Marburg trot action. Picture: Rob Williams
Marburg trot action. Picture: Rob Williams

Marburg’s positive start to harness racing

THANKS to the tidy mind of the Marburg Pacing Association (MPA)’s first president Brendan Sheehy, we have a copy of the initial approach to the Marburg Show Society.

It was as sent to the then-secretary Mrs Dance.

Snippets from this proposal included mention of the very successful trialing operation being conducted at the Cleveland Showground on Sunday mornings and Thursday nights and the tangible benefits flowing on to both the harness participants and the Redlands Show Society.

The Marburg proposal followed on the same lines as the needs of owners and trainers are universal and identical in any harness jurisdiction world wide. This initial approach was made in January 1980 and so the MPA is coming up to its 40th anniversary.

The Show Society upgraded its track from the standard 400 metre “show racing circle” to a 530 metre oval, which was hailed at the time as the “best show track in Queensland”.

The MPA was up and away.

In practical terms, what this joint venture achieved was to drag harness in the greater Ipswich footprint out of the dark ages.

Before 12 months elapsed, local trainers who previously had only gone to to Albion Park Redcliffe and Gold Coast to look over the fence, were starting horses at these venues and winning on a regular basis.

Provision of regular and frequent trialing opportunity by trainers for trainers and often tailor made to individual horse needs, had done the trick.

More snippets in future columns.

‘Good innings’

LONG-time Queensland identity Damian Raedler has announced his retirement from harness racing administration.

Raedler bows out after a “second time around” as the chief executive of the Albion Park Harness Racing Club.

“I’ve had a good innings of nearly 40 years in the business. You know when it’s time,” Raedler said.

A flair for race broadcasting saw Raedler offside the legendary John Tapp in the late seventies and early eighties in Sydney at radio station 2GB.

He took a quantum leap in 1983 moving his young family to Queensland to begin what would become a distinguished career in harness racing administration.

Initially the Albion Park HRC marketing manager, he assumed the general manager role not long afterwards and held the position for the next two decades.

“I arrived at a great time as it was the opening of the new 1000 metre track and grandstand. Albion Park was dubbed the “speed pacing capital of Australia,’’ he said.

“These were terrific times. Big crowds and exciting racing.’’

Raedler is immensely proud of his role in the running of the 1986, 1993 and 2001 Inter Dominions at Albion Park.

“I might be biased but some of the best Inter Dominion carnivals were in Queensland,” he said.

He returned to NSW in 2004 when he secured the appointment as chief executive of the commercial arm of Harness Racing NSW.

This was to be a short stint and soon after he returned to Queensland and his expertise was snapped up by the various controlling bodies of the sport over the next decade.

“To be able to return to Albion Park for my final working role was not lost on me,” he said.

Current Albion Park HRC chairman David Fowler paid Raedler the highest compliment on the announcement of his retirement.

“His word was his bond. His knowledge of the complex was second to none,’’ Fowler said.

“Not only was he a great administrator but a great friend.’’

His expertise was acknowledged in 2008 when he was awarded the Harness Racing Australia “Distinguished National Service Award” for his contribution to the harness racing industry. The Albion Park HRC will now embark on a course to secure a new chief executive to replace Raedler.

“They will be hard shoes to fill,” Fowler said.

Changes on table

HARNESS Racing Australia has announced several modifications to the current “ratings” system.

These changes are now subject to formal adoption by the HRA members and implementation by Racing Information Services Enterprise Pty Ltd (RISE) into the “Harvey” (computer program) system, and lastly, adoption into the Australian handicapping rules.

Effective dates will follow.

Are you confused?

Since less than five per cent of trainers have been able to make any sense of the original format, other than the painful discovery that it is better to put a one win 3yo in the paddock, (unless it is a serious “Classic” horse), until next season.

Any other course of action will result in the “likely improver” having its competitive spirit destroyed by endless encounters with hardened veterans who have had years of experience, and are perhaps in their third or fourth reincarnation in the lower grades. Some system.

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight.

R1: Box trifecta 1-8-3: Cardles From Heaven (A Sanderson)-Our Bondi Beach (N Dawson)-Colonel Joy (C Geary).

R2: E/w 9: Lifes A Jungle (G Dixon).

R3: E/w 8: I Found The Beach (G Dwyer).

R4: Quinella 1-2: Comply Or Die (L Manzelmann) and Matron Jujon (G Dixon).

R5: Box trifecta 1-3-7: Spike Brpmac (N McMullen)-Maretti (C Geary)-Casino Tommy (N Dawson).

R6: E/w 8: That's How We Roll (A Richardson).

R7: Box trifecta 9-10-12: Als Law (P McMullen)-Quietly Spoken (N McMullen)-Northern Muscle (A Richardson).

R8: Quinella 1-2: Kay Nora Shannon (N McMullen) and Chinook Winds (R Gordon).

Honour board

FAMILIAR names on the leaderboard this week. Matt Elkins was top driver landing three wins with Narissa McMullen, Adam Sanderson and Pete McMullen, hot on his heels with two wins apiece. Triple dead heat for training honours - Tim Gillespie, Chantal Turpin and Greg Elkins, all on two for the week.

Definitely the most pleasing was Kid Calvert for Jurgen Stroschon at Redcliffe on Thursday with Matt Elkins in the sulky. Ipswich factor: 19/40.

Albion Park, February 2: Feel Like Dancin (Adam Sanderson for Wayne Graham); Bronski Macarena (Narissa McMullen for Brett Cargill); Major Currency (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); B Mac C (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); Als Law (Pete McMullen for Richard Hutchinson).

Albion Park, February 8: Jumping Jolt (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Cardles From Heaven (Adam Sanderson for Ian Gurney); Random Task (Justin Elkins for Donny Smith); Zahven Banner (Trent Dawson for Jack Butler); Pacific Coin (Lachie Manzelmann for Lola Weidemann).

Albion Park, February 11: Bib Bang Leonard (Angus Garrard for Stephanie Graham); High On Montana (Lachie Manzelmann for Lacey Hinze); Millwood Tilly (Chantal Turpin). Redcliffe, February 12: Sir Bulski (Tim Gillespie).

Redcliffe, February 13: Timeless Appeal (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Kid Calvert (Matt Elkins for Jurgen Stroschon); Dollar Bill (Angus Garrard for Kay Crone); Eye See Double (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Majordoit (Angus Garrard for Tim Gillespie).