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From the producers of such star titles as Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay comes an intriguing tale of a stayer named like a sprinter, and a harness racing gelding named like a colt. Airing exclusively at Swan Hill live on Saturday night, it’s Thereal Usain Colt in the Group 3 3SH Swan Hill Pacing Cup. Trained by Aiken Racing, the former Kiwi takes his place in the opening leg of the Trots Country Cups Championship and, with champion reinsman Gavin ‘the Iceman’ Lang in the sulky, a forward showing looks assured. David Aiken, who spearheads the Avenel operation responsible for last weekend’s Allied Express Victoria Cup champion Lennytheshark, says Thereal Usain Colt will improve on whatever he does this weekend. “He’ll get better as he goes along but he’s the perfect country cups horse,” the master horseman told Trots Media. “In New Zealand he’s raced against the likes of Have Faith In Me and I’ve been really happy with what he’s done at home since we’ve had him.” Championship success is a key aim for Thereal Usain Colt, with $25,000 to the trainer and connections of the Trots Country leader at season’s end (the Championship ends with the running of the Horsham on April 22). However, Aiken isn’t ruling out Thereal Usain Colt shooting for Summer of Glory success with the Hunter Cup the obvious target. “We’ll wait and see how he goes between now and then,” Aiken said. Punters jumped on Thereal Usain Colt early this week for Swan Hill, his fixed odds tightening from $3.8 into $2.9 with TAB.com.au. Multiple metro winner Egodan is second-favourite for ‘Rocket’ Rod Petroff, while Young Modern is on the next line of betting for the commanding Emma Stewart/Chris ‘the Puppet’ Alford combination. Messini is $8 fixed odds, the seven-year-old having returned in good nick this this prep for Brent Lilley and Anthony Butt, while popular mare Milly Perez is also single-fire odds for Larry Eastman and John ‘JJ’ Caldow. 3SH Swan Hill Cup night is one of the most popular meetings on the trots calendar and the club is going all out to deliver patrons a night to remember. “We’ve got loads of activities for kids, live music and roving entertainment, plus the always popular pony trots,” Swan Hill secretary Marnya Watson said. “You’ve got to see these pony trots kids in their colours and the cute ponies, it’s a great spectacle. “We’ve also got a punters’ club again and if you pre-book a ticket in that at our website (www.swanhilltrots.com.au) you will go into the draw to win one of two massive $200 betting vouchers on the night courtesy of TAB.com.au. “We’ve got a panel of pros running the punters’ club and they’ll give you a great shot at turning your $20 per ticket into a profit.” As has been the case in recent years at Swan Hill the club is once again embracing its role as a community supporter, giving away $10,000 in cash to community groups on the night. Five community groups will benefit from the random draws. “It’s a way of giving something back to our community and highlighting that the trots is a caring industry and we’re all for supporting deserving groups and being an active community player,” Ms Watson said. The club will feature on a 3SH live broadcast at the Community Tree (the main street) between 10am and 3pm tomorrow (Friday), with free passes to Cup night up for grabs. “We’d love to see local people come down and say hello and we’ll be giving away tickets to Cup Night,” Ms Watson said. For bookings and more details visit www.swanhilltrots.com.au Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Among her many traits, consistency, a will to win and electric gate speed helps make Maori Time a true harness racing all-rounder. From arguably the most famous trotting family of them all, the Pegasus Spur/Sundonna eight-year-old has earned a tick over $392,000 from 59 starts, with 23 wins and a further 19 minor placings (42 podiums from 59!). And remarkably, the three-time Group 1 winner is now a three-time Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint winner following last night’s narrow win at Tabcorp Park Melton. With Gavin Lang in the sulky, Maori Time overcame an inside-back-row draw to overhaul Sparkling Success (Chris Svanosio) and Glenferrie Typhoon (Kate Gath) in a three-way photo. Her winning mile rate was 1:56.6 for the 1720m trip. It was Maori Time's third win on the trot this season. Maori Time is trained by Brent Lilley and raced by owner/breeder Fred Crews. The mare has now won more Bill Collins Sprint races than any other squaregaiter, Maori Time’s triple success eclipsing two-time race winners Will Trapper (2008 & 2011), Take A Moment (2002 & 2003) and Pride Of Petite (1996 & 1998). Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness racing Sydneysider Real Social lit up Tabcorp Park Melton for the second time in as many weeks last night. Trained by Shane and Lauren Tritton, the five-year-old Real Desire/Socialiser gelding had pundits’ eyes wide and mouth agape after a 1:51.9 win from a widest-back-row draw in the Alabar Pace. Driver Lauren Tritton set Real Social alight at the half-mile, the pair staking their claim fiercely down the back straight and sprinting by Moonrock and race leader Star Of Dionysis, eventually coming clear for an 8.2m success. The third quarter was covered in 27.4 and Real Social was looping the field at that point from well-back. “That’s a win and a half,” Tweeted the Tritton team. Real Social had put the writing on the wall last weekend with a similarly impressive performance. Meanwhile, the Trittons combined with Yayas Hot Spot to finish fourth in the Allied Express Victoria Cup taken out by Lennytheshark. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Lennytheshark became a two-time harness racing Allied Express Victoria Cup champion tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton and will now turn his fin toward Perth in a bid to achieve a second Inter Dominion success. The most popular pacer in the southern hemisphere drew a rapturous reception from the big crowd at Tabcorp Park Melton following his domination in the Grand Circuit Classic, and his trainer, David Aiken, sounded a warning to his Inter Dominion rivals. “We’ve got unfinished business there.” “We’re really looking forward to Perth now. He’s my once-in-a-lifetime horse,” Aiken said. “I’m just so proud of him.” Driven by Chris Alford, Lennytheshark (by Four Starzzz Shark out of Albert Albert mare Botswana) led from the pole draw and defeated flying mare Ameretto by 3.6 metres in a slick mile rate of 1:53.2 for the 2240m trip. “He came up to the gate really good and they went full tilt for the first 100m, but once he held the front he always had it under control,” Alford said. The win was Lennytheshark’s 36th from 69 career starts, his stakemoney now at over $2.8 million. Following his gate one draw punters put their faith in Lennytheshark, the Inter Dominion, Miracle Mile and previous Victoria Cup hero sent out the shortest Victoria Cup favourite in years at $1.20. Allied Express Victoria Cup - Lennytheshark Due to the calendar change for the Victoria Cup that saw the race moved from January to October, owner Kevin Riseley, who also races reigning Vic Cup winner Lazarus, has amazingly now won the race twice in the same calendar year. Earlier on the program super mare Maori Time won the Bill Collins Trotters Sprint for trainer Brent Lilley and driver Gavin Lang in a thrilling finish, with a neck separating the winner from runner-up Sparkling Success and third placegetter Glenferrie Typhoon. OTHER COVERAGE Trots Media Pryde's Easifeed Pony Trots Videos https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10159481495280611/ https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10159481210860611/ https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10159481157135611/ Trots Media Facebook Live Coverage https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10159481176635611/ https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10159481250120611/ https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10159481346935611/ https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10159481010860611/ Trots Media Photo Gallery of Winners https://www.facebook.com/10150118782730611/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10159481227135611 Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness racing driver Chris Alford’s first Group 1 success came in the sulky behind Golden Reign (pictured) in the 1993 Victoria Derby. That superstar would go on to provide “the Puppet” with Treuer Memorial and Tasmanian Pacing Championship success in 1994 and a South Australian Cup win in 1995. Also in ’95, Golden Reign and Alford would combine for what to this day Alford says is his greatest thrill in the sport – his first Inter Dominion Pacing Championship success in 1995 at Christchurch in New Zealand. Today though, we’re rewinding to Moonee Valley on Saturday the 4th of February in the summer of ’95, when Golden Reign as favourite held out another Grand Circuit superstar in Master Musician to win the Healthy Diet Try It Victoria Cup over 2380m. VIDEO: RE-LIVE GOLDEN REIGN'S VIC CUP GLORY It was a night which opened with Kenkara successful for Don Dove and finished with Damian Wilson combining with trainer Tom Kett to win the last, the Pacers Handicap, at 33-1! Other winners on the night were the talented Lucky Camilla for Grant Campbell and Mick Carroll as a 1/5 shot, Rookies Boy at any old odds in the trot for Graham Lee, Late Bid (another gun) in the Caduceus Club 3YO Cup for Peter Walsh, Dark Paul for Andrew Peace in the Vic Cup Consolation over odds-on pop Liberty Jay Jay, New York Jet for Joe and Peter Cavallaro and the mighty Pride Of Petite for Barry and Mark Purdon in the Trotters Sprint over a mile. But it was the night’s feature show that goes down as one of the great Victoria Cups, Alford, Alexander and Golden Reign delivering a stellar performance to hold off a brave Master Musician, and an even braver Sinbad Bay in third for Stephen Dove – when you consider Sinbad Bay was 11 years old and had the won the Vic Cup in both 1989 and 1999. He had returned from injury and rattled home. From a back-row draw, Golden Reign (10/9 favourite) balanced up midfield in the early stages. Alford commenced his move at about the 1800m, when Golden Reign loomed to the chair outside stablemate Knight Rainbow (John Caldow) before heading him off. Once Golden Reign found the front, Robert Dunn launched aboard Master Musician, and at the bell Dunn and the Musician audaciously tackled for the lead. While it wasn’t there, this last lap wasn’t simply going to be on Golden Reign’s terms, and it was game-on. The two lead combatants staged a battle royal, neither relenting an inch. But there had to be a winner. Golden Reign booted a length clear at the top of the home straight, but like any Musician worth his salt, the Master still had an encore. With Dunn driving hard, Master Musician found another gear and started eating into Golden Reign’s margin once again. At the line, they’d closed the gap to just a neck. Brave, but not brave enough. Alford’s excitement was clear as he crossed the finish post – a Golden moment for connections as their champion Reigned supreme. Twenty-one years later Alford would add a second Victoria Cup to his trophy cabinet thanks to modern-day superstar Lennytheshark. This Saturday night he and Lenny will again team up as a commanding favourite, Alford out to become a three-time Vic Cup winner, which would draw him closer to clubhouse leaders Vin Knight (five-time winner of the great race) and Brian Gath (four Vic Cup triumphs). Book your dining package at this year's Allied Express Victoria Cup Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Lennytheshark is the deserved short-priced harness racing favourite for Saturday night’s Allied Express Victoria Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton after drawing the coveted gate one today, but a couple of trainers with speedsters drawn wider out are tipping sparks early. Vince Vallelonga, who has seven-year-old Major Crocker out of gate six in the Victoria Cup, said his stable star would be using whatever weaponry he had on Saturday night. And he has gate speed in spades. “Lennytheshark might still lead and be too good but … we’ll definitely be shanghaiing off the arm,” Vallelonga said. “If we can lead then Lenny wants to come off the fence and have a crack for the front then that’s what he’ll do. There’s no point going back.” It’s a view shared by New South Wales horseman Kevin Pizzuto, who trains Cup contenders Code Black (barrier four) and Tiger Tara (barrier five). “We’re coming there to race,” he declared. “No point driving eight hours for nothing.” Pizzuto said he would be applying hopple shorteners to Tiger Tara, which is mainly a longer-term strategy for Perth’s Inter Dominion, but he’s still declaring game-on for Saturday night. “He’s got to get out harder with the Inter Dominion in mind, but in saying that we have Code Black too and actually I think Major Crocker if he wants to can probably get across the lot of us.” Reinsman Chris Alford, who has won 27 races aboard Lennytheshark including last year’s Miracle Mile, the Victoria Cup in 2016 and the Inter Dominion in 2015, said he “couldn’t be happier” with Lennytheshark’s barrier one draw. “It’s going to take something crazy to happen for someone to get across him from there and bring him undone,” Alford said. “He’s come through last week’s run (a win in the Olympus Feeds Smoken Up Sprint) really well.” Kerryn Manning has two runners engaged and both take extensive winning form into Saturday night, with Ameretto chasing her seventh straight win from gate two and Mr Mojito (barrier 11) pursuing a fourth successive victory. “I’m really happy with barrier two for Ameretto,” Manning said. “It’s a bit tricky obviously that Lenny has drawn one, but really happy to be in gate two. She’s well-placed where she’s drawn and being in the running line already from there is a bonus.” Ashlee Grives takes the steer on Ameretto on Saturday night with Manning attending a friend’s wedding in Queensland. Manning’s husband Grant Campbell will have the reins aboard Mr Mojito. “If the emergency comes out he’ll come into three on the back row which is not too bad for him but he’ll end up near the back. If the speed’s on that’ll suit him and if not we’re in trouble,” Manning said. Cobbitty trainer Craig Cross is hoping there is pace aplenty to bring his five-year-old gelding Galactic Star into the equation. “He’s going really good. He was parked the other night and they went 50 and a bit. He’ll be looking to come with a run I’d say, but we’re drawn well and we’ve got the best in Luke McCarthy driving,” Cross said. Tim Butt-trained My Field Marshal is clear second-favourite for the race despite drawing gate 10. Driver Anthony Butt gives the six-year-old Art Major entire a good chance of causing an upset, but admits he’ll need “some luck”. “It was a super run the other night. He had a flat tyre for the last 600m and I was really happy with him. We’re definitely a winning chance, but as I said he’ll just need a little bit of luck and for things to happen.” While Alford was thrilled to have drawn gate one with Lennytheshark, trainer Shane Tritton said Yayas Hot Spot “couldn’t have got a better draw” in barrier nine (eight if the emergency doesn’t gain a start). “We’re not going to have to burn off the arm. This is his chance. Not sure if we can beat Lennytheshark but he’s fast enough to definitely run a place,” Tritton said. “Lauren said he just got left a bit flat-footed at the bend (on Saturday night in the Smoken Up Sprint when fourth). If they make a race of it early we can hopefully do a bit of damage up the straight.” Yayas Hot Spot finished second in the Hunter Cup earlier this year from three-back on the pegs at the bell, beating Lennytheshark home by 5.4m. He has also placed in a 4YO Bonanza and Derby Final at Melton. Meanwhile, trainers Andy Gath, Alan Tubbs and Stephen O’Donoghue were upfront about their winning chances after their charges drew poorly. Gath has Burnaholeinmypocket from gate 12 and said “it makes it impossible, really”, adding “if he can run top-five that would be a great result.” On San Carlo, who drew gate seven, O’Donoghue said: “We’re happy to be in it but barrier seven makes it extremely hard and unlikely.” And Tubbs said things were “now out of his hands” after Tee Cee Bee Macray drew barrier 13. “I’m really disappointed but that’s just the luck of it. We can’t plan anything from there. If they don’t run 43 to the peg then basically you’re out of it. We’ll just be able to enjoy the night now I’d say.” Get the TAB.com.au fixed odds now for the Allied Express Victoria Cup Barrier draw for Allied Express Victoria Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton Saturday night 1  LENNYTHESHARK 2  AMERETTO 3  GALACTIC STAR 4  CODE BLACK 5  TIGER TARA 6  MAJOR CROCKER 7  SAN CARLO ------------------------------------------------- 8  FLAMING FLUTTER 9  YAYAS HOT SPOT 10 MY FIELD MARSHAL 11 MR MOJITO 12 BURNAHOLEINMYPOCKET 13 TEE CEE BEE MACRAY BOOK YOUR DINING PACKAGE FOR VICTORIA CUP NIGHT TODAY Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The Victoria Cup of 2008 will always be remembered as the night Amy Tubbs and Melpark Major ran their harness racing rivals off their legs. Bowling along at the head of proceedings, Melpark Major was over a length clear off the back and running time. Into the straight the rivals got out and had their chance, but it mattered not, because Melpark Major was “the new king” as caller Dan Mielicki declared. “What about the time? It has obliterated the track record by half a second, 1:55.8 mile rate. That is staggering!” Bred and raced by long-time trots man Don Smith, Melpark Major was a son of the mighty Iraklis. He was trained by Alan Tubbs and Alan’s daughter Amy, 24, was entrusted with the driving duties. “I was roaring up the straight cheering him on and he just kept giving,” Amy said. VIDEO: Re-live Melpark Major's magical Moonee Valley win Given metro trots moved to Melton not long after Major’s Vic Cup win, the 1:55.8 mile rate record for the 2575m trip at Moonee Valley looks everlasting. Melpark Major was a modern-day champion, netting 36 wins and 36 minor placings from 113 starts for $979,056 in stakemoney. The fact he’ll never be credited with a Miracle Mile win seems almost cruel given how brave his run was in the Harold Park feature of 2008. He finished second to Divisive, who didn’t spent a drop of petrol in the run while Melpark Major was three-wide the trip. It was arguably the best runner-up effort seen on the Grand Circuit stage. Despite later-career issues following a mishap in Brisbane as a five-year-old, when he was the favourite for the Inter Dominion series, Melpark Major still won the 2010 Popular Alm Sprit, the 2013 Horsham Pacing Cup and a host of other strong races. “He was never the same (after Brisbane),” Alan Tubbs said. “He went from being a clean-legged horse to having joint trouble. I had to learn acupuncture, which I guess is a good thing because I can use it in future, but we had to look after him a lot more after that.” Melpark Major retired in 2014 to the property of Don Smith to live alongside other ‘Melpark’ horses. Today he continues to enjoy his retirement. Book your 2017 Allied Express Victoria Cup package now Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

It will be an emotional night at Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow for the harness racing connections of popular pacer Tee Cee Bee Macray. The five-year-old, who has drawn pole for the $50,000 Group 2 Olympus Feeds Smoken Up Sprint (Race 6), is part-owned by the late Brian Dobson, who passed away earlier this week following a long and brave battle with illness. Tee Cee Bee Macray was Mr Dobson’s favourite horse and any mention of the gelding would bring an instant smile to his face. “It’s an emotional week for connections,” Tee Cee Bee Macray’s driver and close friend of Mr Dobson, Greg Sugars said. Mr Dobson visited Tee Cee Bee Macray last Friday at Larajay Farm. “It was very special,” Sugars said. “It was his last trip out there and he saw the horse ... Tee Cee Bee Macray has meant so much to Brian and his family.” Sugars admitted the decision to commit to Tee Cee Macray had been a tough one given he also has a long and successful association with Major Crocker (drawn nine for tomorrow night’s feature). “Not only is the horse racing really well but losing Brian was a massive influence on my decision to stick with Tee Cee Bee Macray. It wasn’t an easy decision though. Major Crocker has been so impressive but in the end I just couldn’t get over not driving Tee Cee Bee this week for so many reasons,” Sugars said. “And I’m aware it may have an influence on Perth and whether or not I get the opportunity to drive Major Crocker, so it wasn’t easy.” Paul Dobson, Brian’s son, is also a part-owner of Tee Cee Bee Macray, with long-time owner/breeder Ian Kitchin, Boris Salivin and Ken Adams. The horse is trained by multiple Group 1 winning trainer Alan Tubbs. Tomorrow night’s feature sprint provides a lead-in to next Saturday night’s $200,000 Group 1 Allied Express Victoria Cup at Melton and several horses will see this as their last chance to push for inclusion in the Grand Circuit classic. Sugars said Tee Cee Bee Macray’s plum gate draw gives him options. “He does have gate speed but we haven’t had much of a chance to show it for many reasons, mainly bad barriers,” he said. “He’s punched through early from back-row draws in fast lead times and in trials we’ve had him come out quickly, so he can do it. “I guess being behind Lennytheshark would be an ideal situation because you know he will take you to the sprint lane, but the good thing (about Tee Cee Bee Macray) is he’s been strengthened up … and I don’t think he’d be out of place if we decided to try and hold the lead either … so that could be an option.” Inter Dominion, Miracle Mile and Victoria Cup champion Lennytheshark is favourite for tomorrow night’s race, currently at $1.9 with TAB.com.au from barrier seven. Tee Cee Bee Macray is $4.8, with My Field Marshal $5 and Major Crocker (to be driven by Gavin Lang) a $6 shot. Meanwhile, in big news for trots fans retired superstar Smoken Up and his trainer/driver Lance Justice will lead the field out for tomorrow night’s race. Smoken Up won 74 races from 153 starts, earning over $3.6 million in prizemoney with a best winning mile rate of 1:48.5. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) made the decision to rename the Legends Mile the Smoken Up Sprint following ‘Trigger’s’ retirement in 2014. Trots Media - Cody Winnell

2004 – Sokyola delivers Justice his first Victoria Cup. “It’s the Aussie champ, Sokyola’s done it again!” Racecaller Dan Mielicki produced a trademark pearl for Race 7 at the Valley on 18 December 2004. Same can be said for Lance Justice, the straight-shooting harness racing horseman who put the hobbles on his superstar Sokyola that night and delighted favourite punters who took a ticket at the $2.10 on offer with the bagmen. The win came during a season of astronomical success for Sokyola, an eight-year-old son of Sokys Atom out of a one-start maiden Chiola Hanover mare named Maudola (12th at Winton in 1995 on debut). In fact, both 03-04 and 04-05 saw Sokyola unrivalled in the pacing game – named back-to-back Australian Harness Horse of the Year. Soky won both Miracle Miles in those seasons at the then dream factory of New South Wales trots, Harold Park. At the completion of his racetrack career, Sokyola had amassed $1,890,990 in stakemoney with 78 wins and 42 minor placings from 161 appearances. For trivia buffs, the first of those successes came for a Kiwi trainer, Mervyn Todd, who drove Sokyola home in a three-year-old handicap at Invercargill in March 2000. “Don McRae and Curly Thomas jacked up the sale for us,” Todd told the Southland Times in 2007. “(Australian trainer) Lance Justice flew over and trialled him on my wee track. He only ran him over a furlong and commented he was a natural.” That was enough for Justice to be won over. In Australia, Sokyola was raced by Colin Croft, who, like his trainer originated in South Australia. And Sokyola was not Croft’s first Horse of the Year, either. He famously raced Inter Dominion champion Markovina (1977’s premier trots performer). In terms of Soky’s achievements, the 2004 Vic Cup win is remembered as one of his most memorable. Working to the front early for Justice, who incidentally earlier that evening piloted outsider Cam Strike home in the opener – the Claimers Cup, Sokyola dictated the pace early (74.7secs lead time, 31.7 first split and 32.5 second). “It is going to be a big sprint home here,” said Mielicki. “Have they played into Lance’s hands?” They had. At the 500m Justice began to up the stakes, Just An Excuse was extended by reinsman Todd Mitchell in the breeze, and Flashing Red, the Queenslander for Ian McMahon, was three-wide. Hexus, for Nathan Giles, was following Justice’s every move behind Sokyola, waiting to strike. At full throttle Hexus worked home solidly along the inside but his late bid was always doomed to fail, with Sokyola having plenty in reserve up the stretch. Just An Excuse finished third and stuck to his guns but, in reality, Soky always had them licked in the run, winning by a metre and a half in 2:02.5 with a last quarter of 27-flat. The triumph was Justice’s first in a Vic Cup but wouldn’t be his last. In the 2011 renewal he combined with his next champion, the indomitable Smoken Up at Tabcorp Park Melton. And who’s to say there won’t be another?  Book your Allied Express Victoria Cup dining package today Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Prior to 1997, only four horses had won multiple harness racing Victoria Cups. They were Koala King (1978, 79 and 80), Popular Alm (1982 and 83), Bag Limit (1987 and 88) and Sinbad Bay (1989 and 91). Despite his horse being an 11-1 shot, Kiwi trainer Cran Dalgety would have had every confidence in '97 that his 1996 Victoria Cup winner Desperate Comment could go back-to-back, because ‘Spike’, as he was affectionately known, was a warrior. “He had an amazing will to win,” Dalgety said of Desperate Comment looking back at the million-dollar stakes earner’s career ($1,033,065 in prize money to be exact). Eight years old and lining up from the pole draw on February 1 1997, at Moonee Valley Desperate Comment was a distant third-favourite with punters in the Vic Cup behind Iraklis (1-4fav) and Our Sir Vancelot (5-1). A year prior, Peter Jones had steered Desperate Comment to success in the Victoria Cup over Burlington Bertie and Norms Daughter. Now Graeme Lang was in the gig behind the Kiwi superstar. Early doors in the 2380m feature everything went to script for favourite backers with Iraklis cruising to the front for Ricky May from gate two. Trainer Robert Cameron had two representatives in the race, Iraklis and 20-1 shot Anvils Star. After a couple of hundred metres they were one-two on the rails, with Anthony Butt pushing Anvils Star on to the leader’s back position ahead of Desperate Comment, who drifted back in the early section to land the often-awkward three-fence position. When The Suleiman pushed to the chair – eventually and under driving – with a lap and a half to go there was some extra heat up front, but nothing too major and the favourite always appeared to travel well. Into the back straight the final time and Desperate Comment remained three back on the rails, but 100m later he began to emerge as Lang started plotting a path between runners. They went 28.1 for the third split, so Iraklis by this stage was fair humming, and both Our Sir Vancelot and Desperate Comment were in the clear around the famous Moonee Valley home turn the final time. Iraklis had a strong kick and halfway up the straight looked as though he may have put the result to bed. But, alas for May and Iraklis, the winning post just never seemed to come, and Desperate Comment swooped down the outside to score a neck win over another fast-finisher in Anvils Star, who finally saw daylight, with Iraklis battling into third place beaten one metre. The winning rate was 1:58.2 and the last split 28.3. For Dalgety, looking back to earlier in Desperate Comment's career, success didn’t take long to arrive. At just this third start with the Kentuckiana Lodge stable, ‘Spike’ beat Grand Circuit superstars Master Musician and Blossom Lady to land the Group 1 Easter Cup at Addington for reinsman Jimmy Curtin. “Admired, respected and loved for his courage, determination and attitude,” reads the headstone above where the champion pacer’s ashes now rest in the garden adjacent to the stable complex at Kentuckiana Lodge. “Champion racehorse, world record holder, millionaire pacer, winner of 28 races. Born Auckland 22-11-1988, died Melbourne 26-9-1997.  His memory will live on in the hearts of Allan Campbell, Joe Mullins and Graham Pilkington (owners), Cran Dalgety (trainer), Peter Jones (driver) and all who were privileged to know him.” Desperate Comment fractured a near pastern when racing at the peak of his powers in August 1997. “The fractured leg just disintegrated at a later date and he had to be put down,” Dalgety said. “When you look back, it was a good effort for him to just crack the million in stakes when he did all his racing as an older horse.” Desperate Comment won 28 races from 76 starts.  Book your place at this year's Allied Express Victoria Cup Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

For the 13th time in his decorated career harness racing reinsman Chris Alford is the SBG Accountants Victorian Metropolitan Premier Driver. Alford notched 51 metro wins in 2016-17 to finish 18 victories clear of nearest rival Gavin Lang (33 wins) with Greg Sugars finishing third on 31 wins. It is the fifth straight season that Alford, Lang and Sugars have shared podium honours in the metro title, and in fact that trio has also claimed top-three honours for the past five years straight in the Melton Saddlery State Drivers Premiership. Alford also won the Melton Saddlery State Drivers Premiership for the second straight season in 2016-17, giving him a dozen wins in that category throughout his career. Alford’s 51-win metro season was a career-best performance, eclipsing his previous personal best of 48 set in 2015-16. His 320 state winners was his second-biggest haul behind his 2011-12 season, which saw him claim the Vic honours with 327 victories. It is an amazing record for the man they dub ‘Puppet’, who won his first metropolitan drivers’ premiership back in 1993-94. Alford’s glorious season of achievements in the past 12 months also saw him pilot Lennytheshark to a memorable Miracle Mile win at Menangle in February, and steer his 6000th win in the sulky during May. Other highlight wins for Alford in season 2016-17 included… Group 1 VHRSC Victoria Derby aboard Our Little General in February Group 1 Canadian Club Sprint aboard Lennytheshark in February Group 1 Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks aboard Miss Graceland in April Group 1 Queen of the Pacific aboard The Orange Agent in May Group 1 Sportswriter Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO Fillies Final aboard Molly Kelly in June Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 2YO Trotting C&G Final aboard Wobelee in July Group 1 Pet Rock Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 2YO Pacing C&G Final aboard Poster Boy in July Group 1 Western Terror Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 2YO Fillies Final aboard Nostra Villa in July Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic aboard Wobelee in August Group 1 Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown 2YO Trotting C&G Final aboard Wobelee in August Group 1 Always B Miki Breeders Crown 2YO Pacing Fillies Final aboard Nostra Villa in August Group 1 IRT Breeders Crown 3YO C&G Pacing Final aboard Our Little General in August Meanwhile, Emma Stewart completed a clean sweep in the Renown Silverware State Trainers Premiership and the Taylors Metropolitan Trainers Premiership, winning both categories. It is the third straight double-premiership win for Stewart, whose horses earned over $3million in stakemoney in 16-17, a stable record, eclipsing its previous best set in 15-16 of $2.95m. Stewart trained 54 Victorian metropolitan winners in 16-17 from 269 runners and a career-best 206 Vic state winners from 572 starters. Amazingly young gun Jason Lee won his fourth consecutive Alabar Concession Drivers Premiership, notching 110 Victorian winners in season 16-17 from 534 races, edging out runner-up Zac Phillips on 108 wins. Art Major won the Victorian Sires Premiership with 235 wins from his progeny. The super stallion also claimed the 2YO Sires Premiership with 37 wins. The 3YO Sires Premiership went to Somebeachsomewhere with 70 wins, while Safely Kept claimed honours in the Broodmare Sires Premiership category. Sundon took top honours in the Trotting Sires Premiership with 105 wins, while Angus Hall took out the Juvenile Trotting Sires Premiership with 20 wins. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria encourages Gordon Rothacker Medal nominations from Country Clubs, Kindred Bodies, Industry Participants and/or Individuals. The criteria for the Gordon Rothacker Medal is as follows: Contribution to harness racing in Victoria (past and present) Length of industry involvement Held (voluntary or paid) key positions within the industry Demonstrated excellence within a chosen field Significant personal achievement Service as a role model/mentor Integrity If you wish to nominate someone for consideration for the 2017 Gordon Rothacker Medal, please email the name of the nominee and a brief summary of supportive information (achievements, positions held in the industry, length of service etc) to Angela McCallum (AMcCallum@hrv.org.au) by close of business on Friday September 22. Click here to view more info on the Gordon Rothacker Medal Cody Winnell HRV Communications/Media Manager

Humbletonian 2017 at Maryborough yesterday saw 10 horses register their first ever racetrack win and $63,000 paid out in Vicbred First Win bonuses from Harness Racing Victoria. Additionally Harness Breeders Victoria paid out $2500 in breeder bonuses across yesterday’s 10-race card, the Victorian Square Trotters Association offered $250 bonuses for trot race winning owners who were on-course and the Maryborough Harness Racing Club offered $250 breeder bonuses for pacing breeders that attended. The important ongoing role played by breeders in the trots was on display at Maryborough with three winning horses yesterday owned and trained by the person who bred them – Mascott (Race 1) for Jayne Davies, Crazy Ideas (Race 3) for Kari Males and Tobi John (Race 4) for Darren Cole. A further three horses were bred, owned and trained by family members – Seattle Grace (Race 7) for Brad and David Barnes, No Republic (Race 9) for Virginia, Julija and Emmett Brosnan, and Live On Broadway (Race 10) for Christian McLean and Shannon McLean. For Jayne Davies, the debut win of Mascott was extra special. Davies purchased Mascott’s mother, Maidstone Miss, from New Zealand in 2011 and debuted her on Australian Soil in the Group 1 Redwood Classic at Maryborough. She won, and now, six years later, Maidstone Miss’s first progeny to hit the racetrack has won on debut at the same venue. “It’s really nice to have him follow in his mother’s footsteps by winning at Maryborough first-up,” Davies said. “I’ve sold the mare to Pat Driscoll (Yabby Dam Racing). I took an embryo from Maidstone Miss actually, and he (Mascott) is the result.” Davies only qualified Mascott – by Majestic Son – last Saturday from the mobile. “He probably wasn’t quite ready and still has a couple of problems, but he trotted OK yesterday. He’s a nice little horse and he’s got a lot of improvement in him as a three-year-old,” Davies said. Being the overseer of a racehorse’s transition from foal to racetrack and first win is a special experience, says Davies. “It is a bit special,” she said. “And days like yesterday where the maiden horses are given that opportunity to pick up nice bonus prizemoney are really important for the industry.” Find out more about the Victorian breeding industry  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Victorian turned Tasmanian harness racing reinsman Mark Yole wants not only the trots industry but the wider community to understand that it is okay to talk about feeling down or depressed. Yole, whose battle with depression was documented recently in Tasmania's The Examiner, says depression and related illnesses are far more common than people think and that the more people talk openly about the subject the better placed society will be to understand. "I'd like to do what I can to get the word out there about it and see if we can make a real difference," Yole said. Yole, 29, told the Examiner that people feeling depressed should: "Talk to people. Don’t be ashamed. Even if you don’t think you’ve got depression, but you’re just not feeling great, talk to someone". He added: “Even now, my fiancee and I talk about that stuff. She’s really great - if I’m feeling a bit down or she’s feeling a bit down, we can sit down and talk about it and work through it together. You never know what talking to people can do.” Click here to read Yole's full story on The Examiner website Yole praised Harness Racing Victoria's recent move to extend its industry assistance program to include all trainers and drivers. "The more awareness the better with this issue. It's important the conversation is started and kept going so people doing it tough know it's okay to reach out and get some help," he said. Yole added that he would jump at the opportunity to secure public speaking engagements to promote awareness of depression. "I just want do to my bit to make a difference," he said. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Airborne Ameretto is taking the fast-class pacing ranks by storm for Great Western harness racing trainer-driver Kerryn Manning. The five-year-old Million Dollar Cam-Eyes Of Courage mare completed a five-straight picket-fence winning form line for Manning tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton with an explosive win in the Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Pacers Free for All. Following last weekend’s brilliant Mares Graduate FFA Breeders Crown win at Bendigo, Ameretto lifted another notch tonight and the big question now is where to next? “There’s Perth … where there’s a nice mares’ race there,” Manning said post-race, adding, “We’ll have to sit down and have a think”. Ameretto tonight held off a fast-finishing Tee Cee Bee Macray by 1.9m in a mile rate of 1:53.3, with San Carlo running in third place 2.3m behind the winner. “It gets harder from here,” Manning said. “But if she keeps going like that she’ll be hard to beat in whatever she lines up in.” The last mare to win the Breeders Crown Graduate Free for All was Make Mine Cullen in 2012 (1:58.0).  And for the sake of including this stat, the last mare to win the Inter Dominion was Jodie’s Babe in 1989 (Stella Frost won Inter in 1971, Richmond Lass in 1969 and Robin Dundee in 1965). “It was a really quality field tonight. To (win) in such good fashion just shows how good a horse she is,” Manning said. “She’s a very easy horse to handle at home. It’s a pleasure to have her.” Manning was sent the mare by trainer Ashlee Grives in New South Wales. The Orange Agent, the star Kiwi mare who dominated this year’s Mares’ Triple Crown at Melton, went 1:53.7 in winning the Alabar Angelique Club Cup over 2240m at Melton in May. Messini ran on well for fourth tonight and My Kiwi Mate finished fifth. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Legendary trots scribe Max Agnew gives his take on tonight's Victorian Harness Racing Media Association Hall of Fame inductees, on a night at Tabcorp Park Melton when Vin Knight was awarded 'Legend status'.  Ron Peace Ron Peace grew up in Northern Victoria where at the local primary school his teacher later became Mrs Jean Pascoe, who with her husband Jim, would open Keilor Motor Raceway. He was 19 when he came to Melbourne with a pacer, stabling it at Dale’s Community Stables at Maribyrnong while he went to work for trainer George Gath for several years to learn what he could. To say that he learned plenty off the wily George would be an understatement. Most trainers will have a bet on a horse they believe can win. So successful was the man they called ‘Tubby’ in setting up a horse to bet on, it helped him secure a fine property at Yan Yean to build his stables; then later another major collect enabled him to purchase more than 80 cows to conduct a dairy; selling his milk to a well-known South Melbourne outlet where the two owners were members of the Trotting Club at Moonee Valley. Ron employed others to milk his cows, and the money this regularly brought in provided further ammunition to fire off at bookmakers. He kept on frightening the hell out of bookies with successful plunges that before long led to him being offered shorter than expected odds.  All this encouraged him to try and outsmart bookies by trying to sneak under their guard. Like the time he secured a pacer from Mrs Faye Barron. Somehow he was so busy that he overlooked making the change of name for owner and trainer with the Board, so several months down the track when it was produced for the first time by him, when it won he collected $27,500, asking his little tote down the road he needed it in cash. This led to the TAB sending out a Security Van with the money – and not for the first time either. Because Sydney back then had the strongest betting ring in Australia, his battles with Bill Waterhouse were tactical and at times quite hilarious as each tried to better the other with various ploys. There were several occasions when his collect from bookmakers was upwards of $70,000. This was at a time when $12,000 would have bought you a fine house. When his money went on the TAB, it was usually in the daily doubles, or a quadrella, as any large collect would not be made public. He also brought in some big names to race horses in their name, including Bert Newton. He was able to have Sky Channel set up a dish to receive a telecast of all racing when successfully applying for it under the name of the local licensed dart club with D.R. Peace the secretary. The only thing, no such club existed. When his son Andrew emerged as a fine reinsman, Ron toned down much of his betting activities. This led to him training six winners on a program at Moonee Valley in 1987, all driven by Andrew. He followed up with six winners on a Cranbourne meeting in 1988, and several occasions having further meetings with five winners. His son Harry was also smart in a sulky -- he too would win a city driving premiership with horses from his father’s stables. He trained many smart horses, from Dale’s Gift to Scottish Fusilier, before it went to the US; He also raced Australia’s top 2YO Nicotine Prince. After Andrew took over the driving, Hyperstat won 19 races in a row, and Provocative set a new Australian record for mares of 1:53.8. Indemnity and Man Of The Moment were just two other smart winners. He never worried about premierships, but he was crowned top Victorian trainer in 1988/89. Ron Peace, a remarkable horseman, and a well-deserved inductee into our Hall Of Fame. Richmond Lass Richmond Lass was bred by Fred Miller in 1963. By Aachen, at one stage the No.1 sire in Australia, her dam Chevro was a daughter of Robert Derby, so she carried a double cross of the blood of the great Globe Derby. Owner/breeder Miller then lived at Bung Bong, between Avoca and Maryborough, with this bonny lass trained by Jack Moore. The winner of several two-year-old classics, Richmond Lass at three won the Oaks in Victoria, NSW and South Australia.  Trainer Jack Moore later set her for the 1969 Adelaide Inter Dominion.  One of the few who thought she could win this race at big odds was a young staff member of the Victorian Trotting Control Board who loved a punt. When early betting opened before the series began, Bill Hutchison had several wagers on her at 33/1. He was given a few uneasy moments during the series with the mare being the last to scrape into the Final.  But that night when driven by Kevin Brook, she won the big race by several lengths. From Hutchy’s large collect he purchased an expensive fur coat for his girl-friend. Richmond Lass returned to Victoria the hero of all at Bung Bong – that had a population then of almost 20. Today at last count the official claim is the little town is deserted. While Richmond Lass, the winner of 31, races went on to have four foals for Freddie Miller with two of these quite successful, the story has a sad ending. When a bushfire swept through the district in January of 1985, this once great mare was among those burnt to death.  Ironically, in that fire, her old trainer J.P, Moore and his foreman, John Carey, both dived into a water trough to escape the flames, but each suffered some burns.  Fred Miller had a plaque erected at his property Richmond House to remember this wonderful mare. And tonight we also celebrate her life with her induction into the Hall Of Fame as one of Australia’s finest pacing mares. Clarrie Allen (trainer-driver) In the early years of night trotting at the Melbourne Showgrounds, the majority of the leading horsemen had grown up out in the country, later moving to have stables in the city.  Among them was Clarrie Allen, born at Charlton in 1917. His harness racing father Ron had earlier trained and driven the smart Gay Venture. With the coming of night trotting to the Melbourne Showgrounds, Clarrie moved to the city to work for the legendary Jack Barron for a time, before going out on his own with stables at Ascot Vale, within walking distance of the Showgrounds. In those days the Melbourne season in Melbourne closed down from July to the end of September, thus limiting the opportunities to win races like today’s leading drivers. What made Clarrie so well respected was his consistency, usually finishing among the leading five drivers each season, and winning the premiership in 1961/62.  His total number of winners in Melbourne of 172 might not seem that great on today’s standards, but back then it was quite an achievement. Most of the winners he drove he also trained.  Among his most successful pacers were the likes of Requisite – Tarport Song -- Blazing Arrow – Ariki Whero – Joyoro – Moon Reveller, on which he won the 1971 Victorian Derby – Tranquill Scott – Smoke Dash – Dean Reveller – and the smart Border Luck. He also won good races with Belroy, a pacer caught up in the notorious incident involving Howard Craig when he was outed for a lengthy spell for having reached out and grabbed Belroy’s sulky shaft for some 30 or so metres at a meeting at the Showgrounds. In 1963 Portland owner Claude Jobe called on Clarrie to take the reins of Tail Light in the Victoria Oaks where they led throughout to win the classic. Clarrie broke his left arm in a race fall at Kilmore driving Journeyman. If he was here with us tonight, he would surely have mixed thoughts about this pacer, as later he won with Journeyman at a Cranbourne meeting. Melbourne newspapers the following day had the story how a punter associated with the Allen stables, went around the betting ring after the victory with a brand new satchel, stuffing large amounts of money into the bag. It was also at Cranbourne on a heavy track in 1975 that led to him being pictured on the front page of the Melbourne Sun. Terry Phelan, the top photographer of the day, had Clarrie getting off his winner Dean Reveller with his face thick with mud, and his then four-year-old grandson Dean Allen looking frightened at his mud-splattered Pa. The horse had actually been named after young Dean. Harness racing could not buy such publicity today on the front page of Melbourne newspapers. Clarrie cut back on his commitments in 1980 when moving to stables in the Goulburn Valley, before later moving to train several horses from near the Bendigo track.   He battled on with cancer until passing away in the Tatura Hospital at the age of 67 in 1984. Clarrie Allen – a much respected horseman that tonight we welcome into the Hall Of Fame. Russell T. White      (Administrator) Born in 1895, Russell White it was said was a handy rover in the local football competition at Ballarat. He was a dairy-farmer and involved with horses on the farm at Cardigan. During the 1930s he raced two pacers with his best success coming when one of the pair won a Geelong Cup. Ron Peace, who himself later had a dairy farm at Yan Yean, used to delight in telling the story about Russell back in the days when he would load up and drive his horse and cart into Ballarat and go around selling milk out of a large drum to house-holders. The day came when It seems after a couple of his customers had claimed to the powers-to-be how they thought some of his milk was being watered down, an inspector was sent out to find if this was true. When catching up with Russell when nearing the end of his round for the day, the wily farmer recognised the fellow lying in wait for him as he went forth carrying the last bucket of milk. Just as the inspector approached, Russ suddenly tripped over, sending the last of his milk spilling over the ground. No test would be done that day.     Russell White became the first President of the Ballarat Country Party in 1945, and the following year was elected to State Parliament. It was at a time when the trotting association that had run the sport since 1919 with the support of John Wren, was being challenged in Parliament by a new group – the M&CTA  with the support of the Melbourne Show Society, and the idea to race at the Showgrounds. It was actually Russell White who got to his feet and proposed these changes to the Racing Act – with the challenge getting up by just one vote. Russ White served two terms as the Minister for Agriculture, until in 1960 he was appointed the Chairman of the Victorian Trotting Control Board.  He would spend 13 years as the boss of the sport, with his first years proving him a fine spokesman for harness racing, becoming widely known as ‘The Hot Gospeller of Trotting’.    He and his Public Relations Officer, Bill Burns, would travel to the major country meetings where the aging Russell would often make a similar speech to his flock, changing the name of the club and the town they were in. When one Mildura Cup meeting was coming to an end, Russ suddenly remembered how he had forgotten to buy his apple and a lick of molasses that he never went to bed without, sending Bill on a trip around any shops that might have been open in search of molasses for the boss. Russell will be remembered as a popular chairman who truly loved the sport, though in his last year or two when illness was taking hold of him, he became pre-occupied in rattling his many tins for charity at the main gate of trotting meetings. Russell T. White, an early leader of night trotting that we celebrate his induction into our Hall Of Fame tonight.  John Peck When still a teenager, John Peck went to work for the Australian Trotting Record in West Melbourne until its closure, when he moved to the Australian Trotting Council, now Harness Racing Australia.  Later, when Ken Dyer became Secretary of the industry in Macau, John briefly took over the role of Australian Secretary and for a time was the Keeper of the Stud Book, until deciding to take his leave. His passion for harness racing history over the following years would see him spend hours most weeks at the State Library delving into old newspapers and records. But for him, much of this early work might well have been lost in the mists of time. He still devotes a great deal of time researching the industry’s past. He later spent time with Harness Racing Victoria, and then began the publication, Harness Racing International which he edited successfully for more than a decade, collecting numerous National awards for his successful writing. John has compiled in-depth works on the history of clubs at Ballarat and Horsham, and the researching of other trotting specials. Perhaps his crowning glory has been his remarkable work of elite performers listed in what is named – Classic Families – a major work he co-wrote with Dr Ron Groves from Perth, and Peter Charles from New Zealand. Not only does it include the winners over the past 150 years, but there is no other work like it anywhere in harness racing.  Among those to heap praise on this project was the famous United States official publication, Hoof Beats. Because of his passion for the sport, he has for years been making an invaluable contribution to harness racing, and has come to be recognised as the most outstanding authority on our industry. John Peck thoroughly deserves his recognition tonight, and we welcome his induction into Harness Racing’s Hall Of Fame. Dan O’Grady Dan O’Grady, the man who was chosen to represent Harness Racing when Chester Manifold was asked by Premier Bolte in 1958 to investigate creating an official off-course tote betting in Victoria, trained both thoroughbreds and pacers on a small scale. Back in 1944 at a public meeting in Terang to test if the support was there to begin a new trotting club, Dan and Kevin Ryan were asked to follow up this unanimous passing of the idea. Ryan was then the District Handicapper for local meetings of the gallops, also calling these races on 3YB Warrnambool and 3HA Hamilton. At that time Dan O’Grady used a trotter he had secured from Eric Cochran to drive around a paddock at the large property known as Dalvui, leading a galloper or two behind for its trackwork.  One of his thoroughbreds was the good winner Chahtool, which ran in a Melbourne Cup for Dan. Before the formation of the new trotting club could be established, Ryan was appointed the official Handicapper for the VRC. The day he left town for Melbourne, he handed over to Dan the books he had begun for the coming of this new club. Dan O’Grady would retain these books as the only club secretary Terang had right through to the day he died in 1977 aged 74. Both O’Grady and Kevin Ryan had earlier been on the committee of the local club for thoroughbreds at a time when a few trotting races were held at the turf track, but tossed in this role after being disappointed at how the club was treating trotting people. When the new club was formed at Terang, Dan was asked to approach the Heffernan brothers to ask if they could rent or buy the piece of land at Dalvui where Dan trained his horses. The brothers not only agreed, but actually donated this area for free to the new club. Because Dan’s training routine had been around a virtual circle, leaving a clear pathway there, the new track in its first years virtually followed what Dan O’Grady had unknowingly created. Several of the committee of the new club would meet in the kitchen of Dan and Mrs O’Grady to sort out the fields for the race meetings several days later. This was an era before Melbourne officials came to handle such duties. Before long Dan O’Grady came to be recognised as one of the truly outstanding club secretaries in Victoria.  After Dan became a team with Chester Manifold in pushing harness racing’s involvement in what in May of 1961 became the first TAB operations in Australia, he refused to accept any formal acceptance for his work, while his friend Manifold became Sir Chester. Their close friend Premier Bolte four years later would become Sir Henry. Some old-timers in our sport might remember the success Dan had training the pacers Grey Vance and Cordoba brought him, usually driven by Neville or Bruce Clarke. Many a harness racing matter was carried out at Dan’s hardware store in Terang, which probably sold more trotting gear than it did hardware. Each time Dan O’Grady was approached to become a member of the Harness Racing Board in Melbourne by the Government, he would turn down this idea, claiming how he could do more for the sport out among the grass roots of trotting.  Dan O’Grady, a truly outstanding inductee into the Hall Of Fame.   Vin Knight (Legend) In the 15 years leading up to 1991, Vin Knight became to harness racing what Walter Lindrum had been to billiards, and Don Bradman to cricket. Vinnie was very much different from your normal top class horseman. He worked harder around the stables than just about anyone, and away from the track he would play just as hard. He was always driven by an untamed spirit and a boundless raw energy, becoming a handful for any rival who tried to compete with him. In the few short years he had at the very top of the tree in harness racing, he drove a record 721 metropolitan winners, collecting six Melbourne driving premierships along the way.  He rarely drove horses from other stables, with his winners coming from the horses he came to train himself, usually in the name of his father Bob as trainer. Four times Vin drove five winners on a program. He drove four winners at a meeting no fewer than nine times. His number of trebles was 45, and he steered home 143 doubles. Twice he won the A.G. Hunter Cup, and six times he won the Victoria Cup. In his short time at the top he drove a record 18 Inter Dominion Heat winners. Vin Knight was just 36 years-old when he died tragically in May, 1991. He was so far ahead on the leading premiership for drivers at that time with several months of the season to run that he easily collected another driving premiership. This hard-working horseman had dominated harness racing like no one before or since. In his own flamboyant style, Vin Knight took our sport to the public like no other horseman has ever done. Tonight we recognise the remarkable talents in harness racing by Vin Knight with Vinnie becoming a Legend in the Hall Of Fame. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

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