31 December 2011 - Dreams could come true at the Bendigo Pacing Cup.Flight Centre, in conjunction with the Bendigo Harness Racing Club and Harness Racing Victoria, is giving away a trip to Paris worth almost $5000.
Bendigo Harness Racing Club general manager David Aldred said the promotion was designed to boost crowds at the Bendigo Pacing Cup on January 14. “We want to get people excited about it,” he said. “This is our biggest day of the year and we want people to come along and be part of it.” People can enter the competition by cutting an entry coupon out of the Bendigo Advertiser (commencing today on page 61 of the paper). The winner must be on track on January 14 to claim their prize. “People can cut the coupon out to go in a barrel on the night – it’s just a lucky draw,” Mr Aldred said. “It’s probably the first time we’ve done something like this and it’s a pretty major prize. “It’s a bit of a dream holiday really. Most (women), and men too, dream about going to Paris one day so this opportunity to win the trip is fantastic. “The holiday is for two people and some accommodation and tours will be included in the prize.” Flight Centre Bendigo manager Craig Bentley said Paris was a top travel destination. “As everyone knows it’s the city of love,” he said. “So it’s ideal for a couple’s getaway. It’s a great prize.” The Bendigo Pacing Cup is expected to attract about 5000 people. “There will be a lot of entertainment on the night for the whole family,” Mr Aldred said. “It’s probably one of the cheapest forms of entertainment.” - Hannah Knight
13 December 2011 - Village Patrol won’t be the favourite for the fourth race at Bendigo’s Lord’s Raceway on Thursday but he’s guaranteed to be the most popular horse on track with the children. About one hour before the eight-year-old gelding steps out for the Schweppes Pace (2150m) the Roma Pocock-trained son of Village Jasper will have the honour bringing the man of the month, Santa Claus to the track. Raced by the Harness Racing Industry training Centre at Lord’s Raceway, Village Patrol is frequently used as the horse that trainee drivers learn their skills with. On Thursday night he will be harnessed up in the tandem sulky with Roma at the reins and Santa as the VIP passenger making his delivery of sweets to all the children on the track. “He is the right horse for the job, he has done it all before,” Pocock said. In his race on Thursday night Village Patrol will start as a long shot, despite having the services of the State's premier reinsman Daryl Douglas. Village Patrol has not been far away at recent starts but the pacer has not won since September 2010.
10 December 2011 - Jukebox Music kicked off what could be an unforgettable weekend of Choice Hotels Country Cup action for Strathfieldsaye brothers Glenn and Daryl Douglas with an upset win in Friday night’s $12,000 Warehouse Sales Wedderburn Pacing Cup at Melton’s Tabcorp Park. Twenty-four hours before stable star Make Mine Cullen goes in search of a watershed win in the Group 1 Decron Cranbourne Cup, Jukebox Music scored a breakthrough win in the 2760-metre standing start test.The victory snapped a nine-race run of outs for the former Sydneysider, who trainer Glenn Douglas said was deserving of the feature win.“You like winning the country cups, or I certainly do, and this horse has been thereabouts for so long and been all around it but just hasn’t broken through,” he said.“I thought it was nearly his race at Bendigo two starts back, but he just copped a little check that cost him, and for him to sprint through like he did tonight, it was very pleasing to see.”Jukebox Music, who had Daryl Douglas in the cart, came from a seemingly impossible position to provide the Douglases with their first victory in this season’s Choice Hotels Country Cups Carnival.The son of Christian Cullen began safely from his 10m handicap and initially landed three horses back along the pegs, but was shuffled to four-back when Onedin Hustler took up the running from stablemate Vito Vito at the halfway point.Glenn Douglas thought his hopes were shot at that point, but Jukebox Music’s race opened up when Mister Douglas, who travelled three-back the pegs, shifted off in search of a run at the 250m.That allowed Jukebox Music ($13) to build a full head of steam by the time he got to the sprint lane, which carried him to a neck victory over Onedin Hustler ($10) with $2.60 favourite Flying Pocketlands, who trailed Jukebox Music throughout, storming into third a further four metres away.The final quarter was covered in an impressive 27.9 seconds, which followed a 28.4secs third split and a 60.9secs first half of the last mile. The mile rate was a handy 2:00.5.“When we ended up four back I thought we were in pain but when Mister Douglas pulled off the fence I thought that’d help our cause and it was just a matter of getting up the straight if he was good enough, which he was,” Douglas said.In addition to Saturday night’s Cranbourne Cup, the $25,000 Stawell Retravision Stawell Cup will be run on Sunday and while Glenn doesn’t have a runner, Daryl will drive in-form Brooke Hansen-trained gelding Arber, who will start from the coveted inside barrier.Friday night’s Tabcorp Park card also saw the running of the $10,000 Richmond & Associates Wedderburn Cup, which saw the Peter Lane-trained-and-driven Eisenhower prove too strong for Armed Guard and Afriti.The gelding, who was specked in Inter Dominion Trotting Championship betting in the lead-up to the Wedderburn feature, made it two country cup wins from his past four starts following St Arnaud Cup success last month.
10 December 2011 - Sedgwick trained Will Trapper has made a remarkable comeback to trotting with a sensational victory in Saturday night's Group 1 Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Mile at Cranbourne.
The win was a outstanding achievement for veteran local trainer John Noonan who harnessed up the 10-year-old son of Keystone Salute for its first triumph since 2009. Will Trapper was at the top of his game three years ago when he won his first Bill Collins Mile, a heat of the Inter Dominion Trotting Championship and placed second in the 2008 Inter Dominion Trotting Championship Final. But after finishing second in the Grand Prix at Melton in December 2009, the squaregaiter went amiss with a suspensory injury and it has been a long road back,with Noonan never giving up on his stable star. Will Trapper's career was briefly resurrected earlier this year where he had one start for a 4th placing in Bendigo's Aldebaran Park Maori Mile last January. Then last month Noonan had the oldstager back at the Bendigo trials and gave hime a start in a Bendigo C2 - C4 Pace before getting him back to what he does best - trot. In Saturday night's Bill Collins, his second up performance, Will Trapper was kept at the back of the pack by Nathan Jack and the driver patiently waited before steering Will Trapper five wide with a searching run. Will Trapper gobbled up those in front of him and nailed the race leader and favourite I Didnt Do It a stride before the post to win by 1.4 metres at odds of $48.00. Aleppo Sunrise (Lisa Miles - $17.90) rounded out the top three finishing ahead of stablemate Sundons Gift (Chris Lang - $4.50). Will Trapper was ranked 14th in the nominations for the 2012 Inter Dominion Trotting Championship. Highlighted by a total purse of $360,000, the very last edition of the Inter Dominion Trot will be staged over three nights with heats at Shepparton and Ballarat before the Final at Melton on Saturday 4 February. - David Aldred
2 December 2011 - Harness racing enthusiast Noel Ridge has joined the Committee of the Bendigo Harness Racing Club. He was co-opted onto the Committee following the resignation of Joe Page. A teacher, staff developer, literacy consultant, former Assistant Principal and Principal, who was involved in consultancy and staff development work with districts and schools in the United States between 1993 - 2009, Noel is well travelled and lived in New York enabling him regular attendance at The Meadowlands, Yonkers and Freehold tracks where he saw remarkable horses like Jenna’s Beach Boy, Cam’s Card Shark, Western Ideal and his son RocknRoll Hanover racing, and legendary drivers including John Campbell, Ron Pierce, Mike LaChance and Bill O’Donnell. He is currently Manager Literacy Leadership for the School Improvement team Loddon Mallee Region of the Department of Education and Early Childhood. Noel’s professional writing appears in books, a CDROM series, curriculum guides for school systems, curriculum plans for schools, teacher guides, and many articles. He is well known as a student of harness racing bloodlines and his family owned and bred a number of horses in the 70s and 80s, including Stormy Ridge, winner at Moonee Valley and promising, but ill fated 3yos Limerick Castle and Mount Akeley. Noel served as secretary of the Bendigo Owners Trainers Drivers association in the 1980s. He loves harness racing and has a special interest in standardbred pedigrees, and breeding theories. "I am keen to work to educate young people and those coming to the track for the first time, so they understand Harness Racing as a sport, and can gain the same enjoyment as my family and I have derived over many years," he said.