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With a smile on his face and a small chuckle, Shepparton’s Chris Hazelman says he has a suspicion who may have nominated him for a Medal of the Order of Australia. The former City of Greater Shepparton mayor and current manager of the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District has had an extensive career spanning several community organisations and government roles around Greater Shepparton. With a CV that includes five terms as mayor, treasurer of Goulburn Valley Primary Care Partnership, board member of Goulburn Valley Health and president of the Tallygaroopna Recreation Reserve Committee, it is easy to see why he has been recognised for his service to the community. ‘‘My initial response was, ‘wow, what does it all mean?’ — you get a little bit reflective looking back on your career,’’ Mr Hazelman said. ‘‘I felt all the emotions, you feel very humble, proud, appreciative and grateful; it is a fantastic honour to even be considered ... in that reflection time you look back on stuff that you’ve done and the people you have helped.’’ The current City of Greater Shepparton councillor said his stint as mayor from 1998 to 2002 was one of the most rewarding times of his career and one which oversaw significant changes to the municipality. Not long before securing the role, Greater Shepparton City Council was formed after merging the shires of Rodney and Shepparton with the City of Shepparton. This merger brought new structures and processes and was one which involved developing a truly representative group of councillors. ‘‘It was a completely new municipality; there was going to be a lot of capital works infrastructure types of projects ... it was in the time of a new council, it was like a greenfield site merging all of that together,’’ Mr Hazelman said. ‘‘It was an amazing experience, I think now, to serve five consecutive terms; I must have been crazy and I would not recommend to anyone to try and do it now.’’ In 2006 Mr Hazelman began working as the manager of the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District, a role which he said now filled most of his days. It is evident Mr Hazelman is passionate about his work, speaking highly of the thousands of refugees and migrants he has worked with upon their arrival in Shepparton. ‘‘The challenges there and the people you’re both working with and for is incredibly rewarding,’’ he said. ‘‘Shepparton’s been a destination point for non-traditional migration ever since the irrigation system started here ... In its demographics Shepparton is unique for a conventional regional city, you won’t find another one with the cultural diversity for comparison that we’ve got.’’ With an extensive list of community positions, including president of the Shepparton Harness Racing Club and time spent on the board of Word and Mouth, The Community Fund Goulburn Valley and Fairley Leadership Program, it is evident Mr Hazelman values his time in the community. He said Shepparton’s disadvantage due to a lack of state and federal resources had driven a number of his community projects, and stressed the importance of reducing the imbalance between regional towns. ‘‘Projects and issues that I have been involved in over the years have been driven by the fact that the perception, if not the reality, is Shepparton has not got its fair share of state or federal resources,’’ Mr Hazelman said. ‘‘We’ve been disadvantaged, I think that’s been a motivating factor for a number of things I’ve been involved with — to try and redress that imbalance — sometimes successfully, sometimes not.’’ Receiving life membership at Tallygaroopna Cricket Club in 2005 and a recipient of the Centenary Medal for the City of Greater Shepparton in 2001, Mr Hazelman is passionate about community work and volunteering. He encouraged people to get involved with their local sporting clubs and smaller organisations which continually struggle to find support. While reflecting on his most recent achievement, Mr Hazelman said he could name a number of local leaders who deserved to be recognised, stating the experience had encouraged him to rethink our culture of acknowledgement. ‘‘When I got notified I could think of a dozen people I could name that deserve to be recognised, and you think, ‘oh well, there’s probably the scope there to develop a culture of community recognition’,’’ he said. ‘‘We do it on a local level through the local Citizen of the Year awards, but more broadly we don’t seem to recognise people through the Australian Honours System the way we possibly could.’’ By Liz Mellino Reprinted with permission of The Shepparton News

Despite coming off second best more times than he’d like to remember, Shepparton harness racing trainer-driver Danny Ferris has the utmost respect for pacer Dayseedee. “She has kicked me out of the cart, smashed me up, knocked me down and probably done all she can, but when I look at my stopwatch after a track workout, all is forgiven,” Ferris says. Dayseedee (Artistic Fella-Pebbles Stride (Somebeachsomewhere) gave a glimpse of her potential with a sparkling win first-up from a spell at Cobram on Monday in the De Maria Mitsubishi C0 Pace. The four-year-old mare was completely ignored in betting starting at over 50/1, but was sent forward by Ferris at the start.  From that point, she was never going to lose. Dayseedee rated a tick over 1.57 for the short 1670m trip, with splits of 27.8, 31.3, 29.3 and down to the wire in 29. Ferris, who has been dabbling with horses on-and-off for the past 45 years, predicts a bright future for Dayseedee. “She has got so much high speed, but on the other side of the coin she’s a horse with a hot temper!” Ferris said. “We started racing her as a 3yo in December 2017.  She didn’t have a lot of luck with barrier draws or in her races, but we did score an all-the-way win at Echuca in March last year,” he said. “After two more unplaced runs we decided to tip her out. She had become sour and she was far from happy, so we gave her a good six- or seven-month spell.” Ferris said the break “did her the world of good” and her work had been awesome leading up to her racetrack return. “Her first run back was supposed to be at Kilmore on January 10, but after breaking free from me at the course, she bolted and ended up stuck over a rail,” he said. “There were moments where I thought we were going to have a horse with a broken back leg as it was somehow wrapped around an upright pipe. “Thankfully (leading Victorian driver) Greg Sugars came to our aid, wriggled in under her and got the leg free using a lead rope. “I have no doubts that had she lashed out, we were in big trouble. But the horsemanship shown by Greg is something we’ll never forget.” Ferris, of Congupna, near Shepparton, races Dayseedee with his wife Dianne. “I work as a farmhand on a huge 10,000-acre property, doing sheep and cropping but fortunately I find enough time to train a few pacers,” he said. “Over the years there have been times when I haven’t raced that many, but I’ve always had a horse or two around the place.” The likeable hobby trainer obtained his trainer-driver license as a teenager and did a stint with the legendary Gordon Rothacker at his Doreen property. Ferris said he learnt much from the master horseman during his nine years with Rothacker. “Over the years I’ve also worked out never to rely on horses to make a living, so I’ve had that many other jobs I’ve lost count! There was dairy farming, looking after cattle, working at a horse stud, casual milking, I was employed at a car yard, and probably quite a few other jobs,” he said. However, Ferris did say harness racing had been good to him as he enjoyed success with Victory Joe who won seven races as a youngster in the 1980s, and in later years, Barefoot Sally, who raced through her classes. “Barefoot Sally was extraordinary going from a maiden to a M4 in 34 starts, winning 12 races for us a couple of seasons back,” he said. “I suppose I’ve drifted out of the sport a bit when I found my heart wasn’t in it, but my enthusiasm is sky high at the moment!” Ferris said a lot of hard work goes into training horses and he’s learnt to “really appreciate it when a win comes along”. “Hopefully Dayseedee can give us heaps more appreciation over the next few months!” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness racing trainers have their eyes fixed firmly on the prize for the annual Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup, one of the most exciting country cup races in regional Victoria. Running on Saturday night, January 12 at the Shepparton Harness Racing Club, the first race commences at 6:30pm with gates opening from around 4:30pm onwards. Shepparton Harness Racing Club manager, Ian McDonald said, “This year there is lots of off-the-track entertainment, with live music, jumping castles, fashions on the field and free giveaways for both kids and adults. “Only the best horses can win a Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup and many of our previous winners have gone on to win the Hunter Cup, Victoria Cup or Interdominion. “Courtesy buses will run from most hotels in Mooroopna or Shepparton, which is a great added bonus for those looking for a good time.” The cup will run at Kialla Raceway, Melbourne Road, Kialla. You can contact the club on 0488 231 403 or visit www.sheppartonhrc.com.au for more details. By Ash Beks Reprinted with permission of The Adviser

Shepparton Harness Racing Club has paid tribute to Ben O'Donoghue, who passed on Monday. Mr O'Donoghue served as President of Shepparton Harness Racing club from 1996 until 1999. He remained on the committee until 2002 and is a life member of the Shepparton club. Mr O'Donoghue was heavily involved in the redevelopment of the Shepparton harness racing complex. Upon arriving in Victoria, he and his family set up Morley Park, which is now a harness racing stud run by his son, Stephen. Mr O'Donoghue is survived by his wife Anne, eight children, their partners and grandchildren. HRV sends its condolences to Mr O'Donoghue's family and friends.   Harness Racing Victoria

Breeders Crown champion Nostra Villa won’t be back to defend her title later this month. Trainer Emma Stewart said last season’s juvenile pacing filly final winner was feeling the effects of a hard season so has gone for a spell. "She has done a lot of hard racing and it was time for her to have a break,” said Stewart. That still leaves Stewart with four fillies in the three-year-old series as she charges toward the culminaton of her record-breaking season, with the Victorian heats for the three-year-old fillies at Shepparton on Thursday night. Even without Nostra Villa the stable has the warm favourite for the series in Speak No Evil, who is rated the stable’s best chance of the whole Breeders Crown, even after drawing the outside of the front line in her heat on Thursday. “She has gone from strength to strength,” says Stewart. “She trialed really well last week and has come on from the Vicbred win so she is clearly the best of our chances in her division and probably in the overall two and three-year-old series.” The Victorian fillies heats kick off with the juveniles at Ballarat tonight and Stewart has Vicbred quinellamates Kualoa and Two Times Bettor in the same heat. “They seem to be doing that a lot these days, putting the two good stablemates in the same heat and I think they should be split. “But they are both ready to go good races. Kualoa is the one to beat this week and, and this stage, the best of our chances in the final.” The glamour boys of the freshman division have their turn at Kilmore on Wednesday night with Vicbred winner Centanario up against his runner-up on that occasion in Nostra Ideal and Bathurst Gold Crown winner College Chapel. An interesting Victorian debutant is Whereyabinboppin, who has joined the in-form Tim Butt stable after being unbeaten in three starts. Stewart dominates the other heat with Hurricane Harley and Hardhitter going head to head. Michael Guerin

A sharp trial has confirmed plans for a shot at the Queensland Derby. Victorian three-year-old Code Bailey produced a resounding performance to win a public trial last night (Thursday) at Shepparton as he readies himself for the Blue Riband classic at Albion Park on July 21. The Christian Cullen colt led throughout in the 2190m workout and rated 1:57.9 while covering his final half in 55.2 seconds. “It was a nice effort given where he’s at with his fitness and he went through his gears nicely, I’m looking at starting him down here next week before heading north.” Pike said. Code Bailey has not raced since winning at Shepparton on May 16. A winner of 8 of his 14 starts this season, trainer Ross Pike is eyeing the Sunshine State winter carnival features in the coming weeks. Targets will include the Gr.3 $30,540 South East Derby on July 14 before tackling the Gr.2 $75,540 Queensland Derby the following week. Chris Barsby

Since being claimed for just $11,000, Im The Boss has secured harness racing connections in excess of $111,000 in seven months. The six-year-old’s remarkable rise continued at Shepparton last night in the $50,000 Group 11 Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup as the curtain came down on a successful 2017-18 Victorian Trots Country Cups Championship. Im The Boss set a new Shepparton record for the 2690m trip, the David Aiken-trained pacer overhauling champion stablemate Lennytheshark in the shadows of the post for a 1.5m win in a blistering mile rate of 1:56.1. An elated Swedish monte rider turned reinswoman Kima Frenning couldn’t speak higher of her champ post-race. “I just don’t know what to say,” she said. “To be able to run down a horse like Lennytheshark on a horse we claimed for $11,000 … he’s just the biggest fighter of all time. I’ve never driven a horse who tries as hard as him. It’s ridiculous.” Expected by many to be in front shortly after the start, Frenning’s plan A was thrown out of the cart when Nathan Jack and Cruz Bromac crossed from gate seven. Im The Boss trailed Cruz Bromac in the box seat until just inside the 400m when Lennytheshark, who had been punching the breeze for the previous mile, was driven to the front by David Aiken. Im The Boss got off the pegs and tracked his more celebrated stablemate – who literally had a huge tent full of supporters cheering him on – until the home straight when Frenning peeled to the outside. To use a cliché, Lennytheshark was as brave as Lennytheshark, fighting on like Lennytheshark right to the wire. But in the last 50m his death-seating efforts took effect and Im The Boss capitalised. The last quarter was in fact the slowest section of the race at 30.8secs, a rip-roaring 27.1secs down the back ensuring it game-on a fair way out. “I’m shaking my head. Even from Mildura, I was very edgy coming on to the track tonight – it’s always very nerve-racking against the good horses. You just hope you’re good enough and this horse does not stop trying,” Frenning said. And so the Inter Dominion discussion begins. With Victoria hosting the big dance for the first time in 10 years, it’s expected Im The Boss will target the riches. Since joining the Aiken camp in September last year, the six-year-old by Major In Art (out of Golden Navajo) has shown he’s adept at backing up. He won the Cobram Cup two days after his previous start, and followed a track record-breaking Mildura Cup heat win with a brutal victory in the Group 2 Final four days later. Meanwhile, Lennytheshark lost no admirers whatsoever. In fact, the superstar reached another career milestone, taking his career earnings past the $3 million mark by finishing second. Brallos Pass ran a super race for third, with Ellen Tormey in the sulky, narrowly defeating Cruz Bromac. Earlier Rickie Alchin trained and drove Tough Monarch to win the Alabar Shepparton Trotters Cup by 12.3m over runner-up Regal Pepperell, with Father Christmas third in 2:02.9. Trots Media - Cody Winnell

The Shepparton Gold Cup was abandoned last night as a power outage was responsible for forcing the call from harness racing stewards. The first six races went ahead during the biggest night of the Shepparton Harness Racing Club's year before issues arose prior to the seventh, and main, event. A strong crowd left without seeing local hope San Carlo race in the Gold Cup but the club's general manager Ian McDonald said there was no other option. "It was very disappointing for the club and the spectators but driver safety was paramount in making the decision," he said. The event has been rescheduled for later in the year. Reprinted with permission ofr The Shepparton News

A monster weekend awaits that could reshape the lucrative Trots Country Cups Championship, with Shepparton and Hamilton harness racing clubs taking their moment in the spotlight. While championship leaders Shadow Sax and Messini pursuit Group 1 acclaim across the border in the $100,000 South Australian Cup, quality runners will attempt to score valuable championship in this weekend’s Victorian cups double-header. The Mathews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup has presented an even field with Keayang Kallisto, Keep On Rocking, Bad Billy, Berisari and It Is Billy in single figures with TAB.com.au amid a Sunday race card that also features a keenly contested Porthaul Hamilton Trotters Cup. But before the dust is disturbed at Hamilton some of the summer’s most promising pacers will battle for the $50,000 Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup, which takes centre stage at 9.20pm on Saturday. Among that number is San Carlo, fresh from his breakthrough Inter Dominion heat win, dual Tasmanian cups winner Major Secret and trainer Sonya Smith’s promising pacer Moonrock. The latter made a bold play for the PETstock Bendigo Pacing Cup lead last Saturday, challenging Ideal For Real before driver Anthony Butt had to relent and then struggled for a run in the dying stages. “On paper it looked as though we might get to the front, we had a crack and it wasn’t to be,” Butt told the Trots Talk radio show. “Ideal For Real raced outside his normal pattern and he wanted to hold the front too. That’s racing and we’ll turn the page and get on with it.” Moonrock has drawn gate seven for Saturday night’s Shepparton Cup and Butt said they would use the front line draw to stay ahead of major back row threats. “With the two good ones, San Carlo and Major Secret, drawn the second row, we’ll try and keep ahead of them and go from there,” Butt said. “(San Carlo’s) a great horse, one of the up and comers and raced really well in the Inter Dominion in Perth so he’s obviously the class horse in the race.” It could be a lucrative night for team Smith and Butt, who also team with Hey Yo in Group 3 race The George Gath, the former Kiwi whose been impressive in her first Victorian season. She will start from gate two, inside fellow mare and favourite Red Hot Tooth. “(Hey Yo’s) been fantastic since she come over from New Zealand,” Butt said. “She raced at a pretty good level over there but couldn’t quite compete with the very best ones. “Three starts for two wins and a second, and a big run last week behind Sparkling Success (at Bendigo). (Shepparton’s) probably a little bit easier field, but in saying that Red Hot Tooth’s been in her best form and probably should be hard to beat along with a few of the others.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

With the current form Laura Crossland is in, she is almost guaranteed a winner at Shepparton’s Gold Cup night on Saturday. The Kialla horsewoman is in career best form as a harness racing trainer and driver. Having the season of a lifetime, she is ranked one of the top 10 trainers in the state. Crossland grew her standing at the Leeton Cup meeting to start the year where she was involved in three victories. The dedicated horsewoman trained and drove Scotty Titian to first place in the cup, reined Lets Katchmeifucan to victory in the Lady Drivers Invitation for trainer David Eurell and brought up her trifecta when her partner David Moran drove Lochinvar Hugo, a horse she trains, to victory on the card. Crossland is amazed that she is regarded as being one of the best trainers in the state, but said everything was going right for her. ‘‘It’s been awesome actually, I couldn’t have imagined it to go this good so early on,’’ she said. ‘‘We’ve always been consistent, but it’s like this season we can do no wrong. ‘‘It’s a bit surreal, it’s hard to imagine all the blood, sweat and tears over the years have all paid off.’’ Crossland and Moran have shown what can be achieved from a small stable. The duo looks after 14 horses, less than half the size of most of the major stables. But Crossland said that those challenges just made the success even more enjoyable. ‘‘With a big stable they’ve got a lot of support behind them, if a horse wins enough races and they’re not winning any more they can get rid of it and the owner will buy new ones, but we’ve sort of got to keep going,’’ she said. ‘‘With us we get a lot of rejects that we’ve got to run around and that’s more satisfying.’’ Having spent a lot of time focusing on training, Crossland thrives when she moves into the driver’s seat. ‘‘I’ve always driven, but I used to take a back seat to David and then Linton Power from out Tally way (contacted me) and I started driving his and I love driving the trotters, so I drive all the trotters here,’’ she said. As Crossland first found an interest in harness racing because of her parents, it looks like a third generation is about to emerge. Her eldest son Cody is learning the trade at Avenel under master trainer David Aitken. ‘‘Aitks is fantastic with him, you couldn’t get a better person, he comes back and tells us what to do,’’ Crossland said. Twins Ella and Lane also spend their school holidays running around the Crossland-Moran racing stables. But the family’s attention this week will be on a host of runners. Moran will again be behind Lochinvar Hugo in race nine at Shepparton, while Crossland herself drives Starlight Storm and Mangochililime. By Lauren Bordin Reprinted with permission of The Shepparton News  

Five-year-old harness racing gelding Benji Mara ran one of the quickest 1690m trips on the track in recent times in winning a C1 Only class race last week at Shepparton. By the Cambest stallion Lis Mara, Benji Mara didn’t get any favours — forced to race outside the pacemaker To The Rescue during the run — but still powered away from his rivals in the home stretch in a 1:54.7 mile rate. The track record for the distance was set by Highview Ruler at 1:53.9 in December last year. Benji Mara, a former New Zealander, trained by Amanda Turnbull and driven by Lisa Bartley, was having his fourth start this campaign in which he had placed at his previous three starts. His win provided Bartley with the first leg of a driving double. She also won on the Isabel Walsh-trained Pow Wow Bromac in a C2 Only class race. Pow Wow Bromac, who led all the way, is becoming something of a Shepparton specialist with his four Australian wins — he had one win on debut at Addington in NZ at his first start in March last year — all achieved on the Shepparton track where he has also been runner-up three times. Walberon wisecrack Trots caller Lachy McIntosh couldn’t resist making a comment when describing a claiming race at Maryborough meeting last Friday. Pointing out to viewers and listeners one of the pacers in the race, Walberon, was a 15-year-old he commented he’ll be able to get his Ls next year. Rising 16-year-old or not Walberon ran a bold race and finished third, 12m from the winner Racer in a 1:55.3 mile rate. Walberon was having his 203rd start which have produced 22 wins and 51 placings for more than $180,000 in prizemoney. Birthday for Tennaya Strong betting support for Tennaya was vindicated when the Donna Castles-trained eight-year-old mare led her rivals a merry dance in a C1 Only class event last week at Shepparton. Tennaya, driven by Castles, firmed into a $2.80 chance on the tote from more than twice that price and once urged to the front by Castles early from barrier four over the 2190m trip was never seriously challenged. While Tennaya’s last win was 34 starts ago in December 2015 at Swan Hill, the daughter of Lombo Mandingo had run three fifths at her previous three starts to indicate another win was beckoning. Punters obviously thought so too. Tennaya was having her 99th start and it was win number 11 with 35 placings which have produced more than $60000 in prizemoney. Model struts his stuff Laura Crossland kept the winning momentum she has enjoyed this year going last week at Shepparton to keep her among the leading Victorian trainers. Crossland produced trotter The Male Model and with a concession claim for reinsman Darby McGuigan notched his seventh win and his fifth for Crossland in 18 starts. The four-year-old son of Muscle Mass has won four of last six starts under Crossland’s guidance. The Male Model is from the Sundon mare Ashley Sunset, who had just one start for one win, and has left another smart trotter Phoebe Sunset who won 12 races in NSW and Queensland. Crossland has her name up there with the top trainers in the state. Joy in the Village Pacing mare Village Encounter put in arguably a career best run to land an early Christmas present for Bunbartha horseman John Newberry and his reinsman son Matthew last week at Shepparton. Despite a quick getaway from a wide front row barrier draw the four-year-old daughter of Village Jolt was forced to park outside the pacemaker Slice Of Life for the entirety of the race and audaciously kicked clear of her rivals in the home stretch for what turned out to be an easy win in the finish. Village Encounter’s mile rate of 1:58.3 included a sharp 56.7 last half and the win was her fourth from 14 starts. A Penny to be had Trial goers at Kyabram the previous Sunday could have easily supported five-year-old mare Gallifrey Penny who opened her winning account in a C0 Only class race last week at Shepparton. Gallifrey Penny led her rivals a merry dance in the Kyabram trial to further confirm she was on the improve after a cheeky effort at Echuca at her previous start. Trained by Swedish horsewoman and now Kyabram-based Kati Gunn, Gallifrey Penny was driven to an all-the-way win from barrier four by Darby McGuigan, providing him with a driving double. He also scored on The Male Model. Although a five-year-old, Gallifrey Penny, who is by Sutter Hanover, was having just her seventh trip to the races since she started racing in October. Gallifrey Penny’s dam, Penny The Pussycat, was an extra-smart mare who won 17 of 32 starts in Queensland and $85000 in prizemoney in the 1990s. Jay Bee Flex wins Veteran Elmore trainer Jimmy Beecroft got an early Christmas present when the trotting mare he prepares Jay Bee Flex won at Maryborough last week to notch her fifth win. Reinswoman Ellen Tormey was able to step the daughter of Federal Flex to the front and then take a sit on the favourite Aldebaran Midnite, a trotter formerly trained by Neville Welsh at Elmore and now in the Andy Gath camp. In the run to the judge Jay Bee Flex, who was a $7 chance had no trouble running down Aldebaran Midnite with Jeter filling the minor placing. Jay Bee Flex had had her previous win four starts ago at Bendigo on November 5 and has prizemoney earnings of more than $35000. Winners far and wide Dual state trainer Amanda Turnbull produced a training treble in NSW and a double in Victoria on Boxing Day as well as driving a winner on her home track at Bathurst. At Ballarat Turnbull struck with The Faithful in the $20000 Lightning Mile feature, upstaging the likes of Moonrock and Tee Cee Bee Macray. She also won a C0 Only class race with Ellmers Hoofing It with both pacers driven to victory by Shepparton horseman David Moran. At Leeton Lisa Bartley drove the Turnbull-trained Benji Mara and Kenrick to wins, while Mark Pitt brought up the hat-trick for Turnbull on Aintnobettor Euroa horseman Cameron Maggs also enjoyed success at Leeton, scoring a well-deserved win with Roll One Over, a 17/1 chance. One El of a time Elmore Harness Racing Club created history on Boxing Day when it staged its first TAB meeting. Club officials headed by president Eddie Mullane and secretary-treasurer Cliff Powell were pleased with the response from trainers with enough nominations for an eight-race card in one the busiest racing periods for the year. Elmore was to have TAB coverage for the first time last year when it staged its first meeting since 2005, but it was withdrawn at the last minute. Powell admitted it wasn’t plain sailing getting harness racing back at Elmore, which has been a harness stronghold down the years. ‘‘Before we held our meeting in 2005 we were told that we would be finished as a club staging meetings due to the rationalisation of Victorian tracks at that time,’’ he said. ‘‘There was a HRV official at that meeting on the day and I said to him we had nearly 1300 people here for the meeting; How many will they have at Melton tonight? He had to agree nowhere near the numbers we had.’’ Like other clubs which also had the death sentence at the time Elmore didn’t take the decision lying down. Some vigorous campaigning led by Powell during the years led to the return of harness racing to town last year. ‘‘This meeting is like a town reunion. A lot people come back for the meeting to get the chance to catch up with family and friends,’’ Powell said. The feature event on the card was the Elmore Pacing Cup which attracted an even field of R1-R2 class pacers. The Ellen Tormey-trained Nomi Malone took out the race, saluting for favourite punters at $1.90. The John O’Reilly Memorial Trotters Cup for TR0 or better class trotters also had plenty of interest with most runners having good recent form, with Scottish Sardius (trained and driven by Peter Sanderson) claiming the win. Coming up Echuca’s biggest night of the year is being held on Monday. Tonight: Kilmore (n). Tomorrow: Cranbourne (n). Sunday: St Arnaud (d), Melton (n), Albury (n). Monday: Echuca (n). Tuesday: Terang (n). Wednesday: Geelong (n). Thursday: Maryborough (d), Mildura (n). By Lauren Bordin Reprinted with permission of The Shepparton News

It was was a case of ‘play it again’ at last week’s Shepparton trots meeting for Rochester harness racing trainer Mark Thompson. Six days after Thompson produced Ideal Eagle and Weeks End for wins on the Shepparton track, he repeated the feat. Both Ideal Eagle and Weeks End backed up from that meeting two weeks ago to again outclass their rivals at last week’s meeting on the track. And as what happened the first time, both pacers were again driven by Bendigo horseman Todd Matthews. Both Ideal Eagle and Weeks End were both the punters’ elect and paid $2.20 for their wins. Ideal Eagle skipped over the 1690 metres in a 1.56.6 mile rate time, easily the quickest on the event card. Ideal Eagle is a five-year-old American Ideal mare who has now saluted five times for Thompson since coming from New Zealand where she won once in 11 starts. Weeks End was having just her eighth trip to the races for three wins, two seconds and two thirds. She is a three-year-old by Jet Laag out of the Totally Ruthless mare Orta Be Ruthless, a winner 19 races and who has left two other winners. It’s probably a safe bet Thompson is again scanning programs to find suitable races again for the two pacers. No doubt a Shepparton meeting is preferred. While it was a big night again at last week’s meeting at Shepparton, it was even more satisfying for Matthews. Not only did he rein the Thompson-trained pair to victories, he has also trained pacer Marine Parade to a win at the meeting. Making his debut Marine Parade, a four-year-old by top sire Art Major was driven to victory by Haydon Gray and punters were well aware of his ability as he was a $1.50 favourite. Marine Parade is a half brother to Philtra Phella a Life Sign gelding and a winner of 20 races. Both are from the Safely Kept mare, Philtra Girl. by Campaspe News Reprinted with permission of The Riverine Herald  

Harness racing trainer-driver Bill Trembath is rapt to just have a runner in the Race To Royalty, but in Hows The Memory he may have much more than just a competitive starter. Trembath’s two-year-old filly announced herself with an impressive victory in her TAB Breeders Crown heat at Shepparton, upstaging a well-rated rival. “I have been down and watched a few times, but never had a runner there,” he said of the Breeders Crown, but that all changed when Hows The Memory ran down Australian Pacing Gold winner Nostra Beach last Tuesday. “We had one nominated a few years ago but they never lived up to it, this one has. To be in the running is something special.” Making it all the more so, Hows The Memory – owned and bred by Dennis and Joanne Howe – is by Mach Three out of Distant Memory, Trembath’s talented juvenile who won a Vicbred Super Series and a Bathurst Tiara Final as a two-year-old in 2013. They remain the greatest stakes wins of Trembath’s 30 years-plus training career and it makes the new filly’s emergence all the more satisfying. “When you have done it all the way through and had them as a foal and broken them in, then when they race it means so much to you,” Trembath said. Hows The Memory certainly hasn’t been rushed into emulating her mare. “I gave her a trial early on, then put her out for six weeks to help her relax, and she has just kept stepping up each time.” A debut win at Leeton on July 3 preceded a second placing at Shepparton on July 21 and a further victory at Bathurst on July 30, all in country class. Last Tuesday signalled her first step into the metropolitan class spotlight and she was outstanding against a formidable rival, with Nostra Beach’s nine starts having delivered $189,400 in stakes courtesy of four wins and three second placings. “We gave ourselves a bit of a chance because at Bathurst she ran home in 26.7,” Trembath said. From gate one Trembath kicked along early and ensured Nostra Beach’s driver Mark Pitt had to earn the lead, then come the straight it was a race in two and Hows The Memory emerged from leader’s back to pinch the win by a half-neck. The 2:01.1 mile rate was the quickest of the night’s Breeders Crown heats. “It was good. We were lucky we drew well, but to beat one of Emma’s is not easy,” he said. He will now hope to turn a heat win into a semi-final top six placing that will deliver him a shot at the big dance. “Your draw plays a big part, we will just be hoping to get through to the finals,” he said.   Race programme for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 18 August 2017

Of the top 10 Australian stakes-earning two-year-old harness racing fillies, three will line up tomorrow night at Shepparton in Breeders Crown heats. Emma Stewart-trained Nostra Beach (ranked 1 nationally with $187,800), Molly Kelly (#2, $187,600) and unbeaten Nostra Villa (#4, $118,890) headline the heats, which also feature Cran Dalgety-trained Our Bettor Joy from New Zealand, which would slot in at No.9 nationally with earnings of $68,730. The Breeders Crown heats are Races 2, 3 and 7 on the 10-event card, which gets under way at 5.27pm and is scheduled to finish at 10pm. This week’s Race to Royalty heats Today Globe Derby (South Australia) 2YO pacing colts and geldings 2YO pacing fillies 3YO pacing fillies 3YO pacing colts and geldings Tomorrow Shepparton (Victoria) 2YO pacing fillies Albion Park (Queensland) 3YO pacing colts and geldings Wednesday August 9 Kilmore (Victoria) 2YO pacing colts and geldings Thursday August 10 Ballarat (Victoria) 3YO pacing fillies Friday August 11 Bendigo (Victoria) 3YO pacing colts and geldings Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Shepparton, Tuesday 08 August 2017 Form guide for Shepparton, Tuesday 08 August 2017

You can lock in a win for harness racing trainer Don Bootle at Shepparton on Saturday night, despite analysts not giving his runner much chance of scoring in her maiden pace. A race start for the trainer ’s five-year-old mare Winlock will be a victory for the Bootle family, having been the offspring of their unraced stallion Uturnbay and out of their mare Ankles. “Winlock is one of our own breeds, I’ve had her since she was a foal,” Bootle said. “She’s just a tiny little mare, she’s no bigger than a pony, but she’s got that bulldog attitude and never gives up. “I’m not sure how she will go first up, she’s a five-year-old and for some reason (Uturnbay’s) horses go better when they are older.” Bootle has recently relocated to Melbourne’s east from New South Wales, docking at Croydon Light Harness Club’s track and stables. It’s a long way from Euroma Stud, the family’s Narromine free-range paddock where Uturnbay stands for Bootle’s father, stud and horse owner Terry Bootle. “He was a very quick horse who would have won races for us,” Bootle said of Uturnbay. “As a young horse Donald Cole in Dubbo had him and we put him out in a paddock. “It was a wet day and he was running up and down the paddock and slipped over and broke his neck. He’s actually pretty lucky to be around walking.” Having a staunch dedication to ensuring his horses have a life after racing, Bootle has embraced the potential he saw in Uturnbay, who shares a grandsire, Smooth Fella, with champion trotter Lyell Creek. “The stallion stays in the paddock in season time and we just keep the mares in,” Bootle said. “Only one has missed foal in the last six seasons.” “Eight or nine mares” share a paddock with Uturnbay, and when they are not in season he’s taken to Molong, New South Wales, where he occasionally works as a stockhorse. Of the foals, several have made it to the track and Bootle is optimistic wins and placings will come, but each horse is broken in for saddle as well as sulky. “You’ve got to look at horses for their after-racing life,” he said. “If a horse is broken into saddle you can sell it as a riding horse.” For now the family’s focus is on Winlock, who ran fifth of five in her July 9 trial at Yarra Valley and will start from the pole in Saturday’s Bohbron Park Pace (C0) at Shepparton. “She’s like a little pet to me,” Bootle said. “I broke her in, got her going and then got sick. I gave her to other trainers but they couldn’t get her going. Now I have taken her back and she is going great for me,” he said. “She put a big effort in (the trial) but tired over the longer distance, but I was happy with how she ran. I’m just looking for her to go around, it doesn’t worry me where she comes. I’ll just be happy to see her on the track and trying her best. “Some say she can’t run out of sight, but I like to prove people wrong and show what I can do with a horse. I like horses who are a bit temperamental. I like mad horses so you can be challenged and work them out.” The reins will be handed over to concession reinswoman Monique Barnett tonight – “Winlock prefers lady drivers – she doesn’t like the guys” – and Bootle will hope to begin his Victorian training with an honest effort. “Being her first start I don’t really expect much, but as long as she gets around nicely and gives me her true race I’ll be happy.” Listen in to our chat with trainer Don Bootle on the TrotLine: Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Shepparton, Saturday 29 July 2017 Form guide for Shepparton, Saturday 29 July 2017

Sunday’s broodmare and mixed stock sale promises to be the best Shepparton Harness Racing Club has held, with 91 lots on offer. Club manager Ian McDonald said the line-up of stock was “unbelievable, we expect a huge crowd”. “This is the best list of horses we’ve had in the sale since we have been holding them,” he said. Among the lots are 45 mares including Cornsilk (dam of Delight Me), Pelicanrama and Kyvalley Kyrie’s dam Maori Lindy. Three mares have a foal at foot, which are by Art Major, Life Sign and Pet Rock, and many others have positive tests and are nearing birth. “The timing of the sale is key, because many of the mares are in foal and going to drop within four to six weeks and buyers will get instant return on their investment,” McDonald said. “There are three mares that are in foal to Somebeach Somewhere, whose book is full and closed. “If you take home a horse like Cornsilk or Peclicanrama you get the opportunity to invest in what could be a gold mine going forward.” In addition to the broodmares the sale will offer weanlings and yearlings, and raced and unraced horses aged two and over. A trial will be held, timed and captured on video at 8.30am featuring 11 horses on offer for sale. Mr McDonald said the club’s sales had a proven record, having previously offered pacing superstar Hectorjayjay, leading trotter Claudys Princess and Group 2 winning Im Princess Gemma, who was snapped up for $990. The sale, to start at noon at Quest Racing Complex, will be live streamed via http://www.sheppartonhrc.com.au, where you can also find more details. Click here to view the sale catalogue.   Michael Howard

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