Day At The Track

Always B Miki has the heart of a harness racing champion. He has proven this time and time again, whether it be setting a world record during the Allerage Pace, or in his fierce showdown in the 2016 Breeders Crown to capture his second consecutive Breeders Crown title. His fierce determination has led to his success on the track, even after suffering a potentially career-ending injury his 3-year-old year, Always B Miki would not be stopped. He recovered and came back even stronger, with wins in the Breeders Crown, the Haughton Memorial, the Gold Cup, and the Ben Franklin, among many others, landing on the board an impressive 45 times. His grit and speed are second to none, and he will surely be a force to be reckoned with in the stud barn. Always B Miki  Click here for Always B Miki on Wikipedia 2011 Bay Stallion by Always A Virgin out of Artstopper Earnings of $2,715,368 2016 Horse of The Year Always B Miki set the WORLD RECORD during the Allerage Pace, winning in an outstanding 1:46 Two time Breeders Crown champion, winning both in 2015 and then again the consecutive year in 2016, in a thrilling battle against Wiggle It Jiggleit Only horse to win 4 races in 1:47 or faster Multiple other victories in prestigious races such as the Ben Franklin, Haughton Memorial and the Ewart Memorial Always B Miki record Year Age Starts Win Place Show Earnings Speed Record Ref 2013 2 12 2 4 3 $135,384 1:53.1 [8] 2014 3 19 12 4 – $791,482 1:47.4 [29] 2015 4 4 4 – – $301,210 1:48.1 [30] 2016 5 18 12 5 – $1,487,292 1:46.0[a] [31] Overall 53 30 13 3 $2,719,368 1:46.0   ^ World record[28] Always B Miki is featured with 26 yearlings at the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale, New Zealand this coming week. He has 12 yearlings in the Northern Sale at Karaka on Monday and he has 14 in the Southern Sale on Tuesday and Wednesday. Breckon Farms have six yearlings entered by Always B Miki in the Northern Sale at Karaka.  One of those yearlings is Lot 9 Money Motives,out of the race winning Bettor's Delight mare Moving Money selling on behalf of Breckon Farms.. Moving Money's dam is the very good race mare Angela's Dream winner of $118,244. Lot 9 - Money Motives Other yearlings by Always B Miki from the Breckon Farms draft are Lot 43, Lot 76, Lot 93, Lot 103 and Lot 106 Harnesslink Media.

It’s often hard to line up 2yr old form with any confidence. A smart, well bred performer might look a million bucks one week and perform like it’s worth two bucks-fifty the next. Couple that with the All Stars Stables dominance of juvenile racing in New Zealand over the past few years and you have an argument that might say “she’s a nice one for next season” or “she’ll be better placed once the good fillies are out of the way” I’m not entirely sure that argument would hold up for a certain trial and workout performer lately… Credentials are as follows Trainer: M Anderson Horse: Town Echo The Art Major filly, out of a Bettor’s Delight two-win mare in Cordelia, has impressed in her two trials and does genuinely look like a horse that can have punters sitting up and slinging their hard-earned on at short notice. Her eight length blitzing of a field yesterday at Rangiora trials (in a time of 2.35.7 over the 2000m mobile) comes after a bullish trial performance some three months ago at Addington when accounting for the Cran Dalgety trained Karmic Delight. On that occasion Town Echo found the line like a horse in a hurry completing the last quarter in a little over 27 seconds from the trail to win by a comfortable two length margin. Yes it’s early days but there are fair wins and there are nice wins, the efforts of Town Echo certainly belonging in the latter of those two descriptions. A further investigation in to the prospective quality of the filly is supported by a brief look at its closely-related performers. Aqua Sancta (2 wins from just 7 starts on NZ soil) Zinny Mach (now multiple winner in the USA) and the well travelled Our Bagger Vance (8 wins) all have blood ties to the Anderson runner. When you couple those family-ties effort with the sound UDR of the young trainer / driver then you have a compelling argument towards Town Echo being more than your average run-of-the-mill qualifier.     So while the two year-old riches generally go to the stable racing in blue with a few stars on their chests if would pay to follow the Anderson trained runner in the months ahead. There’s a strong chance you’ll witness a nice horse, in full flight, winning races.    If Town Echo is the horse her recent efforts suggest then Lot 35 at the upcoming 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale is well worth a look. “Cover Girl” is a Bettor’s Delight filly offered by Breckon Farms and is closely related via her dam (Sossusvlei) being a half sister to Cordelia. “Cover Girl” is only the second foal out of Sossuvlei and a full sister to the forementioned Aqua Sancta. Pedigree updates; Aqua Sancta 2016 (Bettor's Delight-Sossusvlei, by Art Major - Corbie) 29/11/2019 2nd NZMTC NZ Sires Stks 3yo Silver 1-58.3 Cash N Flow 2012 (Mach Three-Karen Donna, by In The Pocket - Megaera) 09/11/2019 2nd Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle NSW Kevin Robinson ffa Gr.3 16/11/2019 1st Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle NSW Sue Kelly ffa 1-49.9 Gr.3 30/11/2019 2nd Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle NSW Lazarus At Yirribee ffa Gr.3 06/01/2020 1st Tabcorp Pk Menangle Ainsworth Game Technology Pace 1-52.0 25/01/2020 2nd Tabcorp Park Melton Vic Casey Classic Gr.2 Perfect Stride 2016 (Bettor's Delight-Chicago Blues, by Christian Cullen - Bluejeanbabyqueen) 26/11/2019 1st Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle Garrards Horse And Hound Pace 1-53.1 25/01/2020 3rd Tabcorp Park Melton Vic Derby Gr.1 Ben McMillan

Alexandra Park’s Summer Carnival: Oaks and Derby Oaks and Derby combines premiere racing action, fashion, entertainment plus bottomless dining and beverage packages across two days in February and March. In addition, Alexandra Park is supporting the Teal Pants Campaign with various activations happening at Oaks Night! Save when you buy a Summer Carnival Pass which gets you into both events! We recommend booking sooner rather than later as prime seating is being sold as a first come, first serve basis. Click here to find out more information and to book your tickets! Alexandra Park’s Owners Night Retail therapy? Valentines gift? Why not buy a horse? If you’ve ever considered ownership, then Alexandra Park’s Owners Night from 5.30pm on Friday 14th February in the Tasman Room is where you’ve got to be! Entry is FREE, so it’s the perfect way to find out more on how to break into the harness racing industry, by mixing and mingling with other owners here on the night. Our MC will be drawing prizes throughout the night while you enjoy delicious food from the Lyell Creek Lounge located on the same floor with an open cash bar. We hope to see you there! Register your interest by contacting Karen Blanchard on 027 808 3150 or by emailing General Admission is FREE at Alexandra Park Walk right on in and witness all the racing action at any one of our race nights. The Alex Bar and Eatery is open til late and has a huge range of delicious food and drink options for guests. Wander outside and explore the parade ring and get closer to the action with the outdoor seating located track side where you can witness the horses being driven up the home straight. Check out The Alex Bar & Eatery menu: Winton Harness Racing Club - February 16 PLOUGHMANS LUNCH WITH WENDY FREW PART OF WINTON RACE DAY    A Ploughman’s Lunch with retired Southern Steel Captain Wendy Frew is a feature of the Teal Pants Campaign at the Winton Harness Racing Club meeting at Central Southland Raceway in Winton on Sunday (16 February). The Robin Dundee Club is organising the lunch in support of WomenCan - Team Teal - which is part of a day of ten harness races which comes during the nationwide harness racing Teal Pants Campaign which raises money for the fight against Ovarian Cancer. The lunch will feature a selection of meats, pickles, cheeses, nuts, breads and light salads. Southland’s very own netball great, Wendy, will take the floor from around 2pm talking about her career as an international netballer. Tickets are just $10 and a cash bar will operate – wear teal and you could win a prize. Tickets are extremely limited and available from: Caroline Carter 0274 518 784 or 03 206 6339 Lynley Morris 03 2066 987 or 021 048 8448 Daphne Fairbairn 027 452 5954 Gail Paisley 027 222 1114 or 03 231 3462 The Robin Dundee Club are also sponsoring a race during the programme and invite anyone to drop by at anytime during the day. The club will also donate $50 to Team Teal should a Team Teal driver be the reinswoman of the race winner plus they will also donate $50 for each race won by a filly/mare and $50 for each race with a female driver on the winner. The Teal Pants branding refers to the colour of driving pants worn by lady drivers during the promotion. In the south the Teal Pants campaign sees $500 donated every time a female driver wins a race between 1 February and 7 March 2020 with Harness Racing NZ donating $200, the club at who’s meeting the victory takes place giving $100, Woodlands Stud $100 and Southern Harness Racing $100. Ten harness races are scheduled on the day with the first scheduled for 12.07pm. A draw of losing tickets after race 6 will net a couple of punters a betting voucher each, with the hope that it improves their luck. Admission to the course will be free! Lindsay Beer Promotions Officer Southern Harness Racing 021 351 499 Ladies Night at Cambridge Raceway - Friday February 21st Get your gal pals together for a very special edition of our popular Friday Night's Under The Lights series in support of Team Teal. $5 from every ticket will be donated to the Team Teal campaign - a NZ Harness Racing initiative where all female drivers in New Zealand wear teal coloured driving pants to help raise funds and awareness for Ovarian Cancer. The evening will also feature the inaugural running of the $30,000 Waikato Trotting Breeders' Stakes (2700m) for fillies and mares. VIP TICKETS are only $49 EACH (use code: "teamteal" for a $10 discount) Ticket price includes: 1x glass of bubbles on arrival, $30 food voucher, $5 betting, race book, 1x drink voucher (wine, beer or non-alcoholic beverage only) and & goodie bag. ENTRY TICKET $10 EACH Ticket price includes race book + drink (beer wine or non-alcoholic). For more info on this event or to book tickets please click on this link Stratford Trotting Club - Thursday 27th February Stratford Trotting Club has our first twilight meeting. Racing starts at 3pm. Free entry with kids entertainment including the Dairy Master Train, bouncy castle, Kidz Kartz and rides in the Kidz Kartz. Racing featuring the Quentin Oakes Builders Stratford Cup and the Brian Darth Funeral Directors North Island Grass Track Trotters Cup. All trainers and owners are invited to a pre-race night BBQ on Wednesday 26th of February from 5.30pm onwards, where a bbq dinner will be provided with subsidised drinks and raffles. Those needing accomodation, TAB facilities, we recommend contacting Ian and Jude at the New Commercial Hotel 06 765 6364, they also have a great public bar and restaurant on site. Bring a picnic and set up on the lawn to enjoy a fun filled community event. Forbury Park Trotting Club - Thursday 5th March Will to Live at Forbury Park, March 5, 2020, starting from 5.30pm. Help support this worthy cause while enjoying a fun night at the races. Find out more here.

The Somebeachsomewhere horse Beachtrea, a full-brother to former champion racehorse and now leading sire Captaintreacherous, is available for stud duties ‘Down Under’ next season. An upstanding individual, foaled in 2011, Beachtrea represents a great opportunity for a small stud in New Zealand or Australia to secure a young stallion from one of the most highly prized families in America today. Beachtrea was only lightly raced due to injury and took his record of 1:52.6 at three years. Standing in Ohio, Beachtrea, from restricted stud chances, has sired 13 winners – including three in 1:55 - from 18 starters to date from his first two racing crops. On the score of blood Beachtrea lacks nothing. His sire Somebeachsomewhere (1:46.8) was a champion with stake earnings of $3.2million and has been one of America’s top sires for some time. He figures as the sire of two of America’s greatest pacers in Captaintreacherous (1:47.3) – a younger brother of Beachtrea – and Pure Country (1:48). Worldly Treasure (1:53.2), the dam of Beachtrea, was one of the many grand producing daughters of a champion sire in Artsplace (1:49.4), being out of a noted produced in World Order (1:53), by Nihilator from Rodine Hanover (1:54), by Big Towner. World Order was the dam of seven individual winners three of whom took record of 1:55 or better including an outstanding racemare in Worldly Beauty 1:49.6, winner of $1.9m in stakes. In turn Worldly Beauty has proved herself a champion broodmare, being the dam of Rock N Roll World 1:48.6 ($712,737), the Hoosier Cup winner World Of Rocknroll (1:50.6) and Captain Deo (1:50.4). World Of Her Own, a daughter of Worldly Beauty, is the dam of Sir Richard Z Tam (1:50.2). This is the immediate family of champion Australian sire Art Major, the leading juvenile sire on six occasions, and other successful ‘down under’ sires in Perfect Art and Panspacificflight. For further details contact Peter Wharton on +61409192532

Superstar pacer One Change is not for sale. At least that’s what can be derived if the Chinese-whisper-mill of the harness racing industry can be believed. The offer, which would have bought you a 4-bed family home in Invercargill or a front porch in Auckland, obviously not tempting enough to get connections to part with their Group 1 performer. You can’t blame them either. The son of Bettor’s Delight has been a force unabated in group features from the time he first stepped onto a racetrack proper.      His impeccable resume includes no less than three Group 1 victories from just 11 starts (Sires Stakes Final, 2yr Old Emerald, 2yr old Garrards Sires Stakes) alongside his wins in the NZ Yearling Sales Series Final and NZ Yearling Sales 2yr Old Open Final both at listed level. It’s been a remarkable run by the son of Bettor’s Delight, who has never missed filling a place in any of his race-day appearances and seems to have a knack of knowing when to lift in the final moments of feature events (his passing lane victory on Cup Day in the Sires Stakes Final provided true drama as the All Stars charge fought to cling on while the David Butcher driven Copy That descended from the clouds to get within a crowds gasp of taking victory himself) $156,400 3yo Sire Stakes Final $195,000 Sales Series Final One Change was seen at Ashburton trials on the 4th of February when running a leisurely 5th in behind stablemates Dina Bolt and Flying Even Bettor. If history is anything to go by it’ll be the worst position he runs for some time! The racetrack success of One Change continues the famed run of Chaangerr as a broodmare. Her longevity as a producer, in one word, stunning.   The Vance Hanover mare started a life of motherhood in 1996 and swiftly produced the mother of Joey Maguire (7 wins) and Chokin Hanover (whose own progeny includes Donegal Chokin with 14 wins) in Bhutan. Bhutan was quickly followed by Mulan (mother of 6-race winner in Hermattjesty Mulan) the seven race winner Shang (by Troublemaker) and Morad who won eight, a Life Sign mare, Jarntimarra, was foaled two years after Morad and would, in turn, leave Jonah Jones (19 wins, 131’000) Chaangerr then turned up the heat by leaving a number of colts that would all be highly successful race horses. The flying, now siring Changeover (whose $2.3 million dollar-earning career included  Northern Derby, New Zealand Derby, Taylor Mile, New Zealand Cup, multiple Harness Jewels victories and Len Smith Mile titles ) the Group 3 placed Change Gear (who went on to win no less than 22 times) and Change Stride who couldn’t stop saluting the judge when reaching Australian shores winning 12 of his first 18 starts on the continent. He has now raced successfully across Australasia and North America with over $360’000 dollars earned and continues to win bringing up his 28th career victory last week at the Meadowlands. This hot broodmare-hand continues to be played to this day with daughters of Chaangerr continuing on the proud history. One of those daughters being the mother of One Change in Changedown. Changedown brings real interest to the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale this year with a 7/8 sister to One Change. Lot 87 “Star Change” offered by Breckon Farms is a bay filly by Betting Line. Alongside One Change (first colt) Changedown has produced the impressive Renske B (2 wins, $58’000) and the current Australian winner in Ah La Vitesse.   Lot 87 Star Change Ben McMillan

Since 2014 Southlanders Todd and Fleur Anderson have been buying Standardbred bloodstock in a well-researched and measured way. Todd, who is heavily into genetics due to his stud stock background in sheep, cattle and deer, has applied that way of thinking to every purchase and over the past six years the Andersons have acquired some of New Zealand’s best broodmares. Todd’s family background doesn’t feature harness racing at all. In fact he was a city boy with a yearning for the country, and it was a pathway he was determined to follow. “I grew up in town (Invercargill) but wanted to go farming because I loved animals,” he said. Racing was a feature in his early life. “I’ve always enjoyed the races. Dad and my uncle Alister Hopkinson (former All Black) used to listen to races while they were peeling spuds when we were away on holiday in the summer.” Fleur also fondly remembers going to the races. Her fathers’ family lived at Leeston where her grandfather was a stock agent for Dalgetys. “Going to Motukarara was part of my racing experience that’s for sure,” she said. After completing his secondary years at James Hargest High School Todd headed off to Lincoln University and living in Canterbury gave him access to racing at Addington. “It was the time Il Vicolo was going well and we’d go to the Cup because we’d finished our exams,” he said. Todd graduated in 1995 with a Batchelor of Agricultural Commerce, majoring in Farm Management and Rural Valuation and then he headed into the rural finance sector where he worked for ten years. Based at the BNZ Offices in Invercargill he said he picked up lots of advice that would serve him well in later years. “A client of mine said ‘an opportunity normally knocks once. You choose whether you take it or not’.” After his time with the bank Todd has worked for local company Wrightson Real Estate selling rural property. They moved to their current property east of Centre Bush in March 2009. On their 325ha’s they run Romney and Southdown Sheep Stud, cattle and breed red deer for velvet. They also have interests in dairying. So with all these commitments, is there room or desire to have mares and foals on farm? “We have a busy family life, especially with the kids and their activities, I’m not saying never, however at the moment we haven’t got the time. We think we’re very lucky that we’ve got people looking after our horses who have great skills. I’m not professing to have those skills.” So to the horses. In May 2014 Todd and Fleur purchased their first broodmare Beaudiene Bad Babe. Bred in Western Southland by Dave Kennedy, the Badland’s Hanover mare was a true Southland favourite. She ultimately won twenty two races and earned $404,898 in stakes. “We were really stoked to get her. One of the races I love the most of all her wins was when she won at Cambridge the week before the Jewels. She got parked three wide. We didn’t own her then but you could watch that a few times and get a real thrill. She was as tough as.” Beaudiene Bad Babe’s wins included the Group One Harness Jewels Four Year Old Diamond, Southland Oaks and the Caduceus Club Premier Mares Championship (twice). “I thought I might have done something with horses when I was in my 60s. Fleur has always been very supportive and she said ‘you never know what life brings.’ She’s probably rueing the day she said that.” Beaudiene Bad Babe winning the 2011 Premier Mares Classic at Addington – Photo: Race Images As a broodmare Beaudiene Bad Babe hasn’t had too much luck. So it is so pleasing to see the very promising Bad To The Bone race, he has won two races and placed second in the PGGW Sales Final (Listed) in a short career  and is the broodmare’s first racehorse. After Beaudiene Bad Babe, Cheer The Lady was Todd and Fleur’s next purchase. “Someone said to me, what would be good now is to get hold of an Oaks winner. We bought her back from America. Barry Purdon trained her and she won the Oaks and The Breeders Crown. Cheer The Lady winning the 2012 New Zealand Oaks at Addington – Photo: Race Images. Through this early buying processes Fleur saw firsthand the amount of study Todd put into each pedigree and it reminded her of the early part of their relationship. “When I first met Todd he wanted to get into the stud sheep game. One of the top breeders in New Zealand was selling his sheep. Todd had the catalogue and knew what he wanted. “When I bought those stud sheep I basically bought the top families. I do look at type but I think you’ve got a better chance when you’ve got a pedigree as well,” Todd added. The Andersons had the assistance of experienced Bloodstock Agent Paul Davies to do the negotiations and finalise the deals. They also seek the advice of Bloodstock agent Peter Lagan who’s been in the industry for 45 years and there’s no one that knows pedigrees like Peter, Todd added. Alabar’s Graeme Henley has also provided Todd with plenty of good advice. “Graeme’s been amazing. There are just so many good people out there. You just hope coming into the industry that you can mix with some of those people. I think it’s really exciting.” Another mare they purchased in 2015 was The Fascinator which was trained by Tony Herlihy. After winning the Listed Northern Mares Classic, Todd and Fleur bought the Bettor’s Delight mare and at her first start for her new owners she won the North Island Breeders Stakes. “Tony said we could still race her through the winter. We never got to see her race but Fleur’s family who in Auckland all went to the races and met Tony. They had two or three nights at Alexandra Park when she won. That was a fantastic experience,” said Fleur. Safedra (Mach Three) is a mare they bought in 2017 and she’s doing a fantastic job for the Andersons. Her Bettor’s Delight daughter Dr Susan recently completed a successful three race campaign in Australia, winning the Group Two Raith Memorial in 1-52.1 and then taking out the 2020 Victoria Oaks Final – a $150,000 Group One race at Melton. Other mares on the books are Tandias Bromac (Art Major), De Lovely (Falcon Seelster), Imaginary Bet (Bettor’s Delight), Shimmy Shoes (Bettor’s Delight), Gotta Go Harmony (Christian Cullen), Supersonic Miss (Mach Three), Te Amo Bromac (Mach Three), Joanne’s A Delight (Bettor’s Delight) and Spanish Armada (Bettor’s Delight). De Lovely winning the 2011 New Zealand Breeders Stakes – Photo: Race Images Joanne’s A Delight, Spanish Armada and Cheers The Lady all have Art Major colts in this month’s Auckland sale. The Anderson’s philosophy when getting into Standardbred breeding was to target nice, well-bred mares. “If you buy a nice page (pedigree page) it can never change. It does cost quite a bit to get a yearling to the sales therefore to make it more viable you probably needed to target the upper bracket. There’s an old saying – if you’ve got a dog in a kennel thats poorly bred it costs the same to feed it as a well-bred dog. So I’d sooner have the well-bred one. Horses can come from anywhere but I still believe in maternal lines.” He says regardless of the pedigree page the yearling still has to be well put together and correct. “You still have to have an article to sell which is not always guaranteed. I think that’s what we’ve tried to do. If you’ve got a strong page and an article it gives you a fair chance of getting a good result.” Under their company name “Taffy” colts and fillies from their mares are on the market. “We set ourselves up to be yearling sellers.” But he said they may keep some fillies at some point. At a time when a number of breeders have got out of the industry the Andersons have been a welcome addition to the breeding and yearling sales ranks. “My grandfather used to say ‘when someone is going one way go the other.’ But we’re now at a stage where we don’t have to rush to buy mares.” One thing he is passionate about is giving fillies and mares more racing opportunities because too many are being lost overseas. In addition to pacing mares the Andersons own a number a well-bred trotting mares including Angus Hall mare Petite One. She raced only twenty nine times over five seasons, winning seven races. She was good enough to win a race as a two year old. Petite One winning at Addington in November 2017 – Photo: Race Images Her pedigree goes back to Pride Of Petite the winner of thirty five races, and globetrotting mare Petite Evander the winner of twenty one races in New Zealand, twenty six in North America and one in Sweden. Anderson says Petite One has been served by Tactical Landing – a son of Muscle Hill who is out of Southwind Serena a daughter of Varenne. “He (Varenne) was a French stallion who they reckon was the best trotter the world has ever seen.” Other trotting mares include Eilish Aimee (Love You) who’s in foal to Father Patrick, San Diego Love (Love You) whose been served by Andover Hall and Angus Hall mare Missandei, which is in foal to Love You. Missandei winning at Addington November 2018 – Photo: Race Images “Love You is coming to the end of his career and when you go through (the stud book) most of his mares are in Australia.” Most of the Taffy mares are located in the South Island and up until recently were looked after by David Shadbolt in Canterbury. “David’s got to a stage where he didn’t want to foal mares anymore so we’ve got our mares out with Laura Smith at Cust. We’re very lucky. She’s a lovely lady and very good with the mares and the foals.” In the past, good friends Robert and Sandy Mitchell at Raglan have prepared the Andersons yearlings for the Auckland Sales. “This is their last yearling sale and they’re preparing one of their own. Robert said ‘I wish you’d driven up the drive ten years ago.” Consequently this year for the first time Todd and Fleur’s North Island draft is been prepped by Logan Hollis and Shane Robertson. Also for the first time one of their yearlings is being prepared in the South under the Southern Bred Southern Reared banner. This came about when Todd was talking to fellow southern breeder Phil Creighton who was looking to find a mare with a filly foal to run with his mare who had a filly foal. Todd has recently joined the committee of the Southland Standardbred Breeders Association and doesn’t rule out more of his stock being prepared in the area. “I think SBSR is awesome. There are some really lovely horses being bred in Southland.” The Andersons have small shares in the following two fillies,  Platinum (Art Major – De Lovely) which qualified recently at Cambridge and Mia Ragazza (Art Major – Te Amo Bromac). They’re also members of the Own the Moment Syndicate formed by Southland trainer Kirk Larsen and his wife Michelle. The syndicate have a promising two year old Somebeachsomewhere gelding Oneloveonelife  and a Mach Three gelding McLaren. “Michelle and Kirk have done a great thing. We went into that solely because we thought ‘good on them for introducing more people to harness racing,” said Todd. Between bringing up a family of teenagers, running a busy farm and thinking about their Standardbred breeding and racing stock life is pretty full on for Todd and Fleur Anderson. With the yearling sales fast approaching the work has been done and in the next two weeks buyers will decide what their ten nicely bred yearlings will sell for. The page will turn to a new chapter, and no doubt there’ll be more exciting times to come. Taffy Limited Yearlings – 2020 Auckland 16th and 17th February Lot 3: Hoppy’s Way – colt by Art Major out of Joanne’s A Delight. 00 Lot 42: Maddy’s Nino – colt by Art Major out of Spanish Armada. Lot 77: Mitch (named after Robert Mitchell) – colt by Art Major out of Cheers The Lady.   Christchurch 18th and 19th February Lot 239: Allegra – filly by Bettor’s Delight out of Safedra. Lot 246: Dance Till Dawn – filly by Art Major out of Shimmy Shoes. Lot 263: Take A Bow – filly by Captaintreacherous out of The Fascinator. Lot 276: Taieri Express – filly by Bettor’s Delight out of Tandias Bromac. Lot 313: Five Bangles – filly by Bettor’s Delight out of Beaudiene Bad Babe Lot 337: Emmy – filly by Bettor’s Delight out of De Lovely. Lot 378: Blameitonthenight – colt by Bettor’s Delight out of Gotta Go Harmony.   Bruce Stewart

By Garrick Knight    It’s a long way from Ireland to Palmerston North, but junior driver Jonathan Cowden has zero regrets about venturing to the other side of the world. The 19-year-old Celtic lad recorded his first winner in New Zealand when reining home Benjamin Button at Manawatu Raceway on Tuesday. Cowden is on a three-month working holiday based with Jay and Sailesh Abernethy in South Auckland, the latter of which trains Benjamin Button. “I wanted to do something different over the winter and was thinking about America or Canada. “But its winter there too, and even colder than back home, so I wasn’t going to get too many opportunities. “So I left it and was thinking about looking in to it again next year.” Enter his friend and fellow horseman, Sean Kane, who had previously worked in New Zealand with the Abernethys. “Sean text me and said Jay was looking for someone to help him out down here. “I got in touch, Jay said come down, and here I am.” While the circumstances weren’t ideal, Jay Abernethy breaking his wrist recently in a spill at Cambridge recently has worked out in Cowden’s favour and Tuesday’s win was his 23rd drive. “I’m delighted to get the win; it’s another one to tick off. “I’m coming in to my third season as what you would call a junior driver back home, and I also represented Ireland in the European Championship in Spain.” Sailesh Abernethy stayed home due to work commitments but gave Cowden some key advice on how to drive the horse he trains and owns. “Saily said drive him cold. Keep him at the back because he has one short sprint in him. “When they were flying along in front I thought it might work out ok. “Luckily I did get a nice trip in to it down the back and his speed came through round the bend. “He ran away from them.” Cowden plans on being here for another four weeks before returning home for the new Irish racing season, which starts at the end of March. But he thinks he’ll come back again next year. “I rung home the other day and it was 1 degree and snowing. “Every day here it’s twenty, thirty degrees and the sun is always shining. “Sean said to me the first time no one there will know you, so spend it to get acclimatised and learn the rules. “And if I enjoy it, come back next year and it’ll be easier and he was right.  “It’s all down to Jay and I can’t thank him enough. “He and Saily have been more than willing to help me understand what way I should be driving in every race and they’ve taken me to quite a few places I wouldn’t have gone to otherwise. “Palmerston North, Rotorua, Otaki, they’ve taken me everywhere! “I can’t complain at all and I’m delighted that I decided to come out here.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

The curse of winning pacing’s greatest races has claimed its latest victim. New Zealand Cup winner Cruz Bromac has been sidelined for the rest of the season by a fetlock injury and his entire career may now even be in doubt. The injury was revealed by trainer Mark Purdon yesterday with the one-time favourite for next month’s Miracle Mile still heading to Sydney, but for a four-month spell on the NSW property of one of his owners. “It is a fetlock issue and the kind of thing a lot of horses his age might get,” explains Purdon. “He is a horse who has raced at a very high level for a really long time and we hope he comes back but that won’t be until next season and we would know if he makes it back until after he has had his spell.” It is only three months today since Cruz Bromac, beautifully driven by Blair Orange, scored the greatest win of his career in the New Zealand Cup, adding it to the NZ Free-For-All he won the season before. He has also been hugely competitive in two Inter Dominion series, albeit his Final chances at both ruined by bad draws, and yet he is still a touch under-rated for a horse with 23 career wins and over $1 million in earnings. His last outing was in the Auckland Cup, where he finished fifth, before heading back to Canterbury to prepare for the Miracle Mile. Cruz Bromac joins an quite remarkable list of open class stars to be sidelined by injuries in the last 16 months dating back to Thefixer’s win in the 2018 New Zealand Cup. He has struggled on and off with hoof problems since and while he had a strong Australian summer last year, Thefixer hasn’t won a race this season and looks to be heading to the paddock because of his nagging foot issues. Turn It Up won that season’s Auckland Cup and had a good rest of his four-year-old season, winning the Jewels, but has missed the entire of this year because of injury. Spankem, who won last year’s Miracle Mile and finished second to Cruz Bromac in the NZ Cup, has also been sidelined although his prognosis sounds promising. And then Ultimate Sniper, who was unbeaten in the Inter Dominions in Auckland in December, broke down after the series and while he is expected to make it back to the track it means that almost every major group one pacing race winner for older horses in New Zealand in the past 16 months has succumbed to injury at some stage. “We have had a bad run with them but they are all different types of injuries so I am not sure what we can do about it,” says Purdon. “To be honest the only thing I can put it down to is how hard the horses race these days, they go so quick in every race.” Purdon will be hoping his latest star, Auckland Cup winner Self Assured, can dodge the curse after he return to winning form at Menangle last Saturday night. He sat parked to win in 1:50.3 as his lead to the A$200,000 Chariots Of Fire on Saturday week, likely to be followed by the A$1 million Miracle Mile on March 7. Self Assured as beaten twice, albeit brave both times, in Victoria recently but Purdon thinks he is back to his best form and with strength to match his speed he may prove better suited to Menangle mile racing than many Kiwi pacers. The stable has Chase Auckland and Stylish Memphis, who Purdon is caretaker trainer for, racing at Menangle this Saturday as they are aimed at the Miracle Mile and NSW Oaks (February 29) respectively. Before then premier racing returns to Addington on Friday where Princess Tiffany is hot favourite to win the Breeders Stakes, victory in which would give her direct entry to the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle on March 7 and another shot at her arch nemesis Belle Of Montana. A G’s White Socks continues his Miracle Mile build-up in the A$50,000 Terang Cup on Saturday night while Kiwi trotters Massive Metro and Temporale tackle the A$50,000 Knight Pistol at Melton on Friday night.   Michael Guerin

If you were to look down the list of NZ Standardbred Breeders Stakes winners you’d be looking at a list of some of finest harness racing mares to run on New Zealand soil. It’s a race that invariably attracts a strong field with plenty of depth.   Tellingly, the running of the race also generally results in the in-form mare of the time prevailing. The storied history of the race includes the three-time winners in (Blossom Lady (1991,1992,1993) and Bonnie’s Chance (whose last title came at the end of 1983 after winning the same title on the 1st of January of the same year) Kym’s Girl, Shortys Girl and Lento all captured the title twice. The Robbie Holmes trained Kiwi Ingenuity won in 2009 while Bettor Cover Lover (2013) Adore Me (2014)and The Orange Agent (2017) are all recent winners of the Group 1. An impressive roll of honour indeed. This years edition of the New Zealand Breeders Stakes, to be run on the Friday night, is shaping up to be another competitive affair . Conversations regarding the favoured runners are dominated, and rightfully so, by the All Stars trained Princess Tiffany who opened her account this time in on the 31st of January with a front running win in the Group 2 Garrards Premier Mares Championship. You’d have to think that Princes Tiffany would only improve off the back of that first-up effort but so will others… The Bagrie trained Bettor’s Heart continues to run strong races and does pose a genuine threat if able to receive a decent mid-race position, while the Steve Telfer pair of Step up (second in the race last year) and Ivana Flybye ,who has drawn the #1 barrier, both put in sound performances in the Mares Championship and should also be respected. Other prospects come in the form of the Barry Purdon trained Wainui Creek, the much-improved Enchantee, who can find the line better than most from a sit behind genuine speed, and the Steve McRae trained Nemera Franco, a mare whose risen through the ranks in recent times and has shown a genuine ability to find the line. All-in-all a competitive looking field once you get past the All Stars runner.   Apart from its obvious riches the NZ Standardbred Breeders Stakes plays an important part in any broodmare career that race participants may go on to have with the black type and group title garnered from a victory in the race acting as a powerful endorsement of a mares quality on the track and continued worth when heading to the paddock for mothering duties. It’s a common belief that the best of a generation can, and often do, leave the best of the next. With that in mind it comes as no surprise to see a number of past NZ Standardard Breeders Stakes victors and performers represented at this years 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale to be held at both Karaka and the Canterbury Agricultural Park.    These include: Willow, the runner-up to Venus Serena in 2015 when trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, is represented with Lot 69. Offered by Breckon Farms “Willow Bay” is by Art Major, the colt will look to carry on a strong family history that includes early-going types in Go West U Terror (Pearl Classic winner and 2100 Golden Slipper runner-up) and Tricky Styx (2yr old diamond classic winner and WA Derby runner-up) both are the progeny of a sister to second dam Listen To The Rhythm. Luisanabelle Midfrew, the 2016 winner of the Breeders when trained by Nigel Mcgrath, brings her first foal to the sales in the form of Lot 201. A Somebeachsomewhere colt named “Midfrew Laguna Bay” The family has found success lately with Letsgotothehop (8 wins) being a notable Australian performer last year. Nearea Franco, who placed in behind the Robbie Holmes trained Kiwi ingenuity in 2009 has a Bettor’s Delight filly in. Lot 224, Nirvana Franco, will want to repeat the racetrack success of Nike Franco (multiple Group 1 winner and career earnings of almost $1’000’000) The wider family went very close to a maiden victory at Alexandra Park on the 7th of February when Franco Nandor (the first foal out of Nicaea Franco) was narrowly beaten by the Steven Reid trained Mr Fantastic. And Lot 352, Aliberto, a Somebeachsomewhere colt is the fifth foal out of the 2012 winner of the race in Carabella, a champion mare who has already produced Olivia Rachel (2 wins, 7 places). A close relation, a 2yr old Bettor’s Delight filly, Girls Need Pearlz (out of Andress Blue Chip) has been seen at trials and workouts as recently as last week. Ben McMillan

Very smart Down Under pacer makes a winning debut in North America. Jesse Duke N made his harness racing debut at The Meadowlands on Saturday night and it was a winning one. New Zealand born trainer Chris Ryder now trains the 5yo Gelding and had Dexter Dunn aboard for the win. The down under duo paced the mile in 1:51.3 in the $16,000 pace. The son of Bettors Delight was lightly raced Down Under winning 8 races and over $450,000 in Stake Earnings. Most Significantly he was the winner of the Group 1 Young Guns Final and the Group 1 New Zealand Sire Stakes Final as a 2yo. Along with the Harness Jewels 3yo Emerald. He also placed at Group level on a further 9 occasions. Jesse Duke N (Bettors Delight x Daisy Dundee) has a full brother entered in the 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling sales. Lot 102 a colt prepared by Woodland Stud, that will go under the hammer on the 17th February.   Yet another Down Under Mare impressing on the race track in North America. Major Occasion A blitzed her rivals on Wednesday night at Dover Downs. The 6yo mare also had the extra Down Under factor, being trained by Nifty Norman and driven by Dexter Dunn. Major Occasion A quickly put pay to fellow down under mare Ideal Lifestyle A at three quarters (1200m), where she extended by 4 ½ lengths to win in 1:49.4. Making her yet another Down Under mare to break 1.50 in the US. She is yet to finish out of the money this season, having had four starts, recording two wins, a second and a third. The daughter of Art Major was the winner of 15 races and earned over $240,000 in stake earnings during her down under racing career. Being a winner at Group level and placed a further 5 times.   Monday 3rd February   Miami Valley Raceway OH Hit And Giggle A – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $5,000 Montana Pablo A – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $5,000   Monticello Raceway NY Myeyesadoreya N – Time: 1:59.3, Stake: $3,700 Bettor Reason N – Time: 1:59.3, Stake: $5,000   Northfield Park OH Sammy The Bull N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $12,400   Yonkers Raceway NY Global Domination N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $18,000 Redbank Blaze A – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $17,000     Tuesday 4th February   Pompano Park FL Rub Of The Green N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $4,500   The Meadows PA Strawb’s Chippie N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $9,000 Amelia’s Courage A – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $11,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Shes Sporty A – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $12,500     Wednesday 5th February   Dover Downs DE Flashazz N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $13,000 Anytime N – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $11,000 Rock N Shard N – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $16,500 Major Occasion A – Time: 1:49.4, Stake: $27,500   Monticello Raceway NY Back On Board N – Time: 1:59.1, Stake: $2,500   Thursday 6th February Dover Downs DE Duplicated N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $12,000   Pompano Park FL Idle Bones N – Time: 1:58.3, Stake: $4,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Lynbar Rose N – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $14,500     Friday 7th February   Meadowlands NJ Glenferrie Bronte N – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $11,250   The Meadows PA Mister Spot A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $16,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Keep On Rocking A – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $14,500 Kaitlyn N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $40,000 Sudden Change N – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $22,000   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Lady Rocknrolla A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $20,000     Saturday 8th Febuary Cal Expo CA Dependlebury A – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $3,400   Meadowlands NJ Change Stride N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $13,500 Jesse Duke N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $16,000 Bechers Brook A – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $20,000   Miami Valley Raceway OH Lifeonthebeach A – Time: 1:08.3 (5/8 Mile), Stake: $12,500 Ana Afreet N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $15,000 Make A Statement A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $15,000   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Star Commander N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $12,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Italian Delight N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $27,000 Imarocnrollegend N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $27,000 Jacks Legend N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $40,000   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Better B Donna N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $26,000 Mongolian Hero N – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $21,000     Sunday 9th February   Miami Valley Raceway OH Hillary Barry N – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $10,000   Click here for previous weeks articles   By Carter Dalgety

THE countdown to the Miracle Mile really hots up at Menangle on Saturday night. The All Stars’ Chase Auckland (gate 11) clashes with former Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal (nine), the flying Alta Orlando (10), brilliant miler Majordan (eight) and classy Ignatius (seven) in the mile free-for-all. While it’s not a Miracle Mile qualifier, it could certainly help reshape betting on Australasia’s premier sprint race on March 7. It’s got all the potential for a blistering time with Majordan appearing a certain leader, but others realising they can’t leave him along as happened when he won easily last Saturday night. The Craig Cross/Luke McCarthy team settled on Alta Orlando as their runner this week out of their team of Miracle Mile contenders. “Alta Orlando’s had a frustrating time with missing the trip to Perth and then being scratched with something minor from the Hunter Cup. He’s raring to go,” McCarthy said. “King Of Swing will go straight to the qualifying sprints (February 29) and we’re still tossing-up where Bling It On and Cash N Flow will have their next runs.” __________________________________________________________________________________________ SUDDENLY buzz NSW pacer Balraj is under the pump. The former Kiwi created a huge stir winning his first eight NSW runs, but had to work hard in slick time to lead last week’s Paleface Adios Sprint then tired to finish ninth. He’s on the quick back-up in this Saturday night’s Paleface Adios just to try and make the Chariots Of Fire field, but has the outside draw (gate 12) to overcome. Sure there’s no Self Assured this week, but it’s still a high-class field of Chariots hopefuls including Emma Stewart/Clayton Tonkin trio Hurricane Harley (three), Fourbigmen (two) and Out To Play (eight). Other key players include Make Way (gate five), Grant Dixon’s former Kiwi Henry Hu (four) and polemarker Culture King. __________________________________________________________________________________________ THE three placegetters from the Victoria Derby clash again at Menangle on Saturday night. Anthony Butt’s winner Line Up and third placegetter Perfect Stride (seven) are their along with Grant Dixon’s Governor Jujon, who ran second in Victoria. Under the preferential draw, Line Up has gate 10, Governor Jujon 11 and Perfect Stride a slight advantage in seven. In an interesting move, tough Victorian Youaremy Sunshine, who ran fourth in the Victoria Derby, has moved to the Craig Cross/Luke McCarthy barn and has gate eight. It’s a ripper race and thankfully over 2300m ahead of the heats of the Derby in a couple of weeks. Another star three-year-old, Stylish Memphis, also steps out at the meeting after being a late scratching last weekend. The prepost NSW Oaks favourite has drawn the pole against older, but largely inferior rivals in the third race over a mile. __________________________________________________________________________________________ BARRY Purdon already has prepost favourite Belle On Montana on target for the Ladyship Mile and unleashes his second-stringer, Havtime, at Menangle this week. Havtime has drawn wide (gate nine) in the $50,000 Group 2 Sibelia Stakes (1609m) in a talent-packed field. The one to beat is definitely Craig Cross’ much-improved Bettor Enforce (gate 11), who went so close to upsetting Belle Of Montana in the Ladyship Cup at Melton on Hunter Cup night.    Adam Hamilton

As a racehorse Under Cover Lover excelled wherever she raced all over the world. Whether it was in a stakes race in New Zealand, Australia or North America, this daughter of In The Pocket was capable of mixing it with best harness racing mares in the world and beating them. Being bred to American time meant she faced the best three year old fillies of her year in all three countries and beat them all to boot. When she eventually was retired to stud, Under Cover Lover had won 21 races, taken a mark of 1:51.4s and won just on $864,923. Now Under Cover Lover is starting to build a very tidy record at stud with several of her descendants showing up in the winners list on a regular basis throughout Australasia. Out of a daughter of Under Cover Lover, five win mare Speights Girl has an unblemished record so far when it comes to her harness racing progeny winning races. A good race mare herself, Speights Girl (Mach Three - Exotic Lover) won six races from 17 starts. The Mach Three mare took a lifetime best 1-57.4 mile when racing and now the first two foals out of the mare have both been winners. Her first foal Bubbled Up (American Ideal) smashed the clock in a race record 1-55.9 on the grass surface at Mt Harding Raceway in February 2019 and in doing so went very close to the 1-55 track record set by top pacer A.G's White Socks in the Green Mile in 2017. The second foal from Speights Girl, Ab Fab (Bettor's Delight - Speights Girl) won her first race in Australia at Temora last week leading all the way and winning impressively. Ab Fab winning at Temora Lot 39 Leon Rouge (Bettor's Delight - Speights Girl) a full sister to Ab Fab is being offered at offered at the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale on behalf of Breckon Farms. Here is your chance to buy a future filly that has a better than average chance of becoming a millionairess as the odds are in your favour with incredible results shown to date with fillies or mares by this great sire Bettor's Delight. Lot 39 Leon Rouge Also being offered at the sale is Lot 23 Fire And Delight an outstanding Bettor's Delight filly from a winning family who is being offered at the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale also on behalf of Breckon Farms. Lot 23 Fire And Delight (Bettor's Delight  - Queen Of Fire) is a full sister to smart pacer Bettor Under Fire, who won two races in New Zealand for trainer Mark Jones before being exported to Australia where he won another four races from 14 starts. Lot 23 Fire And Delight 

By Jonny Turner    Woodlands Stud reaped the rewards from giving a rookie trainer a go on a big weekend for the breeding giant. The Auckland stud secured its second confirmed starter in the group 1 Nevele R Fillies Series when Princess Jessie scored a front running win in a series heat at Methven on Sunday. The Simon McMullan trained 3yr-old will join fellow Woodlands Stud product Need You Now, who won a series heat in Auckland on Friday night, in the $140,000 final. McMullan credits Woodlands Stud for taking a chance on an emerging trainer like himself with his promising filly. “I have to credit Andrew Grierson for giving a young trainer a go and giving me such a nice filly to train,” McMullan said. “They could have sent her to any trainer in the country.” Princess Jessie made her way to his West Melton barn after the trainer made enquiries with the stud to see if he could take on one of their horses after he had looked after Utmost Delight for former training partner, Steven Reid, ahead of her group 1 win in New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes, almost two years ago. “I trained a few for Woodlands when I was in partnership with Reidman and I looked after Utmost Delight when she won the group 1 down here,” McMullan said.  “Not long after that, I sent an email saying I would really love the opportunity to train one for them.” Princess Jessie ran three sound races in strong fields before turning heads with a 1.54.9 mile (1609m) win at Wyndham in her start prior to Saturday’s win. McMullan puts the filly’s upgrade in form and back-to-back wins down to him making some minor changes to her training regime. “She probably wasn’t going quite as well as I was hoping in her runs previous to her last two starts.” “So, I have changed her training around a little bit and it really worked.” Princess Jessie had formed a strong partnership with driver Jonny Cox, who has had her in the lead to win her last two starts. “I think she is a better filly driven like she has in the last two starts,” McMullan said. “I think she likes to be up amongst it up.” The filly will step up significantly in class from Saturday’s conditioned heat to the Nevele R Fillies Series. McMullan is hopeful Princess Jessie can handle the task. “I always thought she could measure up to the Classic races.” “I am not saying she is going to win one, but she is definitely still on the way up and hopefully she can step up to that level and be competitive.” Princess Jessie scored by three-quarters of a length over runner-up Maharani, who tracked her throughout. Vesnina put in an eye-catching performance to run third on debut. The Darren Keast trained 3yr-old may have tested the winner had she not paced roughly in the straight. The favourite, Miss Graceful, who like Princess Jessies is also bred and raced by Woodlands Stud and raced by one of its syndicates, ran fifth. The stud’s syndicates enjoyed an excellent weekend with Some Do joining Need You Now in the winner’s circle at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Harness racing's greatest breeding cross - Bettor's Delight over a Christian Cullen mare - has proven time and time again that it is the most potent cross in the harness racing breeding world today. Lazarus heads the charge with over $4 million in the bank. His dam is Bethany by Christian Cullen. Next on the list is Chicago Bull ($1,744,430), his dam is Chicago Blues by Christian Cullen. Then there is Ohoka Punter ($1,177,323) his dam is Millwood Minisota by Christian Cullen. The list goes on and on with the likes of Highview Tommy ($990,015), The Fixer ($978,500), Spanish Armada ($787,470), Belle Of Montana ($587,501), Self Assured, None Bettor, Wrappers Delight, Elle Mac, Amazing Dream, Better B Amazed, No Doctor Needed, Seaswift Joy, Another Masterpiece, Heisenberg, Ashley Locaz and Chase The Dream. This cross Bettor's Delight over a Christian Cullen mare has resulted in over $20 million in progeny earnings world wide to date. The five-win Christian Cullen mare Holly Madison has an outstanding Bettor's Delight colt in this years National Standardbred Yearling Sale on behalf of Breckon Farms called Pasquale. It is Lot 124 in the catalogue. Lot 124 Pasquale Harnesslink Media  

IN a scary warning to rivals, Mark Purdon thinks his young stable star Self Assured is only now getting back to his very best. As brave and huge as Self Assured was in his two recent Victorian defeats, Purdon felt he didn’t quite have the four-year-old right at the top of his game. But gelding gave him that special feeling again winning the Group 2 Hondo Grattan at Menangle last night. “He felt terrific last night. That’s him back to his best,” Purdon said. “As good as he was in Victoria, I just didn’t think he quite felt himself, especially in the 4YO Bonanza. He didn’t travel as well as he usually does. “But it was different last night. He felt as good as we’ve had him.” Self Assured came off the gate well, but didn’t have the brilliance to match buzz local Balraj, who blasted to the front in a scorchinmg 25.8sec opening quarter. Classy Victorian Demon Delight came across from a wide draw to momentarily sit outside the leader and give Self Assured the one-one, but Purdon immediately moved to sit parked at the 1000m. Self Assured had Balraj, who was unbeaten in eight previous NSW runs, beaten before the home bend and Purdon nursed him as long as possible down the straight to beat a brave Demon Delight by 1.2m in a 1min50.3sec mile. The last quarter was 26.5sec. Last year’s Australian 3YO of the Year, Max Delight, caught the eye with a long-sustained run from near the rear to hold-on for third. Self Assured’s win turned around an exasperating start to the night for Purdon, who had stewards scratch Stylish Memphis from a NSW Oaks “warm-up” race. “We thought she only had to be at the track an hour before the race, but they said it was 90 minutes,” Purdon said. “They give you a 15-minute leeway and we missed that by two minutes. They said there’s no discretion after that. It was disappointing.” Purdon said Stylish Memphis would now run at Menangle next Saturday along with Chase Auckland and Smooth Deal. “There will be a race for the filly next week, even if she’s got to run outside of her class a bit,” he said. “Chase Auckland will run in the free-for-all and Smooth Deal will go around as well. “We’ll also have Princess Tiffany race at Addington and if she wins, that gets her a ticket into the Ladyship Mile here (Sydney).” Self Assured goes straight to the Chariots Of Fire on February 22.   Adam Hamilton

Harness racing half-sisters to 2016-17 2yo “Pacing Filly Of The Year” and 2018-19 “Pacing Mare Of The Year” Elle Mac ($607,678) have yearling fillies (both second foals of their dams) on offer at the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale on behalf of Breckon Farms. Lot 118 Dancing Desire is a A Rocknroll Dance filly from the Bettor's Delight race winning mare Fellamongstabeauty and Lot 121 In The Spotlight is a Bettor's Delight filly out of the race winning Mach Three mare Goodlookingbabe. With just two crops racing at the end of 2019 in North America (152 total foals) A Rocknroll Dance has already produced the winners of $8,500,000 to date with one winner of $750,000, two $500,000 plus winners and 17 winners with over $100,000 a decent record for any young sire.  With the oldest crop just four-year-olds racing in Australia and New Zealand A Rocknroll Dance has produced some outstanding performers including the multiple Group 1 winning filly in Australia No Win No Feed 1:52.4 ($284,460) who is out of the Art Major mare Designer Rose. No Win No Feed has won three Group 1 races, The $200,000 Breeder's Crown for three-year-old fillies, the $150,000 Breeder's Challenge Final and the $104,000 Gold Bracelet Final. To watch No Win No Feed winning The Breeders Crown click here. A Rocknroll Dance also produced the multiple Group winning two-year-old gelding Its Rock And Roll out of the Bettors Delight mare Miss Worthy Whitby. Its Rock And Roll 1:53.9 ($195,278) at his third lifetime start won the Group 1 $100,000 Sales Classic Final at Gloucester Park and as a three-year-old on January 24th 2020 he won the Group 3 Im Themightyquinn Final also at Gloucester Park. As at todays date A Rocknroll Dance has 60 winners in Australia and 39 in New Zealand with combined earnings of $2,278,726. Lot 118 Dancing Desire Bettor's Delight needs no introduction except to say that he is the greatest producing stallion of all time having left to date the winners of close to $400,000 million worldwide. What more can be said! Lot 121 In The Spotlight by Bettor's Delight, carries two strains of the great Abercrombie, one from Bettor's Delight dam Classic Wish and one from Mach Three's dam All Included. A double up that should make this filly one of the fastest and toughest yearlings on offer at this years sale. Lot 121 In The Spotlight