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Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan declared that star five-year-old Im Victorious would strip fitter and stronger for the $400,000 Nepean Conveyors WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night than he was when he scored a brilliant victory in the Fremantle Cup last Friday night. "He has improved since that run and has tightened right up," he said. "You've got to remember that was his first run for three weeks and he has got through the weekend heatwave in great shape and he felt super in his work yesterday (Monday) and today (Tuesday). "I couldn't be happier with the horse and the way he's going. The 2936m is going to be right up his alley. He'll have plenty of time to find his feet and then it will be up to Junior (Gary Hall jun.)." Brennan and Hall are bubbling with confidence that Im Victorious will be able to overcome the tricky draw on the inside of the back line and become just the eighth pacer to complete the Fremantle Cup-WA Pacing Cup double in the one season and the first horse to win the WA Derby, Golden Nugget, Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup. Horses to have won the Cups double in the one season are Black Bertha (1942), Pure Steel (1980), Village Kid (1988 and 1989), The Falcon Strike (2002 and 2004), Baltic Eagle (2003) and Im Themightyquinn (2011 and 2012). The 31-year-old Hall, the second most successful reinsman in the 101-year history of the WA Pacing Cup with six winners (behind Phil Coulson with seven), is far from fazed about Im Victorious starting from the inside of the back line and the possibility of becoming hemmed in and unable to obtain a clear run. He aims to get Im Victorious off the inside and into the clear as soon as possible. "A lot of these races are won by horses who race on the leader's back, three back on the fence or even further back on the pegs," he said. "But when you've got a horse like Im Victorious and consider the artillery he carries, the fence is the last place you want to be. "So I plan to get off as soon as we can. You have just got to make sure you survive the early hustle and bustle in the race and then I'll just play things by ear. You've just got to weigh up the option and when things change out there your options change. With Im Victorious we're not screwed down to any set tactics. He's very versatile and we'll let the race tell us when to make our move." Hall used bold tactics last week when he charged forward from the rear with Im Victorious 650m after the start and raced the gelding in the breeze outside the pacemaker and favourite Bettors Fire before getting the upper hand on the home turn and beating Bettors Fire by a comfortable 2-metre margin. This week Hall may have to employ different tactics, mainly because young trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper said that he expected to race in the breeze with the five-year-old. Bettors Fire led from the No. 1 barrier in the Fremantle Cup, but he unlikely to have the gate speed to be able to burst to the front from the No. 4 barrier. The general consensus among the Cup trainers and drivers is that Hokonui Ben, trained by Gary Hall sen., will set the pace after starting from barrier two, on the outside of his younger and less experienced stablemate Toretto. Hall sen. reinforced this general opinion by saying: "Toretto is at his best when leading, but I think that his best chance will be if he takes a sit behind Hokonui Ben. I think that Toretto is about a year away from being up to this class. And from second on the fence Toretto is still going to have a great chance. "The problem I've got when I've got multiple runners is that I don't want to look to be involved in team driving. I know that the stewards are always aware of that, but I wouldn't team drive purposely. I send horses out there to try to make sure that they all finish in the best possible position. And I think Toretto's best chance is to be sitting on Hokonui Ben. "I expect Hokonui ben to lead. He is quite talented in front. Obviously, the best two horses in the race are Im Victorious and David Hercules." Hall jun. said that he was not concerned at starting from the inside of the back line as he recalled the first public barrier draw he attended, for the 2002 WA Pacing Cup, a week after he had driven The Falcon Strike to victory in the Fremantle Cup. "Mike van Rens, major owner of The Falcon Strike, told me that I would be picking the barrier," he said. "I walked up to the stage and pulled out barrier nine, the outside of the front line in those days, and I spent the rest of the night and the rest of the week really depressed and thinking that I had ruled myself out of the race. "The Falcon Strike came out and won the race and I decided I would not put too much focus on future barrier draws and let what happens happen and just believe in your horse and your ability as a driver." Brennan, in his second season as a trainer after serving an apprenticeship with Hall sen., said that he had high hopes that his other Cup runner This Time Dylan, who flashed home with a sparkling late burst to finish sixth in the Fremantle Cup, could be placed in this week's big group 1 feature. "His finishing burst was sensational and he's done a massive job in the past eight weeks," he said. "I was just fortunate that Brian Ridley claimed him three Fridays ago and he came to me in such good order from the Hall stable." Harper advised punters that Bettors Fire was capable of a bold effort, saying: "I think he's right up there with the top of the bunch and he'll definitely be there fighting out the finish. He was a touch underdone and not 100 per cent last week and he has improved after that run. However, there are no excuses for his defeat. He was beaten by a better horse on the night and probably a better horse generally at this stage. "I think that Hokonui Ben will find the front and if we find the breeze, as I expect, I'll be aiming to stay there. If anything tries to get past us, they'll be three deep for a pretty long time." Harper said it was a surreal feeling to have his first starter in a WA Pacing Cup and he recalled fondly one of his first memories of the big race --- back in 2001 when his father Lindsay prepared and drove Havago to victory. "I remember going down to the beach and watching Havago work," he said. "It has always been an ambition to work a horse on the beach for a Pacing Cup, and here I am all this week doing just that, and it's amazing." Ace reinsman Morgan Woodley, who drove outsider Mysta Magical Mach to victory in the 2009 WA Pacing Cup, was naturally disappointed when the David Thompson-trained David Hercules drew poorly at barrier four on the back line. But he has certainly not given up hope and he declared that the speedy seven-year-old could not be in any better shape than he is at the moment. Woodley said that the 2936m posed no problems for the gelding. He said that he was going into the race with no set plans and would decide on his tactics as the race unfolded. Eight-year-old Ima Rocket Star has drawn favourably at barrier three on the front line and co-trainer Greg Bond said that the gelding would relish the 2936m journey. "Staying is his forte," he said. "He is fit and well and he'll probably work forward at the start and get into the running line. If Bettors Fire gets to the breeze, we could get the ideal trail behind him." Tern-year-old iron horse Washakie, winner of the 2010 WA Pacing Cup (when he defeated Im Themightyquinn), is a resolute stayer, but his prospects faded when he drew the outside of the front line. Capel trainer Andrew De Campo has two runners --- Dasher VC and Lombo Navigator --- and they are outsiders after drawing poorly. Dasher VC, winner of the 2013 Fremantle Cup, will start from the outside of the back line after breaking into a bad gallop soon after the start of the Fremantle Cup last week. Lombo Navigator, who will be having his first start since finishing last in a sprint vat Gloucester Park on September 20, will start out wide at No. 6 on the front line. Bookmaker Steve Mulhall has Dasher VC at 33/1 and Lombo Navigator at 50/1, with Im Victorious favourite at even money. The market: evens Im Victorious, 5/1 Hokonui Ben, 7/1 Bettors Fire, 9/1 David Hercules, 20/1 Washakie, Ima Rocket Star, This Time Dylan, 25/1 Hez the Bart Man, 33/1 Toretto, Dasher VC, 50/1 Lombo Navigator, Livingontheinterest. HALL FANCIES FAMOUS ALCHEMIST OVER THE LONG JOURNEY New Zealand-bred mare Famous Alchemist has never won a race beyond 2200m, but reinsman Gary Hall jun. is confident she will lead all the way in the Nepean Conveyors WA Pacing Cup Consolation over the marathon journey of 2936m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "She's pretty tough and I don't think the long trip will worry her," he said. Hall's optimism bubbled to the fore after the five-year-old drew the prized No. 1 barrier. "She will hold up early and is a great leader," Hall said. "There is nothing in the race who could sit outside her and then hold off the late challengers." Hall has good reason to be confident. Famous Alchemist has started 18 times in Western Australia and has not been beaten in the five events in which she has set the pace. She is undefeated in the three starts in which she has begun from the No. 1 barrier in WA. Famous Alchemist, trained by Gary Hall sen., was an all-the-way winner over 2130m two starts ago, when she defeated Maggies Mystery, before she contested the consolation of the Fremantle Cup over 2536m last Friday night. She started from barrier three and raced three back on the pegs before getting clear in the final stages and flying home to be third behind Hez The Bart Man and Danieljohn. The major danger to Famous Alchemist looms as the Justin Prentice-trained Gday Mate, who will start from the inside of the back line and looks set to enjoy a perfect sit behind the likely pacemaker. Gday Mate bounced back to top form last Friday night when he started from barrier five on the front line and raced in ninth position before charging home to win at a 1.57.2 rate over 2536m from J Walker and Hokurin Handrail. The Hall camp hopes to complete a successful night by winning the final event, the Nepean Conveyors Three-Year-Old Fillies Pace with the highly-promising Majorly Foxy Styx, who has won at each of her past four starts, including her first three outings this season. "She has drawn out wide at barrier six, but she should have the measure of her seven rivals," Hall jun. said. "She is a big filly with plenty of ability." WILLIAMS EXPECTS OHOKA Kentucky TO FLOURISH IN FRONT Promising New Zealand-bred five-year-old Ohoka Kentucky produced a sparkling burst of speed to cruise to an effortless victory at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week and trainer-reinsman Robbie Williams predicted that the Christian Cullen gelding would be seen in a different role at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Ohoka Kentucky will start from the No. 1 barrier and Williams will be aiming for an all-the-way win in the 2130m first heat of the San Simeon Pace. The gelding started from barrier four at his latest appearance and Williams was content to keep him in sixth opposition in the one-wide line before setting him alight with a fast three-wide sprint 450m from home. Ohoka Kentucky burst to the front 150m later and raced away to beat The Oyster Bar by five lengths at a 1.56.3 rate over 1730m. It was his fourth win from eight starts in Western Australia. "He has worked on super since his latest outing, he's got good gate speed and is good in front," Williams said. Ohoka Kentucky should be at reasonable odds because there is a lot of exposed form in the race, with Rowchester, Jay Bees Grin, Heez On Fire, Clifford, Mister Sarkozy and Borntobeanartist all worthy of serious consideration. DELUXE EDITION HAS SOUND CLAIMS IN QUALIFYING HEAT Four-year-old Deluxe Edition still has a tendency to pull hard in her races, but she looks a good bet in the second heat of the Im Themightyquinn Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The daughter of Jet Laag, who is trained at Oakford by Ross Olivieri, warmed up for this event in fine style when she bowled along in front for Chris Voak and beat Jezaenkoubeauty and Firebomb over 2130m at a 1.58 rate at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. She has had 30 starts for eight wins and 12 placings and gave a sample of her class five starts ago when she finished second to star mare Leda McNally and ahead of the talented Famous Alchemist over 1730m at Gloucester Park. She will start out wide at barrier five on the front line on Friday night and Voak looks sure to get her away to a fast start in a bid to take the lead in the early stages. Olivieri has a good second string in the race in Arousing, whose prospects diminished when she drew the outside of the front line. Eight-year-old Kotare Ash is out of form and has managed one placing from her past ten starts. But she should appreciate the No. 1 barrier and is capable of causing an upset. The consistent Arch On Fire will have many admirers from the inside of the back line. She has had 94 starts for 13 wins, 31 placings and $130,532 in stakes and should enjoy a perfect run on the pegs. She was ninth in the middle stages and sustained a strong three-wide burst to dead-heat for fourth behind Pure Empathy over 2130m last Friday night. by Ken Casellas  

THE performances of now three-year-old pacer Resurgent Spirit in winning his first 10 starts, has raised the question of which horse has been Tasmania's best performed juvenile pacer. Resurgent Spirit took his consecutive tally to 10 when he emerged triumphant at his first start this season in Hobart last Sunday night. The Roger Whitmore-trained gelding is only two wins away from the record of consecutive wins in Tasmania. Dare We Dream created a big impression by winning his first 11 starts - four two year olds and seven the following season. In all he won 14 of his 17 races and is the only Tasmanian bred pacer to win his first 11 starts. The ill fated Cody Maverick did not win until his fourth start but then reeled off nine in a row before his tragic death at Bendigo in the 2008 Breeders Crown 2YO final. The great Halwes won 13 in a row during his career , the last being the Tasmanian Championship final which he won from 48 yards (40 metres). At his next start he lost on protest to Robin Dundee in Melbourne. Golden Alley won his first 12 Tasmanian starts, although in that time he suffered three defeats in Victoria. At his 13th Tasmanian start he was defeated by Scott's Bay in a heat of the Tasmanian Championships. Happy Prospect won 10 races as a two year old, with three defeats. .He won his last seven starts as a two year old and his first five as a three year old, a total of 12 in a row. He raced 21 times for 17 wins. Prospect Star won a total of 20 races in his juvenile years, five as a two year old and 15 the following year. Another Shy had 11 two year old wins (eight in a row) and won another eight as a three year old Perhaps the best two year old the state has produced was The Yank. In the 1978 season he raced 12 times for 10 wins (nine in a row). Amongst his wins were the $ 15,000 NSW Challenge Stakes and the $ 10,000 NSW Saplings Stakes. He also had two starts on Moonee Valley winning from 30 and 40 metres behind. Mi Coconut won her first 10 starts in Tasmania and Victoria. Halyer won four races from nine starts as a two year old, including his last two as a two year old. The following season he won his first nine starts before finishing second in the NSW Derby. But at his subsequent start he won the Australian Derby at Gloucester Park in Western Australia. It was harder for pacers that raced many years ago to string together a long sequence of wins. The great stallion Our Globe won his two starts as a three year old, the following season he raced four times for as many wins including the New Norfolk Cup. As a five year old he met his first defeat in a Sorell Cup, and then with only seven life time starts he contested the 1938/39 Inter Dominion at Launceston. Our Globe defeated Springfield Globe in the first round of heats. He then defeated Globe Dorell in the second set of heats three days later but he was disqualified for six months when he finished unplaced on the third day of the Championships. The two pacers he defeated on the first and second day ran the quinella in the Final. Our Globe resumed racing eight months later and won his first three starts. Consecutive Wins from Debut Dare We Dream 11 Mi Coconut 10 Resurgent Spirit 10 Consecutive Wins Halwes 13 Happy Prospect 12 Halyer 11 Cody Maverick 9 The Yank 9 Another Shy 8 Consecutive Wins in Tasmania Golden Alley 12 Peter Staples  

Due to the extreme heat forecast for today Monday in Adelaide the harness racing meeting set down for today will now be run on Tuesday (14th Jan) as a night fixture. It will also start later than a regular night fixture, again with a view to avoiding the worst of tomorrow's heat.   The starting times for tomorrow night are:   R1 7.25pm R2 7.55pm R3 8.25pm R4 8.55pm R5 9.25pm R6 9.52pm R7 10.17pm R8 10.42pm   Harness Racing SA would like to thank Sky Racing for the support on this matter.   Peter Smith Racing Operations Manager    

London, January 3, 2014 -- With the absence of a couple of major tracks on the Friday night schedule, The Raceway at Western Fair District took full advantage putting up a handle of $536,725 - the highest single night total in more than a decade. A pair of guaranteed pool pick-4 wagers and a large carryover into the late Super Hi-5 helped spur the large pari-mutuel pools. It was a big start to the 2014 season for the London oval and marks the fourth time in the last five programs that The Raceway has topped the $400,000 mark in handle. “That is just an amazing number for us to put up, especially on Friday which is traditionally our lightest night in terms of wagering,” said Racing and Gaming Manager Greg Blanchard. “With a couple of the major tracks like Woodbine and Northfield not racing, it presented an opportunity and it is encouraging to see our customers respond.” Live racing resumes this Monday afternoon at The Raceway with first post at 4:05 p.m. Free programs for Monday’s card are available atwww.westernfairdistrict.com. Greg Blanchard

Hunter Valley trainer Aaron Garaty will have two chances in Saturday's Maitland Inter City Pace after qualifying Hit For Six and My Aliyana in Sunday's heats. Hit For Six was first up from a three month break but proved too strong in his heat while My Aliyana chased home former kiwi Ardghal finishing third. "It is going to be a big ask for Hit For Six in the final because he will be forced to run two mile and a half races in the space of a week at his first two runs back from a spell but I am just happy to have two runners in the final," Garaty said. "My Aliyana is probably the better chance of my two, she has been racing very consistently recently, I think she has won five of her last thirteen starts." Mitchell Frost drove both of Garaty's runners in the heats but looks set to drive My Aliyana in the final. "I'm pretty sure Mitchell will be driving My Aliyana but I haven't had a chance to speak with all of the owners in Hit For Six so at this stage I'm unsure who will be driving him." "Unfortunately I am suspended from driving at the moment but I'm going to be cheering loudly for both of them on Saturday night." Garaty only has twelve horses in work so to get two horses into the Inter City Pace is a tremendous effort. "I have been having a pretty good run recently, I got a treble last week and things before that have been going really well, I've got some nice horses and great owners too." "I've had a bit of luck with horses from the Wagga area, we got Hit For Six from down there, I know Andrew and Tim Doherty and they have been putting me onto a couple of horses that look suited to racing here in the Hunter." Maitland's Inter City Pace meeting is part of the successful HRNSW TAB Carnival Of Cups circuit. To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: Dale Walker    

Fridays 15-race program is headed by the Stuart A. Wiener Memorial Pace; a California Sire Stakes featuring Show Runner and two divisions of the second leg of the Dr. Gary Budahn Trotting Series. First post is 5:20 p.m. (PDT). The Stuart A. Wiener Memorial is named for the man who has raced trotters and pacers with his wife Wendi since 1990. They were married for 42 years and he passed away on Dec. 5 from a heart infection at the age of 65. He is also survived by his daughter Jennifer, her husband Jon and a 10-year-old grandson Nathan. He was CFO at Health Science College in Henderson, Nevada and enjoyed his work, but it was his love of horses that really showed through, Wendi said. Our first horse was Shot N, who we had with Ross Croghan, and he is still on the farm. Stu loved everything about the game, including the betting, and a perfect union was made. For many years, the Wieners have raced their horses with trainer Nathalie Tremblay, including their favorite pacer Bewareofthisaffair. Stuarts name did appear on some of the horses along with Wendis brother Alan Kraslow, but most of the performers raced under her name. Stu loved going to Sacramento and hanging out with the horses. We both loved Nathalie and Dave (Kuri) and we have all been together so long that its not as much a business as it is family. He even had the chance to jog a horse by himself once, and he never stopped talking about it. Stu really loved the horses and proof is that we have seven retired here on the farm. Life was always interesting, especially on race night when we went to Dish Network to watch every race. The last few months Stu actually felt good and was even back to golf, but who knew. I keep telling people that we need to celebrate Stus life. Even with all the health problems he had in the last several years, he had a pretty fantastic life. It was the horses that actually lifted him at the worst times. Contentious field set for Invitational Trot A well-matched field is set for Fridays $5,000 Invitational Trot, with last weeks upset winner K D Amazin Spirit taking on the stablemates Franks Best and Inside Broadway and the hard-knocking Axle. K D Amazin Spirit is a 7-year-old son of Thadrow out of the Monterey Judge mare K D Charm who is owned, trained and was bred by Keith Willey and will have xxxx at the controls. He comes into this assignment with $104,000 in his account and a 1:54 2/5 mark that was established here earlier this season. He had no shown much in his first three starts since returning from Running Aces, where he closed out that campaign with a win, but he certainly returned to top form in last weeks clash at the head of the class. Plano motored him right to the top, he set the fractions without a challenge and came home with nearly four lengths to spare at nearly 16-1 that evening. Franks Best was runner-up in that affair as the 2-1 choice and figures to once again get plenty of support. The Bob Johnson owned, trained and bred 6-year-old has $185,000 in the bank, a slew of Sire Stakes trophies on the mantle and has posed for pictures following three of his last six trips to the post here with Mooney Svendsen handling the lines. Inside Broadway is a half-brother to Franks Best and gives Johnson another strong look at the outcome. The 4-year-ood Broadway Hall offspring rattled off three straight wins between November 9 and December 6 and has been burdened with the outside posts in his last two appearances, including the demanding No. 10 slot on December 13. James Kennedy will again be in the sulky. Axle is a Michigan-bred son of Hard Rock who figures right in the thick of things with his best mile. He dead-heated for the win in a conditioned contest on November 22, but has had to settle for minor awards in the interim while doing his work at this top rung. George Reider trains and David Siegel drives and they co-own the performer with Robert Thronson and Greg Robinson. BEGINNING THIS WEEKEND, THERE WILL BE A $10,000 GUARANTED POOL FOR THE PICK 5 ON BOTH FRIDAY AND SATURDAY. THE PICK 4 GUARANTEE CONTINUES TO BE $20,000 ON FRIDAYS AND $25,000 ON SATURDAYS. Mark Ratzky                        

Robert Bi (3m Toss Out-Up Front JM-Self Possessed) with Robin Bakker aboard, easily took the Gr. I Italian Derby in 1.12.7kr for owner Allevento G. Biasuzzi Srl. The 2100 meter autostart event carried a purse of 770,000 euro. Jerry Riordan's trainee Rod Stewart earned second for Enrico Bellei and the other Riordan entrant, the filly Rossella Ross, was fourth behind third place finisher Royal Blessed. Robert Bi went off as the overwhelming favorite and did not disappoint punters and fans with his three length score. Napoli, 86thGran Premio Derby Italia del Trotto, Gr. I Finale, 2100 meters autostart, 770,000 euro purse  1.12.7kr 1st Robert Bi (3m Toss Out-Up Front JM-Self Possessed), Robin Bakker up, owner Allevemento G. Biasuzzi Srl 2nd Rod Stewart (3m Love You-Valley Lane-Lindy Lane), Enrico Bellei up for trainer Jerry Riordan 3rd Royal Blessed (3m Varenne-Ivory Kronos-Viking Kronos), Lorenzo Baldi up 4th. Rossella Ross (3f Self Possessed-Northern Jewel-Garland Lobell), Roberto Andreghetti up for trainer Riordan 5th Remo Gas (3m Varenne-Isotta Gas-Toss Out), Roberto Vecchione driving The companion Gran Premio Oaks del Trotto for a purse of 220,000 euro over 1600 meters autostart went to the Riordan trained, Guida Italia Srl developed Red Rose America (3f Varenne-Armbro Voice-Garland Lobell) in 1.12.9kr. Enrico Bellei did the teaming and led virtually all the way to win by two lengths. Rodeo Drive was second for "Pippo" Gubellini ahead of Roxanne Bar and reinsman Robert Andreghetti. Napoli, Gran Premio Oaks del Trotto, Gr. I, 220,000 euro, 1600 meters autostart  1.12.9kr 1st Red Rose America (3f Varenne-Armbro Voice-Garland Lobell), Enrico Bellei up, trainer Jerry Riordan, owner Guida Italia Srl 2nd Rodeo Drive OK (3f Conway Hall-Georgia Pines-Pine Chip), Pietro Gubellini 3rd Roxanne Bar (3f Exploit Caf-Guendalina Bar-Bon Vivant), Robert Andreghetti Replay below: http://se-mi2-6.se.unirevod.alice.cdn.interbusiness.it/market/unire/video/NAT-03-T-261213.wmv Earlier in the card the Derby Consolation, worth 45,100 euro, went to Radieux (3m Love You-Dordogne-Viking Kronos) in 1.13.4kr for Andrea Guzzinati. He prevailed in a close encounter over Reby di Celo and Rombo di Cannone. Napoli, 86 Derby del Trotto Consolation, 45,100 euro, 2100 meters autostart  1.13.4kr 1st Radieux (3m Love You-Dordogne-Viking Kronos), Andrea Guzzinati 2nd Reby di Celo (3m Self Possessed-Mely di Ceco-Lindy Lane), Pietro Gubellini 3rd Rombo di Cannone (3m Varenne-Cannoniera-Diamond Way), V.P. Dell'Annunziata by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com       

Commencing from 1 January 2014, the split of prizemoney in NSW will change for standard races following a resolution by the Board at its December meeting. The minimum stake for any runner increases to 2% of prizemoney and is designed to offset the drivers fee and miscellaneous expenses such as fuel. The new allocation is as follows:   Place % Total 1 60 60 2 15 75 3 10 85 4 5 90 5 2 92 6 2 94 7 2 96 8 2 98 9 2 100 10 2 102 11 2 104 12 2 106 13 2 108 14 2 110     It should be noted that 100% of the allocated prizemoney is paid to ninth because, after scratchings, 70% of all races have nine starters or less, however in the cases when there are 10 starters or more those runners will still receive the equivalent of 2% of prizemoney funded from the prizemoney contingency fund. So, for example, if there are 11 runners in a particular event, the total prizemoney paid will actually be 104% of the value of the race. This means that an extra $300,000 will be paid to participants over the course of a year and into the pockets of unplaced runners. The trainers and drivers percentages will be paid to 4th under this model.   The prizemoney distribution for the NSWHRC Country Series, Trotting and Claiming races, Penalty Exempt Events and NSWHRC Monthly Consolation Races is unchanged and as follows:   Place % Total 1 50 50 2 18 68 3 12 80 4 6 86 5 4 90 6 2 92 7 2 94 8 2 96 9 2 98 10 2 100 11 2 102 12 2 104 13 2 106 14 2 108   Further prizemoney distribution models are used for Breeders Challenge events, non-TAB meetings and races such as the Miracle Mile and Inter Dominion. The full policy and updated tables can be viewed at the HRNSW website. Dale Walker | Manager - Marketing | Harness Racing New South Wales                      

This Week: The 2013 Grand Circuit season has come to a close. The 2014 schedule will be released in January. Last time: Apprentice Hanover, driven by Jody Jamieson, made a sweeping three-wide move to win the $126,000 Cleveland Classic in 1:52.1 on Dec. 14 at Northfield Park in the final Grand Circuit event of the 2013 campaign. Sent off at odds of 3-1 as a heavy snow fell on the half-mile oval, Apprentice Hanover got away fifth as favored Word Power made the lead before the quarter, clocked in :27. Apprentice Hanover and driver Jody Jamieson won the Cleveland Classic in 1:52.1. Twilight Bonfire (Tony Hall) was first to challenge the leader, timing a slingshot swipe before the half, timed in :56.2. Jamieson put Apprentice Hanover on Hall's helmet in front of the grandstand for the first time. Twilight Bonfire put up a stiff challenge through three-quarters in 1:24, but could only close within a head of Word Power. In mid-turn, Jamieson tipped Apprentice Hanover three-wide. The colt responded by blowing by the other two colts to win. Twilight Bonfire was second with Good Day Mate charging late for third. Only The Lonely was fourth and Word Power faded to fifth. Apprentice Hanover was one of two horses (Word Power being the other) owned by Bradley Grant in the race. The 3-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere-Allamerican Nadia is trained by Ben Wallace. Apprentice Hanover now has five wins in 18 starts this year, good for purse earnings of $228,207. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2013, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Hanover Shoe Farms is the sponsor for the 2013 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the final standings for the 2013 season: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,862; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,645; 3. David Miller - 1,233; 4. Brian Sears - 781.5; and 5. Ron Pierce - 729.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,818.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,221.5; 3. Linda Toscano - 515.5; 4. Jonas Czernyson - 507.5; and 5. Tony Alagna - 471. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 410.7; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 380; 3. Frank Bellino - 268.5; 4. Brittany Farms - 263.05; and 5. WJ Donovan - 244. Looking ahead: The 2014 Grand Circuit schedule will be released in January. by Paul Ramlow for the Grand Circuit    

With the completion of the final two preliminary legs of this year's North American Amateur Drivers Association's Charity Trotting Series held at Yonkers Raceway on December 12th, the field of drivers is now set for the $12,000 finale to be raced at Yonkers Raceway on December 19. Last night (Dec. 12) previous leg winners, Paul Minore and Dr. John Kokinos, each emerged victorious, Kokinos for the fourth time and Minore for the second. Kokinos, with Jennifer Lappe's Impressive Earl, trotted to the front in their $6,000 split and rebuffed all challenges en route to a 1:59.4 victory over Ipo Blue Chip and driver Steve Oldford. Third place went to Bob Davis up behind Ilari. For Doctor John, a veterinarian by trade, his victory added another 11 points to his totals and he finishes with 59 points and the points championship in the seven- leg, three-track trotting series which began on October 17 at Monticello Raceway. Freehold Raceway was also a participant in the series. In his $6,000 split Paul Minore, a retired high school coach who's most famous pupil was Carl Lewis, took no prisoners and went down the road to score a 1:59.3 victory with his own Wygant Prince. Monica Banca with Leave Your Mark finished a length behind the winner in second place while Bob Hechkoff got Tremendous Hit home for third money. As a results of those races the top eight in series points earned a berth in the $12,000 Final. Behind Kokinos and eligible to start if they choose to enter are; Paul Minore (40 points), Monica Banca (34), Bob Davis (24), Dave Offenberg (23), Bob Krivelin , Bob Hechkoff, and Dave Yarock, each with 21 points. If any of the aforementioned don't enter it opens up for those next in line in points totals which includes; Tony Verruso (18), Gerry Fielding (17), Steve Oldford, ( 13), Kelly Walker 12 and Alan Schwartz (11). When the series finale is completed, Joe Faraldo, the president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, will again make a substantial donation from the organization to a worthwhile charity soon to be announced. By John Manzi  

TORONTO, December 13 - Woodbine Entertainment Group would like to remind horsepeople of the holiday draw schedule and special post times over this holiday season. The Rexdale oval will conduct racing on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until December 28. Post time remains 7:25 p.m. Woodbine will also hold a special Boxing Day matinee card (Thursday, December 26) with post time scheduled for 1 p.m. The Valedictory and Niagara Series finals will headline the Holiday afternoon program. In the New Year, racing will switch to a schedule that offers racing on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. There will be no live racing from December 29 to January 5. Race Date – Draw Date Thursday, December 26 – Saturday, December 21 Friday, December 27 – Saturday, December 22 Saturday, December 28 – Monday, December 23 Monday, January 6 – Friday, January 3 The final date for qualifiers at Woodbine this year is set for Friday, December 27. Qualifiers will then occur every Monday in the New Year beginning on Monday, January 6. Post time is scheduled for 4 p.m. By Greg Gangle

On April 19, 2014 the top horseplayers in North America will compete for over $60,000 in prize money* in the 2014 World Harness Handicapping Championship, at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment in East Rutherford, NJ. The WHHC qualifiers at the newly opened Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment are set for January 11, February 22 and March 15. The Meadowlands January 11 qualifier has a $200 total fee ($100 entry plus a $100 real-money bankroll). The format requires players to bet a minimum of $10 ($100 maximum) on 10 Meadowlands races. Complete rules and entry form are available at PlayMeadowlands.com. The top two finishers will earn spots in the WHHC with prize money to be paid out to the Top 10 finishers. The World Harness Handicapping Championship (WHHC) is the partnership between Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment and the United States Trotting Association formed to create the industry's ultimate tournament experience. Standardbred Canada supports the project by facilitating the participation of Canadian racing and wagering outlets. The WHHC is a one-day tournament, with a welcome reception the evening prior. Players may earn a seat in the WHHC through a qualifying event at a partner wagering outlet or through direct buy-in ($800). In addition to the Meadowlands, the United States Trotting Association, The Meadows and Buffalo are conducting WHHC qualifiers. A complete list of participating outlets and qualifier dates can be found at PlayMeadowlands.com or by clicking here. For more information on how to become a WHHC partner outlet or sponsor, contact Rachel Ryan, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment (raryan@newmracing.com) or Kathy Wade Vlaar, Standardbred Canada (kwvlaar@standardbredcanada.ca). *estimated final prize pool, based on 120 entries        

Nominations for the SA BOTRA Golden Nursery Series closed at the end of November with 130 two year olds nominated up from 117 last season. BOTRA recently announced that prize money for heats and finals heats now carry prizemoney of $6000 and increase of a $1000 each heat with the final to be the last Saturday in May worth $25,000 for colts & geldings and the same for the fillies final an increase of $5000 each final. SA BOTRA executive officer Lois Randall said " we are very pleased with the increased number of entries up by 13 from same time last year." Randall went on to say "last year we had to extend nomination time while this year nominations closed on time." The Goldern Nursery was first run in 1971 and has been won by some outstanding pacers over the years such as Uncle Remus in 1979, Armchair Rider for Vin Knight in 198, Nikalong Shadow in 1987, Pappy McCoy for Ross Sugars in 1989 the classy filly Ananz was crowned champion in 2008. In 2011 BOTRA decided to run both a colts and geldings and a fillies final with increased prizemoney.   Last season's winners were Flagbearer took out the fillies division while Major Cruiser won the colts & geldings final. By Gary Newton  

In harness racing, provisional drivers aren't supposed to get first call to drive the best horses on the grounds. Provisional drivers don't repeatedly drive horses to track records and absolutely under no circumstance do they ever win more often than their peers. But all of that changed Saturday at Batavia Downs where 23-year-old provisional driver Shawn McDonough concluded the meet at the Western New York track by becoming the first "P" driver in harness racing history to win a track's dash title. And in the end, it wasn't even close. McDonough took the lead atop the driver standings over the summer and entered the final week of the meet holding a 93 to 84 win advantage over the next closest driver, Ray Fisher. In the final three days of the meet, McDonough won three races Wednesday, another three on Friday, and for just good measure scored a grand slam on the meet's final night putting him over the 100 win mark. A strong Buffalo meet in the first half of the year that saw McDonough win 71 times from 591 starts gave the young driver a wave of momentum heading into the new meet at Batavia. There, a number of factors played a role in McDonough's record breaking success. McDonough said, "John Cummings left here and that opened spots up. A couple drivers got hurt (Ray Fisher and Jack Flanigen nearing the end of at Buffalo), and that opened up opportunities. I did well for a number of the trainers and they kept with me." McDonough credits the Empowered Racing Stable and Resilient Racing Stable as a large part of his success at Batavia. I was working for Empowered Racing Stable with Carl Smith and they put me on the right foot with some power to drive. My own owners, the Resilient Stable, they gave me a great opportunity to train horses and I've done well. In regards to Empowered, "You know, they have great horses and spend a lot of money on horses and bring them to these tracks. I broke the track trotting record this year with their mare Mystical Escapade," said McDonough. In addition to the smashing record setting performance by Mystical Escapade who would go onto be named Trotter of the Year at Batavia, McDonough also broke a track record with the pacing mare Xenia Hanover by virtue of a blowout eight length win in 1:53. Other horses of note from McDonough are Cactus Jack and Resilient Stable's millionaire trotter, Self Professed. McDonough said that his best of claim of the year was Debs Girloffortune. "I claimed her for $4,000 and she made almost $16,000 just at Batavia for me. I think she missed one check in about twenty starts." Even with the breakout success at Buffalo, it was hard for McDonough to envision just how much of that would carry over into the Batavia season. "Heading into the meet someone had asked me how many wins I'd get, and I thought maybe 75 or so. I can't explain it but for some reason every year I have better luck at Batavia than I do at Buffalo. Being a provisional driver I didn't know what the opportunities would be like, but a lot of my buddies are good trainers and they all helped to put me on the map pretty good." McDonough continued, "I never thought realistically I would hit the 100 mark; it was just a great year. I'm thankful for my owners, all my family and friends. I've got a good helper too with my girlfriend Ashley Holiday who helps out a lot. We've got a really great team here and everything clicked." In becoming the first provisional driver to ever win a track dash title, it does beg the question: Why is McDonough still a provisional driver in the first place? By the very definition of what a provisional license essentially is, it's almost inexplicable that McDonough remains under that classification. Ultimately, it is only the state appointed judges presiding at Buffalo/Batavia that can grant McDonough to a full "A" driver status. But despite the subjective nature at which that determination is made, McDonough has laughably outpaced what the standard minimum requirements are, pursuant to the United States Trotting Association 2014 Bylaws. There are a number of different ways that minimum requirements can be met, but generally speaking what's required while holding a 'P' license is one year driving experience, plus 25 satisfactory pari-mutuel starts and a win requirement of 5 wins. McDonough has held a 'P' license now for 4 years and in just this single year alone, he has won 174 times with earnings in excess of $900,000. Searching for an answer, McDonough said "I asked at the beginning of the Batavia meet why I can't yet have an 'A' license and didn't really get an answer, so I told myself that I'm going to have to go out there and try to win a title to show the judges. I'm not sure how it makes them look having a 'P' driver go out there and win a title, but you can't argue with them." He continued, "They're actually the ones that told me towards the end of the meet that I was going to be the first 'P' driver to win a dash title and break history, I didn't even know that." McDonough added, "I had an opportunity to go to the Meadowlands and drive for Empowered Racing. They asked me to go with them but I wasn't able to (because of the 'P' status). All I can do is be patient and keep it going. Just this year I've had close to 180 wins; I'm not dangerous and haven't caused any accidents - nothing." The next time we'll see McDonough in action is when Buffalo starts their new season on January 8. Until then, he's giving his horses time off for a little break. As for plans later down the road McDonough says "I'm just being patient. If I have a good year again maybe we'll look at trying Pocono. If I get a couple of my guys to go and get owners like Empowered and Resilient to move their stock we'll see what happens." In the meanwhile, McDonough will enter 2014 seeking his second consecutive track title in Western New York. Unheard of for a 'provisional' driver. by, Brett Sturman for The Racing Beard

When the term 'Ponzi scheme' is mentioned these days, the names Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford instantly spring to mind. The pair of them ran multi-billion dollar frauds (US$60bn and $8bn respectively) that destroyed the lives of thousands of investors who had put their life savings into a 'wonderful' investment strategy. How so many people were sucked into the scheme is baffling to those on the outside. The lifestyle, the sales pitch, the success stories of the early investors - I suppose it all adds up.  So where does this link to racing you ask? A prominent Australian 'racing identity' this week has been reported to have lost access to a bank account with punters' club funds of $194m in it. Firstly - is there a worse term for anyone to be labelled with that 'racing identity'? It ALWAYS ends up meaning shonky crook! Secondly - who the hell has a punters' club with an active bankroll in the tens of millions? It simply can't be done.  The media has just started to scratch the surface on this case:  - Racing identity Bill Vlahos denies punting club losses  - $5m bill for Caviar's brother unpaid  - Punters' club man faces suit over Black Caviar's half-brother  but my sources tell me there is a lot left to expose.  Let's examine the alleged punters' club run by Bill Vlahos:  There was no prospectus for potential investors, no contracts securing their investments, nothing at all in writing. No public records of the club activity. All members were sworn to secrecy. (Anyone hearing alarm bells?)  Members would put money into the club and then receive regular dividends. Members were promised a return of over 6% per quarter, adding up to 25% annual profit on investment, and that's what the early investors received. It was a betting syndicate. Since when are betting returns consistent?  All the dodgy betting investment scams in Australia are based on the Gold Coast, so surely this one had to be legitimate? The syndicate was allegedly betting on Melbourne and Sydney racing each week, but with 'offshore outlets' via a broker. Punters worldwide will tell you that getting on is harder than ever. As soon as you start winning, your cards are marked and the industry works against you to shut you down. Corporate bookies shut or heavily restrict your account. Betfair hits you with a Premium Charge of up to 60% of your profits. There simply aren't offshore outlets who will let you bet millions on Australian racing, and there certainly aren't charitable betting firms out there who will let you win a million dollars per quarter to keep up with your promised 6% quarterly return. There is more truth in a Harry Potter novel!  The master system behind this money tree:  "Mr Vlahos developed his system during a two-year stint living near Randwick racecourse when he was not working full-time.  He said he used his mathematical training gained during his La Trobe University psychology degree to come up with a way to beat the odds.  Mr Vlahos said that members of his club trusted him despite the lack of written contracts, and accepted that he collected five per cent of the winnings.  "There's nothing in writing because it's a punting club and it's a trust punting club, the people that are in it have made the decision that they understand how the punting club works between me and them," he said."  "Mr Vlahos said that the maths-based system he used for the punting club brought constant quarterly profits back into the common pool."  The "mathematical training gained during a psychology degree" allowed him to develop a system, which he coincidentally did while living next door to one of the biggest racecourses in the country. I'm calling bullshit on that one. Wagering is an incredibly complicated business which requires an enormous workload just to keep up with continually evolving markets. Maths alone will not make you a profit. Form study alone will not make you a profit. The best money management scheme of all time will not make you a profit. Anyone who tells you they can make consistent, unlimited profits on horse racing has as much credibility as a politician....  The reference material for a successful and disguised Ponzi scheme is the success of the early members. They make their money from introducing new members, although it is highly likely they are unaware of the mechanics of it. Every new member brought into the syndicate bring new liquidity, which is actually the profit they supposedly make every week from their betting investments. The ground-floor investors do very well out of it, and continue to innocently provide glowing references for anyone else considering joining. For them, everything seems above board. So Bob is considering putting money in, he looks at Jim who has been in for a year and done well, then he looks up to Max who has been in for longer and is genuinely displaying the lifestyle of someone making solid, regular profits from their investments. So Bob thinks he's onto a good thing, everyone knows each other and believes what they see, and injects more money into the 'club'. This cycle continues with everyone profiting until it gets too big. Suddenly the rate of signing up new members starts to fall away, the liquidity dries up and so does the flow of profits. Vlahos claims that they had only lost money in one quarter in eight years - that's all it needs to start crumbling....  One piece of anecdotal evidence I have heard is of an early member in regional Victoria who had an incredible run signing up new members - while they all bought cars and swimming pools with their profits, he kept re-investing his profits to create that golden nest egg for retirement. I'm told he believed his share of the syndicate pot was as much as a third - in the vicinity of $60-120m! I'm tipping he'll be rather disappointed.  The Westpac account allegedly containing the $194m hasn't been locked by the bank, it hasn't gone missing, they haven't lost the account due to a computer glitch. It never existed in the first place.  Bill Vlahos doesn't exactly have the cleanest of connections in the racing industry - he has a link to Tony Mokbel, the big time drug dealer who laundered much of his cash flow through various forms of gambling. When the heavy hand of the law started closing in on Mokbel and his associates, it was Vlahos who took over ownership of a horse owned by Tony's brother Horty Mokbel, Pillar of Hercules. The chances of that being coincidental are very slim. And it was this love of horses which reports say, saw him come up with another front for the Ponzi scheme.  Vlahos was most famous for his backing for BC3 Thoroughbreds - a new age bloodstock syndication company who entered the market with a bang, paying huge prices for yearlings, including $5m for a half-brother to Black Caviar. It seemed over the top at the time, their attitude was "we weren't going to be outbid on this one". And now we know why. Value didn't seem to matter to them. So long as the horse could attract investors, they'd be fine. The sales company, Inglis, have yet to be paid for the horse. This isn't uncommon, trainers often take a while to syndicate horses, but they have to pay interest on their debts. It is reported that several people have paid cash for shares in the blue-blood colt, but none of that money has been passed onto Inglis - the allegations are that it has all been tipped into the Ponzi scheme.  If all this is true, and I have no reason whatsoever to doubt my sources who have seen this building up for several years, there are many highly respectable people caught up in this, completely innocently. Investors from Melbourne society, football clubs, players and administrators. Highly respected administrators who have left their jobs to become part of the BC3 'success story'.... My sources tell me that BC3 staff were told this morning Australian time that the company is no longer. I'd expect most of them knew nothing of all this until very recently.  The interest started to mount up on 'Jimmy', the half-brother to Black Caviar. Pressure was on to find more funds to put into the club - surely this sham would last forever? Vlahos allegedly relocated to Singapore earlier in the year - to secure more suckers? To get away from the front-line pressure of the scheme? To stay away from investigators and start preparing an escape route? Theories of what has happened to 'Jimmy' are plentiful. The SMH article said 'the insurance policy can only be paid out in death'. Spider bite, heavy dose of anti-biotics from a vet which is rumoured could be linked to laminitis, a potentially fatal disease.... If the horse survives this ordeal which he is still recovering from, a successful life on the racetrack must be highly improbable now. A stud career for an unraced colt, no matter how esteemed the bloodlines, will be nowhere as lucrative as it could have been with a few wins under his belt.  This scandal has only just started to hit the courts, brought upon by legal proceedings from an unhappy member who is unlikely to ever see his money again. Vlahos' assets have been seized, his passport taken away. Criminal reporters will dig further into this, further than the traditional racing media who are always reluctant to expose/embarrass people within the industry. I'm told investigative journalists from The Age have been close to breaking this story but were holding back - articles from their rivals may now force their hand.  The fallout from this will be enormous. Racing can't afford to have thousands of people with significant sums of money involved become disenchanted with the sport. When the Nathan Tinkler empire crumbled, the people who felt it most were the businesses and staff he owed money to. This scandal goes so much wider. And yet it's not a new blight on the racing industry. Go back to the 80s and a Melbourne conman called Joe Talia did something similar, using the gift of the gab to convince people to invest in his schemes. There were no miracle investment schemes, it was just him pissing the money away at the racetrack, in casinos or living far above his means.   Courtesy of Scott Ferguson   "This article written by and reprinted courtesy of Scott Ferguson, seasoned betting industry expert and editor of www.sportismadeforbetting.com blog. You can also follow him on Twitter via @borisranting"  

HRSA are delighted to announce that Tattsbet will be offering a weekly fixed price wagering service on South Australian Harness Racing commencing on Saturday 7 December at Betezy Park Globe Derby. HRSA CEO, John Lewis stated "that this is a significant announcement for the harness racing industry in South Australia, which will create significant wagering interest, and be a great fillip for our code." Mr Lewis also stated that "this is one of the most exciting and positive wagering announcements for many years, and follows considerable lobbying by HRSA over many years to secure an enhanced fixed price wagering service". "In particular, we are also extremely appreciative of the commitment to this initiative from Tattsbet management including Tattsbet CEO, Robbie Cooke, who is clearly demonstrating an increased commitment to generating wagering growth." Mr Lewis further stated that 'the timing of this announcement was ideal leading into the "Summer of Racing" for harness racing in South Australia, including the $125,000 Betezy SA Cup to be held on Saturday 11 January 2014." Tattsbet have also advised that they intend to expand the fixed price wagering service to include Friday night Harness Racing by March 2014, with further possible expansion to occur later in 2014. More Information: John Lewis, HRSA CEO - Ph 0417 855 300 Email: jlewis@saharness.org.au     Gary Newton   sportspac21@yahoo.com.au  

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