At­ten­tion on in­ter­na­tional rac­ing

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY TONY LO­GAN

With Coun­try Cups done and dusted for the sea­son and both the Vicbred and Breed­ers Crown Se­ries yet to start, lovers of the trots can turn their at­ten­tion to New Zealand and Swe­den dur­ing the next few weeks.

Across the ditch, the Har­ness Jew­els is New Zealand’s premier cham­pi­onship har­ness rac­ing event of the year, where the sea­son’s best horses, drivers, train­ers, breed­ers and own­ers com­pete for the Har­ness Jew­els Crowns in nine, group-one races.

With more than $1.2-mil­lion in stakes, the Har­ness Jew­els, first run in 2007, is the rich­est race day in New Zealand and is yet to see an Aus­tralian horse in the win­ners cir­cle.

But this year might fi­nally be the one where the Aussies take home some of the Kiwi spoils, with a record num­ber of our in­vi­ta­tions be­ing ac­cepted.

To date we have Wo­belee, Jil­liby Kung Fu, Cus­to­dian, Carla’s Pixel, Shez All Rock and Plat­inum Revo­lu­tion as con­firmed starters at Cam­bridge Race­way on Jew­els Day, June 2.

Scan­di­navia

In Swe­den, our star trot­ting mare Maori Time has ar­rived af­ter a daunt­ing 40-plus-hour jour­ney to tackle the world’s best trot­ters in the iconic El­it­lop­pet Trot at Solvalla for her owner Fred Crews, trainer Brent Lil­ley and driver Todd Mccarthy.

As prom­i­nent har­ness his­to­rian John Peck said: “Let no-one be un­der any il­lu­sion of the chal­lenge that Maori Time is con­fronted with, to even qual­ify for the fi­nal in the same-day heats-fi­nal af­fair – to get through would be a mag­nif­i­cent achieve­ment.”

Only six horses from down un­der have raced in the El­it­lop­pet and only one, Pride Of Pe­tite has qual­i­fied for the fi­nal.

Solvalla on El­it­lop­pet Day is sen­sa­tional, so make sure you turn to your tele­vi­sion, tablet or mo­bile phone late on May 27 for the cov­er­age and cheer on the Aussie team.

Ararat

Ararat Har­ness Rac­ing Club will host Har­ness Rac­ing Vic­to­ria chief ex­ec­u­tive David Martin for the Wim­mera edi­tion of his 2018 Road­show at R.T. White Race­way at 7.30pm on Tues­day.

The pub­lic fo­rum will see Mr Martin re­view the state of play for trots in Vic­to­ria, ex­am­in­ing the progress since 2017 and look­ing to­wards the chal­lenges and pri­or­i­ties for 2019 and be­yond.

It’s a great op­por­tu­nity for har­ness par­tic­i­pants, in­dus­try stake-hold­ers, fans and in­ter­ested com­mu­nity mem­bers to up­date their knowl­edge, hear first hand from ma­jor de­ci­sion-mak­ers and make gen­uine con­tri­bu­tions with their in­put to the con­tin­u­ing for­ward mo­men­tum.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion is avail­able from Ararat club sec­re­tary Amanda Kil­patrick on 0421 550 774.

Cal­en­dar

Har­ness Rac­ing Vic­to­ria’s 2018-19 rac­ing cal­en­dar re­veals 441 race meet­ings across the state dur­ing the year, start­ing on July 1.

It in­cludes more than 40 Satur­day night meet­ings at Tab­corp Park, Mel­ton.

The Vicbred Su­per Se­ries has also un­der­gone changes, with semi-fi­nals spread over two nights in 2019, on June 28 and 29.

Across the Wim­mera, Ararat will stage six meet­ings, with its cup meet­ing moved away from Easter to a Fri­day night, on Fe­bru­ary 22.

Stawell will race at Laid­law Park nine times, in­clud­ing its cup meet­ing on De­cem­ber 2, The Maori Leg­end meet­ing on July 19 and Aus­tralia Day trots on the Mon­day pub­lic hol­i­day, Jan­uary 28.

Hor­sham is set to stage 10 meet­ings, with the Noel Smith Me­mo­rial In­vi­ta­tion Drivers Cham­pi­onship on Labour Day Mon­day, March 11, and The Weekly Ad­ver­tiser Hor­sham Pac­ing Cup meet­ing three weeks later on March 31.

The St Ar­naud Club again hosts two meet­ings, with its cup meet­ing on Novem­ber 11 and the Birchip Mallee Bull Sun­day event will be on March 10.

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