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Trotting stallion Volstead is the first victim of the proposed ‘Stallion TAX’ Harness Racing Australia announced on April 16. Haras des Trotteurs Principal Pat Driscoll felt coerced to not shuttle the American-bred European-winning stallion back Down Under after having close to 90 services this last breeding season. The Stallion TAX will see a 15 per cent charge on the advertised service fee of shuttle and internationally domiciled stallions (transported and frozen semen) and is anticipated to generate in excess of $2million annually. “It just does not make any sense to bring Volstead back down here with this crazy tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you like,” said Driscoll about the only trotting stallion shuttled to Australia in the 2020/21 breeding season. “I had to make the call by the end of April and I have had to say no. “It is a shame. We worked hard to find a nice stallion and we bred him to our good mares to give him a great start and through all the expenses of bringing him down, we didn’t cover costs in year one, no money was returned to the US (United States) and it will probably be that way in year two when we finish working the numbers. “Even this year if we brought him down we probably would have broke even but then apply this TAX, it just doesn’t make it worth while. “Through Volstead we sponsored the Redwood Classic for the past two years and now that won’t be happening. “These are some of the flow on affects of this new tax/levy/financial imposter that have not been thought about.” Following such positive results from the recent Nutrien Standardbred Yearling Sale in Victoria plus the latest news that breeding numbers were up 10.3 per cent nationally for the first time in more than a decade, Driscoll believes this Stallion TAX is a backwards step. “It is easily the worst decision I’ve seen in the years since I’ve been involved,” stated Driscoll. “There is no other place in the world that there is a tax/levy/financial imposter that subsides racing. “You have the sires’ stakes-type races but that money generally goes back into the same pool . . . this doesn’t. “There isn’t a river of gold at studs as some may perceive. “I can only speak of Haras des Trotteurs but I’ve been operating at a loss since I started. “There are transport costs, advertising, futurity payments, stallion collection and quarantine costs, administration fees and so on. “It’s not this golden goose that people think it is, it is a labour of love for many including Haras des Trotteurs. “We’ve just come off a successful sale where for the first time in history the trotters average was higher than the pacers. “Then, we received some great news that breeding numbers are on the way back up. “We are on an upward trajectory and then they do this. “I didn’t think too many things would derail the growth of trotting in Victoria but this will. “This will severely impact the breeding of trotters in Victoria as the cost of breeding will increase, people will breed less and it could also severely compromise the quality of trotters bred. “We sent out a survey to our stakeholders, a big cross-section of the industry from those that spend who spend $1925 for Used To Me to a service fee of $11,000 for Love You, and 85 per cent are not in favour of this new levy and 80 per cent said they would breed less mares.” The HRA Executive, a ‘membership limited to the State Controlling Body in each of the six states of Australia as well as the six Principal Clubs’ has proposed the immediate introduction of this Stallion TAX to raise funds for the harness racing industry in Australia.  The way in which these funds will be distributed has not been decided yet. The HRA Executive has anticipated this TAX will generate in excess of $2million annually and will be responsible for the invoicing, collection and distribution of the TAX. This has Driscoll and others perplexed. As documented on the HRA website the AHRC (Australian Harness Racing Council and changed to HRA in 2008) was initially created to administer the Australian Trotting Stud Book, to maintain a Central Register of Name, to keep records and to control and enforce the Rules relating thereto. It is the forum and co-ordination point between the State Controlling Bodies for uniformity of rules and reciprocity of horsemen’s licences, registration of horses and suspensions and disqualifications. In addition, HRA acts as the national body in international harness racing affairs and is a member of the International Trotting Association. As a joint member of the Event Committee set up in 2008 with Harness Racing New Zealand, HRA is involved in supervising the Australasian Inter Dominion series (formerly under the auspices of the Inter Dominion Harness Racing Council Inc). “How did we get this far?” asked Driscoll. “If you read HRA’s legislations they are keepers of the studbooks, rules and regulations and each state runs their own racing. “It’s gone from that to wanting to put a tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you may, on stallions. “I feel as though Victoria has been sold, as most of this money will be raised here. “I’m staggered that Harness Racing Victoria have let this happen to their own state. “Add to the fact that roughly 90 per cent of trotting mares bred are bred/reside in Victoria and assuming a very large number of pacing mares are bred and also located in Victoria, it’s not difficult to see that most of the tax/levy/financial impost, call it what you like, raised, would be in Victoria and go where and to what?” Going by this past breeding season’s numbers, if all the same shuttle/frozen semen stallions were to remain, this levy will affect 52 stallions (28 trotting and 24 pacing) in Australia and New Zealand. A breakdown of those numbers show that 28 of those stallions are with Victoria, nine in Queensland, eight stallions in NZ, five in New South Wales and two in Western Australia. “I just can’t come up with a logical answer. “I’m all for improving the sport, I’ve invested a lot of my own money trying to do so with sponsorship and breeding. “If people want to have a $1million race, ask those seeking to have the race sponsor it!” To read HRA’s entire media release regarding the ‘Stallion Levy’ and propositions for these funds, click here. By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

After his younger brother Andy McCarthy won four races at The Meadowlands in the United States on Friday night, top harness racing driver Luke McCarthy stepped it up a notch landing five winners at Menangle, Sydney Australia, tonight. “I had to keep up with Andy,” McCarthy said. “It was a super night.” McCarthy won two of the main feature races on the program but the success started when he guided Kingmaker to victory for his wife, trainer Belinda McCarthy. Leading most of the way, Kingmaker remained unbeaten in his five Australian starts since arriving from New Zealand. A race later, McCarthy was back in the winners’ circle with another pacer trained by his wife in La Bella Vita. Another New Zealand import for the stable, La Bella Vita has won three races in-a-row and tonight clocked a personal best 1:52.7. McCarthy then went into feature race attack mode, taking out the Bulli Cup with noted Menangle speedstar Cash N Flow. Working to the front from the outside barrier, Cash N Flow found the top and remained there to win effortlessly in 1:51.3. Cash N Flow has now won 21 of his 34 victories at Menangle. “It’s nice to have Cash back to his best,” McCarthy said. Watch Cash N Flow's win below: A race later McCarthy combined forces with Victorian horseman Brent Lilly to take out the Group 2 NSW Trotters Derby with Kyvalley Hotspur. Once again McCarthy found the front and dictated terms letting Kyvalley Hotspur roll through the quarters evenly in 30, 30.5, 29.4 and 29 seconds. The colt crossed the line untouched, spacing his rivals by 14m in a mile rate of 1:58.6. Watch the replay below: Kyvalley Hotspur is by Muscle Hill, which McCarthy drove to victory in the 2009 $504,000 World Trotting Derby at Du Quoin State Fair in Illinois. With rain delaying the meeting by six hours, driver Brian Sears could not make the commitment and McCarthy was asked that day by trainer Greg Peck if he could drive Muscle Hill. Jumping at the opportunity of a lifetime, McCarthy made the four-and-half hour trip (295 miles) to the track to drive the champion trotter, and the rest is history. McCarthy’s fifth winner tonight was on the Lisa McDonald-trained Master Catch. He now has a clear lead in State and Metropolitan Drivers’ Premierships in New South Wales. At the age of 38, McCarthy has driven 2745 winners in Australia. Kyvalley Hotspur winning tonight's NSW Trotters Derby at Menangle. By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

They were the first training partnership in New South Wales and now husband and wife harness racing duo Joe and Mary Rando has achieved another milestone. The pair reached 100 wins at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight, since their official partnership began in the 2015/16 season, thanks to Empire Bay taking out the Bulli Trotters Cup. This race has a lot of significance for the Rando team. They won in 2018 edition with the ill-fated Sundons Comet when the feature was a Group 2, giving them their first Group success with a trotter. Having won Group races with pacers prior, the trotting gait has certainly been profitable for the Randos, adding to their century of wins together. “It was very exciting,” said Mary. “We hit 99 wins during the week after Do Ball won at Menangle and usually when you know you have a milestone nearing, it feels like forever until you achieve it. “In saying that, I was confident Empire Bay would go well tonight. He was well handicapped off 10m and has been a victim of circumstances in his recent runs, so he has been going better than what his form reads. “Chris Geary (driver) has really found his rhythm with this horse and it all paid off tonight.” Geary provided Joe and Mary with their first win as a partnership when guiding Bee Arr Dee to victory at Menangle on May 10, 2016, just two days out from being the exact day five years ago. Tonight Geary eased Empire Bay away from the tapes while the tempo upfront was slick in the 2300m stand with a lead time of 52.1 seconds. As the first two quarters were run in 30.4 and 32.3 seconds, Geary flushed out Jack Callaghan on Garland Greene when heading into the back straight for the final time to land the one-one. This proved to be the winning move, with Geary angling Empire Bay into clear running at the top of the home straight where he sprinted the final quarter in 28.5 seconds to beat the favourite Gimondi by more than six metres. The mile rate was 2:00.0. Bred and raced by Michael Taylor, Empire Bay extended his record to 24 wins and 27 placings in 106 starts and earnings of $247,341. The seven-year-old gelding is by The Pres out of the Monarchy mare Miss Adelade. Watch the replay below: By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

He may not have been the favourite but that did not stop Caveman from claiming last night’s Group 2 Australian Pacing Gold Consolation at harness racing’s home in Western Australia, Gloucester Park. Causing an upset at starting odds of $17 when bursting past the favourite Mirragon around the home turn, Caveman lowered his personal best time by more than three seconds when rating 1:55.4. Trained by Mike Reed and driven by his son Mark, Caveman was positioned behind the leader after beginning from barrier two. The tempo in front was dictated by the second elect Poisedtopounce and in the back straight for the final time Mark Reed steered Caveman into clear running. That move proved costly with the reinsman receiving a 13-day suspension after he checked Valentines Brook in the process. That was Caveman’s 10th win in 24 starts. The four-year-old is by Somebeachsomewhere out of the Art Major mare Our Copper Art. Watch the replay below:   By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

He maybe the second ranked harness racing driver in Western Australia but Chris Voak’s name was in lights at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 32-year-old reinsman won his first Group 2 WASBA Breeders Stakes thanks to quality mare Star Of Diamonds. It was also trainer Barry Howlett’s first success in the feature that inaugurated in 1978. Starting from barrier four, Voak had a plan to go forward and it paid off. Parked three-wide in the early stages, Voak guided Star Of Diamonds to the front where she rolled through the first two quarters in 30.6 and 29.2 seconds. The winning move was when Voak slipped the four-year-old mare more rein to go through the third quarter in 27.3 seconds as the favourite Heavens Showgirl was making her way into the race. A final quarter in 28.9 sealed the deal for Voak and Star Of Diamonds who crossed the line with more than four metres to spare over their rivals. The mile rate of 1:55.2 made it the fastest Breeders Stakes in the past five years. Star Of Diamonds, a daughter of Bettors Delight out of Lombo Mandingo mare Maddy White, extended her record to seven wins and 12 placings in 33 starts and earnings of $112,976. Watch the replay below: By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

Sydney reinsman Gavin Fitzpatrick is starting to build a common theme in his illustrious harness racing career. He seems to be saving his major milestones for feature races. Fitzpatrick brought up 1600 wins at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight when claiming the Australian Pacing Gold Four-Year-Old Consolation with Jay Ok. Trained by his father, Harold Park Living Legend Paul Fitzpatrick, Jay Ok lowered his personal best time by almost two seconds when rating 1:50.7 to claim the $50,000 futurity. Beginning from barrier seven, Fitzpatrick settled Jay Ok three back along the pegs. Noted fast beginner Crunch Time dictated the slick pace in front, rolling through the first two quarters in 27.1 and 29.1 seconds. The third split was 27.4 and Fitzpatrick was able angle Jay Ok into the clear around the home turn, producing a finishing burst in 27 flat to win by more than two metres. Club Menangle Chairman Robert Marshall with stablehand Lucas Rando, Gavin Fitzpatrick and Alicia Flowers following Jay Ok's success. Jay Ok, a son of A Rocknroll Dance out of Sportswriter mare Naevia, extended his record to eight wins in 24 starts and earnings of $91,960. As for Fitzpatrick, who has the nickname ‘Group 1 Gav’, he brought up 1500 wins when successful in the 2018 Breeders Challenge Final at Menangle with Miss Halfpenny, on his birthday. Race replay below: By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

Victorian harness racing trainer David Aiken is no stranger to feature race success at Tabcorp Park Menangle. It is safe to say he knows what it takes to win at the spacious 1400m circuit after claiming some of Australia’s major races there. When it came to his trotting mare Aldebaran Crescent making her debut at Menangle tonight after 37 starts, the daughter was safe under Aiken’s guidance. So much so, the daughter of Majestic Son cruised to an effortless victory in the Group 3 Up And Quick @ Trump Bloodstock La Coocaracha (1609m). Driven by James Rattray, who has won the Inter Dominion and Miracle Mile at Menangle, Aldebaran Crescent raced outside the leader most of the way to rate a personal best 1:56.3. The favourite Monaro Mia missed the start as Aldebaran Crescent worked three-wide before settling outside the leader, Peregrine Phoenix. With the first two quarters clocked in 28.3 and 30.5 seconds, the third quarter of 29.8 secured the victory for Aldebaran Crescent. All she had to do was sprint up the long straight 27.7 to record win number 11. Aiken won the 2014 edition of Menangle’s La Coocaracha with Spidergirl. He has also won some of Australasia’s biggest races there such as the 2017 Miracle Mile with Lennytheshark and the 2016 Len Smith Mile with Hectorjayjay. Aiken had previously made his mark on the trot feature races at Menangle too, winning the Trotters Mile back-to-back in 2019 and 2020 with Big Jack Hammer. According the Australian Harness Racing records tonight’s victory was Aiken’s 2499 training success.   Watch Aldebaran Crescent's La Coocaracha's victory below:   By Amanda Rando for Hanesslink

Award-winning media professional Amanda Rando is the latest addition to the Harnesslink team. Rando has spent the last 15 years covering harness racing across Australasia in various roles. After graduating from her journalism studies in 2006, Rando quickly snapped up a role at the New South Wales Harness Racing Club’s (Club Menangle) publications National Trotguide and Harness Racing Weekly. Rando covered many significant moments in the sport during that time. This included the Equine Influenza outbreak, the sale of Harold Park and the last night of racing there, the development of Tabcorp Park Menangle, Blacks A Fake’s record-breaking Inter Dominion record, Smoken Up becoming the first pacer in the Southern Hemisphere to break a 1:50 mile rate as well as the ‘Green Light Scandal’ to name a few. The five-time Joseph Coulter Media Award winner then gained a position with Harness Racing New South Wales in 2015 as the Racing Liaison Officer before switching roles a year later to become the Media and Communications Manager. Ending that position after spending a year on maternity leave, Rando is excited for her new role as Harnesslink’s Australian correspondent. “I’ve been an avid fan of Harnesslink for many years and have always used it as a reference point throughout my career,” Rando said. “To now be part of that team is very exciting. “I’m looking forward to the new challenge and covering harness racing action Australia-wide, there are so many great stories to tell.” Rando will officially begin with Harnesslink this week.   Harnesslink Media

At just the age of 32 trainer-driver Justin Prentice claimed his second WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. In a race that has been dominated by the powerful Gary Hall Snr stable in recent years, taking out five of the past eight editions, it was Prentice’s first WA Derby as a trainer thanks to his fast-finishing pacer Mighty Ronaldo. Prentice won the WA Derby in 2012 with Im Victorious for trainer Michael Brennan. He was driving the favourite on that occasion but the same cannot be said for the latest edition of the feature. After beginning from barrier two, Prentice and Mighty Ronaldo were pocketed four-back on the pegs. The favourite Jumpingjackmac led from barrier four while the second elect Lavra Joe worked away from his inside second-row-draw to be positioned outside the leader by reinsman Chris Lewis. A slick middle half in quarters of 28.4 and 27.9 seconds was enough to tire some in the running line, giving Prentice room to angle Mighty Ronaldo into the clear heading into the home turn. Clocking the last quarter in a leisurely 29.1 seconds was all Mighty Ronaldo had to do to cause a minor upset at $7 with TAB Fixed Odds in the $200,000 Group 1. Mighty Ronaldo rated 1:56.1 - the fastest mile rate seen since the race was run over the 2536m distance. To watch this race click on this link. Subsequently, that was Mighty Ronaldo’s second Group 1 victory having won the Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park last July. The three-year-old by Alta Christiano’s out of the Bettors Delight mare Millwoods Delight, extended his record to five wins and six placings in 16 starts. This victory has pushed Mighty Ronaldo’s earnings to $270,255 making his the richest progeny of his deceased stallion.   By Amanda Rando for Harnesslink

In 2016 Len Clement set a goal to drive at every harness racing track across New South Wales, Australia, and he did it. Nowadays, the Wagga horseman sticks to racing in the Riverina region, however, will make a special trip to Goulburn this Friday. Clement will make the three-hour journey with just one horse, Jacks Last Hoo Raa (race five). And it is all for the horse’s owner, Jim Webb who has never seen the five-year-old son of River Khan before. Webb was involved in a horrific trackwork accident at Bankstown track in 2015 where he suffered spinal injuries. Shortly after, Clement leased Jacks Last Hoo Raa off Webb. “I knew Jimmy prior to his accident having spoken to him on the phone a few times,” said Clement. “I had a horse called Nunya that I was having problems with and Jimmy called me up because he knew the horse, offered some advice and it worked! “After his accident Jimmy decided to move Jacks Last Hoo Raa onto me. “He thought the horse would be well suited to someone that has plenty of time. “Jimmy has never laid eyes on this horse before and gets a real buzz when one of his horses races. “His family have organised to bring him to Goulburn so he can meet his horse for the first time and that’s why I’m making the special trip. “It was also nice of Goulburn Harness Racing Club to name the race after the Webb family too.” As for Jacks Last Hoo Raa, the gelding has not won a race in over a year. But with a good barrier draw, two, and one of Goulburn’s top reinswomen on board, Amy Day, he has plenty in his favour. “The result is neither here nor there,” said Clement. “It’s all about Jimmy getting to see his horse for the first time and hopefully he gets a thrill out of it. “The horse has been racing better than his form suggests - he raced in a heat of the Riverina Championship two starts ago. “I have full confidence with Amy Day driving, she is one of Goulburn’s best.” Jacks Last Hoo Raa will race at 2:52pm (AEST). AMANDA RANDO | HARNESSLINK  

IT is a day top young driver Cameron Hart will never forget. Winning his first Group 1 in front of his home crowd fulfilled a dream that many drivers never get to experience. Yet, at the age of 22, Hart achieved the feat at Riverina Paceway last Sunday when claiming the Riverina Championship with Techys Angel for trainer Emma Stewart. Watch the race replay click here! “It took a little while to sink in but as I was returning to scale it hit me that I had just won my first Group 1,” said Hart. “It was pretty exciting and I got to do it at Wagga, where I grew up, and in front of all of my family too. “It was definitely one of those special moments I won’t be forgetting.” Riverina Paceway has been significant landmark for Hart. He drove his first Group winner there when claiming the Group 3 Wagga Pacers Cup with Beetson in 2019. Beetson set a track record that day clocking 1:52.9, which ironically was broken by Techys Angel on Sunday when she rated 1:52.2. Not only has Hart held the key to the track records at Riverina Paceway, he also won his first Group 2 race at that track. That was also in 2019 when winning the Breeders Challenge Regional Final with Western Secret, a pacer trained by his Uncle Trevor White. “I’ve had a lot of luck there,” said Hart. Yet despite this fortune at his home track, Hart is used to the “fast-paced lifestyle” of Sydney. He heads to Tabcorp Park Menangle today for seven drives. Hart is the third-top driver at that track behind the likes of Luke McCarthy and Jack Trainor. The reinsman believes he has some strong chances of adding to his record today. “Hopefully the luck continues,” he said. One horse Hart highlighted was three-year-old trotter Alluring Tyron in race three. “Alluring Tyron for Russell Commens is a strong chance,” he said. “She is first up from New Zealand and hasn’t been here long but has trialed well and feels like she has plenty of ability.” Sticking with the trotters, Hart is also keen on the Joe and Mary Rando-trained Sobomba. “I also like Sobomba who should be able to roll to the front,” said Hart. “He is well graded in his race.” Hart’s other drives include Critical Advantage (race one), Hammertime Harley (race six), Island Fire Dance (race eight), Presidentialattack (race nine) and Vinny Chase (race 10). Following last Sunday’s result, Hart extended his record to 427 wins and 776 placings in 3093 drives.   HRNSW MEDIA | AMANDA RANDO

MENANGLE’S leading reinsman Luke McCarthy will not be driving at that track today. Instead, the multiple Group 1 winning McCarthy will be making his way to Riverina Paceway in Wagga Wagga. McCarthy has a number of key drives in the heats of the Four and Five-Year-Old Riverina Championships. With the $100,000 Group 1 Finals to be held at Wagga on Easter Sunday, McCarthy will first test the waters with Muscle Factory. Since making a return from injury, Muscle Factory has remained unbeaten in his last five starts. Trained by Belinda McCarthy, Muscle Factory is owned by Riverina interests. The stable will also be hoping to qualify their Group 1 winning mare No Win No Feed, who will go around in race eight. No Win No Feed ran fourth to Stylish Memphis in the Ladyship Mile last start on February 27. That effort pushed No Win No Feed’s earnings t o $409,420, making her the richest daughter of sire A Rocknroll Dance in the Southern Hemisphere. ‘Team McCarthy’ will also aim to qualify Two Times Bettor in race nine. The former Victorian-trained mare was transferred from Emma Stewart’s stable to Belinda McCarthy’s prior to her last start where she finished seventh to Rocknroll Angel at Menangle on March 26. As for McCarthy he has six drives in total across tonight’s card. With 44 wins to his credit this season, McCarthy has a strike rate of 61 per cent of finishing top three. He added to this statistic when winning the Gold Chalice at Bathurst on Saturday night with Idyllic and third with Silk Cloud in the Gold Tiara. “He had the draw and we had to use it,” McCarthy said following his Group 1 win with Idyllic. “There was a lot of pressure during the race. “Full credit to Clayton (Tonkin) and Emma (Stewart) they have done a super job with him.” Idyllic will have a break before being aimed at the Australian Pacing Gold series in May. It will be the same scenario for the Gold Bracelet winner Anntonia who gave reinsman Jack Trainor his third Group 1 win in a month last Saturday night. Trainor has a drive in seven of the eight races at Menangle today. He is four wins behind McCarthy in the New South Wales Drivers’ Premiership, and has 40 wins to his credit so far this season. Trainor added to this when winning three of the first four races at Bathurst last Saturday night.   HRNSW MEDIA | AMANDA RANDO

THE recipient of Harness Racing NSW’s highest accolade, the Don Clough Award, is Bathurst Chief Executive Danny Dwyer. The Award, given for voluntary contribution to the industry over a sustained period, was fitting considering Dwyer’s commitment to the harness racing industry beyond his role at the Bathurst Club.  His voluntary roles are expansive. Dwyer was the honorary secretary of the Harness Racing Clubs Committee for the past decade and remains the honorary secretary of the Western Districts Association, a position he has held for a longer period.  He is also the HRCC delegate to the Harness Racing Industry Consultation Group and is on the HRNSW Education and Welfare Committee both of which a voluntary.  Another voluntary role Dwyer partakes in is with the group formed to review venue and workplace safety for participants, officials and patrons at racetracks across the state. In presenting the Award HRNSW Board Member Peter Nugent could not speak more highly of Dwyer. “Danny is a leader in our industry who has achieved this distinction purely through his dedication and commitment to our wonderful sport,” Mr Nugent stated. “The hours, days, weeks and years he has contributed to harness racing over such a lengthy period may never be tallied and I am so honoured to make this presentation on behalf of the Board.” In accepting the Don Clough Award recipient Danny Dwyer was humbled by the occasion. “It is an absolute honour to be the recipient of this Award especially as it is named after Don Clough,” said Dwyer.  “Whilst there are so many people, I should thank my wife Dianne and daughters Mel and Sarah for giving me the time and support to contribute to our great industry.” It is also a fact that without Dwyer’s strong relationships with the Bathurst Regional Council and the local Member of Parliament the Hon Paul Toole MP, aspects of the development of Gold Crown Paceway would have been an additional cost to the industry.  The Board of HRNSW would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Danny Dwyer on being the recipient of the Don Clough Award.   HRNSW Media | Amanda Rando

STAN, Nancy and Tony Dumesny operate one of the oldest breeding operations in Australia – Ruby Vale Stud – and have been recognised for their significant contribution to the NSW harness racing breeding sector over a sustained period of time. They are the recipients of the 2021 NSW Outstanding Contribution to Breeding Award. It was in 1912 that the Dumesny family first started in ‘trotting’ at Parkes. Then three decades later in 1943, William Dumesny, Stan’s father, established Ruby Vale Stud where he stood the very first stallion in champion pacer Master Dixie. Stan and Nancy took over the stud operation in 1956 and through a colt purchased in New Zealand named Southern Brigade continued the service to the NSW breeding industry which continues almost eight decades later. Southern Brigade became a leading stallion but at that time the family also purchased a number of fillies and one of those fillies, Lady Tuptin, is officially recognised as a NSW foundation mare. As a school boy Tony joined the operation through necessity when a race accident severely injured his father Stan in the height of the breeding season. It was not uncommon for 400 mares to be on the stud property before the advent of artificial insemination. Ruby Vale Stud has stood 25 stallions, amongst those leading NSW stallions that have sired winners well into the thousands.  Stan, Nancy and Tony have bred winners well into the hundreds and rarely does a week go past when a winner somewhere in NSW was not bred by the family. In presenting the Award to Tony Dumesny HRNSW Board Member Peter Nugent acknowledged the contribution of the Dumesny family at the function in Bathurst. “It is likely that every person in the room tonight has had a Dumesny connected horse,” Nugent said. “There would be very few breeders in the NSW who would have not been assisted by Stan, Nancy or Tony over the past decades. “They are the very foundation of our breeding industry they are a credit to the industry at large.” On accepting the Award on behalf of his parents and himself, Tony was emotional. “To be recognised in the same company as the wonderful people who have been awarded this in the past is recognition in itself,” Tony said. “Without father and mother and the grounding in life they gave me and in turn then being able to give to our industry I would be here to represent them tonight. “I would sincerely like to thank HRNSW for the Award but more so all the breeders across NSW, Queensland and Victoria who have help us over the years.” The Board of Harness Racing New South Wales would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Stan, Nancy and Tony Dumesny on being the recipients of the HRNSW Outstanding Contribution to Breeding Award.   HRNSW Media | Amanda Rando

LOOKING onto his paddocks as the floodwaters continue to submerge his property, Windsor horseman Troy Williams had to act quickly. With close to 20 horses to evacuate from his Grinner Lodge Racing Stables, Williams’ mind scrambled to think of a plan of how to move them. A sick feeling went through his stomach.  He felt helpless. How could he possibly move all his racing stock? And rapidly as water levels continued to rise. It only took a few phone calls that gave Williams some optimism, in this day he would much rather forget. “I’ve lived at my place for more than 10 years and have never seen water like this,” said Williams. “I didn’t know if I was jumping the gun or not but the water continued to rise and I had to do something. “I spoke to Rob Morris and he said to give David Wonson from Club Menangle a call and see if they had any space on track for my horses. “Thankfully David said I could move my horses to the Retention Facility. “Within the hour I had Rob at my place with his float and we took the first load of horses to Menangle.” Working through Sunday night, Williams was able to get 95 per cent of his horses off his property by Monday morning. “You can laugh or you can cry but as long as everyone is safe, that’s all that matters,” said Williams. “In these times it’s amazing the people that come through to help and the amount of phone calls of support there have been . . . there’s a great spirit within the harness racing fraternity. “I slept on my friend’s couch, had dinner at Rob and Kerry’s (KerryAnn Morris) place, everyone has been so accommodating. “The horses are in dry boxes and are happy too.” Fortunately, not only are Williams’ horses safe, some can still fulfil their race commitments at Menangle on Tuesday. Williams has three horses engaged with Iona Grinner in race one, Lord Lohki in race two and last start winner Major Statement in race seven. “I was able to give my horses a run around the Menangle track,” said Williams. “Through all of this, I’m fortunate my horses are not only all safe but also can still race. “It wasn’t that long ago I didn’t know what I was going to do with them.” If all three horses were to win on Tuesday, that would give Williams 50 winners as a trainer.    HRNSW MEDIA | AMANDA RANDO

WINNING post still frames can often be deceiving. Especially when the barest of margins decide the result. But even 20 years on, in an iconic image of the final moment of the 2001 Miracle Mile, there is no doubting who would be crowned as our champion on that memorable night. It’s impossible to miss. Pure joy pouring out. The best of racing captured with the click of a button. Steve Turnbull punching the air and saluting the big Harold Park crowd. Then came the reality. The uncertainty. A split moment that felt like an eternity for the popular reinsman and connections. Had he won? Had his final flurry down Harold Park’s famous straight been enough? A mix of emotions quickly rushed through the Bathurst horseman’s mind as he waited to hear if he had just won the 2001 Miracle Mile with his beloved pacer Smooth Satin. Even race caller Kevin Thompson could see there was not much between Smooth Satin and the race favourite Courage Under Fire.  “Courage Under Fire is in front, Hancock pulls the stick, Smooth Satin is wearing him down,” called Thompson. “Courage Under Fire, Smooth Satin, Smooth Satin I think got him on the line . . . it’s close!  “I’ll give it to Smooth Satin a nose!” As this was broadcasted, out on the track a different conversation was happening. “I gave a big salute and Colin De Filippi turned to me and said ‘did you get it?’ and I turned to him and said I just made a horrible fool of myself if I haven’t,” Turnbull recalled. Smooth Satin was declared the winner by a half-head, giving the then 46-year-old Turnbull the most significant win of his career. “The Miracle Mile is harness racing’s Melbourne Cup, it doesn’t get much better than that and to win it was just unreal,” said Turnbull.  “I was there when Dad won it, I had been around in it before as a driver but not as a trainer as well and it was a big moment for me. “At the time it was an invitational race and only the best six horses in Australasia were asked to be in it.” Turnbull’s father, the legendary Tony Turnbull, won the 1974 Miracle Mile with Hondo Grattan. Yet, even though 2001 was the year Turnbull had the best chance of getting a horse in the ultimate speed test with Smooth Satin quickly climbing the ranks, he thought he missed the opportunity. “I was devastated because I thought I missed out on being invited after he was defeated in the lead-up Sprint the week before,” said Turnbull. “I left the track that night gutted and stressed that I had done the wrong thing by the horse and lost all chance of getting into the Miracle Mile. “By the time we were at the Toll, John Dumesny called to say we have a spot in the field if we want it. “So we went into the Miracle Mile as a bit of an underdog but I always knew Socks would try his best, he always would.” And despite this unfolding two decades ago, Turnbull remembers it like it was yesterday. “I still watch the replay, especially if anybody new comes over I always make them watch Socks win the Miracle Mile,” Turnbull admitted. For good reason too, as it is a week Turnbull will cherish forever. “It was an exciting week and the horse was spot on leading into the race,” Turnbull recalled. “There were security guards on him and a lot of hype. “My bloke had such a quick sprint and I remember Ian Thorn (trainer) telling me Brian Hancock always grabs hold the second quarter, so when it came to the race I let my bloke stride up early because he is better off sitting up front than at the back of the field. “Yulestar came around and we got some cover and the race worked out so well for us. “There was an early burn out of the gate that took it out of some of the early leaders, all working in our favour . . . you couldn’t have scripted it better.” Smooth Satin rated 1:56.9 to claim the then $400,000 feature defeating Courage Under Fire, Yulestar, Shakamaker, Kyms Girl and Holmes DG with five metres separating first to last. He was the 36th horse to win the Miracle Mile and returned the following year to finish a short half-head away in second to Double Identity. This career-defining moment feels like yesterday for Turnbull. The photo of his greatest moment in racing will ensure the memory will never be lost.   HRNSW MEDIA | AMANDA RANDO

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