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Three people alleged to be involved in a harness racing fixing scandal at Cobram more than two years ago will have to wait until next year to find out the outcome of the case against them. Nathan Jack, Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley yesterday faced Shepparton Magistrates’ Court for the 13th and final day of a contested hearing. Magistrate John Murphy decided to receive final written submissions from the prosecution and defence out of court. ‘‘I’m satisfied there is a case to answer against all of the accused,’’ he said. Yesterday, Gary Hevey attempted to re-open the prosecution’s case after taking instructions from higher authorities. ‘‘A situation has arisen, I have been asked to re-open the prosecution case,’’ he said. Mr Murphy ruled Victoria Police telephone intercepts admissible this week. ‘‘Those instructing me have taken a different view,’’ Mr Hevey said. ‘‘They say I should re-open the prosecution case for utilising telephone intercepts post-offending. (I) propose for your honour to rule admissible the telephone intercepts and material post-offending.’’ Mr Jack’s lawyer Anthony Lewis said none of the telephone intercepts were ‘‘admissible to incriminating conduct’’. ‘‘It will prolong the proceeding,’’ he argued. Mr Murphy agreed, saying it would lengthen the case, querying the need for the telephone intercepts as the crown already had numerous text messages admitted into evidence. ‘‘(What is) the relevance of this further material? It would extend the case by at least one or two days,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t allow the prosecution to re-open the case.’’ The court case was adjourned about noon yesterday, with a ruling set to be made on the three accused in April. HEARING SUMMARY Nathan Jack, Amanda Turnbull, Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley pleaded not guilty to charges of engaging in, facilitating and possessing knowledge and/or information about conduct that corrupts a betting outcome. The charges relate to an allegedly fixed race at Cobram on June 22, 2015, after which an investigation was launched into the tactics adopted during the event and information provided to Harness Racing Victoria on the stabling arrangements of a horse. Of the accused, only Mr Jack and Mr Pitt took part in the race. Prosecutors allege Mr Jack, driving Tooram Lad, allowed Airbournemagic, driven by Mr Pitt, to win the race. The court has heard from representatives who have spoken about betting patterns before the race, while the father of Ms Bartley was excused from giving evidence against his daughter. Earlier in the hearing, Harness Racing Victoria evidence was thrown out and not used during the hearing as it was found to be involuntarily obtained. The hearing started on Monday, November 27, in front of Magistrate John Murphy and entered its third week on Monday. This week, charges against previous co-accused Ms Turnbull were dismissed. By Hayden Thomson  

Harness racing punters who followed longshot maestro Pat Harding would have been laughing all the way to the bank after last week’s meeting at Gloucester Park. Harding, who has won the WA Trotting Media Guild’s longest-priced winner competition for the last seven years in a row, tipped Courage Tells who duly saluted at the massive odds of $114.50. Not only did Harding steer punters on to Courage Tells, but he also tipped the main quaddie for the night, which paid $3756.50 for $1. “I never thought a horse trained by Skye Bond and driven by Ryan Warwick would get out to such a big price,” Harding said. “I think I’ll be hard pressed to top the price that Courage Tells got out to.” And members of the Media Guild will be hard pressed to stop Harding making it eight wins in a row for the longest-priced winner. Harding believes punters can get off to a great start with Cott Beach in the first race. “Cott Beach has drawn gate five in a small field and she should be suited,” he said. “I am sure driver Nathan Turvey can notch up another great win with this classy filly.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and TABradio’s Matt Young have earmarked Rock Diamonds as their best. Manning spoke for both when he said Rock Diamonds had drawn favourably and should appreciate a class drop. “Rock Diamonds figured prominently in legs of the 4YO series,” he said. “He ran third to Ultimate Machete in the 4YO Classic, then won the 4YO Championship. A backline draw set him a tough task in the Golden Nugget, but he is poised to bounce back.” On-course announcer Ken Casellas, Sunday Times columnist Robbie Dewar and yours truly are keen on Zach Maguire. Casellas spoke for his colleagues when he said Zach Maguire had resumed from a spell in splendid form. “Zach Maguire has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the backline,” he said. “The five-year-old, trained by Gary Hall and to be driven by Gary Hall Jr, is my star bet on a highly competitive 10-event program.” Leading tipster Stuart Lowe has made Madame Meilland his best bet. “Madame Meilland, who has had three wins and three placings from six WA starts, is down in class from her last two city runs and is well drawn,” he said. “She’s the one to beat.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft is keen on Mistahmistah. “Mistahmistah showed good early toe when winning his only start to date at Addington in July as a $1.10 favourite,” he said. “He is drawn the pole after the scratching and if he has derived benefit from a spell, then he would give a handy field of three-year-olds something to chase.” VALUE BETS Pat: Assassinator has had a few places since changing stables and is overdue for a win. I think with Chris Voak aboard and off 10m he can cash in. Ernie: Tommy Be Good is capable of overcoming a 30m handicap judging by his Pinjarra win when he scored from The Bucket List and Ohoka Punter, who ran first and second in the Inter Dominion Consolation. Matt: Shes Artful in the ninth meets a decent field but she has the draw and wasn’t disgraced last Friday in the Group 1. Should be cheeky at odds. Ken: Ohoka Punter has drawn out at barrier six, but I’m selecting him to outmuscle and beat his stablemate Ideal Alice, who looks set to lead over the 2536m journey. Robbie: The Trilogy has been in consistent form of late and is poised to get a charmed run from the pole. Looks each-way all day. Wayne: Costa Del Magnifico should take up a handy position from his good draw and appeals as a good each-way chance. Stuart: My value bet is Maximum Demand who has won his last two standing-start races and returns to standing-start conditions here. Ryan: Lord Lexus caught my eye three starts ago when flashing home late. I expect him to get a similar run if dropped out in a race where the best chances are drawn the backline. To view all of the Media Guild Tips for this week click here. Good punting. Wayne Currall

The Inter Dominion will retain its traditional three rounds of heats followed by a Grand Final in Victoria next year. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has worked with Harness Racing New South Wales/Club Menangle and Harness Racing New Zealand to agree on an approach that will maintain the traditional Inter Dominion heat format. "We, along with our partners, have agreed it is in the best interests of the Inter Dominion series to run with three rounds of heats," HRV CEO David Martin said. "Feedback from punters, participants and fans suggests this is what people want, and given how exciting the build-up was to the Perth Inter Dominion, this is also what works. "We thank the Inter Dominion Events Committee (IDEC) for approving this request." Last month, Harness Racing Australia revealed Victoria, NSW and NZ would be hosting the Inter Dominion for the next nine years, with consideration of other jurisdictions joining in during the second or third rotations. HRV has invited Victorian clubs to apply to host Inter Dominion heats next year, for heats to be held at venues away from Tabcorp Park Melton. Melton will host the Inter Dominion Grand Final on December 15, 2018. Harness Racing Victoria

Vampiro was a $56.20 outsider last Friday night when he produced an eye-catching and unlucky fifth behind star New Zealander Ultimate Machete in the harness racing $200,000 Group 1 Retravision Golden Nugget. The Rocknroll Hanover gelding, who is prepared by leading trainer Skye Bond and boasts a 44 per cent winning record, should make amends for that performance by winning the Gannon’s Racing Colours Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line and Ryan Warwick should have him in front or in a commanding position throughout. He was driven by Todd McCarthy in the Nugget and was forced three wide on the first turn before being checked in the back straight in the first circuit. He was eighth at the bell in the one-wide line before unwinding a powerful burst to finish fifth. His previous eight appearances in his current campaign produced six wins and two second placings. This week he is poised for a showdown with another talented four-year-old in Runrunjimmydunn, a winner at eight of his 22 starts. Runrunjimmydunn, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr for top trainer Gary Hall Snr, will start from barrier four on the front line and looks the only serious threat to Vampiro. Runrunjimmydunn started from the inside barrier and was not extended in leading all the way when he beat Sarah Goody by four lengths over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon, with final quarters in 28.5sec. and 27.4sec. Another pacer who contested the Golden Nugget and looks a star bet on Friday night is the Mike Reed-trained Maczaffair, who has the speed and class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier in a field of eight in the second heat of the 2130m Free Entry With Your Ashes Cricket Ticket Coulson Pace. Shannon Suvaljko will be tempted to use Maczaffair’s sparkling gate speed in a bid to burst to an early lead. Maczaffair began brilliantly from barrier six when she led for the first 450m and then sat behind the pacemaker Ultimate Machete before running home solidly to be an excellent second to that star pacer. Maczaffair was a $91.60 outsider last week, but will be at a considerably shorter quote this week as she attempts to notch her 13th win from 31 starts. Ken Casellas

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and the Bendigo Harness Racing Training Centre (BHRTC) are excited to publicly announce the two recipients of the inaugural Pony Trots Victoria Scholarship. Taylah Markham and Chelsea Prothero have been granted scholarships, both impressing the selection panel with their applications. The Pony Trots Victoria Scholarship program aims to foster the development of junior trots participants and encourage them to consider harness racing as a career option. Scholarship recipients are covered by HRV for the cost of obtaining their C Grade drivers’ licence (valued at $405), receive accredited training at the BHRTC at no cost, a grant of $1000 to purchase driver and/or horse gear and 12 months of mentoring by a HRV A Grade driver. “We are delighted to offer the Pony Trots Victoria Scholarship to help these passionate youngsters pursue a potential career in our industry,” HRV Manager People and Culture Isabella Galati said. “The Pryde's EasiFeed Pony Trots Victoria program provides important professional development for young people participating in our industry and I’d like to congratulate both Taylah and Chelsea for securing these scholarships. “I also must publicly acknowledge the wonderful work of Vicki Moro at the Bendigo Harness Racing Training Centre, who has been absolutely instrumental in helping drive this initiative.” Chelsea Prothero  Ms Moro said the interview panel was “impressed” with the quality of applicants. “We were so impressed … and we look forward to supporting Taylah and Chelsea with their studies,” the BHRTC CEO said. “As part of the scholarship Taylah will complete Certificate II in Racing to fit in with her paid commitments. Chelsea will complete Certificate II in Racing as part of her VCE. Her school, Mildura Senior College, has been very supportive of the plan. The certificate will contribute to Chelsea’s VCE completion and her ATAR. “The aim of the scholarship is to encourage young people to consider a career in the industry. It is an ageing workforce and we need young ones to join the ranks.” Both scholarship recipients said they were honoured and excited to have received the opportunity. Taylah said: “I feel extremely honoured and proud to be chosen. I really hope that I can achieve a successful driving career and the ultimate goal would be to be training and driving my own horses one day. I’ve always been passionate about horses and in primary school one of my close friends invited me to come to the trots. I learnt a lot from my friend and his family. They taught me how to drive ponies and I was lucky enough to get a pony of my own. I have been racing my pony ever since. I’d also really like to thank the Herbertson and Douglas families for their great support.” Chelsea said: “I am honoured to be selected for this scholarship as it will be a great pathway into a future in the industry. I would like to become a trainer and a driver, while also focusing on marketing within the industry. I enjoy working with horses and it has been a great industry to be a part of. I was brought up in the trots and have enjoyed being a part of it from a very young age.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness racing "Hall of Fame" trainer Gary Hall Snr is making a concerted bid to win the Christmas Gift and he has bright prospects of winning the three qualifying heats at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Up-and-coming four-year-old Herrick Roosevelt has a 56 per cent winning record and looks outstanding in the first heat; Zach Maguire is in superb form and is capable of overcoming the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line and winning heat two; and Lets Chase The Dream should appreciate a massive drop in class and should fight out the finish in the third heat. All three pacers will be handled by star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr Horses filling the first four placings in each of the 2130m heats will qualify for the final on Friday of next week. Herrick Roosevelt by Christian Cullen, a winner of nine of his 16 starts, is handily drawn at barrier four on the front line in the first qualifying heat. He is a versatile performer who warmed up for this week’s assignment in fine style when he started from the inside of the back line and raced three back on the pegs in fifth position. He was sixth on the home turn before finishing fast along the inside to be third behind Ultimate Machete and Maczaffair in the $200,000 Golden Slipper. At his previous outing, a fortnight earlier, he raced without a trail for much of the way and fought on doggedly to finish fourth behind Ultimate Machete in the $125,000 Yes Loans Four-Year-Old Classic. His chief rivals appear to be the Ross Olivieri trained four-year-old Wrappers Delight and the Skye Bond trained ten-year-old Courage Tells, who will be having his 164th start in a race. Wrappers Delight (Chris Lewis) impressed last Friday night when he sustained a spirited three-wide burst in the middle stages to come from eighth to finish a close third behind Skippy Rascal and Simba Bromac. He is sure to have many admirers from the favourable No. 2 barrier on Friday night. Courage Tells (Ryan Warwick) is well drawn at barrier three after his shock victory at tote odds of $114.50 last Friday night when he started from barrier eight, raced on the pegs in ninth position and overcame interference 300m from home to get up and beat Johnny Disco and Three Blind Mice. Zach Maguire by Bettor's Delight has resumed after a spell in fine style, with a win and three seconds from four starts. He caught the eye with a bold performance last Friday week when he was last in a field of seven at the bell before sustaining a strong three-wide burst to finish second, a head behind the pacemaker Condrieu. His powerful finish should enable him to defeat Itz Bettor To Win, Skippy Rascal, Walkinshaw and Im Rockaria. Itz Bettor To Win has been freshened up since he started off 20m and raced wide early and then in the breeze before finishing a close second to Maximum Demand over 2503m. He had a similar tough passage before winning a 2536m mobile event two starts before that. The six-year-old, who has had 34 starts for 12 wins and eight seconds, will again be driven by champion Chris Lewis for trainer Ross Olivieri. Skippy Rascal, trained and driven by Callan Suvaljko, will have many admirers from the favourable No. 2 barrier on the front line. The experienced eight-year-old notched his 17th victory from 135 starts when he sat behind the pacemaker Simba Bromac and finished strongly to beat that promising four-year-old last Friday night. Walkinshaw and Im Rockaria will start from the back line and cannot be discounted. Each pacer has raced eight times this season for four wins. Lets Chase The Dream another by Bettor's Delight, who has amassed $490,835 in prizemoney from his 15 wins and 12 placings from 43 starts, is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line in the third heat and is sure to appreciate a very big drop in class after being unplaced in three heats of the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship series. He is a good frontrunner who led all the way over 2185m at Pinjarra five starts ago. His chief rival is likely to be the Skye Bond-trained four-year-old Rock Diamonds, who raced three wide early and then without cover for two laps before wilting to eighth behind Ultimate Machete in the Golden Nugget last Friday night. At his previous outing, a week earlier, Rock Diamonds gave a strong frontrunning display to win the Group 2 Westral Four-Year-Old Championship from Space Junk and Motu Meteor. Ken Casellas

Thirty-five-year-old Kristy Elson has high hopes of making a flying start to her career as a harness racing trainer by landing a winner with her first starter Cott Beach in the $18,000 GT Insurance Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Cott Beach by Advance Attack is a brilliant filly who has amassed $169,938 in prizemoney, with her 13 starts producing eight wins, three seconds, one third and one fourth. Elson has taken over the preparation of Cott Beach this week from part-owner Peter King, who started the small filly at Gloucester Park last Saturday night when she was surprisingly beaten into third place behind Mistersandman and Lucky Sensation after she had started from the outside barrier in a field of eight and revealed much of her renowned sizzling early speed. Cott Beach, having her first start for 22 days and driven for the first time by Shannon Suvaljko, was forced four wide in the early stages when the lead time was covered in a sizzling 35sec. She eventually crossed to the lead after 400m, and set a moderate pace but the early speed told on her and she wilted over the final 150m. Kristy Elson is a daughter of Blythewood trainer Gary Elson, whose licence has been suspended pending the outcome of a stewards’ inquiry. Gary Elson prepared Cott Beach for her first 12 starts, which included victories earlier this year in the Champagne Classic, the Westsired feature event for two-year-old fillies and the $100,000 Westbred Classic. She also finished second to outstanding colt Jack Mac in the Golden Slipper in July. Nathan Turvey, who handled Cott Beach in her first 12 starts for eight wins and three seconds, will resume in the sulky behind the filly on Friday night, with Blythewood trainer Michael Brennan engaging Suvaljko to drive his brilliant filly Miss Sangrial. Miss Sangrial, who finished second to Cott Beach in the Champagne Classic, has had 15 starts for seven wins, four seconds and two thirds. She is awkwardly drawn at barrier six this week, with Cott Beach at barrier five. They are the only fillies in the race and are sure to receive stiff opposition from the colts and geldings, including Speed Man, Mistahmistah and Lucky Sensation. Before her surprise defeat at 5/2 on last Saturday night, Cott Beach had scored easy victories at her two previous outings (her first two runs as a three-year-old). After leading and winning from Bettor Finish at Bunbury on November 5, Cott Beach set a fast pace and romped home by ten lengths from Fortunate Adda, rating 1.57.1 over 2130m at Gloucester Park on November 17. Adding considerable interest to Friday night’s race will be the appearance of the inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding Mistahmistah, who will be making his Australian debut and is sure to be fancied from the favourable No. 2 barrier. Mistahmistah arrived in Perth eight weeks ago and is trained and driven by Kyle Harper. He warmed up for this week’s assignment with a most impressive win in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning when he was restrained at the start from the outside barrier. He settled down in last position in the field of six and the first two sections of the final mile were covered in the slow times of 32.8sec. and 31.2sec. before final quarters in 29.9sec. and 29.4sec. Mistahmistah was still last with 300m to travel before he went four wide on the home turn and was completely unextended in winning very easily at a modest 2.03.1 rate. He has raced only once, for a narrow victory at a 2.00.4 rate over 1950m at Addington on July 7. Trained by Cran Dalgety and favourite at 10/1 on, Mistahmistah began well from the No. 4 barrier and burst to the front after 80m before setting a slow pace, with opening quarters of the final mile in 32.2sec. and 32.6sec. He then increased the tempo and ran the final 800m in 57.2sec., with the last 400m taking 27.3sec. He held on and won by a nose from Christian Who, who finished fast along the inside. The most memorable feature of that race was that it gave star New Zealand reinsman Dexter Dunn his 2000th career victory and took his tally for the season to 221, a New Zealand record. New Zealand-bred colt Speed Man, to be driven by ace reinsman Gary Hall Jnr for champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, will start from the outside in the field of eight in his quest to notch four wins in a row at his fifth appearance in a race.  After being checked and breaking into a gallop before finishing a well-beaten second to Reacher at his debut, at Wagin in mid-October, Speed Man scored decisive victories at Narrogin, Bunbury and Pinjarra in November. He was three back on the pegs at the bell before charging home out wide to win by 12 lengths from Rocknroll Beachboy at a 1.57.6 rate over 2185m at his most recent appearance. The Katja Warwick-trained Mistersandman was fourth (three back on the pegs at the bell) before Chris Voak brought him home with a well-timed run to take the lead 150m from the post and to a convincing victory over Lucky Sensation and Cott Beach at Gloucester Park last Friday night. By Ken Casellas

All the charges relating to Amanda Turnbull’s alleged involvement in a Cobram race fixing scandal were dismissed in court yesterday, after prosecution and defence lawyers came to an agreement. Within the first few minutes of yesterday’s proceedings in the contested hearing, which is in its third week at Shepparton Magistrates’ Court, prosecutor Gary Hevey asked Magistrate John Murphy to dismiss the charges against Ms Turnbull. ‘‘In relation to Ms Turnbull, the crown is not going to present further evidence,’’ he said. ‘‘I invite your honour to dismiss the charges against her.’’ Mr Murphy agreed, dismissing the charges against Ms Turnbull due to a lack of evidence. With that, Ms Turnbull and her family and friends stood up and left the court room in silence. Lisa Bartley’s defence lawyer Rohan Laurence then submitted to the court his client had no case to answer — as there was a ‘‘hole’’ in the prosecution case. He said this was on the grounds that Ms Bartley’s conduct did not directly affect the outcome of the race as she was not a driver of Airbournemagic, Tooram Lad, or any other horse in the race in question. ‘‘None of Ms Bartley’s conduct occurs in the race,’’ Mr Laurence told the court. ‘‘But instead occurs in a period of one month before the race. (Her) conduct does not relate to the event or the running of the event, her conduct had no bearing on the result of the race. ‘‘Significantly, it is not alleged (by the prosecution) that it did.’’ Mr Hevey argued that if betting agencies knew Airbournemagic was being trained at well-known harness racing driver Nathan Jack’s place, as Ms Bartley knew, the odds would have been different. ‘‘(There was) no other purpose than to keep the odds long, it continued during the race when Mr Bartley’s (David Bartley, Lisa Bartley’s father) colours were used,’’ Mr Hevey said. Mr Jack’s defence lawyer, Anthony Lewis, adopted the submissions made by Mr Laurence in relation to his client’s charges. ‘‘There is no evidence to support the allegation (that) ... conduct would inflate betting odds of Airbournemagic,’’ he said. Mr Lewis then claimed Mr Jack was a less successful trainer than David Bartley. ‘‘There is now evidence that, had the regulated betting agencies known Mr Jack was the trainer, that would not have made any difference ... to the odds.’’ Yesterday, Mr Murphy made a ruling to include admissions made in Victoria Police interviews, after defence lawyers submitted they be dismissed. The hearing continues. HEARING SUMMARY Nathan Jack, Amanda Turnbull, Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley have pleaded not guilty to charges of engaging in, facilitating and possessing knowledge and/or information about conduct that corrupts a betting outcome. The charges relate to an allegedly fixed race at Cobram on June 22, 2015, after which an investigation was launched into the tactics adopted during the event and information provided to Harness Racing Victoria on the stabling arrangements of a horse. Of the four accused, only Mr Jack and Mr Pitt took part in the race. Prosecutors allege Mr Jack, driving Tooram Lad, allowed Airbournemagic, driven by Mr Pitt, to win the race. The court has heard from representatives who have spoken about betting patterns before the race, while the father of Ms Bartley was excused from giving evidence against his daughter. Earlier in the hearing, Harness Racing Victoria evidence was thrown out and not used during the hearing as it was found to be involuntarily obtained. The hearing started on Monday, November 27, in front of Magistrate John Murphy and entered its third week on Monday. Yesterday, charges against Ms Turnbull were dismissed. by Hayden Thomson Reprinted with permission of The Sheppaton News

Aussie harness fans are looking to comeback superstar Bling It On to help ease their Perth Inter Dominion hangover. The sport peaked with that magnificent win by Lazarus at Gloucester Park last Friday night. It’s natural to fall a little flat afterwards. The Kiwis have the huge Auckland Cup Carnival to keep them pumped, but Aussies have to wait until races like the WA, Fremantle, SA and Ballarat Cups next month for another “spike.” Step-in Bling It On, the reigning Hunter Cup champ who has so magnificently returned from career-threatening injuries to win both starts this season. He hasn’t just won them – he’s humiliated his rivals and run slick times. Barring a major upset, Bling It On should make it three wins on end in the fifth race at Menangle on Saturday night. Driver and co-trainer Luke McCarthy can’t hide his excitement at how well Bling It On has turned from nasty knees injuries sustained in a horror race fall at Albion Park in July. “Just getting him back racing at all was a bonus, but everything says he’s as good as ever. He just feels so sharp,” McCarthy said. Bling It On swooped from back in the field to thrash a handy field first-up, then worked to the front and won as he liked last time. He’s drawn the outside (gate 11) this week, but simply looks a class above his rivals. If there are any dangers, they could be Shane Tritton’s enigmatic Eh Ef El (gate seven), the emerging Charlaval (eight) and talented Spare Me Days (nine). This week is another important stepping-stone towards Bling It On’s Hunter Cup defence. “After this we’ll go to the Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst on Boxing night. It’s an ideal race because it’s over distance and he’ll need it before going to Victoria,” McCarthy said. “I’d say we’ll head down there for the Ballarat and Hunter Cups.” Adam Hamilton

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) is mindful of the important role social media forums have in relation to engaging in discussion and debate on key harness racing issues. As part of its role in the industry, wherever possible, HRV is increasing the openness and transparency of information using social media and other forums. It is however expected that use of social media is conducted in an appropriate and reasonable manner, and HRV Stewards will take a strong stance on comments which are deemed to be malicious, false or otherwise improper.  The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Integrity Department have recently became aware of concerning comments made on social media forums such as Twitter and Facebook. Letters will be sent shortly directing a number of licensed participants, including some registered owners, to attend inquiries before the HRV Stewards in early January 2018.    Participants in the Victorian harness racing industry are urged to remain conscious and aware of their obligations in regard to the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) and the HRV ‘Social Media Policy for Participants’. The relevant AHRR and Policy applies to all licensed persons and registered owners and is available here:  For any queries in relation to this policy please contact the HRV Integrity Department on 8378 0222. Harness Racing Victoria

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today considered a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) against licensed trainer-driver Matthew Craven.  AHRR 190(1) reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances The charge under AHRR 190(1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Craven related to a blood sample taken from the horse ‘Ruthie Yamaguchi’ at the Terang trial meeting on 18 June 2017. The definition of a ‘race’ within the AHRR includes an official trial. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that the analysis of the blood sample revealed it to contain the prohibited substances triamcinolone acetonide and meloxicam. The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) in NSW confirmed these findings in the reserve portion of the relevant blood sample Mr Craven pleaded guilty to the charge before submissions on penalty were heard from the HRV Stewards and barrister Damien Sheales, representing Mr Craven. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board highlighted Mr Craven’s cooperation throughout the investigation and guilty plea at the earliest opportunity, along with his good record in the industry. The HRV RAD Board also emphasised the purpose of the rules in relation to prohibited substances and the dangers associated with horses competing with these substances in their system.  Mr Craven was subsequently fined $4000, of which $2000 was suspended for a period of 12 months.  ‘Ruthie Yamaguchi’ was scratched at the track prior to competing in the trial. HRV RAD Board Hearing – Matthew Craven HRV RAD Board Panel: Alanna Duffy (Chair), Peter Kilduff, Rod Osborne

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has appointed Stirling Hinchliffe as the Minister for Racing plus Minister for Local Government and Minister for Multicultural Affairs in the new Labor ministry. Mr Hinchliffe succeeds former Racing Minister Grace Grace who has been appointed Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations. Mr Hinchliffe’s Sandgate electorate takes in Racing Queensland’s headquarters at Deagon racecourse and adjoins the Redcliffe electorate – home of the Redcliffe Paceway for harness racing. Racing Queensland CEO, Dr Eliot Forbes, said he looked forward to a positive working relationship with the new Minister. “I want to thank the former Minister, Grace Grace, for her strong support of all codes of racing in Queensland. I worked closely with Minister Grace on the development of both a strategic and infrastructure plan and I look forward to outlining the vision for Racing Queensland to the new Minister,” he said. Dr Forbes said Racing Queensland had been invited to brief the incoming Minister on a range of current and emerging issues from the remediation of Eagle Farm to the impact of the possible Tabcorp combination with Tatts Group. “The racing industry generates $1.2 billion in economic activity, sustains more than 9500 full time equivalent jobs and employs or engages around 42,000 individuals in Queensland. More than 47 percent of the economic value is realised in regional parts of the state,” Dr Forbes said. Born in Dalby, Mr Hinchliffe was elected to the seat of Stafford in the 2006 Queensland state election, which he represented until being defeated in the 2012 Queensland state election. Mr Hinchliffe previously served as a cabinet minister in the Bligh Ministry. Mr Hinchliffe returned to parliament in 2015 as the member for Sandgate. He was sworn in as Assistant Minister of State Assisting the Premier in the Palaszczuk Ministry and was also nominated as Leader of the House - an appointment confirmed when the Legislative Assembly of Queensland met for the first time following the election. In December 2015, he was elevated to Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games. In February 2017, he resigned as the Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games following an ongoing series of railway passenger services being cancelled due to there being an insufficient number of train drivers. By Phillip Bate Reprinted with permission of Queensland Country Life

Dual Tasmanian Youngblood's Challenge harness racing champion Matthew Howlett will represent Tasmania at the Garrard's 2017 Australasian Young Driver Championships in Brisbane this week. The best young talent from each state, along with three representatives from New Zealand arrived in Brisbane to tackle the first round of heats at Redcliffe tonight (Wednesday). The AYDC Series, showcasing the star drivers of tomorrow, then moves to Albion Park on Friday, December 15 with the last round of heats conducted on the final night of the Queensland Summer Carnival on December 16. Albion Park's chairman David Fowler said the Australasian Young Drivers Championship provided many benefits for both the drivers and industry. "These are our driving stars for the future and series like these give them a really good shot of being in the national limelight," he said. "The young drivers are chosen for their natural ability, it will be the cream of harness racing's National young talent campaigning so punters won't be afraid to put their money on them," he added. Matthew became the youngest winner of the '60 degrees' Youngblood's Challenge in 2013 at just 16 years of age and repeated his title win again in 2016. Proudly following his father and grandfather's footsteps into harness racing, Matthew first hit the track in pony races at six years of age. Matthew's driving career commenced in November of 2012 and he greeted the winner's circle just two months later, he went on to clinch the 2015/16 Tasmanian Junior Drivers Title and has racked up 60 winners in total including a victory last night with Rockin An Rollin at Luxbet Park. 2107 Australasian Young Drivers Championship - State and New Zealand representatives: Todd McCarthy (NSW - defending champion). Narissa McMullen (QLD). Chris Geary (NSW). Michael Grantham (WA). Jayden Brewin (SA). Jason Lee (VIC). Sheree Tomlinson (NZ). Dylan Ferguson (NZ). Kimberly Butt (NZ). Matthew Howlett (TAS). Peter Staples

Victoria’s trots industry is mourning the loss of a gentleman of the harness racing sport after Bob Conroy died on Tuesday at age 88. The Daylesford trainer and brilliant horseman enjoyed a life dedicated to harness racing, which he shared with his wife Pat and their five children, including Glenn, Anne-Maree and Peter, who themselves have combined to drive more than 800 winners. Renowned as an outstanding trainer of trotters, Mr Conroy spent a life training from Daylesford, having been raised in nearby Korweinguboora before occupying the former Daylesford Trotting Club track, from where he would often venture into neighbouring Hepburn Regional Park to educate his horses. A trots trainer, driver and breeder, Mr Conroy’s training successes include Mary Beverley’s win in the 1973 V. L. Dullard Cup, Lincoln Star's win in the 1978 Bendigo Pacing Cup and 1978 Italian Cup, and the Lightfoot Laurels on four occasions (Lucy Lastic 1997, Miss Universe 1999 and 2001 and False Gem on 2008). His greatest stakes win came when Amazon captured the $30,000 Australasian Trotters Championship final in 1984 and then the same year the E B Cochran Memorial Trotters Cup, while notable triumphs also include Mister Everest in the 1990 Chris E Howe Trotters Cup, two Central Victorian Trotting Championships in 1991 (Omaorio) and 2005 (Sutters Glory), the 1996 Coulter Crown with Lucy Lastic, First Signal's win in the 1999 Cranbourne Trotters Cup and then the R C Freestone Trotters Cup with Miss Universe. Other notable performers he trained throughout his distinguished career included multiple metropolitan winners King’s Pride, Eden’s Return, Magic Madge, Minnesota Fats, Hot And Dry, Kyvalley Duke, Speeding Fine, Baltic Prince and Looks Like Me. Mr Conroy’s trotters Bootleg Bert and Margaret Ruth delivered his last trotting wins. Bootleg Bert won the Decron Trot at Melton on December 4 while driven by Glenn and Margaret Ruth won at Geelong on Saturday night, when Anne-Maree drove her to victory in a heat of the Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship. Harness Racing Victoria extends sincere condolences to Mr Conroy’s family, colleagues and friends. Harness Racing Victoria      

A man accused of lying to a Queensland corruption watchdog investigation into harness racing match-fixing has been charged with perjury as the cheating scandal around the industry continues. The 35-year-old, who was charged with match-fixing in November, is accused of lying to the Crime and Corruption Commission about his participation in match- fixing conduct and the release of inside information. His perjury charges come after Queensland’s championship-leading driver and prominent industry identity Shane Robert Graham and another of the state’s top harness racing drivers, Leonard Cain, were charged on Sunday in relation to the long-running sting. Graham has been charged with two counts of disclosing the knowledge to another about a relevant bet, two counts of facilitating match-fixing conduct for a pecuniary benefit and one count of encouraging another person to make a relevant bet. Shane Graham at the Beenleigh watchhouse. Photo Annette Dew The alleged cheating operation was at the time likened by Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett to organised crime. The allegations of match-fixing centre on two races at Albion Park in July and October. On Monday, a 65-year-old man was charged over allegations he knew of a match-fixing arrangement when he put bets on a race. Those charged under the ongoing investigation into major and organised crime around racing circles remain before the courts. “The Queensland racing crime squad will pursue all information received regarding match-fixing and criminal conduct across all codes of racing,” Detective Inspector Mick Dowie said on Tuesday. Reprinted with the permission of The Courier Mail

Harness racing competitors will have put it all together on Wednesday night over 1230 metres to claim the Roadwork Industries Dash For Cash title. The $8,000 dash is the feature race on a nine-event program to be contested as part of the Tamworth Harness Racing Club meeting. It will be game on from the outset and local trainer Richard Williams will be hoping to be in the first three placings. And there’s every chance he can fill those spots. Williams has three runners contesting the 1230-metre race – two being last start winners. “We pencil this race into our plans every year,” Williams said. “It’s a good concept. It’s fantastic. It’s a good race and basically made up of local runners.” Last start winner Coralie Joy will commence from the two barrier with Tom Ison taking the drive. “Tom had the choice of three drives and he chose her [Coralie Joy],” Williams said. “If she [Coralie Joy] can find the pegs it will put her right into the race. She has trained on well since her last start win at Tamworth.” Williams has elected to take the reins behind Comon Howzat, also a last start winner at Maitland. This is race start 162 for the former Tasmanian runner and the gelding is in search of his 10th career win. “He led all the way at Maitland – it was a good drive by Tom – and the horse does burn the gate. We were setting him for this race but the draw has knocked us around a little,” Williams said. Comeon Howzat has scored the nine barrier. “The one in front of us [Armbro Teehee] is quick off the mark,” Williams said. “He [Comeon Howzat] is the easiest of the three runners to drive so I shouldn’t complain.” Midnight Montana will then round up the stables with Sam Ison – older brother to Tom – accepting the drive. Midnight Montana – also known as Monty – has drawn the 10 barrier and the old stager will be contesting his 177th race start. “The draw hasn’t helped Monty either but he is a good free for all horse and it is a drop in class for him,” Williams said. “Hopefully he will be within striking distance – he will be there abouts.” Midnight Montana contested last year’s running of the Dash For Cash where he finished fifth to Culinary Delight who covered the journey with a mile rate of 1.53.6. Besides having three runners in the feature tonight, the Williams’ Stables will be conducting their own ‘dash’ as they have eight runners engaged at the meeting. Gargzdai Girl will open proceedings in the first race of the night at 6.01pm. “I’m pretty happy with where the stables at at the moment – we are going OK – but it would be nice to finish one, two, three in the Dash For Cash,” Williams said.  By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

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