HE MIGHT have stepped down from the Bendigo Harness Racing Club Committee, but Peter Svanosio is not walking away from the sport he loves. Anything but.
The Bendigo and indeed Australian harness racing stalwart and former trainer was honoured for 42-years of service at a gathering of past and present committee members on Tuesday night.
It officially marked the end his time on the committee.
But the BHRC life member has no plans on exiting the harness racing scene.
"I just felt my time was up on the committee, but I will still be helping around the club," he said.
"I'll still drive the mobile for them and I'll still have my horses.
"I'll help out when I can. (Son and trainer/driver) Chris and I have got plenty of horses and I'm busy at the trials.
"We have got a mobile driver, who I trained up. I drove it for a while last year when they didn't have anyone. If he goes away or has a week off, I won't let them down and I'll step in.
"If there's something else that needs to be done, I'll do it.
"I had probably been trying to give it away the last three or four years, hoping someone would come along and take my spot, so the president was well aware that if there was something wanting to fill a spot it was there."
Svanosio officially tendered his resignation the day after the 2019 Bendigo Pacing Cup meeting.
He said he looked back with great pride on his involvement with both the committee and a progressive club.
Svanosio felt privileged the club's members had continued to show faith in him throughout his more than four decades on the committee.
"When I came onto the committee, you had to be elected and face an election every two years - I was in people's hands," he said.
"It's not like these days when clubs and organisations struggle to get people on to committees.
"I take some pride in the fact that members of my club continued to re-elect me.
"That is why I was still there all those years and then went off on my own volition."
Svanosio said the horses he raced with son Chris would continue to take up plenty of his time.
One of those, Artful Christian will line up on Bendigo Powder Coating 2019 Anniversary Cup night at Lord's Raceway on Friday.
The six-year-old gelding, who was breed by former BHRC executive Dennis Bice, will contest a C2 to C3 event, and will be driven by emerging driver Tayla French.
A high-calibre field for the Anniversary Cup (C6 or better) is headed by the Emma Stewart-trained Somerocksomeroll and Idealsomemagic, who is chasing a fourth-straight win for the Tindale stable.
BHRC general manager Erik Hendrix praise 42 years of 'wonderful' service from Svanosio.
"Introduced to the club as a young boy, Peter has truly seen this club built from the ground up," he said.
"I have never seen anyone serve such a long time on any type committee.
"It's a testament to Peters character and shows how well loved he was around the club to be continually voted on as a committee member.
"Peter will now have time to concentrate on helping trainer, driver and son Chris Svanosio with his growing stable.
"As a life member you will still see Peter around the club and at most meetings."
What an amazing Anniversary Cup last week with a big thanks going to our Major Sponsor Paul and Rebecca Morrissey from Bendigo Powder Coating. Congratulations also goes to the winner of the Anniversary Cup in Idealsomemagic trained by A & B Tindale and driven by Kate Gath beating home Bettor Be The Bomb and Just Wantano.
THERE'S been plenty of bumps along the road, but Elmore trainer Keith Cotchin is hopeful of smoother times ahead with his promising three-year-old Betternbetter.
The smart gelding has been besiged with problems throughout his short racing career, but appeared to be back to something like his best with a dominant win in the Happy 6th Birthday Emily Hayes Pace (2190m) at Maryborough on Wednesday.
Chief among the issues which have plagued the son of Cee Cee Sheffield and Christina Cullen was a near-fatal colic attack last year.
That he is still healthy and winning races is testament to all of his trainer's patience and love for the horse, the gelding's toughness and the great work from the team at the Bendigo Equine Centre, who saved Betternbetter.
"We have had a few problems with him, that's for sure, but hopefully we are back on track now," Cotchin said.
"He had the big colic operation and then he came back and had a few runs, but we were not sure what was going wrong.
"He won his first two starts when we brought him back and then we ran him in the heat of the (Victoria) Derby at Ballarat, where he over-raced and was making a few noises.
"We couldn't find anything wrong with him and we gave him another run and wasn't too impressive.
"We did all these tests on him, but nothing showed up, so we have put a collar underneath his jaw to stop him arching his neck and that seems to have made a difference.
"Hopefully we have sorted it out. He had his first run back the other night and got beat (at Geelong), but we think he switched off a bit. Today (Wednesday) he was very sharp."
The gelding was rarely troubled throughout the run following a brilliant front-running drive from Greg Sugars.
Cotchin said the gelding would next target the $25,000 Reg Withers Classic for three-year-olds at Kilmore on May 10
"There isn't a lot of races from him down in town at the moment, but the three-year-old classic at Kilmore looks a good option and then the Sires kicks off after that, which we will look at, all being well," he said.
Meanwhile, a change of trainer has worked wonders for young mare Raptover A Rainbow, who broke through for a debut win at race start number five.
The four-year-old is now under the care of Bendigo's Shaun McNaulty after formerly being trained by Matthew Craven.
Raptover A Rainbow was having her first start since a second-place effort at Mount Gambier on January 19 and was driven by Bendigo's Chris Svanosio.
Albert Rothacker, a member of harness racing's famed Rothacker family passed Sunday night 10th February aged 91. Albert was a foundation member of the Bendigo Harness Racing Club, Life Member and was instrumental in the progression and success of the BHRC. Albert farmed a property at Serpentine, and along with his brother Gordon and cousins Eric, Des and Stuart was an owner/driver in the 1950s and '60s as well as a hobby trainer, His son Robert has said, "Dad drove quite a bit and took Arlen to Melbourne in the mid '60s and won a couple of metro races," Robert said."In the '50s he drove Wilbur's Hope and three Rothackers, Albert, Eric and Gordon were in a race once and he did get up and beat Eric and Gentleman John and Gordon and Avian Again. Wilbur's Hope was a fantastic free-legged horse."Albert's driving career came to an end after hurting his shoulder in a fall at Horsham in the early 1970s, but he continued to train until 1994-95. Albert bred and owned horses including Impala which he raced with Robert, up until 2005.The Bendigo Harness Racing Club extends its condolences to Albert 'Rothacker's family and friends.
From Trots Media
Victorian harness racing has paid tribute to a long-time trainer, driver, gentleman and Inter Dominion champion in Eric Rothacker.The beloved trots participant passed in Bendigo at age 89 on October 13, leaving behind a devoted family and a considerable imprint on the harness racing landscape.
Eric continued to train until 2015-16 and drive until 2009-10 after an extensive career of participation, most recently with 1996 Bendigo Trotters Cup winner Larry Do, 1990 Horsham Pacing Cup winner Eck’s Shadow and Fiery Gent (2002).
His last training win was with Watch My Sox at St Arnaud on July 2, 2015, when he was aged 86, while it was at age 76 that he piloted his last win (Hanging Loose at Bendigo in November 2005).
He was a prominent member of Victorian harness racing royalty, being the son of former Bendigo HRC President Vic Rothacker, nephew of Bill Rothacker and cousin of Gordon Rothacker.
He formed a terrific and successful bond with Gentleman John in the 1950s, a gelding who he owned, trained and drove after the yearling was gifted to him by his father.
Gentleman John would win 55 races including the 1955 A. G. Hunter Cup, three Vic Globe Derby Championships, three Melbourne Showgrounds Free For Alls and the Horsham Easter Cup.
But it’s his victory in the 1956 Inter Dominion at Sydney’s Harold Park for Eric Rothacker that would provide a career highlight, with the 26-year-old being at the time the youngest reinsman to win the race.
Gentleman John beat local pacer Mineral Spring by a head with New Zealand’s Caduceus a gallant third in front of a crowd of 34,020. It was Gentleman John’s 24th win and took his earnings to £19,000.
Harness Racing Victoria extends its condolences to Mr Rothacker’s friends and family.