Some of the best drivers from around the world will converge on Victoria next March for the inaugural International All Star Series conducted by Harness Racing Victoria, the state where the great Australian city of Melbourne is located.
Five local drivers will represent Victoria on tracks right across the state, while five star international reinsmen will make up the World Team. The series will culminate on Great Southern Star night at Tabcorp Park Melton (Saturday, March 12).
The World team will be made up of New Zealand pair Dexter Dunn (current World Driving Champion) and Anthony Butt (seven-time A. G. Hunter Cup winner), Canada's Yannick Gingras (the No.1 driver in the USA and the biggest name in the sport worldwide) and leading US drivers Brett Miller and Corey Callahan. (Also of note, US ace Tim Tetrick is presently touring Australia and competing in races.)
HRV General Manager – Operations Vaughn Lynch is excited about the new series, which will cast an international spotlight on Victorian harness racing across International Week.
"We're pumped to have some of the best drivers in the world heading Down Under to compete in the International All Star Series,” said Lynch. "And I expect the Victorian stars will be holding their own, too, led by world record reinswoman and the first woman to ever win a New Zealand Trotting Cup Kerryn Manning.”
Representing Victoria will be Chris Alford and Gavin Lang (over 5000 wins each), Greg Sugars (over 2000 wins), Kerryn Manning (world record reinswoman) and Jason Lee (two-time Concession Driver of the Year).
"This is going to be great. I'm so excited to be heading to Victoria for the first International All Star Series,” Gingras said. "There will be no holds barred out there and I'm really looking forward to getting on track, as I imagine all the guys will be.”
The International All Star Series will see the stars trek from Melton on Monday March 7 to Echuca on Tuesday night March 8. Then it will be off to Maryborough for Wednesday March 9, Ballarat on Thursday night, March 10, and the action turns to Bendigo on Friday night, March 11.
There will be four International All Star Series races on each night except the final meeting, the Great Southern Star, when there will be one.
In addition to attending the trots around Victoria the drivers will also be getting involved in a range of community events, sending the harness racing message to the masses.
"The Victorian industry will garner worldwide attention from this series,” HRV CEO John Anderson said. "It will engage young people right across the state and trots fans will be able to meet their heroes in person, which will be great for the promotion of the industry.
"Providing country clubs with the opportunity to showcase the world's best is also a key component and one that I'm sure the clubs involved will embrace enthusiastically.”
All the competing drivers will be wearing personalized silks, which they helped design themselves to reflect their personalities. All of the races will be penalty free and trainers' incentives will also be offered.
HRV acknowledges the important State Government funding this project has received as part of the Victorian Racing Industry Fund. Click here for the International All Star Series Media Information PDF file (Harness Racing Victoria)