Day At The Track
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Stallion fees - discounting bad for business!

This article below on discounting in the business world is very interesting for harness racing breeders to say the least. Discounting has become rampit in the standardbred breeding Industry over the last 10 to 15 years. Almost all stallions at studs in Australia and New Zealand, have been discounted many ways - up, down, sideways and any way you want it to the detriment of all in the Industry. Yes stallion service fees are mostly too high and as a result they are discounted in nearly all cases!  To say this has been good for the harness racing Industry is a joke! In the business world discounting it is a certain road to business failure! Where have all the stud farms gone? There are only a few left in business down under and are all on borrowed time it seems. How much of this is due to discounting?  Discounting service fees certainly has resulted in some breeders leaving the business – breeders ‘compare notes’ as to the price of a service fee! However, there are many other factors that have caused the downturn in breeding numbers in the last few years. The drought in many parts of Australia, the rising costs in breeding – especially vets – and rearing a foal to racing age, the costs for eligibilities, the demise of many breeders with large numbers and the lack of new breeders coming into the game. For some statistics in New Zealand; 1987/88 breeding season there were 8798 mares bred by 308 stallions (6203 foals born)  1997/98 breeding season there were 4473 mares bred by 135 stallions (3227 foals born) 2007/08 breeding season there were 4074 mares bred by 94 stallions (3013 foals born) 2016/17 breeding season there were 2584 mares bred by 85 stallions, (1781 foals born) For statistics in Australia; 1980/81 breeding season there were 18,352 mares bred by 1,477 stallions, (12,109 foals born) 1990/91 breeding season there were 13,464 mares bred by 763 stallions, (9,185 foals born) 2000/01 breeding season there were 9,002 mares bred by 371 stallions, (6,149 foals born) 2010/11 breeding season there were 7,062 mares bred by 307 stallions, (4,875 foals born) 2015/16 breeding season there were 5,474 mares bred by 231 stallions (3,628) foals born) ............................................ (In the 2000/01 season NZ imported semen to Australian breeders resulted in 261 foals born) (In the 2010/11 season NZ imported semen to Australian breeders resulted in 942 foals born) (In the 2015/16 season NZ imported semen to Australian breeders resulted in 1,098 foals born) ..............................................................   The article below by Mark Thacker of Sales Exceleration sums up the reasons why discounting destroys a business. Discounting is bad for Business because… It lessens the perceived (and therefore, actual) value of your product or service solution. Simply put, if the customer asks for and receives a discount – regardless of the reason – the perceived value of your solution automatically goes down. There’s an old adage that says an item is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay. So if the price is lower than your claimed value, the actual value can really only match the price paid. And this new belief system can put you in a bad position for future business. It creates an expectation of future discounting. That bad position – with this customer or others in your industry who learn of your discounting practices – only gets worse when the expected pricing is at a discount. And because your earlier discounts have lowered the bar on the perception of value, why should they pay more? Would you? Discounting sets a bad precedent that undermines your future opportunities to maximize margin. It complicates your business dealings. When you offer a discount to one customer, but not to another (perhaps because they didn’t push as hard for it), you are suddenly operating under different price structures for likely the same level of service for the same solution. A variety of pricing levels can create internal chaos and administrative nightmares, especially in larger organizations with larger customer bases.  (And dont breeders love to tell their mates the discounted price that they got a service for?) It demonstrates a lack of confidence in your solution and erodes trust in YOU. This goes back to the idea of value. Even if the customer doesn’t automatically value your solution as you would like, when you start to discount, it shows that you don’t really believe your value proposition either. Prospects sense this lack of confidence and question two things: 1) Is this solution as good as I thought if they are willing to accept less? and 2) Can I really trust this person who wants me to buy it? It squeezes your profit margin unnecessarily. Obviously, if you sell a product or service at full price, your margin will be higher than if you sell at a discount. Conversely, the profit margin you lose through discounting has to be made up for in future opportunities, causing you to exert more sales effort and close more deals at a higher price to compensate. It forces you to cut corners (or at least consider cutting them). To maintain necessary margins after selling at a discount, it will inevitably prove tempting to find ways to lower your costs – either by reducing material costs or the activities associated with servicing the account. While it is always a good idea to find ways to operate efficiently, if you feel forced to unnaturally lower your costs, you could easily cross a critical line where your perceived value takes yet another hit. Better Alternatives Emphasize value The best alternative to discounting is to be crystal clear and confident in presenting your value proposition. Ultimately, it should be irrefutable the prospect will receive an equitable return on investment. In the course of reaching that awareness it is reasonable for the prospect to ask questions, offer objections, and seek the best deal. This is all part of their due diligence as they represent their interests. But if you can answer questions and overcome objections clearly and without hesitation, the value of your solution will become appreciated, and the quoted price will be supportable. Remember, you have two choices when attempting to equalize price and value – so choose raising value over lowering price. Your customer will “get what they paid for” and you just made more money and avoided long-term issues! Eliminate components to stay within budget If budgetary restrictions just can’t allow the prospect to agree to your price, look for ways to reduce or eliminate components from your solution. For instance, your standard solution might include service elements the prospect is not likely to need. If you can make cuts without risking the customer’s satisfaction with your solution, these cuts can make the deal possible while allowing you to stay true to your standard pricing. Just make sure the customer is on board with the modified solution up front. Walk away I’ve said many times that “no” is an acceptable answer. It empowers you (and your prospect) to find a better fit somewhere else. It’s better to walk away than to become hamstrung by a bad professional relationship. Bottom Line: It’s reasonable for customers to expect the best deal possible, but discounting creates a variety of problems for the solution provider. Ultimately, these problems can impact profit margin, customer satisfaction, and your reputation so severely they may threaten your business. Better alternatives include becoming stronger at showcasing your solution’s value, eliminating unnecessary components from your solution to match the customer’s budget needs, or walking away from a deal that won’t be profitable. By Mark Thacker, President of Sales Xceleration.     We will finish of with a real life example here in New Zealand?   When the Warehouse recently made a major management decision to cut regular discounting what happened to the company's profit ? It went up.   How many in our industry have spoken to an associate only to find that they received a lower service fee price than you did?   How many of those breeders have left the breeding business as a result of this unfair business transaction?   Harnesslink Media

Lumineer made it 13 wins from 14 starts,Harness racing

Lee looms at head of metro drivers' premiership

Driver Jason Lee looked set for a good night at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday and that’s the way it panned out with his winning treble including two feature events alongside highly-promising horses. Ange McDowall’s excitement machine Lumineer made it 13 wins from 14 starts with a hard-fought success in heat one of the Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship before family square-gaiter Jilliby Babavska got back to winning ways in the Group 3 Alderbaran Park Lenin Trotters Free For All (2240m). Lumineer had to work hard for his victory. The horse charged across the field from gate six but copped pressure from Greg Sugars and Deedenuto for the lead. While the son of Sportswriter eventually got to the pegs, the early burn resulted in a slick 27.6 first quarter. However, it didn’t stop Lumineer, who held off his rivals in the home straight to score by a narrow margin. “It’s just a privilege to drive nice horses like he is,” Lee said after the success. “Obviously he had to burn the candle pretty hard at both ends and it’s probably the first time he’s really had to gas it - especially for a while - out of the gate like that. “He got a little bit of a breather and probably just got looking around a little bit, but a good horse finds a way to win and that’s what he did.” Jilliby Babavska, a horse Lee has said had Group 1 potential, showed his class with a strong front-running triumph. The son of Sundon galloped in the first score up but was given a reprieve with a false start presenting him another chance to get his manners right. And he made no mistake the second time around, leading from start to finish to complete the second leg of a breakthrough winning double for trainer Paddy Lee. “It’s a good achievement. I’ve had a couple of chances to get one before, but could never get the second one done,” said Paddy, the brother of Jason. Jason was also at the controls for Paddy’s first triumph on the night, A Jewel In The Crown, who won the Williamstown Bowling Club Trot (1720m, NR 52-61). The daughter of Majestic Son has now won five of 13 career runs. Jason’s treble takes him to third on the state metropolitan drivers’ premiership table behind Kate Gath and Chris Alford. On a big night of racing at headquarters, Grant Dixon’s gun Colt Thirty One was back to his best form in winning the Group 3 Garrards Popular Alm Free For All (2240m) and Smart Little Shard produced a tough display to score in heat two of the Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship (1720m, NR 70-79) for trainer John Nicholson and driver Jack Laugher. The $30,000 final of the Championship will be held at Melton next Friday night.   HRV Trots Media - Tim O'Connor

Janelle Cross, Tina Ridis and Ray Cross with Calvert Hot Shot after their recent win at Ballarat,Harness racing

Tina hits a winning purple patch

Avid central Victorian harness racing driver Tina Ridis is making every post a winner after again teaming up with a pacer she hasn't driven for nearly 12 months. Ridis, who trains at the former gold mining town of Havelock 10 kilometres north of Maryborough, has formed a formidable partnership with seven-year-old gelding Calvert Hot Shot, trained by 80-year-old veteran horseman Ray Cross. Calvert Hot Shot (Town Champion-Etched In Ice (Perfect Art) got the money at Maryborough on November 3 and repeated the dose at Ballarat with a strong win in the Mazda Pace last Thursday. Ridis said Calvert Hot Shot was racing in great form and thoroughly deserved his two recent victories. "He's a lovely horse and I've only driven him three times this campaign-he's really been hitting the line hard," she said. "I drove him probably eight or nine times back in October and November last year. I got the opportunity when Ray returned back to Queensland after a working holiday down here and left the horse with Phillip Giles, at Great Western. "I remember nearly winning at my first drive on him at Maryborough-we went so close, going down by a neck." The Ballarat fixture was a memorable one for Cross and his wife Janelle with Calvert Hot Shot the first leg of a winning double. The second was courtesy of five-year-old trotter Honey Please (Yankee Spider-Kumbya (Sundon), driven by Michael Bellman. The popular freelancer is in terrific form and showed his customary fine touch to score by a half head over Dicko Dixon (Glen Craven). Ridis has certainly been making the best of her driving engagements this season with an enviable top three strike rate of nearly 58 percent. She has had 19 drives for six wins, two seconds and three thirds for over $26,000. Last season Calvert Hot Shot faced the starter only 15 times for three placings, while this season he has two victories from just 10 attempts. Overall, he's been a consistent earner for the Cross couple with eight wins and 22 placings for $43,000. The husband and wife team previously trained at Calvert, a small town near Ipswich, 40 kms south west of Brisbane, before deciding on a sea change early this year. Cross has a love for square gaiters and believed the opportunities in Victoria were too good to ignore. They have been training out of Maryborough stables owned by friend Mick Clover, while searching for a property of their own. Ridis says she has been involved in harness racing "forever" after being born into it. "I grew up around horses because my dad John was a trainer-driver. He used to breed and train a few while growing potatoes at Korweinguboora, about 15 kms from Daylesford," she said. "When I decided to get my driver's licence, dad then just concentrated on the training part of it. I can still recall my first win-it was my 13th attempt and at the old Horsham track. "Dad ended up shifting to Ballarat after suffering some heart conditions through the heavy work that was involved on the farm and he still trained a couple up until he passed away about 20 years ago." Ridis will soon have her team back and racing after giving them a break. "I've got six in work. There's a few new ones that are shaping up okay so hopefully they will do a good job," she said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Mighty Conqueror,Harness racing

Aussie news

WE now have a clear top seed for Perth’s biggest races. Greg and Skye Bond’s exciting five-year-old Mighty Conqueror is that horse. The American Ideal five-year-old made it 15 wins from just 22 starts when driver Ryan Warwick made the most of a pole draw to lead easily, dictate terms and blast home in 54.8 and 26.7sec in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Mighty Conqueror was certainly suited by being on the marker pegs around Gloucester Park, where he hasn’t been overly comfortable at times compared to the bigger Pinjarra track. It’s great to see Motu Premier back to his best, finishing a fantastic second after sitting parked. Buzz pacer Bill Haley, who went into the race three-from-three, was never a chance after getting back to near last and coming wide in those blistering late fractions. It was no disgrace to finish fifth. _________________________________________________________________________________ GLOUCESTER Park race caller Ritchie Bell picked it with 250m to run. As the field rounded the final bend in a star-studded $50,000 Group 2 4YO Championship, Bell said: “We could have an upset on our hands.” As they hit the line, the $109 second outsider of the field, Theo Aviator, snatched a half-head win from $31 shot Sangue Reale with $61 shot Shockwave flashing home for third. There was no sign of big guns Wildwest (eighth), Gee Jay Kay (seventh), Patrickthepiranha (ninth) and Taroona Bromac (11th). Another outsider, Robbie Easton, set the tone for the race when he worked to lead and overraced badly in front for young driver Maddison Brown, setting-up the scorching 1min53.7sec mile rate for 2130m. With a lap to run, the unbeaten buzz pacer Wildwest grabbed the three-wide trail home and loomed as the key player, but when he had to come four-wide at the 450m, he hung, and was quickly a spent force. Theo Aviator gave popular and hard-working trainer-driver Aldo Cortopassi one of his best and most satisfying wins. The result throws the race to next month’s Group 1 Golden Nugget wide open. Earlier in the night, another key Nugget hopeful, high-priced recent Kiwi import Gran Chico, opened his WA account with a victory, albeit against moderate opposition. The Bettors Delight four-year-old worked forward early to find the lead and kept rolling for driver Shannon Suvaljko and trainer Mike Reed. He looked to “loaf” at times, but won well in a 1min56.3sec mile rate for 2130m. _________________________________________________________________________________ ENIGMATIC former Kiwi pacer King Of Swing farewelled WA and Gary Hall Sr’s stable with a return to winning form last Friday night. The WA Derby winner has really mixed his form over the past two seasons and Hall Sr says it’s largely because of the small Gloucester Park track. “He’s never really been comfortable here unless he’s been in front,” Hall Sr said. “So we all decided it was best for him to head to Sydney so he can race on the big track at Menangle.” King Of Swing heads to the stables of Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy this week. _________________________________________________________________________________ HOBBY trainer Ange McDowall knows life is about to get a whole lot harder for her untapped buzz pacer Lumineer. The former gun juvenile made it 12 wins from 13 starts - and four from four on the comeback trail from a serious injury – when he was nursed to a strong but narrow Melton win last Friday night. Driver Jason Lee had to really burn Lumineer off the gate from six to get across main danger Deedenuto then steadied the tempo through the middle before dashing home in 55.2 and 27sec to beat a gallant Fake Smile by a neck. They went a 1min54sec mile rate for 1720m. “I was happy enough to miss that 4&5YO Championship the other week because he’s still getting fitter and learning from the experience,” McDowall said. “He’s a big goof at times and needs to learn more before we go against the big boys again. “Races like the other night are important. He didn’t get it easy and had to find when Jason asked.” Lee enjoyed a big night with a treble, his other key win coming aboard the fast and emerging trotter Jilliby Babavska in the Group 3 Lenin Free-For-All. The son of Sundon speared to the front from gate two and always looked in control on his way to a 12th win from just 25 starts in a 1min59.9sec mile rate for 2240m. _________________________________________________________________________________ AMANDA Grieve had a week to treasure being trackside for Cruz Bromac’s NZ Cup win and being such a big part of the build-up. Grieve, who trained the star pacer in Victoria before his late switch to the All Stars’ barn for the Cup assault, continued the big week when exciting four-year-old Holy Basil continued his unbeaten streak at Melton last Friday night. The son of Changeover made it five from five when he zoomed away to score by 17m in a 1min57.6sec mile rate for 2240m. _________________________________________________________________________________ MAYBE Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy are having second thoughts about not taking former Kiwi pacer Cash N Flow back “home” for the Auckland Inter Dominion. The former All Stars’ gelding continued his fantastic season with a career-best 1min49.9sec mile win at Menangle last night (Saturday). And Cash N Flow punched the time himself, working to the front from a wide draw and running along with splits of 27.7, 28.5, 27.5 and 26.2sec to leave a good field in his wake. Tasmania’s best pacer Harjeet, who so impressively won his first Menangle run for Jimmy Rattray, closed strongly without ever threatening the winner to finish second from another former Kiwi pacer Letsspendanitetogetha. Amanda Turnbull’s Inter Dominion contender Ellmers Image did all the bullocking in the quick time and wasn’t disgraced in fifth spot, 11m from Cash N Flow. _________________________________________________________________________________ TEAM Tritton hopes former All Stars’ pacer Funatthebeach could be their next topliner. The five-year-old defied a surprising betting drift to lead throughout and win as he liked at his Aussie debut in a 1min53.5sec mile at Menangle last night. Lauren Tritton held the lead easily from the pole, controlled a slow tempo through a 58.7sec first half then ripped home in 54.8 and 27.2sec to easily beat stablemate Gotta Go Ya Hu, who sat behind the leader. “He’s the best horse in our stable, easily the best,” Shane Tritton said of Funatthebeach. “Like all horses, he’ll keep improving with experience racing at Menangle, but what he’s shown us so far is really exciting.” _________________________________________________________________________________ EMOTIONS ran high after Glenledi Boy’s Cranbourne win last night. It came just days after successful and respected horseman Gordon Turner passed away and his wife, June, then suffered a heart attack and was rushed to hospital. Their daughter, Deb Quinlan, co-trains Glenledi Boy with her husband, Gary. Deb propped-up an iPad in hospital so her mother could watch in the hope a win would prove a much-needed tonic. Glenledi Boy did his bit. Despite racing roughly at times he was too good.   by Adam Hamilton

Aussie trainer Steve O’Donoghue has turned the page on San Carlo’s failed New Zealand Cup raid. He and co-trainer Bec Bartley put the rare, below-par showing down to a steep learning curve for them and their stable star. And now it’s all about making the most out of the next 12 days before the start of the Auckland Inter Dominion series. “It’s the first time he’s let us down,” O’Donoghue said. “Of course you go through everything afterwards to think why … we’ve put it down to the grass. He wasn’t having his usual food and probably ate too much of that great grass they have over there. “He pulled-up with a higher than usual heart rate and couldn’t stop farting after the race. “Bec worked him yesterday (Saturday) at Mark and Natalie’s, going the Auckland way, and he seemed back to his old self.” San Carlo was due to head to Auckland to day and will be stable with Barry and Katrina Purdon. “I don’t really know Barry, but Dennis Wilson (former NSW trainer) gave me a leg-up and I’ve texting Barry. I met he and Katrina in Christchurch the other day and they were fantastic,” O’Donoghue said.  “Bec is in charge this trip, I’m back home, so being able to stay with a great trainer like Barry and gets some tips along the way can only be a huge help. “Bec is actually staying at their house, which makes everything so much easier.” The best of San Carlo can certainly be a major factor in Auckland. You only have to go back to his Victoria Cup run where he did all the work outside the leader in a record-smashing time and was only edged-out for third for Cruz Bromac, who went on to win the NZ Cup and look a good thing beaten in the NZ free-for-all.   by Adam Hamilton

'The newest, fastest and most technologically advanced Formula One (F1) racing cars built by students from University of New South Wales (UNSW) Redback Racing Team have now successfully completed all testing and trials at Condell Park's Bankstown Paceway harness racing track in the lead up to next month's Grand Prix in Melbourne (5 to 8 December 2019),' Bankstown Paceway acting president Megan Lavender has announced. Ms Lavender last week (Friday, November 15th, 2019) launched the new top secret designs together with UNSW students at a gala function at the university's Kensington Campus. 'From racing standardbred "Trots" horses to trialling the latest in F1 racing, Bankstown Paceway is elated to welcome UNSW students from all disciplines at their university who come together to form the UNSW Redback Racing team,' Ms Lavender told Harnesslink. 'Originally established in 1999, the university based team designs, constructs and races small open wheeled race cars and competes against all major Australian and international universities at the annual Formula SAE-Australasia competition, run by the Society of Automotive Engineers, Australasia,' Ms Lavender said. 'Formula SAE-A is an exciting international education program where university students design, build and compete in small open wheeled vehicles. Formula SAE graduates worldwide are considered to be among the most work-ready graduates emerging from the university system,' she said. 'In delivering a fully functioning vehicle, the student teams undertake a full, real-world product development project. They design, build and test their vehicles, but they also must also attend to the non-technical aspects of a project such as fund-raising, marketing and managing a team of people. Each team effectively works as a small start-up business, and it is this experience that makes Formula SAE graduates stand apart from their peers. 'The Formula SAE Australasian competition was introduced in 2000, and attracts entries from Australia, New Zealand and across Asia. Australasian teams have established themselves quickly as world-class competitors by taking outright victories in major US and European competitions. 'Bankstown Paceway wishes the UNSW Redback Racing team every success in December's Grand Prix competition in Melbourne,' Ms Lavender added. Bankstown Paceway acting president Megan Lavender, committeeman Andrew Ho and Terry Lee with UNSW Redback Racing team members and their new F1 cars at the launch. Harnesslink Media  

Tintin In America’s champion daughter Shartin NZ returned to the winner’s circle in convincing fashion winning a $US40,000 harness racing Invitational beating the best mares in commission in 1:49.8 at Dover Downs’ five furlong track on Wednesday (November 13). After settling fourth, the six-year-old marched to the front at the five-eighths pole and was never again headed, scoring by 2-1/4 lengths. Shartin NZ has won 15 of her 18 starts to date this year for $US940,177 and is the richest female pacer in North America. The Yirribee Pacing Stud bred Mad Robber and Dollarbill won on either side of the country at the weekend. Mad Robber brought up win No. 15 and boosted his bankroll to beyond $130,000 at Gloucester Park, while Dollarbill, a Million Dollar Cam gelding, scored his 16th success with a 1:57.1 winning effort at Albion Park. Meanwhile, Rhianna Reigns, a NZ bred mare owned by Yirribee Stud, made it two for two this season at Wagga on Tuesday (November 12). Tintin In America and Million Dollar Cam are part of an imposing sire roster at Yirribee which includes the great Lazarus, Lennytheshark, Fear The Dragon, Warrawee Needy, Caribbean Blaster and Lombo Pocket Watch.   By Peter Wharton

When diminutive mare Dracarys won at Gloucester Park last night she brought up win number 500 for her 31yo trainer Justin Prentice. He is just the 33rd trainer in the 110 year history of harness racing in Perth to reach the 500 wins milestone as a trainer and it has taken him just 11 years of training. Justin’s move into the training ranks came after a shortage of driving opportunities after he outdrove is junior drivers concession. His first winner as a trainer was Hes A Ruler at Narrogin on 21st October 2008 and it has taken him just 11 years to reach the 500 wins benchmark. Some idea of the magnitude of his achievement can be gauged by looking at the records of the only four Western Australians to train 2000 winners. Gary Hall Snr took 25 years to train the first 500 of the more than 3000 winners he currently has to his name. Ross Olivieri took 15 years to get his first 500 and went to New Zealand and New South Wales in the process. Trevor Warwick’s first 500 training wins came in 14 years of training while dual-code training legend Fred Kersley took 19 years to get to the 500 wins mark. Prentice’s 500 training wins includes 16 at Group One level with the 2019 WA Pacing Cup at the head of the list. He has also trained three winners of the WA Oaks, two 2yo Diamond Classics and a 2yo Pearl Classic.   Alan Parker

TWO of Australia’s top Inter Dominion prospects, Colt Thirty One and McLovin, remain on target for Auckland raids. Star trotter McLovin seems to be over his untimely bout of the “thumps” in yesterday’s (Friday) Dominion Trot at Addington and will be flown from Christchurch to Auckland tomorrow (Sunday). “He seems fine. We jogged him this morning and all went well,” trainer Andy Gath said. “Kate (Gath, co-trainer and driver) and I will go to Auckland with him, spend a few days there, work him Wednesday. “If all goes well Wednesday, we’ll push on to the Inter Dominion otherwise he’ll head home. “The thumps is something which comes out of the blue and is most often just a one-off thing, so we think he’ll be fine.” Queensland’s pin-up pacer Colt Thirty One, already a Victoria Cup runner-up this season, resurrected his Inter Dominion hopes with a dominant win in the Group 3 Popular Alm free-for-all at Melton last night (Friday). Stand-in driver John Caldow took the reins for trainer Grant Dixon and the race turned in his favour when the leader, Wrappers Delight, seemed to choke-down and Colt Thirty One went from having to sit parked to rolling to the front. There was a lot to like about how he powered down the back in 26.9sec and still finished-off in 27.4 – a 54.3sec last half. “He needed to come out and win a race like that to convince us about Auckland and he did,” Dixon said. “I’m at a total loss to explain why he galloped at the start the week before, but the main thing is he bounced-back this week.” Colt Thirty One is booked on a flight from Melbourne to Auckland on November 23. “That’s the main reason we left in down in Melbourne after the Victoria Cup for a few races … because it’s much easier getting from Melbourne to Auckland rather than having to get there from Brisbane,” Dixon said.   by Adam Hamilton

A Victorian harness racing trainer-driver has been disqualified for six years, after admitting to injecting a horse with potassium so stewards wouldn't find out it had been fixed for a race. Scott Dyer has also admitted to acting corruptly by being aware that another trainer had fixed horses by 'drenching' them. Drenching involves putting a tube down a horse's throat to put substances into them that give them an unfair advantage on the track. Dyer pleaded guilty to five breaches of Australian Harness Racing Rules over the incidents in December 2014, at a hearing of the Harness Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in May. It disqualified him from training and driving for seven years and 34 days, but he asked the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to review the decision. The breaches came to light when police intercepted calls made by another registered trainer, Larry Eastman, between October and December 2014. The calls revealed that on December 8, after the horse Waterslide had won a race at Charlton and stewards called for a post-race blood sample, Dyer injected the animal with potassium to hide the substances that had been put into it earlier to give it a racing edge. He also drove the horse Sukovia in Horsham on December 15, after discussing with Eastman that another horse, Dynamic Dick, would be stomach tubed. Before another race in Swan Hill on December 2, Dyer was also aware through Eastman that the horse Cashisking would receive the same treatment. Eastman went on to plead guilty to five criminal offences, including using corrupt conduct information for betting purposes and engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of an event. He was convicted and fined $20,000. In reviewing Dyer's case, VCAT member Reynah Tang decided a disqualification of 10 years and four months would fit the bill. But he discounted the penalty to six years when considering Dyer's guilty plea and the delay in his case coming before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board. He also considered the potential impact of the disqualification of his depression, which a psychiatrist confirmed he had been dealing with since 2013. There was also a lack of evidence that Dyer had benefited financially from the offending and he remained on the Newstart Allowance, Mr Tang said. By Marnie Banger   Australian Associated Press       VIC - VCAT Decision - Scott Dyer 15 November 2019   On 14 November 2019, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) released its decision in relation to an application for review lodged by former licensed person Scott Dyer regarding a decision of the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on 22 May 2019. Background On 22 May 2019, Mr Dyer pleaded guilty at a HRV RAD Board hearing to five charges that related to a Victoria Police investigation that lead to criminal charges being issued against licensed trainer Larry Eastman. The HRV RAD Board determined charges regarding Mr Dyer interfering with a post-race blood sample; failing to drive a horse on its merits; possession of a syringe containing the substance potassium on a racecourse; and corrupt or improper conduct in relation to information he had about the prerace stomach-tubing of ‘Cashisking’ on 2 December 2014 and ‘Dynamite Dick’ on 15 December 2014. Mr Dyer was disqualified for a period of 8 years. The HRV RAD Board media release can be found here. VCAT Hearing On 8 October 2019, VCAT Member Tang heard submissions from Allan McMonnies for Mr Dyer and Adrian Anderson for HRV. In the VCAT Decision, dated 14 November 2019, Member Tang set aside the penalty decision of the HRV RAD Board, and in its place substituted a total effective disqualification of six years. Mr Dyer will be disqualified until 25 June 2024. The full VCAT decision can be viewed here. Harness Racing Victoria

Veteran Victorian harness racing owner-trainer Leon Conway has a spring in his step at the moment - and deservedly so! Conway and his partner Lisa Horton prepare a small team at Lancefield, 70 kms north of Melbourne, and lately all their dedication and hard work has been paying dividends. A trip to the Yarra Valley meeting on Melbourne Cup Day resulted in six-year-old gelding Cantbetold (Major In Art-Illawong Kaye (Golden Greek) finishing second, while stablemate eight-year-old gelding Forever And A Day (Dawn Of A New Day-Rumbleon (Bookmaker) grabbed a third placing. Between them this season, the pair had weighed in, without a win, on nine of their combined 15 race starts. But at Kilmore last Wednesday night, Forever And A Day, one of a small number of free-legged pacers going around in the country, registered an impressive win for his popular owners. Reinsman Rod Petroff was at his best, easing away from the fence early to land one out and three back when the field settled. He then took all the short cuts, weaving through the field to make up an enormous amount of ground before finding himself three back on the pegs swinging for home. When the sprint lane came, Petroff was ready to pounce and Forever And A Day ($13) zipped home to run down Silky Smooth Excuse and race favorite El Boston. "He really has been a model of consistency this season because he's been third on four occasions as well as two fourths and a fifth - he's a lovely little horse," Conway said. "Apart from having terrific gate speed, he also has a great sprint. We've now won seven races with him for nearly $40,000 so he has certainly proved to be a bargain buy at $1500," he said. "I think he's had two goes at Melton and ran third once in a tick over 1.54. He worked home nicely, but it took a bit out of him. Anyway, we might give it another crack one day." The Conway name is a prominent one in harness racing over a long period. The late Maurie Conway (a cousin of Leon's dad) was well-known as a former bookmaker, trainer and studmaster, standing such sires as Bon Adios, Tarport Low and Pure Steel. Maurie's son Ross raced brilliant horses including Nicholas Branach, Voight, Copper Satin, Sonya Malai and Jonells Son. Conway, who was born in the Mallee wheat growing township of Hopetoun, spent a few years as a child in Kerang and lived in Adelaide in 1960. But he "didn't like it and went home to Hopetoun" where he was a popular local butcher for many years. "I ended up having two shops there for a while, one at Hopetoun and one down the road at Beulah," Leon said. "I sometimes used a track around the local football ground to train my horses and then later I shifted out a bit on a 3000-acre farm. "Apart from having the horses, I farmed with the help of my son Clint and we grew wheat, peas, lupins and practically everything else. We also had cattle and sheep. "But when I lost my wife Joy about 10 years ago - the day after I closed our Beulah butcher shop - it was a pretty hard time and I found my way down to Romsey. "I'd got to know (trainer) Vince Vallelonga when he had lived at Rainbow, not far from Hopetoun, years ago. "Vince gave me a call and he was fantastic - I lived on his place and helped him for about 18 months and that's where I met Lisa. "Now I'm the track manager at Lancefield and along with Lisa, we always seem to have a few horses poking about. We are just loving it - and it's even better when we manage to get a winner!"   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

CHAMPION Aussie horseman Luke McCarthy didn’t see anything to be scared of at Addington this week. In fact, if anything, his confidence of giving the Auckland Inter Dominion a huge shake with comeback star Bling It On has grown after watching the NZ Cup and NZ free-for-all. “There’s no standout. It’s certainly not as tough a school as it was when the likes of Lazarus, Lennytheshark and Smolda were around,” McCarthy said. “I watched the Cup and felt Bling It On was certainly as good as any of them and the free-for-all didn’t change anything.” Bling It On has deliberately been kept away from the races since his stunning Group 1 Victoria Cup win at Melton on October 12. It came at just his second run on the comeback trail. But McCarthy has him screwed right down and ready for Auckland. “He had a couple of quiet weeks after the Victoria Cup because he’d been in work for six months in his comeback, but he’s very fit again now,” he said. “He’s had plenty of work at home and two trips into Menangle where I’ve worked him the Auckland direction with a galloping pacemaker. “He zipped home a 26sec quarter in a race cart this week (Thursday) and I’ll get even more serious with him to top him right off when we go back again next Thursday.” Bling It On is booked on a flight Monday week from Sydney to Auckland. “As I’ve said all along, I really do think he’s come back better than ever,” McCarthy said. “People have him down as just this sit-sprint horse, but he’s more than that, especially now. He’s versatile and can do some work. Put it this way, if I drew to lead, I certainly wouldn’t be afraid to hold it. “People forget when he won that Hunter Cup he was out wide for a while and did a fair bit of work before I took a trail and he still finished the race of really well. “And I’m sure he’s come back an even better horse this time in.”   By Adam Hamilton

When reflecting about New Zealand Cup week of 2019, it is best summed in two simple words – Blair Orange. Fresh from his success on Tuesday when he landed his maiden New Zealand Cup success aboard the All Stars prepared Cruz Bromac, the country’s leading reinsman has now collected his maiden Dominion trophy after guiding Habibi Inta to a runaway victory in the 3200m stand start feature. Habibi Inta scored decisively when defeating Australian Tough Monarch and Monty Python while the heavily fancied Oscar Bonavena and defending champion Marcoola were unplaced. Orange becomes the first driver since Anthony Butt to complete the Cup/Dominion double in the same week after Butt triumphed with Flashing Red and Mountbatten back in 2007. Partnering with masterful trainer Paul Nairn, a dual winner of the great race and a trainer who is not frightened to adopt unorthodox training techniques to gain the best from his team of trotters, the duo landed the Gr.1 $300,000 Airpark Canterbury Dominion at Addington today (Friday). After securing the Gr.3 South Bay Trotters Cup at Kaikoura at his most recent start, connections deliberately bypassed Tuesday’s Gr.1 $100,000 Free-For-All in preference for today’s feature and the decision was rewarded in spades. Habibi Inta stepped slowly but safely and landed a handy position with Destiny Jones finding the marker pegs first before handing over to Australian trotter McLovin who in turn released Marcoola to the lead. Ultimately, Habibi Inta landed the one out/one back trail when finding the back of Didjabringthebeers. Oscar Bonavena made a crucial break soon after the start and was never a winning factor thereafter. The lead time was covered in 2:01.5. The pressure was intense with Marcoola rolling strongly in front; he trotted the first half of the final mile in splits of 30.3 and 29.9 seconds. Heading down the back straight for the final time, Marcoola continued at a solid speed while McLovin sat in the trail with Habibi Inta behind him after Didjabringthebeers dropped off. Passing the 400m marker, the third split was covered in 29.6 seconds. Entering the home straight, Marcoola tried to kick away while both Habibi Inta and Tough Monarch both came with their runs. Habibi Inta quickly surged past Marcoola and opened up a margin on Tough Monarch while veteran performer Monty Python made late ground to grab third placing, both Marcoola and McLovin weakened over the latter stages. At the line, Habibi Inta scored by a widening 7.5 lengths over Tough Monarch while Monty Python was a further 4.5 lengths away in third. The winning time was 4:02.1 – a mile rate of 2:01.7 with a final split of 30.3 seconds. For Orange, it simply caps a dream week. “I honestly can’t believe it, I thought Tuesday was unbelievable but this is a very special feeling and for some great people too. I’ve probably never felt more confident so far from home than today, he was trotting great.” Orange said. Habibi Inta takes his record to 11 wins from 36 starts while his earnings sit below $400,000. The victory provides Nairn with his third winner of the Dominion after previous victories with Call Me Now (1995) and Stig (2008). Habibi Inta is raced by Julie Maghzal who bred the horse in partnership with Gaby; the six-year-old is a son of Love You and from the grand producing Sundon mare Ten To One. The next leg of the 2019/20 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters is the $150,000 Inter Dominion in Auckland at Alexandra Park on December 14.   Chris Barsby

Monarchy trifecta in FFA The Group 1 $100,000 NZ Trotting Free-For-All was a triumph for Monarchy as the harness racing sire of the winner Tough Monarch, McLovin second and Didjabringthebeers third – rather a notable siring feat. On the same day Monarchy sired both trotting winners at Menangle in Princess Kenny and Gold Sovereign, both out of Sundon mares. Monarchy has elevated himself to second on this year’s NZ trotting sire list.   Sisters win at Redcliffe It was no mean feat for the half-sisters Miss Mia and Ima Beach Babe to win on the same day at Redcliffe earlier this week. Miss Mia, a four-year-old, is a daughter of Modern Art, while, Ima Beach Babe is a three-year-old from the first crop of Sunshine Beach. Lets Rocknroll, the dam of Miss Mia and Ima Beach Babe, was out of a top racemare in Impish Princess, who took a record of 1:56.6 in America and earned $276,518. Besides Lets Rocknroll, she was also the dam of the Qbred Triad winner How Will I Know 1:55.9 ($195,159), Mister Natural (1:54.9) and Rocknroll Annie (1:59.9). Another of Lets Rocknroll’s offspring, Corey William, scored in 1:56.7 at Albion Park in December.   Alta Christiano stock firing The Christian Cullen horse Alta Christiano, who stood originally at Alabar and is now at the new Killarney Stud in NSW, is leaving smart three-year-olds from his second crop. Alta Christiano Alta Engen, who is unbeaten in three starts in Western Australia, is a gelding by Alta Christiano from the Million To One mare, Its Karma. Shesskylah, a winner at Bendigo in 1:55, the Vicbred Homegrown Cladssic heat winner Techys Angel (1:58), Woodlands Wonder (1:59.3), Christiano Rose (1:59.4) and Little Bitof Fun (1:59.9) have been other winners from Alta Christiano’s second crop. Alta Christiano, a Group winner in NZ and Australia, established himself as an early speed sire last season when one of his two-yaer-olds, Will The Wizard, hoisted a mark of 1:54.6 at Albion Park.   Blue blooded filly Soho Nolita, who won the 2018 Australian Pacing Gold Final and has won four of her five outings this season, is a four-year-old mare who can claim some worthwhile blood. By Mach Three (son of Matt’s Scooter), she is out of the Art Major mare Pixel Perfect, whose dam, Amarillen, ranked as a sister to the Oaks winner Tenirama and a half-sister to the top Tasmanian juvenile Cody Maverick, their dam, Nellirama, being out of the dual Oaks winner Nellie Robins. Pixel Perfect, the dam of Soho Nolita, has left six winners from six foals of racing age, three of whom – Soho Tribeca, Carlas Pixel and Soho Nolita – have won at Group 1 level.   Ninth winner from broodmare When the Majestic Son four-year-old Regal Appointment won at the Ashburton Trotting Club’s Cup Week meeting, he credited his dam Niamey with her ninth individual winner. The gelding was having only his second start. Others from Niamey to win have been the Group and cup winners Springbank Sam Tr 1:55.2 ($545,702), Sun Of Anarchy Tr 1:58.2 ($277,733), Pocaro Tr 1:57.5 ($232,773) and Daenerys Targaryen Tr 1:58.2 ($143,723) and others in Ugly Betty, Sam Galleon, Arnold, Lord Nelson and now Regal Appointment. Niamey, who is now in her 21st year, has since produced a three-year-old filly by Love You, a two-year-old filly by the same sire and a yearling colt by Sebastian K. A sister to the outstanding racemare Africa, Niamey was a Chiola Hanover mare from Game Flyer, by Game Pride from Flying Bay.   Lazarus in demand Former pacing sensation Lazarus has met with widespread interest from broodmare owners on both sides of the Tasman in his first ‘down under’ season. The $4 million winning son of Bettor’s Delight has more than 220 bookings to date. Lazarus is standing at Yirribee Pacing Stud in Wagga (NSW)     by Peter Wharton Article sponsored by New Zealand Bloodstock

A wild hunch by Tongala-based harness racing trainer Michael Watt has proved a winning one with stable newcomer Miss McManus. The eight-year-old former pacing mare (Grinfromeartoear-Tasma Walton (Walton Hanover) showed at Cobram on Monday that she should have a bright future as a square-gaiter - just six weeks after switching gait. "She's owned by Norm and Joan Visca and I still remember when I rang and told them I'd decided to give the horse a try as a trotter - to be honest I think they thought I was crazy!" Watt said. "But she had showed me at home that she was quite comfortable trotting so I was confident I was on the right track," he said. Watt's decision was vindicated when Miss McManus didn't put a foot wrong first-up to take out the Cliff Robinson Memorial Trot at Cobram in a handy mile rate of 2.02-6. Driven by Damian Wilson, the mare accelerated nicely at the start to lead, but soon afterwards handed up to $2.60 favorite Bacardi Wood (Gary Pekin). Wilson waited patiently for the sprint lane and zipped through to win by 1.3 metres. Owners Norm and Joan Visca (left) accept the trophy from representatives of the Robinson family, Andrew, Caroline and Debbie As a pacer, Miss McManus had 65 starts for three wins and 14 placings. During her career she has been trained by father-and-son Brian and Matthew Gath, South Australians Kevin Walker and Mark Delaney, and Wilson himself. Watt said there was "a bit of a funny story" in regard to how he initially got the mare. "I had a few trotters in my stable and decided I needed a pacer to train, so I approached Norm (Visca) and he offered me Miss McManus," he said. "So in just six weeks, I jogged her up, switched her to a trotter, got her qualified and won with her with my good mate Damo taking the reins - it's surreal to look back on it," he said. However, Watt did admit he had some early disappointment at the trials when Miss McManus went back to her old habits and paced away in a standing start. "But I gave her a few more trials, including one at Shepparton a few days before the Cobram race and she did everything perfect and ran a close-up second," he said. And the recent victory is not the first time Watt has tasted success by switching gaits with a pacer. In the 1990s, he took on six-year old pacer Grimster, already a winner of three races in his 80 starts. He converted Grimster to trotting and trialled, raced and won with him two months later, going on to a further four wins as a square-gaiter. Watt is related to the renowned Conroy family, of Daylesford, who are noted specialists with trotters. "I grew up with the late Bob Conroy's kids Glenn and Anne-Maree, so I was always going to have a love for the square gaiters," he said. "Bob was an absolute legend and I've written down in a book all the things that he told me. "He was a marvel- a man well before his time. I reckon he would have been chuffed looking down on us last Monday!" Watt said as well, he'd picked up valuable information over the years from his dad John, a long-time trainer, who still prepares one or two as a hobby. He also paid tribute to the Visca couple, adding the industry needed "hundreds of owners like them". "They support their trainers to the max and they just enjoy being part of the sport." Watt works on a 25-acre property with gallops trainer Bluey Thomas. It boasts an 800 metre track, along with other facilities including a swim, walker and treadmill. Watt rates Great Success-sired gelding Dynamic Legacy (five wins, 15 placings for $44,000) as his best horse at present.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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This article below on discounting in the business world is very interesting for harness racing breeders to say the least. Discounting has become rampit in the standardbred breeding Industry over the last 10 to 15 years. Almost all stallions at studs in Australia and New Zealand, have been discounted many ways - up, down, sideways and any way you want it to the detriment of all in the Industry. Yes stallion service fees are mostly too high and as a result they are discounted in nearly all cases!  To say this has been good for the harness racing Industry is a joke! In the business world discounting it is a certain road to business failure! Where have all the stud farms gone? There are only a few left in business down under and are all on borrowed time it seems. How much of this is due to discounting?  Discounting service fees certainly has resulted in some breeders leaving the business – breeders ‘compare notes’ as to the price of a service fee! However, there are many other factors that have caused the downturn in breeding numbers in the last few years. The drought in many parts of Australia, the rising costs in breeding – especially vets – and rearing a foal to racing age, the costs for eligibilities, the demise of many breeders with large numbers and the lack of new breeders coming into the game. For some statistics in New Zealand; 1987/88 breeding season there were 8798 mares bred by 308 stallions (6203 foals born)  1997/98 breeding season there were 4473 mares bred by 135 stallions (3227 foals born) 2007/08 breeding season there were 4074 mares bred by 94 stallions (3013 foals born) 2016/17 breeding season there were 2584 mares bred by 85 stallions, (1781 foals born) For statistics in Australia; 1980/81 breeding season there were 18,352 mares bred by 1,477 stallions, (12,109 foals born) 1990/91 breeding season there were 13,464 mares bred by 763 stallions, (9,185 foals born) 2000/01 breeding season there were 9,002 mares bred by 371 stallions, (6,149 foals born) 2010/11 breeding season there were 7,062 mares bred by 307 stallions, (4,875 foals born) 2015/16 breeding season there were 5,474 mares bred by 231 stallions (3,628) foals born) ............................................ (In the 2000/01 season NZ imported semen to Australian breeders resulted in 261 foals born) (In the 2010/11 season NZ imported semen to Australian breeders resulted in 942 foals born) (In the 2015/16 season NZ imported semen to Australian breeders resulted in 1,098 foals born) ..............................................................   The article below by Mark Thacker of Sales Exceleration sums up the reasons why discounting destroys a business. Discounting is bad for Business because… It lessens the perceived (and therefore, actual) value of your product or service solution. Simply put, if the customer asks for and receives a discount – regardless of the reason – the perceived value of your solution automatically goes down. There’s an old adage that says an item is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay. So if the price is lower than your claimed value, the actual value can really only match the price paid. And this new belief system can put you in a bad position for future business. It creates an expectation of future discounting. That bad position – with this customer or others in your industry who learn of your discounting practices – only gets worse when the expected pricing is at a discount. And because your earlier discounts have lowered the bar on the perception of value, why should they pay more? Would you? Discounting sets a bad precedent that undermines your future opportunities to maximize margin. It complicates your business dealings. When you offer a discount to one customer, but not to another (perhaps because they didn’t push as hard for it), you are suddenly operating under different price structures for likely the same level of service for the same solution. A variety of pricing levels can create internal chaos and administrative nightmares, especially in larger organizations with larger customer bases.  (And dont breeders love to tell their mates the discounted price that they got a service for?) It demonstrates a lack of confidence in your solution and erodes trust in YOU. This goes back to the idea of value. Even if the customer doesn’t automatically value your solution as you would like, when you start to discount, it shows that you don’t really believe your value proposition either. Prospects sense this lack of confidence and question two things: 1) Is this solution as good as I thought if they are willing to accept less? and 2) Can I really trust this person who wants me to buy it? It squeezes your profit margin unnecessarily. Obviously, if you sell a product or service at full price, your margin will be higher than if you sell at a discount. Conversely, the profit margin you lose through discounting has to be made up for in future opportunities, causing you to exert more sales effort and close more deals at a higher price to compensate. It forces you to cut corners (or at least consider cutting them). To maintain necessary margins after selling at a discount, it will inevitably prove tempting to find ways to lower your costs – either by reducing material costs or the activities associated with servicing the account. While it is always a good idea to find ways to operate efficiently, if you feel forced to unnaturally lower your costs, you could easily cross a critical line where your perceived value takes yet another hit. Better Alternatives Emphasize value The best alternative to discounting is to be crystal clear and confident in presenting your value proposition. Ultimately, it should be irrefutable the prospect will receive an equitable return on investment. In the course of reaching that awareness it is reasonable for the prospect to ask questions, offer objections, and seek the best deal. This is all part of their due diligence as they represent their interests. But if you can answer questions and overcome objections clearly and without hesitation, the value of your solution will become appreciated, and the quoted price will be supportable. Remember, you have two choices when attempting to equalize price and value – so choose raising value over lowering price. Your customer will “get what they paid for” and you just made more money and avoided long-term issues! Eliminate components to stay within budget If budgetary restrictions just can’t allow the prospect to agree to your price, look for ways to reduce or eliminate components from your solution. For instance, your standard solution might include service elements the prospect is not likely to need. If you can make cuts without risking the customer’s satisfaction with your solution, these cuts can make the deal possible while allowing you to stay true to your standard pricing. Just make sure the customer is on board with the modified solution up front. Walk away I’ve said many times that “no” is an acceptable answer. It empowers you (and your prospect) to find a better fit somewhere else. It’s better to walk away than to become hamstrung by a bad professional relationship. Bottom Line: It’s reasonable for customers to expect the best deal possible, but discounting creates a variety of problems for the solution provider. Ultimately, these problems can impact profit margin, customer satisfaction, and your reputation so severely they may threaten your business. Better alternatives include becoming stronger at showcasing your solution’s value, eliminating unnecessary components from your solution to match the customer’s budget needs, or walking away from a deal that won’t be profitable. By Mark Thacker, President of Sales Xceleration.     We will finish of with a real life example here in New Zealand?   When the Warehouse recently made a major management decision to cut regular discounting what happened to the company's profit ? It went up.   How many in our industry have spoken to an associate only to find that they received a lower service fee price than you did?   How many of those breeders have left the breeding business as a result of this unfair business transaction?   Harnesslink Media
Driver Jason Lee looked set for a good night at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday and that’s the way it panned out with his winning treble including two feature events alongside highly-promising horses. Ange McDowall’s excitement machine Lumineer made it 13 wins from 14 starts with a hard-fought success in heat one of the Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship before family square-gaiter Jilliby Babavska got back to winning ways in the Group 3 Alderbaran Park Lenin Trotters Free For All (2240m). Lumineer had to work hard for his victory. The horse charged across the field from gate six but copped pressure from Greg Sugars and Deedenuto for the lead. While the son of Sportswriter eventually got to the pegs, the early burn resulted in a slick 27.6 first quarter. However, it didn’t stop Lumineer, who held off his rivals in the home straight to score by a narrow margin. “It’s just a privilege to drive nice horses like he is,” Lee said after the success. “Obviously he had to burn the candle pretty hard at both ends and it’s probably the first time he’s really had to gas it - especially for a while - out of the gate like that. “He got a little bit of a breather and probably just got looking around a little bit, but a good horse finds a way to win and that’s what he did.” Jilliby Babavska, a horse Lee has said had Group 1 potential, showed his class with a strong front-running triumph. The son of Sundon galloped in the first score up but was given a reprieve with a false start presenting him another chance to get his manners right. And he made no mistake the second time around, leading from start to finish to complete the second leg of a breakthrough winning double for trainer Paddy Lee. “It’s a good achievement. I’ve had a couple of chances to get one before, but could never get the second one done,” said Paddy, the brother of Jason. Jason was also at the controls for Paddy’s first triumph on the night, A Jewel In The Crown, who won the Williamstown Bowling Club Trot (1720m, NR 52-61). The daughter of Majestic Son has now won five of 13 career runs. Jason’s treble takes him to third on the state metropolitan drivers’ premiership table behind Kate Gath and Chris Alford. On a big night of racing at headquarters, Grant Dixon’s gun Colt Thirty One was back to his best form in winning the Group 3 Garrards Popular Alm Free For All (2240m) and Smart Little Shard produced a tough display to score in heat two of the Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship (1720m, NR 70-79) for trainer John Nicholson and driver Jack Laugher. The $30,000 final of the Championship will be held at Melton next Friday night.   HRV Trots Media - Tim O'Connor
Avid central Victorian harness racing driver Tina Ridis is making every post a winner after again teaming up with a pacer she hasn't driven for nearly 12 months. Ridis, who trains at the former gold mining town of Havelock 10 kilometres north of Maryborough, has formed a formidable partnership with seven-year-old gelding Calvert Hot Shot, trained by 80-year-old veteran horseman Ray Cross. Calvert Hot Shot (Town Champion-Etched In Ice (Perfect Art) got the money at Maryborough on November 3 and repeated the dose at Ballarat with a strong win in the Mazda Pace last Thursday. Ridis said Calvert Hot Shot was racing in great form and thoroughly deserved his two recent victories. "He's a lovely horse and I've only driven him three times this campaign-he's really been hitting the line hard," she said. "I drove him probably eight or nine times back in October and November last year. I got the opportunity when Ray returned back to Queensland after a working holiday down here and left the horse with Phillip Giles, at Great Western. "I remember nearly winning at my first drive on him at Maryborough-we went so close, going down by a neck." The Ballarat fixture was a memorable one for Cross and his wife Janelle with Calvert Hot Shot the first leg of a winning double. The second was courtesy of five-year-old trotter Honey Please (Yankee Spider-Kumbya (Sundon), driven by Michael Bellman. The popular freelancer is in terrific form and showed his customary fine touch to score by a half head over Dicko Dixon (Glen Craven). Ridis has certainly been making the best of her driving engagements this season with an enviable top three strike rate of nearly 58 percent. She has had 19 drives for six wins, two seconds and three thirds for over $26,000. Last season Calvert Hot Shot faced the starter only 15 times for three placings, while this season he has two victories from just 10 attempts. Overall, he's been a consistent earner for the Cross couple with eight wins and 22 placings for $43,000. The husband and wife team previously trained at Calvert, a small town near Ipswich, 40 kms south west of Brisbane, before deciding on a sea change early this year. Cross has a love for square gaiters and believed the opportunities in Victoria were too good to ignore. They have been training out of Maryborough stables owned by friend Mick Clover, while searching for a property of their own. Ridis says she has been involved in harness racing "forever" after being born into it. "I grew up around horses because my dad John was a trainer-driver. He used to breed and train a few while growing potatoes at Korweinguboora, about 15 kms from Daylesford," she said. "When I decided to get my driver's licence, dad then just concentrated on the training part of it. I can still recall my first win-it was my 13th attempt and at the old Horsham track. "Dad ended up shifting to Ballarat after suffering some heart conditions through the heavy work that was involved on the farm and he still trained a couple up until he passed away about 20 years ago." Ridis will soon have her team back and racing after giving them a break. "I've got six in work. There's a few new ones that are shaping up okay so hopefully they will do a good job," she said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura
WE now have a clear top seed for Perth’s biggest races. Greg and Skye Bond’s exciting five-year-old Mighty Conqueror is that horse. The American Ideal five-year-old made it 15 wins from just 22 starts when driver Ryan Warwick made the most of a pole draw to lead easily, dictate terms and blast home in 54.8 and 26.7sec in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Mighty Conqueror was certainly suited by being on the marker pegs around Gloucester Park, where he hasn’t been overly comfortable at times compared to the bigger Pinjarra track. It’s great to see Motu Premier back to his best, finishing a fantastic second after sitting parked. Buzz pacer Bill Haley, who went into the race three-from-three, was never a chance after getting back to near last and coming wide in those blistering late fractions. It was no disgrace to finish fifth. _________________________________________________________________________________ GLOUCESTER Park race caller Ritchie Bell picked it with 250m to run. As the field rounded the final bend in a star-studded $50,000 Group 2 4YO Championship, Bell said: “We could have an upset on our hands.” As they hit the line, the $109 second outsider of the field, Theo Aviator, snatched a half-head win from $31 shot Sangue Reale with $61 shot Shockwave flashing home for third. There was no sign of big guns Wildwest (eighth), Gee Jay Kay (seventh), Patrickthepiranha (ninth) and Taroona Bromac (11th). Another outsider, Robbie Easton, set the tone for the race when he worked to lead and overraced badly in front for young driver Maddison Brown, setting-up the scorching 1min53.7sec mile rate for 2130m. With a lap to run, the unbeaten buzz pacer Wildwest grabbed the three-wide trail home and loomed as the key player, but when he had to come four-wide at the 450m, he hung, and was quickly a spent force. Theo Aviator gave popular and hard-working trainer-driver Aldo Cortopassi one of his best and most satisfying wins. The result throws the race to next month’s Group 1 Golden Nugget wide open. Earlier in the night, another key Nugget hopeful, high-priced recent Kiwi import Gran Chico, opened his WA account with a victory, albeit against moderate opposition. The Bettors Delight four-year-old worked forward early to find the lead and kept rolling for driver Shannon Suvaljko and trainer Mike Reed. He looked to “loaf” at times, but won well in a 1min56.3sec mile rate for 2130m. _________________________________________________________________________________ ENIGMATIC former Kiwi pacer King Of Swing farewelled WA and Gary Hall Sr’s stable with a return to winning form last Friday night. The WA Derby winner has really mixed his form over the past two seasons and Hall Sr says it’s largely because of the small Gloucester Park track. “He’s never really been comfortable here unless he’s been in front,” Hall Sr said. “So we all decided it was best for him to head to Sydney so he can race on the big track at Menangle.” King Of Swing heads to the stables of Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy this week. _________________________________________________________________________________ HOBBY trainer Ange McDowall knows life is about to get a whole lot harder for her untapped buzz pacer Lumineer. The former gun juvenile made it 12 wins from 13 starts - and four from four on the comeback trail from a serious injury – when he was nursed to a strong but narrow Melton win last Friday night. Driver Jason Lee had to really burn Lumineer off the gate from six to get across main danger Deedenuto then steadied the tempo through the middle before dashing home in 55.2 and 27sec to beat a gallant Fake Smile by a neck. They went a 1min54sec mile rate for 1720m. “I was happy enough to miss that 4&5YO Championship the other week because he’s still getting fitter and learning from the experience,” McDowall said. “He’s a big goof at times and needs to learn more before we go against the big boys again. “Races like the other night are important. He didn’t get it easy and had to find when Jason asked.” Lee enjoyed a big night with a treble, his other key win coming aboard the fast and emerging trotter Jilliby Babavska in the Group 3 Lenin Free-For-All. The son of Sundon speared to the front from gate two and always looked in control on his way to a 12th win from just 25 starts in a 1min59.9sec mile rate for 2240m. _________________________________________________________________________________ AMANDA Grieve had a week to treasure being trackside for Cruz Bromac’s NZ Cup win and being such a big part of the build-up. Grieve, who trained the star pacer in Victoria before his late switch to the All Stars’ barn for the Cup assault, continued the big week when exciting four-year-old Holy Basil continued his unbeaten streak at Melton last Friday night. The son of Changeover made it five from five when he zoomed away to score by 17m in a 1min57.6sec mile rate for 2240m. _________________________________________________________________________________ MAYBE Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy are having second thoughts about not taking former Kiwi pacer Cash N Flow back “home” for the Auckland Inter Dominion. The former All Stars’ gelding continued his fantastic season with a career-best 1min49.9sec mile win at Menangle last night (Saturday). And Cash N Flow punched the time himself, working to the front from a wide draw and running along with splits of 27.7, 28.5, 27.5 and 26.2sec to leave a good field in his wake. Tasmania’s best pacer Harjeet, who so impressively won his first Menangle run for Jimmy Rattray, closed strongly without ever threatening the winner to finish second from another former Kiwi pacer Letsspendanitetogetha. Amanda Turnbull’s Inter Dominion contender Ellmers Image did all the bullocking in the quick time and wasn’t disgraced in fifth spot, 11m from Cash N Flow. _________________________________________________________________________________ TEAM Tritton hopes former All Stars’ pacer Funatthebeach could be their next topliner. The five-year-old defied a surprising betting drift to lead throughout and win as he liked at his Aussie debut in a 1min53.5sec mile at Menangle last night. Lauren Tritton held the lead easily from the pole, controlled a slow tempo through a 58.7sec first half then ripped home in 54.8 and 27.2sec to easily beat stablemate Gotta Go Ya Hu, who sat behind the leader. “He’s the best horse in our stable, easily the best,” Shane Tritton said of Funatthebeach. “Like all horses, he’ll keep improving with experience racing at Menangle, but what he’s shown us so far is really exciting.” _________________________________________________________________________________ EMOTIONS ran high after Glenledi Boy’s Cranbourne win last night. It came just days after successful and respected horseman Gordon Turner passed away and his wife, June, then suffered a heart attack and was rushed to hospital. Their daughter, Deb Quinlan, co-trains Glenledi Boy with her husband, Gary. Deb propped-up an iPad in hospital so her mother could watch in the hope a win would prove a much-needed tonic. Glenledi Boy did his bit. Despite racing roughly at times he was too good.   by Adam Hamilton
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