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A service will be held on Friday to commemorate Albert Rothacker, a member of harness racing's famed family, after he passed last Sunday night at age 91. Along with his brothers Gordon and Eric, Mr Rothacker was a regular trots driver in the 1950s and '60s as well as a hobbyist trainer, said his son and current trainer Robert. "Dad drove quite a bit and took Arlen to Melbourne in the mid '60s and won a couple of metro races," Robert said. "In the '50s he drove Wilbur's Hope and all three brothers were in a race once and he did get up and beat Eric and Gentleman John and Gordon and Avian Again. Wilbur's Hope was a fantastic free-legged horse." Robert said his father's driving career came to an end after hurting his shoulder in a fall at Horsham in the early 1970s, but that he continued to train until 1994-95 as well as own, including Impala who Albert bred and owned and who raced with Robert until 2005. All are welcome to attend a service from 11am on Friday at Yarrayne Cemetery, Serpentine. Harness Racing Victoria extends its condolences to Mr Rothacker's friends and family.   Harness Racing Victoria  

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) will conduct a series of consultation sessions across Victoria in relation to the proposed national ratings handicapping system. All stakeholders are encouraged to attend one of the following sessions: Tuesday February 12 at Shepparton (7pm) Wednesday February 13 at Ballarat (7pm) Thursday February 14 at Cranbourne (7pm) Monday February 18 at Mildura (7pm) Light refreshments will be provided. View notice online   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA 

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards commenced an investigation on 26 January 2019 into the scratching of Perfect Major from Race 7 the Victoria Derby to be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on this date and the wagering activity on emergency runner Demon Delight. On 26 January 2019 a veterinary certificate was provided to HRV by the stable veterinarian advising that Perfect Major was not fit to start. Emma Stewart, trainer of Perfect Major, and stable employees were interviewed regarding the scratching of Perfect Major. As part of the investigation Perfect Major underwent an examination by a HRV Veterinarian and swab samples were taken. The investigation remains ongoing with wagering activity, veterinary records and other relevant information to be reviewed.   Harness Racing Victoria

Charlton’s Doug Gretgrix has become one of Victorian harness racing’s most recognisable faces after more than two decades of criss-crossing the State in his role as one of the sport’s official starters. Now after 21 years and an estimated 1.3 million kilometres of travel during his duties, Gretgrix, who celebrated his 75th birthday on Thursday, is preparing to wind down and call it a day. “The time has absolutely flown, but I can honestly say that I would gladly do it all again.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my job and have made so many friends in the industry,” he said. Known universally as Doug, “Mr Gretgrix” made his debut as starter at his home track of Charlton, first learning the ropes as trials driver in the 1980s. “I thought I’d like to finish my career at Charlton there as well, but unfortunately the Charlton meetings are being transferred at the moment because of work on the new $4.2M multipurpose facility, so my last meeting will be at Maryborough next Thursday January 31,” he said. “But I’m not complaining – the new facilities will be great for Charlton and the day is the final of the $25,000 Central Victorian Pacing Championship, so it’ll be a big meeting to go out on.” The starter’s role includes transporting the official HRV mobile start car to race meetings and Gretgrix said, although he officiates mainly at meetings in the north and west of the State, one of his aims over the years had been to start races at all Victorian meetings. “I proud to say I’ve done that, and that includes some clubs and tracks that don’t race all that often now, like Elmore and Birchip,” he said. Over the years, he has officiated at thousands of harness racing events, on average working at three to four meetings each week. “My wife Gill has been doing some research of late and she believes that the number will be close to 20,200 races which, looking back, is incredible,” he said. “I can tell you that I know every bump and sharp bend on a lot of the roads around the State, but I guess that all comes with the job.” Gretgrix said there has been just one occasion when he wasn’t able to get the mobile barrier outfit to a meeting. “I was rostered to do a Terang meeting and five kilometres out of St Arnaud with about 200kms to go some weld broke on the mobile and oil went everywhere,” he said. “There wasn’t any way of fixing it, so they just used their old club mobile barrier and there weren’t any dramas.” Gretgrix’s involvement with horses, which goes back to the 1970s, was through his older brother Stanley, a well-known and popular figure around Charlton. “Stan was playing around with a few stallions and doing some breeding; and of course I had a farm with a shed and yard so it all just worked perfect for him,” Gretgrix said. “He had Vivkay and Scottish Bret, and there were probably others. Anyway, he was lucky to breed a nice horse in Nancy’s Luck. “She was by Vivkay out of Charlton’s Pride and won 10 races and had 17 placings from about 60 starts. Her training was done around the back roads near my farm.” Gretgrix said that after being “conned” into going to Charlton Trotting Club’s annual meeting in 1979, he ended up with the role of assistant starter. He honed his skills helping the number one starter at the Charlton trials. “When the other guy had to give it away, I was thrown into the deep end during Easter, 1980,” Gretgrix said. Until the 1990s, the HRV would send a steward to the meetings to act as starter, until computerised mobile barrier vehicles were introduced in 1997. “I became friendly with former chairman of stewards Gerard Lalor and I was one of four starters rostered on to officiate at meetings – the others being Gary Chequer, Ian McIntosh and Phil Frost,” Gretgrix explained. “We had one mobile barrier vehicle between us, which was in the care of Phil Frost, so if for example there was a day meeting at Horsham and then Mildura at night, we would use the club vehicle at Mildura.” Gretgrix said he fondly remembers his first race meeting in an official capacity – a Geelong fixture on June 11, 1997. “I think I made more money through a travel allowance that was given to me to drive up from Charlton than what I earnt in actual wages,” he said. After officiating at his first Mildura meeting on March 21, 1998, Gretgrix said the far north-west venue became like “a second home.” “From October 2002, I’ve probably done nearly all of the Mildura meetings,” he said. Gretgrix said in the early days there were plenty of standing start races that kept the starters on their toes. “I enjoyed doing them but you had to keep a good lookout – one time at Echuca a barrier attendant had put up the front row tapes, and then when he was running back, he got tangled up and tripped over in a big heap. “It all turned out okay, but it could have been a bit nasty.” Gretgrix said since beginning as a starter he’d also had an ambition to officiate at what was, at the time, one of the world’s richest handicapped standing start events, the Hunter Cup. “My big chance came in 2005 and despite wanting to do it for all those years, it was absolutely hair raising,” he recalled. “There was a huge crowd, thousands on track, and people up on the fence yelling and screaming – and a standing start, so the pressure was huge.” Star Kiwi Elsu, trained by Geoff Small and driven by David Butcher, started from a 20-metre handicap and won the race well, sitting three wide for the last 1100m. Gretgrix said without doubt one of the greatest races he can recall seeing was the 2008 Ballarat Cup. “The final lap was a gruelling, head-and-head battle between two champions in Safari and Blacks A Fake. It was exciting stuff with Safari (Brian Gath) claiming a narrow victory,” he said. “But I’m leaving with lots of good memories – over the years you get to know so many participants, club officials, mobile barrier drivers, track attendants, clerks of the course and all the volunteers.” Gretgrix and his wife Gill, who have four children and nine grandchildren, plan to stay at Charlton. “I know Gill has a list of things she would like me to do around the house,” he said. “After that I’d love to go back to playing bowls, something I enjoyed before getting involved in harness racing. “And there’s a caravan parked in our shed that definitely needs to be taken out on a few trips...” For participants, there’ll undoubtedly be something missing, when “Mr Gretgrix” is no longer “letting them go”. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Brian Delaney, a driver of many winners at the Melbourne Showgrounds during the '60s, including horses Macaree and Naval Attack for late Cranbourne area trainer John Collins, passed away on January 11 at the age of 82. Brian had worked for the late Bob Parker in his younger days. Harness Racing Victoria extends its condolences to Brian’s friends and family.   Len Baker  

The barrier draws for this Saturday night’s four Group 1 feature races at Tabcorp Park Melton will be live streamed at Harness Racing Victoria’s Facebook page tomorrow from 10am. Join GoodForm’s Jason Bonnington as the draws are conducted for the $250,000 Woodlands Great Southern Star, $200,000 Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby Final, $100,000 Ladyship Cup and $100,000 4YO Bonanza. The program for Night 2 of the TAB Summer of Glory is shaping as a classic as in addition to the four Group 1 races the support card includes the Group 2 Casey Classic ($50,000), Group 2 Aldebaran Park Vicbred Platinum Trotting Mares Sprint Championship Final ($30,000) and Group 3Vulcan Trotters Free for All ($24,000). General admission to Tabcorp Park Melton is free for the TAB Summer of Glory. Exclusive dining packages for Woodlands Great Southern Star night can be booked here. Trots Media

Prizemoney for Victorian harness racing will exceed current record levels following a Daniel Andrews Labor Government’s commitment in October. Racing Minister Martin Pakula announced at the Gordon Rothacker Medal night that a re-elected Victorian Labor Government would commit to an additional $6m in funding over two years and reaffirmed that commitment at the Inter Dominion. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) said it would pass on that funding through increased stakemoney across all levels as follows:  Restricted class races increased from $4000 to $4500  $5000 Career Penalty races increased to $7000  Metropolitan class races increased from $16,000 and $18,000 to $20,000  Semi-feature metropolitan class races increased from $20,000 to $24,000  A $10,000 minimum race stake to be applied on all metro race nights at Melton  Country Cup prizemoney increased by $222,500  Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup prizemoney increased from $200,000 to $250,000  Minimum payment for fifth to last increased to $140 “With this additional funding from the State Government, we have aimed to ensure a broad spread of harness racing participants at all levels of the industry are rewarded for their hard work through these prizemoney increases, which will commence on 1 January 2019,” HRV CEO David Martin said.   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER 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 Kylie Hughes. ARHR 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 Ms Hughes related to a post-race urine sample collected from the horse ‘Nevada Rocket’ after it won Race 2, the ‘Mildura Holden Pace’, at Mildura on 22 February 2017. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain a prohibited substance, namely cobalt, at a concentration greater than 200 µg/L. This result was confirmed by the Racing Science Centre in Brisbane. The HRV RAD Board considered the statements of Investigative Steward Neal Conder, RASL Scientific Manager Paul Zahra and veterinary consultant Professor Paul Mills. Ms Hughes pleaded guilty to the charge, before the HRV RAD Board heard submissions on penalty from both parties. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered Ms Hughes’ 25- year involvement in the industry, her good record over this period of time, and her guilty plea. Also considered were the circumstances of a partially concurrent Harness Racing New South Wales matter that led to this inquiry being adjourned on 28 September 2017, and resulted in Ms Hughes being disqualified between 20 April 2017 and 3 September 2019. The Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board (RADB) is established under section 50B of the Racing Act (1958). The RADB is an independent Board established to hear and determine appeals in relation to decisions made under the rules to impose penalties on persons and to hear and determine charges made against persons for serious offences. In handing down its penalty, the HRV RAD Board highlighted the significance of the rules in relation to prohibited substances in harness racing, the importance of conducting races fairly and with integrity, along with the protection of horses and the participants involved in the industry. In considering all of these matters, the HRV RAD Board imposed a 12-month disqualification. It was ordered that the disqualification be backdated to commence on 28 September 2017, the date of the original hearing, and be served concurrently with the HRNSW penalty. The HRV RAD Board also ordered that ‘Nevada Rocket’ be disqualified from Race 2 at Mildura on 22 February 2017 and that the placings be amended accordingly. HRV RAD Board Panel: Judge Graeme Hicks and Rod Osborne.   Harness Racing Victoria  

Wrappers Delight looks poised for a TAB Inter Dominion points haul at Ballarat on night two of the harness racing ID18 after pulling the plum gate one draw for his second-round heat. The David Aiken-trained five-year-old finished fifth in Round 1 at Tabcorp Park Melton last night, coming from 20m off the lead and three-wide at the 800m and attacking the line late. "I was really happy with him last night. The race was a surprise. I didn't expect any of that to happen but I was so happy with the way he got home late," driver Kima Frenning said. Wrappers Delight runs his best races in front and the sprint trip looks custom-made for him to produce his electric best on Tuesday night in a heat where he looks the quickest horse off the arm. "He's super quick out so over the sprint we're looking to hold the front and from one hopefully we can pick up some very important points," Frenning said. Aiken was thrilled to get barrier one on Tuesday and said San Carlo in gate six was the logical major threat. "Can't ask for anything better than that, but it's a tough heat," he said. "I've got huge respect for San Carlo and thought his Yarra Valley Cup run was outstanding." TAB.com.au has opened Wrappers Delight $1.6 for his heat, with San Carlo $4.8 after his tough second behind West Australian Galactic Star on night one. For winning in Round 1 Cruz Bromac, Galactic Star and Spankem have all secured the maximum 16 points in the Pacing Championship, with Cash N Flow, Im Pats Delight and San Carlo grabbing 13 points for running second respectively, and Mach Doro, Maximan and Tiger Tara all in double figures on 11 points courtesy of their thirds. The points table for the TAB Inter Dominion 2018 Pacing Championship after one round is as follows. Cruz Bromac, Galactic Star, Spankem 16 points Cash N Flow, Im Pats Delight, San Carlo 13 points Mach Doro, Maximan, Tiger Tara 11 points Motu Meteor, My Alpha Rock, Our Uncle Sam 9 points Audi Hare, Cant Refuse, Wrappers Delight 8 points Conviction, Village Witch, Yayas Hot Spot 7 points Franco Nelson, Let It Ride, Mattgregor 6 points Burnaholeinmypocket, Magical Marn, Shadow Sax 5 points Im The Boss, Joes Star Of Mia, Mister Wickham 4 points Ellmers Image, Freyberg, Tee Cee Bee Macray 3 points Bad Billy, Hickstead, Ideal Success 2 points It Is Billy, Italian Delight, John Of Arc 1 point Visit ID18.com.au for more information on the TAB Inter Dominion. The second round of heats will be conducted at Ballarat on Tuesday night.  In the trotting series Tornado Valley and Speeding Spur are on 16 points, Maori Law and Save Our Pennys 13 points, and Rompers Monarchy and Tough Monarch on 11 points. The points table for the TAB Inter Dominion 2018 Trotting Championship after one round is as follows. Speeding Spur, Tornado Valley 16 points Maori Law, Save Our Pennys 13 points Rompers Monarchy, Tough Monarch 11 points Big Jack Hammer, Monty Python 9 points Kingdom Come, Wilmas Mate 8 points Red Hot Tooth, Sky Petite 7 points Fabrication, Our Twentyten 6 points King Denny, Kyvalley Blur 5 points Enrolled, Father Christmas 4 points Alderbeck, Illawong Armstrong 3 points Cruisin Around, Kowhai Monarch 2 points Kheiron 1 point Visit ID18.com.au for more information on the TAB Inter Dominion. The second round of heats will be conducted at Ballarat on Tuesday night. The spotlight turns to Ballarat and a mammoth night two on Tuesday night, with full Sky 2 coverage from 5pm - including a special one-hour preview. Sky 2 is open for all Foxtel customers free of charge for the night. For the fields at Ballarat click here. Then on Wednesday morning HRV, TAB and Sky have partnered to deliver the live barrier draws for ID18 Round 3 from the Sky Studios, with Greg Hayes and Jason Bonnington providing analysis via Sky Racing 2 and TAB's Facebook Live page. Cranbourne will host Round 3 on Saturday night, before the Grand Finals at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday December 15. Book your ID18 tickets online. [Harness Racing Victoria]

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) yesterday considered applications lodged by Lisa Bartley, Nathan Jack and Mark Pitt for review of the decision of the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board made on 16 November 2018. The HRV RADB Board decision, to dismiss an appeal against the determination of the HRV Stewards to invoke Australian Harness Racing Rules 183(c), 183(d) and 15(d) after Ms Bartley, Mr Jack and Mr Pitt were found guilty of charges under Section 195C of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), can be viewed here. After hearing the submissions of legal counsel for all parties, Senior Member Ian Proctor reserved his decision, which is expected to be handed down in the coming days.     Harness Racing Victoria

The TAB Inter Dominion Pacing and Trotting Championships final rankings were revealed this morning as part of a special ID18 broadcast, when Jason Bonnington and Kima Frenning joined Michael Felgate on RSN 927. Tiger Tara and Speeding Spur remained top of the pops while Frenning told listeners about the chances of her pacing hope Wrappers Delight, ranked eight, and trotter Big Jack Hammer, who took the 24th and final rankings position. CLICK HERE FOR THE PACING RANKINGS CLICK HERE FOR THE TROTTING RANKINGS Click below to relive this morning's show, which includes TAB media's Adam Hamilton dialing in to share his thoughts.   https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode?id=305537     Trots Media

Victoria lost a great competitor in Stawell trainer/driver Trevor Martin last week. A renowned horse breaker, Trevor enjoyed numerous successes over the years with many fine horses and was revered when presenting a two year old at the races first up. Trevor’s best known pacer’s was in all probability Dark Paul which was later trained by Andrew Peace, however Spring Find was also a multiple winner. The majority of Trevor’s horses were driven by former World Driving Champion Ted Demmler. Harness Racing Victoria extends its sincere condolences to Mr Martin's family and friends.    Len Baker

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today handed down its decision in relation to an appeal lodged by licensed persons Lisa Bartley, Nathan Jack and Mark Pitt against the decision of the HRV Stewards to invoke Australian Harness Racing Rules 183(c), 183(d) and 15(d) after they were found guilty of charges under Section 195C of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic). The HRV RAD Board considered submissions from all parties on 9 November 2018, and today determined that the appeal be dismissed. Therefore, from midnight on 23 November 2018, all licenses held by Lisa Bartley, Nathan Jack and Mark Pitt are suspended, any horses owned or trained by them are prevented from racing or trialling and they are excluded from attending any racecourse. The full decision of the HRV RAD Board can be viewed here.   Harness Racing Victoria 

The Supreme Court of Victoria today considered an application for appeal by former licensed trainer Mr Nick Tardio against a decision of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on 23 July 2018. On 23 July 2018, VCAT Senior Member Butcher made orders dismissing Mr Tardio’s application for review regarding the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board decision to disqualify Mr Tardio for a period of 18 months for breaching Australian Harness Racing Rule 190(1). The full background to the matter can be read here. After considering an amended Notice of Appeal and relevant authorities, HRV did not oppose the appeal of Mr Tardio. Supreme Court Justice Cavanough determined that the decision of VCAT Senior Member Butcher dated 23 July 2018 should be set aside and directed the matter back to VCAT for review. Mr Tardio’s VCAT stay of proceedings was reinstated. The Supreme Court advised that written reasons for decision would be provided in due course.         Harness Racing Victoria   

Harness Racing Victoria  has announced the third round of rankings for the 2018 TAB Inter Dominion for both pacing and trotting.   To view the full list of rankings click here!   Cody Winnell MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA

Victorian harness racing has paid tribute to a long-time trainer, driver, gentleman and Inter Dominion champion in Eric Rothacker. The beloved trots participant passed at age 89 on October 13, leaving behind a devoted family and a considerable imprint on the harness racing landscape. Mr Rothacker continued to train until 2015-16 and drive until 2009-10 after an extensive career of participation, most recently with 1996 Bendigo Trotters Cup winner Larry Do, 1990 Horsham Pacing Cup winner Eck’s Shadow and Fiery Gent (2002). His last training win was with Watch My Sox at St Arnaud on July 2, 2015, when he was aged 86, while it was at age 76 that he piloted his last win (Hanging Loose at Bendigo in November 2005). He was a prominent member of Victorian harness racing royalty, being the son of Vic Rothacker, nephew of Bill Rothacker and cousin of Gordon Rothacker. He formed a terrific and successful bond with Gentleman John (pictured) in the 1950s, a gelding who he owned, trained and drove after the yearling was gifted to him by his father. Gentleman John would win the 1955 A. G. Hunter Cup, three Vic Globe Derby Championships, three Melbourne Showgrounds Free For Alls and the Horsham Easter Cup. But it’s his victory in the 1956 Inter Dominion at Sydney’s Harold Park for Eric Rothacker that would provide a career highlight, with the 26-year-old being at the time the youngest reinsman to win the race. Gentleman John beat local pacer Mineral Spring by a head with New Zealand’s Caduceus a gallant third in front of a crowd of 34,020. It was Gentleman John’s 24th win and took his earnings to £19,000. “The big crowd gave 26-year-old Eric Rothacker a great ovation as the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Alderman P. D. Hills, presented him with several trophies and garlands,” reported the book ‘Inter Dominions: saga of champions’. Harness Racing Victoria extends its condolences to Mr Rothacker’s friends and family.   Trots Media

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