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A Victorian harness-racing trainer has been arrested by police as part of a criminal investigation. The Herald Sun has been told the inquiry is looking into allegations of race fixing from several years ago. Detectives from the Victoria Police sporting integrity intelligence unit executed two warrants in central Victoria on Tuesday. The searches were made on properties in the Bendigo area. A Victoria Police spokesman said a 60-year-old man was arrested and interviewed and has been released pending summons. That man has been a harness-racing trainer for decades. “The investigation remains ongoing,” the police spokesman said. A harness-racing figure connected to the properties declined to comment when contacted by the Herald Sun. “I’ve got no comment at all,” he said. Victoria Police set up the sporting integrity intelligence unit in 2013 amid heightened corruption concerns. It has previously run significant investigations into fixing in harness-racing. By Leo Schlink and Mark Buttler, Herald Sun Reprinted with permission of The Herald Sun  

Former Kiwi pacer Stroke Of Luck is the Weirs Supa IGA St Arnaud Pacing Cup champ for 2017 after an all-the-way win in today’s harness racing feature for trainer/driver Kerryn Manning. The five-year-old son of Major In Art/Bonton Lady was heavily backed into $1.6 and held off second-placegetter Keep On Rocking at the completion of the 2150-metre race, with Coldplay Road up from three-back-the-pegs for third. Manning rated the Merv and Meg Butterworth-owned winner of seven races in New Zealand a treat, guiding him through a 62.3secs first half after copping some early heat to hold the front. Stroke Of Luck upped the ante down the back straight as Spiritwriter challenged strongly (28.7secs third quarter) and got home in 27.9secs to rate 1:58.3. Keep On Rocking was given the perfect trip by Nathan Jack and the Geoff Webster-trained five-year-old comfortably held second place, while Julie Mifsud-trained Coldplay Road continued his super form with a third placing for reinsman Phillip Walters. Animated finished fourth and Spiritwriter was fifth. Stroke Of Luck’s win means the Trots Country Championship is now a five-way tie with Lennytheshark, San Carlo, Messini and My Field Marshal all alongside today’s victor on four points in the race for the $25,000 end-of-season bonus courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria. Pocket rocket secures Caldows third St Arnaud Trotters Cup John Caldow won his third St Arnaud Sporting Club Trotters Cup today aboard six-year-old gelding My Skypocket. Backed into $1.80 favourite, My Skypocket stepped safely from behind the tapes at the 2520-metre start before powering to the lead early. The son of Skyvalley out of Pocket Fantasy ran quarters of 31.6 and 31.4 to open the last mile on the 800m St Arnaud track and Caldow was looking around for his challengers after a 29.2secs third split. Video: Re-live My Skypocket's St Arnaud Trotters Cup win Ainthatrightmacca boldly emerged wide out and powered into second place, but My Skypocket had plenty in reserve and kicked on through a 29.7secs last quarter for a 2.2m win in a mile rate of 2:06.0.   It was My Skypocket’s eighth career triumph, his career stake earnings edging towards $50,000 as a result of the victory. It was also the trotter’s first start for the Caldow operation, having done all his prior racing for the Mick Barby and Anne-Maree Conroy stable. Today’s win was the third time Maree and John Caldow have captured the St Arnaud squaregaiting feature, having previously won it back-to-back in 2012 and 2013 with Posimistic. My Skypocket moves to equal first on the Maori's Idol Points Tally alongside Sparkling Success, Vincennes and Cyclone Lucky Seven. The Maori's Idol Points Tally at season's end receives a $10,000 bonus courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Yarra Valley Racing will celebrate 70 years of harness racing at its ‘Trots Tradition’ race day next Tuesday, 7 November, thanks to a $78,000 boost supported by the Andrews Labor Government. The Labor Government is contributing more than $30,000 from the Victorian Racing Industry Fund for the event and Yarra Valley Racing is providing more than $48,000. The Trots Tradition is an annual family-friendly race day which includes rides, supervised games and activities for kids, musical entertainment and giveaways. Racegoers will be entertained with live music throughout the day by several groups including the Hurricane Duo. The Fashions on the Field competition, with almost $10,000 of prizes on offer, will be popular with fashionistas. A big screen will broadcast all the Melbourne Cup action from Flemington. Complimentary return buses will transport racegoers safely to the track from Lilydale Station. The Healesville Trotting Club held its first race meeting at Healesville Racecourse on 17 January 1948. To celebrate the occasion, a collection of historical memorabilia from past race meetings will be on display at this year’s event. Since 2014, the Labor Government has provided more than $180,000 to support harness racing at Yarra Valley, including $50,000 for two infrastructure projects and $130,000 for four RAP events. The racing industry in the outer Melbourne region generates more than $375 million for the Victorian economy annually and helps sustain more than 13,590 full-time equivalent jobs locally. Quotes attributable to Minister for Racing Martin Pakula “Melbourne Cup Day is an iconic event on Victoria’s racing and social calendar, and the Yarra Valley provides a scenic backdrop for people wanting to enjoy a great day at the trots.” “We’re proud to get behind this family-friendly event as part of ongoing efforts to support racing at Yarra Glen.” Quotes attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes “This is a fantastic event which will draw thousands to the Yarra Valley and deliver a welcome boost to the local economy.” Quotes attributable to Yarra Valley Racing CEO Brett Shambrook “We thank the Victorian Government for its contribution to an amazing day spent with family, friends, a picnic rug, entertainment and a great atmosphere.” “We encourage people across Melbourne and Yarra Valley to come down for a great day at the trots on the most iconic day in Victoria’s racing calendar.” Holly Little 0437 381 620 | Holly.Little@minstaff.vic.gov.au

He Victorian Harness Racing Sports Club (VHRSC) is thrilled to announce that 81 $1,500 VHRSC Bonus Races will be on offer this season. This represents an additional $120,000+ bonus prizemoney on offer to Owners. The bonus races will be run at 22 different racetracks across Victoria and the VHRSC greatly appreciates the ongoing support of the Country Clubs who support the scheme. In addition to the $1,500 bonuses this year, VHRSC will also be offering 29 additional $500 “Mini” bonuses throughout the season.  We strongly encourage all owners to be Members of VHRSC to qualify for these bonuses. To ensure your horse is eligible to win a bonus, if your horse has 2 or more owners listed, you just need two of the owners to be Full Members of VHRSC. There is no limit to how many bonuses your individual horses can win throughout the season. The VHRSC continues to be extremely proud to be able to continue to support Harness Racing Ownership in providing these bonuses for Owners throughout the state each year.  CLICK HERE FOR BONUS RACE DATES In addition to the fabulous bonus offering, VHRSC embarks on some exciting plans this season which will include our continued involvement and hospitality for Members at Tabcorp Park Melton, our premier metropolitan harness racing track. The new season will also see us have more involvement with our Country Clubs, providing capital funding for enhancement of on course owner/member facilities and the introduction of additional hospitality/networking opportunities throughout the state for our Members. To view the membership packages please go to http://www.vhrsc.com.au/membership-packages Full Membership with VHRSC is available at the fabulous rate of only $121. Check the following page for details of all Bonus Races for Season 2017/18. (Please note – dates for the $500 “Mini” bonuses will be released on our website in the coming weeks.) The Victorian Harness Racing Sports Club

Who could forget the night Caribbean Blaster came from widest on the second row to cause a harness racing boilover in the Victoria Cup? It was 15 December, 2012, at Tabcorp Park Melton, and driver Kate Gath delivered Caribbean Blaster connections and husband trainer Andy Gath an early Christmas present with an absolute jewel of a steer. And her salute at the post was priceless. “… Kate put him in exactly the right spot and his finishing burst was special,” Andy Gath beamed post-race. “Obviously I was initially disappointed with the barrier draw (13) but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, his speed is sensational and he follows pace so well. “I thought he would win at the home turn, when he made his run with Im Themightyquinn I was confident he could get over the top of him, it was a very gratifying victory.” West Australian star Im Themightyquinn shot away from the mobile to lead for Gary Hall Jr, confirming the natter pre-race. Pressure came in the form of The Gold Ace and Tony Herlihy into the first bend but ‘Quinny’ held the front. Initially Terrorway for Andy McCarthy had landed one-by-one, but as soon as ‘Quinny’ signalled his intention to hold out the Ace, McCarthy went whoosh three-wide and shimmied to the lead unchallenged. When the lead time was semaphored at 41.9, Andy Gath must have been smiling. That’s smoking! Speaking of, the superstar from Lance Justice’s camp, Smoken Up, then made his run three-wide with over a lap and a quarter to go. Justice urged tough ‘Trigger’ up outside of Terrorway and Washakie, the latter booting up in the chair at the thousand for driver John McCarthy. It was fair dinkum on. An interesting sidenote, John McCarthy had three runners in this race, the leader Terrorway, the breeze horse Washakie and Franco Jamar back in the field. Meanwhile, Caribbean Blaster was three horses back in the three-wide train, and, you’d have to say, well placed given the hot fractions. A 30secs first split and a 28.7secs second meant Caribbean’s pre-race $30.40 odds had surely been blasted into single digits. Off the back in 29.2secs and Smoken Up was under pressure to chase down the leader. Washakie was basically in reverse. Gonzo. ‘Quinny’ angled away from the inside and pushed three-wide into the clear, while Caribbean Blaster loomed like a thunderstorm for punters who’d taken the shorts about the favourite (‘Quinny’ was $1.6). The WA pacer did hit the front, but only fleetingly. Kate said go and her son of Bettor's Delight put ‘Quinny’ to the sword, resulting in the Gaths adding a Victoria Cup to their trophy cabinet alongside the A.G. Hunter Cup won by About To Rock six years prior. Mah Sish poked through along the inside late to snare second place ahead of Im Themightyquinn; the final quarter covered in 28.5secs. Caribbean Blaster recorded a mile rate of 1:53.7. “He was just a lovely horse to work with. You get to spend so much time with them one-on-one. Every time they step on to the track they go to war for you. They’re the sorts of horses that actually make me look good,” Andy Gath said years later of Caribbean Blaster. Caribbean Blaster is nowadays establishing himself in the breeding barn. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Shepparton horseman Mark Pitt has had some good days and nights in the sulky during the past two or three years and last Friday night’s Melton harness racing meeting was right up there with the best of them. Pitt landed a driving treble — his first metropolitan hat-trick — which included the $50000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown final for three-year-old fillies with a pacer close to his heart, Shez All Rock. The Emma Stewart-trained Shez All Rock is owned by Pitt’s parents Ian and Leanne. A Rock N Roll Heaven filly, Shez All Rock had trots fans in awe when she won her heat on debut at Bendigo in scorching 1:53.7 mile rate time. She was too good again for her rivals in the final last Friday night, rating 1:55 and beating Soho Burning Love, Seattle Trace with the local hope, the Brent Thomson-trained, Sheer Modern filling fourth placing. Signs were promising early that Pitt could be in for a good night when he drove the Amanda Turnbull-trained Carter Bromac to victory in the opening event. After completing the driving double on Shez All Rock in the feature he then completed the hat-trick on the Dean Braun-trained Carlas Pixel. The win of Carlas Pixel also completed a hat-trick for the Courage Under Fire mare who had won at her previous two starts at Geelong and Melton when also driven by Pitt. “I’ve had a treble at Bendigo and I have driven four winners at meetings at Albury and Wagga, but this is the first treble I’ve had at Melton,’’ Pitt said. Pitt’s partner Lisa Bartley also enjoyed a win at the meeting, reining the extra-smart Majordan to victory which completed a training double for Turnbull. Majordan has now won five of his last eight starts with Bartley in the sulky for two of these wins. Pitt and Bartley are now preparing a team of 11 horses at Ross Pyke’s training establishment at Lemnos near Shepparton. Back on top of game Star pacer San Carlo did not take long to return to doing what he does best — winning. The Steve O’Donoghue-trained and Bec Bartley-driven seven-year-old, who lost no admirers when he finished third at his previous start to the well-performed Ameretto and Tee Cee Bee Macray at Melton, had an effortless win at Bendigo last Saturday night in a C6 or better class race, taking his record to 18 wins in 21 starts. Bartley gradually worked San Carlo to the front and he was never threatened after that, rating 1:56.2 for the 2150m trip. O’Donoghue is aiming the exciting pacer at the $200000 Victoria Cup on October 14 at Melton, but will look for a suitable race to top off his preparation in the build up to that feature. Perth Inter Dominion plans are also still on San Carlo’s agenda, all going well, O’Donoghue said. ‘‘He is down a bit in the noms (order of preference to get a run) at the moment, but we’ll just have to see what happens.’’ Kima’s on a roll There is an old Aussie saying that goes ‘‘you can’t keep a good woman down’’. It may not be as fashionable in Sweden as it is here, but it’s certainly applicable to one of its own at the moment. Swedish horsewoman Kima Frenning has been making her presence felt since adding driving to her monte riding in the past few months and continues to chalk up the winners. Frenning reined Epaulette to victory for trainer David Aiken with a patient drive in an M1-M2 class event at Melton last Friday night and then partnered another Aiken-trained pacer, Ima Rocknroll Diva, to victory the following night at Bendigo. A seven-year-old Four Starzz Shark gelding Epaulette has been around a bit with 60 starts in Queensland and NSW before coming south to join the Aiken barn. Epaulette was having just the fourth outing for Aiken but had 17 wins before coming south. Frenning had Epaulette locked away four back on the pegs and he stormed home along the sprint lane to claim victory. Epaulette’s dam French Flair is by the former great pacer Preux Chevalier. Ima Rocknroll Diva was having her fifth outing and has now won successive races after winning at her previous start at Shepparton on August 31. Well worth the miss Kyabram trainers have had another good week. Mark Watson even gave up watching his beloved Kyabram Bombers reserves and thirds football teams book their spot in Sunday’s GVL grand finals to take two pacers to Swan Hill. It ended up being a big day with one of his pacers, Recork, saluting and his other runner, Fleeting Grin running third. Both were driven by Watson’s brother Luke. Another mad Kyabram footy fan and trots trainer Graham Lyon was in the winners’ circle at Kilmore on Monday with five-year-old pacer Mana Master notching his third win from 19 tries. Byrneside horseman Damian Wilson had Mana Master take the sit on the pacemaker before sprint laning to victory. Places has the paces Pacer Hes Going Places certainly went places — and fast — at Bendigo last Saturday night. Trained at Lancaster by Rod Woods Sr and raced by family members Hes Going Places ran his rivals off their legs in an 1150m dash for RO Only class pacers. Driver Chris Alford utilised Hes Going Places’ barrier one draw over the extra short trip and sent him straight to the front where he dictated terms in 1:54.7 mile rate time with a 57.2 last half. Although a seven-year-old entire Hes Going Places, who is by Totally Ruthless, was having just his ninth race start. Prior to breaking his duck at Bendigo he had run four minor placings, including two of these at his last three starts, which convinced punters he was overdue for a win and they sent him out a $2.30 favourite. Dream run continues Shepparton pacer A Special Dream can’t do much wrong at the moment. The seven-year-old warrior of 121 starts is racing in career best form and has not missed a top three placing in his last nine starts with three wins included in this formline. A Special Dream’s latest win was achieved at Monday’s Kilmore meeting when he was driven to victory in a C1 Only class race for concession drivers by Ryan Duffy. Duffy drove a patient race in the six-horse field, settling three back on the pegs before pushing through gaps which opened up turning for home to get into clear running. A Special Dream did the rest, running all over his rivals in the concluding stages. Ryan Duffy has now driven A Special Dream to his last three wins and has been on the pacer for five of his six placings. It’s a real family affair with Ryan’s father Steve training the pacer which was bred by Sharon Britten and is owned by her and her mother Lorraine Duffy and Bryan Johnstone. Rocking along nicely The David Aiken-trained pacer Hot To Rock reached a monetary milestone with his win at Monday’s Kilmore meeting. The Rocknroll Hanover five-year-old took his prizemoney earnings to more than $50000 with the win, the seventh of his 41 starts. There have also been 16 minor placings. Hot To Rock was reined to an all-the-way victory by Josh Aiken who has driven the pacer to six of his wins. Lisa Bartley was aboard for the other win. Hot To Rock had his previous win several starts previously when he scored at Shepparton in early July. A Radical decision Congupna horseman Shane Gilligan’s decision to make the trip to Leeton last Friday with handy pacer Radical Art proved a wise one. Clearing her rivals from barrier five at the start Radical Art led throughout to win at odds of nearly 20/1 despite having finished third at his previous start at Shepparton on September 6. The win was achieved at the daughter of Art Major’s 50th start and broke a run of 16 starts away from the winners’ circle. Her previous win was achieved at an Albury meeting in February. Owned by Marianne Barca it was Radical Art’s fourth win, but there have also been 14 minor placings. Certainly no spoil Those punters who backed Spoilt Dillinger on the Ubet tote to win at Northam in Western Australia last Saturday night would have been gutted after the race. Spoilt Dillinger duly got the spoils and on Ubet paid just more than $11 for the win. But on the TAB he paid $99 and on the NSW tote $106. But those Ubet punters who took the fixed odds would have been content as he paid 100/1. Who will be best? David Aiken-trained superstars Hectorjayjay and Lennytheshark are among finalists in this year’s prestigious Harness Racing Victoria Horse of the Year awards. The pair has been nominated in the aged pacers section in the awards with the winners to be revealed at the Gordon Rothacker Medal Night on Sunday October 22. Aiken also has a nomination, Maorisfavouritesun, in the aged trotters entires and geldings section, while Seymour horseman Bill Morgan’s star trotter Maori Law is in the field for the four-year-old trotting entires and geldings gong. Horse of the Year contenders are judged on their performances anywhere while trained in Victoria. This year’s Victorian Horse of the Year finalists are: 2YO pacing colts and geldings: Lumineer, Poster Boy, Tam Major. 2YO pacing fillies: Molly Kelly, Nostra Beach, Nostra Villa. 3YO pacing colts and geldings: Jilliby Kung Fu, Our Little General, Stars Align. 3YO pacing fillies: Miss Graceland, Petacular, Tell Me Tales. 4YO pacing entires and geldings: Dont Hold Back, Mr Mojito, Rock Of America. 4YO pacing mares: Heavens Trend, Rocknroll Magic, Whirily School. Aged pacing entires and geldings: Hectorjayjay, Lennytheshark, Major Crocker. Aged pacing mares: Ameretto, Bettor Downunder, Milly Perez. 2YO trotting colts and geldings: La Grange, Smashthemcalder, Wobelee. 2YO trotting fillies: Aleppo Jewel, Moonlight Dream, Moonshine Linda. 3YO trotting colts and geldings: Deltasun, Magicool, War Spirit. 3YO trotting fillies: Dance Craze, Kinvara Sue, Une Belle Allure. 4YO trotting entires and geldings: Conon Bridge, Enrolled, Maori Law. 4YO trotting mares: Aldebaran Eve, Into The Unknown, Red Hot Tooth. Aged trotting entires and geldings: Glenferrie Typhoon, Maorisfavouritesun, The Boss Man. Aged trotting mares: Heavenly Sister, Maori Time, Sunny Ruby. Coming up Tomorrow: Cranbourne (n). Sunday: Mildura (t). Monday: Hamilton (d). Tuesday: Ballarat (n). Wednesday: Bendigo (n). Thursday: Melton (n). Reprinted with permission of The Shepparton News

The charitable trots and Ballarat communities have again come out in force with dining all but selling out and auction items aplenty for tomorrow night’s Connor Clarke harness racing Fundraiser. In aid of Connor, a pony trots driver battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and his family, the Ballarat and District Trotting Club has been thrilled with the response to its function, according to club business development and marketing manager Belinda Eden. “The night will hopefully raise funding to help with the costs of his travel, medical and other on-going costs,” Ms Eden said. “We’ve been inundated with support, it’s been fantastic.” In addition to about “99 per cent” of dining packages being sold, with $10 of the $35 adult ticket benefitting the Clarke family, the club will host an auction of more than 35 items. “Everyone has been amazed about the amount of people who have thrown their support behind the night, both people locally and from as far away as Queensland. The trots community has really rallied together.” The night runs from 6-10pm, with all racegoers welcome to attend and to bid on the auction items, including items that are being live on the club’s Facebook page. It will also feature four pony trots races and a donation from Harness Racing Victoria and the pony trots community to the Clarke family. CLICK HERE FOR EVENT AND AUCTION DETAILS Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Ballarat, Saturday 09 September 2017 Form guide for Ballarat, Saturday 09 September 2017

The premier country two-year-old trotting race in Australia is without doubt the Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic and it is that time of the year again. Held at Maryborough each year, the Redwood Classic is an iconic race steeped in prestige. It attracts a big crowd and this Sunday's renewal promises to deliver. Harness Racing Victoria, the Maryborough club and the AVCHRC have once again combined to run the TAB.com.au Redwood Rattler, a chartered 'train to the trots' experience now in its second year. Last year the Rattler was a huge success with 161 people booked aboard. This year's train will carry 220 passengers, a percentage increase of 36.64%. The Rattler will also carry an extra lounge carriage and revellers are sure to be well catered for both to and from the Redwood. Past winners of the Group 1 Redwood Classic, sponsored by long-time trotting aficionado Michael Taranto of Seelite Windows and Doors, include inaugural champion Young Trouper, driven by Gavin Lang in 1986, prolific winner Dark Edge for Barry Alford in 1988, Ghia in 1991, the mighty Wagon Apollo in 1993 for Graeme Lang, Lacey Truscott in 1997 for Chris Angove, Andandon in 2000 to net Gavin Lang a second Redwood Classic trophy, Kyvalley Road for Chris Lang in 2002 – this horse won 20 out of 27 all up including two Breeders Crown trophies, Jauriol in 2004 for Chris Lang, Lord of the Gym in 2007 for John and Maree Caldow, Eljaykay Phoenix in 2014 for Team Aiken and Illawong Byron last year for Jodi Quinlan. The event is a standing-start race but is not a handicap, with starting positions drawn at random. Some fast facts to consider when you are trying to pick the winner on Sunday include: The last 5 winners are filly/gelding/filly/gelding/filly/gelding... Black Cat Claw ($71) & Our Renezmae ($9) are fillies.   Gavin Lang (One Muscle Hill $5) & Chris Alford (Wobelee $1.65) are the only multiple Redwood winning drivers in Sunday's field. Sundon has sired 4 of last 20 winners. He is the grandsire of Fend Off ($10), Tomahawk Phoenix ($61) & Wobelee ($1.65). Safely Kept has sired 2 of the last 20 winners. He is the grandsire of La Grange ($10) & Black Cat Claw ($71) on Sunday. Illawong Byron holds the Redwood race record mile rate of 2:04.4. He is a stablemate of Fend Off ($10) for @JodiQRacing Trial form from behind the tapes can give a pointer to how these juveniles might handle Sunday's standing start. Click here to view some of the key standing-start trials. TAB.com.au has fixed odds markets open for both the Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic and the Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby, which is also run on Sunday at Maryborough. Race 1 at Maryborough will be 11.40am Sunday morning and the 10-race program will finish with the Alf Simons Memorial Trot at 5.07pm.  Racetrack address is 106 Chaplins Rd, Carisbrook. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Maryborough, Sunday 06 August 2017 Form guide for Maryborough, Sunday 06 August 2017

Promotions, cup programs and ownership were top of the agenda when representatives of Victoria’s harness racing country clubs attended Tabcorp Park Melton today for the 2017 Club Marketing Seminar. More than 30 attendees represented the majority of the country clubs at the seminar, which featured a range of guest speakers. Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs CEO David Brick said the forum was a chance for the clubs and Harness Racing Victoria to discuss marketing and promotions strategies for cups, feature events, industry branding and strategic initiatives. “Forums such as these are vital to developing the relationship between clubs and HRV as well as developing the knowledge of club managers and secretaries,” Mr Brick said. “Importantly the forum provides an opportunity for clubs to network and discuss and share initiatives such as syndicates, race night video promotion and social and digital media advertising.” HRV CEO David Martin, who outlined his strategy as part of the seminar, said it was fantastic to be a part of forum that “encouraged proactive discussion between our dedicated country club administrators and HRV”. “It is important as an industry we are all working together and our marketing messages are on brand, closely aligned to our strategic goals and communicated openly to our country clubs,” Mr Martin said. The seminar began with a presentation by HRV marketing staff members Ryan Stanaway and Courtney Thompson, followed by a branding and advertising presentation by Matthew Kelly of Collaborate Communications. Opportunities via the Victorian Racing Industry Fund were detailed by Mark Brett from the Office Of Racing before Tori Glenister, HRV ownership manager, discussed club syndications. Mr Martin then closed the seminar with his presentation. Ms Thompson said the seminar had been an opportunity for HRV to help ensure the clubs had the tools to succeed in their marketing and media endeavours. “HRV has an important role to play in helping the clubs enact a modern, effective and consistent marketing strategy,” Ms Thompson said. “It was great to be able to get everyone in a room and to collectively set the foundations for another successful season.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

A 1:56.3 run in last night’s Tabcorp Park Melton VHRSC Sires Classic (Group 3) saw Emain Macha further enhance his race record and give Naracoorte harness racing trainer Greg Scholefield a metro feature trophy. Scholefield has, in recent times, boasted one of the strongest strike rates in the sport and Emain Macha is his stable star, with stake earnings of over $107,000 after last night’s win, which was his 13th at start No.17. Emain Macha initially had a crack for the front but was held out by both polemarker Misterfreeze and Rocknroll Icon from gate two. Reinsman Greg Sugars slotted three-year-old gelding by Safari into third position on the pegs, following Chris Alford on Rocknroll Icon and Emmett Brosnan aboard pacesetter Misterfreeze. Inside the final mile Alford took Rocknroll Icon to the lead and at the 1200m Sugars angled Emain Macha away from the markers. You wanted to be on one or the other. Off the back the final time, Rocknroll Icon tried to pinch the race but Emain Macha always had the leader in his sights. At the home bend – after a 28.4 third split – Emain Macha swept to the front and opened up over the final 100m for a 4.3m win, sprinting home in 28.1secs. Rocknroll Icon finished second and Albarock ran his usual honest race in third. Meanwhile, Andy and Kate Gath finished with a winning treble at Melton, taking out the City of Melton Stampede with Armbro Operative-Clifton Beauty gelding Maximan, the Western Base Vicbred Pace over 1720m with Major In Art-Henin Hardenne five-year-old gelding The Culture, and the Choose Atherstone Pace Final over 2240m with four-year-old Courage Under Fire-Village Glow gelding Firenglow. Maximan added his name to the Stampede honour roll, the annual six-furlong dash at Melton seeing the Gath gelding edge out perennial fast-finisher Tee Cee Bee Macray by a half-head in a time of 1:23.5. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

A magical 35 minutes for Melton harness racing driver Zac Phillips also produced a mighty thrill for trainer Kari Males and owner Graham Bullock when Red Hot Tooth captured Group 1 glory at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Phillips first Group 1 triumph on Une Belle Allure was followed quickly by his second when he found the front mid-race and Red Hot Tooth put in a searing performance to win the $50,000 Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Gold Series Final. “Unreal, words can’t describe how this feels right now,” Phillips said. “It’s a little bit surreal, I think I’m going to have to get back into the drivers' rooms and pinch myself. Massive thrill.” They are the high emotions that were shared by Males, who was full of pride for her Yankee Paco four-year-old mare. “She’s an absolute little superstar, I just love her,” Males said. “She’s very casual, she’s like a kids pony half the time, she just plods around half asleep, but when she gets on the track she just does the job.” Nica Macdonon initially held High Gait and Red Hot Tooth at bay, with High Gait directed into the chair while Phillips waited and then had a second crack at the lead when Charming Lavra loomed up on his outside at the bell. “It definitely surprised me the one (Nica Macdonon) holding up early,” Phillips said. “I knew it got out of the gate good, but when Ants came (on Charming Lavra) I was confident (Nica Macdonon) would be happy to sit on me once it had done that little bit of work early. “Once (Red Hot Tooth) found the front she was travelling so good, when Jason (Lee on Heavenly Sister) got up outside her she was just on the bit. She just felt like she was never going to get beat.” After a 58.8s first half she peeled off a 28.7 third quarter and in the final straight she looked a class above, winning by 1.6m to Heavenly Sister with Illawong Helios 10.2m back in third. “She’s just a great little trier,” Phillips said. “When she’s in front she’s hard to get past. “Paul and Kari have been massive support for my career and this horse is unreal. She means the world to me. She was my first winner at Menangle, my first Group winner and my second Group 1 winner. “She’s a different horse as a four-year-old. It was always a worry whether she’d improve from a three-year-old and take the next step, but I definitely think she’s proven this time in that she’s done that.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

A big camp’s investment and a young man’s persistence both paid off with Une Belle Allure claiming the $60,000 IRT Need For Speed Prince Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. The victory delivered harness racing driver Zac Phillips his first Group 1 success less than a week after his 21st birthday and capped a dominant performance by trainer Anton Golino and owner Pat Driscoll’s Yabby Dam Farms. Having qualified six for the $60,000 final for three-year-old trotting fillies, Golino’s crew preceded to fill the first four placings with Une Belle Allure winning by a half-head from favourite Dance Craze, with Nieta 5.7m back in third and My Chimera claiming fourth. “It’s a great thrill,” Golino said. “We worked hard for this, it was a big night, we had a lot of horses in it. It doesn’t always mean that you get the job done, this is satisfying.” That it was his Angus Hall three-year-old who saluted was no surprise to Golino. “I thought she was our best last year as a two-year-old. She had a horrible prep, a few things went wrong, she got sick, she got kicked. We sort of rushed her there and she didn’t probably perform as well as we thought she could. “She’s come back super this season and she’s shown that again tonight.” Phillips guided Une Belle Allure to the front from gate three with Diz Luck on his outside when they settled before Dance Craze joined him at the bell. A 32.3 second quarter sured up the leaders’ control of the race and after a 29.8 third quarter they would have plenty left in the final straight. Dance Craze loomed in Gavin Lang’s hands but Une Belle Allure fought on and when they hit the line a half-head was enough to give Phillips his crowning moment. “It’s a massive thrill. I’ve dreamt of winning a Group 1 for as long as I can remember and to do it on trotting’s night of nights, it really means a lot to me,” Phillips said. “To Anton and the team, for them to give me the opportunity, I really can’t explain how grateful I am to them. “It just shows the quality of people they are, they do a great job with their team and put a lot into the sport.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

The Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters has reached the fork in the road. On Saturday night, the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix will take place at Tabcorp Park Melton and the harness racing title to be crowned the premier trotter in the southern hemisphere is up for grabs. It’s leg three of the five and there are a number of candidates vying for the top prize. Star New Zealand trotter Monbet took the opening leg with his victory in the Dominion last November while Australian ace Glenferrie Typhoon proved triumphant in the Great Southern Star last month. Neither is competing this weekend. But quality performers Speeding Spur and Sunny Ruby are ideally placed to take control of the Trotting Masters if victorious. Speeding Spur has 60 points while Sunny Ruby has 45 points, both well within reach of co-leaders Monbet and Glenferrie Typhoon who have 100 points. And historically the New Zealand bred performers have a commanding edge in this event. First staged in 2001, star local mare La Coocaracha proved successful before the Kiwi’s arrived in force with Take A Moment, Gold N Gold, Allegro Agitato, Sundons Gift, Vulcan, Stent and Keytsone Del all proving successful. Joining La Coocaracha as Australian bred winners are Sumthingaboutmaori, A Touch Of Flair and I Didn’t Do It. There are four Australian bred trotters competing this year in the shape of Glenferrie Burn, Maorisfavouritesun, Vincennes and El Paco while Itz Not Dark Yet is listed as the emergency. The remainder of the field is New Zealand bred with Daryl Boko being Finnish bred. The Chris Lang trained and driven Sundons Gift is the most successful trotter in the races history winning it four straight times (2007/10) while Stent went back to back in 2014/15 but reigning champion Keystone Del won’t get the opportunity to defend his crown owing to setbacks. However, Speeding Spur gets the opportunity to go one better after finishing a gallant second behind Keystone Del in track record time last year. Three mares have won the Grand Prix with La Coocaracha, Sumthingaboutmaori and Allegro Agitato the most recent when successful back in 2005. Representing the fairer sex this year is Sunny Ruby, Glenferrie Burn and KD Muscles. Leading reinsman Anthony Butt is chasing his third victory in the event when he takes the drive behind Sunny Ruby following his previous triumphs with Take A Moment and Keystone Del. And Sunny Ruby looms as the horse to beat given her recent form; the Sonya Smith trainee has won 4 of her 5 starts on Australian soil including last week’s Gr.1 Knight Pistol at Cranbourne while she also prepares Daryl Boko. Also duly represented is Andy Gath (Clover Mac & KD Muscles), Anton Golino (Glenferrie Burn & Vincennes) and Mattie Craven (El Paco & Uncas). New South Wales trotter On Thunder Road will command respect along with the Nicole Molander trained Prince Fearless. Leading trainer David Aiken prepares Maorisfavouritesun. The Grand Prix is listed as race 7 and scheduled to start at 9.30pm local time. The Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters will head back to New Zealand for the two remaining legs of the series with the ANZAC Cup followed by the Canam Rowe Cup in late April. Both events will take place at Alexandra Park, Auckland. Chris Barsby

It's Hot To Trot @ Horsham on Monday afternoon for the 27th annual Decron Horse Care - Noel Smith Memorial Invitation Drivers Championship & the harness racing Industry Participants Recognition Raceday. Ten of Australasia's best are set to weave their magic with the reins in a four race contest, with the leading points scorer joining the Club's elite honour roll. Reining champion Ricky Duggan returns to defend his 2016 Crown. Duggan also enjoyed a great 2015/16 season home in the Apple Isle, finishing second to Mark Yole on the State tally board and with a fine winning strike rate of 21%. Honorary "BigV" Anthony Butt will compete at Horsham for the first time after finishing in 4th place on the 2015/16 Metropolitan Drivers Premiership table. The highly decorated Kiwi horseman started driving in 1983 and quickly made his mark as the NZ Junior Champion in both 1985 & 1988. Butt is just one of nine drivers inducted into the Inter Dominion Hall of Fame and is a four time, Inter Dominion Championship winning driver with Lyell Creek (2000), Take A Moment (2001 & 2003) and Mr Feelgood in 2009. His mighty tally of 49 Grand Circuit driving victories is miles ahead of the rest with Mark Purdon second on 27 and he is currently edging towards his 2000th career winner (1609 NZ, 381 AU). Leading Kiwi reinsman Blair Orange and last season's NSW premier driver Todd McCarthy are also headed to Horsham for the first time. Orange started driving in 1996 and by 1999 was NZ Champion Junior Driver. He's driven a century plus tally in 2014, 15 & 16 to be three times runner up behind Dexter Dunn and has already passed the century mark this season. While the Invitees may hold the spotlight, the meeting also recognises the contribution made by all our Industry Participants with $$$$ galore in products, goods, services & merchandise distributed to trainers, drivers and owners during the afternoon. Decron Horse Care, Carbine Chemicals, Finn Tack, Pryde's Easifeed, Bertocchi Smallgoods, Cordina Farms, Flair Equine Nasal Strips, Oringi Protection Wear, Hyland Racing Colours, Fly Veils By Design, Harness Breeders Victoria, Grafx Inc, Western District Horse Transport, Mustad Australia & Roma Pocock have thrown their support behind the meeting to ensure that everyone's a winner. Trainers, drivers, stablehands, owners & breeders will enjoy a designated hospitality area sponsored by the Victorian Trainers & Drivers Association. The Club will throw the gates open at 1.00pm with FREE entry for all to encourage families to pack their picnic basket, esky, blanket & chair and lounge on the lawns to enjoy a great day's racing. Racegoers & participants also have the chance to win a short break courtesy of View Hotels St Kilda Rd, Raglan Motor Inn Warrnambool, Tabcorp Park - Choice Hotels Melton & Deluxe Riverspa Moama. Tony Logan    

Harness racing trainer Anton Golino baulks at the thought of ranking his three-year-old trotting fillies, but he is categorical on one point. Dance Craze is his best. The Cardigan horseman dominated the heats of the Need for Speed Princess at Tabcorp Park Melton last night, finishing first and second in both. But it was the run of fourth placed Dance Craze in heat one that caught the eye most, the daughter of champion mare La Coocaracha and super sire Muscle Hill producing an enormous performance after missing the start. “It was a massive run,” Golino said. “A little bit of interference leading up to the gait was enough to put her off last night, which was unfortunate. “She is the best of them (my fillies) though. I think she can develop into a really, really good horse.” Dance Craze charged to the line behind stablemates Nieta and My Chimera, who ran 1-2, with Iona Spider for trainer Shane Hall and driver Jodi Quinlan winding up third after leading. Nieta rated 1:58.1 winning for Nathan Jack, finishing a head in front of My Chimera (Zac Phillips), the pair storming to the line together. “She showed a world of ability as a two-year-old and this time in has really learnt to settle. It’s a credit to Gavin (Lang) who drives for us in the trials. He’s really got her to settle and that’s helped her a lot,” Golino said of Nieta. “We’re very lucky Gavin is able to educate these horses for us in the trials and teach them to be racehorses. “Nathan said last night if anything Nieta was a bit lazy, which is good because she was not pulling. “My Chimera has surprised us a little bit. She tied up badly at Ballarat and didn’t want to go at all, really. Then, since winning at Charlton she hasn’t put a foot wrong.” Heat two was another Golino special with Une Belle Allure (Angus Hall-Glenferrie Unixa) producing a 1:56.9 rate first-up to overhaul impressive newbie Ima Bourbon Girl by 1.6m. Driven by Zac Phillips, who finished with a winning double after piloting Majestic Moves (Majestic Son-Kwik Kiss) home at big odds in the Aldebaran Park Handicap, Une Belle Allure looked every bit the beautiful mover as she boomed down the outside. Having just her second start, Ima Bourbon Girl (Sam Bourbon-Lough Neagh) led from gate four for Gavin Lang. Diz Luck finished third for trainer-driver Gavin Smith from the pole. The Group 1 IRT Need for Speed Princess Final will be run on Saturday night, March 11, part of a huge four Group 1 program. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Bad Boy Brad’s ascension continued on Saturday night in front of a large harness racing crowd at Tabcorp Park Melton, taking out the 2017 Exclusive Homes Maltese Cup. The Diane Giles trained six-year-old produced a withering sprint for driver Lance Justice to capture the silverware in a stirring four-way finish, with first through to fourth separated by not much more than a long head. The Gunbower Cup winner has already won six races from 21 starts this season, Bad Boy Brad’s assessment climbing from C7-M0 to M3-C12. Video: Re-live Bad Boy Brad's Maltese Cup win Bad Boy Brad (Righteous Hanover-Bubbas Babe) rated 1:54.1 to overhaul south-west Victorian pair Jivin Cullen (trained by Brad Hunt and driven by Glen Craven) in a photo finish officially by a half-head, with a head further back to Roy George (Matthew Craven) and another head to Upanatom (David Aiken/Mark Pitt) in fourth. Bad Boy Brad launched late down the outside against a 27.7 last quarter and a 28 secs third split and looks destined for bigger assignments again. Long Forest husband and wife team Andy and Kate Gath secured a winning double and three second placings for the night, successful with trotters Clover Mac (Dream Vacation-Clover Lass) in the SEW Eurodrive Trotters Handicap in 2:00.3 from the 2240-metre standing start and Posseidon (Fling It-Maori Acacia) in the Rayner Real Estate 3YO Trot over 1720m in 1:59.8. Click here to view all results from Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night Click here to listen to the winning drivers on HRV YouTube  Cody Winnell

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