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Craig Demmler’s appeal against Harness Racing Victoria stewards’ decision to suspend his trainer and driver’s licences has been dismissed by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board. The decision was made by HRV stewards under the provisions of Australian Rule of Harness Racing 183.  The suspension was imposed pending the outcome of an investigation into an analytical report that one of Demmler’s horses had returned an elevated raceday cobalt level that was in excess of the relevant threshold permitted by the rules. At the hearing, the HRV RAD Board heard submissions on behalf of HRV Stewards and Demmler.  The HRV RAD Board also heard from Dr Richard Cust regarding the nature of the substance cobalt. The HRV RAD Board noted they were required to decide whether the decision of the HRV stewards was justified in all of the circumstances, and after considering all of the matters before it, ordered the stewards’ actions were justified. The HRV RAD Board accordingly dismissed Demmler’s appeal and the restrictions imposed upon Demmler remain in place. HRV Media

Harness Racing Victoria stewards, acting under the provisions of Australian Rule of Harness Racing 183, has suspended Craig Demmler’s trainer’s and drivers’ licences. Stipes based their decision after the analysis of a raceday sample collected from a horse prepared by Demmler. The Chemistry Centre in Western Australia, and the National Measurement Institute in New South Wales, reported the sample contained cobalt at a concentration in excess of the permissible threshold, which sits at 200 micrograms per litre in urine. Demmler has appealed the stewards’ decision to suspend his licences. The appeal will be heard by the independent HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on Wednesday. HRV stewards will continue their investigations into the reported cobalt irregularity. Earlier today, Harness Racing SA stewards suspended local horseman Mick Micallef. This action was taken after receiving advice from the Chem Centre, Western Australia that cobalt above the threshold was detected in a post race urine sample taken from Glenthorne followings its win at Mount Gambier on November 30, 2014. The “B” sample has been confirmed by the National Measurement Institute, New South Wales. Micallef was given an opportunity to be heard on the imposition of Rule 183, but elected not to provide a submissions No date has been set for the inquiry. PAUL COURTS

Harness Racing Victoria is pleased to announce the appointment of Vaughn Lynch to the role of General Manager – Operations. Mr Lynch replaces the outgoing Chief Operating Officer, Brant Dunshea, who has taken up a senior management role with British Horse Racing in London. Mr Lynch will oversee several areas, such as Racing, Futurities, Programming, Planning and Infrastructure, Metropolitan Racing and OH&S. “I would like to thank John and the Board for this opportunity,” Mr Lynch said. “I am looking forward to working closely with all stakeholders in harness racing and I am certain that by working together we will have a positive influence and grow the industry for the benefit of all. “I would like to acknowledge Brant Dunshea for his contribution and I take control of a fantastic team of dedicated professionals, who have extensive knowledge and experience within the industry.” HRV CEO John Anderson said Mr Lynch’s harness racing experience and professionalism held him in good stead for his new role. “Vaughn’s is a very important role in the organisation, which provides management and leadership in racing related activities,” Mr Anderson said. “Vaughn has vast experience in the harness racing industry, having previously held positions of responsibility at club and industry level. “I am delighted that we have people such as Vaughn within our ranks who can step up to these senior positions.”  CODY WINNELL

Popular couple Craig Demmler and Jodi Quinlan enjoyed an influx of winners across two meetings yesterday. The duo registered a double at Yarra Valley during the afternoon before backing up with a treble Geelong in the evening. Demmler finished with a training treble and a driving success, while Quinlan chalked up a training winner and three driving victories. Glenferrie Blade and Blacknbrown led the way at Yarra Valley, with the former prepared by Demmler and partnered by Quinlan to score in 1:58.4 over 1650 metres. Demmler then trained and drove Blacknbrown to upset the favourite, Queen Of Pop in 1:58.3 for the 1650-metre trip. Heading to Geelong, Quinlan drove Desert Flyer for local trainer, Danny Norris, with the trotter scoring in 2:03.8 over 2100 metres. Quinlan captured consecutive races when she trained and drove Sir Macs Man to cover the mile in 1:59.1. Demmler and Quinlan then joined forces to emerge triumphant with Glenferrie Arch, which led throughout to account for Masterofthurles and Awesome Mattjesty in 1:58.2. HRV Media

Leading harness racing mentor Justice knows how to win The Stampede. Harness Racing Victoria’s shortest race is run over 1200 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton, with Justice registering four wins in the feature since its inception in 2004. In fact, Justice has had a stranglehold on the event in recent years, with his wins coming with Coastal in 2010 and 2011, The Smiler in 2012 and Toulouse Lautrec last year. This year Justice will be represented by Spokeswoman, with the five-year-old mare drawing the pole and coming off a second at Melton upon debut for her new stable. “She didn’t get any peace in front,” Justice said of Spokeswoman’s last start when she broke 30 seconds for every quarter of the last mile. “She battled on really well. And she’d had a chequered time heading into that run, but she’s done huge since and I think she’ll improve a lot.” Justice explained that despite the short course, tactics were still of vital importance. “You can’t afford to be any further back than three-pegs,” Justice said. “I think Spokeswoman can lead, but there is some speed drawn in the middle. “Having said that, I don’t think mine is one-dimensional, she can win from the leader’s back.” Metro Mike is the early favourite despite drawing gate seven, but Justice believes the gelding might get caught in “no-man’s land” from the draw. “He gets out of the gate okay, but not brilliant,” Justice said. “He’s got the form on the board, but I think he may have to work exceptionally hard to get to the breeze.” HRV Media

Last Sunday’s Australasian Premier Trotting Sale at Tabcorp Park Melton saw a 20 per cent spike in registered bidders. While the overall average price was down on previous years, $12,941 compared to $16,359 last year, APTS promoters said this was in partly due to only 40 lots passing through the ring. “We would expect that number to jump around a bit with only 40 lots going through,” Harness Racing Victoria’s Vaughn Lynch said. “We would have liked a higher average, but we understand there are several factors behind it dropping. “There was less competition than usual at the bottom end of the sale, meaning there were bargains for the astute buyer.” Lynch stated it was great to see more bidders than usual with “strong competition at the top end of the sale seeing several potential buyers going home disappointed”. The sale topper was a striking bay colt by Angus Hall out of unraced Muscles Yankee mare Bromac Aldebaran, which sold for $38,000. “He’s got good confirmation and a good pedigree,” said Richard Matthews, who made the successful bid. “I’ve had a bit more luck with the trotters over the years for whatever reason. I bought a broodmare from New Zealand, Invasions Pride. She didn’t race a long time but she threw a trotter called Let Me Thru, who ran second in an Inter Dominion when he was only a five-year-old. “The mare’s progeny have produced about $740,000 worth of stake winnings.” The second-highest priced purchase was Lot 15, a bay colt by the sire of the fastest two-year-old in history Muscle Hill, from Calder Fury, which went for $37,000. A sister to exciting mare Barefoot Sally (an impressive winner at Melton on Saturday night) went for $22,000, the filly by Bacardi Lindy – sire of Claudys Princess – out of Strapon. Scott’s Creek horseman Anthony O’Connor purchased two yearlings at the sale, Lot 20 a filly by Skyvalley from Maori Road for $5000 and Lot 31 Aldebaran Doc, a colt by Skyvalley from Aldebaran Deegan for $4000. “You can’t breed them for that price,” O’Connor said. “It’s worth rolling the dice at that price. “My son Nicholas and I wanted a trotter and we were looking for a filly, so to get into a good family of trotters is great. “The other one, I had a few mates who wanted to race one, so we’ll probably go quarter shares.” The APTS finished off a big weekend of Victorian trotting, which saw New Zealand star Stent win the $300,000 Group One Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star on Saturday night. “This is the third year for the Australasian Premier Trotting Sale and we’re looking forward to being able to build on it further in coming years,” Lynch said. 2015 AUSTRALASIAN PREMIER TROTTING SALE RESULTS Lot 1: Colt by Lawman out of Speedy Naomi – Withdrawn Lot 2: Filly by Eilean Donon out of Kyvalley Bling – $9000 to Chris Lang Jr Lot 3: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of Arnikas Pride – Passed In Lot 4: Colt by Angus Hall out of Bromac Aldebaran - $38,000 to Gatto Pty Ltd Lot 5: Filly by Skyvalley out of Countessa Hest – $7000 to Glenn Conroy Lot 6: Filly by Yankee Spider out of Catchya Kasey – Passed In Lot 7: Filly by Bacardi Lindy out of Cruzenthepacific - $6000 to Terence Howard Lot 8: Colt by Angus Hall out of Maoris Dream - $30,000 to Ian Hunter Lot 9: Filly by Yankee Spider out of Stand On Me - $10,000 to Maree Caldow Lot 10: Filly by Bacardi Lindy out of Spring Fly – Passed In Lot 11: Filly by Skyvalley out of Sundons Babe – $7000 to Greg Scott Lot 12: Colt by Angus Hall out of Poignant – $30,000 to Maree Caldow Lot 13: Filly by Skyvalley out of Maori Lindy – $4000 to Glenn Conroy Lot 14: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of Maori Moments – $5000 to Joe Pace Lot 15: Colt by Muscle Hill out of Calder Fury – $37,000 to Jim Connelly’s KPC Racing Lot 16: Filly by Angus Hall out of Aldebaran Maori – $18,000 to Blundell Family Trust Lot 17: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of Maori Missile – Withdrawn Lot 18: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of Docmelfi – $10,000 to Jayne Davies Lot 19: Colt by Metropolitan out of Countess Angela – $5000 to Greg and Denise Muir Lot 20: Filly by Skyvalley out of Maori Road – $5000 to Anthony O’Connor Lot 21: Colt by Kyvalley Blur out of Kyvalley Kitty – Passed In Lot 22: Colt by Muscle Mass out of Queens Rhapsody – $10,000 to Brent Lilley Lot 23: Colt by Skyvalley out of Aldebaran Honey – $4000 to Russell Commens Lot 24: Colt by Muscle Mass out of Icantremember – Withdrawn Lot 25: Colt by Sundon out of La Tonneralla – $15,000 to Paddy Lee Lot 26: Colt by Muscles Yankee out of Elusive Charm – $32,000 to Don Smith Lot 27: Colt by Skyvalley out of Aldebaranfavourite – $9000 to Brent Lilley Lot 28: Filly by Angus Hall out of Flaming Action – $9000 to B Cabria Lot 29: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of A Poem Kept – $11,000 to John Murdoch Lot 30: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of Modern Maori – Withdrawn Lot 31: Colt by Skyvalley out of Aldebaran Deegan – $4000 to Anthony O’Connor Lot 32: Filly by Yankee Spider out of Positive Logic – $8000 to Michael Scandolera Lot 33: Filly by Muscle Mass out of Illawong Chloe – Withdrawn Lot 34: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of Charlotte Galleon – $7000 to Steven Hall Lot 35: Filly by Bacardi Lindy out of Strapon – $22,000 to WJ and MD Cameron Lot 36: Filly by Skyvalley out of Aldebaran Breeze – $22,000 to David Scott Lot 37: Colt by Armbro Variable out of Gladys Emanuel – $8500 to Mario Azzopardi Lot 38: Filly by Skyvalley out of Aldebaran Revenue – $5000 to Blake Fitzpatrick Lot 39: Colt by Armbro Invasion out of Im Mumbo Jumbo – Passed In Lot 40: Colt by Pegasus Spur out of Lets Be Happy – $25,000 to Michael Taranto Lot 41: Colt by Skyvalley out of Aldebaran Hall – Withdrawn Lot 42: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of All Finesse – Passed In Lot 43: Colt by Tennotrump out of Mystic Jewel – $9000 to Tubbs/Sugars Lot 44: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of Seek And Destroy – $6500 to S Hayes Lot 45: Filly by Skyvalley out of Aldebaran Sunset – $8000 to Chris Lang Jr Lot 46: Colt by Fling It out of Keyfield – $4000 to Olivia Berg By Cody Winnell 

Star trotter Keystone Del is recuperating in a paddock after pulling up sore from Great Southern Star night. Trainer Nicole Molander said the 26-time winner would have his shoes removed by the farrier and his cracked hoof worked on during the next couple of days. Molander has also ordered the vet to test Keystone Del’s blood to ensure there are no other health issues. “He’s a bit sore and he’s resting in the paddock now,” Molander said. “He’s got a crack on his hoof that we’ve been looking after. It had quite a bit of movement in it after the Great Southern Star. “The farrier will take the shoes off in the next day or so. So he’s out for a spell.” Keystone Del ran second behind Sheemon in his Great Southern Star heat last Saturday night before backing up and running seventh in the Final, which was won by Stent. HRV Media

Harness Racing Victoria's Teal Pants Promotion has raised $7600 for the Women's Cancer Foundation - Ovarian Cancer Institute. All reinswoman in Victoria are wearing teal pants for the month of February and until March 7 and HRV is donating $200 per Teal Pants win to the Women's Cancer Foundation - Ovarian Cancer Institute. Check out our Teal Pants scoreboard on Facebook TEAL PANTS PREMIERSHIP (winners from Feb 1) Jodi Quinlan 7 Kerryn Manning 5 Courtney Slater 4 Kate Gath 3 Emma Hamblin 3 Amanda Turnbull 3 UPCOMING TEAL PANTS RUNNERS Today at Yarra Valley R1: Virgil Hilts (Lisa Miles), Glamour Art (Alison Chisholm). R4: Mont Morley (Rebecca Bartley). R5: Nevaeh (Rebecca Bartley), Popeye Village (Maddie Ray). R6: Glenhuggard (Cassandra Troon). R8: Thunder Fee (Lisa Miles). Tomorrow at Echuca R1: Black Jasmin (Rebecca Bartley). R2: Our Glacier Girl (Amanda Turnbull). R3: Sans Frontiere (Carmel Belot). R4: Tennaya (Donna Castles), Bromac Del Mar (Amanda Turnbull), Tyco (Rebecca Bartley). R5: Three Dee Delight (Amanda Turnbull), Our Star Dust (Rebecca Bartley). R6: Turnoffate (Rebecca Bartley), Brother Rabbit (Donna Castles). R8: Donoson (Rebecca Bartley), Countdown (Donna Castles). Wednesday at Maryborough R1: Miss Cosmos (Anne-Maree Conroy), Gaelic Lass (Kerryn Manning), Ruby Victory (Debra Wicks-Moss), Lelisgirl (Rita Burnett), Majestic Mirage (Michelle Wight). R2: Ithappensinvegas (Michelle Wight), Our Sir Ivanhoe (Kerryn Manning), Gotta Bonus (Rita Burnett), Box Lu Cove (Rebecca Bartley). R3: Lisandros (Tina Ridis), Sir Macs Man (Jodi Quinlan), Kimama (Kerryn Manning), Sketchman (Michelle Wight). R4: Stylish Ruler (Kerryn Manning), Not Another De Jay (Lisa Miles), Catch A Ruby (Simone Walker). R5: Arthur Henry (Rebecca Bartley). R6: Katelin Brooke (Debra Wicks-Moss), Lady Mackendon (Kerryn Manning), Frances Annie (Michelle Wight), Morning Fawlty (Simone Walker). R7: Lierre Noir (Amy Tubbs), Wheatsheaf Avaball (Denbeigh Wade). R8: French Lesson (Rebecca Bartley), Soho Madonna (Kerryn Manning), Gemofabreeze (Lisa Miles), Glenferrie Arch (Jodi Quinlan). Wednesday night at Mildura R1: Dontbefoolish (Ellen Tormey), On Thevillagegreen (Kate Attard). R3: Laforce (Ellen Tormey). R4: Done And Dusted (Ellen Tormey), Oldmatefromthebush (Kylie Hughes). R5: Hayabusa Flyer (Ellen Tormey), Ya Bowen Delight (Kylie Hughes). R6: Wrinkle Knutt (Ellen Tormey), Graceful Art (Emma Hamblin). R7: Tirano Bliss (Kate Attard), Saabrina Miss (Ellen Tormey). R8: Tipperary Seelster (Ellen Tormey). HRV Media

In a terrific effort, Harness Racing Victoria’s Teal Pants promotion scoreboard has hit $4000! Popular reinswoman Courtney Slater drove Goodtime Alltime to victory at Terang last night to become the 20th Teal Pants winner since February 1, meaning HRV’s donation to the Women’s Cancer Foundation – Ovarian Cancer Institute has ticked up to $4000. The governing body is donating $200 for every reinswoman who wins a race between February 1 and March 7. The ever-growing list includes: TEAL PANTS WINNERS TO DATE (Date, venue, horse/driver, tally) 2-Feb Yarra Valley - Call Me Spartacus      Amanda Turnbull 200.00 3-Feb Mildura - One Knight Stand                 Emma Hamblin 400.00 3-Feb Mildura  - One Minutetodream            Kimberly Talent 600.00 3-Feb Mildura - Woodlea Cosmos                 Emma Hamblin 800.00 4-Feb Bendigo - Chumlee                               Amanda Turnbull 1,000.00 5-Feb Charlton - Su You Too                         Lisa Miles 1,200.00 5-Feb Charlton - Ryder                                    Courtney Slater 1,400.00 5-Feb Geelong - Mister Mundaka                  Kate Gath 1,600.00 6-Feb Shepparton - Yerrington Bob               Amanda Turnbull 1,800.00 6-Feb Shepparton - Lombo Flashlight           Jodi Quinlan 2,000.00 7-Feb Tabcorp Park - Arden Rooney             Kerryn Manning 2,200.00 7-Feb Tabcorp Park - Christmas Jolt                Kerryn Manning 2,400.00 9-Feb Warragul - Illawong Moonshine           Jodi Quinlan 2,600.00 9-Feb Warragul - Evil Trickster                         Emma Hamblin 2,800.00 9-Feb Warragul - Caesar Supreme                Gaita Pullicino 3,000.00 9-Feb Warragul - Intergalactic                         Jodi Quinlan 3,200.00 10-Feb Swan Hill - Opia                                    Rita Burnett 3,400.00 11-Feb Kilmore - Lots More Art                       Lisa Miles 3,600.00 11-Feb Kilmore - Sir Macs Man                       Jodi Quinlan 3,800.00 11-Feb Terang - Goodtime Alltime                  Courtney Slater 4,000.00 - HRV Media

An investigation, commenced by the Harness Racing Victoria Stewards’ Department, and continued by the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit of Victoria Police, culminated yesterday in Victoria Police advising that criminal charges have been issued against licenced harness racing trainers Shayne Cramp and Greg Cramp. Upon receiving this advice, HRV Stewards have invoked the provisions of Australian Rule of Harness Racing 183 and suspended the licences of Shayne and Greg Cramp with immediate effect. No horse trained or owned by Shayne or Greg Cramp is able to race or trial. HRV Stewards have ordered the scratching of all of Shayne Cramp’s runners engaged at the Mildura meeting tonight. Any change of trainer requests from owners who have been impacted by these events must be approved by HRV. Shayne and Mr Greg Cramp have also been excluded under ARHR 15(1)(e) from attending any harness racing racecourse. HRV CEO John Anderson said: “It is important that the tireless work of Integrity Manager Andy Rogers is recognised. He initiated this exercise almost a year ago and has maintained a confidential vigilance throughout. I also commend the Chairman of Stewards Neal Conder and his panel for their ongoing contribution to the investigation. “I also wish to acknowledge the extensive commitment, dedication and tireless efforts of the whole team at the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit led by Detective Sergeant Kieran Murnane.” HRV respect the matters are now before the court and will be limiting any further comment. Harness Racing Victoria

Although rumours, and some facts, have already surfaced, names of the five Victorian harness racing participants arrested this morning cannot be released. Victoria Police confirmed raids were made on five properties during the early hours, with men arrested at each establishment. Two of the five – one from Merbein and another from Birdwoodton – have been charged, with the other three released pending further enquiries. The charged pair have been released on bail and are set to appear in the Mildura Magistrates’ Court on May 6. Even after being charged, the alleged offenders cannot be named until they appear in court. The five are alleged to have manipulated race odds and driving practices to achieve a desired outcome. After receiving information from Harness Racing Victoria, the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit and Mildura Crime Investigation Unit completed a year-long investigation before making the raids. A number of items, including documents, have been seized from the properties, with more charges expected to be laid by tomorrow morning. Speaking at a press conference, HRV chief executive John Anderson stated the raids were further indication corrupt behavior will not be accepted within the industry. “This is the first investigation of its kind that’s got to this outcome and has been a co-operative effort,” Anderson said. “It began with HRV commencing an investigation based on some information flowing through to a criminal investigation, so that’s a really strong statement for the harness racing industry that we’re prepared to go to those levels. “All credit to our officers and the police, who have kept it so tight from a confidentiality point of view, which is important in such an investigation.” Superintendent Peter Bringham is confident the alleged race fixing ring is confined to the Mildura region, which was echoed by Anderson. “It’s believed this is an isolated matter,” Bringham said. “It’s specifically focused on two races that were actually at Mildura. “Match and race fixing is a crime and the police will actively pursue to target and disrupt this crime right across the state.” “In the context in the size of the industry, this is only a very small part…but it does give us just a lever to have a look a bit further afield and see what else can be uncovered,” Anderson declared. “It’s confined for the Mildura region, so as it stands now, I don’t think it is wide spread.” If found guilty under various sections of the Crimes Act, the men face up to 10 years imprisonment. PAUL COURTS

Victoria Police officers have raided the properties of top Australian harness racing figures over their alleged involvement in a race-fixing scandal. The Monday morning raids have targeted the racing operations of the Cramp family in Mildura. Shayne Cramp is one of the state's leading harness racing drivers, while both he and his father Greg also run a major training operation as well. Fairfax Media was to publish an investigation about the pair's links to suspect betting activities and alleged corruption a fortnight ago, but was requested by police to stall publication. The Fairfax Media investigation can reveal that Shayne and Greg Cramp are alleged to be involved in a suspected illegal betting syndicate that has been attempting to manipulate the outcome of races for several months. No other members of their family are alleged to be involved. Fairfax Media is seeking comment from the Cramp family. Click this link to read the full article written by Nick McKenzie Richard Baker Matt Taylor in The Sydney Morning Herald

If you build it, they will come... Harness Racing Victoria have hit a home run, not too dissimilar to one of the homers hit by the baseballers in the legendary Kevin Costner movie involving cornfields and ghosts, by changing the summer calendar and launching the TAB Summer of Glory carnival. The TAB Victoria Cup field tonight is packed with stars and more than one trots pundit believes it to be the greatest and most competitive Victoria Cup field that's been seen in the modern era.   TAB VICTORIA CUP Saturday night, January 31. Group 1, 2240m, mobile start. 9.32pm   1: LENNYTHESHARK ($9) “He’s drawn perfectly. He’s second-up from a spell and ran a terrific race first-up in the Shepparton Cup. You don’t want them at 100 per cent first-up and he’ll improve significantly with that run under his belt. Chris (Alford) has options from the draw, so we’ll leave that up to him. Philadelphia Man got away from him at the turn at Shepparton and on the line we were on his wheel.” - David Aiken (trainer)   2: FRANCO LEDGER ($21) “He’s great, we’re really happy with him. He’s in the zone at the moment and we’re drawn well. I’d be really happy to be three back the pegs in the run, but one-out and three-back would be fine too. The quicker they go up front the better it’ll be for us.” - Geoff Webster (trainer/driver)   3: BEAUTIDE ($3.2) “Really happy with how he’s going. He’s trained well and we’re pretty confident he’s better than he’s been all season. He’s had some good trials and has got a good draw. He’ll come out quick; he’s got really good gate speed.” - James Rattray (trainer/driver)   4: PHILADELPHIA MAN ($6) “He was a little bit fresh at Shepparton and he’ll strip fitter for the run. He’s worked terrific during the week. I think he brought himself undone a bit by over-racing last week. I’m happy with gate four. We can run our own race.” - Emma Stewart (trainer)   5: IM CORZIN TERROR ($81) “We’re really happy with his work. The draw’s a bit unfortunate; we’d like to swap his draw with Chilli’s. Some people are putting him down but I think he’s the forgotten horse. You look at his run at Kilmore in the Cup when he gave Guaranteed a start and was running on strongly for second.” - Amanda Grieve (trainer)   6: CHRISTEN ME ($6) “They will fly the gate and from our barrier we are half in and half out, so Dexter will most likely come out and sit in the middle of the track until the dust settles. From then on we are aiming to position up in the front half of the field rather than the back half.” - Cran Dalgety (trainer)   7: TERROR TO LOVE ($16) “We’re getting used to these barrier draws now! It is what it is … I think he’ll come into it later on. It’s the first of a lot of big races coming up. Thinking he’ll just go back and try to work into it at the right time. Everyone sort of forgets how good a sprint he’s got when he’s saved for one go.” - Paul Court (co-trainer)   8: CHILLI PALMER (1EM) ($51) “Absolutely thrilled with Chilli, we’ve just got to hope he gets a start. We’re very happy with how he’s come back.” - Amanda Grieve (trainer)   9: DAVID HERCULES ($41) “I give him a huge chance. We’re not going to have to do half the work a few of the others will have to do. He’s apparently travelled very well.”  - David Thompson (trainer)   10: GUARANTEED ($4.8) “His form’s been terrific and he’s come through every run better and better. His work has been terrific.” - Emma Stewart (trainer)   11: FOR A REASON ($41) “We were disappointed he pulled at Horsham (in the Cup) and then off 30m with those sectionals last week he had no hope. He’s come on good since that run and he’ll benefit from it. This is a tougher Victoria Cup than last year though. This is probably the best cup field in years. We’ll drive him like last year; come with one run. We’d be thrilled if he ran a place.” - Luke McCarthy (driver)   12: ADORE ME ($10) “Adore Me is training very well and we’re pretty excited going into the Victoria Cup. She has travelled really well and it’s a pleasure to be involved with her.” - Duane Marfisi (stable assistant with Mark Purdon)   13: RESTREPO ($41) “We’re hoping he’s getting home well and finishing it off strongly. The draw makes it a bit tricky.” - Emma Stewart (trainer)   ACCESS THE MARKET FOR THE TAB VICTORIA CUP   $200,000 FIRST 4 JACKPOT Tomorrow night's TAB Victoria Cup will carry a $200,000 First 4 pool guarantee. There is also a special bonus offer for TAB customers this weekend. Have a fixed odds win bet on the Group 1 TAB Victoria Cup or the Group 1 Hunter Cup, with your TAB account or TAB rewards card, and if your horse runs second or third, you'll score a Bonus Bet up to $50 or equivalent TAB Rewards points. Bet at the track, your local TAB outlet, via the TAB smart phone app or online at   WIN A $50 TAB VOUCHER Here’s your chance to win a $50 TAB Voucher. To enter, tell us who you think will win the TAB Victoria Cup on Saturday night. All entrants that pick the winner will go into a random draw and whichever lucky entrant is drawn, wins the $50 TAB Voucher! Entries must be in by no later than 8:30pm on Saturday night 31 January. Must be over 18 years of age to enter. Email with the subject WIN.  The winner will be notified via email on Tuesday.

Throughout December 2014 and January 2015, Harness Racing Victoria Stewards and veterinarians have been collecting out of competition blood samples from yearlings scheduled to be sold at the upcoming Australian Pacing Gold (APG) Sales in Melbourne on Sunday 1 February 2015. Samples have been collected from approximately 1/3 of the 210 lots to be sold at the sales. All blood samples collected have been subjected to testing by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) on their newly expanded steroid screening test, which covers over 40 targets, and is understood to be the most comprehensive screening test in operation in Australia. RASL report that all of the analysed samples are clear of steroids. HRV wish to acknowledge the significant support of APG in assisting HRV’s efforts to ensure compliance with the national harness racing rules, introduced in May 2014, which banned the use of steroids at all times.  Harness Racing Victoria

The anticipation ahead of Saturday night’s Victoria Cup is palpable. Tabcorp Park Melton will be the grand stage as 12 genuine harness racing top liners compete for summer Group One glory, with $400,000 on the line over 2240 metres. Barring any eleventh-hour misfortunes, the general consensus is nine of the 12 Victoria Cup spots have been locked away and the remaining three holes will be filled with runners from a group of five contenders. You can’t fit five horses into three spots, so there will be at least two hard-luck stories when the field is revealed ahead of the barrier draw tomorrow morning. And there will almost certainly be a host of other horses who in previous years would be lining up in the Victoria Cup, but will this year miss out. The ‘locks’ are said to be Guaranteed ($4.50), Philadelphia Man ($5.5), Beautide ($5.5), Adore Me ($7), Christen Me ($6), Terror To Love ($8), Im Corzin Terror ($51), For A Reason ($26) and David Hercules ($26). The other five – also known as “lineball runners” - are believed to be Franco Ledger ($18), Suave Stuey Lombo ($51), Avonova ($41), Lennytheshark ($10) and Restrepo ($26). And then there are the likely ‘hard luckers’, consisting of Chilli Palmer ($51), Arden Rooney ($101), Bit Of A Legend ($101), Flaming Flutter ($101), Blazin N Cullen ($201), Chancellor Cullen ($201), Cold Major ($201), Easy On The Eye ($201), Mach Alert ($201) and Monifieth ($201). There will be much debate all week about just where this field stacks up in the list of “all-time great Victoria Cup fields”. However, when you consider the quality and form of the runners who will miss a start in the race, it’s not hard to mount an argument that this race has the makings of an absolute classic. Let the debate about who should get into the field and why begin – and let the countdown to the field of dreams continue. This is going to be fun. JOIN THE DISCUSSION ON TWITTER: TWEET YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT WHO SHOULD BE IN THE VICTORIA CUP AND WHY TO @HRVNEWS WITH THE #SOG HASHTAG. HRV Media

American trotter Real Babe will make her Australian harness racing debut at Shepparton on Saturday night. Prepared by Jayne Davies, Real Babe will contest the Group Three George Gath, which has attracted a stellar field. The mare has had two trials ahead of her Down Under debut, finishing second at her most recent hit-out at Tabcorp Park Melton on Monday. To be driven by Anthony Butt, who has partnered the daughter of Donato Hanover at both trials, Real Babe’s task has been made tough by drawing gate seven – the outside of the front row. Real Babe is here for the Great Southern Star on March 7, one of two international invitees for the series. Star local Spidergirl will resume after a five-month break for trainer David Aiken. Last season’s dominant squaregaiter, with victories in the Vicbred and Breeders’ Crown Finals, Spidergirl will begin from the inside of the second row. With quick beginner Flying Isa drawn the pole, Spidergirl is likely to enjoy the perfect trip along the pegs. In a terrific coup for the Victorian industry, all trot races at Shepparton will be broadcast live into France for wagering purposes. Harness Racing Victoria will receive a product fee for beaming the action into the world's biggest trotting market. HRV Media

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