Day At The Track

Trainer Cran Dalgety’s Bathurst Gold Crown celebration party isn’t going exactly as planned, but it is going to be a long one. Two weeks in fact. That is how long Dalgety will be trapped in the Novotel Hotel at Auckland Airport after being forced into quarantine when returning from overseeing Dr Susan’s Group 1 $100,000 win at Bathurst on Saturday night. Dalgety, who trains the filly in partnership with Nathan Purdon, flew back from the successful Sydney campaign expecting to continue through to Christchurch and then into isolation at home in Canterbury. But the jovial horseman got a shock when he was informed of the new Covid-19 protocols at Auckland airport that meant if he didn’t have somewhere to self-isolate within a five-hour drive he had to go into forced quarantine at the Novotel, which is 50 metres from the Auckland Airport International Terminal. “I think I missed the cut off by a day of two,” laments Dalgety. “So basically I am in lock down in the Novotel, which could be worse, at least I got a nice hotel. “But the rooms are quite small and has no opening windows and I am only allowed outside for 20 minutes a day. I was hoping to be able to use the gym but we aren’t so I am going to try to get the running shoes on and make the most of the 20 minutes. “My daughter has sent me an exercise app so I can work out in the room, but there isn’t much room to do that either.” Dalgety gets food brought to the room three times a day but it is left at the door and he isn’t allowed to collect it until the staff member who drops it off is gone. For a country boy, and one who loves his fitness so much he has completed the famed Coast to Coast, this is a less than ideal situation. “It is not great but I understand the situation and I just have to make the most of it. “I have my phone and my laptop, so I can work a bit, but I have watched Dr Susan’s win on Saturday night plenty of times already.” Dr Susan has travel problems of her own as well as Dalgety was keen to get her to Perth for the West Australian Oaks but those plans have been shelved. “We could fly her but no groom cause it also would have meant whoever flew with her had to self isolate 14 days both there and on the way back, which is not practical. “So she has gone for a spell at Benstud, which is hardly ideal because she is fit and ready to race on. “Technically we could have kept racing her in NSW but she would have been rated a free-for-all grade horse and that is not fair on her. “The real shame is she is racing so well and could have gone there and then the Queensland Oaks but that carnival has been canned. So will have a break and we will have to look at next season.” Dalgety laughs when he thinks of how Dr Susan nearly threw away both her Group 1 wins this season, in the Victoria Oaks and on Saturday. Both time she galloped in the score up and caused false starts before recovering to lead throughout at the second attempt. “She does that when she is really well, she clenches her tail between her legs and gallops,” says Dalgety. “And you wouldn’t believe it it is hereditary. Her grand dam Sparks A Flyin (who won a NSW Oaks) did it and so did her dam Safedra. “I sent her (Safedra) to Luke McCarthy to be trained a few years ago and she was hot favourite for a $50,00 race in Queensland and she did the same thing and blew the start. “It is funny because Dr Susan is a lovely quiet filly most of the time but she gets too well for her own good some race nights.” Dalgety might be feeling the same for much of the next two weeks. So if you are a mate of the man in the colourful shirts don’t be scared to reach out over the next 13 days. Dalgety will have plenty of time on his hands.   HRV Trots Media - Michael Guerin

Matt Hall Smith from One News has a chat to Trent Yesberg, Sam Ottley and Peter Jensen on One News   Harness Racing New Zealand

Today we start the A-Z of Harness Racing. For 26 days we will go through the alphabet, referencing a horse, trainer, driver, venue etc.  A = Adios A horse so proficient at breeding that he was called “the big daddy of harness racing.” Was he the Bettor’s Delight, the Art Major or the Somebeachsomewhere of his generation? Adios was born in 1940 at Two Gaits Farm in Carmel, Indiana and for a while he was owned by Harry Warner, of Warner Bros film studio fame He was a multiple champion with 43 wins from 87 starts. Along with arch rival “King’s Counsel” they were the best around at the time. A star on the track, he was a total stud off it. At one stage he changed hands for a staggering $500,000 – his stud fee soaring from $300 to $15,000, then the highest in history. There are too many Adios horses to mention. He sired eight Little Brown Jug winners, more than any other horse, and his sons, Adios Butler and Bret Hanover (62 wins from 68 starts)  both became winners of the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers. Adios Butler was however beaten by three time NZ Cup winner False Step in the Yonkers International Series in 1960-61 season while Bret Hanover and New Zealand’s first ever millionaire pacer Cardigan Bay would clash many times, Cardy winning their first battle at Yonkers in 1966. Many Adios horses have starred down-under. Great Adios won the New Zealand Cup in 1967 by five lengths. The winning time of 4:10.4, then the third fastest for the great race, with the record being held by Johnny Globe in 1954  (4:07.6). Adios was also the grandsire of Paleface Adios, who had 108 wins. He started in seven consecutive Miracle Miles, winning in 1976 and his battles with Hondo Grattan (The Bathurst Bulldog) in the 1970s were the stuff of legend.     Adios said just that – adios - to the world in 1965, after producing 589 offspring in his action-packed 25 years.    Tomorrow it’s ‘B” (of course) and it’s about a victory by a horse that no-one was predicting.     Harness Racing New Zealand

COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Update related to what trainers can and cannot do their own property. HRNZ has received a number of enquires over the weekend, related to what trainers are able to do on their own properties and how this relates to the updated Order and Direction that was issued on Friday. MPI confirmed to HRNZ late on Friday (after the update had gone out) that the guidance in the Order & Direction continues to be apply, however there are exceptions for trainers on their own property. The interview with Peter Jensen that we posted on Saturday, was recorded on Saturday morning, and was designed to reflect the latest MPI position. Trainers on their own property can continue to work their team and educate younger horses as long as the horses are already on the property and that no-one (employee, neighbour, friend etc.), has to travel to the property for this purpose.  The only exception to the above is if a trainer cannot legitimately find a suitable spelling property for a horse(s). An employee can travel for the purpose of lightly exercising horses that are confined to stables or small yards. This is in the interests of animal welfare and keeping horses safe.                   o If this applies to you, you should have registered with MPI and be ready to respond to any questions they have.  Employees can travel to a property for the purpose of caring for and feeding horses who are spelling.                   o In both of these cases, you must have provided anyone travelling, for the purpose of caring for horses, with the completed letter that explains why they need to travel. This template was sent to everyone last week; please contact HRNZ if you need another copy.  It is our expectation that no horses will be fast-worked, while Alert Level 4 in place. This is to limit any potential for injury and any unneeded pressure on the health system and emergency services.  No horses may be transported to another property unless it is being moved to a spelling/agisment property. It is important to note that the Order and Direction issued on Friday still applies unless the circumstances described above apply to you. Should you require any clarification of any of the above, please contact Darrin Williams or Peter Jensen at HRNZ.    Harness Racing New Zealand

It is testament to the sort of man Father Dan Cummings was that after decades of enormous success in harness racing that is rarely the first thing which comes to mind when you think of him. Father Dan went to see his big boss upstairs on Saturday afternoon, taking his last breath after a battle with cancer that eventually moved to his lungs. There was little shock in his death, it had been coming for 15 months, since he was diagnosed with the illness and decided to not go down the treatment path. “He wanted to enjoy what time he had left and he did,” said his brother Peter after “Danny” passed away aged 75. “He made the most of his last year but when he got back from the sales he started to get worse and struggled with his breathing at the end.” That Father Dan made the most of his final year is hardly surprising because that was how he lived his life. He entered the priesthood straight out of school and upon being ordained spent much of his working life in the Dunedin diocese (the church’s region). A priest can affect a lot of lives in that time, especially one as popular as Father Dan and he was also at the centre of one of New Zealand’s great tragedies, being the parish priest at Port Chalmers when David Gray shot and killed 13 people in the Aramoana massacre in 1990. “That was a pretty intense time for Danny, being the parish priest during something that bad,” says Peter. But away from a life of service, Father Dan was Danny to his family. Danny loved animals, a love he got from his mother Joan who set up Tuapeka Lodge in 1965. While that extended to harness racing it was originally focussed on rodeo, where Danny held the New Zealand record for bulldogging, which is when a rodeo rider jumps from a horse on to a steer or calf and wrestles it to the ground. This would suggest Danny was a bit of a hard bugger. “He loved the rodeo and was very good at it,” says Peter. But after Mum passed in 1977 Danny (the third of eight children), Peter and sister Julie (Davie) took over the stud with enormous success. “Danny was the breeding and horse expert, I was the farmer and Julie managed it and sometimes prepared the yearlings,” explains Peter. Tuapeka Lodge generally kept their yearlings to 10, selling almost all the colts and keeping the fillies. Dan would train some, including one of their flagship horses in Maureen’s Dream, but it was mainly the colts who made Tuapeka Lodge the respected nursery that went on to prepare 10 yearling sales toppers. Many of them traced back to unraced mare turned superstar broodmare Sakuntala. The family bought her in 1974 and she left 13 winners from 18 foals, including Tuapeka Star who numbered the 1979 Tatlow Stakes at Moonee Valley among her 22 Australian victories and she went on to leave the great Iraklis. “He was one of our favourites,” remembers Peter of the stallion who won the NZ Cup and Miracle Mile and over $1million. He was one of two NZ Cup winners from the Tuapeka breed, the other being Monkey King, even though he wasn’t bred on the farm he was from a mare who was. Sakuntala’s progeny or their progeny have resulted in over 30 horses to win more than $100,000. But good horses alone do not legends make and Father Dan was a harness racing legend. He was ahead of his time with his website and yearling pics and as a man who commanded respect without trying. Come sales time he would be sitting on his lawn chair outside the stables of the Tuapeka Lodge draft, a parish priest to an entire industry. “He could be hard when he needed to be. He was very demanding,” laughed Peter. “He liked things done the right way but we never had a cross word and neither did Julie with him. “But he loved the horses and really enjoyed his involvement with Southern Bred Southern Reared in recent years.” Tuapeka Lodge will continue, with younger family members keen to help Peter and Julie. “I think we have a lovely bunch of horses to take to the sales next year,” smiles Peter. And they will have somebody looking over them from above. A legend. ** Father Dan’s funeral can not be planned yet because of the current Covid-19 restrictions.   by Michael Guerin

Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety will be taking a break for a while because of the reduced number of harness racing meetings that are currently being held in North America due to Covid-19 restrictions.   Sprinter N picked up a win on Monday at Dover Downs.   The Down Under gelding clocked a nice mile in 1:50.4, for Trainer Dylan Davis and Driver Cory Callahan. The son of Mach Three continued on his successful career in the $9,000 Pace. It was his 33 rd career victory and took his stake earnings to a large $448,000.   Sprinter N holds a lifetime mark of 1:48.6. His Down Under career consisted of three Group race placings and was the winner of the Group 1 Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park.   Teo Enteo A scores a victory at Saratoga. Down Under pacer picked up another victory on Sunday in the state of New York. The 12yo clocked a time of 1:54.3 around the half mile (800m) track of Saratoga. Tracy Tarantino did the training along with Larry Stalbaum doing the driving and owning.   It was also the Ambro Oberative geldings 33 rd career victory and extended his stake earnings to $441,000. He was the winner at Group 2 level twice when racing Down Under and placed at Group level on nine occasions.   Monday 16th March   Dover Downs DE Sprinter N – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $9,000   Miami Valley Raceway OH Onspeed N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $10,000     Wednesday 18th March   Saratoga Harness NY Nerve Of Steel N – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $5,000 Never Say Never N – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $4,000     Thursday 19th March   Saratoga Harness NY Bontz N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $15,000     Sunday 22nd March   Saratoga Harness NY Teo Enteo A – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $8,030 Khun Ratha A – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $10,700     Click here for previous weeks articles     by Carter Dalgety

STAR filly Dr Susan added some serious Kiwi flavour to Bathurst’s huge Gold Crown night, but not without a scare. Just as she did in the Victoria Oaks, the Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon-trained filly galloped in the score-up and caused a false start. Thankfully, she got everything right in the Victoria Oaks and did the same at take-two at Bathurst when she surged through from the pole to hold the lead. That was effectively the race because driver Anthony Butt then rated things to his own terms in front then fended off a challenge from Amelia Rose and later Vincenzina to win easily. It’s continued a fantastic Aussie campaign for Dr Susan (Bettors Delight - Safredra - Mach Three). Her eight runs over here have netted six wins, a second and a fourth. She’s earned over $200,000 during the raid. Butt just missed a Group 1 double when former Kiwi pacer Perfect Stride was just edged-out by the much-improved Focus Stride in the Gold Chalice for three-year-old colts and geldings. It continued Perfect Stride’s frustrating run of minor placings in major races after his Victoria and NSW Derby placings. Perfect Stride had to burn to hold the front, copped some midrace pressure and was out-slugged by Focus Stride in slick 1: 55.7sec mile rate for 2260m. It was a big result for leviathan owner Emilio Rosati, who owns the first two. Focus Stride (Art Major - Sparkling Stride - Christian Cullen), trained and driven in Victoria by David Miles, managed just one placings from 11 runs as a two-year-old, but has gone to a new level this term with seven starts netting six wins and a second. Miles put the improvement down to having Focus Stride gelded. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ WHEN Victorian owner Danny Zavitsanos won last November’s NZ Cup with Cruz Bromac he threw Mark Purdon in the air after the race. He’s have done the same with the first person he saw if Covid-19 restrictions didn’t keep him away from Bathurst last night to watch his two-year-old filly Joanna win the Group 1 Gold Tiara final. “This is a fairytale come true,” he said. “Bathurst means so much to me. I won a consolation with one of the first horses I ever bought, Jodila in 2012 and I’ve gone back every year trying to win one of the big ones. “Add to it we’ve named this filly after Joanna (Danny’s wife) and it’s just the most amazing feeling.” Joanna led, copped plenty of midrace pressure from a headstrong Orchid Stride, and just kept finding to win in fantastic style for driver Amanda Turnbull and trainer Emma Stewart. Such was the pressure, Joanna (Somebeachsomewhere - Replem - Dream Away) took a full second off the class record with a 1min53.7sec mile rate for 1730m. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ BRIAN Portelli’s fairytale ride continued at Bathurst last night. Portelli was on cloud nine after his Bettors Delight colt Tasty Delight scored an upset win in the Group 2 Sapling Stakes at Menangle on March 7. It took him three weeks to raise the bar. Tasty Delight overcome a tricky draw and the hardest run in the race to win the Group 1 Gold Crown final. Hot favourite Lochinvar Chief led and dictated, but just when he looked set for victory, he started to wilt and Tasty Delight raised another effort after sitting parked. Tasty Delight grabbed victory right on the line from Lochinvar Chief with Clayton Tonkin’s Idyllic roaring home from a mile back for an eye-catching third.   By Adam Hamilton

Dave Di Somma speaks to HRNZ CEO Peter Jensen about the current situation in the racing industry.

Dr Susan has become that filly with the habit of being in the right place at the right time. Today that right place is NOT in New Zealand. The Cran Dalgety-Nathan Purdon trained filly is a red hot favourite to give Kiwi harness fans something to smile about in the A$100,000 Gold Bracelet Final at Bathurst tonight (9.50pm NZ time). Which is pretty much how 2020 has gone for her: right place, right time. She left New Zealand soon after her Sires’ Stakes third to Amazing Dream on December 31, an ambitious call considering she wasn’t one of the leading fillies in the country and an extended Australian campaign is anything but cheap. But it has proved to be a masterstroke by the Canterbury trainers as Dr Susan has kept improving and kept getting the right draws. After an easy win at Menangle to kick off her Australian campaign she followed a Victoria Oaks heat second with a win in the classic. That was largely due to drawing better than arch rival Stylish Memphis and leading throughout, although not without a score-up gallop that caused a false start. She then returned to Menangle to win her NSW Oaks heat before a brave but luckless run in the Final, won by Stylish Memphis. And while the latter headed home to New Zealand and ultimately the spelling paddock along with almost every other horse in this country Dr Susan stayed in Australia where harness racing continues for now. Just to continue her theme of being in the the right place at the right time, she has barrier one in her three-year-old fillies final tonight and driver Anthony is supremely confident of another major win. “She has been quite remarkable since she got here,” says Butt. “She has just got better and better and she hasn’t even looked like getting tired. She is loving it and to be honest she really should win again. “She has good gate speed and I think she will lead all the way.” While New Zealand harness racing fans don’t have a whole heap to get enthused about at home it is still gratifying to see our horses winning serious races in Australia, even if is does leave us more than a touch envious. And Butt could combine with another of those when Perfect Stride contests the A$100,000 Gold Chalice Final for three-year-old boys (10.53pm NZ time). He has been consistent in both the Vic and NSW Derby series over the last two months and also gets the ace draw tonight. “He has good gate speed so will go close to leading but there is a bit of speed outside him from Crunch Time so if he crossed up things might get a little more interesting. “But I still think he is the best horse here.” Butts realises how lucky Australian harness racing is to be continuing with all his friends back home sidelined and he says the protocol measures there are being strictly adhered to. “We realise we have a roll to play and I can see us breaking into regions and a place like Menangle will be ideal for one-track racing two or three times a week so we can keep racing going without the risks of travelling. “So we are hoping we can race on through.”   Michael Guerin

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound.   Crack colt by Alta Christiano A two-year-old to take high ranking in Western Australia was Mighty Ronaldo, one of the third crop sired by Alta Christiano, who is now at Luke Primmer’s stud at Young (NSW).   Having only his third start, he won the $25,000 Western Crown at Gloucester Park by open lengths in 1:59.3 and appears every bit as good as the Sandgropers rate him.   Mighty Ronaldo                                                        --Jodie Hallows photo   Mighty Ronaldo is out of Millwood’s Delight (1:57), by Bettor’s Delight from a useful racemare in Gliding By (1:57.4), by Vance Hanover from Significant, by Out To Win from the Scottish Command mare Black Watch, a top racemare and cups winner. This was the family founded by the NZ bred mare Regina.   From the Black Watch branch of it and to which Mighty Ronaldo belongs, others in Chicago Bull, Arden Rooney, Rocknroll Lincoln, Keayang Cullen, Katy Perry, Lauraelle, The Unicorn and Sovereign Hill – all Group 1 winners - also belong.       Siblings win in Victoria Two of Victoria’s most promising youngsters at present, and both winners last weekend, are Pacifico Dream and Momentslikethese.   Both bred by Harvey Kaplan and trained by Emma Stewart are out of Mint Julep, an unraced daughter of Presidential Ball and the champion racemare Jadah Rose (1:49.6).   Pacifico Dream                                                   --Stuart McCormick photo   Pacifico Dream, a three-year-old colt by Mach Three, won the Group 3 $40,000 Victoria Sires Classic at Melton and has won five of his 10 starts to date, while Momentslikethese, a two- year-old filly by Art Major, won impressively on debut at Maryborough.   Mint Julep, the dam of Pacifico Dream and Momentslikethese, was a half-sister to the former ‘Cups King’ Guaranteed 1:50.4 ($856,316), now at Goodtime Lodge stud in Victoria, and Jadahson 1:53.9 ($277,390).     Cruz in 1:49.9 Cruz, who hoisted a fresh lifetime record of 1:49.9 leading from end to end at Menangle, is an American Ideal gelding from the same family as that which produced a top NSW pacer in Yayas Hot Spot.     Cruz, who was bred in NZ by Helen Hayward, did most of his early racing in Victoria before transferring to Craig Cross’s Cobbitty barn in June 2019. He has now won 23 races and $210,407 in stakes.   A tough customer, Cruz is a six-year-old brother to the SA Golden Nursery winner Elijah (1:58.3) and the Gloucester Park winners Heavens Delight 1:55.9 ($105,697), Macheaven (1:55.8) and Ucanttakeitwithu (1:56.4), being out of a handy racemare in Close To Heaven (2:00.1), by the Abercrombie horse Dare You To, a world champion and Inter Dominion heat winner.   Close To Heaven, who won seven races and $55,428, left eight winners, six of whom took records of 2:00 or better. She was out of Spaxton Rebel (2:00), by Clever Innocence from Spaxton Hanover, by the Auckland and Hunter Cup winner Waitaki Hanover from the Young Charles mare Pretender, a half-sister to the NZ Oaks winner Local Lie.   Cruz was the first of two winners at Menangle sired by American Ideal, the other being The Texas Ranger who rated 1:57.4 over 2300 metres. American Ideal also figured as the damsire of a third winner, Makoa (by Art Major).       Won NZ Flying Stakes Copy That, who is proving himself a three-year-old of some worth in the Auckland area, tasted Group success in the $47,000 Vero Flying Stakes at Addington, beating a very good three-year-old in One Change (by Bettor’s Delight) and Minstrel (by Rocknroll Hanover).   Bought for a six figure amount as a late two-year-old, Copy That has now won eight races and been placed five times placed from 18 starts for $113,900 in stakes. Earlier in the season he won the Alabar 3YO Classic and was runner-up in the Sires’ Stakes Final and Northern Derby.   A colt by the Western Ideal horse American Ideal (now at the stud in Victoria), Copy That is from the Live Or Die mare Lively Nights 1:57.4 (7 wins), and the first of her produce to race.   She was out of White Nights (dam of three in 2:00), by Road Machine from B G Star, by Butler B G from the Mercedes mare Proud Star, a half-sister to the Cardigan Bay Stakes winner Top Vance.   This is the immediate family of Christopher Vance and Luxury Liner, both NZ Cup winners, Surprise Package (A. G. Hunter Cup), Napoleon and this year’s WA Pacing Cup winner Mighty Conqueror.       Eighth winner from broodmare When the American Ideal three-year-old The Code Breaker won at Northam last Saturday, he credited his dam Alldatglittersisgold with her eighth individual winner. The Code Breaker, who cost $72,500 as a yearling, had been placed at its previous outing four days earlier.   Others from Alldatglitterisgold to win have been the Hunter Cup and Victoria Cup winner Bling It On 1:50.2 ($1.8 million), the Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling 1:50.5 ($854,490), Bletchley Park 1:53.6 ($186,200), Hectic 1:56.7 ($97,745), Show Me The Bling (1:53.1), Blingittothemax (1:55.3), My Apache Gold and now The Code Breaker.   Alldatglittersisgold, who is now in her 20 th year, has since produced a yearling colt by American Ideal and a weanling colt by him.   A dual Broodmare of the Year, Alldatglittersisgold was a Caprock mare from Glitter, by Lordship from Sandra Del, by Armbro Del from Mist Ahead, who founded a very strong branch of the Wild Lass family.     Grandson of Oaxaca Lass A bright future is being predicted for the American Ideal six-year-old Kardesler NZ, whose success at Cobram last week was his third winning run from five starts on Australian soil.   He has a good deal in his favour on the score of blood. Apart from being by American Ideal, Kardesler is out of the Presidential Ball mare Kusadasi, a daughter of the champion racemare Oaxaca Lass (by Holmes Hanover). Oaxaca Lass, who won four Group 1 races and $426,585 in stakes, became the dam of winners in Condrieu 1:51.5 ($269,520), a multiple Listed winner in Australia, the top Tasmanian pacer Illegal Immigrant 1:55.2 ($143,836), Intrepid Traveller (1:54.8) and Weka Lass, the dam of the talented Victorian racemare Reciprocity 1:53 ($158,400).   The family traces back through mares by Ok Bye, Smooth Fella, Garrison Hanover, Light Brigade and Grattan Loyal to the noted foundation mare Tondeleyo. Recent winners from this family include the NSW Ladyship Mile winner Bettor’s Heart, Krug (Cardigan Bay Stakes), Micton Mouse (Tas. Derby), Be Jacks Legend (Cambridge Futurity) and the Breeders Crown champion Wrapper’s Delight.       SA Oaks winner’s breeding background Final Peace, who won her fourth race in the South Australian Oaks at Globe Derby Park, is by the Cam’s Card Shark horse Village Jolt, sire of a top racemare in Keayang Ebonyrose.   Final Peace is out of Peaces Of You (1:57.2), a winner of 12 races and $97,791, and is her only foal. By Peace Of Art (a 1:52 son of Artsplace), Peaces Of You was a half-sister to Forever And A Day 1:57.6 ($10 wins) and a member of the same family as the Derby winners in Carol Dillon and Exemplify (trotter) and a smart racemare in Lady Belladonna. Final Peace is a member of David Murphy’s Ballarat team.     Renaissance Man for Riverina The Art Major horse Renaissance Man has been relocated to the Riverina where he is to do stud duty. He will stand at Yirribee Pacing Stud where Lazarus, Tintin In America, Lennytheshark, Million Dollar Cam and Fear The Dragon head a select sire list.   Renaissance Man has been lightly used at the stud in Western Australia since he finished racing, and the oldest of his stock are currently racing as four-year-olds. From his first crop of 27 foals, 11 have raced and nine have been successful including the WA Country Oaks winner My Prayer 1:58.4 ($81,617), the Gloucester Park winner Yo Te Amo Haitch, Ourboybart (1:57.8), the Melton three-year-old winner Disclosure (1:56.5) and Another Snag (1:55.1)     His second crop includes the Westbred 2YO Classic winner Fifty Five Reborn (1:57.9) and the Group 2 placegetter Missbillynotsilly (1:58.6) and Medieval Man (1:58.8).   A particularly well bred horse, Renaissance Man is by Art Major from a smart racemare in My Ami Lee, the dam also of good winners in Louvre 1:54.5 ($402,665), the Oaks winner Miss Hazel 1:57 ($310,063) and My General Lee 1:52.2 ($261,897).   My Ami Lee was by Safely Kept from Cosmophylla, by Thor Hanover from the Entrepreneur mare Calophylla, who established a good winning family.   Renaissance Man proved himself a brilliant pacer on his day, taking a mile record of 1:53.1 and winning 18 races including the NSW Sires Stakes 2YO Final, the Victoria Youthful Stakes and the SA Derby. He finished up with a stake tally of $297,904.     Broodmare double Former pacing queen Foreal left important winners on either side of the Tasman last Saturday.   Im Field Marshal (by Art Major) won in Free-for-all company in 1:51.1 at Menangle, while his three-year-old brother Forsure registered his first success in 1:56.2 at Winton.   Forsure winning at Winton   Foreal, an Inter Dominion and dual Oaks winner, left earlier winners in Im Rocknroll Magic (1:51.1), a multiple Menangle winner, and the exported Madiba (1:51.4).     Half-brother to Terror To Love The four-year-old Well Said Love, who won at the opening day of the Forbury Park club’s meeting at Wingatui, ranks as a half-brother to the triple NZ Cup winner and dual Horse of the Year Terror To Love, now making a name for himself as a sire.     Bred and part-owned by Terry McDonald, Well Said Love, by the Western Hanover horse Well Said, is out of Love To Live, a Live Or Die mare from Michael’s Magic, by Michael Jonathan (son of Albatross) from the Tarport Coulter mare Dream Star.   Well Said Love is the twelfth foal of Love To Live, whose family includes the good Australian winners Bad All Over 1:56.3 ($126,444) and Cee J P (1:57.8) and the NZ winner Mach’s Love (1:58), the dam of recent Menangle three-year-old winner and Simpson Sprint runner-up Mach Da Vinci (1:51.3).   An unraced daughter of Love To Live in Spred It Round (by Soky’s Atom) became the dam of the prolific Gloucester Park winner Bad Round 1:56.8 ($162,165).     By Ready Cash Always Ready, a four-year-old by the French horse Ready Cash from the Yankee Paco mare Class Of Her Own (a half-sister to a champion trotter in Let Me Thru), was one of the best his age at two but did not race last season.   But the Ready Cash entire has proved himself to some purpose in his four-year-old racing, winning twice at Ballarat – both by wide margins - from his only two attempts.   Always Ready has won six of his 10 lifetime starts for $107,880 in stakes and holds a mark of 2:00.6. He is a very good young trotter.       by Peter Wharton

Muscle Hill sired Group/Listed winners on either side of the Tasman last Friday (March 20). Star three-year-old filly Vacation Hill, after being eighth at the bell and three deep for the last 700 metres, proved too strong in the Group 2 $50,000 NZ Trotting Oaks at Addington. Tailored Elegance (by Muscle Hill) was a close third. The mile rate was 1:59.7 - the last 800 in a stunning 57.9 and 400 in 28.5. Vacation Hill has won two races and been five times placed from 12 starts for $41,622 in stakes. Bred by Bruce Hutton, the filly is out of the Dream Vacation mare Vacanza Tr 1:59.8 (5 wins) and her first produce to race. Vacation Hill winning at Addington Elite Stride, a three-year-old colt by Muscle Hill, blitzed his opposition in the Gold Coronet at Bathurst. After settling down third, the brilliant colt was sent to the top in the back straight and won as he liked by 12 metres. Fox Trot Hill (by Muscle Hill) finished third. The mile rate was 1:58.1 with the last two fractions in 28.8 and 28.9. Elite Stride winning at Bathurst The winner of four of his five starts, Elite Stride was bred and is raced by Emilio and Mary Rosati and is the first foal of the American-bred mare Real Babe USA Tr 1:52.4 ($386,103). He is a really good youngster. Muscle Hill is one of the strong Stallions Australasia frozen semen roster.   By Peter Wharton

COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Updated Order and Direction – New MPI Guidelines Regarding the Care of Horses as an Essential Activity. MPI has clarified this afternoon their expectations regarding the feeding, care and exercise of horses, while New Zealand is on Alert Level 4. Specifically the Manager of the MPI Animal Welfare has said via email today “we would be urging all horses to be agisted in order to lower the risk of spread – we understand this is happening already. I hope we can take care of this through the registration process, but I wanted to make sure it is clear” The updated Order and Direction reflects this new advice and it is imperative that all licensees understand the importance of adhering to this directive. The Order and Direction is updated as follows, 1.0 Whilst this Directive includes within its provisions the ability to exercise horses, this is permitted only where it is needed to ensure the continued welfare of the horse. 2.0 Light exercise of a horse is permitted only when: 2.1 The trainer is unable to identify a suitable agistment property or spelling paddock for the horse with that has capability to accept the horse. Relocation of horses to an agistment property is permitted within clause 12); 2.2 The horse is boxed, or is contained in a small paddock or yard due to there being no suitable yards or paddocks on the trainer’s facility; and 2.3 The stable lacks a horse walker or treadmill. 3.0 If light exercise is justified to ensure the continued welfare of a horse, the trainer must ensure that fast work is not undertaken. 4.0 Breaking, gaiting, and education of young horses is also not a permitted activity, unless required to protect the safety of the young horse or staff. Clearly, this new development will mean that racing will not resume until sometime after the Alert Level 4 is lifted by the Government, as there will not be sufficient horses available to conduct race meetings. We understand the impact that this will have on everyone associated with harness racing. The thoroughbred code is equally affected. The communication shared with you yesterday on this issue was done so in good faith and with all the information we had to hand, however the situation, which is not one of any of our making, has now changed and we implore all licensees to comply. Should you require any clarification of any of the above, please contact Darrin Williams, Liz Bishop or Peter Jensen at HRNZ.   https://southernharness.co.nz/

With the government’s announcement that the country is to go into lock-down due to the COVID-19 virus, NZB Standardbred has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 All Age Sale, scheduled to be held at Karaka on Monday 4 May. “With the recent developments that affect the entire country it is clear that we cannot operate public auctions at this time” commented Director and Operations Manager, James Jennings. “It is important to provide clarity for vendors and buyers during this period of uncertainty, with the intention of having a viable alternative to sell weanlings and other stock within the usual trading period on our subsidiary online auction platform gavelhouse.com. “Making the call now will allow a timeframe for adaption to the platform and for promotion of the online sale.” At this stage, gavelhouse.com will go ahead with their upcoming auctions, however there will be some factors to bear in mind as the COVID-19 situation is progressing rapidly. The next online auction for gavelhouse.com Standardbred will be 27 May with entries due by 20 May. For more information or to enter your stock in the gavelhouse.com online auction, visit https://standardbred.gavelhouse.com/.    

Some horse racing trainers are moving quickly to accommodate the horse welfare lifeline the industry has been granted. And that could have the bonus of having racing ready to resume in New Zealand not long after the country returns to Covid-19 alert level 3. Horse and dog racing has been stopped since Monday and can obviously not continue at Level 4 so like most other industries is in limbo. But the three race codes have worked with the Ministry of Primary Industries to ensure stables, farms and training tracks can stay working, with strict protocols, to ensure animal welfare. That will mean trainers and stud farms with more than five staff members or those that can not achieve social distancing need to register with the MPI so they can continue to work. They will able to do so under strict protocols, including no non-working visitors, but it will mean horses and dogs can be fed, exercised, undergo veterinary work and their stables and kennels kept clean. Some high-profile trainers have already decided they would rather shut their businesses down for a variety of reasons from health concerns, staffing levels, economics or their own personal opinions on how Covid-19 restrictions should be handled. They have sent horses on non-working holidays (known in racing as giving a horse a spell) and that has resulted in many of the farms where horses take these breaks being inundated. Other trainers have reduced staff numbers but will keep up to 20-25 horses in work so they can be looked after but also kept at least at a moderate level of fitness so when racing returns, which would likely be at Level 3, there are at least some horses to race. Obviously nobody can know when that will be and those horses in work are costing their owners money without the promise of any returns for weeks or even months. That is the risk some owners are willing to take, others are not. But while animal welfare is vitally important, the long-term economic life of racing is also. Racing industry bosses, with help from trainers who choose to be involved, must have horses in each region fit enough to race the day after the country returns to a Level 3 alert, if that is allowed by Government. Every day that racing is allowed to return but there is no racing in this country because that horse or dog supply chain has been cut will be a further economic body blow. That means readiness from code bosses, clubs and the TAB to ensure racing can start when restrictions are lifted. Starting a month or six weeks later after that would be disastrous. That could become even more important as because New Zealand looks to be ahead of the curve of many other countries in its response to Covid-19 and it is hoped, or should that be prayed for, we weather the horrors of the approaching storm more quickly. If that is the case and racing can return then it could be one of the first jurisdictions in the world with racing on and it could be beamed worldwide to bring in valuable income to an industry which, like so many others, faces being on its knees. Everybody has more important things to think about now and those in the racing industry know that.  But the industry not being prepared to start up again the very first day it is allowed to is wasting that potential opportunity. One facility which was closed on Tuesday was the Franklin Park training centre at Pukekohe, home to around 200 harness horses at its peak and it is hoped it may soon be open for training with strict protocols.   Michael Guerin

All Stars stable is to follow the example of many leading barns in virtually “wiping” the rest of the 2019-2020 season as a result of the corona-virus. “From now until we hopefully prepare for the new season we are virtually an agistment farm here in Rolleston”Mark said. “The last of the yearling purchase group is at Steve Boyd’s being educated and we have some here and the racing team. Most of them will just be looked after here until we can hopefully return to our normal programme” Mark and Natalie met with the staff on Tuesday and as a result have come up with a package which will cost the partners several thousand dollars a week. “We have applied for grants for them and we will bring up the balance so that they earn 80 per cent of their present wage. In the meantime they will be using holidays and other benefits for the next 4 weeks and we will reassess things then” “We have to say we think there is more in the Government’s package for the employee than the employer. That’s certainly how it looks to us at the moment as we look at the financial input required” “But at least we have given our staff reassurance over their greatest concern which was that they would lose their jobs. We will be retaining all of them” The All Stars operation has been hit hard financially also by the shutdown of racing where the Easter carnival and the Harness Jewels as well as Sales races and the NZ Derby falls within a normally profitable period. “We probably hope to earn into the 6 figures in percentages over that period and it is a big hit for us” Mark and Natalie have joined with others in proposals that certain age group races, especially the Sires Stakes and Sales Races where owners have already subscribed toward the stake, could be run in the spring. “We have made a verbal submission to Harness Racing New Zealand and there seems a positive response. If those races were held in,say, September when many of the horses will be in racing trim again it would be something back for the owners some of whom have taken a big hit with these developments, and trainers even if the horses are officially a year older than their present eligibility. It certainly seems feasiible but that is for others to decide” While the racing shutdown is for four weeks at this stage there seems to be little optimism inside the industry that it will resume at the end of that period. And with leading stables in both codes spelling their present racing teams the number of horses available to race after that time could be limited. “We are not alone and appreciate that many people will be hurting over these developments but as a mid range business we are fully aware of the organisation required and the financial impact of the decisions made”Mark said “We just have to make the best of it like other people have had to do. Our horses are a vital part of our operation of course but our staff is just as important to us and at least they have some certainty about the situation Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables

In light of the government’s announcement that the country will move to COVID-19 alert level 4 at midnight tonight (25 March) only “essential services” are permitted to operate. Our advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries confirms that training centres, training stables, agistment properties and stud farms where horses are in containment are considered essential services under animal welfare considerations. Businesses with more than five people (including the owner) working at each business site, and those businesses with less than 5 people who cannot achieve social distancing between staff, are required to register.  The criteria and registration form can be found here. The businesses will need to answer 11 questions to provide assurance they have a plan and process to manage infection risks. Much of this will be covered in the HRNZ protocols which will be distributed later today. In addition to this HRNZ, the New Zealand Trainers and Drivers Association and the Standardbred Breeders Association will provide a template to assist with completing the paperwork in a further communication later today. MPI has requested that all businesses which need to register do so by 5pm on Friday, 27 March 2020. Businesses will be able to continue operating while going through the registration process.   Harness Racing New Zealand