The success story of this year's Young Drivers Challenge was undoubtedly the rise and rise of Rebecca Bartley. Over the space of three days the Congupna reinswoman, 22, became a household name in Victorian harness racing, winning the first four races in the five-race invitational series. And they weren't aboard odds-on favourites, in fact far from it. Bartley piloted two longshots to victory at Shepparton on Thursday night (Riviera Kiss $26.60 and Boom Boom Hall $18.80) before striking at enormous odds at Melton's Tabcorp Park on Friday night (Smiling Spirit winning at $54.30). To cap it off Bartley won the fourth race of the series at Ballarat on Saturday night (aboard Kankkunen at $10.70) before having to settle for fifth with Belvoirama in the last race to finish with a series points score of 46 - just four points shy of an unprecedented 50 points (the maximum a driver can accrue in the 10-points-per-win series). "She was the story of the series, that's for sure," said Ballarat and District Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse. "By the time the series finished everyone knew who Rebecca Bartley was." Rowse described the Young Drivers Challenge as a great series and praised the Shepparton Harness Racing Club for developing the concept. "I'd encourage other clubs to follow Shepparton's lead and look at holding similar series in the future," Rowse said. "It certainly added interest to our meeting as we were the lucky beneficiary of the series' final." Rowse said any notion that harness racing was a sport dominated by males had long been debunked, with Victoria's driving ranks filled with top-line women's talent. "It wouldn't surprise me at all now if Rebecca can go on to achieve similar to what Kerryn (Manning), Jodi (Quinlan), Amy (Tubbs) etcetera have been able to do," he said. "It's a good news story for everyone that the girls are going so well in Victoria." Bartley thanked series organisers and her fellow young drivers in her victory speech at Ballarat. New South Wales based driver Todd McCarthy finished second in the series, 14 points behind Bartley, while Narissa McMullen (Queensland), Josh Duggan and Jason Lee all tied for third on 31 points. YOUNG DRIVERS CHALLENGE FINAL STANDINGS 1: Rebecca Bartley 46 2: Todd McCarthy 32 3: Narissa McMullen 31 3: Josh Duggan 31 3: Jason Lee 31 6: Dylan Ford 25 7: Aaron Bain 24 8: Josh Aiken 23 9: Aiden De Campo 22 10: Zac Phillips 18 By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)
The Shepparton Harness Racing Club, in conjunction with Tabcorp Park Melton and Ballarat, will again conduct their annual Young Drivers Challenge over three meetings, kicking off on Thursday May 29. The two races involved on the card will be the C2 to C3 for four-year-old and older as well as the C1 for four-year-old and older horses with drivers to be randomly allocated from the list of outstanding junior talents. Josh Aiken, Josh Duggan, Haydon Gray, Jason Lee and Zac Phillips will be representing their home state while interlopers Aaron Bain (SA), Aiden De Campo (WA), Dylan Ford (Tas), Todd McCarthy (NSW) and Narissa McMullen (QLD) all converge to try and take the title. In an exciting new turn for the competition, the young drivers will not only compete in two penalty free races at Shepparton, they will also take centre stage at Tabcorp Park Melton the following night. That will be followed up by the chance to compete on one of Victoria’s most popular tracks, Bray Raceway Ballarat the very next night. Shepparton Harness Racing Club Secretary/Manager Ian McDonald was thrilled with the opportunity being provided to those driving. “I think we’ve assembled the best young driving talent in Australia and it’s just terrific to see them get the opportunity to compete in the Young Drivers Challenge,” McDonald said. “This year we’ve added races at Melton and Ballarat to spice things up and it will give all the drivers a chance to drive on one of the biggest stages in the sport. “The fact that the winner of each of the races won’t incur a handicapping penalty just gives trainers the best opportunity to race for good prizemoney.” For more information visit the meeting calendar for the Shepparton meeting calendar here, the Melton meeting calendar here and finally for more on the Ballarat leg, click here. by HRV Media
The first harness racing mobile start Warragul Cup was a great success on Easter Sunday. Ballarat horseman Michael Stanley took out The Linc Group Warragul Pacing Cup with Hilltop Hustler, a four-year-old who had no luck in the Mildura Pacing Cup at its previous run, but is an up-and-coming pacer of the future, and will be aimed at further feature races going forward. Hilltop Hustler has recorded 10 wins and 8 placings from only 35 starts, and was well supported by punters. The Cup for Trafalgar horseman Glenn Hunter was over soon after it started, as Astronaut galloped and virtually took no part. It capped an up and down day for Glenn - he placed third in the Trotters Cup with Dawn Tears but earlier lost the opening race in the stewards room after debutante Lazy Sunday drifted in in the home straight when first past the post. Runner up in the Cup was Loveable Larrikin, with Savesomtimetodream finishing third. The 2:00 mile rate barrier was broken for the 2620 metre distance, indicating the quality of the Warragul track. The co-feature on Sunday, the Eddie Evison Memorial Trotters Cup, was won by Eisenhower for Kilmore husband and wife team Peter Lane and Anita Burke. In another exciting contest, Eisenhower held off his rivals to score narrowly from Im Whitney, with local Dawn Tears having no luck in finishing a close up third. Four generations of the Evison family were on hand to present the silver Cup to the winning connections. Longwarry pacer Intergalactic took out the final race of the day for trainer Lee Evison and driver Josh Duggan. A large group of happy owners were on hand to accept the trophy after Melita Bromac won the Warragul Club and Downtowner Guineas. Melita Bromac will head for the rich Victorian Oaks series after her Warragul win. A good crowd enjoyed an exciting day of racing on Sunday, with TAB betting up considerably on last year. Footballer's 'Crackers' Keenan and Peter Daicos and legendary trotting horseman Ted Demmler were among the special guests on the day. The quality of the field in the Pacing Cup supported the Warragul Harness Racing Club's decision to switch the event from a handicap to a mobile barrier start. Last year's Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling was among the entries, a winner of over $800,000 in stakes, and horses of that calibre gracing the local track gave the club extra publicity. Kyle Galley
There were winners left, right and centre after the opening race at Tabcorp Park Menangle this afternoon. The Menangle track was a “first-up” winner with horses coming from everywhere in the closing stages of the final heat of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship as the Peter Walsh-trained Little Red Cloud got the money with a 1:59.9 mile rate over the 2400m journey. Tasmanian reinsman Dylan Ford may have also given a hint of things to come for his fellow Tasmanian Beautide in the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Grand Final later in the day when he brought Little Red Cloud with a well-timed run up the middle of the track to score. All the competitors in the Young Drivers Championship rated the track in remarkable condition despite persistent showers over the weekend, with every runner accorded a fair run. Still none were more satisfied than New Zealand’s Andre Poutama, who finished seventh with Im Blue Double Dee, but accrued enough points to take the series from another Kiwi, Samantha Ottley. Poutama, from New Zealand’s North Island, went into the race with a 13 point lead and was desperate to avoid running in the last couple to jeopardise his chances of winning the overall series. Little Red Cloud grabbed Poacher (Aaron Bain) in the shadows of the post, with Condagen (Josh Duggan) third. Trainer Peter Walsh’s good run continued in the Lexus International Lady Drivers Invitational when Narissa McMullen led all-the-way with his pacer Essbee Doubleyou. The Queensland reinswoman took the son of Presidential Ball straight to the top from barrier nine where they dictated terms throughout. Rolling through the quarters in 27.1, 29.0, 28.5 and 27.4s, which resulted in a slick mile rate of 1:52.0, again proving the track was in fine order for the string day of racing ahead. Bathurst reinswoman Amanda Turnbull finished second with Medal Of Honour while the Tasmanian Kate MacLeod finished third with Ballochbuie. Harness Racing NSW
An Introduction From The CEO A very successful Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup Carnival has concluded with a big crowd attending and strong growth in wagering turnover. Click here for a highlights package of Hunter Cup night. Some exciting news is imminent with our next major event, the Pryde's Easifeed Great Southern Star on March 22. Follow HRV on Twitter @HRVnews Stakes Rises I am pleased to confirm that the second phase of stakes rises for the year will come into effect on March 1. A summary of the main changes: The minimum career penalty stake will rise to $6,000 (a 20% rise this year); A payment of $115 (which includes the driver's fee of $65 will be added to the stake for horses which finish between sixth and last); Metropolitan class minimum stake will rise to $17,000 for M1 or better and $16,000 for M0; With effect from July 1, the Vicbred first win bonus will rise to $7,000 for two and three-year-olds. Other stakes rises previously announced on September 1, 2013 remain in force. Fires The past week has been a tough one for many participants, with serious fires burning through several regions of country Victoria. Several of those regions housed industry people. In particular the areas of Riddells Creek, Kilmore and the Goulburn Valley were severely threatened by raging fires. HRV was monitoring the course of the fires and the likely impacts. I am pleased to say that quick action by the authorities and many in the industry meant no loss of life and minimal loss of livestock. However there has been significant damage reported to properties. Some of the areas which were closely monitored: In the Riddells Creek fires several trainers/owners in the area were forced to relocate horses as the fires headed in their direction. HRV's own Craig Rail was evacuated as the fires were close by.Apart from damage to his property his house remains intact. In the Goulburn Valley, Warwick Stud was the worst affected with the loss of barns, fencing, stallion boxes and other buildings. HRV has been assisting in replacing infrastructure to get much needed water to the property. A number of trainers in the region suffered losses to sheds and fencing and HRV is currently assisting with replacement. The local industry has responded in typical fashion and I know those affected have appreciated the extent of the industry's support. The Kilmore area was under threat for several days. A special thanks to the Kilmore Club for acting as a temporary refuge for concerned members of the racing community. The Club provided stabling, food and water for a variety of animals, which I'm sure was appreciated. A huge thank you goes out to the many fire fighters (including the helicopters) who fought so bravely to protect so many properties. Teal for Ovarian Cancer Research While on the subject of community action, the month of March will be a special one for the awareness of Ovarian Cancer. Agreement has been reached for all Victorian female drivers to wear Teal coloured driving trousers, in support of the Ovarian Cancer Institute, for the entire month of March. The initiative is being generously funded by Duncan McPherson OAM and Michael Taranto as part of the promotion of the Pryde's Easifeed Great Southern Star which is run in conjunction with the Women's Cancer Foundation - Ovarian Cancer Institute Girls Night Out. Once again, it presents an opportunity for the industry to display its leadership in supporting community causes and messages that are so close to many people's hearts. Well done to all the girls who are supporting this great initiative. And while on the subject of the Great Southern Star stand by for an announcement of two highly recognised international identities who will play an ambassadorial role for the series. Major release scheduled for next week. International Expansion Over recent months there been some debate regarding the strategic importance of building international relationships and promoting the export of HRV product into overseas jurisdictions and vice versa. In 2012/13 HRV generated more than $600,000 in International Rights Product Fees from the export of our product for wagering in overseas jurisdictions. For the first half of 2013/14 those International Rights Product Fees have increased by 68%, therefore HRV forecast generating in excess of $1 million in revenue from the export of our product this year. When we consider that the French market wagered around AUD$300,000 into the win/place pools alone for the three Trotting races exported on Hunter Cup night, it's likely this forecast could grow even further. In addition to exporting our product overseas, under these reciprocal arrangements, we've seen a recent expansion of product imported from Sweden and France into our own wagering market. Over the past few months this has resulted in $500,000 in harness wagering turnover on the Victorian tote, from which HRV derives direct revenue and market share benefit. With further expansion planned, it's important the industry understands we operate in a global racing and wagering environment and strategically it is of significant value to our bottom line. Josh Duggan - Victorian Representative Josh Duggan has been selected to represent Victoria in this year's Australasian Young Drivers Championship to be run in conjunction with the 2014 Inter Dominion in Sydney. Representatives from each State and the two New Zealand Islands will participate in a 10 race series in NSW from February 25, culminating in a final heat on Inter Dominion Grand Final Day. It is always a great experience for the young drivers. HRV last won the Championship in 2012 when Ellen Tormey was successful in Perth. We wish Josh well - seen here photographed receiving his Big V colours from Chairman, Ken Latta and Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, Craig Ondarchie. Milestones Congratulations to Nathan Cahir who drove his 100th winner at Hamilton on January 29. Young guns Matt Craven and Michael Stanley are within reach of 500 winners, both currently in the 480's. Get Well Paul Sad to hear of the severe injuries suffered by Paul Morrissey at his Bendigo property as a result of a training accident. Paul is currently in intensive care in Bendigo Base Hospital with broken bones and head and spinal injuries. We wish Paul a full recovery. Vale HRV passes on its condolences to members of the Jack family, many of whom are involved in the industry, on the passing of patriarch Robbie Jack. Robbie was a stalwart in the Riverina as a trainer, driver and administrator. He was 81. Did You Know? HRV will be honouring the retirement of champion Melpark Major this Saturday night, February 15 at Tabcorp Park Melton. He will lead out the field for the Inter Dominion Heat with Amy Tubbs in the sulky. Melpark Major won $980,000 in stakes, having won a Victoria Cup and a host of other feature races. He will enjoy retirement on owner Don Smith's Melton property.
Maryborough in Central Victoria - home of the trotter held a 10 event card on Monday December 23 which featured no less than five events devoted to the squaregaiter. Redwood winner Daenerys Targaryen returned to the winners list in the Highland Heavy Games 3-Y-0 Trotters Mobile over 2190 metres. Now in the care of Brent Lilley at Bolinda, Daenerys Targaryen with Greg Sugars in the sulky wasn't pushed at the start from gate six, before striding clear to lead for the majority of the trip, defeating Sister Of Sonoko (one/one at bell) from near last by 2.4 metres, with the first starter Maybelina using the sprint lane from four back the markers to finish third. The mile rate 2-06.4. St Arnaud trainer Brian Kiesey provided an upset result when six year old Life Sign/Abby Beach mare Apple Beach scored in the Showstoppers @ Princess Park New Years Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2190 metres, paying Supertab odds of $59.00. Driven by Michael Bellman, Apple Beach having her first outing in almost 12 months (January 7 2013), galloped away from the extreme draw settling at the tail of the field along with The Yankee Clipper which was badly away and Pride Of Sundon who was slow to begin, with the hot favourite Rosemma leading from gate three. Still last prior to the home turn, Apple Beach produced a barnstorming finish out wide to blouse Rosemma by a head in 2-08.1 which surrendered to Pride Of Sundon mid-race before easing off his back on turning. Tommy Kay (three back the markers at bell) used the sprint lane to finish third. The Highland Dancing Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2190 metres went the way of five year old Goodboytruscott/Truscott Photo gelding Loveyougoodboy for Muckleford trainer Chris Angove. Trotting faultlessly on this occasion after making several mistakes in recent outings, Loveyougoodboy starting from a 40 metre equal backmark with Im Demimondaine, was immediately sent forward by Josh Duggan to park outside the front line pacemaker Kingofthedesert. Taking care of the leader approaching the home turn with Im Demimondaine issuing a challenge, Loveyougoodboy prevailed by 3.9 metres in a rate of 2-05.4, with A Stylish Jewel (three back the markers) third. Sutton Grange trainer Ross Graham's improving Zooma/ImaBarbie Girl five year old gelding Brother Of Sonoko broke his maiden status at start number six, when successful in the Side Show Alley New Years Day Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2190 metres in a rate of 2-05.1. Given a lovely trip one/one from gate two for Daryl Douglas with the hot favourite Hachashaq leading from the pole, Brother Of Sonoko when eased three wide on the final bend, raced clear on straightening to record an easy 8.3 metre victory in advance of My Turn My Turn from last, with Redcavier third after following the winner throughout. Seven year old Grinfromeartoear/Hyclass Souix mare Paparazzi Snapshot recorded her 8th victory in 54 outings by taking the Chieftain Andy Brumby Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2190 metres. Starting from the 40 metre mark after taking a mares concession, Paparazzi Snapshot with Kerryn Manning in the sulky, wasn't bustled in the early stages, settling at the rear of the field as the polemarker Mygreekkalesa stepped to the front at barrier rise. Moving three wide in the last lap, Paparazzi Snapshot proved much too strong for Gluteus Major off a three wide trail last lap and Idle Suntime which followed the pair home. The mile rate 2-04.3. By Len Baker
Long Forest husband and wife Andy & Kate Gath back home after a week in Christchurch with Caribbean Blaster competing at the New Zealand Cup Carnival, took the honours at the Shepparton meeting held on Tuesday November 19 with a stable double – Jeremes Jet/Millpac Maid colt Gowan Brae taking the Elite Horse Transport 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres and 6-Y-0 Yankee Paco/Katie Daley mare Jumeirah Jane the Hunter Home Hardware Trotters Handicap for T0 class over the same journey. Gowan Brae raced by Greg Brodie of Courage Under Fire fame, was first up since April and led throughout from the pole to easily account for the first starter Major Crocker off a three wide trail from near last in the final circuit on the back of the third placegetter Provocatator (one/one) in the last lap. The mile rate 1-59.3. Much improved mare Jumeirah Jane raced by Bullengarook’s Wendy Harrison in partnership with mother Jean Johnstone, was probably the most popular winner on the night when making her 16th appearance at the races. Starting from barrier three, Jumeirah Jane crossed Giacomo inside her shortly after the start and was always travelling boldly under a tight rein. Showing no signs of stopping, Jumeirah Jane scored by 7.7 metres in a rate of 2-06.1 over Thumbs Up Jerry (three back the markers) and the roughie Unsolved Mystery from last. The Goulburn Valley, Bendigo and Echuca areas provided five winners on the program. Moama breeder/owner/trainer/driver Mal Whiteford’s 4-Y-0 Artesian/Kamwood Toy mare Kamwood Dawn snared the Quest Shepparton Pace for C0 class over 1690 metres in a rate of 1-57.8. Given the run of the race from gate three trailing the pacemaker Art De Triumph (gate five), Kamwood Dawn was taken away from the markers on straightening and finished best to score by a half neck from the leader, with Rosemary Lane third after following the pair. Shepparton’s Patrick Ryan combined with Chris Alford to land the Neatline Homes Pace (first division) for C0 class over 1690 metres with 4-Y-0 Rollon Bigred/Chocaholic entire Turnoffate, Raced by Kevin Riseley’s Sheron Park Pty Ltd, Turnoffate despite racing in the open, prevailed by a half head in 1-57.6 in defeating Lets Go Rabbitoh which followed him all of the way. Tuxedo Toff (one/two) finished third after joining the leaders approaching the home turn. Goornong trainer Peter Salathiel joined forces with daughter Katrina to capture the Grenada Park Standardbreds Pacers Handicap for C1 or better class over 2190 metres with 4-Y-0 Courage Under Fire/Be All Dilinger mare Cheval Charette which did her early racing in King Island. Jumping straight to the front from the pole as the tapes released, Cheval Charette was rated to perfection, running out an easy 8 metre victor in 2-02.3 from a death-seating Illawong Bill and Junie Jasper which trailed the winner. Popular local trainer Geoff (Marto) Martin took advantage of a concession for Bolinda’s Josh Duggan to land the Ausure Insurance Brokers Pace for C1 class over 1690 metres with ex-NSW Real Desire/Nepeans Last Bird 5-Y-0 gelding Mister Desirable, leading for the majority of the journey to gain the day in advance of Saint Liliana (one/one) which joined the winner on the home turn, with Tom Grainger third. The mile rate 1-59.8. Kyabram trainer Greg Caldwell’s honest 4-Y-0 Union Guy/Orta Be Ruthless gelding Ortabe Good saluted the judge in the Neatline Homes Pace (second division) with Tooleen reinsman Nigel Milne in the sulky. Given a cosy trip three back in the moving line from gate three with the polemarker Kentucky Sands leading, Ortabe Good ran home strongly off a three wide trail last lap to gain the day by 4 metres in advance of Donated which raced in the open from the bell, with The Muse (one/one) third. The mile rate 1-58.9. Other winners on the nine event card were : Jingling Silver (Paul Davies – Baddaginnie) with Daryl Douglas in the sulky and Our Warwick Lad (David Aiken – Avenel) and Nathan Jack. Len Baker
David Aiken enjoyed a stellar season just past, coming within three wins of the metropolitan trainer’s premiership, but he has picked up where he left off with 12 winners from just 70 runners this term. The trend is set to continue too with a strong hand engaged at Tabcorp Park Friday night and at the Maryborough Cup meeting on Sunday for the Avenel trainer. Jaccka Clive will headline his Central Goldfields Shire Maryborough Gold Cup hopes and although he is coming in with the figure form of 0, 7, 7, Aiken is convinced he is starting to reach his peak. And his peak is well and truly up to this race, having run a placing in the past two Hunter Cup’s. “I’m pretty happy with where he is at and even though he is off the 20 metres I think he is going better than his form probably reads,” Aiken said. “My other runner, Composed, has been beaten a head two years in a row in the race (Maryborough Cup) so hopefully he can go one better this time around. “I thought he was good at Kilmore off the 20-metre mark so if he steps away he shouldn’t be far from them.” But first attention will turn to Tabcorp Park where brilliant trotting mare Cold Sister returns from a break in the Pryde’s EasiFeed Trotters Free For All. Having drawn two, she comes off a handy trial win at Shepparton where Aiken believed she had plenty in hand. “It’s just the start of her prep but we are really happy with where she is at. It’s a short race but the others are racing really well and they have a few runs under their belt whereas we will be an improver I think,” he said. “She’s a free-for-all class trotter now so there are a lot of races on for her and hopefully she will get to the Great Southern Star like last year.” Nominating his best for the weekend’s racing, the in-form horseman leant to stable stalwart Smudge Bromac, who has been around the money throughout recent claiming series without getting to the line in front. Drawn outside of the front row on Friday night, he gets his chance to work forward over the mile and stamp his authority on the race. “Catch Your Breath has been getting in our way so with him not there he gets his chance,” Aiken said. “Catch Your Breath came out and beat Smoken Up in the Popular Alm Sprint so it’s proof that we’ve been racing well. “I’d say he will keep rolling forward from the wide barrier but I’ll just leave that up to Nathan (Jack, driver).” Jasper Jumping At Mares Races The win of Stylish Jasper at Tabcorp Park Melton may have been a fair while in the making, but that brilliant turn of foot suggested that despite being 12 months in the metropolitan wilderness, it won’t take that long to return to the Melton winners stall. Having done the majority of her racing at Tabcorp Park in the last year, Stylish Jasper returns to the track Friday night for the Harness Breeders Victoria Tailamade Lombo. And once again she has been underrated in the market, opening $21 with TAB fixed odds. She proved last time that the odds mean nothing as she stormed home at cricket score odds and her trainer, Vivian Tomren, will be hoping that’s the case again. “She went super last week and it was a good drive too which always helps,” Tomren said. “I’ve thought for quite a while that she would be competitive in these sorts of races but she kept getting balloted out so she never really got to prove it.” Having finished second in the mares feature race three weeks ago behind Bettor Give It, she drops back from the open class of her M1 win to mares grade but the competition isn’t lacking with Shake It Mama the favourite at $2.10. It’s been a pretty long road for Stylish Jasper, 92 starts for $92,000 in prizemoney indicates she has been a handy mare who has toiled her way to 14 wins. But with a lack of success coming earlier in her career, Tomren is convinced she is now ready to blossom. “I wouldn’t say she’s always had a lot of ability, she only fell in at her first win and as a younger horse she was probably a fat and lazy horse but as she’s got older and fitter she’s just kept on improving,” she said. That improvement has taken her a long way in a short time, but her trainer can also put the leap she has made down to a few other factors, namely having an open-class pacer to work with. “Because we don’t have any paddocks at the training centre I probably started working her a little bit harder,” Tomren said. “Her workmate went to Queensland last year so when we lost her we needed something to work her with to get her up in the grades and we had In Monaco so we thought this will either make her or break her and it has certainly brought her on.” Josh Duggan will again be in the cart from barrier five for the first leg of the Quaddie to be run at 7.09pm. By Blake Redden (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)
An Introduction From The CEO At the Community Clubs Association of Victoria Awards night on October 15, Tabcorp Park was a finalist in the Victorian Club of the Year which is great credit to the venue staff. Congratulations go to the winner, Buckleys Entertainment Centre in Geelong. HRV Annual Report The HRV Annual Report for 2012/13 was tabled in Parliament on October 16. Click here for the Premier and Minister for Racing’s press release which coincided with the tabling. Chris Alford – Children’s Tumour Foundation The dust has now settled on the Charity Football Match recently held at Melton. The industry got behind the day which was a fundraiser for Chris Alford’s charity, the Children’s Tumour Foundation (CTF). As we know Chris’ daughter Katie suffers from NF, a tumour related disease and the Alford family have been great supporters of the Foundation. With the support of the Harness Racing Industry Chris and Alison Alford have raised over $85,000 for NF since Katie’s diagnosis – a fantastic achievement. Congratulations go to them both, and HRV will continue to support their efforts in raising awareness of NF. As an unfortunate post script to the football match, Chris suffered an injury in a crunching tackle and missed three weeks in the sulky, which only slightly delayed his quest for 5,000 winners (currently 4,986). Website Usage The harness.org.au website continues its extraordinary growth. For the month of August 2013, the website attracted 780,000 visits, compared to 690,000 last August, a rise of 13%. Most popular area visited remains “Fields” with 440,000 visits (up 15%) followed by “Results” 195,000 (up 15%). Mobile usage of the site for August was 46,000 visits, up from 25,000 the previous August. The HRV Facebook page has over 3000 “Likes” – 80% from within Australia. Brazil is 7th on the list with 16 people liking our page. The Old and the New There cannot possibly be any other sport where the age range of participants who can succeed at the highest level is so varied and where gender is no barrier. Our sport has been infiltrated by young people in recent years. If you take a look at the premiership lists for the 2013/14 season so far, you will see youngsters such as Greg Sugars, Emma Stewart, Nathan Jack, Amy Tubbs, Matthew Craven, Kate Gath, Josh Duggan, Jason Lee, Michael Stanley, all at the top of the tree. Yet only recently, horses driven by Matt Donaldson, Dick Lee and Brian Gath filled the trifecta in a race at Bendigo, with combined ages of 226! Male, female, young or old all compete on an equal basis in our great industry. Harness Review – 20 Years Mid October signified the 20 year anniversary of the popular radio show Harness Review. Congratulations to evergreen Len Baker who has been with the show since its inception. Well done also to long time co-hosts such as Clinton Welsh, Brian Dobson and Alexandra Hurley as well as a band of regular contributors, including our own Craig Rail. The show has a loyal band of followers on Melton 979fm from 8pm to 10pm every Monday night. The internet now takes the show to a wider audience. Well done to Len and the team! Vale Peter Nova Peter had a long association with HRV, predominantly as a representative for Radio 3UZ and in later years for Sky Racing. He was a hail and hearty character well known across the industry. Sadly Peter passed away in September. Apart from his infectious nature, Peter was top of mind with many of HRV’s corporate supporters. About five years ago, when driving in the annual Go Kart Day, Peter suffered a massive heart attack, and was clinically dead for some time. As a result of several people’s efforts Peter was miraculously brought back to life and we were able to see his smiling face for a few more years. HRV and the Pegasus Club were represented at the funeral. Dick Collinson Dick was one of trotting’s most colourful characters. He passed away in late September at the age of 90. He was a prominent trainer during the Showgrounds era with several top line horses including Grand Monarch, Rich Dale and Sandy Spring. HRV Legend Gordon Rothacker drove for Collinson. Away from the trots, Dick was a keen Bulldog fan and was President of Footscray between 1974 and 1978. Bill Lanyon Bill passed away on September 20, at the age of 75. The Lanyon family have been publishers of newspapers for generations, most particularly in the Mildura region. They have been supporters of the trots industry over a long period. Our condolences go to Bill’s son Ross who continues the family tradition with the Sunraysia Daily and ownership of pacers. Ross is also Chairman of Country Racing Victoria. Did You Know Congratulations go to Tabcorp Park employee Kathleen Mullan, who managed to get her former pacing racehorse MF Hollywood through to the prestigious Garryowen final during the Royal Melbourne Show. Affectionately known as “James,” he became the first ever standardbred to make it through to the Garryowen. Kathleen and James performed with distinction before a large and enthusiastic crowd.
Teenage reinsman Zac Phillips produced without doubt the "drive of the night" at the Echuca meeting on Tuesday October 1, when successful aboard 8-Y-0 E Dees Cam/Universal Alice gelding Juke Kartel in the $5500 Book Christmas Functions Now Pace for C1 class over 1755 metres. Raced by Judith Ferrie, Duke Kartel now trained in Melton by Robbie O'Connell (Zac's boss) after being in several different camps since he first graced the track, positioned on the back of the pole mark pacemaker and favourite Find Time To Cruise after starting outside the front row, receiving the run of the race. Easing outside the leader on the final bend, Juke Kartel put the race beyond doubt in a couple of bounds as he raced away over the concluding stages to score by 14.1 metres in a rate of 1-59.2 from Find Time To Cruise and Statelyness which recovered after a check at the start when Swift Sita which she was following galloped away. The annual Don Guy Memorial Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres, named after one of the all time great harness racing trainers in the state who's stables were situated on the raceway, went the way of Elmore trainer Matt Higgins' honest 7-Y-0 Blissful Hall/Armatrix mare Nova Arama with Brian Gath in the sulky, returning a mile rate of 2-03.8. Raced by mother Betty Welsh, Nova Arama led throughout from gate two, accounting for Chiquita Bromac which trailed giving Elmore the quinella. Jialiner (one/one) finished third. Rochester's Mark Thompson kept his impeccable record at the track going when 5-Y-0 Christian Cullen/Life Of Perfection gelding Stonethachristian driven by Ararat's Michael Bellman greeted the judge in the Lara Judd Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres. Starting from gate two, Stonethachristian was unable to cross Attack On Command inside him at the start, but after persisting, strode to the front in the back straight on the first occasion. Appearing to be in trouble on straightening when Life Long Voyage off a three wide trail last lap from mid-field issued a strong challenge, Stonethachristian under desperate driving kept on giving to score by a half head in a rate of 2-02, with Hezupnabout (one/one - three wide last lap) third. Five year old Bettors Delight/Spirited Storm entire Stormed Out taking a concession for Josh Duggan was an impressive winner of the Echuca West Primary School Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2160 metres in a rate of 2-00.7. Trained by Chris Alford at Bolinda, Stormed Out (gate four) spent the entire race parked outside the leader and hot favourite Timeseel from the Mark Thompson camp, before outstaying him to score by 1.3 metres. The Riverina visitor Ultimate Sheldon (one/one) finished third 2.3 metres away. Len Baker
Oddly named former New Zealander Frank The Duck was successful in taking the Melbourne Cup Day Pace for C0 class over 2150 metres at Yarra Valley on Monday September 30 when making his first appearance on Australian soil. A winner at Addington on July 26, Frank The Duck hadn’t raced since August 23 and was sent out an almost unbackable $1.30 favourite after starting from outside the front line. Trained by Joe Borg at Melton and driven by John Caldow, Frank The Duck a 4-Y-0 gelded son of Jeremes Jet and Take Her Easy Tiger was given an easy time one/one following Lets Go Happy after being restrained at the starter released the field, with Ryans Lane (gate three) leading for Dianne Giles. Moving outside the pacemaker approaching the final bend when Lets Go Happy had dropped to the back of the leader, Frank The Duck was much too strong over the concluding stages for Ryans Lane and Lets Go Happy in a mile rate of 2-01.5. Raced by Simon Sciberras who has been a staunch stable client, Frank The Duck chalked up his 3rd victory in 15 outings. Popular Romsey trainer Leigh Miles’ 4-Y-0 Four Starzzz Shark/Norwood Abbey mare Sukhovey Wind brought up her second victory when scoring in the Oaks Day Pace for C0 class (mares) over 2150 metres. With Greg Sugars in the sulky, Sukhovey Wind was given an easy time one/one from gate two and when eased three wide in the last lap, finished her race off well in defeating Melegend along the sprint lane from three back the markers, with the last start Cranbourne winner Hunzarella weakening to finish third after leading. The mile rate 2-03.6. The age old adage in racing – the more you win – the better the price certainly applies to Cohuna owner Grant Lunghusen’s 4-Y-0 Browning Blue Chip/Above The Rest mare Joelles Dream who brought up a hat-trick of wins by taking out the Harness Breeders (Vic) Pace for C1 & C2 class restricted to the fairer sex over 1650 metres, paying Supertab odds of $10.60. Trained and driven by Whittlesea horseman Mark Peace, Joelles Dream starting from gate two on the second line settled three back in the moving line, before being sent forward three wide uncovered in the last lap. Asked for a supreme effort on straightening, Joelles Dream responded to the call, scoring by a half head over a death-seating Miss Fidelity in a rate of 2-01.3. Eleventh Command was a half head away in third place after leading in the closest finish of the day. Impressive Kiwi import Macho Commacho a gelded 5-Y-0 son of Royal Mattjesty and Alberts Daughter made it two from two in Australia, when greeting the judge in the Eastland Pacers Handicap for C1 or better class over 2150 metres. Raced by prominent owners Tony and Pam Coniglio, Macho Commacho trained by Dean Braun at Lara and driven by Nathan Jack had little trouble in finding the front running from a 20 metre equal backmark, before toying with his rivals to win in a breeze from Hellfire Angel (three back the markers) along the sprint lane and The Dip (four back the markers - four wide home turn) in an unextended mile rate of 2-02.9. Sidelined Bolinda trainer Chris Alford landed the De Bortoli Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2150 metres with bonny Bettors Delight/Forest Glory 5-Y-0 mare Bellasario. Bred and raced by Jack & Nola Munnerley, Bellasario taking a concession for the stable’s Josh Duggan, led throughout from the pole to defeat Conflict Of Interest which trailed by 2.6 metres in a rate of 2-00.3, with Magical Molly third from mid-field in the running line. By Len Baker
The “Trots” returned to the Swan Hill Racing Centre on Thursday September 12, when the Nyah HRC stages a compact seven event harness racing card. The theme for the night was excitement after a thrilling dead-heat was signalled in the opening event on the program – the Nevele R Stud Pace for C0 class over 1609 metres between Stonethachristian and Nuggetpan. Stonethachristian’s performance was gigantic, as he race three wide for almost the entire journey from gate six before joining the pacemaker and favourite Bazzas Art approaching the home turn. Surging clear in the straight with Nuggetpan in hot pursuit after following him throughout, the pair hit the wire in unison with the judge unable to declare an outright winner. A 5-Y-0 gelded son of Christian Cullen and Life Of Perfection trained by Mark Thompson in Rochester and driven by Michael Bellman, Stonethachristian recorded his 5th victory in 46 outings, while Nuggetpan a lightly raced 6-Y-0 gelding by The Wrath Of Pan from Fly Home trained at Pyramid Hill by Andrew Grogan with Brian Gath in the sulky was making only his third appearance at the races. The Reverend Black (three back the markers) finished third after being wide on the final bend. The mile rate being a brilliant 1-55.9. The Morley Park Stud Pace for C1 class was taken out by Merbein South owner/trainer Jason McGinty’s Kiwi bred 8-Y-0 Live Or Die/Andos Prospect gelding Gone Cruzin in a rate of 2-00.4. Driven by Nathan Jack, Gone Cruzin starting inside the second row enjoyed a cosy passage trailing the poleline leader Macray Divale, before using the sprint lane to score from Woodlea Cosmos (one/three – three wide last lap), with Los Bravos (three back the markers) third after also using the sprint lane. It was an all Mildura trifecta. It was another tight finish in the Global Stallions Pace for C0 class (mares), with Stanhope trainer/driver Gary Pekin’s 4-Y-0 daughter of Grinfromeartoear and Illawong Fabulous Illawong Fantasia greeting the judge. Despite spending all of the race parked outside the leader and favourite Carbon Cate (gate three) drawn inside her, Illawong Fantasia raced by wife Jane prevailed by a nose in a tricky finish over the fast finishing My Lishi (six wide home turn) from last in a mile rate of 1-59.8. Haryda Hanover finished third from three back in the moving line. Strathfieldsaye brothers Glenn and Daryl Douglas who usually win a race or two at most Nyah meetings, landed the Alabar Bloodstock Pace for C4 to C6 class over 2240 metres with 6-Y-0 Live Or Die/Kutas Lass gelding Itsnewstome in a rate of 2-00.2. Restrained from outside the front line at the start to settle at the tail of the field with the stablemate and favourite Run Forrest leading from gate three, Daryl sent Itsnewstome forward approaching the home straight on the first occasion to surprisingly be handed the front running on a platter. After an easy time, Itsnewstome kicked away on the home turn with Run Forrest using the sprint line to issue a half hearted challenge, so much so that Shelby Cruzin (three back the markers) was able to also use the sprint lane to dead-heat for second, with Itsnewstome scoring by 1.8 metres. On returning to the all clear, an interesting protest was lodged by both placegetters against each other which was subsequently dismissed. Glenn Douglas was again a winner when honest 6-Y-0 Flight N Irish/Blueberry Kris gelding Patos Wallet snared the Woodlands Stud Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres. Taking a concession for Bolinda based Josh Duggan, Patos Wallet starting from the extreme draw possied three back in the moving line, with Luke Watson’s East West Star leading from gate three. Easing three wide solo in the final circuit, Patos Wallet surged clear on the home turn, winning by 1.4 metres in advance of Wrinkle Knutt (one/three), with Lerrad Maharg (three back the markers – four wide home turn) running home late for third. The mile rate 1-58.4. It was Patos Wallet’s 5th victory in 47 outings. On what was a great night for the Mildura McGinty’s, former Kiwi gelding Cyclone Mach was successful in the Warwick Stud Pace for C1 class over 1609 metres in a rate of 1-57.1. Trained by Brian (Jason’s father), Cyclone Mach driven by Michael Bellman was taken back from outside the front row to settle at the rear. Sent forward three wide uncovered in the last lap, Cyclone Mach ran to the wire in impressive fashion to score by 4.2 metres from the heavily supported leader Who Broke Our Halo (gate five), with Primo Tapia (gate six) a game third after racing in the open. The Goodtime Lodge Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1609 metres concluded the meeting and the long odds-on favourite Spokewoman was an easy winner in 1-58. Prepared at Mildura by last season’s state leading trainer Shayne Cramp, Spokewoman (gate two) driven by Nathan Jack crossed the pacemaker Lycoming Racer inside her at the bell, before coasting to the wire 6.9 metres in advance of Joe Costa’s Life Of Ted (one/two) and Elle Jasper along the sprint lane from three back the markers. *** The next Nyah meeting will be Cup Night on Saturday October 19. Len Baker
Tasmanian Josh Duggan moved to Victoria over four years ago in an attempt to further his career as a reinsman and last week he was acknowledged as one of the most promising young drivers in that state.
The Metropolitan & Country Harness Racing Association (MACHRA) - the oldest Kindred Body connected to Victorian Harness Racing, presented their annual awards for season 2011/12 at Tabcorp Park Melton last Friday night (May 17).
There were two harness racing meetings held in Victoria on Wednesday April 17 with Shepparton racing during the afternoon and Bendigo at night, the highlight being heats of the 2013 Goulburn Valley & Central Victoria Young Drivers Challenge.