If you build it, they will come... Harness Racing Victoria have hit a home run, not too dissimilar to one of the homers hit by the baseballers in the legendary Kevin Costner movie involving cornfields and ghosts, by changing the summer calendar and launching the TAB Summer of Glory carnival. The TAB Victoria Cup field tonight is packed with stars and more than one trots pundit believes it to be the greatest and most competitive Victoria Cup field that's been seen in the modern era. TAB VICTORIA CUP Saturday night, January 31. Group 1, 2240m, mobile start. 9.32pm 1: LENNYTHESHARK ($9) “He’s drawn perfectly. He’s second-up from a spell and ran a terrific race first-up in the Shepparton Cup. You don’t want them at 100 per cent first-up and he’ll improve significantly with that run under his belt. Chris (Alford) has options from the draw, so we’ll leave that up to him. Philadelphia Man got away from him at the turn at Shepparton and on the line we were on his wheel.” - David Aiken (trainer) 2: FRANCO LEDGER ($21) “He’s great, we’re really happy with him. He’s in the zone at the moment and we’re drawn well. I’d be really happy to be three back the pegs in the run, but one-out and three-back would be fine too. The quicker they go up front the better it’ll be for us.” - Geoff Webster (trainer/driver) 3: BEAUTIDE ($3.2) “Really happy with how he’s going. He’s trained well and we’re pretty confident he’s better than he’s been all season. He’s had some good trials and has got a good draw. He’ll come out quick; he’s got really good gate speed.” - James Rattray (trainer/driver) 4: PHILADELPHIA MAN ($6) “He was a little bit fresh at Shepparton and he’ll strip fitter for the run. He’s worked terrific during the week. I think he brought himself undone a bit by over-racing last week. I’m happy with gate four. We can run our own race.” - Emma Stewart (trainer) 5: IM CORZIN TERROR ($81) “We’re really happy with his work. The draw’s a bit unfortunate; we’d like to swap his draw with Chilli’s. Some people are putting him down but I think he’s the forgotten horse. You look at his run at Kilmore in the Cup when he gave Guaranteed a start and was running on strongly for second.” - Amanda Grieve (trainer) 6: CHRISTEN ME ($6) “They will fly the gate and from our barrier we are half in and half out, so Dexter will most likely come out and sit in the middle of the track until the dust settles. From then on we are aiming to position up in the front half of the field rather than the back half.” - Cran Dalgety (trainer) 7: TERROR TO LOVE ($16) “We’re getting used to these barrier draws now! It is what it is … I think he’ll come into it later on. It’s the first of a lot of big races coming up. Thinking he’ll just go back and try to work into it at the right time. Everyone sort of forgets how good a sprint he’s got when he’s saved for one go.” - Paul Court (co-trainer) 8: CHILLI PALMER (1EM) ($51) “Absolutely thrilled with Chilli, we’ve just got to hope he gets a start. We’re very happy with how he’s come back.” - Amanda Grieve (trainer) 9: DAVID HERCULES ($41) “I give him a huge chance. We’re not going to have to do half the work a few of the others will have to do. He’s apparently travelled very well.” - David Thompson (trainer) 10: GUARANTEED ($4.8) “His form’s been terrific and he’s come through every run better and better. His work has been terrific.” - Emma Stewart (trainer) 11: FOR A REASON ($41) “We were disappointed he pulled at Horsham (in the Cup) and then off 30m with those sectionals last week he had no hope. He’s come on good since that run and he’ll benefit from it. This is a tougher Victoria Cup than last year though. This is probably the best cup field in years. We’ll drive him like last year; come with one run. We’d be thrilled if he ran a place.” - Luke McCarthy (driver) 12: ADORE ME ($10) “Adore Me is training very well and we’re pretty excited going into the Victoria Cup. She has travelled really well and it’s a pleasure to be involved with her.” - Duane Marfisi (stable assistant with Mark Purdon) 13: RESTREPO ($41) “We’re hoping he’s getting home well and finishing it off strongly. The draw makes it a bit tricky.” - Emma Stewart (trainer) ACCESS THE MARKET FOR THE TAB VICTORIA CUP $200,000 FIRST 4 JACKPOT Tomorrow night's TAB Victoria Cup will carry a $200,000 First 4 pool guarantee. There is also a special bonus offer for TAB customers this weekend. Have a fixed odds win bet on the Group 1 TAB Victoria Cup or the Group 1 Hunter Cup, with your TAB account or TAB rewards card, and if your horse runs second or third, you'll score a Bonus Bet up to $50 or equivalent TAB Rewards points. Bet at the track, your local TAB outlet, via the TAB smart phone app or online at tab.com.au WIN A $50 TAB VOUCHER Here’s your chance to win a $50 TAB Voucher. To enter, tell us who you think will win the TAB Victoria Cup on Saturday night. All entrants that pick the winner will go into a random draw and whichever lucky entrant is drawn, wins the $50 TAB Voucher! Entries must be in by no later than 8:30pm on Saturday night 31 January. Must be over 18 years of age to enter. Email email@example.com with the subject WIN. The winner will be notified via email on Tuesday.
Throughout December 2014 and January 2015, Harness Racing Victoria Stewards and veterinarians have been collecting out of competition blood samples from yearlings scheduled to be sold at the upcoming Australian Pacing Gold (APG) Sales in Melbourne on Sunday 1 February 2015. Samples have been collected from approximately 1/3 of the 210 lots to be sold at the sales. All blood samples collected have been subjected to testing by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) on their newly expanded steroid screening test, which covers over 40 targets, and is understood to be the most comprehensive screening test in operation in Australia. RASL report that all of the analysed samples are clear of steroids. HRV wish to acknowledge the significant support of APG in assisting HRV’s efforts to ensure compliance with the national harness racing rules, introduced in May 2014, which banned the use of steroids at all times. Harness Racing Victoria
The anticipation ahead of Saturday night’s TAB.com.au Victoria Cup is palpable. Tabcorp Park Melton will be the grand stage as 12 genuine harness racing top liners compete for summer Group One glory, with $400,000 on the line over 2240 metres. Barring any eleventh-hour misfortunes, the general consensus is nine of the 12 Victoria Cup spots have been locked away and the remaining three holes will be filled with runners from a group of five contenders. You can’t fit five horses into three spots, so there will be at least two hard-luck stories when the field is revealed ahead of the barrier draw tomorrow morning. And there will almost certainly be a host of other horses who in previous years would be lining up in the Victoria Cup, but will this year miss out. The ‘locks’ are said to be Guaranteed ($4.50), Philadelphia Man ($5.5), Beautide ($5.5), Adore Me ($7), Christen Me ($6), Terror To Love ($8), Im Corzin Terror ($51), For A Reason ($26) and David Hercules ($26). The other five – also known as “lineball runners” - are believed to be Franco Ledger ($18), Suave Stuey Lombo ($51), Avonova ($41), Lennytheshark ($10) and Restrepo ($26). And then there are the likely ‘hard luckers’, consisting of Chilli Palmer ($51), Arden Rooney ($101), Bit Of A Legend ($101), Flaming Flutter ($101), Blazin N Cullen ($201), Chancellor Cullen ($201), Cold Major ($201), Easy On The Eye ($201), Mach Alert ($201) and Monifieth ($201). There will be much debate all week about just where this field stacks up in the list of “all-time great Victoria Cup fields”. However, when you consider the quality and form of the runners who will miss a start in the race, it’s not hard to mount an argument that this race has the makings of an absolute classic. Let the debate about who should get into the field and why begin – and let the countdown to the field of dreams continue. This is going to be fun. JOIN THE DISCUSSION ON TWITTER: TWEET YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT WHO SHOULD BE IN THE VICTORIA CUP AND WHY TO @HRVNEWS WITH THE #SOG HASHTAG. HRV Media
American trotter Real Babe will make her Australian harness racing debut at Shepparton on Saturday night. Prepared by Jayne Davies, Real Babe will contest the Group Three George Gath, which has attracted a stellar field. The mare has had two trials ahead of her Down Under debut, finishing second at her most recent hit-out at Tabcorp Park Melton on Monday. To be driven by Anthony Butt, who has partnered the daughter of Donato Hanover at both trials, Real Babe’s task has been made tough by drawing gate seven – the outside of the front row. Real Babe is here for the Great Southern Star on March 7, one of two international invitees for the series. Star local Spidergirl will resume after a five-month break for trainer David Aiken. Last season’s dominant squaregaiter, with victories in the Vicbred and Breeders’ Crown Finals, Spidergirl will begin from the inside of the second row. With quick beginner Flying Isa drawn the pole, Spidergirl is likely to enjoy the perfect trip along the pegs. In a terrific coup for the Victorian industry, all trot races at Shepparton will be broadcast live into France for wagering purposes. Harness Racing Victoria will receive a product fee for beaming the action into the world's biggest trotting market. HRV Media
Leading TAB.com.au Summer of Glory player Christen Me scored an all-the-way win in tonight's harness racing $50,505 Group 2 Petstock Bendigo Pacing Cup. The Cran Dalgety trained Kiwi superstar cleared out late for reinsman Dexter Dunn in the 2650m race, clocking a 54.1-second last half after being unchallenged in front mid-race, scoring a 14.1-metre win over runner-up Smudge Bromac. First-up since finishing second to Terror To Love in a stirring Cranbourne Pacing Cup on December 6, Christen Me – the winner of last year's Miracle Mile in Sydney and the reigning Hunter Cup champion – will be hard to beat in the Victoria Cup on January 31. Dunn was typically cool throughout tonight’s contest despite concession reinsman Zac Phillips pulling the first surprise off the arm and dashing to the lead from gate seven aboard outsider Hall Of Famer. The son of Christian Cullen quickly assumed the front with Hall Of Famer snaring the leader’s back. Im Corzin Terror and driver Alex Ashwood got mobile early and worked around to find the breeze before more moves came as the pace slowed. Chilli Palmer (Chris Alford), first-up from a spell, eased back to last early and the slow speed didn’t suit his cause. However, the son of Elsu was the eye-catcher of the race, launching home out wide in the home straight to just miss second in a photo-finish. His late splits will be super and many punters will pencil him into their black book. Smudge Bromac (Nathan Jack) produced a big run in second, the nine-year-old David Aiken trained entire the first of Aiken’s four cup runners over the line (Cold Major fifth, Wartime Sweetheart sixth and Jaccka Clive ninth). Bendigo Cup Finishing Order 1: Christen Me 2: Smudge Bromac 3: Chilli Palmer 4: Im Corzin Terror 5: Cold Major 6: Wartime Sweetheart 7: Uncle Wingnut 8: Jaccka Clive 9: Hall Of Famer Group 2 Petstock Bendigo Pacing Cup by Cody Winnell Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria
Harness Racing Victoria has stated it welcomes the announcement by Victorian Racing Minister Martin Pakula of an audit into the governing body. The audit, to be conducted by Dale Monteith, was part of the Labor Government’s election commitment to Keep Victorian Racing Strong. HRV chairman Ken Latta declared the board and management will co-operate with the audit in every possible way and will implement any recommendations from the findings, which are due to be revealed on March 31. “Mr Monteith is highly respected as a leading racing administrator, especially for his leadership at the VRC, Australia’s leading racing club, and for his subsequent reviews of the Tasmanian and Northern Territory racing industries,” Latta said. “The Board is continuously critically reflecting on how we can make harness racing in Victoria stronger. “Whatever findings and innovations that result from Mr Monteith’s work will provide further ideas for us to pursue. “The Minister, the Board and now Mr Monteith, all have a common goal; to make Victorian Harness Racing as successful as it can possibly be.” PAUL COURTS
Harness Racing Victoria will commit an additional $10,000 prizemoney to Ballarat and District Trotting Club’s Boxing Day fast class race to help the club secure a quality field. In a bonus for the club, star pacer Beautide has been touted as a likely starter, with chief executive Paul Rowse stating trainer Emma Stewart has indicated she will have some horses in the race. Following the disappointment of the club’s Pacing Cup being decimated by late scratchings last weekend, HRV has worked closely with the club to make sure the Boxing Day meeting a not-to-be-missed event. Along with bolstering stake money for the C7 or Better race to $16,505, patrons can enjoy free entry, a host of trackside entertainment, including children’s activities and live music, and a special two-for-one dining offer in the Terrace Restaurant. “We want to see a huge crowd there supporting the local club. Paul Rowse and his team work extremely hard. They’re one of the best country clubs in Victoria and hopefully the patrons who left feeling disappointed on Ballarat Cup night can turn out and have a great night at the trots,” HRV’s Brett Boyd said. Rowse declared it was important the industry won back the trust of patrons who left Bray Raceway feeling flat after the Pacing Cup night fiasco. “Harness racing people are resilient people, but what I’m sure of is we’ll have a big crowd on Boxing Night,” Rowse said. "HRV have been fantastic and we've been working closely with the marketing team there to help ensure the Boxing Night meeting is a big success. “It’ll be great if we can attract some of the stars of the summer which didn’t end up competing in the Cup. “Beautide was obviously taken out of the field during the week and it’d be great to see him come to Ballarat and compete in front of a big crowd.” HRV Media
Rumours, innuendo, finger pointing, blame…..it has all been flying thick and fast in harness racing circles since Saturday night’s fiasco at Ballarat. For those who were in a coma, or living in a cave, Harness Racing Victoria measured the width of numerous sulkies throughout the night, with some found to breach the national rules for size. Harness Racing Australia’s specifications allow for sulkies to be between 120 and 130 centimetres wide, however, the ‘illegal’ sulkies were measured at 135 centimetres. After discovering the fact, stewards advised trainers they could not use the sulkies and gave them the option to find a replacement. Some found alternate sulkies while others chose to scratch their runners. Sadly, the scratchings involved six of the 10 runners in the Group One Ballarat Cup. It should be noted, of the trainers who did borrow sulkies, several complained their horses didn’t race up to expectations as a result! As for the rumours and various versions of events, one involves Harness Racing Australia having knowledge of the illegal sulkies for weeks, but failing to act upon the information. While HRA had been informed of the possible breaches priority to Saturday, it wasn’t a matter of weeks, nor is it up to the authority to take action. In fact, HRA’s responsibility stops at informing the stewards of the ‘tip off’. “HRA’s involvement is nothing more than setting the rules on the various specifications for sulkies,” chief executive Andrew Kelly explained. “Every new sulky is tested vigorously to meet the standards before being cleared for racing in Australia. If the manufacturer makes any alterations to the approved design, the process has to be repeated, it isn’t automatically approved. “Like any rumour in the industry that is reported to HRA, we pass it on to the authorities for them to take action. “HRA doesn’t employ stewards, we set the rules which are enforced by the stewards. If we get a tip off, it is not our job to work it out, we pass it on to the stewards. “As for the size of the sulkies, the rules on the width haven’t changed for 20 years, maybe longer, so at any time the stewards could check a sulky, no different to helmets, whips, vests and so on. “It has been determined that in the interests of all industry participants, the UFO Alien sulky’s approval be temporarily suspended, effective immediately - prohibiting the ordering, sale and delivery of such sulkies without the express written permission of HRA. “Frank Ranaldi from UFO Sulkies has been very co-operative in investigating how those with the wrong specifications got onto the market.” That brings us to the stewards, who have been the subject of severe backlash…some justifiably so according to HRV chief executive John Anderson. “I have a view that HRV should have advised the trainers in advance that we were paying close attention to the size of sulkies based on some intelligence received,” Anderson declared. “Stewards get a lot of rumours that they choose to look into and after receiving intelligence certain sulkies were oversized they investigated. “I am disappointed with the communication between the stewards and participants. This is something the board is taking very seriously and has asked the integrity council to look into ways of improving the communication.” Despite his belief prior warning should have been issued to trainer, Anderson’s response to the view stewards should have overlooked the breach for the sake of the stellar program was clear. “Once the stewards detected the sulkies were in breach of the rules they had no choice but to stop them from being used,” Anderson said. “The Chairman of Stewards had no alternative but to instruct those trainers to seek alternatives.” It has also been suggested Anderson, or chairman Ken Latta, should have overruled chief stipe Neal Conder rather than tarnish the meeting and damage harness racing’s public perception. “I would not overrule a stewards’ determination where rules had been breached,” Anderson said. “Rules are there for a reason and cannot be overlooked. “Once you go down that path, you open the door to let another slight breach pass, then another and another…a breach is a breach!” Anderson also quashed rumours the stewards were pressured into checking the sulkies by the Victorian Government, despite a member of the Racing Integrity Commission’s office attending the meeting. “That is not correct,” Anderson declared. “There was an official from the Racing Integrity Commission there, who was randomly observing the stewards. “It was purely coincidental he was there on the night stewards checked the sulkies…he was there to observe the stewards as does happen from time to time. “Our steward who observes gear was rostered on Thursday and checked several sulkies, which all cleared, his next rostered meeting just happened to be Ballarat on Saturday night, which had nothing to do with who was at the track and who wasn’t.” PAUL COURTS
No matter which way you look at it, harness racing in Victoria was the big loser tonight. In what has been described as a “totally unprofessionalism”, Harness Racing Victoria stewards have prevented several trainers from using their UFO sulkies, which led to a host of scratchings - including six of the 10 runners in the Group One Ballarat Cup. While the vast majority of participants accept the specific sulkies fail to meet Harness Racing Australia specifications, it is the handling of the situation which has infuriated trainers, drivers and owners alike. Despite being made aware of the use of the specific sulkies, which are five centimetres wider than permitted, earlier in the week, HRV stewards failed to notify trainers ahead of the popular meeting. In fact, stipes began measuring the sulkies after horses entered the parade ring for the first event. “We were here about an hour before the first, but the stewards decided to check the sulkies after we were in the parade ring,” trainer Marg Lee declared. “It is an absolute disgrace. “My horse (More Than Modern) was uncomfortable in the replacement sulky, was hitting the wheel, and as such, got fired up which cost him the chance to race truly. “You bust your gut working horses to get to the races and then cop this…is there any wonder why people are getting out of the game?” Widely-regarded as the finest reinsman produced in Australasia, Gavin Lang lashed out at stewards for their lack of foresight and handling of the situation. “Stewards wonder there is no respect coming from participants when they do things like this,” Lang said. “They knew they were going to do this, but never told us. “I’m very disillusioned with the process and it’s another case of the stewards being on one side of the fence and we’re on another. “It is ridiculous…is there any other industry in the world where they don’t go through the due process before making these calls?” Prominent trainer Emma Stewart’s four Ballarat Cup entrants were scratched from the Group One – including the favourite Guaranteed - which has left her contemplating legal action. “This is beyond a joke,” Stewart declared. “This is why Victoria is so far behind the rest of Australia. “We won the last race at Melton last night using one of these sulkies, then find out once we get here we can’t use it tonight. “If they had of told us during the week we could have made some arrangements…There will definitely be legal action.” Leading trainer David Aiken had Cold Sister scratched from the Group One V L Dullard Cup, while Thanesan contested the feature only to race out of his comfort zone. “If the sulkies are too wide, fair enough, but they knew about this days ago and decide to tell us tonight at the track, it is unprofessional,” Aiken said. “Thanesan raced in one of the sulkies a week ago and was perfect, tonight he was bolting for Gavin as he kept hitting the wheel.” Chief steward Neal Conder confirmed he was aware of the issue with the sulkies earlier in the week, stating he had ordered inspections last Thursday. “I was informed by HRA during the week of concerns some UFO sulkies were wider than allowable,” Conder said. “I informed our steward who looks after gear that when next at races to measure the sulkies. “He measured them Thursday and there was no issue, then we measured them before the first race tonight and found that some weren’t compliant with the HRA specifications. “Trainers were only told tonight. We didn’t expect given the results on Thursday to find any that were outside regulations. “We are bound by HRA specifications and it is our job to ensure that our participants adhere to those standards.” HRV chief executive John Anderson stated he is “disappointed with the communication” between the stewards and participants, having only become aware of the situation upon his arrival at Ballarat. Stewards report directly to the integrity council, and it would be up to the integrity council to advise on ways to improve processes around communication between stewards and participants HRV has also stated it will work closely with Ballarat on a way to compensate patrons who attended tonight’s meeting. Ballarat’s chief executive Paul Rowse revealed patrons were asking for refunds within minutes of the six Cup scratchings. For the record, handy pacer Im Corzin Terror caused a minor upset in the four-horse field when he upstaged the $1.10 favourite, Terror To Love, in 1:59.7 for the 2710-metre trip. - PAUL COURTS
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard the application for review of Andrew Vozlic against a disqualification issued by Harness Racing Victoria yesterday. VCAT resided in regard to the decision of the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on 16 September 2013 to disqualify Vozlic for a period of 6 months regarding an offence committed against Australian Rule of Harness Racing 259(1). The rule reads as follows: 259(1) A disqualified person or a person whose name appears in the current list of disqualifications published or adopted by a recognised harness racing authority or a person warned off cannot do any of the following – (a) associate with persons connected with the harness racing industry for purposes relating to that industry; (g) enter any premises used for the purposes of the harness racing industry (h) participate in any manner in the harness racing industry The rule breach related to Vozlic being detected on the property of licensed trainer Malcolm Retallick by HRV Stewards on 16 July 2013 for the purpose of shoeing horses for Retallick. At the time, Vozlic was serving a five-year disqualification imposed on him for presenting a horse to race with a prohibited substance in its system. In October 2014, Vozlic had been granted leave by the VCAT to make an application for review of the 6 month disqualification imposed out of time after he provided evidence that he had originally made the application within the required timeframe, but had not heard from the VCAT and hadn’t bothered to check on the status of his application. At yesterday’s hearing Vozlic applied only for a review against the penalty. After hearing submissions from Vozlic and HRV Stewards, Judge Nixon, dismissed Vozlic’s application and confirmed the penalty is appropriate. Nixon noted Vozlic had, before being detected at Retallick’s property, unsuccessfully sought permission from HRV to continue working as a farrier while disqualified, and despite this, had decided to flout the rules. Nixon remarked the message must be heard loud and clear by disqualified persons that the rules are there for a purpose. Vozlic’s six-month disqualification will behind on 4 June 2017 when his current disqualification period expires. HRV Media
On 25 August 2014, the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards lodged an application with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to review a decision of the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (RAD Board) to allow the appeal of Shayne Cramp in relation to his drive on Philtra Phella in Race 1 at Mildura on 13 June 2014. Mr Cramp had been suspended for eight weeks by HRV Stewards under ARHR 149(1) which states that ‘a driver shall take all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure that the horse driven by that drive has the best opportunity to win or obtain the best possible placing in the field’. The HRV RAD Board, on 14 July 2014, allowed Mr Cramp’s appeal and the penalty was set aside. The VCAT heard the application for review on 9 December 2014, where the presiding member, His Honour Senior Member Nixon, considered the relevant footage of the race along with the viva voce evidence of HRV Steward Mr Brett Day and Mr Cramp himself. His Honour also considered the submissions of the HRV Stewards and Mr Cramp including documents that were before the RAD Board. After considering evidence in relation to the first particular relating to Mr Cramp’s decision to remain on the pegs at the 1400m, His Honour indicated that although Mr Cramp should have checked where Fergus Mactavish was after it had galloped at the start, Mr Cramp was preoccupied with a gear problem and His Honour was not satisfied that the actions of Mr Cramp at this stage of the race involved a breach of Rule 149(1). In consideration of the second particular, which involved Mr Cramp shifting down the track at the 400m instead of persisting with a run wider on the track, His Honour stated that while the strategy at that point of the race turned out to be incorrect and an error of judgment, when the class of the horses and the speed of the race at that point were considered he could not be satisfied on the balance of probabilities it was a culpable error. The application of the HRV Stewards was dismissed. - HRV Media
Today’s TAB.com.au Summer of Glory launch at Zinc in Melbourne’s CBD will forever change the way Harness Racing Victoria approaches its summer jewels – the Victoria and Hunter Cups. A two-night harness racing spectacular has been revealed, to be hosted at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday January 31 (TAB Victoria Cup night) and Saturday February 7 (Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup night), with over $1.4 million in stakemoney to be awarded over 20 races. But just as important as the Summer of Glory carnival itself was the announcement of an early nominations cut-off date of December 19 for the Victorian and Hunter Cups, which allows HRV’s wagering partner, TAB.com.au, to run futures markets on the two cup races. This opens up enormous promotional opportunities for the Summer of Glory carnival, with all races between December 19 and the Victoria and Hunter Cups potentially impacting long-term markets. “This announcement allows the TAB to set fixed odds markets on the Victoria and Hunter Cup well ahead of time, generating discussion on social media and across traditional forms of media for weeks in the lead-up to the events,” HRV Marketing Manager Brett Boyd said. “Every time a race is run from December 19 involving horses that are nominated for the Hunter Cup or the Victoria Cup, those two big races can be mentioned, because the results of all races can have an impact on the fixed odds markets.” HRV Chief Operating Officer Brant Dunshea said adjusting the nomination dates was an important step in embracing the changing wagering landscape. “The changes were made to facilitate wagering on early fixed odds markets,” Dunshea said. “The growth of fixed odds is becoming more and more significant in the wagering landscape. “These changes also allow for the opportunity to promote these races through the media as the markets adjust.” HRV Communications and Media Manager Cody Winnell said fixed odds markets would secure harness racing more media exposure. “This announcement will help generate conversation about harness racing and that can only benefit the industry,” he said. “We need to have our product front and centre in what is a competitive sporting media landscape here in Victoria. The conversation that comes with fixed odds betting will help facilitate this.” There is no fee for owners to nominate horses for the Victoria or Hunter Cup before December 19. Further details to the conditions are available on Harness Racing Australia’s Industry News page. Harness Racing Victoria
Yesterday (December 2) Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) launched the new Summer of Glory at Zinc, Federation Square. This will be an outstanding two-week Carnival in late January/early February incorporating the TAB Victoria Cup and the Del Re National Food Group Hunter Cup, along with the VHRSC Victoria Derby. Before that we have two great regional Group 1 Cup meetings coming up at Cranbourne and Ballarat. The Decron Cranbourne Cup is an outstanding race in prospect, with the PETstock Ballarat Cup the following week. The first four to finish in the Miracle Mile will all be competing at one of, or both, the Cranbourne or Ballarat Cups. In the New Year the cream of Australasia's open class horses and three-year-olds will be in Melbourne for the Summer of Glory. To get a taste for the Summer of Glory click here to see our promotional video. And be sure to visit the Summer of Glory website for everything you need to know about the carnival. Financial As revealed in the recently released Annual Report, HRV continues on a path of financial stability, with a second year of solid profits in the 2013/14 financial year. HRV recorded a profit of $1.3m for the year, following a $2m profit the year before. Revenue grew 4.4% on the previous year to $80.1, the major factor in the revenue growth being returns from wagering which grew by $2m. The solid financial position allowed HRV to increase stakes by $2.7m during the year to a record $36.4m. Further stakes increases will occur during 2014/15 of $1.7m, which means over two years stakes will have risen by in excess of $4m or 13%, since June 2013. At the same time we have reduced long term debt and increased our cash surplus to ensure sustainability. A strong profit result is forecast for 2014/15 again, so it is hoped the trend of increasing stakes will continue next year. In addition to a positive trading position, HRV has a heathy balance sheet with net assets in excess of $23m. Wagering Recently I reviewed our growth trends in wagering. Total wagering turnover on harness racing by Victorians in 2009 was $570m - a large percentage of which was on the TAB. Now with the various other wagering operators competing with Tabcorp, and the recent advent of fixed odds betting, we are forecasting that total wagering turnover this year will be $800m. This dispels a view I sometimes hear that "no one bets on harness racing anymore". The figures do not support that. Of course much of the growth has come from the corporate bookmakers. As each dollar shifts from the TAB to the bookmakers HRV receives a lower return. Betting with the TAB remains the most profitable return for HRV, however I am pleased to say that the major corporate bookmakers are at least paying a fee to HRV as per our approval. Internet Another indicator of the interest in our sport is the activity on the website. Harness Racing is in the fortunate position to have a national website, which attracts visitors from all over the world. Each year we see significant growth in the number of users of the site. For example, some statistics on the growth of visitors to the site for the month of August: August 2010 - 580,000 August 2011 - 640,000 (up 10%) August 2012 - 689,000 (up 8%) August 2013 - 780,000 (up 13%) August 2014 - 865,000 (up 11%) "Fields" is the most popular location for visitors, followed by "Results", then "News" and "Form Guides". The internet is therefore an ever increasing source of information for harness enthusiasts. The website will be undergoing a major redesign and upgrade during 2015. On social media, HRV now has 6,200 'likes' on Facebook and 3,200 followers on Twitter. International Strategy I am often questioned on the importance of our international strategy, and it is probably something that we have not communicated the benefits enough. The strategic alliance that HRV has developed overseas is significant and contributing strong returns to the industry. It is very important for the financial sustainability of our code that we embrace internationalisation. This is a two-way arrangement. Important product from the US and Europe, shown on Sky Racing gives an automatic financial return to HRV. Similarly sending our races overseas is proving a growth area. In 2013/14, HRV received approximately $1m in product fees from the export of Victorian harness racing. With the limited pool of horses to fill race fields in Australia and New Zealand, future growth in revenue is going to continue from the import and export of harness product. Attracting overseas horses here is an important part of the strategy and we are seeing more and more of that occurring. One day we hope to have a regular trade of our horses competing in the major races overseas. The import and export of the product benefits everyone in the industry. Welcome to Victoria On the subject of import, HRV welcomes the Molanders (Dean & Nicole) as well as Anthony Butt as permanent residents in Victoria. We understand James Rattray will also be here with his team including Beautide for the summer at least. These are participants at the top of the tree and it is good to know they have confidence in Victoria. Victoria is still clearly the State with the highest stakes and we provide opportunities for all classes of horses. CEO News For those who are not aware, I distribute an email newsletter in the middle of each month. The aim of writing the newsletter is a way of personally updating the industry on important current issues and information. Click here for the most recent November edition. Infrastructure HRV continues to invest in upgrading infrastructure, with the assistance of the State Government via the Victorian Racing Industry Fund. The most recent project has been at Warragul where the track has been enhanced with an increase in the camber on turns and in the straights, plus a resurfacing of the track. The first meeting on the new track was successfully held on Monday December 1. The next tracks to receive similar upgrades will be Echuca and Horsham, which will take place in the first half of 2015. Consultation HRV is required to formally consult with representative groups of owners, trainers, drivers, breeders and clubs at least three times a year. The next round of consultation meetings takes place on December 16. State Election We look forward to working with a new Minister for Racing following last Saturday's election. HRV thanks outgoing Premier and Minister for Racing Dr Denis Napthine and his Advisor Patrick Clancy for the support they have given to HRV during their term. Copyright Â© 2014 Harness Racing Victoria, All rights reserved. You are receiving this email because you are on HRV's database listed as either an owner, trainer, driver, media, licensed person or associate with Harness Racing Victoria. Our mailing address is: Harness Racing Victoria P O Box 184 Moonee Ponds, VIC 3039 Australia
HARNESS racing officials say they are bewildered by the incoming Labor government’s plan to investigate all aspects of the industry. Labor’s pre-election racing policy promised “a full audit of Harness Racing Victoria to examine governance, board expertise, debts and liabilities, infrastructure, income streams, administrative duplication and integrity services, including out-of-competition investigative arrangements, and attraction and retention of stewards”. HRV chief John Anderson said he was “totally unaware” of any issues but he and the board “looked forward to meeting the new Minister for Racing”, who looks certain to be Martin Pakula. “We don’t know where that came from. We have no problems. Actually we are in pretty good shape,” Anderson said. “Nobody from the Labor camp has spoken to us about any of this but we will give complete co-operation because we reckon we are travelling pretty well.” Anderson said HRV made a $1.5 million profit last year which followed a profit of $2 million. “We increased prizemoney by $2.7 million last year and a further $1.7 million this year. “We have $23 million in net assets highlighted by our Melton racetrack, and we had $2 million in wagering growth revenue last year.” “And we are attracting quality harness people to Victoria. A couple have arrived from New South Wales in the past few years and New Zealand’s top man Anthony Butt has moved here. “On all fronts I think we are going well, which makes the Labor pre-election comment all the more bewildering.” The seven-member HRV board reports to the Minister for Racing. Pakula did not comment on timing of the harness “audit”. Labor’s racing policy included a statement that it had faith in Racing Victoria’s ability to manage the thoroughbred industry while it would work to support greyhound racing. Courtesy of and reprinted with permission of news.com.au
Harnesslink’s new recruit and Australian Editor-In-Chief, Paul Courts, has received another accolade. Just last week, Courts was among the recipients of Harness Racing Australia’s “Joseph Coulter Media Awards”, capturing Best News Story for his piece titled “Trigger’s final shot”. At last night’s Hall of Fame Presentation Dinner at Tabcorp Park Melton, Courts’ article was recognised by Harness Racing Victoria. Veteran scribe Max Agnew and Lucy McCormick also followed their HRA awards with state recognition. In an evening to remember, Agnew was also inducted into the Hall Of Fame – a fitting tribute to a long and passionate career within the industry. HRV media and communications manager Cody Winnell stated the quality of nominations for this year’s HRV media awards was exceptional. “We were impressed with the strong quality of entries across all categories and we were also very pleased with the number of nominations we received,” Winnell said. “The media plays such a vital role in the success of our industry and we are blessed to have such knowledgeable and dedicated harness racing journalists, authors and presenters depicting our great sport across all media platforms. “Our media people are very passionate and this comes across in all their work.” This year’s winners were as follows: Best News Story (Print or Online): Paul Courts, Harness Racing Weekly – Trigger’s Final Shot Best Feature Story (Print or Online): Max Agnew, Track Bred – Broodmares Are Not Created Equal Best Country Story/Feature: Lucy McCormick, Harness Racer – Snake Island Best Radio Feature/Interview: Len Baker, Harness Review 979FM – Graeme Lang Interview Best Coverage of Harness Racing Event: Sunraysia Daily – Mildura Cup Coverage Best Current Affairs/News Coverage: RSN – Gait Speed with Nadia Horne Special Commendation Award: John Peck – Horsham Harness Racing History
In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s great newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance. Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. Each issue includes an in-depth Stallion review not available anywhere else. All previous reviews can now be viewed atwww.stallionsphere.com This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: AU: Incident at Melton - Harness Racing Victoria stewards have concluded their case into a post-race incident at Melton recently. NZ: Trackside Coverage - One of the real bugbears in watching harness racing in New Zealand is the coverage provided by Trackside. Most of the coverage is world class from pre-race interviews through to having knowledgeable commentators fronting each race meeting. NZ: The "Met Multiplier" - A lot of industry participants are only to keen to criticize the major clubs and their management over how they program and run their meetings but praise is a lot harder to find. Heinz Wewering & Dave Palone; two class acts - When harness driver Dave Palone scored his 16,754th career victory on Friday and surpassed Germany’s Heinz Wewering as the winningest driver in the history of the sport, it also brought to light two great people in our sport. It all comes down to the Breeders Crown! - Whomever coined the phrase, “It all comes down to the Breeders Crown” never said it any better. The year-end major stakes weekend takes place this Friday and Saturday at the Meadowlands and once again many “yearend awards” in North America will be decided by the outcome of these races. Stallion Review – ART OFFICIAL - Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Art Official,1:47m ($2,085,185). Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).