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An Introduction From The CEO A very successful Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup Carnival has concluded with a big crowd attending and strong growth in wagering turnover. Click here for a highlights package of Hunter Cup night. Some exciting news is imminent with our next major event, the Pryde's Easifeed Great Southern Star on March 22. Follow HRV on Twitter @HRVnews Stakes Rises I am pleased to confirm that the second phase of stakes rises for the year will come into effect on March 1. A summary of the main changes: The minimum career penalty stake will rise to $6,000 (a 20% rise this year); A payment of $115 (which includes the driver's fee of $65 will be added to the stake for horses which finish between sixth and last); Metropolitan class minimum stake will rise to $17,000 for M1 or better and $16,000 for M0; With effect from July 1, the Vicbred first win bonus will rise to $7,000 for two and three-year-olds. Other stakes rises previously announced on September 1, 2013 remain in force. Fires The past week has been a tough one for many participants, with serious fires burning through several regions of country Victoria. Several of those regions housed industry people. In particular the areas of Riddells Creek, Kilmore and the Goulburn Valley were severely threatened by raging fires. HRV was monitoring the course of the fires and the likely impacts. I am pleased to say that quick action by the authorities and many in the industry meant no loss of life and minimal loss of livestock. However there has been significant damage reported to properties. Some of the areas which were closely monitored: In the Riddells Creek fires several trainers/owners in the area were forced to relocate horses as the fires headed in their direction. HRV's own Craig Rail was evacuated as the fires were close by.Apart from damage to his property his house remains intact. In the Goulburn Valley, Warwick Stud was the worst affected with the loss of barns, fencing, stallion boxes and other buildings. HRV has been assisting in replacing infrastructure to get much needed water to the property. A number of trainers in the region suffered losses to sheds and fencing and HRV is currently assisting with replacement. The local industry has responded in typical fashion and I know those affected have appreciated the extent of the industry's support. The Kilmore area was under threat for several days. A special thanks to the Kilmore Club for acting as a temporary refuge for concerned members of the racing community. The Club provided stabling, food and water for a variety of animals, which I'm sure was appreciated. A huge thank you goes out to the many fire fighters (including the helicopters) who fought so bravely to protect so many properties. Teal for Ovarian Cancer Research While on the subject of community action, the month of March will be a special one for the awareness of Ovarian Cancer. Agreement has been reached for all Victorian female drivers to wear Teal coloured driving trousers, in support of the Ovarian Cancer Institute, for the entire month of March. The initiative is being generously funded by Duncan McPherson OAM and Michael Taranto as part of the promotion of the Pryde's Easifeed Great Southern Star which is run in conjunction with the Women's Cancer Foundation - Ovarian Cancer Institute Girls Night Out. Once again, it presents an opportunity for the industry to display its leadership in supporting community causes and messages that are so close to many people's hearts. Well done to all the girls who are supporting this great initiative. And while on the subject of the Great Southern Star stand by for an announcement of two highly recognised international identities who will play an ambassadorial role for the series. Major release scheduled for next week. International Expansion Over recent months there been some debate regarding the strategic importance of building international relationships and promoting the export of HRV product into overseas jurisdictions and vice versa. In 2012/13 HRV generated more than $600,000 in International Rights Product Fees from the export of our product for wagering in overseas jurisdictions. For the first half of 2013/14 those International Rights Product Fees have increased by 68%, therefore HRV forecast generating in excess of $1 million in revenue from the export of our product this year. When we consider that the French market wagered around AUD$300,000 into the win/place pools alone for the three Trotting races exported on Hunter Cup night, it's likely this forecast could grow even further. In addition to exporting our product overseas, under these reciprocal arrangements, we've seen a recent expansion of product imported from Sweden and France into our own wagering market. Over the past few months this has resulted in $500,000 in harness wagering turnover on the Victorian tote, from which HRV derives direct revenue and market share benefit. With further expansion planned, it's important the industry understands we operate in a global racing and wagering environment and strategically it is of significant value to our bottom line. Josh Duggan - Victorian Representative Josh Duggan has been selected to represent Victoria in this year's Australasian Young Drivers Championship to be run in conjunction with the 2014 Inter Dominion in Sydney. Representatives from each State and the two New Zealand Islands will participate in a 10 race series in NSW from February 25, culminating in a final heat on Inter Dominion Grand Final Day. It is always a great experience for the young drivers. HRV last won the Championship in 2012 when Ellen Tormey was successful in Perth. We wish Josh well - seen here photographed receiving his Big V colours from Chairman, Ken Latta and Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, Craig Ondarchie.   Milestones Congratulations to Nathan Cahir who drove his 100th winner at Hamilton on January 29. Young guns Matt Craven and Michael Stanley are within reach of 500 winners, both currently in the 480's. Get Well Paul Sad to hear of the severe injuries suffered by Paul Morrissey at his Bendigo property as a result of a training accident. Paul is currently in intensive care in Bendigo Base Hospital with broken bones and head and spinal injuries. We wish Paul a full recovery. Vale HRV passes on its condolences to members of the Jack family, many of whom are involved in the industry, on the passing of patriarch Robbie Jack. Robbie was a stalwart in the Riverina as a trainer, driver and administrator. He was 81. Did You Know? HRV will be honouring the retirement of champion Melpark Major this Saturday night, February 15 at Tabcorp Park Melton. He will lead out the field for the Inter Dominion Heat with Amy Tubbs in the sulky. Melpark Major won $980,000 in stakes, having won a Victoria Cup and a host of other feature races. He will enjoy retirement on owner Don Smith's Melton property.

A bushfire which started in Bunbartha, a small town in Northern Victoria, Australia, has caused havoc to many Standardbred farms and harness racing properties within a 30 kilometre area.  Geoff Barnes of Balmain Lodge at Bunbartha North of Shepparton is just one person that has been affected by the fire.  “We have a 97 acre farm and the majority of it is now black,” said a disgruntled Barnes. “We have lost 250 large round bales of hay, fencing and a few house water tanks, there is also damage to the house,” he added.  “However we won’t be able to tell the extent of the damage until the power comes back on, it has been off since Sunday.” Although clearly disappointed about the unfortunate event, Barnes was pleased with how the local community and the CFA (Country Fire Authority) had helped in our hours of need. Geoff also said that Harness Racing Victoria had contacted everybody offering their assistance with immediate needs.  “The main thing is that I believe that all the people and horses came through it unscathed,” said Barnes.  “The CFA were great and minimized the amount of damage as only they can,” he added. Barnes said that fire had spread quickly due to the strong winds and the extremely dry pastures and other fuel that dry farmlands provide. “There has also been major damage done to our neighboring properties, including Warwick stud and the harness racing stables of John and Maree Newberry.”  “We must have lost 10 – 15 miles of fencing just in the three farms in our block” advised Barnes.  Barnes applauded Alabar’s Echuca stud farm for their offer to agist horses that have become homeless or without viable pasture. “They have led the way through this whole ordeal,” revealed Barnes. Barnes also advised that there had been a lot of damage to harness racing properties in the Kilmore region and that area is still under threat of further damage. By Mitchell Robertson  

The “Trots” returned to the Swan Hill Racing Centre on Thursday September 12, when the Nyah HRC stages a compact seven event harness racing card. The theme for the night was excitement after a thrilling dead-heat was signalled in the opening event on the program – the Nevele R Stud Pace for C0 class over 1609 metres between Stonethachristian and Nuggetpan. Stonethachristian’s performance was gigantic, as he race three wide for almost the entire journey from gate six before joining the pacemaker and favourite Bazzas Art approaching the home turn. Surging clear in the straight with Nuggetpan in hot pursuit after following him throughout, the pair hit the wire in unison with the judge unable to declare an outright winner. A 5-Y-0 gelded son of Christian Cullen and Life Of Perfection trained by Mark Thompson in Rochester and driven by Michael Bellman, Stonethachristian recorded his 5th victory in 46 outings, while Nuggetpan a lightly raced 6-Y-0 gelding by The Wrath Of Pan from Fly Home trained at Pyramid Hill by Andrew Grogan with Brian Gath in the sulky was making only his third appearance at the races. The Reverend Black (three back the markers) finished third after being wide on the final bend. The mile rate being a brilliant 1-55.9. The Morley Park Stud Pace for C1 class was taken out by Merbein South owner/trainer Jason McGinty’s Kiwi bred 8-Y-0 Live Or Die/Andos Prospect gelding Gone Cruzin in a rate of 2-00.4. Driven by Nathan Jack, Gone Cruzin starting inside the second row enjoyed a cosy passage trailing the poleline leader Macray Divale, before using the sprint lane to score from Woodlea Cosmos (one/three – three wide last lap), with Los Bravos (three back the markers) third after also using the sprint lane. It was an all Mildura trifecta. It was another tight finish in the Global Stallions Pace for C0 class (mares), with Stanhope trainer/driver Gary Pekin’s 4-Y-0 daughter of Grinfromeartoear and Illawong Fabulous Illawong Fantasia greeting the judge. Despite spending all of the race parked outside the leader and favourite Carbon Cate (gate three) drawn inside her, Illawong Fantasia raced by wife Jane prevailed by a nose in a tricky finish over the fast finishing My Lishi (six wide home turn) from last in a mile rate of 1-59.8. Haryda Hanover finished third from three back in the moving line. Strathfieldsaye brothers Glenn and Daryl Douglas who usually win a race or two at most Nyah meetings, landed the Alabar Bloodstock Pace for C4 to C6 class over 2240 metres with 6-Y-0 Live Or Die/Kutas Lass gelding Itsnewstome in a rate of 2-00.2. Restrained from outside the front line at the start to settle at the tail of the field with the stablemate and favourite Run Forrest leading from gate three, Daryl sent Itsnewstome forward approaching the home straight on the first occasion to surprisingly be handed the front running on a platter. After an easy time, Itsnewstome kicked away on the home turn with Run Forrest using the sprint line to issue a half hearted challenge, so much so that Shelby Cruzin (three back the markers) was able to also use the sprint lane to dead-heat for second, with Itsnewstome scoring by 1.8 metres. On returning to the all clear, an interesting protest was lodged by both placegetters against each other which was subsequently dismissed. Glenn Douglas was again a winner when honest 6-Y-0 Flight N Irish/Blueberry Kris gelding Patos Wallet snared the Woodlands Stud Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres. Taking a concession for Bolinda based Josh Duggan, Patos Wallet starting from the extreme draw possied three back in the moving line, with Luke Watson’s East West Star leading from gate three. Easing three wide solo in the final circuit, Patos Wallet surged clear on the home turn, winning by 1.4 metres in advance of Wrinkle Knutt (one/three), with Lerrad Maharg (three back the markers – four wide home turn) running home late for third. The mile rate 1-58.4. It was Patos Wallet’s 5th victory in 47 outings. On what was a great night for the Mildura McGinty’s, former Kiwi gelding Cyclone Mach was successful in the Warwick Stud Pace for C1 class over 1609 metres in a rate of 1-57.1. Trained by Brian (Jason’s father), Cyclone Mach driven by Michael Bellman was taken back from outside the front row to settle at the rear. Sent forward three wide uncovered in the last lap, Cyclone Mach ran to the wire in impressive fashion to score by 4.2 metres from the heavily supported leader Who Broke Our Halo (gate five), with Primo Tapia (gate six) a game third after racing in the open. The Goodtime Lodge Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1609 metres concluded the meeting and the long odds-on favourite Spokewoman was an easy winner in 1-58. Prepared at Mildura by last season’s state leading trainer Shayne Cramp, Spokewoman (gate two) driven by Nathan Jack crossed the pacemaker Lycoming Racer inside her at the bell, before coasting to the wire 6.9 metres in advance of Joe Costa’s Life Of Ted (one/two) and Elle Jasper along the sprint lane from three back the markers. *** The next Nyah meeting will be Cup Night on Saturday October 19. Len Baker    

Bonavista Bay, one of the best horses raced in this country in the last decade, will stand his first season at Warwick Stud, Tallygaroopna, near Shepparton, of Luke Primmer, alongside the American bred champion We Will See. They are a royally-bred pair of young sires. A brilliant pacer, who possessed undoubted speed and stamina, Bonavista Bay from the outset of his career displayed well above average ability. As a two-year-old he had three starts for a Terang win in 1:58.7 and one placing. Bonavista Bay won his first ten starts at 3 including the Group 3 $40,000 Victoria Sires Classic at Moonee Valley and heat and semi-final of the Australasian Breeders Crown at Melton. In the $170,000 Breeders Crown final Bonavista Bay started from the outside of the back row and was forced to work overtime punching the breeze outside Captain Joy in brutal sectionals. Despite his somewhat torrid passage, he exploded to the front on straightening and held on valiantly to beat all but Tintin In America. As a four-year-old Bonavista Bay really came into his own. From 13 starts he recorded six wins -- including four at Group level – and two seconds, netting $338,818 in stakes. He took his record of 1:56.3 at 4, winning the Group 1 $100,000 Vicbred 4YO Final over 2240 metres, in which he defeated Deadsetlucky and Villagem. Among his other successes were the big Group 1 four-year-old double in Western Australia the $175,000 Golden Nugget and the $125,000 McInerney Ford Classic at Gloucester Park and the Group 2 $50,000 Melton Plate. He also finished a close second in the 2009 Kilmore Pacing Cup after leading for most of the marathon 3150 metres trip. Bonavista Bay was plagued by leg troubles for the remainder of his career and raced only twice after his grand four-year-old campaign before being retired as a seven-year-old last March. Had Bonavista Bay remained fully sound throughout his career, there is no saying what form he might have proved capable of developing. In all, he had 31 starts for 17 wins and six placings and a bankroll of $503,299. Mike Reed, who trained him in WA, said: “Bonavista Bay was a champion. The best horse I've ever put a bridle on.” Media identity Adam Hamilton said: “For sheer talent and strength Bonavista Bay was up with the best. Only injury stopped him becoming one of the all-time greats.” A commanding brown horse, foaled in 2005, Bonavista Bay is the richest son of former champion pacer and a three-quarter brother to Rocknroll Hanover in Rustler Hanover (1:51) outside America, and as a representative of the famed Western Hanover sire line his influence promises to be widely exerted. He is also a member of one of Australia’s greatest winning families that founded by Teeny Rena which has produced top racehorses and leading sires.  His dam, Our Lady Rena (2:00.5), a classic winner herself at 3, ranks as a half-sister to the standout pacer Our Sir Vancelot (1:55.4), winner of three Inter Dominion Grand Finals, two WA Pacing Cups, the Miracle Mile and twice Horse of the Year and Grand Circuit Champion. At the stud Our Sir Vancelot has left 217 individual winners to date for progeny earnings of more than $8.6-million. Teeny Teeny, the grand-dam of Bonavista Bay, was named Broodmare of the Year in 1997 and 1998. Other close relatives include Jikk Adios (Aust. Pacing Championship), the former national mile record holder Quantum Lobell (1:53.1), Elite Rena (Vic. Oaks), Vegas Bound (1:52.5) and Artifactor. Bonavista Bay will stand for the realistic service fee of $1,950 including GST (discounts will apply) and his progeny will be eligible for the Breeders Crown, Vicbred, NSW Breeders Challenge and the Bathurst Gold Crown. Peter Wharton

TAB has an outstanding range of jackpots in the coming days which will encompass all three racing codes.

We Will See 1:47.4 ($2,549,409), one of the fastest and richest sons of the great Western Hanover, will begin his stud career at the Warwick Stud, Shepparton, of Jack and Luke Primmer in the 2013/14 season.

Red River Hanover, one of the best bred and best performed sons of champion sire Western Hanover, is lining up for his third season at Warwick Stud, Tallygaroopna, near Shepparton, at a reduced harness racing fee of $1,760 including GST.

Eglinton harness racing trainer Nathan Hurst made it back to back wins in the Million Dollar Cam Star Trek Series when outsider Tulhurst Eden came from worse than midfield at the bell to outsprint Hurst's more favoured stablemate Make Some Music at Bathurst last Friday (October 14).

Experienced South Auckland horseman, Rob Saunders, has joined Harnesslink.com to assist with various harness racing projects. The first venture Rob will be involved with is working with studs and stallion owners so that they can take advantage of the huge fan base the site has.

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