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Victorian harness racing trainer Gaita Pullicino has had her licences cancelled by stewards. Following an inspection on Pullicino’s property this week, Harness Racing Victoria’s stipes found the horsewoman had breached the conditions of her probationary return to the industry. After spending more than a decade on the sidelines, Pullicino was granted a trainer’s and driver’s licence after signing an agreement with the governing body. The stewards’ inspection found Pullicino broke the terms by having more horses at her stable than her licence allowed. Pullicino was approved to trainer a team of six, however, an extra six horses were discovered during the stewards’ raid. Although no findings were made as to the bona fides of the additional horses, HRV stewards issued a further set of directions which clarified the initial licence conditions imposed. After considering submissions from Pullicino and stable assistant Brett Greene, stewards declared Pullicino had breached the conditions of her licence and invoked an immediate cancellation of both trainers and drivers licences. Pullicino has been advised of her rights of appeal. PAUL COURTS

Harness Racing Victoria’s Good Form revolution has entered stage two. The new-look Good Form 2.0 website (goodform.trot.com.au) provides punters with a bevy of knowledge so they can make informed wagering decisions on Australia’s most exciting racing code. Manager Jason Bonnington says Good Form offers punters an array of form tools, including all the usual HRV offerings such as game plans, suggested quaddies, best bets and value bets as well as Trainer Talk, regular speed maps, selections from HRV race callers, horses to follow from the trials, black-bookers and Sectional Stars. “The punting revolution began with Good Form about 18 months ago and this is the next phase in delivering better services and more of them to the punters,” Bonnington said. “Punters are such an important part of our industry and we need to find ways to engage them the best way we can. “They will have more information than ever via this website, with speed maps and Trainer Talk every day, plus all the usual Good Form info and some exciting new sections. This is a huge step forward. “We’re really excited about this project. It’s your one-stop shop for trots punting in Victoria.” Bonnington also stated punters would be able to follow the performances of Good Form tipsters via a daily email service, which is to be launched in coming days. “We’re developing a system whereby punters can track our performances,” Bonnington said.  “This information will be broken down into sections and provide complete transparency for those wishing follow us. “It’s an exciting time for our great sport in Victoria and the Good Form team is looking forward to the challenge ahead.” HRV MEDIA

Champion trainer Chris Lang has announced he will retire from harness racing once his property is sold at auction on October 17. The leading trainer, a pioneer in in the Australian trotting industry, has made the decision to concentrate on his health as he battles Raynaud's Disease, which is a rare disorder of the blood vessels affecting his hands. Lang, 54, told Harness Racing Victoria media this morning he was shattered to have to step away from the sport, but said he was making the tough call for the betterment of his long-term health. “Basically it’s a decision that was forced upon me,” Lang said. “I’ve had a few minor health issues over the last few years, with pneumonia and a lung infection, autoimmune disease and rheumatoid arthritis, and basically I have little ongoing issues that are minor now but because of the lifestyle I lead can lead to far more major issues later on. “I have Raynaud’s Disease, which affects the circulation in my hand, especially during the winters. “At the present time it’s very minor but it has the potential to develop into a far more life-changing condition if I don’t go and try to get it fixed now.” While shattered to have to make the call, Lang said he was determined to pull the pin while he still had some say in the matter and said he won’t rule out returning to training in future. “I’m going to make the decision while it’s still my decision to a degree rather than wait until I’ve got no other option,” he said. “This is possibly just a hiatus for me rather than a retirement. “If I’m able to go away now and get this sorted out then who knows what will happen in the future?” Lang has informed his owners of his decision and stressed it was “business as usual” until his property in Nagambie is sold at auction. Lang, who has developed his property from bare land to a state-of-the-art harness racing training mecca, said he was disappointed to be selling the venue. “When we shifted there about 21 odd years ago it was a bare paddock and to build it into something that Sharon and I are so immensely proud of, I always envisaged being carried out of there in a wooden box to be honest. “We’ve always said though that we want to do the right thing and we feel this is the right thing as hard as it is.” Lang has been an indomitable force in Australian trotting circles for many years. He won the 2009 and 2010 Inter Dominion finals with the glorious squaregaiter Sundons Gift and consequently earned an invitation to the Elitlopp in Sweden. “That was an amazing achievement, really,” Lang said. “Going over there (to Sweden) was in my opinion the greatest experience because it was life-changing. “We brought a whole lot of knowledge back with us from that trip.” Lang, whose other stable champions have included Kyvalley Road, Skyvalley, Let Me Thru, National Interest, Jauriol and Lester Scot, said he remembers attending the Shepparton trials with his trotters and being the only trainer there with squaregaiters. “Now 40 to 50 per cent of horses at those trials are trotters,” he said. “It’s actually amazed me how far trotting has come since then in Australia. I’d like to say I sat back and could see it happening, but that wouldn’t be true. It really has amazed me.” Lang will continue training and driving horses until his property has been sold and said he would likely remain in the sport as an owner afterwards, but he was yet to make a decision on that. He said it would be up to his individual owners to decide how they wanted to handle the transition. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

A reminder, as we close in on the end of season 2013/14, that for the first time Harness Racing Victoria will conduct just one industry awards night, the Gordon Rothacker Medal, including Horse of the Year, on October 8. ......................................................................   Breeders Crown The Australasian harness racing spotlight will be squarely on Tabcorp Park Melton this Sunday as the rich Breeders Crown series culminates with a $1.6m "Super Sunday". 10 Group 1 finals will be contested on what has become arguably the best day's racing on the harness racing calendar. The Breeders Crown is the real trans-Tasman battle, with New Zealand's best two, three and four-year-old horses heading across the ditch to take on the Australians. I particularly like the $297,000 two-year-old fillies' final with Kiwis Katy Perry, Cyclone Kate, Linda Lovegrace, Joannes A Delight and Big Lucy dominating the early fixed odds betting charts. But don't tell a couple of the Aussies that the Kiwis are set for an easy ride, as Mick Stanley (trainer of Soho Tokyo) and Rob Auber (owner of Niki No No) have both declared they're not running scared. Probably the battle that has punters salivating most is the rematch between three-year-old semi-final combatants Our Sky Major and Bling It On. Punters are also reminded of a $25,000 first four pool guarantee on all races at Tabcorp Park on Sunday thanks to the TAB. Super Sunday kicks off at 12.05pm, with 11 races to be contested. Ballarat HRV's thanks goes to President Greg Moy and CEO Paul Rowse for yet again doing a great job in hosting an important industry event, the Breeders Crown Semi Finals last Saturday (August 16). As always a job well done. .......................................................................................... Interesting Statistics (Season) Plenty of highlights this season as we near the end of another racing year: Chris Alford's drives earned over $1m for the second time in his career; Chris Alford, Greg Sugars and Gavin Lang have all driven over 200 winners nationally this season; David Aiken is the first trainer to have trained 50 winners in a season at Tabcorp Park. Next best is Lance Justice with 49 in 2010/11; David Aiken has also smashed the trainers stakes earned at Tabcorp Park in a season, currently sitting just under $1m. Speaking of Greg Sugars, if you click here you will see a nice segment featuring Greg with Jaimee Rogers from Tabcorp called "Behind the Moment" where Greg talks of his relationship with the great Sushi Sushi. ............................................................................................. Smoken Up We are building toward a big farewell for Lance Justice's champion Smoken Up's last ever run at Tabcorp Park on September 6. For the record, before his final run, he will have had 152 starts for 74 wins and career stakes of $3.6m Included in his 74 wins have been 21 wins at Tabcorp Park, from which he has earned $700,000. The horse to have won the most at Tabcorp Park is Make Mine Cullen with 29 wins at the new headquarters. The occasion is being generously supported by the State Government's Raceday Attraction Program and the Premier Dr Denis Napthine will be in attendance. ............................................................................................... Red Balloon Experience for Father's Day The State Government recently approved a grant for the promotion of a Mobile Barrier Ride and dining package offered through Red Balloon. Participating venues are offering a 25% discount ($165 down from $220) as part of Red Balloons Father's Day promotion which runs from August 18 to Father's Day on September 7, where people can purchase the package as a gift for use over the next 12 months. The Package includes the usual dining and drinks for two plus two mobile barrier rides. Click here for the link to the package on Red Balloon. ......................................................................................... Youth Policy People often associate the trots with an ageing demographic. It is pleasing to see that this is now becoming a myth as we see the rise to the top of our gun young drivers, who are knocking on the door of the likes of C Alford and G Lang. In recent months names such as Josh Aiken, Matt Craven, Jason Lee, Rebecca Bartley, Ellen Tormey, Glen Craven, Emmett Brosnan, Zac Phillips, Alex Ashwood, Josh Duggan and plenty of others have tasted regular success and are hot on the heels of more seasoned youngsters, such as Greg Sugars, Amy Tubbs and Nathan Jack. It is important for administrators to manage the business in such a way that this new generation of participants see a long term future in this great sport. ..................................................................................... Don Dove Since the last CEO News, HRV was saddened to hear of the passing of the one and only Don Dove. Below is copy penned by Len Baker following his funeral service at Kilmore: A large number of trainers, drivers, owners and harness racing people in general were in attendance at Kilmore's Trackside Tabaret on Tuesday July 29, to celebrate the life and times of iconic Victorian trainer/driver Don Dove who passed away in his adopted state Queensland on July 14, 2014 at the age of 86. The memorial service was conducted by the "Pacing Priest" Father Brian Glasheen and numerous stories were told during the service. Don was a legend of the sport and was associated with horses such as Kol's Idol, Monara's Image, Nelson's Report, Playalong, Amlin, Jaygo, Missing Charm, Jay Ar Ewing, Just Money and Victoria Derby winner Kelly Kid just to name a few, with his best being prolific winner Monara which finished second to Welcome Advice in the 1972 (Brisbane) Inter Dominion when driven by Neville Welsh. Originally training in Heatherton where he was based for many years in an area which was also home to G.D. (Dave) Wilson and several other trainers including Lloyd and Bruce Coram, the trio would conduct trials on a rotation basis at their property's each weekend prior to the formation of Southern Speedways where Don was a regular competitor at the weekend trials called by at one stage by Trackbred editor Peter Wharton. Dove then moved to Kilmore and further north to Avenel, before relocating to Queensland. A master reinsman with wonderful hands who was great in getting horses away from the tapes, there was no better driver at the head of the field in a trotting or pacing race than Don Dove. Harness Racing Victoria

The harness racing writers couldn’t have scripted the barrier draw for the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown (3YO colts and geldings) Series final any better today at Tabcorp Park Melton. Despite a random draw, the final two horses left in the barrel were Kiwi champ Our Sky Major and his main adversary Bling It On. Fresh in the minds of racegoers was that less than 24 hours before the draw Our Sky Major had edged out Bling It On in a thrilling Breeders Crown semi-final battle at Ballarat. The two remaining ping pong balls in the barrel were gates three and 13 – meaning one favourite would have a plum draw, while the other had to come from outside the second line. Bling It On’s owner, Harvey Kaplan, and his family were thrilled when their charge drew three, leaving the Our Sky Major camp lamenting an unlucky 13 draw. When Our Sky Major narrowly pipped Bling It On in the semi-final last night, the Barry Purdon trained Kiwi star had drawn the front line, while Bling It On – from the Belinda McCarthy yard – had to come from the second row. Bling It On whipped around to find the lead with a blistering mid-race move at Ballarat before Zac Butcher worked Our Sky Major into clear air late and grabbed the win right on the wire. Reversing the semi-final draw has made this headline clash, one of many not-to-be-missed events on Breeders Crown finals day at Tabcorp Park Melton on Sunday, even more tantalising than it already promised to be. Adding further intrigue is that the front line is choc full of speed in the three-year-old boys’ final, with Will Mach My Word (gate two), Bling It On (three), Major Crocker (four), Saloon Passage (five) and Hectorjayjay (six) all realistic shots at finding the early lead. TAB fixed odds reacted by slotting Bling It On in as race favourite at $2.10, with Our Sky Major a $2.50 second pick. Bling It On’s stable-mate Lettucerockthem is on the third line of betting at $5.50 despite a gate nine draw, while Vince Vallelonga trained Major Crocker, who won his semi-final, is $13. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria MARKET NOW OPEN AT THE TAB Related Links Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Sunday 24 August 2014 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Sunday 24 August 2014

Harness racing drivers Zac Butcher and Luke McCarthy both produced brilliant drives in the second semi-final of the three-year-old boys’ Breeders Crown at Bray Raceway in Ballarat tonight. In the end Butcher took the win, just, aboard New Zealand star Our Sky Major, while McCarthy – whose dashing mid-race move aboard Bling It On from his back-row draw gave his horse a genuine winning chance – had to settle for second. If those two repeat their runs in the final at Tabcorp Park Melton next Sunday, it will be a classic Group 1 race. Hectorjayjay pinged off the arm to lead for Simone Walker early, which was a  surprise as the pre-race hype had been about Saloon Passage and Our Sky Major possibly getting involved in a two-horse speed duel. Hectorjayjay quickly handed up to Our Sky Major, which shuffled Saloon Passage three back along the pegs. McCarthy made a bold and dashing move aboard Bling It On at the 1200-metre mark and the star pacer had such a head of steam up that he was able to run to the lead. Our Sky Major was then behind the leader, Hectorjayjay was three-back the inside and Saloon Passage was in all sorts of traffic. But Butcher didn’t panic and was able to extricate the $1.50  Our Sky Major into clear running in the home straight, the son of Art Major driving hard late to pip Bling It On in a thriller, with Hectorjayjay rallying again for third. Jilliby Jagger ran on hard to finish fourth, while Saloon Passage was fifth and Mighty Gift sixth. The other three-year-old boys’ semi-final was taken out by Major Crocker and Greg Sugars for trainer Vince Vallelonga. Major Crocker was too strong for runner-up Alleluia, with Will Mach My Word third. That trio were 1-2-3 for the last lap. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Rising-star reinswoman Amanda Turnbull combined with New South Wales harness racing trainer Dennis Picker to win the first semi-final of the Bettors Delight @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for three-year-old fillies tonight at Ballarat with Just Cala. The daughter of Art Major defeated Spicy Stride by 7.1 metres in a mile rate of 1:57.0, while Ocean Diva ran third for Blake Fitzpatrick and Somedreamsomewhere ran fourth for Daryl Douglas. Just Cala had put the writing on the wall at her previous start when she came from an awkward position to rattle home and run second behind Rocknroll Arden. Just Cala The second semi-final of the Bettors Delight @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for three-year-old  fillies saw a major upset – with $1.20 favourite Nike Franco missing a place at Ballarat tonight. The Belinda McCarthy trained filly galloped early and lost ground, which meant she had to use up a bit more petrol than first planned to find the lead. Once there Nike Franco was able to get away with a 30.5-second first quarter and a 32.1-second second split, but after they sprinted up down the back straight driver Luke McCarthy was starting to wind her up as Quick Draft and Barynya were on the march. In the home straight Quick Draft finished the strongest for Chris Alford, delivering in-form trainer David Aiken the win, with Tasmanian filly Barynya second (beaten 1.6 metres) and David Moran trained-and-driven Our Santa Catalina battling on well for third after leading early. Nike Franco ran fourth. The mile rate was 1:57.2, with the last half 55.6 seconds. Quick Draft by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria  

Reinsman Rodney Petroff nailed the tactics aboard Zedalite to win the Vulcan Trotters Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Melton last night. Petroff took the Brent Lilley trained five-year-old gelding straight to the front from gate three and refused to hand up to Josh Aiken aboard the short-priced favourite, My High Expectations, in the 1720-metre feature event. The pair, who punters favoured with My High Expectations starting $1.50 favourite and Zedalite the second pick at $4.20, sat one-two for the bulk of the race but Petroff’s charge had the upper hand. In the finish My High Expectations loomed large late and almost got level with the early pacesetter in the final 200 metres, but Petroff lifted Zedalite to a memorable half-head win. Zedalite has been a terrific money-spinner for connections and last night’s success was his 22nd career win from 75 starts. The son of Zooma stopped the clock at 1:58.1 for the mile rate. Stoned I Am ran on at the finish to grab third for Simone Walker, while Lightning Joy was fourth for Gavin Lang. Earlier in the night Inky Cullen bounced back to winning form after some out-of-character efforts with a win in the Tabcorp Park Melton Claiming Pace. The Amanda Grieve trained five-year-old scored a three-metre win over stablemate Catch Your Breath; Alex Ashwood driving the winner and Chris Alford piloting the second horse. Other Melton winners were Palais Du Louvre for Leigh Miles and Scott Dyer in the first race, Smiling High for David Aiken and Nathan Jack in Race 2, El Paco for Joe Attard in Race 4, Keayang Cullen for Marg Lee and Jason Lee in Race 5, Goodtime Mike for Emma Stewart and Alford in Race 6, Im Barney Rubble for Lance Justice and Brian Gath in Race 7, and The Majestic for John Newberry in Race 9. The early quaddie paid $520.30 on the numbers 9-5-9-8, while the traditional quaddie paid $1453 on a 1-2-10-3 combination. Don't forget tomorrow's guaranteed $200,000 quaddie pool at Ballarat for semi-final night of the rich Breeders Crown Series. Details at the TAB website. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

The Harness Racing Victoria Racing & Appeals Disciplinary Board (HRV RAD  Board) today considered a charge issued by HRV Stewards against registered  trainer-driver Dylan Marshall. The charge related to a report from HRV Stewards where, during a routine  inspection of the stables of Mr Marshall on 14 May 2014, he had in his possession a  whip that had been modified by way of the addition of two lengths of plastic coated  wire attached to the tip. Mr Marshall pleaded guilty to a charge under Australian Rules of Harness  Racing 213(b), which states that: "a person shall not have in his possession any  harness, gear, equipment, device, substance or any other thing capable of inflicting  suffering on a horse." The HRV RAD Board imposed a fine of $1000 with $500 suspended for a period of  12 months. Racing and Appeals Disciplinary Board - Harness Racing Victoria

Maryborough was a happy hunting ground for trainer Andy Gath today – the Long Forest harness racing horseman qualifying two horses for the two-year-old trotting fillies Breeders Crown final. Gath’s rising stars Endsino (by Angus Hall out of Jauriol) and Naked Majesty (by Majestic Son out of Starcus) both saluted in their crown heats, with Andy’s wife Kate driving both winners. Endsino started long odds-on in her heat and never looked like getting rolled, leading all the way in a mile rate of 2:04.2 to score a 7.7-metre win over Glenferrie Burn. Naked Majesty won by 3.3m in her heat, overpowering early leader Meadow Valley Road late in the race. Gath sat quietly aboard Naked Majesty behind the leader, the filly peeling to the outside in the stretch to win in a rate 2:05.7. Fabrication recorded a half-neck win in the second heat of the two-year-old colts and geldings crown, defying a fierce challenge from runner-up Kyvalley Boomerang in the home stretch. Driven by Daryl Douglas for Tatura trainer David Abrahams, Fabrication found the front early and controlled the race before Kyvalley Boomerang launched his claim late. Kyvalley Boomerang got on terms with the leader 100 metres from home but it wasn’t to be, the early leader kicking on gamely to earn a ticket into the crown final. King of the trotters, Chris Lang, prevailed victorious with One Over Da Moon in the three-year-old trotters second heat. The colt by Majestic Son cruised around the field early to find the lead before going to the line with a 2.1-metre advantage over runner-up Four Lillies, with underrated Coimadai Lodge hitting the line hard out wide for third. Shared Interest announced himself a major player in the two-year-old colts and geldings’ division with a comfortable heat win over race favourite Eljaykay Phoenix. Driven by Nathan Jack, Shared Interest cruised up to the long odds-on elect at the 400m, eventually peeling into the sprint lane to shoot clear for a 3.3m win. Eljaykay Phoenix battled on for second, but has clearly come back to his rivals somewhat after dominating throughout the Vicbred Super Series, while Illawong Armstrong was third beaten 22.1m. Our Twentyten took out the final Breeders Crown heat for the day, the Brent Lilley trained and Rodney Petroff driven son of Muscles Yankee 3.7 metres too strong for Claudys Princess in their three-year-olds heat. Filly Claudys Princess punched the breeze throughout and battled on gamely for second, while Asdenro secured a beaut run on the leader’s back and was a clear third. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

There have been some frosty nights of late but no matter what the weather, Saturday night's 10-race program at Melton promises to be a crackerjack meeting. The Tabcorp Park Melton Cup Final, the Blacks A Fake Free for All and the Sumthingaboutmaori Trotters Free for All are the feature events with Race 1 kicking off at 5.30pm. This week's Trots/AFL Saturday night special is one for the Cats fans in Top 4 Expectations, while Victoria's own Smoken Up will have his last South Australian run on Sunday before the curtain falls once and for all at Melton next month. ............................................................................................   The Game Plan for Tabcorp Park Melton with Jason Bonnington (@jasonbonnington) Best Bets ($100 All-Up) Smudge Bromac (Race 3 no. 7) $1.80 Keayang Cullen (Race 4 no. 6) $1.40 Best Value ($10 Win $30 Place) Stoned I Am (Race 5 no. 7) $16/$3.30 TAB Fixed Odds Beauty Secret (Race 7 no. 7) $10/$2.63 TAB Fixed Odds Metro Mike (Race 7 no. 6) $12/$3 TAB Fixed Odds The Money Races Race 3 ($60 Flexi First 4's) 7/ 4,8,9,10/ 4,8,9,10/ 4,8,9,10. $24 gets 100% 7/ 4,8,9,10/ 4,8,9,10/ Field. $36 gets 50% Race 10 ($60 Flexi Trifectas) 4/ 1/ 2,3,7,8. $40 gets 1000% 4/ 2,3,7,8/ 1. $10 gets 250% 1/ 4/ 2,3,7,8. $10 gets 250% The Early Quads (x4 for $130) 2/ 1,3,5,8,9,10/ 7/ 6. $48 gets 800% 1,8,12/ 1,3,5,8,9,10/ 7/6. $72 gets 400% 2/ 4,7/ 7/ 6. $4 gets 200% 1,8,12/ 4,7/ 7/ 6. $6 gets 100% Get the full Game Plan, speed maps and more .................................................................................................................... Top 4 Expectations - this weekend's TAB/Trots specials The Trots/AFL TAB special this week celebrates the mighty Cats and top-notch trotter My High Expectations. If Geelong defeats North Melbourne by more than 8.5 points on Saturday and My High Expectations wins Race 5 at Melton, punters will collect on the special! Opening price for Top 4 Expectations is $4. To access the special online visit tab.com.au and follow the links to Sports/Racing Extras/Harness Specials. You can also bet on the special at the track, your local TAB outlet or via the TAB app. ........................................................................................................ Victorians to contest Southern Cross finals Sunday's Southern Cross Finals meeting at Globe Derby in South Australia will have a strong Victorian flavour. Several Victorian horses have qualified for the Southern Cross Finals, which are worth $60,000 each, while champion Melton pacer Smoken Up will have his final South Australian start in the SA Farewells Trigger Pace. READ MORE ................................................................................................... Will Keayang Cullen make it five straight? Keayang Cullen will be shooting for a fifth straight win on Saturday night in the Blacks A Fake Free for All at Tabcorp Park Melton. But after finishing behind the expected odds-on favourite at its past two starts - beaten 4.1m two runs back and 3.6m last time out - Restrepo can keep cutting into Keayang Cullen's margin, according to the horse's trainer Clayton Tonkin. READ MORE ..................................................................................... Cramp duo head to Melton in winning form Shayne Cramp will take two horses in winning form to Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow night. The Mildura master, who last month trained the entire card at a meeting at his home track, will bring impressive four-year-olds Philtra Phella and Cenosilocophobia to town in a bid to win his fourth metro race this season. READ MORE ........................................................................................... Filly on track to add another Crown to her belongings Whereibylong scored a seemingly effortless win in heat eight of the Breeders Crown three-year-old fillies' series at Bendigo on during the week. Driven by Gavin Lang for Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, Whereibylong finished over eight metres clear of runner-up Our Santa Catalina in a rate of 1:58.6. READ MORE ............................................................................................ The Wraps are getting bigger A fluke is defined as "an unlikely chance occurrence, especially a surprising piece of luck". So one could mount an argument that to pinch a win over a highly rated opponent in horse racing is a fluke, but to do it twice in two starts? Not so much. READ MORE Harness Racing Victoria

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to charges issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Rules of Harness Racing (ARHR) 190(1) and 90A(2.9)(a) against licensed trainer Mr Anthony Peacock and ARHR 196A(1)(ii), 190(1), 204, 187(2) and 239A against licensed stablehand Mr Chris Hillman.  ARHR 190(1) reads as follows:  A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. The charge under ARHR 190(1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Peacock and Mr Hillman related to a post-race urine sample taken from the horse ‘Azumah The Booma’ after it finished first in Race 6 the ‘Central Goldfields Shire 3YO Pace’ at Maryborough on 24 April 2014. Mr Peacock was the registered trainer of the horse at this time and Mr Hillman had been authorised to present the horse to race at Maryborough on behalf of Mr Peacock. ARHR 190(3) reads as follows: If a person is left in charge of a horse and the horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1), the trainer of the horse and the person left in charge is each guilty of an offence.  Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample collected from ‘Azumah The Booma’ revealed the sample contained the prohibited substance Hydrocortisone Hemisuccinate. The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) in Sydney reported confirmation of these findings in the reserve portion of the relevant urine sample. The Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board (RADB) is established under section 50B of the Racing Act (1958). The RADB is an independent Board established to hear and determine appeals in relation to decisions made under the rules to impose penalties on persons and to hear and determine charges made against persons for serious offences. Mr Peacock pleaded not guilty to the charge under ARHR 190(1), however was subsequently found guilty to the charge. After hearing submissions regarding penalty, the HRV RAD Board imposed a fine of $6,000 upon Mr Peacock. Mr Peacock was fined a further $250 under ARHR 90A(2.9)(a) for failing to ensure Mr Hillman had held an appropriate licence prior to and on 24 April 2014.  Mr Hillman pleaded guilty to the charge under ARHR 190 and ARHR 196A(1)(ii), which reads as follows; A person shall not administer or cause to be administered to a horse any prohibited substance: (ii) which is detected in any sample taken from such horse prior to or following the running of any race. Mr Hillman made admissions during the investigation to the administration of the product solu-cortef approximately 48 hours prior to Azumah The Booma racing at Maryborough on 24 April 2014. After considering submissions regarding penalty, the HRV RAD Board imposed a disqualification of Mr Hillman’s licence for a period of 6 months. Mr Hillman pleaded guilty to ARHR 204 for carrying out the duties of a stablehand for a considerable period of time leading up to and including 24 April 2014, whilst not being the holder of a relevant licence. The HRV RAD Board imposed a disqualification of Mr Hillman’s licence for a period of 1 month, which was ordered to be served concurrently with the disqualification imposed under ARHR 196A(1)(ii). Mr Hillman pleaded guilty to the charge under ARHR 187(2) for giving false information to stewards when initially interviewed by HRV Stewards on 16 May 2014 where he advised that he was unable to explain the presence of the prohibited substance in the urine sample collected from ‘Azumah The Booma’. For this offence, the RAD Board imposed a fine of $1000. Mr Hillman also pleaded guilty to the charge under ARHR 239A for failing to advise Mr Peacock of the administration of solu-cortef, which has led to a breach of the Australian Rules of Harness Racing as the treatment failed to be recorded in Mr Peacock’s log book. For this offence the RAD Board imposed a fine of $250. Under ARHR 195, the HRV RAD Board ordered that ‘Azumah The Booma' be  disqualified from Race 6 at Maryborough on 24 April 2014. Harness Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board

Messini’s rise to harness racing stardom continued last night at Bendigo. The pacer, whose racing style is to keep his head low, stick his neck out and storm forward like a bullying gridiron hulk barging through would-be tacklers, never looked like getting beat. With Chris Alford in the sulky for trainer Brent Lilley, Messini came home with a 57-second last half to score a 4.6-metre victory in the ninth heat of the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown Series for three-year-old colts and geldings. The high-class son of Art Major led from gate three and toyed with his rivals, only Glen Craven’s lightly raced Jilliby Jagger able to get within a bull’s roar of the winner at the end, the Terang pacer 4.6m behind in second. With a 1:57.5 mile rate – easily the quickest of the three Crown heats on the night – Messini looks cherry ripe for the semi-finals, with a decision to be made regarding whether the pacer remains with Lilley for the business end of the series or heads back to Lilley’s close mate and New Zealand’s leading trainer, Mark Purdon. Purdon sent Messini and Kept Under Wraps to Lilley for the lead-up to the Breeders Crown and Lilley has both horses firing on all cylinders. Messini Other heat winners last night were Will Mach My Word for trainer Geoff Webster with Emmett Brosnan in the chair, the son of Mach Three leading from go to whoa, and Dream Away gelding Hectorjayjay for Bill and Simone Walker, which scored by over 12m in a rate of 2:00.4 in the last race on the card. Will Mach My Word Hectorjayjay by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Whereibylong scored a seemingly effortless win in heat eight of the Breeders Crown three-year-old fillies’ series at Bendigo on last night. Driven by Gavin Lang for Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, Whereibylong finished over eight metres clear of runner-up Our Santa Catalina in a rate of 1:58.6. Whereibylong finished off in a last half-mile of 56 seconds, running her opponents ragged despite not leaving second gear, says Tonkin. “Gavin never had to pull the plugs,” Tonkin said. “I’d actually say it was a soft run.” Whereibylong dominated the recent Breeders Challenge series at Menangle, romping home in the Group 1 final by almost seven metres after proving too good in the heat and semi-final. The fact she seems completely adept on the sometimes tricky Menangle track was a big tick, said Tonkin, and should bode well for her in coming seasons. “She’s a great filly. She came through Sydney really well. “She’ll definitely (go on to) race in open class.” Already a Breeders Crown champion (as a two-year-old), Whereibylong has had 13 wins and three minor placings from 21 starts for prizemoney of $340,457. David Moran trained-and-driven Our Santa Catalina boxed on for second after working in the breeze, while Charlie Wootton trained Madison Louise finished third for driver Greg Sugars. The other three-year-old fillies’ Crown heat last night was taken out by David Aiken trained Quick Draft for driver Chris Alford. Quick Draft, which started $1.30 on the tote, romped home by 12.1 metres despite working three-wide early and punching the breeze thereafter. Her winning mile rate was 1:58.0 with a last half of 57.8 seconds. Tuscan Breeze ran second for Stewart/Tonkin and Lang, while Kiss Kenny was third beaten 24.1m for trainer Greg Hansen and driver Danielle Lewis. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Victoria)

A fluke is defined as “an unlikely chance occurrence, especially a surprising piece of luck”. So one could mount an argument that to pinch a win over a highly rated opponent in horse racing is a fluke, but to do it twice in two starts? Not so much. Kept Under Wraps is no longer the hunter in his mini-rivalry against Birdy Mach – he has to be hunted by virtue of his two-from-two record against the highly rated New South Welsh colt. The colt by Bettors Delight in the care of Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley took out the 11th heat of the American Ideal @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for two-year-old colts and geldings at Shepparton last night with a blistering fourth quarter of 26.8 seconds. Birdy Mach ($1.50) and reinsman Luke McCarthy pinged off the arm to find the lead early from the 2190-metre start with Kept Under Wraps ($2.70) straight on to his back for in-form Greg Sugars. Kate Gath took the third favourite Burnaholeinmypocket ($13.60) to the breeze from gate seven, the trio jogtrotting through the middle stages of the race to make it near impossible for the backmarkers to make late ground. With a third quarter of 30.5 seconds after earlier splits of 31.4 and 32.1 it was always going to be hard to topple Birdy Mach in the straight, but once Kept Under Wraps gained  the sprint lane in the home stretch his withering burst of speed carried him over the line first. The final margin of a half-head was closer than when Kept Under Wraps defeated Birdy Mach in the Tatlow Stakes (1.1m) the start prior. Burnaholeinmypocket battled on gamely for third. Lilley admitted Birdy Mach might still be a little bit green and said that horse lacked nothing in the ability stakes before heaping praise on his fella. “Last night to come home with a really quick last quarter like that was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “He’s really come along nicely in the time I’ve had him down here.” Lilley said leading New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon was likely to take Kept Under Wraps and Messini, who Lilley has also enjoyed immense success with of late, back for the Breeders Crown semi-finals and finals next month. “I’ve definitely enjoyed having them here, that’s for sure,” Lilley said. Lilley used to work for Purdon in New Zealand before starting his own training operation at Kaiapoi, near Christchurch. “The relationship with Mark goes back a long way,” Lilley said. “I worked for him when he started out about 15 years ago, then I went out on my own and I’d work a fair few horses on the beach. “Mark would send some down to me that were suited to beach work and he actually sent me a really good horse in Cool Hand Luke (16 wins from 36 starts).” Lilley puts the polish on Messini tomorrow night at Bendigo in heat nine of the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown three-year-old colts geldings series. Messini has won four races on the trot – including an 8.8m success in the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final two starts back. Meanwhile, Scott Stewart trained-and-driven Its Just Kenny made it two wins from two starts with a 3.4m win in the 10th heat of the two-year-old males’ Breeders Crown series last night, the Kenneth J gelding going 1:59.8 to defeat Mojo Major by 3.4m. The other heat winner was Show Me The Bling, who defeated Mach Doro by 1.4m in a fast rate of 1:58.4 (last half 56.9). Show Me The Bling is trained by David Aiken and was steered by Nathan Jack. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Of the three two-year-old fillies Breeders Crown heat wins at Ballarat on Saturday night, Niki No No’s was the most resounding. The Kari Males trained filly’s fifth win from seven starts assured her a spot in the Breeders Crown semi-finals at Ballarat next month – and the fact she shaved 1.5 seconds off Ballarat’s age record showed she’s the real deal. Niki No No’s winning mile rate of 1:57.5 was 3.5 seconds quicker than Big Lucy’s heat victory in Race 3 and 3.6 seconds slicker than Soho Tokyo’s in the last race. Greg Sugars took Niki No No ($1.90 race favourite) straight to the lead from gate two, while John Caldow sent the second-favourite, Smooth Showgirl, to the spot outside the leader. Niki No No kept her rivals chasing throughout the 2200m journey, punching out sectional times of 29.9, 29.9, 29.5 and 28.9 on her way to a 1.5m win over Missed By Red. The recent win of New Zealand pacer Katy Perry in the Tatlow Stakes didn’t bode well for the Australian brigade of two-year-old fillies, as the filly named after one of the world’s biggest pop stars is one of three very talented – and evenly matched – Kiwi horses heading Down Under in pursuit of the two-year-old girls’ Crown. The other two are Joanne’s A Delight and Supersonic Miss. But as one of Niki No No’s owners, Rob Auber, told me last week. “We know we’ve got a pretty serious racehorse ... we’re certainly not running scared”. And Saturday night’s win certainly cemented Auber’s view. “Nothing’s changed,” he said on Monday morning. “She broke the age track record by 1.5 seconds. We’re thrilled with how she’s going. “She’ll have a freshen-up now and then we’ll head to the semi-final.” By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

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