Day At The Track
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Victoria's harness racing scene has been split into six regions to attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus — and Shepparton will be one of nine venues used across the state.  

When star Victorian harness racing reinsman John Caldow set off up the highway to the Shepparton meeting on Friday night, he was entitled to believe he had a few nice drives. “I must admit that on paper I really did think I could do okay - but I have to be honest and say I wasn’t counting on landing five winners!” a jubilant Caldow said. “It was just one of those nights where you think this might happen, or that could be the case, and then it just all goes to plan and falls into place,” he said. “Absolutely amazing, but hell it was heaps of fun.” The quintet of wins was a first for the freelance reinsman, who, with wife Maree, has a training complex at Melton. “I did get five in total once before, but I couldn’t count it as such – one winner at Maryborough in the afternoon and then four that night at a Melton fixture,” he said. “I have actually had four a fair few times. But the prospect of five at one meeting has probably never entered my head.” The popular reinsman said Shepparton had been something of a happy hunting ground for him in recent seasons. “I’ve been getting heaps of support from trainers up that way and I really enjoy driving on the track. Besides I have lots of friends in the area so it’s great to get up there and see them as well.” The Caldow winning run started with Keith Cotchin four-year-old Karlos (Sportwriter-Kept For Pleasure (Safely Kept). To watch the video replay of Karlos click here. Then it was an all-the-way win with Sheer Modern (Shadyshark Hanover-Modern Society (Modern Art) for Brent Thomson. To watch the video replay of Sheer Modern click here. After being runner-up in the next, Caldow bounced back for wife Maree when successful with Meziah (Bettors Delight-Mesmerizing (Our Sir Vancelot). To watch the video replay of Meziah click here. He then scored a surprise win with $28 long shot Jackson Square (Bacardi Lindy-Front And Square (Yentls Image) in the Trotters Cup, landing the prize for Mick Blackmore. To watch the video replay of Jackson Square click here. Caldow’s fifth winner kept it an enjoyable family night, providing Maree with a training double courtesy of impressive 2YO colt Andover Sun (Andover Hall-Solar Flash (Sundon USA) in the Abrahams Trotters Classic. To watch the video replay of Andover Sun click here. And for Caldow followers wondering the outcome for a $10 all up bet on Caldow’s five winners?  A handsome $42,077 would have been the result . Landing winners is certainly nothing new for Caldow, who is up there with the best of them. He has driven more than 100 winners in a season on 20 occasions. And no-one would begrudge him his success (despite perhaps the one flaw in his make-up, some may say, of being a fanatical Collingwood supporter in the AFL!). After a horrific road accident in the 1980s claimed the life of his older brother Peter and severely injured his father Jack at Boundary Bend in Victoria’s far north west, John was given the task of running the stables, then located at Echuca. “I was only 13 years old at the time and I now sometimes look back on it and wonder how I did it,” he said. “Mum had to get special leave from the Education Department so I could quit school and takeover the stable duties of preparing a team of 12 horses. “But I couldn’t have done it without the help of a lot of people.  Probably the one who stood out was Russ Thomson, who had a set-up near Moama at the time, but many others gave us a hand. “I can remember having a team of 20 in work when I was 16 years old as that’s when I applied to get a trots driver’s licence.” The Caldow family relocated to Melton in early 2000 and John has continued to cement himself as one of the true success stories of the industry. Caldow said he was certain to remember his quintet of winners in years to come. “It was actually a huge two days as I went to the football the previous night at the MCG with Glenn Douglas, Mick Stanley and some other diehard Collingwood fans and we got a win over the Bombers,” he said. “You could say I’m on a bit of a roll…!” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Piff a snowball, get your boogie on and soak up the spectacle of more than 100 horses taking to the track. That’s what is on offer Sunday when Mooroopna Harness Racing Club hosts its pacing and trotters cups at Shepparton, where it will stage a twilight meeting amid the Queen’s Birthday Weekend. “To me and the committee, our cup meeting is the pinnacle of our club,” president Jeff Gledhill said. “We’re hoping people enjoy a good night’s racing. We have a snow machine for the kids to celebrate the start of the snow season, and there will be music and dancing with Callum Gleeson performing. It is a chance to see what grass roots harness racing is all about.” Entertainment was boosted after the club secured a $10,800 grant from the State Government’s VRIF program, while further support has enabled the club to provide almost $14,000 in raffle prizes to participating trainers. “This year we got a Tuza horse float at a discounted price and sponsor support that has meant we can offer this prize to trainers without costing the club,” Mr Gledhill said. That showing of support to participants goes to the very core of the club, characteristics that it is keen to showcase on its cup day. “Now that we no longer host racing at Mooroopna we have become more of an education club, and about 10 to 12 trainers use the all-weather track to educate their horses in preparation for racing,” Mr Gledhill said. “To host a 10-race program at Shepparton of more than 100 horses just proves that the club can still support the industry.” The 10-race program starts at 4.45pm, with race six featuring the Lift ‘N’ Shift Mooroopna Pacing Cup at 7.30pm and race seven the Eljaykay Phoenix Syndicate Mooroopna Trotters Cup at 8.02pm. Entry is free and there is a $5 discount dining voucher to Mooroopna residents and visitors to the town’s caravan parks. Michael Howard

Catalogues for the Shepparton Mixed Stock Sale, to be held at the Shepparton racing complex on Sunday, September 6, are now available. The sale comprises 73 lots including broodmares, yearlings, two-year-olds, three-year-old and older racing stock and features a reduction of the racing and breeding stock of Colleen and Kevin Bamford’s Daisy Hill Breeding. The strong broodmare contingent is highlighted by former Australian 3YO Filly of the Year Yeronga Songbird, the multiple Group placegetter Vista Bella as well as several metropolitan-winning mares. Mares are in foal to high-profile sires including Art Major, Sportswriter, American Ideal, Rock N Roll Heaven, Shadow Play, Roll With Joe, Betterthancheddar, Grinfromeartoear, Blissfull Hall, Western Terror, Always A Virgin, Auckland Reactor, Alta Christiano, Caribbean Blaster and Majestic Son. There’s yearlings by well credentialled sires such as Mach Three, Shadow Play, Modern Art, Betterthancheddar, Big Jim, Artistic Fella, Auckland Reactor, Village Jolt and Majestic Son and two-year-olds by Somebeachsomewhere, Sportswriter, Courage Under Fire, Roll With Joe, Shadyshark Hanover and Badlands Hanover. For a catalogue or further information contact Shepparton Harness Racing Club manager Ian McDonald on phone 0428 231 403 or email Pedigrees can be downloaded from the website  Click on this link. Pedigrees are also available on the Shepparton HRC Facebook page. By Peter Wharton

The Shepparton trots will come to life next Wednesday night as the town is flooded by one of the highlights of the social calendar. Thousands of Victorian tennis players will descend on the trotting stronghold for a week of social and sporting activities in the ‘Country Week’ event. One of those activities will be to head out to the race meeting on Wednesday night and the club has stepped in to offer a few incentives for heading out. “We are putting together a fun-filled night with AFL and TV star legend Billy Brownless coming out to spin his famous wheel and give prizes out to the crowd,” Club secretary Ian McDonald said. “There will also be a punters club so we can hopefully turn a profit for those who might not be across the form.” With one of the biggest crowds of the year expected at the event, the locals won’t be missing out either with the huge Shepparton Cup night fresh in the memory bank. For more information on the night you can call the club on (03) 5823 1403. Harness Racing Victoria

The Shepparton Harness Racing Club is thrilled to announce a new sponsorship agreement with national General Insurance Broker, Ausure Insurance Brokers, and highly respected Goulburn Valley breeder Helen Head. For Ausure Insurance Brokers it is their first foray into Harness racing sponsorship. Ausure Insurance Brokers are the new naming right sponsors for the two-year-old colts and fillies classics to be conducted on Shepparton Cup night Saturday, January 18, 2014. These two events have been included in the program to replace the previous Lombo Series finals. One of the fastest growing insurance brokerage firms in Australia, Ausure Insurance Brokers is a privately owned organisation of motivated, creative insurance experts who collectively have expertise in all areas of business, equine, sporting and personal general insurance. Each Ausure Insurance Broking Office is owned and managed by individually selected authorised representatives who are positioned to provide localised and personal service. These brokers are backed by the financial strength and knowledge of the Ausure Insurance Broking network. Shepparton HRC chairman Chris Hazelman said that the club was indeed fortunate to have such a well-respected company sponsoring these two feature classics as it gave the club the scope to raise the stakes for the two events to $15,000. Each year the two-year-old features create enormous interest and have been an integral part of the Cup program. The club encourages all industry participants to look to Dennis Rebbeck (DPR Insurance Brokers – Euroa) or Lindsay Rankin (Ausure Insurance Brokers – Echuca) of the Ausure Insurance Brokers network for any of their personal or business insurance needs. The sponsorship agreement with Helen Head is inclusive of an open feature event for three-year-olds on Shepparton Cup night that will perpetuate the memory of her late husband, Graham Head. All industry participants will be well aware of the impact that Grenada Park Standardbreds has had within the breeding industry and it is very fitting that the event to be known as the Graham Head Memorial will be conducted at the club’s feature night of the year, Chris Hazelman said. Grenada Park principal Helen Head is thrilled to be sponsoring the Shepparton Harness Racing Club and the feature event for three-year-olds. The sponsorship allows the club to boost the stakes for that event to $15,000. Helen Head said that as a commercial yearling producer, Grenada Park Standardbreds aim to produce quality racing horses by maintaining a select band of quality broodmares, by utilizing the best commercial stallions, and then by carefully raising and conditioning their youngsters.   “The majority of our horses are destined for the yearling sales; however we occasionally have yearlings or broken-in horses available for private sale,” Head said. Manna Lodge Farm, the home of Grenada Park Standardbreds, is in the heart of the Goulburn Valley, five minutes from the Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital. Manna Lodge comprises approximately 300 acres, providing both irrigated and dry grazing for mares and foals. Facilities include floodlit foaling paddocks, sheltered sand yards for confinement of wet mares with foals at foot, steel yards and breeding barn with wet lab, stable complex and horse-walker. The Shepparton Harness Racing Club would like all breeders to consider the wonderful facilities and level of expertise available at Grenada Park when breeding or looking for your next superstar. By Peter Wharton  

The two mandatory harness racing meetings were held in Victoria on Thursday July 11, with Shepparton racing during the afternoon and Ballarat at night.

Avenel harness racing trainer Wayne Potter enjoyed a happy night at Shepparton on Saturday, providing a stable double with exciting 4-Y-0 American Ideal/Elegant Falcon gelding Authorized taking the Fords Coach Travel / GV Plumbing Pace Final for C1 class over 1690 metres and American Ideal/Bring Her Back filly Sophies Ideal the Sherbourne Terrace Pacefor non winners over the same journey.

The Shepparton harness racing meeting on Tuesday June 11 was highlighted by the Vicbred Super Series sponsored by Empire Stallions, with the second round heats programmed for 2-Y-0 Colts & Geldings, 2-Y-0 Fillies, 3-Y-0 Filles and 3-Y-0 Colts & Geldings, all over 2190 metres.

The mandatory two meeting Thursday took place on May 16, with Shepparton harness racing in the afternoon and Bendigo at night.

The Shepparton harness racing meeting on Saturday May 11 was huge for the Bolinda/ Monegeetta area, with Lisa and David Miles almost pulling off the quaddie only to be stopped by neighbour Paul Males.

Bolinda harness racing trainer Paul Males was victorious with 7-Y-0 Brioso Hanover/All Fire N Ace mare Dusty Smiles in the True Value Solar Pace for C1 class over 1690 metres at Shepparton on Tuesday April 23.

There were two harness racing meetings held in Victoria on Wednesday April 17 with Shepparton racing during the afternoon and Bendigo at night, the highlight being heats of the 2013 Goulburn Valley & Central Victoria Young Drivers Challenge.

The second division of the Lyn McPherson Breed For Speed Silver and Gold Series were finalized at Shepparton on Saturday March 16, with Avenel harness racing mentor David Aiken taking both races.

The two Victorian harness meetings scheduled for Wednesday February 27 came to a sudden halt due to torrential rain coming down in bucket loads.

Popular trainer Michael Hayes based on the border of Avenel and Nagambie, snared the Warby Street Butchery Wangaratta Pace for C0 class over 1690 metres at the Wangaratta Harness Racing fixture held at Shepparton on Tuesday with Live Or Die/Forest Drive gelding Forbidden Forest.

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