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Harness Racing Victoria changes calendar to allow participants opportunity to contest Vic & NSW Carnivals Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) today announced the TAB Summer of Glory Carnival would be moved forward one week to avoid a clash with the New South Wales Harness Racing Club's (NSWHRC) summer carnival. Following NSWHRC's announcement of its carnival dates, which created a clash between Miracle Mile qualification races at Menangle on Saturday February 13, 2016, and HRV's Hunter Cup, HRV sought a solution. After extensive consultation with industry stakeholders and the country clubs whose feature cup meetings would be affected by a calendar amendment, HRV announces the following programming changes: * 10 January: Horsham Cup - Group 2, $60,000 * 16 January: Shepparton Cup - Group 2, $75,000 (automatic entry into Hunter Cup) * 23 January: Ballarat Cup - Group 1, $120,000 (automatic entry to Victoria Cup) and Victoria Derby heats * 30 January: Victoria Cup - Group 1, $400,000 (automatic entry to Miracle Mile on 28 Feb) and Victoria Derby - Group 1, $200,000 * 6 February: Hunter Cup - Group 1, $500,000, 4yo Bonanza - Group 1, $100,000 (auto entry into Chariots of Fire on 13 Feb), Ladyship Cup (auto entry into Ladyship Mile on 28 Feb) * 13 February: Bendigo Cup - Group 2, $50,000 and Group 1, $50,000 Maori Mile Harness Racing Victoria CEO John Anderson said it was important the participants were given the opportunity to compete at both the Victoria and NSW carnivals. "At the front of our mind throughout this process has been the wider harness racing community and especially our Victorian participants," Anderson said. "We want our participants to have the opportunity to race in our feature carnival as well as the New South Wales carnival, so it was important we acted in their best interests by rearranging our calendar after the NSWHRC's sudden announcement of its race conditions. "We are really pleased with our sequence of feature events, which provides a range of opportunities for owners. Most importantly I would like to thank the Committees of the Bendigo, Shepparton and Ballarat Clubs, which have co-operated positively with HRV in devising the calendar. I would also like to thank the Consultative Groups who gave helpful input into the process. There are several stakes increases to announce to add to the Carnival. They are: * Shepparton Cup increases from $50,000 to $75,000 * Hunter Cup increases from $400,000 to $500,000 * 4yo Bonanza increases from $30,000 to Group 1 $100,000 * Maori Mile increases from $30,000 to Group 1 $50,000 * Ballarat Cup increases from $100,000 to $120,000 Note that the full suite of stakes increases for 2015/16 will be released at a later date "We look forward to building on the success of this year's Summer of Glory Carnival with the newly created Road To Glory at the country venues in January 2016," Anderson said. Cody Winnell

Prospective owners encouraged to attend Harness Racing Victoria's Ownership Expo Anyone interested in experiencing the excitement of harness racing ownership is invited to attend Harness Racing Victoria's Ownership Expo next Saturday at Tabcorp Park Melton. Hosted by Tanya McDermott and featuring interviews with key industry players such as driver Greg Sugars, trainer Alison Alford, owner/breeders Shannon Nixon and Duncan McPherson and more, the Ownership Expo will offer prospective owners a range of information and assistance in getting involved with the industry. Harness racing contributes annually over $422 million to Victoria's economy and is responsible for more than 4000 full-time or full-time equivalent jobs, with over 19,000 people actively involved in the industry. A new Raceapacer syndicate - HRV's successful syndication program - will also be launched at the session featuring a well-bred filly who will head to the stables of leading trainer Emma Stewart. The HRV Ownership Expo will be held 4pm-5pm in the Legends Café before the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series pacing finals get under way in the evening. For more information call Jess Tubbs on 0401 346 813 or email jtubbs@hrv.org.au HRV OWNERSHIP EXPO - Where: Legends Cafe, Tabcorp Park Melton (2 Ferris Rd, Melton) - When: Saturday, July 4, 4pm to 5pm (Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Pacing Finals Night) - More info: Jess Tubbs (0401 346 813 or email jtubbs@hrv.org.au) Cody Winnell [Harness Racing Victoria]

We are very grateful for the support of Empire Stallions during the harness racing Vicbred Super Series.  The heats are well under way leading to Finals on July 3 and 4 with stakes well in excess of $1m across the pacers and trotters finals.     Great Southern Star The conditions for the Great Southern Star in March 2016 have been tweaked slightly.   While retaining the heats and final on the same night, the changes are designed to enhance the format by putting more speed into the heats and increase wagering over the heats and final.   Under the new format the winners of the $50,000 heats will automatically reach the final.  The remainder of the field will be made up of the fastest qualifiers from the heats.  This should encourage all drivers to put some speed into the race.   Once the final field is known for the $300,000 Final, the barrier draw will now be random rather than an opportunity draw.   In 2015 Great Southern Star night generated $3.3m in total wagering turnover which was 27% up on the 2014 figure of $2.6m.  While the 2015 number is well above the metropolitan average of $2.7m, it has a way to go to catch the highest turnover event, Hunter Cup night, which grossed $5.5m in February 2015.   Strategic Plan The HRV Board will finalise the draft 2020 Strategic Plan by the end of June.   It is intended that a discussion paper will then be presented to the industry via consultation groups and forums during the month of July for feedback, before being issued in final prior to the commencement of the new racing season.   The timing of the consultation sessions will be promoted on the website and social media.   Media Rights HRV is following the thoroughbred media rights debate in the media with interest.   An entity incorporating the three codes of racing (known as VicRacing) is in a joint venture partnership with Tabcorp in the wagering business.  In the current year HRV will receive close to $50m in revenue from the joint venture.  That represents over 80% of our total wagering revenue.   Therefore any detrimental impact on the joint venture arrangements resulting from the thoroughbred negotiation is a potential concern to us.   For the industry’s information, HRV has an exclusive arrangement with Sky Racing which guarantees coverage of Victorian harness racing until 2022.   Horse Welfare We will shortly be making a very exciting formal announcement regarding HRV’s structured horse rehoming and retraining program.   The program will be jointly funded by HRV and grants from the Andrews Government as part of the VRIF program.    Many industry participants care for their horses well after retirement and there are also a number of organisations which rehome and retrain retired horses.  These will all be co-ordinated under professionally managed program arrangements.   More detail will follow with the formal release of the program.   First Group 1 Winners Congratulations go to youngsters Jason Lee and Chris Shinn who both drove their first Victorian Group 1 winners in May.   Jason drove Jilliby Jitterbug to victory in the $322,000 APG fillies final and Chris steered Steam Washed home in the $100,000 Queen of the Pacific.   The Trotter and Vicbred Both trotting and Vicbred continue to flourish in Victoria.  Here are a couple of statistical comparisons from five years ago (in brackets): Trotters now make up 20% of all starters (17%) So far in the 2014/15 season 79 Vicbred first win bonuses have been paid to 4yo trotters (37) This season the average earning for a trotter is $8,100 compared to pacers $6,550.   Australasian Premier Trotting Sale (APTS) The APTS is only in its infancy however already it is having a marked impact.   A graduate from the inaugural sale, 3yo filly Endsino (Angus Hall - Jauriol) has now won $85,000, including wins in the Empire Stallions Vicbred as a 2yo and last Saturday night’s Group 2 Holmfield for 3yo trotters.   Endsino was purchased from the APTS for $25,000.   Wagering Statistics Wagering statistics for all wagering operators have now been compiled for May.  The top five meetings for the month were the five metropolitan meetings at Melton, with the highest turnover being on May 15 ($3.2m).   The highest country meeting for wagering turnover was at Shepparton on Friday May 1 ($2.1m), followed by Ballarat on Friday May 22 ($1.97m).   The highest turnover race for the month was race 1 at Melton on May 2 ($490,000), which goes to show there is little relationship between stakes and turnover.  That race was a C2 – C3 final worth $8,500 (won by Tallulah Bay) on a night when the APG $322,000 Final attracted $320,000 in turnover.   Sunday evening and Mondays contributed seven out of the bottom 10 race meetings for turnover.   Average turnover for the 313 mobile races in Victoria was $190,000 per race compared to $155,000 per race for the 32 stand start races.   HRV Finances We have completed 11 months of the financial year so we are able to predict our year end numbers with some certainty.   HRV remains on track for a full year profit in excess of $3m (well in excess of initial budget of $1m).   Wagering revenue continues to exceed budget and will finish at approximately $62m – up from $57m last year.   Stakes for the year are likely to increase from $36.3m last year to $38.6m this year. As previously revealed, debt levels will reduce to $25m from $32m at the start of the year.   Milestones   Several of our top drivers are approaching milestones: World record holder Kerryn Manning is only eight wins away from driving 3,500 winners Greg Sugars is 34 wins away from 2,000 Nathan Jack (1,467) is approaching 1,500 wins.

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) was disappointed to hear New South Wales Harness Racing Club (NSWHRC) had announced its decision regarding Carnival dates publicly without talking to HRV. “Clearly a clash of carnivals is not in the best interests of the industry and its participants,” HRV CEO John Anderson said this morning. “As late as Friday we put a position to New South Wales Harness Racing Club, so it was disappointing they announced their decision without talking to HRV.” Mr Anderson said HRV would now attempt to reorganise its Summer of Glory carnival dates. “It’s important for the participants that these two carnivals are both successful,” Mr Anderson said. “HRV will enter into a consultation process with its clubs and industry groups to find a solution. “It's easier said than done in a very busy and changing calendar, but it has to happen if NSW is pushing ahead with its dates. “It's in nobody's interest to have a situation where the same horses cannot run in a Victoria Cup and Miracle Mile.”  Cody Winnell  [Harness Racing Victoria]

Two Australian harness racing identities accused of race fixing will have their cases heard in a Melbourne court. Shayne Cramp and his father Greg Cramp – both well known drivers and trainers – yesterday faced Mildura Magistrates’ Court on charges of corrupting a betting outcome.   The pair was charged in February following a 10-month investigation by Harness Racing Victoria, the Office of the Victorian Racing Integrity Commissioner and Victoria Police. Police prosecutor Sergeant Alexandra West asked the court to adjourn the matters to Melbourne, where most of the stakeholders involved were based.  Watch this space for further updates Harnesslink media

We've got metropolitan harness racing tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton and a big night at Bray Raceway in Ballarat tomorrow for the running of the 2015 John Slack Memorial Trotters Cup.  Throw in the Harness Jewels meeting from New Zealand on Sky Racing tomorrow morning and of course the Elitlopp on Sunday and there is no shortage of quality trots to view over the next couple of days. Tonight is the last night of our May TAB Exotic Nights promotion, so make sure you get your quaddies on for your chance to share in the $20,000 jackpot at Tabcorp Park. Check out goodform.trot.com.au for all your punting information and to read the thoughts from participants in Trainer/Driver Talk. And for a full weekly trots preview of the weekend ahead - including tips for all races at Melton each week - tune into RSN Carnival from 6pm Fridays and follow @HRVnewsfor the podcast link to the program. - Cody Winnell (Media Manager, HRV)   Can the Aussies beat the Kiwis at Ashburton?   Burnaholeinmypocket, Salty Robyn and stablemates Just Cala and Glenferrie Bronte will fly the Australian flag in the Harness Jewels at Ashburton, NZ, tomorrow. Burnaholeinmypocket (trainer Andy Gath, driver Kate Gath) is in the 3YO Emerald from barrier nine, Salty Robyn (trainer Shane Tritton, driver Lauren Panella) will contest the 2YO Emerald from barrier three, while Shepparton duo Amanda Turnbull and Nathan Jack have Just Cala in the 4YO Diamond and Glenferrie Bronte in the 3YO Diamond. The Jewels will be shown live on Sky Racing and broadcast on RSN with the first event at 9.40am. The TAB is betting on all of the nine races on the big card. Click here to download a comprehensive Jewels Day guide with tips, runner-by-runner analysis and heaps more Bet on the Jewels races with the TAB   Cody Winnell looks for value tonight @ Melton The first is at 5.03pm, so it's an early start. I'm shooting for each-way value tonight and reckon there are a few runners who can deliver. Race 1 No. 4 Dream Fulfilled ($4.2): Absolutely luckless last time at Ballarat when finished under a tight hold. Has ability and deserves another chance. Race 2 No.2 Five Star Belle ($3.5): Has good gate speed and held them off well after being allowed to bowl along last time out. Main dangers are drawn terribly.  Race 3 No. 11 Sammy Charles ($2.5): Best trotter in the race but awkward draw. That means you'll get a decent price.  Race 4 No.4 Barimah ($3.8): He's a lot closer to the favourite than the market suggests. His form is fantastic. Race 5 No.1 Barynya ($2.4): Excellent trial win during the week, reportedly flying and should get the gun run behind Keayang Active.  Race 6 No.5 Mister Independent ($21): Cannot believe this horse is quoted such big odds. Tipping him to lead and if gets a cheap quarter, I think he'll win. E/W special. Race 7 No. 8 Exciteusinthecity ($21): Maybe I've gone mad, but $21 seems overs for this bloke! Big run first-up, had hoof issues last prep, gets a soft run here, goes close. Race 8 No. 2 Here And Now ($14): If you get anywhere near the $14 in the paper, jump on. She's one of my best of the night. Has had no luck at all of late. Race 9 No. 4 Our Mels Dream ($12): I'm tipping Composed here, but Our Mels Dream is the quinella value. Caught my eye at the trials during the week. Good place bet. Race 10 No. 8 Donski ($3.2): She didn't get any favours at all last time out. Smart filly who should get a nice run and be hard to hold out.  Get Blake Redden's full Game Plan and expert opinion in Good Form by clicking here Fast Fact: Casino Lyn (Phillip Gath) won the first ever Ballarat Trotters Cup in a mile rate of 2:15.8 in 1984. Keystone Del won the race last year for Blake Fitzpatrick in a rate of 2:00.2. Horsham mates snare a Jewel on Twitter  Twitter is one of the best things in the world, just ask a group of owners who have a share in Jewels hopeful Burnaholeinmypocket. Click here to read the full story from Adam Hamilton Fast Fact: Katy Perry the singer, and not the racehorse, has the most Twitter followers in the world. The pop star has 70.3 million followers.    Exotic Nights - $20,000 Quaddie Jackpot Tonight's the final night of our May TAB Exotic Nights promotion. For the month of May, place an exotics bet on any night meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton with your TAB Rewards card and you’ll score double TAB Rewards points. Additionally there will be $20,000 Vic TAB Quaddie Jackpots on every night meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton during May. So get trackside and have a crack, visit your local TAB outlet, bet via the TAB app or online at tab.com.au   Country Run of the Week WAR DAN DESTROYER (Majestic Son/Starcus) is a two-year-old trotter who looks to have a bright future. He was fantastic winning at Maryborough on Thursday in the Peter Glavas Memorial 2YO Trotters Handicap over 2190m for in-form trainer Beau Tindale and driver Rodney Petroff. War Dan Destroyer stepped nicely, worked to the top and gave nothing else a chance, holding off another smart young squaregaiter in Calder Knight at the finish by 2.8m. Check out the replay by clicking above.  Click the image for a replay of the Country Run of the Week   Media Centre Podcast: Gait Speed with Jason Bonnington & Blake Redden (RSN Tuesday) Podcast: Inside Word with Cody Winnell (RSN, Winners, Thursday) Podcast: Trots Weekend Preview with Blake Redden (RSN Friday) Podcast: Trots Weekend Review with Jason Bonnington (RSN, Winners) Podcast: Harness Review with Len Baker (Melton 97.9FM Monday) Podcast: HRV GM of Operations Vaughn Lynch (RSN, Racing Ahead) Podcast: Onefortysevenseven with Brett Coffey & Shannon Nixon Newsletter: Subscribe to the Harness Breeders Vic Online Newsletter here Print: Check out Melton Leader's harness racing column in their digital edition Print: Harness Racing NZ's Jewels Day Preview Publication online Video: Tabcorp Park Trial replays via HRV Youtube Video: Andy Gath works Burnaholeinmypocket in New Zealand Check out the latest Victorian trots news in the HRV Newsroom     Tweet Talk Congratulations to @onthepace who wins this week's Tweet Talk and will receive a $50 TAB voucher for his clever caption of the Lennytheshark photo posted on Twitter last Saturday night. Great work! If your Tweet appears in this column, you'll receive a $50 TAB betting voucher. So start tweeting and remember the hashtag #Trots  and add @HRVnews to make it easier for us to see!   

Harness Racing Victoria CEO John Anderson today responded to the Racing Integrity Commissioner’s report into the 2014 Ballarat Pacing Cup.   The report has been delivered to the Racing Minister, the Hon Martin Pakula MP.   The Racing Integrity Commissioner made eight recommendations and listed 20 findings in his report.   The recommendations were as follows:-   1: That HRV immediately restore the dedicated position of Compliance Steward.    2: That HRV introduce a training process that provides all Stewards with skills and knowledge in compliance.    3: That HRV introduce a requirement that Stewards’ Panels at all race meetings consist of a minimum of four Stewards, one of which is the dedicated compliance steward.    4: That HRV introduce a requirement that integrity officials, not only Stewards, but also others that come under the ‘General Manager Integrity’ organisational structure such as industry liaison/licensing and investigations, be required to maintain an official work diary.    5: That HRV amend the Rules of Racing to introduce the requirement that participants must advise of a change to their sulkies.   6: That HRV urge HRA to introduce a requirement that every new sulky that is purchased or obtained for use in Harness Racing, is, prior to its use in racing, subject to testing which includes measuring of the width of a sulky to ensure that the sulky conforms to the ‘Sulky Standard’.    7: That HRV commission a review of the Rules of Racing relating to Stewards’ powers and the powers of the controlling body with a view to eliminating lack of clarity and understanding.    8: That this Government reconsider my previous recommendation to amend the Racing Act 1958 to establish an independent body with responsibility for integrity across the three codes and remove such responsibility from the controlling bodies. (See Recommendation 11, 2012 Own Motion Inquiry into Race Fixing dated 23 January 2013).   Mr Anderson advised that HRV supports recommendations 1 to 7 and will work with the various bodies to implement.   In relation to Recommendation 8, Mr Anderson stated HRV had responded to the Racing Minister on this matter following Dale Monteith’s recent report on the Audit of HRV.   Mr Anderson said: “HRV welcomes the advice from the Minister that there will be a consultative process with all three codes regarding future racing industry integrity arrangements. The Board looks forward to participating in the Minister’s review where it will further articulate its views that integrity should remain a function of each controlling body.    HRV also remains open to exploring ways that the three codes can work together to achieve economies of scale and scope to achieve the best outcome for the racing industry overall.”   CODY WINNELL   COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER

Commissioner delivers Report regarding the Special Inquiry into the late scratching of horses from the 2014 (Harness Racing) Ballarat Pacing Cup. The Racing Integrity Commissioner, Sal Perna, has delivered to the Minister for Racing and Harness Racing Victoria (HRV), a Report on his Special Inquiry into the late scratching of six out of 10 horses from the Harness Racing Victoria Ballarat Pacing Cup on 13 December 2014.  The Inquiry was conducted at the request of both the Minister and HRV, seeking answers to specific questions regarding the circumstances of the late scratching of horses in the Group 1 Ballarat Pacing Cup (Race 7) following detection by Stewards of noncompliant (oversized width) US style sulkies that the Stewards' Panel prohibited from racing that evening.  The Commissioner's comprehensive investigation involved his use of 'Board of Inquiry' powers to compel attendance of witnesses, including HRV officials and racing industry participants, to answer questions under oath and produce documents.   The Commissioner’s report outlines his findings based on evidence obtained in the Inquiry and eight recommendations for both the harness industry and Government (set out in Attachment 1 below).  The Commissioner found that there was no evidence prior to the race meeting that non-compliant sulkies were being used in Victoria and therefore, it was reasonable for the Stewards to think that oversized sulkies would not be an issue at the race meeting. Nor did the Commissioner find evidence that the non-compliant sulkies were ordered by trainers or drivers to be manufactured contrary to the ‘Sulky Standards’ or that the sulkies were later modified to exceed the 'Sulky Standards'.  The decision of the Stewards' Panel was either questioned or challenged during the race meeting by both participants and HRV management, who entered the Stewards’ Room a number of times encouraging the Stewards to reconsider their decision. Despite these approaches, the Stewards' Panel maintained its decision, but afforded the participants the opportunity to swap sulkies.  The Commissioner determined that the Stewards' Panel took the correct course of action, in accordance with the Rules of Racing, in prohibiting the use of sulkies that breached the Rules.  Sal Perna RACING INTEGRITY COMMISSIONER To contact the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner, call 8684 7776; fax 8684 7778; email enquiries@racingintegrity.vic.gov.au or contact the Racing Integrity Hotline on 1300 227 225. www.racingintegrity.vic.gov.au ATTACHMENT 1 Commissioner’s Findings The Commissioner made the following findings in his report: 1. HRV Stewards first became aware of a potential issue with oversized sulkies on Wednesday 10 December 2014, following advice from Harness Racing Australia (HRA) of a complaint regarding their possible use and requesting HRV Stewards to measure sulkies at future race meetings. 2. HRV Stewards had not been provided with any evidence prior to the Ballarat Pacing Cup meeting on 13 December 2014 that noncompliant (oversized) sulkies were being used in Victoria and as such there was no reason for the Stewards to think that oversized sulkies would be an issue at the Ballarat Pacing Cup meeting.    3. There was an industry assumption that the US-based manufacturer of the sulkies, the Australian sulky distributor, the sulky owners (HRV registered trainers and drivers) and the Stewards, would all ensure that the sulkies complied with the Rules of Racing and the ‘Sulky Standards’(i.e. a maximum width of 1300mm). However, what was identified, was that little, if any, compliance checking was conducted by any of those parties. 4. The UFO model sulky was approved for use in Australia by Harness Racing Australia (HRA) in October 2012 following an extensive testing program required. The UFO ‘Aussie Alien’ model sulky (a non-offset variation) was approved by HRA in July 2014 without similar testing. 5. The first known order of an ‘Aussie Alien’ in Victoria, later determined to be oversized, was 20 March 2014. That sulky was subsequently used in numerous races and until it was measured at the Ballarat Pacing Cup meeting. 6. There is no evidence that the non-compliant sulkies were ordered by trainers or drivers to be manufactured contrary to the Sulky Standards or that the sulkies were later modified to exceed the 'Sulky Standards'. 7. Following HRV receipt of the HRA advice on 10 December 2014, regarding their potential use, the HRV Chairman of Stewards immediately directed the HRV 'Compliance Steward' to measure sulkies at future race meetings and report back to him. 8. Only one HRV Steward has dedicated ‘Compliance Steward’ responsibilities, including the checking of sulkies against the ‘Sulky Standards’. However, over time that Compliance Steward has performed most of his duties as a member of the Stewards’ Panel at race meetings. 9. The first race meeting at which the Compliance Steward was rostered following the HRA advice of 10 December 2014, was at Tabcorp Park, Melton on 11 December 2014. Whilst the Compliance Steward was rostered on the Stewards’ Panel, he nonetheless examined US-style sulkies. All measured sulkies complied with the Sulky Standards (1300mm width). 10. The first confirmation of the use of a non-compliant sulky was at the Ballarat Pacing Cup meeting on 13 December 2014 when the Compliance Steward (while rostered on a Stewards' Panel) commenced measuring sulkies prior to Race 1 at approximately 6.30pm. The first UFO ‘Aussie Alien’ examined was measured at 1350mm, thereby exceeding the approved width of 1300mm in the ‘Sulky Standards’. The next two UFO ‘Aussie Aliens also measured at 1350mm. All three affected trainers/drivers were subject to a unanimous ruling of the Stewards that there was no discretion under the Rules of Racing and the ‘Sulky Standards’ to permit oversized sulkies to be used. The three affected trainers/drivers sourced replacement sulkies and took part in Race 1. 11. Prior to Race 2, six more sulkies were measured. Five were found to be compliant (including an ‘Aussie Alien’) but another ’Aussie Alien’ was found to be oversized (1350mm). 12. After Race 2 (7.00pm), a further four sulkies were measured, one of which, a ‘Dooza’ brand sulky, measured at 1325mm. 13. The Stewards' Panel issued no formal communication to participants or generally on the basis that their decision not to permit non-compliant sulkies would be common knowledge through participants talking to each other or seeing horses return to the ‘horse movement area’ to swap sulkies. 14. The decision of the Stewards' Panel continued to be either questioned or challenged during the race meeting by both participants and HRV management who entered the Stewards’ Room a number of times encouraging the Stewards to reconsider their decision. At one point HRV management advised the Stewards that they were considering overruling the Stewards' Panel. Despite these approaches, the Stewards' Panel maintained its decision, but afforded the participants the opportunity to swap sulkies. 15. As a result of the Stewards’ advice to trainers and drivers that the decision not to allow non-compliant sulkies would not be changed, at 8.53pm two trainers chose to withdraw their horses from the Pacing Cup due to start at 9.32pm. One trainer (Emma Stewart) had four runners in the Cup and the other (David Aiken) had two runners. Whilst the official records will indicate that these four horses were ‘scratched’, the fact is that they were ‘withdrawn’. As a consequence of the six ‘scratchings’, four horses were left to compete in the Group 1 Race. Both trainers, who had become aware of issues with oversized sulkies earlier that evening, cited a number of reasons why they would not, or could not, swap sulkies. 16. A total of 20 sulkies were checked on the evening of the Ballarat Pacing Cup race meeting. Seven were detected as non-compliant (oversized in width). Six were UFO ‘Aussie Aliens’ (1350mm) and one was a ‘Dooza’(1325mm). 18. Both legally and operationally, the Stewards could not have permitted the use of the oversized sulkies. The ‘Sulky Standard’ is clear and prescriptive and the relevant Rule allows for no discretion. Accordingly, the Stewards' Panel took the correct course of action, in accordance with the Rules of Racing, in prohibiting the use of sulkies that breached the Rules. 19. There was a lack of (timely) communication to participants by the Stewards and/or HRV management in relation to the Stewards’ detection of non-compliant sulkies and decision to prohibit same. 20. There is a lack of clarity and understanding of the Rules of Racing relevant to the powers of the Stewards and HRV as a ‘Controlling Body’.  Commissioner’s Recommendations The Commissioner has made the following eight Recommendations as a result of this Special Inquiry and Findings: Recommendation 1 - That HRV immediately restore the dedicated position of Compliance Steward. Recommendation 2 - That HRV introduce a training process that provides all Stewards with skills and knowledge in compliance. Recommendation 3 - That HRV introduce a requirement that Stewards’ Panels at all race meetings consist of a minimum of four Stewards, one of which is the dedicated compliance steward. Recommendation 4 - That HRV introduce a requirement that integrity officials, not only Stewards, but also others that come under the ‘General Manager Integrity’ organisational structure such as industry liaison/licensing and investigations, be required to maintain an official work diary. Recommendation 5 - That HRV amend the Rules of Racing to introduce the requirement that participants must advise of a change to their sulkies. Recommendation 6 - That HRV urge HRA to introduce a requirement that every new sulky that is purchased or obtained for use in Harness Racing, is, prior to its use in racing, subject to testing which includes measuring of the width of a sulky to ensure that the sulky conforms to the ‘Sulky Standard’. Recommendation 7 - That HRV commission a review of the Rules of Racing relating to Stewards’ powers and the powers of the controlling body with a view to eliminating lack of clarity and understanding. Recommendation 8 - That this Government reconsider my previous recommendation to amend the Racing Act 1958 to establish an independent body with responsibility for integrity across the three codes and remove such responsibility from the controlling bodies. (See Recommendation 11, 2012 Own Motion Inquiry into Race Fixing dated 23 January 2013). Paul Stevens Manager Integrity Operations          

On 6 May 2015, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) heard the application for review of Mr Craig Demmler regarding the decision made by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on 18 March 2015 to affirm the decision of the HRV Stewards made on 13 March 2015 to suspend the training and driving licences of Mr Demmler. The original decision being made pending the outcome of an investigation into an analytical report that one of Mr Demmler’s horses returned an elevated raceday cobalt level that was in excess of the relevant threshold permitted by the rules.  VCAT heard evidence from Dr Richard Cust and also heard submissions from the legal representative of Mr Demmler and the legal representative of the HRV Stewards. VCAT has now released its decision and ordered that the decision of the HRV RAD Board regarding the suspension of Mr Demmler’s licences be set aside, meaning that Mr Demmler’s licences are reinstated and that he is therefore able to undertake activities in accordance with his licences. - HRV Media

On 13 May 2015, the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board heard a matter in regards to various charges issued by HRV Stewards under the Australian Rules of Harness Racing (ARHR) against licensed trainers Mr Vincent Costa and Mr Joseph Costa. Charges issued against Mr Vincent Costa    Charge 1) ARHR 196A (1) reads as follows:     A person shall not administer or cause to be administered to a horse any prohibited substance For the purpose of affecting the performance or behaviour of a horse in a race or of preventing its starting in a race The charge under ARHR 196A (1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Vincent Costa related to a post-race urine sample collected from the horse ‘Uncle Wingnut’  after it won Race 7 the ‘Dunlop Super Dealer 2014 Charlton Pacing Cup’ at Charlton on 16 February 2014.  Mr Costa was the registered trainer of the horse at this time and analytical testing conducted by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Laboratory (HKJCL) and the Chemistry Centre (CC) in Western Australia (WA) reported the sample to contain a cobalt concentration of between 1200 and 1400 micrograms per litre in urine.  Charge 2) ARHR 196A (1) reads as follows:     A person shall not administer or cause to be administered to a horse any prohibited substance (i)For the purpose of affecting the performance or behaviour of a horse in a race or of preventing its starting in a race      The charge under ARHR 196A (1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Vincent Costa related to a pre-race urine sample collected from the horse ‘Beachstar’ before it placed 2nd in Race 7 the ‘Empire Stallions VicBred Super Series’ (4yo Entires and Geldings)  at the Ouyen at Mildura meeting on 13 June 2014.  Mr Costa was the registered trainer of the horse at this time and analytical testing conducted by the HKJCL and the CC (WA) reported the sample to contain a cobalt concentration of between 270 and 290 micrograms per litre in urine. Charge 3) ARHR 196A (1) reads as follows:     A person shall not administer or cause to be administered to a horse any prohibited substance (i)For the purpose of affecting the performance or behaviour of a horse in a race or of preventing its starting in a race      The charge under ARHR 196A (1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Vincent Costa related to a post-race urine sample collected from the horse ‘Blissfull Hart’ after it won Race 7 the ‘Prostate Awareness Night Pace’  at the Swan Hill meeting on 26 June 2014.  Mr Costa was the registered trainer of the horse at this time and analytical testing conducted by the HKJCL and the CC (WA) reported the sample to contain a cobalt concentration of between 590 and 660 micrograms per litre in urine. Charges 4 and 5) ARHR 193(1) reads as follows: A person shall not attempt to stomach tube or stomach tube a horse nominated for a race or event within 48 hours of the commencement of the race or event. These 2 charges issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Vincent Costa related to admissions made by Mr Costa during a stable inspection conducted by HRV Stewards on 25 July 2014 that he had previously in 2013 or 2014 stomach tubed a horse within 24 hours of a race, believing that to be the relevant timeframe in which he could do so. Charges 6) ARHR 190B(1) reads as follows: A trainer shall at all times keep and maintain a log book- listing all therapeutic substances in his or her possession; recording all details of treatment administered to any horse in his or her care and including as a minimum requirement: the name of the horse the date of administration of the treatment the name of the treatment (brand name of active constituent) the route of administration the amount given the name and the signature of the person or persons administering and/or authorising the treatment This charge under ARHR 190B (1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Vincent Costa related to admissions made by Mr Costa during a stable inspection conducted by HRV Stewards on 25 July 2014. Charges issued against Mr Joseph Costa Charge 1) ARHR 248 reads as follows:     A person shall not say, publish or write or cause to be said, published or written anything malicious, intimidatory or otherwise improper about the Controlling Body, its members and employees or the stewards or anyone else associated with the harness racing industry. The charge under ARHR 248 issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Joseph Costa related to improper comments made by Mr Costa about persons associated with the harness racing industry, namely laboratory officials, during a stable inspection conducted by HRV Stewards on 25 July 2014. Charge 2) ARHR 231(2) reads as follows:     A person shall not misconduct himself in any way The charge under ARHR 231(2) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Joseph Costa related to inappropriate comments made by Mr Costa towards HRV Stewards during a stable inspection conducted by HRV Stewards on 25 July 2014. Charges 3) ARHR 190B(1) reads as follows: A trainer shall at all times keep and maintain a log book- listing all therapeutic substances in his or her possession; recording all details of treatment administered to any horse in his or her care and including as a minimum requirement: the name of the horse the date of administration of the treatment the name of the treatment (brand name of active constituent) the route of administration the amount given the name and the signature of the person or persons administering and/or authorising the treatment This charge under ARHR 190B (1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Joseph Costa related to admissions made by Mr Costa that he did not keep a log book recording such information in accordance with the rule. The HRV RAD Board received statements from HRV Investigative Steward Anthony Pearce, Veterinarian Dr Richard Cust, Racing Analytical Services Ltd (RASL) Scientific Manager Mr Paul Zahra and Scientific Consultant Dr John Vine. Both Mr Vincent and Mr Joseph Costa pleaded guilty to all charges and after hearing an agreed submission by the legal representative of the HRV Stewards and the legal representative of Mr Vincent and Joseph Costa as to an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board imposed the penalties listed below.    Mr Vincent Costa - Penalty Charge 1       18 Month disqualification Charge 2       18 month disqualification (concurrent to Charge 1 Charge 3       18 month disqualification (concurrent to charge 1) Charge 4,5    $4,000 fine (with $2,000 suspended) Charge 6       $250 fine Mr Joseph Costa - Penalty Charge 1       $1,000 fine Charge 2       $1,500 fine Charge 3       $250 fine Mr Vincent Costa’s total 18 month disqualification was backdated to 25 July 2014, a date on which his licence was suspended by HRV Stewards.  Mr Vincent Costa’s disqualification will subsequently conclude as at 25 January 2016. Acting under ARHR 195, the HRV RAD Board ordered that Uncle Wingnut, Beachstar and Blissfull Hart be disqualified from their respective races and the places be amended accordingly. Acting under ARHR 200, the HRV RAD Board ordered that all relevant prizemonies from the relevant races be returned to HRV. - HRV Media

A quick look at the Reg Withers Classic honour roll reveals truth in the adage “it is a good horse’s race”. From Henschke’s pioneering win in 2002 in the inaugural classic at Kilmore right through to Follow The Stars’ triumph on Saturday night, the honour roll is adorned with top-line talents. Henschke won 34 of 157 races and pocketed connections over $400,000, with the two-year-old Breeders’ Crown Final at Bendigo his crowning moment. The 2003 Reg Withers Classic winner Maggies Son won 42 races from 168 starts for $368,719. Maggies Son’s biggest victory came in the Vicbred Super Series final at four. In 2005 the Classic again produced a genuine free-for-aller with Tactical Dreamer taking it out before going on to win a Melton Plate and the Preux Chevalier Free-For-All to finish with 21 wins from 100 starts for almost $200,000 in stakes. Garnet River won the Reg Withers Classic in 2009 after winning APG heats and the Youthful Stakes at two and finishing runner-up in the Breeders’ Crown Final. In 2011 Caribbean Blaster was Reg Withers Classic champion, with the Andy Gath-trained son of Bettors Delight etching a name for himself with wins in the Chariots Of Fire, Breeders’ Crown Final, Victoria Cup and the 2014 SA Cup. Caribbean Blaster had 79 starts for 24 wins for over $1.1 million in stakes. In 2012 it was Philadelphia Man who delighted Kilmore fans in the Reg Withers Classic.  He went on to win the Vicbred Super Series Final at three. Flaming Flutter won the 2013 Reg Withers and has gone on to run second in this year’s Inter Dominion, while Smokey Quartz took out the Kilmore feature last year and has just recently resumed from a spell. Back to Saturday night’s winner, Follow The Stars. He’s already considered a top-liner with 16 wins from 22 starts…so watch this space. Trained by Belinda McCarthy, Follow The Stars defeated Burnaholeinmypocket in 1:57 over the 2180-metre trip. HRV Media

Harness Racing Victoria Chairman of Stewards Neal Conder has tendered his resignation, which will take effect on May 29. “Neal has been a valuable member of the HRV staff since January 2008 and has held the vital role of Chairman of Stewards since January 2014,” HRV CEO John Anderson said. “Neal has been a respected member of the leadership team at HRV and he will be a loss to the organisation. “Neal has held several positions in the industry over a number of years in both Victoria and South Australia and has a genuine love for harness racing. “I wish him well in the next phase of his career.” Conder has resigned for personal reasons. Following Conder's departure Nick Murray will assume the Acting Chairman of Stewards role.  HRV will commence a search for a permanent replacement soon. HRV Media

Cobram Harness Racing is turning pink on Thursday, May 7 for the club's ‘Community Pink Ribbon Ladies Day at the Trots’. To celebrate the occasion the lady drivers will be wearing pink pants sponsored by Harness Racing Victoria. A candle lighting ceremony involving ladies from the service clubs and ladies groups who have supported the day as well as students from the Cobram Secondary College will take place at 12 noon; prior to the first race at 12.37pm The talented Cobram Secondary College Stage Band led by band master Justin McLaren will provide musical entertainment during the afternoon while students from the ADVANCE Program at the College have generously volunteered their services to man the gate. All proceeds from the gate will go to the McGrath Foundation. The highlight of the afternoon is the Antica Murrina Paul Roberts Lady Drivers Invitation Race and the highly sought after Xerri Evans Aggregate Award for Lady Driver of the Day. There will be a free sweep on the Invitation Lady Drivers Race for the female patrons. Lady of the Day and Best Hat will be judged during the afternoon with sashes generously donated by the Cobram & District Artists Society and the Cobram Newsagency. Excellent prizes have been provided by Cobram Sit ‘n Sew and Cobram Shoex. A great day’s racing is assured on the nine-race program; races being named after the service clubs, ladies groups and the Moira Shire. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy an afternoon in the sun and the thrills and excitement on one of the state’s best race tracks. Ladies are invited to wear something pink to celebrate the wonderful work of the McGrath Foundation breast-care nurses supporting those battling this cruel disease in our community. - HRV Media Related Links Fields for Cobram, Thursday 07 May 2015 Form guide for Cobram, Thursday 07 May 2015

A host of promising two-year-olds will vie for a share of the rich Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic prize money starting this week at Ballarat and Geelong. The colts and geldings will be in action at Ballarat on Wednesday night, while the fillies will take to the track on Thursday night at Geelong. Kialla trainer Heath Redwood will take two youngsters to Ballarat in the hope of qualifying for the $50,000 Empire Stallions Home Grown Classic Final at Melton on May 15. His best winning chance appears to be unbeaten colt Iconic Valor, which has been the subject of several sizeable offers after winning his two starts. “He’s a very nice horse,” Redwood declared. “I’m really happy with him. He’s 100 per cent and he’s drawn perfectly, with his main danger (Apache Shark) drawn eight.” Redwood begins the night with last-start winner Showgun Thomas, with the son of Bettors Delight to come from barrier eight. “He’s got a good draw for him because he’s an opportunist, who can sit on the speed and peel off a pretty good last sectional,” Redwood said. “Andy’s (Gath) horse (Franklin Art) will probably push forward from the pole, so we should get our shot at them.” In the first of the fillies’ heats the Emma Stewart-trained Whirily School will be looking to stretch her record to three wins at her fourth start when she begins from gate four. To be driven by Greg Sugars, the daughter of Courage Under Fire boasts two professional victories over Diamond Jasper at Geelong and Maryborough. Highly-rated pacer Swiftly Tothebeach will line up in the second heat. Backed into $1.40 favourite on debut, Swiftly Tothebeach finished third, beaten two-and-a-half by Whirily School after working in the breeze. HRV Media

A 15-year-old pacer nicknamed “Sneakers” stole the show during last night’s harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton. Veteran gelding Mister Douglas was victorious in the Schweppes Claiming Pace over 1720 metres for trainer-driver Joanne Justice, in what is his 34th win from 291 starts. Making his 9th appearance at the venue, the son of Albert Albert upstaged Livin It Lovin It by a half-head in a mile rate of 1:57.6. Justice said she is “absolutely rapt” with the gelding’s win. “He’s a great horse. He likes the wet and he loves working and racing,” Justice said. “He has been going good, he just needed to find the right race.” Paying $38.30 on the tote, Mister Douglas settled two-back along the pegs from the pole as Four Grinners led. Mister Douglas hit the front inside the final 50 metres before staving off Livin It Lovin It. “He’s got the white socks on his hinds and he’s light on his feet,” Justice said when asked how Mister Douglas got his stable name. Interestingly, Justice also had an association with Mister Douglas’s mother, which she drove to win the Nyah Necklace in 1991. Mister Douglas debuted on April 13, 2003, when scoring at Bendigo. He won several races at Moonee Valley before the home of Victorian metropolitan trotting moved to Melton where Mister Douglas has won eight races. But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the veteran He broke down after 80 starts and experts told Justice at the time he probably wouldn’t race again. “But I walked him and swam him,” Justice said, eventually the trainer getting the gelding back on his feet and back on track.  “We’ll just keep working and racing with him until he doesn’t want to anymore. “I’m sure this is his last season. I am hoping to get to 300 starts.” HRV Media

On 23 April 2015, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal continued the hearing of a part heard review application of Gaita Pullicino.  The review application was in relation to a decision of the Harness Racing Victoria Stewards to cancel Pullicino’s training and driving licences as a result of an alleged breach of a condition attached to her licence relating to a stable inspection conducted by Stewards in September 2014 concerning the amount of horses on the property of Pullicino.  After considering all of the evidence and the submissions of the legal representatives of Pullicino and the HRV Stewards, the Tribunal dismissed Pullicino’s application, affirming that the HRV Stewards were entitled to cancel the licences in the circumstances.  As a result of this decision, Pullicino, who had been operating on a stay of proceedings since 31 October 2014, is not the holder of a current licence and horses nominated for upcoming meetings have been scratched accordingly. HRV Media

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