Star horsewoman Kerryn Manning was declared this year’s Gordon Rothacker Medallist during Harness Racing Victoria’s awards dinner at Tabcorp Park Melton last night. The 13th recipient of the medal, Manning joins her father Peter on the honour roll, with the elder statesman claiming his in 2007. Surprised by the acknowledgement, Manning joked she always felt the medal was for veterans of the industry. “I thought I’m probably not old enough to win the Gordon Rothacker Medal,” the 38-year-old joked. A record-breaking reinswoman, Manning’s feats include being the first driver to pass 300 wins in a season, the first female to register Group One wins on both sides of the equator and the only person to drive six winners at a Victorian metropolitan track. Manning’s magical night at Moonee Valley saw her score with Next Encore, Farewell To Arms, Wenbro, Lombo Rapida, Homer Hawk and Tosca Lombo. Manning also has two sextets on provincial circuits to be the only Australian to drive six winners on a card three times. She also became the Victoria’s youngest Group One winner when partnering Allbenz to victory in the Tatlow Memorial in 1995. Manning thanked her parents Peter and Barbara and husband, Grant Campbell, for their support throughout the years. “I’ve been very lucky to work with dad, who has been so successful and taught me everything,” Manning said. “I’d like to thank Grant for his support. He puts up with a lot. We’ve done a good job together as a team. “And of course, my mum, who is always there for me.” PAUL COURTS
Here at Harnesslink, we thought we would be brave and offer our opinion on the Breeders Crown Finals as we head towards one of the seasons biggest harness racing days at Melton on Sunday. Our first preview is of the 2 year old trotters division. 2 year old Trotting Fillies Breeders Crown Final The $87,000 Aldebaran Park final for 2 year old fillies looks to be a battle between three fillies that are all sired via frozen semen and are all by stallions that are at the top of the siring charts in North America. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained daughter of Angus Hall in Arya looks very hard to beat here after an outstanding season in New Zealand which was followed up by a great second to the leading Australian male trotter in Eljaykay Phoenix in the Redwood Classic. Arya has been foolproof all season which in the 2 year old trotting ranks is a major plus and with no Endsino in the field she looks to have a class edge as well. Arya should come into five on the front line which is the perfect draw for here as she can stay out of the early rush and work to the lead without having to burn from the gate. The two main dangers to Arya have both drawn nicely on the front line and are both beautifully bred trotters. Glenferrie Burn who has drawn one is a daughter of the brilliant Muscle Hill from the 16 win Sundon mare in Adellas Dash ($102,626). She has developed as the season has progressed and looks a real chance from the draw to get a soft run. Val Gardena who has drawn three is a daughter of leading North American sire Kadabra from an Andover Hall mare. She has only missed a placing once this season in ten starts and comes into this race a last start winner. From her handy draw Blake Fitzpatrick has plenty of options with Val Gardena and she looks a major player here. Of the others Meadow Valley Road and Naked Majesty have both shown enough to be serious place chances but its hard to see them as genuine winning chances. Selections Arya clearly on top, followed by a combination of Val Gardena, Glenferrie Burn, Meadow Valley Road and Naked Majesty. 2 year old Trotting Colts/Geldings Breeders Crown Final The $87,000 Aldebaran Park Final for 2 year old colts/geldings has drawn a cracking field and the draw has only evened out the contest even more. All the top contenders have drawn the front line with the favourite Eljaykay Phoenix fearing the worst with barrier seven. A son of champion sire Sundon, Eljaykay Phoenix has looked a class above them for most of the season but his recent defeat by Shared Interest has thrown this division wide open. Throw in his draw and the fact that all the real challengers have drawn inside him means if Eljaykay Phoneix and Joshua Aiken are going to win the final, they are going to have to do it the hard way. His main challenger is the son of Angus Hall in Shared Interest who has drawn beautifully at barrier two which gives Nathan Jack plenty of options Weather he tries to park Eljaykay Phoenix or takes a sit on his back, Shared Interest has the all round game to win the final. The chances don't end there with both Illawong Armstrong and Primz Luck capable of toppling the favoured duo if things go their way. Illawong Armstrong finally gets a good draw and Jodi Quinlan will be hoping that the favoured pair go to war which then brings her horse right into play. The enigma of the field is The Pres gelding Primz Luck whose ring craft has let him down lately but who has ability to burn as he showed in New Zealand several times. Now in the Kerryn Manning barn and to be driven by her in the final, Primz Luck threw it away on his Australian debut in the Redwood Classic. Kerryn has had five weeks since then to iron out those kinks and if he gets around on Sunday they will all know they have been to the races. Selections. Can't split the two favourites in Shared Interest and Eljaykay Phoenix due to the draws but lean a bit towards Eljaykay Phoneix on his overall record. Illawong Armstrong and Primz Luck are both live chances depending how the race is run. Throw in Kyvalley Boomerang, Fabrication and Hadrians Phoenix for trifectas and first fours. Harnesslink Media
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.
There have been plenty of Jillibys and Keayangs which have been successful over the years coming out of the Terang harness racing training establishment of Marg Lee, Peter Craven, Jason Lee and Glen Craven, and another potential top-liner by the name of Jilliby Master showed what a bright future he has by toying with his rivals in the Permewans Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2160 metres at Hamilton on Wednesday. Trained and driven by Glen Craven, Jilliby Master was sent forward from gate five, but was unable to head off The Fire Within (gate three) resulting in him being left facing the open. Eventually crossing over at the bell, Jilliby Master careered away to register a most impressive 4.6-metre victory in advance of brother Matt’s Faraway Man from last with a circuit to travel, with Misschinoise (four back the markers at bell) again running her usual honest race to finish third. The mile rate 1:57.5. The Western District usually supplies a number of winners at most Hamilton meetings and leading reinsman Mattie Craven was successful with four-year-old Badlands Hanover/Susie Sheffield mare Susie Badland in the Angelique Club Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres when having her first outing for the stable. Given every opportunity to figure in the finish one/one from gate three, Susie Badland ran on best to blouse the pacemaker What A Sheila by 4.3 metres in a rate of 2:02.5. Floral Touch battled on strongly to finish third after facing the breeze. Great Western’s Kerryn Manning landed the Mountain View Stud Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres with former Kiwi five-year-old mare Supa Slick in a rate of 2:02.1. Making her second appearance since December 2012, Supa Slick was sent forward from gate five to take over the front running role from the polemarker Ima Little Tycoon and was never headed, just lasting to gain a head decision over Ime Little Tycoon along the sprint lane, with Tres Hombres (three-wide last lap from the rear) third. A daughter of Washington Vc and Supamodel, Supa Slick can be purchased for a paltry $1000 from a claimer at Bendigo this Saturday. Len Baker - Harness Racing Victoria
Kerryn Manning fired for three wins at the Terang trots on Tuesday night. The Great Western reinswoman won the second, third and fifth events aboard Jetcraft, Red Nigel and Jaccka Lonny on a foggy night at the track. Jaccka Lonny was first-up for the Manning yard since joining from New Zealand, the four-year-old son of Mcardle too strong despite working hard on the last lap. Manning took the gelding straight back to last early in the 2180m Tiz A Masterpiece C2-C3 Pace before easing three-wide at about the 900m. The ex-Kiwi made his move down the back straight the final time, ranging up to the leaders strongly. Despite sitting three-wide approaching the bend and being driven along, Jaccka Lonny had more fight than his adversaries and overpowered them in the home stretch for an impressive triumph. Jaccka Lonny’s winning mile rate was 2:00.7 with a last half-mile of 59.4 seconds. Other drivers to score multiple successes at Terang were local Matthew Craven, who kicked home a winning double aboard Volatile Girl in the Squires Supermarket Vicbred Pace over 1680m and smart colt Clark Griswold in the Western Edition Pace, and Chris Alford, who guided Baccarat to a last-stride win over Desdon Murruffy in the Dick and Anne Box Pace over 1680m and Hurricane Stride to a half-head win in the Shadyshark Hanover Pace. The other winner for the night went to leading local trainer Marg Lee for leading local reinsman Jason Lee, Keayang Ebonyrose saluting in the first – the Silvan Ridge Business Advisers 2YO Pace. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria
It was billed as a harness racing match race for the ages and it lived up to all expectations – Lennytheshark and Guaranteed fighting out a gripping battle in the four-year-old males’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. In the finish Lennytheshark took the points, the odds-on favourite from the in-form David Aiken stable coming out on top after an action-packed race. Polemarker Boyz Torque fell at the first corner, Kerryn Manning flung out of the sulky while the horse had to be brought under control by the clerk of the course. Lennytheshark eventually found the lead before he and Guaranteed cleared out approaching the home bend. Lennytheshark rolled out, which he’s shown he can do from time to time, down the back but straightened up in the home stretch. Guaranteed stuck to his task gamely and didn’t give up the chase at any stage after sitting in the breeze, but Lennytheshark had a bit too much bite – scoring a 6m win in a mile rate of 1:56.0. Winning driver Chris Alford said an early check to Guaranteed had certainly helped Lennytheshark prevail. “I saw Guaranteed had copped a bit of a check early on,” Alford said. “Even at the 400m though I thought to myself I just couldn’t shake him (Guaranteed), but maybe the early check took a bit out of him and Lenny was too good on the night.” The first and second horses over the line cleared out from their nearest rival, Ginger Bliss, which ran on for third with Greg Sugars in the sulky. Lennytheshark’s win was a popular one for on-course punters, the crowd cheering enthusiastically as he and Guaranteed went toe to toe to the death. Wolfpack ran a mighty race to finish fourth, while early pacemaker Hes Kinky was fifth. Lennytheshark now has 15 wins from 30 starts and tonight’s was his seventh on the trot. Kerryn Manning walked away from her fall with a blood nose. Lennytheshark By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria
Allendale East harness racing trainer David Kemp enjoyed a red letter day at Hamilton this afternoon with a winning double. Kemp’s ultra-consistent five-year-old gelding Arr En Special took out the PDF Food Services Pace to give the trainer the first leg of his winning double, narrowly holding out hot favourite Flaming Hero after an excellent drive from talented young reinsman Jason Lee. Kemp’s mare, Forced Out, then prevailed from pole in the last race, the Logical Property Services Pace, again with Lee the winning reinsman. Kerryn Manning also drove a winning double on the program, opening with two-year-old gelding Jereme Jetsetter in the first, the Hunt’s Auto Spaces 2YO Pace, for trainer Peter Manning, before taking out the fourth race, the Ward’s Jewellers Ladies Challenge Pace aboard Kankkunen for Burrumbeet trainer Kati Gunn, over Sir Dasher Dee for Marnie Bibby and Tara Tom for Jamie-Lee King. In other races, Lovable Nick won the Alexandra House Trotters Handicap at big odds over Brian Kiesey-trained pair Candy Digger and Master Kiesey in second and third. Lovable Nick won by 4.6m in a mile rate of 2:04.3. Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan combined to win the Trevor Krause 3YO Pace over 1660m, defeating runner-up In The Trenches by a head, with 5m back to Goodtime Blackie in third place. The mile rate was 1:56.2 with the last half in 58.8secs. Matthew Craven took out the Graham and Mary Torbet Memorial Pace over 1660m with seven-year-old mare Shards Of Ice. Craven, who rarely misses a win at a Hamilton meeting, settled his $34 shot three back along the pegs before bursting through in the sprint lane for a barnstorming win. The mare ran a slick mile rate of 1:53.9. Drumborg’s Kevin Brough combined with Ararat driver Michael Bellman to win the Judith Astbury Pace with Modern Art four-year-old mare Just Like Elle. She scored by 2.6m over Whisper Away, with Sign No More in third. The winner’s mile rate was 1:57.4. Harness racing heads to Kilmore tomorrow night for a huge 10-event card, with the first race at 5.05pm. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)
Amanda Turnbull’s first winner as a trainer at Charlton on Monday with Highview Conall was her 991st victory in the sulky. If Amanda can bring up nine more winners in the next four months, she will become the youngest ever driver to reach 1000 wins. “That would be pretty special … I can’t believe it,” she said when told how close she was to setting a new record. The former Bathurst-based reinswoman, who is 24 years, four months and four days old, now splits her time between her former home base interstate and her new hometown in Shepparton with partner Nathan Jack. Despite the trip back home taking six-and-a-half hours, Amanda has been clocking up the kilometres to help her father – NSW’s leading trainer Steve Turnbull. Amanda, who leads the NSW state drivers’ premiership with 160 wins, drove 203 winners last year – achieving the double ton after a frenetic final month in the sulky. “When I got close with a month to go and was pushing towards the 200, that last month was really hard,” she said. “We just kept on pushing and it got down to the last week, but we got there in the end.” Now Amanda wants to help her father reach the 200-win mark. Steve has trained 158 winners this season from 909 race starts and Amanda is eager for him reach 200 winners after he got so close last season, winding up on 199. “We’re going to be trying to get him over the 200, so I’m still living half here and half there,” she said. “Shepparton’s perfect really because it’s only a six-and-a-half-hour trip from here.” If Turnbull can become the youngest driver to reach 1000 wins she will relegate Western Australia’s Morgan Woodley to second position. Woodley reached 1000 wins when he was 24 years, eight months and seven days old in August last year. Other young guns who reached four figures early in their career include Luke McCarthy (25 years, one month and two days) in December 2007, Kerryn Manning (25 years, eight months and seven days) in March 2002, Gary Hall Jr (26 years, seven months and 17 days) in March 2009, Greg Sugars (26 years, eight months and seven days) in June 2011, and Chris Alford (27 years, five months and 26 days) in November 1995. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)
The marbles have fallen the way of David Aiken ahead of Friday night's Group 2 University Foods 4YO and 5YO Championship at Melton's Tabcorp Park. The Avenel trainer has two runners in the event, with Lennytheshark likely to start tote elect for driver Chris Alford after snaring the coveted pole position at this morning's barrier draw. Lennytheshark, a four-year-old son of Four Starzzz Shark, has returned to the track in great nick this year, winning his past two starts in impressive style. Last time out at Melton he clocked a mile rate of 1:55.7 and won by over 10m, the triumph coming a week after a first-up 22.1m victory over Sapphire Swayze on May 9. Stable-mate Cold Major will start from barrier three on Friday night with Joshua Aiken in the sulky. The five-year-old Art Major horse was shooting for three wins on the trot last start against a supremely talented field, eventually having to settle for fourth behind Wartime Sweetheart, Five Star Anvil and Smoken Up. Kerryn Manning's in-form gelding Gotta Go Yanky will be looking to register his fourth win on the trot and has drawn barrier two for the Championship. The son of American Ideal was too strong for Highview Conall last time out in 1:55.5. Petstock Ballarat Cup hero Restrepo has drawn four for his resumption to racing, the Emma Stewart-trained talent to be driven by Gavin Lang. Dean Braun will have three runners in the nine-horse field, Inky Cullen (barrier five), Magical Telf (barrier seven) and Chilli Palmer (barrier nine). Daryl Douglas will drive the Allan McDonough-trained last-start Maryborough winner Classy Guy from position six, while the inside-back-row draw has gone to Michael Barby-trained, Daylesford pacer It Is Billy, to be driven by Anne-Maree Conroy. The University Foods 4YO and 5YO Championship will be run at 8.14pm. Two Group 1 races highlight Friday night's card at Melton, with the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic for 2YO trotting fillies and 2YO trotting colts and geldings to be contested. The first race on the mammoth 11-event programme is scheduled for 5.02pm. Fields for Friday night can be found here: http://www.harness.org.au/fields.cfm?mc=MX300514 By CODY WINNELL
The promotion for the female driver’s to wear TEAL driving pants in March to promote awareness of OVARIAN CANCER has been a major success with the girls booting home a total of 61 winners. March was highlighted by the massive night at Tabcorp Park where over $80,000 was raised for the WOMEN’S CANCER FOUNDATION in conjunction with Girls Night Out and the PRYDE’S EASIFEED GREAT SOUTHERN STAR. The leading female driver for the month was WCF Ambassador Jodi Quinlan with seven wins, closely followed by a group of four drivers with six winners – Kerryn Manning, Alison Chisholm, Kate Gath and Rebecca Bartley. For further information or to donate to the fantastic cause please go to http://www.womenscancerfoundation.org.au/ By HRV Media
It was Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup night at Frank Ryan Raceway situated on the banks of the Campaspe River on Friday March 21, with a large crowd in attendance to witness harness racing on the tight 804 metre circuit. A massive ten event card was programmed keeping those on track active all throughout the evening in anticipation of the feature event scheduled as race number eight. The Cup itself, a $25,390 standing start race (Discretionary Handicapped) for M0 or better class horses over 2530 metres was taken out by the in-form Philip Nott bred and raced seven year old Village Jasper / Any Danger gelding Arber. Trained at Anakie by Tim Bolitho who should take plenty of accolades for the marvellous job he has done with the horse since joining the stable, Arber driven by Greg Sugars was quickly away from a lone 10 metre handicap, with Sugars wasting no time in sending him forward to park outside the favourite Jadahson which crossed the old timer Baltic Eagle after travelling a couple of hundred metres. Gavin Lang urged Riverboat Jasper (one/three) forward mid-race to shadow the leader giving Arber the cover he was looking for and nothing changed until the bell when Kerryn Manning angled Narra Operative three wide from near last to commence a run. Arber was eased three wide in the back straight on the final occasion and quickly joined Jadahson prior to the home turn. Finishing brilliantly, Arber had 1.2 metres to spare on the wire to defeat Jadahson in a rate of 2-02.2 (last half 58.9 – quarter 29.9), with the Riverina visitor Itcan Happen using the sprint lane from five back the markers after a slow beginning third. It was Arber’s third country cup for the season, having already captured both the Stawell and Wangaratta features. Seven year old Sierra Kosmos / Panbrake gelding Tsonga was a tough victor of the $12,390 J A Connelly Crystal Bucket for T5 or better class trotters (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2530 metres. Trained at Bolinda by Paul Males and driven by Shepparton based David Moran, Tsonga stepped cleanly from a 30 metre backmark on this occasion to tack on to the field, with Gazoline showing his customary slick beginning tolead from barrier four. With the speed nothing to write home about, Nathan Jack sent the favourite Theywannacallmesue forward through the middle stages to join the leader, with Tsonga also being sent forward with a lap and a half to travel. Trapped on a limb three wide for the remainder of the journey, Tsonga showed tremendous courage to join the leaders on straightening a forge clear to score by 5.4 metres in a mile rate of 2-06 over Wildenstein (three back the markers – one/one home turn), with Gazoline holding down third. A former smart juvenile, Tsonga had recorded 14 wins and 24 placings from 76 race appearances. Narrandera trainer/driver Blake Jones a regular visitor to the Victorian scene, took the honours for the night with a stable double – Rustys Reject taking the Kevin Phillips Pace for C4 to C6 class and Bryce Cooper the 3rd Heat of the George Croxford Tribute for Three Year Olds. Videos are attached Len Baker Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria
The Victorian female drivers did the industry and campaign to increase awareness in Ovarian Cancer proud on the weekend. The female drivers are wearing TEAL DRIVING TROUSERS in March to promote this fantastic cause and on the weekend they won seven races to keep awareness at the forefront of people’s minds. Alison Chisholm continued her super March winning with Victoria May at Tabcorp Park on Saturday and in a post-race interview that she would be happy to wear TEAL pants year round given her run of success with four winners already this month. Kate Gath drove a double at Tabcorp Park on Saturday taking her monthly tally to four, which is the same total that Kerryn Manning has for the month following her double at Boort on Sunday. Female drivers have saluted the judge in 27 races so far in March. The Women’s Cancer Foundation – Ovarian Cancer Institute are holding a massive fundraiser at the Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star meeting this Saturday 22 March at Tabcorp Park. For more information please go to http://www.trot.com.au/hottotrot/ or http://www.womenscancerfoundation.org.au HRV Media
The Choice Hotels Carnival of Country Cups continued at Boort in Central Victoria on Sunday March 16, with the oldest surviving trotting club in the state (established 1891), staging their once a year event in front of a very large crowd. The feature of the day – the $14,505 Loddon Valley Stud Boort Pacing Cup for C5 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2612 metres on the small 712 metre circuit attracted a small field of eight, with Tontine winner Flaming Flutter an almost unbackable favourite ($1.20). Trained at Bannockburn by Geoff Webster, Flaming Flutter with regular reinsman Greg Sugars handling the ribbons scrambled slightly from barrier five, before being sent forward once balanced to tackle Flash Of Freedom for the front running, taking over at the judge on the first occasion. Although Narra Operative shadowed him most of the way, Flaming Flutter was coasting at the head of affairs and kicked clear on the home turn to register an untouched 5.2 metre victory over Narra Operative who stuck to his guns well in a new track record mile rate of 2-02.7 (last half mile 57.6 – quarter 27.4). Farmersntradies finished third 8.7 metres away after a one/one trip. Raced by Geelong residents Ron Anderson, Neil Richmond and Garth Allen, Flaming Flutter a Kiwi bred four year old entire by Bettors Delight from Twice As Hot has fronted the starter on 25 occasions for 12 wins and has plenty more to come his way. The other attraction of the afternoon being the $14,505 Doyles Boomspraying Boort Trotters Cup for T5 or better class (D-H) over 21612 metres which saw injury plagued seven year old pacing bred Grinfromeartoear / Hiclass Souix mare Paparazzi Snapshot successful in a mile rate of 2-07.4. Trained at Ararat by Brook Hansen for her family, Paparazzi Snapshot driven by Kerryn Manning stepped safely from barrier two on the second line to immediately possie outside the leader Gazoline which bounded clear from barrier five as the tapes released, whereas the red-hot favourite Unico Crown galloped away from barrier two refusing to settle and was tailed off. Keeping the leader honest all through the race, Paparazzi Snapshot crossed to lead approaching the final bend, with Theywannacallmesue (one/two – three wide at bell) joining her to issue a serious challenge and momentarily take a slender margin on the home turn. Under vigorous driving, Paparazzi Snapshot rallied in the straight to record a strong 5.8 metre victory over Enjoy A Coldie along the sprint lane after being held up by the weakening Gazoline which he followed throughout, with Theywannacallmesue dying on his run to be 1.4 metres away in third place. Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria
With Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star night looming, nominations for the harness racing night have been building quickly. And for trainers and owners involved in the Drivers Invitational FFA, it’s important to note that drivers will be randomly allocated to horses starting in the event. Most notably North America’s leading reinsman Corey Callahan will feature in the Drivers Invitational with fellow internationals Anthony Butt, Dexter Dunn and Colin De Fillipi. The Australian’s chosen to be allocated drives include Greg Sugars, Chris Alford, Gavin Lang, Kerryn Manning, Luke McCarthy and Blake Fitzpatrick. An overseas contingent of Chantal Sutherland (Canada), Yoann Lagarde (France) and Dexter Dunn (New Zealand) have been invited to compete in the Invitation Monte. While the Australian team will be selected from Haley Toulmin, Daryl Douglas, Maree Campbell, Paul Hamblin, Anne-Maree Conroy and Mary Crosby, depending upon availability.
Saturday March 22 marks the second edition of the unique Pryde's Easifeed Great Southern Star. Of equal importance is the fundraising for the Women's Cancer Foundation - Ovarian Cancer Institute. Outstanding gesture by our many female drivers to spread the awareness message during March by wearing the teal pants (see Kerryn Manning photo attached). Busy Night Pryde's Easifeed Great Southern Star night has quickly become one of the most important nights on the Australasian trotting calendar. Some of the activities that make this night a must: The Great Southern Star (GSS) brings together Australasia's best trotters to compete in a $400,000 series of heats into a final on the same night. The two heats will be races 3 and 4 on the card, with the final to follow as race 9; A sold out function in the Toolern Room raising funds for the Women's Cancer Foundation. Last year over $80,000 was raised - in memory of Lyn McPherson who sadly succumbed to ovarian cancer in 2010. Many thanks to our female drivers who have worn the teal pants through March in support of the ovarian cancer cause. Fashions on the Field offers $6,000 in prizes with GSS Ambassador Chantal Sutherland to judge. The Girls' Night Out theme extends to the exclusive Cocktail Marque. The Breed for Speed trotting series finals; In action will be America's top driver this year Corey Callahan and we also welcome leading trainer Jonas Czernyson as guests of HRV. Jonas is a Swede turned American top trainer with some champion trotters in his barn, including multiple award winning trotting mare Maven. We are very grateful to the State Government for its financial assistance in promoting the big night - contributing in excess of $100,000 through its Raceday Attraction Program. The Premier and Minister for Racing, Dr Denis Napthine will be attending the night and announcing further enhancements to the already lucrative Vicbred Platinum scheme. HRV also appreciates the work of Duncan McPherson and Michael Taranto in promoting the GSS and the Women's Cancer Foundation - Ovarian Cancer Institute. International Growth I often hear comment (positive and negative) on HRV's strategy to promote our sport internationally. With a mature wagering market in Australia, the future growth of harness racing in Victoria is largely dependent on international growth. It is important for HRV to increase the import of international product which Sky Racing telecasts and Tabcorp offers wagering on. Equally important is Victorian product being exported which also provides strong financial returns to HRV. As an example of the opportunity presenting itself, HRV exported three trot races on Hunter Cup night into France, where trotting enjoys a 50/50 share with thoroughbred racing. Despite the races being telecast into France in an unfavourable timeslot (late morning), the French Tote (PMU) held $568,000 on the three races. That is the equivalent of an entire Saturday night meeting in regional Victoria. It indicates the importance of pushing Victorian trotting further into European markets for future revenue growth. The French have also taken The Knight Pistol (March 7) and the Australian Trotting Grand Prix (March 15). We look forward to seeing strong returns from these two feature races. Drug Research I would like to congratulate the racing industry's drug laboratory Racing Analytical Services Ltd for the establishment of its Biological Research Unit (BRU). The BRU was set up two years ago, courtesy of welcome State Government funding of $1 million over four years. The BRU has quickly established itself as one of the leading laboratories in the world. In the past 12 months it has developed screening methods for proteins and peptides. The peptide screening developed by the BRU has resulted in the first prosecution for illegal peptide use. Ongoing research will provide a comprehensive solution to peptide doping as well as significant improvement in protein screening technology. Victorian Fires Several industry participants were affected by the fires during February. Fortunately there was no loss of life or racing stock, however there was significant property damage. As usual the industry rallied around those affected. In the case of HRV's own Craig Rail, his property was damaged so badly he has been forced to hand feed his horses until there is sufficient growth in his paddocks. Accordingly the HRV stewards' panel and the Mildura Club have chipped in and raised sufficient funds to finance enough bales of hay to keep Craig's stock going until the growth returns, for which he has expressed his gratitude. Another "First" Hot on the heels of the first standardbred to compete in the Garryowen (courtesy of Kathleen Mullan's 'Jimmy') comes another great story of a potential 'first' for a standardbred. Nicole Tassone does a great job of training up retired race horses for a life after the track, under the banner of "Raising The Standards". 'Bob' is now a couple of months into training to become a member of the Victoria Police's Mounted Branch. If he is successful, he will become the first standardbred to be accepted into the Force. ('Bob' raced as Mossdale Allan which had 44 race starts for 4 wins and 8 placings.) 'Bob' picture is attached proudly leading out a patrol in South Melbourne. Nicole is rightly proud of her achievement and we wish 'Bob' all the best in being accepted for a new career. Vale Rocky Baker The Toolern Room at Tabcorp Park was the venue for a memorial service for popular industry figure Ray 'Rocky' Baker. Rocky passed away suddenly on February 15. Speakers at the service followed a consistent theme of Rocky's love for the people in the industry and his generous nature. Through his company Carbine Chemicals, Rocky donated a significant amount of product to Clubs and participants on a regular basis - particularly to those in need. Rocky was also a sponsor of several Clubs and HRV, including prominent signage at the Tabcorp Park track. Our condolences go out to his family. Milestones Several drivers have achieved or are nearing milestones: Nathan Jack drove his 100th winner for the season on Artique at Yarra Valley on March 12; Greg Sugars is sitting on 99 winners for the season; Another of our young guns Matt Craven is on 497 career wins after driving a treble at Ballarat on March 11. Welcome HRV Finance Manager, James Cardona and his wife Andrea, welcomed their first child on March 4, a daughter Emilia. Congratulations to the proud parents. Did You Know? On February 25, the APG Trotters Handicap at Menangle was won by 4YO gelding Vincennes. He was TAB number 20. When was the last time a horse carrying saddlecloth 20 won a trot?
Champion Australian reinsman Gavin Lang captured his fourth Noel Smith Memorial Invitation Drivers Championship, in a tight three race series at the Horsham Racing Centre on Monday afternoon. Lang was making his 20th appearance in the prestigious contest and posted early points on the tally board, when he piloted the 5yo mare, Mintropolitan to an all-the-way victory in the opening heat, for SA trainer Jake Webster. Tasmanian driver Gareth Rattray put himself into the contest, courtesy of a tough staying effort by David Van Ryn’s smart 3YO gelding Time Capsule in the 2nd heat. Lang maintained his position at the top of the table, with a close up third on Ideal Majority for Bannockburn trainer Geoff Webster. Youthful SA horseman Ryan Hryhorec captured the final round with the Kerryn Manning trained pacer Itz Dreamin Jonesy. Lang came in midfield with Big Gorilla but maintained a slight margin to take out the 24th Horsham title. At the other end of the points table, a countback saw former Horsham Club President Garry Chequer present the dreaded Wooden Spoon to Queensland reinsman Grant Dixon, with Daryl Douglas breathing a sigh of relief. Lang, aged 53, is almost in the veteran category, but the winner of 5000+ races is still driving in red-hot form. His Horsham Invitation crown comes right on the back of two recent Group 1 victories at Menangle and 4 wins from 5 drives at Devonport for trainer Adam Kelly, just the night before heading to Horsham. Monday must have been a long day for the Harness Hall Of Famer. After catching a 6am flight out of Devonport to Tullamarine, it was an hour’s drive home to Bacchus Marsh and nearly 3 hours more, along the Western Highway to Horsham. Four drives later and with a new Challenger sulky on board, it was off again in the truck heading for home. Finally around 10.00pm, it was time to put the feet up before enjoying a well deserved, good night’s sleep. Gavin Lang. Mr. 5000. Harness Racing Legend. Congratulations. By Anthony Logan