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New South Wales Harness Racing extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Helen Martin after her passing on Wednesday May 27 after a long battle with cancer. Aged 71, Helen devoted a large portion of her life to harness racing and worked for the state's controlling body for many years. Helen is survived by her husband, Harry the trainer of Miracle Mile winner Double Identity, her five children and many grandchildren. Funeral details will be announced in coming days. Greg Hayes

One of Western Australia’s all-time great harness racing trainers and drivers Les Poyser died on Friday morning at the age of 83 years. Poyser sits in 22nd place on the all-time list of this State’s drivers with a career tally of 756 winners with 512 of those in the city. He also trained more than 630 winners. Born on 20th December 1931 Les Poyser was an outstanding driver from the outset when he graduated from the WATA’s Reinsman’s School where he learned the finer points of race-driving under the tutelage of Frank Kersley. Poyser’s great feel for a horse was reminiscent in many ways of the “magic hands” of Kersley and in 1952 he finished third in the Trainee Reinsman’s Graduate Trophy won by Phil Coulson. Poyser drove his first winner for trainer Bob Williams behind Kratsa Dan on 19th January 1952 at Richmond Raceway and the colt was regarded as a leading fancy for that year’s WA Derby. The pair eventually finished third in the Derby behind Beau Don and Oros Image. During the sixties Poyser reined three WA Derby winners in Swahili (1962), Satanas (1963) and Volutis (1966) and only Hall Of Famers Fred R Kersley and Chris Lewis have won more WA Derbies. Poyser also trained a WA Oaks winner in Ala Moana (1975) and a pair of Fremantle Cup winners in Peter Patrick (1968) and Little William (1978). Poyser was a keenly sought after freelance reinsman due to his patience and concern to look after the horses he drove and drove Pure Steel to six wins including the 1980 WA Pacing Cup and was behind the Sean Harney trained Jack Morris for two of that champion’s wins. Poyser handled a number of outstanding horses during his career with his most prolific winners including the likes of 1967 Inter Dominion heat winner Velocipede (20 wins), Surfer’s Guide (19), Keystone Express (19), Satanas (17), Swahili (16), Baytana (15) and Volutis (13). He enjoyed an amazing run of success with former Tasmanian pacers winning a Brennan and August Cups with Speedy Ben, a Brennan and Bunbury Cup with Rio Butler and a Brennan Cup with Melfield Tyros and a string of races with the likes of San Eltrym and Dek’s Special. Les Poyser is survived by his wife Norma and daughter Natalie. by Alan Parker

The harness racing industry is saddened by the sudden passing of Bathurst trainer Mark Rawsthorne on Wednesday night. Mark had attended the Bathurst races and passed away soon after returning home. The popular horseman trained 101 winners in his career which spanned more than 20 years. Some of Mark's horses included Sunny Disposition, a talented mare that won 14 races including two at Harold Park. 11 time winner Simon Gosling and more recently Golden Super, a winner of nine races. Prince Raymac's victory at Menangle on August 3rd 2013 was another of Mark's career highlights. HRNSW extends its deepest sympathies to Shona Stewart and the Rawsthorne family. The details of Mark's funeral will be confirmed in the coming days. Greg Hayes

Batavia, NY --- Anthony Michael Strollo, 76, a longtime resident of Batavia, N.Y., died April 26, 2015, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease at the home of his daughter, son-in-law, and grandson in Manahawkin, N.J. Mr. Strollo was a retired Standardbred trainer and driver at Batavia Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Yonkers Raceway, The Meadowlands and Garden State Park. He campaigned the stakes filly The High Life p,3,1:52.3 ($148,808) and in Western New York conditioned Open trotter Barney Brookwood. His last drive came at the Meadowlands in 1996 and his last training start came at Batavia Downs in 2003. "Tony was one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet around a racetrack," said Todd Haight, Director/GM of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. "One of few just left handed drivers on the Western New York circuit; he was notorious for bringing home some long priced winners." He was a graduate of Notre Dame High School in Batavia, was a U.S. Army veteran and a member of the former St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Parish in Batavia. He was the son of the late Michael and Ann (Torcello) of Batavia. Mr. Strollo is survived by his daughters, Christine (James) Kearns and Andrea (Jason) Stanaway; grandsons, Vincent, Michael Stanaway, Christopher Stanaway, Anthony Stanaway and Joseph Stanaway; sister, Ann Marie (Dr. Paul) Caste; aunts and uncles, Ralph Torcello, Patricia Torcello, Rose, Albert and Anthony (Jean); and several cousins. Visitation will be held from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Thursday (April 30) at the Dangler Funeral Home of West Orange, 340 Main St., West Orange. Then to Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 1 Eagle Rock Ave., West Orange, for the Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Cremation will be private. Letters of condolence may be posted at   Normand Fluet Sr., 59, dies Normand Richard (Norm) Fluet Sr., 59, of Aberdeen, N.C., died April 24, 2015. Mr. Fluet died in his home, surrounded by family, while fighting a terminal illness. He was born in Sherbrooke, Canada on April 14, 1956, to Yolande Perreault of Boucherville, Canada and the late Jean-Noel Fluet. He had lived and raised his family in the United States for the past 45 years. Mr. Fluet discovered his passion for the horses at an early age through his father who enjoyed Standardbred racing. His love for Standardbreds found him establishing his own stable where he trained, drove and owned many horses over the years. He had a natural gift when working with trotters and breaking babies in preparation for handling and racing. In 2007 Mr. Fluet stopped driving as he passed the reins to his son, Phillip, who was beginning his career in the business. Norm, Phillip and Lori worked closely together preparing yearlings down south and racing them in the northeast. Although horse racing is competitive, many who knew Mr. Fluet would agree that he was always willing to give a helping hand to his opponents. He notched 913 wins as a driver with earnings of $4.4 million. As a conditioner he won 280 races with purse earnings of $2.3 million. Bruce Tubin, president of the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association, said, "Normand began working for me when he was 21 years old. He was as dedicated, hard working, knowledgeable, and trustworthy a person as you could ever find. He loved working with our young horses and was fabulous at getting them to the races. He eventually established a stable of his own as he was way too talented to remain a second trainer. We had many great years together that I will never forget." He was a devoted horseman known for his honesty, integrity and consideration of others. He was a proud member of the United States Trotting Association, the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association, the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association, the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association. Mr. Fluet is survived by his wife of 30 years, Lori Ann (Finch) Fluet; children, Normand Jr., Phillip (fiance, Abbey Westbrook), Alan, Julie (Michael) Kukenberger, Shane and Kasey; mother, Yolande Perreault; grandchildren, Kalie, Chantelle, Lily, Jamison, Ava and Sophie; brother, Serge; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Andrew and Gloria Finch; and several nieces and nephews. Per his wishes cremation took place on April 27, 2015, in North Carolina and will be followed by a mid-June memorial service in Batavia, where family and friends will gather to celebrate his life. Any and all who knew Norm will miss him dearly and forever keep him in their hearts. Batavia Downs Media Relations  

MANALAPAN, NJ - April 6, 2015 -- Edward R. Razzetti [October 9, 1935 - April 5, 2015], first vice present of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey and a board member for nearly three decades, passed away on Sunday, April 5, 2015. Razzetti, 79, of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, formerly of East Rutherford, was born in Passaic to Edward and Florence Razzetti. "Ed was one of the finest men I ever knew," said SBOANJ President Tom Luchento. "He always provided good counsel to me and to the SBOANJ. He was my right hand man. I will miss him dearly. All of us at the SBOANJ send our condolences to his family." An Army veteran, he was the owner of Fairmount Car and Truck Leasing in Hackensack for 50 years. Edward was a devoted horse owner and breeder for many years, racing horses at various tracks, including the Meadowlands. The longest serving member of the SBOANJ, he was also an active member of the United States Trotting Association. The beloved husband of Joanne (nee Meyer) Razzetti, he was the devoted father of James Razzetti of New York City, and Jill Bovino and her husband, Dean, of Saddle River. Loving grandfather of Connor and Devin. Funeral from Costa Memorial Home, Boulevard and Central Avenue, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 9 a .m. Funeral Liturgy from Corpus Christi R.C. Church, Hasbrouck Heights, at 10 a.m. Private cremation will follow. Visitation Tuesday, April 7, 2015 from 4 - 8 p.m. at Costa Memorial Home, 170 Central Avenue, Hasbrouck Heights. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. For more information,          

It is with great sadness that the family of James Francis (Jim) Doherty of Clifton announces his peaceful passing at Villa Marie Claire Hospice in New Jersey on March 14th, 2015. Jim was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada on September 27th, 1940, son of the late James Francis Doherty and Anna Mary (Clancy) Doherty. Besides his parents Jim was predeceased by his younger brothers Peter and Paul. Jim is survived by his wife, Marianne (Cinek) Doherty and sons James Francis III (Jodie) and Michael Erin Doherty; grandchildren Christopher, Laura, Jamie, Cadence and Clancy; brother William (Rita); sisters Mary Murphy (William), Martina Shannon (Donald), Patricia Loughery (Merrill), Anne Gilbride (Paul) and Evelyn Doherty; sister-in-law Roxanne Doherty; numerous nieces and nephews; grandnieces and grandnephews; mother-in-law Lillian Cinek and sister-in-law Christina MacGilvray (Scott). Jim knew from an early age what his lifetime career would be. He first experienced horses through his father Frank's logging business and harness racing interests, leading to Jim's introduction to harness racing at Exhibition Park in Saint John. He acquired his first Standardbred while attending St. Malachy's High School. In 1959, he won his first race and quickly was on his way to a lifelong love of the sport. Jim worked continuously to improve his stable and was soon on the road to bigger racetracks, first in Montreal and then to New England. Jim was elected to the New England Harness Writers Hall of Fame and soon after to the Saint John Sports Hall of Fame and New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in Canada. Having excelled on the New England circuit, Jim answered the call to New Jersey's Meadowlands Racetrack in 1976. Jim's skills as an all-round horseman; owning, training and driving soon came to the forefront amongst the best the sport had to offer resulting in Jim being elected to the United States Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. Jim had many world class horses, four of the best being No Nonsense Woman, Starchip Enterprise, Fools Goal and Green with Envy. Jim won many major races in the U.S. and Canada, including the Canadian Trotting Classic, Maple Leaf Trotting Classic, Breeders Crown, Valley Victory, Delvin Miller Memorial, Goldsmith Maid, World Filly Trotting Derby, Roses are Red, three Provincial Cups and many more. In 1982 Jim won the $519, 000 New Jersey Classic driving Pitt Boy; the same year he competed in the World Driving Championships in Australia. In 1972, Jim was the leading percentage driver in both the U.S. and Canada and in 2002 received the Glen Garnsey Memorial Trainer of the Year Award from the United States Harness Writers Association. Jim received the New Jersey Sports Writers Association "Harness Racing Man of the Year Award" in 2007. Jim also known as "Gentleman Jim" for his honesty, integrity and consideration of others, liked to meet with family and friends to reminisce and share stories about horse racing and his favorite hockey team, the New York Rangers. Jim was a member of the United States Trotting Association (USTA); The Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (SBOA) of New Jersey; The Standardbred Owners Association (SOA) of New York; and Standardbred Canada. Funeral Services will be on Friday, March 20th at 10:15 am from the Bizub-Quinlan Funeral Home, 1313 Van Houten Ave., Clifton with a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am at St. Andrew the Apostle RC Church, 400 Mt. Prospect Ave., Clifton. Private cremation to follow with interment of ashes to follow at a later date. Visitation will be Wednesday & Thursday from 2-4 & 7-9 pm on both days. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of the donor's choice.  See more at:

Patricia (Pat) Simmons, 82, of Stow, Ohio, died from complications associated with Alzheimer's disease on Wednesday, February 11, 2015. Standardbred racing was a passion in Ms. Simmons' life. She and her husband, Earl, were heavily involved in harness racing -- which sparked a job offer from former Northfield Park General Manager John Phillips. Ms. Simmons was a faithful Northfield Park employee for over forty years. She eventually became the Assistant Race Secretary and worked under the tutelage of Herman Brickel, Dennis Haskell and Gregg Keidel. After working in the Race Office, Pat did double duty at night, working as a beloved mutuel teller for over a decade under the supervision of current Northfield Park Assistant General Manager Mike Colacarro. "You don't find people like Pat every day. People like her are rare," said Gregg Keidel, her boss for over 20 years. "She was a very gracious lady who never said a cross word about anyone." In her youth, Ms. Simmons was crowned Miss Goodyear Tire. She was also the grandmother of Aaron Merriman and former mother-in-law of Lanny Merriman. Funeral arrangements are still being made. However, it has been determined that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the National Alzheimer's Association. Ayers Ratliff

Norwood Shahan, a longtime popular harness racing horseman, who won numerous races including stakes events. passed away at age 75 on Feb. 2. Mr. Shahan, a resident of Greenwood, Del., owned, trained and drove horses in the Mid-Atlantic area tracks for a number of years. He bred, raised and races the outstanding pacer Abbe's Fancy. For two seasons, Abbe's Fancy, a former season's champion mare, was Horse of the Year at Dover Downs. In addition to racing at Delaware tracks, Abbe's Fancy won races at the Meadowlands. For more than 30 years, Mr. Shahan worked as a Trouble Serviceman for DP&L (Delaware Power and Light). He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Evelyn; a son Randy (Shannon) Shahan, a daughter, Valerie (Edward) Warnick; six grandchildren, and nephews and nieces. A viewing is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. in the Faries Funeral Chapel, 29 S. Main Street, Smyrna, Del. Funeral Services will bigin at 3 p.m. Marv Bachrad

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Dr. Richard J. Hall ('Doc Hall') of Eden, N.Y. passed away on Sunday, February 1, 2015 at the age of 91. He was a long-time harness racing breeder and owner of standard bred horses in Western New York. He also served for many years as Buffalo Raceway track veterinarian. Dr. Hall, a veterinarian for 62 years, was a member of the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association for the past 40 years. He was still a member until his passing and served as the Association's President from 1984 until 1992. He was involved in harness racing for 80 years. He was introduced to the sport by his father at the age of 11. Dr. Hall, a member of the Western New York Veterinarians Association, was a graduate of the Ohio State University of Veterinary Medicine. Current Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association President Bruce Tubin said of Dr. Hall, "He was a timeless advocate of the every day local horseman. He was extremely generous when devoting his time and services to the horsemen at any time of any day. Dr. Hall he was way ahead of his time when it came to equine medical procedures and treatments." Tubin added, "One of Dr. Hall's greatest thrills was our annual picnic where he was able to speak with all the horsemen and their families." Vicky Loretto said of her father, "I remember my Dad and Mom taking me to the race track back in the 1960s. He just loved going to the race track. He loved the people there." Dr. Hall is survived by his wife, Florence, and children Richard Hall, Thomas Hall, Ann Vakoc, Vicky Loretto. He was also the grandfather of T. Gus Hall, Kenneth Vakoc, Kathryn Hrisca along with Hayley, Drew and Madison Loretto. The family will be present to receive friends Thursday from 1-4 p.m.and 7-9 p.m. at the John J. Kaczor Funeral Home, Inc., 5453 Southwestern Blvd. (corner of Rogers Rd.), Hamburg, N.Y. (716-646-5555). Funeral services are Friday morning at 11 o'clock at St. James United Church of Christ, 76 Main St., Hamburg, N.Y. (please assemble at church). by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

Montgomery, NY --- Hall of Famer Hal Jones, 90, of Montgomery, N.Y., died Jan. 31, 2015, with his loving family at his side.   Mr. Jones was born Dec. 23, 1924, in Southgate, Ky., the son of Walter and Nina Jones. A product of the Great Depression, he grew up in Ohio and Kentucky, attending 13 different schools and he lived in three log cabins, as the family moved from town to town. They eventually settled in Westerville, Ohio, where he attended high school and played football, and worked for his father at Mac Dot Farms on weekends.   He was drafted to serve in the Air Force in March 1943 and served more than two years in England during World War II.   He rejoined his father at the farm after returning from the service in Dec. 1945.   Hal and Marie Buck married on Feb. 24, 1950, a marriage that was still going strong after 65 years.   From 1951 to 1969 Mr. Jones managed Pickwick Farms in Bucyrus, Ohio, for Walter Michael. In the late 1950s, Gene Abbe was the top stallion at Pickwick. He produced the pacing star Stephan Smith. Stephan Smith's popularity prompted Mr. Jones to start breeding the mares by artificial insemination, instead of breeding by live cover, which was the norm at that time.   Before Mr. Jones' innovations a stallion's full book was typically 50 or 60 mares. In 1961 Gene Abbe became the first stallion of any breed to register more than 100 foals in one breeding season.   In a three-year period from 1961 to 1963 Gene Abbe produced 338 foals; during the same three-year period Tar Heel produced 134 foals, Adios produced 81 foals and Good Time produced 159 foals. Gene Abbe's numbers made him No. 1 in the nation in money earnings. The Standardbred breeding industry was changed forever.   In 1971 Mr. Jones went to work for Hanover Shoe Farms and was their manager for seven years. During that time he would purchase a share of a horse that, in his words, "would change my life." That horse was Albatross. The income generated from his two percent ownership of Albatross would give him the opportunity to buy several good broodmares and eventually buy his own farm -- Cameo Hills Farm.   During his career he managed Pickwick Farms, Blue Chip Farms, Hanover Shoe Farms, and Lana Lobell Farms of New Jersey, where he handled many of the top stallions in the sport -- Gene Abbe, Most Happy Fella, Tar Heel, Star's Pride, Albatross, Super Bowl, Speedy Somolli, No Nukes and Speedy Crown.   Hal and Marie Jones started Cameo Hills Farm in 1982. That farm has produced harness racing's newest Hall of Famer -- Deweycheatumnhowe -- as well as Check Me Out, Goalie Jeff, Housethatruthbuilt, Pedigree Snob, Speed Merchant and many other top horses.   In 2009 Mr. Jones received harness racing's highest honor when he was voted into the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. His induction ceremony was in July 2010.   Mr. Jones is survived by his wife, Marie; sons, Michael and Steve; daughter-in-law, Kathy; and grandchildren, Ayden, Matt, Auriel, Tyler and Jake.   In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his memory can be made to Goshen Historic Track, P.O. Box 192, Goshen, NY 10924.   Services will be private at the request of the family.   Gordon Waterstone The Horseman And Fair World      

Marvin Kaufman was born in The Bronx, NY. The lovable curmudgeon was a Yonkers harness racing  fixture for decades, a diehard NY Yankee fan and Civil War aficionado. He was a lifelong native of the Bronx though the ritzy residence of Riverdale, NY, disguised where his heart always resided.   Marvin served in the US military and served two years in Korea. He loved, and owned standardbred harness horses and enjoyed going to the races, especially Yonkers Raceway watching his son who campaigns a stable at the Hilltop Oval. Marvin and Sandra travelled with their horses on the NY Sire Stakes Circuit and to other states where they competed. No trip was too long for this veteran and his family.   Marvin, before and after his retirement, enjoyed American History, especially the Civil War era, and spent his vacations traveling to almost every one of battleground sites of the War. He adored general Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery during the Civil War. Chamberlain later became the Governor of Maine. Marvin would get angry when he visited General Chamberlain's home in Maine and people would not know who Chamberlain was and how he served his country. Marvin also loved his Bronx based Yankees and especially his favorite - Mickey Mantle. Many times Marv would insist on visiting and revisiting Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY and the Mickey Mantle Museum, family in tow.   Marvin was always interested in the affairs of the SOA of NY and the only annual meeting he missed was the last one in December. Marvin also volunteered at the Yonkers Fairs, the Westchester Food Bank, distributing USTA information pieces for prospective owners and handing out handicapping aides on site. Marvin has already been, and will continue to be, greatly missed by his family, all his friends, the SOA Board members and those fans at the track who have noticed his absence already and shared their condolences.   Marv was 81 years old when he passed on January 17th, 2015. He is survived by his beloved wife Sandra, his constant companion of 50 + years. Sandra serves on the Board of Directors of the SOA. Marvin left three children, two daughters Melissa, Michele and son Ian, who is a trainer/driver.   Marvin Kaufman served his country, was a devoted family man, civil war buff and a crazy, crazy NY Yankee fanatic. Most of all he loved harness racing. Marvin was a true friend to all with the exception of NY Mets fans and anyone unfamiliar with General Chamberlain.   Rest in peace our dear friend.   Joe Faraldo, SOA of NY President  

James “Allan” Smith, passed away Sunday morning at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The longtime PEI harness racing horseman was 87. The Hunter River resident operated a small stable from 1955 through until 2008. He was a complete horseman, did his own blacksmithing from the longtime family forge, jogged and trained horses on the roadside in rural PEI and at numerous matinee tracks. Allan had a driving career that saw him race on all the tracks in the Maritimes and many of the rivers during the ice racing days. He retired from driving in 1996. During his career he owned, trained and drove a number of Atlantic and PEI Colt Stakes winners, such Link C, Lady Stretch, Jim Andy, Bell’s Charm and Maritime fan favorite, the stakes winning and Invitational pacer, Bayside Katfish during the 1980s. Allan also trained back to the races, and shared the driving duties with his son, Earl, on legendary maritime stallion, Paris Dexter. After retiring from his driving career, Allan bred a number of stakes winners as well as continuing to attend the races in Charlottetown and Summerside up until the time of his passing. He also served as a director and president of the PEI Colt Stakes. He was honoured by the PEI Standardbred Horseowners Association, in 1999, as Horseman of the year. The Smith family was inducted the Atlantic Breeders Crown Association Families of honour. Allan is survived by his wife of 68 years, Wanda (Bernard), and children Margie, longtime maritime horseman Earl, Gary, Janet, and former Western Canadian trainer/driver Roger. His remains are resting at the Central Queens funeral co-op in New Glasgow, PEI, until the funeral this Thursday from the Hunter River United church. Lee Drake

Margaret Purdon, wife of the Hall Of Fame trainer Roy Purdon and mother of modern day legends Mark and Barry, passed away on Tuesday night just a day shy of her 86th birthday after a short illness. The sporting talent in the Purdon family wasn't  limited to Roy and their children as Margaret was a talented sportswoman in her younger days repersenting New Zealand at golf  touraments overseas and golf remained a passion right up to her recent short illness. Roy has been quoted numerous times over the years that his wife Margaret was the foundation on which all the success the family had achieved over the years was built on. Roy and Margaret had been married for 60 years. Here at Harnesslink  we would like to express our sincere condolences to Roy, Barry and Katrina, Mark and Natalie, Owen and Gaylene and Suzanne and Tony and the wider Purdon family at Margaret's passing.

One of Western Australia’s most successful harness racing trainers and drivers Les Marriott passed away last night at the age of 86.   Les drove his first winner behind a horse called Penrith at Kellerberrin on 14th April 1954 and his first metropolitan success came with Mel’s Girl at Richmond Raceway on 5th October 1957. His last win came behind the Alan Stewart trained Josie Dare at Narrogin on 4th November 2000 as a 72yo.   Of his career tally of 454 winners some 216 came in the city and in 1964 he finished runner-up to Lindsay Smith on the Perth Drivers Premiership with 23 winners for the season.   Les ranked among the State’s very best drivers in the sixties and had the nickname of The Rifleman due to an uncanny resemblance to Chuck Connors who was the star of the popular television series of the time – The Rifleman.   Les trained more than 420 winners between 1954 and 2010 with 172 of that total coming in the Metropolitan area.   His biggest win as a trainer and driver came with Pyramus in the 1972 WA Pacing Cup and the mare remains as the last mare to win the State’s premier harness race.   Les took over the training of Pyramus after she had already won 12 races for Fred Hough and her eight wins for Les included a WA Pacing Cup, State Sprint Championship (later re-named Mount Eden Sprint), Stratton Cup and Invitation Handicap. She also finished second in a Fremantle Cup won by Roscott.   On a list of the ten best mares to have raced in Western Australia in the last 100 years there is only one trainer with two mares featuring and, in addition to Pyramus, Les Marriott trained and drove the champion South Australian bred mare Virgil Queen.   Virgil Queen won 21 races for Les including 15 metropolitan class victories with wins in a Mount Eden Sprint, Stratton Cup, Brennan Cup, August Cup and a famous Fremantle Members Mile when Virgil Queen dead-heated with Little William in a time of 1:59.6 which at the time was claimed as a World Record for a dead-heat time.   The performances of Pyramus and Virgil Queen against open company were all the more notable in that they came in an era with no handicapping concessions given to mares.   In addition to these two outstanding mares Les also trained horses of the calibre of Jack Junior which won eight races in Perth for Les including a heat and final of an Easter Handicap, Lord Mayors Cup and Fremantle 600 – a record made even more remarkable as Jack Junior’s pedigree was so short his third dam was unknown. Phillco won six in the city for Les including a George Booth Memorial Handicap and heats of an Easter Handicap and Birthday Gift while Les also trained another Brennan Cup winner with Vicemaster and trained a Golden Slipper winner in Full Draw. As a reinsman Les was keenly sought as a freelance driver and he won 13 races in Perth with Super Paddy for trainer Bert Cheshire including an Easter Cup, Australia Day Handicap and Memorial Day Cup. Les won a heat of the 1976 Inter Dominion at Globe Derby Park in Adelaide behind the George Kennett trained Royal Force on the same night that Fred Kersley drove Pure Steel to victory in a heat of the series. Les Marriott was a familiar figure at the Pinjarra track and only relinquished his trainers licence in August 2014. Alan Parker, Assistant Manager Harness Racing  

A horse trainer has told how he was at a harness-racing meeting on Friday night when his mother was fatally struck by a hit-run driver only a short distance away. Earlier, Betty McArthur, 84, had watched her son Mick Darling’s horses in two races on the program at Phoenix Park in Port Pirie. She was walking back to her car parked in its usual spot outside a friend’s house, in Grey Terrace, when she was hit by the vehicle about 9.30pm. This is only about 100 metres from the entrance to the trotting park – and Mr Darling was still at the track when he got the news that someone had been hit. “It was straight after race five,” a shocked Mr Darling told The Recorder Editor Greg Mayfield on Saturday afternoon at his home at Bungama on the outskirts of Port Pirie. He spoke just after police released the news that a suspected offender was being interviewed over the hit-run. Mr Darling said he had ”mind-boggling” support from the community after the tragedy. “You don’t know how many friends you have got,” he said. He said it would be difficult on Christmas Day with an empty seat being there for Mrs McArthur. “All Christmases are special,” he said. Mrs McArthur is a former president with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital auxiliary and used to make dinners for drivers and trainers at the trotting track until a few years ago. She was a regular supplier of delicious nut rolls to a local delicatessen. Mr Darling agreed his mother was proud of him and always watched his horses go round the track. “I drove one horse in one race and another driver drove one of my other horses in the other race. They were the fourth and sixth races on the program and she watched them both,” he said. Mr Darling is president of the Port Pirie Harness Racing Club and president of the South Australian Country Harness Racing Clubs. “Mum and Dad had horses when we were kids. I originally raced her horses,” he said. “We went to school at Snowtown and Lochiel and shifted to Port Pirie for the last year of high school. “Mum didn’t work – looking after six kids was a big enough job.” It is not the first time that tragedy has truck the family. Mr Darling’s brother Robin died 17 years ago from an asthma attack. Later, Mr Darling’s mother remarried and became Mrs McArthur. “When she remarried there were 13 of us,” he said. “It was a big Christmas and a big day at tea-time. “Everyone knows her. She worked so hard for the trotting club. “She had been president of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital auxiliary for eight or nine years. “She was inspired to do this by her two disabled grandchildren. One of them can’t speak, but recently had a long “conversation” on the phone with Mum’ and was laughing and smiling. “Because my wife and I are shifting to Moonta, Christmas celebrations were going to be at Moonta. “I asked my mother when she wanted to be picked up to travel to Moonta and she said she was going to drive down - at the age of 84 - but we would have driven her anyway.” He said his mother always attended the trotting meetings. “She was actually a life member of the harness racing club,” he said. “I suppose that indicates how much work she did for the club. “She always made nut roll for the delicatessen – one of her loves was cooking. “She was proud of all of us.” A 40-year-old Port Pirie man was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop and render assistance at a collision, and leaving the scene of a collision.  He will be granted bail to appear in court at a later date. by Greg Mayfield Reprinted with permission of the   Major Crash investigators continue to examine the circumstances surrounding the collision, and ask anyone that may have seen a dark-coloured Ford station wagon in the area to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or online at  

To Our Friends in the Harness Racing Industry, Trying to say thank you to everyone who called, texted, posted on the internet, sent flowers or prayed for us at the time of our son, Ryder Steck's death, seems impossible. The love and compassion we have felt from our entire industry has been so very overwhelming and amazing. It is true that when something tragic happens you find out who your friends are and we are honored to have so many in this business that we can call our friends. While not all of you may have personally known Ryder, you reached out to our family with such care and compassion, at a time when we needed it most.  We do not have answers as to why Ryder didn’t make it, his Doctors are still unsure. All we do know is that we had 18 years, one month, and 14 days with an incredible young man that we were blessed to call our son. Our pain is unimaginable and something we will carry with us forever but please believe us when we say that we have felt your prayers, text messages, and facebook post from the beginning of this tragedy. The pictures Rob Pennington posted on Hambo day truly touched our hearts and brought smiles to our faces during such a tragic time. We have said numerous times that trying to say thank you for something like this seems so small, we can only hope that each of you will feel our heartfelt thanks and truly realize how much we appreciate all the love and support. Although we know the days ahead are sure to be harder than the days behind us, we know that it is your prayers and the love our industry has shown us that has moved us forward this far. We will continue to move forward with your love and support with every passing day because that is what Ryder would want us to do. From the bottom of our hearts, Thank you again. Ron, Kila, Parker and Ranger Steck and the entire family of Ryder Wilson Steck

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