Harness graphic.
Harness graphic.

Better format for punters


THE following is a take out from John Lingard’s website Lets Go Horse Racing (LGHR). It concerns the latest initiative to be proposed by the harness and greyhound control bodies of Victoria. That is, the running of harness and dog racing on Saturday mornings.

LGHR said : “Here’s hoping Albion Park follows the lead of the Victorians because let’s face it – they can’t attract a crowd at night and have to throw the gates open with free entry – so it couldn’t be worse in the morning.’’

Leo Schlink reports for NEWS CORP that Saturday mornings will become the domain of harness and greyhound racing with early meetings scheduled from May.

In a joint initiative, Harness Racing Victoria and Greyhound Racing Victoria will host Saturday morning meetings as part of a three-week trial from May 9-23.

HRV chief executive Dayle Brown and GRV CEO Alan Clayton said: “Saturday morning racing presents an important strategic opportunity for our racing codes.

“The additional race meetings will provide extra earning potential for our hardworking participants and enable our products to reach new audiences during a period when people are hungry for sporting entertainment.”

Brown and Clayton said “each of these meetings will be thoroughly reviewed from a wagering, broadcast and brand perspective”.

“This will help guide our future strategy regarding Saturday morning racing. We are also pleased to be working so collaboratively on this project.”

Melton will host the three Saturday morning trots meetings, while the greyhound meetings will be shared between Ballarat (May 9 and 16) and Shepparton (May 23).

LGHR: “Sadly, the dogs are being bundled in with the ‘red hots’ when they are far more popular with punters in Queensland. For too long harness has ridden on the back of the gallops in the afternoon and twilight time slots. If it can’t stand on its own two legs in Queensland then like any business that fails it should not be funded to the degree it currently is.”

There you have it. The next “silver bullet” designed to save us from oblivion. Rather than go chasing punters in an area which is likely to be a “ghost town”, just for once think about the product.

Surely, after more than two decades of decline some administrator in a position of power will bite the bullet and give the punters a racing format which provides a form line.

Sky Racing boost

YET another happy story from the Australian Harness Racing website this week.

A $10,000 bonus will go on the line at Redcliffe Paceway on Sunday night as the inaugural Trot Rods series reaches a thrilling finale.

With the state’s top-five drivers behind the reins, the final eight heats will be staged under rapid-fire conditions on Sky Racing with just 20 minutes between each 947-meter race and a raft of broadcast enhancements.

Sky Racing will showcase the Trot Rods card across the nation on Sky Racing 2 (Foxtel channel 527) at no extra charge to Foxtel customers who already have access to Sky Racing 1 (526).

Sky’s broadcast coverage will include initiatives such as driver cam, new racing angles and caller-to-driver audio. Over the past eight weeks, Redcliffe has hosted a Trot Rods heat each Wednesday, with the aptly named Dashing Hannah setting the fastest time thus far at 65.63.

If that mark cannot be lowered, the Clint Petroff-trained mare will walk away with the $10,000 bonus for the fastest lap throughout 16 heats.

“The inaugural Trot Rods series has well and truly exceeded our expectations,” Racing Queensland COO Adam Wallish said. “It was designed to attract new audiences – the broadcast enhancements have played a key role in enhancing the coverage – but it has clearly captured the public’s imagination.

“Throughout March and April, the Trot Rods heats have generated a 10% uplift in turnover in comparison to the other races on the Redcliffe card.

“Innovations such as driver cam have performed strongly across social media and have created widespread debate.”

On Sunday night, Queensland’s top-five leading drivers – Brendan Barnes, Pete McMullen, Narissa McMullen, Adam Sanderson and Paul Diebert – will exclusively contest the eight heats.

Sky’s showcase coverage will be headed up by Britany Graham, while the voice of Queensland harness racing, Chris Barsby will join the team calling the action and interviewing drivers pre-race.”

Marburg mystery

THE most mysterious happening in Queensland is the lack of race meetings for the Marburg Pacing Association.

Our next venture into the hard world of Queensland harness racing will be June 29.

With the Marburg club boasting an impressive track record in effort to provide entertaining and spectacular racing, as well as total commitment to drawing a crowd based on budget priced family entertainment, it is a far from pleasing situation.

While the MPA recognises that RQ is trying to run a business, the control body must realise that it needs all the spokes in its wheel all of the time.

Honour board

NO great change on the leaderboard with Pete McMullen doubling the score of his nearest rival, who just happened to be his sister Narissa. The result was eight wins to four. Chantal Turpin was again leading trainer, four winners for the week.

Most pleasing was super presenter Nikki Chalk, with Mac Sweeney at Redcliffe, husband Dale in the sulky.

Others to shine were Alex Tee (trained by Jason Carkeet with Chris Geary on the steer) and The Hummer (sent out by Peter Donohoe, sulky sitting by John Cremin).

Ipswich factor: 31/51.

Albion Park, May 1: Is Somethingburning (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); The Money Ball (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Celta Cruza (Pete McMullen for Donny Smith). Albion Park, May 2: Feel The Reign (Pete McMullen for Chantal); Feeling For A Miracle (Kelli Dawson for Geoff Dawson); Pacific Coin (Lachie Manzelmann for Lola Weidemann); Glenferrie Hood (Pete McMullen for Wayne Graham); The Casual Goose (Hayden Barnes for Tony Nutley); Midnight Man (Taleah McMullen for Narissa McMullen).

Marburg, May 4:Whata Stride (Danielle McMullen for John McMullen); Jewel Of Peak (Narissa McMullen for Mark Rees); Nifty Studleigh (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); Cannan (Lachie Manzelmann for Murray Thomas); Swaffham Water (Danielle McMullen for John McMullen); Ideal Tiger (Lachie Manzelmann for Doug Manger).

Albion Park, May 5: Havana Magic (Trent Moffat for Kay Crone); The Hummer (John Cremin for Peter Donohoe); Manila Playboy (Kelli Dawson for Shawn Fraser); Miss Ruby Sunshine (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Arthur Lowe (Lachie Manzelmann for Ron Sallis).

Redcliffe, May 6: Montana Chief (Brittany Graham for Stephanie Graham); Havana Monn (Narissa McMullen for Richard Hutchinson); Mac Sweeny (Dale Chalk for Nikki Chalk); Alex Tee (Chris Geary for Jason Carkeet); Peggy Stardust (Pete McMullen for Graham Dwyer). Redcliffe, May 8: Lanoch Boy (Matt Elkins for Mitchell Dawson); Guy Looks Good (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Eulo Flyer (Pete McMullen for Dale Belford); Only In Rome (Trent Dawson); The Warp Reactor (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); RocknRoll Classic (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers).

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight.

R1: Quinella 1-2: Maretti (D McMullen) and Bohdi Tree (P Greig).

R2: Quinella 8-10: Sam Is Perfection (B Barnes) and Big Bang Leonard (B Graham).

R3: Box trifecta 1-4-8: Stompem (G Dixon)-Newmerella Sharkie (T Dawson)-Red Charmer (T Dixon).

R4: E/w 1: Riverleigh Rocket (R Maguire).

R5: E/w 2: Burmach (N McMullen).

R6: Quinella 1-8: Miss Moneybags (G Dixon) and Ballerina Couru (T McMullen).

R7: Quinella 1-2: Lethal Star (T McMullen) and Zaras Dance (B Barnes).

R8: Quinella 1-2:Ima Regal Jet (L Weidemann) and Nifty Studleigh (T McMullen).

R9: Box trifecta 2-4-10: Little Bolt (A Millard)-Cautivar (N McMullen)-Speech Is Silver (K Rasmussen).

R10: Box trifecta 1-2-10: Sir Fahrenheit ( C Geary )-Jeddy R Ya Reddy (K Rasmussen)- Springbank Eden (L Manzelmann).

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