29 November 2012 - Maiden Bendigo trotting mare Shea Keystone and her rider Maiden Gully trainer/driver Maree Campbell will be Victoria’s sole representative in Saturday night’s $15,000 Allied Express Le Trot Monte over 1740 metres at the Bankstown track in New South Wales..
Saturday night is one of the NSW Harness Racing industry’s biggest race nights with the running of the time-honoured $100,000 Treuer Memorial (Group 1) over 2540 metres and the Jim O’Sullivan trained Shea Keystone will be competing on the ‘big stage’ for the first time. O’Sullivan decided to target the Le Monte Trot after Shea Keystone made her Monte debut at Bendigo on 3 November. The Lezis Boy mare finished second, beaten in a photo finish by Victoria’s Monte star Optimum. It was also Campbell’s first Monte ride and she rode the mare “jockey style”, even managing to pull the whip in the home straight. “I enjoyed it a lot and this mare seems to like to race under saddle,” Campbell said. “She may have improved a little too with the extra training since the Bendigo race, so it’s good that the Jim (O’Sullivan) is taking the trip to Sydney to give her a shot at this saddle race.” Shea Keystone has drawn six on the front line in the handicap event. Although usually reliable in her trotting gait, Shea Keystone has been to the races 34 times and the only time she has come close to success was in the Bendigo Monte. O’Sullivan will leave for Sydney, float in tow, on Friday morning allowing time for Shea Keystone to settle into the Sydney hustle and bustle before her race. The Le Monte at Bankstown will not be an easy assignment for her and one new Monte contender in the nine horse field is the Bendigo owned Sassy Pinevale, now trained in Sydney by Blake Fitzpatrick. The CR Commando mare will start from the 20 metre back mark and in what could be a race winning tactic, Fitzpatrick has enlisted the services of the ‘dual-gaited', Brian Wood. Now a harness racing convert, Wood enjoyed plenty of success as a jockey, including guiding the brilliant speedster, Show County to many a big race win. Still riding, Wood recently drove his first pacer to victory. Sassy Pinevale has won more than $166,000 but is a maiden under saddle. Another locally bred trotter in the Le Monte is the five-year-old mare Teasing, now trained at Newcastle by Adam Francis. Rod Atkins will ride the Conch De Ville mare. Former Victorian Topnotch Dream has Monte experience finishing fourth on Redwood Day at Maryborough in the Monte won by Aleppo Sunrise. The six-year-old mare is now trained at Nowra and Seryn Adams will take the ride.
Two of NSW’s best known female reins persons Emma Turnbull and Lauren Panella are expected to have a big following in the Le Monte betting. Turnbull rides reliable trotter Modern Mistake and Panella rides King Kong Cooma. South Australia will be represented by Likeaplayboy to be ridden by Mary Crosby.
23 November 2012 - Ladies it’s time to get your girlfriends together for an afternoon and evening of socialising, pampering, a bit of fashion and an exquisite high tea! Oh and of course there’s harness racing too at Bendigo’s Lord’s Raceway on Sunday. It’s the girls chance to go racing to show their support for ovarian cancer research and to just have a great time at a harness race meeting that’s all about women. Events at Sunday’s harness racing will raise money for research into ovarian cancer to improve women’s health and quality of life. The program includes a High Tea in the Committee Room, with a hat competition, fund raising raffles, prizes and cosmetics display plus the racing highlight of a feature Lady Driver’s Race on the eight race Bendigo Harness Racing card. The High Tea will be held between 3-6pm with Racing commencing at 6:01pm. Bendigo Harness Racing Club General Manager David Aldred said that this is the second year that a High Tea has been held in the Committee Room to raise money for ovarian cancer research. “Last year the inaugural event was successful and the Club hopes to raise thousands of dollars for the charity again this weekend,” Mr Aldred said. “We have people coming from all parts of Victoria for the High Tea including guest speaker, Australia’s only female race caller, Victoria Shaw.” Ms Shaw better known as a gallops race caller may be persuaded to try her hand at calling a harness race on track on Sunday. The Racing features the Women’s Cancer Foundation Lady Drivers Trophy with the line-up of drivers including reigning Australasian Champion Young Driver, Ellen Tormey, Champion Monte Saddle Race rider/driver Anne-Maree Conroy; 2012 Bendigo Anniversary Cup winning driver Rebecca Bartley; Bendigo’s Race For Fun Club Co-trainer Maree Campbell, Joelene McSwain, Katrina Salathiel, Monique Burnett, Stacey Towers, Donna Castles and Laura Crossland. The Lady Drivers race will start at 8:09pm and is race six. Trotting’s Duncan McPherson, a Board Member on the Women’s Cancer Foundation Board thanked the BHRC and High Tea organiser Debra Aldred for their support of the Women’s Cancer Foundation – Ovarian Cancer Institute. “We thank the Club for its promotion and race names as programmed this Sunday evening along with the High Tea,” Mr McPherson said. “Our organisation greatly values our alliance and on a personal level, I can assure you the Club’s efforts and Debra’s are very, very much appreciated.”
16 November 2012 - Dual Kilmore Cup winner Bitobliss will trial at Lord’s Raceway, Bendigo on Sunday morning. Bitobliss will start in the sixth of 10 trials and with no other fast class horses nominated, he will be up against five lesser opponents. But trainer Scott Stewart said today that those trainers that have horses up against him in the trial need not be concerned. “We definitely won’t be out to break any records on Sunday, I just want to take him for a trip away from home,” Stewart said. The trial, the sixth of 10 trials during the morning is scheduled to be run at approximately 10:00AM. Stewart confirmed that the next race target for Bitobliss will be next week’s $50,000 Group 2 The Legends over the 1720 metre sprint at Melton, the same race that he clocked 1:53.2 to win last year. “He won The Legends last year so I won’t be changing the plan.” Stewart said. The versatile six-year-old Blissful Hall/Petite Alto entire, which has picked up top three prizemoney cheques at 25 of 28 starts including 17 wins, will then likely follow the same path as he did in 2011, racing in the Popular Alm Free For All at Melton, 30 November, a $30,000 Group 3 before the $400,000 Group 1 SEW Eurodrive Victoria Cup, 15 December. Bitobliss made it back to back victories in the time honoured (Group 2) $70,000 Kilmore Pacing Cup over 3150 metres, late October and Sunday’s trial will be his first public appearance since that win. Bred and raced by Don Stewart the father of winning trainer/driver Scott, Bitobliss defeated this week’s NZ Cup competitor Caribbean Blaster in a dour staying test to take out the Kilmore Cup by a metre in a rate of 2-01.3 (last half 56 – quarter 27.6). Mach Alert finished third. Formerly from Kilmore where Scott worked with the Knight stable for a number of years, the Stewart family are now based at Congupna in the Goulburn Valley. - David Aldred
SUNDAY TRIAL FIELDS
2 November 2012 - Reigning State Monte champions, rider Annie-Maree Conroy and 8-year-old trotter Optimum will start their journey to defend their ridden trot title in Saturday’s night’s first heat of the Travel Centre Bendigo – Victorian Monte Championships at Lord’s Raceway, Bendigo.
Conroy and Optimum won the first Victorian Monte Final at Tabcorp Park, Melton in March this year after graduating through a Bendigo heat. But the champions won’t have it all their own way with the inclusion of South Australian raider Likeaplayboy in this year’s line-up. The Lance Holberton trained Likeaplayboy has been given a 20 metre handicap in the standing start mile saddle race. Under the conditions of the race the mark is allocated to T10 or better performers. Optimum, a T5 class trotter has a 10 metre handicap. Mary Crosby will ride Likeaplayboy. This combination won the Monte race at Globe Derby Park, Adelaide in May. Seven starters will go the line in the Bendigo Monte heat sponsored by Travel Centre Bendigo. Optimum and Likeaplayboy are the only two not going off the scratch mark. It’s interesting to note that only one male rider, Eddie Conroy (Cost Me A Quid) will contest the race with the trainers electing to using the lighter weighted female riders on the bulk of the competitors. The riders weights for the race are: Maree Campbell - 52kg, Kymberlie Hobby - 60kg, Haley Toulmin - 56kg, Sammy Kilgour - 60kg, Eddie Conroy - 70kg, Anne-Maree Conroy - 62kg, Mary Crosby - 55kg. Bendigo’s Maree Campbell will have her first Monte race ride on the Jim O’Sullivan trained maiden mare Shea Keystone. The duo will start from the pole mark position. The winner of the Monte will earn a place in the Championship Final to be raced at the Great Southern Star night at Melton on 23 March, 2013.
1 November 2012 - Matt Dornauf joined a select band of drivers to come up trumps at their first race start when he steered family horse Bad Cat to victory at Shepparton last week. This week, just seven days after his perfect debut the 21 year old goes for glory driving the same pacer in the $10,000 Major In Art Alabar Anniversary Cup at Bendigo’s Lord’s Raceway on Saturday night. At Shepparton Dornauf found the top early and was in cruise control for his first drive in a race coming home with a seven metre advantage over Beaudiene Betta in the Max Sutherland 79th Birthday Pace. Bad Cat is raced by Matt’s mother Cindy and trained by his father Ian so the result couldn’t have been scripted better. Ian attributed Matt’s interest in harness racing to the success of the stable’s star pacer Royal Verdict, a Bendigo bred horse that has won Australian Pacing Gold, Vicbred Super Series and Breeders Crown Finals. “Matty has always been busy playing footy but he started to get interested in harness racing when Royal Verdict came along,” Ian told Harness Racing Weekly. Matt was only licensed to drive 10 days ago. Ian said that he was impressed by his son’s first drive. “I liked the way he didn’t bustle the horse and allowed him to find his feet before working forward to the lead,” he said. Matt has a good connection with Bad Cat, doing most of the work with the horse at the stables. Bad Cat has an impressive record with 25 starts resulting in 8 wins and 11 placings. A rising star as a three-year-old, finishing third to Tanabi Bromac in the Victoria Derby, Bad Cat has suffered a series of setbacks through its career with leg injuries. “His legs are as good as gold now,” Ian said.
On Saturday night in the Cup, Bad Cat has drawn the pole so Matt is on target for two from two aboard the 8yo Falcon Seelster gelding. The win was Bad Cat’s first start after a spell and he enjoyed some cheap splits in the run. There is no doubt Dornauf will try to muster early speed again and if he is unpressured he could take mowing down. His main dangers are going to come from Djibouti , a seven-year-old trained by Ruth Shinn and the Paul Campbell trained Dual Agent Tabman. To be driven by Chris Shinn, Djibout resumed from a month’s break at Kilmore last Sunday where things didn’t go to plan for him but his run previously in the Gammalite at Melton when he finished midfield behind Carribbean Blaster after having no luck puts him right in the mix here. Dual Agent Tabman was a beaten favourite at Bendigo at his last start but Paul Campbell who drove the pacer at his most recent Bendigo win is back in the sulky for the Cup.
1 November 2012 - Some of Bendigo’s local musical talent will be on show in Saturday night’s Bendigo Harness Racing Club Anniversary Cup Busking Competition. The Competition which offers cash prizes is open to all musicians that want to busk and entertain racegoers at the harness race meeting. Bendigo Harness Racing Club Manager David Aldred said that there has been plenty of interest in the competition. Local musicians competing for the cash, so far, include Bendigo country and variety singer Kim Ritchie and musician Raynard Creegan, There are still some spots being confirmed,” Aldred said. Ritchie is a singer with a difference. She came into the world blind but her love of music and performing has given her a clear view of the world around her. Kim has firmly established herself on the Country music scene and is a regular at venues and festivals around country Victoria. Kim is well known for her music at local FM radio stations. She has recorded two CDs, Ambition – recorded in New Zealand and released in 2004 and From Me To You, a 12 track album recorded in Bendigo in 2010. “God didn’t give me sight, but he gave me the ability to sing and play guitar and that obviously makes up for what I haven’t got,” Kim said. Self taught acoustic solo artist Creegan has a passion and love for writing original music. “My music is written from my heart and soul with a strong focus on lyrics, I'm a story teller and poet who chose acoustic performance to share my thoughts, views and stories,” he said. Creegan said his Influences are vast and include: Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Ben Harper and Tool. He recorded his first debut solo album "The Awakening" whilst in the UK. Anyone who may be interested in busking and compete of $750 in cash prizes has until midday on Friday 2 November to register for Saturday’s event.
1 November 2012 - Longlea reinsman Brian Gath and Bridgewater’s Colin Redwood could engage in an early leader’s stoush in Saturday night’s Qantas Holidays Veteran Drivers Challenge at Bendigo’s Lord’s Raceway.
Both drivers have drawn front runners in the 2150m mobile Trot with Redwood, who started his career the same year that Lord’s Raceway opened, having a distinct advantage starting from the pole on promising Kilmore four-year-old Wortherly. Gath, who has more than 3000 wins to his credit is aboard Ballarat seven-year-old Dee Two Hundred which races best in the lead and the 1978 Inter Dominion winning driver will have to choose whether to make an early surge from the outside of the front line. Eleven veterans including the state’s most senior driver 85-years-young Eric Hurley will drive in the Challenge. Gath, Redwood, Hurley, Peter Wells, Jim Barker, Keith Pratt, Cliff Powell, Russell Thompson, Peter Manning, Graeme Dalton and Jim O’Sullivan will contest the Challenge. Hurley is the only driver in the Veteran’s field that will drive in another race on the night. Hurley who won his first race in 1952 and was the driver of the 1964 Inter Dominion winner Minuteman will partner his own pacer Steaming in the Win TV Pace, race seven on the program. If he is successful driving Arctic Wolf in the Veteran Driver’s Challenge, Hurley has a real chance of getting a feature night double. Steaming finished second at Cranbourne on 21st October and before that dragged a blown tyre for the last 600 metres of his Bendigo race on 13th October. Hurley won his last race on Steaming back in January. Saturday night’s feature races include the $10,000 Major In Art Alabar Anniversary Cup, the Travel Centre Bendigo Victorian Monte Champion saddle Trot and the Ken Pocock Memorial Pace. The first of 10 races commences at 6:20pm.