Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 52
1 2 3 4 Next »

After big brother beat the best, Havehorsewilltravel continued his Australian adventure with a third victory from as many attempts and another valued trophy for one of Victoria’s most successful trainer-driver-owner combinations. The five-year-old claimed yesterday’s Central Murray Credit Union Cobram Trotters Cup with an all-the-way win, giving broodmare Winfield Invasion an impressive double after half-brother McLovin won the Aldebaran Park Maori Mile the previous night. The result was a continuation of the extraordinary domination that trainer Andy Gath and reinswoman Kate Gath have had with owner Norm Jenkin, which also includes their star trotting trio Tornado Valley, McLovin and Majestuoso. Havehorsewilltravel arrived with the camp late last year, having won four of 18 starts in New Zealand, and has almost matched that winning record in his new homeland, scoring on debut in a 56-69 rated trot at Ballarat, again in a 70-85 metropolitan-equivalent race at Melton and then in yesterday’s Group 3 long distance standing start. “(McLovin and he) are beautiful horses to work with,” driver Kate Gath told Trots Vision. “They are just a pleasure to handle. We’ve been lucky enough to acquire them thanks to Norm Jenkin … it’s just been a really great ride.” It was smooth sailing at Cobram, which was the first leg of the Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship, which encapsulates the country cups season. From gate two, Havehorsewilltravel stepped briskly from the standing start to comfortably lead, with Well Defined tucked on his back and, initially, no pressure on his outside. Second-favourite Sammy Showdown loomed with a tick over a lap to go to sit in the breeze, but the leader had the answers, getting home in a 28.4-sec last quarter to hold off Well Defined’s late challenge and win by 1.7 metres. “Well Defined had really good standing start form, he’s a pretty dangerous horse to have on your back and the fact that he could do what he did then and hold him off is a pretty good guide that he will probably go places. “I’m not sure how far he will go, but he’s got a bit of strength about him and can also rip off a quick quarter. He’s good from the stand, good from the mobile, so fingers crossed he can do a really good job. I’m sure not before long he will have a chance against the better ones.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Lively Shepparton horsewoman Donna Castles was taken to hospital after a heavy racefall on Monday, but says she'll be "all good to go again soon". Castles, who prepares a big team at Ardmona with partner Doc Wilson, was thrown into the air when another runner got its hoof wedged in her sulky during a scrimmage in race six at the Cobram meeting. "I did have a little sleepover in hospital for a night. They just wanted to keep me under observation because I landed on my back and hit my head," she said. "I felt like I was being flung about like a rag doll. I remember being really worried when my leg got stuck-but thankfully it was only for a split second and I got it free before I got tossed out." Castles was driving chestnut mare Dances in the Peter Enals Cobram Caravans Trot. They were positioned three back the pegs with about 450 metres to go and gave ground slightly before the trailing horse Itsarapt, who was racing fiercely for pint-sized Bec Bartley, put his front foot into the off-side wheel of Castles' sulky. Watch the race replay click here "I knew he was pulling hard and over-racing for Bec, but she was doing her best. His hoof jammed near the stay and I got thrown onto a shaft, then back to the seat, but then hit the shaft again and that was it for me," Castles said. "I really felt at one point that I was being dragged out to the front of Bec's horse, which could have been really bad." The popular reinswoman who is a regular at meetings in the Goulburn Valley region said it was only the second time she had ever been involved in a racefall in her career. "I've been pretty lucky. But I'm okay and hopefully I'll be back at it again soon. We've got two starters in the one race at Maryborough on Friday so fingers crossed I'll be there," she said. The Cobram event was won by father-and-son Steven and Ryan Duffy with four-year-old brown mare Majic Fair (Majestic Son-Clefairy (Extrovert), who has turned it all around this season with five wins and seven placings for over $27,000.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Northern Victorian harness racing is mourning the loss of one of its most dedicated and popular administrators and supporters, with the passing of Bob Watson at the weekend. The popular former Cobram club secretary manager lost his battle with cancer and died on Saturday, aged 80 - 12 months after stepping down from his role. Bob and his wife Marg were the lynchpins of the energetic little club. Bob, who was "local born and bred" and a life member of the club through his previous involvement as a local studmaster, clerk of course and owner, took up the role as secretary manager "when the club was going through a rough patch". He attended the very first Cobram trots meeting in the 1950s with his dad and spent a lifetime around horses. Always "horse mad", over the years Bob was involved in showing and playing polo cross. He was also a harness racing owner, a thoroughbred owner-breeder and held various equine management roles. Bob was stud master at Denison Farm (later Eliza Park Stud) for 28 years and he and his wife Margaret set up a thoroughbred agistment property, Rosewood Park at Tocumwal, which they sold only due to Bob's health concerns. When Bob took on the Cobram secretary's role he was ably supported by Marg, the "administrative powerhouse" of the team. It was a difficult time for the industry and the Cobram club had only a small member base, limited sponsors and some compelling financial challenges. The couple put their considerable energy to work, committing many volunteer hours themselves, cutting unnecessary expenses and finding new members and community sponsors. Bob always credited a dedicated committee for turning around the club's fortunes, getting support and grants to build a four-box trainer's facility on-course, upgrade water and power supplies, improve the drivers' and members' rooms and upgrade the amenities. He was twice recognised at HRV's Premier awards night for his expertise in managing the club - in 2011 as Secretary of the Year (part time) and in 2017-18 as Secretary of the Year. But more than that, Bob and Margaret are known throughout Victoria and southern New South Wales for their passionate support of the sport and its people, well beyond their Cobram harness racing community. The couple's proudest accomplishment, the iconic Cobram Pink Day (a hugely successful breast cancer fundraiser), is held each May, but has been rescheduled for Shepparton in June this year, due to COVID-19. Along the journey, the annual Pink Day has raised more than $158,000 for the McGrath Foundation, and one of its biggest supporters, trainer and reinswoman Donna Castles says this year's 10th anniversary will now take on even more poignancy. "We're all so sad about losing Bob. He was a wonderful man and wonderful for the sport. Nothing was too much trouble, whatever was needed, he and Marg would find a way to get it done," Donna said. "Pink Day was Bob's baby - it was his idea and his and Marg's energy turned it into the event it became. Pink Day was special for every one of the girls involved over the 10 years, and it'll be bigger and better than ever this year because we'll also be doing it for Bob. Bob Watson at 2019 Cobram Pink Day "He'll still be watching us, telling us what we're doing wrong! But we loved him so much and we'll all certainly be missing him." Harnesslink sends it’s condolences to Marg and the Watson family.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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

Victorian harness racing trainer Gary Merkel has tried taking extended breaks from the sport over the years, but each time finds himself back at it again. Merkel is in his early 70s and trains in the Goulburn Valley at Tongala, 50 kms north-west of Shepparton and said he couldn't put a number on the times he has thought the time had come to pull the pin. "I did give it up on two or three occasions and honestly believed that was the end," he said. "We were breeding up to a few years ago and we quit on that - but we kept three racehorses to try and sell, so after around 50 years, here I am, still at it! "But we've made some great friends and the industry has so many lovely people, you get so much enjoyment out of it, so I guess that's what keeps us coming back." But, with a touch of irony, Merkel and his wife Kathy are highly enjoying their involvement at the moment. Bay mare Roslyn Gaye (Artistic Fella-Madam Narryna (Fake Left) has posted impressive wins at Shepparton on August 7 and 18 and this afternoon competes in the $7000 Betta Home Living Pace Final at Cobram. "We've drawn nicely in barrier two and she has led-up in her last five starts so I would think Chris Svanosio, our driver, will adopt the same tactics. If we don't get early pressure, we should be right in the fight," Merkel said. "Last season she had four placings from 14 outings and looked a long way from a win. I decided to try to do what suited her the best in the way of training, so between races she gets interval training - some sprints up the straight, but with not a lot of work. "It seems to be working with her. This season she's had 22 runs for four wins, five seconds and two third placings." The Merkels named the pacer after their daughter Roslyn Gaye, who lives in Brisbane. "Roslyn has been on the sick list in recent times, so her namesake pacer has been giving her a bit of a lift. The other kids up there have also got right behind the horse which is great," Merkel said. Madam Narryna, the dam of Roslyn Gaye, was an outstanding performer winning 12 races (Merkel drove her to eight of these) with 21 placings for nearly $50,000. "She had a whirlwind sprint. Many times, she would come from the back and just overhaul them," Merkel said. As well as Roslyn Gaye, Madam Narryna has left two other winners from four foals - Superband (three wins) and Narryna Jetstar (two). Madam Narryna was the best-performed of nine foals produced by the Merkels' Hilarious Way-sired mare Narryna Way with other winners including Narryna Guy (seven), Narryna Scotch (two) and Narryna Fella (one). "We've had our ups and downs on the farm with breeding horses. We've bred many over the years and you take the good with the bad, but most of the ones we sold ended up winning races," he said. "Back in the day we would also buy some older horses and fiddle around with them and try to improve them, and we had a lot of fun in the 2000s with a Village Jasper mare in Global Village. "She won 10 at tracks like Shepparton, Cobram, and Echuca and had 36 placings. And it's most satisfying when you get a win and people come up and congratulate you. That's one of the best parts." Merkel said his interest in harness racing went back to many years ago when he attended Technical School. "The school was not far from the old Shepparton showgrounds and I used to watch the pacers being trained. Then later my brother left me a horse because he had nowhere to put it," he said. "I was a builder by trade and owned two acres at Kialla where I made a little jog track. I got a copy of 'the green book' on how to train standardbreds, asked friends and listened to others. "We later moved to Tongala on 40 acres, where we are now, and have our own 650m track. I still get up at daylight and if I need to do some fast work, sometimes I will head into the Kyabram track." And as for a retirement date? Merkel said he really hadn't given it much thought lately. "We are equal first with Roslyn Gaye in a Horse of the Year award up here so to clinch that would be nice and I also want to race at Albury again because we have fond memories from years ago when we competed there with a horse named Bill Hickock."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

One of harness racing's most popular administrators, Cobram Harness Racing Club secretary manager Bob Watson, reckons he deserves the chance to ease up. At nearly 80 years of age, the long-serving secretary-manager has handed the reins of the dynamic northern Victorian club to fellow committee member Karen Dwyer. Karen managed her first meeting last week since taking over the role and it marked a significant changing of the guard. Bob has been involved with the Cobram Harness Racing Club for more than 20 years and was a life member when he took up the secretary's role. "Things weren't going along that well for the club at the time - they advertised for a secretary and I was looking for a change and applied, not really thinking I would get it," Bob said. "I loved the sport and loved the club. I'm a local born and bred and have been in the Cobram area all my life - in fact I was at the first trots meeting at Cobram 60 years ago with my dad," he said. "It's been fun, it's had its highs and lows, like everything, but there's never a dull moment and you're dealing with some of the best people you will find and that's where the real rewards are." Bob admits he was always "horse mad", over the years being involved in showing horses, playing polo cross, as a harness racing owner, thoroughbred owner-breeder and various equine management roles. He was stud master at Denison Farm (later Eliza Park Stud) for 28 years and he and his wife Margaret set up and still run a thoroughbred agistment property, Rosewood Park at Tocumwal. Bob, a life-member at Cobram, took up the role at a difficult time for the industry and inherited a club with a small member base, limited sponsors and facing some obvious financial challenges. "I'd always been around horses, the sport and harness racing people. I'd also spent time around the club as the honorary clerk of course for 22 years, so I thought I might be able to help," he said. "I was perhaps a bit more confident that some of the other committee members, but basically we set our sights on living within our means. "That meant a lot of voluntary work, cutting unnecessary expenses and finding new members and community sponsors." The club has been able to build a four-box trainer's facility on-course, upgrade water and power supplies, improve the drivers' and members' rooms and upgrade the amenities. "Most of it was done with grants - but you've got to do the work to win those and that's a big job," Bob said. "Margaret came on board after the first couple of years, and she's terrific at that sort of thing. I was also lucky to have the support of some fantastic committee members and the backing of our community. That engagement is critical and will become even more important in future." Margaret Watson Bob has twice been recognised at HRV's Premier awards night for his expertise in managing the club - in 2011 as Secretary of the Year (part time) and in 2017-18 as Secretary of the Year. But more than that, Bob and Margaret are known throughout Victoria and southern New South Wales for their passionate support of the sport and its people, well beyond their Cobram harness racing community. The couple have been key drivers of initiatives like the club's iconic Pink Day at the races in May (a hugely successful fundraiser for the Jane McGrath Foundation), and Margaret is also the energetic scribe behind the club's lively social media presence on Facebook. "She's not much younger than me, but she knew that social media was a way to reach people in a new way, and she loves writing people's stories," Bob said. "The thing that really gives us a thrill is supporting local people and the battlers. If an underdog wins a race in town, that's what we love and it's great to tell people about it - and people love to read about it." New secretary manager Karen Dwyer comes to the role with a harness racing background, after moving from Bathurst with her horse trainer husband Darrell two years ago. Bob Watson has officially handed the reins at Cobram HRC to Karen Dwyer "I'm definitely there for Karen if she needs me, but I'm not looking over her shoulder - I didn't want anyone looking over my shoulder when I started!" Bob said. "Margaret will still be involved for a while and we won't be leaving the area, because this is home. But when you're nearly 80, there are other things you want to do, and we have daughters in Melbourne, Sydney and in Ireland we'd like to spend some more time with. "It's a new chapter for the club and for us - but it's a fantastic club and a great industry and I hope we're still getting stronger and continuing to progress well into the future." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Cobram might be just another small Victorian town perched on the banks of the Murray River, but when it comes to harness racing, particularly with a special cause attached, it stands mighty tall. And this is particularly so in regard to the annual Pink Day for Breast Cancer. Thanks again to enthusiastic club administrators Marg and Bob Watson and a band of hard and willing workers and supporters, last Sunday's meeting was perhaps the most successful ever held. One of the biggest crowds attended for the ninth Pink Day, while money raised to go toward the McGrath Foundation Breast Care nurses is expected to be an all-time record. The Watsons are passionate beyond belief for the cause and Marg said they were thrilled this year's tally was slightly above last year's $27,000 with donations continuing to come in. Along the journey, the annual Pink Day has now raised more than $158,000. From the owners, trainers and drivers of the more than 100 horses engaged at the meeting, to the hundreds of community-members who attended, Marg said everyone came in the right spirit. "People made a special effort to wear pink," she said. "One woman told me that pink just wasn't one of her favorite colors, but she was wearing it right or wrong for the day. "Pam Wilson's a pretty well-known trotting person from around here, and she had nothing pink in her wardrobe, so she went out and bought something. "And then there was a group of our civic leaders who all had pink ties and bought pink ribbons as well. The fund-raising hoodies that we sold in the leadup to the meeting were also on display." A ceremony which involved the lighting of candles and releasing of 60 pink balloons raised awareness and gave people a moment to reflect on the Cobram Pink Day theme. More than 20 sponsors got behind the Cobram special meeting with prizes including a five-day Gold Coast holiday, a $3000 holiday voucher and $1400 worth of Visa vouchers. Harness racing people didn't miss out either with Carbine Chemicals and Hygain products presented to trainers in each of the 10-race program. There was also a lucky trainer's draw for two sets of Hyland colors and an encouragement award for 14 days at Harkaway horse water walker. Special sulky dust-sheets, with the Pink Day theme, were also handed out to many trainers. "It's quite possible that no-one went home empty handed," quipped Marg. "But even if they did, they would have had a great day. It was just fantastic and had such a great feeling." And on somewhat of a humorous side, winning trainer of the Invitation Ladies Drivers' Race, Wayne Anderson (My Magic Merlin, driven by Kima Frenning) left his trophy behind as well as a $100 voucher he won in a raffle draw! "Wayne was just over the moon with his success," Marg said. "It was so beautiful to see him with so much passion and excitement. "Another popular win was Donna Castles who took out the Cobram Lions Club Pace with six-year-old mare Castafiore." After showing gate speed, Castafiore (Tintin In America-Our Girl Claire (Jeremy Lovell), a 25/1 chance completely ignored in betting, was impressive with an easy win over the short 1670m trip. Sky Racing Presenter Britney Graham presented the Cobram Lions Club trophy to winning driver Donna Castles Donna is coming up to three years cancer-free after undergoing treatment and is one of the most dedicated workers behind the scenes for Cobram Pink Day. There was talent galore in the $10,000 Invitation Lady Drivers Race   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness racing hobby trainer Wayne Anderson admits he couldn't hide his excitement when he watched his horse win the feature event at Cobram's annual Pink Day for Breast Cancer on Sunday. "It was my biggest win in nearly 40 years in the sport - gee it was a huge thrill and I know I was cheering at the top of my voice all the way down the straight," he said. Four-year-old bay gelding My Magic Merlin (Mach Three-Making Magic (Fake Left) showed great tenacity to take out the Paul Roberts Jewellers Invitation Lady Drivers Pace at bolter's odds of 20/1. "We haven't had him all that long, but he's shown he can do it tough," Anderson, who is based at Barnawartha, a small town in north-east Victoria, said. "Over the years we've had some nice horses that could work the clock down, but his trackwork leading up to Cobram was unbelieveable. "There were a few sheep grazing close to our track one day and he just got all cranky and nearly bolted. But he felt so good! "I spoke with (driver) Kima Frenning before the race and we decided our best chance was to make it into a staying race." And the bold plan paid dividends as My Magic Merlin was able to outstay Vena May (Lisa Miles) who was sent out a hot $1.20 favorite. Vena May took control from early leader Sheer Modern (Bec Bartley) and rolled along at a reasonable clip. Frenning speared through from the back row to be one-out and two-back, but soon pulled out confidently and moved to outside the leader. The top two raced head-and-head over the final stages with My Magic Merlin getting in front 50 metres from the wire to land a huge upset. Race Replay COBRAM Sunday Race 6 Frenning said she loved getting the win for the passionate harness racing family. "The whole Anderson family was very excited - they love their horses and that's what it's all about," she said. "I'd watched a few of the horse's race videos and Wayne was correct because the horse was more tough than speedy. "The win was a bonus because I was just so glad to be part of the special day." Cobram has certainly been a happy hunting ground for the 27-year-old former Monte rider, who originally came to Australia on a three-month backpacking holiday to get away from another cold Swedish winter. Kima Frenning                                   --Cobram HRC photo The popular horsewoman has won the past two previous Cobram Cups with Im The Boss and Buster Brady. "Yes, I do seem to have much success at the track, but I enjoy it, and the people are just great," Frenning said. My Magic Merlin was purchased by the Anderson clan about three months ago from the strong Grant Dixon stable, at Mount Tamborine, in the Hinterland overlooking the famous Gold Coast in Queensland. Dam of the pacer, Making Magic, was a consistent racemare with 15 wins and 22 placings for over $130,000 when prepared by Dixon's father Bill, during the 2008-11 seasons. Macheasy, a full brother to My Magic Merlin, is a C9 class gelding with 14 wins and 19 placings for $75,000, trained by Grant. Anderson said he believed a change in feed and a different workload had helped My Magic Merlin to hit top form. "If he can keep on improving, I might just see a dream come true and aim at a Melton race in Melbourne," he said. "That would be special, and even better if our son Chris could drive him."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

When the surrounds of the Cobram harness racing track are a sea of pink this Sunday, no one will be happier than one of the dynamos driving the success of this now-iconic day. She doesn't look for accolades or pats on the back - as with all things she tackles, Donna Castles just jumps in and gets things done! But the annual Cobram Pink Day has now raised more than $130,000 for the Jane McGrath Foundation and you have to wonder where Donna gets her passion and energy. "I originally jumped on board as a driver in 2016 and I also gave the Cobram guys a bit of a hand with things - but it was actually while we were working on that race day that I was diagnosed with breast cancer myself," Donna said. "I was lucky to be diagnosed when I was, but like everyone when it happens, I really didn't have time for it. I had a 13-year-old daughter, I had 20 horses in work. It wasn't that convenient!" she remembers. "I didn't tell too many people and I just got on with getting the chemotherapy and radiation treatment and doing my best. "I got pretty sick at times, but I couldn't let myself just sit around, so as much as I could, I kept things together, going to the trots - wearing hats!" Donna Castles     - HRV photo Now in its ninth year, Donna's experience was one of the catalysts that's pushed the Cobram Pink Day to the next level. It raised $12,000 in 2016, $18,000 in 2017 and, last year, $27,000 for the McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurses. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their life, and McGrath Foundation nurses help individuals and their families with free physical, psychological and emotional support. The energetic Cobram Harness Racing Club administrators Marg and Bob Watson are the backbone of the Pink Day success, along with the enthusiasm of the invited drivers and Nikita Ross at HRV. Donna said as difficult as the diagnosis and treatment were, it gave her a new perspective on life - and on the Pink Day. "The thing is, it happens, you can't do anything about it, you just have to soldier on. But when it happens, it does change you and I don't think a lot of people realise how precious life is until that moment," she said. "I think it's really just one of those things that, in some way, breast cancer seems to touch everyone. If you're lucky enough not to have had to deal with it yourself, you know someone close to you who has. It's just amazing how much support people are prepared to give for that reason." Coming up to three years cancer-free, Donna is more energised than ever about Cobram Pink Day. Invited reinswomen (Ellen Bartley, Rebecca Bartley, Juanita Breen, Monique Burnett, Rita Burnett, Donna Castles, Laura Crossland, Kima Frenning, Lisa Miles, Ellen Tormey, Abbey Turnbull and Tania Ward) will contest the $10,000 Paul Roberts Jewellers Jane McGrath Foundation Invitational on Sunday. Monique Burnett and Ellen Tormey have been two of the invited drivers wearing the pink pants throughout May --photo courtesy Cobram HRC   With the support of HRV, they've been wearing the eye-catching pink pants throughout the month of May to promote the fundraiser. "It creates a bit of interest, a bit of discussion about why they're wearing pink, and the girls have been amazing in selling raffle tickets and promoting the cause," Donna said. This year the raffle prize is a $3000 holiday voucher plus luggage for first (2nd a $1000 Visa voucher, 3rd $500 Visa voucher, 4th-7th $100 Visa vouchers), but the club has previously raffled a car, a sulky and a "roomful" of donated items. Each year the energetic team draws new supporters into the fold and this year has assembled a massive list of more than 20 major sponsors. "We decided to go with something this year that everyone could use - a travel voucher is fantastic because it doesn't matter whether you want to go to Queensland or overseas, it's a great prize," Donna said. The festival atmosphere of the Cobram Pink Day (this year with a mechanical bull, kids entertainment and a lucky gate prize of a five-day holiday at Ashmore Village in Queensland) has established the event as a favorite with trainers, owners and the community. "The thing with harness racing is that when something goes wrong for someone in the sport, and we've seen it time and time again, people embrace it and offer support them and give a hand when they need it," Donna said. "It's the same with this - we've barely had anyone turn us down for support because everyone feels that connection. "In harness racing, we're all in the same house but we live in different rooms. We're competitors, but harness racing people pull together and that's the fabulous thing about Pink Day and being involved with it. I love it." Six trainers in every race at Cobram on Sunday will receive Carbine Chemicals Products or Hygain products and in the ladies' invitational every trainer will receive Carbine Chemical product and a Hygain showbag. A lucky trainer's draw with a set of Hyland colors is also on offer, along with a trainers' encouragement award for 14 days at Harkaway horse water walker.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The winners will be many at Cobram this Sunday when the spoils of the fundraising day will benefit a great cause but also reward those putting on the show. Cobram Harness Racing Club's annual Pink Day, which raises money for and awareness of the McGrath Foundation, will have plenty of prizes to help race goers, the charity minded and participants to get into the Pink Day spirit. This year’s major fundraiser is once again a raffle, with tickets sold to win the major prize of a $3000 travel toucher thanks to Flightcentre Marketplace Shepparton as well as luggage valued at $1000. Minor prizes of $1000, $500 and $100 Visa Gift Cards will also be drawn. There will be a lucky entry draw with all on-course patrons having the chance to win a Gold Coast accommodation package valued at $1600 donated by Ashmore Palms Holiday Village, as well as $200 holiday package vouchers. Trainers will have plenty of reasons to nominate their horses for the meeting with six trainers in each race being drawn throughout the day to take home products thanks to Carbine Chemicals and Hygain, as well as a lucky trainers draw for the chance to win a set of Hyland Colours. The feature race on the card is the Paul Roberts Jewellers Invitation Lady Drivers Pace. The $10,000 C1 class event will see horses randomly allocated to the following drivers: Ellen Bartley, Rebecca Bartley, Juanita Breen, Monique Burnett, Rita Burnett, Donna Castles, Laura Crossland, Kima Frenning, Lisa Miles, Ellen Tormey, Abbey Turnbull and Tania Ward. All trainers with a starter in this race will receive a Carbine Chemicals product and a Hygain-Mitavite showbag, with the winning trainer also taking home a new set of hopples donated by Trot Pace, as well as further prizes for the runners up.   Last year’s fundraising efforts raised more than $27,000 for the McGrath Foundation, which assists in placing breast care nurses in country areas, with organisers hoping to raise a similar amount for the charity once again. Raffle tickets can be purchased from any of the female drivers competing in the race or by contacting the club on 0409 401 189. Nominations for the race day close at noon tomorrow. For race day details click here.   Trots Media

Cobram Harness Racing Club’s amazing Community Pink Ladies Day fundraiser is on again in May – but if you’d like one of this year’s unique promotional hoodies, the time to order is now! The energetic northern Victorian Club has raised an incredible $130,000 for charity in the 10 years since the McGrath Foundation fundraiser began. Organisers have drummed up huge community and sponsorship support and have turned the Paul Roberts Jewellers Ladies Invitational race day (this year on May 26) into one of the most popular on the region’s racing calendar. “It started because, at the time, there seemed to be a lot of people being affected by cancer, including people in harness racing, so we thought we should do something,” explained Cobram Harness Racing Club’s Margaret Watson. “It started with a fundraising dinner and raffle and it went on to become an annual event that raised about five or six thousand dollars each time with fundraising on the day and by selling raffle tickets,” she said. But Margaret said the event took on a life of its own when the invited female drivers stepped in, led by the tireless Donna Castles, about five years ago. “Donna told us it’s the drivers who get all the accolades on the day, ‘so it’s about time we got on board’ properly,” Margaret said. “That year they donated their driving fees to the McGrath Foundation.  The next year they decided to run a huge raffle and rallied around to get more than 20 prizes from sponsors,” she said. “The following year they raffled a sulky, last year they raffled a car, which was a huge effort, and this year they are doing a $3000 travel voucher and seven voucher prizes. “With their support the whole thing has taken off.” Anyone wanting raffle tickets can buy them from any of the invited female drivers up until the raceday. In addition, the girls have organised eye-catching hoodies to promote the event and to acknowledge the involvement of sponsors.  They’re $50 each, but orders and payment must be made by next Friday March 29 to either Donna Castles (0417 003 376), Juanita Breen (0418 565 310) or Margaret and Bob Watson at Cobram HRC (0409 401 189). The Sunday raceday on May 26 begins with a candle-lighting ceremony in memory of those who have lost their lives to breast cancer and in support of those being affected by the disease. The event has become a popular community and ladies’ day at the races, with everyone invited to add a touch of pink to their outfits.  “We’re thrilled that HRV has come on board this year so we can offer $10,000 in stakes for the invitation race, and hopefully that will give us full fields and a great day’s racing,” Margaret said. The female drivers on the day will be unmissable in their bright pink driver’s pants and invited drivers are: Donna Castles; Rebecca Bartley; Ellen Bartley; Juanita Breen; Monique Burnett; Rita Burnett; Laura Crossland; Kima Frenning; Abbey Turnbull; Tania Ward, Ellen Tormey; Lisa Miles and; Kylie Sugars.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

This weekend's Bendigo and Cobram country cups double-header also looms as a big chance for  Yabby Dam Farms' trotting hopefuls to step out and step up, says trainer Anton Golino. Before San Carlo battles with the likes of Let It Ride in the PETstock Bendigo Pacing Cup, trotter Dance Craze will attempt to reaffirm her top line talent against TAB Inter Dominon champion Tornado Valley and ID18 front runners Save Our Pennys and Kyvalley Blur. Saturday night's Aldebaran Park 2019 Maori Mile has drawn a field fitting of its Group 1 billing and Golino said he was looking forward to Dance Craze - a winner of 14 of her 22 starts - shaping up against the best. "She's been a good horse from day one, her record shows that obviously, but she's got to the stage now where she has got to step up against the better ones," Golino told Trots Talk. "We gave her one look a couple of months ago at Melton against the better ones and she was really good, she was second to Tornado Valley and a bit unlucky. Saturday night's a chance for her to have a crack at them." A five-year-old by Muscle Hill out of La Coocaracha, a five-time Group 1 winning mare, Dance Craze will start from gate five, directly inside Andy and Kate Gath's formiddable Tornado Valley. "I think it's a very open race," Golino said. "Obviously Tornado Valley was great through the Inter Dominion series, but in saying that it's a horse race and anything can happen. "There are probably two or three really good chances outside of him - Kyvalley Blur on his day is brilliant, Save Our Pennys has been in great form too, it's going to be a good race." The good racing will then continue on Sunday when the Trots Country Cups Championship rolls to the south of the Murray River's banks for the Jim Phillips Memorial Cobram Pacing Cup and the Central Murray Credit Union Cobram Trotters Cup. The latter includes Yabby Dam Farms pair Egee Money (gate 1) and Destinee Jenilou (10m), who step out for the first time since their Maryborough Trotters Cup quinella on December 21. "Both being French bred mares they seem to race really well over the longer distance," Golino said. "We have sort of been on the back foot with them, coming down here they have to acclimatise and are obviously six months behind in their birth age. We haven't raced them as young horses, but they are five or six-year-olds now and we are starting to throw them in the deep end a little. "I was rapt in the Maryborough Cup, we quinealled it and hopefully can get a similair result at Cobden." The great racing will be complemented by a host of fantastic off-track activities at both clubs.   Michael Howard

THE harness racing industry is mourning the loss of Grenfell horseman Neville Condon who passed away last Thursday after battling a long illness, aged 80. A well respected horseman amongst his peers, Neville was a shearer by trade while also training and driving horses. Neville shared many victories during his time in harness racing and not even age could stop ‘Nev’ as at 80-years-old he was still training and driving winners. His last winner was Replaced Eye at Bathurst last October. “Neville was a mainstay of the industry in his halcyon years,” Harness Racing New South Wales chief executive John Dumesny said. “When he produced a horse at the races it was respected by his peers and the punting public alike. “Reschs Lad, Irish To Win and many others were prepared by the master horseman. “What’s more, Neville Condon was the consummate gentleman both on and off the track.”  A funeral service for Neville will be held at Grenfell Cemetery on Wednesday May 30 at 11.30am. Neville’s family have invited drivers of the harness racing community to wear their racing colours to the service. The Board and Management of HRNSW extend their sincere condolences to Neville’s wife Margaret, children Kevin, Maree and Leigh, his family and many friends. Amanda Rando HRNSW

Cobram Harness Racing Club’s meeting earlier this month belonged to Samantha Govers, who drove her first winner within an hour of her first drive in a race. In what was a family affair, the Invergordon driver, 22, saluted on Ramblenroller, trained by her father Stuart for her grandfather and renowned horseman Max Govers, in the Hygain Pace. Govers had her first drive in the previous race when she partnered Wheresyareallybeen to sixth place. The day was a special one for Gillieston trainer Russell Thomson when Graciella Pinevale, piloted by Rebecca Bartley, backed up her win at Bendigo the previous week in the Jim Canny Memorial Trotters Handicap to chalk up two successive wins after 23 attempts. It’s All Business brought a smile to the face of Kennington trainer Shaun McNaulty when the two-year-old colt reined by Michelle Phillips in just his second outing saluted in an impressive pillar to post performance, stopping the clock at 1:58.9 in the Ken and Marjory Wadeson two-year-old pace. Merrigum trainer/driver Simon Turnbull piloted six-year-old mare Rosa First to her second career win in the Hyland Sportswear Pace to the delight of patrons on a day when only five of the 10 favourites saluted. A breathtaking photo finish in the Katunga Lucerne Mill Pace between interstate visitors saw five-year-old mare Ginas Gold, superbly reined by Blake Jones, break through for its first win under Coleambally trainer Ellen Bartley, snatching the money from the Albury-trained five-year-old mare Silver Jolt. Nathan Jack was in red hot form, saluting for Kyabram trainer Bruce Rose with Threepeat in 1:57.2, the fastest mile rate for the meeting. Scotlynn Beach NZ, trained and driven by Jack, cruised home after sitting in the death for 1400m of the 2170m journey to deliver the Lemnos horseman a driving double. The VHRSC Pace saw Congupna’s Scott Stewart upset the quaddie punters when he reined Alpe De Huez to a brilliant pillar to post win, running second-placed Flight Officer, driven by Monique Burnett, and punters choice Cruz NZ, reined by Luke Tabone, ragged in the run home to the judge. It was a breakthrough performance for the five-year-old gelding, having run three seconds in his previous five starts. Tabone made amends in the next race on the program when he saluted with Better Than That NZ in a thrilling photo finish with David Miles four-year-old mare Six Elements. The last of the day, the AAA Woolbuyers three-year-old pace, completed a successful afternoon for the northern Victorian trainers when the Steven Duffy-trained and reined Rothko, owned by Shepparton board member Owen Flynn and his wife Chris, were able to hold sway over the Craig Turnbull-trained La Player. Cobram Harness Racing is indebted to Greg Wadeson, Jan Canny and AAA Woolbuyers, who continue to generously support the club with trophies for their respective races. The club now turns its energies to organising the Community Pink Ladies Day at the trots on June 3. The event will be a charity meeting to support the McGrath Foundation and the valued work of the breast care nurses in regional Australia. by Courier Cobram Reprinted with permission of The Shepparton News

Cobram and District Harness Racing Club past presidents and stalwarts were honoured at the club’s meeting last week on a day when a long-standing record fell. Horses sizzled on the track and master horseman David Aiken gave the young guns a lesson in driving, proving experience can not be disregarded. Renowned as one of the fastest tracks in Victoria and southern NSW, full credit must go to track curator David Kennedy and his race day team. The prestigious $25000 George Croxford Tribute didn’t disappoint, with elder statesman Aiken, who is rarely seen in the sulky these days, taking on the emerging young star reinsmen in the cart behind three-year-old Higherthananeagle and running the rest of the field ‘ragged’ as they raced away to break the 2010 track record for the 2170m by three-tenths of a second. Damian Wilson snatched the driving honours for the day, scoring a double after reining the Albury mare Ismaha to a thrilling win in the Tom Stillard Memorial Pace. The four-year-old mare now heads the club’s 2017-18 Horse of the Year Premiership after chalking up three successive wins at Cobram in the past four weeks. Aileen Williams was trackside to present the trophy in memory of her uncle, Tom Stillard, a young man who was the fledgling club’s inaugural leader for 16 years until his untimely passing and is credited with being instrumental in forming the club more than 60 years ago. On a day when only two of the favourites delivered, Bensonfire set the tone for the meeting in the Jim Cox Memorial Pace, the first on the program. The longshot broke the drought for patient Invergordon trainer Stuart Govers The next race meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 19. Meanwhile, the course is undergoing a facelift, with new concrete paths being laid from the entrance to the TAB shed, dining room and the administration block, while new carpet is being laid in the members’ room and the drivers’ rooms floors will be spray paved. By Courier Cobram Reprinted with permission of The Riverine Herald

Cobram Harness Racing Club’s cup meeting on Sunday nearly never went ahead. The meeting was in doubt until 30 minutes before the first race when the Harness Racing Victoria vet, who was tossing up due to the industry’s heat policy, finally gave the green light for it to proceed. ‘‘It was really touch and go,’’ club secretary Bob Watson said. ‘‘Most of the crowd was there by then and I was wondering just how we were going to tell everyone it had been called off.’’ Watson said the temperature, which nudged into the 40s, had an impact on crowd numbers, but conceded the weather was something the club could not control. ‘‘From what we were expecting, the crowd was disappointing really,’’ he said. Watson said being so hot on the Saturday had also impacted on crowd numbers. ‘‘We had umbrella packages, which had been purchased mainly by older people who cancelled because of the heat,’’ he said. But Watson said all things considered, the meeting was still voted a success, particularly the racing side of it. ‘‘There was some really keen racing,’’ he said. Watson said the club’s decision to break from recent tradition and stage its cup meeting in January in preference to a date between Boxing Day and New Year would still apply next year. The club decided on the change of date after Watson had surveyed local motels, hotels and park owners, who indicated busier times for their businesses were in January after the Christmas-New Year break. ‘‘We are certainly looking to give it another try next year and see what happens. Hopefully the weather will be more suitable,’’ he said. One glitch encountered during the meeting was the failure of on-course broadcaster Dan Mielicki’s call of the cup for Sky Channel. The Sky Channel vehicle at the meeting encountered technical problems just before the cup was run and the host at the Sky Channel studios had to take up the call and did an admirable job in trying circumstances. But Mielicki’s on-course call was not affected. Reprinted with permission of The Shepparton News

1 to 16 of 52
1 2 3 4 Next »