Day At The Track

Bletchley Park excels in front A sizzling opening 400m section of 26.6sec. paved the way for Bletchley Park’s superb victory in the $50,000 Village Kid Sprint over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I haven’t seen many faster quarters at Gloucester Park,” said Bunbury trainer Stephen Reed after Lindsay Harper had driven the Victorian-bred five-year-old to an effortless win over Vultan Tin and Cant Refuse. “I was happy that Vampiro was unable to cross to the front, and then Bletchley Park looked like he was doing that first quarter under his own steam. I was quietly confident that he could run that early speed and still have it at the end. “He excels when he’s leading and he seems to run his best races when he is out in front, rolling. He has been racing in an open bridle and being a mile tonight I decided to put some pull-downs on him to sharpen him up. “However, it turned out that we didn’t actually need them. Lindsay said that he still had another gear.” After his sparkling opening quarter Bletchley Park, favourite at $2.30, reeled off the next three quarters in 28.2sec., 27.9sec. and 29.4sec. and he rated a smart 1.52.4 which was 0.8sec. outside the 1730m track record of 1.51.6 recorded by Chicago Bull when he beat Soho Tribeca by a head in the Mount Eden Sprint in October 2017. Vampiro, an $8.50 chance, was fastest away from the outside barrier (No. 9), with Balcatherine ($4.60) and Galactic Star ($5) also showing considerable early speed. However, Bletchley Park held up from the favourable No. 2 barrier. Balcatherine covered a lot of extra ground before getting to the breeze after about a lap, and she wilted to finish eighth. Vultan Tin, a $26 chance from barrier seven, maintained his splendid form and impressed greatly by sustaining a spirited three-wide burst from the rear at the bell to finish second, just over a length behind Vultan Tin. Bletchley Park, by American stallion American Ideal and out of the New Zealand-bred mare Alldatglittersisgold, is owned by Albert and Julie Walmsley and has earned $310,436 from 16 wins and 18 placings from 46 starts. Friday night’s win gave Harper his third success in the Village Kid Sprint, originally known at the Celebrity Sprint, following successes with Shattering Class in 1998 and 2002. Albert Walmsley paid tribute to the skill of Reed and, wonderful stable worker Aimee-Lee Wood and Harper, and said he was looking forward to Bletchley Park contesting feature events in the coming year. “We have no real plans,” said Reed. “He has pulled up well and there’s no reason to have a break. We’ll try to target the feature races with him.”   Talktomeurmattjesty is exciting Speed machine Talktomurmattjesty bounced back to his brilliant best with a runaway victory in the 2130m Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, a dazzling performance which left reinsman Kyle Harper singing the praises of the New Zealand-bred nine-year-old and the gelding’s part-owner and trainer Barry Howlett. Talktomeurmattjesty started favourite at $2.30 from the prized No. 1 barrier and ran his five rivals ragged as he led by eight lengths after 500m and extended the margin to 12 lengths at the bell before coasting to a five-length victory over Whozideawasthis, rating 1.54, following quarters of 29.6sec., 28.8sec., 27.8sec. and 28.8sec. This remarkable performance, at his second appearance after a seven-month absence, followed unplaced efforts at his five previous outings when he was beaten by a combined total of 320 metres, an average losing margin of 64m or 21 lengths. In most of those failures Talktomeurmattjesty ruined his chances by overracing badly. “When the horse is on song, like he was tonight, he’s very exciting, very pleasing and very much fun,” said Harper “When he is in a feature race with some better horses drawn inside him, he can be a bit unruly, and it isn’t all that much fun. But when he is at his best, he makes up for that. He is a very impressive horse. I’ve been lucky enough to have driven some impressive horses in my short career and he’s right up there with the best of them. “It is very taxing on a horse to race the way he does, and that’s the only downside; it’s something that can affect the longevity of his campaigns. He is incredible to drive and he was a lot more settled tonight. “Sometimes he’s a dead-set runaway and wants to run the first half in 55sec., reefing and pulling. Tonight, he opened up a big lead and did it quite comfortably. When he is not reefing and tearing and he’s doing it within himself, he is very hard to run down because he doesn’t stop. “Sometimes he does get a bit too big for his boots and grabs the chewy, and that’s when he brings himself undone. This was definitely one of his more impressive runs tonight. I didn’t even turn the stick on him, and he went to the line with the plugs in and not having to touch him with the whip. “It was an impressive performance, second-up, and a terrific training performance by Barry and his team, Katie and Jimmy.” Talktomeurmattjesty, by American stallion Royal Mattjesty and the ninth and last foal out of New Zealand mare Talk To Me Later, had three starts in New Zealand in late 2015 for two wins and a placing and his WA record for the Howlett family stands at 47 starts for 14 wins and 11 placings. His career record is 50 starts for 16 wins, 12 placings and $192,585. He is a half-brother to Talk To Me Courage, who earned $649,507 from 47 wins and 82 placings from 288 starts. Talk To Me Courage finished a close third behind Aikido Whitby in the 2006 Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park and eleven of his wins in Western Australia included the 2010 Lord Mayor’s Cup before he developed into a consistent performer in America.   Slow pace worries Turvey Normally a dawdling lead time is highly beneficial for the pacemaker. But when the $2.10 favourite and polemarker Jack William ambled through the lead time in a very slow 39.1sec. and followed that with a pedestrian opening quarter of 31.4sec., Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey was quite concerned. “A slow pace doesn’t suit him because he likes to get out and run,” explained Turvey. “So, I was worried when the lead time was that slow. I was getting nervous because I wanted him to go quicker. He’s not quick, but he’s tough and doesn’t need to be driven pretty. “You’ve seen in many of his runs that if he’s engaged in a war, he doesn’t let you down.” Driver Emily Suvaljko was not put under undue pressure in the first lap and a bit by the breeze horse Bettor Be Oscar before she lifted the tempo and Jack William dashed over the final 400m sections in 28.5sec. and 28.3sec. and went on to win by a half-neck from the strong-finishing Bettor Be Oscar, with Mr Kiwi a length away in third place after trailing the pacemaker all the way. Jack William’s rate was a modest 1.59.1 and the victory ended a losing sequence of 14 and improved his record to 88 starts for 14 wins, 28 placings and $128,807 in stakes. “He has been a ripper for me,” said Turvey, who races the Bettors Delight eight-year-old in partnership with his stable lieutenant Maddie Coles. “He was only a cheap purchase from Victoria and although I thought he would do an okay job here; he has exceeded all expectations.” Jack William won four times from 42 starts in Victoria and since Turvey purchased him about 17 months ago he has raced 46 times for his new owners for ten wins, 19 placings and $95,049 in prizemoney. Jack William is out of American-bred mare Western Ideal, who has also produced Bettor Be Sorry (12 starts for eight wins, one placings and $51,850) and Reactor Now (20 starts for 11 wins, one placings and $86,330).   De Campo’s flying start Talented trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo has made a flying start to the 2021 season, landing a driving treble at the opening city meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His band of ardent supporters cashed in when he was successful behind Walsh ($8.90), The Kraken ($7.50) and Blue Blazer ($24.20). He prepares Walsh and The Kraken in Capel, and Blue Blazer is trained by Baskerville horseman Ryan Bell. And the 28-year-old de Campo continued his magical streak by driving five winners at the Albany meeting on Saturday night, leaving him as the State’s leader driver after the first nine days of the season when his 19 drives resulted in eight wins and three seconds. He had seven drives at the Albany meetings for wins with Keptain Courageous, All The Bells, Pradason, Dominus Factum and Strike Dream and second placings behind Shoot Through and Major Jade. Walsh, purchased for $34,000 at the 2017 Perth yearling sale, appreciated a drop in class when he started from barrier No. 5 in the 2130m Westral Pace on Friday night. Unplaced at his previous nine starts and with a losing sequence of 11, Walsh enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position before de Campo sent him forward to hit the front on the home turn and then fight on grimly to beat $4.80 chance Carrera Mach, who sustained a strong three-wide burst from ninth and last at the bell to fail by just a half-head. Carrera Mach followed the three-wide run of $6.50 chance Im Rocknroll Magic, who finished a creditable third, with the pacemaker and $2.60 favourite Beach Skipper wilting to fourth. Walsh, an Art Major five-year-old, now has raced 65 times for ten wins, 18 placings and $89,483 in stakes. His dam the Courage Under Fire mare Dontgetmeruffled earned $71,685 from 13 wins, 24 placings from 97 starts. She was a winner of six races in South Australia and seven in Western Australia.    The Kraken started from the outside in the field of eight in the 2130m Allwood Stud Farm Pace in which the polemaker and last-start Northam winner Valbonne was the $1.75 favourite. Valbonne was beaten for early pace by $26 outsider Dominate The Dojo before de Campo made full use of The Kraken’s sparkling speed to send the Art Major five-year-old to the front after 400m. The Kraken then relished his pacemaking role. After a fast lead time of 35.4sec. The Kraken relaxed and was able to amble through the opening quarter in 31.9sec. before covering the following 400m sections in 30.2sec., 28.8sec. and 28.7sec. He won by just under a length from Dominate The Dojo, with Bad Round ($41) running on from the rear to finish third, ahead of Valbonne, who raced three back on the pegs in fifth position and was badly blocked for a run until getting clear on the home turn. The Kraken has been a consistent performer and has earned $101,218 from 11 wins and 22 placings from 52 starts. Blue Blazer, an Auckland Reactor six-year-old, started from the outside barrier in the field of seven in the 2536m APG Perth Yearling Sales Pace and de Campo was content to race in last position in the Indian file affair, with the $1.50 favourite Rock Me Over setting a moderate pace.         When Corey Peterson eased One For Dave Andme off the pegs to lead the one-wide line approaching the bell, de Campo was quick to dash Blue Blazer forward to enjoy the one-out, one-back trail. Blue Blazer was switched three wide about 260m from home before he hit the front on the turn and went on to win by a neck from Rock Me Over. Blue Blazer, owned by Gloucester Park Harness Racing vice-presidents Kevin Jeavons and Gino Monaco, won twice in New Zealand and six times in New South Wales before arriving in Western Australia where his 23 starts have produced three wins and four placings.   The Last Drop bred to succeed With close relatives Parthenon and Mon Poppy Day, group 1 winners in the 1990s, five-year-old Allamerican Ingot gelding The Last Drop was bred to be a good winner.   The Last Drop, trained by Kristy Sheehy and owned by her and Josh Dunn on lease from breeder Bob Fowler, started favourite at $1.60 when Shannon Suvaljko drove him to a smart all-the-way win in the 2130m Cowden The Insurance Brokers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Sheehy and Dunn took the lease ten months ago and now The Last Drop has had 12 starts for them for four wins, three placings and stakes of $40,795 to take his career record to 35 starts for ten wins, eight placings and $74,412. The Last Drop was unextended in setting a moderate early pace and then dashing over the final 800m in 56.3sec. to beat Black Jack Zac by 7m, with Machlani a neck away in third place. The Last Drop’s maternal granddam Broncroft Castle produced eight winners, including Parthenon, winner of the 1995 WA Oaks in a 25-start career of six wins and $79,920, and Mon Poppy Day, who was retired with earnings of $318,558 from 20 wins and 16 placings from 50 starts. Mon Poppy Day, trained and driven by Rod Chambers, was a brilliant three-year-old in 1996 when he won the Tasmania and WA Derbies and finished a half-head second to Sharp And Telford in the Victoria Derby at Moonee Valley before he won the Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park in December 1996, the Christmas Gift in 1997 and the 1998 Mount Eden Sprint.   Antero enjoys a perfect passage Six-year-old Auckland Reactor pacer Antero has flourished since entering the stables of Gary Hall snr and he enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out and one-back position before finishing solidly to win by a nose from the fast-finishing Pocket The Cash in the 2536m Direct trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Antero, driven by Gary Hall jnr, was the $2.50 favourite who boosted his record for the Hall stable to six starts for three wins and two seconds. Hall snr is the fifth trainer to have prepared Antero during his 62-start career for owner Jodie Gray. Antero is the first foal out of Adda My Way, who raced 47 times in WA for seven wins, ten placings and $32,968.   Suvaljko’s double Shannon Suvaljko completed a double at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he drove skilfully to land $19 chance Waltzingwithsierra an easy winner in the 2130m Retravision Pace. He was a winner earlier in the program with The Last Drop. Waltzingwithsierra, trained by Katja Warwick, is regarded as a smart sit-sprinter who is best suited when racing on the pegs. From the No. 2 barrier, Waltzingwithsierra raced three back on the pegs in an Indian file affair, with the $1.40 favourite Somebeachparty racing in sixth position in the field of eight. Gary Hall jnr urged Somebeachparty forward approaching the bell, and with a lap to travel Suvaljko eased Waltzingwithsierra off the pegs, forcing Somebeachparty out three wide. Waltzingwithsierra forged to the front 430m from home and quickly established a commanding lead. She went on to win by three and a half lengths from $11 chance Vivere Damore, who was last at the bell and finished powerfully, out four wide on the home turn. Somebeachparty was a half-head away in third place. Waltzingwithsierra is by American stallion Always A Virgin and is out of the Village Jasper mare Sierra Tango, who produced seven filly foals. She is one of the four of those foals to have raced, the others being Dancingwithsierra (38 starts for 13 wins, 12 placings and $161,544), Tangoingwithsierra (21 starts for nine wins, ten placings and $174,130) and Rockingwithsierra (30 starts for three wins, 11 placings and $74,660).   Ken Casellas

By Jonny Turner    Laver showed his toughness in more ways than one when running to a stunning track record breaking victory in the Nelson Pine Industries Classic on Sunday. Sitting parked for much of the mile (1609m) feature was not enough to stop the Geoff and James Dunn trained pacer from producing the toughest of victories and stopping the clock in a jaw-dropping 1.51.9 time. As tough as that sounds, the four-year-old’s trip outside of a game leader and runner-up in Spellbound may not be the grittiest aspect of his win. Because the almighty victory came just two days after Laver served up a mammoth performance when missing away in the 3000m Nelson Cup, before catching the field and working around to again sit parked and finishing less than half a length from the winner, Kruizr. For that run not to have even the slightest impact on his pacer and for him to then produce such a brilliant mile effort on Sunday was testament to Laver’s toughness, Geoff Dunn said. “It is unreal, after that hard run on the first day he ate and drunk like you wouldn’t believe.” “I thought that might knock him, but I was pretty happy with the way he was before he went into [Sunday’s] race.” “I think it is their ability, if they are tough enough they will handle it.” “We have thought hard runs have knocked him before, but if he was ever going to get knocked it was going to be today.” With one of New Zealand’s fastest mile times to his name and his rating climbing into the 70s, Laver looks to be on a one-way path to open class. The high pressure of top level racing looks made for the four-year-old if he can keep progressing there. “The way he can run on the speed you would think he would handle it,” Dunn said. “But you never know, the top grade is the top grade.” “But he can run the times obviously and the only times he looks like an average horse is when he goes too slow.” “When he has been at Motukarara on the grass, he doesn’t wear earplugs, and Gerard [O’Reilly] reckons there is not enough noise out there and he can’t get him motivated.” “And the only time he looks average is when he gets out-sprinted.” Should he make open class, Laver will have got there in much different circumstances to his dam, Venus Serena. A group 1 winner as a two-year-old, the classy mare basically stepped in to top company as soon as she hit the track. Laver went about his early racing more steadily, taking 18 months to win his second race. But as time has gone on and his record has become more impressive, he shows more of his dam’s star qualities. “He is starting to get that way because he is getting bigger,” Dunn said. “She always had a monstrous back end and had a powerful size and he is starting to develop the same way.” “As he has got older he has started to get stronger.” The Dunn camp does not have any set plans for Laver following his outstanding win but plan to give him a quiet few days this week. “We will just take it as it comes and just see what race comes up next in his grade.” “His rating is getting a bit higher now.” “But we will give him a few days off after this to make sure he gets through it alright.”

By Frank Marrion courtesy of the HarnessXpress    Horse racing tends to throw up some pretty unusual events. But a 10-year-old Mrs Beau K winning on debut at Westport on Boxing Day had to take the cake. It would be unusual enough for a 10-year-old to even have its first race at that age, but to actually win it? Nobody can remember anything like that happening before. Probably, if one’s memory happened to go back for over a century when ‘trotting’ was in its formative years, one could find something similar or even more bizarre. Back then, racehorses often had a variety of other jobs such as carting milk around, and some began racing at a very advanced age once their speed was discovered. But not many people are 100 years plus and for those that are, their memories are probably not that good. We could research such things but we’d be here for weeks. Yaldhurst’s Basil Lynskey, who had success with the Santa Anita family, was renowned for leaving horses in the paddock for long periods and producing them at an advanced age. His last winner Visalia began racing as an eight-year-old and won two of her first four starts at Motukarara and Washdyke in 1988. Much earlier in 1973, Las Vegas also began racing as an eight-year-old and won his debut at Oamaru and Lynskey drove him to win four of his eight races that season. Then there was Santa Amada, a U Scott mare who won a race in the mid 50s, then returned to the races six seasons later, winning two of her five races as an 11-year-old. As one can no doubt imagine, it took some rather unusual events for Mrs Beau K to achieve her feat. The well-travelled former miner Trevor Walsh trained and drove her at Westport and that was an unusual enough event in itself. Walsh has been doing a bit of driving in recent times but it was his first win in the sulky since November, 2004, when he drove Steal The Moon to score at Kaikoura for Blenheim’s Paul Scott. When Walsh trained his own mare Malinka to win at the same Westport meeting last season – she was driven by Jim Curtin – it was Walsh’s first win in that respect for over 20 years. Back in the late 90s, Walsh had a couple of handy sorts in Nether Wood (4 wins) and Lord Dashwood (5 wins), but once they’d done their dash, he left the game to work on the second tunnel at the Lake Manapouri power station. He’s been back in Westport for about five years, reading power meters for Wells. There’s been the odd horse since his days in Marlborough, but Malinka was the only one he was training at the Westport track until Mrs Beau K joined him in early November. It is West Coast breeder-owner John Rogers, a Westport TC stalwart over the years, who can take the ‘credit’ for Mrs Beau K’s somewhat unique place in the history books however. “She was broken in as a yearling and had another prep at two, but then I simply got too busy with the (dairy) farm and she remained in the paddock for years,” said Rogers. “I tried to give her away on numerous occasions, but nobody was interested. “I’d pretty much given the game away and I thought she was the last horse I’d be breeding.” But Rogers had been an admirer of Highview Tommy and when a service was donated to the Westport club, he bought it and bred the dam of Mrs Beau K, the Holmes Hanover mare Emma Rose, to him. That resulted in the filly Agirlcalledtom and when Rogers began working her up as a three-year-old, late in 2018, he brought the by now nine-year-old Mrs Beau K back in as well “so she had something to work with”. Rogers had however by this point suffered a bad back injury in an accident at the Westport track which has since limited his abilities to only jogging the horses up at the beach on the back of a tractor. “I stepped back off a mudguard of the trailer into thin air and landed on my tailbone, also cracking my head. “I’ve had a major back operation which didn’t really work and now I’m waiting for another one in the next month or two.” So Rogers sent Agirlcalledtom and Mrs Beau K to Kevin Townley, who had trained their close relation Glen Del for him, and they qualified in the same heat at Ashburton in March last year. Townley drove Mrs Beau K to win the heat by three and a half lengths in 3.09 with Agirlcalledtom finishing third. He gave them one more trial at Rangiora and then Covid hit, so the pair went back into Rogers’ paddocks. “Mrs Beau K showed me a bit of speed back then and I wasn’t surprised to see her win at Westport,” said Townley. But when Rogers was jogging the pair up again in the spring, Townley’s stable was full and no other Canterbury trainers that were asked were willing to take them either. “So I threw them back in the paddock thinking that that was that,” said Rogers. “But then a few days later, Trevor (Walsh) dropped by to read my meter and I asked him if he would take them. “He said he could take one and he took Mrs Beau K.” Walsh gave Mrs Beau K trials at Waterlea, Westport and Richmond to fit her for her raceday debut and everything fell into place just perfectly in the first event on the first day at Westport. Walsh didn’t have to do anything to wind up in the one-one on the home turn and Mrs Beau K stomped home to pick up the pacemaking favourite Tas Girl Bromac by half a length at odds of $23. Things did not go so well during the remainder of the circuit though. Mrs Beau K was pulled up on the second day at Westport and then she finished last at Reefton after missing away. “She actually went away both days and then galloped and panicked,” said Walsh. “For a 10-year-old, she’s actually still quite green, but she’s a lovely mare to do anything with.” No surprises there given Mrs Beau K basically did nothing for seven years between the ages of two and nine. But Rogers had no real issues with her when he did bring her back in, something he attributes to a sensible Holmes Hanover dam. “She doesn’t know her age – like a lot of women when you ask them I guess.” Mrs Beau K comes from one of the last crops sired by Sands A Flyin and she was his first winner in a few years as well. If Rogers had had his way, she would have been called No Knickers Nicky. “Nicky was a nice lady who went to school with my children and at one time she was working the bar at the Star Tavern in Westport. “She said to me one day when are you going to name one of your horses after me? “So I put No Knickers Nicky in as a name to be cheeky when I registered Emma Rose’s filly but it was turned down. “It was only a few weeks before she qualified that I named her Mrs Beau K after the wife, Pauline. “Her nickname is Mrs Bouquet as she likes to be prim and proper.” Mrs Bouquet was the name of the lead character in the early 90s television comedy series Keeping Up Appearances, or Hyacinth Bucket insisted her surname be pronounced Bouquet. Mrs Beau K is the latest and perhaps the last of a long line of winners dating back to the 60s for the Rogers family and the maternal line emanating from Sub Rosa, a 1945 daughter of the Dillon Hall horse Congressional who had gone unwanted as a broodmare over many years. Rogers’ uncle Jack appears as the breeder when Sub Rosa produced the Morano filly Maelynne in 1960, but John says it was actually his father Tom that borrowed the mare. “Jack was an accomplished horseman who had a number of good horses over the years, such as the trotters Gay Flame (8 wins) and Coventry (7 wins). “Dad had been trying to get a winner for 20 years, but from Maelynne he hardly went a year without a win.” Maelynne won three races with Tom training her to win twice in the same day at a Reefton JC meeting in 1965 with Jack driving, while a bit later she won at the Cheviot meeting, paying $39 for Maurice Holmes. She would produce nine winners for Tom and later John, including Armbro Tom (US2.00), McKenna (US1.55.8) and Roger (5 NZ wins, US1.56) in the 70s, while her last winner was Steven John. The latter burst on to the scene when he won in the mud at the Westport meeting on Boxing Day in 1985, or 35 years earlier, going 2600m in 4.14 with John Rogers as the trainer-driver. They won again at Reefton and then at the Greymouth meeting in early January to claim the first $10,000 West Coast Bonus. Steven John was a very good horse and won his next three races as well – the Amberley Cup from 20m, the Nelson Cup from 10m and the feature race on the second day at Waterlea from 20m in successive weeks. A bit later he won at Addington beating Rolls Hanover and Keystone Surprise, but then Steven John went amiss, the result of a paddock accident as a youngster. He made a brief comeback three years later and won another race at Greymouth, but that was a lowly claimer. Katrina Del was an Armbro Del sister to Steven John who had earlier won four races as a three-year-old with Kevin Townley driving. She won at Addington beating Spry Guy and later on heavy grass tracks at Ashburton and Rangiora in the winter. It was a tough old breed and at stud she produced Okari Lad, who Rogers thinks might have been the first New Zealand-bred horse to go 1.55 in America, and Glen Del. The latter was a sensation when he won nine straight races during the first three months of 1992. He swept through the Nelson-Marlborough circuit unbeaten and later won the Hororata Cup and the feature race at Methven in March, going 4.12 for 3200m from 30m with John Hay driving all along. Glen Del was going for 10 straight wins in the Messenger in Auckland, but was unplaced there from barrier eight and soon after he broke a pedal bone. “We attempted a comeback with him and he was placed in a Kaikoura Cup, but he was never the same,” said Townley. War Buoy had set a record for 10 straight wins in the 30s, one matched by Cardigan Bay and Young Quinn and later eclipsed by Noodlum (15) and Courage Under Fire (24). But going from being a maiden straight through to open class is something a lot different or harder than dominating at age group level. New Age Man managed it a few years after Glen Del when he went unbeaten in 13 races and won a G1 Round Up Quarter Mile FFA at Addington along the way, although that was over the space of a year with a winter spell in between. The incomparable Lyell Creek, another son of Roydon Glen, won 20 straight from being a maiden trotter and then after a defeat, won his next 13. Rosalynne Del, the last foal from Katrina Del and a three-quarter sister to Glen Del, being by Smooth Fella, produced six foals for four winners including Emma Rose. But her only other filly in Jagged Ice (3 NZ wins, US1.54) wound up in America and the other three fillies from Katrina Del were no good, being by either Doc’s Tuck or Rum Customer. So this is how the family and John Rogers have pretty much reached the end of the line. Rogers is definitely done with breeding now and at 71, he is not far off retiring from the dairy farm at Okari just south of Westport as well. But we may not have seen the last of John Rogers just yet. “I’m getting that back operation so I can do things like the horses again and if it is successful this time, I’m going to need something to do once the farming is over.” So while Agirlcalledtom remains in the paddock for now, there’s a chance she could be Rogers’ last hurrah. “I’ve got six years to do something with her I guess.” – by Frank Marrion

Harness racing fans, harnesslink community, we have some important and exciting news to share with you. The current iteration of our website is now over ten years old and while it has done it's job incredibly well, the time has come for an upgrade.  Due to a number of technological changes, our current website has started to experience several problems behind the scenes which need to be solved. This has also fortunately given us the chance to review our current design as website design has changed a lot over the last ten years.  Our new website will be coming sometime in the next few weeks and should bring with it a faster, cleaner, more modern design. We know that change is hard but we also hope that you will keep an open mind and enjoy our new look when it is launched. Here's to the next chapter! John and the Harnesslink team Here is a picture of our original Website dated 2002

By Jonny Turner    Win number two awaits Jack Best after he notched the first victory of his training career on his home patch on Friday. The Blenheim born horseman completed the feat when Valley Star produced an outstanding staying performance to score for driver Ricky May at Nelson on Friday. The victory came at the first meeting Best and his mother, Anne-Marie, started runners at since forming an official training partnership. “It was a good thrill and when I sat back and thought about it, it was nice,” Best said. It was not only appropriate Valley Star’s win came in Best’s home province. Ricky May has driven many of Anne-Marie’s 44 prior wins in her own capacity. And the leading reinsman continued his association with the next generation of her family with Valley Star’s tough effort. “Ricky has done a fair bit for mum, they have had a few wins over the years, that’s for sure,” Best said. Jack Best has stepped into the training ranks after moving from Blenheim to Canterbury where he has taken up a position at Mark Jones stable. “I am learning every day, really.” “It is good, it is a good outfit and Mark is a top bloke to work for.” “He is always happy to help.” Best is not planning to rush into training a big team with his mother but is keen to see what opportunities arise further into the future. “I will just tick away and see where it takes me.” “I am in no rush to get a massive team, but to have a few horses on the side would be nice.” Valley Star will be out to notch Best’s second win as a trainer in race 10 on Sunday. The six-year-old will line up fresh and ready for his 2400m assignment after appearing to take little out of himself in his win on Friday. “He has come through the race really good,” Best said. “He came back to his yard yesterday and I let him go last night and he was running around like a lunatic.” “It hasn’t even fazed him.” Valley Stars goes to the 10m mark after starting from the front line against an almost identical field on Friday. That is of no concern to Best as though his trotter was left parked and then led on Friday, he usually runs his best races from off the pace. “He is better coming from the back when they are all in front of him.” “If anyone had watched his races, he has won most of them only by a small margin because he only does enough.” Best, who also has a win to his name as a junior driver, will be in the sulky behind Bonnie Boy in race 6 on Sunday. He is hoping for more luck from barrier 2 on the second row of the mobile than he got with the seven-year-old on Friday. “I am quite happy with that draw.” “Hopefully I can get a nice sit in and let the others battle it out early.” “Hopefully he can get a nice wee run home.” “He actually ran home really well on Friday.” “We got checked on the corner on the first bend and then we had to play catch up.” “They walked and sprinted, which is not his go.” “So, hopefully, he can get a bit of luck on Sunday.” Make My Sundon will be out to turn around a first-day gallop in race 4 on Sunday. The Best stable has made a gear change and a moved the five-year-old to the unruly in the hope of a better performance. “She is a pain in my neck,” Best said. “When she can trot, she damn well does it well enough.” “It is disappointing when she does that carry on (gallops).” “We have made a couple of changes and we are putting a Father Christmas shadow roll on her.” “And we have chucked her back on the unruly, which should be a bonus for her.” Ricky May will also drive Make My Sundon.

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Nelson today with an eleven race program starting at 11:58am and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a great day of racing. Nelson selections 10th January 2021 Best Bet:  R2 Tyene  Best Value:  R8 Annerie Nelson selections 10th January 2021   Race 1 Mabalene very consistent and big run for third the first day. Hard to beat in this field…… Owhatanight nice draw and running on well day one. Going to be a player at nice odds here.… Sweet Affinity got back but ran on ok the first day. Can win with a lead or trail in the race…… Jagara not far away the first day and drawn to go forward again. Has a bit of a reputation and has to be included. Selections:  Mabalene (6),   Owhatanight (4),   Jagara (5)   Sweet Affinity (3)   Race 2 Tyene huge run the first day and only has to trot all the way to be a big chance here. Top selection.……. Ilsas Son building a good formline and looks a good place hope again here…… Shiffty ok last start and will be improved. One of the leading chances in this field…… Monaro Mako new to the meeting and has been running good races. One for longer odds Selections:  Tyene (14),  Shiffty (11),   Ilsas Son (6),   Monaro Mako (4)   Race 3 Punt Away easily beaten by our bet of the day last start but should be hard to beat in this. Top selection….. Art's Bettor Secret good second last start and one of the leading chances in this. Looks a likely  quinella with Punt Away….. Ashes Of Desire ok day one and should get a run through from the draw. Can run top three here….. Ultimate Bird has been disappointing but getting fitter with a nice trailing draw. One for longer odds Selections:   Punt Away (5),   Art's Bettor Secret (3),   Ashes Of Desire (11)    Ultimate Bird (10)   Race 4 Regal Appointment quick beginner who will take some catching if she can land the front. Good odds available….. That's The Story racing into form and should get a run through early. Great winning chance in this field….. Five Wise Men ok after an early gallop the first day with money on. Can win with manners….. Michelle running on late the first day and over the odds. Can win but will need luck Selections:   Regal Appointment (1),   That's The Story (8),   Five Wise Men (12)   Michelle (3)   Race 5 Hittheroadjack full of running when he galloped the first day. Looks the winner if he can stay out of trouble and opened over the odds….. Great Presence in good form and a bit unlucky day one. Winning claims….. Emma's Boy can not fault the formline and sure to be fighting out the finish again here if he can lead early. Needed..….. Captain Confetti good after an early gallop last start and a hard run after. Place chances look best Selections:   Hittheroadjack (8),   Emma's Boy (4),   Great Presence (2)   Captain Confetti (13)   Race 6 Malinka conditions suit and back to the mile will help. Good winning claims if driven with a sit.….     Fun In The Dark best draw and plenty of ability. One for the leading chances and will give a good sight here…… Donegal Carnbouy racing ok and trailing draw. Will be running on and can win with gaps in the straight ..… Mordecai should be able to run a quick mile and drawn ok. Winning claims Selections:  Malinka (6),   Fun In The Dark (1),   Mordecai (5),   Donegal Carnbouy (10)   Race 7 Anamajor building into some good form and might try to lead all the way. Top selection here…. Boom ok last start but tricky draw over the mile. Would be no surprise to see him in the money here if he can get a cart into the race….. Invisible Girl good draw and she will be the early leader before trailing. Can go close here at nice odds…. Off N Gone getting better with racing and form is good. Has to be included but tricky draw Selections:   Anamajor (4),  Invisible Girl (1),   Off N Gone (9),  Boom (7)   Race 8 Annerie good win last start and will be fitter. Loves the track and will be hard to beat paying great odds….. Rockntommy Rulz good last start and better drawn here. One of the leading chances and should run top three….. Hes Fast And Furious tricky draw but good last start. Should be close to the placings with luck in the running….. Sport Mental getting better with racing but looks to be running for place money only here Selections:   Annerie (11),   Rockntommy Rulz (2),   Hes Fast And Furious (10)  Sport Mental (6)   Race 9 Striking Gladiator racing well and keeps paying great money. Distance suits and will be hard to beat from the good draw….. Cheezel racing well and good sprinter who should appreciate the shorter trip. Can run top three….. Spellbound distance will suit but has been disappointing. Could make it interesting if he found the front early ….. Laver good run last start after an early gallop and distance no issue. Hard to beat here Selections:  Striking Gladiator (1),   Laver (4),   Cheezel (3)    Spellbound (5)   Race 10 Valley Star quick beginner who won well the first day. Good odds available and hard to beat again here….. Mikemaro good form and should get a run forward early. Orange sticks with so needed….. Madeleine Stowe tricky draw but running on well last start. One of the leading chances here….. Globe Trekker in good form but looked a run short last start. Quick improver who could upset Selections:   Valley Star (12),   Globe Trekker (8),   Madeleine Stowe (7)   Mikemaro (2)   Race 11 Nerano quick beginner who will take some catching if he can land the front. Unlucky first day and good odds available….. B K Swy pushed them over the line on day one and only needs an ounce of luck to be hard to beat in. Great winning chance in this field….. Judgement Bay ok on day one after running greenly in the straight. Better with a lead and might loop them midrace. Good winning chance….. Shezsomethinspecial stuck on last start after working hard mid race. Better draw here so include Selections:   Nerano (3),   B K Swy (2),   Shezsomethinspecial (1)   Judgement Bay (11)   Harnesslink Media

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Trainer Ray Green felt a sense of relief as he watched his pride and joy Copy That take out the Group 2 McMillian Equine Feeds Flying Mile (1609m) at Cambridge Raceway on Friday night. The exciting pacer has been luckless in his last few starts, but he was finally dealt a good hand in Friday’s feature and he didn’t disappoint. Driver Maurice McKendry launched the son of American Ideal off the gate from his handy draw of three to take an early lead. McKendry kept a solid tempo throughout and Copy That was able to open up turning for home and hold off the late challenge of Self Assured to win by 1-1/2 lengths, in a time of 1:53.2. Green said he was relieved to get the win after a series of placings. “We have had no luck in his last few races. He has gone well in each of them but has had no luck,” he said. “Tonight he showed he is right up there with them.” Green took plenty of confidence into the race, with his main rivals Spankem and Self Assured drawing wide. “On paper I couldn’t see how they could beat him. As it turned out that is the way it was,” he said. “The draw was good and all the stars were aligned.” Green was philosophical about Copt That’s previous runs and he is now looking forward to further campaigns with his star pacer. “It is always frustrating, but that is horse racing. You can’t have everything going your way all of the time,” he said. “It was a relief to see him not encounter any hurdles and show what he can do.” Copy That will now head for a brief spell before Green decides what his next targets will be. “He won’t be heading over to Australia, COVID-19 has put a stop to that,” Green said. “He can do all of those races next year anyway, so he doesn’t have to go over. “He will go for a short spell and we will go from there.” Earlier on the card Majestic Man signed off his New Zealand campaign in style before he heads across the Tasman for some Group One targets. The Phil Williamson-trained gelding was backed into $1.20 favouritism for the Group 3 Les Harrison Transport Cambridge Flying Stakes (1700m), and duly delivered for punters, winning by three-quarters of a length over Temporale. He will now fly to Victoria on January 20 in preparation for the Dullard Cup later this month.

Local authorities have today made an appeal to the public for help in the search for what they are describing as a well schooled perpetrator who may have be involved in unlawful activity in and around the greater Nelson area recently. The following details have been released… Name of suspect: Ned Kelly Information as to the nature of any offending: Kelly is likely to be spoken to in regards to the stealing of silverware along with an amount of cash on the date of Friday the 8th of January from Richmond Park. While it appears that this is Kelly’s first offense the brazen nature of it convinces authorities that it may well not be his last and the public are encouraged to stay vigilant in the hope that their knowledge can lead to the apprehension of the suspect.     Information as to the suspects physical appearance. Brown complexion, wears his hair long at the back of his head, has the peculiar trait of walking on all fours, fleet-footed, carries an identifying brand / tattoo upon his neck,owns a variety of shoes that are replaced consistently, is known to sweat and prance around a bit.       Information as to the suspect’s family. Mother: Name: Kelly Maguire Occupation: Homemaker Comment: Kelly is known to be a loving mother of seven. While Ned might be the problem child she has reportedly been an outstanding mother to son Positano who now resides in Australia. Father: Name: Art Occupation:Major in the armed forces. Comment: Self made millionaire. Ladies man. Known to be conducting hundreds of affairs every year with female acquaintances. Very good athlete in his day being a star of the track and field scene in America.        Known whereabouts: Ned Kelly has been seen in and around the Epsom region of Auckland in the past and is known to frequent the area of Pukekohe. He has connections within Christchurch and indeed the greater Canterbury region while a residence in the Woodend area north of Christchurch City is also likely to be a property of interest. Ned is known to travel in a large van / trailer.   Known acquaintances   Mr Robert J Dunn and Mr John Dunn (father and son) have been known to travel with Ned and may be offering both aid and shelter to him at this point in time. It isn’t known if these men are armed although there have been sightings of both men in possession of whips in the past. A new man has also recently come to the attention of authorities and may be an accomplice,possibly, surprisingly, with the surname Newman!   Known character traits of acquaintances   R J Dunn (Robert): Easy to approach, both jovial and talkative. He has been known to find work with animals although most will know him through his work as a master musician. Just what instrument he plays is yet to be determined.   John Dunn: Known leader, likely to leave middle-aged woman spellbound with his good looks, astute, hangs out with a small group of friends namely Robbie Burns, Henry Hubert and a girl he lovingly calls Miss Daisy.   What to do if you do see Ned Kelly: Ned Kelly isn’t currently regarded as dangerous. If you do see him you might want to talk to him regarding his next heist in order to get the inside word on where he’ll target next. If you have any information at all that may assist in this enquiry then please do not hesitate to call and give your much needed help, you can ring our hotline on 0800 GLENROWAN that’s 0800 GLENROWAN. Alternatively you can donate money to help with recovering the costs of the investigation by depositing funds into the “Kelly Account” at the bank of Euroa. PS: Video footage of the suspect has been acquired and the public has been asked to review the tape in the view that it may well lead to the arrest of the individual in question. Video Link Provided here  (click to view footage of the crime) Ben McMillan

By Garrick Knight     Shock and grief reverberated through the entire industry on Wednesday when word spread that South Auckland horseman Revell Douglas had died in the most tragic of circumstances. The 46-year-old horseman, a former racing administrator and journalist, drowned at Karioitahi Beach near Waiuku shortly after working his new trotter, Scrappylittlenobody. Douglas, universally liked through both the racing and equestrian industries, departed this earth a hero after helping save the lives of six children. While 2020 was calamitous for most people, for Douglas it had seen him buy a new house and start a new relationship with partner Lou Watkin, who was with him at Karioitahi Beach on Wednesday, along with seven children. “We met six months ago and I’ve never known a more beautiful soul,” she said. “A gentleman, an amazing dad and perfect partner. He just blew me away. “I am just speechless at what has happened to a wonderful, wonderful man. “He was so proud of his horses and he really wanted us to go down and see ‘Scrappy’ run on the beach. “So he picked Scrappy up and brought his three sons down and his father, Don, brought his horse down too. “Don and Rev gave their horses a good long run up the beach then after they finished, Rev took Scrappy for a swim in the water.” Training his horses on the beach was cathartic for Revell, Watkin reckoned. “Just a couple of days prior he had sent me some beautiful photos from the beach telling me how inspiring it was and how he loved taking his horses down there.” Unfortunately, what was shaping as lovely family morning at the beach soon turned to tragedy. “The kids decided to go for a swim and very quickly found themselves in difficulty so we both went in to help them. “With the help of Revell’s eldest son, Lockie, we managed to get them all out but sadly, Rev didn’t make it. “He has died an absolute hero and we are all forever indebted to him for making sure the kids were safe.” “He gave everything to make sure they all survived. It was just too much in the end.” Douglas was born in Helensville in 1974 to parents Don and Laura, a younger brother to Paula, before the family moved to Waiuku a couple of years later. He grew up in the sleepy town southwest of Auckland, eventually attending Waiuku College. “He excelled in all sports there and ended up being captain of the First XV,” said his father, Don. He then shifted to Palmerston North in 1993 to study Agricultural Economics and Marketing at Massey University in Palmerston North. Freshly graduated, he returned to Auckland and started working in the Ardmore stable of Glen Harwood, who was then private trainer for Steve and Jill Stockman. Like most aspiring trainers, Douglas had a hunger for knowledge and wanted to expand his skillset, so spent a year in upstate New York working for former Kiwi, Paul ‘Stretch’ Jessop. He would often retell the story of how he accompanied Auckland Cup winner Burlington Bertie on the flight across the Pacific in early 1998. Australia was next and an 18-month stint at a prominent thoroughbred establishment in New South Wales before he returned home early in the new millenium. He shifted to New Plymouth, where his sister now lived, and worked for the Taranaki Daily Times as a sports and racing writer as well as contributing to the Harness Racing Weekly. Before long, an opportunity arose to become the Racing Manager at the Auckland Trotting Club and he took it with both arms. “He was much liked and admired at Alexandra Park,” said Don. “And I know he enjoyed his time there.” By now Douglas was married to Julia and they were starting a family and due to her professional advancement, they moved to the Waikato. He decided to make a go of it as a horse trainer and set up a stable on the property of Robbie Hughes, near Lake Karapiro. His first winner came at Taranaki in April 2007 with the claiming mare, Cool Service, but she was soon claimed off him and around this time he had leased an unraced trotter, Rockin Brie, from John Green. She won four races in 18 months for him before he had to hand over the reins to Don because an opportunity arose in Western Australia. “He attained the role of CEO and Racing Manager at Pinjarra Raceway in 2009,” recalls Don. “More or less he jumped off the plane in his gumboots and inherited a huge development of new stands and infrastructure. “These were completed successfully before he left.” He also dabbled in training while there most notably with veteran Kiwi import Turismo, who won four on end shortly after arriving in 2011. The Douglas family spent three years in Pinjarra and youngest son Liam was born there shortly before the decision was made to move home and have the boys attend school in New Zealand. The next eight years, based primarily in Karaka, saw Douglas build up the New Zealand arm of Hygain, an Australian-based horse feed company. “Initially it was a developmental role because until his appointment they had only dabbled in New Zealand,” said Don. “He more or less built it from the ground up in New Zealand to what it is today, so it was a very successful partnership.” He kept his hand in horse training when time allowed, his life very busy with Hygain and raising three sons, but he managed to train eight further winners in that time. Started 2020 off well with three wins in the space of a month thanks to giant trotter Locksmith, and injury-plagued pacer, Revving. Douglas got his fifteen minutes of national fame when appearing on Seven Sharp last year, recounting the heart-warming story of Locksmith being saved by a team of people after falling down a well on the Glenbrook property he was training from. Don Douglas says he takes solace from the fact that his son was content in the months before his passing. “He was just so happy, in a really great space. “And I’ll always cherish that last trip up the beach we took together on Wednesday morning. “I haven’t just lost a son; I’ve lost a great mate.” A testament to his overwhelming popularity was the scores and scores of tributes from friends and colleagues on social media as news spread of his passing. The common theme was clear – a proud and committed father, a champion bloke with a heart of gold and razor-sharp wit. An accomplished horseman and administrator successful in everything he turned his hand to. A friend to hundreds, not one of them with a bad word to say about him. And finally, a hero. Revell Paul Douglas is survived by sons Lockie, Hamish and Liam, parents Don and Laura, sister Paula, brother in law Patrick, partner Lou, and wife Julia. Funeral details are yet to be confirmed.

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    The Gerard O’Reilly trained Striking Gladiator made it back-to-back wins when taking out the Hoani Jack Cup (2400m) at Nelson on Friday. The son of Mach Three was beaten for speed off the mobile and took an early sit three back on the markers behind early speedsters Silk and Invisible Girl. Heading into the straight for the first time driver Sarah O’Reilly asked her charge to improve to take control of the race at the bell. From there the pair were able to dictate terms and ran away to a 1-3/4 length victory over the late closing Anamajor, with a further three lengths back to Boom in third. Gerard O’Reilly was pleased with the win and said the four-year-old had finally learnt to be a racehorse after his last start victory over 2200m at Forbury. “I was really thrilled with his win today,” O’Reilly said, “He came into that really well and he has clicked onto the racing game. He is getting better all the time. “It was a good run down at Forbury and the time he went was good. “He has been working really nicely since then. We just hoped he would get a good run and Sarah drove him well. She let him go early and then got around at the right time and he went well. “He will go around again on Sunday.” Stablemates A Rocknroll Star and Glamour Boy will also likely back-up on Sunday after their fourth and eighth placings respectively on Friday. Glamour Boy nearly missed the start of the Mount Hutt Trotting Club Mobile Pace (2400m) after breaking before the start. However, driver Sarah O’Reilly was able to quickly get him back into his gait, but they faced an uphill struggle coming from the back off a hot pace. “He was a bit disappointing at the start,” O’Reilly said. “It was an upside-down run race with them going hard so early. But he passed quite a lot of them, he will get better, but I think he is still another year away.” O’Reilly was in the bike himself behind A Rocknroll Star and he was happy enough with his fourth-placing in the David And Jan Birdling Trust Pace (2400m). “I had to go a bit earlier than I wanted to, but he has come through it really well and he will keep on improving. I am quite happy with him.” O’Reilly currently sits on four wins for the season, just two shy of last season’s tally and he is pleased that some of his runners are finally coming of age. “We have got quite a nice wee team at the moment that has been three years in the making,” he said. “You put a bit of time into them and hope they reward you, and it’s good that that is starting to happen.”

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Nelson today with an eleven race program starting at 2:12pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a great day of racing. Nelson selections 8th January 2021 Best Bet:  R3 Teagan Banner Best Value:  R10 Globe Trekker   Race 1 Ned Kelly coming in fresh and has a heap of ability. Stable does well on the track and this one opened over the odds. Needed….. Jagara  trialling well and has the draw. One of the leading chances in this field….. Ultimate Bird has not had all the luck and has been running on.. One for longer odds….. Mabalene terrible draw but not the worst in a good field. Third last start was tidy and she will be running on late. Include Selections:   Ned Kelly (6),  Jagara   (1),  Ultimate Bird (11)   Mabalene (9)   Race 2 Tyene has a bit of a reputation and has been freshened. Top driver on and has to be included. ….. Desbois tidy at workouts and from the leading stable. Will be at short odds but top selection here….. Tedesco manners a concern but has the ability to get into the race with a fast run race. Can win at good odds…... Shiffty good second last start and building up some form. One of the leading chances in this field. Selections:   Desbois (6),  Tyene  (13),  Shiffty  (11)  Tedesco  (7)   Race 3 Teagan Banner coming in fresh but looks a nice horse on his workout form and from a strike rate stable. Opened way over the odds and top selection here….. Sweet Affinity draw not great but has been good at trials and workouts. Place chances looks best…..Reggie Golightly interesting runner with decent stable change. Watch the tote but has claims…... Flo Motion  runs have been ok and drawn for a soft run on the fence. Can place at big odds….. Selections:   Teagan Banner (7), Flo Motion  (1),  Reggie Golightly(4)   Sweet Affinityy (9)   Race 4 Idle Stuartia  solid form and top driver on board. Should be thereabouts at the finish….. Five Wise Men   going some good races and will appreciate the front row draw. Looks the winner with  safe getaway….. Regal Appointment terrible draw but in good form. Looks a good place hope here with manners….. That's The Story was disappointing last start but getting fitter. Chances hinge on a safe getaway from the stand but can place Selections:   Five Wise Men(2),   Idle Stuartia (10),   That's The Story(7)    Regal Appointment (8)   Race 5 High Flying Harry  Dunn runner who will take some catching if he can land the front. Has to be hard to beat from the nice draw….. Rollwithit running on last start and track suits.One for longer odds….. Captain Confetti  disappointing last start but well drawn and give another chance. One for longer odds….. Hittheroadjack some good runs at recent trials and he  should be close to the placings in this field with a safe beginning Selections:   High Flying Harry (1),   Hittheroadjack (13),   Captain Confetti (5)   Rollwithit(3)   Race 6 Donegal Carnbouy building into some good form and drawn for a soft run in transit. Should be close to the placings at nice odds…. Proviseur  disappointing last start but should go forward and get a good run.. Top selection in this field ….. Contractual Issues a bit one paced but can run on late here. Good winning chance if the pace is on all the way…. Givemewhatineed has gate speed and might try for the front here, Winning claims with no attackers Selections:  Proviseur (5),  Contractual Issues(2),   Givemewhatineed  (4),  Donegal Carnbouy  (1)    Race 7 Striking Gladiator good beginner who bolted in last start. Good winning chance here and hard to beat from the draw. Opened over the odds…..Anamajor has been disappointing but top driver booked and will get a soft run on the fence. Needed ….. Silk  tricky draw but speedy and likes the track. Will be hard to beat with a good run in transit….. Invisible Girl getting better with racing and drawn to get a good run in transit. Should be thereabouts again here. Selections:   Striking Gladiator (1),   Invisible Girl (2),  Anamajor (4)  Silk  (5)   Race 8 Hes Fast And Furious good previously on the track and top driver booked. One of the leading chances in this field…. Off N Gone has been racing top fields and big drop back here.. Will be running on and can win ….. Rockntommy Rulz fast beginner who should get a good run handy to the leaders. Good winning chance if the pace is on all the way…. Sport Mental good win last start and building in to some form. Hard to beat with a cart into the race Selections:   Hes Fast And Furious(3),  Off N Gone(11),   Rockntommy Rulz (5),  Sport Mental  (10)   Race 9 Dadndave good beginner who races well on the track. Winning chance here and hard to beat at good odds…..Cheezel should begin ok and get a soft run. Has a good finnish so needed here….. Franco Niven tricky draw but speedy and stand suits. Will be hard to beat with a good run in transit….. Kruizr getting better with racing and Orange jumps on. Should be thereabouts again here. Selections:   Dadndave (7),   Kruizr (4),  Franco Niven(6)  Cheezel (1)   Race 10 Globe Trekker racing well and getting fitter. Should get a good run from the draw and is a winning chance at good odds…..I Dream Of Jeannie likely to go forward early and has raced well on the track. Good winning claims….. Madeleine Stowe goes ok on the track and has the speed if she gets a cosy run on the pegs. Can upset. ….. Valley Star getting better with racing and in good form. Should be thereabouts again here. Selections:   Globe Trekker (7),   I Dream Of Jeannie (2),  Madeleine Stowe  (9)  Valley Star(10)   Race 11 Immer Besser in good form and will go forward near the lead. Should be a major player…..Judgement Bay no luck the last couple and hard to beat if she could find the lead. Upset chance in this….. Sir Brigadoon nice draw and top driver on. Will be hard to beat with a good run in transit….. Jazelle out of form but has ability. Could be the upsetter at good odds  Selections:   Immer Besser  (6),   Judgement Bay (12), Sir Brigadoon  (3)  Jazelle(4)   Harnesslink Media

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Majestic Man will be out to end his New Zealand summer on a high at Cambridge Raceway on Friday before testing the waters on the other side of the Tasman. The Phil Williamson-trained gelding has been in scintillating form this season, finishing unplaced in just two of his 11 starts, and winning on two occasions, including the Gr.3 Ashburton Flying Mile (1609m) and Gr.2 Trotters Flying Mile (1609m) at Cambridge on Christmas Eve. The son of Majestic Son subsequently placed in the Gr.1 National Trot (2700m) at Alexandra Park on New Year’s Eve behind Sundees Son and Bolt For Brilliance, both of whom will bypass the Gr.3 Les Harrison Transport Cambridge Flying Stakes Mobile Trot (1700m) on Friday. Williamson was pleased with his gelding’s run and he is looking forward to facing a weaker field at Cambridge Raceway on Friday. “I was really happy with him,” he said. “They ran a national record and he trotted a quick last half, so he went well he just couldn’t catch the other two, they are both great horses. It’s no shame running third to them. “He looks tough to beat there for sure on Friday.” Majestic Man has been installed as a $1.15 favourite for the Flying Mile by TAB bookmakers, ahead of Group One winner Temporale at $7.50, and barring incident Williamson is confident of meeting his charge in the winner’s circle following the race. “He is the horse to beat,” Williamson said. “I have got plenty of respect for Temporale, but with the inside draw on him we should be in a dominant position. If he is good enough, he will be winning.” Friday night’s test will be Majestic Man’s final New Zealand hit-out before he travels across the Tasman with driver Brad Williamson to try and plunder some Australian trotting spoils. “We will take him over to Australia. The Dullard Cup will be his first race on January 30,” Williamson said. “The reason he is going is because there are about five Group Ones that he can run in over there over the month of February. “He is penciled to leave on the 20th (January) and he will stay over there until early March. Whether he goes up to Sydney will just depend on what COVID restrictions there are going to be at the state border. “Brad is going to go over and it will be a good opportunity for him to try and steer a Group One. “With the racing he will have, with a bit of luck he will be tough to beat in some of them.”

Hayden Cullen's dream homecoming at Cambridge tonight night is being dampened by one small detail: he won't be there. The man taking over Australasia's most powerful harness racing stable is learning the realities of what that means — work always comes first. Cullen is now the trainer for almost all the horses which until last week were part of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's All Stars brand, with the pair taking a sabbatical from training. The 36-year-old now runs the most powerful stable in the industry even though to casual punters it will look much the same tomorrow night, with Cullen also taking over Purdon's famous colours and Purdon and Rasmussen both driving. But this is Cullen's team now and he has been in the north working them this week. Until today. "I have had to come back to Christchurch to work the babies because they are at an important stage and we need to look forward with them," he tells the Herald. "So while I looked after the horses up there this week, I won't be going to Cambridge. That is a little bit of a shame because it is my home track and I'd love to have been there but this is my job now, I have to look after the whole team and delegate staff to be where I can't." Cullen says it was a surreal feeling to see his name in the form guides next to Self Assured and Spankem. "This isn't usually how it usually works. When you start training it is often with a few maidens and unraced horses, not New Zealand Cup and Miracle Mile winners. I don't think it has sunk in yet and I don't think it will for a few weeks." So what does all this mean for punters? It would be unrealistic to think Cullen, or anybody else, could maintain the standards Purdon and Rasmussen have set so some horses might eventually see a dip in performance. But there is no proof of that yet and if things change that should take a while to show up. Cullen is a young man taking on a massive job and while he has been trained by the best as their foreman, he is still going to learn as he goes. Cullens keen to stamp their own mark But the reality is Spankem and Ashley Locaz raced in the Auckland Cup only eight days ago so would have taken little work this week leading into a mile race, while Cullen says he is happy with Self Assured, who hasn't raced since winning the New Zealand Cup because of a corn. "I worked him on Wednesday and he worked well," he says. "He is not carrying any extra weight and is ready to go but the draws make it tough for all of ours because it looks like Copy That will lead and that will make him very hard to beat." Spankem raced in the Auckland Cup eight days ago so would have taken little work (Trish Dunell Photo) The Flying Mile at Cambridge being what it is, with leaders so hard to catch at this level, Cullen's debut with three of New Zealand's best pacers could well end in defeat because the best version of Copy That might be unbeatable in front. But Cullen should get his first solo training victory — he has 62 in partnership with Brent Mangos between 2011 and 2014 — with Italian Lad (R8, No 11). "He has worked well and is fitter for his last start so he will be hard to beat." If he is right Cullen and his wife Amanda, who will help run the stable, can raise a glass for their first win in a unique chapter of New Zealand racing. And then tomorrow get straight back to work. FIVE HORSES TO BACK AT CAMBRIDGE 1. Son Of Patrick (R5, No 3): High drop in grade and has experience in mobile racing taking on the best 3yos at Addington last year. If he trots all the way he should win, as he did in his only previous start here. 2. Italian Lad (R8, No 11): Sat parked outside top 3yo B D Joe here last start and ran him close. Only here to get a penalty-free win before heading to Sydney. 3. Majestic Man (R7, No 6): Last time he raced in a sprint here he beat Sundees Son. Too short to back but Pick6 and multi anchor. 4. Hot And Treacherous (R11, No 7): Has been racing primarily in the elite 3yo pacing grade and falls into a perfect race. Almost another Pick6 anchor. 5. Santa Maria (R6, No 3): Latest outings at Alex Park have been in stronger maidens, has the gate speed to use her draw and the boss (trainer, Tony Herlihy) is on board. By Michael Guerin Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald

Breckon Farms, the model Ohaupo-based harness racing breeding establishment founded by Ken and Karen Breckon in 2007, is offering its largest and best quality draft ever at the NZB Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka on February 13 and 14. The consignment comprises 21 colts and 15 fillies by nine different stallions including champion sires Art Major (6 colts, 6 fillies), Bettor’s Delight (2 colts, 3 fillies) and Majestic Son (1 colt). There’s also stock by the emerging sires A Rocknroll Dance (3 colts), Father Patrick (1 colt, 2 fillies), Sweet Lou (2 colts), Betting Line (1 colt) and Always B Miki (1 filly) and five colts and three fillies from the first crop of the brilliant, young trotting sire What The Hill. The draft comprises progeny of Group winning mares such as Twist And Twirl and Willow,  both NZ Sires’ Stakes 3YO champions, Linda Lovegrace (Caduceus Club Classic) and Fear Factor (NZ Sires 2YO Trot Final). Lot 121, Lovemeto is one of eight by first season 'Muscle Hill' stallion 'What The Hill' in the Breckon draft Other highlights including siblings to the Group winners King Of Swing, winner of the Miracle Mile, A. G. Hunter Cup and Breeders Crown 2YO, Bettor Twist (NZ Sires’ Stakes 2YO Final), the dual Sires’ Stakes champions and Harness Jewels winners Elle Mac and One Change, High Gait (Breeders Crown 2YO, The Redwood and Vic. Oaks), Tailored Elegance (Sires’ Stakes 2YO Final), Tickle Me Pick (Harness Jewels and Sires’ Stakes 3YO), Luby Lou (NZ Derby and Oaks) and Stress Factor (Vic. Derby and Breeders Crown 3YO).  For a closer look at this year's yearling draft click here. For further details visit www.breckonfarms.co.nz   Peter Wharton

The Central Otago Trotting Cup will be run after all, it’s been announced today. The race was cancelled after bad weather forced the abandonment of the Omakau races on January 2. But now it’s been decided the Group 3 Cup will be run at the Winton Harness Racing Club meeting on January 20. Stakes for the Cup have been set at $25,000. The decision comes after lengthy discussions between the Central Otago Trotting Club, the Winton Harness Racing Club and Southern Harness. The move is not unprecedented. In 2020 the Cup was abandoned after Ricky May’s medical event driving AG’s White Socks. He collapsed to the ground during the race and had to be revived. The Cup was later run at the Wyndham track on January 16. Heisenberg won the Cup for trainer Robert Dunn, and already there have been indications that two of the stable’s stars Henry Hubert and Classie Brigade will make the trek south from Canterbury for the Cup in little under a fortnight. Other runners in the original field have also indicated they will attend the event at Winton. For any more information contact Julie McEwan-Franks at Southern Harness. Phone: 03 2179117 | Fax: 03 2179117 | Mobile: 0274 390 660 Email: julie@southernharness.co.nz

Today Waikouaiti horseman Mark Hurrell reached a milestone when he drove his hundredth winner at Cromwell. Driving Tad Lincoln trained by Paul Andrews, the junior reinsman fittingly saluted as he punched out the six year old to win the twelfth race by two and a quarter lengths. “It was Mum (Maria) and Dad’s (Ross) twenty fifth wedding anniversary today so it was a great present for them. They come to every meeting I drive at south of Dunedin. They’re my biggest supporters and told me to chase my dreams,” Hurrell said. Earlier in the day he’d driven talented trotter Aveross Majesty for win number 98. “I was pretty confident I’d get to 100 today but not on Tad Lincoln. My best drive was Aveross Majesty and he won really easily.” Twenty two year old Hurrell started working for Wyndham trainer Brendon McLellan whilst at High School. “He taught me a lot. I didn’t even know which way the hopples went on. He taught me all the basic skills and how to drive. He was really good to me. I was there for four and half years.” Hurrell’s first winner was at the Riverton meeting in October 2016 when he drove the Alan McVicar trained It Ain’t The Money, to win. After working for Brendon McLellan, Hurrell headed north working for Peter and Tom Bagrie for eighteen months. He also did small stints in Canterbury with John Dunn and Regan Todd. “I’ve had some good people to learn off.” Of the one hundred winners, seventeen have been from the stable of Amber Hoffman, his current employer. “I moved down here about ten months ago. I was struggling up in Canterbury, not getting too many drives. It’s hard up there. They want the best drivers all the time and I was at a crossroads. Amber offered me a job – to be her stable driver. It’s been excellent. The beach is real quiet and that’s the lifestyle I like.” Hurrell currently holds second place in the Junior Drivers National Premiership, ten adrift of current leader John Morrison. “I’ll get a good crack at the Premiership once Johnny (Morrison) and Sheree (Tomlinson) finish up at the end of this season. Next year is my last year as a junior.” Hurrell also had success at Syd Breen’s stable at Gore, driving fourteen winners for Syd. “Syd was one of the first trainers to give me a crack. I was driving Sagwitch when he was winning those Country Cups. Syd had faith in me to drive his horses. He’s been a big supporter of mine. He never bags my driving.” Hurrell is sponsored by Gore seed company Kubala Seeds. “Pete’s been my sponsor since day dot. He’s sponsored all my gear and sign writing. He’s a keen follower and likes to have a bet.” Mark’s successful hundredth winner today demonstrates the value of supporting and mentoring young people into the industry.   by Bruce Stewart