VAS & HERO join forces for exciting new show series

VAS & HERO join forces for exciting new show series
Franco Heir with his HRV HERO rug
Franco Heir with his HRV HERO rug

A new partnership between Harness Racing Victoria’s (HRV) Harness Education & Rehoming Opportunities (HERO) Program and the Victorian Agricultural Shows Limited will deliver unprecedented showing opportunities for retired Standardbred racehorses.

For the first time, VAS Ltd will run a dedicated Standardbred showcase in 2016, culminating with a rich final to be held in conjunction with the acclaimed Victorian Saddle Horse Championships.

The format for the competition mirrors the very successful Thoroughbred Off The Track Series and provides qualifying heats at Agricultural Shows throughout the State, leading into a $1000 Final at Bendigo in January, 2017.

HERO Program Manager Tanya McDermott commended VAS Ltd for its commitment to Standardbreds in their life outside racing, and described the new series as enormously important.

“To be able to present ridden Standardbreds on such an auspicious stage is incredibly exciting,” she said.

“So many dedicated people have campaigned for acceptance of the Standardbred as a legitimate pleasure and performance horse and VAS Ltd’s endorsement through the introduction of the HERO Series is just reward for their faith.

“The number and quality of retired trotters and pacers transitioning into new homes at the conclusion of their racing career is at an all-time high.

“Likewise, the showing opportunities which are available, now headlined by the HERO Series, mean there has never been a better time to educate and campaign a retired Standardbred under saddle in Victoria.

“We have quite deliberately come out all guns blazing and set prizemoney levels for the new Series at a very lucrative level, in the hope that some of the show scene’s better known names might consider adding a Standardbred to their stable, further heightening and enhancing the breed’s profile.”

VAS Ltd Executive Officer Rod Bowles also welcomed the announcement.

“The Committee has been following the progress of the recreational Standardbred movement and feels the time is right to introduce a Series which acknowledges the breed’s development and refinement for riding.

“Following the introduction of HERO in July last year, we considered it opportune to partner with the Program and further demonstrate our support for retired racehorses, following on from the fantastic success of Racing Victoria’s Thoroughbred OTT Series,” he said.

The Alabar HERO Series has been made possible by the financial support of HRV and the State Government via the Victorian Racing Industry Fund.

Australasia’s leading Standardbred breeding operation, Alabar Bloodstock, has secured naming rights sponsorship of the event, further cementing its outstanding commitment to life after racing.

Stud principal Alan Galloway and his staff have a proud history of supporting organisations and events which provide an outlet for pleasure Standardbreds, making Alabar the perfect HERO Series associate in its first year.

The eligibility criteria, and a full schedule of events, will be available on the VAS Ltd website www.vicagshows.com.au.

For further information about the Alabar HERO Series, Harness Racing Victoria’s life after racing program, or to inquire about educating or rehoming a retired Standardbred, please email hrvhero@gmail.com.