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Montana McStay - My Harness Racing Victoria internship has given me the opportunity to work with some of the best trainers and breeders in the state. At the time of completing my Gippsland Harness Training Centre education I considered myself very lucky to have been given this opportunity and that has only been reinforced by the experience gained and doors that have opened. I’ve learned a lot and have benefitted from the efforts of a lot of people over that time. LISTEN: MONTANA MCSTAY DISCUSSES THE MANY HIGHS OF HER HRV INTERNSHIP I spent the first seven weeks at Chris and Glen Hunter’s stables in Trafalgar, where I learnt the process for breaking and training yearlings. This was great timing for me because a lot of the yearlings that come into the stable I had seen go through the Australian Pacing Gold sales in Melbourne. I’ve always loved working with young horses and enjoyed seeing them progress from their first day of having gear put on to when they step foot on the track for the first time. I was also driving track work and strapping horses because there was a handful that were up and racing. The mixture of those different responsibilities kept me busy and switched things up. The time that I spent at this first stable really gave me the underpinning knowledge and self confidence that prepared me to successfully complete my other placements. The support that I had received in this time was really important to me. Before moving away I spent a week in at Harness Racing Victoria’s office in Melbourne where I gained insight into licensing, finance, media and futurities. I also attended a Friday night race meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton where I got the opportunity to sit in the stewards’ room with Nick Murray, Shane Larkins, Nathan Moy and Steve Coombes to witness what goes into making a race meeting run smoothly and penalties that might apply to drivers when they breach rules. From there I went on to spend eight weeks at Kerryn Manning and Grant Campbell’s Great Western stable, Allbenz Park, where I worked with a larger number of horses than what I had been used to. Under Kerryn and Grant I learnt to appreciate exceptionally high standards at all times as well as a lot about horse health and welfare. Although having to adjust to a different stable routine and an established team of people, I felt welcomed and was able to settle into the fast-paced routine quite easily. I had the opportunity to drive fast work and attend a number of tracks that I hadn’t had the opportunity to visit before. The time I spent with Kerryn and Grant really opened my eyes to how a major operation works, I felt my time management skills and ability to think ahead were greatly improved. I would like to thank the Stawell Harness Racing Club and Cody Sanderson for providing accommodation. My next placement took place at Ross, Kerry and Kylie Sugars' stable at Hopetoun Park for eight weeks. The moment I walked into their stables I instantly felt at home. They were very welcoming and family orientated, always encouraging each other and highlighting the importance of believing in yourself and never giving up. Being close to my own family but having to move away from home I really valued this. I also had many opportunities to drive horses in track work at all levels of their training, which allowed me to build more experience and improve my skills, and I attended a few of the industry’s biggest events such as Redwood and Breeders Crown. I have always looked up to the Sugars family as a young driver and to watch them drive at home and on the racetrack was very beneficial. Whilst getting to work with the horses, I also was completing my Certificate IIV (Racehorse Trainer) through the Gippsland Harness Training Centre. If I had any questions or I needed something to be explained further, such as training methods, gear or farrier work, I felt comfortable knowing that it would be answered without hesitation. Thank you to Rob Martin and Michelle Smith and Ballarat Harness Racing Club for my accommodation. After a break, I was able to get my C Grade driver’s license and drive in three successful trials at Cranbourne and Warragul before I began my next journey at Empire Stallions with Donna Egan and David James in Avenel. I had very limited knowledge when it came to the breeding area of the industry and had only ever handled a stallion a small amount of times before. My time there involved early morning starts, when I assisted in the collection of stallions, worked in the laboratory and the preparation of semen for distribution to breeders. These careful operations really opened my eyes to how complex, specialised and detail-oriented this procedure really is. Although this was something completely different to the routine I was use to – driving track work and strapping at race meetings – I found I settled in straight away. My self–confidence grew and I felt my role in the workplace was highly appreciated. My nine-week stay felt much shorter and went by very quickly working with such lovely, caring, and humble people. This experience was very exciting and I felt very privileged to be a part of this year’s breeding season, interacting and caring for some of America’s most valued horses. Thank you to Bill and Anne Anderson at Lauriston Bloodstock for having me stay on their property. After a Christmas break, and before heading to my final placement at Alabar stud in Echuca, I came back to Harness Racing Victoria’s office and spent a Monday race meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton with race day coordinator Troy Anderson to see what procedures were put in place before, during and after the race meeting. On the Tuesday I sat in with stewards Kylie Harrison, Cody Baker and Shane Larkins, seeing operations in the stewards' tower and what to look for during the race, as well as behind the mobile with Graeme Morgan, with the race day caller Lachlan McIntosh and swabbing of a horse post-race. Mid-week I was able to get more of an insight into the media and marketing role, including the sport's promotion and the organising of big events. The Harness Racing Victoria internship has been such a life-changing experience. I got an opportunity not many people would to travel and work for some of the best trainers and breeders in the state. Through them it has brought up so many new and exciting opportunities I only could have dreamt of doing. I now have a number of career pathways to choose from within the industry. I am also indebted to the magnificent horses at each stable that I have worked with and that have taken care of me. Along the way I have made so many new friends that I will have for a lifetime. Thank you to all connections that have helped me in more ways than one to complete my internship. Montana McStay

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) provides this update in respect to Victoria Police issuing criminal charges against licensed driver Kieran O’Keeffe. HRV Stewards gave Mr O’Keeffe the opportunity to provide submissions as to why action should not be taken against him under the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) while his appeal regarding conviction and penalty is determined. Mr O’Keeffe presented submissions to HRV Stewards, which have been considered along with all other relevant circumstances including the importance of protecting the integrity of and maintaining public confidence in the Victorian harness racing industry. Following this consideration, in accordance with the provisions of AHRR 183(d), HRV Stewards have directed that Mr O’Keeffe’s drivers licence be suspended. HRV Stewards have not invoked AHRR 15(d), which would exclude Mr O’Keeffe from attending racetracks. Mr O’Keeffe has been advised of his right to appeal this decision to the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board. Mr O'Keeffe has subsequently lodged an appeal and been granted a stay of proceedings until the appeal is determined. With respect to the criminal charges, HRV is unable to make any further comment at this time. Harness Racing Victoria

Cobram and District Harness Racing Club will celebrate the new year with a $60,000 joint funding package supported by the Victorian Government. Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp recently announced the government would contribute more than $29,000 to support next month’s Cobram Pacing Cup and two infrastructure projects at the Cobram Recreation Reserve. Infrastructure improvements at the Cobram Recreation Reserve include a new head-on camera to improve vision in the home straight for stewards and an upgrade of the owners’ room facilities. Both projects are expected to be completed in the first half of 2018. Harness Racing Victoria is contributing almost $15,000 towards the new camera and the Victorian Harness Racing Sports Club is providing more than $1300 for the owners’ room upgrade. The club is contributing more than $11000 to the race day event, while generous local businesses are providing an additional $3600. The Cobram Pacing Cup is set to offer something for all the family, with entertainment including a live performance by Irish band Killing Time and a Fashions on the Field competition. For the children, there will be face painting, a jumping castle, mobile zoo, pony trots and free icy poles. The first 250 women through the gate will be given a complimentary ticket to the club’s Community Pink Ribbon Ladies Day race meeting on June 3, which helps raise awareness of breast cancer Club secretary Bob Watson said the funding would help maintain the quality club members and visitors were accustomed to. ‘‘We’re very grateful for the Victorian Government’s support for our biggest race day of the year and the delivery of important upgrades to our track facilities,’’ Watson said. ‘‘We invite everyone in the region, young and old, to mark this day of fun country harness racing in their calendar.’’ Gepp said the Cobram Pacing Cup was a great opportunity for the local community and holidaymakers to come together for a day of quality harness racing. ‘‘We’re delighted to support the Cobram and District Harness Racing Club because the country racing industry makes a vital economic contribution to our region,’’ he said. By Courier Cobram Reprinted with permission of The Riverine Herald

December 21, 2017 - As we draw towards Christmas and the end of the 2017 calendar year, I thought it an opportune time to reflect on a year of significant change for the harness racing industry in Victoria. After taking on the role of HRV CEO in January, I made no secret of the fact the industry was in the midst of an extremely difficult period. To put it bluntly, the sport was in decline in more ways than one. Victoria and Australia weren't alone either, with the trots facing similar challenges internationally. But here in Victoria our situation looked particularly grim, with shrinking revenue from a reduced Joint Venture market share over several years, combined with a debt of $29 million. The first step towards turning things around is always for the Board and leadership team to be open and honest about the hurdles facing the industry and the situation at hand. For me, visiting people from all harness sectors and listening to their feedback was an important task. Equally important was communicating with them on the need for all of us, as an industry, to do things differently. Step two was to move quickly and decisively to develop and implement strategies so that we can steer the ship back on course. Change is never easy and tough decisions had to be made. But I am immensely proud of HRV employees and the industry for the resilience they have shown during this time, and for their willingness to embrace a new way forward. The current board and I have demonstrated in a variety of ways over the last 12 months our commitment to listening to the industry's views, with plenty of examples where we have made change in response to industry trends, views and feedback. And together we have achieved a good deal of progress in a short space of time. Initiatives implemented included the $750 bonus races in September and October that stimulated race fields and the horse population during a traditionally difficult period, supplementary and 2:02 mile rate races both worked and will continue to feature on the calendar, while 1100m sprint races were trialled but didn't work. A $3.1 million boost to the HRV integrity department over two years from the State Government will see a doubling of post-race swabs, more stewards, vets and investigators, whilst our Employee Assistance Program was expanded to become an Industry Assistance Program, looking after the wellbeing of our trainers, drivers and club staff. Stakemoney was increased to over $40 million for the first time (noting that at the end of October HRV has spent $700,000 more in stakemoney than the same time last year) with a commitment to program as many or more $10,000 races as last year. The DNA fee for breeders was waived, Victoria became the first Australasian harness jurisdiction to announce the introduction of a minimum bet policy, and we collaborated with New Zealand and New South Wales to bring the Inter Dominion back to Victoria for the first time since 2008. Also of note was the Victoria Cup's move to October, and despite the difficult decision to reduce stakemoney to $200,000 for that race, total wagering on the event was up 5%. More broadly, HRV oversaw 10 straight months of year-on-year wagering growth, with the last seven months all being double-digit growth (e.g. Nov 17% year-on-year, with only 3 more races being run), and from May to October (a six-month period) Victoria had an average of 6% more starters each month. Reflecting HRV's continued decline in market share from the Tabcorp JV, HRV announced a $1.7 million loss in 2016-17. The outlook for the current 2017-18 financial year is brighter, with the refreshed strategy being implemented that will deliver a substantially better outcome compared to 2016-17. On the racetrack this year we were in awe as Chris Alford (the Australian Drivers' Championship winner) and Gavin Lang both notched their 6000th winners, world record holder Kerryn Manning continued her ascent as the greatest woman in racing and legendary horseman Jim O'Sullivan was honoured with the Gordon Rothacker Medal. Bling It On's win in the A.G. Hunter Cup was awesome in February, we celebrated two Victoria Cup winners in Lazarus and of course our own people's champion Lennytheshark, and let's not forget Lenny's amazing Miracle Mile win, which helped judges award him Victorian Horse of the Year honours. We also saw Glenferrie Typhoon take out the richest trotting race in Australasia, the Great Southern Star. Looking ahead to 2018, the industry has reason to be optimistic. We still have a mountain to climb, but together we are working hard to build a foundation upon which the industry can grow and maximise returns to participants into the future. With prizemoney in excess of $40 million, the return of the Inter Dominion (three rounds of heats with two rounds to be held at non-Melton Victorian tracks), an updated club funding model, a refreshed HRV leadership team with Andrew English (Marketing) and Luke Spano (Finance) the two most recent additions, there is plenty happening. My invitation is for the industry to continue working together to turn things around. Let's make 2018 a year to remember and the Inter Dominion a truly magnificent event. Thank you to everyone busily preparing for the annual New Year's Eve meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton, and the exciting Country Cups and 2018 Summer of Glory carnival that follow soon after. I wish every one of you a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year. See you in 2018! David Martin, HRV CEO December 21, 2017 In my 2015 audit report on Harness Racing in Victoria (HRV), I identified the need for significant change, or in modern business management terminology, a 'transformation'. I was therefore particularly interested in a recent article published by the Boston Consulting Group on successful transformations. The process described involved a number of steps commencing with an analysis of the current situation, discussions with stakeholders and articulation of the purpose for the transformation, followed by a quick transition into implementation of initiatives to generate results within the first 3-12 months. The comparisons for the last 12 months at HRV are clear. Following its appointment in 2016, the HRV Board assessed the current state of the industry and appointed a CEO in David Martin, who we were confident would be able to turn around the declining trends. As all of you know, the challenges faced are complex and significant, reflected by the fact that the downward trends have extended for a number of years. Since joining HRV on 9 January this year, David has undertaken extensive industry consultation across Victoria explaining the difficult situation we are in. The Board, David and all HRV employees have worked hard to develop and implement a range of initiatives that are already having a positive impact, with reduced costs, increased revenues and greater participation in our sport. Supporting that, the Board is grateful for the Minister for Racing Martin Pakula's announcement to inject $3.1 million over two years into Integrity, thus continuing the Board's focus on ensuring a level playing field. It was also pleasing for HRV to work collaboratively with NSW and NZ to secure hosting of the Inter Dominion from 2018 to 2020. The Board is keen to make the 2018 Inter Dominion a successful event and we want the Victorian trots industry and broader public to get involved and be part of this exciting series. It also provides an opportunity for Victorian clubs to host heats and give a larger number of people a chance to get close to these champions of our sport. The collaboration with other governing bodies has reinforced that when we work together the industry can evolve to the betterment of all stakeholders. HRV is determined to continue to play a lead role in advancing all facets of the sport, working with other Australasian trots jurisdictions in pursuit of a broad, fair and thriving industry. I know from my interactions with you that it's tough going for many participants and therefore hope that progress made this year combined with the announcement of the 2018 Inter Dominion will help to inject some positivity for the future. I wish all of you an enjoyable festive season and safe start to the New Year. Dale Monteith, HRV Chairman  

A Shelbourne harness racing trainer has pleaded guilty to his role in fixing three races in country Victoria in 2014, two of which involved his own horses. Larry Eastman, 60, pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Thursday to five charges including use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes, and engaging in conduct to corrupt a betting outcome. The court heard Eastman had nasogastric intubation – known as “stomach tubing” or “drenching” – administered to two of his horses within 48 hours of race meets, and knew of a third horse that was illegally receiving the technique. The technique is illegal within 48 hours of races as it can enhance performance through improved rehydration. It involves placing a tube down the throat of the horse and adding a mixture of alkalising agents, sodiums and bicarbonate. Eastman then encouraged others to bet on the races on his behalf, knowing that the horses had this advantage. His horse Cashiking was administered stomach tubing before race 7 at Nyah at Swan Hill on December 2, 2014. Related: Integrity commissioner tackles corruption in harness racing industry Eastman administered stomach tubing to another of his horses, Waterslide, for race 5 at Charlton on December 8, 2014. Eastman then had the driver inject the horse with potassium a short time after the race to conceal the effects of stomach tubing from Harness Racing Victoria authorities. Eastman personally gained $400 from betting $200 on the three-to-one result. Eastman also knew that horse Dynamite Dick had been administered stomach tubing before race 5 at Horsham on December 15, 2014. He had two other men bet on his behalf. Eastman came to the attention of police during their investigation into Shayne and Greg Cramp, of Mildura, who were later sentenced in relation to race fixing offences. Police intercepted a phone call between Eastman and one of the men, and suspected Eastman was also involved in “corrupt conduct”. The practice of stomach tubing, or drenching, has been the subject of “strict controls” for racing worldwide. Defence counsel Robert Timms said Eastman’s offending was small compared to others in the harness racing industry. “My client, as part of the plea, was a small fish in a much bigger pond,” he said. “The co-accused in Mildura were involved in far more.” Mr Timms said he would be asking the court to sentence Eastman to a community corrections order, or a fine. Eastman will be sentenced in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on February 2. By Adam Holmes Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer/driver Josh Aiken under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) which states: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances The AHRR defines "Race" as a race or official trial or official time trial or event in which harness racing horses race or participate. It is alleged that Mr Aiken presented ‘The Defiant’ to race at the Shepparton trial meeting on 29 August 2017 when not free of the prohibited substances Levamisole and Aminorex. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed. Harness Racing Victoria   Aminorex, a metabolite of the cocaine adulterant levamisole, exerts amphetamine like actions at monoamine transporters

The Inter Dominion will retain its traditional three rounds of heats followed by a Grand Final in Victoria next year. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has worked with Harness Racing New South Wales/Club Menangle and Harness Racing New Zealand to agree on an approach that will maintain the traditional Inter Dominion heat format. "We, along with our partners, have agreed it is in the best interests of the Inter Dominion series to run with three rounds of heats," HRV CEO David Martin said. "Feedback from punters, participants and fans suggests this is what people want, and given how exciting the build-up was to the Perth Inter Dominion, this is also what works. "We thank the Inter Dominion Events Committee (IDEC) for approving this request." Last month, Harness Racing Australia revealed Victoria, NSW and NZ would be hosting the Inter Dominion for the next nine years, with consideration of other jurisdictions joining in during the second or third rotations. HRV has invited Victorian clubs to apply to host Inter Dominion heats next year, for heats to be held at venues away from Tabcorp Park Melton. Melton will host the Inter Dominion Grand Final on December 15, 2018. Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and the Bendigo Harness Racing Training Centre (BHRTC) are excited to publicly announce the two recipients of the inaugural Pony Trots Victoria Scholarship. Taylah Markham and Chelsea Prothero have been granted scholarships, both impressing the selection panel with their applications. The Pony Trots Victoria Scholarship program aims to foster the development of junior trots participants and encourage them to consider harness racing as a career option. Scholarship recipients are covered by HRV for the cost of obtaining their C Grade drivers’ licence (valued at $405), receive accredited training at the BHRTC at no cost, a grant of $1000 to purchase driver and/or horse gear and 12 months of mentoring by a HRV A Grade driver. “We are delighted to offer the Pony Trots Victoria Scholarship to help these passionate youngsters pursue a potential career in our industry,” HRV Manager People and Culture Isabella Galati said. “The Pryde's EasiFeed Pony Trots Victoria program provides important professional development for young people participating in our industry and I’d like to congratulate both Taylah and Chelsea for securing these scholarships. “I also must publicly acknowledge the wonderful work of Vicki Moro at the Bendigo Harness Racing Training Centre, who has been absolutely instrumental in helping drive this initiative.” Chelsea Prothero  Ms Moro said the interview panel was “impressed” with the quality of applicants. “We were so impressed … and we look forward to supporting Taylah and Chelsea with their studies,” the BHRTC CEO said. “As part of the scholarship Taylah will complete Certificate II in Racing to fit in with her paid commitments. Chelsea will complete Certificate II in Racing as part of her VCE. Her school, Mildura Senior College, has been very supportive of the plan. The certificate will contribute to Chelsea’s VCE completion and her ATAR. “The aim of the scholarship is to encourage young people to consider a career in the industry. It is an ageing workforce and we need young ones to join the ranks.” Both scholarship recipients said they were honoured and excited to have received the opportunity. Taylah said: “I feel extremely honoured and proud to be chosen. I really hope that I can achieve a successful driving career and the ultimate goal would be to be training and driving my own horses one day. I’ve always been passionate about horses and in primary school one of my close friends invited me to come to the trots. I learnt a lot from my friend and his family. They taught me how to drive ponies and I was lucky enough to get a pony of my own. I have been racing my pony ever since. I’d also really like to thank the Herbertson and Douglas families for their great support.” Chelsea said: “I am honoured to be selected for this scholarship as it will be a great pathway into a future in the industry. I would like to become a trainer and a driver, while also focusing on marketing within the industry. I enjoy working with horses and it has been a great industry to be a part of. I was brought up in the trots and have enjoyed being a part of it from a very young age.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) is mindful of the important role social media forums have in relation to engaging in discussion and debate on key harness racing issues. As part of its role in the industry, wherever possible, HRV is increasing the openness and transparency of information using social media and other forums. It is however expected that use of social media is conducted in an appropriate and reasonable manner, and HRV Stewards will take a strong stance on comments which are deemed to be malicious, false or otherwise improper.  The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Integrity Department have recently became aware of concerning comments made on social media forums such as Twitter and Facebook. Letters will be sent shortly directing a number of licensed participants, including some registered owners, to attend inquiries before the HRV Stewards in early January 2018.    Participants in the Victorian harness racing industry are urged to remain conscious and aware of their obligations in regard to the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) and the HRV ‘Social Media Policy for Participants’. The relevant AHRR and Policy applies to all licensed persons and registered owners and is available here:  For any queries in relation to this policy please contact the HRV Integrity Department on 8378 0222. Harness Racing Victoria

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today considered a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) against licensed trainer-driver Matthew Craven.  AHRR 190(1) reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances The charge under AHRR 190(1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Craven related to a blood sample taken from the horse ‘Ruthie Yamaguchi’ at the Terang trial meeting on 18 June 2017. The definition of a ‘race’ within the AHRR includes an official trial. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that the analysis of the blood sample revealed it to contain the prohibited substances triamcinolone acetonide and meloxicam. The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) in NSW confirmed these findings in the reserve portion of the relevant blood sample Mr Craven pleaded guilty to the charge before submissions on penalty were heard from the HRV Stewards and barrister Damien Sheales, representing Mr Craven. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board highlighted Mr Craven’s cooperation throughout the investigation and guilty plea at the earliest opportunity, along with his good record in the industry. The HRV RAD Board also emphasised the purpose of the rules in relation to prohibited substances and the dangers associated with horses competing with these substances in their system.  Mr Craven was subsequently fined $4000, of which $2000 was suspended for a period of 12 months.  ‘Ruthie Yamaguchi’ was scratched at the track prior to competing in the trial. HRV RAD Board Hearing – Matthew Craven HRV RAD Board Panel: Alanna Duffy (Chair), Peter Kilduff, Rod Osborne

Victoria’s trots industry is mourning the loss of a gentleman of the harness racing sport after Bob Conroy died on Tuesday at age 88. The Daylesford trainer and brilliant horseman enjoyed a life dedicated to harness racing, which he shared with his wife Pat and their five children, including Glenn, Anne-Maree and Peter, who themselves have combined to drive more than 800 winners. Renowned as an outstanding trainer of trotters, Mr Conroy spent a life training from Daylesford, having been raised in nearby Korweinguboora before occupying the former Daylesford Trotting Club track, from where he would often venture into neighbouring Hepburn Regional Park to educate his horses. A trots trainer, driver and breeder, Mr Conroy’s training successes include Mary Beverley’s win in the 1973 V. L. Dullard Cup, Lincoln Star's win in the 1978 Bendigo Pacing Cup and 1978 Italian Cup, and the Lightfoot Laurels on four occasions (Lucy Lastic 1997, Miss Universe 1999 and 2001 and False Gem on 2008). His greatest stakes win came when Amazon captured the $30,000 Australasian Trotters Championship final in 1984 and then the same year the E B Cochran Memorial Trotters Cup, while notable triumphs also include Mister Everest in the 1990 Chris E Howe Trotters Cup, two Central Victorian Trotting Championships in 1991 (Omaorio) and 2005 (Sutters Glory), the 1996 Coulter Crown with Lucy Lastic, First Signal's win in the 1999 Cranbourne Trotters Cup and then the R C Freestone Trotters Cup with Miss Universe. Other notable performers he trained throughout his distinguished career included multiple metropolitan winners King’s Pride, Eden’s Return, Magic Madge, Minnesota Fats, Hot And Dry, Kyvalley Duke, Speeding Fine, Baltic Prince and Looks Like Me. Mr Conroy’s trotters Bootleg Bert and Margaret Ruth delivered his last trotting wins. Bootleg Bert won the Decron Trot at Melton on December 4 while driven by Glenn and Margaret Ruth won at Geelong on Saturday night, when Anne-Maree drove her to victory in a heat of the Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship. Harness Racing Victoria extends sincere condolences to Mr Conroy’s family, colleagues and friends. Harness Racing Victoria      

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has rescheduled last night’s postponed Tabcorp Park Melton metropolitan trots meeting to Monday afternoon. The meeting will be a ‘Geelong at Tabcorp Park Melton’ meeting and will be followed by Monday night’s scheduled Melton program, creating a Massive Monday at Melton. HRV made the decision today after consultation with media and wagering partners, Tabcorp Park Melton and the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association. “Thursday night’s rain was torrential at Melton resulting in the track being unsuitable for racing and unable to be repaired for that night,” HRV CEO David Martin said. “The decision to move the meeting to Monday afternoon means connections of the horses who missed a run due to the washout get a second chance to race for the substantial prizemoney on offer.” The fields, race order and barrier draws will remain unchanged as per Thursday night’s meeting. All scratchings will initially be reinstated before each horse’s relevant eligibility is to be determined by HRV. Any horses unable to race on Monday afternoon will be able to be scratched penalty-free. “I’d like to thank HRV employees and everyone involved in helping us reschedule this meeting. For the sake of our industry we must be flexible and consultative in our approach and I’m looking forward to a Massive Monday of trots at Melton,” Mr Martin said. Geelong was selected as the ‘host’ club for the Melton meeting due its close proximity to Melton, and to provide separation from the existing Melton meeting scheduled for Monday night with trotting races to be exported to France. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV), the peak racing body in the heartland of Australian harness racing, and The Farm Ventures – developers of the popular international trots app game Off and Pacing – have partnered to deliver players an exciting realistic ‘Victorian trots’ experience. HRV is thrilled to announce some of the highlights of the Australian harness racing calendar, Vicbred Super Series, Breeders Crown, A.G. Hunter Cup and Alabar Queen of the Pacific have been added to the Off and Pacing stakes race calendar, while Trots Melton becomes the first 1000-metre track in the game. VIDEO: Learn more about Off and Pacing “Finding ways to reach new audiences including young people and engage them with our sport helps create trots fans for life and that’s the potential genius of this particular game,” HRV Media and Communications Manager Cody Winnell said. “Players program and race horses, they also breed horses and compete with big-name stables across the world. I know Canadian superstar reinsman Yannick Gingras is an avid Off and Pacing player and the same can be said about Shane Tritton here in Australia. “These guys see the benefit of marketing the product to the masses and digital is an ever-growing beast. Given it is so easily accessible on your tablet or mobile phone, it especially helps to promote the sport to a new generation and across multiple jurisdictions.” The Farm Ventures founder Ryan Clements said he was thrilled to be associated with the Victorian trots. “We get great support out of Australia with so many players enjoying Off and Pacing down under,” he said. “Hopefully those guys will really enjoy being able to target stakes races that they know and they can also now race regularly at Melton. “From a marketing viewpoint, these Victorian assets are now being promoted across New Zealand, Canada, North America and in many other countries where players are getting on to Off and Pacing and playing every day. We have about 3000 active users playing daily.” Clements explained some of the philosophy behind the game in a recent article: “A lot of mobile games are designed to help pass five minutes while you are on a bus,” explains the developer. “While you can certainly enjoy playing Off and Pacing for that amount of time, but the real challenge is trying to build a championship stable over the course of a year or two. Building a successful breeding operation in Off and Pacing could be a challenge that takes even longer to accomplish. A season in the game lasts 26 days, so there is an overload of excitement as you watch your star horse’s three-year-old campaign pan out in under a month.” Off and Pacing can be downloaded in the App Store or the Google Play Store. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

On 5 December 2017, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) considered submissions regarding penalty following their decision on 1 November 2017 in relation to an application for review by licensed trainer Luke Kilduff against the 4 August 2016 decision of the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board. Background On 3 and 4 August 2016, the HRV RAD Board heard a matter involving Luke Kilduff, who was charged under Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 190(1), 190A(1)(a) and 190AA(1) and (2). Mr Kilduff pleaded guilty to the charge issued under AHRR 190(1) and after being found guilty of the remaining charges was disqualified by the HRV RAD Board for a period of 18 months. Details of the HRV RAD Board hearing of 3 and 4 August 2016 can be viewed here. On 9 and 10 March 2017, the VCAT heard Mr Kilduff’s application for review of the decision of the HRV RAD Board of 4 August 2016 in finding him guilty of the ‘administration’ offence (AHRR 190AA(1) and (2)). Mr Kilduff did not challenge the six month disqualification for the 'presentation' offences. The details of the VCAT Review Hearing and decision can be found here. Penalty Hearing On 5 December 2017, VCAT Senior Member Gerard Butcher heard submissions on penalty from Barrister David Hallowes SC representing Luke Kilduff, including Mr Kilduff’s personal circumstances and history of good character. Mr Hallowes put forward a plea for leniency and submitted that a period of suspension may be appropriate in lieu of a period of disqualification. This submission was withdrawn when it was pointed out that Mr Kilduff was already disqualified for six months on the ‘presentation’ charges. Mr Hallowes then sought a 6 month disqualification fully concurrent with the six month disqualification already imposed for the presentation offences. HRV, who was represented by Barrister Adrian Anderson, submitted that the administration of an anabolic steroid was at the high end of offending and must be viewed and treated differently to presenting a horse for a race whilst not free of prohibited substances. Mr Anderson made reference to a number of cases which supported his submission and highlighted the importance of a meaningful deterrent for administration of prohibited substances such as testosterone. Mr Anderson submitted that the penalty for the administration should be two years (the higher end of the penalty sought before the RADB board) and submitted that a total penalty of three years disqualification would be appropriate by making the two six-month disqualification periods cumulative. Mr Anderson relied upon Judge Nixon’s judgment in the 2012 Mifsud VCAT review and the related case of Quinlan in highlighting the importance of general deterrence for an administration offence such as this. Senior Member Butcher endorsed these submissions and referred to Mifsud and the importance of protecting the integrity of the industry at length during his findings on penalty. Senior Member Butcher provided a lengthy deliberation with respect to Mr Kilduff’s history in the harness racing industry, his personal circumstances, and his good character. Mr Butcher was very clear in sending a message to the racing industry that the administration of prohibited substances struck at the integrity of the industry and undermined the principles of a level playing field as well as diminishing the faith of the wagering public. In arriving at a penalty, Senior Member Butcher set aside the decision of the HRV RAD Board on charge 3, to disqualify Mr Kilduff for a period of 18 months and increased the penalty to a period of two years disqualification which was to commence immediately - less the short period of disqualification prior to the stay of the penalty commencing on 1 September 2016. The written reasons from VCAT will be posted when available. Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards provide notice to participants in the Victorian Harness Racing Industry of additions to the 'Victorian Licensing Policy' and the implementation of the 'Transfer of Horses from Suspended or Disqualified Trainer Policy', to be effective from 1 December 2017. Victorian Licensing Policy Additions Background The HRV Licensing Policy has been amended to formally document the current practices that are undertaken. The majority of the policy remains unchanged and the amendments are provided below. Purpose Trial Driver and Re-Instated Driver Requirements: The requirement for a driver obtaining a licence to drive in races to complete a satisfactory number of trials is imperative for a variety of reasons. Most significantly to ensure the driver displays the required skill competencies and to also establish awareness and a level of understanding of rule and policy obligations upon a driver. Trainer Financial Requirements: The financial requirements upon a trainer within the licensing policy are necessary to address the potential risk to the reputation of the industry of a person who cannot meet industry debts. This measure also addresses the potential animal welfare risk of a trainer who does not have the financial means to adequately care for horses under their supervision. Re-Applying After Disqualification: Ordinarily through the Show-Cause process for a disqualified person re-applying for a licensee, the participant is usually granted the lowest class of licence in the applicable category. This formalises the current process and it is intended by requiring persons who have been disqualified for a significant period to re-commence the licensing process, it emphasises that a licence is a privilege and the licence status attained ought to be valued and therefore not jeopardised in any way. Amendments include: 1. Trial driver and re-instated driver requirements: • Trial drives shall be completed at the following venues: Ballarat, Bendigo, Cranbourne, Geelong, Kilmore, Mildura, Maryborough, Shepparton, Tabcorp Park Melton, Terang, Swan Hill or another venue previously arranged with HRV Stewards. 2. B Grade Trainer requirements and Trainers re-applying after a period of 6 months or more: Lodged a completed application form together with: - Provide a minimum of two (2) work references attesting to your horse handling ability.  References from licensed trainers must include – the period they have knowledge of you working with Standardbred horses and the duties undertaken. Provide a minimum of two (2) credit references (Vet, Farrier, Feed Suppliers etc.) stating that your accounts are paid promptly OR a credit report by contacting a credit reporting body.  You can obtain a copy of your credit report free of charge from a CRB within ten (10) days of them receiving your request. To request a copy of your credit report, contact these national CRB’s: CRB                             WEBSITE                                             PHONE Veda                             My CreditFile.com.au (Equifax)           1300 762 207 D & B                            D & B CheckYourCredit                       1300 734 806 Experian                       Experian Credit Services                     1300 783 684 Bank account statements in your name for the preceding six (6) month period (to the date your application is submitted to Harness Racing Victoria). Note - These bank account statements should also be submitted to your chosen Accountant/Bank Manager/Officer to form part of the Accountant Reference declaration accompanying the application form. Certified Extract of Birth OR Driver Licence. A certificate of completion of a practical assessment from the Bendigo Harness Racing Training Centre or the Gippsland Harness Racing Training Centre and evidence of enrolment with either training centre for commencement of mandatory training modules. 3. Financial requirements for A grade trainer applications: Lodged a completed application form together with: - •       Two (2) references from Licensed trainers. •       Provide a minimum of two (2) credit references (Vet, Farrier, Feed Suppliers etc.) stating that your accounts are paid promptly. •       Bank account statements in your name for the preceding six (6) month period (to the date your application is submitted to Harness Racing Victoria). •       Note - These bank account statements should also be submitted to your chosen Accountant/Bank Manager to form part of the Accountant Reference declaration accompanying the application form. 4. Disqualified person re-applying for licence: •   A person who has been disqualified for a period of 12 months or more, and is granted a licence, shall automatically only be granted the highest licence of a Grade C Driver and/or Grade B Trainer and shall meet the relevant requirements detailed above prior to any further upgrade of licence being considered. 5. Driver Relicensing: • A driver who has previously been licensed to drive in races, but who has not been licensed as a driver, for the below periods shall complete the specified number of satisfactory trials prior to driving in a race:           Not licensed for 12 months: 10 satisfactory trials           Not licensed for greater than 2 years: 15 satisfactory trials Transfer of Horses from Suspended or Disqualified Trainer Policy There have been multiple circumstances identified whereby a trainer has been disqualified or suspended under the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR), only for horses previously trained by that person, to be transferred to an immediate family member or a trainer who trains from the same registered training address. This gives rise to the perception that the trainer subject to penalty remains involved in the training, or influencing the training of the horses previously trained by them. This policy intends to outline to all industry stakeholders that this practice will no longer be permitted, except with the approval of the HRV Stewards. Approval will only be given should the HRV Stewards be appropriately satisfied of separation between the trainer subject to penalty and the trainer seeking to train a horse covered by the policy. The HRV Board, HRV Integrity Council and Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association (VTDA) have given support to and recommended the implementation of these changes proposed by HRV Stewards. Links: Victorian Licensing Policy Transfer of Horses from Suspended or Disqualified Trainer Policy Australian Harness Racing Rules For further information contact the HRV Integrity Department on 8378 0222. Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria evidence, set to be a key piece in the prosecution case against four alleged race fixers, was thrown out in court yesterday. Nathan Jack, Amanda Turnbull, Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley faced Shepparton Magistrates’ Court yesterday for the second day of a hearing, accused of conduct that corrupts a betting outcome. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges. It comes after an investigation into a race at Cobram on June 22, 2015, which Airbournemagic won. Lawyers for the accused objected to evidence Harness Racing Victoria gathered, including the downloading of phone data and certain answers given to racing stewards. ‘‘These pieces of evidence should be excluded,’’ Mr Jack’s defence lawyer Anthony Lewis told the court. ‘‘My focus is on (the) question of unfairness to the accused ... circumstances unfair to the defendant.’’ Mr Lewis said stewards met Mr Jack on his property, asked him questions and he was forced to answer them and was told if he did not — would have committed an offence. ‘‘If they don’t comply, they will be likely charged and their livelihoods at stake,’’ he said. ‘‘It is a compulsory, involuntary process ... they can refuse to answer or provide the phone, but they would only do so knowing disqualification would be inevitable. ‘‘If an admission is involuntary, then it’s inadmissible. Has the evidence been obtained by compulsion? If it has, it ought to be excluded.’’ Mr Lewis added the defendants complied with the stewards’ inquiry for the sole purpose of the stewards’ inquiry. ‘‘(They) never signed an agreement that they’re waiving their rights,’’ he said. ‘‘Never told the answers would be given to police, that’s not in the rules.’’ Prosecutor Gary Hevey disagreed, arguing the four voluntarily signed up to be involved with Harness Racing Victoria, to be bound by the rules, meaning they knew the consequences. ‘‘This was a voluntary association ... people can choose to be members or participate in the harness racing industry,’’ he told the court. ‘‘They chose to belong and in doing so they must submit to the rules of this voluntary association. ‘‘At the interviews it was open for each of the persons being questioned to respond with I don’t want to play any more ... it was open for them to say no.’’ Magistrate John Murphy said while the consequences of refusing to comply with a steward’s request did not include jail time, the consequences certainly included the defendants’ racing licence and as a consequence their professional livelihood. ‘‘One of the basis of our rule of law is that a person has the right to remain silent,’’ he said. ‘‘The accused has a fundamental right to remain silent and they can’t under HRV unless they wish to suffer penalties outlined. ‘‘It would be unfair to an accused to use the evidence ... and a denial of natural justice. ‘‘My ruling is I do not intend to allow the evidence to be given.’’ On Monday, the court heard about the alleged tactics adopted during the race, with prosecution outlining allegations Mr Jack, on Tooram Lad, allegedly allowed Airbournemagic, who Mr Pitt drove, to win the race. Representatives from different betting agencies including Bet365, Ladbrokes and Victoria Police are set to give evidence, with the prosecution saying ‘‘thousands and thousands of dollars’’ were allegedly returned from profits. The hearing continues. The race in question By HAYDEN THOMSON Reprinted with permission of The Shepparton News

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