Day At The Track

In this series sponsored by Southern Bred Southern Reared, Bruce Stewart looks back on some of the great harness racing stock that’s come out of the Southern region. Whilst last year he profiled horses from the south that have become millionaires, this series is about other pacers and trotters that that were bred, reared and raced for part of career in Southland, and made an impact in the Harness Racing industry. Robin Dundee Age: 1957 bay mare Sire: Hal Tryax Dam: Cherry Blossom (Dillion Hall) Breeder: JW Hewitt Owner: JW Hewitt Trainer: Jack Walsh At just 14.2 hands Robin Dundee was a diminutive bay filly and was Southland owner/breeder Jack Hewitt’s first venture into harness racing. He borrowed Dillon Hall mare Cherry Blossom from his brother-in-law and mated her with the imported American sire Hal Tryax. Hal Tryax stood at stud in NZ for 8 seasons before becoming infertile in 1963 at the age of 16. Robin Dundee’s early education and training was entrusted to Jack Walsh who’d also raced and won with Fashion Queen. She is the third dam of Robin Dundee. Unraced at two, Robin Dundee began her racing career at Invercargill in October 1961, winning the Southern Stakes for non-win three year olds by sixteen lengths. She was driven by Charlie Franks who also drove her to victory in the 1961 New Zealand Oaks at New Brighton. Later that season she won at Roxburgh in the hands of Robert Cameron. Interestingly both Robin Dundee and Cardigan Bay won at that Roxburgh meeting in 1961. Cardigan Bay by four and a half lengths in the Roxburgh Handicap, and Robin Dundee in the Central Otago Stakes by a length and a half. The TAB double paid forty two pounds, eight shillings and six pence. As a four-year-old Robin Dundee recorded two wins, five seconds, a third and fourth from twenty one starts. She won two of her twenty four starts as a five year old, recording six seconds, a third and fourth. At six she won two races and had her first start in the New Zealand Cup finishing second behind the great Cardigan Bay. In her final New Zealand start at Addington, in the hands of Doody Townley she started off 12 yards to beat Tactile, Jay Ar and Cardigan Bay. In the 1964 Interdominion Grand Final Robin Dundee finished a gallant fifth, breaking down during the race and subsequent x-rays revealed a fractured pedal bone and crack in the navicular bone of her near foreleg. There were grave fears that Robin Dundee would never race again and she returned home to the Southland.  However she made a spectacular recovery from the injury to race 12 times in New Zealand during the 1964/65 season recording five wins, four seconds and a third. As a seven year old she was involved in the controversial dead heat with Jay Ar in the 1965 Inter Dominion Grand Final at Forbury Park where she stormed down the outside in the hands of Doody Townley. The judge announced Jay Ar as the winner and called for a photo shortly after. Club officials ignored Townley’s insistence that the presentation was premature. Jay Ar’s driver George Noble also thought he may have been pipped at the post. However the presentation went ahead and Jay Ar was decorated while a dejected Walsh took Robin Dundee back to the stables. Well into the presentation an announcement was made over the PA to the 15,000 crowd declaring a dead heat.  Officials hastily recalled Robin Dundee to the presentation, transferred the sash to the mare and both horses did a victory lap together. Jack Hewitt, Mrs Hewitt and Roy McKenzie with the Interdominion trophies they had to share As an eight year old, there was no stopping Robin Dundee. She raced 25 times in New Zealand during 1965-1966 season for eight wins, nine seconds, and one third for 14,855 pounds, making her New Zealand’s leading stakes earner for that season. As a nine year old she started in New Zealand nine times for two wins, one second and one third. She was then leased to an American syndicate which included famous New York trainer Eddie Cobb. She arrived in America with a New Zealand career record of 25 wins, 32 seconds and 10 thirds and New Zealand stakes earnings of $79,248. Her first American target was the 1967 International Series at Yonkers but she contracted a virus on the eve of the series, finished fifth and was then withdrawn. In January 1968 Robin Dundee went under the knife again to remove bothersome splint bones. The operation was successful and she was put back into light work. As an 11 year old she won her first race at Roosevelt Raceway, finishing the season with 5 wins, 8 seconds and 6 thirds for earnings $59,275 from 35 starts. As a twelve year old she raced 5 times for only one third and was retired after finishing last in May 1969. Her lifetime earnings were $292,272. Robin Dundee will be remembered as the first pacer to beat the two-minute mark in a race when she won the Craven Filer Miracle Mile at Harold Park in 1967 in a time of 1-59.0. “You can’t forget the Miracle Mile because she was the first mare in Australasia to break two minutes,” said driver Robert Cameron. Cameron ended up winning eight races in New Zealand driving Robin Dundee, so he knew her pretty well. “She got a bit crabby at times like a lot of those good fillies. But she was a terrific mare that would never stop trying. You had to be a bit careful from a stand because if you touched her mouth she was inclined to lose it. She got better as the years went on.” Robin Dundee also carried a bridesmaids tag throughout her career. She ran second in the 1966 Inter Dominion Grand Final at Harold Park to Chamfer’s Star, was runner up three times to Cardigan Bay, Garry Dillon and Lordship in the New Zealand Cup, and in Freehold New Jersey in 1968 she chased Cardigan Bay home when he became the first pacer to win a million dollars. Robin Dundee’s record New Zealand: At Three (1960-1961): 15-4-4-1 At Four (1961-1962): 21-2-5-3 At Five (1962-1963): 24-2-6-1 At Six (1963-1964): 13-2-3-2 At Seven (1964-1965): 12-5-4-1 At Eight (1965-1966): 25-8-8-1 At Nine (1966-1967): 9-2-1-1 New Zealand Total: 119-25-31-10 First New Zealand win: Southern Stakes at Ascot Park Invercargill Saturday 29th October 1960 Driven by Charlie Franks. Winning margin sixteen and a half lengths. Last New Zealand win: Saturday 19th November 1966 – Olliver Handicap at Addington when she beat Lordship off 54 year handicap – Driven by Robert Cameron. Notable New Zealand wins: Interdominion Final, dead heating with Jay Ar at Forbury Park. 1960 New Zealand Oaks Flying Mile at Addington running 1-59. Alan Matson Stakes 1965 Hannon Memorial 1965 New Zealand Free For All 1965 Auckland Cup Olliver Handicap GJ Barton Memorial at Forbury Park Successful drivers of Robin Dundee in New Zealand: Robert Cameron 8, Maurice Holmes 8, Doody Townley 5, Charlie Franks 2, Bob Young 1 and Kevin Murray 1 Other known facts: She won $229,270 in stakes by racing in New Zealand, Australia and America. Was the first horse to better two minutes in a race in Australia. Won 1967 Miracle Mile pacing the journey in 1-59. The winning stake was $12,500. Was runner up three times in the New Zealand Trotting Cup (Cardigan Bay 1963), (Garry Dillion 1965) and (Lordship 1966). Ran four times in the Interdominion Final. As a broodmare Robin Dundee had a lot of bad luck. Her best race horse was Genghis Khan which paced 1-51.8 in America. She also left Dundee Adios which stood at Roddy McFarlane’s stud near Winton. Truly one of the great race mares to represent Southland across three countries.   Bruce Stewart

Mach Shard is ready to stand up to the big boys in the $50,000 Flying Mile at Cambridge tonight. And while trainer Barry Purdon says driving tactics will be left up to Zachary Butcher it looks a good bet the vastly-improved pacer will be trying for an all-the-way win in the group two sprint. Mach Shard was one of the unheralded stars of the Inter Dominions at Alexandra Park last month, finishing a close second to Ultimate Sniper in the final after racing him in every heat. The series showed he has blazing gate speed and the ability to run with the best pacers in Australasia, so much so Purdon is now eying the Hunter Cup at Melton on February 1. But while Butcher was happy to take trails with Mach Shard during the Inters tonight’s dash around Cambridge should be a different proposition. The Flying Mile has been extremely kind to leaders over a long period of time, horses who have been able to lead and control the race. Star Galleria did just that to beat Heaven Rocks two years ago and Pembrook Benny did the same to down Christen Me. With his gate speed Mach Shard should be first of the favourites to the markers tonight and as good as Thefixer and Chase Auckland are, they are not as scary as their stablemates like Ultimate Sniper and Self Assured. So while Purdon wouldn’t come out and declare it, he is confident Mach Shard can stand up to be counted. “The final driving tactics will be up to Zac but he did, after all, work early and still run a close second in the Inter Dominion Final. “So he would definitely be hard to beat in front.”
 If Mach Shard does lead as expected he would easily pace a 1:52.5 mile on peak performance should tonight provide good conditions and that would mean horses coming wider on the track, as the favourites may have to do, will need to be good to beat him. Thefixer and even Chase Auckland may simply still be a length better than Mach Shard and either one sitting in the one-one, if Mach Shard, leads might grab him. But the history of tonight’s race suggests Mach Shard is a great each way bet. While leading might be enough to give Mach Shard a huge chance in the pacing feature, it might not be enough for Oscar Bonavena’s rivals to down him in tonight’s $30,00 Trotting Mile. He was beaten in the National Trot at Alexandra Park last start when forced to sit parked, an expensive reminder than as talented as he is this is his first summer in the big time. Rivals likes Tickle Me Pink and Massive Metro may fancy their chances of staying in front of Oscar Bonavena and stablemate Winterfell tonight but Oscar may still be too sharp if he can get handy. Still, punters might struggle to take the $1.30 fixed odds about him as the one-one might be his only economical path to victory. Winterfell is a hard one for punters to asses as he has to rated our best trotter on performances in the last month but there are usually question marks about him left-handed and if he wins tonight he may have to do it the hard way. Still, he keeps rising to the challenge and another victory tonight would take him even closer to the Trotter of the Year title. Meanwhile, former Dominion winner Marcoola has returned to Canterbury and trainer Ken Ford after his rollercoaster short stay with Barry Purdon over the Inter Dominions. And the Purdon pair of Bad To The Bone (Vic Derby) and Belle Of Montana (Ladyship Mile) are on target for Victorian campaigns in coming weeks.   Michael Guerin

By Jonny Turner    A classy field will give punters plenty to ponder ahead of today’s Nelson Cup. The in-form line up means reigning winner Dadndave will need to be on his game to defend 2019 title. The Tim Trathen trained pacer showed toughness to conquer the 3000m feature as a 3yr-old last season. That victory left no doubt about 4yr-old’s staying credentials, which Trathen thinks will be the horse’s biggest asset when he takes on today’s smart line up.    “He is a tough wee bugger – he loves a bit of distance.” “The further, the better.” The timing appears right for Dadndave to defend his cup title. The 4yr-old has returned to peak form after a scratchy start to his season. “He had an abscess in a foot, then he had a bit of a snotty nose and things went wrong there for a while,” Trathen said. “He is definitely a bit perkier now and I think we are on the right track.” “He seems back to his best.” Dadndave went two from two at last year’s two day nelson meeting before ending a respectable 3yr-old run with creditable sixth behind Jesse Duke at the Harness Jewels. The pacer was not able to carry on that momentum with two below opening runs as a 4yr-old, which were followed by two slightly improved performances in strong company. “He drew back every time and we were back all of the way and it is hard to make a bit of a move in that company,” Trathen said. “I wasn’t disappointed, it is tough racing those good ones.” “I always thought he was good enough to be in them.” Backmarker Change Is Good is set to start race favourite following her brilliant run of spring and summer form. The adaptable Mitchell Kerr trained pacer starts alongside Bringitonhome, Hayden’s Meddle and Memphis Tennessee on the 20m mark. Dadndave, Stars Tonight, Yorkshire and Rah De Rah get a head start on them from the 10m mark . Kendra, Rocknroll Rod and recent grass track flop Taxman start off the front alongside Doctor Tim. Group 1 winning trotter Great Things Happen must overcome a huge 60m handicap to win today’s feature trot at Nelson. The Gavin Smith trained and driven will have 30m between him and Overzealous, who has the second biggest handicap in the 2400m event. Great Things Happens goes in to today’s race after producing a solid effort to run fifth behind Pres The Belle in a significantly stronger race at Addington. The 8yr-old travelled south to the recently abandoned Omakau meeting after that run. Great Things Happens has placed in both of his starts at Nelson. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Ricky May can now laugh at the fact he died on live television last week. He can't laugh too hard though, because of the broken ribs he got from the guardian angel horsewoman who probably saved his live. And even after one of the most shocking incidents in harness racing history, the champion harness racing driver is adamant he will return to the sulky. May stunned the racing world last Thursday when he collapsed mid-race and fell to the track when driving A G's White Socks in the $30,000 Central Otago Cup at Omakau. His heart had stopped and thousands watching live and on television feared the worst. Initially, they were right. Ricky May was dead. "The doctor in Dunedin Hospital told me later that I was gone," May told the Herald from his Christchurch Hospital bed on Thursday. "I don't know how long for. They reckon it could have been 10 minutes. I don't remember anything. "I remember driving a winner earlier (two hours before the incident) and then the next thing I remember was waking up in hospital with all my family there and that was two days later." From what the doctors at the hospital and those first to him on track have told him, May knows he had no heart beat when fellow driver Ellie Barron rushed to his side. Barron, a trained physiotherapist, performed CPR on him, working so hard to keep his heart pumping she broke his ribs. She may also have saved his life. "I spoke to Ellie yesterday and when she got to me I had no heart beat.   "She just took over 'til the medics got there and used the paddles (defibrillators) on me. To be honest, I think Ellie was my saviour." First, one helicopter came, then another; the second was needed because it was equipped with the GPS to navigate through the fog to get the 61-year-old to Dunedin Hospital. He was stabilised there and before being flown to Christchurch Hospital a few days later where he had surgery to have a cardioverter defibrillator implanted in his chest on Thursday. The device delivers a shock through a wire which runs into a chamber of the heart and May will have it in his chest for the rest of his life in case his heart stops suddenly again. May's heart stopped without warning, and his official diagnosis was hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy. If you don't know what that is you are not alone - May doesn't really either. It is a sometimes genetic condition that can see the heart muscles thicken even though the heart itself is healthy, even affecting young athletes at the peak of their physical prowess. May was in shape and very active. He had no warning of what could happen and seconds before the incident was talking normally. "The doctors told me there was nothing actually wrong with my heart and I didn't have an cardiac arrest. They actually said I am too fit and the muscles around that area too strong. "But to honest I don't know a lot about it. I'm still learning." What May knows is that he is alive to enjoy life with his wife Judy and his three children. "I have a lot of people to thank. Ellie of course, the medics there and the helicopter people, all the staff at the two hospitals and the people who flew me from Dunedin to here. "So many people have contacted us it is quite overwhelming. And Judy has been a rock. "But now it is done I want to get back to the farm, even though I won't be able to work for a while. The boys are taking care of that at the moment." The farm at Methven may be home but the sulky is May's domain, a throne from which he has driven a record seven New Zealand Cup wins among his 2949 winners in New Zealand alone. He wants that get that number to 3000, maybe more. "Yeah, I want to drive again," he says. "I didn't think I would want to after the initial shock of it all but now I have had a chance to think about it I don't want that to be my last race drive. "So maybe I will travel less, maybe stay a little closer to home but I will go back to driving." Less than a week after his heart stopped mid-race and a nation of racing fans held their breath, May can laugh now. The nervous laugh of a man who has been given a second chance. The laugh of the lucky. "I suppose one day I will want to see the race, to see what happened. But not yet." But while he is a husband, father, farmer and friend, May is also inherently a race driver. That can't be scared out of him. "You know, I am sure I would have won that race once he (A G's White Socks) led," he says wistfully. In one sentence Ricky May confirms he will be back. You can bet on it.   Michael Guerin Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald

By Jonny Turner    Southland pacer Stingray Tara will attempt to fly his family’s flag at the Northern Southland Trotting Club meeting at Ascot Park today. It has been left to the Hamish Hunter trained pacer to keep his family name up in lights following the retirement of his star full brother Tiger Tara, last month.  Stingray Tara goes in to race 1 after producing a win his brother would be proud of in his last start at Winton. Sitting parked throughout a mile (1609m) event was not enough to stop the 4yr-old from producing a tough win for junior driver Kerryn Tomlinson. Driver Matthew Williamson is looking forward to getting back in the sulky behind Stingray Tara after watching that effort from the side lines.  “It was a pretty big effort at Winton, if he could produce a run like that he would have to be hard to beat.” Williamson will drive the first two favourites at today’s twilight meeting. Slainte will start at short odds in race 2 after impressing in his trials for trainer Phil Williamson. The horse started at Cromwell on Sunday, but was deemed a late scratching after suffering interference at the start. “He has got the ability, but he is going to have to do things right to win,” Williamson said.  “We have made a couple of changes after Cromwell, so hopefully that will help him.” The father and son combination of Phil and Matthew Williamson also start Only One Way in race 7. The 4yr-old produced an emphatic win in his last start at Omakau and there looks little reason he can not continue his hot form in today’s 2700m feature handicap trot. “He is going really well, but his is getting back in the handicaps,” Williamson said.  “He should still be a pretty good chance.”  Star Ruler is one of two strong chances Williamson drives for trainers Geoff And Jude Knight. The 6yr-old went close at Cromwell on Sunday and looks well placed to win race 5, today. “He seems to have lifted a bit lately, so he has to be a good chance,” Williamson said. “He is a horse that will need the right run, though.” Jacks N Jazz may have been an even stronger winning chance than his stablemate had he drawn the front line of the mobile. Drawing barrier 1 on its second line means he will luck in race 8. If he gets it, the 6yr-old can figure in the finish, Williamson said. I’m Watching You is Williamson’s drive in race 6, a graduation final filled with talented types. If the 3yr-old can not win today he will be a horse to follow when he returns to maiden grade, Williamson said. Canterbury raiders Yossi, Folklore and Moonlite Drive look the horses to beat in the 2200m event. Williamson drives Kingmaker, who takes on another talented line up in race 10, today’s fast class pace. The Brad Mowbray trained pacer clashes with leading contenders Franco Santino, Bettathanfast and Cast No Shadow in the 2200m mobile. Williamson also drives A Rocknroll Maid in race 3 and I Had A Dream in race 4 today. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    No issues with Belle Of Montana Star mare Belle Of Montana has been cleared of any injury or niggles after her uncharacteristic gallop at Alexandra Park on New Years’ Eve. She paced roughly and broke heading in to the first bend and was later terminally checked on the final bend when back in the field and racing roughly again. Trainer Barry Purdon says that after a worrying period, he’s satisfied there is nothing wrong. “There were a couple of sleepless nights but everything is really good with her now. “One of the pins came out of her shorteners early and it unbalanced her. “It was all a bit new to her and she didn’t really know what to do. “We’ve had her checked out and she’s definitely sound and there is nothing wrong with. “We’ve turned the page on that and she’ll race at Auckland on the 17th before heading across to Melbourne.” The Group 1 A$100,000 Ladyship Cup at Melton on February 1 will be her first target, before heading across to Sydney.   MacFarlane awaiting surgery Injured horseman Todd MacFarlane has been overwhelmed by well-wishers after his nasty accident at Cambridge on Sunday. MacFarlane is still in Waikato Hospital, along with Matthew White, after the pair and Jay Abernethy were injured. His wrist was broken and dislocated and he banged his head, both having fairly serious consequences. “Obviously I had concussion, but there are no concerns there now. “A few bruises and grazes on the face, but some might say that’s an improvement,” he joked. “I am waiting on an operation on my hand and arm at the moment but am getting well looked after. “I appreciate everyone’s concern and well-wishes; so many people have offered their support in the many forms. “It’s been quite overwhelming and I’m blown away by the offers of support. “What great people we have in and around our industry.” White is also still in hospital but hopes to be discharged by the end of the week. As well as a severe concussion after being knocked unconscious, he has been diagnosed with small fractures in three vertebrae at the base of his spine. Abernethy’s broken wrist is in a cast but he has been cleared of any structural damage to a sore shoulder.   Temu off the mark as a driver Pukekohe amateur driver Ange Temu recorded her first win at Cambridge on Sunday. She piloted Clifton Flutter to overcome a severe last-lap inconvenience and win for trainer James Stormont at what was just her second race-day drive. Clifton Flutter was buried on the markers when Banner Of Art stopped in front of it at the 900 metres, dragging it all the way back to last and losing valuable momentum. But Temu didn’t panic and, once extricated, nursed Clifton Flutter down the outside with a charging late finish to get the win in the shadows of the post. Speaking after the race, the mum of five said it was a great reward after taking the plunge in to an amateur drivers’ course six years ago. “I used to go to the races with my parents when I was young and it was something I always wanted to do, but it never really happened when I got married and had the kids. “I ended up doing the horse-power experience in Christchurch about 11 years ago with the intention of one day doing the amateurs’ course. “I just wanted to try out first and do my homework.” She flew back to Christchurch to do the final amateur drivers’ course at Addington before the new stables were built and then eventually started helping out various trainers in Kumeu, including Ray Green and Ken Sefonte. “We eventually moved to Pukekohe and after intruding on Steven Reid’s for a while I ended up getting a job with James Stormont and have been there ever since. “Every morning, six days a week.” The thrill of winning her first race is a feeling she’ll never forget. “It was kind of like ‘did I just do that’? “It was only when I heard my youngest daughter yelling and screaming afterwards that it kind of dawned on me.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Trainer Michelle Wallis isn’t shying away from Oscar Bonavena with either of her stable trotting stars.  And she and driver Todd Mitchell are hoping to thrown down the gauntlet to the All Stars trotters at Cambridge on Friday. Wallis and husband Bernie Hackett train Massive Metro and Temporale, two of the stars of the recent Inter Dominion trotting series even though they were both luckless in the final. Their performances there encouraged the couple to take them to Victoria for the A$250,000 Great Southern Star on February 1, with the Dullard Cup on January 25 as a lead-up race. But before then Massive Metro will tackle both Oscar Bonavena, who he will meet in Australia, and Interdom champ Winterfell in the $30,000 Flying Stakes at Cambridge and Wallis says it is the perfect opportunity to try and teach Massive Metro a new trick. He has been a horse driver Todd Mitchell has tended to look after off the mobile gate to be safe rather than sorry but Mitchell’s confidence in Massive Metro’s gait grew as the Inters progressed, he just didn’t get the draw to put that to good use. But they a better draw this Friday with Massive Metro to start inside both Oscar Bonavena and Winterfell and Wallis wants to see how quickly he can begin. “We are taking him to Cambridge to get him used to left-handed racing again but also, now we have the draw, to see how he goes off the gate. “If he gets a good draw he is going to need to be able to use it in Australia so we might as well find out this week.” While his best performances, winning a National Trot and his booming third in the Inter Final, were both over 2700m, if Massive Metro could find the front around Cambridge over a mile he would make life difficult for the Purdon-Rasmussen trained favourites. Temporale, who loves Cambridge and won this race last year, will be allowed to miss Friday. “He had a very busy December with five races and the first Inter heat just a few days before that so he is having an easier week,” says Wallis. “But at this stage they are both still definitely heading to Victoria. Todd is confirmed for Massive Metro and I presume Tony will come to drive Temporale.” Wallis says as tough as the two races in Melbourne will be there is simply no feature trotting races available here so it is either fly there or head to the paddock. The trip will be the first time Wallis has campaigned horses at Melton although she has, of course, won an Inter Dominion Final in Victoria, Delft winning at Moonee Valley in 2006. They still stay with former Kiwi trainer Brent Lilley. Massive Metro has opened the $10 third favourite for Friday’s mile, with Oscar Bonavena at $1.30 and Winterfell reverting to left-handed racing at $3.20.   Michael Guerin

Woodlands trainer Steve Baucke took two horses to the Cromwell races yesterday and took away two wins. In ten seasons of training, two winners on the same day is a first for him. The double started when A Rocknroll Dance four year old Swell Time cleared maiden ranks in the Fillies and Mares Mobile. From a second row draw driver Matty Williamson settled the mare back on the outside with most of the capacity field in front of her. Halfway down the back straight he got a tow into the race from Ballroom Babe. Straightening for the run home Swell Time was up challenging for the front and held out Bring Back Leah by a length and a quarter. “She’s still quite green. Normally when you pull the plugs they go. But she tends to wait on them,” Baucke said. He could have raced Swell Time as a young horse but she split a pastern as a two year old. “We put her aside and got the all clear last year but she got a couple of viruses and I just couldn’t get her right. We’ve just had to sit and wait for her.” Swell Time qualified at Gore in October and has looked unlucky in a number of her starts this season. Swell Time winning at Cromwell Yesterday’s start was only her fifth and Baucke was relatively confident after she ran home nicely for sixth at her last start at Winton. “It’s quite good getting a few starts in maiden races because once you win one you run against horses that have been around for a while with a bit more ring craft.” Swell Time is out of the Christian Cullen mare Citylight. Steve and his wife Carol won five races with her. Swell Time is the mare’s second foal – her first, Royal Gamble has won nine races in Australia and paced a mile in 1-52.4. The couple sold a two year old Bettor’s Delight filly out of Citylight to Greg Payne at last year’s sales and have other exciting prospects to try in the future. “She’s got a real smart looking Rocknroll Heaven colt on her and she’s in foal to Sweet Lou.” Later in the Programme the win by I’mallaboutthebase was in total contrast. She was taken straight to the front by driver Sam Ottley where she stayed, beating favourite Lawrence by a length and a half. “Sam jumped on board for us and said she got away real good. She went straight to the front and the race was won at the start.” Yesterdays’ win was the second in the Cromwell Cup for Ottley. She won driving Glenferrie Classic in 2017. It was I’mallaboutthebase’s fifth win and her first this season. For each of her five career wins she had a different driver; Craig Ferguson, Blair Orange, Matty Williamson, Tim Williams and Sam Ottley. I’mallabouthebase is by Shadow Play out of Soleil D’Or and is a part of the famed Black Watch dynasty. Baucke says the main aim now is to take I’mallaboutthebase to Addington at the end of the month for the Group Two $50,000 Garrrards Premier Mares Championship. “There’s also a few Country Cup feature races down here for her.” Baucke has four horses in work, at the same time milking 460 cows. The other two in the stable are a Sweet Lou two year old filly and A Rocknroll Dance three year old filly out of Bettor’s Delight mare Mind Freak. Mind Freak is a full-sister to Delight My Soul. Delight My Soul, which is a half-sister to I’mallaboutthebase won seven races for the Bauckes so he knows the family well. The A Rocknroll Dance filly was bought from the Gavelhouse Auction site.   Bruce Stewart

Down Under Mare Crowned USA Pacing Mare of the Year once again. Champion harness racing mare Shartin N was awarded the top prize for a pacing mare in the United States early in the New Year. The daughter of Tintin In America finished her 2019 racing season winning 15 races and earning a staggering $982,177 in prize money and along the way setting multiple track/world records, the highlight being her 1:46.4 win at the Meadowlands in August. Some of this amazing mares biggest wins of the season were in the $402,600 Pine Chip Matchmaker Series Final, $247,500 Roses Are Red, and $183,500 Lady Liberty. She has just recently returned to the stable from a well-earned vacation as she prepares herself for the 2020 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series.    Talented Down Under Filly Qualifies in North America. Soho Burning Love A was the winner of her qualifying heat at Dover Downs on Wednesday. She was driven by Tim Tetrick for new trainer Jim King Jr. The daughter of Auckland Reactor paced the mile in a moderate 1:56.2. Starting off her racing career in Australia, Soho Burning Love was the winner of 12 races for just shy of $250,000 in stake earnings. Most importantly being placed at Group level on seven occasions.   Monday 30th December   Monticello Raceway NY Myeyesadoreya N – Time: 2:01.0, Stake: $3,700 Northfield Park OH Copper Coast A – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $5,500   The Meadows PA The Spinster N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $17,400     Tuesday 31th December   Monticello Raceway NY Go Cullect N – Time: 1:59.3, Stake: $5,500   Wednesday 1st January   Dover Downs DE Bettor Trix N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $16,000   Thursday 2nd January   Dover Downs DE Bad Boy Brad A – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $15,000 Trojan Banner N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $15,000 Montefalco N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $13,000   Freehold Raceway NJ Starskys Dream N – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $5,000   Friday 3rd January   Freehold Raceway NJ Shecouldbegood N – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $9,000   Meadowlands NJ Soho Leviathan A – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $11,250 Donegal Rundlescreek N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $13,500   Miami Valley Raceway OH Eliza Dushku N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $16,000   Saturday 4th January   Freehold Raceway NJ Lincs Tiger N – Time: 1:57.0, Stake: $7,700   Meadowlands NJ Laredo Torpedo N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $13,500 Whittaker N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $16,000   Miami Valley Raceway OH Montana Pablo A – Time: 1:57.0, Stake: $9,000 Nicol Shard N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $15,000 Lucifers Legend A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $15,000   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Sly Eleanor N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $16,000 High Rolling A – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $20,000     Sunday 5th January   Miami Valley Raceway OH Onspeed N – Time: 1:58.1, Stake: $6,000   Pompano Park FL Alluneedisfaith N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $9,500   Previous weeks 24th December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 17th December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 10th December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 3rd December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 26th November 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 19th November 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 12th November 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 5th of Nov 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 29th October 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 22nd October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 15th October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 8th October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 1st October 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 24th Sep 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 17th Sep 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 11th Sep 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 3rd Sep 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 27th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 20th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 12th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 5th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 29 Jul 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 24 Jul 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety   Carter Dalgety

By Jonny Turner   Champion reinsman Ricky May has delivered instructions from his hospital bed to fellow driver Carl Markham, who will fill in for him behind Missie Castleton at Timaru today. May is progressing well after suffering a medical incident in the Central Otago Trotting Cup at Omakau last Thursday that shocked the harness racing fraternity.  The winner of 2950 races in New Zealand usually does much of the hands-on training of Missie Castleton, who is officially trained by his father, Terry. That work has been handed over to fellow Methven trainer Carl Markham, who has been looking after the 9yr-old while May recuperates in Dunedin Hospital. Well-wishers from across the Australasian harness racing community have sent out messages of support to the seven time New Zealand Cup winner since his incident. Many of those will be willing Missie Castleton on for what would be a special an emotionally-charged victory in race 6, today.  The man with the huge task of filling in for May knows exactly what a win would mean to May’s supporters. “I will be doing everything in my power to help her win,” Carl Markham said.  Though there is clearly pressure on Markham, he is taking it in his stride and certainly has not lost his sense of humour. “I suppose I will have to clean my boots if everybody is watching,” he quipped. May’s speedy progression after his incident at Omakau meant he was able to call Markham with instructions on how best to drive Missie Castleton. “He was ringing me giving me all the instructions – he is as sharp as a knife.” “He said she is better saved for one run, she has got good gate speed, but we might be better off not using it.” Missie Castleton would only need to run up to her last start effort to go close in today’s 2000m rating 53-60 trot. The 9yr-old was given a perfect run in the one-one May, before sprinting well to win at Addington, last month.  The trotter has progressed well leading in to today’s race under Markham’s care “She seems pretty good, I have been working her since Ricky has been off and she worked pretty good [on Sunday], I thought.” May’s friend, Craig Wiggins, has been acting as the spokesperson for the May family since the reinsman has been in hospital. He posted on social media yesterday that May will travel to Christchurch Hospital this week and undergo an “small operation”. The post said the procedure would provide the driver with “a confident return to a normal life”.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Cambridge’s biggest harness meeting has been gifted a trotting bonus this Friday as the New Zealand assault on Victoria’s biggest races becomes clearer. Both Inter Dominion champion Winterfell and excitement machine Oscar Bonavena are surprise entries for the $30,000 Les Harrison Transport Flying Stakes at Cambridge on Friday while New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer will headline the $50,000 McMillans Feeds Flying Mile for the pacers. The latter’s clash with Chase Auckland, Mach Shard and past winner Star Galleria isn’t unexpected but the two standout trotters in the country heading to Friday’s meeting is. Oscar Bonavena was expected to head straight to Australia after his Auckland campaign while Winterfell could have been spelled after his win in the National Trot last start because he has been a vastly superior version of himself right-handed at Alexandra Park. But trainer Mark Purdon has opted to run him left-handed before he returns to Canterbury with Oscar Bonavena the stable’s sole rep for the A$250,000 Great Southern Star on February 1. Open class stablemates Enhance Your Calm and Winterfell are not scheduled to head to Australia.  Purdon has decided this season’s NZ Cup winner Cruz Bromac will miss Victoria and instead be aimed at the Miracle Mile in Sydney, with Auckland Cup winner Self Assured heading to Melton but only for the Bonanza on January 25, missing the Hunter Cup.  That leaves Thefixer and Chase Auckland as stable’s only hopes in the Hunter Cup on February 1, while Smooth Deal will contest the Victoria Derby before heading to Sydney for the NSW Derby. The stable has no plans to bring Amazing Dream to Australia for the Oaks while Princess Tiffany is another staying closer to home. While other trainers sort out of their likely Australia teams the most likely traveller is Belle Of Montana coming to Melton for the Ladyship Mile there before returning home and being set for another Ladyship Mile in Sydney.   Michael Guerin

The impressive run of form by the Malcolm Shinn trained Champagneandwine continued on Monday at Cromwell Racecourse when the four-year-old Bettor’s Delight mare proved too strong in the seventh of the day. Driven with patience by junior reinsman John Morrison Champagneandwine was presented into the race three wide at the top of the straight after obtaining a decent initial sit in the running line and proved too strong for an improved Ronnie Pickering while outsider Melton Mafia filled third. The win improves Champagneandwines’s overall racing record to two wins from just eight starts with both wins coming on the grass surface with her maiden victory coming at Mount Harding Racecourse Methven in early December. The Cromwell victory came off the back of a strong Omakau performance in behind the Kirk Larsen trained The White Rabbit and showed that the mare should remain competitive on both all weather and grass track surfaces going forward. Champagneandwine winning at Cromwell   Champagneandwine Champagneandwine herself has good blood running through her veins and comes from the strong Princess Nandina maternal lines with Butler B G mare Twice As Good proving the most successful of her daughters leaving the likes of Mark Dennis (42 wins, $300’000) St Barts, the Purdon and Payne trained Fight Fire With Fire and Twice As Hot (dam of Inter Dominion runner-up Flaming Fluttter) Other notable performers from the family include multiple Jewels winner Elle Mac and the ex All Stars trained Duplicated who has now racked up multiple wins in quick succession after being exported to America. An exciting addition to this successful family is being offered by Breckon Farms at the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale. Lot 112, named Whiskey on The Rocks, is a first foal and colt by Art Major out of the ex-Cran Dalgety trained mare Double Shot (5 wins on NZ soil). Multiple Jewels winner Elle Mac ($607,678) seen here winning her last start before retirement Ben McMillan  

By Garrick Knight    The fall-out from a horror crash at Cambridge yesterday will see three senior North Island drivers on the sidelines for a couple of months. The incident saw race 8 abandoned soon after the start when Afortunado (Jay Abernethy) couldn’t avoid a galloping Ima Denny Too (Tony Cameron) and fell to the track. A chain reaction saw Comic Book Hero (Todd MacFarlane) and Racketeers Boy (David Butcher) also fall while Matty White was flung viciously from the sulky of Machs Little Soaky. Butcher came out of the crash effectively unscathed apart from some bruising and sore ribs but MacFarlane, White and Abernethy all have significant injuries. Matty White remains in Waikato Hospital having suffered a brain bleed and will have further scans and x-rays on his hip and pelvis this morning. “He’s ok at the moment; he’s awake and alert,” said his wife, Brigette Solomon. “He does have a minor brain bleed though; it’s called a petechial haemorrhage. “He is also displaying really severe concussion symptoms too, repeating himself a lot. “They x-rayed his hip and shoulders last night which came back clear but they’ll do more scans today because he is still getting a lot of pain on his right side.” Todd MacFarlane is also in Waikato Hospital, his worst injury at this stage appearing to be a badly broken wrist. “I spoke to Todd late last night, around midnight, and he said that he had broken and dislocated his wrist,” said good friend, Jeff Darby. “They were looking at whether he needed surgery on it today. “He had a scan on his head and neck which came back with positive results and they’re pretty happy with that. “He also had a concussion and his memory of the race was a bit sketchy.” Jay Abernethy left Waikato Hospital at midnight and was at his doctor’s office first thing this morning. “I’ve broken my wrist. They nerve-blocked my arm to put it back in to place and put a cast on it. “I’m just getting my shoulder checked out this morning because that feels sorer than the wrist but I think it’s just badly bruised.” David Butcher considered himself fairly lucky given what happened to his colleagues. “I’m alright; I haven’t broken anything. “Just bruising. I had x-rays done last night and they were all good. “I’ve talked to (Stipendiary Steward) Steve Mulcay and told him I’ll just be taking it easy for a couple of days but should be fine to drive later in the week.” All four horses escaped relatively unscathed with only minor grazes and cuts reported, Racketeers Boy the only one requiring attention from the on-course vet, for a shoulder laceration. A stewards enquiry deemed no one driver was to blame for the event. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Central Otago TC’s abandoned Group 3 feature from January 2 has been added to the Wyndham HRC Programme for Thursday, 16 January. Following a canvassing of affected trainers and with a desire of Southern Harness to provide a Group 3 opportunity to horses within the region, the Wyndham club has come on board and offered to stage the $30,000 race. The transferred race will be run under the same conditions as per January 2nd, however the race will now be run over 2400 metres, not the original 2000 metres. ­Race 12 - FFA MOBILE PACE (Group 3) - Distance: 2400m CENTRAL OTAGO TROTTING CUP FFA. Of $30000 ($16500 plus Trophy, $3900, $2100, $1200, $900, others $600). For all pacers. Preferential Barrier Draw Based on: Rating then Winning Stakes using the track grid.   For more information contact: Jason Broad Racing Manager, Southern Harness Phone: 021-127-2912 

In harness racing if you want speed he’s got more than the rest. Always B Miki in 1.46! It’ll be hard to go anywhere around the 2020 national standardbred yearling sales without hearing about the progeny of Always B Miki. Officially the fastest standardbred of all time after posting 1:46 at the Red Mile in Lexington in 2016 Always Be Miki received good support at the weanling and aged sales in May last year and that should continue when this, his first Australasian crop of yearlings, take their turn in the sales rings in February. A multiple Breeders Crown winner and harness racing "Horse Of The Year" Always B MIki achieved success throughout a four year racing career in North America. Australasian buyers may also be bouyed by the fact that, contrary to other North American sire trends, Always B Miki achieved his greatest successes at an older age after returning from a run of injuries.    A highlight from his crop to be offered in Auckland at the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale include a standout type from Breckon Farms who should attract attention throughout Australasia given the recent successes of close relative. Lot 106, named I’llavabubbles, is a bay filly with close ties to the Breckon Farms matriarch mare in Megeara and is out of known producer Delightful Dale who has already foaled progeny that have met with great success on both sides of the Tasman, both Shandale (3rd NZ Derby and an Inter Dominion heat place among his racing record and over $300’000 in career earnings) and Shandance who has notched nine wins on Australian soil are testament to the progeny and their winning ways while half sister Gladamare has notched up four wins in little time for New Zealand based trainer Brent Mangos. Shandale who has 14 wins on his card with $305,000 in earnings Always B Miki promises to be an exciting and new addition to the sire-lines for this tried and tested maternal line.  Always B Miki Retirement 2016 A new and exciting sire with all the credentials in the world. He’s got what everyone wants. Speed.  That’s Always B Miki.        Ben McMillan  

By Jonny Turner Invercargill horsewoman Ellie Barron is being hailed a hero after coming to the aid of fellow harness racing driver Ricky May when the champion reinsman collapsed during a race. May was revived after suffering a medical event, slumping in his sulky and falling to the track when driving A G's White Socks at a Central Otago meeting. He was in a serious but stable condition yesterday in the intensive care unit at Dunedin Hospital. Barron was among the first to May's side after he fell. She began giving CPR on the reinsman with the help of another driver, Lawrence McCormick. Barron is being hailed a hero by many who witnessed the incident. She was quick to deflect any praise and said her concern was for May's recovery. "I am just hoping for the best for Ricky, it is sounding positive from all accounts. I just hope he improves, really." Barron is a trained physiotherapist who has worked with the Southland rugby team. She credited her training for providing her with the skills to help revive May. "He was breathing when I got there, so I was worried about his neck and head. Then we had to change plan a wee bit." Barron also credited the paramedics and off duty medical staff that rushed out of the Omakau crowd to assist May. "It all happened so fast – there were two doctors there in what felt like a minute, then the paramedics came." "Everyone that could help did – it was good – but terrifying at the same time." Ricky May is in intensive care after collapsing during a race. Photo / file An intensive care paramedic played a crucial role in stabilising May, Barron said. "She waltzed in and she was so calm and she sort of just took over. I feel like he was so lucky to have been where he was when it happened. He could have been at home on the tractor." May's horse, A G's White Socks, has drawn praise following Thursday's incident. The 6yr-old is known to be a slightly moody type on race days. That was evident when the horse bolted frantically back to the stables after winning a race at Oamaru in 2016. But the horse did not panic without the control of his driver and angled wide on the track before May fell from his sulky. The remaining horses and drivers were able to easily manoeuvre past May when the race was called off. Canterbury driver John Dunn was driving the horse following A G's White Socks when May collapsed. He showed quick reactions to slow his horse, Heisenberg, when it was apparent May was unwell. Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald