Day At The Track
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Monday 22nd June 2015 - The first victory in any driver's career is memorable and two young harness racing participants experienced their first winners in consecutive races at Tamworth on Sunday. 16-year old Maddie Bond drove The Know It All to victory in race one while 25-year old Luke Muirhead opened up his winning account in race two when Putting For Eagle scored a comfortable victory. Maddie Bond is a student at Maitland Grossmann High School and is currently in Year 11. What made Sunday's victory even more special was The Know It All is owned by her mother Kristy and trained by her father Jamie. "It was a great thrill to finally get my first winner, I've always had a soft spot for the horse and he has probably been my favourite since he was born," Maddie said. "Dad has been a great influence on my career and is always trying to teach me and help me to improve, the win meant a lot to my family." Maddie is hoping to study childcare but is adamant there will always be room for horses in her life. "Mum and Dad would like me to get a qualification so I have something to fall back on but the horses mean so much to me, I've helped Dad out since I can remember and I have spent plenty of weekends at Michael Formosa's property giving him a hand too." "I have been involved in the mini trots since I was five and got the chance to go to New Zealand in 2013 to compete in the Lizzie Of Rosslands competition which was the highlight of my time in the minis." Luke Muirhead drove his first winner at his first race drive and was full of praise for Putting For Eagle's trainer Ken Smith. "Kenny has been a great help to me, he has taught me a lot and I've been helping him out for three or four years now so it was nice to win a race for him," Muirhead said. "When I hit the line and had won the race I looked around and wondered where the rest of the horses were and I wasn't sure whether something had happened behind me, it was a great feeling to win it." Muirhead had been enjoying some success with Putting For Eagle at the trials recently. "I won a trial on him a week ago at Maitland and the week before that I won on him at the Cessnock trials, so he has been going well and it was a good reward for the horse because he was one of the horses that we had to evacuate after the floods." "Ken's track was nearly seven metres underwater at the flood's peak and the horses had to be taken to the Maitland Showground for a couple of weeks, it has been a really tough time for all of us who were hit by the floods and we are still recovering from it." Greg Hayes  

Harness Racing was one of 26 sports recognised for development of participants at the Hunter Academy of Sports Presentation Night held at Newcastle University yesterday. Mitchell Chapple, Aleisha Bond, Maddie Bond, Mitchell Frost, Brad Elder, Dan Morgan and Jackson McDonald received certificates as members of the first group to complete the courses. The subjects included Public Speaking, Motivation Talks, Fitness, and Personal Development along with an informative talk on integrity by Deputy Chairman of Stewards Chris Paul. The late Ross Gigg, who was always a great believer in developing the youth, was a major contributor to initiating the programme and Newcastle Harness Club President Mr Jim Bell presented a trophy to Dan Morgan in honour of Ross. It will be an annual award. Dan Morgan also took out the Newcastle University Scholarship. CEO of Hunter Academy of Sport, Mr Ken Clifford, mentioned that a recent meeting of the state’s academy’s, interest had been shown to develop the programme in other regions with Wagga, Bathurst and Tamworth making further enquires. Harness Racing New South Wales           

The Newcastle Harness Racing club has been working with the Hunter Academy of Sport for a number of weeks and are pleased to announce the launch of the first Harness Racing Academy development programme. The Hunter Academy of Sport was formed after an initial meeting on the 21st of January, 1987, between a panel of government, university, councils, community, science and sporting representatives and since its launch in 1988 the Hunter Academy of Sport has successfully developed various aspects of regional sport. They are renowned for its innovative sports programme which covers a wide range of athletes and sports. Today the Hunter Academy of Sport is the largest regional Academy in Australia with some 600 talented young sports people from the region now participating in approximately 30 different talent development programs. They have access to some of the highest profile sports administrators in the land to run their programmes. They have offered to run a fully encompassing development programme for our promising junior harness racing participants. The programme will include items such as, strength and fitness, injury treatment, ethics in sport, nutrition, public speaking, finance, law/rules, dealing with the media, sports psychology and personal development. The programme will commence on the 22nd February. Newcastle CEO Ross Gigg said "To have the Hunter Academy of Sport offer to run this programme for our sport is fantastic. The development programme will not only help our young men and women in harness racing but in their everyday life as well. We are very excited to be able to offer this programme to our first invitees all of who have just started or are about to start their careers in the seniors harness racing ranks" The inaugural inductees are. Daniel Morgan - 17 years from Maitland. Mitchell Frost -17 years from Elermore Vale. Brad Elder - 15 years from Maitland. Mitchell Chapple -16 years from Maitland Jackson McDonald -16 years from Fullerton Cove. Maddie Bond -15 years from Maitland. Aleisha Bond -14 years from Maitland. Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |      

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