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Eight races will be staged at the first trots meeting at Warragul for 2019 on Wednesday afternoon.   It will be an early start for the card with the first race at 11:41am and the last event run by 4pm.   A Morning Melodies concert, staged for the first time by the Warragul Harness Racing Club, has attracted good bookings and will be staged before the racing begins. There are some smaller fields throughout the day but the meeting has attracted support from locals, and even trainers from the state's Western District will head across to compete.   Top horseman Gavin Lang got away to a flying start in the Warragul driver's premiership with five winners at the meeting on December 23, and has a strong hand again with four drives on Wednesday.   Lang is bringing some of his own horses to compete at the meeting, and will also drive the impressive last start Warragul winner Just Anything in the Trotters Handicap for local trainer Michael Hughes.   Veteran 11-year-old pacer Astronaut, who first raced at Warragul in June 2010, is running in the last race on Wednesday.   Wednesday's meeting is part of a busy week of racing locally - there will also be greyhound racing at Logan Park on Thursday afternoon followed by the big Warragul Cup card at the dogs on Saturday night, January 12.     Kyle Galley

Local trots followers are eagerly awaiting the opening meeting of the 2018/2019 Warragul harness racing season, which takes place this Sunday afternoon, December 23.   It is the first meeting staged at Logan Park since late August, and the first of several Sunday afternoon programs to be staged by the Warragul Harness Racing Club over coming months.   Numbers of local horses competing on Sunday are expected to be strong.   Last Saturday morning 17 horses competed in barrier trials at Warragul, and many of them are expected to back up this weekend for race assignments.   Local trainers Gary and Debbie Quinlan and Michael Hughes also expect to have strong representation in the events on Sunday from their stables.   Sunday's race meeting celebrates 30 years of racing on what is known as the Warragul Pacing Bowl, the racetrack of just over 800 metres in circumference which opened for competition in December 1988.   The track replaced a much smaller circuit which had hosted regular trots meetings since the late 1940s.   Warragul's current track was upgraded with an improved track surface and better camber on the corners in late 2014, and has produced faster race times since.   There will be free entry for patrons attending Sunday's race meeting, with the first race expected to start around 1pm.   A lucky racegoer raffle, giveaways and a visit from Santa Claus will keep patrons young and old amused between races.   Kyle Galley  

The traditional Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup harness racing meeting is again being staged at Logan Park this Easter Sunday afternoon. With record stakemoney on offer across the afternoon's racing events, Warragul Harness Racing Club officials are expecting first class entries from the local area, and from visiting trainers. Last year's event saw a significant increase in attendance numbers and, once again, patrons heading to Logan Park on Sunday will find plenty of attractions to enjoy throughout the afternoon. A revamped Fashions on the Field Contest has attracted great support from local businesses, with prizes on offer in Adults and Children's categories. Other prizes will be given away throughout the afternoon through a lucky racebook draw and monster raffle, while one lucky punter could stand to win big in a new "Hole In One" sweep run in conjunction with the Drouin Country Club on one of the support races. Live music will be provided on the lawns by DJ Nige and Kombi, and patrons can enjoy a variety of food options in the undercover area, or while relaxing on the lawns with a picnic. The Downtowner Tavern Bar will operate in the betting ring, where TAB and bookmaker facilities will be close by for those wishing to invest on the outcome of the races. Inside the main dining room, full bistro and bar facilities will operate, with table seating giving an overall view of the course. Children will also be well looked after on Sunday - there will be free fairy floss and craft activities, a reptile display and animal petting yard, plus a jumping castle, merry-go-round and other rides. And of course there will be a giant Easter Egg giveaway and the traditional Harness Racing Victoria Pony Trots. The first 500 children on course aged under 12 years will also receive a free meal coupon with compliments of the Warragul Harness Racing Club. Admission to Sunday's race meeting is free, and there is plenty of off street parking. No BYO alcohol is allowed through the turnstiles. Action commences at Noon, and more details can be obtained from the Warragul Harness Racing Club on (03) 5622 2008 or by visiting the Warragul Trots page on Facebook. Kyle Galley

Warragul born harness racing reinsman Gavin Lang broke a 27-year drought when he won the $30,325 Downtowner Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup on Easter Sunday. In front of the biggest trots crowd seen at Logan Park for almost a decade, Lang collected his third Warragul Cup, steering Nike Bromac to a memorable victory for Lara trainer Dean Braun. Lang previously won the Warragul Cup with Copper Leopard for local trainer Noel Alexander in 1982, while he also trained and drove top mare Our Navy Lady to win the first daytime Cup run in 1989. In typical fashion, Lang drove a cool race, guiding Nike Franco between horses in the final circuit, and gaining the verdict narrowly with a well timed run down the outside of the track. He didn't panic when hemmed up between horses with a lap to go, knowing full well his horses ability would see it through despite having to come from behind on the small track. "There is a place still for these (smaller) tracks, and there's no doubt they promote competitive racing," Lang said. While having been born in Warragul, Lang has been based at Melton for over 40 years, but still competes at most Warragul meetings, and drove his five thousandth winner on the track in 2012, so the venue hold special memories for him. "Being a Warragul boy, born and bred, I'm always happy to come home here and win a race of this ilk," Lang said. Nike Franco had won over $300,000 in stakes before Sunday's Cup victory, at only her thirtieth race start. A large group of owners share in the horse, which has also won two Oaks classics in Queensland, along with feature mares' events in Melbourne and Sydney. Nike Franco appreciated a drop in grade after finishing at the rear of the field in the Kilmore Pacing Cup a week earlier. The other feature of the afternoon was the Eddie Evison Memorial Trotters Cup, which attracted a strong field and was won by Illawong Helios for trainer Ross Sugars and his driver son Greg. Illawong Helios is another lightly raced horse which should continue to win good races, having collected 16 wins from only 27 starts. The win of Illawong Helios bought up three winners for the afternoon for owners Martin and Kaye Hartnett - the first time the owners had collected a treble at a race meeting. Unfortunately the Hartnett's missed their successful day owing to a family function. Top horsewoman Jodi Quinlan trained two of the Hartnett's winners, and her further success with Christian Major in the Warragul Guineas saw her collect a $1000 bonus for driving three winners on the program. Christian Major flashed home at the finish to deny local pacer Courageous Call a win in the event. Melton horseman Lance Justice produced a nice looking horse in Crockets Cullen to win the last race - Justice confidently predicting the New Zealand bred horse will win good quality races after he easily defeated his rivals. Good weather conditions drew a big crowd to the Warragul Pacing Bowl, with the car park and dining areas at capacity 40 minutes before the first race. A variety of activities kept patrons entertained throughout the day. Visitors to the course praised Warragul Harness Racing Club Manager Mark Johnson and his staff and committee for the amount of work put in to run the successful event. New Harness Racing Victoria Chairman, Dale Monteith, was also in attendance at his first race meeting since being elected to the post the previous Tuesday. Kyle Galley  

Warragul Chief Executive Mark Johnson said his harness racing club was delighted to announce a new incentive bonus for its Easter Cup Carnival. The local trots club and the Warragul and District Light Harness Club have joined to put up a $13,000 bonus incentive for trainers and drivers who travel to Gippsland for the annual carnival. Trainers will be eligible to win a $6000 bonus if they train three winners on the Cup Day program and if one of the winning legs includes the Downtowner Warragul Pacing Cup an additional $4000 will be payable, the total potential prize pool $10,000. Drivers will be eligible to win a $1000 bonus if they score a treble on Cup Day and an additional $2000 will be kicked in if the Cup is one of the winning legs, meaning the bonus pool for the drivers is $3000. For further information please contact Mark Johnson on 0428 710 793. Harness Racing Victoria   

Well known trots fan Steve "Pogga" Salter has jumped on board as a sponsor of the Warragul Harness Racing Club for their new harness racing season which commences on Monday afternoon, November 30. Steve's popular poggaharness.com tipping website has a legion of followers, and he is sponsoring the new Lucky Longshot Award to be decided across Warragul's nine meetings. The trainer of the longest priced winner for the season at Warragul, based on the SuperTAB starting price, will receive $250 cash courtesy of poggaharness.com The racebook at each Warragul meeting will contain the name and starting price of the contest leader, and those interested will be able to keep track of the outcome of the contest throughout the season on Warragul's award-winning social media outlets. Poggaharness.com became involved in trots sponsorship when they purchased naming rights to Warragul's feature Traralgon Pacing Cup two years ago, and since then, Steve and his website have become well known throughout the industry. Warragul Harness Racing Club is pleased to have Steve and his website back involved where it all began, and is looking forward to seeing which horse and trainer take out the Lucky Longshot title this season.   Kyle Galley

It was the first day of school for students at the Gippsland Harness Racing Training Centre yesterday. Twenty students have enrolled into full-time studies at the facility at the Warragul harness racing track, and a further fourteen will attend on Wednesday's as part of their secondary school studies, known as the VET In Schools program. Centre founder Des Hughes is delighted with the level of interest in the Centre over recent years, but in particular for 2015. "We're still getting enrolments and enquiries. We don't know where it will end up," Hughes explained. "There are a lot of first timers, but they all have an interest in horses." With the financial support of Harness Racing Victoria, who have provided funding to assist with the purchase of horses, there are now more opportunities than ever for students to experience hands-on involvement with horses. "The hands on aspect is very busy here at the moment," Hughes said. "The HRV contribution has certainly helped us get a few more horses, and their help is much appreciated." As well as from the immediate Warragul area, students are also coming to the Centre from areas closer to Melbourne such as Pakenham and Croydon, as well as areas such as Traralgon and Stratford in the Latrobe Valley/East Gippsland region, where harness racing hasn't been held for some two decades. Students at the Gippsland Harness Training Centre learn all aspects of horse training and driving, as well as animal welfare, and personal development, all keys to embarking on a successful career in the racing or equine industries. The friendships and connections made and life skills learnt by students are also invaluable for their day-to-day lives. The Centre's courses are in their nineteenth year and are co-ordinated by the Warragul based educational provider, Community College Gippsland. The Gippsland Harness Training Centre and its achievements are a good news story for the trotting sport.   Kyle Galley

Former VFL footballer Ricky McLean and his family took the harness racing honours when Broadway Classic won the first race on the new Warragul Pacing Bowl last Monday afternoon. A well known figure in harness racing over many years, McLean and his family own the seven-year-old gelding which led throughout in a fast mile rate of 1:58.9 one second outside the horse's previous best time on the much larger 1400 metre track at Menangle in Sydney, which indicates the quality of Warragul's refurbished course. Ricky, who played football for Carlton and Richmond in the 1970's, trained horses for some years but now his son Shannon prepares the family stable from their Gisborne property. Warragul property developer John Castle presented Ricky with a commemorative trophy after the event. Most races on the day were won by leaders, though this may be a reflection of the smaller fields and style of racing rather than the track itself. Most leaders were allowed to race along unchallenged in front in their events. Top reinsman Chris Alford showed what the new Warragul track is capable of in the last event, however, when he bought Balletto home with a fast finishing run to claim Stoned Again, which had led and stolen a break on the field turning for home. Balletto defied the trend of leaders and proved that if a horse is put into the race at the right time, they still can come from back in the field on the smaller track. Grande Anse and Jodis Choice were two impressive winners earlier in the day. Both horses showed improvement on their recent runs and should win further races. Local pacer Melton Little Max scored his eleventh win at start 211 for trainer Allan Preston and driver Tony Mallia in the sixth event. A much larger crowd than usual attended the meeting and witnessed Warragul Harness Racing Club life member Don Collins cut the ribbon to open the track before race one. Collins, in his 90's, part owned the brilliant Inter Dominion winning pacer Golden Reign in the 1990's. Important guests included the engineers and track design team responsible for the upgraded facility, along with re-elected Narracan MP Gary Blackwood, and Harness Racing Victoria Chairman Ken Latta and CEO John Anderson. Drivers praised the rebuild works and new surface, which was turned out in excellent condition by the track maintenance staff. Warragul races again on Monday afternoon, January 12.   Kyle Galley

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

History will be created when the annual Warragul Pacing Cup is conducted at Easter. For the first time, Warragul's main trots race of the year will be started from behind the mobile barrier, replacing the standing start, handicap event which has existed since the first staging in 1955.   It is a bold move for the Warragul Harness Racing Club, and one that will hopefully pay dividends. On a smaller size track such as the one at Warragul, a mobile barrier start will ensure a competitive, and keen race, especially for vital early positions.   Warragul is traditionally one of the fastest of the smaller circumference tracks in Victoria, and a quick race time could eventuate if the speed is on throughout the 2620-metre event. The race will be held on Easter Sunday afternoon, April 20, and again carries a $25,000 stake.   The feature event will be supported by the $10,000 Eddie Evison Memorial Trotters Cup, and a strong undercard which includes a $10,000 heat of the statewide Vicbred Mares Championship series, and the $7000 Warragul Guineas for three-year-old horses.   Additionally, locally based feed manufacturer Hygain is getting behind the Cup Day program - Hygain product will be presented to the trainer of each placegetter in each race on the day.   The Warragul club is also excited that Keysborough based company The Linc Group has joined as naming rights sponsor for the Pacing Cup.   By Kylie Gallery   The Linc Group, led by company boss Craig Roylance, is the leading supplier of metal roofing and scaffolding in Victoria.   A family run business, The Linc Group works with a range of clients, from individual home owners through to multi unit developers.   Keen racing followers, staff of The Linc Group are excited about their involvement with the Warragul Cup, having been a sponsor of the club on a smaller scale in previous years.   As well as the exciting announcements regarding the race and its sponsor for this year, the Warragul club is busy working on the attractions for spectators which will compliment the on-track action.   Football legend Tom Hafey will return this year, and the club will soon announce another VFL/AFL legend who will also be trackside on Easter Sunday.

Eight races will be staged at the first Warragul trots program for 2014, on this Friday afternoon. A later start time of 2:22pm, with the last race at 6:37pm, designed for patrons to be able to attend after work and enjoy the warm evening.   Patrons can potentially share in a $2000 cash prize for successfully picking the last five winners on the Warragul program.   First race of this contest is race four which kicks off at 4:13pm. Patrons must fill in the free coupon available on track, and the prize will be shared in the event of multiple winners. A bumper card of racing includes two qualifying heats of the Ken Miller Memorial Series for maiden pacers.   First five over the line will book a spot in the $8000 Final at the next Warragul meeting on Monday, February 10.   The three-year-old pace will be run across two divisions as well due to a large amount of entries received.   And a capacity field of 12 will line up in the Trotters Handicap, where local horses Arcupandgo, Zoes Dream, Rhondas Idol, Drop Of Paradise and Dawn Tears will also be chasing a victory.   A free admission coupon for Friday's race meeting can be obtained by visiting the Warragul Harness Racing Club Facebook page.   By Kyle Galley

A $2000 cash prize that just can't seem to be won is again on offer at the Warragul harness racing meeting next Friday, January 31. The money has been put up for grabs by the Warragul Harness Racing Club at each race meeting for the last two years, for a lucky patron that can select the winners of the last five local races. So far, the prize has not been won. Some punters have come close, but nobody has achieved the five correct selections. In the event of more than one entrant selecting the five winners, the prize will be split accordingly. It is as simple as attending the raceday, filling in an entry coupon and placing it in the dedicated barrel.   There is no cost to enter the contest. Racing on Friday commences at the later time of 2:20pm, with the last race just after 6:30pm, which will give people the opportunity of attending the races after work. A follow up raceday will also be staged on Monday, February 10.   Kyle Galley    

Trotting returns to Warragul after a break of more than three months on Monday, December 2. Eight races are programmed for the first meeting of what should be an exciting 2013/2014 racing season. While there has been no racing at Warragul since August, the Warragul Harness Racing Club has been busy reviewing its operations and making plans for the new season. The December meeting commemorates 25 years since the opening of the current 835-metre track at Warragul, while in January the Friday meeting will be run in the early evening as a Family Fun Day. Among the other highlights of the 2013/2014 will be the traditional Warragul Pacing Cup program on Easter Sunday next year, while the Club will also stage the Eastern Challenge Final next March, which rotates between the Cranbourne, Kilmore, Yarra Valley and Warragul venues each four years. This race will carry the handsome purse of $25,000, equal to the Warragul Pacing Cup. Soon, the club will reveal a new major sponsor for the Pacing Cup, along with another exciting announcement regarding the time-honoured race which began in 1955. Recently, Harness Racing Victoria announced its commitment to funding an upgrade of the existing racing circuit at Warragul in the 2015/2016 financial year, subject to government approval. The project, to be funded by HRV, the local club and the state government, would see over $500,000 spent on rebuilding the existing circuit and increasing the camber and crossfall on the bends and straights to modern requirements. It is not an extension of the existing circuit, as originally hoped, but a project which will enhance the unique qualities of the existing Warragul circuit, and create a point of difference for the sport in Victoria (the majority of refurbished tracks are 1000 metres in circumference). When the works are complete, the Warragul track will become one of, if not the, fastest "half-mile" circuit in Australia.   Kyle Galley

For the first time in over two decades, a horse trained from outside the Gippsland region has won the Warragul Horse of the Year award. Based on performances during the 2012/2013 racing season, which ran from September to August, Lara pacer Inky Cullen was declared the winner. One member of a team that provided trainer Dean Braun with an outstanding season of success, Inky Cullen won three out of three at the Logan Park circuit, including the Traralgon Pacing Cup in June. The last time a non-Gippsland trained horse won the title was in season 1991/1992, when trotter Green Cape was successful. Trainer of the year was Cranbourne horsewoman Jayne Davies. Jayne and partner Noel Alexander have between them dominated this award since it was introduced in 1980/1981, with more than 15 wins. Leading driver for the season was again Chris Alford, who enjoyed a stellar season statewide. Chris drove Inky Cullen in the Traralgon Cup victory, and has won the Warragul Driver of the Year award over 10 times, and is second only to Ted Demmler who won the award on 20 occasions. Joshua Duggan scored his first win in the Concession Driver of the Year award, which recognises the talent of relative newcomers to the driving ranks. Awards presentations will take place at the next Warragul meeting on Monday, December 2.  

Warragul Harness Racing Club has launched Club 55, an exciting promotion aimed at businesses. For a cost of $55 including GST, businesses or groups can become corporate members of the club. They receive an industry Trots Card, which gives the holder free entry to all trotting meetings in Victoria, plus 55 free entry passes for Warragul meetings, which can be handed out to staff, clients etc. All sponsors will be publicly acknowledged by the club, and all participants will go into a draw for an special sponsorship and entertainment package at next year’s Warragul Cup meeting on Easter Sunday, valued at $750. Tickets for Club 55 are available by calling the Warragul HRC on (03) 5622 2008. Friday, October 25th sees the return of Gippsland based White Room Live music, and the music night will link up with Warragul Harness Racing Club for the first time. Held at the Danny’s the Venue function rooms, the night will feature over 20 musicians from Gippsland and beyond, with something for everyone’s musical tastes. A bar service will operate (no BYO) and the dance floor will also be available. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 16. BYO nibbles, tea and coffee will be provided. Bookings for tables are encouraged and can be made by calling Des on 0419 588 528 or email desh@whiteroomlive.com.au The White Room Live crew are looking forward to running their show at Danny’s, with its quality sound system and spacious surrounds. Depending on the success of this night, other music nights may be programmed by White Room Live and the Harness Racing Club next year. The Gippsland Harness Training Centre has experienced a surge in interest in recent times. There are currently 15 full-time students enrolled at the Centre, with another 10 part-time students also participating. At present the Centre has four horses in work, with one currently racing. They hope to have three horses at the races in time for the season opening meeting at Warragul on Monday, December 2. Both Community College Gippsland, which oversees the GHTC course, and the Warragul Harness Racing Club, are looking forward to working closer together in the times ahead for the benefit of racing and training locally. Warragul and District Light Harness Club, which does a great deal to promote the sport of trotting in the local area, will stage their Cup Day Carnival at the harness racing track on Melbourne Cup Day. There will be children’s rides and activities, market stalls, food and drink and a display by the Warragul Little Athletics kids among many attractions on what is a great family friendly day. The event was staged for the first time last year and was a great success. The Cup Day Carnival will run from 11am to 3pm, just in time for that other big event on the day. Kyle Galley

Short priced favourites collected most of the races at the Warragul trots on Monday afternoon. Four of the winners started "odds-on" with TAB punters, and another two tote elects also scored on the eight race card. Husband and wife Andy and Kate Gath took honours with a double, courtesy of Glenferrie Affair and Western Rockstar, which both won easily. Pakenham horseman Tony Mallia won the sixth race with the well-bred Broadway Avenue, which had finished last at its only other start at Kilmore in July. Broadway Avenue started at long odds in its win. Champion reinsman Chris Alford stitched up another Warragul drivers' premiership when Im Living The Dream took out the fifth race in fast time. Members of the National Servicemen's Association were in attendance at the meeting, which helped boost crowd numbers. Members of branches as far afield as Monash and the Mornington Peninsula enjoyed the Warragul Harness Racing Club's hospitality. With Monday's meeting completing Warragul's racing season, the next trots program is not due at Logan Park until Monday, December 2. Kyle Galley

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