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It is with deep sadness that Harness Racing New South Wales advises that renowned breeder Hugh Carmody passed away last Friday surrounded by his family, aged 92. 'Hughie' was a pioneer of the sport and founded Lochend Stud in Maitland in 1973, which is still operated by the Carmody family today. A respected man amongst his peers, Mr Carmody was devoted to the advancement of breeding in New South Wales and had much success within this arena. Mr Carmody stood many stallions over the past half century including NSW Sire of the Year Tyrolean Dancer. Lochend Stud was also the home of prolific broodmare Bonny Belmedia, a NSW Broodmare of the Year. The polish Lochend Stud put on their yearlings made their horses' standouts and much sought after at the sales. "Hughie Carmody was a true harness racing pioneer, not afraid to invest in the breeding industry and did so with considerable success," HRNSW chief executive John Dumesny said. "He was also one of the most respectful men in the industry, a man who rarely contested an issue being only too willing to advance the sport." Family and friends are warmly invited to a funeral mass to celebrate Mr Carmody's life this Thursday at St Joseph's Catholic Church, East Maitland, at 11:30am. To all of Mr Carmody's family and friends, HRNSW passes on its sincerest sympathies in this difficult time. AMANDA RANDO

Respected harness racing personality Barry Ewen has passed away after a long battle with cancer. Ewen, 76, was given just 12 months to live about four years but refused to go without a fight. He leaves his wife Yvonne, daughters Joanne and Belinda, sons Simon, Scott, Christopher and Andrew, and 11 grandchildren. As a teenager, Ewen worked for a thoroughbred trainer and had ambitions to be a jockey, but his weight, not that he was a big man, ruled him out and he became a harness racing trainer-driver. During his career he drove more than 600 winners and trained in excess of 400. Ewen’s best horses were Camden Star and Rockleigh when he first started at Wayville in the 1960s, and later his favourite Free-For-All star Tarpeena Prince, along with Van High, The Bronx, Mister Dexterity, Gawler Derby, SA Guineas and SA Sires Produce winner Swing Parade and Razz. Despite being in his 60s, the horseman won the first Monte race at Globe Derby Park and ran second a year later before ‘retiring’ leaving it to younger participants. Ewen had three life passions, in order – his wife Yvonne, family and harness racing. It was those traits, along with his integrity, which ensured he was a respected participant. He also became the president of the Gawler Harness Racing Club, and was involved when the club was left without a track because of the building of the Northern Expressway. His interest in thoroughbred racing also remained and he successfully turned his hand to training winning with horses such as Gold Vintage and Jestwin. When he became ill, Ewen, transferred Jestwin to another trainer Nicole Bruggemann and she prepared the horse to win the 2017 Kangaroo Island Cup, a proud moment for him and the family. Ewen’s funeral will be at St Peter and Paul’s Church in Gawler on Wednesday, October 18 at 1.30pm. Graham Fischer

The Victorian harness racing community is in mourning following the passing yesterday of prominent owner and trots man Brian Dobson. Brian had been associated with the sport over a long period of time, being a member of the Victoria Harness Racing Sports Club (formerly the Victoria Trotting Club), the Caduceus Club, of which he was treasurer, and the executive committee of the Metropolitan & Country Harness Racing Association (MACHRA). Brian was also co-host of the long-running harness racing radio program “Harness Review”. Brian was involved with a number of very smart pacers including present-day star Tee Cee Bee Macray who is racing at Tabcorp Park this Friday, Blazeaway Macray (a winner of eleven races including the HBV Jodies Babe), Same Old Macray (22 wins the biggest being 2005 APG Final) and Dee En Ay Macray (16 wins claiming both the 2004 & 2005 Vicbred Super Series), all bred by long-time associate Ian Kitchin and trained by Alan Tubbs who was a great and loyal family friend. Other winners to come Brian’s way in recent times were Milliondollar Wave (NSW Breeders Challenge) and trotter Drunken Maniac, with another of the team Shady Secret ready to resume in the coming weeks. Many of the horses were raced in partnership with son Paul, Ian Kitchin and Ken Adams. Harness Racing Victoria extends sincere condolences to Brian’s family. Funeral details will be communicated when advised. Len Baker

Longtime harness racing official Diane Twasnick passed away this morning (September 20) at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, ON after a brief battle with cancer. She was 59. Diane's career as a Race Secretary and Charter spanned more than three decades at Elmira Raceway, Grand River Raceway and Hanover Raceway. Diane had a deep affinity for harness racing, and its horses and people. Beyond her astute skills and knowledge, she had a glowing smile, bright personality and fabulous sense of humour. Her family will hold a private ceremony. Details of a Celebration Of Life are forthcoming. Kelly Spencer Mgr. Marketing & Communications Grand River Raceway

The harness racing industry was saddened to learn of the passing of prominent owner and breeder Dennis Pengilly. Dennis passed away last Wednesday night after a long battle with cancer, aged 64. He bred and raced many horses and just a week before his passing had two winners which gave him much enjoyment according to Harness Racing New South Wales chief executive John Dumesny. "Dennis particularly liked the idea of breeding and racing horses and had done so all his life," Dumesny said. "Dennis' horses Munroe and Ferdinand won within days of each other and gave him significant enjoyment. "Dennis was a friend of many and many in harness racing and will be sadly missed. "On behalf of the harness racing fraternity condolences go to Dennis' wife Janice and their children Katie, Joel, Kellie, Kylie and their extended families." A celebration of Dennis' life will take place at Castlebrook Memorial Park, Windsor Road, Rouse Hill, on Monday September 18, 2017, at 11am. Harness Racing NSW extends its deepest sympathies to Dennis' countless friends and associates. AMANDA RANDO

Toronto, ON --- The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and Standardbred Canada are saddened to learn of the passing of H. Charles Armstrong, at age 96. ‘Charlie’ was inducted to the Hall in 2015 as a builder, joining his father, Elgin, who was inducted in the inaugural class of the CHRHF in 1976. Mr. Armstrong was a true icon in the Ontario and North American horse industry for more than 60 years. Throughout this time, he has represented and participated in multiple disciplines and has been integral in the shaping of Ontario’s horse racing industry and horse industry. Armstrong Bros. Farm, the family-owned operation, was founded in the 1940s by Charlie’s father, Elgin, and uncle, Ted, who were construction magnates. After Elgin’s death, Charlie kept the Armstrong horse business strong. Mr. Armstrong’s love affair with horses began when he received his first pony, Playboy, from his uncle Ted in 1930 at the age of 11. The pony had been obtained as payment for a debt and was loaded into the back seat of the family car and taken to Brampton, Ontario. He continued building on the success of his father Elgin, who raced a young filly named Helicopter in the prestigious Hambletonian in the United States. Helicopter was victorious, becoming the first Canadian-owned horse to win the coveted title. Helicopter’s daughter, Armbro Flight, became one of North America’s greatest trotting mares and the foundation mare for the Armstrong Farms breeding and racing dynasty. In 1999, Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp with her likeness to celebrate her contributions. As chairman of Armstrong Holdings Brampton Limited, Mr. Armstrong oversaw the growth of Armstrong Farms into the second largest Standardbred breeding operation in North America. More than 90 percent of the most prestigious races in North America have had ‘Armbro’ horses in the winner’s circle. Armbro performers have won nearly every classic event in the sport since Helicopter won the 1953 Hambletonian, and has also bred the winners of nearly every classic event, including the Hambletonian (Armbro Goal), the Little Brown Jug (Armbro Omaha, Armbro Operative) and the Adios (Armbro Omaha, Armbro Ranger, Armbro Animate) to name a few. They produced scores of trotting and pacing champions, including Armbro Omaha, Armbro Operative, Armbro Fling, Armbro Feather, Armbro Flight, Armbro Blush, and Armbro Fern. Armstrong Bros. also enjoyed considerable success in the Breeders Crown series, ranking second in the breeding standings and second in the owner standings (through the end of 2003). The farm was one of the most progressive and profitable Standardbred operations and bred, raced and stood at stud a seemingly endless list of champions. Stallions that stood at the Inglewood Farm most recently included Island Fantasy, King Conch, Camotion, and Dexter Nukes. Other stallions over the years included Jade Prince, Dream Of Glory, Carlsbad Cam, Armbro Emerson, Village Jiffy and Adios Pick, who was sold and went on to become the foundation sire of western Canada. The family company was dispersed in 2005, but Mr. Armstrong continued to enjoy international success, as he raised and raced Standardbreds with his daughters under Village Acres Farms in Brampton, Ontario through 2010. They sent out a steady stream of top performers over the years, including Village Jig, Village Connection, Village Jove, Village Blues, Village Jiffy and Village Jericho. The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and Standardbred Canada would like to extend their condolences to Mr. Armstrong’s wife, Lenore; daughters, Jennifer, Caroline and Nancy; and his extended family. Additional details regarding arrangements will be provided once available. Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 

The Board, Staff and Members of Yarra Valley Harness Racing were saddened to hear of the passing of Club stalwart, Colin Williamson, early on Monday morning. Colin’s contribution to Harness Racing in the Yarra Valley over a long period of time saw him recognised with Life Membership of the Yarra Glen Trotting Club and subsequently, Yarra Valley Racing. The Williamson family name has been an integral part of the Club going back to when harness racing commenced at Healesville back in 1947 and were front and centre when the Club relocated to Yarra Glen in 1972. Over the years, Colin, held a number of roles at the Club including roles on the Committee and the Committee of Management for the Reserve.  However, it was as a Track Curator where his passion for the Industry shone through.  In a time prior to having a lot of the modern track preparation implements, Colin’s ability to match skill and common sense saw Yarra Glen gain a strong reputation for a track that was always presented well and that raced fairly. It is an interesting fact that Colin’s wife Cheryl’s dad trained the first winner of a race conducted at the Yarra Glen track.  No doubt the track was prepared to Industry standards and no favours were provided to keep in sweet with the father in law. Colin’s experience was also called on heavily when the Club undertook a successful major track reconstruction back in 2004. Colin had a major influence in the development of the iconic Melbourne Cup Day race meeting and was a key organiser of the equally iconic post-Melbourne Cup Day “fishing” trip to Mallacoota.  A trip that was taken religiously by key local harness enthusiasts annually on the Tuesday after Melbourne Cup Day.   The fishermen were like excited kids at Christmas waiting to head off and no doubt there would many tales to be told about their adventures. Colin bravely battled health issues for the past fourteen years.  His determination and fight was admired by all who knew him.  He will be sadly missed by all at Yarra Valley Racing and the local community in general.  Our condolences to Cheryl and family. Fittingly, a ceremony to celebrate the life of Colin Williamson will be conducted at the Yarra Valley Racing centre on Tuesday 29 August at 1:00pm. Thanks Colin. Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) was saddened to learn overnight of the passiong of Kevin 'Boofa' Innes. Last year HRV's Harness Racer scribe, Lucy McCormick, filed this story on 'Boofa's life in the trots. HRV extends its condolences to Kevin's family and friends. Kevin's funeral will be held 23rd of August at St Mary's Inglewood from 11am.  KEVIN ‘BOOFA’ INNES A FAIR DINKUM TROTS CHARACTER By Lucy McCormick Experience is something special; something to be valued.  Kevin ‘Boofa’ (a nickname given to the rough and ready Kevin after a particularly enthusiastic school yard brawl) Innes has it in spades.  A rare person combines that experience and knowledge with a keen interest in changing trends and attitudes.  Kevin Innes manages that as well – easily.  He misses nothing, forgets little, and applies a thoughtful and analytical mind to the world around him.  That’s not lip service being paid by a lazy journalist to a man with eight decades on the planet to his credit – it’s an observation of a keen mind that a person of any age would be proud to possess. Kevin is a member of the celebrated Innes clan from Inglewood, in Central Victoria. “I think the first Innes’ came to Inglewood in 1851. My daughter used to say she can’t marry anyone from Inglewood, because she’s related to them all,” says Kevin. ‘Boofa’ is enjoying some well-earned relaxation on the couch after breaking a kneecap six or seven months ago in a track work incident.  Not that it seems to be bothering him too much; he’s got plenty of time to keep up with the trots on television. “I do follow them,” Kevin says. “I don’t miss many, and I do have a bet.  I like to sit in the chair and drive a race as much as anyone.” With an illustrious career both as a trainer and in the sulky, it’s a safe bet that Kevin Innes is a more than handy ‘grandstand driver’.  His name is associated as a trainer/driver with many handy horses, including Lea Sands, Imatoff and Stormy Morn to name a few. Kevin is typically circumspect about his bigger triumphs, however that doesn’t seem to be what interests him the most.  “I’ll tell you something,” he declares, doing just that, “I like winning with the horses that were no good. Some people never get a good horse. Imagine that. Luck is a very, very important thing.  You have to have luck to buy a good horse at the sales, to get it going, keep it sound, find a race for it, find and owner and get a draw. And they still make a liar of you.” Funny, interesting or quirky stories seem to be of greater interest to Kevin, such as the time he had a strong chance in a standing start race – the favourite in the race being his only worry.  “I told the owner it only had a 20-metre handicap – I couldn’t beat it off that,” he remembers. “So I was leading, waiting for the favourite to run past me. Toward the finish, I heard it coming, and it ran straight past all right – minus the driver.  He’d fallen out of the cart and I won the race. Just lucky.” The Innes family have always been heavily involved in one sporting pursuit or another – Kevin himself being a champion bike rider of his time.  “My Uncle Roy was a good bike rider, so he dared me to have a go.  It turned out I was quite good at it as well.”  So good, in fact that for many years Kevin was able to make a living from bike riding, riding the ‘board track’ for many years.  “We trained hard.  Bike riding was very big back then, we’d train and ride three or four times a week.” Kevin’s riding career spanned four Herald Sun Tours, a Warrnambool to Melbourne and a Sydney to Melbourne race, to name a few.  “It definitely gets you in – it was long hours,” he muses.  “But like anything, horse racing included, you only get back what you put in. We trained hard. I never drank, and I still don’t.  I’ve seen that many athletes, great ones too, brought down by alcohol.” Lucky with injury too, Kevin can only remember a sore ankle – as well as the requisite scrapes and abrasions from tumbles on the wooden boards of the velodromes. He still enjoys watching all the big bike races when he can.  “You can watch them race all over the world – France, Sweden, Germany.  “To be honest I sit up and watch them with my son and we get just as much of a kick looking at the countryside than anything else.  It’s so different to when I was racing.” Betting on the bike racing was big in Kevin’s day as well, and some of the bookies Kevin saw betting on the bike racing, he saw at the Showgrounds betting on the trots on a Friday or Saturday night.  “Racing was different back then.  There would be twelve thousand people at the showgrounds – they don’t have to come anymore, it’s just as easy to watch it on the TV.”  Kevin remembers in those days that drivers had to ‘weigh in’ as well – everyone who drove needed to weigh ten stone (just under 65 kilograms).  It’s something he remembers fondly.  “I know not everyone will.”  Kevin won’t be drawn on the subject of favourite drivers, either.  “Look.  Driving is different now.  No disrespect to current drivers, but you had to think a lot more on a three furlong track than they do now on the bigger tracks.  You had to drive with brains.  And I really believe that good horses make good drivers.  The horses are very good these days.  Today’s drivers – your Gavin Langs, Chris Alfords – they’re thinkers, and brains will beat brawn every time.  The girls are just as good now too.  You only have to look at Kerryn Manning.” A garrulous and popular character, Kevin has trained horses for the likes of legendary Richmond player Jack Dyer, and also spent his fair share of time hosting sportsman’s nights, holding his own with the likes of Ron Barassi.  On one such night, they had flown in a light aircraft to their destination.  During their show, Kevin noticed their pilot, sitting in the front row, laughing appreciatively.  There was one problem.  He had a beer in his hand, and was consuming it with some enthusiasm.  As the night wore on, the pilot became more and more inebriated, and Kevin became more and more disturbed, knowing that this was the same pilot who was to fly them home when they finished.  Unbeknownst to Kevin, however, the flight had been cancelled and the pilot hadn’t told anyone, instead deciding to take full advantage of his client’s hospitality. For now, Kevin is happy living in Inglewood with partner Barbara.  Son Grant and daughter Carla aren’t far away (both work at the Bendigo Harness track, and Carla has held both a trainer and driver’s licence).  His granddaughter, Barclay Sands, was born on the same day of the demise of their star performer, Lea Sands, and may give the biggest hint yet just how important the world of harness racing is to Kevin ‘Boofa’ Innes. Trots Media

MANALAPAN, NJ -- August 12, 2017 -- Barbara A. Crawford, 85, a resident Beech St. in Bennington, VT died peacefully Thursday August 10, 2017 at the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation in Bennington following a brief illness. She was born in Bennington, VT March 23, 1932. She was the daughter of the late Wallace and Effie (Cross) Mattison. Barbara received her education in Bennington and was a graduate of Bennington High School class of 1951. She married John A. Crawford on September 15, 1951 at the First United Methodist Church in Bennington. For 39 years Barbara was employed in the cafeterias of the Beech St. School, the Mount Anthony Middle School and the Mount Anthony Union High School retiring in 2000. Barbara was inducted into the Middle School Hall of Fame in 2006. Barbara enjoyed horse racing and was an incredible cook. Survivors include her husband John A. Crawford of Bennington, a son Kim Crawford (Judy) of Stillwater, New York, a daughter Debbie Crawford (Tim) of Saratoga, New York; five grandchildren, Aaron, Josh, Brett, Cole and Rachel and two great grandchildren, Noah and Linnea. Three brothers, Wallace, Erwin and Clyde Mattison and a sister Suzanne Saunders. She was pre-deceased by a son John "Jack" Crawford, and three brothers, William, Howard and Lawrence Mattison. SERVICES: A memorial service will be held at the Mahar and Son Funeral Home on Monday August 14, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. The burial will follow in the family lot in Park Lawn Cemetery. Friends may call at the Mahar and Son Funeral Home on Monday from 11:00 a.m. until the time of the service. If friends desire contributions in memory of Barbara A. Crawford may be made to the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center through the office of the Mahar and Son Funeral Home 628 Main St. Bennington, VT 05201. Guest book condolences may be made at www.maharandsonfuneralhome.net  

The harness racing fraternity lost one of its true icons on Monday with the passing of Ron Hoy, aged 96. Ron passed away peacefully in Peak Hill surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by sons Lindsay, Lester and Garth and daughter Janine. Ron started his career in harness racing back in the mid 1950's at Peak Hill before eventually moving to Dubbo where he became a leading trainer for a number of years back in the 70's and 80's before handing over the reins to his sons. Ron won more than six trainers' premierships at Dubbo. Best known as the trainer of 1980 Inter Dominion finalist Lone Boy, Ron also enjoyed a lot of success with his first pacer Rule Silver while other horses of note trained by Ron included Rodney Robert, Lucky Magic, Twin Bay and Bossys Henry. Flying Peko was a topliner which he shared in the ownership with son Lester. Lone Boy won multiple feature races at Harold Park including the Australasian Three and Four-Year-Old Championship and the Viscount Grand Prix. Arrangements for Ron's funeral are not yet finalised. Harness Racing NSW extends its deepest sympathies to Ron's family and many friends. AMANDA RANDO

Washington, PA – Sherie L. Hankins, 62, of Canonsburg (PA), passed away on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, following a long illness.   She is survived by her husband Kim Hankins, Executive Director of the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. Sherie Hankins is also survived by her son, Staff Sergeant Joshua (Melonie) Hankins and daughter Neva Hankins.  She was the grandmother of Jackson Hankins and Rebekah Murray; sister of Michael (Eva) Cotton.  Sherie was a member of the Christian Harness Horseman’s Association.  Arrangements were made by Beinhauer Family Funeral Homes, 724-941-3211, however, there will be no visitation.  A Memorial Service will be held on Monday (July 31) at the Track Chapel at the Meadows at 1 pm.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Christian Harness Horseman’s Association, 157 North Main St., Salem, NH 03079, or www.chha.net. Please add or view tributes at www.beinhauer.com   by Chris Tully on behalf of the Hankins family

Harness Racing Victoria was saddened to learn of the passing of William “Bill” Davin, an owner, trainer and driver from Ascot Vale. Mr Davin’s son, Robert, said his father mainly raced at Ascot Vale and Moonee Valley but was more widely known for providing accommodation to interstate horses including Our Sir Vancelot, Westburn Grant, Robin Dundee, Minuteman, Halwes and Gundary Flyer. At his property he stabled at least six Hunter Cup winners in a row at his property in the 1960s. A funeral service will be held in his honour in the Joseph Allison Chapel, 941 Mt Alexander Rd, Essendon, on Monday, July 31, from 10am. At its conclusion the cortege will proceed to Fawkner Cemetery for a burial at noon.  

The harness racing industry was shocked by the sudden and unexpected passing of legendary trainer-driver Kevin Newman on Tuesday night. Harness Racing New South Wales Chief Executive John Dumesny expressed the harness racing fraternity's shock at the sudden passing. "Kevin at 83 was well and had just finalised the sale of his Penrith home and was looking forward to moving on to the central Coast with his wife Beryl," Dumesny said. "He was an icon, a legend of trotting, a one in a life time horseman. "It was an honour to known and be in the presence of KB Newman. "His wit had no peer and his recall of the halcyon days of trotting never diminished." Born in Western Australia, Kevin arrived in Sydney in 1951, two years after night trotting was introduced at Harold Park, as a 16-year-old. From here Kevin became a dominate force during what is known as the golden era of harness racing in the 1960s and 70s, particularly at Harold Park. He won an unequalled 10 Harold Park trainers' premierships and eight drivers' premierships. Kevin was the first driver to win two Miracle Miles - Halwes 1968 and Friendly Footman 1981. He steered home 533 winners at Harold Park and all up about 1400 in his entire career. Retiring from the driving ranks in 1986, Newman can claim victories in almost every major race at Harold Park. For his services to harness racing, Kevin was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 1991, was named a Living Legend by HRNSW in 2000 and was also one of seven Living Legends of Harold Park. He was also inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions at the State's Sports Centre at Homebush in 2001. Kevin represented Australia twice in the World Driving Championships in the United States and Canada - finishing fourth behind Herve Filion in 1970, and sixth behind the New Zealander Kevin Holmes in 1978. Top performers Newman was associated with in feature race wins at Harold Park during his long and distinguished career include Koala Frost, Tongue Twister, Adios Victor, Mitchell Victory, Apollo Eleven and Markovina. To Kevin's wife Beryl, daughters Julie and Debbie and their families as well as Kevin's many friends, Harness Racing NSW extends its deepest condolences. Funeral details to be announced. AMANDA RANDO

MANALAPAN, NJ -- July 25, 2017 -- Vincent Fusco Sr of Freehold Township, NJ passed away Monday, July 24th with his beloved family at his side. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Grace, his children Rita (Dale), Carmine (Christie), Antonia, Vincent Jr. (Michelle), Bridget (Bob), Andriana, Joseph (Dana), Paul (Robyn), Peter, Maria (Michael), Elizabeth (Jason), 26 grandchildren and his angel great grandson Noah. Visitation will be held Wednesday, July 26th and Thursday, July 27th at Clayton Funeral Home in Freehold, NJ from 5 - 9 pm. There will also be a mass on Friday, July 27th at St. Roberts of Bellarmine Church in Freehold at 10 am. The family is requesting in lieu of flowers please make any donations to St Judes Children's Hospital. Courtney Stafford PR Consultant SBOANJ 64 Business Route 33 Manalapan, NJ 07726

The community of Parkes recently lost one of its true gems when highly regarded Parkes Harness Racing Club Life Member Wal Norman passed away after a short illness at Parkes District Hospital surrounded by his loving family on Tuesday, June 20. Wal, aged 90, would not be a name the wider Harness Racing community would readily remember but through his contribution to the sport, many participants have benefitted. Wal joined the then Parkes Trotting Club in 1970 and over a period of 45 years, season in and season out, he would be a regular at the many working bees held to prepare for race meetings or to contribute to the many track, ground and building redevelopments that were undertaken at the Parkes Showground Paceway. On race day Wal could be found in the Judges' Tower, assisting with both the judging and timekeeping, positions he held right up to his late 80's when he decided it was time to retire and take things a little easier. Many thought Wal would be keen to take a "redundancy" with the introduction of the more modern finish links and timing mechanisms but no, Wal was a man who rarely let things get the better of him and he embraced the changes and operated the remote controlled semaphore board better than most. Wal, along with his family members raced a few pacers over the years. Like the Trotting Club, the Parkes Golf Club recognised Wal's wonderful efforts by honouring him with a Life Membership and in 2014, as part of the Australia Day Awards, Wally received a Long Service and Dedication Award for his contribution to sport in Parkes for which he was justifiably proud. Harness Racing New South Wales, on behalf of all participants in the industry, sends its deepest sympathy to Wal's widow Joyce and all her family on the passing of a great man. Our sport has been enriched by the contribution of volunteers like Wally Norman. AMANDA RANDO

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) was saddened to learn of the passing of Graeme Maher, who lost his long and spirited fight against pancreatic cancer yesterday. Graeme was a passionate trotsgoer for the majority of his life, closely following his father, Len, who trained several horses and had great success with fast-class performer Transpec in the late 1970s and early 80s. Graeme himself drove 27 winners, including two metro victories aboard Stephen John, who he also piloted in the 2011 Breeders Crown 3YO Trotters’ Final. But it was on the other side of the fence where Graeme made his real mark globally. Maher was instrumental in the change of mindset that has seen the track preparation mentality change from ‘hard means fast’ to providing a cushioned surface which will not only promote slick times but will make the horses more comfortable and ultimately keep them sound and help prolong their future. The track conditioner, which plays an integral part in providing an optimum cushion, was introduced to Victorian trots by Graeme at his home track Bendigo in 1991. He was also responsible for turning the track around in his stint as track manager at Moonee Valley and has now overseen the preparation and maintenance of Victorian tracks for nearly two decades. Graeme was an inaugural member of the HRV Track Maintenance Subcommittee in 2002, which has been proactive in ensuring well-designed tracks, the most conducive maintenance methods and training of curators. Graeme has been the key player behind the highly successful track maintenance seminars that HRV has conducted regularly over the past 15 years for Victorian curators but which have also attracted significant representation from interstate and New Zealand. He built a strong rapport and friendship with many of his counterparts including American track guru Dan Coon and his New Zealand track inspector equivalent John Denton, who attributes everything to Graeme’s eminent mentorship. HRV Track Maintenance Sub-Committee Chairman Carl O’Dwyer was glowing in his praise of the subcommittee’s achievements and its team unity, while acknowledging the integral part that Maher has played. “Graeme was absolutely fanatical and immersed with harness racing tracks and was always seeking ways of improvement though forever mindful of the welfare of the horse,” O’Dwyer said. “He was a valuable member of a proficient and united subcommittee and was largely responsible for the successful placement of canola oil on the Shepparton track. This innovation has resulted in providing a quality surface along with substantial savings in water and fuel costs, while tripling the life of the track material to boot.” HRV is now embarking on applying the canola oil to five of its major tracks, which will provide a further legacy to Maher’s revolutionary thinking in the future. A thanksgiving service to celebrate the life of Graeme Leonard Maher will be held at Connect Church, Solomon St, East Bendigo, on Monday, June 26, at 11 am. At the conclusion of the service, the cortege will leave for the Bendigo Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, a donation to Pancare Foundation in memory of Graeme would be appreciated. Refreshments will follow at the Bendigo Harness Racing Club. by Trots Media - Rob Pongho

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