting Alabar Australia and Woodlands Stud it appears the majority of commercial broodmare owners are against the HRA proposal as it is written.  There is no one that is against limiting books but it needs to be properly worked out with consideration of free returns and other economic considerations. Below is the outline of the letter written to Andrew Kelly. A reply from the HRA board is expected this week. 1. Phase limits in:   There should be no limit for 2020 season, 180 plus returns for 2021 season,150 plus returns for 2022 and beyond:   Reasons why?    a) Implementing changes at this late stage of the season simply makes it all too hard to implement without creating upheaval and ill feeling between HRA and both broodmare owners and Studs.   b) there will be cases when travel and delivery of semen due to  Covid -19 will not reach a mare when needed and having flexibility has never been more important than this 2020 season.   c)  the follow-on economic effects of Covid-19 means 2021 will have its challenges. By 2022 we hope to see some sense of normality.   d) HRA should follow the example of other countries. The implementation of stallion limits would  normally be done over several years seasons as what happened with USTA. The overseas experience of limiting books has always provided a lead-in time to allow corrections to the worth of stallions being purchased or syndicated. The latest example was the Jockey Club (USA) where limits were introduced this year.   The conditions were that a limit of 140 but starts for those stallions born in the 2020 foal crop. All stallions born 2019 and before  are not affected as they were valued for syndication differently . There is no mention of free returns in the Jockey Club Rules because there are no live foal guarantees to consider as it is “pay on live foal” (POLF). Attached Jockey Club rule below.   2. Remove the limit of 20 on free returns:  There should be no limit or other conditions imposed on a genuine free return: a) There have been instances in NZ and Australia over the years where through no fault of the stud or stallion more than 20 free returns have occurred in any one season. These can be the accumulation of returns over previous seasons or unexpected losses from climatic changes or infection. For instance an abortion outbreak can cause significant unforeseen losses well in excess of 20 per stallion, as happened in 2001 with Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS) in the U.S. state of Kentucky when some farms had between 20% to 30% of pregnant mares aborting.How can a stud be expected to carry the uncertainty of such a loss of income with no recourse of providing free returns to all losses if required? b) the broodmare owner should be able to transfer a free return and use another mare. The first mare may no longer be a viable breeding proposition,or a substitute maybe a more fertile option, or the mare died and needs replacing are examples why this makes sense.  c) I see a big difference on how free returns are adopted in future by studs if there is a limit imposed. In the T’Bred a standard free return is only provided for the first 24 hours of the foal’s life and thereafter it is the mare owner who takes the risk or insures the foal. In S’Bred's studs more often than not they provide free returns for foals that die much later than 24 hours, in some cases months later. That eases the burden of the broodmare owner carrying insurance from 24 hours. Under the current proposed HRA 20 free return criteria stallion owners could not allow this leniency to continue towards the breeder. d) Free returns are easy enough to police with the studbook registrations checking each free return is valid, and the registered stallion owner would have to justify the free return number yearly with HRA. I declare my conflict of interest as co owner in Woodlands Stud and the stallions Sweet Lou and American Ideal. Andrew Grierson Woodlands Stud .................................................................................................................................................. Thursday, May 07, 2020 The Jockey Club Adopts Rule Regarding Thoroughbred Stallion Breedings The Jockey Club board of stewards today announced that it has adopted a final rule limiting the annual breeding of individual stallions. The rule reflects The Jockey Club’s goal to preserve the health of the Thoroughbred breed for the long term and will apply prospectively to stallions born in 2020 or later. Effective today, The Jockey Club’s Principal Rules and Requirements of the American Studbook are amended by adding the following italicized language to the text of Rule 14C: C. Based on the information on a completed Report of Mares Bred form, The Jockey Club will forward to the stallion owner, lessee or authorized agent a preprinted Service Certificate for each broodmare bred, including the name of the stallion, the name of the broodmare, the name of the dam of the broodmare, and the date of the last cover. The total number of broodmares bred per individual stallion whose year of birth is 2020 or thereafter shall not exceed 140 per calendar year in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The Jockey Club shall limit the number of Stallion Service Certificates for such stallions to a maximum of 140 per calendar year. When the stallion owner, lessee or authorized agent receives the preprinted Service Certificate, it should be examined for accuracy, signed by the stallion owner, lessee or authorized agent and forwarded to the breeder of the foal or submitted to The Jockey Club through Interactive Registration™ at The Service Certificate is required to register a foal. Service Certificates will not be issued unless a completed Report of Mares Bred form is on file at The Jockey Club and until genetic or re-DNA typing of the stallion has been completed (see Rule 5). In an effort to illustrate the operation of the new rule, The Jockey Club offers the following examples of how it will be applied: (1) For stallions born in 2019 and earlier, there will be no limit to the number of mares reported bred in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The Jockey Club will issue stallion certificates for all mares bred by such stallions within the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico during a calendar year. (2) For stallions born in 2020 and later, the maximum number of mares covered within the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico in a calendar year will be 140. It would be a violation of Rule 14C for such a stallion to cover more than 140 mares within the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico during a calendar year. The aforementioned limit will apply to all mares bred during a calendar year regardless of when The Jockey Club receives a Report of Mares bred (or any amendments or supplements thereto). The Jockey Club will modify its Report of Mares Bred form and other related forms in recognition of the amendment to Rule 14. Stallion Service Certificates will be issued on the basis of first cover date in the order of mares listed on the Report of Mares Bred. The Jockey Club is grateful for the many thoughtful comments in response to its September rule proposal. The stewards carefully considered those comments in formulating a rule that will promote diversity of the Thoroughbred gene pool and protect the long-term health of the breed. The Jockey Club will continue to maintain the Principal Rules and Requirements of the American Studbook in keeping with its mission to ensure the health of the Thoroughbred breed. The Jockey Club, founded in 1894 and dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, is the breed registry for North American Thoroughbreds. In fulfillment of its mission, The Jockey Club, directly or through subsidiaries, provides support and leadership on a wide range of important industry initiatives, and it serves the information and technology needs of owners, breeders, media, fans and farms. It is the sole funding source for America’s Best Racing, the broad-based fan development initiative for Thoroughbred racing. You can follow America’s Best Racing at Additional information is available at  

BREEDING AND RACING SEASON CHANGES TO HELP GROW INDUSTRY Harness Racing Australia (HRA) have recently announced big changes to the Breeding and Racing seasons, with new reforms designed to help grow the local harness racing industry and the long-term sustainability of the sport. The 2020/21 Breeding Season kicked off last Tuesday and the restrictions on the use Stallions and frozen semen will continue to invigorate the local breeding industry. While still only early in the season, the overwhelming response has been extremely positive.  Owner, Breeder and Haras Des Trotteurs Principal, Mr Pat Driscoll, made his views about the new rules abundantly clear in a recent letter published on HRA CEO Andrew Kelly commented, “It’s not just the larger operations expressing their support for the changes, many smaller breeders, such as Mr Steve Dickson at Llewellyn Park, are bullish about the future and the benefits it will bring to smaller stud owners and lesser light stallions who have been regularly overlooked in an industry dominated by large, commercially influential operations. As the industry enters a new era, everyone at HRA extend their best wishes to all breeders for a successful season ahead.” The change to the racing season, also announced last Tuesday, hasn’t been as hotly debated, but common sense has prevailed and the positives certainly outweigh the negatives. The HRA Executive team are constantly looking to grow, promote and develop the Harness Racing Industry in Australia and the sport will need to change to adapt to the constantly changing environment. For further information, please contact Andrew Kelly on +61 3 9227 3000.   Harness Racing Australia

Harness Racing Australia (HRA) will be looking for a new Chairman as Mr Michael Taranto has advised the HRA Executive that he will not be seeking re-appointment as Chairman of HRA at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting. Following a decision by the HRA Executive Members, he has decided to stand down from the position immediately. Michael was influential in his role as independent Chairman of HRA and as the Chair of the Inter Dominion Event Committee. Michael’s leadership was pivotal in helping guide the industry through the COVID-19 pandemic. The HRA Executive team thanks Michael for his passion and contribution to harness racing nationally and wishes him all the best in the future. The HRA Executive Members recently met and resolved to invite each States Controlling Body to nominate one person for the Executives consideration in filling the role of Independent Chairman of HRA.  An appointment will be made at the 2020 HRA Annual General Meeting later this year. In the interim, Mr Ken Brown, current Vice-Chairman of HRA and Chairman of Harness Racing New South Wales, will undertake the role of Acting Chairman of HRA. Ken Brown Acting Chairman, 29 June 2020 For further comment please contact HRA CEO Andrew Kelly M: 0488 358 285 E:

A historic decision by the Executive of Harness Racing Australia will extend the current racing season to the end of the year, due to the COVID19 pandemic. The executive announced the decision yesterday, extending the current 2019/20 racing season to 31 December. The decision will appease industry participants becoming increasingly concerned about the loss of opportunities for two, three and four year old feature and futurity racing. The HRA Executive said the decision to extend the season allows the various State Controlling Bodies time to consider the reprogramming of various Feature and Futurity Races which have been, or will be, impacted by the direct or related effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The extension to the season is for the current 2019/20 racing season only and does not alter the breeding season. From a racing perspective, all Standardbreds will keep their current age through to 31 December 2020. Further updates will be provided in due course by Harness Racing Australia and the respective State Controlling Bodies as they apply to matters including rules, ratings handicapping and the feature race calendar. Terry Gange

Harness Racing Australia’s “tweaking” of its controversial new National Ratings system will bring some small consolation to industry participants frustrated their views are not being heard. But the sport’s peak body has missed the opportunity make the more significant changes this contentious system so desperately needs to regain the confidence of passionate industry participants. Harness Racing New South Wales chief John Dumesny is so far the only State chief to report back to industry participants on the outcomes of last week’s HRA Executive meeting, and the intense debate at the Ratings Review team meeting that preceded it. It was the job of the Review Team three weeks ago to make recommendations on any changes required, six months after the NR system was rolled out – and the executive, reportedly, duly adopted the review recommendations last week. The decisions of the HRA executive can be read here:  While other State bodies have had little to say to their constituencies about the impact and timing of the amendments, Dumesny was frank in his HRNSW Blog last week. “Is it absolutely what we wanted in NSW?  No, but we got somewhere towards the requests of our participants and that is not always easy as these meetings go.  And I’m talking about a meeting that lasted six hours, of pretty deliberate discussions,” he said. “Some states rely heavily on the data and that is pertinent…but there is another point that always must be respected, and that is your stakeholder satisfaction -- it is a balance,” he said. “We want wagering turnover, we want to provide even racing but without participants we don’t have a sport. Certainly, I played that card within reason at the Ratings Review team meeting.” Industry participants in Victoria, in particular, have been enraged by the lack of consultation by the State body.  Debate on social media about the NR system has been “white hot”, but Harness Racing Victoria has provided no formal process or opportunity for industry to provide feedback to inform its position at the Ratings Review. And while the HR executive might not have been receiving the grass roots input via some State bodies that many industry participants wanted, there were some concessions to appease critics. The major change relates to the iniquitous “points for second place” conditions of the new NR system, and there are some welcome amendments to the NR matrix. Now, for races less than $10,000 the NR point for second place will disappear.  In addition, horses winning races with lower levels of stake money will be awarded fewer NR points. But Dumesny’s blog comments indicate, despite the compromise, not all States were fully on board to the level of NSW. “This was a concern across Australia that for running second you are actually penalised a point and while some didn’t want to lift the prizemoney level higher than $10,000, everyone was sensible about the end result,” Dumesny said. John Dumesny The Executive also approved a significant and common sense change for two year old racing, in that the system will be modified to reduce the starting point rating from 40 to 35 National Rating Points. However, efforts to get a similar concession for three year olds failed. The impact on three year olds, and the lack of protection they are provided in their juvenile season, has been one of the most hotly-debated issues around the new NR system. But Dumesny indicated the solution required by participants for three year olds was not going to get past all members of the review team. “The easiest outcome from our participants’ point of view for three years olds was to drop down (the three year old ranking) from 50 points to 45 points,” Dumesny said. “I didn’t get much traction on that with the other States – but we came up with a pretty good compromise in my opinion.” The “compromise” solution allows States to “potentially” program races that allow for a five-point concession for three year olds racing against older horses. “It was about the experience and maturity of horses, so when these three year olds do win their three year old races and they have to race against the older horses they will get a five point concession,” Dumesny said. The frustration for many industry participants currently racing three-year olds (already mid-way through their 3YO season), will be in the likely lag time for adoption of the compromise conditions. Dumesny pointed to likely further delays in the rollout, due to the time necessary for modifications to the national industry database. That is, the time it takes for RISE to change the HARVEY System. “It’s a bit of a case of when we can get it into the system – there needs to be changes to the HARVEY system because we really want it to be all automatic.  We don’t want it to be a manual system because errors will occur,” he said. It will then be up to the States (particularly those not necessarily enthusiastic about amendment of the conditions) to enact the new policy. Amendments to programming necessary to accommodate the new three-year-old concessions will also become a State-by-State responsibility.  A separate issue is how effectively the race conditions are amended to provide enough realistic racing opportunities for three year olds. Dumesny said he was “quite prepared” for further feedback on the system from industry participants. Harnesslink Media

When a youthful Mark Purdon captured the 1991 Auckland Inter Dominion aboard Mark Hanover trained in partnership by legendary father Roy and older brother Barry, little did he realize what the future was to hold. All in, the Purdon’s have figured in nine Inter victories, three in the pacing ranks and six with the trotters. For champion trainer/driver Mark it has been a ritual to go in search of Australasia’s most prestigious harness event, with success coming on several occasions. Following Mark Hanover, A few years went by before Mark’s name began to become dominant, especially in the trotting ranks scoring with Pride Of Petite in 1996 (Melbourne), and 1997 (Adelaide) when driven by brother in law Tony Herlihy which became one of the greatest races ever seen at Globe Derby Park, then came Buster Hanover (Sydney) in 1998 with Herlihy again the winning reinsman. Thirteen years elapsed before I Can Doosit trained and driven by Mark with Grant Payne as associate trainer scored successive victories – Auckland in 2011 and Melbourne 2012. Back in 1993 Mark’s father Roy had combined with Barry to land the 1993 Trotters Grand Final in Auckland with Night Arrow. In 2016 and 2017 it was the pacers that really made Mark a force to be reckoned with when two outstanding horses Smolda and Lazarus came on the scene. Smolda being victorious in 2016 and Lazarus 2017 when both series were held in Perth. Partner Natalie Rasmussen is no stranger to the Inters either after her outstanding pacer Blacks A Fake scored at Hobart in 2006, Adelaide 2007, Melbourne 2008 and Menangle 2010 and could have easily been five after going down narrowly to Mr Feelgood at the Gold Coast the year before. Barry Purdon himself will have two Grand Final runners this year when A G’s White Socks and Mach Shard step out to do battle. Since registering the partnership, Mark and Natalie have qualified five horses for this year’s series headed by Ultimate Sniper, Cruz Bromac, Chase Auckland, Thefixer and Ashley Locaz. With Mark, Barry and Natalie being the most prolific name in New Zealand and Australian harness racing, the name Purdon will be prominent for a long period of time to come.   Len Baker

PACERS – HEAT ONE 4YO Bettors Delight - Reality Check entire Ultimate Sniper lived right up to his Junior Free For All victory on NZ Cup Day with a brilliant success in the first of the 2200 metre pacers heats. Trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Ultimate Sniper driven by Natalie was trapped wide from gate six with no option but to be restrained to settle four back in the moving line as stablemate Chase Auckland led from gate three. Going forward three wide in the final circuit, Ultimate Sniper sustained a long run to gain the day by a half neck over Chase Auckland which looked the winner on turning, with Mach Shard (three back the markers third ¾ of a length away.) In a last half of 55.6 – quarter 27.5, Ultimate Sniper returned a mile rate of 1-53.6. Another of the ‘All Stars” stable Ashley Locaz galloped in the score up putting pay to his chances. Victorian San Carlo ran a ripper when fifth after racing exposed, while My Kiwi Mate wilted after a perfect one/one trip to be 7th. Queenslander Colt Thirty One was taken back to the rear from outside the front line and was never a chance, but finished his race of well to come in 9th, while NSW duo Conviction and Our Uncle Sam were never a chance, Conviction (four back the markers) 8th and Our Uncle Sam 10th from mid-field in the running line. PACERS – HEAT TWO A complete form reversal came about in the second heat, when 6YO Rock N Roll Heaven - Atomic Gold gelding A G’s White Socks came from nowhere to blouse a game Cruz Bromac in this heat. Having his first outing for master trainer Barry Purdon, A G’s White Socks who raced really well last season settled mid-field from gate three with veteran reinsman Maurice McKendry in the sulky as Luke McCarthy and Bling It On after being trapped wide from gate seven worked forward to assume control from On The Cards hitting the back straight on the first occasion. Still a long way off the leaders on turning as Cruz Bromac which raced in the open from the bell after going forward from near last got the better of the leader halfway up the running being hailed the winner. Coming with a withering burst of speed down the centre of the track, A G’s White Socks registered a length margin in 1-54.2 (Half 55.6 – quarter 27.3) over Cruz Bromac who certainly lost no admirers, with Thefixer (four back the markers) weaving a passage between runners for third 1 ¼ lengths back ahead of Star Galleria (three back the markers).  Victorian Sicario (one/one last lap) finished 7th, while Bling It On may not have been suited in working to the front, folding up to be 10th. TROTTERS  -  HEAT ONE Clevedon (North Island) father and son – John and Joshua Dickie opened the first round 2200 metre Inter heats last Friday at Alexandra Park Auckland when 5YO Love You - Paramount Star gelding Paramount King scored in track record time of 2-40.5. Given a sweet passage from inside the second line trailing the pole line leader Big Jack Hammer, Paramount King was always travelling smoothly, so much so that Josh didn’t bother waiting for the passing lane to come into play, easing three wide approaching the home turn. Finishing solidly, Paramount King reached the wire 2 ¼ lengths clear of Massive Metro (three wide last lap from mid-field), returning a mile rate of 1-57.3 (last half mile 57.9-quarter 29.4). Big Jack Hammer having his first outing racing clockwise held down third ¾ of a length away and will be all the better for the outing. Valloria (one/one) was fourth. Hot favourite Habibi Inta was never in the hunt after not matching speed from gate four and settling in the second half of the field, but made ground late to finish fifth after racing wide in the final circuit. TROTTERS – HEAT TWO Sometimes unruly 5YO gelding Winterfell, a son of Majestic Son and Una Bromac was on his best behaviour to take the second heat in a mile rate of 1-58.1. Trained by Mark and Natalie for one of the leading stable clients Trevor Casey, Winterfell a top class juvenile starting from outside the front line spent the first half of the race at the tail of the field as Tough Monarch worked very hard from gate seven to cross Temporale (gate 4) prior to the bell. No sooner had Tough Monarch found the lead, Mark Purdon had set Winterfell alight to circle the field and race outside him for the final circuit. Applying plenty of pressure before the home turn, Winterfell crossed to lead into the straight and kicked away. Holding a handy margin halfway up the running, Winterfel just lasted by a head over Marcoola (three back the markers) which followed Winterfell into the final bend before switching down to the passing lane. Majestic Man (four back the markers) flashed home late for third a nose away and would have won in another stride. The mile rate 1-58.1 (half 55.5 – quarter 27.6).   Harness Racing Australia

Ms Amy Donaldson Producer ABC 7:30 Via email…… Dear Amy, Thank’s for the opportunity to respond to your questions regarding the harness racing commitment to equine health and welfare for your upcoming story. Harness Racing Australia (HRA) has for years been focussed on improving the health and welfare of all Standardbreds, and whilst succeeding in a number of areas, we remain focussed on continuous improvement.  We believe “there is no finish line” to this continuum, and this belief is enshrined in the HRA Horse Welfare Statement (attached). We have made strong progress in recent years, with some examples being: establishment of a highly skilled and experienced welfare committee, the Standardbred Welfare Advisory Group (SWAG); continuous rule restriction and moderation on using the whip; drafting new rules controlling the use of tongue ties; introducing a new handicapping system which provides more racing opportunities to horses of all abilities, while encouraging them to remain in the racing pool for longer; world leading regulation of prohibited substances (global benchmarking statistics available here:; introduced microchipping for identification and traceability (2017); enforcing the formal deregistration of a horse or notification of a horse’s death rules - including time restrictions; and, ongoing analysis of raceday injury and incidents statistics measured across 2,763,953 starters across 37,191 race meetings, which have been reduced to: injuries to 0.27% - equivalent to less than 3 injuries in 1,000 starts euthanisia rate of 0.002% - equivalent to 2 deaths out of 100,000 starters These changes strongly indicate that, unlike the not so distant past, the industry no longer adopts a default position of resisting change to regulations promoting better welfare outcomes. This includes overwhelming industry support for State based rehoming programs and life after racing activities. To your questions: HRA wants to secure the welfare of horses before, during and after racing careers. While rehoming of horses remains the domain of the owner, HRA imposes specific rules and timing around the compulsory notification of a horse’s deregistration from racing and advising of that horses post-racing activities.  Further, we have made our industry standards and expectations clear through the HRA’s Horse Welfare Statement and Equine Health & Welfare Code of Conduct.   At the end of their racing life, almost 80% of Standardbreds are rehomed, according to evidence provided to the Senate RRAT Reference Committee. Around one percent (1.06%) find their way directly to a knackery or abattoir.  This relates to Standardbred foal crops for the previous 5-years.  This is because not all horses are suitable for rehoming, such as those with illness, injury or behavioural concerns. While not a preferred outcome, and unpalatable to many, it is currently a lawful and practical decision for an owner to have a horse consigned to a licensed and regulated knackery or abattoir, particularly when a horse is approaching the end of its life. HRA recognises that there are instances where the dispatch of a Standardbred via a licensed and regulated knackery or abattoir may be the most suitable and humane option.  HRA also recognise an owner’s right to make lawful decisions in this regard. These rates are low and consistent with HRA’s commitment to overall equine health and welfare outcomes. Of course, this data does not remain static as horses age.  As foal crops get older, this figure increases, and for horses born in 2007/08 is 4.8%. HRA does not conduct checks or inspections of knackeries or abattoirs to ensure Standardbreds are not being sent there as it is not breaching any law. HRA acknowledges that other jurisdictions also manage excellent welfare endeavours.  HRA is not currently considering any change to the current position. HRA will continue to monitor and enhance the many successful equine health and welfare strategies currently in place.  Many of the strategies are still relatively new and will need time to realise their full potential while undergoing continuous review and improvement. In closing, HRA recognises that it can always improve and we remain open to challenge and welcome suggestions for improvement. We are not perfect, nor is our work complete, however our achievements are real and significant for our horses and we will continue on our pathway to continually improved equine health and welfare outcomes. If I can provide further clarity on any of these or other points, feel free to contact me at any time. Kind regards, Andrew Kelly Chief Executive Keeper of the Australian Trotting Stud Book

JOSEPH COULTER BEST NEWS STORY OF THE YEAR 'Pizzuto and Tiger Tara cheat death for Inter Dominion shot' – Chris Roots - Sydney Morning Herald GRAHAM GOFFIN MEMORIAL AWARD – BEST FEATURE ARTICLE 'An Ornament to the Game' – Duncan Dornauf - Tasracing, Harness Racing Weekly & National Trotguide  GRAHAM GOFFIN MEMORIAL AWARD – BEST REGIONAL STORY 'Elusive reward after 173 attempts' – Terry Gange - Harnesslink GRAHAM GOFFIN MEMORIAL AWARD – BEST HISTORICAL FEATURE 'Bendigo Memorabilia, a gateway to John Phyland’s story, From Sheep to Stallions' – Noel Ridge - BEST PUBLISHED ACTION OR STILL PHOTOGRAPH 'The Gentle Giant' – Ashlea Brennan (pictured) Special Commendations: 'In The Wet' – Scott Hamilton 'Enjoying A Splash' – Stacey Lear BEST RADIO FEATURE TO AIR 'Carrick Cup Day Coverage' – Duncan Dornauf, David Moohr - City Park Radio BEST TELEVISON/VIDEO/FILM FEATURE TO AIR 'Girl Power' – Louise Ford - Crocmedia AWARD OF MERIT FOR DEMONSTRATED EXCELLENCE IN PROMOTION 'Gloucester Park Coverage' – Hamilton Content Creators AWARD OF MERIT FOR DEMONSTRATED EXCELLENCE IN SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE & INNOVATION Paul Campbell   Harness Racing Australia

Reigning Inter Dominion Champion Tiger Tara topped off a stunning year in winning Harness Racing’s most prestigious Australian Harness Horse of the Year title for his owners, spearheaded by Kevin Pizzuto who also trains the 9 year old entire. In a dominant year for his connections, Tiger Tara (by Bettors Delight USA - from Tara Gold NZ) added the Australian Pacer of the Year, Australian Aged Horse of Gelding and Grand Circuit Champion to his long list of accolades in season 2018/19. On the juvenile pacing front, all-conquering Victorian trainer Emma Stewart amazingly trained the winners of both the Australian Two Year old Colt or Gelding and Filly of the Year in Be Happy Mach and Maajida. The win of Be Happy Mach (Mach Three USA - Behappysam NZ) makes it successive Australian Two Year Old Colt or Gelding of the Year titles for the group of owners managed by Tim Bunning, many who share ownership in last year’s victor, Centenario. Maajida (Somebeachsomewhere USA - Arterial Way), winner of the Group One Vicbred and Breeders Crown Finals is owned and bred by Gary, Ian, Les and Steve Johnson of Atworthy Park. Pistol Abbey (Western Terror USA - Art Princess) took out the Australian Aged Pacing Mare of the Year title, and continued the success of Bill and Anne Anderson of Lauriston Bloodstock who also owned last years Three Year Old Colt of the Year, Poster Boy. It was no surprise that Max Delight (Bettors Delight USA - Lady Euthenia) swept the voting in the Three Year Old Pacing Colts and Gelding division after winning the Breeders Crown, Tasmanian Derby and NSW Derby for Tasmanian based owner Michael Maxfield. Astute owner Norm Jenkin capped off a great year with Tornado Valley (Skyvalley NZ  - Begin NZ) being the unanimous victor of Australian Trotter of the Year and winning the Australian Aged Trotting Horse or Gelding of the Year after being 11 from 12 during the year including the Inter Dominion.   Norm’s affection for Kate (driver) and Andy Gath (trainer) shows no sign of dimming as another stable star emerged in the form of Majestuoso (Majestic Son CA - Rosemaryz Luck NZ) who took out the 3YO Trotting Colt or Gelding of the Year – the highlight being his breathtaking win in the Victorian Trotting Derby. Harness Racing Australia congratulates all the Award winners for season 2018/19. The performance criteria for the HRA Awards is for performances by Australian trained horses regardless of venue or country, as well as well as for the Australian performances of New Zealand trained horses. A full list of Australian Horse of the Year winners and their performances across all categories is attached: Lawn Derby Awards – Pacers Vancleve Awards – Trotters For more information, please contact Harness Racing Australia on 03 9227 3000.   HRA

Harness Racing Australia (HRA) has advised states the new national ratings based handicapping system will be implemented from July 1. Participants are advised that horse ratings will go live from May 1 and be visible on Harnessweb and some other online platforms, but the new ratings’ system won’t come into effect until July. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) will issue communications to the industry in June explaining the system and Victoria’s approach to programming. July race programs will be released in the first week of June. “It’s important our trainers, drivers, owners, breeders and punters all have a thorough understanding of the new system,” HRV General Manager Racing – Stephen Bell said. “To ensure all our people are properly briefed HRV will issue detailed communications in June. Prior to that, we’ll advise of any updates to the national rollout in a timely manner. “The challenge now is for each state to develop local race programs that maximise industry earning opportunity and deliver competitive wagering outcomes through more competitive racing.” Participants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the HRA national handicapping document, which explains how the new system will work.     HRV Trots Media

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