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

The rise of Keayang Cullen continued at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night with an easy Minuteman Free-For-All win. It was billed as a potential showdown between Keayang Cullen and ageing superstar Smoken Up but the old warrior just wasn’t able to go with the Terang terminator, who gave none of his rivals a chance in a flawless start-to-finish triumph. Driven by young up-and-coming reinsman Jason Lee, whose cool-under-pressure style has him touted as one of the sport’s stars of the future, Marg Lee trained Keayang Cullen pinged to the front from gate one in the 2240-metre event. Lance Justice took Smoken Up around fast starter Exciteusinthecity (Tim McLean) early to park outside the leader, while Chris Alford angled second-favourite Magical Telf behind Keayang Cullen from gate two. Not much changed for the next 1400 metres as Keayang Cullen carved out first and second sectionals of 31.6 and 29.5, setting himself up for a dash home in the last 800m. Smoken Up always sat back just slightly in the run, not eyeballing the leader and attacking at the bell from the chair as was once his caper. Keayang Cullen was running some good time in the last 1200 metres though, sprinting down the back in 28.3 to get Smoken Up – an impressive last-start Globe Derby winner – off the bit. When the leader swung the home bend it was clear he had Smoken Up’s measure, but the two-time Miracle Mile superstar – and Australasian mile rate record holder with a 1:48.5 mark – kept on giving his all. Exciteusinthecity emerged down the outside in the final 150 metres, while Magical Telf had every conceivable chance to run down Keayang Cullen but couldn’t despite an economical drive by Alford. Keayang Cullen kicked home in 27.4, recording a last half-mile time of 55.7 seconds to win by 3.2 metres, with Exciteusinthecity running second – he’s racing in career-best form – and Magical Telf third. Teo Enteo never looked a winning threat but ran on fairly for fourth, while Jack In Flight was fifth of the seven ahead of Smoken Up, who beat only outsider Our White Knight to the line. Leading up to last night’s race Jason Lee said he would love for Keayang Cullen to get a crack at the Miracle Mile in Sydney next season. Given his picket fence form line and utter domination of the current free-for-all crop in Victoria, the Terang star’s invite is surely in the mail. Smoken Up meanwhile will have his send-off at Tabcorp Park Melton on September 6 in the Casey Classic, where he will be hoping to draw an inside barrier and to be given the chance to race where he does best - out in front. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria    

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

Friday night’s Minuteman Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Melton is shaping as a classic battle. Keayang Cullen has won five straight races and has drawn the pole for the 2240-metre race, while 11-year-old Smoken Up – on his farewell tour – is coming off a cracking win at Globe Derby in Adelaide. With both horses boasting noteworthy speed off the arm, the sparks looks set to fly early in what should prove an intriguing battle. Trainer/driver Lance Justice has at times been lambasted in social media for having the audacity to pin such tags as “certainty” on his stable superstar along the journey. Justice often publicly suggested his horse could sit outside other champions and run them into submission. Often he was right. Smoken Up boasts a 74-win career from 151 starts for stake winnings of in excess of $3.6 million. Justice’s confident style has had to be toned down in recent times as the burden of age crept up on Smoken up. But what if the barriers were reversed this Friday night and Smoken Up had the pole with Keayang Cullen to come out gate six? “If you reverse the draw then one thing I can tell you is he (Keayang Cullen) couldn’t sit outside Smoken Up and beat him, I don’t care what you say,” Justice said. As it stands, Keayang Cullen defeated Smoken Up a month ago in the Melton City Council Sprint over 1720m. The Marg Lee trained six-year-old led from gate five that night, while Smoken Up came from wide on the second line. The margin between the two pacers at the finish was a substantial though not huge 10.5 metres. Jason Lee, who will drive Keayang Cullen on Friday night, has full faith in his charge, who he says can hopefully measure up in the Miracle Mile should he get the opportunity next season. “Just to get a start in that race firstly would be pretty special,” Lee said. Lee is well aware he takes the form horse into Friday night’s race and, tactically, he’s confident of holding the front no matter what Smoken Up – or the dark horse in Exciteusinthecity – can serve up when the mobile speeds away. “Nah, I don’t think so,” he said when asked if he would consider allowing Smoken Up to work to the lead. “He’s going to cop pressure in good races so I think we’ll just try to hold the front at all costs.” Exciteusinthecity has pinged out at his last two impressive wins in town but will find this a different kettle of fish. Driver Tim McLean is likely to try and find some cover. While Keayang Cullen is a highly skilled frontrunner, Lee pointed out his charge has been able to come from behind in past races – highlighting his February Inter Dominion heat win when he sprinted sharply in the home straight after being behind the leader in the run. But none of that is expected to matter on Friday night, as Lee is adamant he won’t be handing up. Justice admits he has very little chance, if any, of finding the lead this week so is resigned to sitting parked. “He’s pulled up enormous since Adelaide when he was half-a-second outside the track record -- I can see him sitting outside Keayang Cullen and giving him some curry,” Justice said. “He’s 100 per cent right now. I wanted to give him this run before his finale as I didn’t want him to have such a big break going into that race (September 6, the Casey Classic). “Keayang Cullen led and beat him first-up at Melton, but he’s running into a much fitter Smoken Up this time. “He’ll run a huge race.” If there are fireworks early, expect champion reinsman Chris Alford to be grinning like a Cheshire cat aboard Magical Telf, who from gate two is likely to jump behind Keayang Cullen for a cheap run. Making up the field are Jack In Flight from gate three, Teo Enteo from gate four and Our White Knight in the cheap seats draw (gate seven). Related Links Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 15 August 2014 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 15 August 2014 Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

While the Southern Cross Features were the highlight for the day prizemoney wise the most popular win with the big crown in attendance was the victory of superstar pacer Smoken Up in the Free For All event. Having his final SA run, the 11yo farewelled his local fans in style able to push through early and find the front from gate 8 and it was pretty much all over after that holding off a gallant Come On Frank who ran a super race in 2nd spot with Astronaut back in 3rd. The win was his 74th overall with his prizemoney now over $3,600,000. Globe Derby has certainly been a happy hunting ground for him over the years with his first two runs at the track back both victory’s the first in the $15,000 Barastock Cup before taking out the $100,000 SA Cup a week later back in 2008. His next return to Adelaide wasn’t until 2010 when he put up a big performance to finish 2nd behind Mister Zion in the Cup before winning the 2011 and 2012 editions, the later with Greg Sugars in the sulky. No doubt the past two runnings of the Cup have been super races with two epic battles with fellow Victorian Caribbean Blaster with a tough win back in 2013 before a solid 2nd behind Caribbean Blaster in this year’s running back in January. In all he won four SA cups at the track and the roar of the crowd during Sundays race certainly showed his popularity with local fans and no doubt he will be missed in next year’s running of the big race.       Ben Harding - Harness Racing South Australia ,

As the countdown to Smoken Up’s farewell race at Tabcorp Park Melton continues, Harness Racing Victoria has announced it will rename a race in the champion pacer’s honour. The Legends, previously named The Legends Mile, will become The Smoken Up Sprint (to be run on November 7) to honour the Lance Justice-trained superstar pacer’s career. Smoken Up is a 13-time Group 1 winner who still holds the record for the fastest milerate in Australasia – 1:48.5. A winner of 73 races from 150 starts, Smoken Up’s achievements have thrust harness racing into mainstream and social media channels. The winner of over $3.6 million in stakemoney is to have his final ever racetrack start at his home track, Tabcorp Park Melton, in the Casey Classic on Saturday, September 6. HRV CEO John Anderson said renaming a race such as The Legends in Smoken Up’s honour made sense due to the horse’s phenomenal record at sprint trips – having won four Len Smith Miles and two Miracle Miles, as well as a bevy of other short-course features. “The Smoken Up Sprint will commemorate the wonderful career of the Lance Justice trained pacer, whose achievements on the racetrack have captivated audiences throughout Australasia,” Mr Anderson said. “Smoken Up is a Victorian harness racing icon and renaming The Legends in his honour will acknowledge that into the future. “To illustrate the changing nature of engaging with the public, Smoken Up has generated an enormous following on social media which has enhanced his appeal.” Smoken Up has his own Facebook page, with fans kept abreast of the horse’s life at home as well as his on-track performances. HRV will celebrate Smoken Up’s farewell with a special Smoken Up Race Night at the September 6 meeting. The night will feature a special Smoken Up video package on the big screen, souvenir racebook, rug presentation, Smoken Up poster and mini-flag giveaways and more. Full details will be announced in coming weeks. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Victoria)

An entertaining card of racing was staged by the Warragul Harness Racing Club on Monday afternoon.   Alan Ryan was awarded Life Membership of the Warragul club at a special presntation. Alan has been involved with the club for around 40 years - he served 15 years as club Treasurer, and has recently retired after 26 years manning the "main gate" at race meetings. He recalled a period when the club raced at night and had eight gatekeepers on the payroll to cope with admitting big crowds and parking dozens of vehicles.   Local horses had some success on Monday, with veteran Iona trainer Des Kelly back in the winners list when Mor Laag led all the way. The horse had performed well in barrier trials at Logan Park recently for driver Vincent Langdon, and some smart bets were landed at the odds of 12/1.   Trafalgar trotter Slancio came from a handicap mark to win the Alf Martin Memorial Trotters Handicap for driver Glenn Hunter and his trainer father Chris.   Melton horseman Lance Justice was back in Victoria after a quick visit to Sydney over the weekend. He landed a double at Warragul with Lots More Art and V C Devil.   Reinsman Chris Alford drove Gonski to victory for owner John McLeish and Clyde trainer Jayne Davies. With a little more luck, Alford could have had a red letter day, as he also drove four minor placegetters on the seven race card.   Gippsland Harness Training Centre graduate Dani Lewis drove the talented Bangholme filly Kiss Kenny to a comfortable victory in the opening race.   Special guests of the club at the meeting on Monday were the National Servicemen's Association for their annual day at the trots.   Racing returns to Warragul on Monday, August 11. By Kylie Galley

Sydney pacer Freyberg ran the race of his life to upstage Smoken Up at the Lance Justice trained superstar’s New South Wales farewell run on Saturday night. The Victorian champion fired out of gate seven to find the lead early with a 26.1-second first quarter while Freyberg jumped straight on to Smoken Up’s back. Justice was able to give Smoken Up a breather in the middle stages before stoking him up rounding the final bend. Smoken Up kicked on like he’s done so many times before over the 1609m journey he’s come to call his own at Menangle and looked home for all money with 100m to go before Freyberg saw daylight. Once the Kevin Pizzuto trained gelding got to the outside he sprouted wings to pip Smoken Up on the post by a head in a mile rate of 1:51.7. Smoken Up will head to Globe Derby, South Australia, next month for his final run at the venue where he’s won four Group 1 SA Cups. Then he will cap his career with a farewell run at Tabcorp Park Melton – likely to be in September in the Casey Classic on Saturday, September 6 – where all racing fans will be able to salute the superstar one final time at his home track. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia) Freyberg  

Top New Zealand filly Ideal Belle has been scratched from her two-horse Australasian Breeders’ Crown heat at Alexandra Park tomorrow night and has been ruled out of the rich series by trainer Barry Purdon. The New Zealand Oaks winning filly, who would have been one of the favourites for the Group One 3YO fillies division, has suffered a leg injury after being caught in a fence at Purdon’s Clevedon property. The tall American Ideal filly, who showed she was right on song for the series with a smart workout last week, will now head to the spelling paddock. Her scratching means that the Geoff Small trained Zeta Bromac will get a walkover ABC heat win, as will Ideal Belle’s stablemate Sky Major who is still well on track for the 3YO colts and geldings division of the series. In other Breeders Crown news, the Tim Butt trained Field Marshal is set to arrive in Melbourne on August 6 in preparation for the ABC after qualifying in a one horse heat at Cambridge last week, while Katy Perry, who was defeated in her Cambridge heat by Joanne’s A Delight, is already in Australia and will compete in the Tatlow Stakes (Group Two) at Melton on Saturday before heading to a Breeders' Crown Repechage. Katy Perry is just one a strong contingent of Kiwi trained or owned horses that are seat to do battle in feature races across the Tasman this weekend. Others include Messini, Kept Under Wraps, Iceobar, Bettor Rock On, My Arya, Primz Luck, One Over Da Moon, Our Twentyten, and Daenerys Targaryen. However the two highlights of the weekend may come from champion Australian pacers Im Themightyquinn and Smoken Up. ‘Trigger’ (Smoken Up) is set to have his last start in New South Wales at Menangle on Saturday and his trainer-driver Lance Justice is expecting a big performance, while ‘Quinny’, who will be reunited with Gary Hall Jnr, will battle it out with Mach Beauty, Suave Stuey Lombo, and Avonnova for Group One glory in the Blake’s A Fake at Albion Park on Saturday. After much talk about drivers leading into the race, Lauren Panella has decided to stick with Mach Beauty, while Bart Cockburn, who has been sacked from Avonnova after his interesting drive in the Sunshine Sprint, will take the reins behind Suave Stuey Lombo. Replacing Cockburn in the sulky behind Queensland star Avonnova is Shane Graham, who was victorious in his only drive on the gelding. By Mitchell Robertson  

Smoken Up, known to his legion of fans as ‘Trigger’, will be given a personal farewell on Saturday night with photo and autograph opportunities for those patrons on-track. Tabcorp Park Menangle will distribute commemorative posters of the fastest horse in the Southern Hemisphere free to all those fans who want to have their photo taken with Smoken Up and trainer/driver Lance Justice. Two sessions have been set for the photographic opportunities to fit in with other racing requirements. These are at 7pm (pre-race) and also at 9pm when his racing career at Tabcorp Park Menangle is completed. “I really want the public to be involved and I thank the people at Menangle for allowing Trigger’s fans access to the race stalls.” said trainer Lance Justice “We will go through a few pens signing autographs and the cameraman should be kept really busy.” Commemorative racebooks will be distributed free to patrons who will be able to watch the “Tribute to the Miracle Miler” produced by Sky Racing on the big screens in the infield and on the course monitors. Smoken Up started in 10 races over the mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle for eight wins . . . the best being in the 2011 Tabcorp Len Smith Mile when he recorded 1:48.5, the fastest mile rate by any pacer outside of North America. “We are very appreciative of all the calls and offers we have received since the announcement was made yesterday of Smoken Up’s impending retirement,” said John Dumesny Chief Executive of the NSWHRC. “SKY were first on board with the tribute offer, then followed a photographer offering his services and, of course, Lance and Trigger were always going to be in the thick of the celebrations. “It is a moment in harness racing which should not be missed and I encourage people to make it to the track to bid a fond farewell to a true champion” Saturday will be the first leg of Smoken Up's farewell tour, which will take in Adelaide before the curtain falls on the superstar once and for all at his home venue, Tabcorp Park Melton, in September. Harness Racing New South Wales  

Congratulations to the father/son combination of Ross and Greg Sugars who trained and drove the first 3 winners at Tabcorp Park last Friday night (July 11). I wonder when was the last time that happened at a metro meeting? And Lance Justice has announced that Smoken Up will travel to Sydney for the last time this Saturday night (July 19). We look forward to celebrating his career in Melbourne soon. Follow HRV on Twitter @HRVnews   Additional $1.7m in Stakes in 2014/15 The HRV 2013/14 financial year was completed on June 30 2014. The financial results are not yet formally audited, however the Board is anticipating announcing a profit for the 2013/14 year in excess of $1m.   The $1m result follows a $2m profit the previous year, on the back of which HRV then announced stakes increases of $2.5m for the 2013/14 year. Stakes of $36m were paid out for the year, up from $33.5m the previous year. The profit result in 2013/14 was assisted by wagering revenue growth of $2m, largely due to HRV's increased race field fees from corporate bookmakers and interstate TAB's. Revenue from our Joint Venture partner Tabcorp declined by $1m as we see the continued shift from the more lucrative parimutuel betting to the increasingly popular, but lower margin, fixed odds. Of the total betting through Tabcorp, fixed odds now comprise nearly 25%, compared to 14% for the previous year. The HRV Board has also approved the budget for the 2014/15 year. The budget takes into account another tough year for Tabcorp wagering turnover which is again predicted to decline. However HRV has structured the business such that it is forecasting another profit of $1m. That profit will come after providing for an increase in stakes of $1.7m, up from $36m to $37.7m. The main features of the stakes rises are: An increase in the Vicbred 1st win bonus from $5,000 to $7,000 for 3yo's in the new season (continues to apply for the 2yo's); $300,000 additional stakes for the Vicbred Platinum program; Full year impact of the staged increases through the previous year. Stakes will then have risen by $4.2m (12.5%) in the past two financial years.   Wagering Data Wagering revenue remains HRV's single most important source of income ($57m in 2013/14) and we are now receiving much more detailed information from wagering service providers, such as the Victorian TAB, Interstate TAB's and corporate bookmakers. Inclusive of all wagering operators, the year's highest wagering turnover races were: Victoria Cup - $923,000; Hunter Cup - $875,000; Inter Dominion Heat - $735,000; Victoria Derby - $601,000. In regional Victoria the highest ranked races by turnover were: Cranbourne Cup - $612,000; Ballarat Cup - $559,000; Kilmore Cup - $470,000. Apart from Melton, the track with the highest average turnover was Swan Hill ($194,000) per race, followed by Bendigo ($185,000) and Ballarat ($184,000). There is very little difference in punter preference between pacers and trotters. For the year the average turnover per race was: Pacers - $186,000; Trotters - $174,000.   Vicbred Trotters Exported A hugely successful weekend of Vicbred Finals was conducted on July 4 and 5. I would like to sincerely thank Empire Stallions, and in particular Donna Egan, David James and Les Joslin, for their support of the Series. It was very gratifying for them to see their stallions Modern Art (twice) and Four Starzz Shark represented in the Group 1 winners stall. Congratulations go to the connections of all horses involved in the two nights' Finals. The racing was exceptional and was an excellent promotion of our sport nationally and internationally. The six Group 1 Trotters Finals were telecast into France by Sky Racing (Friday morning French time) with wagering conducted by the French Tote (PMU). It is anticipated that the wagering turnover in France will be well in excess of $1m, given that the previous 12 races beamed into France averaged turnover of $155,000 per race.   Gordon Rothacker Medal (Industry Awards Night) For the first time, HRV will this year celebrate the 2013/14 season with one gala evening on Wednesday October 8. The Industry Awards Night will celebrate season premiership winners, Horse of the Year and Country Club awards, with the pinnacle of the evening being the Gordon Rothacker Medal.   Vale Over the past month HRV mourned the loss of several participants:   Bill Hanson A large crowd gathered at Kyneton for the funeral of Bill Hanson. Bill passed away on July 4. It was a fitting tribute to Bill that so many industry people were in attendance to hear of Bill's love for breeding trotters. On the Chapel wall hanging proudly was a picture of the great Maori's Idol, which was acknowledged by Father Brain Glasheen before his tribute to Bill. Bill had purchased Maori's Idol in 1990 for stud duties at his Homevale Stud in Fern Hill, where he stayed until his death in 2006. Bill was a life member of Harness Breeders (Vic), the VHRSC and the Bendigo club. He was an inaugural inductee into the VHRMA Hall of Fame in 2009. Our condolences go out to Margaret and the family.   Mick Lacey Mick trained and drove many horses in Victoria before moving to Queensland over a decade ago. Several staff at HRV who remember Mick commented to me that he was always a gentleman, who never had a bad word to say or did anything wrong by anyone. Some may remember Mick's good horse, Duke Of Broadway.   Judith Astbury Judith passed away in late June. She will be remembered for her work in the Hamilton Secretary's office for many many years. From what I am told she would go out of her way to help anyone in the industry and certainly the stewards would always look forward to a freshly baked cake by Judith when they arrived at Hamilton. I am also reminded that Judith's husband Rex was very proud of a horse he raced named Mockingtheclassics.   Did You Know? Former trainer Alan McLean celebrated his 100th birthday with his family at Tabcorp Park on Vicbred Finals weekend. On July 4, Alan presented the trophy to connections of One Over Da Moon for winning the "Alan McLean 100th Birthday" Trot. Copyright © 2014 Harness Racing Victoria, All rights reserved.   Harness Racing Victoria  

Smoken Up will be retired from NSW racing this Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Menangle, the track where he and trainer/driver Lance Justice etched their names into the history of harness racing with the 1:48.5 time in the Len Smith Mile. On that cool night in April, 2011 in showery conditions, the superstar of Australasian racing treated his rivals and the clock with absolute contempt as the beyond-reach 1:50 barrier was broken for the first time outside of North America. The ‘mighty miler’ (winner of two past Miracle Miles) know to his legion of fans as “Trigger” made Tabcorp Park Menangle his own, winning the Len Smith Mile on no fewer than four occasions since its inception in 2008. According to his fans, Smoken Up’s name should be recorded as the winner of the first five Len Smith Miles. Still he will long be remembered for burning his rivals off and making Lance Justice the fastest driver in the Southern Hemisphere and himself the fastest equine. “Yes, we had a point to prove that night – for a few different reasons,” Lance said. “And Trigger just felt so good when we went onto the track I just knew he was up for it. “The amazing part about it is that 1:48.5 win was probably our biggest winning margin in all our races at that track. “He’s still going nearly as well as ever and won’t disappoint any of his fans. “And I know there are plenty in New South Wales because they follow him on Facebook. “But the pressure’s off now – he’s not being set for any more of the Miracle Miles or Inter Dominions. “This will give all his fans a chance to say good bye to a mighty horse.” According to Chief Executive of the NSWHRC John Dumesny: “Smoken Up holds a very special place in harness racing and especially at Tabcorp Park Menangle. “The Board of Directors had no hesitation in naming the $7 million world’s-best race stalls at the track in honour of Smoken Up.” “We will be commemorating his retirement from the track and NSW with the emphasis on giving mementoes to his fans and the those who admire and acknowledge a true champion of our sport.” Smoken Up only started at Harold Park, Newcastle and Menangle Park during his visits to New South Wales and Saturday night will mark the 12 year old pacer’s 150th race start - in the SEW Eurodrive Open Pace. His record at a glance stands at 149 starts for 73 wins, 38 second placings and 15 third placings for prizemoney of $3,597,915, which included the 2010 and 2011 SEW Eurodrive Miracle Miles. National Trotguide, available at newsagencies, will exclusively report on Smoken Up’s NSW visit this Thursday. Harness Racing New South Wales

Harness racing horseman Jesse Wederell has sold all of Garibaldi and the majority of Phil Monty, but that doesn’t stop him from smiling every time one of his ‘two boys’ cross the line in first place. And at the moment that is a frequent occurrence. Just last night, Phil Monty made it four wins from four Australian starts when strolling away to win easily at Geelong in the hands of trainer-driver Lance Justice. The win followed three equally convincing wins, including one in which his mile rate was 1:56.4. Garibaldi, who provided Wederell with his first training success before joining Phil Monty in the Justice stable in Victoria, is also putting together a fashionable record, having won three of his four stars to date. “He finished a narrow second in his other start but I’m not sure that he saw the other horse coming as they were wide apart,” said Wederell. Wederell says that he was sad to part with his good mates ‘Baldi and Monty’ but admits that the money was too good to turn down. “It was pretty crazy considering I only bought them for a thousand apiece as yearlings,” said Wederell. Wederell sold all of Garibaldi but has retained a small share in Phil Monty as he thinks he could be a little special. “Lance (Justice) has a pretty big opinion of Phil Monty so I’m hopeful he could develop into a genuine top-liner,” said Wederell. “Who knows, he might be his replacement for Smoken Up,” he laughed. “They were both pretty raw when they went over to Australia, but Lance is a great trainer and he is doing a good job of developing them,” he said praisefully. Since the departure of Garibaldi and Phil Monty Wederell has been back to the well to purchase two more babies from Cavalla Bloodstock. He has also purchased Shard Diego to race and “have a bit of fun with” while he develops his youngsters. Shard Diego finished fifth in his debut for the Wederell stable but  Jesse is hoping for improvement on Friday. “I’ve added the blinds to his gear to try and wake him up a bit and he has Dexter (Dunn) on so hopefully he won’t be far away. By Mitchell Robertson  

With six races being beamed live into France tonight, the harness racing omen tip had to be Vincennes. And the Blake Fitzpatrick trained-and-driven Sydneysider didn’t let his backers down, taking out the 4YO trotting males’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Vincennes, a son of French stallion Ganymede, settled four back in the running line while race favourite Blitzthemcalder sat outside leader The Boss Man in the run. Turning for home Fitzpatrick took Vincennes to the outside, slowly but surely getting the better of Blitzthemcalder to spoil that horse’s shot at emulating what Spidergirl did earlier in the night – winning the Vicbred final at age two, three and four. “This is very exciting,” Fitzpatrick said post-race. “He’s always shown enough ability to win at this level it was just a matter of when. “I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet either.” Vincennes produced a winning mile rate of two minutes flat and won by 2.5m over Blitzthemcalder (Chris Alford), while The Boss Man held on for third for driver Scott Dyer and Invasive was fourth for Lance Justice. Vincennes by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

It might only have been her second win from 14 starts, but if she can repeat today’s performance at Tabcorp Park Melton, many more triumphs are in store for Basil Dooley-trained Sweet Wise. The four-year-old Allendale mare by Totally Ruthless out of Little Trouble had no trouble whatsoever finding the lead early, pinging off the arm at the 1720m start in the Jim's Mowing AU Facebook Pace. From there driver Greg Sugars controlled proceedings, Sweet Wise kicking clear turning for home to race clear for a 13.2m win in a rate of 1:57.2. Meanwhile, Spidergrace looked a star in the making with a 9.4m win in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotting Colts and Geldings second heat. The gelding, trained by David Moran and driven by Laura Crossland, showed strong pace early and led before racing clear off the back for a comfortable victory. Savannah Jay Jay ran on well to get second, while Tiavon’s Dream was third after slightly missing the start due to a break in the score-up. Polemarker Miracle, who was well in the market, finished fifth after getting shuffled back along the pegs early. Speaking of potential stars in the making, Lance Justice might have unveiled another one in Phil Monty. The four-year-old gelding has not put a foot wrong since joining the Justice stable from New Zealand, with  strong wins at Charlton and Maryborough before today’s impressive 1.9m victory. Justice took Phil Monty to the front from gate one and controlled the speed perfectly before bringing him home in 55.9secs for the last half-mile to register a winning mile rate of 2:00.5. In the Jim’s Mowing Trotters’ Handicap eight-year-old gelding Xanderxav scored an upset victory for trainer Linton Power with David Moran in the cart. The son of former superstar trotter Wagon Apollo stepped well from the tapes to lead unchallenged. Brief Glance made an early move to get to the breeze, while favourite Blitzthemcalder was driven patiently from his 20m handicap. Turning for home Brief Glance challenged Xanderxav, but the leader responded and simply couldn’t be headed. Lleyton H battled on strongly for third at big odds, Lucky Twenty Three ending up fourth and Blitzthemcalder fifth. In the Jim's Mowing 131 546 Pace, eight-year-old mare Broadways Best turned back the clock for an impressive half-neck win over Lance Justice pair Machin Out and Im Barney Rubble. Chris Alford took the Shannon McLean-trained feature race specialist to the breeze with a lightning move mid-race, sitting outside early leader Blazeaway Macray. Greg Sugars then had his go, whipping Villagem around the field and dashing to the lead. But Broadways Best was too strong at the business end, out-staying her rivals in a mile rate of 1:59.5. The 3YO Trotting Fillies’ Vicbred Super Series second heat was taken out by Ross Graham’s Monkey Bones squaregaiter Four Lillies with Daryl Douglas in the sulky. Four Lillies won by a comfortable 14.9m over Lindy Vale, with Sister Of Sonoko another 8.1m away in third place. Other winners for the meeting were Nobetterthanthis in the Harness Breeders Vic Pace over 2240m for trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan, which scored a head win over What A Sheila in 2:03.8, while Gaita Pullicino’s three-year-old gelding Blackwarrior was too tough for his rivals in the Corio Waste Management 3YO Pace, winning by 1.2m over Vinny Chase with a further 24.2m away to Macworthy in third. Pullicino had earlier finished fourth aboard Lovable Larrikin, which showed a win was not far off when he rattled home out wide behind Broadways Best. by Cody Winnell

Trainer Lance Justice hopes Im Barney Rubble can notch back to back wins when he contests Friday night’s Vermont Panels Enduro at Melton’s Tabcorp Park. With Brian Gath in the sulky, the six-year-old gelding found the lead last Friday in the Il Gambero Pace over 2240m at Melton and defied all comers in scoring a 1.8m win in a mile rate of 1:58.9. Gath again takes the reins this Friday night, Justice saying he was a firm believer in the “winning form is good form adage”. Justice will climb into the cart behind Machin Out, which ran seventh in the same race as his stable-mate last week, making an early three-wide move before working in the breeze. “He’s going well he just needs a little bit of luck,” said Justice of Machin Out. Friday night’s $20,505 Enduro is a stand-start race and neither of Justice’s entrants has won from the tapes. But that doesn't worry the champion trainer. “They’re both ODS but they both get away pretty good from the stand,” Justice said. The Justice stable could be set for a big night with several serious winning chances on Friday, but potentially none are more exciting than Garibaldi, which will contest the $10,000 Guaranteed First 4 Pools Pace over 2240m. Starting from pole, the four-year-old Sands A Flyin gelding is sure to take some running down after back to back successes. “He’s worked really good during the week and he’s a really nice horse,” Justice said. In the second heat of the Seelite Windows and Doors Winter Trotters Cup Justice will start Invasive, which has drawn seven for the 2240m journey. “I was really disappointed with his effort last week,” Justice declared. “Jason (Hackett) said he went OK but I thought he should have gone better. “I’m hoping he can bounce back.” Invasive finished fourth, 4.5m from Blitzthemcalder last Friday night. In Race 5, the Tabcorp Park Melton Pace over 1720m, Justice will line up two runners – Discrimination and Toulouse Lautrec. Brian Gath will pilot Discrimination after winning aboard it last week, while Justice will steer Toulouse Lautrec from gate seven. “I can see him being really hard to beat,” Justice said of Discrimination. On Toulouse Lautrec Justice said, “Barrier seven usually sorts him out”. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

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