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Timaru horseman Alan Clark has forged a solid pathway for himself out of educating young trotters and selling them as going racehorses. He has been responsible for the breaking and educating of many talented trotters behind the scenes, but in the last 15 years has also raced some standouts of his own. In 2006 he let rip with the talented juvenile, Constar. She set a New Zealand record as the fastest 2YO trotting filly recorded over 2400m. There have not been many meet the starter over that distance as a two-year-old, but do not let that detract from the performance. While the 2400m distance is predominantly run at Winton or Ashburton, no three-year-old filly had ever gone faster over the trip until Jen Jacka in 2015. While she won six races at two and ran third in the 2006 Group Two Sires Stakes Trotters Champs, later that year Clark purchased a foal from out of a paddock that would take the self-taught horseman on the ride of a lifetime. The Fiery Ginga contributed to nearly half of Clark’s 60 training wins (28) and for several years was the iron horse of the trotting ranks, racing 134 times from two through to eight. While he never won a Group One, he was not far away and his run on Cup Day in 2013 sitting outside Peak encapsulated everything about him. Tough as nails, and when it looked like he was on the canvas, he would find again for Clark. Finding one as good has been challenging for Clark but with eight broodmares and plenty of sales purchases since, it has not been for a lack of trying. “With the number Fiona and I are breeding from, it’s important we turn them over with the costs involved - that is why we are offering some in the Mixed Sale,” he said. The road to the Gavelhouse All Age Sale has been a bit like sitting behind The Ginga as a juvenile for Clark who initially purchased three of his current entries from last year’s All Age Sale at a time when a Ready To Run Sale was still on the cards. With that concept falling by the wayside, Clark entered them into the Christchurch Mixed Sale which was cancelled due to a lack of numbers. “I then arranged to have all five of my draft shipped to Auckland at quite an expense,” he said, only for Covid19 to rear its head and now see Clark and his stock sell from the comfort of his own living room. With no official Ready to Run platform available to him, Clark is using the online All Age Sale as an opportunity to present a Ready to Run type offering to the public. “I find that with taking a horse to the trials, the agents are only after the very good ones. At least with a sale of this capacity, there is a market for every horse and that is what I am offering,” he said. Clark is not shy about working his horses from a young age, but there is a method to the madness, and it is a framework that has afforded Clark a lot of success as a horseman. “A lot of my horses get a lot of groundwork as weanlings and yearlings, they get a lot of mileage,” he said. “From what I have read, working them when they are young makes their bones denser and ligament attachments stronger. I never have any leg problems with my horses, they never have any bowed tendons or anything like that. “I’ve got yearlings that are in the sale that have had a lot of background conditioning and I think it’s important to get that education and conditioning into them when they are young so you have something to draw on. “I’ve got an 800m track and my bottom bend is quite tight. Initially you have to keep nursing them round the bends until they get their trotting action up and right. But once they are up and running, if they can get round my bottom bend, they can get round any bend in the country,” said Clark. All his offerings can be seen working on the tight 800m track by clicking on the video tab which can be found above the pedigree of each horse on the auction listing. “These are all ready-made racehorses and they are all a delight to drive and to handle,” he said. Clark has two two-year-olds in the sale. The first is a homebred and has a bit of breeding about him. Lot 133 goes by the name Muscle Power and is a gelded son of Peak out of the Muscles Yankee mare Lady Muscles. “His dam is a half-sister to The Fiery Ginga and she leaves very good muscled horses. “I don’t know whether it is the fillies in the family, or the way it worked out, but she was a very aggressive mare when she didn’t get her own way. I decided early on it would be best she was tipped out to be a broodmare. “The Ginga was a lovely horse and so was his brother Latheronwheel who I educated and sold to clients of Nathan Williamson,” said Clark. “Muscle Power is a nice horse and a very willing horse, he wants to go all the time,” said Clark. Being by the European bred Peak, you would imagine this is a trotter that will get better with age and time. Looking past the fact he has not won a race in his first 12 starts, he is a horse that is highly experienced and will make a nice purchase for someone. Just because Clark has his horses at the races early does not mean they are always screwed down. The Fiery Ginga did not win a race until his 9th start, he then peeled off seven in a row. Constar did not win until her fifth start before gobbling up six wins in seven starts. More recent examples of Clark two-year-old’s with plenty of experience, that have gone on and done adecent job, are Imperial Whiz and Regal Assassin, both foals of 2014. Imperial Whiz could hold the unofficial record for most starts for a two-year-old trotter in a season with 28. The son of Imperial Count is still going strong picking up two wins at Melton in April to take his career tally to 15 wins and 22 placings from 109 starts with $131,000 in stakes. Not bad for a horse that took 23 starts to clear maidens. Regal Assassin had not filled a drum in 10 starts before being purchased late in his two-year-old year where he ran second and picked up a win before being sold again to Australian interests. He would run 2nd in the Group 1 Redwood Classic at his second start. This could bode well for the new owners of Muscle Power. The motor is there, the manners are developing, and now it is a case of it all coming together. “With the practice and the going to the trials and workouts, he has learnt to step away. I took him to a couple of workouts at Methven against maiden trotters and he stepped away off the unruly and was in front. He also can come off the gate reasonably well. “He’s not up with the top half-dozen or so two-yearolds but will make a nice horse. With a couple months work, you could have him back at the races and being Sires Stakes eligible, you could possibly get him into the two-year-old race rescheduled for early next season,” he said. Lot 134 is T K Nihilator who is a son of Bacardi Lindy out of the unraced Monkey Bones mare Eyesagrey. Clark purchased this horse as a yearling from the All Age Sale at Karaka last year. Lot 134 is T K Nihilator (Bacardi Lindy - Eyesagrey) “He was probably nine months behind my young ones which is why he hasn’t raced as a two-year-old. He is a nice horse and is very willing, but he is trying to go faster than he is capable of at this stage. “I’m sort of just holding on to him and getting him to learn how to trot the bends at this stage,” said Clark. The first of the yearlings on offer is a blue-blooded filly that was bred by the Clark’s after being given the mother in the twilight of her broodmare career. “I used to have Paris Metro here and wean the foals and then they get sent off. Some of them I broke in the past including Commander Paris and Musculature Metro. “They have a Father Patrick up with Michelle Wallis who I believed was the best foal she had left. He just looked like a real athlete which you would expect given how the sire has shown up. I was given the mare after we weaned him,” said Clark. Clark bred the mare to Wishing Stone and three weeks after the resulting filly was born, Massive Metro emulated his mother by winning the National Trot on New Year’s Eve. I think you call that serendipity? Lot 128 Metro Swish (Wishing Stone - Paris Metro) “She is a really delightful filly with a fantastic gait, if you have a look at the videos at all she sort of flies around the bends and she will definitely make a two-year-old.” “If she had been a bit bigger at yearling sales time she might have got a good price there, but she has grown over the last four or five months where she is a real nice sized yearling now. I have a good reserve on her, and it won’t bother me if I get her back,” he said. Another filly in the Clark draft with a pedigree is Sweet Lady Jane. The daughter of Peak is out of a two-win Majestic Son mare whose her third dam was the 1994 Three-Year-Old Trotter of the Year, Inda Bank. LOT 129 Sweet Lady Jane (Peak - Lady J) “She is a nice-bodied filly who is like a pet, she will be up over your shoulder and is great in the cart and wants to be there. Anyone could drive her, but she is a filly I think that needs six months in the cart to get her trotting right. Some horses have a sort of natural instant speed as a youngster. She does not quite have that yet and while she may not race as a two-year-old, she will make a nice three-year-old in my opinion,” he said. The last of his yearlings is a son of Pegasus Spur out of a lightly-raced half-sister to former Open Class trotter, Musgrove. Lot 130 Take Flight (Pegasus Spur - Miss Continental) “Take Flight is another one I bought up at the Mixed Sale in Auckland last year. He is a nice boy who is sort of just average size however and needs to grow a bit more. He is nicely gaited and a very willing wee horse. He does not give me the impression he is going to make a two-year-old. He’s going to take a wee bit longer to get a bit of size about him and develop into it.” You have to love the refreshing honesty of Clark and he is looking forward to seeing how the sale progresses. “This online sale has had the greatest exposure of any online sale I have ever come across. The number of people hitting the site has been enormous, particularly for the Wishing Stone filly. “There is an awareness out there in the industry that has never been generated for any previous online sale, and because of that the prices may be better than we think, particularly for the better bred horses,” he said.   By Brad Reid | NZ Standardbred Breeders Association

Och Aye The Noo, who overcame a check to finish third last week, could be compensated with a win at Forbury Park tonight (Thursday). She is an even more appealing prospect in race seven as a seven-win trotter against horses who have won one or two races. Her trainer Martin Denton has made two gear changes. “Her driver (Rory McIlwrick) will carry a whip and she will have removable deafeners, replacing the fixed ones,’’ said Denton. “The changes might just improve her a length.” He felt that Och Aye The Noo should have won last week, rather than making a late bid for third after a check at the 950m that sent her off-stride. Despicable Me (race four) is a newcomer to the Denton stable at Momona after being leased by 91-year-old Colin Taylor, of Mosgiel. The four-year-old ran seventh last week from the Jamie Gameson stable. Denton is planning to start Clifton Tactic in a heat of the South Of The Waitaki series at Addington next week. “She (Clifton Tactic) wasn’t right at her last start (fourth at Forbury Park on June 1) and she had 10 days off,’’ said Denton. Clifton Tactic has not finished further back than fourth in nine starts this season, with wins at Forbury Park and Invercargill. The two-year-old trotter Imperial Whiz is a rival for Och Aye The Noo tonight and on the road to Christchurch the next day for an assignment at Addington. Imperial Whiz cleared maiden ranks at Forbury Park last week, at his 24th start for Washdyke owner-trainer Alan Clark. He will only have to make an appearance on the track at Addington, to be awarded the heat of the Australasian Breeders Crown as the only entry. Clark won a heat of the Breeders Crown for two-year-old trotters with the filly Constar at Addington in 2006. She won by 28 lengths from Feather’s First and Paradise Earl. Constar ran fifth in the $150,000 BC final at Ballarat that year. She won six of her 13 starts at two. Another Clark-trainer trotter The Fiery Ginga won seven including the NZ Trotting Stakes from 18 starts at that age. The Fiery Ginga won an Inter-Dominion heat at Ballarat in 2012 as a five-year-old. “Constar was not at her best in Australia due to travel sickness. It affected her lungs and she bled as a three-year-old and I retired her,” said Clark. “I am not sure if I will take Imperial Whiz to Australia. He might be sold. He went through a bad patch with a blood disorder and I feel he is back to his best.” Castletonian was another trotter taken to Australia by Clark and he ran fourth in a heat of the 2009 Victoria Trotting Derby. Tayler Strong

Westwood trainer Graeme Anderson reached a personal best training tally of 33, for this season in a solo capacity, with the wins of Azalea and Sweet As at Forbury Park on Thursday night. He is the top strike rate trainer in New Zealand with a UDR of .4747. His small team has raced 99 times this season. Azalea and Sweet As are among 16 individual winners during the season for Anderson, spearheaded by Eamon Maguire, who won seven races and $81,455. Anderson won 35 races with Amber Hoffman as a partnership in the 2010/11 season. His previous best on his own was 31 last season. Azalea was having her fourth start for the stable after being purchased six weeks ago by the Sue Ping, Bratk and High Hopes Racing syndicates. The four-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight and In Bloom had twice minor placed in four starts for trainer Jamie Gameson. In Bloom is the dam of winners Noddy, Blue Mint and Brindy, her three other foals to race. In Bloom is a daughter of In The Pocket and the great mare Blossom Lady, the dam of Mister D G. Sweet As joined Anderson after finishing fourth in a claiming race at Forbury Park a week earlier. She won two for Templeton trainer Peter Robertson and two for Southland trainer Alan Paisley. “She (Sweet As) just loves the place,” said Anderson referring to his beach training facility. Hoffman produced To Ri Alby to win in his first race for 13 months. “He has had three surgeries on his near front leg after he tore a tendon," said Hoffman, who trains on the beach at Waikouaiti. The surgery was carried out by veterinarian Peter Gillespie, a member of the In The Black syndicate, who lease To Ri Alby. Gerald Cayford, president of the Forbury Park club; Tony Gow, a committee member, track manager Ken McFarlane and Michelle Scarf are also in the syndicate. To Ri Alby, now a six-year-old, had two third placings in three starts before he went amiss. He is by Badlands Hanover from Carmel Maria, whose four progeny to race have been winners. They include Second Wind (10 wins) and Precious Mach (nine). Alan Clark, the Washdyke trainer-driver broke a drought when the two-year-old trotter Imperial Whiz was successful at his 24th start. Clark had not won a race since The Fiery Ginga was successful at Addington in October, 2014. Clark and his wife, Fiona bred Imperial Whiz, a half-brother by Imperial Count to Anothersuperstar (seven wins). Rocknroll Magic returned to Mosgiel with his owners Syd and Shona Brown after an eight and a half length win. The half-brother by Rocknroll Hanover to Len Smith Mile winner Field Marshal, will now be spelled. Trained by Tim Butt, Rocknroll Magic has won three of his nine starts. “Field Marshal has travelled well and settled at the Gold Coast stable of Shannon Price," said Syd Brown. His next start in the $50,000 Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park on July 8. Pat Campbell led through the $10,000 Final of the Sprint Series (1200m) in the hands of Jessica Young. Jackalack Sue won the final of the claiming series with the favourite Elusive Flight out of contention after breaking a hopple early in the race. Paul’s Verdict, trained 800km away at Blenheim by Sandra Mounce, led for most of the way to post his fifth win. “We came down for the Marlborough meeting at Addington on Sunday and decided to continue to Dunedin," said Sandra’s husband, John, the owner who accompanied Paul’s Verdict. The Mounces operate the One Tree Lodge motel and sponsored a race at the Marlborough meeting. Blazing Under Fire was back to his best with a dashing win. His trainer Phil Williamson has won 42 races for trotters this season. Springbank Eden has been sold out of the stable and he will do his immediate racing at Menangle. He won 10 races for owners Alistair and Denise Smith. Tayler Strong

The dropback provisions in the handicapping system in New Zealand are designed to prolong a horses race career and help them to remain competitive and the win by The Fiery Ginga on Friday night at Addington is proof that the system does work. Reassessed from a C7 to a C6 after Ashburton last Monday meant that The Fiery Ginga was only off 30 metres on Friday night and not 40 metres as he would have been previously and that made a big difference to the end result. Away well from the stand, The Fiery Ginga settled fifth early as first Barry and then Living The Dream set a strong tempo up front. Trainer/driver Alan Clark worked The Fiery Ginga forward the whole of the first lap and he eventually made the lead with a lap to go. From there Alan applied the pressure and it was clear off the back straight that The Fiery Ginga had them in trouble. So it proved with the veteran outstaying the 40 metre backmarker Dr Hook and Living The Dream to record his 28th win at start 132 The son of CR Commando has run 25 seconds and 17 thirds as well and Friday nights win took his stakes earnings to $410,160. The Fiery Ginga trotted the 2600 metres from a stand in 3:17.6, a mile rate of 2:02.2 with closing sectionals of 59.4 and 29.8. Part owner Fiona Clark was not surprised by the return to form for the old warrior. "The ten metres relief was helpful without a doubt but we have also been having an issue with his blood which hasn't been right for a couple of weeks. "That run would suggest he is over that problem " she said. Fiona was also pleased to see The Fiery Ginga in front. "Since his accident he doesn't like being in the field and so being in front on Friday night was a help as well. "Considering the vets reckoned he wouldn't race again we were rapt to win on Friday night." "We are heading to Cup week with a bit of confidence" she said Whatever Cup week brings it was really good on Friday night to see such a warrior back in the winners circle. Harnesslink Media  

The Rangiora Harness Racing Club are holding their spring meeting at Addington on Thursday night and while there is a small card of only eight races, some talented horses are involved. The smallest field of the night is the C7-OC handicap trot which has only drawn a field of five starters but all five are quality  racehorses.  The Paul Nairn trained Lotalov is having her first start for the season and has gone well in that state in the past. Throw in the fact she is good from a stand and her Addington record is 4 wins and 4 placings from 11 starts and she is not out of it at all. The Fiery Ginga is third up for the year and trainer Allan Clark is expecting a big run. "I was a bit disappointed the other night at Addington with how he drove so I changed a couple of things and his work since has been super. He gets a start from his main competition so I going to try to take advantage of that" he said. The winner of 27 races to date has a great standing start record (17 wins) and course record (10 wins) so looms as a live chance. The third of the runners off the front is the Bevan Heron trained Uncas who always seems to go good at this time of the year. All of his eight wins have been from a stand and his first up win recently was full of merit. Big show with a run  to suit. The first of the runners off ten meters is the Geoff Dunn trained King Of Starthfield who is in great nick at the moment. All of his three runs this time in have been first class and the small field will suit him down to the ground. He has won 21 races but only 2 of those at Addington so track record is a small concern. The second horse on ten meters and last of the five runners is the champion trotter Stent who was last season's Australasian Trotting Masters Champion. All his course and distance stats are outstanding and he looks hard to hold out even if  he is only 90% ready.   Trained by Colin Defilippi, Stent won fresh up last season and is on course to do the same this year. A small field but one of real class. Stent for us on class alone with the main dangers being King Of Strathfield and Uncas with The Fiery Ginga and Lotalov fighting out fourth place. Harnesslink Media

The trotting side of harness racing has been one part of the industry that seems to have been holding its own in recent years. More and more North American and European sires are now available to Australasian breeders and one that is making a big impact is the son of S J's Photo in Bacardi Lindy. Imported by Ross Simpson, Bacardi Lindy has spent time in both Australia and New Zealand and these days is resident at Morley Park in Victoria. A son of S J's Photo from the brilliant Valley Victory mare Rum Boogie 1:55 ($900,908), Bacardi Lindy made $115,000 when sold at Tattersalls as a yearling and recouped that and more on the track winning $207,546 and taking a mark of 1:52.8 Bacardi Lindy made a slow start with his first crop but his stock have just kept improving and several starting showing up in the age group classics. Claudy's Princess ($198,746) was a star 3 year old last season while The Boss Man ($95,132) was another of his better performers in the 4 year old ranks as  Bacardi Lindy established himself as the the best of the Australian based trotting sires. His profile in New Zealand has been pretty low key to this point but that may be about to change with the emergence of the smart 2 year old Cocktail Waiter. Even though the season is only six weeks old in New Zealand, Cocktail Waiter has already qualified and in great fashion for a trotter this early in the season. He won his qualifying trial at Oamaru over 2000 meters from the mobile in 2:41.4, a mile rate of 2:09.8 with a closing 800 meters of 60.3 Cocktail Waiter is the second foal from the Sundon mare Gina and is owned and trained by Alan Clark of the The Fiery Ginga fame. Allan Clark was suitably impressed by the run. "He is such a lovely horse to do anything with. He is a beautifully gaited individual and has a touch of class that the good horses have and really finds when you ask him. I am pretty confident Cocktail Waiter will be a major player in all the good 2 year old trotting races later in the season", he said. Alan borrowed Gina to breed Cocktail Waiter after the mares first foal Clifden Clowers ($33,653) had been a handy winner and he remembered a full sister to Gina in The Great Pretender had raced in the Jewels as a 2 year old. As smart as Cocktail Waiter looks to be, Alan had high hopes for a filly by Bacardi Lindy until her sudden death. "I thought she was a touch better than Cocktail Waiter to be honest but I found her dead in her paddock one morning which was a real shame. The Bacardi Lindy's have really impressed me to date and I will be sending a couple of mares this season for sure,"he said. The way his stock are starting to fire on both sides of the Tasman, Bacardi Lindy could be in for a very busy stud season. Harnesslink Media

Just a little over five months ago, harness racing trainer  Alan Clark thought the racing career of his star trotter The Fiery Ginga had come to a premature end. A vet examination in Melbourne had revealed that Clark's pride and joy had badly fractured a sesamoid bone. Alan Clark reflected this week on how bad the fracture The Fiery Ginga sustained was. "The vet told me that the fracture was that bad that he hadn't been able to screw all the bone back together and that the best I could hope for was that it would mend naturally." "He was adamant that it was very unlikely that The Fiery Ginga would ever race again."  After returning to his home in Timaru, Alan boxed The Fiery Ginga for a month and then let him out into a small paddock for the next two months with the affected leg bandaged. "He started galloping around  at home like a yearling so I got him checked out and received the all clear to put him back into work" The Fiery Ginga has been in work for twelve weeks now and has shown no signs of any residual effects from his injury. He has now reached the point where Alan was about to go to the trials with him but with the Timaru race meeting being right on his back door step, Alan decided to accept with The Fiery Ginga for the C2 front Equine Veterinary Services Trot over 2600 meters at Timaru on Sunday. As you would expect for a trotter that has won 27 races and $401,174, The Fiery Ginga has been handicapped off 50 meters in a field full of seasoned and smart trotters such as Spell, Donaldson and Idle Conn. But Alan Clark is confident of a big run on The Fiery Ginga's return to the track. "His work has been first class and his heart rate and recovery are right where they should be." "They will know he's there, that's for sure." Safely through Sunday's run, The Fiery Ginga will be set for the Flying Mile at Ashburton on Labour weekend and then on to the trotters free for all on New Zealand Cup day. Alan Clarke is confident The Fiery Ginga is back to his best and is looking forward to Ashburton especially. "He loves Ashburton and has been placed in the flying mile there the last two years so I will be heading there with a fair degree of confidence." It says a lot for the determination of The Fiery Ginga and his trainer Alan Clark that five months after being told he would never race again, the duo are set for another successful season on the track. Harnesslink Media

Top trotter The Fiery Ginga, who forged himself into the hearts of New Zealand racing fans with his toughness and pure grit, is unlikely to race again after fracturing a sesamoid. The now seven-year-old son of CR Commando burst on to the racing scene as an early two-year-old and was quick to hit the headlines and show his toughness, finishing second two days in a row in March of 2009. In total, the trotter affectionately known as 'The Ginga' has raced on 121 occasions, for 27 wins, 24 seconds, 16 thirds, and stakes of $359,729. The Fiery Ginga', who was scratched from the $100,000 Grand Prix and Melton on Saturday, will now be boxed for a month at the Victoria property of Noel Shinn before returning to New Zealand, where he will then be boxed for a further two months. '' I will try him again in six months but any sign of a problem and he will be finished.'' Said his trainer Alan Clark The Fiery Ginga last raced in New Zealand on the 16th of February where he overcame a 50 metre handicap to easily beat a field of 11 at Invercargill. Karanga Red Fantasy remains unbeaten Karanga Red Fantasy has had three starts for three different drivers, but that hasn’t stopped her from greeting the judge on each and every occasion. After wins on the West Coast for drivers Gavin Smith and Todd Woodward, it was junior reinsman Craig Ferguson who got his turn today, steering the four-year-old Red River Hanover mare to success in a heat of the ‘Youth versus Experience’ Drivers Series at Waikouaiti. Starting from a 10 metre handicap, the mare made a good beginning and was quickly up vying for the lead, before a nifty bit of driving saw Craig Ferguson drop her into the trail. She then boomed up the inside in the home stretch to win nicely by 2 & ¾ lengths. Because the race was part of an Invited Drivers Series the win came penalty-free, meaning the Bob Forrester trained four-year-old will remain a C2. So, while the mare has had three different drivers so far in her short career, something tells me it won’t be long until someone cements themselves to the seat. Other impressive winners on the card included trotters Queen Kenny and Valmagne, who were both handled by Maurice McKendry, while two-year-old Springbank Eden, a $127,500 purchase at last year’s Yearling Sales, was also a winner. By Mitchell Robertson

Defending champion Keystone Del is among the list of horses being considered for the Australian team for the Glenferrie Farm Trotters Challenge at Tabcorp Park Menangle on March 2. With five Australian trotters and as many from New Zealand to be invited to contest the $200,000 Group One, the Nicole Molander-trained gelding is one of nine that could possibly line-up for what already looks to be a strong Australian team. Others dominate in the minds of selectors include the David Aiken-trained duo My High Expectations and Cold Sister as well as star squaregaiter Blitzthemcalder. Kyvalley Blur who is trained by master trotting conditioner Chris Lang senior, former pacer Mister Zion as well as Elegant Image, Aleppo Midas and Stoned I Am are considerations also. While the Australian team will be finalised in the coming weeks following the results of races, the New Zealand representatives have been selected. The New Zealand team being selected early to allow for travel are Dullard Cup winner Habibti, Danish Derby winner Peak, Anzac Cup victor Stent, Hellers Dominion winner Master Lavros and recent National Trot winner Irish Whisper. Three reserves have been added to the team being Vulcan, The Fiery Ginga and Sovereignty who could be called upon if neccessary. Team New Zealand: Master Lavros (trainer Mark Jones) Stent (trainer Colin De Filippi) Peak (trainer Tim Butt) Irish Whisper (trainer Tony Herlihy) Habibti (trainer David Butt) Reserves Vulcan (trainer Tim Butt) The Fiery Ginga (trainer Alan Clark) Sovereignty (Trainer Sean McCaffrey) Team Australia*: My High Expectations (trainer David Aiken) Kyvalley Blur (trainer Chris Lang) Mister Zion (trainer Geoff Webster) Keystone Del (trainer Nicole Molander) Elegant Image (trainer Andy Gath) Blitzthemcalder (trainer Dean Braun) Aleppo Midas (trainer Michael Eastman) Cold Sister (trainer David Aiken) Stoned I Am (trainer Bill Walker) *Five to be selected and one reserve

Alan Clark has Group One glory on his mind and the way The Fiery Ginga has returned to racing this season that goal could become a reality in New Zealand and Australia in 2013-2014. “He’s never really won a big Group race, but that is the ambition this season. He’s gone close placing five times in big races last season, but I’m hoping this will be his year because in 2012-2013 he was only running at 95 per cent. “He raced with a couple of abscesses on his feet last year, but this time he’s 100 per cent. The way he’s going there’s no reason why he still couldn’t be racing at 14,” Clark said of his 7-year-old CR Commando gelding. The Fiery Ginga notched up his 25th victory in 92 starts ($352,827) when winning Friday’s (August 23) $12,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Handicap for three-plus win trotters. It was a gutsy performance after starting from the back mark of 30 metres. Clark settled near the tail of the field before sending ‘The Ginga’ around to dispute the pace at the 1000m. In the straight he surged past the pace-making Whata Gamble, but still had to contend with race favourite Sovereignty who followed The Fiery Ginga in the three-wide train. In what was a gutsy sprint up the lane, The Fiery Ginga kept on giving to win the 2600m stand by three-quarters of a length and a head in 3:17.1. Uncas (Brett Thomas) and Sovereignty (Robbie Holmes) were third. Mile rate: 2:01.9. Last 800m: 61.3. Last 400m: 30.7. Clark saw similarities between his stable star and the Otago rugby team, who on Friday lifted the Ranfurly Shield for the first time in more than half a century of trying. “They’ve both got close to winning the big one but have just come up short every time. We got close a couple of times last season but the good ones in front of us had just a little but more speed and stamina to keep us out. “The way he’s going this year I’m hoping all that might change. He’s a lot stronger this time in. He’s getting back to where he should be. I think he will be in for a good season,” Clark said. The Mosgiel horseman said The Fiery Ginga’s second behind Dr Hook in last year’s Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile at Ashburton as his highlight in 2012-2013. “He went 1:56.3 that day and I think on a track like Menangle he could go 1:54,” Clark said. Last year he raced 23 times for seven wins and nine placings. He banked $83, 608. This season The Fiery Ginga is one from one. He will follow a similar racing schedule to what he pursued last season. Clark said he would probably line him up at Addington again, then Ashburton before tackling the big guns in the Group One Dominion at Addington in November. Then he will head north for racing at Alexandra Park and Cambridge Raceway in December and January before tackling the big trot races in Australia and both Tabcorp Park Menangle and Melton’s Tabcorp Park. The Fiery Ginga is the third foal of nine out of the one-win Pine Chip – Genna Hest mare Anreca Hest. He is owned by Clark, Mrs F. E. Clark and his breeder Steve Thompson. It was Thompson’s daughter who came up with the name ‘Ginga’. Clark said he had five horses in work including Speedy Success and his Sundon pacer The Ginga Ninja – both who were nominated for Sunday’s Gore meeting. The 59-year-old said he also had a lot of time for his “nice” 2-year-old, Sun Star, who had been trialling well. Clark wins with outsider…..The Alan Clark trained and driven Speedy Success paid $32.10 when winning the opening event at Gore on Sunday (August 25). The Great Success gelding bolted in by 5-1/4 lengths. It was the 4-year-old’s first win in 31 starts. By Duane Ranger Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand

If a horse’s name ever paralleled their racetrack traits then it would be a match made in heaven for The Fiery Ginga. A noted quick beginner, the bay made his trek over from New Zealand to challenge Australasia’s best trotters in the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star series.

Waikato harness racing trainer Sean McCaffrey could be excused for sneaking away from his stable star Sovereignty for a few minutes in the build-up to their A$125,000 challenge at Melton tonight. Because somewhere on the Victorian track, McCaffrey will be hoping to find a television showing what he hopes will be the first leg of a trans-tasman double coming in from Alexandra Park.

It looks a case of now or never for harness racing trainer/driver Alan Clark and his pride and joy The Fiery Ginga. If the Mosgiel pair are ever going to land a major race, Sunday's $200,000 Glenferrie Farms Classic (Trans-Tasman Challenge) could be it.

Just when you think you've seen all of Mark Purdon's two-year-old artillery he reaches into the cabinet and gets out some more. That's what you had to be left thinking, after the Purdon clan dominated the 2yo harness racing trials at Addington yesterday (Monday February 25).

Harness racing junior driver Bronson Munro had a memorable day today at Invercargill (Sunday February 17) combining with step-father Neil for their first win together.

Just when Australia appeared set to concede the Seelite Windows & Doors Inter Dominion Trotting Championship to the Kiwis, I Didn't Do It put his hand up as the horse to repel the harness racing invasion.

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