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

The old saying that change can be as good as a holiday rang true when harness racing trainer Regan Todd took two well-bred half-sisters and produced them to win first up in his colours. The great benefactor in all of this were long time industry participants Alan Rose and John Howe. Elation is a word not often used to describe the feeling on a racetrack, but Rose admits to having no embarrassment in saying that the tears were flowing in the birdcage. “I had a friend ring me up that I haven’t heard from since school days and he said, to win one race in a day is marvellous. But to win two races in a day is champion,” said Rose. The two were victorious on the first day of the Wakaiouiti meeting in February and their wins were special for many reasons. None more than the fact that Canstar (4yo Bettor’s Delight) and Duastar (3yo Art Major) were both bred from a mare that Rose and his racing partner John Howe had some success with on the track. Canstar Duastar The pair are the first and second foals from Starlet Lavra, a five-win Jereme's Jet mare who is out of the In The Pocket mare, Florentine Star. Regular readers may be thinking, ‘this Star breed rings a bell’? Florentine Star is a full sister to Star Command, mother of West Australian Derby winner, Patronus Star. “Starlet Lavra was a tremendous race mare and she comes out of the Queen's Treasure maternal line, which is full of good horses through its various branches,” he quipped. Last week we heard about the good Open Class horses like Starship and Anvil Star which are close relatives of Canstar and Duastar. But various taproots tracing back to Queens Treasure (1930) include offspring such as Holmes DG and 1984 NZ Cup winner Camelot amongst a litany of good open class and juvenile horses. Rose’s involvement in Harness Racing began at the same time a young Canterbury lad was making his way in the training ranks. “We had raced a lot of horses with Terry Chmiel and were with him when he went out on his own originally,” said Rose. “We hadn’t had a lot of luck but he was on the lookout for a nice one. “Mark Jones had said to Terry that he would want to have a look at a horse that was owned 50/50 by Tim Butt and Kypros Kotzikas. “She was a two-year-old and the funny story about her is that I was at the Motukarara trials and there was a heat being run for emerging two-year-olds. “There were three of Tim Butt’s and two of Nigel McGrath’s, and I sort of said to myself how do I get myself one of these two-year-olds that can get up and go early like these guys have? “Well bugger me, Starlet Lavra was one of the horses in that heat. I didn’t ever think that I would be owning one of them,” he said. Starlet Lavra had shown early promise, but it was her residual value as a broodmare that ultimately saw her sold as Rose and his partner were keen on the breeding side after some unsuccessful attempts a few years prior. “Anthony Butt said to me she was from a good family, so I went to Danny Boyle at Nevele R Stud who helped me research the family. “We printed off nearly seven pages of black-type performers from Classic Families, he couldn’t believe all of the families that were coming up and I couldn’t believe my eyes,” he said. Although Starlet Lavra had the speed to make a two-year-old, Chmiel advised his clients against pushing on and instead the camp opted for the patient route. “She could have won a race as a two-year-old but we thought being a big filly we would give her time, so I took her home and looked after her and waited until her three-year-old season,” he said. Rose and Howe didn’t have to wait long for their patience to be rewarded with Starlet Lavra who won her race debut at Addington comfortably in the hands of Glenys Chmiel. After some mixed performances being thrust up in grade at a time when fillies and mares opportunities were scarce, it would be six months before she recaptured her best form. After stringing a couple of placings together in the Winter of 2013, she found her way to the winner's circle on a balmy Thursday night at Forbury Park. She lined up on Cup Day the followings season as the winner of five races from 16 starts, having won her fourth and fifth races in succession. Her fourth win was very impressive, looping the field five wide and coming from last on the turn which with the lack of camber on the Rangiora track is no mean feat. She set a track record that day for mares over 2000m from a stand, stopping the clock in 2:31.1. That record still stands today. Just as it looked like Starlet Lavra was fulfilling her early promise, the wheels fell off through no fault of her own. “We lined up on Cup Day thinking there was only one horse to beat and that was Arden Rooney, but as he could earlier in his career, he galloped off the mobile arm and was out of the race. “We were sitting midfield with cover thinking we were a big show, but when Terry hooked her out to sprint, she was going backwards and he didn’t know what the hell had happened. “Blair had driven her at the Cup Trials and had come back and said to me jokingly that he should drive this horse because she was too good for Terry. She was no Adore Me but she beat her in a trial as a three-year-old,” he said. “What it turned out was that somewhere along the line she had been injected and they had hit a nerve in her neck. It was inhibiting her breathing subsequently and we thought that rather than operate, we would breed from her. “If we got one as good as her we would be happy, and if we got something better we would have something really good,” said Rose. Starlet Lavra was on the bigger side for most mares and it was with her size in mind that Rose and Howe sent her to Bettor’s Delight, thinking the Sire’s penchant for throwing the odd smaller foal would be the equilibrium needed for a recipe of success. Mother nature likes to make a fool of us as breeders and as it turned out, the mating would produce a filly who was rather large. “Canstar was a big scopey horse like her mother, Dan Cummings had told me that that side of the breed were big horses, and we had gone to Bettor’s thinking we would get a smaller foal,” said Rose. Like any decent breeder, Rose took a glass half full approach “She was a big horse, but so was Brent Mangos’ good filly Bettor Cover Lover.” Canstar took a little time to find her feet as a racehorse despite having a bit of breeding on her side. The daughter of Bettor’s Delight was well travelled racing at 10 different venues before securing her first win at her 11th start. Rose was quick to point out she had no favours with barrier draws for much of her early career, but running 5th in an Alabar Fillies Heat behind Wainui Creek showed she was no slouch. “The draws came out and we had drawn five and we were over the moon. I rang my partner to tell him and we were sort of jumping around because Wainui creek had drawn 8. “Half an hour later they re-drew the fields and we had drawn 8 and Wainui Creek had moved into the pole,” he laughed. By now the racing partnership of Rose and Howe had a second foal from Starlet Lavra and despite being cut from a different cloth physically, the Art Major filly was showing some of the family traits of early speed. “Duastar looks like a typical Art Major, they are totally different horses to look at but she too could have been a two-year-old,” said Rose. The virtue of patience was once again applied to see the now three-year-old presented at the races on the back of some good trial form, having won a Workout at Methven leading to her debut at Rangiora. The filly failed to fire a shot and after some questions from the stipes, was found to be suffering from the effects of a virus. Back to the drawing board they went. After a couple of nice trials and workouts, she went even worse at Methven. Interestingly the stipes left her alone this time?! Looking for answers it was decided a different approach might be good for the Rose and Howe owned duo, and the pair were sent to Woodend and placed in the care of Regan Todd. Duastar must have shown a bit on the beach because despite having run 10th at her first two starts, she opened a warm third favourite in the third race at Wakaiouiti. Robbie Close had her in the running line for most of the trip and when presented, showed some real dash to reel in the favourite Krystal Delight, who had led everywhere but the finish. “The funny thing was they were horses who we didn’t think had much of a sprint, but for whatever reason Regan didn’t agree with our assessment and so it’s proven,” said Rose. Canstar completed a wonderful day for Rose when she won the eighth race on the card. Todd insists that he never worked any oracles so to speak and that the pair were nice horses and probably just down on their luck a bit. “I didn’t have to do anything too drastic mate, wee Duastar had always shown promise early on for Terry but got crook a couple of times and Canstar was in the same boat, she seems nice enough and I would like to think they will be better for it next time in,” said Todd. Both horses have franked their form and gone on with it. Canstar bolted in at her next start at Addington after being no better than midfield and showing great zip to win going away before running second in an extremely deep fillies and mares race in her final start for the season. The younger sister Duastar has proven no slouch either running fourth in a strong Nevele R Fillies heat behind Stylish Memphis and then being beaten a nose by the seven-win Doctor Tim at Waimate. Both suggest they will make Rose proud next season and he has a He’s Watching yearling and Vincent weanling out of Starlet Lavra waiting in the wings. Both are colts and the yearling is showing some promise with Regan Todd. “The He’s Watching colt is a big rangy horse like his mum and I haven’t been out to see the Vincent colt for a while but he was a nice foal like a lot of the Vincent’s,” he said. It’s always great to see the nice guys having a bit of luck and for a student of the game like Rose, his passion for breeding is now beginning to reap its rewards. “I go over all the test matings and to finally have what you think come true, you feel validated,” said Rose. By Brad Reid | NZ Standardbred Breeders Association

It doesn’t matter which way you look, for Woodlands Stud’s Andrew Grierson and the Roberts and Kenny families, it’s basically harness racing business as usual. A wise man once said there’s a reason that the windscreen of a car is bigger than the rear-view mirror. That’s because it pays to look forward more than you look back. A quick glance in the rear-view however would be prudent for the Woodlands team because in March before we came to a grinding halt, they bred four individual Group Race winners. If it wasn’t for an ‘amazing’ filly winning the Derby, it could have easily been three in two days. The party started with Sweet Lou securing his second Group Race winner in New Zealand when the Stephen Reid trained Shes No Lady won the Delightful Lady Classic. She was bred by the stud after racing her dam Bettor Be A Lady with very same ownership group. The group includes ex All Blacks captain Kieran Read, halfback Andy Ellis and Dave Hewett together with 1974 Commonwealth Games star and harness racing identity Dick Tayler MNZM, who have raced Speeding Spur, Victors Delight and others with the larger Woodlands syndicate group. “We leased her mother Bettor Be A Lady out to the group and she won on debut for Cran, but she was just a bit of a carry-on and a bit of a difficult mare, so we retired her to stud after four starts,” said Grierson. “We leased her mother, Lady Retton and got a filly which was great, but we took the foal straight off her as she had had killed two or three of her foals. She went to a foster mare at Hallmark Stud and returned to us at weaning,” he said. Shes No Lady traces back to the famed 2009 Broodmare of Excellence winner in Coo Doo. Her dam, Bettor Be A Lady was the second live foal from Lady Retton (1:58 mile rate, 1700m), winner of 10 races from 31 starts for John and David Butcher. Lady Retton, by the Abercombie sire Crouch, was Group Two placed when runner-up to top mare Alta Serena in the 2005 $50,000 Queen Of Hearts at Auckland. Bettor Be A Lady’s third dam was Pamelene, who managed two grass track wins for the late Jack Smolenski from just 16 starts. Pamelene (Scottish Hanover-Coo Doo) was more importantly a sister to former top 1970s pacer Palestine (18 wins), who beat Speedy Guest, Noodlum and Micron in the 1976 Wellington Cup for Methven trainer-driver, Terry May. Palestine also won the 1977 Kaikoura Cup, scored an upset win in the 1977 Allan Matson FFA (mobile 2600m) on the final night of the NZ Cup meeting (beating Greg Robinson and Balgove), two Hannon Memorials, and beat Greg Robinson and Sunseeker in a 1979 Interdominion Consolation at Addington in the twilight of his career as a 9YO. “Shes No Lady was always a big strong filly, right from day one. “Her first couple of starts she had gone out of her gait and lost a bit of confidence but she had never done that at Pukekohe or with Steven (Reid) in the cart. “We hatched a bit of a plan and decided he should drive her in the big race, and the rest was history,” said Grierson. Covid-19 came at the wrong time of the year for anyone with a smart age group horse, but Shes No Lady will no doubt develop into a very nice filly for her three-year-old campaign. “We sold her full brother for $41,000 to Graeme Anderson at the sales this year and he was a really nice horse too,” said Grierson. One day after Shes No Lady’s triumph in Auckland, Henry Hubert smacked a nice field of pacers by 4 lengths to go back to back in the Group 3 Northern Southland Cup. He was bred out of the Christian Cullen mare Queen Camille, the producer of four winners including: Apollo Thirteen (ironically 13wins), Lambros (10 wins)and Kolovos (2 wins). Like Henry Hubert, they were all sired by Bettor’s Delight. Last term he showed he would make a nice open class horse when he won at Northern Southland, and a fortnight later scored the biggest win of his career in the 2019 Group 2 Four & Fiver Year Old Superstars at Addington. He beat Thefixer, Hail Christian and A G’s Whitesocks home before going on to run second behind Turn It Up in the Jewels G1 4YO Emerald. He showed he could mix it at the highest level when running 6th in last year’s New Zealand Cup finishing less than 2 lengths from Cruz Bromac in a sizzling 2 mile time. Copy That continued the good run for the stud when winning the Group Two Vero Flying Stakes from the outside gate on the 20th of March at Addington. He had been in sensational form this season since running second in the Sires Stakes Final after being drawn 14 and going down by only a lip. He then went on to win the G2 Alabar Classic and more recently was desperately unlucky when running into traffic issues on the final turn in the Northern Derby, finishing second behind Amazing Dream. “We got his dam Lively Nights from a connection with John Dickie who trained her throughout her career. “She was a reasonable race mare having won seven, and the people in the ownership didn’t want to breed from her so we took her over,” he said. That is the case with a lot of the mares at Woodlands now with the stud being offered well-bred mares with people cutting back on breeding or choosing not to breed at all. Grierson remembers Copy That being prepared for the All Age Sale at Karaka in 2017. “He wasn’t a big horse, just a nice horse, not big, not small. “We sold him as a weanling and it was Ray Green’s wife who bought him. She had brought Hard Copy as well and was never happy when Ray sold him, but probably wasn’t unhappy with the price,” laughed Grierson. “She’s obviously got a good eye because he showed something right from the start and (My) Hard Copy won $1.1 million also.” The two are both by resident sire American Ideal, and Grierson is frank in his understanding as to why the sire is continually overlooked by New Zealand breeders. American Ideal was moved to Victoria this season which was a reflection of where he sits in the Australasian market having done a full book in Australia again this season, yet a paltry 62 mares in the last two seasons in New Zealand. “The stats speak for themselves, he’s done a better job in Australia to be fair. “I mean he’s had some fantastic horses in Democrat Party, Ideal Belle, The Orange Agent etc but he lacked some good colts over here,” he said. His best colts being Ideal Scott and Besotted, but his progeny are continually showing up in big races and he recently triumphed in the WA Derby with Patronus Star. “I remember a few years ago he had the best two-year-old in NSW, the second best two-year-old in Victoria, the best horse in WA and was the second leading sire of two-year-olds in Australia, and yet he had only one two-year-old winner in New Zealand. “When you look at him in America he is never out of the top eight every year. “His stock is probably not as precocious as some of the other top stallions, but he is a good-looking horse and an athletic, thoroughbred type with a fantastic nature. He’s a gentleman. The most fantastic sire to look after and he just wants to please you. He’s happy to see you and throws that in his offspring as well,” said Grierson. The fourth Woodlands bred runner to win a Group Race in March was the former New Zealand Two-year-old of the Year in Another Masterpiece. He won the NZ Superstars on the 20th of March impressively having returned from a somewhat disappointing Australian trip cut short after failing to qualify for the Miracle Mile. This is a horse however who is easily overlooked in terms of his quality given over 50% of his races have been at Group One or Two level. He is bred to be good being out of one of the best-bred mares on the Woodlands Stud property in Elegant Art. David McCarthy detailed this a few years ago; Another Masterpiece, champion two-year-old of 2018, is by Bettor’s Delight from a Christian Cullen mare. Like Lazarus. Like well nearly every youngster popular at the sales and in big races these days. Nothing to see here?  Not quite.  Because once you get past that oh so fashionable cross, things get a bit interesting.  Another Masterpiece’s dam Elegant Art is the last Kiwi bred mare in the family. After that, it is all USA. Like a surprising number of top buys by All-Stars over the years.  And that USA family is not one of ordinary performers. In fact, Another Masterpiece’s third dam TOWN PRO was the champion American two-year-old filly of 1989 and the champion three-year-old filly of 1990 as well as being a Canadian Horse of the Year and the first to win back to back Breeder’s Crowns filly finals.   In 2004, she was elected to the Hall of Fame. She lived until 2014.  Town Pro won 12 of her 13 starts at two and 14 of 17 starts at three. Besides her ability, she was extraordinarily tough.    Her outstanding winner was Darlins Delight who won over $US2.9m but she left 12 winners from 17 foals altogether. Some tough.    Town Pro had been bought by trainer Stew Firlotte for $US60,000 as a yearling because Firlotte had had considerable success with her dam Programmed.  Programmed developed into the champion aged pacing mare in Canada and retired the highest earning daughter of the great Bret Hanover, no less.  Town Pro, in turn, was the richest racehorse by her sire Big Towner.  Grierson secured the dam of Another Masterpiece in a package negotiated by Hazel Van Opzeeland and once again the rest is history. “Elegant Art doesn’t have a lot of foals out there. She doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses in her pedigree either and has done a great job for us,” said Grierson. Looking further ahead to the All Age Sale, Woodlands will take a record 67 offerings to the sale now being conducted on the online selling platform, Gavel House. “It would have been nice to go to Karaka but who could have written the story we have now,” he said in reference to the pandemic that has forced the hand of New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred. “It will be interesting going through Gavelhouse but I believe with lag and some of our internet speeds around the country there could be a problem for the live auction route at this stage. “And in saying that we have had a lot of interest from Australia which being on Gavelhouse and the extended type of auction it can open up that market up a bit more while giving everyone a chance,” he said. Offering 55 lots last year, the All Age Sale is a big part of the Woodlands Stud business model by necessity. Having bred upwards of 170 mares of their own this season, they can’t take everything to the Yearling Sales and this has become a great avenue for the stud to sell some stock and put cash back into the business. It bodes as a great opportunity for the racing fraternity also who can secure some well-bred weanlings, knowing they have had the best start to life. Usually at a pretty good price also! This year is particularly exciting for Grierson and the stud with the first public offerings of Downbytheseaside and What The Hill progeny in the Southern Hemisphere. “We’ve got some fantastic looking weanlings. I don’t know if you have seen many What The Hill’s around Canterbury but he is leaving some fantastic looking types, he’s got a big chance and as does Downbytheseaside,” he said. The full Woodlands draft includes two American Ideals, two Bettor’s Delight’s (one yearling), 36 Downbytheseaside’s (which is slightly more than half of his live foals), 18 Sweet Lou’s and nine What The Hill weanlings. With Covid-19 and restricted travel and freight both domestic and internationally, a lot of breeders have begged the question “what does this mean for shuttle stallions this coming season?” A season without a Bettor’s Delight would not only be a major loss for a stud like Woodlands, but the stud book as well with many commercial mares simply not being bred at all. “We haven’t heard any different that at the moment they are not doing freight for horses.  It is a little bit early to know whether that is going to suddenly change, because it is big business for both sides and we own part of those horses. It’s not like a lease deal. “We’re hoping it will be just like business as usual, but there will be some additional costs no doubt with grooms who come down who will need to go into quarantine for 14 days. All of these things are unchartered waters for everybody so a lot will come out in the wash in a bit of time,” he said. Bettor’s Delight isn’t getting any younger but is showing no signs of stopping either having just won eight leading Sire of Pacers titles in New Zealand consecutively. He recaptured the title in Australia last season for his fifth crown while in North America he captured his sixth Leading North America Sire of All Age Pacers title and second in a row. “I wish he wouldn’t keep on being leading sire in America,” laughed Grierson when asked if he would have a forever home at the farm in the near future. “He is just unstoppable. We did a full physical before he went back to America: blood tests, hormone tests, feet x-rayed etc and he was all completely as he was the previous year and the year before. “We had him on a pretty strong rigorous diet. He was on a major exercise programme so he looked great as well. We got complimented on his physique when he go back. “Who knows, age catches up one everyone, but I have said to the American owners that when he is retired up there he has a forever home down here as we believe the weather and climate would be a lot more suitable for a horse his age and we would look after him like the champion he is,” said Grierson. By Brad Reid  To read more articles like this in the Breeders Update, click here.

Do you want the good news, or the bad news first? I was told to start with the bad news first so we could end on a high note. There isn’t a lot of good harness racing news in this and I won’t sugar coat it. The number of individual mares served in New Zealand has taken another hit this season and for the first time dips below 2,300 mares bred, with the number now resting at 2,171 individual mares served. Down from 2,333 the previous year. It’s a 35% decline over 10 years when we had 3365 individual mares bred in 2011. Before we go any further on the matter, let’s get one thing straight. We as standardbred breeders in New Zealand are not unique in the sense of a declining participation. Every jurisdiction globally that races standardbreds (and thoroughbreds) is facing the same challenges. Australian breeding declined 42 percent in the 10 years to 2018/19 and have even bigger challenges when it comes to wastage (more on that on Tuesday) Rising costs, stagnant returns and a dwindling social acceptance of racing are factors with apathy to harness racing growing demonstrated through a decline in TAB turnover. Similarly, this problem is not unique to the equine racing codes. All major sports are struggling to remain relevant in today’s society and some of our greatest pastimes are facing significant challenges also.  I draw a parallel with rugby because it too is suffering at the grass roots to non-traditional sports in terms of participation to codes like basketball having once been the only ticket in town. Sound familiar? Basketball now represents almost a third of the TAB’s sports turnover. Harness racing is now around 22-24%. Our greatest strengths are also our greatest weakness in the sense that we breed and develop the best athletes in our respective codes, creating demand for product offshore at the expense of the domestic product. To keep people coming through the gate and interested, we need to retain our best athletes and that is a challenge we both face. You can’t blame a young rugby player, or the owner of a fringe open class pacer or a promising young filly for chasing a solid return when the opportunity presents itself. It’s encouraging to hear that in the challenging climate we now face, as we head into racing post Covid-19, that the TAB, RITA and the codes will focus on maximising turnover, but given the lack of funding that will be available we all need to be realistic about what racing will look like when it returns. The breeding industry is our focus however so I’ll stick to my knitting. The ramifications of this seasons breeding’s won’t be felt for five years, but is something our racing people need to be conscious of and prepare for in their forecasting. The number of registered foals has gone well below 2000 and will only get worse if we continue to get bad information regarding stallion fertility. The increasing use of frozen semen comes with its own limitations and costs. A breeding industry already struggling for investment will no doubt take a hit as participants look at their expenditure. The NZSBA has very little control over so much of the above on its current funding which is going to get worse before it gets better. We will be tightening our belts but looking to continue serving breeders. The current challenge for me and the executive of the NZSBA is continuing to be vigilant, strategic and tactical as to its contribution to an industry that has to radically changing how it does business. There is no silver bullet to solve breeding numbers and we have about as much chance of Lord Module winning this year’s New Zealand Cup. Victoria provides an example we perhaps should study. Victoria went from 3893 mares bred to 4073 and last breeding season tapered off again to 3928. This season’s statistics have yet to come through, but it does have the widely applauded VicBred scheme to promote racing the local product. The bonuses from HRV haven’t been merely funded by their own code, they had an enormous government contribution also. Four million was spent initially by HRV when announcing their initiatives in 2012. The state government injection, $2.4m came in 2016 with a further $3 million from HRV causing a slight spike in numbers. So all in all, HRV has spent close to $10 million to see their breeding numbers stay almost exactly as they were seven breeding seasons ago which is a hell of a lot better than here and the rest of Australia. That is the level of investment required, and is it sustainable? Governments here have never shown an inclination to support racing under economic development allocations. Perhaps we should be advocating for this post-Covid-19? A decade ago Winnie threw $1 million at the Cup.  His bloodstock breeding tax concessions at that time did steady the decline for a short while. The first win bonus recently came with the best of intentions, but it was never sustainable either. The stallion service records (and yearling sales) paint a pretty accurate picture of the current climate. The top four pacing stallions on average at this year’s Yearling Sales: Bettor’s Delight, Art Major, Sweet Lou & Captaintreacherous served only 18 less mares between them season on season. Those in the $7000 or less bracket were down nearly 300 mares and that was with Always B Miki doing 72 more mares than last season. In my opinion we need to do more to cater to this demographic of horse and can do so simply with our programming. It doesn’t cost a pinch of salt to programme a race for horses sired by the middle to lower tier stallions regularly. I say regularly because the Sires 7000 is a nice concept but a one off race we need more of, and they don’t need to carry the $30,000 stake. But why not a series? Data shows that in Canterbury alone, there are over 500 four year old and older pacers registered with trainers that fall into this bracket of being sired by stallions at prices of $7,000 or less. Is it going to solve the worlds problems? No. But if you’re serious about providing opportunities for those at the bottom end, start with programming. It isn’t a numbers problem, and it couldn’t hurt to try. Why couldn’t an extended Sires 7000 type series be part of a bigger carrot? Last year only 17% of horses sired by New Zealand-bred stallions paid up for the Sires Stakes scheme with foal payments. Their progeny struggle to beat the better bred horses on the track or and because of this are not in demand at the sales so what incentive is there for anyone to breed to them? The one and two mare hobby breeders are disappearing and we need to give them hope. They need to be able to either race or sell horses bred to stallions other than the expensive top four! It can’t be a case of commercial or nothing which it is becoming. Going back to Government contributions, there is potential for a policy change with the IRD. The current ‘Stand Out Yearling’ policy has unofficially yielded minimal applications in either code. The policy which has finding of close to $4 million in ‘incentives’ attached over four years, but every year it goes unutilised it is dead money. No refunds sorry! It would appear that the IRD and Winston are cottoning on to the fact that for stimulus in the breeding industry, perhaps another approach is needed. Hence a review that is being finalised now. Is the purchase of a standardbred yearling on price alone the best indication of someone looking to start a breeding business? John Aubrey the well-known bloodstock tax accountant hits the nail on the had in my opinion with his summation of the scheme; existing breeders in business are not faced with any of these time-consuming information requirements (the paperwork and documentation involved to apply); a standout yearling is best based on pedigree and type, not sale price; the threshold proposals should be abandoned and a simple amendment made to the existing bloodstock sections of the act that new investors should be subject to the same legislative rules as existing breeders and that their new breeding business should commence at time of purchase of their potential breeding bloodstock; and in lieu of endeavouring to promote standout yearlings the best course of action by far is to promote standout broodmares. The NZSBA is closely involved in working with the IRD, RITA and the thoroughbred code in urging government to reform bloodstock taxation as suggested by John Aubrey. In addition to John’s fourth point, why couldn’t both codes be tasked with coming up with some race bonus’ or credit schemes of their own to further sustain the sectors? But I would like to believe that we could work together to come up with something that is of long term value to breeding. Next week we will discuss with the NZ Sires Stakes Board and their vision for a possible return to racing and how they endeavour to best utilise the resources they hold on behalf of breeders, owners and studs who pay handsomely to participate in these series. It will be interesting to get their thoughts. I said I would finish with good news and that is what I will do. For the fourth year in a row, New Zealand’s trotting renaissance has continued. Over the same period as the VicBred scheme (seven years), trot mares bred have managed to maintain their numbers. There were 642 services in 2012/13, and this year there were 643. It took a dip in the 2015/16 season at 545, but the bounce back is a reflection of the improved genetics and a greater parity when it comes to racing. That’s not a dig, it’s a fact. It’s imperative we look to invest in our growth areas like this, and it’s about time the trotters got more respect when it came to Group Race races and stakes. Now, now. Let’s not finish on a sour note. As always, I welcome your views and would love to hear your ideas and suggestions. We can and will come out of this malaise not helped by Mr Covid-19. We can’t pretend the challenge is not immense, but let’s not shirk the task either. A collaborative approach will be needed to ensure the sustainability and viability of harness racing if we hope to be anything more than an export market. Again, that sounds scarily like the challenge before New Zealand Rugby. By Brad Reid To read more articles like this in the Breeders Update, click here.

The old adage ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’ will ring true with many of New Zealand’s trotting breeders.   Muscle Hill is a sire who averages $100K+ with drafts of 100+ every year in North America.His service fee commands an undisclosed figure rumoured to be north of $40,000 and yet several of this year’s age group trotting winners couldn’t get near that figure at the NZ yearling sales when offered by their vendors.   Cracker Hill, the brilliant winner of the Hambletonian was passed in for $40,000.   Chloe Rose, a New Zealand record holder this term when winning the Sires Stakes Classique, was sold for $21,000.   New Zealand Two Year Old Trotter of the Year Bolt For brilliance was sold for $30,000.   Muscle Mountain was knocked down for $30,000 and Midnight Dash passed in for $40,000.   What do they all have in common?   They were all sold at the 2018 Premiere Sale in Christchurch and they have all exceeded $30,000 in stakes.   They have achieved this despite the limited prize money on offer for square gaiters in their two year old season and early into their three year old campaigns, with their lucrative three year old season riches of the Derbies and Sires Stakes Features yet to be run.   New Zealand Oaks winner Vacation Hill is another to add to the same list of Muscle Hill yearlings offered that year, and her breeder Bruce Hutton is still scratching his head as to how.   “I think they must have thought what is Bruce Hutton doing selling this horse when he keeps and races all of his, but I had already made the decision early on that she would be sold and she never got a bid,” he said.   Despite having no obvious faults, the daughter of Muscle Hill out of Vacanza, a Dream Vacation NZ record holder from the paternal family of Sundon and Pine Chip was unwanted.   “She was a lovely filly, and a couple of days later Kevin Townley called me to see if she was still for sale and he bought her over the phone.   “I got to break her in which was part of the deal and I remember Kevin coming to look at her and quite liking her,” said Hutton.   “He made the comment that his yearlings were usually bowling along a little more when he broke them in.   “I told him because the mother could pull, we’ve really kept her quiet and never told her that she’s got speed and I think he adapted that into his own training of her.   “She just had a great style and she was bred to be good as well. We just thought we will never tell her how fast she is,” he said.   Despite qualifying as a late two-year old, the decision was made to tuck the blue-blood filly away to allow her the time to develop into her big frame.   “We all knew very early on she would make a good filly and even as a two-year old Kevin really rated her. She will get better with time and she’s in the right hands with Kevin to do so. She was too big and immature to go early and he’s looked after which is what she needed.   Vacation Hill’s mother, Vacanza, was a late bloomer and never begun her race career until January of her four-year old season.   After wins at Geraldine and then Methven, she showed she wasn’t just a toff for the grass when she then broke the 1950m mobile record for trotting mares at Addington.   She trotted the sprint trip in 2.25.2 and a MR of 1:59, breaking a 12 year old record held by Valley of the Moon.   “She was a funny mare because she pulled terribly in the prelim but in a race she was a dream to drive.   “You put her in the paddock and she takes off at a thousand miles an hour, does one lap around the paddock and then she’s as good as gold. I dunno why she did it, cover on, cover off, it didn’t make any difference,” he said.   Vacanza (Dream Vacation) was in utero as a package deal when her mother Sunny Lane (2000 Lindy Lane) was purchased.   That was a great result in itself because like Vacanza, Sunny Lane was a nightmare to get in foal and only produced three in her time at stud from eleven years of trying.   “She was at Nevele R and she always had breeding issues and didn’t get in foal that easy. We just happened to fluke that she got in foal to Dream Vacation first go,” said Hutton.   Three years after Vacanza, Sunny Lane produced a Majestic Son colt called Solar Storm who won three but disappeared in Australia after being sold.   Three years later she produced a Muscle Hilly filly called American Jewel who was purchased as a weanling by Pat Driscoll of Yabby Dabby Farm.   “American Jewel was showing exceptional talent as a three year old and was just about to race, but injured herself in a pool accident and hence never made it,” said Driscoll.   “She was bred to Love You in 2018 but we lost the foal and is now  in foal to Father Patrick, so hopefully all going  well we have a healthy foal this spring,” he said. Both Hutton and Driscoll will be hoping for some good fortune as American Jewel was where the road ended for Sunny Lane as a mare despite several more efforts.   Sunny Lane was bred by Jim Dalgety having successfully raced her dam, the exceptionally talented Sunny Action.   Sunny Action did a lot of her Open Class racing in Mark Purdon’s care, but ultimately won her three biggest races in the colours of Dalgety including the Yearling Sales Final and the NZ Trotting Stakes at three.   She was back in his colours with a young Terry Chmiel when she downed Lyell Creek in the 2000 NZ Trotting FFA, ending his unbeaten streak at 20.   The Sundon mare was line bred 2x3 to her grandam Roydon Gal and was one of the few bred on this cross by the great Sir Roy McKenzie to have much success on the track.   A few astute breeders will know this story but when researching the family I came across this nugget in Sir Roy’s book, The Roydon Heritage.   It details how fortunate we as an industry were in Sir Roy securing Roydon Gal for many reasons, none more so than the fact she left Arndon, and in turn Sundon.   “At the 1976 ‘Adios’ there was a yearling sale which featured a Super Bowl filly I was keen to secure. My aim was to help breed good young trotters. This was not a very attractive financial investment but probably necessary long term. As well as driving her before the sale, I drove a Noble Victory colt who impressed me as an ideal cross for our Game Pride mares and as a result, I had a difficult decision to make between the filly and the colt.   The sales area was crowded but my wife and daughter Robyn got seats and shortly before the filly came in, I gained one in front of them.   There was some quick and frantic bidding, but I finally secured her, though my family didn’t think so. She had cost more than I bargained for. The colt, Noble Art, sold for $4000 less later in the sale. He was purchased by Del Miller and the Grants and he became the top money winning two-year-old of 1977. He has earned over $100,000 and he will have a sub 2min record any day.   We named the filly Roydon Gal and she trained really well as a two-year-old but showed some soreness when due to race at that age. We later qualified her in 2:10 and she has now been bred to Arnie Almahurst to whom she is in foal. In 1979 she will be brought back to New Zealand. A full brother to Roydon Gal, Superbly sold at the yearling Sales for $70,000 in 1978.   The advent of time would tell us that Noble Art never broke two minutes and Roydon Gal would be one of the most influential, if not the most influential trotting mare to the New Zealand stud book ever.”   Unfortunately for Hutton, Vacanza has carried on the family tradition of struggling to get in foal.   “She’s been to some of the best vets and nobody seems to know whats wrong there.   “She doesn’t cycle or ovulate properly. We got her in foal first go with frozen semen (Vacation Hill) and thought it was easy, but she’s proved hard since,” he said.   Matings to frozen semen consorts in Muscle Hill (2017), Wishing Stone (2018) and Southwind Frank (2019) coupled with two seasons of trying the fresh semen route with Majestic Son (2020) all came up empty.   “We’ll try a few different things this year and see how we go,” said Hutton.   Hutton is perhaps best known for the deeds of his trotters from the wonderful producer, Belday.   He won the Yearling Sales Final for three-year olds with Rhythm of the Night as well as a heat of the Victorian Trotters Derby.   He still has a full-sister in Fire in the Night who was a bonnie mare and should have won a New Zealand Trotting Oaks if not for breaking in the run home where she still ran fourth and only six lengths from the winner, Commander Jewel.   Hutton has had better luck producing from this breed with three foals from Fire in the Night (in foal to Majestic Son) including a Muscle Hill mare Luminosity.   She was on track to clear maidens having run second four times in her last five starts before Covid-19 abruptly ended the season.   Injured while racing as an early two-year old, Luminosity was put in foal and produced a Love You colt that is doing its early education at the present.   “We like him but he’s not a natural trotter at this stage,” said Hutton.   “I’m also breeding from Insignificant who has a Southwind Frank colt on her and is back in foal to Majestic Son,” he said.   Hutton has never been shy when it comes to trying to improve his breed and has been one of the great disciples of Muscle Hill, well before his stock began to produce the results they have today.   His theories on breeding are simple.   “Both Fire in the Night and Insignificant are nice quality mares with a reasonable pedigree behind them. You’ve gotta try and back yourself don’t ya?   “Breed the best to the best and hope for the best. I sell a lot of horses up to American and I’ve got a lot of contacts up there who I’ve always spoken to about their breeding scene and what’s working well.   “I’ve been looking to see if I can find a quality horse up there to bring down and actually race here with a view to breed from, but of course with all the stuff that’s happening now it’s probably going to be prohibitive,” said Hutton.   Another prohibitive factor in recent years has been Hutton’s health with the Canterbury horseman battling cancer, but he is fighting back having recently undergone stem cell treatment.   It’s a good thing he’s a fighter, because Vacation Hill’s win in the Oaks provided him with his biggest thrill as a breeder.   “It was actually my first ever Group win as a breeder and was a massive thrill to see the horse win for Kev and connections,” he said.     By Brad Reid Read more articles like this in the Breeders Update: www.bit.ly/BreedersUpdate78 Subscribe here: www.bit.ly/SignUpBU 

Captaintreacherous - Anyone who needs a reminder how fickle a game breeding can be, I want to tell you a quick yarn from my own perspective in detailing the boom harness racing sire of the sales. When he was first announced available by Empire Stallions, I was both excited and nervous. Nervous because I had to be sure I could afford him, but excited because I couldn’t see how he could miss. Race credentials aside, he got some of the best 160 mares in North America, was well patronised by Hanover Shoe Farm, had the same maternal pedigree as Art Major and many other great stallions and had the public following of a Hollywood celebrity. The Captain’s first crop went gangbusters at the sales in North America and backed up the sentiment by dethroning his father on the track to be leading sire of two-year-olds in his debut year. Despite the hype, there was a real fear here from vendors who had forked out the $11,000 for the service fee that it wouldn’t translate into a great sale. Peter Lagan had seen it all before, just look at the first crops of Art Major, Bettor’s Delight and Mach Three and how the buyers in our country had come to view Somebeachsomewhere at sales time. Lagan told me it was hard to gauge but in his opinion, this was the greatest debut of a sire selling 10 lots or more in his time in the standardbred industry. Only Falcon Seelster would come close. From my limited experience at the sales, you can tell fairly quickly what sort of interest there is in a yearling, and similarly a new season sire. Price isn’t always indicative of interest in my books as sometimes the buyer knocking down the purchase paints a picture also. Brian & Gareth Hughes bought the first Captain T ever sold here for $60,000. Lot 35, a colt out of a Bettor’s mare. The Orange Agent was on the page, potentially a sentimental purchase from a leading vendor and preparer? Lot 81 walks in, a Captain T filly from a Presidential Ball daughter of Andres Blue Chip, mother of Carabella: $55k to Lincoln Farms. Good money for a filly, but pedigree to burn. Then again, Lincoln Farms know a thing or two about picking out yearlings by American siring sensations. Think King of Swing by Rocknroll Hanover. Lot 81, Spice It Up A picture started to form, it wasn’t just the money, but the hive of activity from interested under bidders. Lot 122 walked in later in the day, the aptly named Captain Outrageous. A striking colt out of well-performed and related mare, Veste. The gavel came down at $130,000 to the bid of Mark Purdon and the All Stars. Lot 122, Captain Outrageous The picture was painted. This guy was in demand and from our greatest trainers none the less. The momentum carried through to Christchurch where Steven Reid, Emilio Rosati, Brent Mangos and several others saw 10 lots sold and one passed in for an average of $72,050. I sent my maiden Rocknroll Hanover mare to him three breeding seasons ago (what a beautiful cross that would be said I), tried unsuccessfully from September through to January, eventually had to have a crack with fresh semen and she took first pop to Sportswriter. What might have been? It wasn’t for a lack of trying. But in a game where margin for error is at the mercy of Mother Nature, instead of a cracking Captaintreacherous colt, I had a January filly by a sire not quite in vogue amongst buyers, at least not in the same sphere as the other fella. We are all searching for that perfect storm, particularly those breeding to sell. I guess you win some and lose more then you care to remember! Won’t stop us from trying to identify the next big thing. Just doesn’t happen all that often as Falcon hit the ring a few decades ago now. Who next?! This proves to be a great segue to another discussion point I wanted to raise. The real concern for those breeding for the sales is trying to identify who will be next? Bettor’s Delight is getting on in years and this breeding season has served less than half the mares he did in 2017. At $25k ($20k plus GST with the discount) he is almost strictly reserved for commercial mares and breeders and his first yearlings at that service fee will go through the ring next year. ‘The King’ still boxes like the top dog he is fetching a $50k average for 99 lots sold across both sales. Very impressive by anyone’s maths. The buyers still want them and when you look at the Group Race results, why wouldn’t you? Same said for Art Major averaging $45,729.00 across both sales. But same problem. He is getting older and his returns aren’t in for the year as of yet, but surely can’t be north of his biggest books. Sweet Lou was the only other sire available going forward outside of Captaintreacherous and the two big guns discussed you could resolutely say the buyers were prepared to pay overs for. We can’t get Roll With Joe due to fertility issues and he had a ripper of a sale in Christchurch. They aren’t making Mach Three’s or Somebeachsomewhere’s anymore, which for the latter is a crying shame as it appeared the performance of his stock in Australasia over the last few months had done enough to buy him the semblance of the respect he deserves in this part of the world. Am I being harsh to say some of the other sires have got a job on their hands to prove their worth in this country? Unless you are preparing some of them at home yourself for the most part it is very hard to get a return. Are they victims of our unlimited books in New Zealand? The other elephant in the room is the fact that to win a two and three-year-old race at group level in this country, it seems to be that you have to be racing out of a handful of stables. If they aren’t training your stock, your stallion isn’t in the bright lights and it has critics deeming them failures, perhaps prematurely. Then you have an anomaly like American Ideal who is proven to leave a freak, gets a full book in Australia and yet is largely ignored by both breeders here this season and buyers for the past couple of years. American Ideal Always B Miki gets his chance next year but must have a job on his hands to keep pace with Lou and Captain T given they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. That leaves us at about four (rightly or wrongly) with two of them in their twilight. Thankfully, Sweet Lou is on the books with Woodland Stud and available here in New Zealand fresh. But this equation presents another challenging question, and one breeders can’t really afford (excuse the pun) to have to ask. How much will his fee increase? The rumours are already swirling about Captaintreacherous whose fee increased to $25,000 in North America. The fact the stallion’s North American’s owners are putting big pressure on the semen providers down under to substantially increase his fee is music only to the ears of those with foals on the ground and mares in foal this season. This isn’t North America. While our vendors had a good sale, we aren’t getting North American prices for yearlings relatively speaking because quite simply there isn’t the same stake money or opportunities for a return. Therefore, it’s a chicken and egg scenario. Market forces will dictate, but when the same market forces are killing the very market they operate in, we can’t beat around the bush and hide from the fact that in an industry where stake money has largely remained stagnant, it would be harsh to continue to force the hand of those supplying the product with overzealous stud fees. If you are not breeding commercially you all but have to be breeding to get your progeny up and running at the very least. There were several vendors disappointed to miss out on the opportunity to sell their horse in February, and we will work hard to look at what viable options there are for a market to do so. It is important for some breeders to be able to meet the bottom end of the market in order to pay their stud fees and go again, and for some the April sale is too late. Can the studs come to the party? Trotting Sale You would like to think the trotting sale in Christchurch is here to stay, and while they don’t have the same numbers in Auckland it makes you wonder whether or not they would be better off doing the same thing there. Not holding them on a different day by any means, but grouping them together seems to significantly lift the bottom end of the market in the momentum created by the others. Rather than being lost in the backwash amongst a sea of Bettor’s Delight’s, the ugly ducklings of harness are more like the black swans. Again, when you look at the infographic all the key indicators are up. The other area that is clear with the trotters is that with limited numbers gaining entry, the types that do get in the sale are typically of a high standard. This is indicative when you look at the prices paid for sires with very few numbers on the ground, not enough to make assumptions about their ability anyway. Vendors If there was any more chat about the Southern Bred Southern Reared group you would worry their heads would swell to dangerous sizes. Lucky for the rest of us, it’s typically quite cold down there so swelling shouldn’t be an issue. In all honesty, you would struggle to find a more humble and honest bunch of human beings who make the most of their favourable climate for growing yearlings to continually produce stock worthy of the money paid for them. Two of the top ten trotting lots and five of the top 10 pacing lots were produced by the group which is remarkable. The vendor from the group with the highest price typically buys dinner on the Wednesday night, and judging by the turn out at Lone Star in Riccarton, both Shard Farm and Beaudiene Breeding would have been ecstatic to share the accolade of top prices meaning they share in the bill. Southern Bred Southern Reared Canterbury vendors weren’t to be entirely out done. Spreydon Lodge had a ripper sale selling three in the $75-$80k range and a Mach Three colt for $140,000. The renaissance of Spreydon as vendors has a lot to do with Ged Mooar and his team mating the good Spreydon mares with commercial stallions, and not just the ones on the farm as in seasons past. Spreydon Lodge have also been active buyers in the market of mares having just purchased an Art Major half-sister to Ultimate Machete as a weanling. Positive signs for the future of the stud! On the Canterbury note there was an obvious omission from the vendors list this year and he would have been looking down with immense pride watching the sales take the leap forward they did. Bob McArdle and the Bromac banner were no doubt with us in spirit. Knowing Bob he would probably have been pissed off Lot 330 didn’t bring six figures, despite reaching $95,000. In the North Island, any vendor or preparer must rub their hands together at the sight of the Karaka complex. As too the yearlings with their lovely wood chipped boxes serving as the Hilton of temporary horse homes. While they may have less numbers, all this does is perpetuate and highlight the high standard of yearlings, particularly when Woodlands and Breckon Farms are preparing and selling close to a third of the catalogued lots. Without their commitment, the Auckland sale would struggle to get off the ground, and the quality is there for all to see. If you ever want to treat yourself to some of the best judges parading and trotting up some of our best horse flesh in the country, get yourself to Karaka nice and early on the Monday. I would give my left one (as would many) to stand next to Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen as they gets the lots they like paraded up and down, chatting to their vet and making notes. If I was a young horseman, I’m not sure whether it’s kosher or not, but I would be looking at the lots they gets out and then have vetted and making my own judgement outside of the pedigree page as to what they might like and why. A tip of the hat must go to Logan Hollis and Shane Robertson who did a remarkable job to be the leading preparer by average on behalf of their vendors. Harvey Kaplan pulled off one of the best pin hook jobs in our standardbred sales history buying three weanlings for just over $60,000 and selling the three of them in excess of $200,000. While this sort of feat is common in the thoroughbred business, it’s not easily done in our game and bodes well for those willing to back their judgement and roll the dice going forward. Particularly when NZB Finance facilities and the upcoming Ready To run Sales are ready to assist! (Peter Lagan Quote about vendor’s quality) Across the board, it is impossible to commend the job NZB Standardbred did without first congratulating the vendors and preparers who rose to the challenge of lifting the bar to heights Eliza McCartney would struggle to jump over. It wasn’t all rainbows and lollipops and it genuinely hurts to see some vendors who meet the market and tick the boxes go home with their tail between their legs. This wasn’t the case with all, but you must ask questions of yourself. Am I meeting the market? And if not, how can I do so? Buyers Look at how far the aggregate is up! NZB Standardbred lifted the buying bench spend by over $2 million. It was obvious on the first day that there was a major shift in spending, and the finance and credit facilities played a large part in that. It was great to see young horseman like Alicia Harrison and Brad Williamson putting their hard earned on the line and buying young stock. Brad went to $55k to secure a Love You colt out of Allegro Agitato which is a far cry from being tasked with resurrecting and patching together hand me downs which he has done so capably thus far in his career. Then you have the like of Stonewall Stud who spent over $400,000 in securing twelve lots. The Stockman’s have had great success breeding from their nursery of mares, syndicating and racing the progeny. Having Stonewall Stud take home 12 lots makes for great reading, but the strength in the middle market and the lifting of the sales medians is where buyers like their involvement is most felt. Because while they took home 12, they were under bidder on plenty more and it’s that competition that has been directly missing in previous years. Graeme Rogerson came out of a sojourn to secure five lots at over $400,000. Lincoln Farms put their money where their mouth is, as too Phil Kennard, Jean Feiss and the All Stars supporters. Sadly Neil Pilcher was missing this year, and you could bet your bottom dollar he would have been up to his eye balls in securing a few nice priced lots had he been! There were plenty more that invested and I speak for all vendors when wishing you all the success in the world with your investments. A sincere thank you. Where too? One of the blessings about NZB coming on board has been the Christchurch standardbred team moving into the HRNZ building. For me it has meant a closer working relationship with some of the previous PGGW staff given we are only doors away. This has made my life far easier and has reinforced the importance of verbal communication and working together. In the past when under the PGGW banner, the NZSBA was no doubt the bane of their existence. Bright-eyed and bushy tailed, I would go to Bruce with visions of changing the world, unaware of the constraints they were working under, and was probably seen as a nuisance in some respects. We can look back and chuckle on past grievances, but its far nice to be on the same page and fighting a winning battle. I’m sure Peter, Bruce, Cam, Rachel and Grant had a far better week then in previous years without the burden of a breeding industry bearing down on them! That leads to Andrew, James, Charlotte and the team at NZB Karaka. I have thanked them privately along with many others for their contribution in creating a wonderful week for our industry. Knowing the perfectionists they are, I am sure they will already be discussing ideas and improvements to be made. I’m sure you would have learnt a lot from the experience and look forward to working in with you to ensure future success for all concerned. It would be unfair to suggest this sudden lift is a flash in the pan, but it shouldn’t mean we as an industry sit back and simply say we are now tracking in the right direction. The enthusiasm generated by the sales has been enough for numerous breeders who have sat on the fence in recent years to come to me over the last few weeks and tell me they intend to breed this coming season. While the surge in money returned to vendors is encouraging and reward for those who hung tough, we have plenty of work to do to continue to improve our racing product to ensure its sustainability. While sales money is nice for vendors, it is only the sustainable increase in stake money that will provide the return on investment needed for buyers to sustainably continue to invest. The amazing thing about the increase of $2 million being spent is that it was done without any of the of the industry KPI’s having been drastically improved. Yes, minimum stakes have increased in Southland. And yes, stake money is increasing as promised in Auckland. Let’s not waste this momentum by resting on laurels and rather ride the momentum to good effect. Hopefully Winston's boys get on with implementing the Messara report & start delivering real benefits.  NZ Bloodstock has done what it set out to do. You know you are doing something right when the APG company resorts to underarm bowling and goes the attack which they did with a series of claims on assumed costs. It was dealt with professionally by the NZB team and did little to slow them down in the end. Fair play to the new PGGW Standardbred staff for having a presence at the sales. They are like a labourer with a wheelbarrow in the respect they have a job in front of them. If there is any hope from their quarters to be a factor again in the sales market, the bar is now sky high. I truly believe that in time the upcoming April and May All Age Sale will have a bigger impact then in the past. Alabar and Woodland’s commitment to putting well-bred weanlings on the market has certainly created another angle for those priced out of the yearling sales looking to invest, as well as those looking to pinhook for the following year. With weanlings and yearlings sold through the sale now Harness Millions Series eligible, it will add another dynamic. Yearling’s that perhaps need a wee bit more time will now have the opportunity to develop into their frames, particularly those that are late foals or on the smaller side. You will see more depth of quality and I have on record that Fight For Glory’s first foal will be sold at Christchurch in April, as she was on the smaller side and needed some time to develop like a lot of first foals. Onwards and upwards, as always value your feedback and you know how to reach me should you have any. Brad Reid

Back when I was teenager, I played golf with a fella whose short game was about as good as his horse knowledge when I told him who I had backed in the cup. The favourite that year was Flashing Red having just won the Ashburton Flying Stakes and almost every other lead up to the cup going in. One mare in particular that ran a cheeky race at Ashburton was the Open Class mare Foreal (2001 – Washington VC – Krystle). Never the safest from a stand, she missed away in the flying stakes and ran a slasher for fifth. While she missed away in the cup and put pay to her chances at the barrier tapes, I always remember what he said to me regarding the mare. “The difference between her and Flashing Red is that Flashing Red is a real race-horse.” Really? I wish I had infohorse on my old Nokia brick back then as I would have been able to spend the next 10 holes re-educating him on $664,800 in stakes and a career that spanned 5 Group race wins (2 at Group 1) and 12 Group race placings. The horse was quite literally, ‘Foreal’, and is now living up to that same moniker as a mother stamping her mark in the broodmare barn. Syd Brown, the Mosgiel property developer who bred, owned and even trained Foreal for her first two 2 year old starts (both wins) was delighted to see the second foal he has bred from the mare winning his first start of the new campaign. “It was a great win after all the trials and tribulations he’s been through really, and it was great to see a good outcome!” Field Marshal (2011 – Art Major) won the Prime Panels Mobile Pace comfortably in the hands of Dexter Dunn after flying the gate to hold the lead before handing up and securing a trail. He buzzed up the passing lane in a very quick final 400 of 26.9 to win going away. Syd’s wife Shona who shares in the breeding and ownership of the beautifully bred four year old entire said they were excited for what may lie ahead after the classy display fresh up. “That was his first start since he had surgery on his pallet” she said. “While racing in Australia it was discovered that he had a very severe wind issue and the vet, Alistair Mclean of Werribee Clinic couldn’t believe he was winning with the issue that he had!” Having run a super 1:54 mile at Menangle in February in the hands of Anthony Butt, he was then a disappointing 7th a week later in a heat of the NSW Derby. It was then the wind issue was discovered and the couple’s patience looks to have been rewarded since. For that a lot of the credit must go to Tim Butt who Syd say’s has shown his skill in placing the horse well and taking his time in bringing him back. Syd’s first experience with Standardbreds was typical of most when they catch the bug we call harness racing; “Umm really it was something that was way back when I was in my youth where I went up to Chirstchurch for the cup meeting helping out my next door neighbour Hector Anderton. And he took me up to Don Nyhans place because Hector had a horse there called Snow Globe (1958 – Johnny Globe – Snow Jane).” “I was out there and Don gave me a drive on one of his pacers and I was hooked from tha moment on. From that we went to the Interdominion sale at Forbury Park when they were held there and we bought a mare in foal to Johnny Globe called Omylight (1960 Light Brigade – Scotomy) and that was my start in the industry” he said. Syd was very understating in the success he and his wife have shared since when referring to the family he has bred from dating back to 1966. “I’ve been very fortunate to have bred some horses that were a little bit above average and it gives you a great thrill but also when you’re in this game, when you’ve got livestock, you’ve also got dead stock as well so you do have the ups and downs and it’s never plain sailing. And that’s what you’ve got to learn when you’re in this game is you’ve got to be able to take the knocks as well as the good times” he said. Members of the family to have given the Browns some of those good times mentioned include Sydney James (1968g – Johnny Globe – Omylight) which was the subsequent foal from the Dunedin sale. Syd credit’s the horse for getting him started and getting to the verge of cup class but it was a son of Lordship that took his family and friends on “many nice trips away and allowed me to meet many nice people in the game”. That horse was Regal Light (1971 – Lordship – Omylight) which was a high speed horse and won 11 races whilst under the care of Syd himself throughout the mid to late seventies. Foreal’s dam, Krystle (1985 – El Patron – Diedre) raced with distinction and won five races and placed in 21 more but happened to run into another quality mare in Blossom Lady when racing in the mares classics. Krystle was a broodmare gem leaving more winners in Clontarf (1992g – Vance Hanover), Regal Star (1993g – Smooth Fella – 16 wins & 23 placings in Queensland) and Checkmate (1997g – Jaguar Spur). Like Foreal, her deeds as a grand dam have been replicated with the (1997) Holmes Hanover mare in Coming Up Roses who Syd bred in partnership with his wife Shona. While she was only placed four times in 14 starts for Syd as the sole trainer, her progeny have gone on to bigger and better things for the couple. Regal Dash (2000g – Fake Left) was her first foal and was sold to Australia where it won its first nine of 11 starts including the Group 3 Bendigo Cup. Ask Me Now (2009m – Washington VC) ran a smart second in the Southland Cadeuceus Club Fillies race (Group 3) before going on to win 10 races in Australia and $112,344 in stakes. They have also enjoyed recent success with the smart 5 year old mare Delightful Dash (2010 – Lis Mara) who has won 11 races and had a stellar four year old season running in the money 13 times from 20 starts! With all the success that has come from the family it is hard for Syd to go past the deeds of the super mare Foreal. “To be honest she just couldn’t go from a stand, and some days was even a bit suspect from behind the mobile. She ended up costing herself a chance in the Mircale Mile at Harold Park as a four year old where she galloped on the gate and lost about thirty or fourty meters and flew home to be in a photo for the first four.” “To my knowledge she’s still the only filly to have won the Triple Crown in Auckland (G2 Ladyship Stakes, G2 Sires Stakes Filles Championship, G1 Great Northern Oaks).” She went on that year to win the NSW Oaks in a season where she won 9 of her 12 starts as a three year old. Outside of breeding and training Syd also got into the administration side of racing where he spent 10 years on the board at Forbury Park and eventually became the President of the trotting club. “Under Max Bowden’s term I also headed up a handicapping subcommittee to look at a handicapping system for the industry so I guess you can say I’ve had quite an involvement in harness racing right from breeding to training and even administration.” If Field Marshal’s fresh up win off a long layoff is anything to go by, Syd and Shona Brown will have quite a lot more involvement with the quality stock they continue to breed and race. Story from Breeders’ Weekly Subscribe here: http://goo.gl/DNKSnG View Issue 3 here: https://goo.gl/hRKxfq Brad Reid Executive Manager New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Assn  

The 2015 New Zealand Standardbred Breeders' Association Cup Eve Cocktail Function was held on the 9th of November at the Armstrong Prestige Showroom in Christchurch.  Breeders and harness industry participants were out in force to celebrate New Zealand’s breeding excellence. They witnessed the presentation of the miniature New Zealand Cup replica to Charles Roberts, the breeder of last year’s winner of the great race, Adore Me. The spectacular Armstrong Prestige showroom & car dealership is more accustom to dealing in a different type of horsepower, however the venue, in glorious late afternoon sunshine, once again played its part in bringing together those from the breeding community for the 8th time. There was an excellent turnout of around 150 attendees as guests were welcomed from all over New Zealand and across the Tasman to join in what is now a Cup Week calendar event.  "One of the pillars of the NZSBA is to provide recognition to breeders and their achievements" said John Mooney, NZSBA Chairman. "In hosting functions like these, it is hoped that the breeding community in New Zealand can reflect on, and be proud of their many wonderful achievements both here and in Australia." The guests in attendance included Harness Racing Australia's Chief Executive Andrew Kelly & his Chairman, Geoff Want. Kelly and Want were in town to soak up the atmosphere of Cup week. They were also able to present nine Australian annual racing awards, and two breeding awards, to the connections in attendance. Breeding a standardbred good enough to race over Cup Week is one hell of an achievement. Breeding one good enough to line up in the pinnacles of the pacing and trotting calendar is something different altogether! This year the NZSBA added to the evening recognition to the breeders of Dominion Handicap nominees.  Many of the breeders & connections of the Cup and Dominion runners were on hand to receive their breeding recognition certificates. NZSBA members who bred Group or Listed race winners on both sides of the Tasman were also duly recognised. On the back of stellar seasons from their progeny, Trevor Casey and Mary & Paul Kenny (on behalf of Charles Roberts)were almost in need of wheelbarrows to safely make their way home after receiving enough silverware  and glassware to fill a small house. All in all, NZSBA members bred 61 New Zealand Group or Listed race winners with a total of 34 being won across the ditch! Click here to see a complete list of award winners. John & Judy Stiven were up next to receive the Broodmare of Excellence award from the sponsor’s representitive, PGG Wrightsons Peter Lagan. “That came as a big surprise – it was a bolt from the blue and a bigger thrill than Arden Rooney winning the Cup” Stiven later said. Winter Rose has been a fantastic broodmare for the Stiven family and to go on and see another of their ‘Arden’ progeny win the cup a day later was surely a tremendous thrill. Last but certainly not least, attendees put their hands together for the connections of a mare that stole the hearts of racegoers throughout Australasia. Mary & Paul Kenny were back on their feet, on behalf of Mary’s father Charles, to accept from NZSBA Chairman John Mooney the miniature New Zealand Cup in honour of Adore Me's fantastic win in last year’s race.  While Charlie Roberts was unable to be in attendance, his daughter spoke to the audience about how much the grand mare’s achievements meant to Charles and the family, and how the horses have continued to give Mr Roberts a boost when his health has at times not been the best. The NZSBA would like to extend its appreciation to it sponsors NRM, represented by Dougal Scott and PGG Wrightson with Peter Lagan, together with Armstrong Prestige for the use of their facility. Brad Reid | Executive Manager New Zealand Standardbred Breeders’ Assn Inc

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