After a steep increase during 2017, wagering turnover on HRV product has remained at record levels despite some months with lower horse numbers and field sizes.

October 2018 was a strong month, with 3 per cent more individual horses compared to October 2017, helping to generate a 10 per cent increase in wagering turnover for the month.

Four months into the financial year, total wagering turnover has grown 3 per cent compared to 2017-18.

2018 TAB Inter Dominion (ID18)

It has been a busy 16 months since John Dumesny (CEO of Harness Racing NSW) and I first met to discuss a potential joint bid for the Inter Dominion series.

As we all know, since then, New Zealand joined in to help secure the series on rotation for the next nine years.

Feedback from the industry indicated overwhelming support for a reintroduction of the Inter Dominion Trotting Championship, and we also listened when participants made clear their desire for the traditional three heats and a final format.

There has been extensive planning and co-ordination of marketing and events between Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) personnel and teams at Tabcorp Park Melton, Ballarat and Cranbourne.

We have also worked closely with Tabcorp/Sky, Channel 7, Crocmedia and Mediatec to develop plans for high quality visual coverage, including free-to-air coverage hosted by Hamish McLachlan on Channel 72 and Prime in regional Victoria.  An extensive advertising campaign across all media, billboards, buses, et cetera is being implemented, and will combine with events such as the TAB ID18 Breakfast of Champions and Barrier Draw at Federation Square to help put the trots back into the minds of a public with whom we lost relevance over the last 10 years.

The barrier draw event will be beamed live on Sky Racing 1 and broadcast on both RSN and Sky Sports Radio.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to preparing and conducting ID18, and to wish all competitors the best throughout the series.

Mobiles and timing truck

With support of the State Government, HRV has been progressively updating mobile vehicles and timing trucks.

The Ford Ranger TAB mobile has been successfully introduced back into operation and a newly constructed Toyota Hilux 4WD mobile barrier is now being registered and branded.

Trots Country Cups season

We’ve had some great Country Cup racing so far with Menin Gate taking home the 3SH Swan Hill Cup in a close finish, and San Carlo winning both the United Petroleum Yarra Valley Cup and the Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup, including defeating the Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup winner Tiger Tara.

A full field has assembled to compete for the $50k Flying Brick Cider Company Geelong Cup on November 24 and then the final Cup for 2018 is run at Stawell on December 2.

Cups with preferential barrier draws based on earnings for the last four starts ($L4) are aimed at helping to enliven this important series, and the effectiveness of this will be analysed at the end of the season.

Gordon Rothacker Medal and Hall of Fame

Over 430 people attended a fantastic night at Crown Palladium on Sunday October 21 to celebrate the Gordon Rothacker Medal and Hall of Fame awards.

Jason Bonnington and Michael Guerin did a fantastic job of keeping the night moving while also allowing the rich stories and passion of award winners to shine through.

Congratulations to all our current and former champion horses, trainers, drivers, owners, breeders, clubs and officials who received recognition on our industry’s night of nights.

The stories of our people

Two initiatives from the HRV communications team have enabled the sharing of our participants' stories.

As part of the build-up to the TAB Inter Dominion we have enjoyed watching interviews with past winners talking about what the victory meant to them.

It really highlights the fact that the Inter Dominion is the pinnacle of our sport that everyone wants to climb.

We have also collaborated with Paul Campbell, who has a knack for engaging participants to get behind the day to day.

Paul does a great job with stable interviews and it’s fantastic to be able to work with him to tell the stories of our people. There is a capable and dedicated team at HRV who are passionate about this sport and, like participants, want to see it succeed.

The results we have already achieved in the last two years have averted a far worse situation than we were already in.

Our wagering turnover continues to grow and the total prizemoney being paid out is forecast to increase above last year’s record levels.

None of that changes the fact that people have been doing it tough for quite some time now.  We are very conscious of that and have aimed to support people utilising our own limited resources and by accessing government funding.  We will continue to improve the industry’s performance, the benefits of which will enable us to do more for people now and into the future.

If I don’t see you before, I hope you have an enjoyable festive season and end to 2018 with your family and friends.  I look forward to seeing you at a track in the near future.

Kind Regards,
David Martin