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All drivers at Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow night will wear black armbands in honour of legendary horseman Graeme Lang, who died after a battle with illness earlier this week. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Chairman Dale Monteith said the industry was deeply saddened to have lost Graeme so soon after his son Gavin’s passing last month. “Graeme and Gavin are legendary figures in harness racing and their loss is being felt by all in our industry. This is an extremely hard time for the family and for all who knew Graeme and Gavin, and I want to extend sincerest condolences on behalf of all at Harness Racing Victoria,” Mr Monteith said. HRV CEO Dayle Brown also issued condolences to the family, adding that HRV would look to officially honour Graeme and Gavin in the future. “We are exploring a number of options to respectfully honour the enormous contribution both Gavin and Graeme have made to harness racing,” Mr Brown said. “I want to pass on sincere condolences to the Lang family during this very difficult time. We will be working with the family to ensure any tribute is in line with their wishes.”   Harness Racing Victoria

Australian harness racing has lost one of the sport's most successful trainers and influential figures, Graeme Lang. 87-year-old Lang had struggled with health issues since late last year, and passed away this morning, less than a month after his son Gavin lost a battle with cancer. Gavin Lang's death brought to an end one of the most successful harness racing father-and-son combinations in the sport, as both had been inducted as Legends of the sport's exclusive Caduceaus Club. In more than 60 years in the sport, Graeme Lang trained 12,395 starters, had 1822 career wins for $10.5 million in stakes. The Wimmera-born son of a farmer and hobby trainer, Graeme Lang was the complete horseman. Preparing his first winner in the 1950s, Graeme Lang went on to become a five-time leading Victorian state trainer and two-time leading Victorian state driver. He was crowned the leading Australian driver in 1979/80 and secured a swag of major awards in the sport through the late 1960s, 70s and 80s. A wily trainer, a skilful driver and an astute farrier, Lang's affinity with the equine cleared the way for an unforgettable ride with talented but erratic square-gaiter Scotch Notch (Scottish Bret-Ada Glenfern (Tarport Kid) in harness racing's golden era in the 1980s. Graeme Lang and Scotch Notch Lang, trained and drove Scotch Notch for most of her career, but it was his fastidious preparation that put the polish on the trotter, who went on to become a Hall-of-Famer. Scotch Notch and Graeme Lang – an unforgettable ride He rated her as "the best squaregaiter produced in Australasia" and few would argue. The dual Inter Dominion champion won 43 races in Australia, four in New Zealand, and a further 18 in a much-anticipated United States campaign. Her resume included five Group Ones for earnings of $670,000. Graeme Lang's love of the sport was passed on to his sons, Gavin and Chris - Chris, as a squaregaiting trainer and driver is unparalleled while the late Gavin Lang was superior to any driver before him in the cart. Known in the sport as "Daddy" Lang, Graeme observed last year that his sons' talents didn't come as a surprise. "Gavin and Chris drive extremely well because they are extremely good horsemen, and why shouldn't they be?" Graeme said. "I remember my mother going crook at me because I would let them drive fast work at home when they were seven or eight years old. Both of them had a lot of experience early on. It is very rare that horses don't do their best for them. They drive the race to suit the horse to start with, and they know when a horse is doing his best and when he's not." The grand-master of harness racing was presented with the Gordon Rothacker Medal on a memorable night at Tabcorp Park Melton in 2013. Lang had a massive influence on the sport for many years and still held a trainer's licence, and competed up until September last year. His last win was, appropriately, a Group race, with square gaiter Save Our Pennys in the E B Cochran Trotters Cup at Ballarat in January last year. E B Cochran Trotters Cup Save Our Pennys had finished fourth in the Inter Dominion trotting final at Melton, only a few months earlier. Farewell to one of the true champions of Harness Racing Graeme Lang. Harnesslink extends its condolences to the Lang family. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

INTER Dominion winner Tiger Tara again showed his vulnerability in sprint racing despite winning the Group 3 Brian Hancock Cup over a mile at Menangle last Saturday night. Dropped back from an easy 2300m Menangle win a week earlier, Tiger Tara worked to the front, dictated the terms and just scrambled home by a half-head. Fellow Inter Dominion finalist Maximan returned from a freshen-up with a ripping second where he was timed to run a 25.8sec last quarter. Tiger Tara’s splits for the mile were 26.9, 30.3, 29.4 and 26.1sec, which showed turning it into a sprint home probably didn’t suit him ideally. Now it’s back to the staying distance for the $500,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup at Melton on February 2 then a Miracle Mile quest. Earlier in the night at Menangle, another two Inter Dominion contestants – My Alpha Rock and Village Witch – ran the quinella in a 1min51.4sec mile. While Paul Court’s Kiwi raider, Hail Christian, made it four wins from just five NSW starts winning in a 1min51.1sec mile in the third event. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ INTER Dominion finalist Spankem sharpened-up for his Chariots Of Fire quest with a slick Ballarat win last Saturday night. Staggeringly, the gelding was able to drop back to race C3/4 class and won accordingly  by 4.3m in a slick 1min53.8sec mile rate for 1710m with Natalie Rasmussen aboard. He goes straight into next Saturday night’s Group 1 4YO Bonanza at Melton against the likes of Im Pats Delight, Ride High and Poster Boy where only the winner gets a Chariots Of Fire invite. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ NSW star trotter Tough Monarch booked a trip back to Melbourne and more Group 1 racing with a sparkling first-up win at Menangle last Saturday night. Rickie Alchin’s gelding, who ran so well through the Inter Dominion series, will head back to Melton to tackle Tornado Valley, Marcoola, Speeding Spur and others in the Group 1 Great Southern Star next Saturday night. He thrashed his rivals when first-up from a short break at Menangle where he trotted 1min58.2sec for 2300m and won by 21.5m. Another major Inter Dominion player, Save Our Pennys, showed he too would be a key Great Southern Star player with an easy Group 2 Cochran Trotters’ Cup win at Bendigo last Saturday night. Making the most of Tornado’s Valley’s absence, Save Our Pennys led throughout for trainer Graeme Lang and driver Gavin Lang to win easily by 5.2m over a gallant Dance Craze, who ran second after being parked, in a 1min59.8sec mile rate for 2200m. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ LEADING Chariots Of Fire contender Ignatius has made the trip from Tasmania to NSW, is back with Jimmy Rattray and will trial at Menangle on Tuesday. Regular trainer Todd Rattray had planned to give the four-year-old a race in his home state before returning to NSW, but a minor “bug” prompted his scratching two weeks ago. Ignatius, who boasts 16 wins from 19 starts, has not raced since a luckless but still slightly disappointing seventh in the Breeders Crown 3YO final at Melton on August 25, last year. “He seems well. We will get through the trial then decide whether he goes to the Hondo Grattan or we wait a week later for the Paleface Adios,” Jimmy Rattray said. The countdown to the $200,000 Group 1 Chariots of Fire at Menangle on February 15 really hots up with the Group 1 4YO Bonanza at Melton next Saturday night. The field will be headed by star Kiwi pair Spankem and Im Pats Delight taking on Emma Stewart’s glamour duo of Ride High and Poster Boy. Crucially, only the winner of the 4YO Bonanza gets a ticket into the Chariots, meaning the others will have to tackle one of the Menangle qualifiers – Hondo Grattan (February 2) or Paleface Adios (February 9). ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ONE of Team Bond’s stellar four-year-old Bettor Aim looks to have Perth’s Nights of Thunder final at his mercy. The former Kiwi son of Bettors Delight smashed the clock with a 1min52.4sec heat win at Gloucester Park last Friday and looks a league above his rivals. Greg Bond thinks Bettor Aim is right up there with his other top four-year-olds, Ana Malak and Mighty Conqueror, and we saw why last Friday. Bettor Aim finished behind Ana Malak in the Golden Nugget. Mighty Conqueror is about to race again and Bond is considering a Sydney raid to try and qualify for the Chariots Of Fire. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ SOUTH Australian pin-up pacer Email Macha scored one of the most important wins of his career when he snared the Wedderburn Cup yesterday (Sunday). The five-year-old gelding worked around to the front and found plenty to post his 26th win from just 29 starts. He’s won six of his eight runs this season. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ANDY Gath hoped an Inter Dominion campaign would take his former Kiwi trotter Kingdom Come to the next level and it seems to have done just that. Kingdom Come ran a string of good races through the series won by stablemate Tornado Valley. Dropping back big time in class at Melton last Friday, Kingdom Come came from a back row draw, sat parked and thrashed his rivals by 19.4m in a 2min0.1sec mile rate for 2240m.     Adam Hamilton

Bendigo Harness Racing Club will turn back racing’s clock as the club stages its Memorial Race Night on Friday night. The BHRC has assembled one of the best lists of master drivers available in Victoria to compete in the Oxley Feed Mills Veteran Drivers Trot, a feature race of $10,000. Combined the veteran drivers have six Inter-Dominion victories as well as Hunter Cups, Breeders Crowns, Oaks, Derbies, Country Cups and just about every other major race feature listed on their career records.  The combined total of winners driven by the 12 competitors is more than 11,000, with Brian Gath heading the group with more than 3300 wins. Longlea-based Gath and dual Inter-Dominion winning driver Jim O'Sullivan, based at Heathcote, are in the star studded line-up at Bendigo.  Melbourne Showgrounds harness racing veterans include dual Inter-Dominion winner Graeme Lang and Hunter Cup winner and driver of more than 1300 winners, Elmore’s Neville Welsh. The wizard of Great Western, Peter Manning, a perpetual state leading trainer who on several occasions topped the national rankings, will don his silks, along with Inter-Dominion winning driver Cliff Powell (Elmore) and well-known Junortoun horsemen Keith Pratt. Recent additions to the “65-year-old veteran ranks” taking their place in the field are Noel Shinn and Ginger Gleeson.  Past winners of the Veteran Drivers Trot Dick Lee and Graeme Whittle are also back chasing further glory, while dual Maryborough Cup-winning driver Bill Spitiri rounds out the field. As a further highlight of the Memorial Race night six races have been named to remember the significant contributions to Bendigo district harness racing of past participants Merv Dillon, Henry McDermott, Ted Manton, Ron Pocock, Les Pratt and Daphne and Ken Pocock. The night will also feature the official opening of the Henry McDermott Collection. This includes the unveiling of a feature wall of memorabilia that documents Henry’s many successes and contributions to harness racing over a long period.  The collection was compiled with the assistance of the McDermott family, who will be on track for the official opening, and will add to the Bendigo club’s considerable history and memorabilia collection. The history and memorabilia room will be open to the public for viewing throughout the night. The combined total of winners driven by the 12 competitors is more than 11,000, with Brian Gath heading the group with more than 3300 wins. Fittingly the Markovina Free For all, in which Interdominion contenders Hector Jay Jay, Yankee Rockstar, Restrepo, Flaming Flutter Stunning Grin and warhorse Smudge Bromac clash, honours Markovina , which was was trained and driven by Gath to victory in the 1978 Interdominion  

Perfect weather conditions complimented a good day of harness racing at Warragul on Monday. Seven events produced keen racing - importantly winners came from both the front and rear of the field across the day, defying the usual trend of on-pace runners being suited on the smaller Warragul circuit. Again, fast times were recorded during the day, highlighting the quality of Warragul's renovated circuit. One trainer particularly happy to win on Monday was Warragul boy Michael Hughes, who prepared Illawong Libby to win the Warragul Downtowner Pace. Hughes has only had the four-year-old mare in his Cranbourne stable for two starts. He explained after the race that he had set Illawong Libby for the Warragul event some four weeks ago. He felt Illawong Libby would be suited by the Warragul track, and that proved the case. She led from barrier one, holding off a late challenge by Readyforreign to score narrowly in a deceptive finish. The five owners of Illawong Libby were delighted with their victory, the mare's third from 24 starts. Former Gippsland trainer Graeme Lang also claimed a victory on Monday's card with Maybellina in the Drouin Signs Trotters Handicap. Lisa Miles donned Lang's famous dark blue silks and drove a well judged race behind Maybellina, which grabbed Slancio close to home to win. Husband and wife Andy and Kate Gath collected a double on the day, courtesy of Lagoon Beach and Qtown Rip Roaring - both horses coming home strongly from off the pace in their victories. Leading combination of trainer Jayne Davies and driver Chris Alford have won more races than most at Warragul over the years, and claimed another victory on the day, this time with Baccarat in the Healers Shack Pace. Hoofnit provided the upset of the day in winning the Don Collins Pace - the longest priced winner of the afternoon at around 10/1. After three racedays in the last six weeks, Warragul now has a break before the traditional Traralgon Pacing Cup program on Monday, June 29.    

Harness Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board Result of the appeal held before the Harness Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on 10 April 2015. Graeme Lang Against a $500 fine imposed by the stewards under Rule 168(1) at the Bendigo meeting on 19 March 2015. Appeal dismissed. HRV RAD Board Panel: Brian Collis QC (Chairman), John Denahy Appellant Representative: Joe Beder HRV Representative: Kylie Harrison TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS RACING AND DISCIPLINARY BOARD BRIAN COLLIS QC, Chairman MR JOHN DENAHY EXTRACT OF PROCEEDINGS GRAEME LANG DECISION FRIDAY 10 APRIL 2015 MS K HARRISON appeared on behalf of the HRV Stewards MR JOE BEDER appeared on his behalf of Mr Lang  The Board has considered the evidence given at the stewards inquiry held on the 19th of March as per the transcript of that inquiry which has been tendered. We’ve considered the video footage of the race and we’ve considered the evidence and submissions this day including the documentary evidence. Mr Graeme Lang is 82 years of age, he has been involved in the harness racing industry for at least 60 years and is held in high esteem in the harness racing industry generally. We’ve been taken to his record since the year 1980 and it has been pointed out that on occasions when he has been charged with dropping his foot from the sulky rest that that has not resulted in any charge of improper driving and the he has been dealt with by way of caution or by way of moderate fines to say the least and in so being dealt obviously the stewards were not satisfied that there was any intentional act in those occurrences. The horse Katmandonny is a horse of moderate performance. In the concluding stages the Board is satisfied that Mr Lang did maintain a balanced posture and whilst maintaining that balanced posture his left foot did come down from the sulky rest. We are not satisfied on the evidence that there was any contact caused to the hind legs of the horse Katmandonny but we are satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the opinion of the stewards that his foot to leave the footrest in those circumstances was improper driving within the meaning of 168(1) of the Australian Rules of Harness Racing was a reasonably held opinion and therefore we dismiss the appeal with the finding of conviction. Further notwithstanding Mr Lang’s long and excellent record as the Board has found that he was guilty of improper driving on this occasion and as the penalty imposed by the stewards was the usual penalty for this offence we dismiss the appeal as to penalty also. Graeme Lang driving Katmandonny - The race in question The Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board (RADB) is established under section 50B of the Racing Act (1958). The RADB is an independent Board established to hear and determine appeals in relation to decisions made under the rules to impose penalties on persons and to hear and determine charges made against persons for serious offences. Harness Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board  

It’s that time of the week as Harnesslink presents another ‘Flashback Friday’, written by multiple award-winning journalist PAUL COURTS. If you have any past champions or magical moments you’d like to relive, contact Paul who will be glad to hear from you…enjoy! Without doubt the greatest trotting mare – and arguably the best trotter – produced on this side of the equator will be honoured at Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow night. One of the most popular programs run at Victoria’s harness racing home, the Melton Plate card also features a squaregaiter’s free-for-all named after a locally-trained superstar of the 1980s - Scotch Notch. Carrying Group Three status, the event has attracted a strong field headed by Group One winning gelding Elegant Image. Impressive in his first-up start for trainer Andy Gath a fortnight ago, the son of S J’s Photo is the one to beat again from barrier six. Being readied for the major trotting events during Summer, Elegant Image’s rivals including classy mare Cold Sister, rising star El Paco and the talented Stoned I Am. With all due respect to each runner, none can be compared to Scotch Notch at this stage of their careers! Foaled in 1977 and something of a genetic freak, Scotch Notch is by American stallion Scottish Bret and is the fourth foal from Ada Glenfern. On paper, and in books of record, there is not a sire or dam within three generations of her pedigree which trotted on the racetrack. Scottish Bret is a pacing bred son of Bret Hanover and the Scottish Pence mare, Scotch Whirl. He sired 14 winners in England and a further 108 Australian winners, of which 10 were squaregaiters. Ada Glenfern is a daughter of Tarport Kid, which is by Direct Rhythm, a world champion of his era, from Adios Betty. Scotch Notch’s maternal family traces back through such pacing lines as Dillon Hall, Adioo Guy and Logan Pointer, which is by the first two-minute pacer, Star Pointer. Unraced as a two-year-old, Scotch Notch had nine starts at three during the 1980/81 season for two wins, three seconds, a third and a bankroll of $8125. Initially trained by Eric Dove, Scotch Notch was fourth on debut at Yarra Glen on April 20, 1981 before registering her maiden victory at her third start. Driven by Dove’s nephew, Stephen, the filly accounted for Leedri Hanover and Yendarra Pride at Wangaratta on May 29. She then finished second behind triple Derby winner, Super Spree in the South Australia Trotters’ Derby after breaking on the home turn. Scotch Notch was then third behind Super Spree and Joanie Toliver in the Victoria Trotters’ Derby at Moonee Valley on July 4 in what was her last run for Dove. Just days before the classic, prominent owner Jim Wong paid $20,000 for the promising, but erratic youngster and quickly transferred his purchased to trainer Graeme Lang, where after a few minor adjustments, Scotch Notch was transformed into a star. “She’d had a few starts and was inclined to gallop, but Eric had a high opinion of her and said she was pretty good,” Lang recalled. “In her runs she had shown plenty of speed in some of her sections and I thought she was worth a try. “When I got her I changed her shoeing and performed a couple of minor changes and then she never stopped improving.” The new connections gained an instant return for their outlay when Scotch Notch won the $7500 Victoria Trotters’ Oaks at Moonee Valley on July 18. Scotch Notch raced in the ‘death seat’ for most of the 2400-metre journey before registering a three-metre win from Downsouth Clare and Joanie Toliver. Her rate of 2:08.6 was 1.3 seconds quicker than Super Spree posted in the Derby. While Lang is listed as the trainer, most of the credit for the Group One success belongs to Dove. “I got her on the Thursday, shod her that night, she was already in the Oaks, so I just kept her in,” Lang declared. Finding Super Spree too good once again, this time in the New South Wales Trotters’ Derby on July 27 when finishing a half-head second, Scotch Notch was then sent for a spell. Scotch Notch raced 13 times the following season for 11 wins, a second and $22,504, placing her third behind Big Jake and Courting Appeal as Australia’s top trotting earners for 1981/82. Making a smooth transition through the grades – winning her last seven starts before being sent to the paddock – Scotch Notch also time trialled at Geelong during the term. The mare stopped the clock in 2:01.4, which was Australia’s fifth fastest mile by a squaregaiter and the second fastest by a mare. Her time was only two-tenths of a second outside Gramel’s record set at Harold Park in 1964. It was Scotch Notch’s five-year-old season which gave true notice of her greatness, with the exciting mare securing the first of her Inter Dominion wins. Continuing her climb to the top upon her return, Scotch Notch was also pitted against the clock twice, with her results outstanding on both occasions. The first was a 1:58.3 mile at Moonee Valley on February 5, which was a record for an aged mare on a five-eighths circuit. Scotch Notch’s time was a tenth of a second inside American mare Speedy Volita’s world mark, and easily bettered Gramel’s long-standing Australian record of 2:01.2. She then claimed another record at Geelong on February 13. In an attempt to beat 1:59.6, the world record for an aged mare on a half-mile track, Scotch Notch stopped the clock in 1:58.6. Only Nevele Pride, which recorded 1:56.8 at Saratoga in 1969, had gone quicker. Scotch Notch was then aimed at the Auckland Inter Dominion in what appeared to be an ambitious goal by Lang. The master horseman proved his judgment was spot on when Scotch Notch beat Jenner by six lengths, with Sir Castleton a neck away third. “The Auckland Inter Dominion was her greatest win as she wasn’t all that comfortable going the other way, so to overcome that was a big effort,” Lang said. “She also broke the track record that night. It really was a super win.” Her Inter Dominion triumph was the first by an Australian-bred trotter in New Zealand, and only the second in 14 editions of the series. Scotch Notch’s success also saw her become the first Aussie trotting mare to break the $100,000 barrier. Returning home, Scotch Notch continued her winning run with another hat-trick, with her triumph in the E B Cochran Cup making her Australia’s richest trotter, breaking Touch Merchant’s mark. Given a well-earned stint in the paddock, Scotch Notch returned for another successful campaign during her six-year-old term, which netted more features and records on both sides of the Tasman. Among those wins was the Dominion Handicap and two Inter Dominion heats, but it was one of her defeats which will long be remembered. Facing the pacers in the prestigious Kilmore Cup, Scotch Notch finished a creditable second in Australia’s richest country cup. Grabbing the lead on the home turn, Scotch Notch was unable to hold out the Bob Knight-trained Distant Thunder, which won by three metres. “I always blame myself for that as I didn’t drive her like the champion she was,” Lang declared. “What I did was treat her like she wasn’t up to those top pacers, but she was. “Then in the end I went too soon and she tired at the finish. I’ve got no doubt if I’d driven her properly she would have won.” Scotch Notch also finished second to Sir Castleton in the Adelaide Inter Dominion. With her season hampered on several occasions by a bowel complaint, Scotch Notch was scratched from the Australasian Trotters’ Championship after the Inter Dominion and sent for a spell. The next season – her last in Australia – Scotch Notch was again the measuring stick for squaregaiters. In her first run as a seven-year-old, Scotch Notch gave pacing mares a 25-metre start and a beating at Moonee Valley when driven by Lang’s son, Gavin. Registering numerous wins during her campaign, Scotch Notch was again set for the Inter Dominion – this time at her home track, Moonee Valley. Archrival Sir Castleton beat her by a metre in the first heat before she won her second qualifier with ease. Scotch Notch and Sir Castleton staged another titanic duel in the $30,000 Final – their seventh during a three-year period. History shows Scotch Notch etched her name in the record books as the first trotter to win two Inter Dominions, with her win over Sir Castleton and Super Spree. A week later, Scotch Notch showed her tremendous versatility when she time-trialled over a mile in 1:55.6 before a crowd in excess of 40,000. The champion covered the quarters in 28.2, 29.5, 28.7 and 29.2 seconds to become the fastest trotting mare in the world. “She was just amazing that night,” Lang said. “At the time Albion Park was the fastest track in Australia and horses would improve two, even three, seconds up there and I always said she could improve a couple of seconds if the time trial was there.” Such was the magnitude of Scotch Notch’s time, it stood until November 2010 when Sundons Gift lowered the mark. Trained by Lang’s son, Chris, Sundons Gift covered the mile in 1:54.3 at Menangle’s 1400-metre super track.  “I can only imagine what she could do around Menangle,” Lang declared. “Not only is it a super track, it is a world apart from Moonee Valley 25 years ago.” Lang then made a shock announcement when he declared Scotch Notch would race in America. “The handicapping here was the catalyst in our decision to send her to America,” Lang said. “She’d won off 60 metres in the Trotting Championship and we knew 70 would be next, then 80 and it was getting too much. “Sending her to America was the best option to prolong her career.” Scotch Notch left the Southern Hemisphere with 47 wins and 18 placings from 74 starts for earnings of $337,365. Much to connection’s dismay, Scotch Notch contracted a virus soon after arriving in the US, which greatly upset her training routine at Mike Gagliardi’s Lakewood Farm in New Jersey. Despite the minor setback, a half-interest in ‘Wonder from Down Under’ was sold just before her first race – where she finished sixth – for $US200,000 to an American breeding syndicate. She raced in the US for two years before being retired to stud at Englishtown, New Jersey. Scotch Notch opened her US account at Garden State Park, New Jersey, on September 23, 1985, when she won a $12,000 Free-For-All, trotting 1:57.2. It was the fastest winning performance by an Australian, or New Zealand-bred trotter, eclipsing the 1:57.6 set by Precocious Land at The Meadowlands in 1983. Scotch Notch then smashed the world trotting mares’ record on a half-mile circuit when she won in 1:58.6 at Yonkers Raceway on October 25. The mare had 16 starts in the US during 1985 for six wins, six seconds and a third, picking up $116,050. As a nine-year-old, Scotch Notch raced 15 times for five wins, five seconds, two thirds and $149,449. Scotch Notch equalled her best time of 1:57.2 at The Meadowlands that year, but sadly tragedy struck when the champion fractured the cannon bone in her near-hind leg. In September, 1986, only six months after her injury, Scotch Notch was on the comeback trail. Following two re-qualifying wins under the American system, the Australian wonder mare scored first-up on September 5 in a record 1:59.3. Disaster struck when the mare suffered another injury towards the end of the year. Three pins were inserted in her leg, with Scotch Notch served by Kentucky Futurity winner, Flak Bait, during her time off. Failing to conceive, Scotch Notch was put back into work, with her 10-year-old campaign resulting in eight wins. “She won more races on half-mile or less tracks breaking two minutes than any other trotter in the world,” Lang said. Retired at the end of the year, Scotch Notch was sold back to Lang and Wong, who promptly returned the champion and her colt foal by Speedy Crown to Australia. Scotch Notch had 60 starts in the United States for 19 wins, 21 placings and earnings of $335,899. This gave her a worldwide record of 134 starts for 66 wins, 29 seconds, 10 thirds and $670,755. Sadly, Scotch Notch had only been home for a few months when she died as a result of a virus. “She actually got salmonella and died because of it,” Lang declared. “We kept her son and he looked to be okay when we broke him in, but he broke his pelvis and a leg in the paddock and never raced, which was unfortunate. “Like I’ve said, there has never been one like her, nor do I think there will be. Her times were sensational on the old tracks. “I’ve got no doubt she would still be as successful if she was racing now.” 'Courtsy' can be contacted via

While Bridport trainer-driver Rohan Hadley remains sidelined from the sulky due to injury his stable continues to produce winners with the help of some good contacts in Victoria. Hadley secured a double at The TOTE Racing centre in Launceston on Sunday night with two horses sent to him by the same owners. Recent stable additions Me Mate Les and the consistent mare Spitfire Rose delivered the goods in fine style. Me Mate Les, driven by James Johnson, having only his third start in Tasmania, ran home strongly to defeat race favourite Major Callum and I've Got Oomph that powered home along the rails in the Charltey Estate Pace over 2200 metres. Spitfire Rose, driven by Rohan Hillier, also put up a strong performance to hold out late challenges from Clamorous and My Greek Mate in the Stakes. It was Spitfire Rose's sixth win since she made her debut for the Hadley stable in July last year. The trainer has also won three races with another mare, Gorgeous An Divine that comes from the same source. Hadley broke his collarbone and a bone in his lower arm in a race fall in Launceston early last month and while the injuries are healing well he is still expected to be out of the sulky for a few more weeks. While waiting to jump back in the cart Hadley is hoping Me Mate Les can add to his winning tally in the coming weeks. “I think there are two or three more wins in him (Me Mate Les) yet,'' Hadley said. “He won only one race in Victoria (at Wangaratta in October 2012).” “Apparently he looked like winning a few more but was unable to go on with it.” “The owners thought he'd had his time over there (Victoria) and Graeme Lang, who trained him, suggested they try him over here.'' Hadley said that Me Mate Les got all the favours last night, enjoying a good run. ``James drove him very well,'' the trainer said. By Peter Staples  

An Introduction From The CEO It has been a week of scorching heat and I thank those participants who have braved the conditions. A reminder of HRV's Heat Policy, which specifies that when temperatures are forecast to be over 38 degrees, trainers may scratch before 8.30am without penalty. HRV has also moved day meetings through the week to earlier timeslots and shifted night meetings back to avoid the hottest part of the day. Stewards at meetings have been monitoring the condition of horses and personnel. Follow HRV on Twitter @HRVnews Premier on the Spot The float carrying 4yo Art Major Colt Arts Professor was involved in a nasty accident on the Ring Road, heading to Yarra Valley (January 16). One of the first on the scene was Premier of Victoria and Minister for Racing Dr Denis Napthine. Dr Napthine, a qualified vet, stopped to render assistance. He reported to HRV that apart from some scratches, the horse was in good condition. Click here for a photo of the Premier inspecting Arts Professor. Wagering - 6 months to December 31 We have now completed the first half of the financial year, so it is opportune to share some of the key indicators. HRV's revenue and stakemoney are dependent totally on wagering on harness racing. Over the past couple of years we have seen a significant shift in the way punters bet on our product. Only as recent as five years ago, the Joint Venture arrangement with Tabcorp was virtually the single source of HRV wagering revenue. The betting with Tabcorp was all 'parimutuel' betting - the traditional form of tote betting. In recent times there has been a material shift away from the parimutuel form of betting. Unfortunately the products increasing in popularity do not provide the higher returns to the industry. Any shift away from parimutuel tote betting to other forms of betting will provide lower marginal returns. These products are: "Fixed Odds" betting with Tabcorp; Corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges. HRV has fought hard to ensure all corporate bookmakers pay a fair return to the industry. Despite the shift to fixed odds (Tabcorp) and the corporates providing a lesser return to the industry than the traditional parimutuel, it is clearly the market responding to punter preference. The diminishing size of parimutuel pools is a concern to HRV. HRV has made representation to Tabcorp to merge the pools with NSW to provide pool size and encourage betting back into the pools. For the six months ended December 2013, some key indicators, compared to the same period in 2012: Revenue from Tabcorp 'Parimutuel' ↓11.9% Revenue from Tabcorp 'Fixed Odds' ↑146.3% Combined Tabcorp Revenue ↓1% Revenue from Corporate Bookmakers ↑50% The Gross Turnover numbers for six months are: Tabcorp Parimutuel $205 million Tabcorp Fixed Odds $55 million Corporates $87 million Our market share of Tabcorp Revenue is slightly up on last year. At the commencement of the year HRV budgeted for a profit of $1.6 million. To the end of December we are not forecasting any material variation to that figure by the end of June. Raising The Standards There are a number of people and groups doing a fantastic job in caring for, and placing horses post their racing career. We remember Kathleen Mullan and 'James' participating in the Garryowen and the horses from the Northern Standardbred Riding Group leading the Bendigo Parade, for example. In particular I draw your attention to the work being done by Nicole Tassone at 'Raising the Standards'. With State Government and HRV support, Nicole is doing a great job giving standardbreds a second chance after their racing career is over. There are some awesome stories of horses being cared for at Raising The Standards and then moving on to another life. I recommend that you 'Like" the Raising the Standards Facebook page or go to to read some of the heart-warming stories. Cranbourne Training Centre David Scott is retiring from his position as Chief Executive at Cranbourne at the end of January. We wish David well in his retirement, particularly in his continued breeding interests. One of David's major legacies will be the establishment of the Cranbourne Training Centre. Attracting joint State Government, HRV and Cranbourne Club funding, the project has proved to be an overwhelming success and a blueprint for future expansion around Victoria. I am pleased to hear that with two new trainers taking up residence late in 2013, the centre is fully occupied. I am equally pleased for David that he can leave knowing that his efforts have been rewarded with a barn full of horses and many winners. Vale Keith McGowan HRV was shocked and saddened at the sudden passing of radio legend and harness racing devotee Keith McGowan. Keith was fanatical about the trots.A prolific breeder and owner, he was a regular attendee at the track, whether it be a feature or regional weekday meeting. His last trotter Simon Tappertit, which he raced in partnership with fellow 3AW legends Ross Stevenson and Tony Leonard, won 14 races. Always one for a quirky horse name, among Keith's other successful horses were Dick Swiveller (14 wins) and Comedy of Eros (15 wins). Keith's highly successful radio career spanned 54 years, the last 21 as host of the 3AW overnight shift. Our condolences to his family, including his son Nathan, HRV's Racing Manager. Barry Garbutt HRV was also saddened to learn of the peaceful passing of Barry Garbutt on New Year's Eve. Barry held a trainer/driver license for many years and was associated with some very good horses - most recently Sunset Invasion. Barry fitted the description "colourful" character - instantly recognisable at Melton with his large cowboy hat and, on big occasions, his pink suit. Milestones Congratulations to Cassandra Troon who drove her first winner in a race at Kilmore on New Year's Day behind Armbro Higgens. She combined with the same horse a week later at the same venue for her second win. I witnessed Tania Ward drive her second winner behind Nuggets brother at Echuca on New Year's Night. I neglected to congratulate her on her first winner as a driver behind What A Fine Fella in June 2013 at Cobram. Rising star Jason Lee drove his 100th winner in late December behind Keayang Starzz at Terang. His cousin Matt Craven is closing in on 500 winners. This week at Kilmore (January 15) Chris Alford added to his milestone when he became the first driver in Australia to driver 100 winners for the season - the 13th quickest century in history. Did You Know? Gordon Rothacker Medallist Graeme Lang drove his first winner since July 2011 when he won on 3yo trotter Maybelina at Tabcorp Park on January 10.

Melton trainer/driver Lance Justice’s 7-Y-0 Christian Cullen/Flying Flo gelding Alchemy showed vast improvement to land the Graeme Lang Free For All for C7 or better class over 2240 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton on Thursday November 21. One of four runners from the Justice stable – the others being Dominus Vobiscum, The Smiler and Because I Can, Alchemy which had been racing in much weaker grade over the past few weeks was sent forward to cross the pole marker Giveusagrim shortly after the start. With a number of more fancied runners making forward moves including Jaccka Clive, Youranut, Mustang Mach and Broadways Best prior to the bell with Youranut first up since July occupying the breeze for the final circuit, leaving Mustang Mach on a limb three wide with Broadways Best on his back and Jaccka Clive one/one after surprisingly handing over the death-seat. Tackled strongly by Youranut on straightening, Alchemy ($16.80) fought back like a caged tiger to gain the day by a head after being momentarily headed in a rate of 1-57 (last half 56.2 – quarter 27.2), with Broadways Best third after peeling wide halfway up the running. Brother John Justice was also a winner on the program, snaring the Reg Cooper Claiming Pace over 2240 metres with $56.80 chance Whodareswins, a 7-Y-0 daughter of Presidential Ball and Mumtaz Mahal who registered her first success since July 2012 when successful at Spreyton (Tasmania). Given a sweet passage from the pole trailing the pacemaker Astral Flight after leading out, Whodareswins in a punishing finish prevailed by half head in 1-58.8 after using the sprint lane to defeat Astral Flight trained by sister Joanne Justice with Brian Gath in the sulky, with Run Forrest close up in third place after racing in the open from the bell. Bendigo’s Matt Gath was in the winners stall when promising Yankee Spider/Kingsford Ado 4-Y-0 mare Ifu Seek Flight greeted the judge in the Gus Underwood Trotters Mobile for T1 & T2 class over 1720 metres in a rate of 2-03.2. Enjoying an easy trip from the pole following the pacemaker Marios Dream, Gath angled Ifu Seek Flight away from the inside on straightening and she finished best to score by 2 metres in advance of Mallee Trapper which raced wide from the bell. Drop Us A Line ran her usual honest race to finish third after trailing the winner and using the sprint lane. Raced by Michael Taranto of Seelite Windows & Doors fame, Ifu Seek Flight has raced 12 times for 4 wins. Rochester  trainer Mark Thompson has an impeccable record when taking a horse to the races and landed the Rob Merola 3-Y-0 Pace over 2240 metres with Total Truth/Karamea Toastime filly Lies. With stable reinsperson Ellen Tormey in the sulky, Lies raced by Mark and wife Sue having her first outing since July, led throughout from the pole, defeating Geoff Webster’s Tuscan Breeze which shadowed her and Phoebe Jack (three back the markers) in a rate of 2-01.5. Parwan part-owner/trainer Jaime Madruga combined with Gavin Lang to snare the Gunbower Cup Sunday Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2240 metres with 5-Y-0 D M Dilinger/Jaja gelding Amazing Kano who can put a run in every so often. Despite racing in the open from gate five outside Discrimination, Amazing Kano surged clear on turning to win by 6.4 metres in 2-00 even over Nimble Jack off a three wide trail last lap on the back of the third placegetter Jasmine Sheffield. Gisborne’s Brendan Said provided a shock winner in 6-Y-0 Jaguar Cam/Meadow Glory mare Dainty Cloud who took out the Lisa Miles Pace for C2 class over 1720 metres in a rate of 1-57.4. Taking advantage of a mares concession, Dainty Cloud was given every opportunity one/one from gate two, with Lance Justice’s Medonc crossing This Is Your Life shortly after the start leaving Our Miss Vivienne in the breeze. Taken into the clear halfway up the running, Dainty Cloud ($42.80) finished too well for a game Our Miss Vivienne, scoring by 1.1 metres, with Medonc third. Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan combined to land the Harness Breeders (Vic) Pace for C1 class over 1720 metres with ultra consistent 4-Y-0 Bettors Delight/Big Time Babe mare Bit Of A Babe, leading all of the way from gate four in accounting for Union Belle (one/two) and Lady Suffragette which raced in the open from the bell. The mile rate 1-57.5. By Len Baker  

The Gordon Rothacker Medal has become the trots night of nights and this year was no different as the sport recognised one of the true champions of the game. Graeme Lang, affectionately known as the doyen of harness racing, was presented with the 2013 Gordon Rothacker Medal on a memorable night at Tabcorp Park Melton. It was no surprise to most involved in the trots when Lang was announced as the winner given his long and illustrious career in the sport. A champion trainer and driver, Lang was accomplished in all facets securing award after award through the late 1960’s and 1970’s into the 1980’s. The five time leading Victorian state trainer and two time leading Victorian state driver was crowned the leading Australian driver in 1979/80. Lang will always be remembered for his topline squaregaiter Scotch Notch who was not only an Inter Dominion Trotting Champion, but also campaigned successfully throughout North America. Lang has had a massive influence on the sport for many years and that includes his family history which has gone from strength to strength with his sons Chris and Gavin dominating their chosen areas. Chris, as a squaregaiting trainer and driver is unparalleled while Gavin has proven superior to any driver before him in the cart. Graeme Lang still remains an active participant in the sport and he proved he still has his eye in as a trainer when he produced Save A Sixpence to win the Group 3 Holmfield last season defeating boom Kiwi filly Habibti. Harness Racing Victoria and the entire trotting fraternity have been lucky to see Graeme in full flight and he is a deserved winner of the 2013 Gordon Rothacker Medal. There were plenty of other winners on the night amongst the Country Clubs and representatives who have worked so tirelessly in the past 12 months. The best Choice Hotels Country Cup meeting went to the Nyah club for their return to racing at the Swan Hill circuit and a hugely successful night which saw a mammoth crowd attend the first Country Cup of the season. Paul Rowse, from the Ballarat club, took out the full-time secretary of the year while at the same time Ballarat were afforded the honour of being the club of the year for those who had conducted over 16 meetings. Bernadette Costantino was the part-time secretary of the year for her diligent work at the Wangaratta track. Kyabram secured the Graduation club of the year for the second time running. Despite having just two meetings per season, the club puts on trials for participants every Sunday morning with their training centre accommodating for up to 50 horses at any one time. Yarra Valley continues to go from strength to strength and the innovative club have been regarded as the club of the year for those who had less than 16 meetings in the past season. Thanks in part to their massive Melbourne Cup Day extravaganza, this year their Oaks day meeting continued the Cup week theme with an excited crowd out at the trots. And that’s where the next award went with Yarra Valley taking out best on-course promotion for their Oaks Day. The club doubled its event attendance in 2012 with an appetizing array of on-course activities, including fashions on the field and free ladies and kids enclosures. Promoting the event with an exhibition at Eastland Shopping Centre over 4 days, the Yarra Valley club is quickly consolidating their Oaks Day meeting as one of the highlights of the local social calendar. The award for the best local media – traditional went to Mildura for their coverage across the Sunraysia Daily, WIN TV and ABC Radio to name a few. Bendigo took out the category for best local media – digital thanks to the advent of their social media platforms and up-to-date website. The Shepparton Club were acknowledged as the best presented in the state thanks to the on-track experience which patrons receive when heading to Quest raceway. Stawell legend Reg Cooper was the winner of the Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs Volunteer Service Award and rightly so after another year of helping the Western Victorian track. Cooper has full-filled many roles including the Club president for 13 years, track supervisor and swabbing attendant. The night couldn’t have been complete without a special commendation to the Horsham club who have had another terrific 12 months and was acknowledged for its high level of professionalism and consistency across all categories. The Pearl Kelly award this season went to Lisa Miles following another terrific year as both trainer and driver. A winner of the 2007 Young Achiever of the Year award, Miles has gone on to win the Vin Knight Medal in 2009 and train a string of Group 1 horses including Villagem. Special mention must also go to distinguish service medal winners in Gus Underwood and Rob Merola. Underwood has been a terrific advocate of the sport in the state’s north as a journalist for a raft of newspapers including the Shepparton News while Merola is most well-known as the managing director of SEW-Eurodrive and as the owner of star pacer Caribbean Blaster. Harness Racing Australia also distributed awards on the night with Mindarie Priddy winning the National Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year and Chris Alford taking out the JD Watts national driver’s award following a brilliant season. Alford was also recognised for his 5000 career wins which came with a flourish at the end of October. Art Major made a thorough clean-sweep of the HRA Stallion awards by taking each and every single category up for offer; that being the Leading Sire of 2YO’s by stakemoney, Leading Sire of 3YO’s by stakemoney, Leading Sire of 2YO’s by Winners, Leading Sire of 3YO’s by Winners and Leading Sire of Winners. The Harness Racing Victoria Media Awards were also presented to the deserving winners. The Best Country Feature went to Raelee Tuckerman – Bendigo Advertiser for her story on retired standardbreds. Best Radio Feature went to Len Baker and the Harness Review team for their interview with Neville Welsh following his Gordon Rothacker Medal win last year. The Best Feature (Print or Internet) went to John Peck for his story on Gavin Lang and his 5000 career victories. Best News Story (Print or Internet) was again taken out by the Bendigo Advertiser, this time Nicole Ferrie for the emotional ‘Tears Flow After Courageous Win’. The full list of award winners is below: Gordon Rothacker Medal Graeme Lang A.V.C.H.R.C Volunteer Service Award Reg Cooper VHRSC Owner of the Year Heather Anderson 2 year old Filly of the Year Mindarie Priddy Sire of the Year Art Major USA JD Watts Award Chris Alford 5000 Winners Presentation Chris Alford HRV Media Award – Best Country Feature Raelee Tuckerman – Bendigo Advertiser HRV Media Award – Best Radio Feature Len Baker HRV Media Award – Best Feature (Print or Internet) John Peck HRV Media Award – Best News Story (Print or Internet) Nicole Ferrie – Bendigo Advertiser Best Local Media Coverage – Traditional Mildura Best Local Media Coverage - Digital Bendigo Special Commendation – local media Horsham Graduation Club & Secretary of the Year Kyabram Best on Course Promotion Yarra Valley Best Presented Track / Venue Shepparton Most Successful Country Cup Meeting Nyah @ Swan Hill Secretary of the Year – 16 Meetings or Less Bernadette Costantino Frank Ryan Memorial Secretary of the Year Paul Rowse Country Club of the Year – 16 Meetings or Less Yarra Valley Country Club of the Year – More than 16 Meetings Ballarat Pearl Kelly Award Lisa Miles Distinguished Service Medal Rob Merola Gus Underwood   Harness Racing Victoria

Veteran Meltonian Graeme Lang took the honours at the Kilmore harness racing meeting held on Monday February 4, taking both trotting events on the program - the Kilmore Country Music Festival 3-Y-0 Trotters Handicap over 2150 metres with Steal A Sixpence and the Kings Insurance Brokers Trotters Mobile (1st Heat) for T1 & T2 class over 2180 metres with Katmandonny.

It was Yarra Valley Pacing Cup Day on Friday December 2, featuring the $25,000 SEW-Eurodrive Yarra Valley Pacing Cup for M0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2650 metres, supplemented by the $15,000 De Bortoli Yarra Valley Trotters Cup for TMO or better class (D-H) over the same harness racing journey.

Chris Lang Jr is one of the new forces to be reckoned with on the Australian harness racing scene, but the talented 25-year-old also wants people to know that he is a public trainer and keen to make a name for himself as an equine conditioner.

One of the most sought after events held in the Western District each harness racing season - The O'Keeffe named in honour of the late Jim O'Keeffe a stalwart of the industry, appears to have lost its status, no doubt to the dismay of the O'Keeffe family.

Further heats of the harness racing Australasian Breeders Crown Series 13 continued at Lord's Raceway Bendigo on Wednesday July 27, with three heats for Three Year Old fillies over 2150 metres taking place. Heat 8 was a blackout for punters, with Graeme and Gavin Lang combining to score with $15.10 chance Livia Degerolstein (Live Or Die/Estelle Bromac).

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