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More than 50 members of the Swan Hill Football Netball Club will attend the 3SH Swan Hill Pacing Cup trots this Friday night as part of Harness Racing Victoria’s Grassroots Gold campaign. The local trots club has partnered with the football club, which will gain all returns from Harness Racing Victoria's GoodForm Grassroots Gold $500 Game Plan. “HRV is proud to support the 25 country trots clubs and their partner clubs and associations right across Victoria by providing the vouchers for the Grassroots Gold campaign and raising important revenue for grassroots sports, particularly in our regional communities where the trots clubs provide important social, economic and communal outcomes,” HRV General Manager of Marketing Andrew English said. “Good luck to the Swan Hill Football Netball Club this Friday night and I am sure the big group of footy club members attending the 3SH Swan Hill Cup for this promotion will have a fantastic night at the trots.” Secretary of the Swan Hill Football Club Carl Hufer said ‘the Swans’ were heavily engaged in the local community. READ: Swan Hill Cup bid has Vic Horse of the Year out of the Gate early “Our club has 474 members with players from five footy sides and nine netball sides,” Mr Hufer said. “We run the annual triathlon each year, which involves 120 volunteers and raises funds for the Swan Hill Swimming Pool, we do the clean-up for the Swan Hill Racing Carnival, our members tin-rattle for the Good Friday Appeal and we’re always willing to assist when required for community events and fundraisers. “We’re looking forward to attending on Friday night and have promoted the trots cup heavily to our members. We’ll have over 50 in the Think Big Room and it will be a great way to get together post-season and enjoy each other’s company.” Mr Hufer said the club appreciated being involved with Grassroots Gold and any revenue gained would go to great use. "It takes a lot to put 14 sides and over 160 players out on the court and field each week, so any funds greatly assist," he said. "Our long-term goal is for a new club room facility that can be used not only by our club but the community. "We are also planning to undertake a project to preserve all our history through scanning of photos and other memorabilia." The GoodForm Game Plan will be published at thetrots.com.au tomorrow. The Kilmore Football Netball Club collected $429.90 as the first Grassroots Gold partner club on September 27. For more details on Grassroots Gold click here.   Cody Winnell Trots Media

Menin Gate trainer Michael Stanley is just looking for a competitive hit out from his new star recruit in Friday’s 3SH Swan Hill Pacing Cup. But it wouldn’t surprise him if the horse pulled off a first-up win. The 2015 Victorian Horse of the Year is a surprise starter in the race - his first start since being sidelined with a fractured pelvis 16 months ago. Stanley said the plan had always been for Menin Gate - who joined his Burrumbeet stable in August - to make a run at this year’s Victorian Inter Dominion series after arriving in good health after such a long spell. But two impressive trial wins at Maryborough in the past two weeks saw him nominate the seven-year-old ahead of schedule. “To be honest, I didn’t plan on racing him this early,” Stanley said. “He’s had a slow build up, we haven’t rushed him. We’ve had no little niggles with his injury. Everything has gone really well. “His first trial he didn’t do too much, we just sat last and didn’t pull out until the straight and let him run home under his own steam. And when I pulled him out he really attacked the line, he wanted to beat the others. So I was really impressed with that. “I took him to the trials (again) on Sunday and I thought I’m just going to push him out a bit and give him a really good hit out and just see if he is sharp enough to go to Swan Hill. And he was super. The times he run were equivalent to what he’d have to run in a race.” Stanley said while his expectations for Friday were simply for Menin Gate to get through the race and be competitive, he believed the former Group 1 winner was up to the pace for a cup win. “It just looked like an ideal race to step him out in first up,” he said. “Going for the Inter Dominion, we’d like to get our ranking down and be peaking for when that’s on, but he’s definitely forward enough that he’ll run a really good race first up for sure.” Friday night’s 3SH Swan Hill Pacing Cup is the second leg of the Trots Country Cups Championship, which kicked off at Kilmore on September 27. The David Aiken-trained Im The Boss, who was a last start sixth in Saturday night’s Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup, will be out to record a fifth country cup, having won at Shepparton, Mildura and Cobram last season before saluting at Kilmore last month. Stanley said the plan against the country cups champ would be to use the favourable gate three draw to set the pace early. “(Menin Gate’s) a really good front runner and a hard horse to pass, so that’s probably the plan,” he said. “We’ve got Im the Boss on the back line and a couple of handy sprinters in the middle of the front row, so if we can keep them behind us that’s probably the ideal way to tackle it early on. “(But) the expectations (for this one) really are just to get him back to the races and be competitive. Anything above that is a bonus.” Stanley also has the backmarker in the What the Hill Swan Hill Trotters Cup in Sky Petite, who he said would look to build on a first-up fifth in the Maori Miss Trotters Free for All. “Her work had been fantastic since before she went to Melton first up,” he said. “I think she probably just overdid it a little bit early. The lead time was fairly quick, I think the second quickest of the night, even with the pacing races. So first-up from a spell, with that quick lead time, she ran through the middle section a little bit too quick and she got tired. “(But) I think she was beaten by one of the best up and coming trotters we have in Dance Craze, who sat on her back and she fought on well. She only got beat the eight or nine metres. “The country cup races probably suit her better than the 2200m mobiles. With the long 2700m stand she’ll have time to settle and follow them into the race, instead of being the one that does the work. There’s a couple of nice trotters in that race though, so it’s going to be a good race, but I’m sure she’ll race really well.”     It promises to be a ripping night at Swan Hill, with gates to open at 5pm and the course hosting free children’s activities, a punters' club plus a range of different options to take in the night’s racing. While the corporate box and private deck have sold out, patrons can still snap up a dinning ticket or a place in the Pooles Pavilion via www.swanhilltrots.com.au Mark Smith Trots Media

Swan Hill trots club is embracing the huge role women play in the industry with the women-drivers-only Kiel Tiling Blue Pearl Classic to be held next Wednesday, January 18. The Kiel Tiling Blue Pearl Classic is sponsored by Tony Kiel of Kiel Tiling, who is also the driving force behind the idea. He wants it to grow each year. "It would be great to eventually have a female driver from every state to compete together," Kiel said. Calling the Classic will be Victoria Shaw, a pioneer for women behind the microphone in the caller's box. "We're very keen to support the diversity of the trots industry," Marnya Watson, Swan Hill club manager, said. Additional prizemoney and a horse rug will go to winning connections in the Classic, while a blue pearl necklace valued at $1000 will be awarded to the winning driver. Visit Swan Hill trots for more details and TrotsCountry.com.au for more #trots news.   CODY WINNELL

Swan Hill harness racing club manager Marnya Watson was pleased with the attendance and the atmosphere at Saturday night’s 3SH Swan Hill Pacing Cup meeting. Ms Watson said the dining room attendance was “up about 300 per cent” on the most recent cup meetings and the crowd overall was larger than last year. “The atmosphere was great on the lawns trackside and in the dining room. Very relaxed and everyone had a good time. “We have got quite a vast track, so it’s quite spread out but there were lots of people in the beer garden and the marquees near the front straight. There were also lots of people outside and upstairs was totally booked out.” Ms Watson said the club had approached local marketing differently this year and it paid dividends. Rather than focus all of its spend on traditional forms of advertising the Swan Hill club committee offered a $10,000 carrot to key local service groups and charities and encouraged them to engage with their members and networks. “We had four groups, Riding for the Disabled (RDA), the Swan Hill Hospice, Rotary Swan Hill and the CFA Volunteers, and we colour coded all the tickets so that we could tell which group secured the most patrons on-course,” Ms Watson said. “The first group got $5000, second $2500, third $1500 and fourth $1000. These clubs are so well connected in the community and the promotional material they were able to distribute to their audiences ensured we got an excellent crowd.” The CFA secured the most patrons and thus scored a valuable $5000 boost for its coffers. “It worked very well and the key was to reach new markets,” Ms Watson said. “We can easily reach harness racing people, but these community groups can reach many other people who previously haven’t been involved in the trots. “Already we’ve had a lot of community groups keen to do it next year, so that will be great.” The club’s local media coverage was strong this year with a radio live site set up on the Friday before the cup meeting featuring interviews and the new Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Trots Interactive virtual reality experience. “The local paper (The Guardian) this morning had a three-quarter page spread on the cup the second page in, plus more in sport. We definitely got more in the paper this year,” Ms Watson said. “The Guardian is really appreciating it too, because we’re having regular conversations and engaging with them.” Ms Watson said feedback on the new Trots Interactive experience was “well received”. “Anyone who did it was really happy with it,” she said. “It was taken upstairs to the dining room, which was a really good move because everyone in there loved it.” Ms Watson said all who saw star pacer Hectorjayjay mercilessly slay his rivals in the cup would appreciate the memory, but added she received feedback from punters bemoaning “too many short-priced favourites”. “I definitely received more feedback on that issue on the night, but unfortunately that’s something that’s not within my scope,” she said. Ambassadors Billy Brownless and Larni Salathiel were also on course at Swan Hill to entertain and mingle with the crowd. Association of Country Clubs CEO David Brick said he was pleased Swan Hill's crowd was up on last year. "The crowd was up and the pre-promotion in town the day before really hit the mark," he said. "While Hectorjayjay was a short-priced favourite, in terms of quality to get the Inter Dominion favourite to the venue was a drawcard. "It's on to Maryborough now (on Sunday) for the traditional Kilmore Cup timeslot and they're hoping to build on a successful Redwood Day, which saw an increase in patronage and wagering." Exciting first-starter Phoenix Prince and rising star Hickstead were among favourites to salute at long odds-on, while punters got it wrong with Our Star Dust, sent out $1.10 and finishing second to Johns Grin at $10. The Swan Hill Cup was the first of 25 Trots Country Cups that form the Trots Country Cups Championship. This Sunday the action rolls into Maryborough. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Tonight’s Swan Hill trots cup meet proved a harness racing red letter occasion for Graham McDermott’s Myola operation. The horseman scored a winning double by picking up both the $13,000 Haras Des Trotteurs Jim Roberts Swan Hill Trotters Cup with Majestic Ess Jay (Majestic Son-Steffi Jay) and the $10,000 Swan Hill Automotive Swan Hill Mile with five-year-old Lucky Lombo (Major In Art-Isabella Lombo). Majestic Ess Jay, a six-year-old gelding, was sent forward by reinsman Chris Svanosio early after stepping professionally from the 20-metre handicap tape at the 2790-metre standing start point. Once in front Majestic Ess Jay saw off challenges from Glorious Finale (Jackie Barker, in the breeze), Heza Boy Star (Matthew Craven, leader’s back after initially leading) and race favourite Aleppo Sunrise, who made a sweeping late run around the field first-up for Haydon Gray after starting off 30m to get beaten a short half-head in a 2:02.8 mile rate. Majestic Ess Jay, who ran sixth beaten 15.2m behind star Monbet in the Group 1 Australasian Trotting Championship in January, started a $3.60 second elect with punters, Aleppo Sunrise a $2.80 shot despite not having raced since December 2015 and not having won since January 2013. On the strength of his run tonight however, the runner-up's drought breaks very soon. Heza Boy Star finished third and Leannes Boy ran fourth in the Trotters Cup. Majestic Ess Jay's stake earnings are now over the $110,000 mark. Ultra-talented pacer Lucky Lombo showed he may have a role to play this Trots Country Cups season with a cracking return to the track in the flying mile race. Driven by Gavin Lang, Lucky Lombo – as is his way – was given time to balance up before coming with a strong run at the finish to defeat Gollahman (Michael Bellman) by a head in 1:55.1, with class mare Miss Dreamin (Grant Campbell) third and 5.3m from the winner. Lang took driving honours at Swan Hill with a winning treble, the Lucky Lombo success added to victories in Race 1 aboard Ample Power (Mach Three-Modern Life) and Race 3 behind Phoenix Prince (Somebeachsomewhere-Classic Cathy), both hailing from the Emma Stewart stable to also give that trainer a winning double. Svanosio steered Johns Grin (Grinfromeartoear-Vinnies Dreams) to a 1.9m win over long odds-on pop Our Star Dust in Race 4 to deliver the Matthew Craven stable a victory, the Trotters’ Cup triumph giving Svanosio a double. Other winners were smart four-year-old Hickstead (Mach Three-Il Informed) for trainer/driver John Justice in Race 2 and Glenn Douglas-trained Give Me The Night (Santanna  Blue Chip-Alright On The Night), given a perfect guide by Monique Burnett, in Race 8 to deliver local clubman Noel Watson a victory as owner. RELATED: HECTORJAYJAY ULTRA-IMPRESSIVE WINNING SWAN HILL CUP Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The Swan Hill Trotting Club has 11 stallions for tender - four trotting and seven pacing - with the opportunity open until Friday.  Harness racing club president Gerard Moloney said the tender gave breeders "the opportunity to pick up service fees at a nice discount". “These stallions represent a great selection of stallions to suit most budgets,” Mr Moloney said. Trotting stallions are Trixton from Stallions Australasia, Pegasus Spur from Woodlands Stud, Used To Me from Haras des Trotteurs and Amore Stride from Alabar. Pacing stallions available are Sweet Lou form Woodlands Stud, Heston Blue Chip from Empire Stallions, Shadow Play from Alabar, Modern Art from Empire Stallions, Highview Tommy from Woodlands Stud, Auckland Reactor from Alabar and Major Bronski from Morley Park Studs. "This wouldn’t be possible without our support from the studs and we sincerely thank Alabar, Empire Stallions, Haras des Trotteurs, Morley Park, Stallions Australasia and Woodlands Stud,” Mr Moloney said. The tender closes at 5pm on Friday, September 23. For more information regarding the tender click the HRV banner advertisement or call Gerard Moloney on 0427 329 504.  

Look out, New Zealand – one of your own is about to return to where his career began with eyes on your greatest prize. Arden Rooney’s New Zealand Trotting Cup prospects climbed big time on Saturday night as the Kerryn Manning-trained six-year-old 2015 Hunter Cup winner smashed the track record on his way to winning the Tooleybuc Sporting Club Swan Hill Pacing Cup (Group 3) over 2790 metres. Stepping well from his 30-metre handicap, Arden Rooney was quickly sent forward by trainer/driver Manning who had no issues urging the son of Bettors Delight to the lead. Arden Rooney paced his final mile in splits of 30, 29.4, 27.1 and 29.1 seconds for a 1:57.3 mile rate, beating home runner-up Savesomtimetodream by 3.6m, with Lets Elope third beaten 7.6m. Flaming Flutter, second in last season’s Inter Dominion, was beaten 9.8m after starting 20m ahead of Arden Rooney. Franco Ledger, who flashed home in the Hunter Cup earlier this year to run second to Arden Rooney, was beaten 12.6m on this occasion in sixth place. The way Arden Rooney won he’d have strong claims in any race he was to head towards. The NZ Trotting Cup conditions will suit. And his bid at back-to-back Kaikoura Cup wins looks right on song. Cody Winnell

The harness racing nominations for Saturday night’s Swan Hill Pacing Cup boast 33 cup wins between them in Australia alone. Given some are former Kiwis with impressive CVs, the number of cups won in Australasia among Swan Hill Pacing Cup nominations would be even higher. Im Corzin Terror from the Dean Braun stable and Smudge Bromac for David Aiken boast five cup wins each. Im Corzin Terror won the Ballarat, Maryborough, Terang and Bendigo Cups in 2014 after taking out Maryborough’s feature in 2013. Smudge Bromac has won two Melton Cups (2011 and 2014), an Albury Cup in 2012, a Yarra Valley Cup last year and this year’s Echuca Cup. Arden Rooney has five cup wins in Australia for trainer/driver Kerryn Manning, victorious in last year’s Group 1 Hunter Cup, as well as the Mildura, Geelong and Terang Cups during his impressive run of form last summer. Paul Rowse-trained Savesomtimetodream has snared three cups in his lifetime so far, capturing the Gunbower silverware in 2013, the Yarra Valley Cup the same year and the Ararat trophy last year. Then there are a host of pacers with two cup wins to their name, Road To Rock (St Arnaud 2014 and Ararat 2015), Saint Flash (former winner of the Nyah Cup in 2012 and also the Maryborough Cup the same year), Flaming Flutter (last season’s Cobram and Boort Cup winner) and Uncle Wingnut (Ouyen Cup winner earlier this year and the Charlton Cup champ of 2013). It’s a stellar list of nominees for the first cup of the new Trots Country Cups season and a big crowd is tipped to be on course at Swan Hill on Saturday night. There will be loads of giveaways and trackside entertainment, including the popular kids’ pony trots and Fashions on the Field. One of the most exciting offerings from a trots goer’s perspective has to be that patrons will go into the draw to win a brand new Toyota Yaris! > Visit the Swan Hill Trotting Club on Facebook The car will be given away on the night, with AFL stars Josh Jenkins and Michael Hurley from the Adelaide and Essendon Football Clubs also in attendance signing autographs and helping auction off signed jumpers. HRV’s Trots Selfies competition will also be back for another summer with one lucky patron winning a $1000 bet on the Swan Hill Pacing Cup thanks to the TAB, while the new HRV Trots Cruiser will be in attendance handing out merchandise and also giving patrons the chance to actually win the Cruiser at the completion of the Country Cups Carnival. So for $15 entry adults (children free) patrons will get a shot at winning two cars! Dining packages are still available for what promises to be a dynamic start to the Trots Country Cups season. For bookings phone 0417 344 802 or email nyah@hrv.org.au for more information. Cody Winnell

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