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It has been a perfect start to life in Australia for one of Harkness trainer Joe Pace's latest stable acquisitions, Doubtless Bay. The lightly-raced son of Bettors Delight had five winless starts in New Zealand for Tony Herlihy before being bought by Pace, who quickly broke the maiden tag with a front-running triumph at Maryborough on February 22. But it was the horse's big effort in the Golf House Hotel Pace at Ballarat on March 4 which caught the eye enough to warrant the focus of this week's Time Is Money column. After drifting towards the tail of the field from the wide back row draw, Pace sent the four-year-old three-deep into the back straight the final time. The horse tracked up Exalted Figure until the home straight and then flattened out for a sprint to the line. It took until the shadows of the post to find the front, but he eventually did to win by a half head. Keeping in mind he was three-wide, Doubtless Bay recorded by far the quickest last 800m sectional of the Ballarat meeting (55.75sec) and also the fifth fastest final 400m (27.63sec). Pace said there was plenty of upside with the horse - who still does a few things wrong in his races - and is clearly excited by what might be in store. "He's got what every trainer wants in a horse. He's got the gate speed, he can lead, he can sit and sprint and it doesn't matter what tempo they are going," Pace said. "At home when I work him with Rock N Roll Chapel and Forty Thieves - better horses - he's absolutely cruising and when I come off their back he just goes ‘whooshka’, straight past them. "I do say to myself: 'This horse just feels a million dollars'. But he's got to show me on the racetrack and not at home." THE NUMBERS DOUBTLESS BAY GOLF HOUSE HOTEL PACE (2200m) - 1st LEAD TIME: 46.05sec LAST MILE: 1:57.35min LAST 800m: 55.75sec LAST 400m: 27.63sec   WHERE TO NEXT? Doubtless Bay will head back to Bray Raceway at Ballarat on March 18.   FASTEST FIVE BALLARAT, MARCH 4 LAST 400m TWISTED BLISS 27.22sec - 3rd TOMAS GRACA TENNIS 3YO PACE ORCHID STRIDE 27.33sec - 1st TOMAS GRACA TENNIS 3YO PACE MADAZALWAYS 27.56sec - 2nd ROB BENOIT TENNIS CLAIMING PACE AHA REACTION 27.60sec - 1st ROB BENOIT TENNIS CLAIMING PACE DOUBTLESS BAY 27.63sec - 1st GOLF HOUSE HOTEL PACE   LAST 800m DOUBTLESS BAY 55.75sec - 1st GOLF HOUSE HOTEL PACE TWISTED BLISS 56.15sec - 3rd TOMAS GRACA TENNIS 3YO PACE EXALTED FIGURE 56.23sec - 3rd GOLF HOUSE HOTEL PACE ORCHID STRIDE 56.27sec - 1st TOMAS GRACA TENNIS 3YO PACE MADAZALWAYS 56.27sec - 2nd ROB BENOIT TENNIS CLAIMING PACE   CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SECTIONALS FOR EVERY RUNNER AT BALLARAT   MELTON, MARCH 6 LAST 400m MAJESTIC CRUISER 26.35sec - 2nd CATANACH'S JEWELLERS MARKOVINA FREE FOR ALL TIME TO REACT 26.38sec - 3rd DNR LOGISTICS PACE ZADAKA 26.74sec - 8th CATANACH'S JEWELLERS MARKOVINA FREE FOR ALL RYLEY MAJOR 26.76sec - 4th CATANACH'S JEWELLERS MARKOVINA FREE FOR ALL ROSARITO MISS 26.78sec - 2nd DNR LOGISTICS PACE   LAST 800m MAJESTIC CRUISER 54.19sec - 2nd CATANACH'S JEWELLERS MARKOVINA FREE FOR ALL ZADAKA 54.57sec - 8th CATANACH'S JEWELLERS MARKOVINA FREE FOR ALL RYLEY MAJOR 54.60sec - 4th CATANACH'S JEWELLERS MARKOVINA FREE FOR ALL IDEALSOMEMAGIC 54.79sec - 7th CATANACH'S JEWELLERS MARKOVINA FREE FOR ALL LIKE A WILDFIRE 54.90sec - 3rd CATANACH'S JEWELLERS MARKOVINA FREE FOR ALL   CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SECTIONALS FOR EVERY RUNNER AT MELTON   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Fresh from a record-breaking first-up win in the Geelong Rocket, Cardigan trainer Emma Stewart will wheel out her highly-promising four-year-old Mach Dan once again this weekend. The son of Mach Three, who set a new low mile rate of 1:53.6min over the 1609m at Geelong on February 26, has been accepted for the TAB Long May We Play Pace at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. The win late last month was a promising return to the track for the gelding, who had not raced since a fourth placing in the Group 1 Breeders Crown Series 3YO Colts and Geldings Final during November behind Zeuss Bromac. Greg Sugars has again been booked to team up with Mach Dan, who holds a career record of 10 wins from 20 starts for more than $200,000 in prizemoney. This is highlighted by his win in last October’s NSWBC 3YO Colts and Geldings Final at Menangle. The horse has drawn barrier six and has a field of eight rivals in Saturday’s $20,000 NR 85 to 99 event over 2240m. Those combatants include the Brent Lilley-trained Wangaratta Cup winner from Sunday I Cast No Shadow, Alpine Stride (Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith), Idealsomemagic (AJ and BJ Tindale) and Bulletproof Boy (Scott Ewen). Among the races on Saturday night is the Hero Claiming Pace for horses on sale between $10,000 and $50,000. Kima Frenning’s Yorkshire, who won the Mercury80 final at his most recent start, is the top-priced pacer at $48,000. Nine events have been scheduled for Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night, with the $10,000 DNR Logistics Trot to kick off the card at 5.47pm. Mach Dan had also been among the nominations for Sunday’s Charlton and District Community Bank Charlton Pacing Cup. A strong group of horses look like heading to the $35,000 race, with acceptances for it and the rest of the card to be declared on Wednesday. The other key feature of the day is the $25,000 North West Ag Services Charlton Trotters Cup, where Kate Hargreaves’ gun Well Defined is set to chase a fifth-straight country feature. View the full Melton fields click here!   HRV - Tim O'Connor

James Herbertson is sure to sleep well after what shapes as one extremely busy Sunday of country harness racing in two parts of the state. Firstly, the talented young driver will head to Birchip for six races and then zip over to Shepparton where he has two bookings, including one in the North East Fastners Wangaratta Pacing Cup. If he is able to secure a winner at Birchip, it will make the three-hour drive a much more pleasant one, particularly if he can snare the $4500 Sharp’s Bakery Mallee Bull Pacing Cup with Cee Cee In America for trainer Greg Norman. “He’s first up for a little while, but by far the best horse in the race on form and ability…,” Herbertson told Trots Talk. “He’s drawn inside the back row which isn’t going to make it any easier for him, but he’s got the ability, he’s got the speed and he’s a nice little horse who handles half-mile tracks really well. “He’s got a few things against him, but his ability is definitely there.” Cee Cee In America will face some stiff opposition from the likes of Carload (Michael Laugher), Dot The Eye (Denis McIntyre) and Travelnpastyou (Christopher Cain), who are also off the back row. Herbertson won last year’s Wangaratta Pacing Cup aboard Amanda Turnbull-trained Think About Me and will this year team up with Kevin Wheatley’s Are Doubleyou in the $14,500 event. The horse is a last-start Wagga winner and has come up with gate four in a quality field of 12 runners, which includes Glenn Douglas-trained Major Jodi, Wayne Potter’s Boy From Bondi and Brent Lilley’s I Cast No Shadow. Earlier in the night, Kate Hargreaves’ beloved gelding Well Defined goes for four-straight features when he lines up in the $14,500 Reflex Glass / J & T Joinery Wangaratta Trotters Cup. Again, he has a 30m handicap to deal with, but will have a 10m headstart on backmarker Monaro Mia, who flashed home for third behind Majestic Man in the Group 1 TAB Australian Trotting Grand Prix last weekend. The Birchip card, which includes the TMC enviro Mallee Bull Trotters Cup, kicks off with race one at 12.45pm, with the first at Shepparton for the transferred Wangaratta meeting scheduled to go at 5.45pm. View the full fields click here! The Birchip Harness Racing Club is asking those keen on attending the Sunday meeting to book by emailing LISTEN TO HERBERTSON ON THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF TROTS TALK Trots Media - Harness Racing · Trots Talk: James Herbertson     HRV - Tim O'Connor

The career of champion squaregaiter Tornado Valley remains alive, with plans to continue racing despite a disappointing performance in the TAB Australian Trotting Grand Prix. The horse pulled up sharply in the feature at Tabcorp Park Melton last weekend, which was his first run since an amazing Group 1 double in the Great Southern Star series during early February. After drawing the back row, Tornado Valley was sent forward and sat parked for much of the last lap but faded significantly in the home straight to finish eighth, beaten more than 16m by Majestic Man. Regular driver Kate Gath, the wife of trainer Andy, told that the nine-year-old had some joint issues, but would be aimed at a return in the coming weeks. “We’ve tended to those and we will just press on,” she said. “We think that the treatment will help and we will give him another start. Hopefully it helps and the plan is to continue at this stage.” Tornado Valley is nearing the $1million mark in stake earnings with 10 Group 1 triumphs, the equal most by any trotter in Australia since 2001. His win in last month’s Great Southern Star was a comeback fairytale, with Gath admitting she had thought the gelding should have been retired before his remarkable performances. The stable has also scratched Majestuoso and Havehorsewilltravel from the Group 1 Trotters Mile at Menangle this Saturday night. Gath said Majestuoso had some feet issues and that Havehorsewilltravel was suffering from a virus, with both to be spelled.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

A below-par performance first-up from a spell and the subsequent discovery of some health issues has put a tilt at a third-straight Group 1 Trotters Mile out of reach for Big Jack Hammer. The David Aiken-trained gelding had been aimed at this weekend’s race – one he has won in both 2019 and 2020 – but has not been taken to New South Wales for the feature carnival. In his first run for nearly five months, Big Jack Hammer finished ninth, beaten almost 30m, in The Knight Pistol at Tabcorp Park Melton on February 13. He was then taken for further checks. “We got his lung washed and he’s actually having a few allergies to the dust, so we had to back off him and treat him,” Aiken said. “It’s like an asthma thing. “He hasn’t stopped working and went good last Saturday morning.” Big Jack Hammer sits equal sixth on the list of Australian Group 1 winners since 2001, with five triumphs at the elite level coming among his 20 victories from 88 starts. With Andy Gath-trained Majestuoso a scratching from the Aquagait Equine Centre Trotters Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle, Victoria will be represented by four horses in the $50,000 Group 1 for the squaregaiters. Pink Galahs (trained by Matthew Craven), Always Ready (Anton Golino and Jack MacKinnon), Red Hot Tooth (Kari Males) and Havehorsewilltravel (Gath) are all accepted for the event. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL MENANGLE FIELDS   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Steve Salter is a self-confessed trots fanatic and he's putting his love for the sport to a good cause. Salter, or "Pogga" as he is affectionately known, is backing the WomenCan Team Teal cause quite literally. The 43-year-old has picked out Kerryn Manning as his driver to follow and has been placing $10 win bets on every horse she partners through the campaign period, which started on February 1. If she wins, the profits go to the Team Teal tally, if she gets beaten, then Salter wears the loss. "I just love what (Team Teal founder) Duncan (McPherson) is doing," Salter said. "I'm a pretty similar age to Kerryn so I've followed her for her whole career and won plenty of money off her with horses like Arden Rooney. "I followed her when she was going really well with Ananz and those sort of horses... "I thought why not? I'll support Kerryn this time around." Manning has piloted seven winners with a little under two weeks to go until the 2021 campaign comes to an end on March 14. This has built a nice kitty of $241 for the cause. "I'm trying to find the best odds I can find, it's usually the tote," he said. "Any profits I make I just whack that into a Team Teal account." Salter is a punter, owner and co-founder of the popular Harness Charity Challenge, which fires up every October. Jodi Quinlan, Kate Gath, Manning and Jackie Barker are once again ambassadors for HRV's joint venture with the Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group. Between February 1 and March 14, all female drivers in Victoria will wear teal pants to raise awareness and much-needed funds for ovarian cancer research and programs. For every winner they pilot, HRV and wagering partner Tabcorp commit $200 each to deliver $400 towards key initiatives. So far, close to $30,000 has been raised in Victoria alone, with the campaign also in action right across Australia and New Zealand. Team Teal was created by McPherson OAM, who lost his wife Lyn to ovarian cancer in 2010.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Chris Svanosio has praised the versatility of his squaregaiter President Roydon, who showed blistering late speed to win his fourth race in succession on Saturday night. The son of The Pres is this week's focus of the Time Is Money column, which highlights standout performances from PJ Data’s valuable timing system. There was little pace early in the Woodlands Stud Trot, and President Roydon sat back in the small field of six before reeling off some of the best closing fractions of the night in winning the NR 77 to 100 event. He produced a slick last 800m of 56.40sec and last 400m of 27.86sec to run down early leader Kheiron and surge past C K Spur to win by nearly 2m on the line. Watch the race replay click here! "Coming three wide when they are running a quick quarter, they have got to have a bit of ability to still pick them up, which luckily he does," the trainer-driver said. Svanosio has only had President Roydon, who previously raced for Kerryn Manning after being brought over from New Zealand, for his last five starts. The injury-plagued trotter hadn't raced since July of 2018 before Svanosio took him to Bendigo for a first-up assignment in January this year. He ran an eye-catching second there and has since gone on to string together a picket fence of four wins at Melton. He has been successful from leading races for Svanosio, but also after sitting back in the field. "He's got plenty of ability and he's done a big job to come this far this quickly," he said. President Roydon, now a seven-year-old, has won nine of his 22 career starts. THE NUMBERS PRESIDENT ROYDON WOODLANDS STUD TROT (2240m) – 1st LEAD TIME: 49.49sec LAST MILE: 1:59.11min LAST 800m: 56.40sec LAST 400m: 27.86sec   WHERE TO NEXT? It's time for a little break, with Svanosio keen to give the horse a freshen-up before stepping him up in grade. "We are going to give him an easy month now and he has gone away to the water walker up at Peter Clarke's at Murchison," he said. "He's really up to tough grade and he's had it pretty solid since he's come back. He probably won't race for a couple of months now... "Hopefully he can just take that next step again, which he is going to have to do to be competitive against the ones he's going to be racing from now on."   FASTEST FIVE TABCORP PARK MELTON, FEBRUARY 27 LAST 800m PINK GALAHS 56.37sec – 2nd TAB AUSTRALIAN TROTTING GRAND PRIX PRESIDENT ROYDON 56.40sec – 1st WOODLANDS STUD TROT TOUGH MONARCH 56.52sec – 6th TAB AUSTRALIAN TROTTING GRAND PRIX MONARO MARO 56.57sec – 4th LYN MCPHERSON MEMORIAL BREED FOR SPEED GOLD SERIES FINAL SUNDONS COURAGE 56.62sec – 9th TAB AUSTRALIAN TROTTING GRAND PRIX   LAST 400m SLEEPEE 27.80sec – 1st LYN MCPHERSON MEMORIAL BREED FOR SPEED GOLD SERIES FINAL MOONSHINE LINDA 27.83sec – 3rd LYN MCPHERSON MEMORIAL BREED FOR SPEED GOLD SERIES FINAL PRESIDENT ROYDON 27.86sec – 1st WOODLANDS STUD TROT MAORISHADOW 27.96sec – 8th LYN MCPHERSON MEMORIAL BREED FOR SPEED GOLD SERIES FINAL PINK GALAHS 27.99sec – 2nd TAB AUSTRALIAN TROTTING GRAND PRIX CLICK HERE TO SEE SECTIONAL TIMES FOR ALL RUNNERS AT MELTON   HRV - Tim O'Connor

The harness racing industry is mourning the loss of legendary trainer-driver Eric Hurley, who died this week aged 93. Hurley, who was born and grew up in South Australia before moving to Victoria after meeting wife Jeanette, is best remembered for his association with champion pacer Minuteman. The horse won 30 races, including the Inter Dominion final in 1964, as well as the A.G. Hunter Cup in the same year and again in 1966. Hurley, who lived most recently in Parwan, trained and drove other successful metropolitan performers such as Modulation, Ballon D’Essai, Dooga Delerga, In A Minute and Schemer. He won his last race as a trainer and driver with Steaming at Geelong on January 3, 2012 at 84 years of age. His great niece Alexandra Hurley said the Minuteman journey was one of the highlights of his life. “He gave the horse everything and the horse gave him everything,” she said. “I think he was very well regarded and was someone lots of people learnt from and lots of people went to for help.” Eric Hurley was one of six children and a father of two, with son Jeff currently training out of the family’s Parwan property. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) extends sincere condolences to the family of Eric Hurley. CLICK BELOW TO WATCH ERIC RELIVE HIS INTER DOMINION WIN:   Harness Racing Victoria

Sunday’s Councillor Neil Beattie & Family Boort Pacing Cup promises to be a ripper after attracting a field jam-packed full of quality. Ten horses - including impressive last-start winner Uncle Jord (Craig Turnbull) and recent Wedderburn Pacing Cup champ Pembrook Charlie (Julie Douglas) - will duke it out over 2250m, with Jess Tubbs confident her two charges - Larajay Macray and Im Anothermasterpiece - will be in the mix. The Myrniong trainer said Larajay Macray, who will start from the pole, had “been racing really well”. “She likes racing up front and has drawn ideally,” Tubbs said. “Her work has been really good and hopefully she can be pretty prominent at the start and we will see where we end up.” She said Im Anothermasterpiece - who ran second in the 2019 Victorian Derby as a talented youngster for Mark Purdon (as Another Masterpiece) - had a “class edge on most of the other runners”. “We are really happy with how he has been going,” she said. “He had a little freshen-up before (the Ararat Pacing Cup) and over-raced in that run; if he looks to settle in this race he should be in the finish.” Elmore trainer Keith Cotchin said his hopeful Brackenreid had the potential to rise to the occasion. “He’s in with a good chance; he always runs a really good race (and) can sort of kick on a bit,” Cotchin said. “He’s probably going to have to do a little bit but will be thereabouts.” The pacing cup headlines a feature-packed day to celebrate the oldest continuous trotting club in Australia during its 130th year, with the card including The Honourable Peter Walsh Boort Trotters Cup, a 2612m feature with $14,500 in prizemoney up for grabs. Highlights off the track include Fashions on the Field and yabby racing, while vocalist Susan Foley will perform. The club is also celebrating champion trotter Grand Voyage, who won the Boort Pacing Cup 100 years ago in 1921. Paddy Glasheen trained and drove the horse through his career and his family will be on track, as well as a sulky used by the horse on that day at Boort. Cotchin said country cup days like Boort were always popular. “It is always nice to go to the cups and the country clubs really put on a good show,” he said. “They try to look after the public and have everything there for you. Boort is a good meeting and there is some good prizemoney on offer there.” Tubbs agreed, saying volunteers put in a lot of work behind the scenes. “I have worked in racing administration myself for a long time now and there is so much work that goes in; (volunteers) with their committees do such a terrific job so it is important that we do support them when they do have the chance to shine with their cups,” she said. “Just to be able to see crowds starting to come back to the races and owners back on track cheering their horses home, it is an important part of racing.” Entry to the COVID-compliant event is free, with racegoers receiving a racebook on the house. Bookings must be made via Brook Shaune-Bould on 0417 344 802, John Campbell on 0437 077 887 or via email at   Jess Tubbs on Millah Joy’s chances in the Keith & Dawn McClelland Pace (Race 4) at Boort: “She’s dropping in grade - she will need a bit of luck from the draw. “She has been racing well without much luck. She’s fit and well so hopefully she does find that luck in running.”   Keith Cotchin on Rocknroll Noah’s chances in the Keith & Dawn McClelland Pace (Race 4) at Boort: “He is going to have to come from behind, which is hard on this track, but if the ones in front of him get out well and he gets up there he has that short and sharp sprint (which will allow him to) make his presence felt. “He has been going quite well; his last start I think he ran his last mile in 1:53.5 - the fastest he has gone, but when you make it to that grade you need a little bit of luck.”   HRV - Shaun Campbell

Kialla trainer David Moran says he feels a mix of disappointment and relief following the decision to withdraw Lochinvar Art from his pursuit of the Miracle Mile. The star entire had been the talk of the harness racing world as he fought to overcome a hoof injury in time to win his place in the feature on March 6. Lochinvar Art was required to trial at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night and pass veterinary checks before being considered for a wildcard spot in Australia’s richest race. However, Moran made the call on Friday morning to withdraw from the hit-out, with the injury not showing enough signs of improvement. “It’s the race the whole year that you try to plan for. All of a sudden you are racing for $1.2million and now you are racing for zero, so that’s a bit hard to handle,” he said. “Now that I’ve made the announcement, it’s a bit of a relief to a degree because your phone never stops ringing, you are trying to get things right and you are careful what you say. So it’s a relief in that way. “It's disappointing, but what is done is done. I've got to look after him now. He's looked after me.” Moran said with the injury not improving, it became a somewhat easy decision to pull up stumps on the Miracle Mile tilt. “We had a pretty good 12 months and it’s only a minor injury. That’s probably the best part,” he said. “It’s not like he has done a tendon and has got to have 12 months out. It’s a deep-seated abscess (and) the worst part about it is that if it burst yesterday he would probably be fine. He would be going around tomorrow. But it’s one of those things - you just race against the clock…” Moran said he was very grateful for what the horse had achieved and the support many people have given him over the journey. Lochinvar Art won the $500,000 Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton on February 6 to take his record to 28 victories from 50 starts and more than $1.3million in prizemoney.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

When John Justice rolls out onto the track for the Flying Brick Cider Geelong Rocket on Joe Nien, he will be hoping the six-year-old gelding emulates the feat of his champion Shakamaker. The feature sprint over the mile, which returns after an eight-year hiatus, was the last race won by the star pacer, who claimed the inaugural Rocket before what was to be his final Inter Dominion campaign in New Zealand during 2003. “He (Shakamaker) didn’t have a good trip over there and he came back and was either ready for a good spell (or retirement) and (owner) John (Wolfe) decided to retire him,” Justice said. “It was a pretty traumatic year after that, if you can imagine, after your champion retires.” Justice, who will train and drive Joe Nien in the Rocket - which has an impressive honour roll - said his horse performed well over the shorter trip. “I have been struggling to place him with his handicap the way it is and he does like the short trip; that’s the reason why I put him in the Rocket,” he said. “(Gate three) doesn’t really suit him as he struggles to muster any real gate speed. If he drew one he could probably hold the lead or be very close but he struggles to cross a horse. “I really don’t know where he will end up from there, to be honest. I know he is ready to run a good race as he has been working well and is ready to win - we just have to wait and see.” The Toolern Vale trainer said he expected Joe Nien, a talented gelding who has won 15 times from 91 starts, to give a good showing in the $24,000 sprint if he scored a nice position in running. “If he got a good trip somewhere near the leader I think he would be a good chance to win it, that’s for sure,” he said.   HRV - Shaun Campbell

Effective February 26, 2021, the following protocols are to be observed at all Victorian harness and trial venues. While still encouraged, licensed persons, owners and officials are no longer required to wear a face mask at race or trial meetings, unless directed to do so by a club official or HRV steward, or where physical distancing of 1.5 metres from other persons cannot be maintained. All persons are reminded to exercise appropriate physical distancing protocols and to maintain 1.5-metre distancing wherever possible. QR Code has been implemented for use at all racetracks and trial venues, and all licensed participants and essential staff are encouraged to only use the QR Form, which gives HRV immediate data should it be required for any contract tracing requirements. Temperature testing will no longer be conducted at race meetings for industry participants. Trainers, drivers and stablehands must leave race meeting as soon as possible upon fulfilling their obligations in accordance with the Australian Harness Racing Rules (i.e., after completion of swabbing procedures, attendance before stewards etc.). Participants should pre-pack enough food and supplies for the duration of their engagement at race meetings. There will no longer be restrictions on the number of stablehands permitted to attend racetracks with accompanied licensed trainers.  Stewards and club officials will continue to monitor this situation at racetracks. All other industry protocols remain in effect and any non-compliance may be subject to action by HRV stewards. All persons are advised that should they fail to comply with any of these requirements, significant penalties, including periods of disqualification, may be imposed under AHRR 238. Children of licensed persons are strictly not permitted in the stabling area at racetracks. AHRR 238 states: A person shall not fail to comply with any order, direction or requirement of the Controlling Body or the Stewards relating to harness racing or to the harness racing industry. These measures have been put in place to ensure that harness racing complies with all bio-security requirements and must be adhered to ensure that harness racing in Victoria continues under the current State Government restrictions.    Harness Racing Victoria

Participants are reminded that fairness, respect, responsibility, safety, and integrity are core principles and behaviours required when operating in the harness racing industry. As outlined in the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Statement of Expected Behaviour of Participants, participants must: Be aware of the standards of conduct and behaviour expected. Ensure activities undertaken inspire public trust and confidence of stakeholders and the broader community. Be aware of the consequences of failing to meet the standards of conduct and behaviour required. Mandatory online training also forms part of HRV participant licensing requirements. Anyone who fails to meet required standards of conduct may be subject to a hearing in front of HRV stewards and/or the Victorian Racing Tribunal. A licence is a privilege granted by HRV and stewards may suspend or cancel a licence for any condition breach of the licence [Rule 90(6)(a)] or where HRV is satisfied that a licence holder is not a ‘fit and proper person’ to be associated with harness racing [Rule 90(6)(b)]. For more information on HRV Integrity Matters email the HRV Integrity Unit.   Harness Racing Victoria

Trainer Matthew Craven is plotting a return to the races with former top pacer Shadow Sax, who has recently joined his Ecklin South stable. Previously trained by Emma Stewart, and before that Peter Tonkin, the injury-plagued son of Shadow Play has not raced since September 2020 at Bendigo. That race was his first run since October the year prior. Craven trialed Shadow Sax on Tuesday night at Terang and was forced to pull him up the first time around due to a flat tyre. He was then placed in a later trial, which he won by 7m. “Obviously, he has had a few issues along the way. We have just been poking along quietly with him and taking him to the beach and things like that,” Craven said. “He’s not far away. He will probably just have another trial, maybe even next week, and then we will look to start him somewhere.” A first-up start in the Charlton Pacing Cup on March 14 looms as a likely target for the horse, who is owned by Pam and Russell Hockham and the Stable of Stars syndicate. Shadow Sax has won 23 of 42 career starts, including the 2015 Vicbred Super Series 2YO Colts and Geldings Final and the 2018 SA Pacing Cup.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

The Horsham Harness Racing Club has confirmed the line-up of stars that will contest the 31st edition of the Decron Horse Care Noel Smith Memorial Invitation Drivers Championship on March 8. Jack Laugher, James Herbertson and Josh Aiken will compete in their first Invitation, together with Chris Alford, John Caldow, Kerryn Manning, Jodi Quinlan, Greg Sugars, Kate Gath and Jason Lee. "Given the uncertainties of border crossings, we decided early on that 2021 would feature for the first time an all-Victorian field," Horsham club president Terry Lewis said. "10 invitees come from top down on the previous season's metropolitan premiership list and we have three new faces among the older brigade." While the 10 invitees might claim most of the spotlight at the Horsham Racing Centre on March 8, the event simply wouldn't happen without the ongoing contribution to harness racing made by trainers, owners, drivers, breeders, stablehands and their families. "This is our 11th year of incorporating Industry Participants Appreciation into the Drivers Championship race meeting," Lewis said. "We provide a hospitality area with the support of the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association and give away products, merchandise and vouchers donated by Decron Horse Care, Carbine Chemicals, Hygain-Mitavite, Mustad Australia, Oringi Protection Wear, Tabcorp Park Melton, Zilco, Claire Weston Photography, Roma Pocock, GrafxINC custom helmet design, Norton Estate Wines, Fly Veils by Deign and Virbac Australia." The invitational was staged for the first time in 1990. A few years later it was re-named in honour of Noel Smith, a past president and delegate of the Horsham club, who made an enormous contribution to harness racing through his tireless work for the M&CTA and South West Zone Clubs. The series consists of four $7000 ratings-exempt races with the invitees being randomly allocated a drive in each heat. Points are tallied to decide the winner and also the recipient of the dreaded wooden spoon. Nominations for all eight events close with HRV at 12noon on Wednesday, March 3.   Tony Logan

Past Australian 3YO Trotting Colt/Gelding of the Year Cruisin Around has run his last race, with connections making the decision to call time on a career that netted almost $300,000 in prizemoney. The Brent Lilley-trained squaregaiter was retired after his down-the-track finish in the South West Conveyancing Terang Trotters Cup on Saturday night. That decision brought an end to a journey that spanned 84 starts and included 19 wins, highlighted by a rare Group 1 double – the Vicbred Super Series and Breeders Crown Series finals – during a stunning three-year-old campaign. Cruisin Around, who is part of a vintage crop which includes Red Hot Tooth, Temporale, Sundons Courage, Maori Law, Big Jack Hammer and High Gait, was never quite able to recapture his best after suffering injury early in his four-year-old season. Michael Hughes mentored him to those big-race victories through his early years, before he was moved on to Lilley for whom he won a Kilmore Trotters Cup and as recently as last June set an Australian record at his favourite track Bendigo. Tanya McDermott, who runs the HRV HERO project that helps standardbreds transition to new lives off the racetrack, has agreed to take the son of Bacardi Lindy. "His last four or five runs he's just told us he doesn't want to race anymore," managing owner Bill Hutchison said. "He's done enough so he's going to Tanya and she does a good job rehoming all those horses. "He deserves a better life and that's what he will get.”   HRV - Tim O'Connor

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