Star performer Caribbean Blaster has joined an elite fraternity of harness racing champions. In front of a sell out crowd, Caribbean Blaster was announced Victorian Horse of the Year at Harness Racing Victoria’s awards function at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Also named Aged Pacer of the Year, Caribbean Blaster became just the fifth dual winner of the coveted title. The stallion’s season was highlighted by his South Australia Cup triumph – he was also among the placings in the Victoria, Ballarat and Hunter Cups. Unfortunately, Caribbean Blaster suffered a suspensory injury late in the term, which will see him sidelined for up to a year. Standing a term at stud while sidelined, Caribbean Blaster joins past greats Gammalite, Shakamaker, Sokyola and Smoken Up as multiple VHOTY winners. Part-owned by Alabar Bloodstock, Caribbean Blaster is standing at Yirribee Pacing Stud for a debut Service Fee of $2750. Trained by Andy Gath and driven by his reinswoman-wife, Kate, Caribbean Blaster’s record sits on 24 wins and 35 placings from 79 starts for earnings of $1,113,677. Boasting four Group One victories, Caribbean Blaster’s wins include the Victoria and South Australia Cups. PAUL COURTS
You all know Caribbean Blaster is a fantastic harness racing competitor which is a four-time Group One winner. You know he is by leading stallion Bettor’s Delight from one of Australasia’s hottest maternal families. And you know he is a truly magnificent looking stallion with exceptional conformation. What you may not be aware of is that if you breed your mare to Caribbean Blaster this season his owners will rebate the cost of registering and freeze branding your foal in 2015 anywhere in Australia! Furthermore, the generosity is not limited to one foal per customer – it is available for as many Caribbean Blaster foals as you breed. It should also be noted the offer is in addition to Harness Racing New South Wales’ Colonial Stallion Rebate of $500 for making the Breeders Challenge series sustaining payments. Owners of local mares only need to register their foal with HRNSW to claim the colonial stallions rebate, while for interstate mares simply tear off the slip on the bottom of the Service Certificate and send into HRNSW - it will cost $275, but you will receive $500 back from HRNSW! This all means that a service to Caribbean Blaster will not cost you as much as you think. Caribbean Blaster’s service fee after a 20 per cent discount (if you qualify) is $2200 (incl GST) minus the HRNSW Colonial Stallion Rebate of $500 & less $185 registration costs brings the cost down to $1515 (incl GST)! In Victoria your Caribbean Blaster foal will cost as little as $1660 (incl GST). It all adds up to a great deal! To book your mare into Caribbean Blaster please contact Alabar on (03) 5859 2201 or visit our website – www.alabar.com.au.
Former harness racing star Auckland Reactor is handing out the proverbial ‘cigar’ after becoming a father. The champion pacer’s first child, a masculine child, was born in New Zealand yesterday, with Australian-based owner-breeder Harvey Kaplan “thrilled with the new arrival”. Auckland Reactor needs no introduction as a multiple Group One winner for outstanding Kiwi trainer Mark Purdon. A bold striding son of Mach Three, Auckland Reactor was an instant sensation after making a winning debut at Timaru in September 2007. The colt then completed 17 consecutive victories, including three Group Ones and four Group Twos, before suffering his first defeat when second in the Four-Year-Old Futurity. Auckland Reactor bounced back to win his next three outings, including the Group One Auckland Cup. Making a smooth transition to the top echelon, Auckland Reactor won an addition three Group Ones before being retired to stud with an impressive record of 32 wins and three placings from 53 starts for earnings of $ $1,837,043. Just as he was on the racetrack, Auckland Reactor became an immediate sensation in the breeding barn where he served just under 400 mares, including 186 in Australia for Alabar Bloodstock. As for his son, from unraced mare Jet Spirit, Kaplan is hopeful the day-old youngster can eventually match his famous dad’s feats on the track. “I’m stoked to have a colt by Auckland Reactor,” Kaplan said. “Jet Spirit was the first mare served, and as it turns out, she was the first to foal. “Auckland Reactor was a super, super racehorse and I’ll be thrilled if this young bloke can be anywhere near as good as his old man. “I’m always keen to support colonial stallions which fit the bill and Auckland Reactor ticked all the boxes as he had speed, stamina, a great record and bloodlines. “I will be sending another mare or two back to him.” As for the new arrival’s name, Kaplan is calling upon readers for suggestions…of course, Paul would be a great start! “If anyone reading this has any ideas, I’m open to suggestions,” Kaplan said. “Please send in your comment and I’ll certainly give them some serious thought.” PAUL COURTS
It was a case of mixed emotions at Victorian harness racing’s biggest social event – TAB.COM.AU Charity Football Day – at Bendigo yesterday. As a high, the Melton girls cleaned up in the Aldebaran Netball Cup, but on the downside, the Melton fellas were smashed on the Tabcorp footy field. Melton is yet to win from four starts…the only team still waiting to enjoy a taste glory! On the opposite end of the scale, the skill and agility of the netballers placed them in a class of their own as they rocketed to success. Multiple Group One winning reinswoman Kate Gath was the recipient of the Yirribee Stud Most Valuable Player Award. Gath’s football counterpart was Heath Barton, who enjoyed double success as a member of the triumphant Shepparton squad. After dispensing of Ballarat in the opener, Shepparton then accounted for defending champions, Bendigo, to hold the Tabcorp Premiership Cup aloft. Tobey Courts,11, earned an honourable mention after booting four goals, including three against Ballarat. Away from the fun and games, the event had a serious side – raising awareness and valuable funds for the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. Thrilled with the wide spread involvement, organiser Robbie O’Connell declared both ‘goals’ were achieved by the 500-strong crowd. “The amount of publicity this day has generated has certainly helped raising the awareness of the cause,” O’Connell said. “Anyone in harness racing would have to have been living in a cave not to have known about the day and what it’s all about. “And I’m thrilled to say we eclipsed last year’s total and even bettered our target amount in money raised. After $14,000 last year we were hoping for $20,000 this time, but we’re sitting on $22,000 at the moment. “Everyone involved, be it sponsor, helper, player or spectator can hold their heads up high…well, except for the Melton footy team!” There were also plenty of fun activities for the kids throughout the afternoon, as they enjoyed the jumping castle, little athletics competition and the free Auckland Reactor soccer and footballs thanks to Alabar Bloodstock. Alexa Astin and Will Janky were big winners after scoring bikes thanks to Amart Sports Melton by guessing the amount of snakes in a jar. “I couldn’t believe Alexa guessed the exact amount,” O’Connell said. “I thought I was clever not making it an obvious amount like 125 or 120, so I left it at 123. “According to Alexa’s dad her guess was simple, she counted them one, two, three, so he wrote that down! “Overall if was a terrific day, everyone had fun and we achieved our goals thanks to the sponsors, the helpers and every person who came and participated in the spirit of it all.” PAUL COURTS
JUST days out from the TAB.COM.AU Charity Football Day and the generosity just keeps flowing. Already a major sponsor in two areas, Alabar Bloodstock has once again increased its involvement in what has developed in Victorian harness racing’s biggest social event. One of the first to support last year’s inaugural edition, Alabar was quick to return this time to cover the costs of the foot and netballs. On top of that, the leading breeding establishment has donated a service to Grinfromeartoear as the headliner for the mega raffle. Now Alabar has joined forced with Amart Melton and Burley to deliver ‘Auckland Reactor’ soccer and footballs to the first 60 kids to attend the big day. The latest gesture also compliments the two bikes Amart Melton has donated for the lucky boy and girl who guess the correct (or closest to) amount of snakes in a jar, which will be displayed throughout the day…entry is FREE!. Not to forget prominent owner Kevin Riseley, who has generously offered to cover the cost of hiring a jumping castle for children to enjoy, or Allan McNeil, who has donated lolly bags. “Alabar, Amart, Kevin and Allan have just been so generous,” event organiser Robbie O’Connell said. “Their focus on the kids’ activities will help turn this into a massive family day, just the kind of event harness racing needs. “Now we have the dads playing footy, the mums hitting the netball court and the kids going nuts, as kids should.” Other sponsors include Tabcorp, James and son, Seelite Windows and Doors and Glenn Sharp. A fun occasion for all industry participants, Sunday’s event also has a serious side – raising valuable funds for the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. That’s where a small fee of $50 for players and spectators (under 16 free) comes into play. Not only does the fee cover the costs of the games, sausage sizzle and the night’s function, it adds to the tally to aid children suffering from Neurofibromatosis. Last year’s event raised $14,000, which is outstanding considering the foundation receives just $18,000 from the government. Along with the fun and games, the function will also include a memorabilia auction. It was last year’s auction that proved to be the biggest money spinner for the cause. Paul Smart from Azuma International supplied the various pieces of memorabilia, which raised almost $8000. Smart will be back this year with “some sensational memorabilia”, so attendees better make sure their wallets are loaded! Teams from four districts – Melton (Go Blues), Ballarat, Shepparton and Bendigo – will do battle throughout the day, with the first event, a netball match, to begin at 11:30am at the Strathfieldsaye Sports Club. The first footy game is scheduled to start at noon. “The Strathfieldsaye Club has offered us free use of their grounds and facilities,” O’Connell said. They have two footy ovals and three netball courts, so it’s the perfect pl ace for us. “Last year’s day was big, but this year will be huge.” For more information please contact Robbie O'Connell on 0404 728 885. Paul Courts
Harness racing participants are widely-regarded as being among the most generous and that status has been proven yet again. Less than a week out from the TAB.COM.AU Charity Day, a host of star reinsman have declared they will donate their earnings from a specified meeting towards the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. Chris Alford and Shayne Cramp (Victoria), Luke McCarthy (New South Wales), Peter McMullen (Queensland), Ricky Duggan (Tasmania), Clint and Gary Hall junior (Western Australia) and Ryan Hryhorec (South Australia) will all ‘sport’ the foundation’s racing silks at a program of their choice and will donate all earnings from the day to the cause. On top of that, several of Victoria’s leading concession drivers have also dipped into their pockets. Josh Aiken, Alex Ashwood, Josh Duggan, Haydon Gray and Zac Phillips have joined forces to make a donation. Each has “thrown in” $200, with the collective $1000 - a great compliment to the recent $5000 from James and Son and the $1000 from Arthur Fullwood. Thrilled with the Fab Five’s gesture, event organiser Robbie O’Connell stated the friendship between the talented reinsmen will end come game day. “It is a wonderful gesture from the five of them,” O’Connell said. “One top of their game fee, they have thrown in an extra $200. “They may have come together as a group for this, but they will split up into three teams on game day, so I’m sure white line fever will creep in. “No doubt they will enjoy revving each other up on the field and give the odd hip and shoulder for the sake of it.” Other industry identities to support the day include Alabar Bloodstock, which has covered the costs of the footballs and netballs as well as donating a service to Grinfromeartoear, which will be the headliner of a major raffle. A service to Union Guy donated by John Campbell is also in the mix, with connections of Red Samurai also chiming in with a service to the former handy trotter. There are also plenty of prizes for the non-breeders, including a 10 kilogram block of Cadbury chocolate, Bolinda Publishing Audio Books and a Myer voucher. Yirribee Stud has returned with mugs for the Most Valuable Player in each code, while Tabcorp is back as the football jumper sponsor and will supply jumpers for the four teams. The squads will be assembled from four districts – Melton (Go Blues), Ballarat, Shepparton and Bendigo. Other sponsors include Seelite Windows and Doors, Kevin Riseley, Allan McNeil and Glenn Sharp. A small fee of $50 for players and spectators (under 16 free) covers the costs of Sunday’s sausage sizzle, the games and the night’s function. Last year’s event raised $14,000, which is outstanding considering the foundation receives $18,000 from the government. Along with the fun and games, the function will also include a memorabilia auction. It was last year’s auction that proved to be the biggest money spinner for the cause. Paul Smart from Azuma International supplied the various pieces of memorabilia, which raised almost $8000 for the Chrildren's Tumour Foundation. Unlike 99.9 percent of auctions, Azuma International didn’t place a reserve on the items. For examples, a supplier will put a $500 reserve on a particular item, and should it sell for $550, the charity only receives $50! Azuma International, however, split the takings down the middle. Paul Courts
WHAT began as ‘we should have a…’ moment between a few horsemen has quickly developed into Australian harness racing’s biggest social event. Talking with his peers over a drink or three last year, Victorian mentor Robbie O’Connell decided to take the conversation beyond words and into action. A couple of months later, the inaugural TAB.COM.AU Charity Football Day was born! With trainers and drivers throughout the state, and a few from across the border, forming four regional teams, the event was a big hit. Not only did it provide industry personnel the opportunity to enjoy a fun day filled with laughter, the event raised valuable funds and awareness for the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. Match fees, raffles and a memorabilia auction saw $14,000 raised…a tremendous effort considering the foundation receives $18,000 a year from the government. Fast forward 12 months and the big day is on again. Not only will the four teams – Melton, Ballarat, Bendigo and Shepparton – do battle on the footy field in a ‘Round Robyn’ contest for the Katie Alford Cup, a netball section has been added to the agenda. Katie, daughter of premier reinsman Chris Alford, suffers from the rare disorder Neurofibromatosis, which affects one in 4000 people. Katie has become harness racing’s shining light for the charity. With O’Connell the driving force once again, the August 31 showdown at the Strathfieldsaye Sporting Club promises to be a day to remember. Tabcorp has returned as the major sponsor, donating the football jumpers, with Alabar Bloodstock covering the cost of the foot and netballs. Alabar has also chimed in with a service to Grinfromeartoear, which is the main prize of a mega raffle. The raffle also includes a service to Union Guy donated by John Campbell, with connections of Red Samurai also supplying a service to the former handy trotter. There are also plenty of prizes for the non-breeders, including a 10 kilogram block of Cadbury chocolate, Bolinda Publishing Audio Books and a Myer voucher. Other sponsors include Seelite Windows and Doors, Fernwood Melton, Amart Sports, Kevin Riseley, James and Son, Allan McNeil and Glenn Sharp. A small fee of $50 for players and spectators (under 16 free) covers the costs of a sausage sizzle, the games and the night’s function. The function will also include a memorabilia auction. It was last year’s auction that proved to be the biggest money spinner for the cause. Paul Smart from Azuma International supplied the various pieces of memorabilia, which raised almost $8000 for the sick children. Unlike 99.9 percent of auctions, Azuma International didn’t place a reserve on the items. For example, a supplier will put a $500 reserve on a particular item, and should it sell for $550, the charity only receives $50! Azuma International, however, split the takings down the middle. “To be honest, last year we were only cutting our teeth with the whole concept and were caught a little off guard by how big it turned out,” O’Connell said. “This time we’ll be on top of everything from the get go and it will be an even better time for all involved. “I’ve got no doubt those who played, or came along, last year will return, and with that in mind, the interest is expected to grow. “It’s open to all harness racing participants, be it owners, stablehands, trainers, drivers, club officials, administrators. “Even journalists…we’re open minded! “All that said, last year was an amazing effort to raise $14,000, this time around we’re thinking closer to $20,000. “So I urge everybody with an interest in harness racing to come along, either as a player or spectator…you won’t regret it.” Harnesslink Media
The Horsham Harness Racing Club will stage their traditional 3YO features, the $9505 Alabar Horsham Guineas and $9505 Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera, on Wednesday August 27th. The contests have been part of the Club calendar since the early 1980’s, when the Horsham Ladies Committee sponsored the Horsham Oaks and Derby Trials, under the lights on the tight showgrounds circuit. Alabar Bloodstock has generously donated an inscribed rug and trophies for the winning owner, trainer and driver of the 2014 Guineas. They have also donated a free service to second season stallion, Smiling Shard (1:53.7 $1,089,831) or the proven entire, Elsu (1:53.6 $2,030,796). Rosehill Farm & Veterinary Services will provide an inscribed rug and trophies for the winning connections of the 2014 Princess of the Wimmera. In addition, they have donated a free service to the highly talented but injury dogged pacer, Maffisio. Some fine colts and geldings are listed as winners of the Alabar Horsham Guineas, including Grand Circuit performer Robin Hood (2004) for trainer Clayton Tonkin, with Daryl Douglas aboard. In 1991, Dark Paul went on to capture both the Victoria and NSW Derbies after his Horsham Guineas victory for trainer Trevor Martin and reinsman Ted Demmler. Albenz (1996), Wenbro (1998), Remember El (2010), Savesometimetodream (2011) and Magical Telf (2012) have also taken out the Horsham Classic. The Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera has been won by a number of smart fillies over the years, including the brilliant Sheza Mona (1997) for trainer Peter Manning and driver Kerryn Manning . Mother Courage took out the 1999 edition of the Princess during her 3YO season, on the way to success in the Victoria Oaks for the Bruce Morgan- John Caldow combination. Posh Jaccka (1998), Deanna Troy (2006), Very Chic (2008), and Our Surfer Girl (2010) also grace the honour board. The Horsham Club is greatly appreciative of the continued support of Allan Galloway, John Coffey and all the crew at Alabar, along with Darren and Anne Jacobson from Rosehill, and are looking forward to two great contests on the 27th. Nominations for the Alabar Horsham Guineas and Rosehill Princess of the Wimmera, close with HRV at noon on Thursday August 21st. Further information can be obtained from Tony Logan on 0427 857411.
He was named, by majority owner Rob Nalder, after one of the greatest cricketers of the twentieth century – the explosive West Indian batsmen Viv Richards. The Aussie Caribbean Blaster certainly didn’t let anyone down and especially not the great man Viv Richards. Two people who he did leave an indelible impression on are the husband and wife team Andy and Kate Gath. “He’s the most perfect horse I’ve ever trained” said Andy recently. “He’s everything you want in a horse – great gaited, a great constitution and amazing recovery rate after a tough run, perfect conformation and always gave 120% in all his races.” Sadly Caribbean Blaster suffered a suspensory injury in late July and he will now commence a new chapter in his best selling life story – a stud career at Yirribee Stud in Southern NSW, under the management of his part owner Alabar Bloodstock. The “Blaster” displayed the attributes of a top horse right from the start, albeit he raced rather greenly in his three starts as a two year old. As a three year old, there were signs that he could develop into a “Big Time” horse – second in the Group One South Australian Derby, a fast closing second to Sushi Sushi in the Breeders Crown Semi Final and then a close up fourth place finish from the 12 hole in the Breeders Crown Final – his own mile rate being 1:54.9 for the 2240 metres. Just five days later Caribbean Blaster won The Graduate, a 2240 metre standing start race, in a 1:57.5 mile rate – an Australasian record which remains to this day. “The turning point in Caribbean Blaster’s career came when he triumphed in the Chariots Of Fire at Menangle” said Andy Gath. That night he defeated Sushi Sushi, Excel Stride and the hotshot Kiwi Hands Christian in 1:52.6, last quarter in 26.6 seconds. The defining victory in his career was the 2012 Victoria Cup when he was handed the number 13 saddlecloth to start with. Aided by a brilliant Kate Gath steer, the Blaster defeated Australia’s best including Im Themightyquinn, Smoken Up, Mah Sish, Washakie and The Gold Ace to name a few. Caribbean Blaster raced on 79 occasions in a predominately four season career for 24 victories and prizemoney of $1,113,678 – he passed the million dollar mark when defeating the mighty warrior Smoken Up in the 2014 South Australian Cup. He was driven in every one of those starts by the effervescent Kate Gath. As impressive as Caribbean Blaster was on the racetrack, he has a pedigree that could be described as glittering as diamonds. His sire Bettor’s Delight as a champion stallion and has dominated the Leading Sires lists in the Southern Hemisphere for the past three years. Caribbean Blaster is from the Safely Kept mare Kalypso and was bred and sold at the 2009 APG sales for $70,000 by the Bathurst based Brooklyn Lodge. He is thus a half brother to four winners including Protikori ($212,109), placed in four Group One events, and the $125,000 winning Kalypson Kid 1:56.4. Caribbean Blaster will stand at Yirribee Pacing Stud for a debut Service Fee of $2,750 (incl GST). All booking enquiries can be directed to Alabar Bloodstock – (03) 5859 2201. Harnesslink Media
Harnesslink has learned that the outstanding racehorse, Caribbean Blaster has suffered a career ending injury which has brought a premature end to his harness racing career. The super consistent and talented entire faced the starter on 79 occasions for 24 wins, 21 seconds and 14 thirds for $1,113,677 in stakes. Trained throughout his career by Andy Gath and driven in every start by his wife Kate, Caribbean Blaster finished in the first three in 59 of the 79 races he contested in Australia while he also contested two New Zealand Cups at Addington. He has a string of great performances to his name but two of the better ones would be his win in the $200,000 Chariots Of Fire in 1:52.6 over Excel Stride 1:50.3 ($769,464) and Sushi Sushi 1:54.1 ($1,103,327) and his win in the Victoria Cup in a 1:53.7mr (2240 meters) over Im Themightyquinn 1:50.4 ($4,567,456) and Mah Sish 1:55.4 ($800,911). Part owned by Alabar Bloodstock, the rising seven year old son of champion sire Bettors Delight has all the ingredients to make a successful sire now his racing career has ended. Not only does he have a great racetrack record, but Caribbean Blaster is by a great sire from a very strong maternal family. His dam is the Safely Kept mare in Kalypso 2:00.8 ($30,110) who apart from Caribbean Blaster has also produced such smart types as Protikora 1:59 ($212,109) and Kalypson Kid 1:56.4 ($125,351). Kalypso is a half sister to six winners including the classy Grand Stride 1:52.4 ($324,658) while his third dam has left nine winners including smart types such as Heezgotattitude 1:56.8 ($157,987) and Zaneden 1:56.6 ($123,500). With his sire Bettors Delight in such hot demand, it may well be an opportune time for one of his best performed sons to start his stud career. Harnesslink media
John Coffey, one of the best-regarded figures on the national scene, has added another string to his bow. He has accepted the position of Co-Ordinator of the annual Garrards 2YO Trialling Sale, coming up to its fourth year, at Tabcorp Park, Menangle. This position will sit well with Coffey's present role as Marketing Manager of breeding giant, Alabar Bloodstock: Coffey will continue to represent Alabar. The 2YO Trialling Sale will continue to be conducted by Australian Standardbred Consultancy Pty, which founded the trials-auction concept at Menangle. Coffey, who lives in Western Australia, is probably even better-known on the east coast: he was named the Bathurst Gold Crown Honouree this year. As a commercial breeder - he conducts Patrician Park - Coffey only too well knows the plight of breeders and those who race horses. As such, he is well-suited to his new role. "The Trialling Sale provides an excellent platform for educators of young horses, and those people looking to buy a good one," he said. "Backed by Garrards Horse & Hound, the 2YO Trialling Sale is an excellent adjunct to the yearling sale market." Coffey pointed to the large number of successful graduates to come from the sale, including the former fastest three-year-old in Australasia, I Am Mr Brightside. Graduates from the 2013 2YO Trialling Sale are eligible to nominate for this year's inaugural C.J. Garrard Classic at Tabcorp Park, Menangle, on August 23. Nominations are still being accepted for the 2014 edition of the Garrards 2YO Trialling Sale. For more details, please contact John Coffey on 0468 994 087. HRNSW
The Barrier Draws for the Alabar Bathurst Gold Crown and the Slingsby Gold Tiara were conducted at a special harness racing function at the Bathurst Showground tonight. The fields are as follows; Alabar Bathurst Gold Crown Final Barrier Horse 1 Allnight Raid by Gold Dust Beach 2 Jodan by Sportswriter 3 Leonardos Son by Artistic Fella 4 Sporty Spook by Sportswriter 5 Rory Mclory by Sportswriter 6 Mouse In The House by Four Starzzz Shark 7 Cossack Stride NZ by Bettors Delight 8 Cosa Nostra by Sportswriter 9 Stening by Jeremes Jet 10 Stardust by Bettors Delight 11 Artistic Flite by Artistic Fella Slingsby Bathurst Gold Tiara Final Barrier Horse 1 Karalta Impulse by Million Dollar Cam 2 My Blackeyed Susan by Village Jolt 3 Makes Every Scents by Four Starzzz Shark 4 Bamako Mali by Art Major 5 Gotta Glow NZ by Gotta Go Cullect 6 Sally Fletcher by American Ideal 7 Mustang Jet by Jeremes Jet 8 Hey Porsha by American Ideal 9 Ameretto by Million Dollar Cam 10 Allnight Kiss by Modern Art 11 Looks Like Heaven by Lombo Mandingo Harness Racing New South Wales
Wednesday night trotting was held at the Swan Hill Racing Centre when the Nyah HRC conducted a neat seven event card, highlighted by the running of the $25,505 Alabar Bloodstock Northern Region Championship Final for C1 & C2 class over 2240 metres which contested the heats and Semi-Finals held at Mildura on March 6 and 12. Mildura’s Shayne Cramp (Victoria’s leading trainer of last season) held a strong hand with four of the 12 runners in the final and snared the quinella with four year old Mach Three/Aldebaran Bromac gelding Aldebaran Macha defeating Changing Code in a rate of 1-57. Driven by Nathan Jack, Aldebaran Machastarting from gate three on the second line settled a mile off the Lake Boga leader Gollahman (gate four). In a race where the position outside the leader chopped and changed several times as three of the Cramp runners took turns to face the breeze, Aldebaran Macha latched to the back of Beach Star from four back in the running line at the bell which originally parked outside the leader as the start was effected. Gaining a lovely ride home, Aldebaran Macha after an easy time raced to the front halfway up the running and in a punishing finish, held off Changing Code from mid-field by a half neck in a thrilling finale, with Beachstar a game third after leading on turning. Wood Wood owner/breeder/trainer Greg Fleming does a grand job with his small team and captured the Ray & Grace Hepworth Memorial 3-Y-0 Pace Final over 2240 metres with Armbro Operative/Highly Rated gelding Rate Highly, giving the locals something to cheer about. Driven by Ararat’s Mick Bellman, Rate Highly possied three back in the moving line form gate six, with Dawson Street leading from gate three. Taken three wide in the final circuit, Rate Highly ran home stylishly to gain the day in advance of Billy Mack which raced in the open from the bell, with Glitzy Gal running home late from last to finish third. The mile rate 1-58.9. The wraps were huge on the first starter Midnitedelite in the Courage Under Fire 2-Y-0 Pace over 1609 metres and the Bettors Delight/Aimee Sheffield colt on debut didn’t let his supporters down. Trained at Elmore by Keith Cotchin and driven by Bendigo based Scott Dyer, Midnitedelite led throughout from the pole to easily account for Justbritell which raced outside him in a rate of 1-57.9. Will Cooper(one/three – three wide last lap) finished third. By Len Baker (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)
Bathurst Harness Racing Club this week announced that well-known and respected breeding figure John Coffey has accepted the club's invitation to be the 2014 Bathurst Gold Crown Honouree. In making the announcement, the club's president Mark Collins stated," John Coffey is one of the most humble and unassuming people that I have met in harness racing." However, under that quite and modest persona hides a man with drive and passion for this Industry and in particular the breeding side" Collins added. "For John Coffey to be recognized as this year's Honouree is testimony to his contribution to the Industry and we are extremely honoured that he has accepted our invitation" Collins said John becomes the twenty-fifth identity, but just the second from Western Australia, after Mick Lombardo in 1999, to be awarded Bathurst's "baggy green". Gold Crown Honourees make up a select group that encompasses all aspects of the sport. There are trainer-drivers, like inaugural winner in 1990 Jim Caffyn; administrators, such as Ken Dyer in 1997; media personalities, like John Tapp in the Bicentennial Year; breeders, like 2004 recipient Bob McArdle, and families, such as the Fitzpatricks in 2009. A long-time administrator and successful studmaster and breeder in his home state, John served a number of years as assistant to Alan Galloway at Echuca-based Alabar Bloodstock, before returning there in 1996 as General Manager , a role he filled for 17 years. He's regarded as one of the foremost breeding authorities in the Southern Hemisphere. Annual visits to North America, to keep abreast of racing and breeding developments there, have enabled him to acquire some outstanding sires for down-under breeders. He's equally well-regarded in that part of the world as he is here at home. John Coffey is widely respected for being ethical, genuine and highly personable. He is generous with his time and knowledge, and motivated to serve the sport, as shown by his involvement with the Leigh Plunkett Foundation. John has become a familiar, welcome figure in New South Wales, and particularly Bathurst, in recent years. He's been instrumental in Alabar's sponsorship of the Breeders Challenge and Bathurst Gold Crown Carnival, and the connection with Yirribee Pacing Stud in the Riverina, as well as conducting highly-informative breeding information nights for both Alabar and Bred In The Blue. John Coffey will be inducted at the Honouree's Dinner, hosted by the Mayor of Bathurst, at the Bathurst RSL Club on Tueday, March 25, during Gold Crown Week. Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |
One of the many side affects of our open access to the best stallions in North America through shuttling and frozen semen is how much harder it has become for new stallions to gain a foothold in the market early in the career. Such is the Lot of Santanna Blue Chip. One of the same foal crop as Somebeachsomewhere--- Shadow Play---and Art Offical. Santanna Blue Chip more than held his own, winning $1,623,000 as a two and three year olds against arguably the best crop of 2+3 yr olds in the last 20 years. He stood his first year at stud in Ontario and those horses raced as two year olds in North America last year. He ended his first season in 14th place on the stakes won list which was a repectable effort in his debut season. They have gone with it at three with his stock earning in excess of $1,000,000 this season already and he presently sits in the top 20 stake earning stallions for 3 yr olds in North America. Every young sire needs a flag bearer and for Santanna Bluechip that horse is Windsong Jack (1:49:4 and $$447,000) who is highly regarded in North America. First available to NZ breeders in 2009 he has had foal crops of 65 followed by 52 and 46. Then on the back of his North American results and the many positive reports from trainers and breakers in, he served 114 mares in his fourth year. So expectations were high when his first 2 yr olds hit the track in Australasia in 2012. To say they were disappointing would be an understatement. Only one winner and a handful of starters didn't bode well for his future. But as is the way with a lot of stallions, as 3yr olds the initial promise is slowly but surely being fulfilled. With a one third of the season over he already has 20 qualifiers of which four have won with several more being placed recently. Horses such as Carlos Santana - Call Me Yours - Macy Bluechip and Avalon Bromac have all shown above average ability in their public outings to date. Hardly a meeting goes bye at the moment without another Santanna Blue Chip popping out of the woodword. And his second crop have started the right way with the super impressive Smokin n Santanna winning effortlessly at yesterday"s Addington trials. With his North American crops continuing to perform (18 in 1:53 and stakes approaching $2,000,000) ,his down under stock are slowly but surely establishing a record they can be proud of. JC This is a series of stallion reviews that Harnesslink will be doing with a view to sheading some light on some of the "forgotten"sires available in Australasia. Elsu - Redemption awaits McArdle - The quiet achiever
It was a quiet midweek meeting at Bendigo when stewards were notified Talk To The Hand was a late scratching from race two. There was an unusual but rock solid reason for the horse pulling out. The evergreen winner of 11 races had - for reasons which are unclear - become gravely ill, forcing it to be put down. "Talk To The Hand was a late scratching at 6.34pm on veterinary advice," a Harness Racing Victoria stewards report stated. Two months on, Talk To The Hand's unexpected demise remains the subject of an inquiry by stewards. They began examining the matter after their own inquiries established the reason for his scratching from the Alabar Bloodstock Claiming Pace, due to run at 7pm over 2150m. The stewards started looking further into the matter the next day. Talk To The Hand's body was located and samples taken for testing. Analysis of those is still not complete, the Herald Sun has been told. Several people have been contacted by stewards, including trainer Glenn Douglas, who was to have driven Talk To The Hand on the night. Douglas, who is based at Strathfieldsaye, near Bendigo, said he did not know what had caused the horse to fall ill. "We'll know more soon. I'll talk to you after they've had their inquiry," he said. Douglas said all horse deaths were the subject of a stewards investigation. HRV chief operating officer Brant Dunshea confirmed there was an "ongoing investigation into the death of the horse." Talk To The Hand was a tough campaigner who was expected to start favourite in the Bendigo race. His 85 career race starts had yielded 11 wins and 36 minor placings for a total of $81,503 in prizemoney. Among those were wins at Tabcorp Park in Melton, the state's premier track. By Mark Buttler (Courtesy of Heraldsun.com.au)