11 May 2011 - Huntly reinsman Ashley Manton didn't take long to drive his first race winner, the 16 year-old, year 11 BTEC school based apprentice triumphed at just his second race drive at Wednesday night's Bendigo meeting. Ashley, the grand son of the late Ted Manton and son of Huntley trainer Darren Manton made his race debut last month in the race named in honour of his grandfather. It wasn't a fairytale start to his career with his horse Pretty Girl Lassie finished well back after galloping in the trot. But second time around it was a different story. The teenager steered Prettylilangeleyes, a $29.00 longshot to a comfortable win in the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap. A 7yo, Prettylilangeleyes, owned by the Manton family is trained at Gillieston by Russell Thompson. It was Prettylilangeleyes first victory in 21 starts this season with her last win back in August 2010. Prettylilangeleyes won by 1.2 metres from Macuenroad with Billy The Brat rounding out the top three. Ashley praised the mare which he shares ownership of with his parents. "She went really well, I am happy," he said. "I have a 50% strike rate, lets hope I can keep it."
7 May 2011 - The state's leading trainer and driver combination of Glenn and Daryl Douglas teamed up for a win with a difference when victorious in the Decron Tandem Bike Challenge at Cranbourne.
Run as a charitable fundraising activity for the Windermere community group, the novel race on 2 wheels brought together some of the state's leading identities who competed over the sprint trip of 220 metres. Representing Bendigo's Anderson Racing, the Douglas boys got an absolute fly from the mobile barrier and ran out comfortable winners from the determined Hy Gain Feeds team of Lisa Miles and Kate Gath and the Aldebaran Park pairing of Chris Lang Jr and Ken Tippet. The sport's elder statesmen in Chris Alford and Gavin Lang earned a spray from the Woodside Park team manager Noel Alexander after finishing a weakening 4th while Simone Walker and Tracey Lousada weighed in at the end of the field earning them the title of Slow Spice and Slower Spice from Seelite Windows and Doors boss Michael Taranto. The girls should be pleased with their efforts to raise funds for Winderemere on the night however and will now head to Cambodia for the 310km Windermere Adventure Challenge having raised over $10,000. Both Simone and Tracey (who works for the Cranbourne Club) are to be commended for their commitment to the Windermere organisation which supports disadvantaged children and families.
2 May 2011 - Outstanding three-year-old Airzone continued on his winning way in the PetStock Power Mile (1650m) at Bendigo's Lords Raceway on Monday, pacing another sizzling time and easily beating his older opponents. It was the fourth win from 10 starts for the son of Jet Laag. His winning mile rate of 1:55.7 wasn't as slick as his 20 March Bendigo track record 1:54.2 but he did it this time with plenty in reserve. Driver Greg Sugars had the $1.20 favourite travelling well from the outset, three back in the outside line, before starting his charge forward 500 metres from the finish. Sugars set sail out after his sister Kylie who was driving the bold going front runner Mach Class, trained by their father Ross Sugars. Mach Class ($9.30) had no answer for Airzone's finishing run and the little local pacer was given an easy drive to the line to score by seven metres. Village Peach ($38.60 - Tina Ridis) rounded out the top three. " He (Airzone) did it easily and his time is fantastic," owner Raeleene Howarth said. Trainer Dick Howarth will target Airzone at a Vicbred race in two weeks before contemplating a break for the developing young star. Three-year-old Courage Under Fire gelding Classievale overcame a early setback before racing to a narrow victory on debut in the Bendigo Mitsubishi 3yo Pace at Lords Raceway on Monday. Sent out a hot $1.80 favourite, the Craig Demmler trained New Zealand bred pacer stepped away well from the standing start, then broken a few strides later to settle back in the pack. Driver Jodi Quinlan worked her way forward to be within striking distance of the leaders by the final bend but Chris Alford made the favourite chase him sooling the Jayne Davies trained Samantha Sparkle to a big lead entering the straight. Quinlan switched Classievale back to the sprint lane for the ride home and the newcomer knuckled down to his task to score by a half head from Samantha Sparkle $12.30 with Wahush ($3.40 - Damien Wilson) five metres away in third place. Classivale finished off his final quarter in a strong 27.7 seconds. - David Aldred
2 May 2011 - Fans of leading Victorian reinsman Chris Alford are urged to get behind a major fundraising and awareness initiative he will undertake this month in support of NF Australia and The Children’s Tumor Foundation of Australia.
Neurofibromatosis (NF) is one of the most common genetic conditions in the world – more prevalent, in fact, than Cystic Fibrosis, Duchene Muscular Dystrophy and Huntington’s Disease combined.
The most common form of the illness (NF1) affects one in 3000 people and causes tumours to grow along the nerves, anywhere inside or outside the body. It is impossible to know how mildly or severely NF will affect any one person but common problems include deafness, blindness, bone deformities, brain and spine tumours, disfigurement and learning difficulties. The popular Bolinda horseman has a close personal link to the little known or understood affliction – his three-year-old daughter Katie was diagnosed with NF1 in July last year. The devastating news prompted Alford and his wife Alison to dedicate themselves to finding a means to educate the wider community about the genetic condition. They also committed to raise money to support research, in the hope of creating a brighter outlook for those with NF by ultimately uncovering a cure. The May promotion has been dubbed “Racing for a NF Free Future” and is supported by Harness Racing Victoria - Alford has been granted approval to wear special orange and black NF promotional colours in all his driving engagements for the month. Bendigo punters will get two more opportunities to help Alford make a difference in the race for an NF cure with racing at Lord's Raceway Wednesday night 11 May and Thursday night 26 May. It is hoped the highly visible prompt will encourage members of the harness racing media to back his project by promoting the initiative at every possible opportunity during May. Alison Alford said, “We have already been overwhelmed by the support of people in the harness racing industry. Katie’s diagnosis really knocked us around, especially Chris. I can’t even begin to explain the rollercoaster ride you go on when your child is diagnosed with something that there is no cure for, which is why in the end we felt we had to do something productive. “When we were throwing around ideas, I told Chris I was concerned about doing something so public but he wasn’t at all fazed and felt that there was no better way of showing her to be proud of who she is. “The day Katie was diagnosed with NF, I promised that I would never let NF define who she was. I don’t ever want to hear her say “I live with NF”. As far as I’m concerned , NF Lives with her and is just one of the many things that makes her the person she is. So here we are! “I just hope that the trainers and owners get on board with him. It’s as much about raising awareness through the colours as it is about raising funds.” Alford’s fans, fellow drivers, corporate sponsors, country clubs and supporters from all walks of the harness racing community are also encouraged to become involved by pledging a donation to the very worthwhile cause. It could be a specified dollar amount for every winner he drives during May, every drive he secures for the month or perhaps every time he finishes at the tail of the field. Alternately, you may wish to provide a donation, either by direct deposit or cheque, made payable to NFAA. All donations over $2 are tax deductible. To secure a pledge form, make a donation or for further information, contact Chris and Alison Alford on 0412 995 538 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information about NF, visit www.nfaa.org.au