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The 2016 Warragul Pacing Cup was declared the best harness racing event of its kind at an awards ceremony at Crown Palladium last Sunday night. Representatives of the Warragul Harness Racing Club were on hand to collect the Best Victorian Country Cup Meeting award, due to their hard work which saw significant increases in attendance and public awareness in the Easter Sunday event. The club was praised for its significant pre-promotion of the event and for offering a range of family activities including free entry and children's rides and live music. Another Warragul win on the night was in the category of Best Traditional Local Media Coverage. Warragul traditionally has enjoyed strong support from the local media to assist in promoting their race meetings, and other newsworthy stories throughout the year. Overall the annual awards night proved a good one for the Eastern region - the Cranbourne and Yarra Valley clubs also picked up awards. Gippsland trotter Cruisin Around claimed another victory - named Victoria's Three-Year-Old Trotter of the year for trainer Michael Hughes and a band of happy owners. Kyle Galley

Warragul's harness racing season wound up with a well attended program of trotting on Monday afternoon. Despite a wet afternoon, quality racing was the order of the day with strong entries across a nine race card. Local trainers figures prominently among the results throughout the afternoon. Talented young district horseman Matt Cormick produced his handy seven-year-old gelding Mor Laag for a long priced victory. Carrying the silks of his late grandfather Des Kelly, Matt sent Mor Laag to the front in the closing stages to score well. Pearcedale pacer Friends won on debut for Simone Walker and driver Michael Bellman, while Drouin West horseman Gary Quinlan landed two winners on the day. Most Happy Cullen lived up to his promised ability in winning his first race for a happy syndicate of local owners. Misty Cullen won an eventful third race, as a short priced favourite. The race started nearly fifteen minutes late, after two horses threw themselves onto the track in the pre-race warm up, and had to be withdrawn by stewards. David Miles claimed two winners during the afternoon, with Twoforsixty and Black Derby both scoring. A small field of six competed in the Trotters Handicap, and Jeter overcame a 50 metre handicap to win narrowly for trainer/driver Lisa Miles. Top Sydney trainer Shane Tritton bought three horses to the meeting, while campaigning a team in Victoria for the Breeders Crown Carnival. His final starter for the day, Idunknow, claimed victory in the eighth race, run in steady rain. Tritton was impressed with the Warragul track and facilities, and indicated he would consider a trip back to the Pacing Bowl, particularly for the Warragul Cup meeting on Easter Sunday. Next race meeting at Warragul is on Wednesday, December 21. Kyle Galley

One of New South Wales' most successful harness racing trainers will make a surprise appearance at the Warragul trots meeting this Monday afternoon. Shane Tritton is among the top trainers north of the border. He trained 198 winners in NSW last season, second only to Steve Turnbull, and has prepared 102 winners nationwide so far this season. Currently campaigning horses in Victoria for the rich Breeders Crown series, Shane has accepted with three horses for Monday's Warragul meeting. His wife Lauren, leading state driver in NSW last season, and in the metropolitan area the season before, is down to drive one of the three starters at the time of writing. The stable runners are first starter Precious Desire in race two, Glenisla in race four and Idunknow in the eighth race. Shane's attention will also be focussed on the Newcastle meeting on Monday afternoon where he has horses engaged. The appearance of the Tritton horses on Monday adds to what is one of the strongest meetings staged at Warragul this year. Well over 100 entries for the day's races have resulted in a nine race program, and capacity fields in many events. The additional race means an earlier start of 12:14pm for the day's proceedings. An added highlight to Monday's card will be the announcement of an exciting new syndication program developed by the Warragul Harness Racing Club. The club will release full details on this affordable ownership initiative to spectators during Monday's raceday. Kyle Galley

Top Gippsland trainer Jayne Davies is on the verge of achieving a significant milestone at the final Warragul trots meeting for the current harness racing season on Monday, August 22. Davies and training partner Noel Alexander look set to collect the Warragul Trainers' Premiership for the twentieth time since the award was first presented in 1981. They hold a 19 point lead over Drouin West horseman Gary Quinlan going into Monday's raceday, with a strong team of runners expected to compete. The Davies and Alexander all green silks have been carried by the winners of hundreds of races at Warragul over four decades, many driven by champion reinsman Chris Alford, who is leading the Warragul Drivers' Premiership, an award he has won on 12 occasions. Alford is well clear on the points table from last season's winner, Greg Sugars. Young driver Zac Phillips has a handy lead in the Concession Drivers' Premiership, having won four races at the Pacing Bowl during the season. The Horse of the Year Award could be one the comes down to the wire on Monday, with two local horses vying for the honour of most consistent at the track over the nine meeting season. Drouin West pacer Modern Ville trails local trotter Fiftyshadesofbrown by two points leading into the final meeting. Fellow local trotter Soho Ledger is only one point further back in third place. Should all three horses compete on the day, it will add extra interest to the meeting. Monday's race card is the Warragul Harness Racing Club's annual "Nasho's Day", featuring a gathering of members from the National Servicemen's Association. After Monday's meeting, the next program at Warragul will be a special pre-Christmas event on Wednesday, December 21. Kyle Galley        

It was fitting that a graduate of the Gippsland Harness Training Centre should win a race at Warragul's trots meeting on Monday afternoon, on a day when the Centre's importance to the Victorian harness racing industry was recognised. The Gippsland Harness Training Centre has operated at the Warragul Pacing Bowl for almost 20 years, enhancing the life skills of and creating employment opportunities for hundreds of graduates over the past two decades. One such graduate, Yarra Valley horseman Ken Browne, landed a well deserved win in the third race on Monday with Hi Tech Fury. Browne has been a long standing participant in the Gippsland area, and is currently based at the Gruyere property of veteran horseman Peter Goudie, after recently leaving the position of track curator at the Cranbourne harness venue. Browne is also a regular among the raceday staff at Warragul. Driver Michael Bellman took Hi Tech Fury to the front in Monday's race, and despite the pace of the race quickening sharply heading into the last circuit, the nine-year-old gelding kept on finding in the home straight, to score his eleventh win at start 139. Champion reinsman Chris Alford landed two of the seven winners on the day. Soho Ledger gave Alford and trainer Jayne Davies few concerns when winning the Trotters Handicap as a red hot favourite. The horse made it wins at successive Warragul meetings after a victory on the track a fortnight earlier. Alford also steered the Allan McDonough trained Tiz A Jamane to victory in the final event. Mornington Peninsula horseman Trevor Reid landed the opening race of the day with Elteearr, the five-year-old mare's first race victory at start five. Young driver Zac Phillips also showed his talent with race wins in successive events. Phillips drove Starzzz Of Icon to win the fifth event for Melton horseman Adam Kelly, while Gozo Lighting showed a welcome return to form for trainer George Batsakis in the sixth. Fellow junior reinsman Patrick Franklin steered Glenhuggard to victory in the fourth race for trainer Paul Green. Glenhuggard was another veteran winner on the day - the nine-year-old having raced 124 times previously for nine wins and 21 placings. Warragul hosts its final meeting of the 2015/2016 Victorian racing season on Monday, August 20. Kyle Galley

Warragul trotting Steward Maurie Andrews has retired after 37 years of service to the harness racing game. Maurie officiated as Steward at his final Warragul barrier trials session today (June 4), ending a lengthy association with the trotting sport. Raised in Melbourne's southern suburbs, Maurie began attending Saturday night trots meetings at the Melbourne Showgrounds as a child. In those days his local area had a strong trotting presence, with famous names such as Wilson, Dove and Demmler all operating stables in the region, along with the well known Southern Speedways track in Oakleigh. Maurie became friendly with the Frost family, local market gardeners who also raced numerous horses in that era including the veteran trotter Garden Star.   His interest in trotting developed, and, upon moving to Gippsland with his wife, Bev, he took the opportunity to join the newly formed Warragul and District Light Harness Club.   Since becoming involved at Warragul, Maurie has held several roles within the club, including stints as Vice-President and committeeman, while also serving 37 years as a Steward at local barrier trials.   He also handled judging and timekeeping of trials events at the Warragul Pacing Bowl.   Maurie learnt the ropes of becoming a Steward from fellow local Laurie Porter, and took over as head Steward from Laurie upon his retirement well over 20 years ago. He has always taken his role seriously at the trials, being eager to learn and to take particular notice of horses and their traits, while keeping up with rule changes in the industry. "I've been in constant touch with (senior steward) Barry Delaney over the years, and I've learnt a lot from Barry," Maurie said. Although he has dabbled in thoroughbred ownership on a small scale, he has long enjoyed the challenge of finding a good quality pacer, and has been involved in ownership of several smart horses through the years. During his time on the Warragul and District Light Harness Club committee, he played a key role in two successful syndicates run by the club. Tact Laughter and King Lear both introduced many new faces to trotting, with the pair winning at Moonee Valley. King Lear also won a number of feature races in Victoria during the late 1990's. Maurie part-owned several other handy horses, many with the Noel Alexander and Jayne Davies stable. He said he particularly enjoyed attending the annual yearling sales with Noel and Jayne, and casting his eye over the groups of horses for sale. Looking back over his time in local trotting, Maurie feels the sport lost a significant amount of interest in Gippsland when night racing ceased at Warragul. While he believes the sport is still capable of increasing its popularity in the Eastern region, he feels the Training Centre facilities at Warragul could be enhanced with access to surplus land behind the Warragul Showgrounds complex. "We could probably do a bit more here with paddocks and shelters, as a lot of horses like that," Maurie said. Maurie and his wife Bev are looking forward to hitting the open road in their retirement. Keen travellers, they will soon start up their motorhome and head for nowhere in particular, discovering the countryside and making new friends in the many towns they will visit along the way. No doubt, quite a few of those towns will conveniently be home to a trotting track. "When I was up at West Wyalong, they had trials on one of the mornings we were there," Maurie explained. "We went over and had breakfast with them and had a chat. Some of the stories they were telling, they can go back years some of those fellows." Maurie said he has thoroughly enjoyed his hands on association with trotting over so many years. "I've enjoyed my time," Maurie said. "I've made a lot of good friends and met some really good people in the industry." "Wherever we go, I'll keep an eye on things and keep an interest."   Kyle Galley

The Traralgon Pacing Cup is one of the highlights of an eight-race harness racing meeting at Warragul this Monday afternoon. Run each year by Warragul Harness Racing Club to recognise two decades of racing in the Latrobe Valley (1975 to 1995), the pacing cup has attracted eight starters. Champion reinsman Chris Alford drives Mister Manhattan in Monday's race in an effort to win his fifth Traralgon Pacing Cup. He won the event at Traralgon in 1990 and has won three of the cup races run at Warragul since it was reintroduced in 2006. Alford also drove the last race winner on the old Traralgon circuit. The Traralgon Pacing Cup runs at 3:33pm. The main race on Monday's card is the Ken Miller Memorial, constructed from qualifying heats at Warragul on April 18. Sir Liberty looks particularly hard to beat from barrier two, however a strong contingent of local horses have qualified for the event and they are all keen to win the race named in honour of a Warragul trots stalwart. Lara trainer Dean Braun has half the field engaged in the main two-year-old event, with three of the six starters from his stable. Although the field is small, it will be an interesting race to kick off proceedings on Monday at 12:35pm. The last race of the day could be a good betting contest, with a number of in-form, up and coming horses set to do battle. Over the sprint journey on the tight Pacing Bowl, luck in running will play a part in the result of this race. Kyle Galley Fields for Warragul, Monday 02 May 2016 Form guide for Warragul, Monday 02 May 2016

Gippsland harness racing teenager Jasmyn Fusinato will compete in two Pony Trot races at the Warragul Pacing Cup meeting on Easter Sunday, March 27. Jasmyn, 13, recently began driving in pony events with her horse Shorty. She has competed in events at Ballarat and Cranbourne and will line up on her home track for both races on Easter Sunday, which are conducted between the main harness events run during the day. Pony trotting has a great following in Victoria and interstate, and traditionally many adult horsemen and women got their start in pony events as children. Competitors can participate in pony events until they turn 16, when they become eligible to apply for a race driver licence.   Fifteen years ago there were up to a dozen youngsters from West Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley competing in pony trot events, however since those children became too old, or their families drifted away from trotting, the region has not had a driver in pony races. Jasmyn has been practicing with Shorty for some time, at her parents home in Warragul and at the Warragul Pacing Bowl. Her family has a strong connection to trotting - Jasmyn's father Greg and grandparents John and Kath breed and race horses, and the trotting bug has obviously rubbed off.   The skills Jasmyn picks up in pony racing may allow her to one day drive in professional races, following in the footsteps of former local horsewoman Jodi Quinlan.   Competitors from across the state will attend the Warragul Cup meeting for the pony events, according to Pony Trots Victoria. The children and their horses will also dress up for an Easter Bonnet parade during the afternoon, and will compete for trophies provided by the Warragul and District Light Harness Club. Easter Sunday's race meeting features the Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup for the big horses, being run this year for a record stake of over $30,000, and the Eddie Evison Memorial Warragul Trotters Cup. Kyle Galley

Yarragon harness racing trainer Rob Evans had the historians reaching for the record books after his horse Into You led throughout to win at the Warragul Pacing Bowl last Tuesday afternoon. The general feeling was that it had been a few years since Rob's previous winner as a trainer - and a look back at the results showed a lull of over three decades. Rob had last tasted success thirty one years (and four days) before - when his horse Tara Wealth won the Darley Grange Beginners Pace at Warragul on January 15, 1985. Although it has been an extremely long time between drinks for Rob, he has spent much of that time away from the trotting sport. It has only been in the last 18 months that he has returned to training, taking his time with four-year-old pacer Into You, who rewarded his patience with her first win on Tuesday. The lightly raced mare possibly should have won before Tuesday, having turned in a few good minor placings in her short career. An improving type, Into You should win further races, ensuring her trainer won't have to wait too long for his next taste of success. Rob prepares his horse from a training track he constructed on the property of fellow horseman Rob Trickey, across the road from the Yarragon Football Ground. Into You is the first horse to be trained on the relatively new track. The track design skills of Rob Evans have attracted interest among local trotting participants - he is currently constructing a new training track on the property of Drouin West horseman Gary Quinlan, to be built along the lines of the recently redeveloped Warragul Pacing Bowl track. The eight events on Tuesday produced plenty of success for Gippsland trainers. Trafalgar trotter Lazy Sunday claimed an overdue first race win in a division of the Trotters Handicap for the Hunter family. Glenn Hunter took the reins for his brother Brett, the mares owner, and their trainer father Chris. Young Gippsland horseman Matt Cormick also returned to the winners' list when Mor Laag scored its third win from 62 starts in race four. Matt drove numerous winners as a junior reinsman, before taking a break from the sport. He has recently returned to racing and prepared Mor Laag, owned by his grandfather, veteran trainer Des Kelly, to the horse's first victory since July 2014.   Mor Laag had trialled well at Warragul recently in preparation for the seven-year-olds first race since November. Cranbourne trained pacers performed well at the meeting with Rocknroll Gold winning the first race for trainer Michael Hughes, and Fiftyshadesofbrown turning in another honest performance to win a division of the Trotters Handicap for trainer Allan Lousada. Terang horseman Darren Cole made a long trip across to compete - he was impressed with the Warragul facilities and the journey home was a happy one after Spot Ona Shadow won the fifth event. Accountability scored in the Claiming Pace for Bacchus Marsh trainer Denis Grieve and driver Zac Phillips. Drouin West mare Ymbro Toto continued her good run at Warragul with another victory in the last race. The mare won at the previous Warragul meeting in December for owner Danny Ymer and trainer Gary Quinlan. Guests of the Warragul Harness Racing Club on Tuesday included members of the Donvale Tunstall Probus Club. Harness racing at Warragul takes a break now in preparation for the Warragul Cup meeting on Easter Sunday, March 27. Kyle Galley

Warragul Harness Racing and Greyhound Clubs will run five race meetings in one week later in January.   Harness racing will be staged at Warragul on Tuesday afternoon, January 19 from 1pm for a school holiday meeting. Local horses will have their final runs before the next Warragul meet at Cranbourne this Tuesday night (12th), where a strong contingent of Gippsland horses will be looking to keep the prize money at home. District pacers dominate the entries in the first race on Tuesday night - veteran Melton Little Max (trainer Allan Preston) comes up with the ideal draw of barrier one, while Trafalgar pacer Bettor Biaggi (trained by Tamie Frith) was not far away last time and draws barrier two. Drouin West horse Most Happy Cullen returns from a spell in the second event for a local syndicate - the Gary Quinlan trained pacer has won two recent barrier trials on his home track at Warragul. Gary Quinlan has three other horses racing on the night - Omy Son, Toscas Delight and Queen of Pop. Yarragon pacer Into You (trainer Rob Evans) gave a good sight in front at its most recent run, however the horse galloped and finished fifth. Driver Neil McCallum reported he felt the horse had clipped the sulky wheel which caused it to gallop, so that excuse and a good barrier draw on Tuesday give the mare a definite chance again. Sammy Seelster, for Trafalgar trainer Glenn Hunter, is also a value chance from a good barrier draw in the last event.   Kyle Galley

Local horses scored most of the wins at the well attended Warragul harness racing meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Longwarry trainer Lee Evison collected two race wins for a host of happy owners - with Expectagrin which scored its first race victory, and the talented pacer Mister Wickham. Fellow Gippsland horseman Gary Quinlan was also in the winners' circle on the program with Ymbro Toto, which led throughout in her victory, giving ace reinsman Greg Sugars a driving double. Veteran Croydon horseman Mario Stella has long supported Warragul's meetings, and made the trip across a successful one when he landed a double with Feel The Buzz (driven by Matt Ablett) and Greenough (Zac Phillips). Clyde trainer Jayne Davies was another local to collect a victory with Mister Clooney in race eight when driven by Chris Alford. Melton couple Maree and John Caldow combined to win the Gippsland Business Centre Pace with Art Mistress, defeating locals Sahara Sunrise and Fairest Fella. John Caldow accepted a trophy on behalf of the race sponsors, who held their Christmas break-up at the trots. After the race Caldow claimed the Warragul track as "the best little track around", given the work undertaken to enhance the condition of the track surface and camber in recent times. Veteran Bendigo horseman Brian Gath had his first drive at Warragul for some time, and landed victory with Aitutaki. Gath also praised the quality of the revamped Warragul track after the race, saying that while the track has always been of good quality, the renovation works undertaken 12 months ago have taken the course to another level. Trainer/driver Lisa Miles bought home Tiavons Dream to a narrow victory in the Trotters Handicap - the square gaiters turned in a great exhibition of faultless trotting which was well received by the crowd. Wednesday's raceday introduced plenty of new people to trotting and there was a great atmosphere on track. Strong entries produced nine races with competitors coming from far and wide for a quality program. Warragul Harness Racing Club officials will be hoping to repeat the success at their next raceday on Tuesday afternoon, January 19.   Kyle Galley

A big day of harness racing is planned for Warragul this coming Wednesday. There were enough entries for nine races, with the first to run at 1:14pm, and the last due just after 6pm. A number of local businesses are taking advantage of the meeting to hold their Christmas break-up functions, and the Warragul Harness Racing Club expects a big attendance given the forecast fine weather conditions. Star local pacer Mister Wickham is drawn to compete during the day, depending on the outcome of his race tomorrow night (Saturday) at Melton. Drouin West trainer Gary Quinlan will be well represented on the day with four starters, including Ymbro Toto, a mare which has had her issues but is expected to turn in a good performance this time around. Races look fairly even throughout the day, particularly the third event, where the winner could be well hidden. Veteran local pacer Melton Little Max, lining up for race start 247, could be a chance of victory if things go his way from an awkward barrier draw. Local horseman Rob Evans has his first starter on his home track for many years when Into You contests race one, at just her second race start. There is free entry to all patrons at Wednesday's raceday. Kyle Galley

Well known trots fan Steve "Pogga" Salter has jumped on board as a sponsor of the Warragul Harness Racing Club for their new harness racing season which commences on Monday afternoon, November 30. Steve's popular poggaharness.com tipping website has a legion of followers, and he is sponsoring the new Lucky Longshot Award to be decided across Warragul's nine meetings. The trainer of the longest priced winner for the season at Warragul, based on the SuperTAB starting price, will receive $250 cash courtesy of poggaharness.com The racebook at each Warragul meeting will contain the name and starting price of the contest leader, and those interested will be able to keep track of the outcome of the contest throughout the season on Warragul's award-winning social media outlets. Poggaharness.com became involved in trots sponsorship when they purchased naming rights to Warragul's feature Traralgon Pacing Cup two years ago, and since then, Steve and his website have become well known throughout the industry. Warragul Harness Racing Club is pleased to have Steve and his website back involved where it all began, and is looking forward to seeing which horse and trainer take out the Lucky Longshot title this season.   Kyle Galley

Two well known names in Gippsland trotting were among those honoured at last night's harness racing industry Hall of Fame gala event. Talented harness racing horseman Keith Raw, a name largely forgotten in recent years, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. A great supporter of trotting at Warragul, Keith prepared his horses from his Opal Lodge property off Stud Road in Scoresby, well before the area became part of outer suburbia. He drove the 1960 Warragul Cup winner, Pacific Beauty, for trainer Ron Whee, before collecting a second Cup with his own smart horse, Alipes, in 1974. Keith was considered a master horseman in his time - he prepared champion juvenile pacer Opal Chief in the early 1960s, and trained more two-year-old race winners in Melbourne during the 1960s than any other horseman. He won three Warragul driver's premierships, and his horse Corrinne Jay won the first Warragul Horse of the Year award in the late 1970s. Bernie Blackshaw, a member of the famous Gippsland racing family, was honoured with a Certificate of Merit for his extended service to the trotting sport. Bernie, now based in Wangaratta, and his family have enjoyed great success as trainers and breeder of horses over more than 30 years. Among the other award winners on the night with a connection to Warragul were: the Shinn family, who have competed at Warragul meetings since Hubert Shinn won the main race at the opening Warragul meeting in 1939, Lance Justice (2002 Warragul Cup winner) and Vin Knight (1985 Warragul Cup winner). The Hall of Fame is administered yearly by the Victorian Harness Racing Media Association.   Kyle Galley

The hard working staff and students of the Gippsland Harness Racing Training Centre were rewarded for their efforts with not one, but two winners at last Sunday night's Cranbourne meeting. Mystic Castle, driven by Jodi Quinlan, appreciated a good barrier draw in winning the third race. Just over half an hour later, the celebrations went into overdrive when Break A Wrist, with Lisa Miles in the sulky, claimed a narrow victory in the fourth event. Mystic Castle and Break A Wrist both collected their first wins in the process, and it was the first double for the Centre, and for horse trainer and Centre co-ordinator Jenni Lewis. The Gippsland Harness Training Centre is administered by Community College Gippsland and the Warragul and District Light Harness Club, and operates from facilities at the Warragul harness race track. Established in 1997, the Centre is currently overseeing a record enrolment of students who learn all aspects of the training and education of horses in a racing stable environment.   Longwarry pacer Ymbro Toto was another local winner on the program for trainer Lee Evison.   The horse was also driven by Jodi Quinlan, one of four winning drives for Jodi at the meeting.   Kyle Galley

The annual Traralgon Pacing Cup highlights the next harness racing meeting at Warragul on Monday afternoon, June 29. A C4-C6 pace over 2210 metres, this year's edition is sponsored by theprofits.com.au, and carries a Cup to the winning owner. Run at Warragul for the past 10 years, the Pacing Cup recognises the two decade period from 1975 to 1995 when harness racing was staged at Traralgon. In the lead-up to the event, the Warragul Harness Racing Club Facebook page is sharing video and photo memories of the Traralgon days. Top reinsman Chris Alford has won several Traralgon Pacing Cup races both at Traralgon and Warragul, and no doubt will have a drive in this year's event. Alford also has the honour of having driven the last winner on the old Traralgon track 20 years ago. Gippsland pacer Artique is another likely competitor in the event - trainer Gary Quinlan won two Pacing Cup's in the old Traralgon days with Pinball and Sharazar. Gary's father-in-law Gordon Turner won the first race run at Traralgon in November 1975. An excellent support program is on offer at the June meeting, including the Hygain 3YO Pace Final from heats run at Cranbourne on Sunday, June 21. Nominations close at Noon on Wednesday, June 24. Kyle Galley

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