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He may have 6000 plus career wins on board and has driven 400 wins in a season......but that's not all !   Harness racing Hall Of Famer and Living Legend Chris Alford spoke with Anthony Logan ahead of his participation in the Invitation Drivers Championship on Labour Day Monday - March 11 at Horsham.   Your greatest strength & weakness – strength: staying focused under pressure - weakness: saying no A question you hate to answer: best horse driven Strangest thing you have ever eaten: something raw in Sweden, I don’t even know what it was! Your favourite and least fav. words: favourite word = yes & the least fav. = no Your hero: John Campbell (Legendary US reinsman, retired with 10,600+ winners, stakes $US299.9 million) If you were able to spend a day with a celebrity, who would it be ? Bradley Cooper (44yo American actor and filmmaker) Is your glass half full, half empty or simply has water in it? has water in it Your guilty pleasure food: licorice ice cream If you could retire tomorrow, what would you do ?  be an astrologist or archaeologist Your preference - crowds, small group or by yourself: small group if you could bring a famous person back to life, who would it be ? Falco (Austrian singer/song writer, died age 40, 1998) If you joined the circus, what would your act or role be ? the clown Last time you ran or jogged: I did the 16km Run for the Kids in 2011 & after that I never wanted to run again Bad habit: biting my nails   Anthony Logan

The Weekly Advertiser has signed on as naming-rights sponsor of Horsham and District Harness Racing Club's April 22nd Horsham Pacing Cup. Pictured celebrating the partnership with the Cup are, from left, The Weekly Advertiser editor Dean Lawson, Horsham Harness Racing Club president Justin Lane, ACE Radio Horsham general manager Brendan O'Loughlin and harness-racing correspondent Tony Logan.        

Smart 3yo filly Alessa proved much too tough for her rivals with a slashing harness racing victory in the Morley Park Princess of the Wimmera at the Horsham Racing Centre yesterday afternoon. The beautifully bred daughter of Art Major USA sat outside the leader Jilliby Jitterbug (Jason Lee) for the majority of the 2200 metre race and cleared away from the pack over the final stages to score by 17 metres in the ultra slick mile rate of 1:56.8, just 0.3 seconds outside Spokeswoman’s Horsham track record. Trainer/driver Michael Stanley dictated the tempo of the contest, particularly over the final 1609 metres, when posting four solid quarters of 29.7, 30.6, 27.4, and 28.3 seconds. It was a case of third time lucky in the Princess of the Wimmera for owner Harvey Delmenico, who bred Alessa from his former talented racemare, No More Trouble (16 wins $133k) which was beaten a half-neck by Deanna Troy in the 2007 edition of the feature event. No More Trouble, by Troublemaker USA, is a half-sister to Mendelico (17 wins, $188k) which finished in third place for Delmenico, behind Ay Tee Em and Queen Of Fire in the 2009 Princess. Mendelico is the dam of the classy colt Heaven Rocks, winner of 5 races from 8 starts, including the Group 1 $150,000 Woodlands Emerald at Waikato in June this year. Local hope Bo Chard came from the rear of the field to pick up second money for trainer Rod Carberry and owner Robbie Connelly with the Great Western filly Plain Baby a further 5 metres away in third place, for the Peter & Kerryn Manning combo. Both the result and the tempo of The Alabar Horsham Guineas were in complete contrast to The Morely Park Princess with former Kiwi pacer Stuover (Greg Sugars) staving off a late lunge on the line from Truth And Courage (Jason Lee) to get the judge’s nod in  atight finish. Sugars had taken Stuover straight to the lead with two laps to travel and those who’d taken the $1.40 on offer would have been counting their winnings early, when the gelded son of Changeover NZ dawdled through a middle half in a pedestrian like, 62.9 seconds. The race developed into just a final quick dash up the home straight with Stuover lasting to beat a very brave Truth And Courage in a final split of 27.3 and a mile rate of 1:59.4 for the 2200 metre trip. Stuover was having his fourth start since crossing the ditch to join the Dean Braun stables at Lara. After consecutive victories at Cranbourne the bay finished a close-up second to Spiritwriter in the recent $20k VHRSC The Graduate at Meton and should go to bigger and better things for owner Tony Coniglio. Franco Jameson battled on soundly 5.5 metres away in third place for trainer Adam Kelly and driver Michael Bellman.   Anthony Logan    

Harness racing in the Wimmera will receive an enormous boost thanks to a $470,000 track upgrade funded by the Andrews State Government, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and the Horsham and District Harness Racing Club. Minister for Racing Martin Pakula joined Harness Racing Victoria Chairman Ken Latta at the club on Monday to kick off the major upgrade, which will see a sprint lane introduced, increased camber around the turns to reduce the risk of leg injuries to horses, and a track resurface with finer grade materials for improved cushioning underfoot for the horses. HRV CEO John Anderson acknowledged the State Government funding for the upgrade and said the Horsham club would benefit greatly. “Harness racing at Horsham will be safer for the horses and better for the punters thanks to the upgrade, which includes the addition of a sprint lane,” Mr Anderson said. “The Horsham club and HRV would like to publicly acknowledge the important funding from the Andrews Labor Government courtesy of the Victorian Racing Industry Fund. “Improvements such as the track upgrade at Horsham are vital for not only the local areas, but also for the Victorian industry in general.” In announcing the funding Mr Pakula said on Monday: “Today represents the first step towards creating a cutting edge track for Horsham and helping secure the future of harness racing in the Wimmera for many years to come.” Mr Pakula added: “Not only will these upgrades bring the track in line with other top harness tracks in the state it also reflects our commitment to animal welfare by improving the track to help reduce risks of leg injuries.” Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs CEO David Brick said upgrades such as this ensured Victoria remained at the forefront of the national harness racing industry. “Our club network prides itself on the quality of racetracks produced to ensure safe, fair and fast racing,” Mr Brick said. “The Horsham upgrade, like Mildura before it, ensures that Victorian harness racing collectively offers the best harness racing in Australia. Harness Racing Victoria

“Watch out Guaranteed and Philadelphia Man, because he's back,” said Gavin Lang after driving Restrepo to a breathtaking Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup win on Sunday. Lang would know; he’s driven all three of the Emma Stewart trained big guns to feature race success in recent weeks. So for Restrepo’s large travelling throng of owners from Portland, Lang’s words in his cup presentation speech must have been music to the ears ahead of the TAB.com.au Summer of Glory on January 31 and February 7. Last season’s Ballarat Cup winner took off with a lap to go and muscled his way to the front before running his rivals ragged with sustained power, leaving the deepest Hamilton Cup field in recent memory paddling in his wake. As a result of Sunday's win the TAB slashed Restrepo's Hunter Cup odds from $21 to $12. Lang spoke of his affinity with Restrepo, having driven the six-year-old son of Art Major/Shes Innocent at his first 42 racetrack starts before swapping to Philadelphia Man, which defeated Restrepo to win the Horsham Pacing Cup last weekend. “It was good to get back on today,” Lang said. The champion reinsman spoke of the satisfaction he got from driving in big races and thanked the large crowd in attendance at Hamilton for creating such a strong atmosphere. Restrepo won by 21.4m over Kerryn Manning trained-and-driven Arden Rooney, who has placed in both country cup runs since making his Australian debut last weekend. And Arber finished third for trainer Tim Bolitho and reinsman Greg Sugars, that pacer’s third Hamilton Cup minor placing. But it was all honours to the winner, who slashed 1.4secs off the previous track record with a 1:57.4 mile rate over the 2660-metre stand-start trip. Restrepo covered his last half-mile in 56.8secs, Lang taking the entire to the lead at the bell. Once in front Restrepo put on one of the most powerful displays ever seen at Hamilton, sticking his neck out and breaking his adversaries’ hearts as the trots won new fans. People who had not previously seen harness racing watched in awe as Restrepo did his thing. Post-race it was clear the sport had won new fans thanks to the cup winner’s display. Of the beaten brigade Arden Rooney tried valiantly and will continue to improve in his new Great Western surrounds, Arber went enormous at big odds, Cut For An Ace ditto, Flaming Hero showed he will win a country cup sooner or later with a strong fifth and veteran Villagem was best of the rest. Local favourite Abettorpunt struggled into 10th place after a tough run, while Blucolla Tigerpie (11th) and Jadahson (12th) raced on the pace but weakened well out of calculations from the 500m. Restrepo’s win was one of four successes for Stewart at Hamilton on Cup Day, her other winners Starburst Girl in Race 4, Vanderley in Race 5 and Bettors Package in the last. Lang drove three of the winners, while Nathan Jack scored on the impressive Vanderley. The Fat Man saluted for local trainer David Lewis in Race 2, the Mountain View Stud Pace, the four-year-old by American Ideal out of Atomic Fusion romping in by almost 17m over 2160m in a rate of 1:59.1. David Drury’s great run of form continued when Go Betweens notched his third win from 28 starts – and second straight success – in the Alexandra House Border Cup Final over 1660m in a rate of 1:59.1. Drury almost made it a winning double when Kyms Boy loomed ominously behind long odds-on favourite Jilliby Jagger in the WDEA Pace, but the latter packed too much punch to score by 5.1m in 1:59.1. The other winner for the day was impressive debutant trotter Franco Jaeger for driver Chris Alford, which held off Lady Mackendon in the PFD Trotters Handicap. Cody Winnell - Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria  

Champion  Australian reinsman Gavin Lang captured his fourth Noel Smith Memorial Invitation Drivers Championship, in a tight three race series at the Horsham Racing Centre on Monday afternoon. Lang was making his 20th appearance in the prestigious contest and posted early points on the tally board, when he piloted the 5yo mare, Mintropolitan to an all-the-way victory in the opening heat, for SA trainer Jake Webster. Tasmanian driver Gareth Rattray put himself into the contest, courtesy of a tough staying effort by David Van Ryn’s smart 3YO gelding Time Capsule in the 2nd heat.  Lang maintained his position at the top of the table, with a close up third on Ideal Majority for Bannockburn trainer Geoff Webster. Youthful SA horseman Ryan Hryhorec captured the final round with the Kerryn Manning trained pacer Itz Dreamin Jonesy. Lang came in midfield with Big Gorilla but maintained a slight margin to take out the 24th Horsham title. At the other end of the points table, a countback saw former Horsham Club President Garry Chequer present the dreaded Wooden Spoon to Queensland reinsman Grant Dixon, with Daryl Douglas breathing a sigh of relief. Lang, aged 53, is almost in the veteran category, but the winner of 5000+  races is still driving in red-hot form. His Horsham Invitation crown comes right on the back of two recent Group 1 victories at Menangle and 4 wins from 5 drives at Devonport for trainer Adam Kelly, just the night before heading to Horsham. Monday must have been a long day for the Harness Hall Of Famer. After catching a 6am flight out of Devonport to Tullamarine, it was an hour’s drive home to Bacchus Marsh and nearly 3 hours more, along the Western Highway to Horsham. Four drives later and with a new Challenger sulky on board, it was off again in the truck heading for home. Finally around 10.00pm, it was time to put the feet up before enjoying a well deserved, good night’s sleep. Gavin Lang. Mr. 5000. Harness Racing Legend. Congratulations.  By Anthony Logan

Horsham Cup day is this Sunday and it looks set to be a sensational afternoon of harness racing action and entertainment.  With a temperature of 23 degrees forecast, an outstanding racing program, along with plenty of on course entertainment provided by the club, there is something for everyone. The Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Pacing Cup (Group 2) will be the highlight of a fantastic program, with Australian pacing superstar and three-time millionaire Smoken Up taking his place in the field.  Coming off an incredible last start victory in the Laser Electrical Lightning Mile (Group 3), in which he earned a $10,000 bonus for breaking the track record in a mile rate of 1:53.1. ‘Trigger’ will be primed and ready for action and trainer/driver Lance Justice certainly won’t die wondering when he lays his cards on the table. His rivals will not be making it easy for the champ however, with the Tim Butt trained 2013 Del Re National Food Group A G Hunter Cup (Group 1) hero Mah Sish taking his place from pole position. Mah Sish showed he was back to his best with a great effort behind Smoken Up at Ballarat on Boxing night. Driver Anthony Butt certainly won’t be handing things to Smoken Up & Lance Justice on a platter – the wily Kiwi’s know they too have a gun racehorse and have their eyes  firmly planted on the hefty winner’s cheque and glittering gold Cup. Apart from last season’s Hunter Cup victory, Mah Sish won a heat of the Inter in Sydney, finished 2nd behind Im Themightyquinn in the Final, downed Sushi Sushi in the Ballarat Pacing Cup and got within a length of Caribbean Blaster in the Victoria Cup – enough said. Our main local hope, Abettorpunt, was bred by the Lewis family - Terry is Vice President and Life Member of the Horsham Club. “Our draw could have been kinder but you take what you get” Terry explained.  “We’re hoping for some fireworks early from Mah Sish, Smoken Up and maybe Keayang Steamer. Punter’s work this week has been as good as its ever been and we’re expecting him to run a big race.” Abettorpunt is ready to take the next step into the big time. A quick look at the form guide shows his outstanding record of 21 wins, 19 minors & $306,000 from just 51 starts. Punter’s recent form of a 2nd to Beautide in the Newcastle Mile, 3rd behind Smoken Up in the Cordina Sprint, 2nd to The Gold Ace at Menangle and a victory at Melton prior to Xmas are credentials enough to win on Sunday. The all-conquering Dean Braun – Chris Alford team could well have the Cup wildcard on Sunday with the former Kiwi pacer Im Corzin Terror. Solid recent performances in the Cranbourne Cup, Yarra Valley Cup and Tasmania Cup entitle the 6yo gelding to our utmost respect. HORSHAM IS HOT TO TROT SUNDAY ! By Lucy McCormick (HRV) & Tony Logan  

Horsham Harness Racing Club officials are "over the moon" with the quality and number of entries received for Sunday afternoon's gala Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Cup meeting.   "The big names we'd hoped for will all be there and the stage is set for a feast of Fabulous racing," said Club President Justin Lane. "We've been blessed with a weather forecast of 24 degrees and now we have the Aussie legend Smoken Up set to clash with Kiwi champ Mah Sish , our classy "local hope" Abettorpunt and prospective grand circuit contenders Im Corzin Terror, Keayang Steamer & Magical Telf ."   One that Lane didn't mention is the family's own "wild card" in the $60,000 Group 2 Cup, their homebred gelding National Service, which ran a mighty race behind Smoken Up in last week's blistering Ballarat Lightning Mile.   Lane's "big 3" need no introductions to harness fans. The 11yo evergreen superstar Smoken Up is the winner of more than 70 races and $3.5 million in stakemoney, Mah Sish boasts 14 victories from 41 starts and a bank of $771,000 and Abettorpunt with 21 wins from just 51 outings for $306k is set to take the next big step.   "An added bonus will be the appearance of the trotter Blitzthemcalder in the Horsham Trotters Cup," said Lane. "The 4yo stallion has "rockstar looks" and oozes ability, as his record of 20 wins from 31 starts and $356,000 testifies. He could well be strutting his stuff on the world stage this time next year."   So don't miss the chance to see the trots at their absolute best. Pack the picnic hamper and chairs, bring along the family, enjoy the racing and the plethora of off-track entertainment, competitions and give aways.   Horsham Is Hot To Trot.    

The Horsham & District Harness Racing Club recently presented awards for the 2012/13 season at their annual club dinner for sponsors, committee, officials, staff and volunteers.   President Justin Lane congratulated all winners and presented them with certificates and trophies on behalf of the Club's long-time, valued sponsors;   * Betta Electrical Trainer of the Year - Peter Manning - 39 points with 59 starters, 7 wins, 2 seconds & 7 thirds. * West Vic Racepix Driver of the Year - Matt Craven - 76 points with 49 drives, 17 wins, 1 seconds and 6 thirds. * Conways Greg Smith Memorial Concession Driver of the Year - Jayson Finnis - 30 points with 33 drives, 3 wins, 8 seconds and 2 thirds. * Graeme Eeles Saddlery Horsham Horse of the Year - Cheap Tint - won all 3 starts at Horsham during the season for SA owners Malcom & Wendy Walker and trainer Kevin Brough. * Dahlsens Local Trainer Strike Rate - Ken Exell courtesy of his only horse, the consistent trotter Allawart Ugo.    Special guest John Peck, who is currently researching the Club's history, for Horsham's Centenary race meeting in March 2014, captivated guests with an amazing description of  trotting in Horsham and district from the 1880's through to the early 1950's. HRV board member Geoff Kay and AVCHRC President Paul James were also in attendance for the highly enjoyable gathering.   Tony Logan

The Alabar Horsham Guineas and Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera promise to round out what has been a fantastic season for the three-year-old’s right across Victoria and Australia. The Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera has long been a traditional scalp for up and coming fillies and this year it will pit the lightly raced Great Westerner Confusion Reigns, against the smart Sunraysia filly, Fineandsunny. Despite drawing a small field, the quality remains with the two fillies likely to put on a show for the expectant Horsham crowd. The race is sponsored by Darren & Anne Jacobsen of Rosehill Farm & Veterinary Services, long time supporters of the trots and in particular of the Western Victorian clubs. The other feature event on the card, the Alabar Horsham Guineas is sponsored by another long-time friend of the trots, Allan Galloway of Alabar Bloodstock. The race holds an extra intrigue this season with ex-Kiwi pacer Cyclone Mach having his first start in Australia for the Brian McGinty team. The son of Mach Three CA, takes on Big Gorilla which is absolutely flying for Armstrong trainer Brooke Hansen, Matt Craven’s consistent gelding Faraway Man, which is way down in class on recent Breeders Crown assignments and Willow Robyn, a recent addition from WA to the Kerryn Manning team. Race 1 on Thursday afternoon’s Horsham card kicks off at 1.10pm with Race 2, the Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera set for 1.45pm and Race 7 the Alabar Horsham Guineas at 4.53pm. by Blake Redden HRV

Two harness racing meetings were held in Victoria on Wednesday June 5 - Horsham in the afternoon and Echuca at night.

Champion New Zealand harness racing reinsman Dexter Dunn, successfully defended last year's title in the annual Noel Smith Memorial Invitation Drivers Championship conducted by the progressive Horsham Harness Racing Club at Horsham on Monday May 20.

The stage is set for the running of the 23rd annual Noel Smith Memorial Invitation Drivers Championship on Monday afternoon at the Horsham Racing Centre. A host of outstanding harness racing reinsmen and women have finalized arrangements to head to Horsham for the renowned event.

The countdown is on for the 2013 harness racing 'Decron Horse Care Noel Smith Memorial Horsham Invitation Drivers Championship'.

Terang based reinsman Matt Craven, Hamilton trainer David Lewis and teenage reinsman Jason Lee took the honours at the Horsham harness racing fixture held on Monday April 22, Craven with a driving treble, Lewis a training double and Lee a driving double.

Ever reliable 4-Y-0 It Is I/Mama Tembu gelding Weallwantano trained in the Western District by Kevin Brough at Heywood, showed his customary bulldog fighting qualities to record his 11th harness racing victory in 33 outings, when successful in the Happy Hour @ Westside Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2200 metres at Horsham on Thursday March 21.

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