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.
November 2011 - Kilmore Cup winner Bitobliss scored a mind boggling victory in Friday night’s $50,000 (Group 2) SEW-Eurodrive – The Legends over 1720 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton. Trained and driven by Congupna’s Scott Stewart, Bitobliss (Blissful Hall/Petite Alto) was trapped wide from outside the front line before going forward to park outside the pacemaker Melpark Major at the bell. Joining the leader on straightening, Bitobliss had the audacity to stride clear in the shadows of the post and win unextended in a rate of 1-53.2 from Melpark Major who had no answer at the finish, with Our Malabar third after trailing the leader. Glenn Douglas wore the Race for Fun Club colours into fourth place on Our Hillview Gold. Nagambie’s Chris Lang knocked quaddie punters for a “six” at Melton after winning the $20,000 (Group 3) NAB Scotch Notch Memorial for Trotters TMO or better over 2240 metres with $55.80 outsider Groovey Bromac. Driver Lisa Miles always had Groovey Bromac a 7yo gelded son of Muscles Yankee and Groovey Baby close to the lead then ambled up to the front runners on straightening, proving too strong at the finish for a parked Eisenhower. - With the files of Len Baker
20 November 2011 - Bendigo featured prominently in Saturday night's Gordon Rothacker Medal Awards for Country Clubs at Tabcorp Park, Melton.
The Bendigo Harness Racing Club celebrated a win in the Best Local Media category with the successful Race for Fun Club media voted a winning promotion. Clerk of the Course Keith Pratt received a Distinguished Service medal for his lifetime of service to Bendigo Harness Racing, Bendigo's Barry Quigley also received a Distinguished Service Medal for his services as a Committeeman with the Charlton Harness Racing Club, and Bendigo Advertiser newspaper editor Rod Case won the award for the Best Country Feature Story - "Merv The Entertainer", his story remembering Bendigo's late great Merv Dillon.
Ted Demmler was presented with the year's most prestigious award, the Gordon Rothacker Medal. Demmler joins an elite line up of Victorian harness racing identities that have won the award since it was first presented to Ian McCallum in 2002. Last years winner Arthur Graham was on hand to present Demmler with his medal. Other winners have been 2009 - Les Chapman; 2008 - Bruce & Elizabeth Clarke; 2007 - Peter Manning; 2006 - Matt Donaldson; 2005 - Ron Pocock; 2004 - Jim Barker; 2003 - Geoff Hill; 2002 - Ian McCallum. A true luminary of our sport throughout a career spanning five decades, Demmler accumulated more than 2000 training wins and 3000 triumphs in the sulky, including 15 seasons where he drove at least 100 winners. He was a four-time Australian Driving Champion, first achieving the honour in 1979 before notching a hat-trick of domination from 1982-84. Demmler’s driving career ended with a fall in 2005, but the reinsman was far from lost to the sport, retaining his training and ownership interests. Last season, Demmler celebrated his first Group 1 win as an owner when Charlie Machsheen bolted clear on July 8 in the 2YO Colts & Geldings Final at Tabcorp Park.
17 November 2011 - Records went in all directions at the opening meeting of Bendigo’s Lord’s Raceway 57 years ago. It was a sensational debut for night racing with an on-course attendance record established for a provincial trotting track and a long shot winner racing into the history books.
Experts praised the new venue and rated the racetrack and floodlights as better than any other in Melbourne. “The lighting of the track is par excellence, and the paddock, car park, layout of the bookmakers stands and the lighting of the same, are far superior to any in Melbourne,” Trotting scribe ‘Rastus’ wrote in the Footscray Trotting Round Up. Another trotting writer, the then voice of trotting Bruce Skeggs described Lord's Raceway, the first half-mile circuit in Victoria to be lit, as a "dream". On Sunday the Bendigo Harness Racing Club celebrates the anniversary of the historical inaugural race night with the first official running of the Anniversary Trophy on the Club's state-of-the-art track at a twilight race meeting commencing at 5:51pm. A good crowd is expected for the evening’s racing which will feature the main trophy race and a special track workout between races one and two by the yet to be named charity 2yo filly “Addy” raced by the Bendigo Advertiser’s 550 Race for Fun Club members. But even the year’s best attendance for the Harness Club could not go anywhere near matching the 14,000 people that were on track on Wednesday night, 17 November 1954 at Lord’s Raceway. The Bendigo Advertiser newspaper reported that Whittlesea mare New Boreen won the first race under lights and landed a big betting plunge from 5-1 into 7-4 favourite but it was James Dillon that grabbed the headlines, establishing a record that may never be broken when he won the feature Galvin Handicap. James Dillon, the backmarker on a 48 yard handicap, paid a dividend of 412/1. Only two five shilling (50c) winning tote tickets were placed on James Dillon, a former Western Australian pacer who was posted at odds of 33/1 in the bookmakers betting ring. It was reported that from 6:00pm onwards cars streamed out of Bendigo to the raceway, a seven kilometre distance, and policemen on duty had a busy time directing traffic before and after the event. There was a traffic jam for almost the entire trip. At 9:15pm, almost an hour and a half after the first race was run cars were still entering the track bumper to bumper. Lord’s Raceway filled to capacity and people were turned away. Some of Victoria’s best stables were represented on Bendigo harness racing’s opening night which featured a seven race program with field numbers of up to 24 starters in a single race. Local trainer/driver Ted Zimmer was just a young tacker then and he drove in three races. Just 24 years old then, Ted likened the opening night to a big night at the Melbourne Showgrounds. “The people came from everywhere, don’t know how many actually paid to get into the races but they were lined deep around the entire track, it was a terrific atmosphere,” Zimmer said. Another young driver competing was Des Rothacker, who still attends the races as a BHRC member most weeks at Bendigo. “I had four drives (on opening night) and didn’t do any good on any of them,” Rothacker said. “The track was like driving at a colosseum with the crowd giving you plenty of advice as they lined the fences around the track.”The driver’s list in the race book read like a who’s who of trotting with Gordon, Albert and Des Rothacker, Ken Pocock, Albert and Neville Gath, Hugh and Colin Redwood, Bob Knight, Alf Simons, Lou Welsh, Clarrie Long, Phonse Hickey, Des Ritchie, Dal Fitzpatrick, Norm Mannix, Bob Parker, Des Mann, Ted Zimmer and Hec Dunbar among those who drove at the Bendigo meeting. Sunday’s Anniversary Trophy will become a feature race in Bendigo with the Club’s marketing chairman Darren McPhail explaining that the Club intends to develop the race into a major Cup race in years to come. “We are proud of our heritage and we want to celebrate our Anniversary each year,” McPhail said. “Our General Manager is seeking a major sponsor for the race so that we can elevate the status of this important Cup in the future. It’s a really good opportunity for the Club to develop another feature race day and increase our profile.” - David Aldred
17 November 2011 - Champion Nagambie trained trotter Let Me Thru will miss the entire summer carnival, the 2012 Inter Dominion and planned international races, Chris Lang Jr. announced today. The trainer/driver said that Let Me Thru "has been diagnosed as a "roarer". "He will need an operation and three months off and he will not contest any of the summer carnival, compete in the Inter Dominion or represent Australia in next year's Elitloppet," Lang Jr said. The stable has their fingers crossed that Let Me Thru will come back from this set back. "Everyone here is pretty disappointed with this, but I guess now that we've found the problem we can take action and move past it. The only positive to come out of having this issue as opposed to a muscle/ligament injury is that it doesn't affect his ability. He will either come back 100% or not at all. So I hope for all connected with the horses sake, he comes back fresh and firing early next year." Lang Jr. said. - David Aldred
6 November 2011 - Kilmore trainer and driver Pat Carrafa steered 5yo gelding Shnappy to victory in the feature Ken Pocock Memorial Pace at Bendigo on Saturday night, completing a double on the seven race card.
Carrafa also scored with 4yo Village Jasper mare Tess Finnegan in the 3BO FM Pace for C0 class (mares) over 1650 metres. In the Ken Pocock, Shnappy, baking up from an eye catching third to Flash of Freed at Kilmore last week, was given a good run in transit and swept up three wide on the swing into the straight. After hitting the top the mare defied the swoopers Longtan Luke, posted six wide on the bend, and Hall of Fame which overcasme a tardy start. Shnappy a son of Totally Western and So Stunning, posted a winning mile rate of 1:56.1 in the 1650 metre event. Tess Finnegan led throughout from the pole to break her maiden status at start number 12. She defeated Karim Vale which trailed from inside the second line, having every opportunity to run her down, with Dejayangel (one/two – three wide last lap) rounding ou the top three. The mile rate 1-58.3.
Ken Pocock's career in harness racing spanned more than 40 years and the highly skilled local horseman accumulated over 1400 winners during that time with names such as Royal Gaze (50 wins) Fosmar (50 wins) Roma Hanover, Saunders Arthur and Game Oro gracing his stables. Pocock won numerous Cups including the A G Hunter Cup, the Shepparton Cup (5 times) Ouyen Cup (4 times) Mildura Cup (twice), the Italian Cup and the Moomba Cup. He also drove in eight Inter Dominions, finishing third on Game Oro in Preux Chevalier's 1985 Final in Melbourne. - David Aldred