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The all-important line-ups (pre-barrier draw) for the Group 1 TAB Breeders Crown trotting gait finals were today announced by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) following yesterday’s heats at Maryborough. Brilliant juvenile Wobelee, a son of Down Under Muscles, was at his finest yesterday for reinsman Chris Alford in the Aldebaran Park 2YO Trotting Colts/Geldings third heat, destroying his rivals by 15.5 metres at the prohibitive odds of $1.04. As the skinny odds suggest, the trouncing was predictable and Wobelee will be shooting for his 10th straight triumph come next Sunday at Tabcorp Park Melton. He looks the day’s ‘moral’ already. La Grange (by Muscle Hill out of La Coocaracha) was the other male 2YO to salute in his heat for the powerful Anton Golino camp. In fact, Golino put the polish on three heat winners yesterday so has plenty of soldiers representing Yabby Dam Racing next week. Reinsman Zac Phillips meanwhile jagged a winning double to continue his stellar season.  La Coocaracha, a freakishly talented trotting filly and mare in her day, nowadays is renowned as a producer of quality squaregaiters. Yesterday two of her progeny tasted Race to Royalty success in their heats, with dynamo 3YO filly Dance Craze – a full-sister to La Grange – also victorious in her qualifier. Dance Craze will take a power of beating on Grand Final day at Melton, but stablemate Une Belle Allure cruised home in her 3YO heat, the Angus Hall-Glenferrie Unixa filly swaggering home with almost 10m to spare over her nearest rival Skyeski. Yesterday’s mile rates saw Une Belle Allure – who beat Dance Craze to win the Derby at Maryborough earlier this month – clocking 2:03.3 and Dance Craze stopping the clock at a quicker 2:01.7. Will that mean much come next Sunday? It’s going to be a heck of a clash. In terms of sheer dominance yesterday Kerryn Manning’s Angus Hall-Insulated 2YO filly Aleppo Jewel couldn’t have been more emphatic. After a couple of unplaced runs behind the tapes that resulted in her displaying head-banging moves more akin to a fan at an ACDC concert, Aleppo Jewel’s youthful exuberance became a thing of the past. She moved faultlessly and had her rivals absolutely thunderstruck, romping in by almost 25m in 2:05.5. Not to be outdone Kiwi Our Renezmae took out her 2YO fillies’ heat but had to dig for it, challenged fiercely by Moonshine Linda at the finish and it took a photo finish to separate them. The final margin was the shortest of half-heads in favour of the bay by The Pres out of City Lane for trainer Jack Harrington and reinsman Anthony Butt. Wife and husband team Kate and Andy Gath combined in the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown 3YO male division third heat to achieve success with War Spirit, which won by 2.2m over Empire Bay. War Spirit, by Monarchy, was inconvenienced early and the race probably didn’t go as planned. But horse and driver worked their way through it and got the job done in style, rating 2:02.3. An exciting Sundon gelding by the name of Jilliby Babavska will clash with War Spirit and co. in the 3YO boys’ final after he blitzed his rivals in the fourth heat, making it three wins on the spin. Trained out of Terang by Paddy Lee and driven by Glen Craven, Jilliby Babavska clocked a 2:03.1 mile rate. The Race to Royalty spotlight turns to the pacers tomorrow night at Bendigo for Semi-Finals night. Trots Media will have all the action from the night, including interviews with trainers, drivers and of course the live barrier draws as they occur via www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria Catch the action live on Sky Racing 1 (Channel 526 on Foxtel), RSN at 927am on radio or streamed online. Check out all the Breeders Crown markets at tab.com.au Breeders Crown Trotting Finals Fields 3YO Trotting C&G ALDEBARAN PRINCE CLARKES HILL CLAUDYS PRINCE EMPIRE BAY HAMMERS LAW JILLIBY BABAVSKA KHEIRON MANO DE DIOS ON FAST FORWARD THE MALE MODEL NZ TRUSCOTT HALL WAR SPIRIT NZ THE SPANYEN (1st Emerg) 3YO Trotting Fillies ANDYOU BIGONLUCK BREEZIN AROUND CHEVRON EXPRESS NZ DANCE CRAZE FOUR WALLS HIDING MY HEART FIN HOTJANE BLING IONA SPIDER KINVARA SUE SKYESKI UNE BELLE ALLURE DOWNTOWN MISS (1st Emerg) 2YO Trotting C&G BEBUBBALOUIE IMPERIAL WHIZ NZ KYVALLEY FRANK LA GRANGE MAJESTIC EYES MEZIAH MORE SHADES OF GOLD NZ ONE MUSCLE HILL NZ RUNAWAY SUCCESS SMASHTHEMCALDER WHIZZBANG DAN WOBELEE TOMAHAWK PHOENIX (1st Emerg) 2YO Trotting Fillies ALEPPO JEWEL ALLTHEMOVES AMOUR DE FRERE NZ FAIRYTALE HALL HADES SKY LOUIEVILLE LASS MEADOW VALLEY SKY MISS KAIKOURA NZ MOONSHINE LINDA MORESUCCESS OUR RENEZMAE NZ PRINCESSA RUTH DI LI (1st Emerg) Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Bendigo, Saturday 19 August 2017 Form guide for Bendigo, Saturday 19 August 2017

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today considered charges issued against licensed trainer-driver Paul Grech under Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 190(1) and 190B(1). Charge 1 – AHRR 190(1) reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances    This charge related to a post-race urine sample collected from the horse ‘Mister Oz’ after it placed 2nd in Race 1, the ‘Hargreaves Hill Trotters Handicap’, at Yarra Valley on 17 February 2016. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain a prohibited substance, namely cobalt, at a level of 237 micrograms per litre (µg/L), which is above the allowable threshold (at the time) of 200 µg/L in urine.    Charge 2 - AHRR 190B(1) reads as follows:    A trainer shall at all times keep and maintain a log book   The particulars of this charge related to the stable inspection conducted on 18 March 2016 by HRV Stewards, when Mr Grech was found not to keep and maintain a logbook as required.    Mr Grech pleaded guilty to both charges    The HRV RAD board heard evidence from Investigative Steward Stephen Svanosio, RASL Scientific Manager Paul Zahra and Veterinary Pharmacologist Professor Paul Mills. Each of those witnesses was cross-examined.   The HRV RAD Board also heard submissions from Ms Wood (for the HRV Stewards), Mr Grech and Mr Grech’s representative, Brian Lyngcoln.    In determining penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered Mr Grech’s 35-year involvement in the industry, his record which had two prior prohibited substance offences, the impact of any penalty on Mr Grech both specific and general deterrence and consistency of penalties in relation to cobalt cases. Taking all of these matters into account the HRV RAD Board imposed a 15-month suspension of Mr Grech’s trainers and drivers licences. The HRV RAD Board ordered the suspension to commence at midnight on Saturday 19 August 2017. On the second charge (relating to the log book) the HRV RAD Board imposed a $250 fine.   The HRV RAD Board also ordered that ‘Mister Oz’ be disqualified from Race 1 at Yarra Valley on 17 February 2016 and that the placings be amended accordingly   Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board    Harness Racing Victoria  

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) was saddened to learn overnight of the passiong of Kevin 'Boofa' Innes. Last year HRV's Harness Racer scribe, Lucy McCormick, filed this story on 'Boofa's life in the trots. HRV extends its condolences to Kevin's family and friends. Kevin's funeral will be held 23rd of August at St Mary's Inglewood from 11am.  KEVIN ‘BOOFA’ INNES A FAIR DINKUM TROTS CHARACTER By Lucy McCormick Experience is something special; something to be valued.  Kevin ‘Boofa’ (a nickname given to the rough and ready Kevin after a particularly enthusiastic school yard brawl) Innes has it in spades.  A rare person combines that experience and knowledge with a keen interest in changing trends and attitudes.  Kevin Innes manages that as well – easily.  He misses nothing, forgets little, and applies a thoughtful and analytical mind to the world around him.  That’s not lip service being paid by a lazy journalist to a man with eight decades on the planet to his credit – it’s an observation of a keen mind that a person of any age would be proud to possess. Kevin is a member of the celebrated Innes clan from Inglewood, in Central Victoria. “I think the first Innes’ came to Inglewood in 1851. My daughter used to say she can’t marry anyone from Inglewood, because she’s related to them all,” says Kevin. ‘Boofa’ is enjoying some well-earned relaxation on the couch after breaking a kneecap six or seven months ago in a track work incident.  Not that it seems to be bothering him too much; he’s got plenty of time to keep up with the trots on television. “I do follow them,” Kevin says. “I don’t miss many, and I do have a bet.  I like to sit in the chair and drive a race as much as anyone.” With an illustrious career both as a trainer and in the sulky, it’s a safe bet that Kevin Innes is a more than handy ‘grandstand driver’.  His name is associated as a trainer/driver with many handy horses, including Lea Sands, Imatoff and Stormy Morn to name a few. Kevin is typically circumspect about his bigger triumphs, however that doesn’t seem to be what interests him the most.  “I’ll tell you something,” he declares, doing just that, “I like winning with the horses that were no good. Some people never get a good horse. Imagine that. Luck is a very, very important thing.  You have to have luck to buy a good horse at the sales, to get it going, keep it sound, find a race for it, find and owner and get a draw. And they still make a liar of you.” Funny, interesting or quirky stories seem to be of greater interest to Kevin, such as the time he had a strong chance in a standing start race – the favourite in the race being his only worry.  “I told the owner it only had a 20-metre handicap – I couldn’t beat it off that,” he remembers. “So I was leading, waiting for the favourite to run past me. Toward the finish, I heard it coming, and it ran straight past all right – minus the driver.  He’d fallen out of the cart and I won the race. Just lucky.” The Innes family have always been heavily involved in one sporting pursuit or another – Kevin himself being a champion bike rider of his time.  “My Uncle Roy was a good bike rider, so he dared me to have a go.  It turned out I was quite good at it as well.”  So good, in fact that for many years Kevin was able to make a living from bike riding, riding the ‘board track’ for many years.  “We trained hard.  Bike riding was very big back then, we’d train and ride three or four times a week.” Kevin’s riding career spanned four Herald Sun Tours, a Warrnambool to Melbourne and a Sydney to Melbourne race, to name a few.  “It definitely gets you in – it was long hours,” he muses.  “But like anything, horse racing included, you only get back what you put in. We trained hard. I never drank, and I still don’t.  I’ve seen that many athletes, great ones too, brought down by alcohol.” Lucky with injury too, Kevin can only remember a sore ankle – as well as the requisite scrapes and abrasions from tumbles on the wooden boards of the velodromes. He still enjoys watching all the big bike races when he can.  “You can watch them race all over the world – France, Sweden, Germany.  “To be honest I sit up and watch them with my son and we get just as much of a kick looking at the countryside than anything else.  It’s so different to when I was racing.” Betting on the bike racing was big in Kevin’s day as well, and some of the bookies Kevin saw betting on the bike racing, he saw at the Showgrounds betting on the trots on a Friday or Saturday night.  “Racing was different back then.  There would be twelve thousand people at the showgrounds – they don’t have to come anymore, it’s just as easy to watch it on the TV.”  Kevin remembers in those days that drivers had to ‘weigh in’ as well – everyone who drove needed to weigh ten stone (just under 65 kilograms).  It’s something he remembers fondly.  “I know not everyone will.”  Kevin won’t be drawn on the subject of favourite drivers, either.  “Look.  Driving is different now.  No disrespect to current drivers, but you had to think a lot more on a three furlong track than they do now on the bigger tracks.  You had to drive with brains.  And I really believe that good horses make good drivers.  The horses are very good these days.  Today’s drivers – your Gavin Langs, Chris Alfords – they’re thinkers, and brains will beat brawn every time.  The girls are just as good now too.  You only have to look at Kerryn Manning.” A garrulous and popular character, Kevin has trained horses for the likes of legendary Richmond player Jack Dyer, and also spent his fair share of time hosting sportsman’s nights, holding his own with the likes of Ron Barassi.  On one such night, they had flown in a light aircraft to their destination.  During their show, Kevin noticed their pilot, sitting in the front row, laughing appreciatively.  There was one problem.  He had a beer in his hand, and was consuming it with some enthusiasm.  As the night wore on, the pilot became more and more inebriated, and Kevin became more and more disturbed, knowing that this was the same pilot who was to fly them home when they finished.  Unbeknownst to Kevin, however, the flight had been cancelled and the pilot hadn’t told anyone, instead deciding to take full advantage of his client’s hospitality. For now, Kevin is happy living in Inglewood with partner Barbara.  Son Grant and daughter Carla aren’t far away (both work at the Bendigo Harness track, and Carla has held both a trainer and driver’s licence).  His granddaughter, Barclay Sands, was born on the same day of the demise of their star performer, Lea Sands, and may give the biggest hint yet just how important the world of harness racing is to Kevin ‘Boofa’ Innes. Trots Media

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has appointed Brent Fisher as General Manager of Integrity.  Mr Fisher has held the role of Manager Investigations and Compliance at HRV since August 2015. Prior to joining the HRV integrity unit Mr Fisher had a distinguished investigative career with Victoria Police. "Since joining HRV, Brent has led many initiatives which have strengthened and promoted integrity within the harness racing industry," HRV Integrity Council Chairman John Doherty said. HRV CEO David Martin said: "It cannot be understated how important integrity is within sports and racing industries. HRV remains committed to strengthening our integrity team to ensure a level playing field for all participants." Mr Fisher said he was humbled to be entrusted with this opportunity. "We have a great team and I'm honoured to be given the chance to lead it as General Manager of Integrity," Mr Fisher said. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)  

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today considered a charge issued against licensed trainer-driver Ross Graham under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1), that states:  A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances The charge related to a post-race urine sample collected from the horse ‘Sonetto’ after it won Race 2, the ‘Elite Horse Transport Trot’, at Shepparton on 27 July 2016. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain a prohibited substance, namely cobalt, at a level of 298 micrograms per litre (µg/L), which is above the allowable threshold (at the time) of 200 µg/L in urine. Mr Graham pleaded not guilty to the charge.  The HRV RAD board considered statements from Investigative Steward Neal Conder, RASL Scientific Manager Paul Zahra and Veterinary Pharmacologist Professor Paul Mills, along with evidence from Veterinarians Dr Jim Vasey, Dr Richard Cust, Dr Greg Hargreaves and Swabbing Assistant Gordon Warner. After considering all the evidence tendered at the hearing and submissions from both parties, Mr Graham was found guilty of the charge.  The HRV RAD Board considered further penalty submissions from the HRV Stewards that included the seriousness of the charge; that the integrity of racing is protected; and comparable prohibited substance cases. Ross Graham’s penalty submissions were also considered, including his personal circumstances and a 25-year involvement in the industry with an excellent record. In considering all of these circumstances, in addition to both specific and general deterrence and consistency of penalty, the HRV RAD Board imposed a 15-month suspension of Mr Graham’s trainers licence. The HRV RAD Board ordered the suspension to commence at midnight on Sunday 13 August 2017. The HRV RAD Board also ordered that ‘Sonetto’ be disqualified from Race 2 at Shepparton on 27 July 2016 and that the placings be amended accordingly. Harness Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board 

The countdown to Harness Racing Victoria's bonus months for horses contesting $5000 and $3500 races is on. During the months of September and October every race carrying $5000 or $3500 in stakemoney run in Victoria will also carry a $750 bonus to winning connections. It means winning owners in a $3500 race will pocket $1750 in stakemoney plus $750 as a win bonus, while winning connections in $5000 races will receive $2700 in stakemoney and $750 extra in winning bonus money. The distribution of the stakemoney will be as per normal distribution with the winning owner(s) to receive 87.5 per cent of the bonus, while the winning trainer will receive 7.5 per cent and the winning driver 5 per cent. The bonus payments for September and October were announced in July when HRV revealed it would pay out over $40million of stakemoney for the first time ever in season 2017-18.   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) yesterday heard an application for review lodged by the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards regarding a penalty decision of the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on 24 May 2017 in relation to a charge issued against licensed trainer-driver Alison Chisholm. On 24 May 2017, Mrs Chisholm pleaded guilty to a charge issued under Australian Harness Racing Rule 190(1) for presenting the horse ‘Jimmy The Editor NZ’ to race at Tabcorp Park Melton on 16 April 2016 when not free of cobalt, a prohibited substance when present at a concentration of greater than 200µg/L (as it was then). Mrs Chisholm was issued with a 12-month suspension of her trainers licence. The full HRV RAD Board media release can be found here. On 7 August 2017, VCAT Presiding Member Wentworth heard evidence from Veterinary Pharmacologist Professor Paul Mills, along with submissions and statements on behalf of the HRV Stewards and Mrs Chisholm. After considering all the material tendered, Member Wentworth reserved her decision on penalty and advised that a decision could be expected in approximately eight weeks. Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have issued a charge against licensed harness racing trainer Mr Michael Quadara 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 Quadara presented ‘Strapless Girl’ to race at the Yarra Valley trial meeting on 23 April 2017 when not free of the prohibited substance 2-(1-hydroxyethyl) promazine sulfoxide. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.  

The premier country two-year-old trotting race in Australia is without doubt the Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic and it is that time of the year again. Held at Maryborough each year, the Redwood Classic is an iconic race steeped in prestige. It attracts a big crowd and this Sunday's renewal promises to deliver. Harness Racing Victoria, the Maryborough club and the AVCHRC have once again combined to run the TAB.com.au Redwood Rattler, a chartered 'train to the trots' experience now in its second year. Last year the Rattler was a huge success with 161 people booked aboard. This year's train will carry 220 passengers, a percentage increase of 36.64%. The Rattler will also carry an extra lounge carriage and revellers are sure to be well catered for both to and from the Redwood. Past winners of the Group 1 Redwood Classic, sponsored by long-time trotting aficionado Michael Taranto of Seelite Windows and Doors, include inaugural champion Young Trouper, driven by Gavin Lang in 1986, prolific winner Dark Edge for Barry Alford in 1988, Ghia in 1991, the mighty Wagon Apollo in 1993 for Graeme Lang, Lacey Truscott in 1997 for Chris Angove, Andandon in 2000 to net Gavin Lang a second Redwood Classic trophy, Kyvalley Road for Chris Lang in 2002 – this horse won 20 out of 27 all up including two Breeders Crown trophies, Jauriol in 2004 for Chris Lang, Lord of the Gym in 2007 for John and Maree Caldow, Eljaykay Phoenix in 2014 for Team Aiken and Illawong Byron last year for Jodi Quinlan. The event is a standing-start race but is not a handicap, with starting positions drawn at random. Some fast facts to consider when you are trying to pick the winner on Sunday include: The last 5 winners are filly/gelding/filly/gelding/filly/gelding... Black Cat Claw ($71) & Our Renezmae ($9) are fillies.   Gavin Lang (One Muscle Hill $5) & Chris Alford (Wobelee $1.65) are the only multiple Redwood winning drivers in Sunday's field. Sundon has sired 4 of last 20 winners. He is the grandsire of Fend Off ($10), Tomahawk Phoenix ($61) & Wobelee ($1.65). Safely Kept has sired 2 of the last 20 winners. He is the grandsire of La Grange ($10) & Black Cat Claw ($71) on Sunday. Illawong Byron holds the Redwood race record mile rate of 2:04.4. He is a stablemate of Fend Off ($10) for @JodiQRacing Trial form from behind the tapes can give a pointer to how these juveniles might handle Sunday's standing start. Click here to view some of the key standing-start trials. TAB.com.au has fixed odds markets open for both the Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic and the Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby, which is also run on Sunday at Maryborough. Race 1 at Maryborough will be 11.40am Sunday morning and the 10-race program will finish with the Alf Simons Memorial Trot at 5.07pm.  Racetrack address is 106 Chaplins Rd, Carisbrook. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Maryborough, Sunday 06 August 2017 Form guide for Maryborough, Sunday 06 August 2017

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has announced an extension of its employment assistance program to benefit all industry players. HRV People and Culture Manager Isabella Galati described the HRV Industry Assistance Program (IAP) as a confidential, professional, coaching and support service delivered by Davidson Trahaire Corpsych (DTC). “The service is available at no cost to all licenced industry participants, including trainers, drivers and HRV, Tabcorp Park and country club employees/volunteers,” Ms Galati said. “The IAP can assist with a wide range of personal and work-related issues, including but not limited to anxiety, stress and depression, bereavement, grief and loss, personal trauma, dealing with change and career planning.” View the IAP information document online for all services provided (link) “One of our core values is empathy, which reflects our genuine care for the health and wellbeing of our participants,” HRV CEO David Martin said. “Today’s announcement provides confidential access to support for industry participants experiencing hardship, and I thank Isabella for her work on this.” Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association (VTDA) president Lance Justice welcomed today’s announcement. “We welcome this decision because the industry’s greatest assets are the people involved,” Justice said. “Trainers and drivers work long hours and it is hard work. That takes its toll and it is important our people have access to help when they need it and I’d encourage anyone feeling overwhelmed or in need of a helping hand to reach out. It’s important they know they’re not alone.” The Association of Country Clubs also welcomed the announcement. “We applaud HRV for making this service available across the Victorian industry,” association CEO Toby McKinnon said. “Being on the front foot regarding the welfare of our people is a very sensible strategy and we wholly support this announcement.” Find out more about the HRV IAP or contact DTC (link) Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria was saddened to learn of the passing of William “Bill” Davin, an owner, trainer and driver from Ascot Vale. Mr Davin’s son, Robert, said his father mainly raced at Ascot Vale and Moonee Valley but was more widely known for providing accommodation to interstate horses including Our Sir Vancelot, Westburn Grant, Robin Dundee, Minuteman, Halwes and Gundary Flyer. At his property he stabled at least six Hunter Cup winners in a row at his property in the 1960s. A funeral service will be held in his honour in the Joseph Allison Chapel, 941 Mt Alexander Rd, Essendon, on Monday, July 31, from 10am. At its conclusion the cortege will proceed to Fawkner Cemetery for a burial at noon.  

Trots trainer, driver, owner, breeder and administrator Ted Bricker has been remembered as a “good guy” who gave to benefit others. Mr Bricker passed away this week at age 81 and has been lauded by Bruce Barron, who served with him on Cranbourne Harness Racing Club and Victorian Trainers and Drivers’ Association committees. “Ted was very active on the Cranbourne committee for a good while and he put in,” Mr Barron said. “He called a spade a spade. He was a businessman and a good guy. He put in not for himself, but for the betterment of other people and really cared. He did a lot of little things that no one knew about.” In addition to being an administrator Mr Bricker trained from early in the 1970s until 2001, producing 45 victories including with Rampant in a 1992 Sires Stakes prelude. Other multiple winners included Lord Of The Rings, Lord Of Rohan and Lisa Elise, with the latter’s 60 starts yielding nine wins and 12 placings. In addition to training Lisa Elise, Mr Bricker was her owner and breeder and also tried his hand at driving, producing three winners and five placings from 17 starts in 1983-84, his most successful season in the sulky. Mr Bricker will be honoured at a funeral at 1pm on Friday, August 4, at Bunurong Memorial Park, 790 Frankston-Dandenong Rd, Dandenong South. The service will be conducted in The Sanctuary by the lake. Parking is available at the rear of The Sanctuary and the room will be open from 12.30pm.    Michael Howard Trots Media

Among a range of growth initiatives approved by the Board of Harness Racing Victoria, stakemoney in 2017/18 will increase to $40 million for the first time in Victorian trots history. In a constrained financial situation, good progress has been made in the last five months, with increased participation reflected by individual horse numbers in May being higher than at any time for three years.  The introduction of supplementary races and splitting of other races with strong nominations has created additional opportunities to win.  As a result, turnover on Victorian trots is growing, which increases market share and future revenues.  More races at race meetings in 17-18 An increase in the number of races at all tiered prizemoney levels will be programmed for the 2017-18 racing season.  That will provide participants with more chances to win races and further strengthen the Victorian industry by increasing wagering turnover, market share and ultimately profitability. HRV will conduct 30 fewer race meetings in 2017-18 than it did in 2016-17, however the total number of races run will increase.  HRV will continue to work with participants and our media partners to maximise the positioning and presentation of races, and encourage public contact with our sport at Victorian trots clubs via dining, promotions and our popular Country Cups circuit. Changes to Supplementary Race conditions at Melton Due to the success of supplementary races, from August 1, the stakemoney for all supplementary races at Tabcorp Park Melton on a Friday or Saturday night will be increased to $7000. September and October Win Bonuses To counter the annual trend of lower participation in the September/October period, all $3500 and $5000 races in that period will carry a $750 bonus payment to the winner.  In September and October, winning connections of a $3500 race will receive $1750 in stakemoney and a $750 bonus, while for a $5000 race winning connections will receive $2700 and a $750 bonus.  The $750 September/October winner bonus will be allocated in accordance with a normal stakemoney distribution (owner 87.5%, trainer 7.5%, and driver 5%). Strategic Plan HRV has been consulting with the industry by engaging directly with kindred bodies and receiving feedback from a series of forums held across Victoria, all contributing to an updated strategic plan.  As evident by the increase in field sizes and number of races per meeting, elements of the strategy are already bearing fruit and other initiatives focused on punters, integrity, breeding, and participant and horse welfare are being developed.  Participants have indicated an appreciation of the opportunity to contribute to strategies focused on industry growth and the knowledge that better days are ahead. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The final night of the 2017 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series delivered three top-level harness racing triumphs for the Emma Stewart stable. Stewart's triple Group 1 success also saw champion reinsman Gavin Lang pick up his 6000th career winner in the sulky, aboard Tell Me Tales in the three-year-old fillies' final, upsetting favourites Petacular and Miss Graceland. Nostra Villa remained unbeaten winning the two-year-old fillies' big dance for Chris Alford before stablemate Poster Boy doubled up for the Puppet and Stewart combo with victory in the two-year-old final a race later. Without You wired her rivals in the four-year-old final, Nathan Jack flying the Lauriston Bloodstock owned four-year-old off the arm from gate seven before staving off all comers at the finish for trainer Amanda Turnbull. Jilliby Kung Fu is this year's three-year-old boys' champion for the Terang team of Marg Lee and Glen Craven. And West Australian raider Soho Tribeca overcame adversity to notch a stunning win for trainer-driver Kim Prentice in the four-year-old entires and geldings' final. For results and video replays of races from Tabcorp Park Melton click here. Below is a snapshot of what the winners had to say post-race Race 1 – Greg Sugars on Hes Okey Dokey “His manners before and during the race are really good now whereas he was a bit wayward early days. Keith’s (Cotchin) done a marvellous job to sort him out. He never runs a bad race. He’s been a bit fortunate in recent times and tonight was no exception.” Race 2 – Zac Phillips on Four Ex Dan “His first dip at free-for-all level last week and we were over the moon with his run. He chaired up and held off Maximan and It Is Billy. We were confident enough if we were aggressive early we could find the front and if he found the front he’d be a hard horse to get past.” Race 3 – Chris Alford on Nostra Villa “She just keeps getting better and better each week. Tonight was the first night she had not got to the front but she travelled really well. Nearly dropped in before the turn. Clayton said her last 50m would be her best. “She was just travelling too well. She wasn’t off the bit. She stuck her head in front and didn’t know to run right away. She did enough and that was super.” Race 3 – Anthony Curuana on Nostra Villa “Amazing. I’m still pinching myself, I still can’t believe it.” Race 4 – Chris Alford on Poster Boy “Things didn’t pan out exactly like we would have liked but he was able to get a good trail, poke around and get another good trail, had to come out a bit earlier than I would have liked but he was really good. “I didn’t know if I’d be able to lead, as soon as the gate left I could see Gavin wanted to get out hard. Just had to wait and see what happened and thankfully we got cover for a while and he got a bit of a breather. “He’s a perfect little racehorse. “Clayton always thought he was the pick of his two-year-olds this year and the way the season’s going he’s probably right.” Race 5 – Nathan Jack on Without You “Big thanks to everyone at home. Everyone that chips in, without them we wouldn’t be here tonight. We’ve had a rough trot lately, but Bill and Anne have been there the whole time. “Lauriston horses turn out looking amazing and she’s coming good at the right time.” Race 6 – Gavin Lang on Tell Me Tales “Good feeling… “Everything worked out well for her. She was good last week. Barrier draw came out and not what you would have chosen if you had the choice but you knew full well the ingredients were there that it might be a genuine run race and when you’re drawn bad that’s what you require. She’s progressively got better each run Emma and Clayton have had her. “These colours have been very good to me for a lot of years now. Quite happy to achieve this tonight, especially for these guys. 6000 wins, I’m nearly 60 years that’s only 100 a year so it’s not much when you add it up like that." Race 6 – Emma Stewart on Tell Me Tales “This one’s quite special to us because we’ve had a good association with Mrs Head (Helen, the breeder) over the years.” Race 7 – Glen Craven on Jilliby Kung Fu “We got the draw. He’s been plagued with bad draws and he’s always had to run second fiddle to Emma and Clayton’s good horses. He’s developed into a really nice horse now and was able to get the job done. “We’ve always liked him. He took a while to get going as a young horse but every time you took him out on the track he just got better. It’s a great thrill. The amount of work everyone does at home, the hours and after hours, it’s a team effort and that’s what we’re here for.” “Jason’s (Lee) won more races on him but I drove him as a two-year-old. I went to Sydney with the Breeders Challenge horses. Jason rang me straight after his heat win and said 'he’s ready for you'. “He’s still improving and hopefully we can have a bit more success with him.” Race 7 – Marg Lee on Jilliby Kung Fu “He’s been racing really well and he was super at Kilmore and he did the same tonight sprinting over the top of them. “You can sit him in and come from behind or he can lead, he’s just a really good horse to deal with. He’s still a stallion and you wouldn’t know it.” Race 8 – Kim Prentice on Soho Tribeca “I just have to take my hat off to this horse. I wanted the second favourite to be sitting outside me for longer but it was gone turning for home. He’s an incredible horse and there’s plenty of people Id like to thank, Rob Watson, but this win goes to Mick and Gen Stanley, what they’ve helped me with the last couple of weeks has been unbelievable and if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I’d be there. “He was 90 per cent better than last week but he’s still only 80 per cent right.” Race 9 – Michael Bellman on Whenmechief “(It has) been good to get a pick-up drive for Darren and Julie when they came across. He was a good horse in the Sunraysia and I think he ran third in a South Australian Cup last year, and he’s done a good job for them tonight.” Race 10 – Greg Sugars on Rule Of Thumb “Tim’s done a good job to get him back racing as well as he has his last couple. He showed as a two-year-old he was going to be a horse of the future, but unfortunately he’s had a few little hiccups. But they’ve got him back doing everything right and doing well. “The Nott family put a lot of money into the sport over a number of years and it’s good to see those people get the rewards.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards advise that Petacular has successfully trialled to the satisfaction of the Stewards tonight at Geelong. Petacular was stood down in accordance with the provisions of Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 101B(2) after it was determined that the filly bled from one nostril subsequent to her winning performance in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3Y0 Fillies Semi-final at Tabcorp Park Melton on 30 June 2017. AHRR 101B(2) states: “If the Stewards determine that a horse has bled from one nostril the horse shall not be eligible to race until it has trialled to the satisfaction of the Stewards.” Veterinary examinations conducted prior and subsequent to tonight’s trial by HRV Veterinary Consultant Dr Richard Cust have failed to reveal any abnormalities.  Accordingly Petacular is now cleared to take her place in this Saturday nights Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final for the 3Y0 Fillies to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Melton. Harness Racing Victoria

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards provide the below information regarding Soho Tribeca and Petacular, which are engaged to compete in next Saturday night’s (08/07) Vicbred Super Series Finals, in light of the veterinary findings identified subsequent to their Semi-final performances. SOHO TRIBECA - EMPIRE STALLIONS VICBRED SUPER SERIES (4YO ENTIRES & GELDINGS) (FINAL) A post-race veterinary examination of Soho Tribeca revealed the horse to be lame in the off foreleg and as a result Soho Tribeca has been stood down from racing pending a veterinary clearance being tendered. The HRV Stewards will monitor this situation and if necessary Soho Tribeca will be examined by an independent HRV Veterinary Consultant prior to competing next Saturday night. PETACULAR - EMPIRE STALLIONS VICBRED SUPER SERIES (3YO FILLIES) (FINAL) A post-race veterinary examination of Petacular revealed the filly to have bled from the offside nostril. In accordance with Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 101B(2) Petacular will not be permitted to start in the final until trialling to the satisfaction of the Stewards on one occasion.   AHRR 101B(2) states: If the Stewards determine that a horse has bled from one nostril the horse shall not be eligible to race until it has trialled to the satisfaction of the Stewards. Michael Stanley, trainer of Petacular, has advised the filly will trial at Geelong on Tuesday night (04/07). Petacular will be examined by a HRV Veterinary Consultant at the completion of the trial to determine whether the filly has successfully passed the embargo. Harness Racing Victoria

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