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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

NOBODY worked harder for women to be allowed to drive in races against men than Margaret Davies, who passed away last week at the age of 74. As the inaugural president of the NSW Reinswomen’s Association, which was formed in 1974, Margaret shrewdly used the new Discrimination Act to advantage for the women. After intense lobbying with the Harness Racing Authority in NSW and the Australian Trotting Council, licences were finally granted to Margaret and Lynette Locke in late 1977. At the time there were 54 permits issued to women who were undergoing the qualifying period at Shows and Gymkhanas. Margaret Davies was the first reinswoman in NSW to drive against the men – finishing fourth on Jaunty Jack and then second aboard Jonathon Jan at the Non-Tab race meeting at Nowra on November 12, 1977. Her first winner against the men was aboard Pipedream at Goulburn on March 4, 1978. A win on the same pacer at Bulli on June 22, 1978 saw this race provide the ‘first Ladies quinella’ in a race, with Karen Pearce finishing second on Queen Victoria. Margaret had previously won the 5DN/Ansett Reinswomen’s Championship at Globe Derby in 1976, aboard Nichols. A lover of the trotter, Margaret lived in north-east Victoria for the last decade. Among her career highlights were to own, train and drive Altimeter to win the 1989 NSW Trotters’ Derby and to breed and own the filly, Jingling Silver to defeat the colts to win the Group One 2010 Victoria Trotters’ Derby (trained and driven for the race by Chris Lang). Jingling Silver won 14 races and $191,322 and also won a Group two and three trotters feature and was placed in a Victoria Oaks and Super Sires Final. From her base at Bulli on the south coast, Margaret trained a team of pacers and trotters and always rated her husband Kelvin Davies as the biggest influence on her career. A Memorial Service for Margaret Davies will be held at 1pm on Friday 5 April at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Arundel Street, Benalla.   Michael Court for Harness Racing Australia

Harness Racing Australia (HRA) announced today that the current Australian Driving Champion, Todd McCarthy, had been selected to be Australia’s representative in the prestigious 2019 World Driving Championships in Sweden. “Australia is fortunate to have so many skilled and talented drivers at present, with selection not made any easier with the criteria based on a balance of merit, performance, presentation, attitude, adaptability to conditions and promotional opportunities,” HRA Chairman Mr Michael Taranto said. “The HRA Executive considered a number of drivers for selection and all would have been fine representatives of our country.  That said, we can only send one representative and I have no doubt Todd will perform well in the demanding series and be a wonderful ambassador for Australian harness racing, ” he said. The World Driving Championship was established in 1970 and is held every two years, in conjunction with the World Trotting Conference. The last series was conducted in Canada in 2017 and was won by the local host hero, James McDonald. James McDonald will return to defend his title alongside McCarthy and 10 other drivers (12 in total) from Sweden, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Malta, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway and United States of America. The 2019 Championship runs from 24 May to 31 May and consists of 24 Heats across 6 race meetings at 5 different racetracks.  The Series begins at Solvalla, Stockholm, at meetings on 24 (4 Heats) and 25 May (1 Heat) before moving to Lindesberg on 27 May (5 Heats) and Eskilstuna on 28 May (5 Heats).  The fourth leg is 29 May at Rättvik (4 Heats) before the 31 May finale at Gävle (5 Heats). Todd McCarthy will be attempting to emulate the feats of two Australian drivers who have won the World Driving Championship – Queenslander Keith Addison in 1975 and Ted Demmler of Victoria in 1987. Harness Racing Australia

Former top free-for-all harness racing pacer Savesomtimetodream is the 2019 Alabar HERO Series Champion. The 11-year-old Village Jasper gelding defeated 19 rivals to claim the state’s richest and most prestigious standardbred showing championship at Bendigo on Sunday. The Alabar HERO Series Final carried $1000 in prizemoney for the overall winner and was staged under the auspices of Victorian Agricultural Shows Limited’s prestigious Saddle Horse Championships. Savesomtimetodream was also named Best Newcomer, securing a $500 cheque. The Award recognised the best performed competitor less than two years off the track. Bred, trained and owned by the Rowse family at Ballarat, he retired from a six-and-a-half-year racing career on August 25, 2017, with $222,625 in stake earnings in his bankroll. The pacer notched 20 wins and 33 placings from 113 race starts, highlighted by successes in the Gunbower, Yarra Valley and Ararat Pacing Cups, and a semi-final of the Vicbred Super Series. In May 2018, he was recruited by Harness Racing Australia under the banner of There Is No Finish Line to feature in a Track To Hack project documenting the transition of a retired standardbred from racing to riding. The project included a series of on-line video diaries and regular features in Horse Deals magazine. HRA Animal Welfare Officer and accomplished show rider Kathleen Mullan oversaw the horse’s re-education – prior to joining her care, Savesomtimetodream had never had a saddle on his back. He was therefore the richest racehorse and least experienced riding horse in the HERO Series Final. A three-person panel, including licensed harness racing trainer Courtney Slater and SA guest  Holly Alcorn, adjudicated on the final, with just one point separating Savesomtimetodream and runner-up Maxwell Smart, who raced as Equity Wizzbang. The second place getter was also runner-up in 2018 after winning the inaugural Alabar HERO Series Final in 2017 for owner Eboni Knights. An Owner/Rider category, carrying $500 in prizemoney, was introduced for the first time this year.  It was won by Rebecca McGee riding Mighty Boy Lombo, a Northern Luck gelding who retired in 2013 after a moderate racing career in the NSW Riverina, which notched two wins from 28 starts. The Child’s Ridden Standardbred went to Double Art, an Artiscape gelding who failed to place in 13 race starts, who was ridden by Emily Barton. Maxwell Smart was the Champion Led Standardbred for Julie Knights and Rebecca Mackay was named Champion Rider in the Standardbred ring aboard Style Of Art, an unraced daughter of Kenneth J. The Best Presented Standardbred was Kelly Stuart-Mitchell’s Gowan Brae. The Alabar HERO Series would not be possible without the ongoing support of principal sponsor Alabar Bloodstock, and Victorian Agricultural Shows Limited. All pictures are by Belinda Richardson of Alabar Farms.

PACERS It will be an intriguing Pacers Grand Final as nobody is quite sure who will lead as the mobile gate pulls away and therefore who will win.  In saying that, it appears that there are only six realistic chances – they being Galactic Star (1), Im Pats Delight (3), Spankem (5), Tiger Tara (7) San Carlo (8) and Cruz Bromac (9). Galactic Star has raced extremely well throughout the series, winning at Melton on opening night in 1-54.1 by leading all of the way. His Ballarat third in 1-53.5 after racing wide was excellent, as was his second at Cranbourne last Saturday in 1-58 after breezing from the bell. Im Pats Delight’s runs have been full of merit in all three heats. His opening night second to Spanken in 1-54.3 was full of merit after making a mid-race move, then taking a sit, while his all the way Ballarat victory looked to be a soft success in 1-52.1, as did his second to Cruz Bromac last week in 1-56.5 after receiving the run of the race. His 2.3 metre Kaikoura Cup second to Spankem was strong after racing exposed. Spankem has been the revelation of the series. A 1-54.3 victory on opening night after racing wide from the bell was outstanding, as was his Ballarat third to Wrappers Delight in 1-53.6 when finishing late. At Cranbourne he treated his rivals with contempt after taking over at the bell, winning in a rate of 1-58. His part-owners Phil and Glenys Kennard have shared in the past two Interdom winners Smolda and Lazarus and have a great chance in making it three. Bulldog Tiger Tara can never be under estimated in any race he contests. One only has to watch his nose second to The Fixer in the 3200 metre NZ Cup last month where he raced uncovered for the last half of the journey to give him a major chance. On opening night his third to Spanken in 1-54.3 when flashing home after being held up was excellent, followed by a death-seating second to Wrappers Delight in 1-53.6 at Ballarat and a virtual all the way victory at Cranbourne in 1-57.1. San Carlo has raced well all through the series. Second on the first night to Galactic Star (1-54.1) after racing wide was full of merit, before a most unlucky fifth to Wrappers Delight after being held up until too late. His tough third at Cranbourne to Tiger Tara (1-57.1) after working to race without cover and going down fighting was a strong guide to his chances. Unfortunately all through the series, he has had no luck with the barrier draws. Cruz Bromac is the only runner in this Grand Final to go through the series undefeated. He coasted to victory on opening night in 1-53.8 after taking over just after the bell, raced wide at Ballarat (1-53.5) before proving much too classy and at Cranbourne found the front early in the piece before winning unextended in 1-56.5. For first four players Maximan (6) has to be included, however his barrier makes it hard. Our Uncle Sam (10) flashed home along the sprint lane from three back the markers when second to Tiger Tara , but will probably need a similar trip here and it is hard to knock Wrappers Delight’s efforts in all three heats, but the barrier draw has been unkind to his chances. TROTTERS The Trotters Grand Final looks a lot easier with only five horses looking to snare the major prize – they being Speeding Spur (1), Save Our Pennys (3), Tornado Valley (6) and Tough Monarch (9) and Kyvalley Blur (11). Speeding Spur is a brilliant beginner and possible leader from the pole, however arch rival Tornado Valley was able to cross him from outside the front line at Ballarat when Speeding Spur started from gate five, the pole draw here is a distinct advantage. After leading throughout on opening night in 1-58.7, prior to a game third to Tornado Valley (1-56.1) when racing uncovered, then another all the way victory at Cranbourne in 2-01.3, he looks one of the leading chances. Tornado Valley has hardly put a foot wrong since crossing the Tasman and his form going through the heats undefeated after leading in the majority of each race gives him a great chance. Can he sit outside Speeding Spur? That’s the question most are asking. Save Our Pennys has not put a foot wrong all through the series, finishing second to Tornado Valley on each occasion after receiving the run of the race. Should the two favourites cut at one another, he will be poised ready to strike if the opportunity presents itself. Tough Monarch from his favourable inside second line draw should the emergency come out is the other blow out chance. He looked disappointing at Cranbourne when fourth to Tornado Valley, joining him on the final bend after a sweet one/one trip, but his runs in all heats have been sound. Kyvalley Blur is always a chance in any race he contests, but will need them to go hard to finish his race off. His second to Marcoola in the two mile Dominion Handicap at Addington on Show Day was a great guide to this race.  Rough place chances can be given to Monty Python (2) as he should be suited by the journey, Big Jack Hammer (5) despite the horror draw and Kingdom Come (10) a stablemate of Tornado Valley.   Harness Racing Australia

NIGHT ONE : TABCORP PARK MELTON New South Wales and New Zealand were the big winners after the barrier draws for the opening night of the 2018 Inter Dominion Series for both pacers and trotters which commence this Saturday were released earlier in the week. Three heats for pacers and two for trotters will be held over the next week with horses from Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and both islands of New Zealand competing. PACERS HEAT ONE: A battle for the lead is eminent with My Alpha Rock (1), Wrappers Delight (2) and Tiger Tara (4) all very fast beginners. Last time in Victoria, My Alpha Rock ran extremely well, running home from a mile back to finish fifth behind Tiger Tara in the Victoria Cup and is a possibility of holding the front running. On the other hand Wrappers Delight has been flying of late and is likely to try and lead. Should he find the front, he will take no end of running down. If one can forget the dismal performance of Tiger Tara in the New Zealand Free For All two weeks back where he worked forward to race exposed before finishing 56.1 metres away in tenth place behind Cruz Bromac after producing what was the “run of the race” to go down by a nose in the NZ Cup, then he must be considered. It will be interesting to see if Todd McCarthy wants to fire him out of the gate. The smokey of the race could be Kiwi Im Pats Delight (9) a past winner of the Harness Jewels. His two most recent outings at Addington during Cup Week were very good after a chequered passage, finishing third on Cup Day to All U Need Is Faith and fourth in the NZ FFA to Cruz Bromac. Kaikoura Cup winner Spankem (5) has to be respected from his awkward draw, while Sydneysider Joes Star Of Mia (11) will need plenty of luck to place as will Mattgregor (12). HEAT TWO: The draws were not kind to the Victorians with both San Carlo and Shadow Sax, two of the most favoured runners in the series coming up with marbles ten and twelve. Injury plagued old timer Franco Nelson (2) a genuine racehorse who always tries so hard has explosive gate speed and should arrest the lead away from noted sit/sprinter Mach Doro (1) shortly after the start. His effort when fourth in The Victoria Cup two runs back was outstanding. Mach Doro is likely to receive the run of the race before using the sprint lane at the business end and can be dangerous These two appear to have the race to themselves, however there are plenty of other chances depending on the tempo of the race with Ellmers Image (3), Galactic Star (4), Motu Meteor, (5) Italian Delight (7), Village Witch (8), Im The Boss (9), San Carlo (10) and Shadow Sax (12) all looking to earn valuable points. HEAT THREE:  Exciting 5Y0 gelding Cruz Bromac (4) appears to have an edge on his rivals after a most unlucky fourth in the NZ Cup and an all of the way victory in the NZ FFA. Will he lead ? That depends on Luke McCarthy aboard Cash N Flow (1) which was disappointing when third in last week’s Geelong Pacing Cup after taking over racing for the bell. Let It Ride (8) can be dynamic at the end of his races and should he get a lovely trip possibly three back the markers will be right in the finish. Ideal Success (6) is a place hope if able to take up a handy spot, while the same could be said for Conviction (7), Audi Hare (9), Mister Wickham (10) and old timer Maximan (11) who is airborne at present. TROTTERS HEAT ONE:  Highly favoured Tornado Valley (6) is a very fast beginner and despite drawing wide, may be able to charge to the lead. His record since crossing the Tasman has been outstanding. NSW based Tough Monarch (2) is an in and out customer who can be good on occasions. Should he bring his A game to the track he will be very competitive. Save Our Pennys (3) resumed last Saturday at Geelong when second off a 30 metre backmark to Endsin A Party. Will benefit by the run and is definitely in the mix. Kiwi Alderbeck trained by squaregaiting “maestro” Phil Williamson raced well during the NZ Cup Carnival and can place with luck. Sky Petite (5) a noted sit/sprinter is certainly one of the chances providing she can gain cover. Ryan Duffy may spear her away from the gate to try and lead, before handing over to the favourite. Fabrication (7) last season’s Australasian Trotters Championship winner is another who needs cover to produce his best. His task looks difficult from the draw. Former Victoria Derby winner Wilmas Mate has been just battling with a number of niggling problems, but her last start fifth in the Dominion Handicap was a big improvement. From the pole she should gain a nice passage and is a definite place possibility. Big Jack Hammer (8) is stepping up in grade and is drawn awkwardly. Kowhai Monarch (9) a speedster from NSW is also rising in grade and will need luck from the draw. Kheiron (10) is resuming and faces a task from his unfavourable barrier. Veteran Kyvalley Blur (11) ran a blinder when second in the Dominion and is always a chance in any race he contests. Should they go hard, he will be running home strongly. HEAT TWO:  Logical Championship favourite Speeding Spur (2) is racing in great heart and is coming off a game fourth in the Dominion Handicap last Friday week following a victory in the NZ Trotting FFA on the Tuesday. He looks a certain leader and the one to beat.  Highly talented Maori Law (6) will be the testing material, however the awkward draw is not in his favour. Up and comer King Denny (7) has been racing in superb form against lower grade. The dreaded outside front line draw will not assist his chances. Rompers Monarchy (8) was an impressive all the way victor at Melton earlier in the month but is not aided by the inside second line draw. Polemarker Our Twentyten  always run an honest race and should receive a soft passage. The Boss Man (3) should be ready to show his best following three runs this time in and can be placed with luck. Monty Python (5) is rising in class and will need things to go his way. Enrolled (4) is racing in great heart, but can be risky at times. Maybe placed if the right run eventuates. Illawong Armstrong (9) can be hard to hold at times which goes against his chances. Should he settle, he can possibly fill a placing.  Kingdom Come (10) would need to improve to figure in the placings. Red Hot Tooth (11) is a bonny mare who is taking time to recapture her best form. Best suited up close, the draw has been a disaster for her. She will need everything to go right to finish close up. The same could be said for former Breeders Crown winner Cruisin Around (12) who is gradually racing into form, but faces a formidable task from the extreme draw.   Harness Racing Australia

Harness Racing Australia (HRA) today announced plans to establish an annual HRA National Conference. HRA Chair, Mr Michael Taranto, explained that planning for the inaugural HRA National Conference on 14 December 2018 was well underway, with a number of prominent Keynote speakers and guests having confirmed their attendance. “The HRA Executive’s plans for a National Conference were reasonably bullish as we hoped to construct a program that would grab the attention of all industry stakeholders across the various industry sectors with interesting speakers and interactive sessions for engagement and participation among all who attend. “We are excited to announce a mixture of local and international talent, spearheaded by world champion driver and administrator, Jody Jamieson, and our future leaders who will participate in a Youth Forum.“ Leading trotting stud Aldebaran Park has been quick to throw its support behind the initiative, coming on board as an event sponsor with Stud Principal, Duncan McPherson OAM, declaring, ”the program is outstanding and the ability to secure Mr Jody Jamieson as a keynote speaker is a real coup for the industry.” The inaugural HRA National Conference will be held from 10.00am to 6.00pm on Inter Dominion Championships Grand Final Eve in the Hill Stand at Flemington Racecourse. Topics that will be covered include Marketing & Promotion, Breeding, Industry Funding and a Youth Forum where emerging talent and future leaders will share their thoughts and paint their vision for the future success of the industry. Mr Taranto further advised “that more information regarding speakers, topics and event registrations will continue to be announced in the coming weeks but I extend an open invitation to any and all persons and associations who have an interest in the ongoing success and sustainability of our industry to save the date. I look forward to your attendance and welcoming you on the 14th December.” For further information contact Andrew Kelly 03 9227 3000.   Harness Racing Australia  

Harness Racing Australia (HRA) extends its best wishes and gratitude to departing Harness Racing New Zealand Chief Executive (HRNZ), Mr Edward Rennell. “First and foremost, Edward was a loyal supporter and advocate for his home jurisdiction of New Zealand, but he also understood the value of working cooperatively within the wider Australasia industry as well as further afield within the International Trotting Association”, HRA Chair, Mr Michael Taranto said. “Far from a fair weather friend, Edward and HRNZ have provided cooperation and a calming influence on a plethora of important industry issues during his tenure, such as helping streamline bio-security protocols in the wake of EI and the various iterations of the Inter Dominion Championships among them and more recently cooperating on projects to the exchange data on an Australasian basis. Edward was also a long standing servant of the International Trotting Association, Chairing the infamously difficult Constitution Committee, which has illustrated his diplomatic powers at critical intervals”. “On behalf of everyone at HRA, our Members and the wider industry, I’d like to thank Edward for all he has done and wish him, along with his wife Janice and daughters the very best in their next chapter”, Mr Taranto said.   Harness Racing Australia

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

At the recent Harness Racing Australia Gear and Equipment Committee meeting, the Kingston Express Sulky was approved for use in racing events conducted in Australia - effective 22 September 2017. In accord with the HRA Sulky Standard and approval process, the sulky has been tested for strength, durability and performance.  The testing was performed by Human Impact Engineering, while Stewards from Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) oversaw the sulky performance under trial conditions. The sulky conforms to all of the requirements of the HRA Sulky Approval Policy and meets the HRA Standards.  Contact details for enquiries: Kingston Sulkies Mr Steve Martin 0407 420 443 HRA takes the process of testing of new products very seriously as it impacts on the health and safety of all participants as well as the welfare of the racing horses. HRA will continue to work with all manufacturers and distributors of gear and equipment to ensure that all new products meet the standards as set out by the industry. For any comment or for additional details please contact Harness Racing Australia on (03) 9227 3000.

At the recent Harness Racing Australia Gear and Equipment Committee meeting, the LZR VX7 sulky wheel (black colour only) was approved for use in racing events conducted in Australia - effective 1 November 2017. In accord with the HRA Sulky Wheel Standard and approval process, the sulky wheel has been tested for strength, durability and performance.  The testing was performed by Human Impact Engineering, while Stewards from Harness Racing Victoria oversaw the sulky wheel performance under trial conditions.  The sulky wheel conforms to all of the requirements of the HRA Sulky Wheel Approval Policy and meets the HRA Standards. Contact details for further enquiries: LZR Wheels LLC Mr Anthony Morgan HRA takes the process of testing of new products very seriously as it impacts on the health and safety of all participants as well as the welfare of the racing horses. HRA will continue to work with all manufacturers and distributors of gear and equipment to ensure that all new products meet the standards as set out by the industry. For any comment or for additional details please contact Harness Racing Australia on (03) 9227 3000.

Harness Racing Australia (HRA) in conjunction with IRT, the world’s most trusted international horse transport company, is pleased to announce the awards to our industry’s premier breeding achievers for the 2016/2017 season. These awards recognise the achievements of harness racing’s top sires and broodmare sires. Congratulations to all the winners and their connections. Geoff Want Chairman   2016/2017 GLOBE DERBY AWARDS - (Proudly sponsored by IRT) BETTORS DELIGHT USA (for the 6th time) - Leading Sire by Stakemoney BETTORS DELIGHT USA (for the 3rd time) - Leading Juvenile Sire by Stakemoney MAJESTIC SON CA (for the 2nd time) - Leading Sire of Trotters by Stakemoney   2016/2017 Statistics LEADING SIRE BY STAKEMONEY BETTORS DELIGHT USA (for the 6th time) 511 starters 370 winners 1026 wins $10,843,324 LEADING SIRE OF 2YO’S BY STAKEMONEY  ART MAJOR USA (for the 6th Time) 92 starters 34 winners 66 wins $930,065 LEADING SIRE OF 3YO’S BY STAKEMONEY  BETTORS DELIGHT USA (for the 5th time) 101 starters 75 winners 199 wins $1,866,923 LEADING JUVENILE SIRE BY STAKEMONEY (2&3YO’S)  BETTORS DELIGHT USA (for the 3rd time) 145 starters 104 winners 250 wins $2,474,601 LEADING BROODMARE SIRE BY STAKEMONEY  CHRISTIAN CULLEN NZ (for the 1st time) 294 starters 203 wqinners 601 wins $5,869,396 LEADING BROODMARE SIRE OF 2YO’S BY STAKEMONEY  ART MAJOR USA (for the 1st time) 42 starters 23 winners 47 wins $634,477 LEADING BROODMARE SIRE OF 3YO’S BY STAKEMONEY  CHRISTIAN CULLEN NZ (for the 2nd time) 63 starters 44 winners 139 wins $901,867 LEADING SIRE OF TROTTERS BY STAKEMONEY  MAJESTIC SON CA (for the 2nd time) 80 starters 43 winners 95 wins $1,077,192 LEADING BROODMARE SIRE OF TROTTERS BY STAKEMONEY  SUNDON USA (for the 7th time) 153 starters 89 winners 218 wins $2,145,529 LEADING SIRE BY WINNERS  BETTORS DELIGHT USA (for the 2nd time) – 370 LEADING SIRE OF 2YO’S BY WINNERS  ART MAJOR USA (for the 7th time) – 34 LEADING SIRE OF 3YO’S BY WINNERS  BETTORS DELIGHT USA (for the 4th time) – 75 LEADING BROODMARE SIRE BY WINNERS  HOLMES HANOVER USA (for the 10th time) – 212 LEADING BROODMARE SIRE OF 2YO’S BY WINNERS  ART MAJOR USA (for the 1st time) – 23 LEADING BROODMARE SIRE OF 3YO’S BY WINNERS  CHRISTIAN CULLEN NZ (for the 2nd time) – 44

Harness Racing Australia has today announced its 2017 Horse of the Year Awards, headlined by Smolda as the 2017 Harness Horse of the Year. The Horse of the Year Award caps off an amazing career for the recently retired Smolda, with his 2017 season highlighted by his wins in the Inter Dominion and the South Australian and Ballarat Pacing Cups. Trained in New Zealand by Mark Purdon and predominantly driven by Mark, Smolda retired as the 6th richest Australasian bred pacer of all time for owners G & P Kennard, N Pilcher and M Kirkwood. Smolda also won the Pacer of the Year title and the Aged Horse/Gelding Pacer of the Year. Two year old trotting gelding Wobelee became the first two year old trotter to win Australian Trotter of the Year. His record-breaking year included four group ones, 10 wins from 12 starts and $180,330 in seasonal earnings. It was a phenomenal year for Wobelee and his owner Colin Murphy, drawing comparisons with champion trotter, Noopy Kiosky, who was also driven by Chris Alford. Of course, Chris’ wife Alison trains Wobelee. The performance criteria for the HRA Awards is for performances by Australian trained horses, as well as for the Australian performances of New Zealand trained horses. The HRA Australian Horse of the Year Awards are voted upon by over 60 judges including media and administrators spread across the country.  The 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 details of previous winners see: Harness Horse of the Year Lawn Derby Awards Vancleve Awards For more information, contact Andrew Kelly on 03 9227 3000.

Racing Queensland (RQ), with the support and endorsement of Harness Racing Australia, has secured an exciting addition to its 2017 Summer Racing Carnival, securing hosting rights to the 2017 Garrard’s Australasian Young Drivers Championship (AYDC) in South East Queensland. The AYDC is a championship series to showcase the skills of the best young drivers aged under-25 from each racing jurisdiction in Australia and New Zealand. The 10 competitors will comprise the Defending Champion (Todd McCarthy), plus one driver representing each Australian jurisdiction, one representing New Zealand and one from each of the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The Albion Park Harness Racing Club and Redcliffe Harness Racing Club will play host to the nine-race series, across three meetings from December 12-16. RQ’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Eliot Forbes said the event would provide Queensland with another unique opportunity to highlight the state’s harness racing to a domestic and international audience. “Hosting the 2017 Garrard’s AYDC help to promote drivers as heroes of the sport, and I look forward to welcoming the future champions of harness racing upon their arrival,” he said. Long-time supporters of the Queensland racing industry across all three codes, Garrard’s has come on board as the series’ major sponsor for 2017. “Garrard’s is excited to partner with Racing Queensland and Harness Racing Australia to present the 2017 AYDC.  A key driver for our involvement is the development of junior participants to help sustain participation in the industry for many years to come,” a Garrard’s spokesman said. The young drivers will be involved in a range of off-track activities to connect with the wider community, to ensure a cultural and developmental experience. The event will also provide opportunities for the young drivers to build a strong profile through digital and social media channels, while building new contact networks within Queensland. Drivers will be welcomed on Tuesday, December 12, before heading to the picturesque bayside town of Redcliffe for the first race meet of the series. Redcliffe Harness Racing Club president Bernie Ring said the club was thrilled to share in the excitement of the series, and invited the local community to be trackside for the opening clashes. “This is right up there with one of the most exciting events to be held at Redcliffe since I’ve been involved with the club,” he said. “It’s another opportunity to put Queensland harness racing in the spotlight across the country, after Queenslander Shane Graham’s excellent display in the World Driving Championships in Canada. “This event presents as a great opportunity for the Redcliffe community to connect with our sport, and spectators will be lucky enough to witness some of the best young drivers in the world compete.” The final six races of the series will be held at the Albion Park Harness Racing Club (APHRC) in Brisbane. APHRC chairman David Fowler said the club looked forward to showcasing the sport in Queensland. “The Albion Park Club is delighted to be co-hosting the 2017 Garrard’s Australasian Young Driver’s Championship with Racing Queensland and the Redcliffe Club, that will see the cream of harness racing’s national young talent campaigning in South East Queensland during mid-December 2017,” he said.  The excitement will continue to build through September and October, when the driver’s from each jurisdiction are announced.  by Racing Queensland

Harness Racing Australia will continue to work towards a whip ban, but its target of starting at the beginning of the new season has had to be reassessed. HRA chairman Geoff Want said progress had been made but safety issues meant the move away from whips would not be complete by September 1. Instead there will be changes to strengthen whip rules to help with the transition. "The HRA executive remains committed to achieving real progress this year," Want said. "To that end, we will focus on implementing on 1 September an even more rigorous rule restricting the use of whips during harness races, to be accompanied by severe penalties for those unable to comply. "This is likely to mean that only an extremely limited wrist action will be allowed in racing. That would make the use of the whip in Australian harness racing among the most controlled in the world, and we will impose some of the heaviest penalties for misuse." To read the full article writen by Chris Roots of the Sydney Morning Herald click here

Shane Robert Graham was born to drive. And now the Queensland based harness racing reinsman gets the opportunity to showcase his talents on the world stage after being selected to represent Australia in the World Driving Championship in Canada later this year. Harness Racing Australia announced today that Shane Graham had been selected to be Australia’s representative in the prestigious series, after considerable discussion. “We are blessed with outstanding talent in our driving ranks at present and the HRA Executive considered a number of drivers for selection, all of whom would have been fine representatives of our country,” HRA chairman Geoff Want said. “Shane has been most consistent in recent times, taking the J.D. Watts award as Australia’s leading driver in 2015 with 259 winners and finishing runner-up last year,” he said. “I have no doubt he will perform well in the demanding series and be a wonderful ambassador for Australian harness racing.” Graham is delighted to be selected to represent his country and for the opportunity to compete against some of the world’s best drivers. “I’m absolutely thrilled to be selected to represent my country, it came as a massive shock but I can’t wait to get over there and drive against some of the very best drivers in the world,” he said. “We have so many great drivers in this country and anyone would have done a great job, and I’m keen to win the trophy and bring it back down under.” The third generation horseman has been sitting in the sulky long before he cares to remember, and it’s little wonder he has become one of the country's finest reinsman. Born on June 30, 1982, the son of Wayne and Lyn Graham was blessed with natural ability and shares a special bond with the standardbred horses he works with on a daily basis. From the early days in mini-trotting events Graham displayed great balance, poise and skill. He has since gone on to represent Queensland in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship in 2003 and twice in recent years in the Australian Drivers Championship. He has been the leading Queensland driver for the past two seasons and has driven more than 2,400 career winners, with a career strike rate of 16.05% winners to starters and 42.78% winning and places to starters. The World Driving Championship was established in 1970 and is held every two years, in conjunction with the World Trotting Conference. The last series was conducted in Australia in 2015 and was won by ace New Zealand reinsman Dexter Dunn.  The 2017 event will be conducted across a number of provinces in Canada and has been timed to coincide with the 250th anniversary of horse racing in Canada. The Championship begins on August 12 at Century Downs in Alberta before moving to Ontario where heats will be conducted at both Mohawk Racetrack (August 14) and Georgian Downs (August 15).  The fourth leg is August 16 at Hippodrome 3R in Quebec before finishing August 18 at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino on Prince Edward Island during Old Home Week. Dexter Dunn will compete again as the defending champion while Mark Purdon will also represent New Zealand. Shane Graham will be attempting to emulate the feats of two Australian drivers who have won the world championship – Queenslander Keith Addison in 1975 and Ted Demmler of Victoria in 1987. Racing Queensland CEO Eliot Forbes applauded the selection of Shane Graham and said it highlighted  the depth of talent in the state. “Shane won his first race nearly 20 years ago and has been consistently one of Queensland’s and Australia’s best drivers over the past 5 years. “His dedication and commitment has been rewarded by his selection. Shane is an inspiration to anyone who aspires to succeed in the sport of harness racing. “All of us at Racing Queensland wish him all the best in Canada later this year when he competes on a global stage.” Chris Barsby

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