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Harness racing identities charged with fraud

The case against the four men, including the former chairman of Harness Racing New Zealand has been set down for a hearing in March after they appeared at the Wellington District Court today. The four men have been charged over gaming fraud allegedly worth $30 million. Former HRNZ chairman Patrick O'Brien, his son Mike O'Brien, hospitality consultant Paul Max and a fourth man whose name is suppressed, face 32 charge of obtaining benefits by deception. The Serious Fraud Office has had ongoing investigations for a number of years into gaming trusts set up by the O'Brien's and their associates They have laid charges after an investigation involving police and the Internal Affairs Department into gaming grants made by the New Zealand Community Trust, Infinity and Bluegrass Trusts since 2006. About 20 venues including five taverns in Blenheim, five taverns in Wellington, two taverns in Hawke's Bay and one tavern in Masterton were investigated. All four were remanded by a registrar until March. At this point the four men involved have not entered any pleas to the charges.  Harnesslink Media    

Free legged pacer scores at Geraldine

It is not often you can go to a harness racing meeting in New Zealand and see a free legged pacer but yesterday at Geraldine Justasip strutted her stuff without the aid of a pair of hopples. The daughter of Bettors Delight has been prominent in all her four starts this campaign without the hobbles with a neck second at Oamaru her best result before yesterday. Settling four back in the running line from her second line draw, Justasip peeled four wide at the top of the straight and finished over the top of them late to claim a narrow but impressive win. Driver James Geddes was not surprised with yesterdays effort.. "Since we took the hobbles off in early November she has really turned the corner." " Her three runs before today all had merit and I don't think that will be her last win," James said. After qualifying well at three, Justasip had been very disappointing in the seven starts she had last season. This time in she again went terribly at her first start back at the trials so James decided to change tack with her. "I was about to quit with her but dad kept reminding me of how well she had qualified and that we should try something different with her," "We decided to use her as a galloping pacemaker but all she would do was free leg the whole time." "I took her to the trials free legged and she ran third at the first one and then won the second so I knew we were on the right track, " James said. James always had it in the back of his mind that Justasip would break without the hopples on at some point  but to date it hasn't happened. " She hasn't looked like making a mistake to date and is pretty foolproof really." " I did toy with selling her when she won a trial without the hopples but I am glad I didn't now." "Really all the credit should go to dad who knew she was a lot better than what she was showing, "James said. Free legged pacers are a rarity on the New Zealand harness racing scene with most trainers having doubts about how solid they will be but as Justasip showed yesterday,sometimes it is just what the doctor ordered. Harnesslink Media  

Oxygen - A full sister to Flying Anvil 1:55.9 ($46,600)

Art Major fillies in big demand

Art Major continues to create waves worldwide in harness racing circles as his stock have one of those golden runs that stallions have every so often. His fillies are having a great run in both hemispheres with the brilliant J K Shesalady 1:50.1 ($931,850) being unbeatable in North America as a two year filly in 2014 and Fight For Glory 1:55.9 ($195,966) going great guns in New Zealand. There are a swag of well bred Art Major fillies being offered at the upcoming sales in both Australia and New Zealand and they will be in hot demand by buyers with the run his stock have had in the last twelve months. One of those Art Major fillies being offered is Oxygen who is Lot 57 at the Australasian Classic Sale at Auckland. Oxygen is from the talented In The Pocket racemare Dontdrinkthendrive 1:56 ($41,732) who numbered a Nevele R Fillies heat win among her four victories on the track. At stud Dontdrinkthendrive has already produced the talented Flying Anvil 1:55.9 ($46,600) who also won a heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series and is a full sister to Oxygen. The grand - dam of Oxygen is We Love To Party and she has left seven winners to date including such smart types as Demcracy 1:50.2 ($131,983), Anvil Attack 2:00 ($104,773) and the brilliant The Boys GNP  who ran the 2400 metres in 2:55.9 in winning on debut, a mile rate of 1:57.9 with closing sectionals of 55.8 and 26.8 and created a huge impression in the process. We Love To Party is a half sister to the brilliant racemare Party Party 1:53.2($251,236) and is very closely related to Cowgirls N Indians 1:56.1 ($375,723) This family is renowned for leaving quality fillies and mares and Oxygen has all the attributes to add to the family record. Harnesslink Media  

Border Control - Showed real grit to win at Addington

Super night at the office at Addington for All Stars team

Absent owners were a feature of All Stars night out at Addington but their horses didn't mind-and Natalie certainly coped well. Diane Cournane, breeder and part-owner of Fight For Glory was on her last day of business  in the deep south and couldn't  really be away from that. Ann Gibbs has had a leg injury which put her out of contention in the same race. Phil and Glenys Kennard along with Neil Pilcher are also co-owners of Follow The Stars and headed off early to Melbourne leaving Phil Creighton to carry the flag. And Willow and King Denny,  are raced by Australians Jean Feiss and Merv and Meg Butterworth respectively who will also be tending to races and sales on the home front this weekend. Border Control ended a period of frustration for his owners winning the Summer Cup after another quality drive from Natalie. He had had only one start since last May when wear and tear of a testing career took its toll. Because of his lack of racing perhaps, Natalie allowed him to settle off the pace early. "They went real quick for him anyway but I was happy to let him settle" Natalie said. "Actually the race worked out good for us." "I had to go when I did which meant being parked but they went some easy sectionals in the middle there and that suited us." "He will head to Auckland now, he is up with the best when he is right." "They ran a 26.5 quarter and he handled that well" The mile record holder (1.50.5) is just under $500,000 in earnings and has won virtually half of his 37 race starts. Fight For Glory was driven a treat by Natalie -and these days we expect nothing less !  She sent Fight for Glory early then let "filly to beat" Delightful Lana take over giving her the passing lane. Fight for Glory, which had raced so well in Auckland with little luck, snuck through easily and nailed the rich $85,000 first prize Willow  was a trifle unfortunate taking some time to work into the clear in the Mares Special and was beaten a neck.  "We had had a good run but she just had to go around a couple of horses  at the turn and the winner had a lovely trip in the trail so that was the difference" King Denny just showed sheer class winning the final event. Admittedly on what he had shown in the past he would be expected to beat a field like this but he had blotted his copybook in the south. Mark put that down to freshness and was proven right. Natalie drove him confidently sitting out the back until the 1100m then circling the field, going clear and never being under pressure. The results meant that at the end of January Natalie's sensational driving record at Addington means she has only been further back than fourth three times in 27 drives Courtesy Of All Stars Racing Stables - Check site here  

One of the greatest harness racing stallions of all time in Artsplace is still available to breeders in the southern hemisphere via his frozen semen even though he has been deceased for nearly nine years. The son of Abercrombie has run up a set of statistics in the northern hemisphere that are truly mind boggling and will surely see him regarded as one of the all time greats. Winners - 1179        Stakes won $172,974,661     18 Millionaires      48 in 1:50  Artsplace only has three colts available in this years series of yearling sales in New Zealand and only one in the Australasian Classic Sale in Auckland. The colt for sale in Auckland is Lot 53, Bobs Your Uncle and he has a strong maternal family to support him. He is the second foal from the young Bettor's Delight mare Delightful Dale who though she qualified was unraced. The second dam is the former smart age group performer Dale Elinor 1:57.2 ($60,985) who finished an unlucky second in the Bathurst Gold Tiara Final at two. Dale Elinor has had a wretched run at stud with Delightful Dale her only live foal old enough to race at this stage. A full sister to Dale Elinor in Karen Donna left last seasons outstanding two year old filly Katy Perry 1:56.7 ($378,478) Kate Perry is by Bettor's Delight making her a full sister in blood to the dam of Bobs Your Uncle, Delightful Dale The third dam is the former star two and three year old filly in Megaera 1:56.8 ($250,646) who won the Caduceus Club Classic and the New Zealand Sires Stakes Filly final at three among her eight wins and was 1995/1996 two year filly of the year. This is another branch of the ultra successful Black Watch family which continues to churn out classic winners every season. Artsplace has already proven himself in the southern hemisphere with over 100 winners to date including such standouts as Guaranteed 1:50.4 ($810,772) and Flightpath 1:55.9 ($290,684)  Bobs Your Uncle has all the credentials on both sides of his pedigree to add to the record of his sire. Harnesslink Media  

Southern harness racing trainers are use to Canterbury raiders coming down south and plundering there races on a regular basis. Tonight in the $24,500 Alabar Super Series Final at Addington, the southerners got a bit of their own back when they trifected the race and shut out the Canterbury locals. The race was won at the start by the diminutive American Ideal three year old Tas Man Bromac when he made a brilliant beginning off ten metres and was up second after 200 metres. Trainer/Driver Nathan Williamson slowly worked him to the front before handing up to the Tony Barron trained Delightful Dash with Dexter Dunn in the bike. Tas Man Bromac got a lovely trip in the trail on Delightful Dash's back after that and sprinted  up the passing lane for a comfortable victory by 1 1/4 lengths over a game Delightful Dash. Al Raza, trained at Roxburgh by Geoff and Jude Knight looped the field with a lap to go and landed in the one by one . Out on the turn in plenty of time, she fought on gamely for third to round out the trifecta for the southerners. Nathan thought the brilliant beginning by Tas Man Bromac was what won him the race. " He has got such great manners and landing the trail from the 10 metres mark is what won him the race." " Delightful Dash has gone super as well but the great beginning we made has told in the end," Nathan said.  Tonights win was the three year olds sixth  win from just ten starts but Nathan is not entertaining thoughts of a Derby start. " He is just a length below the top ones so we will stick to the original plan. " Our aim all season has been the Southern Supremacy Final and thats we we are aiming him, " Nathan said. The fact that the trifecta was made up of southern trained runners hadn't escaped the young trainer either. " Don't forget to mention that the first three home were all southerners" was Nathan's last comment tonight as he headed off to the swabbing box. Harnesslink Media.    

There was a great sigh of relief tonight amongst harness racing followers when one of  the real good guys in our industry Blair Orange reined Change Time home in race two at Addington and in doing so became the twenty third New Zealand driver to crack the 1000 win mark. Blair had a run of bad luck at Blenheim last weekend but all that was forgotten tonight as Blair sent Change Time to the lead after 800 metres before trailing The Brigadier for the last lap and using the passing lane to sprint clear for a comfortable victory. A throng of family and well wishers applauded Blair as he brought the mare back to the winners circle tonight. Blair was his usual modest self as Harness Racing New Zealand.chairman Gary Allen made a presentation to mark Blair's achievement. Blair was full of praise and thanks for all the people who had helped him along the way. " For someone who doesn't come from a harness racing family, I can only thank the people who encouraged me and gave me a chance." "Tim Butt who I started with was never afraid to put me on when I was starting out and that helped get me established." "Mike Austin, Mark Purdon, Mark Jones and Andrew Stuart have all helped me throughout my career and I can't really thank them enough." "I am lucky enough to have a great wife in Lisa who stays at home looking after the kids while I am travelling all over the country." "I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for her support," Blair said. Harness racing is indeed fortunate that Blair chose this industry over his other great love Rugby League at which he was good enough to attract the interest of the Melbourne Storm . Harnesslink would like to join the rest of the industry in congratulating Blair on driving 1000 winners and for the manner in which he has done it. Harnesslink Media  

The Go Harness team have syndicated a lot of horses over the last few years but tonight was a bit of a watershed as they sold the first horse they ever syndicated.  Franco Harrison was the first horse that they syndicated after they brought him from Spreydon Lodge for $60,000. Placed with Cran Dalgety initially, Franco Harrison was ultra consistent early in the piece and gave the syndicate members a lot of thrills. However he was troubled by feet issues over time and his form dropped away which resulted in a transfer to the Greg and Nina Hope stable at Woodend Beach where it was hoped the beach training would help him get over his issues. While he did show glimpses of the old Franco Harrison with the highlight a five length win at Kaikoura in November, he was still a touch inconsistent. The syndicate had a condition that it was to be wound up after a set period and even though that period was extended  by syndicate boss Noel Kennard, the decision was made recently to fulfill the obligation to sell Franco Harrison at public auction to wind up the syndicate. Hence tonight at Addington after race two Franco Harrison was auctioned by PGG Wrightson auctioneer Peter Lagan and he was snapped up by leading amateur driver Mike Maynard for a paltry $1500. Mike was surprised that he picked him up for such a cheap price. " I thought he would go for a lot more than $1500" " I had a few mates set up to come in and race him with me but at $1500 I might just race him myself." " He can go round in the amateur races for now but he can always go back in claimers if he wins his way out of those races," Mike said. Aware that Franco Harrison has had his shares of issues with his feet, Mike is going to place Franco Harrison with Brad Mowbray at Yaldhurst. "Brad has a pool so that will help hopefully with his feet, Mike said. The Go Harness team have done a fantastic job introducing new people into the harness racing industry but maybe they should have another look about how they wind up their syndicates. Harnesslink Media  

The Whitelock family from Palmerston North who are well known in New Zealand for producing a string of outstanding rugby players, also have a growing reputation in the harness racing industry with the family racing/breeding a string of elite level colts and fillies over recent times. One of their best performers in recent years was the outstanding Bettor's Delight filly Dancing Diamonds 1:57.8 who won nine races at two and three on her way to earning $343,276. She numbered the two and three year old PGG Sales Races among her victories. Her first foal, a colt by Rocknroll Hanover named Rock Diamonds is being sold at this years Australasian Classic Sale and is sure to attract strong interest from buyers. Rocknroll Hanover 1:48.6 ($2,754,038) needs no introduction as he has already left the winners of over $73,000,000 including such stars as Rocknroll Heaven 1:47.6 ($2,754,818) and A Rocknroll Dance 1:47.4 ($2,429,441) Dancing Diamonds is bred on the potent Bettor's Delight/In The Pocket cross, and has a brilliant pedigree to go with her race record. Her dam Asabella ($52,809) was a smart two and three year old herself  and aside from Dancing Diamonds has also produced Ohoka Bondy 1:53.6 ($388,148) and Code Red 1:55.1 ($132,639) This is the branch of the Rothschild 124 maternal family closely associated with Jim Dalgety who brought the fifth dam of Rock Diamonds in Bellajily back from North America in the early 1970s in foal to Most Happy Fella. Bellajily won a New Zealand Derby before going to America and Bellajily and her daughters left Jim Dalgety a string of top horses headed by the likes of Jovial Jeanie(9 wins), Happy Hazel 1:57.6 ($236,623) and Imagine That 1:57.1 ($415,289). Belajily was also a full sister to the brilliant racemare Van Glory whose daughters left us Undercover Lover 1:51.8 ($864,811) and Bettor Cover Lover 1:53.8 ($1,026,428) It has been a brilliant maternal family for well over 50 years and shows no signs of tapering off. If anything it appears to be going from strength to strength. Rock Diamonds has all the credentials to add yet further kudos to his brilliant maternal family. Harnesslink Media  

In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance.  Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. Each issue includes an in-depth Stallion review not available anywhere else. All previous reviews can now be viewed at http://stallionsphere.com. This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: History, Hardball, Humor and Harness Racing - Harnesslink.com is proud to welcome Bob Carson to our staff. Bob has published over 300 magazine articles and short stories in what he refers to as his Four H Club (history, hardball, humor and harness racing). Among his awards are the Hervey, World Trotting Conference, The USTA Presidents and Best of Ohio Fiction. The Voyage of Mess (humor) was his first novel and he produced the documentary film Touching Home (Minor League Baseball). Bob lives in northeastern Ohio with his wife, Sue, and family. Make sure to read Bob's first Harnesslink column as it is a great story! What's happening with the Auckland Trotting Club video? - Without doubt the Auckland Trotting Club is one of the most progressive and forward thinking clubs in the Southern Hemisphere. The board is now made up of a good balance of successful businessman and horseman and appears to be making great progress in securing the long term future of harness racing in the largest urban area in New Zealand. Stallion Review – ROCKIN IMAGE – Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Rockin Image p,3,1:48.2 ($903,424)). Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).

Ricky May could hardly believe what he was hearing the other day when he got the call that Terror To Love had drawn the outside of the front line in this weekend's Victoria Cup. Time and again throughout his appearances in Australia, Terror To Love has drawn the worst possible barrier and Ricky thought they were well overdue for a decent marble. But  that was not to be and while the longest run of bad barriers in major races is set to continue on Saturday night, Ricky is far from conceding defeat with Terror To Love. " Last year Christen Me came from last at the 400 metres and six wide on the corner to run third so I don't think we are out of it at all" I drove Monkey King here from the same draw and we ran fourth with a terrible run so with a little bit of luck we can get some of it." "Seeing Franco Ledger run past them the other night has given the camp some confidence that we can be more than competitive," Ricky said. Post Saturday Ricky is really looking forward to the standing start Hunter Cup where the draw will not be half as influential as it is on Saturday night. Before then Ricky has the New Zealand Premier Mares Championship on Friday night at Addington on his radar and once again his drive Helena Jet has drawn poorly. Twice second to champion mare Adore Me in mares races over Xmas at Alexandra Park, Ricky thought Helena Jet would be very hard to beat with no Adore Me around but the Jeremes Jet mare has had the misfortune to draw outside her main rival, Venus Serena. Ricky though still thinks he can still find the front from barrier six on Friday night. " She has blinding gate speed so I am pretty committed to going forward with her." " She doesn't have many more runs left as she is in foal so we are not going to die wondering." "I think she is good enough to work early and still win the race," Ricky said. The master reinsman has been in great touch this season and the chances of a little bit of Ricky May magic over the weekend at both Addington and Melton cannot be discounted. Harnesslink Media

Another week of so close but so far for a lot of our harness racing tipsters with a lot of them having no luck at all. Some such as Blair Orange were a moral beaten in their races but that is the way it goes some times and it tends to balance itself out in the long run. Last week Scott Phelan was once again to the fore with Prince Of Pops ($7:30) while others to select winners included Robbie Holmes, John Curtin, Nathan Williamson, John Dunn and Matthew Williamson while another six of our tipsters ran in the money with their selections. This week is a really busy weekend and our tipsters have gone a little rougher in their selections. Forbury - Thursday night Brad Williamson - Rates Northview Major very hard to beat in the junior drivers event, race 4 Matthew Williamson - Thought Falcon Asset could be hard to beat in race 5 Nathan Williamson - Doesn't like the draw but still thought Statham would be too good in race 8 Bob Butt - Gives Magic Oats a big chance to turn around his form and win race 9   Cambridge - Friday afternoon Maurice McKendry - Thought The Moonraker is drawn to get the run of the race and could win race 3 Steve Richardson(TAB) - Likes Present Arms from barrier one to lead and win, also in race 3 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates Love Ina Chevy a huge winning chance in race 6   Addington - Friday night Jim Curtin - Thinks Star Of Dionysis is overdue to win a race and is a big chance to do so in race 2 Scott Phelan - Gives Prince Of Pops a big chance of going back to back in race 4 Ricky May - Knows she is up against it from the draw but still thinks Helena Jet can win race 5 Gerard O'Reilly - Thought Bettor Think Twice could get some of it from a great draw in race 6   Geraldine - Saturday afternoon Blair Orange - Rates Pay Me Visa a big chance of giving him win number 1000 in race 3 Craig Thornley - Thinks Dream Big only has to go away to be very hard to beat in race 4   Thames - Sunday afternoon Tony Herlihy - Thought Cthe ballerina had been unlucky lately and would win race 4 Todd Macfarlane - Keen on Revenue Maker to turn his form around and win race 7 Sean McCaffrey - Thinks Styx It To Em , who has just had a dropback will be hard to beat in race 8   Wyndham - Sunday afternoon Clark Barron - Thought Mass Invasion on last weeks run would be tough to bowl in race 5  Shane Walkinshaw - Rates Give Me The Night as very hard to beat in race 6 Robbie Holmes - Thinks Kiwi Legend is very smart and should just win race 8      

Rob Carr and Don Kirkbride know all about the ups and downs of the annual yearling sales, having been involved since the mid 80’s, they have seen some good years and some rather lean years, which in all likelihood have mirrored the state of the harness racing industry over that time. However they have stuck with it and this year have four high quality yearlings again for the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka, Auckland, on the 16th February. Through the years Rob and Don have usually bred from a maximum of 4 mares at any one time and apart from keeping the odd filly all the progeny have gone through the sales. Early on they purchased the likes of Miranda Dream, Miss Burnside (both families the Reids and Purdons had great success with) and Gitten (a very good juvenile filly).  Miss Burnside was a prolific producer, foaling 16 years in succession and all of her offspring went through the sales, with the best performers on the track being Okay Matao and Missy Matao, both of whom are now breeding on. Gitten’s claim to fame was as the dam of Sir Rossini (from the first crop of Falcon Seelster) who sold for $90,000 at the 1998 sale, which was a great price in those days and the top priced colt for his year.  Sir Rossini was purchased by Barry Purdon on behalf of notable buyer of the time Carlo La Rosa and had 1 win and 3 seconds from just 5 starts in New Zealand before relocating to Sydney where he raced successfully at Harold Park for many years before finishing his racing days in the United States, winning a total of 13 races and $121,296, achieving a 1:53.6 mile time. In 2002 Rob and Don purchased Chaangerr and immediately put her in foal to In The Pocket, with the resultant progeny of course being Changeover.  The year he went through the sale ring, they also had a black Bettor’s Delight colt out of Anna Matao (the very first and only progeny of the now champion sire to go through the sales ring that year) called Sure Bet.  He went on to sell for $62,500 and won one race before fracturing a leg in training and having to be put down.  He showed a lot of promise and it was claimed at the time that he would have gone on and won many more races. Changeover was knocked down to Geoff Small for $28,000, for the Auckland Trotting Club 2006 Syndicate and went on to win 29 races and $2.4 million and is now a successful sire. Chaangerr’s progeny continue to do well with both Change Time and Change Stride flying the flag high, being recent winners at the Alexandra Park Premier December meeting.  Chaangerr has proved to be a broodmare gem, leaving 10 individual winners, of 82 races, for $2,739,882 in stake earnings. In 2003 Rob and Don purchased the good Group 1 winning race mare Dancingonmoonlight while she was racing in the USA, through agent John Curtin.  She won races in NZ, Australia and America, with her best progeny to date being Miss Moonlite with 13 wins including the Group 1 Australasian 4YO Mares Breeders Crown Final (the first and only mother and daughter to win Breeders Crown Finals) and Bettor Still who has had 16 wins in West Australia. One of the hardest aspects of breeding for the sales is trying to assess what sires will be fashionable in 2-3 years’ time when the sales come around, as well as getting the right cross for your mare and Rob and Don have always tried to go to top end sires to give their mares and resultant progeny the best chance possible. This year’s sale draft is no exception, with Well Said, Rocknroll Hanover, Mach Three and Somebeachsomewhere being the sires of choice back in 2012 when the decisions had to be made and they are all leading sires in either or all of New Zealand, Australia and the United States/Canada today. This year’s draft is outstanding in pedigree and confirmation and comprises:- Lot 12  -  Bay Filly … Welcome Change (WELL SAID / ANNA MATAO) By the USA’s leading first season sire in 2013, who has continued on to be 4th on the 2YO and 3rd on the 3YO USA lists for 2014.  This filly is a ½-sister to 5 winners, including ANESCAPE (1:50.6, 22 wins, $174,211), PULSATION (1:53.2, 16 wins, $128,311), ITS FOREVER NOW (p3, 1:57, 7 wins, $106,288) and is a direct descendant of BLACK WATCH. Lot 28  -  Bay Colt … Change Pace (ROCKNROLL HANOVER / CHAANGERR) By one of the world’s greatest stallions, this colt is a ½-brother to 10 winners, including CHANGEOVER (1:53.4, 29 wins, $2,426,765), CHANGE TIME (1:57.9, 5 wins, $49,206), CHANGE STRIDE (p3, 1:57.7, 4 wins, $4,014) and is very closely related to CHOKIN (1:56.2, 34 wins, $1,801,685) and FLY LIKE AN EAGLE (1:53.9, 19 wins, $756,178). Lot 47  -  Bay Filly … Unchanged (MACH THREE / CHANGEDOWN) By one of the leading sires in USA, NZ and Australia, this filly is out of a FALCON SEELSTER ½-sister to 10 winners, including CHANGEOVER (1:53.4, 29 wins, $2,426,765), CHANGE TIME (1:57.9, 5 wins, $49,206), CHANGE STRIDE (p3, 1:57.7, 4 wins, $4,014) and is closely related to  CHOKIN (1:56.2, 34 wins, $1,801,685) and FLY LIKE AN EAGLE (1:53.9, 19 wins, $756,178). Lot 66  -  Bay Colt … Some Change (SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE / DANCINGONMOONLIGHT) By the world’s leading 2 & 3YO sire in 2012 & 2013, this colt is from a Group 1 winning mare and is a ½-brother to 4 winners, including Group 1 winner MISS MOONLITE (1:54.7, 13 wins, $213,165), BETTOR STILL (1:56.3, 16 wins, $110,835) and recent back-to-back winner MAJOR CHANGE (p3, 1:58.6, 2 wins, $6,973) and is closely related to CLEAR THE FLOOR (1:57, 12 wins, $49,338) and MY RIVIERA GIRL (1:58.7, 18 wins, $55,322). Photos of each lot are attached.

The harness racing workouts at Rangiora today (January 28th) featured 20 heats but most interest was centred around the six two year old heats. There were plenty of well bred youngsters on display and some budding stars put their hands up today. We thought we would comment on all the juveniles that impressed us in their heats and as has become common in the last few seasons, most of those were runners belonging to the All Stars Stable. Chase The Dream - Straight to the front and gave nothing a look in in taking out his 2000 metres heat in 2:30.5, a mile rate of 2:01 with closing sectionals of 57.9 and 28.5 Seemed to do it with a fair bit in reserve and backed up his impressive trial win at Ashburton last week. Obvious contender for feature races coming up in the next few weeks. Waikiki Beach - Settled well back in the running,but made ground impressively late to run second to Chase The Dream, beaten two lengths. Ran through the line and seems to have a fair bit of bottom to him. One or two look better at the moment but he is the type to keep getting better with trials/racing. Major Ben - Settled midfield on the inner before breezing from the 600 and was holding his stablemate Motu Premier the last 50 metres after giving him the drag home. He cut the 2000 metres out in 2:29.5, the fastest time of the day, a mile rate of 2:00.2 with closing sectionals of 57.7 and 28.6. It was another impressive display after his 1:57.6 mile at the Ashburton trials last week. A big son of Art Major, Major Ben has all the attributes you look for in a top two year old and he looks to have a big future.  Linton Shard - Nice run for third this week after a handy workout win last week and the Changeover half brother to Smiling Shard 1:53.7 ($1,178,793) and Pemberton Shard 1:55.8 ($187,997) continues to impress. The addition of Dexter in the bike should make him competitive. Motu Premier - Ran his stablemate Major Ben to a head but did have the drag home on his back. Showed real improvement on his third at last weeks Ashburton trials and further improvement on today's effort will make him competitive where ever he starts. Mastercraftsman - Having his first run away from home, the son of Bettors Delight was very impressive storming home late to grab Ice Crusher. Cut out the 2000 metres in 2:30.9, a mile rate of 2:01.3 with closing sectionals of 58.1 and 29.3. Will definitely improve of his first run which makes him a major player anywhere he goes. Ice Crusher - Went good last week at the workouts but better again this week and has all the ringcraft to make a two year old. Looks a touch off a few mentioned here but manners and ringcraft will take him a long way. Dream About Me - The three quarter sister to champion mare Adore Me was very impressive finishing quickly late for the win. She paced the 2000 metres in 2:33..2, a mile rate of 2:03.2 with closing sectionals of 58.6 and 28.3 This was her first run back after a couple of unplaced trial runs in November and there is a lot of upside in this filly. Emeli Maguire - This daughter of Rocknroll Hanover is a half sister to the brilliant Lizzie Maguire 1:55.1 ($477,366). A winner and placed at her two previous trials last October/November, Emeli Maguire has come back  really well and looks a filly with a big future. Northern Velocity - Didn't run time today but very impressive performance. Last at the 800 metres, she worked forward from there and was too strong in the straight.   Has had plenty of practice to date and looks to have plenty of upside. Arden's Choice - Again she didn't run time but very impressive closing 800 metres of 57.2 shows she is a two year old of real potential A half sister to such standouts as Bettors Strike 1:55.7 ($890,201) Rocknroll Arden 1:54.8 ($172,154) and  Southwind Arden 1:58.4 ($150,127) means she has the breeding to match her ability. Also has the ringcraft to go with her ability Mackenzie - Big powerful filly who really made ground stylishly the last bit to push Arden's Choice. Coming off the back of a very impressive win last week at Ashburton, Mackenzie looks like a filly that can do a lot of work and still finish off her races. Mackenzie is by Rocknroll Heaven from the champion Australian racemare Kept For Pleasure 1:56 ($542,343) so she lacks nothing in the breeding department. The best Rocknroll Heavens to date have all been fillies so she ticks all the boxes. Harnesslink Media

The harness racing sales in New Zealand continue to go from strength to strength on the quality front and this years Australasian Classic Sale is no exception being chock full of quality individuals. One family that has been to the fore over the last 25 years is the one that traces to Black Watch which was carefully nurtured over a long time by the doyen of northern breeders, Sandy Yarndley. There are a lot of her descendants in this years sales but one filly from the family that took our eye was lot 45, Franconia. By boom sire Art Major who is having such a strong run world wide at the moment, Franconia is a daughter of the former outstanding racemare Coburg 1:56.7 ($205,176) who was the four year old mare of the year in New Zealand in 2004. At stud Coburg has already produced Veste 1:57.1 ($106,023) who won the Caduceus Club Classic at two for legendary trainer Mark Purdon. Mark must have liked Veste because last year he went back and brought another one out of Coburg in Conversion who qualified in 2:00.4 at the recent Ashburton trials and looks a very promising two year old. Coburg is a half sister to the champion pacer Stunin Cullen 1:54.1 ($1,493,716) and Coburg's dam Vicario is a half sister to IL Vicolo 1:55.6 ($1,253,807) and to the dam of Gotta Go Cullen 1:58.2 ($1,173,343). Regardless of what Franconia does on the racetrack, her residual value when retired to the broodmare barn will be significant. Harnesslink Media   

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The case against the four men, including the former chairman of Harness Racing New Zealand has been set down for a hearing in March after they appeared at the Wellington District Court today. The four men have been charged over gaming fraud allegedly worth $30 million. Former HRNZ chairman Patrick O'Brien, his son Mike O'Brien, hospitality consultant Paul Max and a fourth man whose name is suppressed, face 32 charge of obtaining benefits by deception. The Serious Fraud Office has had ongoing investigations for a number of years into gaming trusts set up by the O'Brien's and their associates They have laid charges after an investigation involving police and the Internal Affairs Department into gaming grants made by the New Zealand Community Trust, Infinity and Bluegrass Trusts since 2006. About 20 venues including five taverns in Blenheim, five taverns in Wellington, two taverns in Hawke's Bay and one tavern in Masterton were investigated. All four were remanded by a registrar until March. At this point the four men involved have not entered any pleas to the charges.  Harnesslink Media    
It is not often you can go to a harness racing meeting in New Zealand and see a free legged pacer but yesterday at Geraldine Justasip strutted her stuff without the aid of a pair of hopples. The daughter of Bettors Delight has been prominent in all her four starts this campaign without the hobbles with a neck second at Oamaru her best result before yesterday. Settling four back in the running line from her second line draw, Justasip peeled four wide at the top of the straight and finished over the top of them late to claim a narrow but impressive win. Driver James Geddes was not surprised with yesterdays effort.. "Since we took the hobbles off in early November she has really turned the corner." " Her three runs before today all had merit and I don't think that will be her last win," James said. After qualifying well at three, Justasip had been very disappointing in the seven starts she had last season. This time in she again went terribly at her first start back at the trials so James decided to change tack with her. "I was about to quit with her but dad kept reminding me of how well she had qualified and that we should try something different with her," "We decided to use her as a galloping pacemaker but all she would do was free leg the whole time." "I took her to the trials free legged and she ran third at the first one and then won the second so I knew we were on the right track, " James said. James always had it in the back of his mind that Justasip would break without the hopples on at some point  but to date it hasn't happened. " She hasn't looked like making a mistake to date and is pretty foolproof really." " I did toy with selling her when she won a trial without the hopples but I am glad I didn't now." "Really all the credit should go to dad who knew she was a lot better than what she was showing, "James said. Free legged pacers are a rarity on the New Zealand harness racing scene with most trainers having doubts about how solid they will be but as Justasip showed yesterday,sometimes it is just what the doctor ordered. Harnesslink Media  
Art Major continues to create waves worldwide in harness racing circles as his stock have one of those golden runs that stallions have every so often. His fillies are having a great run in both hemispheres with the brilliant J K Shesalady 1:50.1 ($931,850) being unbeatable in North America as a two year filly in 2014 and Fight For Glory 1:55.9 ($195,966) going great guns in New Zealand. There are a swag of well bred Art Major fillies being offered at the upcoming sales in both Australia and New Zealand and they will be in hot demand by buyers with the run his stock have had in the last twelve months. One of those Art Major fillies being offered is Oxygen who is Lot 57 at the Australasian Classic Sale at Auckland. Oxygen is from the talented In The Pocket racemare Dontdrinkthendrive 1:56 ($41,732) who numbered a Nevele R Fillies heat win among her four victories on the track. At stud Dontdrinkthendrive has already produced the talented Flying Anvil 1:55.9 ($46,600) who also won a heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series and is a full sister to Oxygen. The grand - dam of Oxygen is We Love To Party and she has left seven winners to date including such smart types as Demcracy 1:50.2 ($131,983), Anvil Attack 2:00 ($104,773) and the brilliant The Boys GNP  who ran the 2400 metres in 2:55.9 in winning on debut, a mile rate of 1:57.9 with closing sectionals of 55.8 and 26.8 and created a huge impression in the process. We Love To Party is a half sister to the brilliant racemare Party Party 1:53.2($251,236) and is very closely related to Cowgirls N Indians 1:56.1 ($375,723) This family is renowned for leaving quality fillies and mares and Oxygen has all the attributes to add to the family record. Harnesslink Media  
Absent owners were a feature of All Stars night out at Addington but their horses didn't mind-and Natalie certainly coped well. Diane Cournane, breeder and part-owner of Fight For Glory was on her last day of business  in the deep south and couldn't  really be away from that. Ann Gibbs has had a leg injury which put her out of contention in the same race. Phil and Glenys Kennard along with Neil Pilcher are also co-owners of Follow The Stars and headed off early to Melbourne leaving Phil Creighton to carry the flag. And Willow and King Denny,  are raced by Australians Jean Feiss and Merv and Meg Butterworth respectively who will also be tending to races and sales on the home front this weekend. Border Control ended a period of frustration for his owners winning the Summer Cup after another quality drive from Natalie. He had had only one start since last May when wear and tear of a testing career took its toll. Because of his lack of racing perhaps, Natalie allowed him to settle off the pace early. "They went real quick for him anyway but I was happy to let him settle" Natalie said. "Actually the race worked out good for us." "I had to go when I did which meant being parked but they went some easy sectionals in the middle there and that suited us." "He will head to Auckland now, he is up with the best when he is right." "They ran a 26.5 quarter and he handled that well" The mile record holder (1.50.5) is just under $500,000 in earnings and has won virtually half of his 37 race starts. Fight For Glory was driven a treat by Natalie -and these days we expect nothing less !  She sent Fight for Glory early then let "filly to beat" Delightful Lana take over giving her the passing lane. Fight for Glory, which had raced so well in Auckland with little luck, snuck through easily and nailed the rich $85,000 first prize Willow  was a trifle unfortunate taking some time to work into the clear in the Mares Special and was beaten a neck.  "We had had a good run but she just had to go around a couple of horses  at the turn and the winner had a lovely trip in the trail so that was the difference" King Denny just showed sheer class winning the final event. Admittedly on what he had shown in the past he would be expected to beat a field like this but he had blotted his copybook in the south. Mark put that down to freshness and was proven right. Natalie drove him confidently sitting out the back until the 1100m then circling the field, going clear and never being under pressure. The results meant that at the end of January Natalie's sensational driving record at Addington means she has only been further back than fourth three times in 27 drives Courtesy Of All Stars Racing Stables - Check site here  
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