31 March 2011 - Bendigo Harness Racing Club will recognise the outstanding career of the Club’s inaugural trotting Maori Mile winner, Acacia Ridge which was humanely put down by his owners just over a week ago.
On Thursday 31 March , the BHRC will race the “Vale Acacia Ridge” Trot at Lord’s Raceway in the memory of the nine-year-old gelding. Acacia Ridge gashed a leg in the Trotters Cup at Bendigo on 26 February and the wound was stitched on track. Despite the best daily care, the leg became infected. Owner Robyn Van Maanen did not want the horse to suffer and chose to have him put down. “Robyn is the most caring person with horses that you could meet, she would have loved to put him on a float and take him home to retire, but the horse was in too much stress and could not be saved,” trainer Gary Hoban said. Acacia Ridge is buried next to his yard where he spent his racing career at Hoban’s stables. Acacia Ridge was one of Victoria’s most brilliant square gaiters, when in peak form. The Anvil Lad NZ – Liberria gelding won more than $304,000 in stakes, racing 66 times for 22 wins and 16 minor placings. Among his victories were the 2005 Group 1 - Victoria Trotters Derby, 2006 Group 1 - Vic Bred 4yo Trotters Final, 2006 Tontine Trotters Final, 2007 Group 3 - Chris Howe Cup, 2009 Group 2 - Australasian Breeders Crown Graduate Trotters Trophy and the 2010 Group 3 - Aldebaran Park Maori Mile (at Bendigo). Fittingly, the BHRC also erected two special plaques this week to recognise the Club’s Maori Mile winners – Acacia Ridge (2010) and Ronerail (2011). The bronze plaques were placed on the Maori's Idol Memorial Wall at the entry to Lord’s Raceway harness racing track. The winner of the Aldebaran Park Maori Mile will have a plaque placed on the wall each year the race is run. - David Aldred