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Studholme Park proprietor Brian West has been in the commercial breeding industry longer than most active breeders in the New Zealand market and is forever facing the dilemma of weather to support new sires in their initial years at stud. Brian's lives and dies financially on returns from each years yearlings sales and the progeny he sells need to be attractive to the marketplace on both a breeding and physical front. Hence Brian will have his share of the Bettor's Delights and Art Majors and Love You's throughout his offerings and with his proven record of producing quality two and three year olds, his stock are always in huge demand each year. It is not very often that Studholme Park will take a financial punt on a new stallion in the market. They will breed the odd mare to a new stallion if the breeding matchups suggest but very rarely in any numbers as the potential downside if you get it wrong are significant. This year however Brian has changed tack and will consign five yearlings by the first season sire Auckland Reactor at the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale at Christchurch and as the sales rapidly approach, Brian is more than comfortable with the stock he will offer. " I couldn't be happier with the Auckland Reactor's heading into the sale at Christchurch." " The more I have done with them during the sales preparation, the happier I have been with my decision to support him in such numbers in his initial years." " They have great attitudes and are with you the whole way and that makes such a difference with young horses." " I have been lucky enough to breed a lot of top horses over the years and you pick up the attributes that set them apart from the rest and I have seen a lot of those attributes in the Auckland Reactors I am preparing for this sale, " Brian said. As any vendor is loath to do, Brian is reluctant to single out any one individual but it quickly becomes apparent talking to him that Lot 512, Please Shuddup, a colt from the Christian Cullen mare Blah Blah Blah has really made an impression on Brian. " He is one of those colts that impresses you from the first time you do anything with him." " He handles everything new like he has been doing it all his life and nothing appears to ruffle him." " Right from day one here he has stood out from the bunch and I have a lot of time for him," Brian said. Having the five Auckland Reactors in this years sale, you would think Brian may have taken a wait and see approach before recommitting to the stallion with more mares but Brian again sent half a dozen mares to Auckland Reactor in the last breeding season. " With the five I have prepared here, I struggle to see how he won't make it as a sire." " I haven't got one I don't like in the five and I am as confident as you can be that I have made the right call here," Brian said. With leading breeders like Brian West in his corner, Auckland Reactor is being given every opportunity to establish himself in the stallion marketplace. Harnesslink Media

Want to be involved in the excitement of racing the first Auckland Reactors? Alabar is putting together a syndicate so you can do just that. As one of New Zealand’s greatest on the racetrack, Auckland Reactor has been extremely well supported at stud. His first yearlings will enter the sale ring next month – and the reports as to their quality continue to build. The yearlings for the syndicate will be hand-picked at the 2016 Yearling Sales by three of New Zealand’s top trainers – Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Geoff Small and Nathan Williamson. The appeal of having yearlings selected and trained by these outstanding horse-people is obvious – as is the fact that they represent a geographical spread throughout New Zealand with them being based in Auckland, Canterbury and Southland. Another point of interest with the syndicate is that fractional ownerships from 2% upwards will be available. This is a very popular system in North America with owners being able to choose the level of investment they are comfortable with – bringing a range of people together in the enjoyment of racing a horse. Full details will be available from Alabar after the 2016 Yearling Sales. There is a possibility the syndicate will also include the progeny of a proven Alabar sire. Alabar’s Graeme Henley says, “We’ve been thinking about starting up syndicates for a while now. It’s been watching the first crop of Auckland Reactor develop into such impressive types that’s got us excited to kick it off this year. “What’s more, Ivan Behrnes is going to look after the syndicate for us and he’s really passionate about it – you need someone with that level of enthusiasm and commitment to bring it all together for everyone involved. “It should be a lot of fun seeing the syndicate horses race from Invercargill to Alexandra Park and, who knows, maybe Australia as well. “We’ve already had a lot of interest so it looks like it will fill up pretty quickly. The plan is to do other syndicates in the future including ones specifically for breeding and another for the trotters - I’m sure there is a place and a demand for them.” For further information or to register your interest contact Ivan Behrnes - Alabar Syndicate Manager 03 615 6332, ivan@alabar.co.nz Alabar (NZ) Ltd is an authorised syndicator

Tony and Anne Parker have been serious breeders of standardbreds for as long as they care to remember and have a record of success in harness racing that few would be able to match, especially over the last fifteen years. Of course the jewel in their crown is the sensational Auckland Reactor 1:51.4 ($1,837,043) who was a shining light on the track where he rewrote the record books in New Zealand and is now about to try to do the same as a stallion with his first crop hitting the sales ring in five weeks time. However the Parkers have a wonderful overall record having bred several outstanding horses over the years including Russley Rascal 1:52 ($833,209) and Devil Dodger 1:50.8 ($647,216) to name just two. Last season Hug The Wind flew the flag for the Mangatawhiri couple as the son of Courage Under Fire put together a stellar season by earning $299,023 on both sides of the Tasman in age group classics. So with the kind of record the Parkers have put together over the years you would think it would take something a bit special to enthuse Tony and Anne as they prepare a team of eleven for this years Australasian Classic Yearling sale at Auckland. A recent email from Tony however has done just that with the Parkers in raptures over one of their colts for sale at Karaka on February 22nd. And as fate would have it, the colt in question is by none other than Auckland Reactor. Named Chase Auckland and selling as Lot 7 at Karaka, the colt is the first foal from the Falcon Seelster mare Delicata (2 wins) who is a half sister to Hug The Wind 1:56 ($299,023) and to Forgotten Dreams, the dam of last seasons star West Australian two year old, Sprinter 1:56.5 ($145,943). It is a family that the Parkers have been involved for nearly forty years and it is certainly having its best period results wise over the last few years. A quick look at the photo of Chase Auckland shows why he has the Parkers in such high spirits. Chase Auckland is a carbon copy of his sire and already has the look of a special horse in the making. Could the Parkers be about to produce another star pacer after all the success they have had? To view the Australasian Classic Yearling sale Catalogue click here. Harnesslink Media

With the way the harness racing stallion business is these days, it is becoming harder and harder for the home grown stallions to break into the lucrative market that is dominated by the shuttle stallions from North America. Breeders have access to the very best from North America and that means the local stallion has a huge challenge when going to stud. Christian Cullen proved he was up to the mark in his prime but few others have made it to the top of the sires list down under. The jury is still out on Changeover with the son of In The Pocket churning out plenty of nice horses but he badly needs one or two genuine stars to lift him into the elite level of stallions. Another local who is attempting to break the grip of the Northern Hemisphere stallions is the son of Mach Three in Auckland Reactor. In an attempt to give him a genuine shot at challenging the elite stallions, his management team set his fee at $3,000 and in his first two years he served huge books of 213 mares in year one and 156 in year two in New Zealand and he will serve about 100 again in year three. Auckland Reactor has also done really well in Australia with 182 in year one followed by 210 in year two and is on track to serve about 220 again this year. It's long been accepted that for a stallion to establish himself, he needs to have the numbers on the ground and Auckland Reactor has certainly been given the opportunity with the numbers he has coming through. Auckland Reactors first lot of foals hit the yearling sales this year with five entered at Auckland and twenty four in Christchurch. One that caught our eye was the colt Jordan's Jury, the first foal from the former smart racemare in Georgia's Jury 1:58.7 ($59,871) who is being offered as Lot 29 at the Australasian Classic Yearling sale at Karaka on February 22nd. Georgia's Jury ran 2nd in the Sires Stakes at three behind the champion Adore Me and all up only had 22 starts for 5 wins and 7 placings. The dam of Georgia's Jury is the racewinning Christian Cullen mare in Van Seraa whose first three foals old enough to race have all been winners. Apart from Georgia's Jury, she has also produced Raesawinner 1:56 ($88,351) and the three year old Van Mara 1:58.2p who won his maiden race at Alexandra Park in December. This branch of the Rosalie family has been prominent since the very speedy racemare Good Going went to stud in the 1980s. Winners have flowed from that time with two of the best being Tribute 1:54.9 ($610,993) and Easy On The Eye 1:54 ($461,580) and that flow of winners shows no sign of slowing down. To view the Australasian Classic Yearling sale Catalogue click here.   Harnesslink Media    

The first Australian born progeny of New Zealand harness racing champions Auckland Reactor and Lincoln Royal (Sir Lincoln) will add an extra dimension to the Harnessbred.com South Australian Yearling Sale to be held at Globe Derby Park on Sunday, February 21. Auckland Reactor, twice NZ Horse of the Year, will be represented by a filly out of the Globe Derby winner Rivergum Magic, while Lincoln Royal, the NZ 3YO of the Year, has a half-sister to Caroline Bay (8 wins). Art Major, Australia’s No 1 juvenile sire, has two fillies nominated for the sale, one the first foal of Dungeon Queen (16 wins), a half-sister to the classic winner Android, and the other from a winning half-sister to three winners. Another NZ superstar, Changeover, is represented by a colt from a successful Art Major mare, while Four Starzzz Shark, the sire of Inter Dominion champion Lennytheshark, has a filly out of a 1:58.6 Artiscape mare. Promising sire Artistic Fella’s single entry is a half-sister to last year’s Southern Cross 2YO Final runner-up Rockfromcork, being out of the well-related Armbro Operative mare Arm A Corka. The established sires Blissfull Hall, Grinfromeartoear and Julius Caesar all have single nominations, while another newcomer, Heart Space (a NZ bred son of Artsplace), also has one entry. The sale will be held at Globe Derby Sunday February 21 commencing at 11am printed catalogues will be available first week in January. By Peter Wharton

Tomorrow sees the All Aged harness racing sale at Karaka and the first of the Auckland Reactor weanlings to go through the sale ring. There are seven catalogued and we plan to review them all before the sale. Lot 88 - An Auckland Reactor filly from Tragically Hip This filly is from the Beach Towel mare Tragically Hip and as such is bred on the same cross as the two winners the mare has already produced in Hip Hop Anvil 1:55.6 ($138,122) and Shot From The Hip 1:57.5 ($44,750). Both of those winners are by Mach Three as is Auckland Reactor. The Mach Three / Beach Towel cross has been very successful worldwide with the most notable horse bred on that cross being Somebeachsomewhere 1:46.8 ($3,221,299) while in New Zealand it has produced horses like Sir Lincoln 1:54 ($663,601) The second dam Penelope Pitstop 1:59 won twice but the only foal she produced was Tragically Hip. The third dam is the smart Windshied Wiper mare Tac Wind 1:57.1 ($77,223) who left six winners at stud including the high class mare Flash Tactics 1:56p ($84,830) who the Southland Oaks at three. At stud Flash Tactics has left such smart types as Same Kinda Tactics 1:57.4 ($178,666) and Scare Tactics 1:51.4 ($115,669). This is the maternal family closely associated with the late Derek Dynes who had a huge amount of success with the "Tactics" maternal family for over fifty years. It is a maternal family noted for producing plenty of very smart fillies and mares. The filly in question is very much like a lot of the other Auckland Reactor weanlings we have reviewed in that she is very correct and has nice clean hocks. Lot 88 looks a nice cut of a filly to us and she certainly has the bloodlines behind her to be a successful racing proposition Harnesslink Media

Tomorrow at the All Aged harness racing sale at Karaka we will see the first weanlings by Auckland Reactor go under the hammer. There are seven in the catalogue and we plan to review them all before the sale. Lot 85 - A colt by Auckland Reactor from Tirol's Sallance. Tirol's Sallance 1:58.4 ($84,654) was an outstanding two year old winning the $99,750 Caduceus Club Classic and running second in the $81,000 New Zealand Sires Stakes Final for fillies. Tirol's Sallance only had a handful of starts at three and four due to various issues but as her two year old record shows she was top class. To date she has produced four foals three years old or older for three qualifiers and two winners including the smart filly Serene Lady 1:59.8 ($38,154). Tirol's Sallance is from the talented racemare Innsbruck (4 wins) and apart from Tirol's Sallance has also left the very smart filly Sovereign Faith 1:53.5 ($72,234) and Tirol's Ziray ($43,285)  Tirol's Ziray's first foal is the very talented Pachacuti 1:56.3 ($185,064) The third dam is Saucy Wave who won twelve races as a two and three year old in Australasia and has left six winners at stud including the smart juvenile Smooth Wave (9 wins) and the speedy mare Go Cracker Go 1:54 ($87,418) while her daughters have produced such talented types as Conte Cristo 1:56 ($246,703) and Conte Centovalli 1:57.5 ($228,443). This family has been a great source of juvenile talent over a long period and continues to produce precocious youngsters. The colt in question is an October foal and like all of the Auckland Reactors we have seen to date he is very correct and has nice clean hocks. He stands over a bit of ground and should develop into a lovely yearling. With his mother being such a smart two year old and being from a maternal family that is renowned for leaving early horses, this colt has all the ingredients to get up and run early. Harnesslink Media

This Wednesdays All Aged harness racing sale at Karaka features seven weanlings from the first crop of the former superstar pacer Auckland Reactor. We plan to preview them all before the sale. Lot 55 - An Auckland Reactor colt from Make It Hot Make It Hot has three foals three years or older so far for two qualifiers and one winner in the form of the outstanding Elsu gelding Chilli Palmer 1:51.5 ($252,863) who has done a great job in Australia. The second dam is the former outstanding two and three year old Fake Spirit 1:58.1 ($184,368) who from just three live foals produced the smart pacer Ultimate Player 1:57.1 ($75,119) The third dam is the smart racemare Whata Spirit (4 wins) who left eight winners including such smart types as Thats The Spirit 1:54.9 ($134,334), Family Spirit 1:52.4 ($120,312), Rum Ball 1:58.7 ($77,631) and Holm's Spirit ($50,323) who is already the dam of four winners including Springsteen 1:59.3 ($110,725) This is the other side of the famed Black Watch family and it has been churning out quality winners for just as long as its famous relative. The colt himself is typical of a lot of the Auckland Reactors we have seen to date in that he is a very correct individual with nice clean hocks which is a major plus for us when looking at weanlings. The colt has quite a bit of presence about him and we would not be surprised if he was the highest priced of the Auckland Reactor weanlings on Wednesday. Harnesslink Media

This weeks All Aged harness racing sale at Karaka includes the first batch of Auckland Reactor weanlings to go under the hammer and we plan to review the seven weanlings in the catalogue. One that took our eye looking at the pedigree pages was Lot 42 and this is how we view the weanling in question. Lot 42 - An Auckland Reactor colt from Gemside  Gemside is a 1:57.1 daughter of the leading pacing broodmare sire In The Pocket who has produced four foals old enough to race (including a two year old) to date for three qualifiers and two smart winners in Artzone  1:54.5 ($ 147,265) and the filly Jeremes Gem 1:56.9 (4 wins) Gemside is a full sister to Gem Power who is the dam of last seasons talented three year old filly in Ideal Power 1:56.4 ($62,247). Gemside and Gem Power are both from the former high class racemare in Kurahaupo Gem 1:56 .2 (7 wins) who as the prefix "Kurahaupo" suggests is from the brilliant maternal family that came to the fore when this colts third dam Donna Eden started churning out those high class colts and fillies thirty years ago. The winners haven't stopped coming ever since and include such top liners as Kurahaupo Kruzar 1:50.1 ($393,944), Eridanus 1:51.3 ($176,972), Kurahaupo Diamond 1:53 ($174,474) and Kurahaupo Lord ($160,092) to name just a few. The weanling is a late November foal  and a touch behind the other weanlings we have reviewed but like all of the Auckland Reactors we have reviewed to date, he is very correct and has very clean legs which is something we really look for when inspecting weanlings. To us he looks a nice type who should furnish into a lovely yearling and going by his pedigree he has every chance of making a racehorse. Harnesslink Media

This weeks All Aged harness racing sale at Karaka sees the first of the weanlings by Auckland Reactor go through the ring. There are seven first crop weanlings by the former superstar in the catalogue and we plan to review them all prior to the sale. Lot 37 - Filly by Auckland Reactor from Drums Of Time This filly is the fifth foal from the smart Falcon Seelster racemare in Drums Of Time 1:58.6 (3wins) and she is doing a good job at stud with her first four foals including a two year old all qualified and two have already won races. Drums Of Time is a half sister to Off Beat 1:59.7 who left the outstanding racemare Hot Shoe Shuffle 1:57.9 who won fourteen races and $295,011 and has gone on and done a great job in the broodmare barn with credits such as Glenferrie Shuffle 1:57 ($279,839), Jivin Cullen 1:54 ($147,652) and Joshua Mac ($129,163). Off Beat has also produced the very smart In The Pocket gelding Iwasborntoboogy 1:50.2 who has won $277,289 in North America. The third dam Berndon Star won four races and left eight winners at stud including the talented duo of Leftamillion 1:53.2 ($181,327) and Vanyana 1:57.7 ($107,250) and Berndon Star was a full sister to the brilliant age group pacer Smooth Falcon 1:57.7 who won 14 races from just 20 starts The fourth dam Tata Matapo was a half sister to none other than the champion broodmare Black Watch. So the filly lacks nothing on pedigree and as you can see from the photo she is a lovely individual as well. This is the third Auckland Reactor we have reviewed and one thing that stands out for us is what good legged weanlings they are. That is a big plus going forward in our opinion and a tick in the positive column for the stallion. Harnesslink Media 

This week at the All Aged harness racing sale at Karaka we will see the first of the Auckland Reactors to go through a sale ring in Australasia. We thought we would have a look at  some of the Auckland Reactors on offer this Wednesday (May 20th). The first lot we are going to have a look at is Lot 18 who is a filly by Auckland Reactor from Amazing Luck This filly is the seventh foal from the imported Camluck mare Amazing Luck 1:56 who raced in New Zealand Her first four foals were all fillies of which two were winners including Shezaluckydreamer 1:56.4 ($86,080) while an unraced daughter of Amazing Luck in Sheza Gem is the dam of the talented Mr Franklin (5 wins) ($46,223) Amazing Luck comes from a prolific North American family and she is closely related to such standouts as Florida Boy 1:49.6 ($599,148) and Me And My Baby 1:51 ($607,841) As you can see from the photo, the weanling filly is a very correct individual. A bit like Auckland Reactor himself, she looks a nice type and we quite like what we see in the photo. There has been a lot of positive comment around the traps about the Auckland Reactor weanlings and if she is typical of his stock you can see why. For the catalogue click here. Auckland Reactor winning The New Brighton Cup Harnesslink Media

Mark Purdon probably had at least two harness racing lessons well learned  in mind when he bought Northern Velocity at the 2014 Premier Sale for $72,500.   The first  was learning from past successes. The other was to never leave a sale early.   Northern Velocity was the second last lot at the end of a long sale at Addington but Mark found the time to buy her for Cheryl Rasmussen and Trevor Titcomb, a decision they can hardly be regretting at this stage of the filly's development.   She certainly showed Mark enough by the summer that he went back to this year's sale and bought her full sister Tachydar (it was late in the sale too) at what might turn out to be a bargain price of $60,000.   Although Auckland Reactor and Fly Like An Eagle have been standout runners for the stable in the past, Mark is rarely without a Mach Three filly.   They can be difficult as many fillies can and they have their off days but the records are littered with age group filly stars by Mach Three and all leading stables need to have at least one in the mix.   Apart from their individual appeal, usually the most important factor with Mark in his final analysis, the pedigree cross of Northern Velocity must have  jumped out saying "pick me" when Mark and Natalie were studying the catalogue.   The Mach Three-Falcon Seelster cross which the filly carries has already proven a winner for All Stars.   Fly Like An Eagle is an obvious standout but the ill-fated Fiery Falcon won a Harness Jewels  and Millwood Meg while not outstanding on the track here later landed a West Australian Oaks and was another filly bred on this cross trained by All Stars (among others).   There are several other well known successes with this cross the best known recently being Venus Serena, one of the best fillies seen out in a long time.   "I went largely on type with her but I was certainly aware of that that cross had done for us in the past and it was a factor in my thinking" Mark says of his purchase.   The success of this cross is not a real surprise.   In fact the success of Falcon Seelster  mares crossed with Direct Scooter line stallions in general is no real surprise (the cross with Christian Cullen has been notably  successful) because Falcon Seelster is what counts for an "outcross " stallion in modern times.   He has no direct crosses of the Meadow Skipper line of Hal Dale nor the modern lines of Volomite through Direct Scooter.   In fact Falcon Seelster's pedigree looks like something which would have been extremely fashionable about 1970 -which is no bad thing.   It is full of Adios/Tar Heel crosses, Hal Dale/Volomite and even the Scotland/Volomite cross which was the foundation for the magical U Scott/Light Brigade cross 60 years ago in this country.   It might be claimed that Mach Three  gives them that high  speed and Falcon Seelster adds some old fashioned toughness.   Like many successful juvenile horses these days it seems Northern Velocity traces to a trotting influence in Beverly's Song whose notable foals beside Enna Gee were the fine trotters Mighty Dollar and especially Logan Cheval bred respectively by the Clark brothers Leicester and Tom.   Enna Gee a tough staying mare trained by Robin Butt and co-owned by him left three particularly smart pacers in Panyan,a  big success in Australia where he was placed in a Hunter Cup, age group black type winner, Rare Charm and Pathfinder who won the Group Two DB Superstar Final as a four year old after a light career to that point.   He broke down in Australia after one start.   While this family goes back to Topsy and has had its share of success, a lot of it has been in recent times.   Best known is Pembrook Benny, a half brother to Northern Velocity and the winner of over $1m, Pembrook Caesar a talented mare which won the Group Three Ladyship Cup at Melton for Jodi Quinlan in 2013, and Holme Fire,winner of both a Sires Stakes and a Nevele R filly heat.   All are from Northern Franco an unraced (though qualified) mare whose dam Natural Appeal took a 1.59 mark when that meant more than it does now who left nine winners at stud from 10 to race.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stable

The breeders involved in harness racing in Australasia have access in 2014 to the leading sires in the world but just three North American sires continue to dominate our breeding scene at the moment and they are Art Major, Bettor's Delight and Mach Three. Australia Art Major stands in Australia and is completely dominant on the stakes money charts in that country due in no small part to the large numerical advantage he holds over his two main opponents. The charts below show quite clearly the advantage he has.  Art Major   4 year olds - 167                   3 year olds - 129                   2 year olds - 153  Bettors Delight                    4 year olds - 56                    3 year olds - 84                    2 year olds - 74 Mach Three                    4 year olds - 53                    3 year olds - 33                    2 year olds - 49 As you can see Art Major has a huge advantage and thats what you see every time you go to the track. You see Art Majors everywhere and that reinforces the message that he is on top. But the big numbers are only important if the stallion can deliver elite level racehorses and Art Major can do that in spades as he has shown over many years. New Zealand Skip across the Tasman to the home of both Bettors Delight and Mach Three and you get a completely different picture, again entirely due to foal numbers. Bettors Delight is completely dominant there on the stake money won list due in the main to huge books which have given him huge foal numbers most years. He is extremely fertile and has the added bonus of being a great filly sire as well The charts below show that huge advantage Bettors Delight has numbers wise over Art Major and Mach Three. Bettors Delight                   4 year olds - 117                   3 year olds - 234                   2 year olds - 220 Art Major                   4 years old - 98                   3 year olds - 87                   2 year olds - 49 Mach Three                   4 year olds - 160                   3 year olds - 77                   2 year olds - 94 Last years three year old season in New Zealand was different from normal in so much as Mach Three had more foals than either Bettors Delight or Art Major for the first time in living memory. The result was that Mach Three won the 3 year olds stake money list  quite comfortably from Bettors Delight and Art Major which proves once again that foal numbers do matter when it comes to winning sire premierships Now plenty of sires are trying to break the dominance of the big three and the latest is Sportswriter. He met the first requirement for all new stallions trying to dislodge the top three in that he had the largest crop of 2 year olds with 155 of any sire in Australia last season and he did leave 33 winners from his first crop. But when it came to the big money races, the Art Majors and Bettors Delights scooped up most of the money. So a good start for Sportswriter but not up with the big boys yet. Another stallion who has been given a big chance to join the big boys in Australia is Shadow Play who served a huge book of 295 mares last season in Australia and a further 80 in New Zealand on the back of a great first season in North America. His first crop of two year olds in Australasia were good last season without being brilliant so the jury is still out as to weather he can challenge the big three. Rock N Roll Heaven served a book of 215 mares in his first year at stud in Australia and a further 52 in New Zealand so his first crop which are two year olds in the current season will be watched with great interest. His North American results in the super tough New York Sires Stakes have been very good so the signs so far are positive. Auckland Reactor is another stallion who has been handed an opportunity to join the big three serving 212 mares in New Zealand and 182 in Australia in his first season at stud. With that number of mares, Auckland Reactor needs to make a big slash right from the start or else he will be discarded quickly. As it stands the big three continue to dominate but one thing is very clear. To compete with the Art Majors, Bettors Delights and Mach Threes is never going to be easy as they are world class sires who perform in both hemispheres. For any new sire to challenge the dominance of the three established top sires, he needs a book of mares of a comparable size and quality to what they regularly serve or he is really going to struggle. Harnesslink Media

Blair Orange finished at the All Stars stable in July after a decade associated with the best stable in the country- and he has plenty to show for it. He finished on a high breaking into the "100 club" for the first time, the latest in a string of records he has established over the years. "My target was 50 at the start of the season. I thought I was doing well when I got to 75 and then I thought, well I might as well go for the 100. I might not get a chance to get that close again" With help from the Mark Jones stable he achieved his target -well ahead of any previous season. The stimulus All Stars gave his young driving career speak for itself. He had of course helped make his own luck, making marked improvement to rein 37 winners in the 2002 season mostly for smaller trainers like Trevor Craddock, Mike Austin, Craig Buchan, Kevin Townley, Andrew Stuart, Brian Kerr, John Parsons, Michael House and Peter Cowan. It is significant that his 100th winner for this  season was for Austin and his last driving night under the All Stars banner features a drive for Buchan. But the chance to work with Mark Purdon was going to another level and Blair has always aspired to go to the next level. "Mark rang me out of the blue. I had never driven for him. We talked, he made me an offer and I accepted. " Ohoka Atom was his first winner for the stable but one of his biggest thrills came a month later when Waihemo Hanger won at the Cup meeting. "I had never driven a winner on Cup Day so that was special ." Ironically one of his earlier regular drives for Mike Austin, Ado's Invasion, was second handled by Mark Jones. Blair's career had started nearly seven years earlier when he was with Tim Butt and drove Whizza Nova to win at Reefton in 1996. He won 18 races in his first season for All Stars but by 2007 topped $1m in stakes won thanks chiefly to Ohoka Arizona, Fiery Falcon and Steve McQueen. In only one season since have his stakes won been less than seven figures. His best season for the stable in  terms of wins was 2012 when he won 46 for All Stars from a season driving  total of 81. However even in his final season with Mark and Natalie driving many of the A graders he won 39 races for the stable.  Altogether he has won $12.6m in stakes for owners over the years. His biggest month for All Stars was in March of 2009 when he drove 11 winners for the stable going close with 10 in the same month this season. So as he heads for his own training career -though with plenty of free lance driving still part of the package-what has he learned. Naturally the answer is "a lot". "Obviously the overall organisation is something you don't work with often. I have worked in other top stables such as Tim and Anthony's but there is always something different they do, something you can pick up on. The handling of the two year olds has been one of the great experiences for me. How they are brought along and managed and each one assessed for what they can handle as youngsters. Then how they are managed during their campaigns. There was a lot in that'' "But the overall routines and stable management was just as important. So much to learn and adapt when I go out on my own training. Mark is a master at planning a programme so the horses peak for the big days. Not many can do it like he and Natalie can'' " From a driving viewpoint the horses at All Stars give you confidence in what you are going. That is a hell of an advantage and it carries over to your other drives " If it was so good why leave ? "I would have been quite happy to stay to be honest if an offer like Ken's (Barron) had not come along. But I was going to have to strike out a bit more on my own sooner or later and this was a deal I thought too good to let pass. It could open the way for me to have my own training operation which is the long term aim. In the meantime I will still be doing a lot of free lance driving and some of that for Mark Jones who has been such a boost to me this season." Blair is aware there are plenty with doubts he is doing the right thing but that is of no concern to him. "While I was mulling over the offer I had a few doubts myself but once I made the decision I was confident it was the right one and what anybody else thinks is not important to me.  It would be fair to say Blair Orange came to All Stars still an apprentice and left as graduate with honours on the driving track. So what were his five most memorable experiences at the stable ? In no particular order: LENNON "I won a lot of races with Lennon in my first season with Mark and races like the Kindergarten, Welcome, Sapling and the Sires Stakes. He was a class horse and he gave me a lot of confidence that I could measure up in the big stuff" WAIHEMO HANGER  "He have me my first winner at the Cup meeting and that was a huge thrill for me at the time. You don't forget things like that" AUCKLAND REACTOR- "I won the Taylor Mile behind him. He was just a terrific horse. He had that something extra you never forget " ADORE ME -"Winning the Easter Cup gave a thrill like Auckland Reactor had. A special horse to drive" HIGHVIEW TOMMY " He might have only run second in the Cup but second in the Cup was a big thing for me. It is the race everyone wants to win and we went close. He gave me a lot of other big moments too and Tommy could be full of surprises so you never knew quite what was going to happen" (Blair set some sort of record with Highview Tommy too driving him to win in five successive seasons. Maybe not even Mark has done that with one of the team in Blair's era). Courtesy Of All Stars Racing

Dubbo Harness Racing Club has announced the line-up for its stallion service auction. Thanks to the generosity of some of New South Wales’, Victoria’s and New Zealand’s leading breeding establishments, the club has secured services to several outstanding stallions. On offer are Shadyshark Hanover thanks to Goodtime Lodge, Art Official or Auckland Reactor courtesy of Alabar, Live Or Die and Mcardle from Nevele R Stud, Robin Hood via Yirribee and American Ideal, which resides at Woodlands Stud. All money raised goes directly into prizemoney, which has seen events such as the club’s flagship feature - Red Ochre Mares’ Classic – elevated to Group status. The tender opens on Monday, September 9 and closes at 5pm on Monday, September 16, 2014. Bids can be placed via the club’s site www.dubboharnessclub.com.au and clicking on ‘Trading Ring’ or by contacting Brett Wrigley on 0407 995 930 and Lester Hoy on 0457 647 919. The club has extended a “huge thank you” to the studs for their generosity, which is a driving force behind the growth of the local industry. PAUL COURTS

Its that time of the year again for harness racing breeders as the first foals from last seasons matings are starting to arrive all over New Zealand. It is an exciting time for breeding enthusiasts as foals by a lot of the first season sires hit the ground for the first time. One sire creating a bit of a buzz  leading into the breeding season is Auckland Reactor who served a huge  book of 394 mares in Australia and New Zealand in his first year at stud in 2013/2014. It is therefore highly appropriate that the first foal by Auckland Reactor to be born in New Zealand has been bred by an Australian, Harvey Kaplan. Harvey Kaplan has been on a fantastic ride in the last few years with Baby Bling 1:50.5, ($853,890)  Bling It On 1:51.7 ($711,122) and Nike Franco 1:52.6 ($158,891) just three of his better performers and he has the honour of breeding the first live foal by Auckland Reactor. The dam of the first foal is the unraced 5 year old Jereme's Jet mare in Jet Spirit who is the fifth foal from the talented racemare Holm's Spirit ($50,325) The first four foals from Holm's Spirit are Jasper The Ghost 1:55.2 ($60,345)  The White House 1:56 ($62,568)  Western Spirit 1:59.1 ($61,535) and Springsteen 1:59.5 ($103,917) so she has done a fine job at stud. Holm's Spirit is a half sister to Fake Spirit 1:59.8 ($184,368)  That's The Spirit 1:54.9 ($134,334)  Family Spirit 1:52.2 ($111,227) and Rum Ball 1:58.7 ($77,631) so the pedigree has plenty of talented horses up close to Jet Spirit. This maternal family is the other branch of the brilliant Black Watch family made famous by Sandy and Jan Yardley. It is a maternal family that continues to go from strength to strength and is highly prized on both sides of the Tasman. The colt foal in the photo is only a day old and if that's the type of foal Auckland Reactor is going to throw at stud then there will be a lot of happy breeders in Australasia. Harnesslink Media

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