Search Results
1 to 16 of 590
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

The rich QBRED Breeders Classic Finals were staged at Albion Park last night (Friday) and provided great harness racing. The Gr.2 three-year-old finals were worth $50,000 each while the Listed four-year-old finals were worth $25,000 each. The night coincided with the culmination of the Racing Queensland Girls On Track race series. In the 3yo Fillies final, the Phil Mitchell prepared Cullens Jewel made full use of her front-line draw and led throughout to score a convincing victory defeating Mathilda Diventa and Feel The Faith. Race favourite Bettorthanspecial finished fourth. Cullen Jewel rated 1;58.5 for the 2138m journey while covering her final half in 57.5 seconds. Mark Dux took the winning drive on the American Ideal – Cullens Cameo filly. It was her biggest victory to date and her fourth overall. Smart pacer Admiral Bronski took honours in the 3yo Colts and Geldings final after a brilliant tactical drive from leading reinsman Shane Graham. After starting from a second-line draw, the Art Major – Bronski Gorgeous colt whipped around the field at the 1200m mark and took the lead away from race favourite A Good Chance before handing back over at the 800m marker. Admiral Bronski finished quickly via the sprintlane and held off the fast finishing burst of Jack Malone with Uncle John filling third. Race favourite A Good Chance finished fourth. Admiral Bronski rated 1;58.0 for the 2138m journey with the final half covered in 58.9 seconds. Trained by Mick Grant, Admiral Bronski is now the winner of 7 races from 23 starts. In the 4yo divisions, the favourites proved too classy for their rivals. Flashy chestnut Mafuta Vautin, trained and driven by Darrel Graham, led throughout in the Entires and Geldings final defeating Mister Higgins and The Duke Downunder. Bred and raced by Linda Graham, the Rollon Bigred – Ashleysplace gelding has now won 9 of his 13 career starts. Mafuta Vautin rated 1;57.9 for the 2138m journey while finishing off in 58 seconds. In the 4yo Mares final, Charming Allie worked her way to the front and defied running down in the home straight defeating Beef City Safari and Morethanmeetstheye. Bred and raced by Kevin and Kay Seymour, the Grant Dixon trained and driven mare claimed her 17th career victory from 27 starts. The Mr Feelgood – Charm Personified mare rated 1;59.0 for the 2138m journey while running her last half in 57.1 seconds. Congratulations to all winners and their respective connections. Racing Queensland

New Norfolk harness racing trainer Roger Whitmore has his eyes on the $30,000 Raider Stakes with his talented four-year-old Resurgent Spirit following the gelding's impressive win at Tattersall's Park Hobart last Sunday night. Resurgent Spirit resumed from a lengthy spell with a game win on his home track on Australia Day and followed up with a second at Devonport in a race that was expected to be a stroll in the park for the former Tasmanian two-year-old of the year. The loss encouraged speculation that all might not be as it should be with the gelding but this latest effort dispelled any suggestion that the gelding had lost his sparkle. With his regular driver James Austin aboard, Resurgent Spirit showed his customary early speed to easily hold the front from barrier two. He was taken on about 600m from home and at one stage it looked as if he might again succumb to the pressure. But when Austin asked him to find, the gelded son of American Ideal forged clear and went on to defeat Black Centurian by 2.3 metres with Punt Road Disco a similar margin away third in the C5-C6 event over 2090 metres. Austin was delighted with the win. "That was an awesome win because he felt good throughout the race and he never got onto his knee once in the run," Austin said. "He pretty much toyed with them tonight," he said. The Raider Stakes will be run at Devonport on April 26 with heats to be held at the same track on April 13. Peter Staples

The harness racing debutante Idealindiamonds was well supported when he lined up for his first start at the invited drivers meeting on the grass at Waikouaiti today. The three year old son of American Ideal had been impressive at trials and workouts around Canterbury for trainers David and Catherine Butt. A second to subsequent winner Boundary Row at the Rangiora workouts was followed by a trial win last Monday at Addington over Just Ben who won at Oamaru on Sunday which suggested that Idealindiamonds  was always going to be a major player today. Driver Bob Butt got him away well from barrier four and grabbed an early lead before handing up to the well supported Edge Of Reason and Sam Ottley. Edge Of Reason took Idealindiamonds all the way to the passing lane and once angled into the lane by Bob, Idealindiamonds shot clear for a very impressive debut victory. Another well supported debutante Real Raider ran on well for second just in front of the pace making Edge Of Reason. Idealindiamonds paced the 1900 metres from a stand in 2:36 with the last 800 metres in 61.8 and the 400 metres in a sharp 27.5 A $32,500 purchase at the 2013 New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch, Idealindiamonds is bred to be well above average. He is from Imprint 1:58.4 ($22,622) who has already produced Opulent 1:54.9 ($219,906) and Imprint is a daughter of the former smart three year old filly Impish 1:54.9 ($45,032). Bob Butt thought he would go close on debut. " He is such a wee professional." " He is such a lovely pacer and has the manners as well so I thought he would be hard to beat." " It was his first time on the grass but he is so well gaited I didn't think it would worry him," Bob said One of things that made the win more memorable for Bob Butt was it continued a long standing trend between the owners and the Butt family. " I am the fourth generation of the Butt family to have driven a winner for these owners so that makes it pretty special," Bob said. Idealindiamonds will continue to race in grade racing around Canterbury and judging by today's win he won't have any trouble handling the rise in grade. Harnesslink Media   

The long awaited return of one of last season's harness racing glamour girls in Ideal Belle took place at Alexandra Park on Friday night and as expected the daughter of American Ideal was a comfortable winner. The New Zealand Oaks winner from last season has always looked a filly that would get better with time and the now four year old looked a mare going places in a hurry. It was Ideal Belle's first standing start but Zac Butcher got her away quickly and she settled into the trail behind the free going First Home. With no mid race challengers Zac was able to wait until the straight to ease Ideal Belle into the passing lane where she dashed past First Home in the last 100 metres for a comfortable first up win. Ideal Belle paced the 2700 metres from a stand in 3:27.9, a mile rate of 2:03.9 with smart closing sectionals of 56.1 and 27. Zac Butcher was confident a long way out that she would win. "She handled the standing start really well" " She feels like a mare who will develop into a really quick beginner before too long." " To be fair she is only about 80% tonight but I knew if I got the right run she would be way too good for them and that's how it turned out." " I just let her get to the line under her steam," Zac said. After her stellar three year old campaign, Ideal Belle suffered bad cuts to her hind legs when she got them caught over a fence which has delayed her four year old debut. The main aim for the season now is for her to qualify for the Harness Jewels at Ashburton on May 30th. Zac always thought that Ideal Belle would come back better at four. " She has always had a lot of potential and was always going to get better with time." " I think she should eventually end up in the big Cup races, Zac said. With the retirement of both Adore Me and Helena Jet in the last few weeks, the time is right for Ideal Belle to stake her claim to the top spot amongst New Zealand mares. Harnesslink Media  

LEBANON, OH. – Add Betterluvnexttime to the growing list of talented mares who have won Miami Valley Raceway’s featured distaff open during the first ten weeks of the 2015 meet.  The seven-year-old American Ideal mare, driven by leading driver Josh Sutton, copped the $16,500 event on Friday night (March 13) by topping Carlina Hanover (Tyler Smith) and Artie’s Last Party (Jeff Nisonger) in 1:53.2 over a rain-soaked sloppy strip.  Recent winners Rev Me Up, Shine N Shimmer and Igottafeelinfran mixed it up early with the former tripping the first quarter beam in :26.4.  By the :56.2 halfway station Igottafeelinfran was lapped on the pacesetter’s wheel with Shine N Shimmer riding tight in the pocket.  The mares that eventually completed the winning trifecta sat second, third and fourth over in the outer flow throughout the second half of the mile which included a 1:24.1 third quarter clocking. Daniel Mitchell owns Betterluvnexttime, who won for the 40th time in her 99th career start, boosting her lifetime bounty to $481,125.  Virgil Morgan Jr. conditions the winner, who became the eighth different winner to capture a Fillies and Mares Open thus far this year at Miami Valley.   

The cheers from the Harness racing fraternity in Southwestern Ontario will be loud and long this Saturday when Madefromlucky heads postward in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.   The talented three-year-old thoroughbred colt trained by noted conditioner, Todd Pletcher for Erin, Ontario horseman, Mac Nichol, and Everett Dobson, one of the owners of the Oklahoma Thunder of the NBA, will be trying for his third consecutive victory in the 1- 1/16 mile test, which is a stepping stone on the road to the famed Kentucky Derby on May 2nd. So, why all of the cheers from the harness community for this handsome bay thoroughbred speedster? Well, Madefromlucky, is a member, and the only thoroughbred member of 'the Stable That God Loves', and, one per cent of his purse earnings in 2015 will go to Chaplain Ken Carter's homeless Standardbred Chaplaincy of Canada that is dedicated to providing for the emotional, physical, spiritual and human needs of the horse racing work force in southwestern Ontario. To date a total of 26 horses are committed to this innovative program, which is designed to raise much needed operating funds for the tireless work of the Chaplaincy, and also to put a good face on horse racing. The program hit mainstream media last week (March 5th) with an excellent two-page spread in the Toronto Sun, penned by Steve Buffery. Mac Nichol is the first owner from the "thoroughbred" community to support the Stable That God Loves, which so far includes many prominent standardbred owners, including John Fielding, John Craig, Harry Rutherford, Mark Hyatt, Dustin Jones, Norm Clements, Dr. Roly Armitage, Doug Millard and Tom Rankin, to name a few" " I figured I'll mix it up a bit on this thoroughbred and maybe it will open some more doors for support (for the chaplaincy)" said Mac. Mac Nichol is the owner of Ideal Training Centre, a 50-acre showplace with accommodation for 123 horses and excellent 5/8 mile training track in Erin. He has won plenty of major races in harness racing, either as a majority owner or partner, including the Little Brown Jug and the North America Cup in 2007 with Tell All, the 2011 Breeders Crown three-year-old filly Pace with Monkey On My Wheel and the Confederation Cup with American Ideal, among others. He has an interest in about 25 standardbreds and his trainers include Casie Coleman, Colin Johnson, Jeff Gillis and Tony Alagna. Madefromlucky was a $150,000 purchase as a two-year-old in training last year. His sire, Lookin At Lucky, won the 2010 edition of the Rebel. Madefromlucky will face six formidable opponents in this 55th running of the Rebel. He will break from post 2 with jockey John Velasquez aboard. Post time for the Rebel Stakes is 6:06 pm Central time. G O  -  M A D E F R O M L U C K Y For additional information: Bill Galvin billgalvin2000@yahoo.ca . . 647-280-7640  

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - Yonkers Raceway's 2015 stakes season continued Tuesday afternoon, with the opening round of the annual tribute to Teddy Roosevelt, aka the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series. The series, for 3- and 4-year-old males who are/were non-winners of four races and/or $40,000 through last Dec. 1, offered five, $12,500 events, with odds-on form holding in every race. The well-bet winners were... --Fort Knox,4 (by American Ideal); owner Little Bapa LLC/trainer Jennifer Sabot/driver George Brennan; 1:52.3/$3.70; --Roger Mach 'Em,g,4 (by American Ideal); owner Little Bapa LLC/trainer Sabot/driver Brian Sears; 1:54.4/$3.20; --JK Patriot,g,4 (by Bettor's Delight); co-owners Matthew Bencic,Sam Schillaci/trainer Linda Toscano/driver Tim Tetrick; 1:55.2/$2.60; --Major Uptrend,g,4 (by Somebeachsomewhere); owner Howard Taylor/trainer Ron Burke/driver Brennan; 1:53/$2.90; --Vance Bayama,4 (by Four Starzzz Shark); co-owners Michel Allard,Gerrie Tucker,Majs NY Inc,Kapildeo Singh/trainer Rene Allard/driver Dan Dube; 1:54.3/$3.30. After the Sagamore Hill events, the baton was passed to the "French" trots, with five oversized, added-distance races completing the card. Brennan swept the final two of those races, completing a four-win afternoon. Total handle for the dozen-race card was a season-high $1,014,980 (North American number only, overseas export figures not included). Note that since no one took down Tuesday's Pick 5, Thursday's gimmick offers a carryover of $3,178.11 (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). The Raceway's live season continues Thursday through Saturday (first post 7:10 PM), then an Ides of March "French" Sunday matinee (first post 1:10 PM). It's the final Sunday live program until early November. Frank Drucker

Leading Victorian harness racing trainer Emma Stewart claimed consecutive New South Wales Derby victories thanks to Ideal For Real’s gutsy performance at Tabcorp Park Menangle just moments ago. Outstaying his rivals with master reinsman Gavin Lang in the sulky, Ideal For Real follows on from Major Secret’s success last season. Naturally thrilled with the performance, Stewart will give the son of American Ideal a short break before embarking on another feature race campaign. “To win this race two years in a row is a great thrill,” Stewart declared. “Major Secret went terrific last year and now Ideal For Real has put in a huge ran. “It was tight at the finish, but I knew he’d got there in time. “He will go home now for a short spell, then we will get him revved up again for some of the majors later in the season.” Matching strides with the leader, Hug The Wind, along the home straight, Ideal For Real grabbed the front in the last stride to score by a half-head, with Sporty Spook seven metres away third. In an amazing performance from both stables, Stewart and New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon has filled the quinella in the first three Group Ones of the day. Purdon captured the New South Wales Oaks with Fight For Glory and the Ladyship Mile with Adore Me, while Stewart finished second with Delight Me and Beauty Secret. “Yeah it is good to turn the tables on Mark and win one of the Group Ones,” Stewart said. PAUL COURTS

All week the harness racing pundits previewing the Great Northern Oaks had predicted that Classical Art from barrier one would lead and control the race with the favourite The Orange Agent unlikely to get the lead off her. No one obviously told Maurice McKendry on The Orange Agent because he did exactly what everyone said couldn't be done. Maurice worked her forward from barrier four and grabbed the lead from Classical Art inside the first 200 metres and that effectively was race over. Allowed to get away with a couple of easier mid race sections, Maurice applied the pressure from a fair way out and then blew them away with a last half in 55.1 and quarter in 27.4 to cruise home home by five lengths in a new New Zealand record of 3:18.8 for the 2700 metres mobile. When talking to Harnesslink during the week, Maurice said contrary to what a lot of people thought, The Orange Agent could really leave the gate and he thought he would go forward. The daughter of American Ideal has been a revelation this season with her win tonight her seventh from just nine starts with her only unplaced run coming in the Sires Stakes Final for fillies on New Years eve when pushed out four wide by Democrat Party with a lap to go. The inexperienced Start Dreaming provided a minor highlight of the race by running home well for second to give American Ideal the quinella with Supersonic Miss holding on for third after sitting parked for the last 1200 metres and Classical Art disappointing in running fourth after having the run of the race. Maurice was pretty philosophical about the win post race. " I got the lead pretty easily really and there was no real pressure so I was pretty confident during the running that she would be tough to beat." " When you run home in front in 55 it makes it pretty hard for those behind you." " She knocked off a bit the last 100 metres when she was out on her own but she won with a bit in hand". " I like winning those Group 1 races because the extra money keeps the bank manager happy," Maurice said with a bit of a chuckle. Maurice thought that The Orange Agent would now head south to Addington. " The plan at the moment is to head south now for the New Zealand Oaks and Nevele R Fillies Final in early May," Maurice said. With a combination of a filly as talented as The Orange Agent and a driver right at the top of his game like Maurice McKendry, then you need to look no further for the favourite for the remaining fillies classics this season. Harnesslink Media  

TORONTO, February 26 - A few weeks off didn't bother Nippy W Hanover as she was razor-sharp in winning the harness racing $41,200 Miss Vera Bars series final Thursday night at Woodbine. Originally set for two preliminary legs and a final, Mother Nature caused the second-leg of the Miss Vera Bars to be cancelled twice, forcing officials to scrap the second-leg and send the series directly to a final Thursday night. All nine three-year-old pacing fillies that competed in the first leg on February 5 returned for the final. Maplelea, the winner of leg one, took most of the support at the windows and was sent off as the 4/5 favourite. However, she would have to settle for second-best, as Nippy W Hanover got the job done in 1:57.1. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, Nippy W Hanover got away in second from her rail starting spot. Down the backstretch, Baillargeon opted to circle around to the lead and never looked back. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:28 with Maplelea first up at her wheel, Nippy W Hanover turned aside the favourite's challenge in the lane and paced home in :29.1 to win by 2 ½ lengths. Wake N Bake closed well to finish third, while Docs Hollywood took fourth. A daughter of American Ideal, Nippy W Hanover is trained by Blair Burgess for owners Karin Olsson Burgess and Mac Nichol. The sophomore pacing filly finished second in the first leg after winning her 2015 debut the week before. The series final victory improves Nippy W Hanover's career record to four wins from 12 starts and earnings exceeding $50,000. A $2 win ticket on Nippy W Hanover returned $6.90. Nippy W Hanover In order to be eligible to the Miss Vera Bars series, the three-year-old fillies had to be non-winners of three races or $40,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Mark McKelvie

Lloyd Arnold and Stan Bergstein, two legendary figures in harness racing, have races named in their honor this weekend at Cal Expo. The Lloyd Arnold Pace is set for Saturday night and the Stan Bergstein Trot is the feature on Sunday. Lloyd Arnold was an owner and track operator of the highest caliber. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 83. Originally the owner of Arnold Cattle Co. in Iowa, Mr. Arnold raced hundreds of horses in Illinois and across the Midwest throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. During that era, Mr. Arnold raced horses like Warm Breeze, who earned more than $250,000 in two seasons of racing in the mid-1970s, and Dancing David, who earned more than $200,000 in the 1960s. Warm Breeze took Mr. Arnold to racings pinnacle for the first time when he set the all-age world record at over this track, then known as Golden Bear Raceway. His top horses in later years included the pacing mare Sanabelle Island, who earned $1.6 million lifetime and won 57 of 110 starts. Also of note was Bagel Beach Boy, who won the 2001 Messenger and Matron stakes. In August 2003, Mr. Arnold bought Chevie Duramax, who then went on to set world records for 2-year-old pacing geldings on both mile and half-mile tracks. The fastest 3-year-old pacer in North America in 2004 belonged to Mr. Arnold as Quik Pulse Mindale won in 1:48 at Balmoral. In addition to being a prominent standardbred owner, Mr. Arnold operated this track during those Golden Bear Raceway years and also bought Los Alamitos in the late 1980s, eventually selling the track to his partner, Ed Allred. Mr. Arnold was inducted into the California Harness Hall of Fame in April of 2008. He also enjoyed personal honors in 2001 when he was feted by the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters at their annual awards dinner and received the Owner of the Year Award from the U.S. Harness Writers' Association. Chris Bardis said, Harness Racing was one of Lloyd's great passions. He accomplished so much for the sport not only in California, but nationwide. He was Mr. Harness Racing. He conducted race meetings at Cal Expo, Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Fields, Del Mar, Pomona, Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos. I know of no one else who has had a greater impact on the harness world. Sundays Stan Bergstein Trot is named for the legendary figure in harness racing who passed away in 2011 at the age of 87. Mr. Bergstein was a harness-racing titan who advocated for cooperation between the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries to solve the sports' common problems. He stepped down in 2011 after 50 years as the executive vice president of Harness Tracks of America, the Standardbred industry's trade association. He was immediately appointed as the organization's first executive emeritus, and continued to advise the association and write guest columns for the Daily Racing Form until the weeks before his death. The only person to ever be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and its Communicators Hall of Fame, Mr. Bergstein worked in a wide variety of roles at racetracks, auction houses, announcer's booths, and racing publications, and he maintained extensive collections of harness-racing books and artwork. He was widely respected not only in the harness industry, but also in the Thoroughbred industry, and he served as a mentor to generations of young racing professionals through a close association with the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, located in Tucson, for the past 40 years. Mr. Bergstein was a forceful proponent of forging closer ties between the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries, most notably in tackling medication abuse and problems with drug-testing. In dozens of commentaries, Bergstein maintained that the Standardbred industry's problems were, or would be those of the Thoroughbred industry, and that neglect of a problem in one sport would damage the other. Bergstein borrowed from the Thoroughbred industry early in his career, incorporating claiming races as a racing secretary while working at the Chicago tracks in the 1950's. At the time, the harness racing industry did not run claiming races, and they are now as commonplace in Standardbred racing as they are in Thoroughbred racing Bergstein also spearheaded the creation of Standardbred Investigative Services, a security agency modeled on the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau. A native of Illinois, Bergstein attended harness races as a young man and received a journalism degree from Northwestern University. He was the former executive editor of Hoof Beats magazine, and the former vice president of publicity and public relations for the United States Trotting Association. Cal Expo trackman/program director Marty Bridges credits Stan Bergstein with bringing him into harness racing as a profession. After college and two years in the Army, I was employed by the small business association. At night, after work, I was a regular patron at Sportsmans Park and Maywood in Chicago. My supervisor, a former sportswriter for the Chicago Daily News, knew of my interest and called Stan to set up a meeting. Surprisingly, I was to meet him at Du Quoin on Hambletonian Day. Watching Stan call the races from a slightly elevated booth on the infield adjacent to the finish line was thrilling and between races we talked about racing, horses, drivers and trainers. His knowledge of the sport was amazing and I had never met anyone like him, and still havent. He introduced me to John Tinsley, the program director for all the Chicago tracks and John hired me on the spot. Its been a great ride, doing something I love. Gene Vallandingham first met Stan Bergstein in 1959 when he was working for the legendary Joe OBrien. Stan came to Joes farm every spring for the annual Camptown racing weekend, when all of Shafter would be there for a day of racing. Stan was the true voice of harness racing, he was liked by all and I miss him. Chris Schick said, "Stan was foremost a kind and compassionate person. He was a true visionary in the harness racing industry. In 1979 well before simulcasting, he so rightly stated the future of the industry was in how well we brought the product to the public. He was also very vocal of the industry for being reluctant to embrace change. Our industry lost a giant when he passed. Arnold Pace, Sire Stakes, Jackpot 6 spotlighted The $10,000 Lloyd Arnold Free-for-all Pace, a pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes and a $48,130 carryover in the Jackpot 6 are among the main attractions Saturday night at Cal Expo. A 14-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The Jackpot 6 is one of four wagers on the program that feature a reduced 16% takeout rate. The others are the Hi-5, which like the Jackpot 6 is a 10-cent minimum bet; the 50-cent Pick 5; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $25,000-guaranteed pool. Looking at the Arnold Pace, China King is fresh from a 22-1 upset in last weeks Open when he hung a narrow decision on heavily-favored Pancetta in a 1:52 1/5 mile He drew the outside post in the field of seven. A 7-year-old American Ideal gelding who carries the banner of Gary and Jen Sabot with Gene Vallandingham training and Steve Wiseman in the sulky, he went-to-coast to capture the January 17 Open at 19-1, then came back last time to score from a tracking position at another nice price. Taking him are Pointsman, who gives the Vallandingham barn two looks at the outcome; Rusty Skipp and J C Onthebeach for conditioner Ray Burt; Alligator Falls from the Sal Wenceslao shedrow; the Junior Wilkinson-trained A Real Miracle; and Love Live Laugh for trainer Denise Maier. Uringoodhands and Hi Hos Little Rev have dominated the sophomore pacing colts Sire Stakes to this point and get another chance to settle the score on Saturday, while Placer gets top billing in the stakes gathering for the 4-year-old trotters. By Mark Ratzky, publicity Cal Expo Harness                            

Brian Hughes has a habit of winning the Group One Northern Oaks every decade…..and his 10-year anniversary just happens to be at the harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park this Friday night.   The man they call Bunty bred, owned and trained Iman to win the 1995 edition of the Group One classic for 3-year-old fillies, and then in 2005 Hughes owned and trained Tosti Girl to her neck victory over Cruzee Lass. They were the first and fourth favourites respectively. This Friday Hughes will line up one of the best fillies he has ever co-owned, co-bred or trained in the Pascoes The Jewellers sponsored 2700m mobile feature – and naturally The Orange Agent will again be a hot favourite.   “She’s a classy mare all right. She has come through her last win very well. She’s eaten up everything and is rearing to go. She hasn't had a workout or trial since that race but Dad (Bunty) has been putting the work into her.   “From the draw she is going to be tough to beat,” said Gareth Hughes, son of Bunty, and a man who does a lot with his father’s team.   The Orange Agent has drawn perfectly at four this week and compared to her six draw last time out in the second $20,000 Nevele R Fillies heat.   That night she looked like she would have to settle for the runner-up prize after second favourite Democrat Party got away from her on the home turn.   “She’s got a bad habit of drifting wide simply because she goes too fast for her own good around the final bend. Once she got balanced up last start she came again to win. That was a very good performance.   “We are confident she will fly around the final corner untroubled this time,” Hughes said.   The 3-year-old daughter of American Ideal and Lady Fingers has now won seven of her 12 starts and just over $105,000 in purses.   She is yet to nail a Group One victory but did win the $80,000 Caduceus Club Ladyship Stakes at Alexandra Park in December.   All seven of her wins have been at at northern headquarters, but she is yet to start over the 2700m.   “The distance won’t hurt her, especially from the draw. The Oaks has been one of Dad’s main targets with her for some time now. It’s a race that means a lot to him. He’s already won it twice,” Hughes junior said.   Another race that means a great deal to Hughes is the Great Northern Derby, which will be run on Friday week – Auckland Cup night.   The Hughes trained Hughie Green will line up one of the favourites in the sixth race on Friday – the $20,000 Derby Prelude.   With some of the best 3-year-olds missing this week a good performance will be required to make the final Derby field.   Follow The Stars, fresh from his placings in Australia, will be tough to beat but Hughes is confident Hughie Green will put in another bold showing.   “He did really well to beat Ohoka Punter last start and Dad says he’s progressed nicely since then. Both he and The Orange Agent have done everything he has asked of them.   "If I was going to single one out at this stage it would be ‘Agent’, simply because she has the better draw and the Derby Final isn’t for another nine days. Sure we will be trying to win it but the main goal is to make the final,” said Hughes.   In fact the Hughes team has five winning chances on Friday.   Gamma Lady won well here a month ago on debut and then was a nice workouts winner on Saturday. Hughes rated her right up there with The Orange Agent as one of his stable’s best winning chances in race four.   “She is flying at the moment for a young horse that has only had one run." "My Kiwi Mate can also win the last race, while Girls Are Better can also follow up her good trial form in ‘Gamma’s’ race,” said Hughes.   “She ran a nice second behind Gamma Lady in the same Workout at ‘The Park’ on Saturday,” he added. Duane Ranger - Courtesy of Steve Richardson (TAB)

Right from the very start of harness racing in Australasia, breeders have looked to North America for stallions and breeding stock to lift the local breed. The influence of those imported mare's has always been pronounced and continues to this day to produce some of our best  racehorses. Last season's outstanding two year old Follow The Stars 1:53.8 ($504,167) is a product of the imported daughter of Cam's Card Shark in Smyrna Duruisseau and this season has unearthed another potential star from an imported mare. The horse in question is Ideal for Real and his win in the heat of the New South Wales Derby on Saturday night was that of a horse headed to the top. A son of American Ideal, Ideal For Real is the first foal from the Real Desire mare Tamara Hall who was imported to Australia in 2010. Tamara Hall is a daughter of the talented No Nukes mare in Tabloid 1:53.3 ($321,604) who is a former Canadian two year old of the year Tamara Hall was purchased as a yearling but injured a tendon and never raced Her dam Tabloid has left eight winners, 6 in 1:53 with five of those winners earning over $100,000 The best of these winners were the very smart trio of B J's Whirlwind 1:49.1 ($ 954,463)  The Globe 1:50.3 ($772,462) and B J's Breeze 1:51.2 ($506,556) while a daughter in Cambloid 1:58.8 ($28,760) has left four $100,000 winners including That's Ideal 1:51.3 ($283,742) and Upfront Countryboy 1:51.1 ($208,667) Tabloid was one of fifteen winners from Next Chapter with those winners including the full sister to Tabloid in Positive Reaction 1:53.4 ($153,217)  Half sisters to Tabloid include: * Little Black Book 1:54 ($288,457) who is the dam of five $100,000 winners including Sioux Dawn 1:50.2 ($348,926) and Catch A Wish 1:52.2 ($260,829) *Saucy Britches 1:57.1 ($84,553) who is the dam of four $100,000 winners including Armbro Cayenne 1:51.3 ($523,432) and Swashbuckler 1:51.1 ($352,298) *Book Smart 1:57.3 ($27,654) who is the dam of Fourth Page 1:52.2 ($255,828) Tabloid is closely related to the former outstanding three year old in Hot Hitter 1:54 ($963,574). Tamara Hall has had three more foals since Ideal For Real including the two year old Rocknroll Hanover filly in Rockin Tammy, a yearling full brother to Rockin Tammy and a weanling full brother to Ideal For Real. It is a family that has consistently churned out high class racehorses and reading that pedigree it is not hard to see why Ideal For Real is the talented three year old he is. The importation of North American mares has been happening for over 100 years but has  really taken off in the last few years and with the continuing success of their offspring at the highest level in Australasia it is a trend that is likely to continue. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing pundits only wanted one horse tonight in the second heat of the New South Wales Derby at Menangle. Art Union was expected to be too strong from barrier four and punters would have been happy with themselves after 500 metres when driver Dexter Dunn let the son of Art Major slide to the lead without having to really use him. Sporty Spook after an early burn from barrier nine to grab the lead settled into a lovely trail on Art Union's back with Kilcullen working to the death and in the process giving Ideal For Real a lovely sit in the one by one. Dexter held the favourite back to the field until the corner where he set him alight but it was to no avail as Ideal For Real and Gavin Lang just burned him with raw speed as he went straight  past him half way down the Menangle straight and kept going to the line for a very impressive win. Art Union fought on gamely for second just in front of Sporty Spook while Kilcullen was much improved in holding on for fourth after doing the most work in the race. Trained by Emma Stewart the American Ideal colt  paced the 2400 metres in 2:54.7, a mile rate of 1:57.2 with closing sectionals of 55.8 and 26.4.  When Ideal For Real gets the kind of run he did tonight he can be lethal over the last 400 metres as he showed recently with a huge finish for second in his heat of the Victoria Derby. With Gavin Lang in the bike Ideal For Real will lack nothing in the driver department on Sunday week and looms as a major win chance if he can get the kind of run he did tonight. Harnesslink Media

LEBANON, OH. - Shine N Shimmer was stunning Friday night at Miami Valley Raceway, treating the quick five-eighths mile oval as if someone laid a red carpet around it-just for her. It was just the second local race for the seven-year-old daughter of American Ideal and produced the second gate-to-wire victory against the best open class mares competing in southern Ohio. Driver Chris Page took full advantage of drawing the inside post position by exploding off the wings and forcing all rivals to find a seat during a :27.2 opening panel. With no one pressuring on the outside in the scratch-shortened field, Page managed an unexpected respite during the second quarter when the timer flashed :57.4 at the halfway station. The pace quickened from that point home with All Terror (Kayne Kauffman) launching a first-over bid and Carlina Hanover (Tyler Smith) getting a snug pocket journey. When the 1:26 flashed at the three-quarters Page called on his winning mare and she responded with a :28.2 last quarter, despite 10 degree temperatures, to put the 1:54.2 triumph in the books. Shine N Shimmer is trained by Jim Ellison for the Dandy Farms and Howard Taylor. She now has 19 career victories and $321,742 in lifetime earnings. The feature race win was one of four on the night for Chris Page, whose other tallies came with Camphor Hanover (1:56.1), trotter Over And Out (1:58.1) and Rev Me Up (1:54.2). Racing resumes Saturday night with a powerful 14-race card offering $127,500 in purses. Gregg Keidel  

Yesterday we did a review of how all the harness racing sires fared at the two day sale at Christchurch this week. Now we turn our attention to Auckland and as expected the Australasian Classic was the success everybody thought it would be with a catalogue as strong as anything ever presented at Auckland. The one huge plus at this years sale was that the champion sire Bettors Delight ended up with with 35% of all horses sold at the sale. Between them Bettor's Delight, Art Major, Mach Three and American Ideal provided nearly two thirds of all the horses sold at Auckland which is such a help when it comes to averages overall. Bettors Delight Number Sold - 40 Overall average - $55,512 Colt average - $62,820 Filly average - $43,330 Just the backbone of the sale and his colt average for 25 sold of $62, 820 is outstanding for any standardbred sale worldwide let alone in New Zealand. Surprisingly for us his fillies averaged nearly $20,000 less than the colts which for a sire who is the best filly sire on the planet is a bit of a mystery to us. Art Major Number sold - 14 Overall average - $48,000 Colt average - $64,100 Filly average - $39,055 Compared to how he fared in Christchurch, Art Major had a stunning sale in Auckland. He has the highest colt average at $64,100 and his fillies brought money more in line with how they are performing on the track. The issue in New Zealand for Art Major has always been one of numbers in the sale due to him never breeding huge numbers of mares in this country. That changed this season when he served a book of 170 mares in New Zealand and therefore he should have a much bigger presence at the sales in the near future. Mach Three Numbers sold - 6 Overall average - $38,333 Colt average - $40,000 Filly average - $30,000 Those figures are a good indication of where Mach Three sits in the overall scheme of things.  Right up there with the big boys but commercially just a touch behind the other two sires above. Continues to have fluctuations in his numbers for sale due to foal numbers but does have bigger crops coming through so may have bigger representation in the future. American Ideal Numbers sold - 11 Overall average - $33,863 Colt average - $40,714 Filly average - $19,375 His numbers at Auckland were a lot better than they were at Christchurch but that was due entirely to one lot who made $150,000. We are still at a loss to explain the lack of demand for American Ideal fillies which have been his flag bearers in New Zealand. Hard to pinpoint what the problem is here with buyers overlooking his stock in favour of stock by sires he is matching on the track. It may just be the lag effect between racetrack performance and sale ring success but we will be watching closely next year for the uplift in prices his performance deserves. Somebeachsomewhere Numbers sold - 4 Overall average - $36,625 Colt average - $42,500 Filly average - $34,333 As in Christchurch the SBSW were great types and were keenly sought after. The only Somebeachsomewhere colt in this sale went to the All Stars barn who have had some success with stock from his very small New Zealand crops to date. His biggest New Zealand crop are now foals on the ground and with the success at this years sales you would anticipate a much bigger representation at next years round of sales. Christian Cullen Number sold - 5 Overall average - $28,900 Colt average - $36,500 Filly average - $22,500  A bit surprising to see Christian Cullen struggle as much as he did in Auckland. Still in the frame as a commercial stallion as he proved at the two days in Christchurch but apart from one lot he was not wanted at this sale. His fillies in particular were marked down which considering their success over the years was a minor surprise. Rocknroll Hanover Number sold - 7 Overall average - $32,714 Colt average - $36,500 Filly average - $30,000 We didn't include Rocknroll Hanover in our Christchurch review as we took the view that being deceased meant he had a limited future impact on New Zealand sales. But having sold seven at Auckland and having such healthy figures persuaded us that we should include him in the Auckland review. A lot of breeders have used him over their Artsplace mares and horses bred on this cross are highly sought after world wide as this cross has produced six of Rocknroll Hanover's eight millionaires. Muscles Yankee Number sold - 3 Overall average - $42,333 Colt average - $43,500 Filly average - $40,000  Muscles Yankee only had the three lots in the whole sale but they all made over $40,000 so their is a real demand still for his stock. The maternal families of all three lots were top class which may have helped the overall result. Majestic Son Numbers sold - 3 Overall average - $34,500 Colt average - $52.500 Filly average - $25,500 The small number in the sale is due to the fact that Majestic Son only has eight yearlings on the ground in New Zealand Should have a much bigger representation next year as he served 161 mares in 2014 on the back of his earlier small crops performing so well. Overview  This sale is the best promotional tool that harness racing has in New Zealand but it has the potential to be so much better in our opinion By natural attrition of smaller breeders in the North, the sale has few lots by sires who are not in the elite group as the above statistics show. We firmly believe that the Australasian Sale could reach far greater heights if the following changes were implemented. *Limit the sale to 125 lots * Make it a select sale * Have a set number of places set aside for southern breeders. The whole point of the changes is to turn the Australasian Sale into an elite sale that dominates the top end market in Australasia. The thoroughbred breeders do it very successfully with K1 at Karaka and while we will never reach those heights we can close the huge gap a wee bit. Breeders in the north who don't get accepted for the Australasian Classic have a ready made alternative these days with the all age sale in May which has gone from strength to strength in the last few years. Last year it hit a five figure average for the first time and the bench of buyers included most of the regulars on the New Zealand sales scene. We have a chance to position our industry in the best possible light with a smaller select sale at Auckland and it is something that we would hope would be considered by PGG Wrightson and The North Island Breeders Association.. Harnesslink Media

1 to 16 of 590
1 2 3 4 5 Next »