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Tabcorp Park Menangle will host two Group 1 events this Sunday afternoon. Miracle Mile and Inter Dominion winner Beautide is set to compete in the Len Smith Mile and looks hard to beat while lightly raced two year old filly Rosie Oreilly looks to be the biggest danger to kiwi youngster Supersonic Miss in the Australian Pacing Gold Final. Rosie Oreilly is trained by Danny Thackeray and has pulled up extremely well after her fourteen metre victory in the semi final. "She has pulled up really well and hasn't missed a feed since her semi final so I couldn't be happier with her," Thackeray said. "I have decided to stay here in New South Wales rather than travelling home, she has settled in really well here at Jack Primmer's property, it is a great set-up and there is plenty of green grass to keep her happy." Thackeray is based at Euroa in Victoria and enjoyed his first trip to Menangle although admitted the supposed 'hoodoo' for travelling horses did concern him before Saturday night's performance. "Rosie Oreilly got a soft lead but it was the first time I have taken runners to Menangle and it was nice to get a winner, my other filly Artistic Angel finished sixth in her semi and wanted to hang a bit in the run and she will compete in the consolation." "I was aware that some horses from Victoria have come to Menangle for the first time and have struggled and that was in the back of my mind but the big track didn't seem to create any issues for my pair." Rosie Oreilly has always showed ability but Thackeray confirmed there has been solid improvement in the lead up to her debut run at Melton earlier this month. "She always showed enough without being a star but as we got closer to the races she just kept on getting better and better, I still think she will be a better three year old, she's very long legged and has a bit of growing still to do." "Rosie Oreilly is paid up for everything so I will take her home after the APG and think about the Vicbred and the Breeders Crown but at the moment I am just concentrating on Sunday." By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing | Harness Racing New South Wales |

Harness Breeders Victoria (HBV) President, Dr Tony Britt, welcomes Desiree Pettit to the newly created part-time role of Executive Officer. The role will be responsible for developing a range of new initiatives and consolidating the current platform of the Association’s activities in representing Victoria’s Standardbred breeding industry as a kindred  body with Harness Racing Victoria. This autonomous role will work with the Executive and Committee in complimenting their work for breeders, studmasters and breeder owners & members. This role will further develop the Association’s service delivery, particularly in digitisation and communication. Pettit’s prior corporate and management roles within racing, not-for-profit and marketing industries ensure a broad range of skills will be brought to the role. In addition, she has extensive and varied experience, involvement and knowledge of both equine racing codes over a considerable period. Pettit holds degrees in Business (Marketing) and Arts (Sport & Event Management) from Victoria University, along with post graduate qualifications, and industry specific training. HRV Media

Harness Breeders Victoria (HBV) President, Dr Tony Britt, welcomes Desiree Pettit to the newly created part-time role of Executive Officer. The role will be responsible for developing a range of new initiatives and consolidating the current platform of the Association’s activities in representing Victoria’s Standardbred breeding industry as a kindred  body with Harness Racing Victoria. This autonomous role will work with the Executive and Committee in complimenting their work for breeders, studmasters and breeder owners & members. This role will further develop the Association’s service delivery, particularly in digitisation and communication. Pettit’s prior corporate and management roles within racing, not-for-profit and marketing industries ensure a broad range of skills will be brought to the role. In addition, she has extensive and varied experience, involvement and knowledge of both equine racing codes over a considerable period. Pettit holds degrees in Business (Marketing) and Arts (Sport & Event Management) from Victoria University, along with post graduate qualifications, and industry specific training. HRV Media

Popular Gippsland harness racing trainer and driver Daryl Woolcock lost a lengthy battle with illness on Easter Monday. As well as being a thorough gentleman Daryl trained and drove pacers and trotters for decades, ending up at Koo Wee Rup. He had multiple wins with Tiffany Valley and Tamara Valley in the 1980's and in more recent times winners included Heeza Hudson (Warragul Horse of the Year) and Hudson Pacemaker. Perhaps his best horse was the talented trotter Pepperell Dancer, who won the Eddie Evison Memorial Trotters Cup at Warragul on the Easter weekend in 2008, plus also won the Bruce Skeggs and Yarra Valley Trotting Cup races, as well as winning metro races at Moonee Valley and Melton. Hudson Pacemaker and Pepperell Dancer were both later sold interstate, where Daryl's training ability helped the horses go on to numerous city successes. In the early 1990's Melbourne race caller David Raphael, who later went on to a distinguished career broadcasting in Hong Kong, dabbled briefly in trots driving and got his start in the sulky, and in race broadcasting, with the assistance of Daryl. Meanwhile local filly Queen Of Pop will be back in Sydney this Saturday night for the rich Australian Pacing Gold two-year-old fillies Final, after running second in a qualifying race at Menangle Park last Saturday night. Kyle Galley

Queensland horseman Steven Doherty is ready for the next chapter in his career. Today (Monday), Doherty will leave Australian shores bound for Europe where he will be based with trainer Henk Grift in Germany for the next twelve months. The 28yo will join the Dutch born trainer who prepares a huge team of trotters near Dusseldorf. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for the gifted farrier and he’s eager to make the most of his time abroad. “I’ve got to thank Darren McCall and his partner Karina for providing me with this opportunity. Karina is a good friend of world respected administrator Klaus Koch and things snowballed from there, I got my visa sorted at the German Consulate in Sydney and now we’re off and I can’t wait.” Doherty explained. Grift regularly competes at venues in France, Germany, Scandinavia and his native Holland with great success. Doherty will carry out plenty of farrier work for the Grift stable but is also hopeful of doing some race driving during his time in northern Europe. “I’m not actually sure what my role will be within the stable but I know there will be plenty of horses to be shod and that’s fine because I’m certain to learn many new techniques, it will be vastly different to what I know but I’m really looking forward to creating new styles and learning a lot more in this area. “If I can carry out some race driving during my time up there that will be an added bonus, I enjoy the trotters and it will be great to work with some very talented animals. “The timing is just right; I’m young and single with no major commitments and I’ve heard so many great stories from those who have travelled previously. I’m going with an open mind and I’m really looking forward to it although the language barrier may take some sorting but that’s all part of the adventure.” Doherty is the son of Peter, a respected horseman along with his grandfather Jim Madden while his Uncle Craig McKinnis, is a highly decorated Victorian based farrier. In 2006, Doherty represented Queensland in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship staged in both Victoria and Tasmania. Doherty drove his first winner at age 16 when successful aboard the Ann Perrin trained Karamea Rosalie at Rocklea. Former Redwood Classic winner Bonbillie Fella is rated as the best trotter that Doherty has set behind, winning three of his four drives behind the Fake Left entire. By Chris Barsby (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)  

The first harness racing mobile start Warragul Cup was a great success on Easter Sunday. Ballarat horseman Michael Stanley took out The Linc Group Warragul Pacing Cup with Hilltop Hustler, a four-year-old who had no luck in the Mildura Pacing Cup at its previous run, but is an up-and-coming pacer of the future, and will be aimed at further feature races going forward. Hilltop Hustler has recorded 10 wins and 8 placings from only 35 starts, and was well supported by punters. The Cup for Trafalgar horseman Glenn Hunter was over soon after it started, as Astronaut galloped and virtually took no part. It capped an up and down day for Glenn - he placed third in the Trotters Cup with Dawn Tears but earlier lost the opening race in the stewards room after debutante Lazy Sunday drifted in in the home straight when first past the post. Runner up in the Cup was Loveable Larrikin, with Savesomtimetodream finishing third. The 2:00 mile rate barrier was broken for the 2620 metre distance, indicating the quality of the Warragul track. The co-feature on Sunday, the Eddie Evison Memorial Trotters Cup, was won by Eisenhower for Kilmore husband and wife team Peter Lane and Anita Burke. In another exciting contest, Eisenhower held off his rivals to score narrowly from Im Whitney, with local Dawn Tears having no luck in finishing a close up third. Four generations of the Evison family were on hand to present the silver Cup to the winning connections. Longwarry pacer Intergalactic took out the final race of the day for trainer Lee Evison and driver Josh Duggan. A large group of happy owners were on hand to accept the trophy after Melita Bromac won the Warragul Club and Downtowner Guineas. Melita Bromac will head for the rich Victorian Oaks series after her Warragul win. A good crowd enjoyed an exciting day of racing on Sunday, with TAB betting up considerably on last year. Footballer's 'Crackers' Keenan and Peter Daicos and legendary trotting horseman Ted Demmler were among the special guests on the day. The quality of the field in the Pacing Cup supported the Warragul Harness Racing Club's decision to switch the event from a handicap to a mobile barrier start. Last year's Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling was among the entries, a winner of over $800,000 in stakes, and horses of that calibre gracing the local track gave the club extra publicity. Kyle Galley

Rising Ballarat trainer Mick Stanley has been involved with one or two good pacers in his relatively short career to date but it’s his life lessons in the sport that are now moulding Hilltop Hustler into potentially his best ever horses. Because temptation has been lingering to shoot for the stars with the talented gelding. He has shown potential that matches almost any horse in the state but Stanley’s cool hand has yet to release the breaks. A tilt at the Mildura Cup was his first Free For All foray but it didn’t end the way connections would have been hoping. In saying that, his trainer took plenty from the run. “Even after Mildura, where we didn’t have the best of luck, one thing Gavin (Lang) did say to me after the race was that you may have missed out on the cheque tonight but make sure you look after him and he will have a good future next year,” Stanley said. “To hear that from a guy like Gavin who has driven so many group horses and great horses, it just gives me a bit of confidence that we’re heading in the right direction with him.” For now though, Hilltop Hustler will push on to the Warragul Cup where he will have to take on potential Country Cup Kings Arber and Savesomtimetodream. And even Stanley knows that the expected drop in grade will still present its own problems. “I wouldn’t say any Cup around Victoria is a step down, they’re all hard to win but my fella is racing in good form and Warragul was a target because it’s drawn on class so he should draw better than a few of his rivals which makes it a nice race for him,” he said. “I’ve always had a big opinion of him and looked after him so I can get the best out of him.” Sunday might be the conclusion of a big weekend for the stable but Saturday is where everything begins. Smart two-year-old filly Soho Tokyo heads to Menangle in the hope of moving through to the final of the APG. The rich feature race has been on the radar for Stanley for quite a while and his opinion of the filly suggest she will be hard to beat in both heat and final. “I do love this filly, she’s just a beautiful filly to deal with, there’s no fuss about her. She’s a real professional and she just gets the job done,” he said. “I was rapt with the heat run and I think I have her peaking at the right time. We’ve got a nice barrier for the semi-final so hopefully we can progress through and I think I’ve got a filly that’s a live chance to win the final that’s for sure.”

It is not every day a winner of the famous Miracle Mile harness race competes at Warragul, but that is the case on Sunday when Baby Bling lines up in The Linc Group Warragul Cup.   Baby Bling has won over $800,000 in stakes from just 47 starts, including the 2013 Miracle Mile in Sydney, plus a host of other feature races including the Goulburn Cup, Australian Oaks, Gold Coast Oaks and WA Mares Classic.   Connections transferred the mare to Lara trainer Dean Braun recently, and one start in Victoria so far netted a recent placing at Melton.   Sunday's Cup has attracted one of the strongest fields in the history of the race. The first Warragul Cup to be run from behind the mobile barrier is the last race in the annual Victorian Country Cup Championship, and the result of this weekend's race determines which horse wins the coveted Championship title.   Arber and Savesomtimetodream, both engaged Sunday, have won three Country Cup races each this season.   Arber heads the Championship points, however if he misses a place on Sunday and Savesomtimetodream wins, the award will be a tie.   Seven of the 11 drivers in Sunday's race have won the Cup before. Among those trying to add his name to the Cup honour roll will be Trafalgar horseman Glenn Hunter, who steers Astronaut in the event.   Glenn will also drive Dawn Tears for his dad Chris in the other feature race, the Eddie Evison Memorial Trotters Cup. Fellow local Gatesys Girl will also be looking to improve its recent form in this event.   With good weather forecast a bumper crowd is expected to converge on Warragul for this Sunday's race. Racing and activities commence at around 12:55pm with the Warragul Cup timed to go at 4:35pm.   By Kylie Galley  

An Introduction From The CEO I wish everyone involved in the industry a happy and safe Easter. On Easter Sunday, the Warragul Club hosts the final Cup for the Country Cup Season. The race will determine whether Arber or Savesometimetodream is the Choice Hotels Country Cups Champion. Follow HRV on Twitter @HRVnews Mildura Carnival Once again congratulations go out to Barry Bottams, Mark Kemp and the Mildura Club for another successful Carnival. Initial figures I have received indicate that on course wagering through the tote were similar to last year - at approximately $250,000 over the three nights ($140,000 on Final night). On course bookmakers also held strongly, so overall the numbers are pleasing given that the increase in betting by punters on mobile devices while on course is not included in the above numbers. Amanda Turnbull became the first ever female to drive the winner of the Pacing Cup when Im Blue Double Dee saluted at $29 from favourite Flaming Flutter. Amazingly Shayne Cramp and Ryan Hryhorec drove seven winners on Final night between them. Shayne also drove four winners on heat night for a total of eight for the Carnival. I also pay tribute to the Sunraysia Daily for its outstanding coverage during the Carnival. HRV appreciates the efforts of Sports Chief Matt Taylor and Darren Davis. Great Southern Star (GSS) I would like to say thank you to several people now the dust has settled on the GSS: Pryde's Easifeed has been an excellent sponsor for the two years of the event and I pass on my appreciation to Peter Pryde, David Owen and Grant Bole for their support; The Women's Cancer Foundation - in particular Board Member Duncan McPherson OAM. Duncan's energy has assisted in the growth of the GSS and the connection with the Ovarian Cancer Institute has lifted the profile of the event; The female drivers who enthusiastically wore the teal pants through the month of March to raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer; All those who attended the night and contributed $85,000 toward the Women's Cancer Foundation; Congratulations to connections of Keystone Del who took home the lion's share of the $400,000 on offer for the GSS. Finally, for a two minute look at the highlights of the big night, click here. Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) Appeal i) Race for the Appeal Thanks go to HRV staff member Jess Tubbs who last Friday night pulled together a highly successful Sulky Race as a fundraiser for the RCH. Young Nathan Fino has Down Syndrome requiring regular treatment at the hospital and the Fino family is raising funds for the RCH Appeal. At Melton, Victoria's leading drivers sprinted up the home straight carting the sulky behind carrying a young child, including Nathan. It was a great thrill for the youngsters who ignored the rain and had a ball. The winning combination was Greg Sugars "driven" by Katie Alford. Ironically Katie's Dad Chris was tailed off, displaying a distinct lack of speed! Click here to watch the race. ii) Drivers at Appeal I would also like to thank industry leaders Gavin Lang, Chris Alford and Ellen Tormey who will be taking part in the RCH Good Friday Appeal on Channel 7. They will be answering phones and be interviewed at approximately 2.15pm. I appreciate the effort these three will make to represent our sport on this important day. Hot Shots A new concept in harness racing will be launched next month with the introduction of 'Hot Shots'. Hot Shots is a collaborative initiative between HRV, Sky Racing, Harness Racing Australia, Harness Racing NSW, Racing QLD and Racing and Wagering WA. Over eight Tuesday nights commencing on May 6, harness racing will take centre stage on Sky Racing with a dedicated exclusive coverage of speed racing from four States over a two hour period between 5pm and 7pm. Races will be over approximately 1000 metres featuring distinctive colours, eight horse fields with a Hot Shot race every few minutes on Sky Racing 2. A detailed launch of Hot Shots will take place shortly. Hot Shots has its own twitter feed @HotShotsRacing. Summer Carnival In releasing the race dates for the 2014/15 season, HRV has determined that it will conduct its major Summer Carnival in late January/early February, to include the SEW-Eurodrive Victoria Cup and the Del Re National Food Group Hunter Cup in successive weeks. The Carnival will also include the time honoured Victoria Derby. Following the Victorian Carnival (not yet branded) will be the Inter Dominion Heats in mid-February before moving to Sydney for the Inter Dominion Final in early March. HRV thanks the Ballarat Club, which was consulted along the way, for agreeing to shift its Cup to mid-December. HRV is now able to promote a major regional carnival of the Group 1 Cranbourne and Ballarat Cups in successive weeks. Milestones Daryl Douglas is closing in on being the third driver to reach 5,000 winners. At Mildura on March 30, he brought up win number 4,500 behind Hayabusa Flyer; Matt Craven drove his 500th winner at Melton last Friday behind Weallwantano; Haydon Gray drove his 100th winner on April 3 at Maryborough behind Courageous Emm. HRV Receptionist Jenny Mugavin completed 10 years' service in March. Did You Know? HRV will be racing at Tabcorp Park on the night of Anzac Day. It is a big night that will include the 2YO Colts & Geldings Semi Finals of the $300,000 APG Series, as well as appropriate recognition of this significant day. Copyright © 2014 Harness Racing Victoria, All rights reserved.  

Over the past two days – April 9 and 10, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) have conducted a review hearing in the case involving Mr. Eric Anderson, Mr. Glenn Douglas and Dr. Sarah Jalim.  Below outlines an overview of the hearing. A final decision regarding penalty will be handed down  by His Honour Judge Nixon on Tuesday 15 April 2014. On 5 March 2014, the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board imposed a 6 month disqualification upon Mr Eric Anderson and Mr Glenn Douglas with regard to various offences found to have been committed against the Australian Rules of Harness Racing (ARHR).  Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas both applied to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for review of the HRV RAD Board decisions on the grounds the penalty imposed upon them was excessive.  HRV Stewards also lodged cross-applications for review to the VCAT on the grounds the penalties imposed by the HRV RAD Board were inadequate. Prior to the VCAT review hearings Mr Glenn Douglas amended his application and indicated an intention to contest 3 of the 11 charges issued against him as well as apply for review of the penalty imposed. At the VCAT review hearings held on 9 and 10 April 2014, the VCAT heard evidence from Dr Sarah Jalim, Mr Glenn Douglas and Mr Eric Anderson.  The VCAT also received into evidence a statement from Dr Kathryn McIntosh tendered to the VCAT by the legal representative of Mr Douglas and Mr Anderson.   The VCAT also received into evidence the statements of HRV witnesses Mr Nicholas Murray (Deputy Chairman of Stewards), Mr Stephen Svanosio (Assistant Steward), Mr Andy Rogers (General Manager – Integrity), Mr Anthony Pearce (Investigative Steward), Dr Daniel Carmody (HRV veterinary consultant) and Mr Paul Zahra (Racing Analytical Services Limited Scientific Manager). At the conclusion of the evidence, Mr Douglas discontinued his contesting of one of the charges and the VCAT considered the remaining two charges being contested under ARHR 187(6) and 105(5) which provide: ARHR 187(6)  A person shall not frustrate or endeavour to frustrate an inquiry or investigation. ARHR 105(5) The owner or authorized agent or other person in charge of a horse whose death has been notified, or which should have been notified, under sub rule (1)(a) shall not dispose of the carcass without the permission of the Controlling Body or the Steward. The presiding member of the VCAT, His Honour Judge Nixon, determined that Mr Douglas was guilty of both charges and proceeded to hear submissions from all parties as to the appropriate penalty to be imposed upon Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas. To view the Glenn Douglas/ Talk To The Hand story click here. HRV Media

Over the past two days – April 9 and 10, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) have conducted a review hearing in the case involving Mr. Eric Anderson, Mr. Glenn Douglas and Dr. Sarah Jalim.  Below outlines an overview of the hearing. A final decision regarding penalty will be handed down  by His Honour Judge Nixon on Tuesday 15 April 2014. On 5 March 2014, the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board imposed a 6 month disqualification upon Mr Eric Anderson and Mr Glenn Douglas with regard to various offences found to have been committed against the Australian Rules of Harness Racing (ARHR).  Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas both applied to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for review of the HRV RAD Board decisions on the grounds the penalty imposed upon them was excessive.  HRV Stewards also lodged cross-applications for review to the VCAT on the grounds the penalties imposed by the HRV RAD Board were inadequate. Prior to the VCAT review hearings Mr Glenn Douglas amended his application and indicated an intention to contest 3 of the 11 charges issued against him as well as apply for review of the penalty imposed. At the VCAT review hearings held on 9 and 10 April 2014, the VCAT heard evidence from Dr Sarah Jalim, Mr Glenn Douglas and Mr Eric Anderson.  The VCAT also received into evidence a statement from Dr Kathryn McIntosh tendered to the VCAT by the legal representative of Mr Douglas and Mr Anderson.   The VCAT also received into evidence the statements of HRV witnesses Mr Nicholas Murray (Deputy Chairman of Stewards), Mr Stephen Svanosio (Assistant Steward), Mr Andy Rogers (General Manager – Integrity), Mr Anthony Pearce (Investigative Steward), Dr Daniel Carmody (HRV veterinary consultant) and Mr Paul Zahra (Racing Analytical Services Limited Scientific Manager). At the conclusion of the evidence, Mr Douglas discontinued his contesting of one of the charges and the VCAT considered the remaining two charges being contested under ARHR 187(6) and 105(5) which provide: ARHR 187(6)  A person shall not frustrate or endeavour to frustrate an inquiry or investigation. ARHR 105(5) The owner or authorized agent or other person in charge of a horse whose death has been notified, or which should have been notified, under sub rule (1)(a) shall not dispose of the carcass without the permission of the Controlling Body or the Steward. The presiding member of the VCAT, His Honour Judge Nixon, determined that Mr Douglas was guilty of both charges and proceeded to hear submissions from all parties as to the appropriate penalty to be imposed upon Mr Anderson and Mr Douglas. To view the Glenn Douglas/ Talk To The Hand story click here. HRV Media

Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is excited to announce a three-year Breeders Challenge sponsorship agreement with the pre-eminent NSW nursery Pepper Tree Farm. Situated in the Lachlan Valley in the central west of NSW, Pepper Tree Farm was established by Rob and Julie Van Dyke in 1996. The substantial quality of horses bred at the stud since its inception is highlighted by four Australian 2yos of the Year; an Australian 3yo of the Year; six winners of the Group 1 Australian Pacing Gold; Victoria and NSW Derby winners; an Australian and Victoria Oaks winner and multiple Breeders Challenge and NSW Sires Stakes champions. Pepper Tree Farm Principal Rob Van Dyke said: "New South Wales has done a lot of positive things over the past few years so we are keen to show our support. "We have a good relationship with the controlling body and believe it is important to have a leading stud such as ours to sponsor the NSW feature juvenile race series. Pepper Tree Farm is very excited to be the sponsor for the ensuing three years." The introduction of the Breeders Challenge was a significant structural change to the NSW breeding industry. The incentives and initiatives associated with the Breeders Challenge have rapidly evolved over the past few years and now include the rich Major Race Series (including trotters), Regional Finals, Nominators (breeders) Cash Bonuses, Owners Bonus Certificates, Blue Series and Incentive Certificates. HRNSW CEO Sam Nati said: "It's immensely satisfying to have a stud such as Pepper Tree Farm associated with one of our most important brands. Rob and Julie are forward thinkers and pivotal to the development of the standardbred in Australia for almost two decades."   Dale Walker | Manager - Marketing | Harness Racing New South Wales                  

It is not guaranteed, but top Victorian harness racing trainer Emma Stewart is very keen to tackle the Harness Jewels with her top four-year-old, who was one of the first three Australians invited to compete in the Harness Jewels on In The Gig on Monday night. The other invitees announced on Monday were Blitzthemcalder (4YO Ruby)  and Frith (4YO Diamond), however at this stage the Chariots Of Fire winner looks the most likely of the trio to compete. "I wouldn't rule it out completely but we have to keep in mind that there is the semi final of the Breeders Challenge a fortnight after the Jewels and I wouldn't want to put her whole campaign and season in jeopardy by chasing the one race in New Zealand,” said Frith’s trainer Bruce Harpley. "Adore Me would be extremely hard to beat over there in New Zealand and that is obviously a very strong consideration for both Bernie Kelly (Owner) and I." Meanwhile, talented Junior reinswoman Samantha Ottley has landed the drive on Aldo Rossi in Friday’s NZ Derby, which will be her first drive in a Group One pacing event. “I finished second on Stent in the NZ Trotting Championship when Colin (DeFilippi) was out on suspension, but this will be more first drive in a Group One pacing event,” said an excited Ottley.  

It is not guaranteed, but top Victorian harness racing trainer Emma Stewart is very keen to tackle the Harness Jewels with her top four-year-old, who was one of the first three Australians invited to compete in the Harness Jewels on In The Gig on Monday night. The other invitees announced on Monday were Blitzthemcalder (4YO Ruby)  and Frith (4YO Diamond), however at this stage the Chariots Of Fire winner looks the most likely of the trio to compete. "I wouldn't rule it out completely but we have to keep in mind that there is the semi final of the Breeders Challenge a fortnight after the Jewels and I wouldn't want to put her whole campaign and season in jeopardy by chasing the one race in New Zealand,” said Frith’s trainer Bruce Harpley. "Adore Me would be extremely hard to beat over there in New Zealand and that is obviously a very strong consideration for both Bernie Kelly (Owner) and I." Meanwhile, talented Junior reinswoman Samantha Ottley has landed the drive on Aldo Rossi in Friday’s NZ Derby, which will be her first drive in a Group One pacing event. “I finished second on Stent in the NZ Trotting Championship when Colin (DeFilippi) was out on suspension, but this will be more first drive in a Group One pacing event,” said an excited Ottley.  

Harness Racing Victoria has today released the racing calendar until June 30, 2015. And in a landmark decision the SEW Victoria Cup has been shifted to coincide with harness racing's most famous race - the Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup. The Victoria Cup will be run on Saturday night January 31, one week before the Hunter Cup on February 7, offering an unforgettable two weekends of pacing action, showcasing the best horses in Australasia as they vie for $800,000 on their way to the Inter Dominion Final in Sydney in early March. Victoria Cup night will also feature the heats of the Victoria Derby, with the final to be held on Hunter Cup night. As part of the change, the Ballarat Cup will move from January to December 13, in place of where the Victoria Cup has been held in recent years while the Ballarat track will again host Semi-Final night for the Breeders Crown, this year on August 16. "The movement of the Victoria Cup to one week before the Hunter Cup provides a great opportunity for HRV and our main Metropolitan venue - Tabcorp Park Melton, to build these two Fabulous weekends into Australasia's biggest harness racing carnival", HRV CEO John Anderson said. "At the same time, the change not only gives Ballarat the opportunity to develop a mouth-watering feast of Christmas racing, but also allows us to develop one of the great regional carnivals in December with two sensational Group 1 Country Cups a week a part - the Cranbourne Pacing Cup on Saturday night December 6 and the Ballarat Cup on December 13. "The restructuring of the race program will assist both Tabcorp Park Melton and Ballarat to maximise attendance, wagering, media coverage and hospitality sales." The amendments now dictate a period of exceptional harness racing between January 31 and early March which will house the Victoria and Hunter Cups, a Victoria Derby, an Inter Dominion Final in NSW on March 1, plus a Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star. The total number of meetings for the year will increase by 4 to 460 with no material change to the number of meetings conducted by any single club. BLAKE REDDEN COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER [Harness Racing Victoria]

Former champion Australian youngster Sushi Sushi has been humanely put down after shattering a pastern in trackwork this morning. The $1 million dollar earning pacer was rushed to the vet soon after sustaining the injury but unfortunately there was nothing that could be done and he was regretfully put down. It is understood that Sushi Sushi’s injury was sustained to the same leg that has seen him ruled out of racing since January of 2013 The six-year-old son of Art Major, who once had a win streak of 16, was trained by Freddy Taiba for the majority of his career, but also had a stint in New Zealand with Mark Purdon. Know by many of his biggest fans as ‘The Sush,’ the extremely talented pacer's biggest wins included the 3YO ABC Final, the Victoria Derby, the Breeders Challenge Final, the NSW Breeders 2YO Final, the Kevin Seymour Nursery, and New Zealand’s Great Northern Derby and Kaikoura Cup. Sushi Sushi was driven by top Australian reinsman Greg Sugars, who formed a wonderful association with the great pacer. His last win was in the Group Two Bendigo Cup, while his last start resulted in a narrow second to Mah Sish is the Group One Ballarat Cup. The son of No Nukes mare Sabilize was bred by Weona Standardbreds and was owned by A Cendron and P D'Alessi. Sushi Sushi won 27 of just 47 starts, with stakes in excess of $1.1 million. R.I.P ‘The Sush’ By Mitchell Robertson  

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