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It’s beginning to look like Ake Svanstedt’s trotter Sebastian is so superior to the competition that he’s racing only against the clock. There was a time when time was privileged over purse money in the pursuit of assessing a stallion or mare’s suitability for the breeding ranks, but those days are long gone. Bob Marks never had much use for them, although he says he did “use them occasionally to get marks on horses that could never accomplish much in actual races.” Flip through the latest edition of the Breeder’s Book and you’ll find a couple of pacers with time trial marks—Jereme’s Jet and 26-year-old Cambest—and the Indiana stallion Jailhouse Jesse on the diagonal side. How sweet it would be to see Sebastian take to the track during the Red Mile meet with a pair of t-breds or pacers behind him and a jacked-up crowd cheering him home. He’d surely rid us of the 1:50 burden as well as Enough Said and his Colonial Downs asterisk. Fifty years ago just about every premium stallion and mare was measured against the clock at some point. Rodney, Fancy Crown, Most Happy Fella, Scotland, Yankee Lass, Bullet Hanover, Bye Bye Byrd, Dancer Hanover, Cheer Honey, Dayan, Hickory Pride, Elma, Isle Of Wight, Steady Beau and Sampson Direct all carry time trial marks. Some drivers specialized in handling the time trialing horses, while others were good with the prompters. When Adios Butler knocked two ticks off Billy Direct’s 22-year-old mark, which was set the day before Greyhound’s at The Red Mile on October 4, 1960, owner Paige West drove the 4-year-old while Del Miller and trainer/driver Eddie Cobb drove the t-bred prompters. When the 4-year-old Cash Hall went after Pine Chip’s 1:54 world record at Delaware in 2006, John Campbell drove the son of Self Possessed while Dave Palone chased after him with the Real Artist mare, Valentine. Cash Hall annihilated the mark with a 1:51.1 mile. On the trotting side, Greyhound’s TT1:55 ¼ mark, set on September 29, 1938 for Sep Palin, held fast for 31 years, until Nevele Pride dropped it to TT1:54.4 for Stanley Dancer at Indianapolis on Sunday August 31, 1969. Twelve thousand enthusiastic fans were in attendance that day. Coincidentally enough, a longstanding pacing mark of 1:55 was also set at that same Lexington meet in 1938: Billy Direct time trialed free-legged in 1:55 for Vic Fleming on September 28, 1938. That mark remained untouched during the 1940s. Frank Ervin put a 1:57.1 mark on 5-year-old Adios in a time trial when he was offered $500 to break the track record, and four years later another great progenitor, Gene Abbe, time trialed in 2:00.3, also at age five. But it took a race mark of 1:55 from Adios Harry in the American Pacing Derby at Vernon Downs on July 16, 1955, with the owner’s son Luther Lyons in the bike, to match Billy Direct’s mark. Adios Butler undercut the 1:55 standard five years later in the time trial referenced above. That 1:55 barrier was finally shattered. The great Speedy Crown didn’t break any records when he time trialed in 2:01.2 as a freshman in 1970, but after winning just four of eight starts and earning a paltry $2,000, he did prove that good things were on the way. Actually the first significant time trial for trotters in the 1970s came from Arnie Almahurst, a crazy fast son of Speedy Scot, who pretty much won every start he didn’t break stride in. He had little in common with his paternal brother, Speedy Crown, who never broke stride—not ever. Arnie time trialed in 1:57.2 at The Red Mile for Joe O’Brien and became the sixth fastest trotter behind Super Bowl, Nevele Pride, Ayres, Speedy Scot and Speedy Crown. Nine years later his 3-year-old son Arndon trotted the fastest mile ever by a trotter when he hit the wire in TT1:54 for Del Miller at The Red Mile. And twelve years after that Arndon’s 4-year-old son Pine Chip became the world record holder when he time trialed in 1:51 for John Campbell at Lexington. Arndon and his dad both retired as the fastest ever. Another important trotting time trial in the ‘70s was ABC Freight’s TT1:57.1 as a 2-year-old for Joe O’Brien at Hollywood Park in 1976. The sire of Garland Lobell topped Nevele Pride’s 1:58.2 freshman mark and became the fastest 2-year-old trotter ever. ABC set his lifetime mark of 1:56.3 the following year in a time trial. The market for blockbuster trotting time trials pretty much dried up after that, although Cash Hall did crush the half-mile mark with that 1:51.1 mile for John Campbell at Delaware in 2006 that was referenced above. The time trials involving Standardbred trotters under saddle has been less prevalent, nonetheless, it has played a prominent role due to the horses and people involved. In 1940 Greyhound ended his racing career under saddle at Lexington. Frances Dodge rode him to a world record of 2:01 ¾. That mark stood for 54-years, until Preferential and Brooke Nickells broke it in 1994 with a 1:58.2 mile. And six years later the mighty Moni Maker, like Greyhound, ended her career under saddle at The Red Mile. Jockey Julie Krone, with Jimmy Takter and Wally Hennessey following with prompters, trotted in an incredible 1:54.1. In the pacing camp it was up to Bret Hanover to continue the assault on the longstanding 1:55 standard that his paternal brother, Adios Butler, had begun. In early September of 1966, 4-year-old Bret, who was within a few months of being retired, time trialed in 1:54 at Vernon Downs for Frank Ervin with a single prompter chasing him. Five weeks later in Lexington Ervin put the TT1:53.3 mark on the big guy that would serve as his lifetime mark. Dancer preferred to put race marks on Albatross so there are no flashy time trials on Super Bird’s resume. He did become the fastest ever in a race when he won both heats of the Tattersalls Pace at The Red Mile in 1:54.4, topping Adios Harry’s race mark, which Bret had matched. He also won in 1:55.3 at Delaware, matching Adios Butler’s time trial mark and eclipsing Bret’s 1:57 half-mile track race mark. Steady Star, a free-legged son of Steady Beau,  who was a year older than Albatross, cornered the time trial market in that era. At three he circled The Red Mile in 1:54 for Joe O’Brien and the following year, on October 1, 1971, he time trialed in a head turning 1:52. Later on, in 1976, 4-year-old Nero time trialed in 1:55.1 and the following year Warm Breeze was race timed in 1:53.1 at Golden Bear in Sacramento. Two years later Meadow Skipper’s son Falcon Almahurst became the fastest 3-year-old pacer ever with a 1:52.2 time trial at Lexington for Bill Haughton. Only Steady Star had gone faster. Then came the game changer: 3-year-old Niatross’s TT1:49.1 at The Red Mile on Oct 1, 1980. It was the sport’s first sub-1:50 mile and, while it parallels Adios Butler’s breach of the 1:50 point, it was so much more. The closest thing to it was Steady Star going 1:52, but the sleek son of Steady Beau didn’t win a single open stakes race during his career—not so for Niatross. His son Nihilator was later positioned to outdo dad in a time trial at Springfield but the weather didn’t cooperate and he was unable to lower his 1:49.3 race mark in a time trial at DuQuoin.  Matt’s Scooter went after the 1:49.1 mark at The Red Mile in 1988 and knocked four ticks off of it. His 1:48.2 time trial for Mike Lachance established a new world record. Matt’s Scooter beat Niatross’s mark but 5-year-old Cambest blew it out of the water with his 1:46.1 time trial at Springfield. The problem was that he wasn’t tested afterwards and not long after that his 1:52.1 win in the Senior Jug was disqualified due to elevated bicarbonate levels. Cambest was slated to stand at Hanover Shoe Farms but in light of the controversial final chapter of his career they passed. So stick Jimmy Takter and Bernie Noren behind a couple of fast pacers and let’s see if Ake can wheel Sebastian around The Red Mile in a time that will cause the crowd to gasp the way they did for Steady Star’s 1:52 mile and Niatross’s 1:49.1. Speed has always sold in this game; time to pump it up via the time trial. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

Solid trotting took place during the past week at various European venues. Coverage below is of racing at Jagersro (SWE), Avenches (Switzerland), Mantorp (SWE), Kincsem Park (HU), Bologna (ITY) and Paris-Vincennes where Gr. III events were featured on June 3. The Prix Caecilia went to the rallying roan Meaulnes du Corta filly Arpent d'Ostal for J-Ph Mary. The same day the monte Prix Dido went to Buffalo de Beylev for Yohan Lebourgeois, winning as the 2/5 favorite should. On June 2 at Bologna, the Premio GP Republica went to Papandreu for Enrico Bellei. The five year-old son of Abano As scored in 1.12.7kr over 1660 meters autostart for winners' share of a purse of €45,100. Oncle Photo VL took the co-featured Invitational on that card and veteran classmaster Italiano won the Greyhound Invitational that same day at Follonica. On May 31 at Mantorp (SWE) the Ina Scots went to Remo Gas (four year-old son of Varenne) for teamster Erik Adielsson. The V75 Gold produced a victory for Porthos Amok (five year-old son of Orlando Vici) and Orjan Kihlstrom. At Kincsem Park, the featured Tony Oaks DIJ went impressively to Orangyal (six year-old daughter of Wall Street Banker) for reinsman Pal Vicen and at Avenches the Grand Prix 5Ans (Suisse) went to Playboy Wind (five year-old son of In Love With You) and trainer/driver Wilhelm Paal. On May 29 at Jagersro, the Jerry Riordan trained Sylvester America (3m Varenne-Armbro Voice-Gaerldan Lobell) recorded his first career victory in his third start for driver Linda Allerecrantz. Race summaries follow including reply of the Premio GP Republica. June 3, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix Caecilia, Gr. III, €80,000, 2700 meters, 11 starters, 1.14.4kr 1st Arpent d'Ostal (4m Meaulnes du Corta-Quina Perrine), J-Ph Mary trainer/driver 24/1 2nd Alpha Saltor (4m Paris Haufor-Glory d'Ariane), Damien Bonne up, 4.3/1 3rd Adio Josselyn (4m And Arifant-Queda Josselyn), J-M Bazire aboard, 3/2 favorite June 3, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix Persues, 80,000e, 2700 meters, 11 starters, monte, 1.14.1kr 1st Rescousse de Barb (9f L'As de Viretoute-Gaie Melodie), P-Y Verva, 27/1 2nd Quango (10g Joyau d'Amour-Belle Argence), Julien Raffestin up, 9/1 3rd Remember Jihem (9m Jag de Bellouet-Feriana), Fabien Gence up, 3.3/1 June 3, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Gr. III Prix Dido National Monte, 60,000e, 2200 meters, 7 starters, 1.15.6kr 1st Buffalo de Beylev (3m Memphis du Rib-Rafale du Plessis), Yohan Lebourgeois up for Hubert Hardy trainer, 2/5 favorite 2nd Boy du Plessis (3m Odeisis de Vandel-Natik des Loges), Paul-Philippe Ploquin up for Patrick Ploquin, 5/1 3rd Best de Marco (3m Gogo-Fille de Marco), Julien Raffestin up for J-F Senet trainer, 42/1 June 2, 2014, Bologna Italy, Premio GP Republica, 45,100e, 1660 meters autostart, 10 starters, 1.12.7kr 1st Papandreu (5m Abano As-Capucine-Sugarcane Hanover), Enrico Bellei up 2nd Orsia (6f Angus Hall-Tiogre OM-Zebu), Allesandro Gocciadoro 3rd Le Vida Loca (9f Ganymede-Diasia-Arndon), Roberto Andreghetti Beaten field included Look MO, Oibambam Effe, Probo OP and Nesta Effe June 2, 2014 Bologna Italy, Premio Lorenzo Sisal Invitational, 11,000e, 1660 meters autostart, 8 starters, 1.13kr 1st Oncle Photo VL (6g SJs Photo-Balalajaca SLM-Lemon Dra), Federico Esposito up 2nd Per Amore Gual (5f Varenne-Dalmatica Gual-Uronometro), Enrico Bellei driving 3rd Nonant Le Pin (7f Goetmals Wood-Blazing Janice-Pine Chip), Allesandro Gocciadoro trainer/driver June 2, 1014 Follonica Italy, Prix Greyhound Invitational, 6,600e, 1600 meters, 7 starters, 1.12.3kr 1st Italiano (10g Goant Cat-Coming Up Cash-Baltic Speed-Casino Evil-Speedy Crown-Ah So), 30 wins in 93 starts for 779,782e in Italy, G. Casillo teaming 2nd Oblio Dei Venti (6m Yankee Slide-Belinda GIM-Lemon Dra), Man. Matteini up 3rd Proper Wise (5m Varenne-Flirt Alert-Valley Victory-Triangle Park-Mystic Park-Miss Flirt), L. Becchetti aboard May 31, 2014 Kincsem Park, Tony Oaks DIJ, 1800 meters autostart, 500,000HUf purse, 1.15.6kr 1st Orangyl (6f Wall Street Banker-Derengo-Endless Sands), Pal Vicen, 4.7/1, 1.15.6kr 2nd Lady Luna (9f Sierra Ranger-Lune-Surry Lobell), Joze Sagaj, 3.3/1 3rd Nemesur (7m Tony Oaks-Elegant Lady- Mill H), Veljko Mazsity, 2.5/1 May 31, 2014 Mantorp SWE, Ina Scots, 300,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart, 1.13kr 1st Remo Gas (4m Varenne-Isotta Gas-Toss Out), Erik Adielsson, Italy, seventh win from 19 starts for 2,608,516SWEK 2nd Rosso Pomodoro (4m Donato Hanover-Unbelievable F-Viking Kronos), Johnny Takter, Italy 3rd Carelin (4m Super Arnie-Carte Blanche-Kosar), Kenneth Haugstad May 31, 2014 Mantorp SWE, Gold Division, purse 320,500SEK, 2640 meters autostart, 10 starters, 1.13.8kr 1st Porthos Amok (5m Orlando Vici-Baroness Amok-Pine Chip), Orjan Kihlstrom, sixth win in 39 tries for 2,731,292SEK 2nd Quid Pro Quo (5m Yankee Glide-Hostage-Express Ride), Erik Adielsson for Svante Bath trainer 3rd Deuxieme Picsous (7m In Love With You-Carme la Strom Line-Delvin Kosmos, Johnny Takter for Joham Lejon trainer May 31, 2014 Mantorp SWE, Silver Division, purse 251,500SEK, 1640 meters autostart, 10 starters, 1.11.2kr 1st Octopus (7m Yankee Glide-Decapose-Cumin), Ulf Ohlsson up 2nd Vendi (9f Armbro Trick-Wizy Fly-Speedy Fly), Jorma Kontio driver 3rd Art On Line (7g Rite On Line-Lass Fleur-Backstreet Guy), Mikko Aho up May 31, 2014 Marseille-Borely, Prix de Zonza, €21,000, 2300 meters autostart, 8 starters, 1.15.4kr 1st Bolero Love (3m Love You-Orelady-And Arifant), Nicolas Ensch up for Patrick Chevrier trainer for Jean-Pierre Dubois and breeder Ecurie D, 7.8/1 odds, second career win for €28,350 2nd Bonjour (3m Rieussee-Queenie d'Urzy), Y-A Briand trainer/driver, 2/1 3rd Bently de Raconis (3g Repeat Love-Bodomie0Podosis), David Vakaert up for Patrick Chevrie trainer and owner Jean-Pierre Dubois, 1.3/1 May 31, 2014 Marseille-Borely, Prix d'Ajaccio, 24,000e, 3000 meters, 6 starters, 1.16.3kr 1st Vucain du Vivier (5m Look de Star-Idea du Vivier-Tarass Boulba), Y-A Briand trainer/driver, 1/5 favoritge for owner Ecurie Jean-Yves Lucuyer and breeder SNC Jean-Yves Lucuyer, 10th win for 166,450 euros 2nd  Viking d'Orion (5m Jag de Bellouet-Erfa du Vivier), Mikael Cormy up, 5.3/1 3rd Vipitano (5g Love You-Prune Rouge), Dylan Garcia up, 20/1 May 30, 2014 Avenches, Grand Prix des 5 Ans Suisse, 12,284e, 2400 meters, 10 starters 1st Playboy Wind (5m In Love With You-Kattanouga), Wilhelm Paal trainer/driver, Stall Allegra Racing 2nd Vattigo (5g Gros Grain-Julia du Martza) finished second. 3rd May 29, 2014 Jagersro, ICA Malmborgs, 2140 meters autostart, 20,000SEK to winner, 1.16.kr Sylvester America (3m Varenne-Armbro Voice-Garland Lobell), Linda Allercrantz up for Jerry Riordan trainer, first win in three starts by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com      

May 5, 2014 - While early on in the contest, Bob Zanakis led all the handicappers this week and easily rolled to the front in HANA Harness' 2014 Grand Circuit 'Shoot-Out' Handicapping Contest presented by The Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. Thanks to a net profit of $953.85 for the week and an overall profit of $827.35 for the first four legs of the contest, Zanakis' leads over Barndon Valvo as he drops back to second place with an overall profit of $695. Out of 15 handicappers, seven were in the black. Gordon Waterstone kicked off the weekend's activity with a $540 profit on the second division of the Lady Suffolk at Freehold Raceway with a $40 Exacta Wheel topped with 1-9 Cee Bee Yes and 35-1 long shot Pinking of You in the runner up spot. After that, it was the Bob Zanakis show. On Saturday, Zanakis earned $408 on the Dexter Cup by earning $275 with a $25 Exacta partial wheel and $162.15 on a $.50 Superfecta play. Sunday night, the debut of the Grand Circuit racing at Miami Valley Raceway once again found Zanakis in front with a $490.20 profit followed by Mark McKelvie ($390), Brandon Valvo ($375), and Garnet Barnsdale ($322). Barnsdale earned $442 on a $65 Trifecta partial wheel in the Miami Valley Distaff Trot while McKelvie earned a profit of $196 on the Sam 'Chip' Noble Memorial Pace and $194 on the Distaff trot. First week leader Valvo earned $375 by betting $250 to win on Shebestingin in the Skip Noble Memorial. The standings at the end of the fourth leg of the contest are: As of May 4, 2014 - Leg 4 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind Last Pos Days Missed 1st Bob Zanakis $953.85 $827.35   1st 0 2nd Brandon Valvo $330.00 $695.00 $132.35 2nd 0 3rd Gordon Waterstone $538.00 $325.00 $502.35 3rd 0 4th Mark McKelvie $244.00 $265.00 $562.35 9th 0 5th Derick Giwner $254.00 $142.00 $685.35 7th 0 6th Brian McEvoy $70.00 $107.50 $719.85 4th 0 7th Earl Paulson $217.50 $67.50 $759.85 8th 0 8th Sally Hinckley ($108.40) ($113.40) $940.75 6th 0 9th Rusty Nash ($503.00) ($160.00) $987.35 5th 0 10th Ray Garnett ($65.50) ($250.70) $1,078.05 10th 0 11th Garnet Barnsdale ($168.00) ($343.00) $1,170.35 14th 0 12th Ann Stepien ($413.00) ($385.00) $1,212.35 11th 0 13th Dennis O'Hara ($292.00) ($491.00) $1,318.35 13th 0 14th Ray Cotolo ($439.00) ($541.00) $1,368.35 12th 0 15th Josi Verlingieri ($529.00) ($779.00) $1,606.35 15th 0 Five grace days permitted. After ten days, there is a penalty of $200 per day. The Grand Circuit Shoot-Out resumes on Saturday evening, May 10, at the Meadowlands for the 1st leg of the TVG/Meadowlands Early Closing series. by Allan Schott, for HANA        

Rotary OK (4m Andover Hall-Miss Possessed-Self Possessed) took his elimination (1.11.7kr over 1600 meters autostart) and race-off (1.13.2kr over 1600 meters) of the Premio Campili today at Napoli, Italy to earn a wildcard spot in the Grand Prix Lotteria di Agnano in twelve days. The well-bred youngster was reined and trained by Marco Smorgon as the pair defeated veteran La Vida Loca (9m Ganymede-Diasia-Arndon) that took his elimination in 1.11.9kr for Bo LoVerde. Purse of the three rounds was 13,200e. In the final, La Vida Loca led from the start in an even pace and then was engaged by Rotary OK with 600 meters remaining. The pair battled nose to nose until just before the line when the winner rolled on for a length score in front of the very enthusiastic crowd reported at 12,000 that hopes to revive horse racing there. La Vida Loca is likely to start in the Lotteria Consolation on May 4th. Pedigrees of the race-off battlers are worthy of note. First dam Miss Possessed is 100% from her first three foals including today's winner plus Magic Tonight, a recent fast winner in SWE, and Complete Control. Second dam of the winner is Ms Vic (Valley Victory-Higher Love) and it's the family of many stalwarts such as Lookout Victory, Possess The Magic, Magic Swan, Nights Jazz, Swan Image, Mystical Ann, Swan For All and Lindys Jersey Boy, just to name a few. Magic The family of La Vida Loca is a solid one also, with his dam being Diasia (Arndon-Calypso Lobell-Speedy Somolli-Cami Almahurst). Also today at Momarken (Norway), the US import Winmecredit (Credit Winner-Lamitech Dancing-Valley Victory) easily handled a veteran field in 1.11.7kr over 1640 meters autostart for reinsman Frode Hamre. He earned 15,000NOkr for the victory over Garland Kronos (Viking Kronos-Treccia Kramer-Speedy Somolli-Kramer de Capo-Allen Hanover) with Per Oleg Midtfjeld up. Another US import V.C. Chocoholic ended third for Thor Borg and the beaten field contained US imports Frameable, Priority Photo, Fraternity Party and Hard Cider. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com    

Sweden-bred Rose's La Nena (seven year-old Pearsall Hanover-O'Hill's Rose mare) took today's Janos Brody Memorial at Kincsem Park. The classic event carried a purse of 1.5 million(Huf) and was a 1960 meters distance handicap event. The winner scored in 1.16.6kr for reinsman Laszlo Kolozsi to increase her career earnings to over 9.3 million (Huf). Favored Ollyan Nincs made a disqualifying miscue that opened the way for the 6.9/1 winner that is owned by Balaton Eurotrade Kft. HU-bred Orangyal (six year-old Wall Street Banker mare) was a solid second with 20 meter handicapped Nice Brozo finishing third with Dora Kovacs aboard. The winner's maternal family is a good one. O'Hill's Rose is a daughter of Continental Spirit, a son of Speedy Somolli-Village Harmony. Village Harmony (Nevele Pride-Devona Hanover) traces directly to Delicious, her second dam, the producer of Prix d'Amerique winner Delmonica Hanover. The dam of O'Hill's Rose is Omaha Hill, a daughter of Arndon-Orna Hanover-Ayres. Co-feature on the card was the Koppany DIJ that went to 8.7/1 odds Nobody, a seven year-old son of Tony Oaks-Gunnel Diadem. Emil Csordas is owner/ trainer,/driver of this 1.15.8kr winner over 1800 meters autostart as he secured the winners' share of the 500,000Huf purse. Pretty Paper (six year-old daughter of Credit Winner-Anticipation-Donerail) was second for trainer/driver Csaba Lakatos. Tony Oaks sired three winners on the nine race program. At Hippodrome Wallonie (Belgium) on March 21, the Ander Lindqvist-Peter Gerry co-owned Angel Dark (four year-old son of Look de Star) was a fast closing third in just his third lifetime start. He won his previous start and this was his first test over the extended 2300 meter autostart course. Nicolas Senet handled Angel Dark for trainer Lindqvist, from post 11, that was timed in 1.16.56kr, two lengths off the winner Arthur d'Atom and reinsman Gerard Vergaerde. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com          

In our prominent harness racing stallion series we have reviewed American Ideal,  Art Major, Bettors Delight, Christian Cullen, Courage Under Fire, Mach Three and Western Terror so far and today we have produced an in depth review for the outstanding trotting stallion Sundon (In North America called Sondon) Enjoy the read. Sundon was bred in North America by prominent New Zealand breeder Sir Roy McKenzie whose father established the famous Roydon Lodge stud in New Zealand. He was a son of Arndon who was bred by Sir Roy from his good mare Roydon Gal. The dam of Sundon was the B F Coaltown mare in Sungait Song.  Brought to New Zealand with her foal Sundon at foot, this mare has established an outstanding record at stud in New Zealand. Apart from Sundon she has left Sungait Reb (US,1:57.1s), 15 wins 15 seconds and 8 thirds for $178,000 in stakes, Sunning ($95,077), Sunbeam Song ($14,475) and A Touch Of Sun ($37,576). Sunning is the dam of Burano ($105,000) and other daughters have left Roydon Flash ($214,000) and Solar Fire ($214,00) who is the dam of Sheemon ($137,964). RACE RECORD - Bred to North American time, Sundon was giving away six months to his age group competition when he stepped on to the track at two. But that didn't stop him winning 11 straight at that age and he started the same way at three winning 8 of his first 9. He carried on through to Grand Circuit company as a older horse and although he was a bit inconsistent at times, when he put it all together he was nigh unbeatable. All up he faced the starter 60 times for 27 wins and 8 placings on his way to earning $264,000 AMERICAN STUD RECORD - Sundon was known as Sondon in North America. He never stood in North America but he does have 81 horses who have been imported from New Zealand and they have compiled an outstanding record. They are headed by the brilliant Westland Sun 1:52.3s ($729,624) and include such talented horses as Locofoco 1:53.4s ($714,998), Lets Get Serious 1:52.2m ($621,912), Supreme Pat 1:54.3m ($322,891), and Ima Gold Digger 1:55f ($271,289).  As the stats below show his percentages and average earnings are up there with the very best. US statistics Eligible to race - 81 Winners - 76 $100,000+ winners - 34 Sub 1:54 - 4 Average earnings per starter - $119,716 Average earnings per eligible horse - $116,760 Total earnings to date - $9,457,553 AUSTRALIAN STUD RECORD - Surprisingly he has only produced 259 live foals in Australia (spread over 16 seasons with his biggest crop totaling just 44 foals) which given his complete dominance of the trotting sires list over nearly twenty years is hard to fathom. Never the less from those foals he has sired such standouts as the outstanding I Didn't Do It ($455,554) along with such smart horses as Donny Bouchea ($326,062), Red Samurai ($230,722), Compressor ($212,303), Right Interest ($202,096) and Aleppo Sunrise ($183,090) to name a few. Australian statistics Foals 3yr old and older - 259 Winners - 107 % of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 41% $100,000 plus - 16 Average earnings per starter - $37,721 Average earnings per eligible horse - $22,000 Total earnings to date - $5,698,092 BROOD MARE STATS - Already his daughters have produced 47 winners in Australia headed by last years leading two year old in I"m Stately ($182,915) along with Sassy Pinevale ($176,195) and Spidergirl ($139,075) for stakes totaling $1,995,461 to date.    NEW ZEALAND STUD RECORD - He has completely revolutionized the trotting breed in New Zealand. From his first crop he has stamped himself as a sensational sire and any look at his record in NZ shows how dominant he has been for over 20 years. He has been voted New Zealand 'Stallion Of The Year' four times and he has been the leading trotting sire for many seasons and even managed to top the overall stakes won by all stallions in 2007 which considering the difference in stakes and racing opportunities in New Zealand is truly remarkable. He has left superstars galore with his male offspring headed by the millionaire and champion Sundons Gift ($1,275,264) along with such top performers as Springbank Richard ($651,245), Whatsundermykilt $510,484), Houdini Star ($427,327), Pompallier ($398,138) and Delft $353,910) whilst his females are headed by the brilliant One Under Kenny ($1,060,394) along with such stars as Allegro Agitato ($524,399), Martina H ($391,867), Our Sunny Whiz ($348,781), Some Direction ($307,804) and Escapee ($242,363). His latest star is Master Lavros ($210,868) who is currently the best trotter in NZ. New Zealand statistics Foals 3yr old and older - 1,706 Winners - 670 % of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 39% $100,000 plus - 54 $1,000,000, plus - 2 Average earnings per starter - $28,622 Average earnings per eligible horse - $14,562 Total earnings to date - $24,844,368 BROOD MARE STATS - Going to be as dominant here as he has been in the siring barn. His mares have already left 278 winners including Vulcan ($858,793), Sovereignty ($716,496), Paramount Gee Gee ($497,100), Habibti ($258,790), Stent ($283,140), Royal Aspirations ($256,149) and Prime Power ($136,759). Stakes won to date are nearing 10 million and he has the opportunity in the next ten years to set benchmarks as a brood mare sire that may never be bettered. POSITIVES - A dominant sire in Australasia for near on 20 years and now doing the same as a brood mare sire. Completely changed the standard of trotting down under and his ability to lift non descript families is legendary. Credit must be given to his owners who have always kept his stud fee very affordable which has allowed the average breeder to access this great sire. NEGATIVES - The word "HOT" and Sundon have always gone together. Gelding was one of the first things you did when acquiring a Sundon colt, hence the absence of any of his star sons at stud. One that may have proved the exception was the speedy Last Sunset 1:55.2 ($312,423) who died prematurely when looking a very promising sire. He sired just 41 foals before his death of which 16 have started for 11 winners to date that have earned $568,198 in stakes to give him an average earnings per starter of a very good $35,512. He only bred the two small crops of 10 and 31. OVERVIEW - Without doubt the greatest trotting sire to have ever stood in Australasia. His  dominance at stud over such a long period has cast a huge shadow over his competition during that period. With over $40,000,000 on his card worldwide and his daughters now leaving the next generation of stars, Sundon has lifted the trotting breed in Australasia to a much higher level than breeders thought possible. A truly great sire and top brood mare sire. OVERALL RATING - 9.5/10 JC A Sire review - American Ideal A Sire review - Art Major A Stallion review - Bettors Delight A Stallion review - Christian Cullen A Stallion review - Courage Under Fire A Stallion review - Mach Three A Stallion review - Western Terror Harnesslink has had such positive feedback on our "forgotten sires series" that we are running a series of reviews on our more prominent harness racing sires. As they say in racing you can criticize some ones car, house or wife but never their horse, and that still rings true. As a disclaimer to our next chapter of analysis we look to provide educated opinion based on years of industry knowledge and the truest form of critique backed by statistical data. The above PREVIEWS are set to strip back any sugar coated publicity often associated with Stallion promotion and give you the cold hard facts as JC sees them.  (All statistical data was provided by TrackIt for North American stats and the official organizations of New Zealand and Australia)  And here is "The forgotten sires series" This is a series of stallion reviews that Harnesslink have already completed with a view to sheading some light on some of  the "forgotten"sires in Australasia. Elsu - Redemption awaits McArdle - The quiet achiever Santanna Blue Chip - On the up and up! Major In Art - Big and fast Mr Feelgood - Dual hemisphere champion Pay Me Christian - Blistering speed Monkey Bones - All class Tinted Cloud - Still going strong Real Desire - The real deal Washington VC - Continuing excellence Wetern Ideal - A superstar sire Bacardy Lindy - Blue blood Monarchy - Out of Sundons shadow Artiscape - Frozen semen blues? Dream Vacation - Frozen semen superstar Badlands Hanover - Great value Lis Mara - The quiet achiever Brylin Boyz - Potential fulfilled    

It was a momentous occasion today for Classic Equine NZ, the owners of Raffaello Ambrosio, as his first raceday starter took to the track at Motukarara and despite the poor track conditions, won well. Gee Up Neddy, a 3 year old gelding owned and bred by Canterbury trotting stalwarts Keith and Bevan Grice by Raffaello Ambrosio out of the good mare Marie (by Sundon) and trained by Peter and Leone Jones, started favourite in a C0 field. Driven by Colin de Fillipi, Gee Up Neddy handled the testing conditions, sitting parked for most of the journey, running home well in the straight to score a convincing one length win. Raffaello Ambrosio is standing his fifth full season at Eyreton Lodge in North Canterbury. A top class racehorse in the USA, Raffaello Ambrosio won $US810,614 in his 49 start career which saw him win a Titan Cup and place in many of the top USA feature races, including a fourth in the Hambletonian. He also deemed good enough to be invited to the Italian classic, the Gran Premio della Lotteria - where he made the final against the mighty Varenne - and the Forus Open in Norway. "He had the privilege to race with distinction in a golden era that pitted him against horses like Varenne, Moni Maker, Fan Idole, Self Possessed, Fern, Magician, Angus Hall and CR Renegade," said John Munro, director of Classic Equine. Classic Equine NZ identified his potential for the NZ market based on his maternal breeding, being maternally bred on an Arndon/BF Coaltown cross, a cross the same as Sundon. "BF Coaltown, being a sire of the 70's, probably did not garner much interest from the American market, but the incredible nick that the maternal side of BF Coaltown with New Zealand mares with the likes of Sundon, and as it subsequently proved Dream Vacation, was the magnet to pursue Raffaello Ambrosio." As well as being from the very strong family of Minnehaha, Raffaello Ambrosio is the second highest earning son of Victory Dream (after Self Possessed) who from only 89 foals, produced 71 starters for 50 winners and stakes of over $US7.7 million, with 19 earning over $US100,000. He is a very close relation to Dream Vacation on both his sire and dam's side, and racing in similar length careers actually earned more money on the track (including a prestigious Titan Cup win) than the now Swedish-based sire who was taken New Zealand and Australia by storm. While not being of great interest to the breeders in the USA, Raffaello Ambrosio produced 22 foals for 11 starters and 9 winners, with 1 earning over $US200,000 and 3 over $US100,000 and stake wins in excess of $US650,000. As a broodmare sire he produced the 2 time Kentucky Sires Stakes Winner, Victors Future, to bring his overall earnings to over $US 1 million - a very good effort for such a small number of progeny. Imported into New Zealand late in the 2009 breeding season, Raffaello Ambrosio served 6 mares, getting 4 in foal. His Achilles heel, however, proved to be transported semen, and despite being sent for a season to a recognized breeding establishment and being deemed suitable for a frozen semen programme, his performance on transported semen did not improve enough to warrant its continuation. Raffaello Ambrosio now serves on farm only from Eyreton Lodge. He has received good support from a number of prominent broodmare owners and is being bred to a selection of mares from the top trotting families in NZ. While it is disappointing to the owners that he can not serve a larger number of mares, they are prepared to accept quality over quantity and are confident that not only will he produce good horses now, but that he will prove himself in the future as a valuable broodmare sire. Along with Gee Up Neddy, several of his foals from the 2010 crop are set to make their appearances at the trials in the New Year - Mediodito (qualified), Belle Gambe (a half Miss Boomschukaluka, T 1.58.9. $94,851), Montelupo (a half to Foray, 4 wins), and Here We Are, along with Raffs Folly, a late Feb 2009 foal.          

On Christmas Eve Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes conducted a fine trotting card that despite heavy rain produced a nice crowd and competitive contests. The Quinte+ Prix de Neuille Pont-Pierre (46,000 euro purse, females, 2700 meters, 13 starters) showcased a fast finishing victory for Tooaze d'Haufor (6f Love You-Hita Haufor-Jet du Vivier), the 3/1 choice handled by Charles Julien Bigeon in the 1.15.7kr clocking, her fifth lifetime for 144,340 euro earned. Topaze de Marzy (6f Orlando Vici-Idole de Marzy-Sancho Panca) was second for Eric Raffin. The Prix du Merlerault (54,000 euro purse, females, 2100 meters autostart, 11 starters) was won by 8/1 Amadea Seven (3f Goetmals Wood-Indiana du Pont-Pelican du Pont) for breeder, owner, trainer and driver J-M Bazire. She scored in 1.13kr for her third career victory. Alaja Bot Eur Moel (3f Ganymede-Next Bay Gentille-Gai Brillant) took second for reinsman Franck Nivard and trainer Franck Leblanc. The Prix des Freesias (34,000 euro purse, female two year-olds, 2200 meters, 14 starters) was a competitive affair led by winner Best Life (2f Goetmals Wood-New York-In Love With You). The 3.8/1 winner was handled by Eric Raffin for breeder, owner, trainer Louis Baudron. Jean-Pierre Dubois was second with his Be Mine Tonight (2f Quatre Juillet-Ma Crown-Full Account) trained by Patrick Chevrier and bred by Ecurie D. Bianca d'Atout (2f Saxo de Vandel-Geline d'Atout-And Arifant) was third for Mathieu Mottier in the driving finish with the race clocked in 1.18.7kr over the sloppy going. Best Life and Be Mine Tonight Results from other locations and in the days leading to Christmas Eve are shown below. Son Pardo (Majorca, Spain) December 24 Gran Premi del 5 year-olds (Spain), 30,000 euro purse, 2650 meters autostart 1.16.2kr 1. Unitra RS (5f Brandy Dei Fiori-Memory My Wife GS-Important Hornline) M. Riera Bennasar driving 2. Union Blai (5m Lest Go-Clas Blai-Union Shark-Veras First-Brisco Hanover), A. Frontera Pocovi up 3. Under The Sea HM (5f Love You-Zimba Rydens-Alf Palema-Carioca Nibs), Mestre Suner driving Sire of the winner, Brandy Dei Fiori (by Waikiki Beach-Otarda Jet-Sharif di Iesolo), represents excellent historical Italian bloodlines. Solvalla (Sweden) December 23 Gosta Nordiopns Lopp (100,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) 1.12.8kr Orecchietti (6m From Above-Canneloni-Mack Lobell), Orjan Kihlstrom driver. Stefan Hultman trainer, Travkompaniets Stall AB owner, slate in 2013 8 4-0-1 earning 528,000SEK 1. Monster Drive (7m Thai Tanic-Kewpie-Pearsall Hanover), Ulf Olsson aboard 2. Global Investment (10g Pine Chip-Armbro Naïve-Balanced Image), Bjorn Goop up Soren Nordins Lopp (100,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart, three year-olds) 1.13.9kr 1. Riff Kronos (3m Dream Vacation-Elaine Kronos-Viking Kronos), Veijo Heiskanen up, 2013 slate 10 5-1-1 earning 346,626SEK SCA Stallpellets Lopp (100,000SEK to winner, 1640 meters autostart) 1.11kr 1. Nimbus CD (3g Mythical Lindy-Kiss of Life-Tenor de Baune), Per Nordstrom up, 2013 slate 6 4-1-0 earnings 565,000SEK; Mythical Lindy was a fast, successful US colt owned in Ohio and trained by Jim Arledge Jr. before export to Sweden for stallion duty. Napoli (Italy) December 22 Premio Best of 2 Year-Olds (22,000 euro purse, 1600 meters) 1.15.6kr 1. Skyline Dany (2m Varenne-Celeste PL-Lemon Dra). V.P., Dell'Annunziata up, 3rd win with 3 placings in 6 starts Premio Best of 4 Year-Olds (22,000 euro purse, 1600 meters) 1.14.7kr 1. Paolo OM (4m Ganymede-Fola d'Anzola-Uronometro), G.P. Minnucci up Premio Panettone (11,000 euro purse, 1600 meters) 1.13.3kr 1. La Vida Loca (8f Ganymede-Diasia-Arndon), D. DiStefano up, 38th win in 177 starts with 47 placings, earnings 215,560 euro Premio Best of 3 Year-Olds (22,000 euro purse, 1600 meters) 1.13.2kr 1. Ribot Gal (3, Ganymede-Flores ZN-Lemon Dra), R. Gallucci up, 6th win in 23 starts Premio Bost of Anziani (22,000 euro purse, 1600 meters)  1.12.8kr 1. Oneghin del Ronco (5m Love You-Talico del Ronco-Park Avenie Joe), A. DiNardo up, 17th win in 57 starts 2. Langdon Grif (8m Varenne-Meadowbranch Nan-Pine Chip-Peace Corps), G. DiNardo, 111 starts with 33 wins, 47 placings, earnings 244,964 euro. by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com   

Veteran Italian campaigner Mack Grace SM (7m CC’s Chuckie T-Ambro Grace SM-Armbro Goal) took the final of today’s 25th edition of the Premio Palio dei Comuni at Montegiorgio, Italy. The Roberto Andreghetti driven, Lucio Colletti trained winner scored easily in 1.11.8kr to earn the winners share of the 105,600 euro final over 1600 meters autostart. Mack Grace SM was victorious for the eighth time in nine starts over the past three months and he now sports 45 lifetime wins in 88 trips to the post for career earnings approaching 1.2 million euro. La Vida Loca (8f Ganymede-Diasia-Arndon) and Orleans OM (5f SJ’s Caviar-Deau de Mai-Super Pleasure) were next in line in the 12 horse final. La Vida Loca was fourth in her elimination. The three eliminations were taken by Orleans OM in 1.12.6kr, Looney Tunes in 1.11.4kr for Alessandro Gocciadoro and Mack Grace SM in 1.13.8kr. Mack Grace SM won this event in 2010 and that was his first international open victory. by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com  

Maharajah (8m Viking Kronos-Chili Khan-Giant Chill) was a soundly defeated fourth in today’s V-75 Gold (3140 meters autostart, 150,000SEK to winner) at Gavle. Driver Ulf Ohlsson had a tough journey on the outside and his progress was impeded twice during the marathon event. Maharajah began to tire around the final turn and bravely lasted for fourth behind easy winner Perfectly Enough (5m Express It-Just About Enough-SJ’s Photo) handled by Erik Adielsson and timed in 1.14kr. Second went to Winning Love (7m Love You-Falin Amber Dance-Arndon) with Ake Lindblom up with third to Francais de Gull (6m Jag de Bellouet-Tantiem Gull-Lindy Lane) teamed by Erik Lindegren. The Gavle co-featured V-75 Silver went to Chapeau (4m Love You-Crown Tess-Crownton) in 1.12kr over 1640 meters autostart. Erik Adielsson piloted the winner to earn 125,000SEK first money. Sandringham Hanover (6g Cantab Hall-Sally Hanover-American Winner) took second for Lief Witasp. Three upper-class events graced the Paris-Vincennes card. The 100,000 euro, 2700 meter. Prix Chenonceaux (European) went to Vagabondu Mag (4g Ozio Royal-Perle du Ravany) in 1.14.8kr for J-M Bazire. His career earnings now approach 400,000 euro. Red Red Red (5f Offshore Dream-Extreme Lady) was second for Eric Raffin ahead of Unabella Perrine (5f Diamant Gede-Minnie Perrine handled by Franck Ouvrie. The Prix Quimper (European, 2100 meters autostart, 84,000 euro purse) went to favored Beckman (6g Turbo Sund-Nina Palema) for Franck Nivard and trainer Fabrice Souloy. The Scandinavian invader scored comfortably in 1.12.9kr for owner Ecurie Commander. The de Chine (6g Blue Eyes America-Heparine) rallied for second handled by J.L. Cl. Dersoir with third to Nephenta Lex (6f Pine Chip-Miss Camelia OM) driven by J-M Bazire and also trained by Souloy. The 2700 meter, 78,000 euro purse Prix Bagnoles Orne produced a victory for the Jean Baudron owned/trained Rockfeller Center (8m Jag de Bellouet-Mysterious Valley) driven today by Jean-Etienne Dubois in 1.13.9kr. The winner, who also serves as stallion in France, defeated Sam Gibus (7g Jet Fortuna-Harmonie Gibus) with owner/trainer Sebastien Baude up. Quiz du Ginai (9g Buvetier d’Aunou-Desopilanta) took third for Franck Nivard. by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com

Exceptionally competitive trotting highlighted today's Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes harness racing card, readying race-goers for tomorrows Grand Prix de France. Today's featured Prix Ephram Houel (Grade II, 120,000 euro, 2,175 meters) was taken by the 4 year-old mare Victoire (by Kitko), driven by Mathieu Mottier for owner/trainer Danielle Mottier.

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