Day At The Track
Foal numbers are drastically down in Australia this year

Australian foal numbers dip to below 3,000

The expectant foal crop in Australia standardbreds this season will be around 2,950. This represents the lowest figure since records were first kept by Harness Racing Australia in 1966/67.   As at April 3, 2020 the total foal crop in Australia numbered 2,876, according to Australian Standardbred breeders Association secretary Gary Newton.   The expectant final figure will be approximately 400 fewer foals than the previous season. It will be 50 percent down on the 2000/01 season when there were 6,382 foals born in Australia.   The largest ever foal crop in this country was 13,658 in the 1978/79.   There has been a continual downward spiral in number for 30 years.   Newton said:   “The foal numbers across Australia are in free-fall and it appears that the biggest decline is in the owner-breeder type that are leaving the industry.   “In 2011 the Australian Breeding Panel survey, headed by John Bagshaw, identified 29 percent of those surveyed claimed they would decrease the number of  mares they would look to get in foal. That number alarmingly increased to 54 percent in an ASBA survey conducted last year.”   “Costs and a level playing field are the two main reasons for the decline plus the average age of the breeder is 45 and rising,” Newton stated.   “We just don’t have young people coming into the game. It’s not sexy enough to attract them.”   The national foal crops have been:   Year             Foals 2017/18       3,335 2016/17       3,444 2015/16       3,641 2014/15       3,861 2013/14       3,867 2012/13       4,193 2011/12       4,517 2010/11       4,879 2009/10       5,345 2008/09       5,263 2007/08       5,055 2006/07       5,088 2005/06       6,024 2004/05       5,923 2003/04       6,079 2002/03       5,751 2001/02       6,379 2000/01       6,382   by Peter Wharton

Sofala and Donna Castles,Harness racing

Pause put on Pacing for Pink

Victorian trots are set to take huge strides in the fight against breast cancer, but the Pacing for Pink campaign will be delayed to ensure maximum exposure. A stunning 78 pairs of pink drivers’ pants have been ordered as part of the awareness and fundraising campaign for the McGrath Foundation, having for the first time been thrown open to all drivers. With a cavalcade of sponsors coming on board to support the occasion, organisers have postponed the commemoration, which was to see drivers wear the pink pants throughout May, with the headline Foundation fundraising day planned for May 24 at Shepparton. “With the changes to region-based racing and because we want to have all of Victorian drivers involved, we have decided to hold off until we return to racing as normal,” reinswoman Donna Castles said. “We want to make sure that we raise as much awareness and money for the Foundation, and to also make sure that those who supported the drivers get their due thanks.”   HRV Trots Media

Talk trots,Harness racing

Big line-up for Talking Trots on Track

There will be a smorgasboard for harness racing fans on today's Talking Trots on Track, which deep dives into today's Tabcorp Park and tonight's Bendigo programs. Trainers Mick Barby and Emma Stewart will both join hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden on the show from 11am to talk about their Melton runners, a program that kicks off at 1.07pm on Trots Vision. In between those two interviews will be a chat with Alex Ashwood, who steers six at Bendigo tonight, including Well Defined and Lay The Smackdown for partner Kate Hargreaves. Punters can get ahead of the game with tips from Dan Mielicki and Lachie McIntosh, who will call all tonight's action from Melton and Bendigo respectively. Then coming up after noon, Mick Guerin will join the hosts, before Bonnington goes under the microscope in the 'Getting To Know' segment. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN IN   HRV Trots Media

Lay The Smackdown,Harness racing

Kate ready to Lay The Smackdown

Kate Hargreaves and Alex Ashwood will make the trip from Shelbourne to Bendigo confident their second night of region-based racing will bring further success. Having produced a win and a third from two starts when the Central region kicked off last Friday, the stable is optimistic promising two-year-old Lay The Smackdown and trotter Well Defined can put their best feet forward tonight. Hargreaves told Trots Talk her two-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding, who will contest the Southern Cross Office Equipment 2YO Pace at 7.21pm on Trots Vision, was well placed to build on his third place on debut at Echuca, where he galloped when leading but recovered to run third. “I’ve got a pretty big opinion of him,” she said. “He’s got his fair share of ability, he can just get a bit rocky in his gate. “At Echuca he did gallop, he actually hit a wheel and just put himself off stride. We are just putting him a bit further out in the cart now so that doesn’t happen. “The bigger track at Bendigo will definitely help him. I’m excited to have him at the races, he’s an exciting horse. I think he’s a really great chance, if he does everything right he will be very hard to beat.” As will Well Defined, says Hargreaves, when the five-year-old trotter steps out at 8.51pm in the Race Services Trot. He returns to a mobile start for the first time since June 1 last year, having run off a standing start penalty in every race since. “I think he’s got a really great chance,” she said. “The field he’s in against, he has been racing a few better ones than what he’s racing against, and he doesn’t have to give them a start, because he’s been in starts and been off 20 and 30 metres. “I think his form doesn’t really show just how well he’s going. He’s another one I’m confident on if he can have a little bit of luck, he always needs a little bit of luck.” Lay The Smackdown is a $1.45 favourite with TAB.com.au, while Well Defined is $6. A big day of racing awaits on Trots Vision, with the eight-race card at Tabcorp Park Melton kicking off at 1.07pm before the focus moves to Ballarat for the first at 6.20pm. CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN IN TO TROTS TALK:   HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard

If ever someone deserves success, it's third generation Victorian harness racing trainer Janet Exell. Exell, from the Western District, admits that talented square gaiter Show Me The Moola (Allawart Ray-Chantivari (Chandon) has more than tested her patience at times. "He certainly takes the cake as the slowest one to get it-he just doesn't learn the lesson at all. And on top of that, he can't relax and won't do things at a steady pace," she said. "There's no doubt he was the dumbest I've ever broken in. I just spent so much time with him. I have had advice and some wisdom from two great horsemen in David Drury and Ray Holberton. They have been super." But for all her perseverance, Exell is now reaping the rewards with Show Me The Moola (known around the stables as The Bad Boy). The five-year-old has won two of his past four starts, his latest at Terang on Tuesday night. Driven for the first time by young Jason Ainsworth, the gelding stepped away from the tapes in good fashion and was never headed to take out the $7000 Greavesy's Fruit and Veg Trotters Handicap over 2180 metres. Watch the replay here "They did really well because they had to withstand a bit of pressure in the race. Jason didn't put a foot wrong because I know how difficult the horse can be to drive at times," Exell said. "I purposely steer clear of putting him in mobile barrier races because they just fire him up too much. He just can't relax and I can say that first-hand. Just from training him there's no flabby arms on me - I'd challenge anyone to an arm wrestle!" she laughed. "He's always been so anxious and fractious, but he's getting better so maybe we are starting to win the battle. I've changed a few things so hopefully we're on the right track." Exell is based at Balmoral, a small township halfway between Horsham and Hamilton, with her husband David. She said while her husband was a "horse person", he didn't come from a harness racing background. "He's right into quarter horses, but he's always ready to give me a hand," she said. "We have a small property with a 600-metre track. I usually take our horses into Hamilton for fastwork. There's a team of five in training at present and three of them are trotters which I really do prefer. "I learnt how to do the shoeing part off my dad. I've been doing it most of the time, particularly since he passed away three years ago, but now David has taken over." Exell, who bred, owns and trains Show Me The Moola, follows in the family footsteps of her late grandfather Arthur Exell and her father Ken. "I still race in dad's colors, which he got registered when he was 16 years old back in 1949," Exell said. In the same race that Show Me The Moola won at Terang, Kerryn Manning wore Exell's dad's all-green colors, finishing third with the stable's other runner, the appropriately-named chestnut mare Keepthedream. Allawart Ray (Speed Supreme-Bernies Love), the sire of Show Me the Moola, was raced by the Foreman family. He was a star Wimmera trotter back in the late 1990s, winning 19 races and over $67,000 in stakes and had victories at Moonee Valley as well as many country tracks such as Stawell, Maryborough, Charlton, Horsham and Bendigo.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

There may be no racing in Tasmania at present, but there is plenty of ex-pats of both the human and equine variety doing battle on the mainland this weekend. Duncan Dornauf has the thoughts of a few participants and who they rate as their best chances across the weekend. Melton – Thursday afternoon Race 6 Horse 1 Bar Naar Naar – is trained by Westbury-based Michael Laugher, his son and Victorian stable foreman Jack Laugher, who also owns the pacer is hopeful the five-year-old mare can take full advantage of her pole draw in the 46 to 51 rated race. “She’s an honest little horse, and she should be able to take advantage of her good draw and hopefully run somewhere in the money,” said Jack. “She is racing out of her class, but I think she’s up to most of them,” he added. Darby McGuigan will drive the mare who has won two out of her last five-starts while Jack is on the sidelines due to suspension. Bendigo – Thursday night Tasmanian born driver Alex Ashwood has six-drives on the program where he rates Lay The Smack Down as his best winning chance in race three despite drawing outside of the front row over the 1650 metre trip. “He has shown a lot of promise at the trials and finds a winnable race here,” said Ashwood. Lay The Smack Down finished third on debut at Echuca on 3 March and has won a Bendigo trial since that effort where he ran a mile rate of 1m 57.2s and a slick 56.6s last half mile. Ashwood’s Book  Race 1 Horse 7 Whata Rockstar Race 3 Horse 7 Lay The Smackdown Race 4 Horse 9 Armbro Hugh Race 5 Horse 1 Wotchawaitingfor Race 6 Horse 7 Well Defined Race 8 Horse 10 Surbiton Heartbreak Also at the Bendigo meeting former north-west coast trainer, Dylan Marshall is represented on the card with Barbie Mattgregor in race eight. The seven-year-old mare has been placed in three of her last five outings, and she has a wide draw to overcome. Penrith – Thursday night Race 1 Horse 5 Rossini – is prepared by dual Inter Dominion winning trainer James Rattray who also takes the drive on the four-year-old gelding. Rossini has won three of his 21 starts and has been placed in three of four tries this preparation. Former Raider Stakes winner and Tasmanian bred pacer Timely Sovereign lines up in race five. Cranbourne – Sunday Josh Duggan is another Tasmanian driver who has done an outstanding job in Victoria and he has five drives at Cranbourne on Sunday afternoon. He rates Dreamee as his best winning chance in race four. “He meets a pretty even field and was a good run last start after galloping out. Hopefully, he’s on his best behaviour on Sunday and should be thereabouts,” said Duggan about the Alison Alford trained trotters chances. Duggan’s Book  Race 2 Horse 2 Tauto Jane Race 4 Horse 9 Dreamee Race 6 Horse 1 Brandlo Prince Race 7 Horse 3 Call Me Henry Race 8 Horse 6 Rock On Playboy Robert Walters is another Tasmanian trainer-driver participating at the meeting with Heza Braxton in race one and Hollys Miss Molly in race five. Shepparton – Sunday Race 5 Horse 2 Blingittothemax (emergency). Despite being placed in four of his last five starts, the Mick Maxfield owned pacer is an emergency for the Caledonian Hotel Easter Cup at the Echuca meeting that is being staged at Shepparton, with the significant field restrictions and horses being restricted to their local area in the state, as such Harness Racing Victoria have revised their field selection process for the short term. Expect several Tasmanian horses to step out in the coming week or two with a few trainers electing to send horses from their stables to interstate trainers.   Duncan Dornauf

“It’s taken a lifetime to build up these families. You definitely have to patient if you’re a breeder.”   The speaker is prominent South Australian breeder and former Harness Racing SA boss Mark Carey, the breeder of star juvenile filly Joanna, the track record-breaking winner of the $100,000 Bathurst Gold Tiara.   Her success in the time-honoured NSW classic gave Carey his first Group 1 winner in a 40 year involvement with the sport.   Joanna is the second foal of the talented Dream Away mare Repelem, who won 41 races including the Southern Cross 2YO and 3YO Finals, the Jodie’s Babe and Ian Daff Memorial and $266,346 in stakes.   “Repelem has been a terrific mare for me not only on the racetrack but in the yearling sale arena as well. I’ve put three of her progeny through the sale ring and they’ve made $70,000, $50,000 and $65,000,” Carey said.   “I put a reserve of $50,000 on Joanna and I sold her for $50,000.”   Mark said the season that he bred Repelem was a red-letter year for him.   “I bred eight horses that season and six of them raced and they won 93 races between them,” he said.   “Repelem won 41 races, Heza Showman (21), Zabreez (10), Big Henry (13), Perfect Bliss (5) and Paua Art (3).”   Other winners bred by Carey over the years include the brilliant but ill-fated Revolt (a half- brother to Joanna), the old warhorse Kingsford (30 races and $174,553), the Menangle trotting winner Kylies Life (1:55.5), Sheza Party Doll, Soul Desire, Princeford, Look At The Stars and recent Globe Derby three-year-old winner Let Me Rock.   Carey currently maintains a broodmare herd of 16 on his 80-acre property at Echunga, in the Adelaide Hills. They include the Moonee Valley and Globe Derby winner Holla ($71,666), Repelem, Sheza Party Doll and three daughters of Sandelera (a mare from the Black Watch family) in Princess Sandel (dam of Rudi Sandel - 2 wins from 3 starts to date), Sign Logic (dam of 2YO Thiswaytothebeach) and Royal Delera.   “I try to breed five or six mares every year,” he said. Carey burns plenty of midnight oil in selecting suitable consorts for his broodmares.   “Robert A’Court helps me with the pedigree matching. He’s big on the replications of the most successful bloodlines,” Mark said.   The mares are bred and foaled down by Greg and Viv Rodda of Meadows Veterinary Centre and the resultant foals that are retained by Carey are broken in by respected Globe Derby Park horseman and long-time friend Michael Norman.   Carey belongs to a family steeped in horse racing.   “I grew up with horses. I used to go the races every Saturday as a teenager,” Mark recalled.   “My grandfather ‘Snow’ O’Connor was one of the first licensed bookmakers in SA as well as a horse breeder and my uncle Jim O’Connor conducted the famed Milluna thoroughbred stud at One Tree Hill. They also dabbled in standardbreds, breeding the 1962 SA Derby winner Fiery Miss.”   After finishing university, Mark’s first association with horse racing was in the racing department of the SA Jockey Club. He later worked in the marketing division of the SA TAB for 13 years before being appointed as CEO of Harness Racing SA.   Following a nine-year stint with HRSA, Mark then served with Greyhound Racing SA as Board Director for three years before being appointed Chairman of HRSA. During his five years as the head of Harness Racing in SA he served, firstly as treasurer and later as vice-president to Geoff Want on the Harness Racing Australia board.   Nowadays, Mark lives with his partner Joanne and their two daughters Kate, 8, and Sarah, 7, looking after their Echunga farm as well as assisting his brother Paul on their 3,000-acre cereal, cattle and sheep property at Brinkley near Murray Bridge.     by Peter Wharton Article reprinted with permission of Australian Standardbred Breeders Association

Bathurst Paceway will play host to one of the new $100,000 Regional Championships Finals to replace the inaugural Million Dollar Pace, which Harness Racing NSW had to cancel due to the coronavirus. Racing has still been able to go ahead despite the virus but due to the recent regionalisation changes which came into affect on April 1 there is no way for trainers outside of the metropolitan zone to attend a meeting at Menangle, where the million dollar event would have been held. As a compromise HRNSW created four separate Regional Championships to be held on the major track in each region - Bathurst (Western), Wagga (Riverina), Newcastle (Hunter) and Menangle (Metro). It adds a Group 1 event to the Bathurst Harness Racing Club's calendar for the first time outside of the Gold Crown Carnival. The Lagoon trainer Steve Turnbull was on board with the changes. "It's a good solution. It's hard times we're going through. It was something to look forward to but that's just the way things are at the moment," he said. "Even the gallopers are cutting their prizemoney down a lot. It's a shame but at least this series still gives people a hope of earning some money. "We have a few horses we were looking at for the race but we'll still be giving it go and see what happens. "It is a shame to lose the atmosphere you get at the track but we're pressing along and we're lucky that we're able to keep racing while this is all going on." HRNSW chief executive John Dumesny said it was about giving trainers the chance to place their horses in a series, after having set them specifically for the now abandoned Million Dollar Pace. "Whilst we have lost other races from the calendar because of the required regionalisation within NSW and the closing of State borders which limited opportunities for all horses these Regional Championships will deliver to our participants - owners, trainers and drivers," he said. "The Championships dates have been held to the schedule previously set for the Million Dollar Pace so the training of horses specifically set for that race Series is not affected." The original entry conditions for the event remain in place. The series is still restricted to four-year-olds and above who must be both Australian-bred pacers and have had five starts in their region since February. Each of the four regions will host two rounds of heats with a maximum of five heats per round. Prizemoney for the heats will be $9500. Each Region will also run a $14,500 consolation event alongside of the Group 1 Finals on the same night. Metropolitan heats will commence at Menangle on May 5; Western Districts heats at Bathurst commence on May 6; Riverina heats commence May 8 and the Hunter heats commence at Newcastle on May 9. Bathurst will be the first track to host its final and consolation races, which are both set to take place on Wednesday, May 20. Reprinted with permission of the Oberon Review

The Woodlands Stud flagship Bettor’s Delight was clearly the top harness racing sire on average price at this year’s round of Australian Pacing Gold yearling sales. Of the 35 head offered by the great Cam’s Card Shark horse, 31 were sold for an average of $60,484. He had four of the seven yearlings to fetch $100,000 or more including the three highest priced colts and the leading filly at the Sydney auction. Art Major, who sired the highest priced yearling in Melbourne at $160,000, Courage Under Fire and Captaintreacherous were the only other sires with stock to reach six figures. The deceased Courage Under Fire’s had four progeny sell for an average of $53,125 to finish second on the list. Next was Captaintreacherous, who had 30 of his second crop sell for an average price of $51,200, followed by his own sire Somebeachsomewhere (21 sold - $41,976 average), Mach Three (2 - $35,000), Sweet Lou (18 - $33,778) and Art Major (38 - $33,237). Always B Miki was the leading first crop sire with 30 head sold for an average of $28,189, followed by Betting Line (34 – $24,632) and Racing Hill (7 - $8,429). Muscle Hill topped the trotting sire’s section with two lots averaging $52,500. Other trotting stallions with multiple sales included Andover Hall (2 - $42,500), Father Patrick (4 - $36,875), Love You (2 - $33,250), Creatine (2 - $25,000) and Majestic Son (8 - $20,938).   PACING SIRES Sire                                          No. Sold                      $Average Bettor’s Delight                       31                                60,484 Courage Under Fire*              4                                  53,125 Captaintreacherous                30                                51,200 Somebeachsomewhere*        21                                41,976 Mach Three*                          2                                  35,000 Sweet Lou                             18                                33,778 Art Major                                38                                33,237 Alta Christiano*                      8                                  29,875 Always B Miki                         30                                28,189 American Ideal                       29                                28,121 Tintin In America                    6                                  24,833 Betting Line                             34                                24,632 Rock N Roll Heaven                13                                21,077 Roll With Joe                           7                                  19,357 Fly Like An Eagle                     9                                  18,111 Shadow Play                           7                                  18,000 Rocknroll Hanover*                1                                  18,000 Badlands Hanover                 5                                  17,600 Sportswriter                            14                                17,357 Betterthancheddar                 6                                  17,083 Hurrikane Kingcole*               2                                  16,000 Rich And Spoilt*                      1                                  16,000 Western Terror                       5                                  15,600 Sunshine Beach                     15                                15,233 Warrawee Needy                    7                                  14,000 Four Starzzz Shark                 9                                  13,556 He’s Watching                         8                                  13,125 A Rocknroll Dance                  29                                12,586 Heston Blue Chip                    2                                  12,500 Changeover                             1                                  12,500 Caribbean Blaster                   1                                  11,000 Follow The Stars                    12                                10,958 Well Said                                 15                                10,800 Pet Rock                                  9                                  10,389 Guaranteed                             1                                  10,000 Racing Hill                               7                                  8,429 Grinfromeartoear*                   1                                  7,000 Renaissance Man                   1                                  7,000 Mr Feelgood                           1                                  6,000 Auckland Reactor                    5                                  5,400 Falcon Seelster*                      1                                  5,000   TROTTING SIRES Sire                                          No. Sold                      $Average Muscle Hill                              2                                  52,500 Trixton                                     1                                  51,000 Orlando Vici                            1                                  50,000 Andover Hall                           2                                  42,500 Father Patrick                         4                                  36,875 Love You                                  2                                  33,250 Creatine                                  2                                  25,000 Royalty For Life                       1                                  25,000 Majestic Son                           8                                  20,938 Cardigan Boko                        2                                  17,000             Muscle Mass                           1                                  14,000 Quaker Jet                               2                                  11,500 Lawman                                  1                                  11,000 Bacardi Lindy                          3                                  10,167 Aldebaran Eagle                     1                                  10,000 Kvintet Avenger                      1                                  10,000 Dreamcatcher                         3                                  9,667 Used To Me                             8                                  6,625 Sebastian K                              2                                  6,000 Skyvalley                                 2                                  6,000 Peak                                        1                                  4,000    *Deceased By Peter Wharton

One of the biggest gambling companies in Australia – Tabcorp – has decided to take measures to offset the negative impact that the shutdown of brick-and-mortar licensed betting shops and TAB agencies and the cancellation and postponement of major sports events are having on its performance. Even though some new sports betting options, such as the Belarusian Premier League, have emerged in the light of coronavirus crisis, they have not been able to compensate for the revenue that would have been generated by the company as a result of its customers’ betting on some of the most popular sports competitions in Australia and across the world. Because of that, Tabcorp has decided to temporarily furlough over 700 workers to June 30th, 2020, who are employed in its services that are no longer operational due to the closures related to the coronavirus outbreak. A further 160 technology contractors, who represent a 40% reduction, have also been dismissed. Fees that are owed in April 2020 by venues operating under TAB, Keno, Sky Racing and MAX contracts have been suspended and are set to be reviewed on a monthly basis in the light of the Covid-19 situation. The gambling group has projected that its business-as-usual expenditure for the ongoing first half would suffer about a 25% decline at approximately AU$120 million. The banking facilities of Tabcorp has been expanded through an additional short term facility worth AU$226 million that is payable in the middle of the following year. Tabcorp Aimed at Remaining Proactive to Deal with Difficulties Related to Covid-19 Crisis Apart from the above-mentioned measures to fight the negative effects on the company’s performance due to the coronavirus shutdown, David Attenborough, who is the company’s chief executive officer and managing director, has also taken a 20% fixed remuneration pay reduction until the end of the current financial year. Mr Attenborough has explained that the time has been challenging to businesses, partners, individuals and the community as a whole. He further noted that the company has been working proactively and collaborated with all its stakeholders so that they could deal with the difficulties during the Covid-19 shutdown and emerge from the crisis as strong as possible. Apart from all that, the company has slashed its chairman and non-executive director fees by 10%. The measure was taken only several months after another 10% reduction of the above-mentioned fees were made in September 2019. Despite its retail gambling services have been affected by the cancellation and postponement of sports events across the world, Tabcorp has highlighted the fact that its Lotteries and Keno, and Betting and Media digital channels continue to operate as they used to. In addition, its lotteries retail network of convenience stores, newsagents and other brick-and-mortar outlets has also remained operational so far. For the time being, greyhound, thoroughbred and harness races on the territory of Australia, excluding Tasmania, are still being conducted in line with the state government’s policies regarding public health restrictions. By Olivia Cole Reprinted with permission of Casino Guardian

Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond are due for a big night out at Gloucester Park tomorrow night, according to the members of the WA Trotting Media Guild. Among some of the Guild’s best bets are The Bird Dance, Mighty Santana and Tarooma Bromac - all from the strong camp of the Bonds. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and Radio Great Southern’s form expert Warren Wishart believe The Bird Dance will bounce back from a last-start defeat as an odds-on favourite. “The Bird Dance, a victim of unusual circumstances last start, looks set to bounce back into the winners’ list after drawing gate one,” Manning said. “He won at nine consecutive appearances before being pressured in the lead a fortnight ago by American Brave, who over-raced and took charge of his reinsman. The Bird Dance was eased, but then had to face the breeze and his eighth can be overlooked.” Wishart agrees. “Expect The Bird Dance to hit back hard here after a forgive run last start,” Wishart said. ”Has the pegs draw to lead all the way. I do like the best horse drawing one - they invariably win.“ Guild president Wayne Currall thinks another Bond-trained horse in Mighty Santana, another runner who had his colours lowered as a short-priced elect, can make amends in race four. “Mighty Santana was a good thing beaten last start,” Currall said. “He was full of running and only got a crack at them late after being held in a pocket. This race maps well for him and looks to be a drop in class. He looks primed to get the chocolates.” Longshot king Pat Harding is another tipster who has opted for a horse from the Bond stable as his star bet. “Could be an excellent night for the Bond camp this Thursday night,” Harding said. “My best bet comes up in race seven with the Bond-trained Taroona Bromac. Coming off 20 metres, he should be ideally placed to pounce on the leaders and give the Bonds a treble.“ Veteran trotting journalist Ken Casellas is keen on Miracle Moose in race three. “Supercharged finishing bursts from Miracle Moose in the past couple of weeks have stamped the four-year-old as a pacer well worth following, and he’s my best bet on Thursday night to overcome the awkward draw at barrier seven,” Casellas said. “He surged home from 10th at the bell to finish second to Soho Thunderstruck last Friday night and came from 12th at the bell to win from Bettor Be Oscar the previous week. He started from the No. 7 barrier on both occasions.” TABradio form analyst Hayden King likes Machnificent in the last race on the 10-event card. “ Machnificent showed incredible speed at the beginning and end of a recent trial,” King said. “He will lead and should race away late.” But The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft has made Lavra Joe his best bet for the night in the same race. “Lavra Joe seems to be the two-year-old measuring stick at the moment, toughing out victories from the breeze at his last two outings,” Havercroft said. ”The small field suits again and the son of Roll With Joe appears to be improving with every run.” TABradio racecaller Matt Young believes punters can add to their bank by supporting Soho  Thunderstruck in the opening event. “Soho Thunderstruck was dominant last start,” Young said. “I think he’ll let the dust settle and work to the breeze and control the race to victory again.” VALUE BETS ERNIE: Absolution has not won in his past 25 starts and was out of the placings at his last 11 appearances. But he drew barrier one on Thursday night and can be prominent. A winner of 10 races, he locked wheels when finishing only 11th last week. WARREN: Star Fromthepalace drops back to fillies grade having competed against the boys in last weeks WA Derby. Was placed in the Western Gateway Pace the start prior and the indicative odds of $16 represents fantastic Easter treats. WAYNE: Dominate The Dojo flies the gate and I can see him crossing to an early lead in the first. Chris Lewis will then take a sit behind Valbonne. He doesn’t win that often, but he looks a good place bet and one for the exotics. PAT: My vale bet comes up in the second with No. 5 Naval Aviator. This horse has shown little or no form in recent races but he’s better than that and I think Aldo Cortopassi can record a good win at a good price. KEN: For value, I suggest Braeview Bondi , the lone back-row runner in the sixth event on the program. The five-year-old continues to race in fine style for trainer Michael Brennan and reinsman Michael Grantham. HAYDEN: Cavalry Call is drawn softly and he could run into a place like he did last Friday. RYAN: As Happy As Larry is one of many value-priced runners in the Easter Cup. The spread of talented horses off handicap marks gives the backmarkers every chance of getting into the race. MATT: Son Of A Tiger is not racing too bad, back to a standing start and distance will suit. Expecting a bold performance. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good punting from home.   Wayne Currall

As region-based racing reached Terang for the first time last night it also presented a chance to reminisce on one of the greats, with reinsman Bruce Clarke joining Talking Trots on Track to pay tribute to the great Gammalite. Joining hosts Blake Redden and Michael Howard in the segment Lunch with a Legend, Clarke glowingly remembered the first standardbred to win $1 million in Australia. "He took me and my family to many parts of Australasia, and it was just great to go along for the ride with him," he said. "He was a dour horse, he had an iron constitution and he was capable of performing at his best when he left home. You could time him up to a gum tree and he would still eat and still race at his best." CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN IN:   HRV Trots Media

HRNSW announces that the 2020 NSW Breeders Challenge Series will retain the established structure however will be transposed to the months of September through to November. The Finals of the Major Series will be conducted on Saturday 24th October at Tabcorp Park Menangle. In arriving at the decision to move the Breeders Challenge Series, taken into consideration was the uncertainty of the length of time the COVID-19 restrictions will be in place. These restrictions have caused regionalisation which does not allow for a Series conducted in the traditional manner. The retention of the structure of the Series which stakeholders have an expectation to compete under was paramount in the decision. The delivery of a decision to stakeholders was also a priority so that owners and trainers can plan a path to the NSW Breeders Challenge taking into account the current environment. “The decision to move the Breeders Challenge Series was taken following lengthy discussions between Board Members and Management so as to provide the opportunity as equally as possible to all eligible two and three year olds.” Chief Executive John Dumesny said. “Regionalisation and not being permitted to cross the State borders certainly didn’t provide that opportunity on the traditional dates.” “These are unprecedented and difficult circumstances that the Industry finds itself in and the transfer of the Breeders Challenge was the only feasible option to adopt at this time.” “As these dates are past the end of the racing season HRNSW will address the ramifications of the ratings system at a national level but a suitable outcome will undoubtedly be achieved in this respect.” “Simply transferring the entire series to 2021 and extending out for another year was an option but on an already congested racing calendar there were identified difficulties.” “The option of a regionalised series was open for consideration but the consensus was clear it would only be addressed if the COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt movement around the State.” The Blue Finals and Regional Series will be held in October/November to fit in and around the Victorian Breeders Crown Series. HRNSW will advise of the new dates and other material considerations for the NSW Breeders Challenge Series and make further announcements in due course. For further information on this matter contact: Alana Toulmin atoulmin@hrnsw.com.au 02 9722 6600

The Pacers Bendigo Syndicate, an initiative of the Bendigo Harness Racing Club, achieved a milestone at last Friday evening’s meeting at Lords Raceway. The ownership group, made up of almost 40 members, achieved their first winning double, and on their home track. Their first winner came in race one, when Rocks Arnt Pets, driven by Bendigo reinsman Anthony Crossland, was too good for his opponents despite sitting outside the leader for the 1650-metre journey. His win was a just reward for the pacer’s consistent form, and now brings his tally to three wins and seven placings. The second winner was Leigha Miller in the sixth event. Driven by ace junior reinsman Jayden Brewin, she was driven quietly early, before unleashing a strong final 600 metres, and won untouched by nine metres. The syndicate was launched at the 2016 Pacing Cup. Its first horse was given a solid preparation by Junortoun trainer Gary Donaldson, but unfortunately was not a racing proposition. The syndicate has been indebted to its trainer, as he has since offered numerous shares in going racehorses. The syndicate achieved its first win in March 2017 with Regal Ambition. A second win was achieved five days later in the Birchip Mallee Bull Cup. Apart from Rocks Arnt Pets and Leigha Miller, other horses trained by Gary Donaldson in which Pacers Bendigo are currently involved include Skyeski (five wins), Liberland, Flaming Fives and an unraced trotter named Angski. Currently, the syndicate has won 12 races, along with 32 placings, ensuring the owners have been a major part of the action on racetracks around Victoria.   HRV Trots Media

By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk    Despite a lack of recent racing,  Kiwi-bred pacer Forgotten Highway is being talked up as a big contender for the  $40,000 Easter Cup at Gloucester Park in Perth. Formerly trained by Mitchell Kerr in North Canterbury, the son of Bettor’s Delight finished eighth in the 2018  New Zealand Cup and headed to Western Australia in June last year.  Now being trained by Michael Brennan the six-year-old has had two wins, four seconds and one third in seven starts. But “Butch”, as he was known in New Zealand, goes into a Group 2 staying test over 2902 metres having raced only once in the past five months. In November last year he was spelled after recording an elevated heart rate and low red cell count. But his resumption at Pinjarra on Monday was a winning one. In the Easter Cup he will  be handled for the first time by Nathan Turvey, after regular driver Michael Grantham opted for stablemate Miss Sangrial. He will start from barrier three on the front line with experts in Perth saying he ticks a lot of boxes as a winning chance. Before heading to Australia Forgotten Highway won six from 29 in New Zealand, with his final success as a $1.70 favourite at Methven in March.  Among Forgotten Highway’s rivals in the  feature to be run just after midnight on Friday morning will be another former Kiwi Taroona Bromac, who has won 10 from 13, and Always An Honour to be driven by Gary Hall Junior who has won this race five times already.‚Äč Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

« Article Archive
USA
Canada
Australia
New Zealand
Europe
Loader
Loader
The expectant foal crop in Australia standardbreds this season will be around 2,950. This represents the lowest figure since records were first kept by Harness Racing Australia in 1966/67.   As at April 3, 2020 the total foal crop in Australia numbered 2,876, according to Australian Standardbred breeders Association secretary Gary Newton.   The expectant final figure will be approximately 400 fewer foals than the previous season. It will be 50 percent down on the 2000/01 season when there were 6,382 foals born in Australia.   The largest ever foal crop in this country was 13,658 in the 1978/79.   There has been a continual downward spiral in number for 30 years.   Newton said:   “The foal numbers across Australia are in free-fall and it appears that the biggest decline is in the owner-breeder type that are leaving the industry.   “In 2011 the Australian Breeding Panel survey, headed by John Bagshaw, identified 29 percent of those surveyed claimed they would decrease the number of  mares they would look to get in foal. That number alarmingly increased to 54 percent in an ASBA survey conducted last year.”   “Costs and a level playing field are the two main reasons for the decline plus the average age of the breeder is 45 and rising,” Newton stated.   “We just don’t have young people coming into the game. It’s not sexy enough to attract them.”   The national foal crops have been:   Year             Foals 2017/18       3,335 2016/17       3,444 2015/16       3,641 2014/15       3,861 2013/14       3,867 2012/13       4,193 2011/12       4,517 2010/11       4,879 2009/10       5,345 2008/09       5,263 2007/08       5,055 2006/07       5,088 2005/06       6,024 2004/05       5,923 2003/04       6,079 2002/03       5,751 2001/02       6,379 2000/01       6,382   by Peter Wharton
Victorian trots are set to take huge strides in the fight against breast cancer, but the Pacing for Pink campaign will be delayed to ensure maximum exposure. A stunning 78 pairs of pink drivers’ pants have been ordered as part of the awareness and fundraising campaign for the McGrath Foundation, having for the first time been thrown open to all drivers. With a cavalcade of sponsors coming on board to support the occasion, organisers have postponed the commemoration, which was to see drivers wear the pink pants throughout May, with the headline Foundation fundraising day planned for May 24 at Shepparton. “With the changes to region-based racing and because we want to have all of Victorian drivers involved, we have decided to hold off until we return to racing as normal,” reinswoman Donna Castles said. “We want to make sure that we raise as much awareness and money for the Foundation, and to also make sure that those who supported the drivers get their due thanks.”   HRV Trots Media
There will be a smorgasboard for harness racing fans on today's Talking Trots on Track, which deep dives into today's Tabcorp Park and tonight's Bendigo programs. Trainers Mick Barby and Emma Stewart will both join hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden on the show from 11am to talk about their Melton runners, a program that kicks off at 1.07pm on Trots Vision. In between those two interviews will be a chat with Alex Ashwood, who steers six at Bendigo tonight, including Well Defined and Lay The Smackdown for partner Kate Hargreaves. Punters can get ahead of the game with tips from Dan Mielicki and Lachie McIntosh, who will call all tonight's action from Melton and Bendigo respectively. Then coming up after noon, Mick Guerin will join the hosts, before Bonnington goes under the microscope in the 'Getting To Know' segment. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN IN   HRV Trots Media
Kate Hargreaves and Alex Ashwood will make the trip from Shelbourne to Bendigo confident their second night of region-based racing will bring further success. Having produced a win and a third from two starts when the Central region kicked off last Friday, the stable is optimistic promising two-year-old Lay The Smackdown and trotter Well Defined can put their best feet forward tonight. Hargreaves told Trots Talk her two-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding, who will contest the Southern Cross Office Equipment 2YO Pace at 7.21pm on Trots Vision, was well placed to build on his third place on debut at Echuca, where he galloped when leading but recovered to run third. “I’ve got a pretty big opinion of him,” she said. “He’s got his fair share of ability, he can just get a bit rocky in his gate. “At Echuca he did gallop, he actually hit a wheel and just put himself off stride. We are just putting him a bit further out in the cart now so that doesn’t happen. “The bigger track at Bendigo will definitely help him. I’m excited to have him at the races, he’s an exciting horse. I think he’s a really great chance, if he does everything right he will be very hard to beat.” As will Well Defined, says Hargreaves, when the five-year-old trotter steps out at 8.51pm in the Race Services Trot. He returns to a mobile start for the first time since June 1 last year, having run off a standing start penalty in every race since. “I think he’s got a really great chance,” she said. “The field he’s in against, he has been racing a few better ones than what he’s racing against, and he doesn’t have to give them a start, because he’s been in starts and been off 20 and 30 metres. “I think his form doesn’t really show just how well he’s going. He’s another one I’m confident on if he can have a little bit of luck, he always needs a little bit of luck.” Lay The Smackdown is a $1.45 favourite with TAB.com.au, while Well Defined is $6. A big day of racing awaits on Trots Vision, with the eight-race card at Tabcorp Park Melton kicking off at 1.07pm before the focus moves to Ballarat for the first at 6.20pm. CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN IN TO TROTS TALK:   HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard
Loader
Loader

Additional Articles