31 May 2011 - The Bendigo harness racing industry is mourning the death of Merv Dillon. The popular Marong-based trainer-driver died yesterday after a long battle with illness.
Dillon will be remembered as one of harness racing’s “best blokes”, according to Bendigo Harness Racing Club committeeman Peter Svanosio. “He was a great competitor on the track and a wonderful friend to many off the track,” Svanosio said. “He was a great contributor to harness racing. As a trainer he was a very good conditioner of horses and he was an underrated driver. “He won a lot of good races in Victoria over many years. “He was also on the committee of the BHRC for a number of years where he always made a strong contribution. “Even when he finished up on the committee you could always go to him to get his thoughts on how the industry was going and he’d have good ideas on what path we should take. “The best way to describe him is that no one would have a bad word to say about Merv Dillon.” Dillon first gained a harness racing driver’s licence in 1958, but Harness Racing Victoria records only go back to 1980. From 1980 onwards Dillon trained 705 winners, while as a driver he had 451 wins and 1049 placings for $1.16 million in prizemoney. His last winning drive was aboard Lorinda on August 7, 2003 at Charlton, which was fitting because Dillon was originally from Dumosa near Charlton. His stables at Marong were named Dumosa. Leading Victorian driver Daryl Douglas said Dillon had helped kickstart his illustrious career. “If I ever had a problem he’d be the first person I’d go to for advice and he was always there to help out,” Douglas said yesterday. “I was lucky enough to drive two of his better horses in his latter years in Flip A Dollar and Alley Luvzit. “Merv was a great horseman. He always had a good horse in his stable ... he was a very good operator.” Dillon’s funeral will be held onFriday 3 June in the Napier Park Chapel, 420 Napier St. Bendigo at 1:30pm. Please join the Bendigo Harness Racing Club in offering condolences to the family and friends of Merv Dillon. - With the files of the Bendigo Advertiser