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20 January, 2017 Australasia's best to lure big crowd to Ballarat Cup Such a grand stage merits the best warriors and those two elements will come together in barnstorming style on Saturday night when Lazarus is unleashed for the 2017 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup. Mark Purdon’s brilliant Bettors Delight entire returns to Bray Raceway as a beefed up mighty four-year-old, 12 months on from his dominant display in last year’s Victoria Derby heats. Ballarat and District Trotting Club chief executive Paul Rowse can barely contain his excitement. Read more   Barrier draw can't douse confidence for Lazarus Kiwi superstar Lazarus has drawn widest on the front row, outside fellow top liners Smolda and Lennytheshark, but retains favouritism for the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup. Lazarus opened a $1.30 favourite with tab.com.au and trainer-driver Mark Purdon said while the champ might not be quite at his peak first-up in Australia he would take some beating. “Lazarus had 10 days off after the NZ Cup week,” Purdon said. “I don’t think he’s back to where he was in the NZ Cup, but he’s going to be hard to beat.” Read more   Hector back on top after drama-filled Shepp Cup triumph After no shortage of drama and intrigue Hectorjayjay unleashed the shackles and produced a stirring Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup win. And David Aiken’s superstar pacer did it in style, rattling off a 56.4-second final 800m to cruise to the Group 2 $60,000 crown, giving connections a night to remember. If Hectorjayjay’s triumph wasn’t impressive enough, with the speed machine defeating his rivals by more than 8m, then the drama that preceded the victory fortified its mystique. Read more   Cruz missile takes Hamilton Pacing Cup The $400,000 Group 1 Eynesbury Victoria Cup is the next scheduled stop for exciting five-year-old Cruz Bromac after his all-the-way Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup win yesterday. Moments after his 4.7-metre victory over gun mare Berisari in the south-west Victoria club’s annual pacing feature, Braun said  Cruz Bromac (Falcon Seelster-Crown Defender) would be set for the Summer of Glory’s night one jewel on Saturday, January 28, at Tabcorp Park Melton. Read more   $20K QUADDIE JACKPOT ON BALLARAT CUP NIGHT ONLY WITH TAB.COM.AU HERO series winner steps out for big night at Ballarat The inaugural winner of the Alabar HERO Showing Series for retired standardbreds will be a special guest at this Saturday night’s PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup. Twenty-two-year-old Ballarat horsewoman Eboni Knights has accepted an invitation to partner Harness Racing Victoria HERO Program Ambassador Villagem in a ridden promotion for life after racing. Read more   HRV backs PCFA to tune of $12,500 During December, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) donated $12,500 to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Victoria. Drivers Chris Alford (13 wins), Gavin Lang (11 wins) and Glenn Douglas (1 win) each racked up plenty of victories, with HRV donating $500 for every winner driven by those men while wearing the PCFA silks. Visit www.pcfa.org.au Read more     THIS WEEK'S TROTS Friday 20 Jan: Tabcorp Park Melton Saturday 21 Jan: PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup Sunday 22 Jan: Bendigo Monday 23 Jan: Tabcorp Park Melton Tuesday 24 Jan: Mildura Wednesday 25 Jan: Wangaratta  Thursday 26 Jan: Stawell day and Cranbourne night (Australia Day) Friday 27 Jan: Boort (day) and Ballarat (night)     TROTS MEDIA QUICK LINKS RSN podcasts Trots Media YouTube Trots Media Facebook  Trots Media Twitter Good Form Own the Moment Trots Country Roar Racing National News Room Trots Trial replays Winning Driver Interviews HRV HERO     Harness Racing Victoria  

19 January 2017 - With respect to the actions taken by Victoria Police on 11 January, 2017 where criminal charges were served on harness racing Participants, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) provides the following update; HRV advises that in response to requests from some of the legal representatives of the relevant individuals, the HRV Stewards have granted an extension of time to Mr Nathan Jack, Ms Amanda Turnbull, Ms Lisa Bartley and Mr Mark Pitt regarding the timeframe by which they are required to provide any submissions addressing why action should not be taken under the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) against the respective licences of the individuals to participate in the industry. Any such submissions are now to be provided by 5.00pm on Monday 23 January 2017 and will be given due consideration thereafter prior to any decision being made. With respect to the Victoria Police investigation, HRV is unable to make any further comment. Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) CEO David Martin today was interviewed by Michael Felgate on Racing Ahead (RSN), covering a range of industry topics. Link to podcast here. Harness Racing Victoria

Kiwi superstar Lazarus has drawn widest on the front row, outside fellow top liners Smolda and Lennytheshark, but retains harness racing favouritism for the $120,000 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup. Lazarus opened a $1.30 favourite with tab.com.au and trainer-driver Mark Purdon said while the champ might not be quite at his peak first-up in Australia he would take some beating. “Lazarus had 10 days off after the NZ Cup week,” Purdon said. “I don’t think he’s back to where he was in the NZ Cup, but he’s going to be hard to beat.” Purdon revealed at Monday’s barrier draw he would pilot Lazarus and Anthony Butt would be offered the drive on the Inter Dominion champion Smolda, who opened a $6.50 shot. “(Smolda) could be a chance. He’s certainly going very well, he trained very good this morning,” Purdon said. “He is going well coming off the SA Cup and Inter Dominion and won the Hunter Cup last year, so we all know how good he is.” Good Form analysts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden agreed it was a race in three, with Smolda drawn in three and Lennytheshark four. “Mark Purdon holds the key,” Bonnington said. “Lennytheshark and Smolda get away very quickly, but I still think Lazarus will be a fairly dominant favourite.” Those at the pointy end may have been a deterrent for some and leading to the less than capacity field, but it did little to dampen Ballarat and District Trotting Club chief executive Paul Rowse’s excitement. “We are very happy to have the top quality that we have in the cup and when I heard Lazarus was going to be in there I almost jumped out of my seat,” Mr Rowse said. The Good Form analysts broke down the field in the wake of the barrier draw. This is a summation of their thoughts. Young Modern (Gate 1): Probably racing for place money. Could try to hold the lead initially to get leader’s back when the big guns come across. Racing well and likes the distance. It Is Billy (Gate 2): If he can get across Young Modern early that’s a big plus. Every opportunity to run into the money, just wants to get the front and then hand over to one of the big guns. Smolda (Gate 3): He’s constantly put below a couple of more glamorous horses, but his last 12 months have been extraordinary. He’s a wonderful horse who loves the trip. He’s drawn to advantage and has to be a winning hope. Lennytheshark (Gate 4): He might lob one-one behind Lazarus. He does have terrific gate speed and could put the pedal to the mettle to find the front, but it’s just a fitness issue. There’s a really big chance he will keep going until he finds the front and is one of three winning chances. Major Secret (Gate 5): Not an ideal draw, will probably be playing for luck. A very, very good horse, but he is most effective when he can use his gate speed and find the front. He couldn’t be racing in any better form. Can he win on Saturday night? Probably can’t but will give a good account. Adam Cartwright (Gate 6): Ran a great race at Shepparton. He’s a good consistent horse, potentially a top four hope but probably not much more than that. If he has any luck he’ll be hitting the line. Lazarus (Gate 7): He is an outstanding pacer. He’s progressed and progressed and to see what he’s done in New Zealand he is the best horse in Australasia, and could be the best horse we’ve seen in Australasia for several years. It’s great he’s chosen the big dance and Ballarat and should win, but Smolda is constantly underrated and Lennytheshark is reigning horse of the year. It’s great for the race that he’s drawn seven, but he's still the one to beat. Savesometimetodream (Gate 8): He should get a good cheap run early from the eight and be an outside place chance at big odds.  Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Race programme for Ballarat, Saturday 21 January 2017

After no shortage of drama and intrigue Hectorjayjay unleashed the shackles and produced a stirring Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup win. And David Aiken's superstar pacer did it in style, rattling off a 56.4-second final 800m to cruise to the harness racing Group 2 $60,000 crown, giving connections a night to remember. If Hectorjayjay’s triumph wasn’t impressive enough, with the speed machine defeating his rivals by more than 8m, then the drama that preceded the victory fortified its mystique. In a story unfamiliar to the traditions of racing, Hectorjayjay’s place in the Shepparton Cup was put in serious doubt just 33 hours before its renewal after tests revealed an elevated white cell count. Fearing the presence of a virus, Aiken advised Harness Racing Victoria stewards of his concerns and by Friday night the dominant consensus was that the $1.10 favourite would not run. By Saturday morning, however, Hectorjayjay’s clinical presentation had improved and after a clean bill of health by HRV vets he elevated Eynesbury Victoria Cup anticipation to new levels with an awesome, arrogant win for driver Josh Aiken. “He (Hectorjayjay) gave us a scare but I knew when we went on track tonight what he was capable of and what you saw tonight was just how naturally talented he is,” Josh Aiken said. “I’d hate to think what he could do with a perfect preparation. “I think right now when you look at the top six free-for-allers in Australasia we are going through a golden era but he is capable of mixing it with anyone, anytime. Bring on the Victoria Cup. Bring on Lazarus.” Hectorjayjay delivered Aiken the last of four consecutive winners, with outstanding four-year-old Roll With It outclassing his rivals, Vics Cheval regaining her best form at giant odds in The George Gath and classy stable recruit Magic Oats also saluting. The victory propelled Hectorjayjay to the top of the $25,000 Trots Country Cups Championship, one point clear of Geelong and Horsham cups winner Major Secret and two clear of Cobram and Hamilton cups winner Cruz Bromac. by Jason Bonnington Harness Racing Victoria

Following the running of Race 4 at Cobram on June 22, 2015, the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Integrity Department commenced an investigation into the training arrangements surrounding the winning horse Airbournemagic, the tactics adopted during the running of the race and the associated betting on the race. In November 2015, as a result of evidence detected, the HRV Integrity Department referred its investigation to the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit (SIIU) of Victoria Police in order for a criminal investigation to be undertaken.   This continued investigation of the SIIU culminated in Victoria Police today advising HRV that criminal charges have been issued against licensed participants in connection with the race conducted at Cobram. With respect to the actions taken by Victoria Police today in the issuing of criminal charges against licensed participants, the HRV Stewards will now give consideration as to whether to invoke any of the provisions of Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 183 which provides: Pending the outcome of an inquiry, investigation or objection, or where a person has been charged with an offence, the Stewards may direct one or more of the following – that a horse shall not be nominated for or compete in a race; that a driver shall not drive or otherwise take part in a race; that the horses of certain connections shall not be nominated for or start in a race; that a licence or any type of authority or permission be suspended In accordance with established legal principles announced in precedent cases (such as NSW Court of Appeal matter of Day & McDowell v HRNSW) regarding the use of AHRR 183, the HRV Stewards have provided licensed participants Mr Nathan Jack, Ms Lisa Bartley, Mr Mark Pitt and Ms Amanda Turnbull until 5.00pm on Thursday, January 19, to make any submissions to the HRV Stewards as to whether any provisions of AHRR 183, such as the suspension of licences, are applied in the circumstances.  The HRV Stewards acknowledge any such actions are serious measures and thus all available information needs to be considered. The HRV Stewards are mindful of the decision of the HRV RAD Board Chairman on September 14, 2016, after HRV Stewards initially suspended the licences of participants after they had been arrested by Victoria Police on August 28, 2016. In this decision the RAD Board Chairman remarked when reinstating the licences of the individuals: “No person is yet charged. Even charges of themselves carry little weight as it is the evidence underlying those charges which becomes relevant. They (Stewards) invoke quite rightly, the need to maintain and protect the industry and the need to preserve public confidence in the industry. That however must be balanced against the damage to livelihood and reputation of the applicants.” HRV acknowledge the commitment of the Victoria Police SIIU in terms of conducting investigations into matters that threaten the integrity of the harness racing industry. HRV respect these matters are now before the Court and thus will not be commenting any further at this stage.   Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

New Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) CEO David Martin has already been racking up the miles visiting country tracks across the state. Although Mr Martin’s first day as CEO was officially Monday, he attended Horsham’s pacing cup meeting on Sunday and was at Kilmore on Tuesday night. “I’m keen to meet and hear the views of as many trots industry participants, club officials and other stakeholders as I can. I can already feel the pride and passion people have for our industry, so I’m really looking forward to both the Shepparton and Hamilton Cups this weekend,” Mr Martin said. The Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup will be held on Saturday night, while Hamilton will host the Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup on Sunday. For more on the Trots Country Cups Carnival visit trotscountry.com.au Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Result of a hearing held before the Harness Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on 9 January 2017. Zeke Slater – Disqualified Person Charge 1 – Rule 259(1)(a) & (g) – Associating with trainer Kymberley Barr for purposes related to the harness racing industry and entered the registered training premises of Ms Barr on 19 October 2016. Guilty plea 6 Month period of disqualification imposed to be served cumulatively to current periods of disqualification. Total periods of disqualification to expire on 14 August 2018. Kymberley Barr – Licensed Trainer Charge 1 – Rule 230 – Associating with disqualified person Zeke Slater for purposes related to the harness racing industry and allowing him to enter her registered training premises on 19 October 2016. Guilty plea $2,000 fine imposed with $1,500 of that penalty suspended for a period of 2 years.    TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS RACING AND DISCIPLINARY BOARD MR ANTHONY BURNS, Chairman MR JOHN DENAHY   EXTRACT OF PROCEEDINGS KYMBERLEY BARR ZEKE SLATER   DECISION MONDAY 9 JANUARY 2016 MR B DAY appeared on behalf of the HRV Stewards MS BARR AND MR SLATER appeared on their own behalf (via telephone) ............................................... Ms Barr pleaded guilty to a breach of Rule 230 in that she associated with Zeke Slater, a disqualified person, for the purposes of harness racing. She and Mr Slater are de facto partners so an association is of course allowed. However, she must not involve him in matters associated with the harness racing industry. To have him convey an empty horse float to a licensed training facility was a request in furtherance of harness racing logistics and we find the appropriate penalty is a fine of $2000 with $1500 of that amount wholly suspended for 2 years. This amount is less than was submitted by the Stewards but given her co-operation, her relative inexperience, her guilty plea and the financial hardship which is evident we find it is the appropriate amount.  As for Mr Slater he is a person currently disqualified until 14 February 2018. Australian Rule of Harness Racing 259A came into existence in Victoria in December 2015. It states “in addition to any penalty imposed pursuant to Rule 259(7) the original period of disqualification shall unless otherwise ordered by the stewards, automatically recommence in full”.  Whilst this rule is in place to ensure the integrity of any disqualification is maintained its strict application may sometimes lead to an unjust result. Here we note the rule allows for our discretion and we exercise it in favour of Mr Slater given the circumstances suggesting an inadvertent breach rather than anything sinister. Added to that is his guilty plea and we accordingly decline to recommence the disqualification in full.  None the less strict adherence to respecting the disqualification is required and a further disqualification to be served cumulatively is appropriate. Given the guilty plea and the circumstances we order a further disqualification of 6 months. When added to the 21 months currently imposed and commencing on 14 February 2016, a further six months will see his disqualification conclude on 14 August 2018.  Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board 

December 30th - Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have issued charges against Mr Daryl Douglas under Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 187(3), 187(2), 231(1)(d) and 91(1)(a) in relation to his conduct at a registered stable while not the holder of a licence. Along with his activities while unlicensed, it is alleged that Mr Douglas failed to comply with the directions of HRV Stewards, refused to answer questions and made abusive comments. These charges will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have also issued a charge against licensed driver Mr Matthew Walsh under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 231(1)(d) in relation to a text message sent to another harness racing participant. This charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed. Harness Racing Victoria

Ever since Martin Pakula was given the portfolio as Victoria's Racing Minister, he has been prepared to make change. Change not for the sake of change, as others may have done, but for the sake of improving the sport. No code was safe. But it was all about timing. Since the Andrews Government came to power in Victoria in late 2014, Pakula has witnessed scandals across all three codes of racing. I remember interviewing Pakula when I hosted Racing Ahead on RSN927 and he made a telling confession, "Aside from being the Minister for Racing, I am also the Attorney General - yet it is racing issues that are taking up all of my time". He acted. Greyhound Racing Victoria, through the live baiting scandal, had its board turned over. The sport is rebuilding itself. Similarly, he turned over the board of Harness Racing Victoria, after years of industry frustration, and new leadership is dealing with issues head on that were seemingly swept under the carpet in years gone by. And now the thoroughbred industry is in his sights. Tuesday's announcement from Premier Daniel Andrews that his government will amend the Racing Act 1958 to create an independent board for Racing Victoria (RV) is a case of 'enough is enough' for Pakula. He doesn't want to create a racing commission or a statutory authority, Pakula wants the sport to be able to appropriately govern itself. Pakula's decision has come off the back of last week's announcement of David Moodie's resignation as chairman of RV after an investigation by Sal Perna, Victoria's Racing Integrity Commissioner, over allegations of leaking information relating to the cobalt cases of trainers Danny O'Brien and Mark Kavanagh. This is not the first time that there has been criticism of leaking from the RV board but this, potentially, was the most serious. Although cleared of being the initial source of the leak, Perna had substantiated that Moodie had inappropriately disclosed information that could have compromised the cobalt investigations and that he had knowingly misled or provided incomplete information to the RVL Integrity Council and RVL Board regarding his disclosures. These were weighted comments from the Integrity Commissioner. Yet RV did not address either in its announcement of Moodie's resignation. Considering Moodie and his predecessor, Robert Roulston, both resigned under contentious circumstances, the leadership at RV is apparently at the cross roads. Pakula had to act. Processes to create an independent board for RV will begin immediately, with plans to change the legislation expected to be entered into Parliament early in the New Year, with an independent board potentially in place by the start of the 2017-18 racing season. Its look and make-up will be the subject of debate but expectations are that it will be a smaller board than currently exists, with perhaps five or seven members. Racing NSW has a seven-member board. But one thing is clear - the board will be vastly different to what operates now. Pakula has been frustrated by the many controversies that have impacted Victorian racing over the past few years, and one of the most significant concerns has been around leaking of information across many levels. An independent board, with no allegiances, will not be beholden to the past. And there will be a considered attempt to limit conflicts of interest, perceived or real, which has dogged racing administrators since the sport began. Pakula's comments are telling when he announced his plans. He wants independence and diversity in the structure of the board that oversees the governance of the sport. With a new chairman to be announced at February's RV board meeting, it may now fall on Acting Chairman Mike Hirst to remain in the role until legislation is changed and lead until an independent board is put in place. RV is still trying to find a replacement for outgoing CEO Bernard Saundry who resigned earlier in the year. It is understood that process has been impacted by concerns as to the governance structure of the sport. Hirst released a statement on Tuesday acknowledging the government's plans and pledging to work with them, with the board "committed to acting in the best interests of the Victorian thoroughbred industry and its 70,000 active participants". Melbourne Racing Club Chairman Mike Symons also offered his support. "The MRC welcomes the governance reforms to the RVL board appointment process proposed by Minister Pakula today, and we are confident this will optimise the long-term sustainability and growth of the thoroughbred racing industry in Victoria," Symons said in a statement "We look forward to working with Minister Pakula and our fellow stakeholders in Victorian racing in embarking on that progression." The government will consult with the industry stakeholders in the months ahead to determine the best way forward but, with the frustrations that have existed between RV and its stakeholders in recent times this will require a fundamental change of approach by many. Battles between RV and the clubs over funding has created unease between the key players, along with differing views as to whether the Sandown and Moonee Valley racecourses have long term futures. These differences will need to be dealt with. There are also Pakula's plans for an integrity overhaul to be considered with a view of linking the three codes of racing together, as per recommendations released earlier this year by respected administrator Paul Bittar in his review for government. This has been on a slow-boil but expect the heat to increase. The Victorian thoroughbred industry has long been the jewel in the Australian crown but it has been tarnished in recent times due to controversies that it has faced. Pakula's move has reset the course for the industry to continue to prosper. By Shane Anderson Reprinted with permission of racing.com

The $400,000 Victoria Cup has a new sponsor. Eynesbury has backed the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Summer of Glory night one jewel, the January 28 race to be known as the Eynesbury Victoria Cup. “Eynesbury is delighted to put its name to such an iconic event as the Victoria Cup,” Eynesbury General Manager Fred Blevin said. “Our sponsorship of the Victoria Cup in late January will launch an exciting year ahead for Eynesbury with the release of more than 120 house and land packages nestled around a stunning 18-hole golf course.” Interim HRV General Manager Commercial Ryan Stanaway said the announcement was “an ace” for Australasia’s premier summer trots carnival. “HRV has a long and strong relationship with Eynesbury and for them to be coming to the fore and driving the Eynesbury Victoria Cup is a real ace for the trots industry,” Mr Stanaway said. The Summer of Glory is a $1.87million two-night trots spectacular at Victoria’s metropolitan home of harness racing, Tabcorp Park Melton. Night one on Saturday, January 28, is headline by the Eynesbury Victoria Cup (Group 1) but also features heats of the VHRSC Victoria Derby – Australia’s premier three-year-old colts and geldings’ pacing event, the Haras Des Trotteurs V. L. Dullard Trotters Cup (Group 1), the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Trotting Mares Sprint Championship (Group 2) and the Pure Steel. The second night, on Saturday, February 4, features the $500,000 Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup (Group 1), the $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star (Group 1), the Alabar Ladyship Cup (Group 1), the Edgell Sidewinders 4YO Bonanza (Group 1), the VHRSC Victoria Derby Final (Group 1), the Caboolture Cheese Rising Stars Pace Final (Group 3), the Bertocchi Pacers Free-for-All (Group 3) and the Nestle Vulcan Trotters Free-for-All (Group 3). WATCH OUR LOVE THE SUMMER – LOVE THE TROTS VIDEO For bookings or more information visit www.summerofglory.com.au Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria welcomes Andrews Government HERO Program Funding 16 December 2016 Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Chairman Dale Monteith has welcomed today's Andrews State Government announcement of a joint funding package of $362,000 to help ensure harness horses are afforded a quality life in retirement after their racing career has finished. The Government is providing $181,000 to the Harness Education Re-homing Opportunities (HERO) program, HRV's flagship and industry-leading horse welfare program, to retrain retired racehorses to become trail riding ponies, competitive show and eventing horses, or simply pleasure animals and family pets. "HRV is extremely grateful to the State Government for this ongoing funding, which will help us to recruit suitably-skilled people as registered re-trainers and to increase the number of horses in the HRV HERO program," Mr Monteith said. "The response to the program has been overwhelming and we are receiving enquiries on a daily basis from owners and trainers who are interested in offering horses. "We look forward to further increasing the number of horses re-homed each year with this vital assistance." Speaking to media today at Aldebaran Park in Nagambie, Victorian Minister for Racing Martin Pakula said the Government was proud to be supporting the HERO program. "The HERO program has been an outstanding success in its first 12 months and we're proud to be supporting it for another year," Mr Pakula said. "This program is vitally important because it improves the welfare of harness racehorses by re-training and re-homing them." Also at today's announcement were former top-line pacing racehorses turned HERO ambassadors Villagem and Tanabi Bromac. In the first year of the HERO program, more than 200 horses were either re-homed or placed with a registered HERO trainer in preparation for re-homing. So far this financial year, more than 60 horses have been brought into the program and many of them have already been placed in their new homes. The HERO program is also working with the Victoria Police Mounted Division to identify horses that may be suitable for police duty. Funding for the program will be sourced from the Government's Victorian Racing Industry Fund. HRV will also contribute $181,000 to support the program. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said Government funding was vital for the horse racing industry. "This funding boost will help to support the racing industry which delivers thousands of regional jobs and economic benefits to the community," Ms Symes said. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Yankee Avenue is now a part of Tasmanian harness racing history after winning at King Island on Saturday. The Ian Johnson-trained and driven 9YO gelding is the first trotter in 59 years to win a harness race in Tasmania. Tasmania does not cater for trotters but they can participate in pacing races. The last trotting race in Tasmania was won by Lampton at Carrick in 1927. Three year old trotting filly Fathers Wish won twice against the pacers in 1948 before the squaregaiter Elmo Raid recorded her only win at Devonport in 1957. Others tried to enter the elite list. New South Wales mare Jenny took on the pacers in the 1962 Tasmanian Pacing Championship but was unplaced in both heats. Garron (Geoff Coulter) raced in the mid-seventies in Tasmania but failed to add to the list of winning trotters. Ratz (Torado Hanover – Wytchita) was foaled in 1988 for Scottsdale breeders Rodney and Denise Boyle. The colt demonstrated a clear preference for trotting and Victorian trainer/driver Ken Tippett guided him to a successful mainland career winning 15 races from 60 starts including the 1992 New South Wales Trotters Derby. Ratz raced in Victoria’s best open class trotting races. He was sent home for a spell in May 1994 and time trialled in 2:02 at Launceston to set a Tasmanian trotters record before wintering on the lush pastures around Scottsdale. Johnson credits his former father-in-law, Victorian Don Smith, as the one who introduced him to trotters. “Don was a master trainer of trotters and I was lucky enough to jog Melpark Maid twice. She was a classy mare and her wins included the 1993 3YO Trotters Sires Final,” Johnson said. Around the same time another Victorian trotting trainer, Don Rudd, started to visit King Island enjoying the island racing season (December and January) and regular trail rides with Johnson, who resides at Grassy. In August 2015, Rudd contacted Johnson and recommended the rising 8YO trotter Yankee Avenue as a horse that may be suited to King Island racing. At that time his record was five wins and two minor placings from 39 starts and with a T2 assessment he was able to compete as a C0/R0 against the pacers. “It was a bit of a longshot as none of the locals can recall a trotter on the island and our first race meeting was two centuries ago in 1894,” said Johnson. “However, as Yankee Avenue was free (no cost), and I loved trotters he arrived on the island within two weeks.” Last season Yankee Avenue raced at each of the seven meetings but proved to be hit and miss from the standing starts. He was placed second the three times he trotted throughout but the closest he got at the other four, after galloping early, was 40 metres behind the winner. The first meeting for this season was on Saturday (3 December 2016) at the 1570 metres Currie racetrack and Yankee Avenue was on his best behaviour and annihilated the other four starters to win by 49 metres. “I’ve done a lot of work on his barrier manners and he utilised his speed to put a space in them early. After that it was pretty straightforward. Just let him run as he can break if restrained and the sit sprint caper is not for him,” Johnson explained. Yankee Avenue progresses to the R1 and better race for the remainder of the King Island season. “It will be a new ball game but he is a real racehorse. Yankee Avenue responds to good hands and I am enjoying the challenge,” added Johnson. Sixty one year old Johnson is typical of many locals with a strong work ethic and prepared to try almost anything. Johnson also has a thoroughbred trainer’s license and trains Carbon Storm that finished fifth in a 1200 metre maiden on Saturday. Johnson no longer has the trail ride business but has branched out into other ventures at Grassy including tourist accommodation, off the beaten track tours and the award winning Wild Harvest restaurant. The next King Island meeting is on Saturday 17 December with the usual mixture of five thoroughbred and two harness events. The other dates are Boxing Day, New Years Day, January 14, 21 and 28. Follow the link https://tasracing.com.au/replays/03122016-thoroughbreds-king-island/#race-2 to watch Yankee Avenue win at King Island on 3 December 2016.  Harness Racing Victoria Race programme for King Island, Sunday 01 January 2017

Harness Racing Victoria Chairman Dale Monteith will join RSN Racing Ahead host Michael Felgate on Wednesday morning live from 9am. Trainer/driver Lance Justice (president of the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association) will also join the panel live in the studio to discuss Harness Racing Australia’s decision to ban the whip as a tool to make horses run faster from September 1, 2017. HRV today refuted ill-informed media reports that suggested the harness racing industry had no whip restrictions in place and tried to compare stock whips, such as those used in the cattle industry, to modern harness racing whips. Both of these remarks are completely misleading. Modern day harness whips are nothing like stock whips and the harness racing industry places strict restrictions on the use of the whip. Rule 156 (1) (a) of the Australian Harness Racing Rules states a driver shall only use a whip of a design and specification approved by the controlling body. Further, over 20 restrictions are placed on whip use as an extension of that rule. In Victoria these rules are strictly policed by stewards, who do not issue cautions or reprimands, but rather impose mandatory penalties starting at a fine for first offence ($200), doubled for a second offence ($400) and becomes a two-week suspension of licence for a third offence. HRV has committed to working closely with its trainers and drivers to ensure a smooth and safe transition to no-whip racing from September 1, 2017. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Pending RAD Board Hearing – Rohan Hillier - Harness Racing Victoria Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Mr Rohan Hillier under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse Ryley Major was presented to race at Melton on 7 July 2016 by Mr Hillier when not free of arsenic, a prohibited substance when evidenced by a concentration above the allowable threshold. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.   Pending RAD Board Hearing – Jodi Quinlan HRV Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Ms Jodi Quinlan under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse Sky Majesty was presented to race at Bendigo on 22 June 2016 by Ms Quinlan when not free of arsenic, a prohibited substance when evidenced by a concentration above the allowable threshold. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.   Pending RAD Board Hearing – Andrew Gath HRV Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Mr Andrew Gath under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse K D Muscles NZ was presented to race at Horsham on 14 March 2016 by Mr Gath when not free of arsenic, a prohibited substance when evidenced by a concentration above the allowable threshold. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.  

A passionate group of harness racing people who love spending time together at the track will be chasing back-to-back Flying Brick Cider Co. Geelong Pacing Cup wins on Saturday night. The Glenlyon Syndicate consists of 14 people, most of whom are trackside when their star gelding named It Is Billy is racing at venues right across Victoria. Syndicate manager Vincent Hayes described trots ownership as “terrific fun” and a “great social occasion” every time It Is Billy runs. “Usually about any 10 of the 14 syndicate members are trackside to cheer him on,” Hayes said. “It’s terrific, really. It’s a great social get-together. We all come from different occupations but we really thoroughly enjoy getting to the track.” It Is Billy is trained in Daylesford by Michael Barby and driven by his wife Anne-Maree Conroy. The eight-year-old bay has won 19 races from 58 starts for over $200,000 in stakemoney. On Saturday night It Is Billy will be chasing his second consecutive Geelong Cup win a night after the horse he beat in last year’s race, Hectorjayjay, starts a commanding favourite in the $1 million Inter Dominion Final in Perth. It is Billy will have his usual enthusiastic cheer squad trackside but sadly it will be minus Mark Leonard, who was on hand for last year’s Geelong Cup, as he passed away recently. “About a month ago we lost Mark, which was very sad. His wife took over the ownership. They always came to the track. She’s already said she’ll be there, so Billy will be running in his honour,” Hayes said. From barrier three It Is Billy is sure to get a nice run in Saturday night’s $30,000 Group 3 feature event over 2570 metres. It will be his third run back from a spell. “He’s been racing against really good horses and he just ran out of puff a bit last time,” Hayes said. “Win, lose or draw we’ll be there having a lot of fun. It’s not just that the trots is more affordable than the gallopers, you also find it’s more of a family thing and more friendly. You can get to the stalls and talk to your trainer and driver. It’s just great.” Meanwhile, another Billy, Cats star Billy Brownless, will be signing footballs and mingling with the crowd on Saturday night, plus there will be live music, gourmet food trucks, the trots virtual reality experience, punters’ club and heaps of free kids’ entertainment. The first race is at 6.38pm and event details are at trotscountry.com.au  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

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