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The Horsham & District Harness Racing Club in conjunction with naming rights sponsor of the 2018 Horsham Trotters Club, Woodlands Stud NZ, have today launched their 2017/18 trotting stallion service tender. As part of the Cup sponsorship agreement, Woodlands has made available a service to their proven strike rate stallion, Pegasus Spur CA 1:54.0 $US 1,302,599.   Horsham's tender opportunity gives breeders of the squaregaiter a chance to send their broodmare to a quality entire at a discounted price. Interested breeders are invited to submit their tender on the official form, for the service (imported, fresh, chilled semen) to Pegasus Spur (value $AU3300) by Friday September 8th, 2017. For a copy of the tender form, please email the Club at horsham.harness@bigpond.com or text/phone Tony Logan on 0427 857411.      

As he headed out for Monday's final drivers invitational race behind The Sparrow Hawk, who is trained by his neighbour Brent Lilley at Bolinda, Chris Alford looked steeled and determined. The champion reinsman always takes pride in his performance and rates every race as important for the owners and trainers who entrust him with their horses. But on this day he's also right in the mix to take out his third Decron Horse Care Noel Smith Memorial Horsham Invitation Drivers Championship. After winning the first heat with Artful Christian for Terang trainer Chris Svanosio, Alford drove 60/1 outsider Farastheeyecansee for Adelaide trainer Toby Ryan in the second heat and managed to beat only one other runner home. Fourth in heat four three Turning Express for Mt Gambier trainer David Drury earned Alford valuable points and a great chance of taking out the title. With co-leader Kerryn Manning piloting a 100/1 chance in the final heat she was virtually out of the contest, but arch-rival Gavin Lang was still alive after victory with Cruz for Werribee trainer Jeff Tarbone in the third heat. On paper it looked a match race between a couple of hardened veterans - Alford with 35,000 career drives under the belt and approaching 6000 winners and Lang with some 30,200 drives and also in sight of the magical 6000 mark. The final event of the day resulted in the best finish of the day with a bunch of seven runners at the wire spread over just three metres of the track. The judge called for the photo and announced that Alford and The Sparrow Hawk had been pipped on the post by Greg Sugars and Blazedale for Smythes Creek trainer Emma Stewart.  Lang wasn't far away in 5th place aboard a somewhat unlucky Jilliby Shania and Manning tailed the field home, and so it was Alford who claimed the Noel Smith Memorial Shield. Alford also had the honour of handing over the commemorative Wooden Spoon, which he collected in 2016, to first-time NSW visitor Todd McCarthy. Perhaps a good omen for McCarthy for next year's staging. Tony Logan

It's Hot To Trot @ Horsham on Monday afternoon for the 27th annual Decron Horse Care - Noel Smith Memorial Invitation Drivers Championship & the harness racing Industry Participants Recognition Raceday. Ten of Australasia's best are set to weave their magic with the reins in a four race contest, with the leading points scorer joining the Club's elite honour roll. Reining champion Ricky Duggan returns to defend his 2016 Crown. Duggan also enjoyed a great 2015/16 season home in the Apple Isle, finishing second to Mark Yole on the State tally board and with a fine winning strike rate of 21%. Honorary "BigV" Anthony Butt will compete at Horsham for the first time after finishing in 4th place on the 2015/16 Metropolitan Drivers Premiership table. The highly decorated Kiwi horseman started driving in 1983 and quickly made his mark as the NZ Junior Champion in both 1985 & 1988. Butt is just one of nine drivers inducted into the Inter Dominion Hall of Fame and is a four time, Inter Dominion Championship winning driver with Lyell Creek (2000), Take A Moment (2001 & 2003) and Mr Feelgood in 2009. His mighty tally of 49 Grand Circuit driving victories is miles ahead of the rest with Mark Purdon second on 27 and he is currently edging towards his 2000th career winner (1609 NZ, 381 AU). Leading Kiwi reinsman Blair Orange and last season's NSW premier driver Todd McCarthy are also headed to Horsham for the first time. Orange started driving in 1996 and by 1999 was NZ Champion Junior Driver. He's driven a century plus tally in 2014, 15 & 16 to be three times runner up behind Dexter Dunn and has already passed the century mark this season. While the Invitees may hold the spotlight, the meeting also recognises the contribution made by all our Industry Participants with $$$$ galore in products, goods, services & merchandise distributed to trainers, drivers and owners during the afternoon. Decron Horse Care, Carbine Chemicals, Finn Tack, Pryde's Easifeed, Bertocchi Smallgoods, Cordina Farms, Flair Equine Nasal Strips, Oringi Protection Wear, Hyland Racing Colours, Fly Veils By Design, Harness Breeders Victoria, Grafx Inc, Western District Horse Transport, Mustad Australia & Roma Pocock have thrown their support behind the meeting to ensure that everyone's a winner. Trainers, drivers, stablehands, owners & breeders will enjoy a designated hospitality area sponsored by the Victorian Trainers & Drivers Association. The Club will throw the gates open at 1.00pm with FREE entry for all to encourage families to pack their picnic basket, esky, blanket & chair and lounge on the lawns to enjoy a great day's racing. Racegoers & participants also have the chance to win a short break courtesy of View Hotels St Kilda Rd, Raglan Motor Inn Warrnambool, Tabcorp Park - Choice Hotels Melton & Deluxe Riverspa Moama. Tony Logan    

The Trots Country Cups Championship has a new harness racing frontrunner after Major Secret added the Horsham Crown to his Geelong cup win with a rollicking romp on Sunday. A dominant performance from the lead saw the six-year-old Art Major entire spring to the top of the $25,000 country cups championship, having amassed nine points after nine of the 25 cups. The championship gifts four points to a win, two to second and one to third, with Major Secret holding a three-point lead over stablemate Young Modern and Hectorjayjay, who could reclaim the ascendancy in Saturday night’s Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup. For now the sun shines on Stewart’s camp after Major Secret and Young Modern ran the quinella in Sunday’s Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Pacing Cup. “They are both going terrific, I couldn’t ask for more,” Stewart said. “Major Secret has always been a good horse but has had leg problems, which he has overcome now. We are still testing the waters with Young Modern, but he is getting better and better.” Driver Mark Pitt found the lead from gate two and controlled the 2700m Group 2, with Ideal Success, Tee Cee Bee Macray and then Young Modern shuffling through the breeze seat but with none putting pressure on the leader. “He had the draw over the better horses in the race and once he found the front he was always going to be hard to beat,” Pitt said. “I was able to control it. Once he found the front I wanted to back off a bit, but he was wanting to roll along at his own pace and is a very strong horse." After a 78.4-second lead time Major Secret produced moderate 29.2 first and 30.8 second quarters, which would ensure he’d have plenty in the tank for the final surge. “Once the second quarter was over 30 (seconds) he was always going to be really hard to beat,” Pitt said. A 28.2 third quarter preceded a 27.5 final 400m dash that would see Major Secret unchallenged for the win, stopping the clock in a 1:55.7 track record mile rate some 8m clear of Young Modern and 9m clear of third-placed Ideal Success. “He was really strong to the line and will only benefit from that run,” Pitt said. “He has improved with every start, which is no surprise. I’m sure he’ll take the next step.” Major Secret, a winner of 20 of his 45 starts, won a Vicbred Super Series Group 1 as a two-year-old and New South Wales Oaks as a three-year-old, and will attempt to reunite with Group 1 glory in this year’s Summer Of Glory. Both Young Modern and Major Secret have been geared towards the January 28 Eynesbury Victoria Cup and/or February 4 Del-Re National Hunter Cup. “They just have to get the barrier draw against the better horses, but they are definitely in it,” Stewart said. “Major Secret is a proven Group performer and if Young Modern gets the right draw he will come into it.” It presents an exciting opportunity for Pitt. “(Major Secret’s) nominated for the Victoria and Hunter cups, and at the bigger cups like Ballarat he wouldn’t be out of place,” he said. “I’m sure he will be competitive. If he gets a good draw and has a good run he won’t be too far away.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Veteran McKenzie Creek (Horsham District) harness racing horseman Ken Exell passed away peacefully last week. Ken's time in harness spanned more than 60 years. He drove his first winner under the lights at the Horsham Showgrounds in February 1954, with his father Arthur's pacer, Just Andy. The Exell family lived in the Goroke district at Karnak and campaigned their small team throughout the Wimmera and Western District. They enjoyed success with Captain Flare, Flash Durenda and General Flare in what is now regarded as the halcyon era of "the trots." Ken won Horsham Trainer of the Year Awards in both 1965 and 1970 - a period somewhat dominated by the legendary Hughie Jardine. In all Exell drove 26 winners on the tight showground circuit, a tally shared with his friendly rivals Graeme Lang, Trevor Martin and the late Stan Anyon. In later years when the family moved closer to Horsham, Ken also trained thoroughbreds and acted as a barrier attendant for both the Horsham Racing & Harness Racing Clubs. In more recent times the quietly spoken Exell gained enormous satisfaction with the trotter Allawart Ugo which debuted as a 6yo gelding at Charlton in January 2012. Under the patient trainer's guidance, "Ugo" slowly learned to be a racehorse. After ten starts the trotter recorded four consecutive minor placings then scored a well deserved home track victory in the Moore Bulk Haulage Trotters Handicap on July 2012. Exell's one horse team earned the Horsham Horse of the Year Award in 2013 and also gave his proud owner, consecutive Local Trainer Strike Rate Awards. Six of Allawart Ugo's eight career victories came on the spacious Horsham circuit and the trotter was to be Ken's final runner when unplaced at Mt Gambier recently. Our sincere sympathies are extended to the Exell family. Anthony Logan  

Breeders are reminded that bids for the Horsham Harness Racing Club’s trotting tender close with the Club on Friday September 30th. The tender is for a service to the Woodlands Stud NZ stallion Pegasus Spur CA and represents a great opportunity for the lovers of the trotting gait to breed yet another Group 1 winner from this outstanding strike-rate entire. Interested breeders are invited to tender for a service (imported, fresh, chilled semen) to Pegasus Spur (value $AU3300). Tender forms and further information may be obtained by email from horsham.harness@bigpond.com  or by phone on 0427 857411.  Tony Logan

The Horsham & District Harness Racing Club is conducting its annual, trotting stallion service tender in conjunction with sponsor Woodlands Stud NZ. Interested Australian breeders are invited to tender for a service (imported, fresh, chilled semen) to Pegasus Spur (value $AU3300) It represents a great opportunity for the lovers of the trotting gait to breed another Group 1 winner from this outstanding strike-rate entire. Pegasus Spur CA is the sire of this year's 3YO Trotting Fillies Breeders Crown Champion Wilmas Mate, along with the sensational Victoria Trotting Derby, Breeders Crown & Great Southern Star winner Speeding Spur and high quality trotters such as Maori Time, Paramount Gee Gee, and Flying Isa. Further information regarding Pegasus Spur may be obtained at www.woodlandsstud.co.nz For a copy of the tender form, please email horsham.harness@bigpond.com or text/phone Tony Logan on 0427 857 411.      

Time-honoured three-year-old features the Morley Park Princess of the Wimmera and Alabar Horsham Guineas will be run and won at Horsham Harness Racing Club tomorrow. Terang trained filly Jilliby Jitterbug looks the likely favourite in the $8075 Morley Park Princess of the Wimmera, a chance to add to her six wins from 15 starts and bank of $208,110. Marg Lee's Rock N Roll Heaven filly looks extremely well graded and heads to Horsham after three sound performances in last month's Breeders Challenge at Menangle. Jilliby Jitterbug has plenty of early toe and while her record over the short trip is outstanding, the 2200m at Horsham may well prove to be her Achilles heel with a bunch of talented rivals to contend with. Horsham owners Robbie Connelly and Shannon Hoffman both have great chances of a  hometown victory with the much improved, Rod Carberry-trained filly Bou Chard and beautifully bred New Zealander Champagne Taste from Brad Hunt's stable. Both fillies contested the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series and were far from disgraced in that prestigious affair. Bou Chard scored an impressive victory at Tabcorp Park Melton in the $25,000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Silver Pace while Champagne Taste has since led all the way for a tradesmanlike win at Stawell on July 20. Burrumbeet horseman Michael Stanley returns to Horsham with the smart filly Alessa, hoping for a repeat result of his victory with Soho Berlin in the 2015 Princess Of The Wimmera. Alessa performed admirably through the Vicbred Super Series, having proven she could do it tough when sixth in the series final, beaten just 12m by Rocknroll Magic (in a 1:56.9 mile rate) after doing plenty of work. She tuned up for tomorrow’s assignment with an effortless 18m victory at Maryborough last week. Studmaster Stephen O’Donoghue will present a free service to Morley Park’s colonial bred entire Major Bronski, in addition to an inscribed rug and trophies, for the winning owner, trainer and driver. Major Bronski served 93 mares in his first commercial season at Morley Park and the impressive son of Art Major has really left his stamp through his progeny. The Alabar Horsham Guineas lineup also contains a host of winning chances headed by trainer Dean Braun's New Zealand import Stuover. The bay has impressed in all three starts since crossing the Tasman, notching up two victories at Cranbourne before taking on a classy bunch at Melton in the $20,500 VHRSC’s The Graduate. The gelded son of Changeover NZ finished second that night, beaten just a neck by Spiritwriter in a performance that served notice of a bright future.   Driver Greg Sugars is looking for back-to-back victories in the Alabar Horsham Guineas, having saluted last year with the Tim Bolitho-trained gelding Rule Of Thumb, and is certain to make the most of Stuover’s ideal draw in gate two. However, the in-form combo won’t get things their own way, with Franco Jameson, Willem, Truth And Courage, Livingston Bay and Longtan Cassanova all having the form and ability to take out the race. Former Kiwi pacer Franco Jameson finished close behind Stuover at Cranbourne on July 19 and was an easy winner just five days later at Swan Hill for trainer Adam Kelly and driver Michael Bellman.   Willem is the least experienced runner in the Guineas with just three starts under the belt, but the Shepparton trained son of Lombo Pocket Watch impressed plenty when scoring at Cobram and then finishing a close fourth behind Ideal Eagle at Charlton. Alabar Bloodstock is a longtime sponsor of the Horsham Guineas and its representative Brett Coffey will present a free service to Alabar’s outstanding Group 1 winning son of Christian Cullen, Alta Christiano, to the winning connections, together with an inscribed rug and trophies for the victorious owner, trainer and driver. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Horsham, Wednesday 03 August 2016 Form guide for Horsham, Wednesday 03 August 2016

Harness racing driver Ricky Duggan proved the pride of Tassie at Horsham on Monday in the annual Noel Smith Memorial Drivers Invitation Championship.   Duggan drove two winners in the four-race series to capture 30 points and the title, three points ahead of runner-up Robert Morris (New South Wales) on 27, with Greg Sugars third on 25. "It was a really good day. It's great to catch up with all those guys and drive against them," Duggan said. "I know Gavin and Chris pretty well. My son Josh works with Chris and loves it there. They're fantastic people. "The Horsham club also does a great job on the day. To get a driver from every state and New Zealand is a real credit to them." Duggan drove Hit Maka and Glenferrie Bunter to victory, both talented four-year-olds trained by Ryan Hryhorec. Final points tally for the 2016 Noel Smith Memorial invitation Drivers Championship Ricky Duggan (Tasmania) 30 Robert Morris (New South Wales) 27 Greg Sugars (Victoria) 25 Chris Alford (Victoria) 24 Nathan Jack (Victoria) 24 Ricky May (New Zealand) 23 Chris Voak (Western Australia) 21 Gavin Lang (Victoria) 21 Shane Graham (Queensland) 19   Ryan Hyrhorec 14points & the Gary Chequer Commemorative Wooden Spoon by Cody Winnell

Charlton’s showcase race could give a trotting family an unforgettable win with an old harness racing favourite. National Service has returned from the brink of retirement to flash home and win in his last two starts, giving his Horsham owners the confidence to steer it to Sunday’s Charlton and District Community Bank 2016 Charlton Pacing Cup. WATCH NATIONAL SERVICE FLASH HOME TO WIN AT SWAN HILL Justin Lane shares ownership of National Service with wife Jo and parents Kevin and Lesley, who have been there from the start having bred and raised the horse. It was with a heavy heart that they contemplated retirement about this time last year for the then nine-year-old after National Service tore his hind suspensory. “Being the age that he is we intended to retire him,” Justin said. “But dad said jog him up and give him one more go, because you are a long time retired.” Lane oversaw a patient recovery of jogging and resting before he returned National Service on January 16 in the Shepparton BMW Pace, where he loomed up to the leaders from three wide only to tire in the straight and finish 17m last. The fade didn’t deter the loyal owners and they returned the gelding to Grant Campbell and Kerryn Manning’s stable, where he again showed plenty of cheek. “He is a bit of a funny horse, not many at the stable at Kerryn and Grant’s get along with him all that well, he has a few quirky habits, but it’s good to see him come back.” Justin, president at Horsham Harness Racing Club, has a particularly close affinity with National Service, winner of the 2014 Hamilton Pacing Cup. Not only did he breed the horse, but he trained it to nine wins from its debut in December 2008 until December 2012 before handing the reins to Campbell and Manning to “see how they can improve him and get the best out of him”. Though age 10 and off a lengthy lay-off the best may yet be to come for the gelding out of Legacy Of Power and Muckinbar Miss given his last start performance at Swan Hill. “He’s had three runs back after 12 months off and his last two races have been very good, particularly at Swan Hill where he shouldn’t have won from where he was,” Justin said. On that occasion National Service came from five-wide and well back to mow down the leaders at Swan Hill, which featured a 27.1 final quarter. National Service’s last 400m was likely not much more than 26 seconds despite curling wide. That has boosted confidence in the camp ahead of Charlton. “He’s been good at the country cups in the past and, going on those two runs, we thought we’d give him a shot at another cup," Lane said. "The Swan Hill sectionals were scintillating. With the right run he’s as good as any other horse in the field. “It will be up to Grant, but we won’t be planning anything too silly on the day. He will drive him for a bit of luck. It’s a bit of a buzz to have a horse good enough to run in any cup.” And the family fun will continue on the race day, with National Service’s half-brother Polar Opposite, trained by Lane, to run in race three. “He’s had three wins and a place from his last five starts, so there are promising signs.” Charlton Pacing Cup Honour Roll 1982    $2,000    Brahms Lullaby (Rex Kerr) FT    2250m    SS    2:07.1     1983    $3,000    Bank Buster (Daryl Nioa) 10m    2250m    SS    2:06.2     1988    $9,000    Scamp Racer (Gavin Lang) FT    2250m    SS    2:05.3     1989    $9,000    Tuned In (Ted Demmler) FT    2250m    SS    2:05.7     1990    $6,000    Rufus Young Blood (Dick Lee) FT    2240m    MS    2:01.6     1990    $6,000    Lord Greystoke (Joe Borg) 10m    2250m    SS    2:05.0     1991    $6,000    Franco Gold NZ (Jim O'Sullivan) FT    2240m    MS    2:07.0     1992    $3,500    Imprimartar (Neil McCallum) 30m    2250m    SS    2:04.5     1993    $4,500    Our Brenray (Jim O'Sullivan) FT    2240m    MS    2:01.5     1994    $5,000    Its Nero's Fiddle NZ (Stephen Dove) 10m    2680m    SS    2:06.0     1995    $6,000    Mister McKinzie (Gavin Lang) FT    2250m    MS    2:04.3     1996    $7,000    Coco's Dream NZ (Lou Austin) 30m    2680m    SS    2:04.7     1997    $10,000    Ryans Day NZ (Ahmed Taiba) FT    2680m    MS    2:03.6     1998    $10,000    Low Bronze (Julian Jobe) FT    2645m    MS    2:05.2     1999    $10,000    Rosco Robust (Graeme Morgan) FT    2645m    MS    2:03.5     2000    $12,000    Show Of Hands (John F Ryan) FT    2625m    MS    2:04.6     2001    $8,000    Loaded Hog NZ (Andrew Vozlic) FT    2625m    MS    2:02.3     2002    $8,000    Jilliby Magic (Kerryn Manning) 10m    2650m    SS    2:02.5     2003    $15,000    The Good Guy (Grant Campbell) FT    2650m    SS    2:02.6     2004    $15,000    Sir Romulus (Matthew Craven) 10m    2650m    SS    2:03.2     2005    $15,000    Cool Chip NZ (Daryl Douglas) FT    2570m    SS    2:04.0     2006    $20,000    Poppys Boy (Stuart Govers) FT    2570m    SS    2:03.2     2007    $20,000    Blakey (John Justice) FT    2570m    SS    2:02.2     2008    $20,000    Road To Rainbow (Daryl Douglas) FT    2570m    SS    2:02.1     2009    $20,000    Ohoka Utah NZ (Lance Justice) FT    2570m    SS    2:03.9     2010    $25,000    Just Wal (Damian Wilson) FT    2570m    SS    2:01.0     2011    $25,000    Our Hillview Gold NZ (Daryl Douglas) FT    2570m    MS    2:01.5     2012    $25,000    Abettorpunt (Caleb Lewis) FT    2570m    MS    1:59.8     2013    $25,000    Uncle Wingnut NZ (Michael Bellman) FT    2570m    MS    1:59.8     2014    $25,000    Five Star Anvil NZ (Gavin Lang) FT    2570m    MS    2:00.7     2015    $25,505    Barynya (John Caldow) FT    2570m    MS    1:56.5 Michael Howard

Harness racing in the Wimmera will receive an enormous boost thanks to a $470,000 track upgrade funded by the Andrews State Government, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and the Horsham and District Harness Racing Club. Minister for Racing Martin Pakula joined Harness Racing Victoria Chairman Ken Latta at the club on Monday to kick off the major upgrade, which will see a sprint lane introduced, increased camber around the turns to reduce the risk of leg injuries to horses, and a track resurface with finer grade materials for improved cushioning underfoot for the horses. HRV CEO John Anderson acknowledged the State Government funding for the upgrade and said the Horsham club would benefit greatly. “Harness racing at Horsham will be safer for the horses and better for the punters thanks to the upgrade, which includes the addition of a sprint lane,” Mr Anderson said. “The Horsham club and HRV would like to publicly acknowledge the important funding from the Andrews Labor Government courtesy of the Victorian Racing Industry Fund. “Improvements such as the track upgrade at Horsham are vital for not only the local areas, but also for the Victorian industry in general.” In announcing the funding Mr Pakula said on Monday: “Today represents the first step towards creating a cutting edge track for Horsham and helping secure the future of harness racing in the Wimmera for many years to come.” Mr Pakula added: “Not only will these upgrades bring the track in line with other top harness tracks in the state it also reflects our commitment to animal welfare by improving the track to help reduce risks of leg injuries.” Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs CEO David Brick said upgrades such as this ensured Victoria remained at the forefront of the national harness racing industry. “Our club network prides itself on the quality of racetracks produced to ensure safe, fair and fast racing,” Mr Brick said. “The Horsham upgrade, like Mildura before it, ensures that Victorian harness racing collectively offers the best harness racing in Australia. Harness Racing Victoria

Horsham HRC in partnership with sponsors of the Tontine Trotters Series, Woodlands Stud, are delighted to offer breeders the opportunity to tender for a service to the proven entire, Pegasus Spur.   Pegasus Spur is the sire of the outstanding 2015 Breeders Crown Champion and triple Trotters Derby winner, Speeding Spur, 2:00.3 & $331,111.   The millionaire son of SJ'S Photo is also the sire of Australasia's fastest trotter Flying Isa, 1:53.2 & $446,114.   His lightly raced 5yo daughter Maori Time, 1:55.6 & $156,716, saluted in the Group 2 Breeders Crown Graduate FFA at Melton to round off a great weekend for the Woodlands stallion roster.   Pegasus Spur stands at Woodlands NZ this season for $AUD 3,300 (inc) GST.   You can contact the Horsham Club on 0427 857411.   Tony Logan

Harness racing’s recently-crowned World Champion reinsman Dexter Dunn will be competing in the time-honoured Noel Smith Memorial Invitation Drivers’ Championship at Horsham on Monday. Dunn, who was presented with the World Championship trophy at Menangle last Sunday, will be contesting his fourth Noel Smith Series having won in 2012 and 2013. Defending champion Gavin Lang, one of four Victorian representatives, will be attempting to win a record fifth title. As it stands, Lang shares the record with Daryl Douglas. Chris Alford, who along with Lang is the only reinsman to win more than 5000 races in the Southern Hemisphere, is chasing his third victory. Greg Sugars and Kate Gath complete the Victorian contingent. This is the eighth time the Noel Smith Memorial has featured representatives from every state, the fourth to also include a Kiwi, and not surprisingly the is recognised as Australasia’s premier driving tournament. Fresh from last weekend’s Inter Dominion victory with Beautide, James Rattray will make the trip from New South Wales, Colin Brown will cross the Nullarbor from Western Australia, Ryan Hryhorec will jumper the border from South Australia, while Rohan Hillier will journey over Bass Strait from Tasmania. Queensland's Bart Cockburn, who engineered a major upset with Majestic Mach over Avonnova in Queensland’s Inter Dominion heat last month will complete the line-up. Incredibly the 10 drivers have cumulative 20,085 wins and more than $151.4million in prizemoney. They will be competing over four races for a $1500 travel brochure, while fans on course will also have the opportunity to be matched to a driver and win accommodation packages. First prize is at Deeluxe Riverspa Moama, second is the Melbourne Parkview, third is Elm Tree Warrnambool and there is also one for Victoria’s trotting home, Tabcorp Park Melton. The Championship recognises the contribution of the late Noel Smith, a Wimmera icon who was dedicated to harness racing at grassroots level. Along with the popular series, the program includes the Trotters’ Tontine Final and The O’Keeffe. JOHN PECK

Sunday’s Horsham Cup promises to be an enthralling harness racing affair. The $60,000 provincial feature has attracted a top field headed by proven Grand Circuit performer For A Reason and rising stars Philadelphia Man and Bit Of A Legend. Drawn perfectly in barrier two, For A Reason has been installed a $2.20 favourite in early markets, with Philadelphia Man considered his main danger at $6. Bit Of A Legend is on the third line of betting at $12 for trainer Cran Dalgety. A last-start winner at Bathurst, For A Reason is in “great condition” according to trainer Belinda McCarthy, who has sent the son of Art Major south for a several key targets. Beginning with this weekend’s assignment, For A Reason will then defend his Victoria Cup title at Melton on January 31. “Horsham fits in perfectly with our plans,” McCarthy said. “He was first-up for a month at Bathurst and has trained on well since. “He is in great shape for the Cup and this run will top him off perfectly for the rest of his campaign. “The Victoria Cup is the main aim, but if I feel he needs another run I may put him the Bendigo Cup next week.” Ultra-impressive during his three starts this campaign, extending his winning sequence to 10, Philadelphia Man has drawn awkwardly in his first test against open class performers. Another talented son of Art Major, Philadelphia Man has drawn six, but will slot into five for co-trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin with the removal of the emergency. Bit Of A Legend has received the visitors’ draw, with the Kiwi raider to come from the outside of the second row. “Philadelphia Man has looked very good this time in, but the draw has been tougher on him,” McCarthy said. “I expect For A Reason to lead from two, which will make him hard to run down.” McCarthy also has Flying Isa engaged in the Trotters’ Cup, with the in-form gelding a $2.80 favourite from his 10-metre handicap. The son of Pegasus Spur boasts two wins and two seconds from four starts this campaign, including the Group One Franco Australian Final at Menangle. Promising Victorian squaregaiter, The Boss Man, shapes as the biggest threat from the front line. Unbeaten from three starts this season, the Scott Dyer-trained and driven gelding has been posted at $3.50. PAUL COURTS

The Horsham Harness Racing Club will stage their traditional 3YO features, the $9505 Alabar Horsham Guineas and $9505 Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera, on Wednesday August 27th. The contests have been part of the Club calendar since the early 1980’s, when the Horsham Ladies Committee sponsored the Horsham Oaks and Derby Trials, under the lights on the tight showgrounds circuit. Alabar Bloodstock has generously donated an inscribed rug and trophies for the winning owner, trainer and driver of the 2014 Guineas. They have also donated a free service to second season stallion, Smiling Shard (1:53.7 $1,089,831) or the proven entire, Elsu (1:53.6 $2,030,796). Rosehill Farm & Veterinary Services will provide an inscribed rug and trophies for the winning connections of the 2014 Princess of the Wimmera. In addition, they have donated a free service to the highly talented but injury dogged pacer, Maffisio. Some fine colts and geldings are listed as winners of the Alabar Horsham Guineas, including  Grand Circuit performer Robin Hood (2004) for trainer Clayton Tonkin, with Daryl Douglas aboard.  In 1991, Dark Paul went on to capture both the Victoria and NSW Derbies after his Horsham Guineas victory for trainer Trevor Martin and reinsman Ted Demmler. Albenz (1996), Wenbro (1998), Remember El (2010), Savesometimetodream (2011) and Magical Telf (2012) have also taken out the Horsham Classic. The Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera has been won by a number of smart fillies over the years, including the brilliant Sheza Mona (1997) for trainer Peter Manning and driver Kerryn Manning . Mother Courage took out the 1999 edition of the Princess during her 3YO season, on the way to success in the Victoria Oaks for the Bruce Morgan- John Caldow combination. Posh Jaccka (1998), Deanna Troy (2006), Very Chic (2008), and Our Surfer Girl (2010) also grace the honour board. The Horsham Club is greatly appreciative of the continued support  of Allan Galloway, John Coffey and all the crew at Alabar, along with Darren and Anne Jacobson from Rosehill, and are looking forward to two great contests on the 27th. Nominations for the Alabar Horsham Guineas and Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera, close with HRV at noon on Thursday August 21st. Further information can be obtained from Tony Logan on 0427 857411.

The ever progressive Horsham Harness Racing Club conducted a sensational race day program on Sunday January 5th, highlighted by the running of the $60,000 (Group 2) Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Pacing Cup for M0 or better class horses over 2700 metres and what a race it was with the victor being five year old Riverboat King / Alimar Star gelding Keayang Steamer for Terang trainer Marg Lee, nephew Glen Craven and the Craven family. Although small in numbers, the field attracted a tremendous array of talent headed by champion Smoken Up, along with last year’s Hunter Cup winner Mah Sish, outstanding gelding Abettorpunt and potential stars Keayang Steamer, Magical Telf, and Im Corzin Terror. Mah Sish was best to begin from the pole from Hugo Play (gate two) with Smoken Up (gate six) three wide pushing forward to assume control running into the first turn. Keayang Steamer (gate five) was trapped wide, with Glen Craven having no option but to press forward to occupy the position outside the leader. The pattern of the race didn’t alter until the final circuit when Hugo Play eased three wide to challenge the leaders, while at the same stage Keayang Steamer immediately and surprisingly strode past Smoken Up with Glen thinking to himself that he had gone for home too early. Although unable to pass Smoken Up completely, Keayang Steamer held a 4.7 metre margin to the wire, with Hugo Play running the race of his life to finish 3.6 metres in arrears of the pair in third place. With quarters of 31.1, 31, 28.8 and 28.7 for the last mile, Keayang Steamer returned a new track record mile rate of 1-59.8 for the journey. The additional highlight of the day being the $15,000 Conch Deville HorshamTrotters Cup for TM0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2700 metres which saw brilliant four year old Metropolitan / Like A Calder entire Blitzthemcalder thrill the crowd with a tremendous performance to snare the major prize, Bred and raced by Rick Burchell, Blitzthemcalder trained at Lara by Dean Braun with regular reinsman Chris Alford in the sulky, was very slow to begin from the pole, giving the tearaway leader Si Capisco up to 50 metres start at one stage, with both Allaward Ugo and the Kiwi Thanesan which both galloped early putting themselves out of business. Commencing a forward move racing for the bell, it was easily seen that Blitzthemcalder was going to round his rivals up with ease as the tempo in which the race was run suited him to perfection. Not bustled to make ground in a hurry, Blitzthemcalder strode effortlessly to the front on the home turn and careered away to score by an official margin of 35 metres in a mile rate of 2-04.9 (last half 64.1 – quarter 33) in advance of Lightning Joy (three back the markers – one/one last lap) and Trappers Puzzle (one/two) which recovered after an early gallop. The mile rate being only .9 of a second outside Sir Gondola’s race record set in 2005. by Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria

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