Chief Executive Officer




Wagga Wagga

Despite considerable frustration the development of the North Wagga site for the Riverina Regional Racing Centre is back on track with the local Council reaffirming its decision on the location of the facility. HRNSW and in fact the harness racing fraternity have be faced with opposition to the North Wagga site since inception. As could be expected opposition was from nearby residents but the latest hurdle came from an obscure group who claimed it had the support of a collective of industry participants. When forced to proclaim the concerns of the group at a specially convened meeting of Councillors the opposition was exposed as having no relevance and the alternate site for the establishment of the facility was found to be totally unsuitable.

The development approval for the North Wagga site will now be assessed by the Southern Region Joint Planning Panel which is expected to next meet in October.


The construction of the new race stalls at Penrith Paceway is taking shape despite the adverse weather conditions being experienced over the past two months. Following on from the installation of the lighting upgrade at the Paceway the race stalls will offer participants and horses for that matter a modern utility capable of accommodating a ten race meeting. The race stalls should be in operation towards the end of October.

Menangle Park Training Centre

Finally, after many years of planning the first of the ten barns in Stage One of the Menangle Park Training Centre has been erected. Already established at the training centre is the 1000 metre exercise track which will compliment the race and sand tracks at Tabcorp Park Menangle and other integral infrastructure. The development of the water walker facility will soon commence whilst a decision has been reached that the construction of all the barns and surrounds will be completed before occupation early in 2016.


With the announcement of the staged introduction of wagering tax rebates by Government HRNSW will bring forward the development application for the Tamworth track. Originally it was determined not to commence on the Tamworth project until the Wagga track was nearing completion however as additional funds will now be assured through the tax parity resources can be re-directed to the planning process and in particular the ancillary uses for the property.


The Pepper Tree Farm Breeders Challenge Series are over for the season with the excitement and wealth of winning the Finals being generally shared by cross section of the industry fraternity.

Blue Finals

The Blue Series which is supported to the amount of $150,000 by the Principal Club (NSWHRC) allowed the State based breeding nurseries Golden Gait and Yirribee Studs as well as the sponsor Pepper Tree Farm to provide the sires of the winners.

Pass The Magic race by breeders Bernie and Cath Hewitt and Express Pass bred by Wayne Honan and raced by the Fleur De Lil Trust (Luke and Belinda McCarthy) are by Wayne and Anne Lamb’s Passmaster Hanover which stands at Golden Gait. Rob Woodhouse’s Yirribee Stud stallion Million Dollar Cam sired Million Dollar Wave which was also bred by Yirribee and raced by a partnership of seven new owners. Sport Report bred and raced by Craig Cross is by Peppertree Farm’s super sire Sportswriter gave Mark Hewitt a great result to round off the season.

Regional Finals

Paceway Bathurst was the host for the Regional Finals which although conducted on a bitterly cold winter afternoon provided extremely competitive racing in all six categories. The results were six different groups in the winners’ circle for the Regional Finals. Naturally the winning horses were different in Merrywood Ruby, Bettor Together, Miss Nickels, Chumlee, Shes A Jackson and Glencore however each was sired by six different stallions providing diversity in the breeding ranks. The trainers were Wayne Dimech, Belinda McCarthy, David Hewitt, Amanda Turnbull, Trevor White and James Rattray whilst Gavin Fitzpatrick, Todd McCarthy, David Hewitt, Amanda Turnbull, Trevor White and James Rattray were the successful drivers.

On behalf of the entire industry again I thank Rob and Julie Van Dyke for their continued support of the Peppertree Farm NSW Breeders Challenge.


HRNSW in accordance with the Strategic Plan will proceed with endeavouring to increase the field sizes for all races. To this end in particular twelve horse fields will be introduced on the longer circuits as from September. Clearly increased wagering turnover is paramount to the industry’s revenue streams and maximum field sizes are the goal. Data provided by the primary betting agency Tabcorp verifies that twelve horses in races achieve the optimum turnover.

Certainly races of ten or more will deliver increased revenue from all wagering operators. Evidence of this is the positive increase in the wagering turnover at Bathurst where full fields of twelve horses are often drawn. Whilst it is accepted respective races may not attract sufficient nominations twelve horses will be drawn in races contested at Tabcorp Park Menangle, Newcastle and Goulburn from September 1. It should be noted however that the current starting configurations at Tabcorp Park Menangle and Newcastle tracks will not change. The starting configuration for Goulburn will replicate that of Bathurst as will be implemented at Wagga and Tamworth when those tracks come on-line.


The introduction of sprint lanes at the new Wagga and Tamworth tracks has been confirmed by the Board of HRNSW following the trial at Paceway Bathurst. Investigation by HRNSW as to the introduction of a sprint lane at Goulburn will be ongoing with the Club however at Tabcorp Park Menangle and Newcastle International Paceway the construction of sprint lanes at those tracks has been deferred due to the significant cost of installation as identified by the respective Clubs.


The ultra successful HRNSW Carnival of Cups circuit will commence at Eugowra on Monday 5th October where record prizemoney of $30,000 will be on offer for the Canola Cup. The Eugowra Club under the guidance of Lex Crosby and his Committee and volunteers marshalled by the effervescent Jodie Greenhalgh will lead the way for what will be another edition of race meetings around the State. Every Club will be offered a Carnival of Cups Meeting which will see a record $650,000 provided by HRNSW for additional prizemoney and local marketing. From the submissions received it is evident that all Clubs will provide to their local communities and the industry fraternity a season to remember.


Corporate governance is a key objective of the Industry Strategic Plan with Constitutions and structures of all Clubs and kindred bodies being reviewed in accordance with legislative requirements. HRNSW has developed a ‘model’ harness racing specific constitution which has been forwarded to Clubs for consideration and adoption if appropriated. Likewise a constitution for kindred bodies has been prepared for consideration. As an initial objective HRNSW will be inviting participants who are involved with or would like to assist with the future of trotters in NSW to volunteer their time and services to the formation of a renewed association.


The introduction of the Sulky Recovery Scheme at the behest of participants earlier this year has been questioned of late by some participants who consider the $5 per race fee excessive. The Scheme is certainly not a HRNSW revenue raising exercise but rather a service to the industry. As expressed on the introduction of the Scheme it will be reviewed after twelve months of operation with a view of satisfying the requirements of those involved.


The Contingency Fund which allows Clubs to conduct additional races when nominations permit has proven to be a great incentive to Clubs and participants to assist with attracting maximum fields sizes. The Fund which is administered by HRNSW distributes additional prizemoney for races conducted above the allocated number under certain criteria. There is however the exception to the allocation of additional races where there is no distribution from the Fund which is at Newcastle. The Newcastle Club successfully petitioned HRNSW to conduct as many as ten races on Saturday nights through the surrender of race meetings. The only other recent exeception where funding wasn’t drawn from the Contingency Fund to accommodate the additional races was at Parkes where the Club simply contributed the prizemoney for the additional race from its own funds. Now that is a real exception!


Special mentions must be accorded Dan Westwood and the Harbor audio visual team headed by John and Michelle for their efforts in ensuring the Bathurst meeting proceeded during the bleakest weather imaginable last month. All concerned went beyond the call of duty to ensure the meeting proceeded without a problem ably assisted by others with a dedication to the cause.

Also to Gary Williams who cleared his throat after a very long absence from the task and called the races at Bathurst when regular commentator Fred Hastings was called away in an emergency a very special thank you for ensuring the meeting progressed without a concern.