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Greg Sugars has 2000 career winners on the board after a winning double at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton today. The gun reinsman, 30, drove $1.30 shot Fake Smile to victory for trainer Ahmed Taiba in Race 2 at Geelong Harness Racing Club's Melton meeting, before scoring a minor upset in the last race aboard Paying Your Way at odds of $8 for trainer Rob O'Connell. July has been incredible for Sugars, the victory aboard Paying Your Way his 24th winner for the month. He will drive two horses tonight at Bendigo, two tomorrow at Maryborough and five at Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow night before we head into the final month of the harness racing calendar year. Sugars has edged clear of Queensland's Shane Graham on the 2014-15 National Drivers Premiership. Cody Winnell

The Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs (AVCHRC) has welcomed Harness Racing Victoria's (HRV) stakes increase announcement. On Monday HRV revealed stakemoney for season 2015-16 would exceed $40 million for the first time ever after a 5% increase on the 2014-15 season, meaning harness racing stakemoney in Victoria has climbed by 20% over three years. "It's fantastic to see our industry in a position to offer stakes increases," said AVCHRC President Paul James. "We acknowledge the challenge of balancing stakes increases to reward both everyday participation and the elite level of our sport to help grow and attract new people. "The increases announced by HRV provide for both and for that we congratulate HRV. "The increases to Country Cup funding, co-funded by clubs and HRV, reflects the importance and strength of our club network to the Victorian industry and will assist showcasing the best horses and participants throughout Regional Victoria." President of the Victorian Harness Racing Trainers and Drivers Association (VTDA) Lance Justice also welcomed the stakemoney increases. "We commend HRV for increasing distribution of stakemoney in 2015/16 to in excess of 40 million," Justice said. "The VTDA in its budget submission earlier this year requested any increases to be directed to increasing basic levels to ensure the majority of the industry benefited from the extremely successful 2014/15 financial year result. "It is pleasing to see our request to increase graduation races to the new threshold level was ratified and we also welcome the changes to the Melton metropolitan meeting stake levels." HRV CEO John Anderson said the stakes increases would benefit all levels of the industry. "After extensive consultation with our industry consultative groups we elected to try and spread the stakes increases widely from the bottom end right through to the top," Anderson said. "From the bottom end of the scale we've brought graduation races up to $3500, which is the maximum amount allowed under the national guidelines for a graduation race before the winner has to take a country penalty. With 42 graduation race meetings a year this equates to an increase of about $200,000 a year. "Increasing the Vicbred first win bonus for four-year-olds from $5000 to $7000 equates to an annual increase of about $430,000, which is obviously significant. "Country fillies and mares races of all grades also take on an extra $1000 in stakes, which is great news for the Victorian breeding industry. There is always room for more to be done to stimulate fillies and mares' racing opportunities. "Given that there are about 250 of these races scheduled each year this equates to an additional quarter of a million dollars." Stakes Increases by Percentage Bottom end (graduation, country F&M, 6th to last, Vicbred 1st Bonus) - 59% Mid-level (Metro Front M1/TM1+, Country Penalty TP, Country Cups) - 23% Top end (Hunter Cup, 4&5YO Championship, 4YO Bonanza, Maori Mile) - 18%   CODY WINNELL 

Kyneton reinsman Tony Xiriha has been ruled out of the sulky indefinitely after a horrible fall at Stawell trots on Wednesday, July 22. Xiriha and trainer/driver Anthony O’Connor both came off their horses Good Looka and Peters Passion in the 2175-metre trot. O’Connor sustained broken ribs and a collapsed lung and spent time in Warrnambool hospital, while Xiriha was airlifted to Melbourne where he stayed in hospital until being discharged on Saturday night. Xiriha broke his hand in the fall and has had several scans on his neck region as doctors try to find out what is behind his neck pain. The popular trainer/driver also has very limited memory of the day, explaining that he recalls “scoring up before the race and I vaguely remember the helicopter”. “The nurse said I’d cracked vertebrae in my neck and I got a neck brace, and as I was leaving the hospital a nurse said I didn’t have a crack,” Xiriha said. “I took the brace off for the first time the other day to have a shower and it was a big mistake. “I’ve had a massive headache and I’ll be heading back to the doctors today.” Xiriha is still suffering the effects of severe concussion. “I’ll talk to you today and may not remember it tomorrow,” he said. “I know they said I was talking to the stewards and the first aid officials on track, but I can’t recall.” Despite the injuries Xiriha continues his work around the stables. “I just went and fed the horses before ... it’s a battle,” he said. Xiriha said he’d been buoyed by well-wishes in person and via social media. “It’s much appreciated." By Cody Winnell

Wintry conditions kept many spectators away from Monday's Warragul trots meeting, but races were still keenly contested despite the chill.   Warragul's new racing circuit passed its first wet day of racing since last year's rebuild with flying colours - despite plenty of rain over the previous couple of days the surface was turned out in excellent condition. In the second race, the KC Racing Trotters Handicap, Pearcedale horse Stoned Again lowered the track record for 2210 metres, taking one-and-a-half seconds off the previous mark set in December last year. Stoned Again, for father-daughter combination Bill and Simone Walker, has moved to the lead in the Warragul Horse of the Year award with one race meeting remaining in the current racing season. Rick Cashman, a past graduate of the Gippsland Harness Training Centre, won a race on the day with Danman. At just its second race start, Danman led throughout - the horse will derive great benefit from the victory and should win more races. Danman's win was one of three on the afternoon for top reinsman Greg Sugars, who also won with first starter Ravello Rock in race one for Jayne Davies, and Almihata in the third event for Ahmed Taiba. Ahmed himself collected two winners on the day, when Admiral Joy rattled home to win the final event when driven by junior reinsman Troy McDonald. Jodi Quinlan produced a popular victory with Decorated Lady in race four, for a big syndicate of owners.   Several of them were trackside, loudly cheering the horse every step of the way down the home straight. Another popular win was that of Jean Baptiste in the seventh event for Melton trainer Lance Justice, and driver Jason Hackett. Jean Baptiste is raced by a nine-member syndicate, and was well supported in betting. Trotting returns to Warragul on Monday, August 17.   Kyle Galley  

Another eight event trotting program will be staged at the harness racing meeting at Warragul this Monday afternoon. Among those attending will be members of the National Servicemen's Association - this is the eleventh year that the Nasho's have had their day at the trots. Guests will enjoy the Warragul Harness Racing Club's hospitality while the Alf Martin Memorial is named in honour of a past Nasho. Alf was a Warragul member and co-ordinated bookings for the Nasho's Day since it began. He had an active involvement in trotting as a barrier attendant at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds race meetings. Monday's program contains several even races. Past graduate of the Gippsland Harness Training Centre, Rick Cashman, might be able to land the fifth race winner with Danman, which ran second at its only start to date. First race on Monday is at 12:31pm and course entry is free for all patrons. Kyle Galley

New Zealand's leading male two year trotter in 2014/2015 in Conon Bridge is about to head across the Tasman to tackle some late season classics in Victoria. A $7,000 purchase from last years New Zealand Premier Yearling sale at Christchurch, the son of Raffaello Ambrosio has looked well above average from the first time he stepped onto a track. The winner of three from five starts at two, Conon Bridge has looked more than capable of mixing it with High Gait and Missandei from the All Star barn with his only run where he finished out of the money being when he went off stride in the Harness Jewels. Trained by master trotting trainer Paul Nairn and driven by North Canterbury reinsman Bob Butt, Conon Bridge has two main targets on his Victorian raid as Bob Butt explained to Harnesslink this week. " The first target is the $ 50,000 Redwood Classic over 2190 metres on the second of August at Maryborough which is an open two year old race." " The distance won't hold any worries for him as he showed when winning over 2400 metres last weekend." " Safely through that, Conon Bidge will tackle the Australasian Breeders Crown series and it is a bit different this year with $84,000 finals for both Colts / geldings and fillies so we won't meet the All Stars fillies in that series which is a bonus," Bob said. Bob was really impressed with Conon Bridge's latest performance last weekend where he came off 10 metres to win a C1-C2 handicap trot. " He only did what he had to last Sunday but it is never easy for two year old trotters to beat the older horses over ground so there was a lot of merit in the run," Bob said. Conon Bridge has already earned $51,597 in his debut season and in his present form could well crack the $100,000 mark before he finishes this campaign. Harnesslink Media

Popular harness racing trainer/driver Tony Xiriha’s immediate career in the sulky is in doubt after a fall at Stawell trots today. The Pipers Creek reinsman took a nasty tumble from Good Looka in the fourth race, the Hygain Pak-Cell Trot, and had to be transferred by helicopter ambulance to Royal Melbourne Hospital for further tests. Stewards reported Xiriha’s shoulder and arm were of most concern, but he also temporarily lost consciousness before talking with ambulance officials. The races were delayed by almost two hours at Stawell but the club was able to make it through the eight-race card before daylight disappeared. Xiriha has driven 190 winners since obtaining his licence in 1989-90. Harness Racing Victoria will provide an update on his condition when it is available. Cody Winnell

Echuca’s new-look harness racing track will be unveiled tomorrow night as the club hosts an eight-race program. The 800-metre track has undergone a $425,000 makeover with its elevation increased from 6 to 12 per cent, while new fencing was also part of the project. HRV CEO John Anderson said the Echuca upgrades were part of a wider plan to improve tracks across Victoria, with feedback from the industry regarding the recent Warragul track redevelopment overwhelmingly positive. Anderson added that both the Mildura and Horsham tracks would be significantly upgraded in coming months. “Upgrades such as the works at Echuca and Warragul give our industry participants increased confidence racing on these important country tracks,” Anderson said. “The works are part of an overall plan to develop further regional tracks with Mildura and Horsham next in line. “The Echuca track looks fantastic and it will certainly make for quality racing. “We also recognise the support of the Andrews Government for this project.” Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs CEO David Brick and Echuca club president Robert Height welcomed the upgrade. “It (the revamp) will be a great asset to our club because better horses will come here to race … which means faster racing.” Brick said the Goulburn Murray region offered the Victorian harness racing industry the highest participation rates, employment and volume of racing annually. “The Echuca track upgrade, co-funded by the club, HRV and the Victorian State Government recognises the importance of the region following previous upgrades at Shepparton and Cobram,” Brick said. “It also provides a point of difference as it is a half-mile track. “The Echuca trots during summer – particularly on New Year’s Night – provide the industry an opportunity to showcase our industry to the thousands of holidaymakers in the region.”   Cody Winnell

Odds-on favourite Keystone Del gave harness racing punters who took $1.30 a scare in last night’s Group 3 Sumthingaboutmaori Trotters Free for All at Tabcorp Park Melton when he galloped early. The seven-year-old son of Dr Ronerail from Flipside lost about 80m when he broke up coming out of the straight the first time. But by the time had left the back straight, so slow were they going up front that Keystone Del had made up his lost ground and run to the lead for driver Chris Alford. Once in front the top-notch squaregaiter, arguably the best in the business, controlled the small field of six with quarters of 32.3secs, 33.4secs, 29.6secs and a fourth quarter of 27.9secs to win by 3.8m over stablemate Lord Liam in a rate of 2:03.0 for the 2240m trip. Stoned I Am finished third beaten 9.1m for Simone Walker. In other results last night, Best Deal Yet (Bettors Delight/Bonnie Deal) won the 2240m DNR Logistics M0 Pace for Alison Chisholm, leading all the way from gate four in a rate of 1:58.5, defeating runner-up Copper Coast by 4m. Vince Vallelonga-trained Major Crocker (Art Major/Aratusa Lass) sat parked in the 1720m Soho Standardbreds Winter Championship Final for reinsman Greg Sugars in 1:53.9, defeating in-form Beachstar by 1.9m. David Aiken trained-and-driven Vics Cheval (Yankee Boy/Vics Lady) proved too strong in the Garrards Horse and Hound Trot over 2240m, winning by 18.9m in 2:00.1 over second-placed The Majestic. Rising star Flaming Flutter (Bettors Delight/Twice As Hot) won the Our Maestro Free for All by 3.2m over Keayang Starzzz in a rate of 1:57.7 for the 2240m trip. Driven by Greg Sugars for trainer Geoff Webster, Flaming Flutter led from start to finish. Bamako Malo (Art Major/African Dancer) took out the Harness Breeders Victoria 3YO Classic over 1720m by 2.3m over a gusty Soho Tokyo in 1:55.9. Driven by Amanda Turnbull for trainer Belinda McCarthy, Bamako Mali found the lead while Soho Tokyo moved around to sit parked at the bell. Five-year-old mare Lierre Noir (Bettors Delight/Saabette) saluted in the Olympus Feeds Pace over 1720m for trainer/driver Amy Tubbs. From the pole, Tubbs took early cover behind long odds-on shot El Jays Magic before overpowering the Tasmanian mare in the home straight for a 1.8m victory in 1:55.0. To finish the evening Chris Svanosio produced a stellar drive aboard Matthew Craven-trained Desdon Murruffy to win the Pace over 2240m. From gate three Svanosio took the five-year-old Modern Art/Spellmaker stallion back to the rear of the field early and he was actually detached mid-race. At the home turn he was still in a seemingly impossible position before steaming home along the pegs to grab Electric Ollie in the shadows of the post for a head win in a rate of 1:59.4. by Cody Winnell

Harness racing trainer Emma Stewart combined with champion driver Gavin Lang to take out both the Alabar Tatlow Stakes races at Tabcorp Park Melton last night.  Rock N Roll Heaven/All The Magic youngster Rocknroll Magic took out the fillies’ division and later on the card Shadow Play/Miss Saxony two-year-old Shadow Sax won the colts and geldings’ Tatlow. Rocknroll Magic, which has now won six of nine career starts, was clearly the dominant filly in her $50,505 Group 2. With no pace on throughout, Lang was able to lead early and dictate terms, Rocknroll Magic’s lead time of 48secs a crawl before the first half was covered in 62.5secs. The last-start Southern Cross heat winner in Adelaide only had to dash home in 56.6secs to hold off Three Squared (11.7m away in second), with My Sophisticated Lady in third in a rate of 2:00.1. Shadow Sax, the last-start Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series champion, overcame barrier seven to score by 2.5m in 1:59.5. Three-wide early, Lang slotted the talented gelding into the running line midfield as the leader Christmas Jolt jogged through a 48.1secs lead time. With an opening half of 62.1secs, three-time Melton winner Christmas Jolt looked on track to notch his seventh career victory overall. But in the home straight Shadow Sax rounded up the leader and then held off Zee Dana along the sprint lane. Shadow Sax has won four from eight lifetime starts. by Cody Winnell

The forthcoming Soho Standardbreds Reduction Sale, to be conducted by Graeme Board & Company at Toolern Vale on Sunday, July 26, has received a tremendous boost with several recent important winners related to stock listed in the catalogue. Ideal Tyson, one of this season’s leading Western Australian juveniles and the winner of eight of his nine appearances so far, has a very close relative in Lot 9. Soho Chelsea, a Breeders Crown heat winner at Launceston last Sunday, has a Rock N Roll Heaven weanling half-brother as Lot 52, while the Vicbred heat winner All Eyes On Us has a two-year-old half-brother, Soho Manhattan, as Lot 18. The Vicbred Final placegetter Niki No No’s classic-winning half-brother Soho Valencia is being offered as a stallion as Lot 27, while the dam of the dual Newcastle victor Soynwasabi will go up as Lot 5. Other recent Victorian provincial winners in Soho Tokyo (Lots 33 and 53), Sahara Bedouin (Lot 38), Ricimer ((Lot 1) and Valens (Lot 40) have close relative at the sale. For a copy of the catalogue send an email to or phone Peter Dow 0412 195 986. Catalogues are also available from Tamarin Park (Sue Markwell 0413 923 333). Pedigrees are available on the website  Click on the Soho Standardbreds Reduction Sale link. Peter Wharton

Lightly raced four year old Yankee Paco/Maybe Hall gelding Maybetothemax was a most impressive victor of the Bendigo Party Hire Trotters Mobile (1st Heat) for T1 & T2 class over 2150 metres at Lord’s Raceway Bendigo on Tuesday July 14. Trained at Kyabram by Graham Lyon who loves the squaregaiters, Maybetothemax coming off an excellent second to Im Stately in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Sires Series Final at Tabcorp Park Melton eleven days earlier and making his 21st race appearance, possied one/one from gate five with the well supported Pipe Me Home shadowing the poleline pacemaker Law Legend. The short priced favourite Gus An Maori (gate four) missed away hopelessly. Vacating the prime spot shortly after the start to race in the open, Nathan Jack was able to dictate the terms of the race to suit and Maybetothemax raced past the leader prior to the home turn under a tight hold. Although Lightning Calder (three wide last lap from last) tried hard on turning, Maybetothemax bounded clear halfway up the running to record a 7.6 metre victory over Lightning Calder, with rank outsider Illawong Sunny 1.8 metres away in third place. The mile rate  was 2-02.5 on the rain effected track Graham Lyon enjoyed plenty of success in the eighties with a horse by the name of Northsea Rover and at one stage had champion mare Claudys Princess under his care, winning the Two Year Old Vicbred Super Series Final. Heat two will be held at Ballarat this Saturday, with the $8505 Final at Tabcorp Park Melton on July 26. Echuca trainer/driver Steven Lindberg provided a shock result to the Dunlop & Pitson Earthmoving Pace for C2 class over 2150 metres, when speedy seven year old Christian Cullen/Time’s On My Side gelding Bon Jovi saluted the judge at $18.50. Crossing the long odds-on poleline favourite Padrisimo at the start from gate five,  Bon Jovi led all of the way and although headed by Mrs Devine in the shadows of the post after racing outside him, came again to gain the day by a head in 2-01.9.  Padrisimo was quite disappointing in finishing third after having the entire length of the sprint lane, going down by 1.6 metres.  It was Bon Jovi’s first victory since November 2013. Hopetoun Park father and son – Ross and Greg Sugars snared the Santons Of Bendigo Claiming Pace over 1650 metres with P B Bullville/Pleasant Speed seven year old gelding Rumsron in a rate of 1-57.6 in driving rain, much to the delight of Bacchus Marsh part-owner Denis Grieve. Spearing away from gate five, Rumsron led throughout to account for Our Mels Dream (three wide last lap) and Our Horizon which faced the breeze from outside the front line. Long Forest duo Andy & Kate Gath appeared set on paper to have a great night, but only snared only one winner – smart Majestic Son/Starcus Me filly Naked Majesty in the Aldebaran Park Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2150 metres. Beginning smoothly from the extreme draw to lob three back in the moving lane, Kate wasted no time in sending the filly forward to park outside Miss Cosmos. Travelling sweetly, Naked Majesty put pay to her rivals on turning to record a 3.1 metre margin on the wire over Mont Morley (three wide home turn after trailing the leader), with Miss Cosmos holding down third. Seymour’s Billy Morgan combined with Gavin Lang to land the Yorkshire Park Standardbreds Pace for C0 class over 2150 metres with four year old Pay Me Christian/Arma Class gelding Arma Augustus. Given a sweet passage one/one from gate three, Arma Augustus after being eased three wide on the final bend, prevailed in the last bound to nose out the leader Nikita Maguire in 2-00.5, with Three Mugs In (one/two) running his usual honest race to finish third after making the home turn four wide. Kiwi bred Bettor’s Delight/Millwood Touche filly Millwood Brandy at start number eleven, snared the Bush’s Produce 3-Y-0 Pace over 2150 metres for Melton duo Maree and John Caldow, leading all of the way from the pole to just last by a nose from Shakahari along the sprint lane from three back the markers which would have given Bill Morgan a double. Abetta Tiny Dancer was 2.5 metres away in third place after racing uncovered from the bell. The mile rate was 2-00.4.   Woorinen (Swan Hill) trainer Joe Costa has enjoyed a most fruitful season with his small but select team, taking out the Amadee Park Vineyard Pace for C3 & C4 class over 1650 metres with ultra-consistent 3-Y-0 Million Dollar Cam/What About Now gelding Riley James in a slick 1-57.2. Driven by Ararat freelance Michael Bellman who hardly ever misses a meeting throughout the state, Riley James led throughout from the pole to score by 1.7 metres in advance of Givemeaspell which trailed and a death-seating Time Capsule. On a night when leading was the place to be, Heathcote trainer Jason Tyack made a welcome return to the winners list when Courage Under Fire/Realy Dry 5-Y-0 gelding Realy Under Fire with Scott Rains in the sulky, led throughout from gate four to blitz his rivals in the Samios Plumbing Supplies Pace for C1 class over 1650 metres, scoring by 6.6 metres in 1-58.9 metres from the favourite Our Danger Mouse which raced outside him for the final circuit. Olivia Rockstar (four wide home turn from last) was 6.2 metres away in third place. Len Baker

The 2014/15 financial year which ended on June 30 has been a strong one for HRV.   Some of the key indicators are highlighted below.   Also, we will shortly be releasing our Strategic Plan "Consultation Paper" for engagement with the industry.   Follow HRV on Twitter @HRVnews   Wagering Turnover - 2014/15 Financial Year Now that we have completed the 2014/15 financial year, we can share some of the more important statistics for the year (note that the racing season runs until 31 August) Wagering turnover on Victorian Product totalled $860m for the year - a 6% increase on the previous year's $810m. The turnover was derived from the following operators (last year's number in brackets) Victorian Pari-mutuel TAB - $144m ($153m) Victorian Fixed odds TAB - $49m ($43m) Interstate TAB's - $320m ($324m) Corporate bookmakers - $224m ($178m) Betting Exchange - $43m ($43m) International - $80m ($69m) Total - $860m ($810m) up 6% 26% growth in corporate bookmaker turnover and 16% growth in international turnover are the major contributors to wagering growth. Unaudited Year End financials The finance department have closed off the books for the 2014/15 financial year awaiting audit. Some of the key business indicators for the year: HRV will record a profit of approx. $3.5m (original budget of $1m) Wagering revenue grew by 6% this year, up to $61.6m Stakes growth of 6% was achieved this year, up to $38.4m, with more to come in 2015/16 when stakes will hit $40m Total debt was reduced during the year from $32m down to $25m, due to a favourable restructure and the positive financial returns. The full annual report, which is tabled in Parliament, will be available within a couple of months. Vicbred Super Series Vicbred finals weekend lived up to its "Super Series" name with two sensational nights racing in early July. Combining the finals into one weekend has meant that this carnival is fast becoming one of the best attractions of the year, with the many winning owners making for a great atmosphere. The feats of Larry Eastman (3 Group 1 wins as a trainer) and Chris Alford (5 as a driver) were well publicised, but there were several other achievements which meant a lot to those concerned, such as: Flojos Gold (2yo filly) was the first Group 1 win for Luke Watson (Driver) and father Ian Watson (Trainer). Claudys Princess became one of only a select few in history to win all 3 Vicbred Super Series Finals after taking out a 4yo trotters final. Sundons Courage (2yo trot) was the first Group 1 victory for Trainer Chris Angove and Driver Ashley Matthews. David Abrahams had his first taste of Group 1 glory when Fabrication won the 3yo Trotting Colts & Geldings Final. Special thanks to Donna, David and Les at Empire Stallions for their enthusiastic sponsorship of the Vicbred program. They were suitably rewarded on finals night with progeny of their stallions prominent in the winner's circle - Menin Gate (Somebeachsomewhere) and Milly Perez (Four Starzz Shark). It pays to be Vicbred. In 2014/15 over $3.2m was paid out in first win bonuses to connections. Every Vicbred eligible 2,3 and 4yo that wins its first race receives a $7,000 bonus from 1 September. Trotting Breeding Growth HRV's trotting strategy continues to gain momentum, with the number of trotting mares being bred from on the rise. Historian John Peck has uncovered some interesting facts on the development of the trotting breed in recent times. The number of trotting mares bred from in New Zealand has declined by 21% in 5 years (now 581) while in Australia that number has increased by 12% (up to 615). Nationally, breeding from trotting mares now represents 11% of the total, which compares to only 5% a decade ago. Internationalisation is well to the fore. Of the 615 local mares being served, 356 were by Australian based stallions, 216 by North American stallions, 33 by European stallions and 10 by NZ based stallions. Pony Trots 2014/15 I was pleased to receive the annual report from the 2014/15 pony trots season, compiled by Andrea Parkes. There were several highlights in the report worth acknowledging: Participation rates were up on the previous year. Most country clubs embrace their Pony trot Cup enthusiastically as well as many industry people who sponsor awards. The State final at Bendigo was won by Taylah Markham from Ballarat, a great achievement seeing she is not from a harness racing family. Several more graduates from the pony trots made their way on the big stage this year - Josh Aiken, Ellen Bartley, Zac Steenhuis and Jackie Barker to name only a few. Finally I pay tribute to Bruce Barron, so much a part of the pony trots growth, who announced his retirement at the end of the season. Lost friends to the industry We have sadly lost several friends of the industry with the recent passing of: Gary Davies. Gary was a long time employee of Tabcorp and was somewhat of a pioneer in the sports bookmaking fixed odds betting on racing. Gary passed away after a very short illness and our condolences were passed to his family, including his son Cam, who is a senior manager at Greyhound Racing Victoria. Joyce Pearce. Joyce was the wife of Brian Pearce who will be well known to many. Joyce was a lovely lady and is a sad loss to Brian and many others.  Apart from his decades of service to the VHRSC and the Caduceus Club, Brian is also an advisor to the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board. Alice Craven. Alice was the matriarch to the Craven and Lee harness racing dynasties, living on the property known as Jilliby, the monica for so many top line horses. Most recently Alice had a share in Group 1 winner Jilliby Jitterbug and she took great delight in seeing her grandson Jason Lee steer him to victory for daughter Marg in the APG Final. Reg Cooper. Reg had been associated with the Stawell Club for just under 60 years, serving on the Committee for 25 years and President for 16. He was acknowledged by the industry as the 2013 "Volunteer of the Year" award. His most recent appearance was at the Stawell trots on June 1, shortly before being admitted to hospital. He was also a prolific breeder in his earlier days. Garth Allen. Garth sadly passed away recently having been a Life Member, Club Steward and Vice President of the Geelong Harness Racing Club. Garth had not been well for some time, but was buoyed by the success of Flaming Flutter, which he part owned with his lifelong mate Neil Richmond and Ron Anderson. Garth's daughter Kate won an Olympic Gold Medal in the Athens games triathlon. John Angel. We were also saddened to hear of John's passing. His wife Lorraine Angel is an enthusiastic industry participant and head of the ladies group, the Scotch Notch Club. Did you know? Menin Gate is in the news at the moment as possibly Australia's best 3 year old. Menin Gate is also a large War Memorial Arch located in Brugge, Belgium, where many Australian and Allied graves are nearby. The Last Post is played 365 days a year at Menin Gate and has been played over 30,000 times! Harness Racing Victoria, 

Harness Racing Victoria and the Geelong Harness Racing Club are mourning the passing of long time club and industry stalwart Garth Allen. Mr Allen passed away last Wednesday aged 77 years. He was a Life Member of the Geelong Harness Racing Club, also serving as Vice-President for many years, as well as being a regular fixture as Club Steward for Geelong harness racing meetings and trials fixtures. He was also involved as an owner with Ron Anderson and lifetime friend of 63 years Neil Richmond, part-owners of 2013 Hamilton Pacing Cup winner Our Arlington, undefeated 2YO pacer Motu Gatecrasher and the pride of their team, Flaming Flutter, who ran 2nd to Beautide in the 2015 Inter Dominion Grand Final at Menangle. The harness racing industry extends its sympathies to his wife Margaret, daughter Kate and sons Tim, Nigel and Nicky and their extended families. Cody Winnell  

Amy Rees has kept Queensland’s outstanding 2014/15 national young driving record perfect by claiming the Young Drivers Challenge title in Victoria this week. Queenslanders are undefeated in Australian young driver competitions this season, winning the team interstate challenges in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. Rees continued the dominance in the five race three track series hosted by the Shepparton, Maryborough and Ballarat harness racing clubs this week. 19 year-old Rees thanked the three clubs and said the competition was a very good experience.  “I had the best time in Victoria over these last few days driving at the different tracks and meeting new people, I want to thank everyone for a great time,” Rees said. After driving the first winner of the series, The Stags Roar, at Shepparton on Wednesday night, Rees maintained her place in the top order, picking up valuable points at Maryborough and confidently went into the deciding race of the Challenge driving a short-priced favourite Franco Joaquin at Ballarat last night.  The Adam- Kelly trained pacer led the field and finished in second place giving Rees enough points to maintain the top spot in the competition. The Peak Crossing teenager commenced driving three years ago and this year has had her best season with 40 victories. She has been the voice of Queensland’s National “Girls In Pink” Breast Cancer Fund raising promotions and tomorrow night Rees will compete in the BOTRA Pink Pants Drivers Invitation at the Queensland Oaks race meeting at Albion Park . David Aldred

As ofter happens, horses don't preform to their ability and are followed up by the stewards post race. Here is a roundup of the latest feedback from the Victorian Stewards GEELONG – 1 JULY 2015 RACE 6 - DEVCON PROPERTIES PACE (2100 MS) Craig Demmler, trainer of Summer Of Courage notified Stewards that subsequent to the disappointing performance of the mare, blood tests have revealed Summer Of Courage to have a high muscle enzyme count, indicative of the horse tying up. Mr Demmler added that he would continue to monitor Summer Of Courage prior to any future racing commitments. BENDIGO – 1 JULY 2015 RACE 6 – SAMIOS PLUMBING SUPPLIES PACE (2150 MS) Dean Braun, trainer of Sudden Change NZ, advised Stewards that his stable veterinarian had examined the filly and was of the opinion Sudden Change NZ being lame in the near hind leg was due to the filly suffering from ‘greasy heel’. Mr Braun added that Sudden Change NZ would now be sent for a spell. TABCORP PARK MELTON – 4 JULY 2015 RACE 5 - EMPIRE STALLIONS VICBRED SUPER SERIES (3YO FILLIES) FINAL (GROUP 1) (2240 MS) Trainer Emma Stewart has advised that blood tests conducted on Lovelist following the filly’s performance have failed to reveal any abnormalities. Ms Stewart advised that Lovelist is engaged this Saturday at Globe Derby Park in the Southern Cross Series and she is of the opinion that Lovelist will appreciate the drop back in class compared to recent starts. RACE 6 - MELTON CITY COUNCIL SPRINT (1720 MS) Emma Stewart, trainer of Metro Mike, has advised that blood tests taken from the gelding subsequent to its disappointing performance has failed to reveal any abnormal findings. Ms Stewart advised that Metro Mike may not have handled the hard trial the week prior at Ballarat on 27 June 2015. RACE 7 - EMPIRE STALLIONS VICBRED SUPER SERIES (3YO COLTS & GELDINGS) FINAL (GROUP 1) (2240 MS) Ideal For Real, which performed disappointingly, underwent a post-race veterinary examination which revealed Ideal For Real to be displaying abnormal respiratory sounds resulting in Ideal For Real being stood down from racing until a veterinary certificate of fitness is provided. Trainer Emma Stewart has advised that the stable veterinarian has conducted a lung wash on Ideal For Real in the days subsequent, however final results have not been advised as of yet. Ms Stewart undertook to report these findings to Stewards. RACE 9 - EMPIRE STALLIONS VICBRED SUPER SERIES (4YO MARES) FINAL (GROUP 1) (2240 MS) Amanda Turnbull, trainer of Shes A Runa, has advised that blood tests taken from the mare failed to reveal any abnormalities. Ms Turnbull reaffirmed that she was of the opinion Shes A Runa had failed to back up from the week prior and as a result Shes A Runa has been given a short let-up, with the view of competing in the upcoming Breeders Crown series. Harness Racing Victoria

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