Search Results
1 to 16 of 3992
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

At last night’s SEW Eurodrive Victorian Harness Racing Hall of Fame Awards evening at Melton, HRV Chairman Ken Latta announced one of Australia’s most famous identities, George Gath, had been elevated to Legend status. Gath’s elevation sees him join inaugural legends, Gordon Rothacker and Maori’s Idol. The posthumous honour was accepted by George’s eldest son Neville, who is a Hall of Fame member, who was visibly moved by the honour and spoke warmly about his father and his achievements. George was a remarkable horseman and remains the only driver to win at Richmond, Ascot, Melbourne Showgrounds and Moonee Valley as well as the first person to win 300 races in Melbourne. He won six Victorian driving premierships, four Melbourne driving premierships, two Adelaide premierships and was beaten by a victory in a Sydney drivers’ premiership. In addition, George won four Melbourne and thee Adelaide trainers’ premierships as well as training and driving Tara Meadow to record the first two minute mile in Victoria. George trained many great horses, including trotters Paddy McKinney, Bingen Redmond, Carlottas Pride and Delvin Dancer, while his best pacers were Joy’s John, Heroic Action, Gyro and Tara Meadow. The function also saw six inductees to the Hall of Fame, which now boasts 53 members. The latest additions are pioneering reinswomen Pearl Kelly, record breaking reinsman Chris Alford, the Abrahams family, journalist Max Agnew, True Roman and broodmare gem, Maori Miss. The overdue induction of Pearl Kelly was a highlight, with photographs and a remarkable life story having the audience in awe. Pearl Kelly was the first woman to win a metropolitan race against the men in Perth and Melbourne in a time when women were banned in the thoroughbred industry. At the peak of her career in 1927 officials also banned women in harness racing and it would be 50 years before they were would be licensed again to compete in races against the men. The attentive crowd included many Hall of Fame Legends and were entertained by the polished MC Rob Gaylard and internationally recognized comedian, Col Elliott. The Trainers’ and Drivers’ Association, which is an integral part of the Hall of Fame night, presented an award to Cliff Powell and a posthumous one to Neville Clarke. Also on the evening the Victorian Harness Racing Media Association presented their major award – Bob Cain Distinguished Service - to the “voice of Harness Racing” Dan Mielicki. Geoff Want, Chairman of Harness Racing Australia presented a number of national awards including one of the Joseph Coulter Awards for Best Book to Peter Collier for “ Manaroa – the People’s Champion” and Harnesslink’s Paul Courts for Best News Story for his piece title “Trigger’s Final Shot”. Harness Racing Victoria was also on stage to recognize the media with a series of state awards for journalism, radio, television and photographic excellence. JOHN PECK

He is already one of the most successful reinsman in Victoria’s major harness racing events, so why not become a local? That’s the logic behind New Zealand driver Anthony Butt’s decision to relocate to the state. Despite his status as a Kiwi, Butt boasts a record seven A G Hunter Cups, having scored with Blossom Lady in 1994 and ’95, Mister D G 2004, Mr Feelgood ’09, Stunin Cullen ’11, Choise Achiever ’12 and Mah Sish in ’13. Mister D G is a son of Blossom Lady. Butt has also won the Ballarat Cup (Stunin Cullen 2011 and Mah Sish’13), Australian Grand Prix (Take A Moment 2002), Australasian Trotting Championship (Lyell Creek 2000 and ’01), Bill Collins Mile (Lyell Creek ’01, Take A Moment 2002 and ’03) V L Dullard Cup (Lyell Creek 2000 and ’01), Great Southern Star (Vulcan 2013) and the Moonee Valley Inter Dominion (Lyell Creek 2000) Making the move across the Tasman to be stable driver to another former Kiwi – trainer Brent Lilley – Butt will be based on Melton. “It’s been in the pipeline for a while now, but the time is right,” Butt explained. “The clincher was being able to drive for Brent. “Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up some other drives as well. The important thing when making a move like this though is to have a good base. “Everywhere you go is a different racing style. In New Zealand they race very different in the North Island compared to the South Island and in Australia they race differently in all the states. But I’ve always been able to adapt pretty well. “It’ll take me three or four weeks to get my head around the form of the lesser races. It’s easier to know the form from the bigger races because you’ve watched those closely.” Butt hasn’t wasted time finding making way to the winners’ circle, registering a feature double at Gunbower yesterday. Driving for Lilley, Butt captured the Trotters’ Cup with Kvintet Avenger and the Pacing Cup with Lets Elope. The latter has Butt eyeing another A G Hunter Cup victory in February. “Lets Elope looks as though the Hunter Cup might suit him,” Butt said. “He’s an up-and-comer and he’s good from the stand, so it ticks a couple of boxes.” PAUL COURTS

Victoria Police and the Victorian Racing Integrity Commissioner have agreed to a milestone partnership to help stamp out crime and consolidate racing’s integrity…including harness racing. The Memorandum of Understanding between the two bodies will allow the exchange of information between parties. The partnership underlines efforts to ensure the integrity of Victoria’s $2.8billion racing industry, which employs nearly 58,000 people across the three codes. “This agreement will be of benefit to both Victoria Police and the racing industry and help inform investigations by both parties,” Mr Perna said.  “The MOU not only helps both agencies gather relevant information, but leads to increasing public confidence in racing.” The agreement builds on the RIC’s agreement in 2013 with the Australian Crime Commission. Both agreements follow a recommendation made in the RIC’s 2012 Own Motion Inquiry into Race Fixing to identify the barriers to information sharing between police and racing bodies. Under the agreement, there will remain some constraints on types of information that police are able to share, including telecommunication interception information. The agreement also builds on other Victoria Police initiatives such as the creation of the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit in February 2013 and the entering of an interim information sharing agreement with the RIC in June 2013. Mr Perna said the two MOU’s emphasise an increased focus on sports integrity which demonstrate Victoria’s commitment to protecting its sporting industry. “Together with an increased focus on sports integrity and the creation of recent legislation addressing corrupt conduct in sport (The Crimes Amendment (Integrity in Sports) Act 2013), Victoria is well placed to protect its sporting industry.” Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner

As he crossed the line at Geelong yesterday, Jason Fino had arguably the most vocal cheer squad in the history of harness racing. With the cheers blanketing the race broadcaster, the happy group was expected to be in the dozens. As it turned out, Fino’s fans club was a party of three – his children, Nathan, Mitchell and Hayley. “I couldn’t believe how loud they were,” Fino declared. “You’d think there was at least a dozen of them. “After the line, Greg (Sugars) even said ‘that’s some cheer squad’ as everyone could hear them.” While he likes to believe they were barracking for their father, Fino has a sneaky suspicion the cheers were for Chestervale Jet, which they kids have shares in! Clearly a family favourite, Chestervale Jet enjoyed the perfect one-one trip before scoring by a head from Machncheese, with Giant Steps a half-neck away third. Covering the last half in 58 seconds, the son of Real Desire rated 2:01.3 for the 2100 metres to break his maiden at his 30th start. “He has run a number of placings and I always felt it was only a matter of time before he won,” Fino said. “He’s no star, and as he showed today, he just had to wait his turn. “Hopefully this will get the ball rolling and he can pick up a few more wins along the way. “The kids all pitch in around the stables, but Mitch and Hayley have other interests, whereas Nathan will eat, live and breathe horses. “I’ll never forget the day we found him with the dog tied to the float and he was trying to put the harness on it..we couldn’t stop laughing.” As for Fino’s three-member cheer squad, they only exist after one of his obligatory trips to Moonee Valley during the 1990s led to him meeting to his future wife, Rachael Pace. “I was just starting out with horses, learning the ropes, when I made my usual voyage to the Valley with a few of the junior drivers I knew,” Fino said. “It was a standard operation to be there on a Saturday night to hang out with the boys before hitting the town, then one night I met Rachael. “As soon as I saw her I knew I was going to marry her.” Fino’s introduction into the industry began years earlier via his grandfather, the late Joe Abela. Abela prepared several handy types throughout the late 1970s and ‘80s, with Romantic Joanne the best of the crew. It was a former school teacher, however, who prompted Fino into pursuing a career with horses. “I was around horses from a young age as my grandfather was a trainer, but he passed away before I was really old enough to have anything serious to do with them,” Fino said. “Then as I was a little older in High School, a lady who worked there as a guidance counsellor recommended I worked in a stable for work experience. “So I did a stint with John Thompson and haven’t stopped being around horses since. “My Aunty’s husband is the jockey Alan Cooper, so I also spent a bit of time around the gallopers, but it soon became obvious I was going to be too tall to be a jockey. “After that I migrated back to harness racing and have been loving ever since.” PAUL COURTS

The trotting side of harness racing has been one part of the industry that seems to have been holding its own in recent years. More and more North American and European sires are now available to Australasian breeders and one that is making a big impact is the son of S J's Photo in Bacardi Lindy. Imported by Ross Simpson, Bacardi Lindy has spent time in both Australia and New Zealand and these days is resident at Morley Park in Victoria. A son of S J's Photo from the brilliant Valley Victory mare Rum Boogie 1:55 ($900,908), Bacardi Lindy made $115,000 when sold at Tattersalls as a yearling and recouped that and more on the track winning $207,546 and taking a mark of 1:52.8 Bacardi Lindy made a slow start with his first crop but his stock have just kept improving and several starting showing up in the age group classics. Claudy's Princess ($198,746) was a star 3 year old last season while The Boss Man ($95,132) was another of his better performers in the 4 year old ranks as  Bacardi Lindy established himself as the the best of the Australian based trotting sires. His profile in New Zealand has been pretty low key to this point but that may be about to change with the emergence of the smart 2 year old Cocktail Waiter. Even though the season is only six weeks old in New Zealand, Cocktail Waiter has already qualified and in great fashion for a trotter this early in the season. He won his qualifying trial at Oamaru over 2000 meters from the mobile in 2:41.4, a mile rate of 2:09.8 with a closing 800 meters of 60.3 Cocktail Waiter is the second foal from the Sundon mare Gina and is owned and trained by Alan Clark of the The Fiery Ginga fame. Allan Clark was suitably impressed by the run. "He is such a lovely horse to do anything with. He is a beautifully gaited individual and has a touch of class that the good horses have and really finds when you ask him. I am pretty confident Cocktail Waiter will be a major player in all the good 2 year old trotting races later in the season", he said. Alan borrowed Gina to breed Cocktail Waiter after the mares first foal Clifden Clowers ($33,653) had been a handy winner and he remembered a full sister to Gina in The Great Pretender had raced in the Jewels as a 2 year old. As smart as Cocktail Waiter looks to be, Alan had high hopes for a filly by Bacardi Lindy until her sudden death. "I thought she was a touch better than Cocktail Waiter to be honest but I found her dead in her paddock one morning which was a real shame. The Bacardi Lindy's have really impressed me to date and I will be sending a couple of mares this season for sure,"he said. The way his stock are starting to fire on both sides of the Tasman, Bacardi Lindy could be in for a very busy stud season. Harnesslink Media

Ross Payne made a good fist of his temporary return to Victoria aiding All Stars to one of its biggest campaign successes of the season at the Breeders Crown. He was full of praise for the facilities at the property of Vince Vallelonga where the team was based. "It's all modern, right up to date and the track is really quick. Maybe too quick even because Follow The Stars and Major Crocker ran their last quarter there in better than 27 on the eve of the Crown " Ross rates Major Crocker, who won the three year old Breeders Crown for Vallelonga  to give the property a great Breeders Crown day, as a potential New Zealand Cup winner. "Another year on him and he will be a top stayer for Vince and a race like the Cup would suit him fine" Vince also gave Ross several drives during his stay. "I didn't win one but I had a couple of seconds and wasn't further back than fourth on any of them" Ross hasn't been letting the grass grow under his feet since coming home either. He trialled Young American trained by his brother, Greg, and after an initial deal to Australia was delayed Luke McCarthy stepped in and bought the three year old after trialling him. "He didn't hesitate" Ross said " He will probably race out of here to try for a Sires Stakes start before he goes to Australia which would make some sense. Even though it is shaping up as a hot race to get into I am convinced he is good enough" Courtesy Of All Star Racing

Australian harness racing journalist Paul Courts has joined our team. A multi-award winning scribe, Courts will begin duties with harnesslink.com on September 1 – just in time for the new Aussie racing season. Bringing more than two decades of experience and knowledge to the role of Australian Editor-in-chief, Courts will operate from Melton, Victoria, placing him close to the action at Tabcorp Park. Along with local content, Courts will also deliver the latest news from around Australia in the manner which has seen him win an international and three national journalist awards. Beginning his career as a cadet with Australian Consolidated Press, Courts has enjoyed stints as Editor of On The Pace, The Harness Racer and has just finished a 13-year term with Harness Racing Weekly. Away from the office, Courts is a sire of three ‘colts’ – Darcy, 14, Tobey, 11, and Wyatt, 7. A boxing fan, who does his share of training, ‘Courtsy’ is also a mad Carlton supporter, which some would say just makes him mad! Sadly, he has also corrupted his sons into following the Blues. “I’m looking forward to working with harnesslink.com and delivering the news quicker than ever,” Courts said. “Being with harnesslink.com also provides me with the freedom of travelling to more race meetings both in Victoria and interstate, so I will consistently be where the action is. “My phone is always on and I’m happy to hear from anyone wanting to tell their story.” Paul can be contacted via paul@harnesslink.com or 0414 348 120. Harnesslink Media

If we could hear it 'from the horse's mouth', it's pretty obvious what harness racing superstar Smoken Up will be wishing for. With today (1st of September) the beginning of the Australian season, Smoken Up and his standardbred counterparts are celebrating their birthday. Marking his 12th birthday with a party and cake at trainer Lance Justice's stable in Melton, Victoria, Smoken Up is on the verge of retirement. To be more precise, the son of Tinted Cloud is due to have his last start at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Taking that into consideration, Smoken Up is likely to be wishing for a 'fairytale ending'...least that's what Justice and the gelding's connections are looking to achieve with the multi millionaire. Justice was fortunate to enjoy a perfect end to former stable star Sokyola's career at Moonee Valley on June 22, 2007 when the son of Soky's Atom accounted for The Warp Drive and The Phantoms Guest. "We were lucking enough to have a happy ending with Sokyola and with a bit of luck we can enjoy the same with Smoken Up at Tabcorp Park next Saturday night," Justice said. "We will know how our chances are shaping up a little better on Tuesday when the fields come out and can see where he has drawn. "I'm a realist and am fully aware it's unlikely to happen, but at the same time we can enjoy the ride, hope for a good draw and then hope for the best on race night. "Whether he wins or not, it's going to be a joyful and sad occasion at the same time as it's the end of an era." Successful upon debut for Justice at Yarra Valley on March 8, 2007, Smoken Up has registered a further 71 victories and 48 placings from 141 starts for earnings of $3,588,949 to be Australasia's third richest pacer behind Blacks A Fake ($4,575,438) and Im Themightyquinn ($4,567,456). His wins include two Miracle Miles, four South Australia Cups, four Len Smith Miles and the Victoria Cup, with his best time of 1:48.5 coming at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 30, 2011. Smoken Up has claimed 13 Group Ones across the Southern Hemisphere, won at 15 tracks and set numerous records, including becoming the first standardbred on this side of the equator to better 1:50. PAUL COURTS

Talented young reinswoman Ellen Tormey will fly out of Melbourne on Monday bound for the US and Canada where she will spend six weeks honing her skills. Tormey, 24, will first land with leading Canadian trainer Blair Burgess in Canada where she will gain invaluable experience near the famous Mohawk track in Ontario. Tormey will then have the opportunity to visit the Little Brown Jug Carnival in Delaware, Ohio, before joining the Linda Toscano stable – based in New Jersey – and travelling with Toscano’s team to the massive carnival at the Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky. Tormey’s trip came about after she was awarded the 2014 Leigh Plunkett Scholarship. The Leigh Plunkett Foundation was inaugurated in 2013 as a harness racing charity that would raise money for charitable organisations as well as providing an international scholarship for a young participant. In year one the charitable organisation selected was the Leukaemia Foundation, with the Leigh Plunkett Foundation able to deliver a $50,000 cheque to the foundation. The foundation wishes to thank everyone around Australia who donated their time and money to such a worthy cause. The Leigh Plunkett Foundation will be launching again soon and young participants who want to experience what Tormey has been afforded should start thinking about their application. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

JUST days out from the TAB.COM.AU Charity Football Day and the generosity just keeps flowing. Already a major sponsor in two areas, Alabar Bloodstock has once again increased its involvement in what has developed in Victorian harness racing’s biggest social event. One of the first to support last year’s inaugural edition, Alabar was quick to return this time to cover the costs of the foot and netballs. On top of that, the leading breeding establishment has donated a service to Grinfromeartoear as the headliner for the mega raffle. Now Alabar has joined forced with Amart Melton and Burley to deliver ‘Auckland Reactor’ soccer and footballs to the first 60 kids to attend the big day. The latest gesture also compliments the two bikes Amart Melton has donated for the lucky boy and girl who guess the correct (or closest to) amount of snakes in a jar, which will be displayed throughout the day…entry is FREE!. Not to forget prominent owner Kevin Riseley, who has generously offered to cover the cost of hiring a jumping castle for children to enjoy, or Allan McNeil, who has donated lolly bags. “Alabar, Amart, Kevin and Allan have just been so generous,” event organiser Robbie O’Connell said. “Their focus on the kids’ activities will help turn this into a massive family day, just the kind of event harness racing needs. “Now we have the dads playing footy, the mums hitting the netball court and the kids going nuts, as kids should.” Other sponsors include Tabcorp, James and son, Seelite Windows and Doors and Glenn Sharp. A fun occasion for all industry participants, Sunday’s event also has a serious side – raising valuable funds for the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. That’s where a small fee of $50 for players and spectators (under 16 free) comes into play. Not only does the fee cover the costs of the games, sausage sizzle and the night’s function, it adds to the tally to aid children suffering from Neurofibromatosis. Last year’s event raised $14,000, which is outstanding considering the foundation receives just $18,000 from the government. Along with the fun and games, the function will also include a memorabilia auction. It was last year’s auction that proved to be the biggest money spinner for the cause. Paul Smart from Azuma International supplied the various pieces of memorabilia, which raised almost $8000. Smart will be back this year with “some sensational memorabilia”, so attendees better make sure their wallets are loaded! Teams from four districts – Melton (Go Blues), Ballarat, Shepparton and Bendigo – will do battle throughout the day, with the first event, a netball match, to begin at 11:30am at the Strathfieldsaye Sports Club. The first footy game is scheduled to start at noon. “The Strathfieldsaye Club has offered us free use of their grounds and facilities,” O’Connell said. They have two footy ovals and three netball courts, so it’s the perfect pl ace for us. “Last year’s day was big, but this year will be huge.” For more information please contact Robbie O'Connell on 0404 728 885. Paul Courts

John Hallam’s in-form rig Karkarooc should prove hard to beat in Friday night’s Empire Stallions 3YO Pace Final (Race 3) at Tabcorp Park Melton. The son of Courage Under Fire and mare Phichai, a half-brother to Hallam's Group 1 winning mare Wyperfeld, has won three straight races, his most recent in 1:58.4 when 11.8 metres too strong for A Bit Ruthless at Shepparton. “He’s as promising a horse as I’ve had for a while,” Hallam said. “He’s very inexperienced. He hasn’t had a lot of trialling. He’s got blistering gate speed, which he won’t be able to use from the second row, but I’m not really fussed about that. “I don’t care where he settles. If they go too slow up front he’ll go up and around them and if not I don’t mind if he comes with one run at the end.” Hallam, who trains from Kialla, said as Karkarooc progressed through the grades to higher class races he would become more of a sit-sprinter. “When he gets in against those better horses I think that will be his forte." Nathan Jack has driven Karkarooc at two of his past three wins and will steer him again on Friday night. Jack and Hallam will also combine in Race 1 with Million To One mare Ezee Duzit Lombo. The six-year-old has been in ultra-consistent form of late without winning, finishing second at her past two starts at Swan Hill and Shepparton. “You certainly couldn’t get much closer than that she’s been getting of late,” Hallam said. Ezee Duzit Lombo ran on powerfully two starts back off a slow speed up front to finish second at Swan Hill before another runner-up effort last time out when beaten a head by Stunning Grin. While she has been settling back in the field in her recent starts, Hallam said Ezee Duzit Lombo was likely to be driven more proactively from gate three on Friday night. “Over the 1720 metres at Melton if you’re getting too far back you might as well not come,” he said. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Leviathan harness racing owner Emilio Rosati is set to transfer his team out of New South Wales. While a few are already in Queensland and Victoria, the rest will be sent south of the Murray River during next couple of months. Rosati’s stock is estimated to be between 30 and 40 horses, with star youngster Allblack Stride headlining the crew. Other than confirming the Group One winning son of Christian Cullen is becoming a Victorian, Rosati stated he isn’t ready to announce which trainers will be in charge of his team. Rosati’s horses carry the ‘Stride’ prefix, with former stars Excel Stride and Idol Stride among his best performed pacers. “Although they haven’t raced yet, a lot have moved and the rest will be moved soon,” Rosati said. “I won’t put a number on how many horses I have, but it’s a lot. “I’m not ready to say which horses will go to which trainer, but it will be known in good time.” Rosati’s decision to vacate New South Wales is based on his ‘principles', with the astute owner citing the integrity of the industry as the primary reason for the switch. When asked to elaborate, Rosati stated he’d “leave it at that.” “I have no problem with the people running the sport, I just have a problem with the integrity of it,” Rosati said. “I don’t want to harm the industry, I’m just frustrated with the way it is at the moment. “I’m not doing this because I want to...I have to, based on my principles. “Ideally I’d prefer to be in New South Wales and hopefully the problem gets fixed and I will return them. “I will still stay on as a sponsor there.” Paul Courts

Boom youngster Eljaykay Phoenix registered a slice of harness racing history at Tabcorp Park Melton last Sunday.   Triumphant in the prestigious Australasian Breeders’ Crown, Eljaykay Phoenix became the first trotter to capture Victoria’s ‘big three’ two-year-old events.   Beginning with the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series, Eljaykay Phoenix then annexed the Redwood Classic before rounding off his season in the Crown.   The three Group Ones have been run simultaneously since 1998.   Heading into the futurity, the David Aiken-trained freshman was one of five squaregaiters to complete the Sires’/Redwood double.   The features have been part of the racing calendar since the Redwood’s inauguration in 1986, with Young Trouper capturing both that year.   Kano Regal followed suit in 1996, with Storm Blazer achieving the milestone in ’99.   Former star mare, Jauriol, became the only filly in the crew when she outclassed the ‘boys’ in 2004.   Thrilled with Eljaykay Phoenix debut term, Aiken believes the son of Sundon is capable of repeating the dose as a three-year-old.   “I don’t want to sound like I’m ahead of myself, but he is capable of doing it all over again,” Aiken said.   “I’m not saying her will, as a lot will have to go his way, but the ability is there.   “He is just such a natural racehorse and I can’t see any reason why he won’t improve next time in.”   Driven by Aiken’s reinsman-son, Josh, last weekend, Eljaykay Phoenix worked to the lead from barrier seven, after his main danger, Shared Interest, was eased to take the trail.   Given a ‘breather’ during the middle stages, Eljaykay Phoenix strode clear along the home straight to score by three-and-a-half metres from Shared Interest.   After travelling two-back along the pegs, Kyvalley Boomerang was 10-and-a-half metres away third.   “Once I was able to find the front with him, I knew he would be hard to run down,” Josh said.   “Then when I was able to back off and make it a sprint home, they were never going to catch him.   “He is such a great young trotter and it’s been a privilege to be driving him.”   Covering the last half in 58.6 seconds, the gelding rated 2:04.7 for the 2240 metres, taking his record to an imposing eight wins and two seconds from 10 starts for earnings of $169,622.   To be given a lengthy spell, Eljaykay Phoenix will be aimed at the various Derbys, along with his Vicbred and Crown title defences next season.   “He has all the attributes of a star and should come back better again after a spell,” Aiken said.   “I haven’t decided how long he will have off and will have to count backwards from the main races next season.   “The majors don’t start until late in the season, so he probably won’t race again until at least February.   “That will give him between eight and 10 weeks off.”   Paul Courts  

WHAT began as ‘we should have a…’ moment between a few horsemen has quickly developed into Australian harness racing’s biggest social event. Talking with his peers over a drink or three last year, Victorian mentor Robbie O’Connell decided to take the conversation beyond words and into action. A couple of months later, the inaugural TAB.COM.AU Charity Football Day was born! With trainers and drivers throughout the state, and a few from across the border, forming four regional teams, the event was a big hit. Not only did it provide industry personnel the opportunity to enjoy a fun day filled with laughter, the event raised valuable funds and awareness for the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. Match fees, raffles and a memorabilia auction saw $14,000 raised…a tremendous effort considering the foundation receives $18,000 a year from the government. Fast forward 12 months and the big day is on again. Not only will the four teams – Melton, Ballarat, Bendigo and Shepparton – do battle on the footy field in a ‘Round Robyn’ contest for the Katie Alford Cup, a netball section has been added to the agenda. Katie, daughter of premier reinsman Chris Alford, suffers from the rare disorder Neurofibromatosis, which affects one in 4000 people. Katie has become harness racing’s shining light for the charity. With O’Connell the driving force once again, the August 31 showdown at the Strathfieldsaye Sporting Club promises to be a day to remember. Tabcorp has returned as the major sponsor, donating the football jumpers, with Alabar Bloodstock covering the cost of the foot and netballs. Alabar has also chimed in with a service to Grinfromeartoear, which is the main prize of a mega raffle. The raffle also includes a service to Union Guy donated by John Campbell, with connections of Red Samurai also supplying a service to the former handy trotter. There are also plenty of prizes for the non-breeders, including a 10 kilogram block of Cadbury chocolate, Bolinda Publishing Audio Books and a Myer voucher. Other sponsors include Seelite Windows and Doors, Fernwood Melton, Amart Sports, Kevin Riseley, James and Son, Allan McNeil and Glenn Sharp. A small fee of $50 for players and spectators (under 16 free) covers the costs of a sausage sizzle, the games and the night’s function. The function will also include a memorabilia auction. It was last year’s auction that proved to be the biggest money spinner for the cause. Paul Smart from Azuma International supplied the various pieces of memorabilia, which raised almost $8000 for the sick children. Unlike 99.9 percent of auctions, Azuma International didn’t place a reserve on the items. For example, a supplier will put a $500 reserve on a particular item, and should it sell for $550, the charity only receives $50! Azuma International, however, split the takings down the middle. “To be honest, last year we were only cutting our teeth with the whole concept and were caught a little off guard by how big it turned out,” O’Connell said. “This time we’ll be on top of everything from the get go and it will be an even better time for all involved. “I’ve got no doubt those who played, or came along, last year will return, and with that in mind, the interest is expected to grow. “It’s open to all harness racing participants, be it owners, stablehands, trainers, drivers, club officials, administrators. “Even journalists…we’re open minded! “All that said, last year was an amazing effort to raise $14,000, this time around we’re thinking closer to $20,000. “So I urge everybody with an interest in harness racing to come along, either as a player or spectator…you won’t regret it.” Harnesslink Media  

A reminder, as we close in on the end of season 2013/14, that for the first time Harness Racing Victoria will conduct just one industry awards night, the Gordon Rothacker Medal, including Horse of the Year, on October 8. ......................................................................   Breeders Crown The Australasian harness racing spotlight will be squarely on Tabcorp Park Melton this Sunday as the rich Breeders Crown series culminates with a $1.6m "Super Sunday". 10 Group 1 finals will be contested on what has become arguably the best day's racing on the harness racing calendar. The Breeders Crown is the real trans-Tasman battle, with New Zealand's best two, three and four-year-old horses heading across the ditch to take on the Australians. I particularly like the $297,000 two-year-old fillies' final with Kiwis Katy Perry, Cyclone Kate, Linda Lovegrace, Joannes A Delight and Big Lucy dominating the early fixed odds betting charts. But don't tell a couple of the Aussies that the Kiwis are set for an easy ride, as Mick Stanley (trainer of Soho Tokyo) and Rob Auber (owner of Niki No No) have both declared they're not running scared. Probably the battle that has punters salivating most is the rematch between three-year-old semi-final combatants Our Sky Major and Bling It On. Punters are also reminded of a $25,000 first four pool guarantee on all races at Tabcorp Park on Sunday thanks to the TAB. Super Sunday kicks off at 12.05pm, with 11 races to be contested. Ballarat HRV's thanks goes to President Greg Moy and CEO Paul Rowse for yet again doing a great job in hosting an important industry event, the Breeders Crown Semi Finals last Saturday (August 16). As always a job well done. .......................................................................................... Interesting Statistics (Season) Plenty of highlights this season as we near the end of another racing year: Chris Alford's drives earned over $1m for the second time in his career; Chris Alford, Greg Sugars and Gavin Lang have all driven over 200 winners nationally this season; David Aiken is the first trainer to have trained 50 winners in a season at Tabcorp Park. Next best is Lance Justice with 49 in 2010/11; David Aiken has also smashed the trainers stakes earned at Tabcorp Park in a season, currently sitting just under $1m. Speaking of Greg Sugars, if you click here you will see a nice segment featuring Greg with Jaimee Rogers from Tabcorp called "Behind the Moment" where Greg talks of his relationship with the great Sushi Sushi. ............................................................................................. Smoken Up We are building toward a big farewell for Lance Justice's champion Smoken Up's last ever run at Tabcorp Park on September 6. For the record, before his final run, he will have had 152 starts for 74 wins and career stakes of $3.6m Included in his 74 wins have been 21 wins at Tabcorp Park, from which he has earned $700,000. The horse to have won the most at Tabcorp Park is Make Mine Cullen with 29 wins at the new headquarters. The occasion is being generously supported by the State Government's Raceday Attraction Program and the Premier Dr Denis Napthine will be in attendance. ............................................................................................... Red Balloon Experience for Father's Day The State Government recently approved a grant for the promotion of a Mobile Barrier Ride and dining package offered through Red Balloon. Participating venues are offering a 25% discount ($165 down from $220) as part of Red Balloons Father's Day promotion which runs from August 18 to Father's Day on September 7, where people can purchase the package as a gift for use over the next 12 months. The Package includes the usual dining and drinks for two plus two mobile barrier rides. Click here for the link to the package on Red Balloon. ......................................................................................... Youth Policy People often associate the trots with an ageing demographic. It is pleasing to see that this is now becoming a myth as we see the rise to the top of our gun young drivers, who are knocking on the door of the likes of C Alford and G Lang. In recent months names such as Josh Aiken, Matt Craven, Jason Lee, Rebecca Bartley, Ellen Tormey, Glen Craven, Emmett Brosnan, Zac Phillips, Alex Ashwood, Josh Duggan and plenty of others have tasted regular success and are hot on the heels of more seasoned youngsters, such as Greg Sugars, Amy Tubbs and Nathan Jack. It is important for administrators to manage the business in such a way that this new generation of participants see a long term future in this great sport. ..................................................................................... Don Dove Since the last CEO News, HRV was saddened to hear of the passing of the one and only Don Dove. Below is copy penned by Len Baker following his funeral service at Kilmore: A large number of trainers, drivers, owners and harness racing people in general were in attendance at Kilmore's Trackside Tabaret on Tuesday July 29, to celebrate the life and times of iconic Victorian trainer/driver Don Dove who passed away in his adopted state Queensland on July 14, 2014 at the age of 86. The memorial service was conducted by the "Pacing Priest" Father Brian Glasheen and numerous stories were told during the service. Don was a legend of the sport and was associated with horses such as Kol's Idol, Monara's Image, Nelson's Report, Playalong, Amlin, Jaygo, Missing Charm, Jay Ar Ewing, Just Money and Victoria Derby winner Kelly Kid just to name a few, with his best being prolific winner Monara which finished second to Welcome Advice in the 1972 (Brisbane) Inter Dominion when driven by Neville Welsh. Originally training in Heatherton where he was based for many years in an area which was also home to G.D. (Dave) Wilson and several other trainers including Lloyd and Bruce Coram, the trio would conduct trials on a rotation basis at their property's each weekend prior to the formation of Southern Speedways where Don was a regular competitor at the weekend trials called by at one stage by Trackbred editor Peter Wharton. Dove then moved to Kilmore and further north to Avenel, before relocating to Queensland. A master reinsman with wonderful hands who was great in getting horses away from the tapes, there was no better driver at the head of the field in a trotting or pacing race than Don Dove. Harness Racing Victoria

The Horsham Harness Racing Club will stage their traditional 3YO features, the $9505 Alabar Horsham Guineas and $9505 Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera, on Wednesday August 27th. The contests have been part of the Club calendar since the early 1980’s, when the Horsham Ladies Committee sponsored the Horsham Oaks and Derby Trials, under the lights on the tight showgrounds circuit. Alabar Bloodstock has generously donated an inscribed rug and trophies for the winning owner, trainer and driver of the 2014 Guineas. They have also donated a free service to second season stallion, Smiling Shard (1:53.7 $1,089,831) or the proven entire, Elsu (1:53.6 $2,030,796). Rosehill Farm & Veterinary Services will provide an inscribed rug and trophies for the winning connections of the 2014 Princess of the Wimmera. In addition, they have donated a free service to the highly talented but injury dogged pacer, Maffisio. Some fine colts and geldings are listed as winners of the Alabar Horsham Guineas, including  Grand Circuit performer Robin Hood (2004) for trainer Clayton Tonkin, with Daryl Douglas aboard.  In 1991, Dark Paul went on to capture both the Victoria and NSW Derbies after his Horsham Guineas victory for trainer Trevor Martin and reinsman Ted Demmler. Albenz (1996), Wenbro (1998), Remember El (2010), Savesometimetodream (2011) and Magical Telf (2012) have also taken out the Horsham Classic. The Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera has been won by a number of smart fillies over the years, including the brilliant Sheza Mona (1997) for trainer Peter Manning and driver Kerryn Manning . Mother Courage took out the 1999 edition of the Princess during her 3YO season, on the way to success in the Victoria Oaks for the Bruce Morgan- John Caldow combination. Posh Jaccka (1998), Deanna Troy (2006), Very Chic (2008), and Our Surfer Girl (2010) also grace the honour board. The Horsham Club is greatly appreciative of the continued support  of Allan Galloway, John Coffey and all the crew at Alabar, along with Darren and Anne Jacobson from Rosehill, and are looking forward to two great contests on the 27th. Nominations for the Alabar Horsham Guineas and Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera, close with HRV at noon on Thursday August 21st. Further information can be obtained from Tony Logan on 0427 857411.

1 to 16 of 3992
1 2 3 4 5 Next »