Victtoria maintain stakes next season

J Scott Latest News

 

HRV MAINTAINS STAKE LEVELS

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the racing industry’s wagering revenue, the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Board has determined that 2009/10 stakemoney levels will be maintained for the 2010/11 season.

However, the Board has determined that the profile of stakemoney will change.

Within the stakemoney total of $33.6m, a reallocation of the mix will take place as follows:

• Stakemoney for Saturday night career-front racing will increase from $5000 to a
minimum of $7000 with effect from November 1, 2010

• The SEW-Eurodrive Victoria Cup will increase by $25,000 to $425,000

• The BIG6 Hunter Cup will increase by $25,000 to $425,000

• The Australian Trotting Grand Prix will increase by $25,000 to $125,000

Several other semi-features have also had an increase this year. They include:

• Bill Collins Trotters Sprint – increase from $50,000 to $60,000

• Vicbred Championship – increase from $20,000 to $25,000

• EK Bray Country Cup increase from $8000 to $10,000

• VHRSC Provincial Cup – increase from $8000 to $10,000

• VSTA Trotters Cup- increase from $8000 to $10,000

To fund the increases there will be an expansion in the number of restricted-class race meetings – specifically a $3000 Thursday afternoon circuit at Tabcorp Park, Melton.

“The increase to a minimum of $7000 on Saturday nights will provide a point of difference for horses in each class,” HRV chief executive John Anderson said.

“Connections will have a choice of the restricted circuit, the $5000 career-front circuit or the $7000 Saturday night circuit.

“The restricted class meetings are proving increasingly popular and there is a clear demand for them to keep a large number of horses in the racing population. Field sizes
have increased this year primarily as a result of the strategic placement of restricted meetings.”

“This season’s calendar is designed to provide racing opportunities for all classes of horses and to maximise wagering turnover in these difficult times.”

Courtesy of Brad Bishop, HRV Media Manager

Rostevarren upsets Kahdon

J Scott Latest News

ROSTEVARREN UPSETS KAHDON

Rostevarren utlised the sprint lane to catch $1.40 favourite Kahdon in the shadows of the post in the first $10,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Victoria Trotters Derby Heat at Bendigo on Saturday, July 3.

Kahdon was taken on for the lead early by Razor Face (Michael Marais), who later broke and finished last.

The Sundon filly made a good fist of leading virtually all of the way for trainer-driver Mark Jones and will improve with the race _ her first since winning the Victoria Trot Oaks on June 11.

However, Rostevarren , a gelded son of Band Of Chips (USA), timed his finish  along the inner to a nicety for trainer-driver Ross Graham, grabbing the favourite late to win by a neck.

The winner rated 2:04.7 for the mobile 2650m, the leaders running their last 800m in 58.7s and final 400m in 28.9s.

Rostevarren, last season’s Vicbred Super Series 2YO Trot Final victor, is now the winner of 9 of 16 starts, including 6 from 8 this season.

He has a best winning mile rate of 2:00.3 (1720m) set when beating ex-Kiwi Tuhimata Glass by 5.1m in last month’s $A25,000 The Holmfield Trot at Tabcorp Park, Melton.

The second Victoria Trot Derby Heaat will be run at Geelong on Wednesday night and includes fellow NZ trotter Miami H, the runnerup to Kahdon in the Great Northern Trotters Derby in April.

Miami H will start from the four gate for co-trainer-driver Derek Balle. The heat also features former NZ 3YO’s Tuhimata Glass (gate 5) and Landoras Pearl (8, inside back row).

A 3rd heat of the series will be run next Saturday, with the $A75,000 Final to be run at Maryborough on July 18. 

 

ALFORD NOTCHES 4000TH VICTORY

Chris Alford has won most of the biggest races on the Australian harness calendar, but his win aboard Mapua Legend in the Maffioso C1 Pace at the Bendigo fixture on Saturday night  will forever be special.

 

The $5000 event saw the champion Bolinda reinsman join Gavin Lang as the only drivers in Australian harness history to partner 4000 winners.

Alford followed up a good night at Melton’s Tabcorp Park on Friday night, when he partnered three winners, to notch the milestone in the fifth race on the Bendigo card.

The 42-year-old used 25,033 drives to amass his 4000 winners, which consists of 3988 wins in Australia, nine in New Zealand and three in Germany during the 1997 World Drivers’ Championship.

He has also partnered 3331 Australian second placegetters and 3324 thirds for more than $27,000,000 in stakes.

His biggest victory came aboard Golden Reign in the 1995 Inter Dominion, on whom he also won that year’s Victoria Cup, while he has also won Hunter Cups with Paris Affair (1999), Mont Denver Gold (2002) and Sting Lika Bee (2007).

Alford also shares the record for the most Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown final wins of six with Lang, who has driven 4457 winners in total.

Courtesy of Brad Bishop, HRV Media Manager

 

Vict Trot Derby field taking shape

J Scott Latest News

VICT TROTTERS DERBY TAKING SHAPE

This year’s Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby will take further shape on Wednesday night, July 7, when the second heat is run at Geelong.

 The $10,000 event showcases the Australian debut of high-profile Kiwi blueblood Miami H, who crosses the Tasman a winner of five of 12 starts, the latest a Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown heat at Auckland on June 22.

 The Derek Balle-trained colt, a son of boom stallion Muscles Yankee and former gun mare Martina H, is a leading contender for the $75,000 Group 1 final, but will be tested by some talented locals in his heat.

 Waiting for him will be last-start South Australian Trotters Derby and defending Breeders Crown champion Tuhimata Glass and Victorian-based New South Wales Trotters Derby winner Backas Cobber.

Miami H got an edge over his key rivals at the draw, coming up with gate four. Tuhimata Glass is alongside in five, but Backas Cobber has it all to do from barrier 12 on account of being out of the draw.

One interested onlooker when the 2570-metre race is run at 11pm (NZ time) will be Mark Jones, trainer of another Kiwi visitor, Kahdon.

The daughter of Sundon had Miami H’s measure in the May’s Northern Trotting Derby and entered the Victoria Trotters Derby series nominal favourite for the final.

But her quest for the big Derby double didn’t get off to the best start at Bendigo last Saturday night when she was beaten in the first heat.

Kahdon had a nice run in front after holding the lead from gate one, but couldn’t withstand the powerful sprint-lane burst of the Ross Graham-trained Rostevarren.

Despite being run down in a 2:04.7 mile rate, Jones was happy with the run – Kahdon’s first since demolishing her rivals Victoria Trotters Oaks on June 11 – and hasn’t lost faith in his star charge.

“Reverse the roles and you probably reverse the result, but she had a nice run and she had her chance,” Jones said.

“She’d had an easy time of things since the Oaks and she was always going to improve on the run.”

The first four home in Wednesday’s night’s heat will join Saturday night’s first four placegetters – Rostevarren, Kahdon, My High Expectations and Cameos Moment – in the final at Maryborough on Sunday, July 18.

The remainder of the field will be made up on the first four home in the final heat, which will be run at Cranbourne this Saturday night.

Courtesy of Brad Bishop, HRV Media Manager

 

Ricky on Jackaroozy

J Scott Former News, Latest News

RICKY ON JACKAROOZY

Burnham trainer Mark Jones has picked a driver to suit the diminuitive but competitive Jackaroozy when he shoots for back-to-back Forbury Park wins on Friday, July 2.

“Ricky (May) is going to drive him and being the size he is, he should suit the horse,” Mark said.

Mark is heading to Melbourne on Friday to drive top 3YO trotter Kahdon in a heat of the Victoria Trotting Derby on Saturday night.

“I couldn’t get a flight over on Saturday, so I’m going Friday. Ricky can also drive San Fran Lady at Forbury. The boys here can look after a couple we’ve got in at Rangiora on Sunday too,” he said.

Mark wishes he had a full barn in the Jackaroozy mould, but the realisation is that he will probably be sold off-shore.

“He is on the market. As long as we get good money, we’ll sell him,” he said of the Courage Under Fire gelding.

“The problem is there will be limited opportunities for him next season.”

“You have the top 3YO’s coming back with handicapping concessions. He has to come up against them again.”

“He’s a lovely horse. He is so easy to train. He would be one of the best natured horses around.”

Mark can’t fault him as a racehorse, saying he has gate speed and usually begins well from a stand.

“He can either be driven with a sit, lead, or parked. If he was a hand taller, everyone would be dying to get him, but because of his size he suffers from small man’s syndrome.”

“He’s always been competitive. Apart from a couple run of times when he’s had excuses, he could have been in the money 15 out of 17 times.”

Jackaroozy was purchased as a yearling by Bruce Negus for Queensland owner Greg Brodie from former Rolleston co-breeder-owner Lindsay Blackmore, after they had earlier secured Jackaroozy’s year older half-sister, former speedy filly Alexis (runnerup to Lauraella in the 2009 NZ Oaks).

Their dam Alegria (Caprock-Miesque) is an unraced sister to former smart pacer Mac De Stroyer (11 wins from 25 NZ starts for $154,658), later a 1:49.8 winning miler in North America.

“Greg Brodie has sold Courage Under Fire and all his mares. He got out of the breeding game as it was taking up too much of his time,” Mark said.

Jackaroozy justified his favouritism last week at Forbury Park, despite tangling for his first few strides then hitting his straps, settling back on the outer.

After improving wide at the 1400m he faced the breeze outside second favourite Galleons Prospect over the last 900m and outstayed him to win by a neck in a 1-2 wins 2700m pace from a stand in 3:29.9 (2:05.1 mile rate).

He is drawn to be an each-way chance again on Friday, even though stepping up in grade in the 2-3 wins, the Kingsmen Mobile Pace over 2700m.

KAHDON ON SONG FOR DERBY HEAT

Regan Todd is “rapt” with the condition of Kahdon at Craig Demmler’s Parwan stables.

“Regan said she looks real good,” Mark said.

“Craig (Demmler) worked her on Saturday and she worked super and her heart rate was pretty good.”

“She will definitely be needing the run on Saturday, but from all reports I couldn’t be happier,” he said.

Kahdon was freshened after winning first-up for Mark in the $A50,000 Dallas Building Victoria Oaks at Melton on June 11.

Saturday’s Victoria Trotting Derby heat begins the countdown to the $A75,000 Victoria Trotters Derby at Maryborough on July 18.

Kahdon will then be aimed at the $A93,000 Australasian Breeders Crown 3YO Trot Final at Tabcorp Park on August 22.

By Jeff Scott

Ruggari wary in Trot Derby Heat

J Scott Latest News

RUGGARI NOT SURE WHAT TO EXPECT

My High Expectations comes up against Kiwi raider Kahdon in a heat of the Victoria Trotters Derby at Bendigo this Saturday night, with trainer-driver Adam Ruggari expecting the run to provide a significant insight into whether he is a contender for the final.

Joining the New South Wales youngster in the first of three Derby qualifiers are arguably the series’ top two seeds – boom Kiwi filly Kahdon and established local star Rostevarren.

“They’re probably the two best in it, so we’ll find out how good our guy is,” said Ruggari, who hails from Swayers Gully, west of Maitland.

“He’s beaten the ones at home pretty easily, but this is definitely the hardest level of opposition he’s met. It’ll be a good test for him, to see where he’s at against the good trotters down there.”

 My High Expectations comes to Victoria a winner of four of his six starts, having occupied minor placings at the other two.

The son of Ken Warkentin started an odds-on favourite in the New South Wales Trotters Derby, but while he had to settle for third placing behind Backas Cobber, he galloped away and did well to get within 27 metres.

He bounced back with an effortless 13m win at Menangle in the HRNSW Trotters Foundation Final on June 1.

“In the Derby up here he gave them about 100 (metres) and got beaten just over 20, so he went well that night, but he can’t afford to be making mistakes,” Ruggari said.

 “After that we aimed him at the Foundation at the Menangle and he won that, so he’s back on track and this is just the next step now.”

 My High Expectations has at least drawn to challenge the big pair from gate four. That’s not quite as good as last-start Victoria Trotters Oaks winner Kahdon, who drew one, but a more favourable gate than Rostevarren (nine).

 A top four finish will earn My High Expectations a spot in the $75,000 Group 1 final, to be run on the big Redwood Classic Day at Maryborough on Sunday, July 18.

 “He’s raced back in the field, been in front and sat parked a couple of times, so he’s pretty versatile,” Ruggari said. “He can come out (of the gate) pretty good, so we’ll be aiming to do that end up somewhere close to them.”

After Saturday night the Derby qualifiers continue at Geelong next Wednesday before the final heat at Cranbourne on Saturday, July 10.

Courtesy of Brad Bishop, HRV Media Manager

Kahdon draws ace in Derby heat

J Scott Latest News

KAHDON MOST TIGHTLY-ASSESSED IN FIELD


Kahdon has drawn the ace barrier in the $A10,000 Seelite Window & Doors Victoria Trotters Derby Heat at Bendigo on Saturday night.

The Kiwi-trained Sundon filly is the most tightly assessed 3YO in the field with 6 wins. Rostevarren (5) and My High Expectations (4) are the next best winning squaregaiters in the field.

The field is:

10pm (NZ time)

SEELITE WINDOWS & DOORS VICTORIA TROTTERS DERBY (HEAT ONE)

$10,000, mobile 2650m

1 21121 Kahdon 1 fr M Jones

2  3276 Miss Bullion 2 fr Chris Lang

3 58276 Razor Face 3 fr Michael Marais

4 11131 My High Expectations 4 fr Adam Ruggari

5 65131 Ninegrandsons 5 fr Tom O’Shea

6 06243 Strapperama 6 fr Daryl Douglas

7 980×2 Vets Delight 7 fr Kerryn Manning

BACK ROW

8 48700 Apollo Nine 8 fr Shane Hall (C)

9 11161 Rostevarren 9 fr Ross Graham

10 63×15 Imagunnadogood 10 fr Joe Attard

11 95623 Bellingham 11 fr Anthony Crossland

12 71703 Cameos Moment fr Mal Whiteford

Kahdon smashes them

J Scott Former News, Latest News

 

KAHDON SMASHES THEM

Several boom Kiwi trotters have crossed the Tasman in recent years and not lived up to the hype, but Kahdon spared herself a spot on that list with a stunning win in the Group 1 Dallas Building Victoria Trotters Oaks at Melton on Friday, June 11.

The impressive filly proved a class above a team of rivals that included Group 1-winning locals Good Thanks and Elusive Charm in the $A50,000 event at Melton’s Tabcorp Park.

She made it 6 wins and 4 minor placings from 13 starts. The Sundon filly had won the time-honoured Northern Trotting Derby and finished second in last weekend’s Harness Jewels final at her previous two starts.

Winning reinsman Mark Jones, who inherited the training responsibility of Kahdon from Paul Nairn, was thrilled with the effort from the filly, who had her first start on Boxing Day last year.

“She’s raced all season but only really come on the last couple months, which makes it a good time to come over here because most of the other ones (in New Zealand) have had a long season and are on the way down,” Jones said.

“It was a big ask for her because she had a hard run last Saturday then travelled over, but she settled in great and ate and drunk all week, which made my job easy.”

Kahdon’s Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown rivals will be wondering whether they can beat her in August after she sat three-wide without cover for the last half of the 2240m event but still proved too good.

After being patiently driven early, she served it up to Good Thanks from the 800m and when the $3.40 second favourite was a spent force at the 250m the $1.60 hot pot then had to repel a challenge from Jingling Silver.

Favourite backers only had a moment’s cause for concern rounding the bend and Kahdon had seen off Jingling Silver’s challenge at the 150m.

She pulled away in the straight for a seven-metre win over Jingling Silver ($24) with Shes Commando ($18) a further five metres away in third spot in a 2:03.5 mile rate.

Jones was thrilled to see her justify the hype and confirm her status a leading Breeders Crown contender.

“She had to be the best filly to win that race and she was,” Jones said.  “She’s got a lot of stamina and always showed good staying quality back home, so the longer distance was always going to suit.”

Kahdon will remain in Victoria for the Victoria Trotters Derby, which culminates with a $75,000 Group 1 final at Maryborough on July 18, ahead of the Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown.

 

Bold Cruiser’s Comeback A Success

It wasn’t quite a return to rival Popular Alm’s comeback from a broken leg, but Bold Cruiser won the Del-Re National Food Group Italian Cup in a comeback of sorts at Melton’s Tabcorp Park last Friday.

Glenn Douglas’s underrated gelding added his name to an honour roll that includes the incomparable “Poppy”, My Lightning Blue, Tailamade Lombo and Sokyola when he prevailed at his first run for exactly six months.

The hardy 8YO hadn’t been seen at the races since running sixth behind Bettor’s Strike in the SEW-Eurodrive Victoria Cup in December.

He’d been fitted out for his return with three trials, which enabled him to outlast a quality field in the 2240m event.

The gelding was driven aggressively early by Daryl Douglas, but once he found the front Douglas backed off to a 63.7-second first half of the last mile.

After a 29s third quarter the $3.60 favourite zipped home in 27.1s for a 2:00.2 win. At the line he had a head to spare over the fast-finishing Coastal ($6.80) with stablemate Megasam ($20) 3.5m away in third spot.

Bold Cruiser’s 24th win of his 138-start career, which elevated his earnings beyond $523,000, completed a memorable night for comeback performers.

(Footnote: Mark Jones drove Bold Cruiser several times for Invercargill trainer Wayne Adams in NZ, winning once with him)

 

Chateau Secures Eventful Tatlow

Days Of Our Lives scriptwriters would have been proud of themselves had they come up with what transpired in Friday night’s Swift Signs Tatlow Stakes 2YO Trotters Final at Melton’s Tabcorp Park.

The $A30,000 Group 2 had just about every imaginable aspect of a harness race. The only thing missing was a protest.

The action started when Our Flash Girl broke then fell passing the winning post the first time in the 2240m event, bringing down Baggy Boots and interfering with several others.

But that was just the start of the trouble. The biggest problem came when Our Flash Girl was tangled in her gear, unable to find her feet before the field entered the straight the second time, leaving drivers with no option to pull up their horses.

Stewards then decided to re-run the race 30 minutes later, after the vet had his chance to run the rule over all starters. Our Flash Girl, who eventually got to her feet, was the only late scratching.

Favourite punters were soon wishing regally-bred Kaptin Bly had also been a late withdrawal as the son of former champion three-year-old Zesta was not on his best behaviour.

The $1.50 favourite, who was just about to take control of the initial running when it was abandoned, galloped twice during take two.

The gelding galloped shortly after the start, losing about 50 metres, and while he quickly made up the ground and led with 600m to go, he broke again when challenged by Chateau De Ville 450m from home.

That left Chateau De Ville 12m clear and while Waikare Aristocrat loomed at the 200m, his run ended not long after, enabling the Alex Douglas-trained-and-driven son of Conch De Ville to coast home by 6.3m in a 2:07.2 mile rate.

Waikare Aristocrat ($35) held on for second, 5.6m in advance of another longshot, Djasker ($24), who did his best work late.

Kaptin Bly got going again after his second mistake but finished sixth, almost 50m from the winner.

The win capped a tumultuous week for Sebastopol-based Douglas, who seven days earlier copped an eight-week suspension for his drive aboard Machieve in the Vicbred Super Series 3YO Final.

Douglas has appealed the suspension, which will be heard next Friday.

Courtesy of Brad Bishop, HRV Media Manager

New harness magazine

J Scott Latest News

THE HARNESS EDGE DOWNUNDER COMING IN AUGUST

The harness racing industry in Australia and New Zealand is getting a new publication – The Harness Edge Downunder.

The Harness Edge magazine based in Canada is launching a quarterly, online edition for the southern hemisphere.  The publication will be focused on the racing industry in Australasia bringing with it the foremost publishing technology available.

“One year ago The Harness Edge became an online only publication free to the world.  The availability of new technology and the simple economics of the racing industry led to the move which resulted in substantial cost savings to advertisers and value added services they could get nowhere else,” says publisher Harold Howe who has had a strong relationship with harness racing in New Zealand and Australia for more than 20 years.

“The Harness Edge Downunder will present the very best feature articles on the people, horses and issues in the southern hemisphere.  This will be quite unlike anything else that presently exists.  The whole magazine experience will change.  The Internet has changed everything and that includes racing.  Trainers now enter their horses online, owners check entries and results online and of course the racing news online.  Now we’ll give them the insight to the racing game online.”

The first publication will be released in late August just after the Australasian Breeders Crown and prior to the start of the breeding season in New Zealand and Australia followed by the second in advance of the various yearling sales.  The third will coincide with the Inter-Dominions and the fourth will be prior to the Jewels in New Zealand.

“Anyone who provides their email address will receive an automatic notice when the magazine is posted for viewing.  The magazine is free so from the advertisers perspective that is terrific news.  They have a built in audience to receive information about their products and services,” says Howe.

“Being online means we can imbed video.  For example instead of just seeing a photo of a stallion we can include a video of a race by himself or his performers.  Articles can link to breeding farm or racetrack websites.  Sale companies can have their online catalogues immediately in the hands of potential buyers.  It is the way of the world and The Harness Edge Downunder is right at the forefront of it all.”

Phil Niall will be sales representative for The Harness Edge Downunder.  Phil is based in Auckland, New Zealand and has a lifetime of experience in both the breeding and racing industry.

“When first approached about this idea it immediately got my attention.  I was well aware of The Harness Edge but never thought we’d see something like this in New Zealand and Australia.  I don’t care if you are a trainer, breeder or racetrack official this is going to be a must read for all of them,” says Niall.

“Harness racing in both Australia and New Zealand has many great people involved but so many never get any notice.  The feature articles in this publication will spotlight those people and also give us some insight into the many Kiwis and Aussies who are now based in North America.  I can’t see how The Harness Edge Downunder can miss.”

For more information contact Phil Niall at the Auckland bureau at 64 (021) 900 141 (mobile) or 64 (09) 3073900.

Stallion Station releases Courage fee

J Scott Latest News

STALLION STATION CONFIRM COURAGE DEAL

Stallion Station, one of Australasia’s premier breeding establishments, have confirmed they have secured the ownership of the former champion racehorse and now highly successful sire Courage Under Fire.

Burnham trainer Mark Jones has had regular success with the stock of Courage Under Fire, developing many by the former 6-time Derby winner for Courage Under Fire’s former Queensland owner Greg Brodie.

For the 2010-11 breeding season, Courage Under Fire only frozen semen will be available to New Zealand breeders at a service fee of $NZ 7000 (plus GST).

However, for this season only breeders can secure a breeding package to Courage Under Fire for $NZ 20,000 (plus GST). Stallion Station  says this is a unique opportunity for breeders to keep their average cost down and insurance against any future price increases.

Packages will entitle broodmare owners to five services to Courage Under Fire – two in the coming season and one each for the following three seasons – at a total cost of $NZ 20,000 PLUS GST, the equivalent of $NZ 4,000 (plus GST) per service fee.

“By purchasing a breeding package, breeders will ensure they have priority to Courage Under Fire this season.” Stallion Station sales manager Les Joslin said.

The offer is open until June 30, 2010 when payment of $NZ 20,000 (plus GST) is required in full.

Courage Under Fire has matched his greatness as a racehorse in the siring barn. From five crops to race in NZ he has sired the winners of $5.9 million, with 85 in 2:00 and 12 $100,000 winners.

In Australia, ‘Courage’ has left 107 foals three-year-old and older and 48 are winners, remarkable 45% winners to foals and earning $1.6million between them.

Courage Under Fire’s list of winners includes 3 Derby winners _ Lanercost (Aust & Tas – 2010), Courage To Rule (Vic – 2010) and Sleepy Tripp (NZ – 2009).

He has also left this season’s NZ Oaks winner Secret Potion, and NZ record holder Lancome (1:54.9, 1700m).

Group winning youngsters by Courage include: Itsallabout Nicole, Brush With Courage, Bells And Whistles, Cosmic Under Fire, Gilt Bromac and Maggie Kennedy (in Australia), and  Lancome, Flak Jacket, Days Of Courage, Eyecatcher Courage, Itz Cherry Ripe and Franco Jamar (NZ).

 

Mark Jones filly kicks off Aus B Crown

J Scott Latest News

TABCORP AUSTRALASIAN BREEDERS CROWN BEGINS

The 2010 Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown has commenced with the first heats of this year’s series run at the Rangiora meeting at Addington on Tuesday, June 15.

(The first heat resulted in a ‘walk-over’ win for the Mark Jones-trained Commander Jewel as the only acceptor in the $5000 2YO Trot Heat. The daughter of CR Commando and In De Fence, raced by “Jim” McDonald, credited stable employee Richard Lee with his first official driving win. The 2nd $5000 heat for 3YO trotters was won by the Gerard O’Reilly-trained Endeavour Sunset by 9 lengths over Ali B) 

The 2 and 3YO trotting qualifiers were the first of around 85 Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown races to be run throughout Australia and New Zealand between now and Sunday, August 22.

That’s when the $1.56 million raceday, featuring nine Group 1 finals, will be run at Melton’s Tabcorp Park.

Harness Racing Victoria chief executive John Anderson said Tuesday’s commencement was the start of a 10-week build-up to one of the biggest days in Australian harness racing.

“The Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown has become one of the great series in harness racing and the launch of a new series is always an exciting time,” Anderson said.

“It gives Breeders Crown-eligible horses of all gaits and ages their shot at some of the most lucrative purses in harness racing and there will be no shortage of action over the next couple of months.”

Following Tuesday’s heats, the series moves to Auckland next Tuesday where the North Island’s 2 and 3YO trotters have a shot at booking a trip across the Tasman.

Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown action reaches Australian shores on Friday, June 25 when both the 3YO fillies and the colts and geldings get their chance to impress at Adelaide’s Globe Derby.

Heats continue at Brisbane’s Albion Park, Pinjarra in Western Australia, Hobart and Launceston in Tasmania and western Sydney’s Menangle before the host state gets its first taste of action for 2010.

The initial Victorian heats will be for 2YO fillies at Shepparton on July 26 with action continuing at Kilmore, Bendigo, Ballarat, Maryborough and Geelong over the following eight days.

Action hots up on Friday night, August 13 when the 2 and 3YO semi finals launch a massive nine days of finals action and associated activities.

Four-year-old heats will be run at a twilight fixture on Sunday, August 15 before attention turns to the inaugural Breeders Crown Golf Day at Eynesbury on Wednesday, August 18.

The next morning will see another first, Breakfast With The Stars at Tabcorp Park, while the Breeders Crown Gala Preview Dinner will be held in conjunction with the consolation finals on Friday night, August 20.

Anderson said the addition of a social calendar would enhance the Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown’s chances of being considered the premier event on the Australian harness calendar.

“It has long been the plan to increase the social standing of the Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown and that will happen with the introduction of a social calendar for this year’s series,” he said.

“It adds another dimension to what has already become one of the great harness racing carnivals.”

Full details on the Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown social calendar and a full race schedule for this year’s series is available at www.breederscrown.com.au

Courtesy of Brad Bishop, HRV Media Manager