30 August 2011 - Ruby Slippers victory in Maryborough’s final two-year-old race for the 2010/11 season on Monday afternoon brought back fond memories of one of Bendigo’s best race mares, Mother Courage. Junortoun trainer Bruce Morgan who trained local champion Mother Courage to win more than $460,000 in her career, including four Group One races and a Bendigo Cup, harnessed up Mother Courage’s fourth foal to race, Ruby Slippers to break her maiden status at start number six in the Maryborough District Advertiser 2yo Pace over 1690 metres in a mile rate of 1:59.7. Driven by Greg Sugars, Life Sign filly Ruby Slippers was trapped in the open from gate four, before sliding past the early leader Alina, then taking a trail on the Tannissa which circled from last after starting from the extreme draw. Following the leader, Sugars used the sprint lane for the ride home and Ruby Slippers gained the day by a head in advance of Long Black with Alina powering home late for third. Ruby Slippers is raced by former Bendigo Harness Racing Club president Tony Britt and his wife Helen Sweeney. Morgan isn’t comparing Ruby Slippers with her champion dam just yet but says the filly has ability and will win better races as she progresses. “She is getting better and the win was very good, she could surprise us and win better races as she matures,” Morgan said. Mother Courage was a superstar during her career and is proving a hard act for her progeny to follow. In 2002 the mighty mare held off Wally Walton in a photo finish to win the Bendigo Cup. That race was one of the most memorable in modern times with her owner, the late Murray Sweeney rating Mother Courage's Cup win as the most thrilling for him. A big call considering the mare won classics such as the Australian and Victorian Oaks and the Ladyship Mile. Mother Courage, who was retired aged seven years in November 2002 was also the joint winner of the 2001/02 Australian Aged Mare of The Year title. A daughter of Stoneridge Scooter from Talk To Me, Mother Courage’s progeny at stud have also included her 2003 foal Mockingbird Road (now racing in WA with 5 wins to date); 2005 Rustler Boy (now racing in Tasmania with 5 wins to date) and, in 2006, a full sister to Ruby Slippers, Kattrin (trained at Romsey by Leigh Miles with 3 wins to date). Mother Courage is also due to foal this Spring with her foal by Four Starzzz Shark and the champion mare has been booked to be served by world USA champion pacer Rocknroll Hanover this year. - David Aldred
22 August 2011 - Bendigo track specialist Callnineoneone has a chance at stealing the thunder of Group 1 competitor Composed at Lord’s Raceway on Tuesday night with the four-year-old gelding’s trainer/driver Juanita Breen driving the rejuvenated pacer for the Horse of the Year title. There is no doubt that four-year-old Bendigo-owned gelding Composed has had his finest season with a stellar 12 months earning him nine victories including a five win hot streak earlier this year. The son of Our Sir Vancelot has won four races at Bendigo’s Lord’s Raceway during the season and notched two third places, placing him at the top of Bendigo’s Emerson Printing and Publishing honour board with 18 points with just the one race meeting in the season remaining. Owned by Ian Carmichael and Paul Best, Composed has raced against the cream of harness racing and recently finished second in the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final to Sunday’s Australasian Breeders Crown winner David Hercules and was an outstanding fourth to David Hercules in the Group 1 Crown Final and has also finished a mighty fourth to this year’s stand out champion, 2011 Inter Dominion and 2010 Miracle Mile winner Smoken Up NZ in the My Lightning Blue FFA. But with all that success to his credit, the Class two country track performer Callnineoneone is not going to allow him to take the Bendigo title easily. While Composed is relaxing at Cobram in a spelling paddock, his Avenel stable next door neighbour, four-year-old gelding Callnineoneone will line up in the Bendigo Bank Pace ready for a crack at the title. The Class 2 pacer has 16 points and with a win earning him four points he'd be elevated to the top of the Bendigo H.O.Y table. A second placing (2 pts) is good enough to tie the award. Callnineoneone is trained and driven by Juanita Breen who prepares her small team at the property adjacent to Aikens. The pacer hasn’t been racing against any champions, with his races in the lower grades on the country tracks but still he has earned his position with a good local record, posting three wins, a second and two thirds this season at Bendigo. Breen will have Callnineoneone fresh for his tilt at the title. The gelding raced by Breen and her husband Aaron Brown has a definite liking for Lord’s Raceway, earning first three prizemoney cheques at eight of his 14 starts on the track. “He has only missed a paypacket once at Bendigo.” Breen said. “He drives really well around Bendigo, just loves the track but in saying that it will be a challenge for us from 11.” A son of Live or Die USA, Callnineoneone has not raced since July. His latest win was at Bendigo in June when he came off the front row to race outside the leader before scoring in a photo finish. In the Bendigo Bank Pace, Breen will drive Callnineoneone from the back row at Bendigo and said she is hoping to get the last shot at the opposition. “Hopefully we will get a nice tow into the race and be strong enough at the finish.” Breen said Callnineoneone is coming back from injury but trialled really well at Shepparton recently. In friendly neighbour rivalry Breen said she keeps on getting strange looks from Aiken over the fence every time Callnineoneone is nominated at Bendigo. “He is spewing we are in on Tuesday night,” she said. “I told him Composed has a good shot at winning a Group 1 race, this horse will never do that so this is his only chance for five minutes of fame.” - David Aldred
18 August 2011 - Punters can expect to see a bigger Let Me Thru when the gun trotter returns to the track in Friday night’s Australasian Breeders Crown Graduate Trotters Free-For-All at Melton’s Tabcorp Park. The five-year-old Nagambie trained star recently weighed in at a hulking 551kg and while driver Chris Lang Jnr thinks the added physical maturity will be of immense benefit later in his preparation, he concedes it might leave him a touch vulnerable this weekend. The $35,000 Group 2 Breeders Crown event will be the six-time Group 1 winner’s first start since being edged out by I Can Doosit in the Inter Dominion Trotting Championship Final in April. “He’s come back bigger, so he’ll get stronger, but because he has grown he might take a couple of starts (to get going) this time in because of that extra size,” said Lang Jnr, son of Let Me Thru’s trainer. “But he’s come back good, he looks good, he’s the best horse on this side of the planet and hopefully he’ll be able to win anyway.” The son of Muscles Yankee will be chasing a slice of history when he takes on the likes of Aleppo Sunrise (barrier 2), Sassy Pinevale (4), Earl Of Mot (5) and I Didnt Do It (8) from barrier nine in the 2240-metre mobile. No horse has won Breeders Crown features three years in a row, something Let Me Thru is in line to achieve following dominant victories in his three and four-year-old Group 1 finals the past two years. One of the runners engaged in Friday night’s $60,000 Group 2 Pacers Graduate Trotters FFA (2240m) is also chasing a Breeders Crown hat-trick. Star mare Make Mine Cullen won last year’s four-year-old mares’ final, having won the three-year-old fillies decider 12 months’ earlier, and the Glenn Douglas-trained daughter of Christian Cullen is lining up again. But she has the outside-back-row barrier (13) to contend with in a 2240m event that also features last year’s four-year-old entires and geldings Breeders Crown winner Villagem, former Breeders Crown juvenile champion Captain Joy and classy sit-sprinter Decorated Jasper. A Group 1 winner is also set to go around in one of Friday night’s two-year-old consolations with Australian Pacing Gold victor Mr Nickel to contest the $20,000 colts and geldings decider. - Brad Bishop
Marian Geyer, Kaye Crapper and Glenn Douglas with Our Clavados
6 August 2011 - Win, lose or draw, the biggest cheer will be for pacer Our Calvados at Saturday night's Bendigo Harness Racing Club meeting. The former New Zealand pacer will be cheered on by the Snake Racing Syndicate – a group of family and friends of the late Peter Crapper. Crapper, a well-known Strathfieldsaye identity and harness racing enthusiast who was nicknamed Snake, passed away suddenly in July last year. As a tribute to Crapper, a syndicate was formed shortly after his death to race his trotter Lip Gloss. While Lip Gloss failed to live up to expectations, the syndicate, in conjunction with Strathfieldsaye trainer Glenn Douglas, purchased Our Calvados from New Zealand. Going into tonight’s race at Lord’s Raceway, the pacer has had six starts for the Snake Racing Syndicate for four wins, a third placing and a last placing in the semi-final of the Tontine series when he was found to have a virus. “Everyone put in a couple of hundred dollars to join the syndicate and we’ve had a lot of fun,’’ Snake Racing Syndicate manager Peter Cole said yesterday. “The syndicate has 61 members which makes it the biggest syndicate in Victorian harness racing. “We have people from all over Australia who were friends with Peter that have joined the syndicate.” Peter Crapper’s wife Kaye and sons Rhys and Liam are in the syndicate. The most famous members of the syndicate are the Selwood brothers – Adam, Troy, Joel and Scott who are the nephews of Peter Crapper. “57 of the 61 owners had never raced a horse before,’’ Cole said. “They didn’t know anything about horses, but they were great mates of Snake and wanted to be part of it. “Half of them are from the old Northern United footy club days where Peter played a big part and the other half are probably from the Strathfieldsaye Football Club. “Every race the horse has had we’ve had syndicate members at the track. “When he raced at Hamilton we had six owners there, when he raced at Melton he had six owners there. When he raced at Bendigo we had about 48 people there and it will be the same again this weekend.” Cole is confident Our Calvados will give the Snake Racing Syndicate plenty more thrills in the future. “He’s the best horse in the race at Bendigo, but he hasn’t had a run for four weeks and he’s drawn gate 11,’’ Cole said. “Whatever he does this run he’ll improve on. “He’s already paid for what we bought him for, but it’s not about the money “The best thing is that we’re having fun and honouring Snake in a way that he’d love.” - The Bendigo Advertiser
5 August 2011 - Victoria’s racing minister has offered a glowing endorsement of a horse the Bendigo Advertiser will race for charity. Liberal MP Denis Napthine honoured his promise to meet harness horse Addy.
Dr Napthine turned the clock back to his former profession as a veterinarian to offer an assessment of the Lombo Pocket Watch two-year-old filly. “I am very confident about her prospects,” he said.
“She’s well bred. Lombo Pocket Watch was one of the best, most exciting pacers and that is her dad... she comes from a good sire side, a good dam side. “She herself is a relaxed, well conformed young filly with all the potential to be a very good and very competitive race horse.” Dr Napthine assessed Addy’s legs and rump and predicted she would be a powerful harness horse. “I would encourage anyone to sign up and lend their support to Addy,” he said. “I have no doubt that she will be able to deliver the goods when she takes the track. “I am positive that the interest in Addy will get plenty of people through the gates at Bendigo and around the state so I am proud to offer my personal support to Addy, who I am sure will have a long and successful career.” Dr Napthine met Addy’s trainer, Maiden Gully’s Maree Campbell, at Bendigo’s harness racing track. He had his first experience in a sulky behind a harness horse and met students at the Bendigo Harness Racing Industry Training Centre, which trains 140 people each year to become stable hands, drivers, trainers and stewards. Dr Napthine said he looked forward to watching Addy race. There is no doubt when she is racing I’ll be there and if the journalists at the Advertiser haven’t knocked off the odds I might have a dollar or two on her,” he said. To join the Race For Fun Club, see the coupon in Saturday’s Bendigo Advertiser. Catch up on Addy’s progress in the Advertiser each Tuesday. - Brett Worthington (The Bendigo Advertiser)
4 August 2011 -The Minister for Racing, the Hon. Denis Napthine took hold of the reins for a “hands on” lesson at the Bendigo Harness Racing Club on Thursday, driving a pacer around the Lord’s Raceway track during a scheduled visit to the Harness Racing Training Centre and a meet and greet with the Race for Fun Club’s celebrity pacer “Addy”. Dr. Napthine, met Harness Racing Training Centre CEO John Randles, BHRC General Manager David Aldred, BHRC vice-president Darren McPhail and the BHRTC school’s students while inspecting the centre’s facilities and checking out the filly which will be raced by the Bendigo Advertiser’s Race for Fun Club which now has around 400 members. The Minister then took up an offer to drive a pacer on the track. Sharing the tandem sulky with the HRTC trainer Roma Pocock, Dr. Napthine drove four circuits of the training track driving Village Patrol a horse raced by the Training Centre. “That was great, loved it,” the Minister said as he came off the track. Dr. Napthine, a vet by trade, was also full of praise for “Addy” after giving the filly a close inspection. “She is a nice filly, good legs and a good size for a 2yo, she seems to have the power where she’ll need it too,” Dr. Napthine told trainer Maree Campbell. - David Aldred