At the Geelong Harness Racing meeting on 18 October 2016, Stewards reconvened an inquiry into Mr Nathan Purdon's drive on Ohoka Punter NZ in Race 6 the 'VHRSC Classic' at Tabcorp Park Melton on 8 October 2016. Mr Purdon explained that prior to this race he was unaware of the change of tactics notified for Stunning Grin to be driven less aggressively circumstances permitting and given that, he was satisfied to remain in a position back at the wheel of the leader Stunning Grin during the early and middle stages, despite the relatively slow tempo during the lead time and first quarter. Mr Purdon added that given the manner in which Stunning Grin had been driven to maintain the lead at its previous start at Melton on 29 September 2016 he was reluctant to challenge for the lead and he was also mindful that Ohoka Punter NZ had paced roughly shortly after the start and that an ear plug had also prematurely released. Mr Purdon further explained that due to these factors he elected not to challenge for the lead as he also considered Ohoka Punter NZ may over-race had he of not been able to obtain the lead. Ultimately, Ohoka Punter NZ finished in 3rd place beaten 1.9 metres as a $1.30 supertab favorite. After giving consideration to further evidence from Mr Purdon and Licensed Trainer Mr Dean Braun who was present to assist Mr Purdon, Mr Purdon pleaded guilty to a charge under Rule 239A which reads: A person whose conduct or negligence has led or could lead to a breach of the rules is guilty of an offence. The particulars of the charge being that Mr Purdon as the trainer and driver of Ohoka Punter NZ in Race 6 at Tabcorp Park Melton on 8 October 2016 was negligent in failing to have an awareness of the notification of driving tactics declared by the connections of Stunning Grin in the aforementioned race and due to not being aware of such publicised information, Mr Purdon failed to progress forward in an attempt to lead during the early and middle stages, when Stewards considered that based on the combination of the declared tactics of Stunning Grin and the times recorded during the lead time of 49.1 seconds and first quarter of 31.7 seconds it was reasonable for Mr Purdon to attempt to do so. In assessing penalty Stewards acknowledged Mr Purdon's guilty plea, relative inexperience as a licensed person, personal circumstances, the expectation that particularly as a licensed driver Mr Purdon and fellow drivers ought to be aware of such information for the professional preparation of driving in a race, especially given that the declaration of intended driving tactics in accordance with Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 44(1) and HRV Change of Tactics Policy is information that can affect the manner in which a race is tactically run and therefore has the potential to influence a drivers obligations under the provisions of AHRR 149. Mr Purdon was fined $500. HRV Stewards intend to recommence an inquiry on Friday, 21 October 2016, in relation to the tactics adopted on Stunning Grin by driver Rodney Petroff and trainer Vince Vallelonga in Race 6 the 'VHRSC Classic' at Tabcorp Park Melton on 8 October 2016. Link to HRV Change of Tactics (COT) Policy. Victoria - Supplementary Reports Yarra Valley – 10 October 2016 RACE 6 – JOHN & MARLENE’S 50TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY PACE Steve Cleave, trainer or Blue Suede Hooves, has reported that the gelding had pulled up well since the performance. Mr Cleave added that Blue Suede Hooves had worked strongly subsequent to the race and has engaged the gelding at Kilmore on 19 October 2016. Brent Lilley, trainer of Best Scribe, has reported that the gelding had pulled up well since the performance. Mr Lilley added that he was disappointed with the performance of Best Scribe and has sent the gelding to the spelling paddock. Shepparton – 11 October 2016 RACE 7 – BOHBRON PARK PACE (2ND DIV) Danny Thackaray, trainer of Shezarocka, has reported that the mare had pulled up well since the race. Mr Thackeray added a veterinary examination of Shezarocka subsequent to the race revealed the mare incurred some minor grazing and bruising as a result of the incident and had been given a slight let up in her work. Shezarocka is engaged at Shepparton on 20 October 2016. Tabcorp Park Melton – 14 October 2016 RACE 5 – EDITHVALE PROBUS PACE Kerryn Manning, trainer of Jaccka Art NZ, has reported that a veterinary examination has revealed a slight strain in the gelding’s near fore suspensory ligament. Ms Manning added that Jaccka Art NZ has been sent to the spelling paddock. RACE 9 – ALDEBARAN PARK TROT Kerryn Manning, trainer of Matatoki NZ, has reported that the gelding had pulled well since the performance. Ms Manning added that Matatoki NZ has been sent to the spelling paddock. Swan Hill – 15 October 2016 RACE 5 – HARAS DES TROTTEURS JIM ROBERTS SWAN HILL TROTTERS CUP Peter Lindberg, trainer of Robbie Zuve, has reported that the gelding had pulled up well since the race. Mr Lindberg added that he was satisfied with the performance of Robbie Zuve and that the gelding had worked well subsequent to the race. RACE 8 – HELLOWORLD PACE Joe Costa, trainer of Bernies Idol, has reported that a veterinary examination and blood tests taken from the gelding have failed to reveal any abnormalities. Mr Costa added that Bernies Idol had pulled up well since the performance and that the gelding had worked strongly subsequent to the race. Bernies Idol is engaged at Maryborough on 23 October 2016. Harness Racing Victoria
Whereibylong pushed her harness racing career winning strike rate to above 50 per cent last Friday night with an all-the-way win in the Harness Breeders Victoria Tailamade Lombo at Tabcorp Park Melton. The Emma Stewart-trained six-year-old mare, a daughter of mighty stallion Somebeachsomewhere out of well-performed Fake Left race mare and producer Bylong Bele, stormed off the gate to lead at the 1720-metre start for Chris Alford and finished a half-neck clear of Hu Hu R U in the Group 3. “She might be a bit older now but she’s still got her zest for racing,” Alford said. “She stormed off the gate really well and just had a good little breather but really ripped home the last half.” Whereibylong produced a 54.6 final 800m (27.4 and 27.2). Alford said the mares’ Triple Crown races later in the season would most likely be Whereibylong’s aim. Whereibylong has won 20 races from 39 starts for $444,710 in stakes. Both Hu Hu R U and Juliette Bromac, who ran second and third in the Tailamade Lombo, produced strong finishes, Juliette Bromac’s 53.61 second-quickest of the night only behind fifth placegetter Mistressofillusion who also attacked the line. VIDEO: Hear from Chris Alford post-race after winning the Tailamade Lombo Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)
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)
The son of a harness racing metro-winning pacing mare and a million-dollar winning pacing stallion has taken out one of the state's leading trotting titles. Super Zeck was named the Victorian Square Trotters Association's Trotter of the Year at last night's awards night at Maryborough, which honours outstanding Victorian-trained trotters performances throughout Australia. Points are awarded five for a first placing, two for second and one for a third, with Darren Cole's Terang trotter Super Zeck awarded for an outstandingly consistent season in which he peeled off 10 wins, six seconds and three thirds, including the Group 2 Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Free For All. The winners are: 2YO MALE TROTTER OF THE YEAR (donated by Victorian Harness Racing Sports Club): Won By: Illawong Bryon (Muscle Mass – Illawong Blush) Owned By: Martin & Kaye Hartnett Trained By: Jodi Quinlan 2YO FEMALE TROTTER OF THE YEAR (donated by Stawell Harness Racing Club): Won By: Illawong Shimmer (Muscle Mass – Shinning Sun) Owned By: Martin & Kaye Hartnett Trained By: Ross Sugars 3YO FEMALE TROTTER OF THE YEAR (donated by Ballarat Harness Racing Club): Won By: High Gait (Muscles Yankee – Regal Volo) Raced By: Breckon Farms Ltd, Super Seven Syndicate Trained By: Nicole Molander 3YO MALE TROTTER OF THE YEAR (donated by Cranbourne Harness Racing Club) Won By: Sundons Courage (Sundon - Truscott Photo) Owned By: Brad Angove Trained By: Chris Angove CHRIS E HOWE - COUNTRY TROTTER OF THE YEAR (donated by Loddon Valley Stud): Won By: Gidah (Noopy Kiosk – Disco Dance) Raced By: Chris & Glenn Sharp Trained By: Glenn Sharp TROTTER OF THE YEAR (donated by Darren and Katrina Fitzpatrick, and Mark and Sue Hayes): Won By: Super Zeck (Modern Art – Me Dolli Kit) Owned By: Darren, J & A Cole & D Saunders Trained By: Darren Cole YANKEE SPIDER TROTTING RACEMARE OF THE YEAR (donated by Brenda Rice): Won By: Sky Petite (Sky Valley – Thepowerofhealing) Owned By: Noel Pattison Trained By: Dean Pattison TROTTING SIRE OF THE YEAR (donated by Alabar Farms): Won By: Bacardi Lindy and Skyvalley • Based on Individual winners of Victorian-based sire. • Bacardi Lindy & Skyvalley are both first time winners of the Award • Barcardi Lindy is owned by Ross Simpson • Skyvalley is owned by Aldebaran Park TROTTING BROODMARE OF THE YEAR (donated by Mildura Harness Racing Club) Won By: Disco Dance (Keystone Salute – Cool Disco) Owned By: K J Bell • In the breeding barn she has had five live foals with three of those were winners of 35 races. • This seasons winners were Gidah, Tella Tall Tale & Tenno Dance TROTTING DRIVER OF THE YEAR (donated by Electrical Asset Services): Won By: Chris Alford • Chris Alford has taken out this award six times, winning in 2009 and then the last five years in a row. TROTTING TRAINER OF THE YEAR (donated by PJ and BJ Rothacker Stock Feeds): Won By: Brent Lilley BREEDER OF THE YEAR (donated by Aldebaran Park): Won By: Duncan McPherson Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)
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 stars of the sulky caught up with Master of Ceremonies Rob Auber for a chat after their harness racing winning drives at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. The nine-race card saw fast-class star Messini win the VHRSC Classic for Anthony Butt, rising star mare Hu Hu R U too strong in the DNR Logistics Pace for Lance Justice, Champagne Dreams take out the TAB.com.au Pace Final for Josh Aiken, Jacks Command win the Melton Pools and Spas Pace Final for David Moran, champion trotter Keystone Del capture the True Roman Trotters Free for All for Butt, consistent Cyrus win the N&J Carlin Painting services Pace for Michael Bellman, in-form Motu Gatecrasher claim the Dehired Pace for Geoff Webster, K D Muscles too strong in the Eight Homes Trotters Handicap for Kate Gath, and Chevaux Rainbow victorious in the Aldebaran Park Trot for Stacey Towers. Race 1 - Lance Justice on Hu Hu R U Race 2 - Josh Aiken on Champagne Dreams Race 3 - David Moran on Jacks Command Race 4 - Anthony Butt on Keystone Del Race 5 - Michael Bellman on Cyrus Race 6 - Anthony Butt on Messini Race 7 - Geoff Webster on Motu Gatecrasher Race 8 - Unavailable Race 9 - Stacey Towers on Chevaux Rainbow Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)
Messini will burst into the start of the Trots Country Cups Carnival in outstanding form and with bold future harness racing plans. Brent Lilley’s head-down bustling pacer will contest next Saturday’s Swan Hill Pacing Cup, the first of the country cups season, before heading across the ditch to contest the Kaikoura Cup, New Zealand Trotting Cup and NZ Free For All in New Zealand. Ownership syndicate manager John Wilkinson revealed the intended journey after his fabulous six-year-old by Art Major out of Mesmerizing won the VHRSC Classic in a 54.4 final 800m at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, Saturday the 8th of October. “They were sensational sectionals,” Mr Wilkinson said. “It was a slow pace early, but to run those sectionals at the end is a credit to Anthony Butt and the trainer.” The open class race started at a walk with Stunning Grin leading the pack to a 49.1 lead time and 31.7 first quarter, before the fun started as they approached the final straight. Messini came off favourite Ohoka Punter’s (breeze) back and hit the line 1.9m ahead of Flaming Flutter (leader’s back), with the Nathon Purdon trained and driven Ohoka Punter a short-half head back in third. “The first half took forever and I was in a pretty good spot and couldn’t really do anything about it,” Butt said. “I just had to sit there and hopefully have a crack at some stage. “(Messini) really come good tonight, probably the best he’s run since I started driving him. He really come out and sprinted.” The performance helped seal plans to pursue another bold plan in New Zealand. “He’s getting better with each run and Brent’s got a pretty ambitious program for him,” Butt said. “If he heads to New Zealand, he raced really good over there last year. He won’t be out of it. “He loves the standing starts. (The NZ Trotting Cup’s) not going to be easy, Mark Purdon’s got a great team over there, but the two-mile really suits this guy.” Mr Wilkinson, a co-owner along with Peter Males, Robert Owen, Gary Dowling, Adam Wilkinson, Jenny Scott, Scott Benger and Sean Pulverman, said connections were buoyed by Messini’s campaign last year, when he finished second in the Kaikoura Cup and fifth in the NZ Trotting Cup. “The competition is going to be very tough (this year), particularly Mark Purdon’s horses, but (Messini) is a good standing start horse,” Mr Wilkinson said. “He showed last year that he can go very well from the standing start and over the longer journey.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)
Harness racing driver Anthony Butt bided his time before setting mighty trotter Keystone Del free and the brilliant nine-year-old did as he does best at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, Saturday the 8th of November. While stablemate and frontrunner Maori Time was able to set the pace as he pleased out front in the True Roman Trotters Free For All, returning guns Glenferrie Typhoon and Keystone Del sat breeze and three-back-the-outside respectively. Come the final straight it was all set for a showdown but Glenferrie Typhoon, returning after an eight-month lay-off, faded while Keystone Del swept past for a sixth straight win, with Maori Time 3.2m second and Savannah Jay Jay just a half-neck back in third. The quinella was a pleasing sight for trainer Brent Lilley, who was rapt to have his famed gelding by Dr Ronerail out of Flipside back on track. “First up for a while you always think they need the run a little bit, but (Keystone Del’s) done a lot of work so we were confident he’d go good, and he did,” Lilley said. “It was a perfect first-up run, just driven off the pace and looming up late, and he won it with plenty in hand.” The race ran to plan for team Lilley, with Gavin Lang steering Maori Time to the front from gate four and holding the lead unchallenged, with Kate Gath happy to sit off the pace in the breeze on second favourite Glenferrie Typhoon. “Maori Time, she’s always a leader, so we thought that she would lead and bowl along,” Lilley said. “I thought maybe Glenferrie might have put a bit more pressure on her, he was obviously needing the run as well, but it worked out how we sort of thought it would.” A third quarter of 28.7 and fourth quarter of 28.0 would see Keystone Del in a class of his own, claiming the Group 3 in a 1:57.9 mile rate. He has now won his last six starts in a row. Keystone Del takes his record to 63 starts for 40 wins 7 seconds and 3 thirds for $1,034,520 in earnings with this win. “He’s still seems to be going as good as he ever has. For a nine-year-old he hasn’t had a hell of a lot of starts really. I think he’s still got plenty of good wins ahead of him,” Lilley said. “To have a horse like that in the team, it’s a pleasure really. It’s great to have him back on the track and back doing what he does best.” And Tabcorp Park Melton trots fans are likely to see plenty more of him, with a trip across the ditch to race in New Zealand appearing unlikely. “The owners (Patrick and Michael Hall) are over tonight. I’ll have a chat with them and see what they want,” Lilley said. “I’m probably happy to keep him at home. There’s a Free For All on the 29th (of October) and the Bill Collins on 12th of November, so that’s probably the plan.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)
Having rested their hooves for a winter spell some of the harness racing big boys are back in town. While Perth Inter Dominion favourites Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay were due to trial at Shepparton tonight, the focus will quickly turn to Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night for the showdown between Keystone Del and Glenferrie Typhoon and the return of Restrepo. The latter, winner of the 2015 PETstock Ballarat Cup, hasn’t raced since February last year, but trainer Emma Stewart was glowing about his prospects. “He fractured his knee in work, so had to have a year off to heal that up,” Stewart told RSN 927. “So we gave him a year at stud and he’s come back and fingers crossed he is all holding together. “He’s always been my favourite since the first day we’ve had him, so just to have him back at the races is terrific.” Restrepo will run into Ohoka Punter and Messini among others in the VHRSC Classic, but Stewart remains optimistic about his chances. “I think he’s trialling well and he’s working terrific, so we expect him to run a pretty good race,” she said. “He’s such a great racehorse and such a good workhorse at home, he always does his work, whenever he bounces back he’s pretty much ready to go. “I’d be surprised if he didn’t run a really forward race. I expect him to be winning, he has the class factor in this race.” Among those in his path is Messini from Brent Lilley’s stable, the Preux Chevalier Free For All winner at last start whose camp still has visions of the NZ Trotting Cup. “Our intentions are to take him over (to New Zealand), we will give him a run Saturday night and then the Swan Hill Pacing Cup the following Saturday,” Lilley said. “All going well … we will head over the following week to New Zealand. He just has to (put in) a really good race. At that level it’s hard, you can’t win all the time, but I’m sure he’s come on again since his win two or three weeks ago. He is going to be right in amongst it Saturday night and if he continues to go the way I think he is going he will definitely be heading over to New Zealand.” It will be a big night for Lilley, who will also prepare Keystone Del for the True Roman Trotters Free For All, first up like his leading Australian rival Glenferrie Typhoon. “(Keystone Del) seems really well,” Lilley told RSN 927. “He had a nice, solid trial on Sunday morning at Maryborough. He is fairly forward for his first-up run this week. “He’s had a nice, slow prep and he had a lovely trial on Sunday morning, so whatever he does Saturday night he is going to be better for the run. He is pretty ready and class will take him a long way.” As is Glenferrie Typhoon, said trainer Andy Gath, whose camp is excited by the prospect of their terrific trotter returning minus the bladder stone. “After the Great Southern Star he had a bladder stone which he had removed. He had three months off, but we have been quite happy with him," Gath said. “A couple of times (last season) he probably went a little bit rough toward the finish of the race when he was probably feeling (the bladder stone), and was getting a little bit cranky towards the end of his preparation because every time he would run it would move from side to side. “Obviously he is going to be more comfortable with it out of him now and he seems a lot happier at home. He went really good last time in and if he can improve with it out who knows what he can do.” There are many obvious question marks hanging over both after such a lengthy spell, but both think there hope is ready. “It’s a long time off the races,” Gath said. “The main danger, Keystone Del, he is in the same boat. He is first up as well, they’ve had one trial each, probably both are where we want to be at this stage. “(Glenferrie Typhoon) is forward enough to win the race in our opinion. He’ll devise benefit from this run, but he is forward enough to be a chance.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 08 October 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 08 October 2016
A casual greeting spawned a mateship and then a partnership that is producing some stunning results for a harness racing trainer almost lost to the game. Trainer Vince Vallelonga and owner Arthur Anastasiou will again unite at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night when Stunning Grin continues his Free For All campaign. Restrepo, Flaming Flutter, Ohoka Punter and Messini will be among those to present quality opposition for Vallelonga’s five-year-old in the VHRSC Classic. “It’s going to be a terrific race and he has never let us down,” Vallelonga said of Stunning Grin. “He always tries his hardest.” The Grinfromeartoear gelding was snapped up for $4000 by Anastasiou and has been one of a handful of success stories since they set up camp at Bolinda. Vallelonga takes up the back story. “I was working for Lance Justice at the time and met Sam Godino, who bought his own stable complex in Riddells Creek,” he said. “I then worked for Sam and met Arthur through him. Arthur had been involved in the horses and the dogs, but we got him a horse in Anvils A Coaster, who won about his first seven in a row and he got hooked. “He then bought another one in Fergus Maccool, who won a few and turned out to be one of his favourites. “Sam Godino wanted to sell his property and move out of harness racing, and I wasn’t sure whether to move to Mildura or hang around Melbourne. “Arthur said why don’t we just go and buy our own property, and so we set one up and it has gone from there. We found a property that was just a house, a shed and a farm and built it from scratch. That was four or five years ago and it has taken off from there and we have got new clients involved. “He’s been terrific support. If it wasn’t for Arthur and a couple of horses who came along I probably would have walked away from the sport myself.” Anastasiou said he bought the property for his “good mate” so that he could continue his flourishing connection with the trots. “It is a hobby, and I get a thrill when they win, even if it’s a $3000 race,” Anastasiou said. “I’ve bought a lot of yearlings and are breeding some now. “ Having started in a syndicate for Anvils A Coaster in 2010, Anastasiou now has 31 horses to his name, most who stand at Vallelonga’s stable. Among that number are Chilled Desire, purchased for $6000 and with stakes of $84,924, three-year-old All Done Up, purchased for $7000 and with $23,978 in winnings, and of course Stunning Grin, the $4000 pick-up who now has $157,588 to his credit and a Group 2 trophy in the closet. “Nobody wanted him,” Anastasiou said of Stunning Grin. “He looked stunning when we got him as a colt. At the farm he’s probably the favourite horse of everyone, he’s a gentleman. He follows you around with no lead on. “Vince has done a wonderful job with him. (Stunning Grin)’s fairly lazy at home, but come race day … wow. He thrives on it. He’s gone to the next level. He’ll win another good race.” It’s an assessment Vallelonga agrees with. “He’s adapted to the Free For Alls pretty well. He’s progressively gotten better as he has kept racing,” he said. “He is a versatile horse. He doesn’t have to lead to win and he’s capable of being anywhere in the race.” Stunning Grin will need to continue to ride that wave of momentum if he’s to gain a ticket to the trots big dance in December, the Perth Inter Dominion. Since his win in the $18,325 Exclusive Homes Pace on August 5 he’s finished outside the top four only once in six starts at Tabcorp Park Melton, but despite three placings ultimate success has evaded him and driver Rodney Petroff. Sitting at 41 in the Inter Dominion rankings, Stunning Grin will need a boost to join stablemate Major Crocker (ranked 20th) in the top 30. “We will make the first payment,” Vallelonga said. ”If he keeps performing at Free For All and can win a country cup it might lift him up the rankings. We will probably aim him at the Swan Hill Pacing Cup (on October 15) after Saturday night.” Anastasiou has little doubt his gelding will get to the west. “He will be off to the Inter Dominion and if he draws on the front line at Gloucester Park he will take some running down. He’s just a superstar.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 08 October 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 08 October 2016
“It felt bloody good,” winning driver Jackie Barker said. “It was awesome.” A weekend of triumphant sporting underdogs was kick-started at Tabcorp Park Melton on Thursday night, when the concession driver’s metro harness racing career launched with victory in the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap. The John Meade-trained $12.70 shot Glorious Finale was Barker’s sole drive for the night, making for a hearty wait for the 20-year-old who made the journey from Hamilton to Melton “a bit after lunch” and counted down to her race, the night's last. “I didn’t want to be in a rush, especially for a drive like that. I watched a couple of races and then went and had a chat with John about the race,” she said. “I wasn’t really nervous. I’ve had a fair few drives now and I just looked at it as another drive. I didn’t want to think about how big a race it was for a concession driver like me, but just looked at it as just another race.” There were certainly no signs of nerves, with Barker guiding Glorious Finale to a perfectly timed standing start. “It all depended on how well he stepped out and luckily he stepped away really good,” she said. “The aim was to find the front and I was lucky enough to hold it, and then the plan was to hold it unless one of the favourites came around, which happened and I was happy for (Maorisfavouritesun) to find the front.” With a little under a mile to come David Aiken, trainer and driver of $1.80 favourite Maorisfavouritesun, came knocking, overcoming his 10m handicap to take the lead. “David Aiken kept the speed on, which suited my horse really well, and I was lucky enough to get out around the corner at the top of the straight.” For Barker, this was a case of making the most of her opportunities, having diverted from her original plan to take what would prove the winning move. “Down the back I was thinking sprint lane, but I saw David tapping his horse coming around the bend and that the horse outside (Heza Boy Star) had dropped off a bit," she said. “I thought it’s better to get out when you can. I knew that my horse can make up pretty good ground around bends, so it was better to not have to sit and wait for a sprint lane run when you never know what’s coming from the back.” Before the 200m mark Barker eased Glorious Finale off the back of Maorisfavouritesun and by the 50m mark she had captured the lead, from where she survived a sprint lane burst by Kerryn Manning on Illcryifhewinds. “We had the perfect run and the horse went really good,” Barker said. “I didn’t think my first metro drive would get a winner, let along being one on a trotter. Most concession drivers don’t get a go on good trotters, but John has been awesome and given me an opportunity.” And, having relegated trots veterans and stars Manning and Aiken to the minor placings, Barker is hopeful the metro win would be the first of many. “It’s a good way to start off my metro career and hopefully that gets me further drives in the future,” she said. “It’s back to normal, back to work and back to competing at the country races, which I love doing. Hopefully I will pick up a few more drivers from a few different trainers in the future.” CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE RESULTS AND REPLAYS FROM THURSDAY NIGHT'S RACING Michael Howard
It's been a big week for Bruce and Vicki Edward, and it has come smack bang at the end of a big harness racing season. Today new life reinvigorated their Durham Park farm, on Ballarat’s outskirts, when their new crop of yearlings arrived at the farm, which has been in a state of rebuild since being razed by fire last December. Their arrival, less than a month after mares returned to the property, signal a significant milestone and comes just days after the Edwards were anointed Woodlands Park Victorian Breeder of the Year. “It’s a bit of a boost up,” Mr Edward said of the award. “It has been a year of highs and lows and this is definitely one of the highs.” The honour was announced at Harness Breeders Victoria’s awards on Saturday night, when the 2015-16 season was celebrated. They put something of a full stop on a season Mr Edward won’t soon forget. “We had the big fire the week before Christmas, which was basically a wipe out,” he said, reflecting on the December 19 blaze that destroyed fencing, stables and their Durham house. “The remarkable thing was every horse survived, I have no idea how. "Alabar was very helpful, because all of our horses were sent up there. The fences are all done, the stables are built and we are getting there. It’s been an enormous amount of work.” While on some levels, the Edwards are starting again, the reality is they’ve come a long way in a relatively short time since having their first taste of the trots a decade ago. “I bought a couple of horses with David Murphy as part of a syndicate about 10 years ago,” Mr Edward said. “I had the farm, it was an interest and a hobby and I was heading towards retirement. I had no family in harness racing or deep-seated links, but I had an extensive background in agricultural breeding.” And so from that modest start his interest bloomed. “I bought a handful of cheap mares to basically learn with and then I decided to get into the filly aspect of it,” Mr Edward said. “I bought them as young fillies and raced them with the aim of them becoming broodmares. "I bought 14 or 15 US mares over three or four years and half a dozen from New Zealand. Our issue was our mares, nobody knew them, so we had to be patient at the sales and wait for them to perform.” And perform they did, no more than this year when Petacular, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Ideal Priority, dominated two-year-old fillies ranks and Ideal For Real was a force among the four-year-olds and looks destined for Grand Circuit success. Both were babies from the Edwards’ breeding barn and led to them being awarded breeder of the year. “I certainly was not expecting the award. We are a relatively new on the breeding scene and I’m sure that are many others more experienced and with many winners. “I keep track of all of the (foals as they go on). I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t love it. This is the exciting part of the year, we have had our first foals and I am very excited. “It’s been a tough year, but we are getting noticed now and the top trainers are buying our horses, including Mark Purdon, Clayton Tonkin and Andy Gath.” But it’s not just those big names in Edwards’ aim. “We have a slightly different outlook, our slogan is we have a yearling for everyone,” he said. “We like to have sales toppers, but to also get quality yearlings who can be serviced by cheaper stallions and sell for less, and to be honest a lot of those are the horses who have performed very well.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)
Harness racing trainer-driver John Newberry has made a stunning return from serious injury, winning tonight at Bendigo aboard Diamond Ace in the CV Batteries Pace. Wife Maree, who tonight stayed home to feed the horses while John and son Matt attended the Bendigo trots, was yet to speak to John about the win but said her husband would be thrilled to have achieved victory aboard "his favourite horse" at his first drive back since fracturing vertebrae and suffering head injuries in a race fall at Shepparton in late June. “He had head injuries and suffered fractures to T2 through to T9 vertebrae,” Maree said. “The main worry was the head injury because he was unconscious for eight minutes. He had short-term memory loss.” John spent the night in Shepparton Hospital before being flown to Royal Melbourne where he spent the next week. Once discharged John struggled with being stuck at home. “He was back in the sulky within a week. After about three days at home he wandered to the stables,” Maree said. “But it was at least a month before he started to do the trip to the track and back. Now he’s back driving jog teams and fast work.” Diamond Ace scored tonight over 2150m by 2.9m over Animated in the C5-C7 CV Batteries Pace, suggesting a country cups campaign could be on the cards for the six-year-old by Extreme Three out of Diamond Cove. “That’s his favourite horse so that will always stick in his mind I’m sure,” Maree said. Maree said son Matt, 22, who drove Thrilling Jolt into third place in the TAB Fixed Odds On-Course Pace tonight, was also enjoying his training and driving. “He’s going well but he’d love to be able to get a few more drives,” she said. “He’s got a trotter that he bred that is not far off called All Hall. He’s a half-brother to Just Call Me Earl and The Majestic.” The Newberry family is based at Bunbartha, almost 20 minutes out of Shepparton. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)
Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) was saddened to learn of the passing on Saturday of long-time industry stalwart Brian Frawley, at age 82. Mr Frawley is the father of recently appointed HRV Board Member Danny Frawley. He enjoyed considerable success as a trainer, including multiple Moonee Valley winners Noble Man, Evarestis and Grumpy Ole Man, as well as other classy performers in Lahaina and Noble Gent. Mr Frawley served on the Committee of the Ballarat & District Trotting Club for in excess of 35 years, leading the club as President from 1981 to 1986 and being awarded Life Membership in 1988. His greatest moment in the sport came when Vanderport, a horse he part-owned, ran 2nd to Village Kid in the 1986 Inter Dominion Grand Final at Albion Park in Queensland, when driven by his daughter Anne. READ THE BALLARAT COURIER'S TRIBUTE TO BRIAN FRAWLEY HRV extends its sincere condolences to his wife Shirley, their six children and the extended Frawley family. Mr Frawley’s funeral will be held at 10.30am on Wednesday at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Sturt Street, Ballarat. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)
From disaster came great harness racing success in 2015-16 for Victorian Breeder of the Year, Bruce Edward of Durham Park. Bruce and wife Vicki’s breeding property was razed shortly before Christmas last year but stayed positive throughout and committed to rebuilding his establishment; his stock certainly gave him good reason to remain positive as the year rolled on with horses like Petacular and Ideal For Real cleaning up on the track. Edward was presented with the Woodlands Park Victorian Breeder of the Year award at the IRT Harness Breeders Victoria awards night at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night, one of several premier awards to recognise achievements in the breeding industry across the season. Long-time stalwarts of the Victorian industry, Dr Martin & Kaye Hartnett, were recognised with the Metro Ian Daff Memorial for tenured service to the industry. The Benstud Pacing Broodmare of the Year was awarded to the Gleeson-Cameron managed mare, Celebrity Ball, dam of Celebrity Guest and Starburst Girl; while the Niota Bloodstock Trotting Broodmare of the Year went to Fred Crews’ mare, Sundonna, dam of the impressive Maori Law and Maori Time. Three sires were recognised for their impressive strike rate of starters to winners – the A Rocknroll Dance @ Alabar Juvenile Sire of the Year was awarded to Alabar’s own Courage Under Fire (51.5%); the Niota Bloodstock Trotting Sire of the Year was presented to Rosehill Farm’s Armbro Variable (74%); while the Victorian Pacing Sire of the Year went to Royal Mattjesty, formerly of the Stallion Station (72.5%). Championship trophies were awarded to 2YO fillies Petacular (Bruce Edward) and Kyvalley Kyrie (Aldebaran Park); 2YO colts & geldings The Storm Inside (Helen Head) which tied with Our Little General (Lauriston Bloodstock), and Illawong Byron (Dr & Mrs Hartnett); 3YO fillies Rocknroll Magic (Peter Gleeson, Bruce & Craig Cameron) and Aldebaran Eve (Aldebaran Park); 3YO colts & geldings, Our Waikiki Beach (The Fusinato family) and Cruisin Around (Pauleen Thomson); and aged horses Frith (Dianne Kelly), Maori Time (Fred Crews), Super Zeck (Shane Murphy) and Lennytheshark (Kevin Newbound Family, represented by Dion Gleeson). Breeders were again recognised for excellence in breeding salable stock, with Greg, John & Kath Fusinato being awarded the APG Yearling Sales High Earner trophy for their $150,000 Somebeachsomewhere colt, and the Terry Forster & Heather Lyttleton combination for their $47,000 Majestic Son colt at the Australasian Premier Trotting Sales. Excellence in recorded mile rates were presented to over 100 horses who achieved an exceptional time across the season. Breeders of Group 1 race winners across the country were also presented with plaques for their efforts in 2015-16. Available for comment: HBV President, Mr Shannon Nixon, 0487 764 966 Photos will be available on HBV’s social media streams across the night, and further images will be uploaded in the following week. Information about the awards criteria and selection process, and full results from the night, can be found on the HBV website under ‘Made in Victoria’.
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.