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Following last year’s acquisition of former Victoria Police detective Brent Fisher to the role of Investigations and Compliance Manager, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) continues to invest in the important area of integrity. The HRV Integrity Unit has been further bolstered by the recent appointments of Lola Grech, Neal Conder and Russell Anderson to the investigations team. Ms Grech brings a wealth of knowledge in this important area garnered through her previous role as an analyst at the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner. Ms Grech was also previously employed with Victoria Police as an analyst where she worked in the Homicide Squad, Asian Squad and other workgroups within Crime Command. Mr Conder is HRV’s former Chairman of Stewards. His experience in that role and his previous training in the specialist area of investigations are expected to vastly benefit the HRV Integrity Unit. Mr Anderson, a Detective Sergeant with Victoria Police who possesses over 30 years policing experience, will also be a great addition to the HRV team. Mr Anderson has a strong integrity and investigative background spending his last 10 years in the police force at Professional Standards Command. The new personnel follow other integrity enhancements at HRV in recent times with new investigative equipment and wagering analysis support and expertise providing the Integrity Unit with important tools to safeguard the industry. HRV General Manager Integrity Andy Rogers is overseeing the expansion of the Unit and says: “The additional highly skilled staff members and expenditure will enable the HRV Integrity Unit to conduct even more proactive investigations in its efforts to ensure a level playing field for all.” HRV CEO John Anderson says: “Harness Racing Victoria has responded to recent external review recommendations in bolstering equipment and resources in the integrity department. Over the past 12 months all three codes of racing have invested heavily in advancing integrity measures. HRV’s Integrity Council has supported management’s request to enhance the investigative unit to be more proactive.” Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has today released its 2016-17 racing calendar. Some noteworthy details are: - Tabcorp Park Melton to host 28 metro Saturday night meetings, up from 16 in 2015-16 - Victoria's Summer of Glory Carnival to be run over two huge Saturday nights, January 28 and February 4 - Breeders Crown Semi-Finals to be run at Bendigo - Picnic meetings to be trialled at Birchip and Elmore to gauge interest in an ongoing picnic circuit Featured here is a photo of a big crowd getting close to the action at the Boort trots on Cup Day this year. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has modernised the process for Futurities nominations. Trainers and owners can now electronically nominate horses for both Vicbred and Breeders Crown Futurities online via HarnessWeb. Trainers and owners can now choose to pay for the nomination immediately. The new process replaces the outdated paper-based method in which forms were sent by mail to the owner only, the owner would then fill in and return by mail to HRV, which would then manually charge the owner through the Harvey computer system. HRV plans to implement further Harness Web solutions in the future. Cody Winnell

The Victorian trots industry is once again encouraged to dig deep for the annual Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) will kick things off with a $2,500 donation to the Appeal. Two of our participants will feature on the Channel 7 coverage tomorrow in Josh Aiken and Kima Frenning. Tune in from about 2.45pm to catch their segment. They will also be taking phone calls from people wishing to donate on the day. HRV extends its gratitude to both Josh and Kima for representing our industry on this special occasion. For more information on the appeal and to hear about some of the wonderful stories of people whose lives have been enriched by the Royal Children’s Hospital, visit DONATE NOW TO THE ROYAL CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL GOOD FRIDAY APPEAL Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

The HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today released its decision with respect to charges issued by Harness Racing Victoria Stewards against licensed trainer Mr Craig Demmler. Mr Demmler pleaded guilty to having presented the horse Christian Torado to race at Cranbourne on 19 October 2014 whilst not free of the prohibited substance cobalt.  Taking into account Mr Demmler having already served a period of two months suspension in relation to this matter, the HRV RAD Board imposed a further 12 month disqualification to commence midnight 27 March 2016.  Mr Demmler was also fined $250 after pleading guilty to a charge relating to his failure to maintain a log book. The HRV RAD Board decision can be viewed here:  

Victoria’s harness racing industry is set to be revitalised under the leadership of a new board, with members highly skilled in the areas of integrity, animal welfare, marketing and governance taking office. Minister for Racing Martin Pakula today announced the appointment of seven members to the board of Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) following a four-month expression of interest process. Dale Monteith, former CEO of the Victoria Racing Club and the Melbourne Racing Club will chair the board. Former Rothaker Medallist Elizabeth Clarke, a long-time participant in the Victorian harness racing industry and a member of the board since 2012, has been appointed as deputy chair. The other members, who will each serve a three-year term, include veterinarian Catherine Ainsworth, media and communications expert Jane Brook, lawyer and integrity official Brett Clothier, former AFL Coaches Association CEO and passionate harness racing participant Danny Frawley and experienced public servant and harness breeder Peter Watkinson. The appointment of the new board follows key recommendations from the 2015 Audit of Harness Racing Victoria Report and subsequent amendments to the Racing Act 1958, introduced in October last year. The report recommended modernising the board membership and appointment process to allow for a greater balance of skills and expertise. Under the amendments, the Minister for Racing can now appoint individuals with the relevant skills, experience and knowledge necessary to assist HRV to carry out its functions. The Victorian harness racing industry contributes $421.8 million annually to the Victorian economy and supports almost 4000 full-time equivalent jobs, mainly in regional Victoria. Quotes attributable to Racing Minister Martin Pakula “I’m pleased to announce the appointment of the new members to the Board of Harness Racing Victoria today.” “The diverse range of skills and knowledge will enhance Harness Racing Victoria’s ability to develop and promote the sport in this state.” “The harness racing industry is a major contributor to the Victorian economy and supports jobs in our regional cities and towns.” “I thank the previous board members, including former chair Ken Latta, for the substantial contribution they have made to harness racing in Victoria.” Christine Tyrrell 0423 092 752 | 

Roly Wilson’s team might be smaller than most of his bigger-name rivals at the top of the Trots Country Cup Championship, but he’s potentially in the box seat to claim the annual harness racing honour with his super-honest seven-year-old Kotare Roland. The Julius Caesar/Kotare Yalta gelding today added the Loddon Valley Stud Boort Pacing Cup to his Cobram Pacing Cup trophy won in December, reinsman Neil McCallum with the winning drive on both occasions. The victory moved Kotare Roland to second place, three points behind Yankee Rockstar on the Country Cups Championship. “We’ll probably go to Warragul next week and then I’d like to consider having a look at Mildura,” an elated trainer Roly Wilson said post-race. “It’s always a thrill to win a cup. It’s nice to win any race but to win a cup is always special. “He’s been going well. He should’ve probably finished fourth in the Cranbourne Cup but one fell back in his face.” Along with his Cobram and now Boort silverware, Kotare Roland has placed fifth in both the Cranbourne and Geelong Cups and second in the Gunbower Pacing Cup. In fact, the writing has been on the wall ever since Kotare Roland’s eye-catching fifth behind Hotasel in a Melton free-for-all on November 15 when he motored down the outside in the stretch. Today Kotare Roland sat three-wide for the final lap and a bit, about the last 800m, before overhauling the leaders at the home bend the final time to put the result to bed. His winning mile rate was 2:03.3, just over half-a-second outside Flaming Flutter’s track record, the last 800m covered in splits of 28.6 and 29.7. WATCH KOTARE ROLAND'S TOUGH BOORT PACING CUP WIN Bobby Fabulous (Zac Steenhuis) was driven out hard to finish second, with consistent cups performer Uncle Wingnut third for Michael Bellman. Early leader Just Knew (Greg Sugars) finished fourth and Nimble Jack (Glenn Douglas), who enjoyed a cushy run on the leader’s back, finished fifth. Earlier on the card Henty horseman Grant Forrest guided his smart six-year-old Yankee Spider/Cheldean Maori mare Forestspider to victory in the Haras Des Trotteurs Boort Trotters Cup. WATCH FORESTSPIDER TAKE OUT THE TROTTERS CUP AT BOORT Trotting away smartly to land the lead fairly quickly from polemarker Robbie Zuve, Forestspider got away cheap early fractions until tackled at the bell by Maorisfavouritesun (Glen Craven), who ran to the top. The pair drew clear of the field, Forestspider peeling to the outside at the home corner and chipping away at the margin until the finish line when she stuck her head in front in timely fashion. “She didn’t trot too good around that final turn so I had to nurse her back a little bit after I pulled the deafeners,” Forrest said. Forestspider’s mile rate was 2:07.4, with Maorisfavouritesun second and Rostevarren third for Ross Graham. A big crowd was on hand throughout the day at Boort, lining the fence for every race in perfect conditions weather wise. The club was celebrating 125 years of continuous racing and was selling a book on the subject, which proved very popular with punters and horsemen alike. Ray Fewings and Allan Hull joined caller Matt Hill on the day to share calling duties, a club initiative which also proved popular. All three callers were full of praise for the day and thanked the club for its hospitality. The Trots Country Cups Carnival continues next weekend with the Renown Silverware Ararat Cup on Saturday night followed by the Easter Sunday Downtowner Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

From September 1 this year Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) will introduce a second weekly feature race meeting.   The introduction of a $10,000 non-metropolitan circuit (known as Tier 1 meetings) among a raft of changes has been welcomed by the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association. The package was also presented to the Harness Racing Advisory Council, which provided positive feedback to the concept. The circuit will be scheduled as the featured non-metropolitan meeting of the week. HRV will also implement the new tiered prizemoney system from September 1, which aims to make Victorian harness racing more competitive and provide more opportunities for grassroots participants.   The new tiered system will work as follows:  Tier 1 meetings: Predominantly made up of $10,000 races  Tier 2 meetings: Predominantly made up of $7000 races  Tier 3 meetings: Predominantly made up of $3500 races Today’s announced changes are designed to:    Allow trainers to handicap their horses via the standard they think the horse is capable of competing in.  Provide more racing opportunities for lower grade horses, which should boost the racing population and the grassroots trainers.  Reduce the number of odds-on favourites as more evenly matched fields are put together and prizemoney levels will be more aligned with turnover levels. Payments down to last in Victoria will also be changed to reflect a percentage of each race’s stake, stepping away from the current system which sees metropolitan runners receive the same amount for running last as horses in restricted races. The changes will see:    (Race stake $3500) 5th to last $125 (3.6% of prizemoney)  (Race stake $7000) 6th to last $140 (2% of prizemoney)  (Race stake $10,000) 6th to last $200 (2% of prizemoney)  (Race stake $17,000) 6th to last $340 (2% of prizemoney)  (Race stake $20,000) 6th to last $400 (2% of prizemoney)   The Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association (VTDA) welcome today’s announcements. “We are really excited by this because it will allow trainers to handicap their horse to give it the best chance to be competitive and it will result in fewer odds-on favourites,” VTDA president Lance Justice said. “The grassroots trainers will benefit greatly because they will be able to find their level.   “We’ve worked closely with Harness Racing Victoria on these changes for the last 12 months. We have listened to the feedback from our members and there will be a lot of happy people in the industry as a result of these changes.”     CODY WINNELL

  The inaugural International All Star Series featuring Australasia’s best and the top drivers from the United States came to a conclusion on Saturday night. It was a fantastic week for Victorian harness racing.   Congratulations to individual winner Kerryn Manning who added yet another accolade to a trailblazing career.  Also to Team Victoria, well done on defeating the Internationals 719 points to 712.   But the Series was more than just about winning. The camaraderie, the learning, the experiences among the drivers was outstanding.   Social media was engaged in the #TrotsAllStars like no other event I have witnessed. The quality of the YouTube clips was first class. If you would like to look at some, click here.   The complimentary comments that the US drivers will feed back to their colleagues about the quality of Victorian harness racing will bode well for relationships between the two countries.   There were many people involved but thanks to Vaughn Lynch for managing the week, Michael Taranto for driving the bus, Mediatec's John and Michael for their work producing the video coverage online and Michael Howard for overseeing HRV's social and traditional media coverage of the series. Women's Cancer Foundation    Incredible effort by all concerned for the industry to raise in excess of $200,000 for the Women's Cancer Foundation – Ovarian Cancer Institute. Congratulations to Kerri Coghlan, Duncan McPherson and the WCF team on their efforts to raise the bar this year.   The teal pants initiative which ended on Saturday raised over $75,000 in a joint HRV, HRNSW and Tabcorp promotion. The female drivers did everyone proud by winning 182 races across the two States and the ACT.   Breeders Crown enhancements Some important changes were recently announced for the Breeders Crown for this year and beyond. They include: Prizemoney levels have been guaranteed in each age group up to 2019. In 2019 Finals for 2yo pacers will run for $300,000, 3yo pacers $200,000, 2yo trotters $100,000 and 3yo trotters $80,000. A full breakdown of this year and following year’s guaranteed stakes is in the media release. Commencing in the 2019 series, no heats will be run outside Victoria. Foals bred this season will be the last crop eligible to race in heats outside Victoria. From the 2016 series, repechages and consolations will be discontinued and replaced by a “silver” series. This will condense the series by a week.   We also understand that late August is not the ideal time to be running such an important feature event and we are exploring alternative dates.  We are however mindful of not interfering with other major juvenile carnivals.      Vicbred enhancements Further enhancements have also been made to the Vicbred: For the first time, the very popular first win bonus will apply to Vicbred eligible horses who win their first race as a 5yo or older. From 1 September this year a $3,500 bonus will be paid. As for the Breeders Crown, Vicbred Final increases will apply through to 2019, by which time pacing finals will be worth $130,000 and trotting finals $100,000. We are continually looking at ways to incentivise breeders and owners through the Vicbred program, across all classes of horse. In recent times the first win bonus for 2yo, 3yo and 4yo has increased from $5,000 to $7,000 and the lucrative Vicbred Platinum program has injected $800,000 into the scheme across all classes.   New whip rules As from May 1 this year new Whip Rules will come into effect across Australia.   A collaborative venture between HRA and the States has led to further modifications to the Rules relating to whip use. Primarily, drivers are required to hold a rein in each hand.   I encourage you to click here to view a short video focusing on animal welfare issues relating to whip use. Particularly poignant comments come from Greg Sugars.   Summer of Glory Summer of Glory seems a long time ago, but it was another successful carnival, headlined by Lennytheshark in the Victoria Cup and Smolda in the Hunter Cup.   For a 90 second look back at some of the action during the Summer of Glory, clickhere.    Racing Integrity Commissioner Roadshows Following his reappointment for a further three years, the Racing Integrity Commissioner will be conducting a state-wide roadshow during May. One dedicated harness track has been selected as a venue (Shepparton), however there are eight locations available in regional centres where a harness track is present. A full list of the roadshow venues can be sourced by clicking here. I encourage as many harness participants as possible to attend.   Website statistics Activity on the National Website managed by HRV continues to grow.   For January 2016 there were 182,000 Unique Users who conducted 1.1m sessions. That is up from the previous January (171,000 Users and 1m sessions). Individual users are averaging 6 sessions per month on the site.   Most frequently accessed is Fields (96,000 Users) Results (46,000) News (37,000) and Form (25,000)   Over half the sessions on the website are now from mobile devices.   Most popular tweet from the @HRVNews feed during January was shortly after Lennytheshark’s win in the Victoria Cup, which gained 12,800 impressions.     Jess Tubbs   Jess has had a number of roles within HRV over more than a decade. She will be leaving us on March 24, following the completion of her most recent project, the successful Australasian Premier Trotting Sales.   She will not be entirely lost to the industry as she pursues her passion as hobby breeder and supporting new husband Greg.    Get well Two industry people not in good health at the moment: Chris Svanosio remains in hospital following delicate neurosurgery. Despite being in pain Chris has been buoyed by the number of well-wishers from the harness industry. We all wish Chris a comfortable recuperation once he leaves hospital.   Gordon Lockman had a fall at home and unfortunately broke his arm in three places above the elbow. Gordon remains in hospital and he also faces a lengthy recovery.    Vale Very sad to learn of the passing of Arthur Spiller from Ararat. Arthur was a long serving worker and curator for the Ararat Club. Those who dealt with him at HRV knew him as being passionate about his curator work and about the club in general. He was known as a thorough gentleman.   Some industry participants may remember Murray Bartels who raced a few nice horses back in the 90’s. Sadly Murray passed away on Sunday at age 43 after a short illness. The best of Murray’s horses was Barts Gamble which had 99 starts for 20 wins and 35 placings. Condolences to Murray’s family including father Ken, who retains a B Grade trainer licence.   HRV has also been notified of the passing of Peter Lewis, a former licensed trainer of a number of horses in the 80’s and 90’s.  Condolences to his wife Daphne. Did you know? Something not widely understood by the industry is that HRV owns 107 hectares of land at Melton for future development.   Tabcorp Park occupies just over 20 hectares of HRV’s land however the surrounding land will eventually be developed for the long-term benefit of the industry.   An Introduction from CEO John Anderson

“It has been a pleasure to be involved, an honour to be invited and amazing to be able to win,” and with that harness racing driver Kerryn Manning accepted the first International All Star Series title. The Victorian champion sealed the series with a seventh placing at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday, when the 22nd and final race was held among Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star night. Her success and accumulated 165.5 points also helped The Vics eclipse The World team 719 to 712, despite New Zealand’s Dexter Dunn (158) and US driver Brett Miller (152.5) enjoying outstanding weeks to fill out the minor placings. “I started slow but got a bit of momentum up as the week went on and have had a very good week,” Manning said. In fact the Great Western trainer-driver was last on the leaderboard after day one with 15 points, but a victory at Echuca on Tuesday on day two and three second placings at Maryborough on day three soon had Manning back in contention. Two victories on both days four (Ballarat) and five (Bendigo) gave Manning a 10.5-point lead over Dunn heading into the final day, which would prove unassailable. “It has been fun and exciting and I’ve met a lot of great people,” Manning said. “The visitors are just lovely people and the locals have been one happy family, I suppose you could call it, especially on that bus we go around on. “It’s been a highlight all week and it’s sad that it’s finished but I think I’m required back at home so I better head home and do some work.” HRV General Manager – Operations Vaughn Lynch said the series had been a terrific showcase of outstanding drivers from local and abroad and of the state’s country clubs. “We’ve seen a treat of racing,” Lynch said. “I’d like to thank everyone who took part, and their lovely partners, and commend them on what a fantastic week it has been.” Manning said the series could not have been such an amazing journey without the support of many. “I’d like to thank all the trainers who put horses in for us to drive and all the tracks that hosted,” she said. “They put on a great show for us every day we travelled around and they made it most enjoyable.” International All Star Series day seven leaderboard:  Kerryn Manning 165.5, Dexter Dunn 158, Brett Miller 152.5, Greg Sugars 150, Chris Alford 145.5, Yannick Gingras 143.5, Jason Lee 140.5, Anthony Butt 130.5, Corey Callahan 127.5, Gavin Lang 117.5. Overall leaderboard: Victoria 719, The World 712. Michael Howard Harness Racing Victoria

The sales topper at the 2016 Australasian Premier Trotting Sale held today Sunday the 13th of March in Melbourne is destined for the Brent Lilley harness racing stable. A colt by Majestic Son (sire of two-year-old Group 1 two-year-old winners Im Stately, Daenarys Targaryen and One Over Da Moon) out of proven producer Pinevale Ellason (Duchess Ella, Ruby Pinevale and All Star Angus) sold for $47,000 to Jim Connelly and will join the powerful Lilley yard. “Really pleased we got him,” Lilley said. “We had a good look around and thought he was the pick of the sale. On type obviously and breeding, he ticks both boxes.” Seller Terry Forster was “rapt” with the result. “We’re delighted with the result. It’ll keep the wheels turning,” he said. “We were hoping we’d go close to topping the sale because of the breeding and the progeny that this mare has had.” Preparer Pauleen Thomson was also thrilled with the result and she had an extra special day because two of the yearlings she prepared were among the top three priced sales of the day. Thomson prepared Lot 10, the sales topper, and Lot 13, a colt by Majestic Son out of Cloud Chaser which sold for $36,000. “I’m absolutely rapt. I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “He’s always been a really nice colt,” Thomson said of the Majestic Son/Pinevale Ellason colt. “He’s got a beautiful nature, no problems at all, just a really nice natured animal.” The second highest priced sale was Lot 31, a bay colt by Aldebaran Park first season sire Yield Boko out of Joyces Choice, prepared by Haley Toulmin. It went for $40,000. This year’s sale average was $14,900, up from last year’s average of $12,900 (an increase of about 7.5 per cent). 2016 Sale Results               Lot Sire Dam Sex Sales Price Purchaser Reserve 1 Bacardi Lindy Enjoy A Champers Filly Withdrawn N/A N/A 2 Pegasus Spur Its Billie Holiday Colt Passed In N/A $10,000 3 Fling It Black Curlew Filly Passed In N/A $15,000 4 Skyvalley Im Sonialeelee Filly $6,000 G Conroy   5 Angus Hall Petite Flair Filly $8,000 I Nicholas   6 Yankee Spider Maori Azolla Colt Passed In N/A $12,000 7 Imperial Count Icantremember Colt Withdrawn N/A N/A 8 Skyvalley Aldebaran Deegan Colt $9,500 A Ashwood   9 Majestic Son Missgoodytwoshoes Filly $14,500 L Fitzpatrick   10 Majestic Son Pinevale Ellason Colt $47,000 KPC Racing   11 Brylin Boyz Shez Allrighty Colt $8,000 S Thompson   12 The Pres Miriama Filly $6,000 Z Cauchi   13 Majestic Son Cloud Chaser Colt $36,000 M Caldow   14 Yield Boko Kyvalley Bling Colt $9,000 L Justice   15 Lucky Chucky Charlotte Galleon Colt $13,000 J Knight   16 CR Commando Kano Classic Colt Passed In N/A $15,000 17 Yield Boko Aldebaran Crumpet Colt $15,000 Y Males   18 Majestic Son Singing Creek Colt Withdrawn N/A N/A 19 Tennotrump Eagles Image Colt $8,000 P Mellington   20 Yield Boko Aldebaran Queenie Filly $19,000 D Scott   21 Majestic Son Ostensibly Colt Passed In N/A $10,000 22 Angus Hall Idoido Colt Passed In N/A $35,000 23 Muscle Hill Aftanoondelite Colt Passed In N/A $50,000 24 Yield Boko Aldebaran Revenue Filly $12,000 N Shinn   25 Majestic Son Missy Calder Filly Withdrawn N/A N/A 26 Pegasus Spur Lover Or Loser Colt $8,000 A Alchin   27 Bad Boy Truscott Poet Laureate Filly $10,000 C Murphy   28 Yield Boko Aldebaran Sunset Colt $16,000 M Taranto   29 Angus Hall Running Pinevale Gelding $13,000 I Caruana   30 Muscle Hill Starcus Colt $22,000 B Lilley   31 Yield Boko Joyces Choice Colt $40,000 G Webster   32 Bacardi Lindy Ima Tartan Tease Filly $15,000 W Agostino   33 Majestic Son Maori Road Filly $31,000 Raceapacer   34 Yield Boko Countess Angela Colt Withdrawn N/A N/A 35 Angus Hall Flash And Flair Colt $27,000 M Craven   36 Down Under Muscles Dodo Rocket Filly $30,000 D Aiken   37 Armbro Invasion Betty Cuthbert Filly $8,000 S Cameron   38 Yield Boko Bromac Aldebaran Filly $9,000 D Aitkin   39 Framework Pepperell Dargent Filly $4,000 F Cauchi   40 Majestic Son Lindys Two Step Filly $9,000 B Edwards   41 Kyvalley Blur Aldebaran Hall Colt $15,000 M Craven   42 Yield Boko Notnow Itstooearly Colt Withdrawn N/A N/A 43 Down Under Muscles Elite Action Colt $4,500 Veritas Holdings   44 Yankee Spider Lunar Landing Colt Passed In N/A $50,000 45 Bacardi Lindy Cruzenthepacific Filly $10,000 E Tormey   46 Yield Boko Maori Lindy Colt $11,500 MC Family Trust   47 Bacardi Lindy Docmelfi Filly $11,000 M Taranto   48 Armbro Variable La Cousu Colt $15,000 A Gath   49 Yankee Spider Stand On Me Filly $10,000 J Shelley   50 Down Under Muscles Melpark Sunrise Filly $12,000 T Bradley   51 Skyvalley Aldebaran Pearl Colt $8,000 Tonn Pty Ltd       Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

The trots community was deeply saddened earlier this week to hear of the passing of promising young harness racing pacer Zee Dana, who died as a result of a gastrointestinal problem. The outpouring of support and emotion for all those connected with the popular pacer, who had his own social presence via Facebook and Twitter, again highlighted the love people in the trots have for their horses and how competitive rivalries are pushed aside in times of adversity. One of the owners, Leigh, approached us this week with his reflections on being involved with Zee Dana, aka 'Boris', telling us how the horse brought a group of people together. This is his story. By Leigh Condie I can’t speak for all owners but for our group in particular horse ownership has never been just about the money. The friendships we have formed along the way, the social side of things, and getting family and friends involved is just as important. The opportunity to travel around to see different race tracks is up there too. We had Tear It All Away a few years back, who ran in quite a few country cups including Mildura – we still head there every year for their carnival – it’s a fantastic few days, the Calcutta on the boat and karaoke at the brewery with Tom Hogan. Put it on your bucket list if you haven’t been before. Wherever and whenever, rain hail or shine, we’ll always be there to support our horses and stable. In the early days a two-hour drive to Ballarat from the east side of Melbourne, and the two hour drive back, was a decent hike – nowadays that’s like a drive to the local shops. The first time I went to Ballarat was for Tear It All Away having his first trial. I think it was a Sunday morning, lucky to have been five degrees! We saw a guy wearing a singlet, shorts and thongs – thought he was a local. Turned out he was on holidays from Perth – his son was one of the other owners and he made the trip up with him to watch the trial. These days we think nothing of a six or seven-hour round trip to watch our horses race; the only rules we really go by is if it's a night meeting, a four-hour or more drive there, and it’s a late race, we’ll generally stay the night. I’ve used plenty of annual leave over the years; a half or full day here and there. It’s not unusual that we lob at the trials too – Shepparton is a couple of hours away; a quick up and back; chances are we’ll be there. Not sure we’ll be doing that when Amanda (Turnbull) and Nathan (Jack) move to Sydney though. None of us are millionaires. If the costs of our travel are covered by prizemoney then great; if not then so be it. It’s pretty hard to find cheap flights to Sydney from Melbourne a week out from a race – Campbelltown has a bit of cheap accommodation and the Ibis have had our fair share of business over the past year or so. Fortunately Boris, aka Zee Dana, won two of his three races up at Menangle, the Ready To Run and the Derby Heat, so the cost of our trips on those occasions were pretty much covered. Quite a few of us made the trip up to Leeton on New Year’s Day to watch Zee Dana. That was an overnighter for us Melbournians as it was a six-hour drive up there. Shirley Hargreaves, mum of vet Greg, jumped in her car and drove the 400 odd kilometres from Wedderburn to Leeton by herself just to see Boris run. She stayed the night too. Steve Ward was happy as he’s in Wagga so it was only an hour-and-a-half drive there for him. Michael Maxwell contemplated coming over for Perth for it but I don’t think there were any direct flights from Perth to Leeton that day so he had to stay home. I’ll never forget that night as Nathan and Amanda were involved in a nasty crash at the start; fortunately they were OK. Then the power went out just before our race – thank God it wasn’t during it. For a while there I thought we’d be heading home without seeing him a run – fortunately they found an electrician and the power eventually came back on and Boris won quite well so the trip up was worth it in the end. Boris was a pretty popular fella. When he was running at Melton you didn’t need to check which stall he was in, you could just tell from the crowd in the public viewing area made up of our friends and family that came along to support him. Shirley was often there with probably a dozen or more of her family; Michael made the trip over from Perth for the Breeders Crown final to watch him; the Wagga crew made the trip down to watch him. In Sydney for his Derby Heat win there probably would have been 30 or 40 members of our various families there – you couldn’t move in the owners’ room afterwards, it was amazing. He was pretty prolific on social media too – he had his own Facebook page and Twitter account. I’ve got no idea how he managed to type, his keyboard must have been huge! We only got to see Boris out there 13 times (that number really is unlucky) but every time there was always a group of owners there to support him. He may not have had the record of a Lazarus or Waikiki Beach, and he didn’t have that Group 1 victory to his name, but his two NSW Derby runs showed that he was headed in the right direction – we couldn’t wait to see what he could do in this year’s Breeders Crown series; but sadly we can only imagine what might have been. High early and high late speed, they don’t come around very often. It’s going to be pretty difficult watching it this year. RE-LIVE ZEE DANA'S NSW DERBY HEAT TRIUMPH The support we have received over the past few days has been quite overwhelming (Nathan will attest to that). We’ve had literally hundreds of messages of condolence on his Facebook page and twitter – from the wider harness racing community, casual observers of the sport and complete strangers – quite amazing really. It would take a long time to thank them all individually. It’s hard to believe that one minute you can be racing against another stable then the next they are there to give you support – something that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.  Hoofnote - Harness Racing Victoria extends its condolences and best wishes to all connected with Boris. Cody Winnell

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) will be covering Sunday’s Australasian Premier Trotting Sale online across social media and the live streaming service at Commentary on the stream will be provided by trots owner and scribe Nick Hooper, with Trots Media’s Cody Winnell and Michael Howard driving @HRVnews on Twitter throughout the day. The live stream kicks off at 1pm when the first lot enters the ring, but social media coverage will kick off about 12.30pm to preview the auction. This year’s sale is the fourth APTS, which in its first three years has produced plenty of exciting trotters including Endsino (nine wins, $129,148 in stakes to date), Cruisin Around (five wins, $53,464 in stakes to date) and Naked Majesty (nine wins, $51,885 in stakes to date) just to name a few. There has never been a better time to own a trotter in Victoria with more juvenile trot races than ever on thecalendar. If you’ve ever thought about getting involved in ownership of a trotter the HRV team will be on hand on Sunday to make your sale experience a positive one. If it’s your first one, that’s fantastic – the team will happily answer any questions you may have. There is plenty of information available at the APTS website or bidders can register on Sunday. Even if you are not interested in ownership, everyone is welcome to attend Sunday’s sale to enjoy the atmosphere and watch proceedings as they play out. The Legends Café will be open for people wishing to have lunch or a drink. Cody Winnell

Some of the best harness racing drivers in the world will be driving at tracks throughout Victoria next week in the inaugural International All Star Series. Trainers note, the internationals, Yannick Gingras, Corey Callahan, Brett Miller, Anthony Butt and Dexter Dunn, and the star locals, Chris Alford, Gavin Lang, Kerryn Manning, Greg Sugars and Jason Lee, will all be available for drives at the following meetings: Tabcorp Park Melton Monday, March 7 Echuca, Tuesday, March 8 Maryborough, Wednesday, March 9 Ballarat, Thursday, March 10 Bendigo, Friday, March 11 Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday, March 12 Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

If you have ever thought about owning a racehorse but shied away fearing exorbitant costs, here’s an affordable opportunity to delve into the excitement of harness racing ownership. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) through its Raceapacer ownership program and the Cranbourne Harness Racing Club have introduced an exciting new syndicate to race a well-bred pacer to be trained by up-and-coming trainer Michael Hughes at the acclaimed Cranbourne Training Centre. A 5% share in the syndicate will cost just $425, and you don’t have to take up the 5% on your own, you could elect to split it among friends or colleagues to make it even more affordable. The syndicate will race a beautifully All-American bred filly, by Mister Big out of Out Of Sight. The striking brown filly is a half-sister to five winners, including supremely talented Vista Bella, who won the 2007 Youthful Stakes at Moonee Valley and the 2008 Group 3 Bathurst Gold Bracelet, and placed second in the Group 1 Victoria Oaks in 2008, third in the Group 1 Bathurst Gold Tiara in 2007 and fourth in the 2008 Group 1 New South Wales Oaks. “Thanks everybody for the wishes, this is what horse ownership in the trots is all about, fun with great people #LivingTheDream” tweeted Darren Carroll after one of his horses won at the weekend. Another who owns the moment at the trots is AFL star Josh Jenkins. The Adelaide Crows gun has a share in several horses with trainer Michael Stanley and is a regular at trots meets in Victoria. “It’s great fun owning horses with mates. We have a group text and following the horse’s races keeps us all close,” Jenkins said. “The sport endears itself to me because of the workmanlike nature of the people involved. It is grassroots racing and I love seeing country towns hosting trots meetings.” If you’re interested in finding out more about the new Cranbourne syndicate get along to Decron Cranbourne Cup Night. If you register your interest via details below, you will even get into Cup Night for free! A Q&A with HRV Ownership Manager Tori Glenister and HRV General Manager – Operations Vaughn Lynch will be held on Cranbourne Cup Night. A product disclosure statement will also be available for all. Register your interest in the Cranbourne Raceapacer syndicate and secure a free ticket to Decron Cranbourne Cup Night by phoning 03 5996 1300.  Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Harness racing trainer Tony Peacock and his regular reinsman Damian Wilson scored an upset win last night in the Gyro Youthful Stakes at Tabcorp Park Melton. Wilson wasted little time taking Flying Moth, a daughter of Art Major, to the front in the 1720-metre event for two-year-old fillies, working across from a barrier seven draw. At the top Flying Moth (paying $22.90) posted splits of 29.9, 30.3, 29.3 and 29.2secs before fending off Eliza Dushku (the $1.20 favourite) and Lady Machsheen ($63.30) in the drive to the wire. WATCH FLYING MOTH TAKE OUT THE GYRO YOUTHFUL STAKES Punters sent Eliza Dushku out a prohibitive favourite after her impressive Pink Bonnet win at Menangle last weekend. Driven by Nathan Jack, Eliza Dushku settled back in the field from a second-row draw. She made up plenty of ground from the final corner but was unable to catch the leader, who dug deep for a half-neck win in 1:58.0. Eliza Dushku was third over the line but promoted to second after Jack successfully protested against Lady Machsheen, relegated to third, for causing interference. Flying Moth is a daughter of Moody Moth and a half-sister to Group 1 winning two-year-old Vicbred Super Series winner Lively Moth. ENTER NOW FOR THE CHARLTON CUP ROUND OF THE GREAT TROTS TIPOFF Meanwhile, trainer Ruth Shinn and son, driver Chris Shinn, combined to claim the Harness Breeders Victoria Ian Daff Memorial over 1720m with top mare Steam Washed. The seven-year-old by Washington VC out of Laura Lace has been an absolute treat for her connections, winning 20 races from 74 starts for over $281K in stakes. Gavin Lang finished the night with three winners – aboard Goodtime Mike in the DNR Logistics Claimer, Save Our Pennys in the VHRSC Trot and Yankee Rockstar in the Pointon Partners Pace. Yankee Rockstar rated 1:55.2 over 2240m to defeat Giuliani by 2.1m. Emma Stewart took training honours at the meet with a winning double courtesy of Goodtime Mike and Yankee Rockstar. Other winners on the card were Waves Of Fire for Michael Doltoff and Rod Petroff, Itz Dreamin Jonesy for in-form Kerryn Manning, Uncas for Nicole Molander and Josh Duggan, Star Crossed for Brent Lilley and Anthony Butt and Our Skinny Maree for John Justice. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

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