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Oamaru reinsman Matty Williamson drove his 800th winner at Gore today. “I had a look a fortnight ago and then Charlotte (partner Charlotte Purvis) said I was on 799. The goal is to beat Nathan (brother) to 1000 so I’ve got him in a bit of bother now, as long as I don’t get injured – touch wood,” Williamson said after driving favourite Stingray Tara for Ryal Bush trainer Hamish Hunter to win. Williamson said his career highlights so far are winning three Group One races on Leighton Hest, Pembrooks Delight and Luisanabelle Midfrew. “Leighton Hest was my first which was massive, Pembrooks Delight my first pacing win for the Knights who were big supporters of me when I started, and Luisanabelle Midfrew for Nigel McGrath. Hopefully there’s another Group One horse coming along.” Williamson said representing New Zealand in the World Drivers Championship in Sweden was another highlight. “Yeah the trip of a lifetime. I was really lucky. I loved all the people I met. The trainers were great to drive for just like they are here.” Stingray Tara lead from Gate Two and dictated all the terms to hold out an improved Ronnie Pickering by three quarters of a length. “He’s gone super. The horse felt good. He’s quite lazy but when I asked him at the top of the straight he really dropped his bum and went. I’m thinking the grade rise shouldn’t be too hard for him.” In the last few seasons Williamson has driven the majority of Hunter’s horses,  as the veteran driver takes a step back from raceday driving. “Hamish is great to drive for. There is never any pressure. Even when I drive a bad race, I say sorry, and he says good as gold.” Stingray Tara returning after winning                                       --Bruce Stewart photo Matty’s brothers Nathan and Brad are expected to reach their own milestones this season. As a driver Brad is three wins away from 300 while older brother Nathan has fifteen winners to drive before he gets to 800.   Bruce Stewart

Burnham trainer Mark Jones has always been a fan of Southern Harness racing. He loves to head south to set up his three year olds for both the Southern Supremacy Stakes and the Southland Oaks later in the season. In consecutive races at Gore today he produced a couple of three year olds that look capable of featuring in both those finals at Ascot Park in April. Plutonium Lady easily won the $15,000 Ladyship Final beating hot favourite Need You Now by six lengths after leading and clearing out at the top of the straight. The winning time of 2-43.2 was impressive, in the cold easterly conditions. “She’s still got a lot to learn but a typical Bettor’s on race day when she becomes a racehorse,” Jones said. Plutonium Lady had won two races ago at Winton and is now the early season leader on the Southland Oaks leader board. “She might have one more go at the Sires Stakes Heat at Addington. We won’t take her to Auckland. We’ll just target the filly’s races down here and she may go to the New South Wales Oaks in February. Late in the season will be the Nevele R and New Zealand Oaks and the Southland Oaks. She’ll be a better filly later on so if we look after her now it’ll work out good.” Plutonium Lady is owned by Sir Loins Limited and Starmark Limited which consist of Grant Hatton, Michael Jones and Jim Haines. “It looks as though we picked the right one out at the sales.” In the next race Burnham Boy was posted three wide from the start with driver Sam Ottley having to let him drift back to the rear. With just over a lap to run she took the Bettor’s Delight gelding three wide to improve round the field and sat parked from the 800. Just before turning in, Ottley pulled the ear plugs and soon took the lead from pacemaker Fireforefiddle. And typical of the Bettor’s Delight breed, fought bravely to beat Targaryen by a length and a quarter. Burnham Boy also wearing number 4 saddle cloth winning for trainer Mark Jones   – Photo Bruce Stewart In the last race of the day Ottley reined Ideal Draw to win. It was the driver’s 400th winner. Earlier in the week Jones announced that from the beginning of next month, he and Benny Hill are going into training partnership. “It’s a new challenge and a chance to refocus and get back on track. It’s an indication that two pretty above average trainers are battling, so we decided to join forces and get stronger. That’s the way forward. The big trainers are getting bigger so we have to combine our forces and get our owners together. It’s got to be better in the long run.” Earlier in the day Helluva Way cleared maiden ranks at Gore for harness identity Art Bloxham. Helluva Way returning to the birdcage with driver Blair Orange   – Photo Bruce Stewart The five year old having its fifteenth start, muscled out favourite Orlando Magic by a head. It’s was Bloxham’s first winner since Commanding View at Roxburgh in 2008. The drop back system worked perfectly for Skyvalley mare Spotlight The Valley in the McKeown Group Junior Drivers Trot. Spotlight The Valley has won seven races, and today raced against horses who’ve had either one or two wins. After trailing leader Justan’s Sister, she came up the passing lane for driver Johnny Morrison to nab Justan’s Sister by a head. Trained at Balfour by Robert Wilson, the seven year old is raced by the Sunbeam Syndicate.   Bruce Stewart

Junior driver Ellie Barron took luck out of the equation when she took Alpine Retreat straight to the lead in the first trot of the day at the Northern Southland meeting at Ascot Park today (Saturday). She proceeded to open up a good margin on the chasing pack and with a good number of his rivals breaking, Alpine Retreat ended up winning by eleven lengths. The win was a family affair as Grandfather Ron and father Clark (who trains the gelding) share in the ownership. New Zealand’s leading driver Blair Orange made the most of a good draw when he took Yoha straight to the lead in the next race. He was able to dictate all the pace with favourite Renegade Rose on his back. The three year old Terror To Love filly proved too strong, beating Renegade Rose by a length and three quarters with Allaboutjoy running home nicely for third. Orange went back to back when another of the progeny of Terror To Love, Terror The Christian, beat another Canterbury visitor Payment Plan. Terror The Christian                                                                      --photo Bruce Stewart Co-trainer Chris Wilson missed seeing his first winner when Robyns Playboy returned to winning form in the Ultimate Machete at Alabar Handicap Pace. Wilson, who now trains in partnership with his father Ross, was away in Oamaru watching his sons Callum and Riley playing hockey. When Robyns Playboy last started in the Hannon Memorial, it finished seventh. Racing in a lower grade today helped his cause, and brought his wins to a total of seven. Robyns Playboy winning                                                        --photo Bruce Stewart Robbie Royale won his second race in as many weeks when he proved too strong for backmarker Monty Python in the feature trot of the day. The six year old lead for part of the race before handing up to Monty Python with a lap to run. When the field straightened for the run home, driver Brent Barclay came up the inside to beat Monty Python by half a length with the handicap being the difference at the business end of the race. Robbie Royale has now won seven races for Ryal Bush trainer Brett Gray. Well known Southland Harness Administrator Peter Burns passed away in Invercargill on Tuesday. Peter Burns was an Accountant by profession and served for many years as Secretary for most of the Southern Clubs. He also spent a long period on the Executive of Harness Racing New Zealand. On the breeding front he was one of the leading lights in promoting the syndication of the successful imported sire Knowing Bret, and he managed the Syndicate’s financial affairs. His late wife Rewa also enjoyed the harness industry as a breeder and owner. The family’s finest homebred racehorse was Haughty Romeo. He was New Zealand’s first three year old pacer to go under two minutes when he ran 1-58.4 in a time trial at Winton. Peter’s funeral will be held on Monday. Bruce Stewart

The locally trained Onesmartfella won the gold when most thought the Nuggets Final at Ascot Park today would go to either of the Canterbury raiders, Willison or Carlos Bromac. In the great front running drive by Nathan Williamson and without too much attention from other runners, the Tintin In America gelding took out the $15,000 final by two and a half lengths from Carlos Bromac, with a head back to favourite Willison. Onesmartfella is trained at Ascot Park by Brent Shirley and is owned by breeder John Edminstin and good mate Tony Whaanga. Onesmartfella is out of the Lis Mara mare Kentucky Girl which won her first race,  but unfortunately broke down and was retired to the broodmare paddock. Onesmartfella which was named by Tony, is the mare’s first foal. “He named it in the Zoo Bar at the Falls Hotel in Mataura,” Shirley said. He said Onesmartfella was small in stature and the stable had to wait on him. “I always knew he had speed but I didn’t know how much bottom he had. We found out last time (when he ran second after been challenged) that he had a bit of bottom.” Shirley isn’t sure where Onesmartfella will start next but said he’ll look out for a Junior Drivers race which will be penalty free. The win was the forty first for Edminstin as an owner. His winners include When The Music’s Over and Rowchester. He’s also part of the BBC Syndicate.                                                                               – Photo Bruce Stewart Earlier in the day Williamson won with Pembrook Playboy who he’d thought would be a run short. But the horse showed good qualities after he lead and easily recorded his first win. “I just thought he might have needed the run but he got away with some easy sectionals in front and that helped.” From barrier five Williamson pushed forward and after 200 metres was in front. “He was pretty green in front – he was running round a bit. He was a bit lazy – but when I asked him to quicken he did.” The winning margin was four and a quarter lengths with outsider Kramer running second. “I think he’ll improve with the run.”                                                                                       – Photo Bruce Stewart Williamson says he’ll target the Nuggets races with the three year old and look at lining up in the Cardrona Distillery/MLT Three Year Old Stakes at Gore at Christmas time, and perhaps the Supremacy later in the season. Later in the day Triroyale Brigade also won for the stable. He capitalised on a nice trail and sprinted too well for junior driver Mark Hurrell to beat Lawrence and Betterthanbrie both of which came home late. Williamson says he’s expecting Triroyale Brigade to have a good season. The winning drive was the second of the day for Hurrell who also won on the Craig Laurenson trained Dismara. Given a great run, Dismara proved too good for thea twelve other runners in the Kubala Seeds Mobile Pace. Placed in the outside running line, Hurrell followed Black Ops forward at the 350 metre mark and came down the middle of the track to win impressively by one and a quarter lengths. It was the mare’s third win in forty five starts. Meanwhile Williamson’s quality trotter Dark Horse made an appearance at the Winton Workouts yesterday racing against the pacers. The Bacardi Lindy mare hasn’t been seen at the race track for nearly two years after sustaining a number of injuries. “She’s come through the run nice and is sound so that’s the main thing. She’ll have another run (workout) somewhere and we’ll access where we go after that,” Williamson said. Dark Horse holds a nomination for the Dominion Handicap.   Bruce Stewart

The Robert Dunn trained Carlos Bromac capitalised on a perfect sit behind leader Onesmartfella to win the Macca Lodge Mobile Pace at the Invercargill Harness Racing meeting at Ascot Park today (Saturday). “I drew one, got a nice trail all the way so that helped but he did it quite nice,” said driver John Dunn after the win. The winning margin was a length and a half from a brave Onesmartfella who was worked over twice in the lead. Carlos Bromac was bought by Robert and John Dunn for $33,000 at the Christchurch Yearling Sales. He’s out of the unraced Art Major mare Cha Cha Bromac and is closely related to Attorney General, Cullen Bromac and a host of other winners. “At two he wasn’t the best of pacers but his gait’s got a lot better now. We still have a wee bit to work on.” Dunn says the horse will stay down in Southland for Thursday’s Winton meeting. “If he goes nice there we’ll leave him down for the Nuggets (Nuggets Final) then take him home and regroup. He’s paid up for the Sires Stakes so hopefully he improves enough for that.” The three year old Bettor’s Delight gelding is part-owned by Southlander Charlie Templeton. “He loves it old Charlie. It’s good to bring a horse down here because he flies up (to Christchurch) all the time and watches his horses go.” Templeton has owned a few horses over the years and currently races the three win Mach Three mare Nakuru and her unraced two year old half-sister Shanika out of the Dunn stable. John Dunn was also successful early in the day when he drove the Shannon Armour trained gelding Dalness Arizona to win at odds of 20 to 1. Dalness Arizona holds on to beat Hans Ideal                          – Photo Bruce Stewart Other winners on the day included Emmersyn Lee for Canterbury trainer Jim Curtin, Winning Bones which won after a daring drive by Brent Barclay and the Brad Mowbray trained Kingmaker.   Bruce Stewart

Unfortunately boom Southland pacer U May Cullect won’t line up in tomorrow’s Hannon Memorial. “It’s not a big deal. He got a stone bruise yesterday. We just didn’t want to go up there and do something silly. It’s not his bad leg, it’s the other one and if he favours it, it might put some pressure on the other one,” said co-trainer Tank Ellis. Ellis said the horse will have the weekend off, do plenty of wading in the salt water at Oreti Beach and will probably head up to Addington in a fortnight. “It not the end of the world to us, it’s just a wee hiccup.”   Bruce Stewart  

Gore trainer John Ryan showed what a master he is with the square gaiters today at Winton (Sunday) when he produced Picketts Ridge to win the Majestic Son At Alabar Handicap Trot. The six year old Skyvalley gelding driven by regular pilot Nathan Williamson, hadn’t raced since the Riverton meeting at Ascot Park in November last year and had only two workouts to prepare him for today’s run. “I was thrilled with him. What a tremendous training effort by John to get him that sharp and go 3-02 on a cold day. Today was the best he’s felt as far as his gait goes. He felt really solid. He’s always had the ability to be a really good horse.” Picketts Ridge’s winning margin was two and a half lengths over Wee Man Trouble. The winning time on a cold eight degree day of 3-02.6 was 1.6 seconds outside of the track record of 3-01.0  held by Majestic Man. It was Picketts Ridge’s fifth win in eleven starts and he looks destined for a better grade. The day also proved rewarding for two Canterbury drivers. Leading reinsman Blair Orange drove three winners; Plutonium Lady for trainer Mark Jones, Rah De Rah for Tapanui trainer Matt Saunders and impressive looking Tom Martin which won his second race in as many starts. The Paul Court trained Tom Martin lead early before handing up to Kingmaker. But when Hazer started to come round the field with 1700 metres to run Orange took the Mach Three gelding to the front again and there he stayed. His winning margin over Amore Lancôme was a length and a quarter. Tom Martin holds out Amore Lancome                                             --Bruce Stewart photo “He’s a big strong guy who’s still learning but the motor’s there. He just hasn’t got the best pacing actions and he can chuck a few steps in here and there. He’s also not a great steering horse just yet but he’ll only get better. Today he was always travelling well so I was happy enough,” Orange said after the run. Tom Martin’s win capped off a good day for West Otago breeder and trainer John Stiven. He bought Raindowne, the dam of Tom Martin, a few years ago of Tuapeka Lodge. Later in the day Stiven produced Countess Of Arden to win her second race and his first win as a trainer. Canterbury driver John Dunn was also in good form, driving two winners back to back. The first was the Bettor’s Delight filly Need You Now – she beat second favourite Kickupyaheels by half a neck. The two locked wheels close to the finish and Robin Swain trainer of Kickupyaheels lodged a protest which was later dismissed. Need to Know just holding out Kickupyaheels – their wheels locked together   --Bruce Stewart photo Need You Now is raced by All Black captain Kieran Reed, former All Black Andy Ellis and the Woodlands Partnership Syndicate Number Two. She’s out of the Badlands’ Hanover mare Lady Antebellum and is a half-sister to Billy Badger which won eight races for Robert Dunn who also trains Need You Now. In the following race the father and son combination lined up three year old Sportswriter gelding Tyron’s Bit Of Lemon. He took the race out, beating Invaluable by a length and a quarter. Another success on the day was converted pacer Justan’s Sister which won her first race in the trotting gait for trainer Shane Matheson.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Quality trotter Picketts Ridge is back at the workouts after nearly a year away from racing. The six year old gelding has won four of it’s ten starts, has been placed four other times and is looking as though he could progress into the best grade. He last raced at the Riverton meeting at Ascot Park in November, winning for trainer John Ryan and driver Nathan Williamson. “He trotted really badly when he won at Riverton. He was virtually galloping in behind and trotting in front. He had an old injury in a cannon bone in one of his back legs. It was hard and calloused but all of a sudden it turned to sponge. We tried all kinds of treatments in the first month as the horse carried on working. We couldn’t get all the inflammation to go away so we just turned him out and let nature take it’s course. He was on a 100 acre block on the hills by the repeater station for six months,” said Ryan.   The son of Skyvalley has been in work for 12 weeks and he won at yesterday’s Wyndham workouts. “I was really pleased. He was a wee bit aggressive and fresh.” Ryan says it appears there won’t be many races for Picketts Ridge which carries a R75 rating in the early part of the new season, so he may have to travel north. He’s got his fingers crossed that the gelding’s leg will hold up and that he won’t be subjected to any more injuries. “I put plenty of water on it when we hose him down as well as ice treatment.”    Bruce Stewart

Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson had one of those dream nights in Australia last night, winning two Group One races at the Melton track, and both trotters were very impressive. “It’s getting up there. To win two Group One races in one night and three Group One races with two horses in six weeks is a pretty good effort I’d say,” said Williamson, rating last night’s achievement. Three year old trotting filly Liberty Stride got the ball rolling, winning her Breeders Crown Final by 19.4 metres in the hands of former New Zealand reinsman Anthony Butt. One race later Ultimate Stride continued on his winning way by taking out the two year old section of the Breeders Crown. Having completed his Australian trip unbeaten – he’s won all of his four starts and has banked $87,490 for owners Emilio and Mary Rosati. Williamson who’s no stranger to taking horses to Australia says both horses were eligible for the rich series, so a trip to Australia was always a possibility. “We just had to make sure their form was right. Liberty Stride won at Forbury and went super. Ultimate Stride had a couple of wee issues at the Jewels so I had to get on top of that. He’s a very soft skinned horse and was having trouble with cracking his heels and bleeding. Once that happens they’re not happy. We gave him a wee bit of time off.” Normally members of the Williamson family drive Phil’s horses on both sides of the Tasman but not this time, with Williamson hiring expat Anthony Butt. “He’s a big race driver and that showed in Liberty Stride’s race. He probably outdrove the others. I used him when I came over for the Interdominions. With the boys (Nathan and Brad) having their own busy lifestyles with their own teams and Matty having just been away to the World Drivers Championships it made more sense to use Anthony.” Ultimate Stride’s dam One Over Kenny won six races in Australia including the Group One Australasian Trotting Championship and the EB Cochran Trotters Cup in 2007, and a semi-final of the 2009 Interdominions. Jasmyn’s Gift, the dam of Liberty Stride also raced in Australia but without much luck. Williamson says Ultimate Stride will return home on Wednesday but Liberty Stride will stay in Australia to be trained by Brent Lilley.  “As a four year old mare there’s not a lot of opportunity in New Zealand. She’s up to it but it would be harder. If she gets a nomination for the Harness Jewels she’ll come back to me for that. Brent’s been a wonderful host and has looked after me really well.” Ultimate Stride, after a busy juvenile season will now have time off. “He’ll have six to eight weeks off and we’ll look towards racing him after Christmas. All going well we’ll head back to Australia for the Three Year Old Breeders Crown and we’ll have another crack at the Victoria Derby. It was the only one that got away from us on the trip.” Springbank Richard won the Group One Victoria Derby for Williamson and son Nathan in 2007.   Bruce Stewart

Southland’s Harness Awards were presented tonight (Sunday) at a Gala dinner at Ascot Park Hotel. Unbeaten first season pacer U May Cullect took out the prestigious Horse of the Year title for owner Tom Kilkelly and trainers Kirstin Barclay and Paul Ellis. The six year old is back in work and expected to return to the race track in early October. Gore trainer Ross Wilson won the Achievement of the Year award. Wilson’s stable star Robyns Playboy won six races and ran an excellent third at the end of season Harness Jewels. Christian Dreamer, owned by Vin and Daphne Devery, took out the Southland Broodmare of the Year. Amazing Dream was the mare’s outstanding performer on the track this season banking $205,467. Winter Rose was added to the Elite Broodmares Honours Board while a special award was presented to Charlie and Ailsa Smaill, owners of the prolific broodmare Janine Jaccka which has left the winners of 46 races. Southland’s leading Junior Driver Ellie Barron received an Excellence Award for her involvement as an Ambassador in the Women’s Cancer Fundraiser Team Teal. Contribution Awards were received by long time administrator and breeder Brendan Fahy and the Southland Kidz Karts group.   Here are all the winners:   Washington VC – Bryleigh Stud Southland Broodmare of the Year   Christian Dreamer (Christian Cullen – Dreamy Atom) Owners: Vin and Daphne Devery.   The dam of four horses to race this season, all winners. Catch The Dream (2) $19,070. Amazing Dream (3) $205,467 including wins in the Listed NZ Yearling Sale Two Year Old. Fillies Final, First in the Group One Caduceus Two Year Old Fillies Classic, Second in the Group One NZ Sires Stakes Two Year Old Fillies Championship and third in both the Group Two Delightful Lady Classic and Group One Two Year Old Diamond. Dream Major (1) $8,120. Chase The Dream - Now the winners $560,036 and 20 races in New Zealand, Australia and America.   Southland Harness Awards – Night N Day Southland Horse of the Year   U May Cullect - Owner: Tom Kilkelly. Recorded a new track and Southland mobile record at Winton for four year old and older geldings and entires over 1609 metres of 1-52.1. Unbeaten in his first seven races including the Listed Uncut Gems at Addington for geldings and entires and the Bluff Cup. NZB Standardbred Southland Achievement of the Year   Ross Wilson 2018- 2019 training stats: 162-15-17-15 $174,034 UDR .2357. Trained Southland leading stakes earning pacer Robyns Playboy which ran third in the $150,000 Group One Three Year Old Emerald . Recorded his 100th training win during the season when Bridesdale Robyn won at Gore. Biggest winners: Robyns Playboy (6), Bridesdale Robyn (4) and Annie Fitz (3). Elite Broodmare   Winter Rose (In The Pocket – Bella Chip) – Owner: John and Judy Stiven All of her ten foals of racing age have qualified with eight winning races. Her foals have won 47 races and $1,578,177. 2012 Southland Broodmare of the Year Award. 2014-2015 New Zealand Harness Racing Broodmare Excellence Award. Her biggest winner have been: Bettor’s Strike (16) $890,201, Southwind Arden (9) $150,127, Arden’s Choice (7) $282,296 and Rocknroll Arden (6) $172,154. Winter Roses fillies are now leaving winners – South Beach Arden (out of South Wind Arden -2 ) and Pearl Harbour (out of Arden Caviar -1).   Other Awards:   Special Broodmare Award   Janine Jaccka (Sundon – Spiritual Powers) –Owners: Charlie and Ailsa Smaill. All of her seven foals of racing age have qualified and won races. Her foals have won a total of 46 races. In all, Janine Jaccka’s foals have won $528,168. Her biggest winners have been Jaccka Jack (14) $138,746, Jaccka Justy (13) $235,467, Jen Jaccka (9) $81,473 and Jess Jaccka (5) $35,835. Southland Harness Racing Award of Excellence: Ellie Barron   Contribution to Harness Racing Recipients: BJ Fahy. Kidz Kartz Southland.   Southland’s Leading Drivers of Trotters: Nathan Williamson (16).   Southland Harness Awards – Two Year Old Colt or Gelding of the Year: Cassius Bromac – MCC Syndicate; Trainer: BR Gray.   SSB Trophy (Leading Stake Earners 2018-2019): Three Year Old Filly: Allaboutdreams (M &Mrs S Little and BR Gray). Aged Race Mare: I’mallaboutthebase (SR & Mrs CJL Baucke).   New Zealand Record Holders: Melina Lowe (PD & BD Duffy) 2-53.6 2400 metres mobile 08/09/2018 – Winton. Please Shuddup (Tricode Syndicate, Tricode Number Two Syndicate and Dolce Syndicate) 2-53.3 2400 metre mobile 16/12/2018 – Winton.   SSB Fastest Mile Rate Filly/Mare 2018-2019 Shezacullengirl (M & Mrs S Little, Havtime Breeding Limited – Trainers Kirstin Barclay and Paul Ellis 1-53.1 31/01/2019 – Wyndham.   1-58.0 Pins Better Galleon (CJ Murdoch, RE Wilson)               28/10/2018 Invercargill  1.57.8. English Rose (SWR Gillan) 14/09/2018 Auckland 1.57.8. Grace Burns (T Kilkelly) 08/09/2018 Winton 1.55.8. Honor And Glory (NJ & Mrs DC Cournane) 23/11/2018 Invercargill 1.57.3. Kilowatt Kid (LF Thomson, IG Thomson)               28/10/2018 Invercargill  1.56.7. Mach’s Back (MJ Little)  31/01/2019 Wyndham 1.52.5. Melina Lowe (P Duffy)  08/09/2018 Winton 1.56.4. Mossdale Art (AG Affleck) 16/12/2018 Winton 1.52.5. Mossdale Rose (AG Affleck) 22/10/2018               Ashburton 1.54.2. Mr Kiwi (BL & Mrs KE Calder) 23/11/2018 Invercargill 1.57.9. Rockabilly Blues (FJ & Mrs KV Price) 18/11/2018 Wyndham 1.55.6. Shezacullengirl (MJ Little) 16/12/2018 Winton 1.55.0. U May Cullect (T Kilkelly) 23/03/2019 Wairio 1.52.1. Vintage Cheddar (LF Thomson, IG Thomson) 17/05/2019 NZ Metro 1.55.0.   Robin Dundee Club Three Year Old Colt or Gelding of the Year: Robyns Playboy: Owner: SR Wilson Trainer: SR Wilson.   Robin Dundee Club Three Year Old Filly of the Year: Swift Robyn: Owners: SR Wilson, R & Mrs HF Wilson Trainers; SR Wilson.   Caduceus Club of Southland Trotter of the Year: King Cassidy – CP Gerken, TR Davies, Miss TL Ashton Trainer: BR Gray.     Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

The Ivan Court trained Silk cleared maiden ranks at her sixth start at Gore today. The four year old Sir Lincoln mare has been placed in four of her first five starts and the win was overdue. Court said the mare can be a bit of a handful and she has got keen in some of her previous starts. She’s out of the Bettor’s Delight mare Brunswick which was unplaced in eight starts for Court. He said he was confident he’d get a win both days when he took the mare to Nelson in June, but she was unlucky on both days finishing third and fourth. At her last start at Addington she broke during the score up and missed the start by six lengths before driver Robbie Holmes took her to the lead with a lap to run. She was run down, finishing second by three quarters of a length. Silk winning her first race at Gore today                            - Photo Bruce Stewart Silk is likely to have a short break and be given light cart work to help settle her for her next set of race starts. Court predicts a good future for Silk. He says she’ll be aimed at the $15,000 Ladyship Final which will be held on the Gore track on the 12th October. Court has a Terror To Love gelding out of the mare which he says runs along nicely but is on the small side. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Local mare Elva Jaccka won her fourth race for owners Charlie and Alisa Smaill and trainer Brett Gray. The Tintin In America six year old hadn’t been sighted at early season workouts but Gray said her work during the week indicated she’d perform well today. Elva Jaccka easily                      - Photo Bruce Stewart After the early rush driver Brent Barclay had to settle Elva Jaccka three back on the inside as Star Ruler shot to the lead. At the 350 Barclay was able to move off the inside running line and was up quickly to challenge a tiring Star Ruler. Elva Jaccka just needed encouraging in the run home and Barclay didn’t have to activate the hood. The winning margin was four and three quarters of a length and her time for the 2200 metres of 2-46.6 was the fastest of the day. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Bettor’s Delight gelding Willison cemented his place in the first Nuggets Final when he won the Barclay-Ellis Racing Mobile Pace. From a second row draw driver Sam Ottley settled Willison fourth last on the outside. With just over a lap to run Ottley decided to move forward and he flushed out third favourite Leap Of Faith. Ottley was left three wide when Leap Of Faith got to the lead inside the 600. But he didn’t panic and waited just before straightening up before pulling the ear plugs. The gelding gave plenty to wear down Leap Of Faith and won by a neck. Jones says he’s a typical Bettors Delight: tough. Willison beating Leap Of Faith                  - Photo Bruce Stewart  The three year old is out of Classical Art which won five races here as a three year old for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen before heading to Australia. She won another seven races in Australia before being sent to stud. Willison is her first foal. Jones bought the horse at the Australian Sales and says he’s currently the pick of his three year olds. He’s owned by a host of owners whose names were all crammed into the race book. The first Nuggets Final will be held at the Northern Southland meeting on 5th October and is worth $15,000. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Well bred Spirit Of St Louis qualified nicely at Gore today. The three year old gelding by Sweet Lou is trained by Graeme Anderson and was bred by Trevor Casey who shares in the ownership with some of Anderson’s regular clients including Pauline Gillan, Steve Pulley and Ray Chaklin. That trio also have shares in Eamon Maguire. Spirit Of St Louis is out of the Art Major mare Spirit Of Art whose first foal Dracarys has won ten races in West Australia including the Group Three Two Year Old Gold Bracelet at Gloucester Park. Spirit Of St Louis with Mathew Williamson qualifying at Gore today       - Photo Bruce Stewart   Bruce Stewart

Majestic Rose provided Hilderthorpe trainer Kerry Kelly with her first winner. The Majestic Son mare was having her twenty fourth start today and her second for this season. She was four wide going into the first turn before driver Mathew Williamson took her to the lead. She then handed up to Barham Belle. Williamson took the passing lane when the field turned in and held on to beat a late run from Justan’s Sister. She took the race by a neck. Kelly who first had a license in 1984, bought Majestic Rose from the yearling sales in 2016 for $8,000. “She was my first purchase at the yearling sales and I have no idea why I bought her. I just liked her,” she said.  “I’ve dabbled with horses for donkeys years but we had a house fire and had four young kids so we put the horses on the back burner. Because my husband (Bruce) is now retired we decided to go for it again. We enjoy it.” In the 1980s Kelly worked for Ray Wilkie and Ron Carter at Forbury Park and later for Oamaru trainer Clarrie Woodward. One of her first horses was Casey’s Chance (Jack Chance – Casey Girl). From seventeen starts his best placing was third at Forbury Park in April 1985 when driven by junior driver Ray Faithful. “He (Casey’s Chance) had accidents and only had one good leg.” Majestic Rose’s dam Duchess won once and is out of Sunvette which left the handy trotter Mountbatten – the winner of eight races.  Kelly says Majestic Rose is a flighty mare who has a few tricks. “That’s why I like to stick with one driver. She’s a bit of a problem child at times and you have to be careful when you’re shoeing her. Her favourite trick is rearing up in the air, slamming down on the over check snapping the middle of the harness. She also likes to swing sideways. That’s why she’s got full winkers and a hood on.” Majestic Rose (8) beating Justan's Sister (6)           - Photo Bruce Stewart  Kelly says the mare likes to keep moving while around at the start. “If you stand her still you’re asking for big problems. Any time the starter says ‘right’ or blows his whistle she’ll go in the air.” Kelly currently has five horses in work including Iron Woman which ran seventh today. She’s worked for most of her life on dairy farms while husband Bruce has been a chef. They jog their horses on a small clay track and float them to the Oamaru track which is only 1.5 k’s away for fast work.   Bruce Stewart

The Southland Harness Awards will celebrate a season of successes at the Ascot Park Hotel on Sunday 11th August. The night will be hosted by former Trackside presenter Jess Smith with the awards putting the spotlight on our best broodmares, horses, drivers, trainers, junior drivers, contributor’s, personalities and owners. Categories and contenders include: Washington VC – Bryleigh Stud Southland Broodmare of the Year   Touch of Rose (Mach Three – Rose Sand) Owner: Kelvin Reed The dam of three winners in the 2018-2019 season:  Ferritt’s Sister (3) $36,145 Fiery Ferret (2) $17,725 The Ideal Touch (1) $13,885 The Ideal Touch finished 4th in the Two Year Old Emerald at the Harness Jewels.   Chicago Blues (Christian Cullen – Bluejeanbabyqueen) Owners: John Price, Mrs. Katrina Price, Roger Price and Mrs. Helen Price. Dam of three horses to race this season which won a total of 15 races and $262,048 in the season under review. Chicago Bull won nine races, earned $186,473 and also won two Group Two races. Rockabilly Blues ($37,880 1-55.6) and Perfect Stride ($37,695 1.56.1) each winners of three races.   Christian Dreamer (Christian Cullen – Dreamy Atom) Owners: Vin and Daphne Devery The dam of two horses to race this season which won a total of $224,537. Catch The Dream (2) $19,070. Amazing Dream (3) $205,467 including wins in the Listed NZ Yearling Sales Two Year Old Fillies Final, and the Group One Caduceus Two Year Old Fillies Classic. She was second in the Group One NZ Sires Stakes Two Year Old Fillies Championship and third in both the Group Two Delightful Lady Classic and Group One Two Year Old Diamond.   Robyn Maree (Holmes Hanover – Maree Robyn) Owner: Ross Wilson The dam of two horses to race in the 2018-2019 season Robyns Playboy (6) $73,219. Rake (3) $25,615.     Southland Harness Awards – Night N Day - Southland Horse of the Year   Get Lucky - Owners: Ian and Lindsay Thomson Broke the Gore track and Southland trotter’s record for three year old colts and geldings for 2200 metre stand, recording 2-52.8. Southlands leading stakes earning trotter this season banking $76,976. Won the Listed PPG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Three Year Old Final.   I’mallaboutthebase - Owners: Steve and Carol Baucke Won three races during the season including the Listed Uncut Gem Mares Classic at Addington.   Vintage Cheddar - Owners: Ian and Lindsay Thomson The winner of five races during the season including two on premier nights at Addington.   Sagwitch - Owners: Paul Matheson, Mrs Nancy Matheson and Syd Breen. Won the 2019 Southland Country Cups series with 94 points. Won three races in the 2018-2019 season including the Winton and Wyndham Cups.   U May Cullect - Owner: Tom Kilkelly Recorded a new track and Southland mobile record at Winton for four year old and older geldings and entires over 1609 metres of 1-52.1. Won his first seven races including the Listed Uncut Gems at Addington for geldings and entires.   Robyns Playboy – Owner: Ross Wilson Recorded a new Wyndham track and Southland mobile record for three year old colts and geldings over 2400 metres of 2-53.0. This time was also a new all-comers track and Southland record. Southland leading trained pacer earning $70,299. Won the $20,000 Super Nuggets Final.   NZB Standardbred Southland Achievement of the Year nominations   Syd Breen 2018- 2019 training stats: 102-17-13-7 $137,299 - UDR .2603. Recorded his best ever training season with seventeen wins. Trained the winner of the Southland Country Cups competition Sagwitch. Biggest winners: Santanna’s Rocket (4), Mucho Macho Man (4), Lorretta Franco (3) and Sagwitch (3).   Kirstin Barclay and Paul ‘Tank’ Ellis 2018- 2019 training stats: 258-38-40-31 $372,919 - UDR .2703. Leading Southland trainers for the 2018-2019 season with 38 winners in their first season of training in partnership. Seventh on the national training premiership and fifth in the South Island premiership. Biggest winners: U May Cullect (7), Wee Man Trouble (5) and Paddyproudfoot (4)   Alister Black 2018- 2019 training stats: 46-13-7-3 $168,626 - UDR .3889. The highest ranked Southland UDR trainer with a rating of .3889. Fourth on the national UDR list of trainers with 10 or more winners behind Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Barry Purdon and Mitchell Kerr. Biggest winners: Vintage Cheddar (5) and Get Lucky (4). Won his first black type race during the season (PPG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Three Year Old Final.)   Ross Wilson 2018- 2019 training stats: 162-15-17-15 $174,034 - UDR .2357. Trained Southland leading stakes earning pacer Robyns Playboy. Recorded his 100th training win during the season when Bridesdale Robyn won at Gore. Biggest winners: Robyns Playboy (6), Bridesdale Robyn (4) and Annie Fitz (3).   Best of luck to all on the night.  Tickets for the Southland Harness Awards are still available on-line     Bruce Stewart

One of the reasons behind the success of the latest Southland pacing star U May Cullect is Gore born Paul ‘Tank’ Ellis and the beach training he puts into the harness racing gelding. Ellis trains the gelding in partnership with Kirstin Barclay but prefers to let Barclay deal with all the media attention the pacer's attracting. Undoubtedly Ellis, and his team of helpers who operate out at the Oreti Beach arm of the operation have played a big part in getting U May Cullect to where he is at the moment. Ellis has been in the harness game a fair while having started out with Winton trainer Owen Cameron. “I played for Woodlands (Rugby Club) in the under 18s and a fella called Roy Sloan worked for Owen. I was working at the Makarewa Freezing Works in the season and doing a bit of rousing in the off season. Owen was involved in a race day crash and Roy, who was at practice that night wanted someone to do the boxes so that’s how I got started. Roy ended up leaving so I took over his job,” Ellis said. After doing his time with Cameron he joined up with Graeme Anderson who at the time was exporting race horses to Australia. Ellis took the opportunity to head across the ditch initially on holiday before it turned into work. “I was with Greg Harpur for eight years. I travelled all over the place with Jay Bee’s Fella (including) the Miracle Mile and Interdominions. He was the best horse I’d had anything to do with as far as speed goes until U May Cullect.” Jay Bee’s Fella qualified for Blake Eskdale and won his first start at Winton in March 1985 after which he was sold to Harpur. He did return to New Zealand a couple of times during his career, winning the Lion Red Semi Final at the end of March 1987 before winning the $200,000 final a week later, beating another Southland pacer Lord Lenny. He was driven both times by Peter Wolfenden. Jay Bee’s Fella returned to Auckland at Christmas time in the same year and after winning the Benson and Hedges Flying Mile he ran twelvth in the 1987 Auckland Cup - won by Luxury Liner. In Australia his big race wins were in the 1988 Moonee Valley Pacing Cup and a heat of the 1988 Interdominion Pacing Championships. He also ran third in the 1987 Miracle Mile won by Village Kid. Since the 1999 season Ellis has had his own training license with his first winner coming at Ascot Park in April of that year when Last Deal won, driven by Brendon Scobie. Over those early years Ellis trained some nice horses including Elrae Night (5), Southern Motoring (6), Montecrengle (3), Candy’s Dream (3) and Idle Bones (6). It was after he sold Idle Bones to Brent Mangos that he started to think about moving from Canterbury to Southland. “Ox (Trainer Wayne Ewan) and I had a yarn one day when I was in Christchurch. He was getting real busy with his work. Ox said about coming down here and by going to his place at Ryal Bush I could have my horses in work for nothing. When he was away I’d just do his horse in amongst mine. I said that if I was down there I wanted to beach train.” Consequently they drove around looking for suitable beach training establishments and came across Murray Little’s property on Pitt Road close to Oreti Beach. The Little property on Pitt Road                              - Photo Bruce Stewart  Late in the 2016-2017 season Ellis started training from Pitt Road, and two of his four winners that season were owned by Little. In the meantime McEwan’s place was put on the market and it was expected to sell. “At that point we had quite a good team of young horses in work and they were going to Kirstin’s. I thought if Ox’s property sells I’ll end up having nowhere to train so one night I had a yarn to Kirstin and the partnership started.” “Murray’s been unreal.” Murray Little’s property consists of 10 acres, all deer fenced with a small 400 metre jog track. The Richardson Group own the neighbouring property and because McEwan works for the Group he was able to arrange access through the Richardson property to Oreti Beach. “With the beach you make hay while the sun shines. If it’s good weather you can get them all done. You can do them three or four days in a row because you know you’ve got s.... weather coming up. Then they can have a couple of days off and if anything it helps them. It puts a spring in their step.” Ellis says the young horses get educated at the Tisbury property while the race horses are based at the beach. “Once they’ve qualified and are sensible enough to handle beach training they come out here. Murray, Ox and Tom (U May Cullect’s owner Tom Kilkelly) have just got in behind us. It’s been unreal.” Ellis also has a great band of helpers with experienced horseman Paul Hillis assisted by Colin Lindsay to name just two. “Colin worked for Sally McKay. He’s retired. He raced Campagna Park and does our jog frame. He’s worth his weight in gold. Kirstin and I have our names in the book but it’s such a team effort. As for Hilly you can’t keep him away. You say be here at 6.00 and he’s here at 5:30. You’ve got to get here early before he starts doing something he shouldn’t. In a good way.” And Ellis says the partnership and the two property set-up is working extremely well. “She (Kirstin) concentrates on the horses at her place but when the tides right she’ll come out here. It could be five the morning. Everything changes with the tide. I do a jog team here, then go over there to do boxes and then we’ve both come back here to work horses.” He says the beach is different every day and there’s only a small handful of trainers using it, including galloping trainers Stu Higgins Amanda Swartz and Sabin Kirkland.   Paul Hillis and Wee Man Trouble                          - Photo Bruce Stewart. “I love getting the early tide when there’s no one around. Christmas time is an absolute nightmare. But it’s everybody’s beach. Hilly fires up sometimes but people like to bring their dogs down.” And as for the stable star U May Cullect? “No tricks to him. He’s just the easiest horse to train.”   The day I saw him working on the beach he was wearing a hood and looked very relaxed and at home. “He probably doesn’t need it but it keeps him chilled out and relaxed.” Although he can easily get competitive. “Wee Man Trouble was on the lead one day and he was going stupid. Old Carlos (U May Cullect) got on the bit and he just switched into that horse.” U May Cullect with Kirstin Barclay galloping on Oreti Beach           - Photo Bruce Stewart  Ellis says the six year old is a natural pacer but can also trot. “You should see him in the paddock. He’s got so much style. He’d make a lovely trotter. He’s so little on his feet.” And there’s been no sign of any leg issues that plagued the horse early in his career. “We got him scanned when he came back in work and there’s been no drama; touch wood. Since he’s been down here he’s never had a lame day. I don’t like to hose them down. After being in the salt water you feel your own legs tighten up. It’s got to be good for you.” And the good news is that the winner of his first seven starts isn’t too far away from resuming. Getting his gear off                                              - Photo Bruce Stewart “Three or four week just playing round like this and he’ll be pretty good.” The plan at the moment is to take him to the workouts at the end of September and look at starting his racing season at Winton on the 8th October. “We haven’t got a finite plan. The Hannons is our first aim and we’ll just take it from there. We’re pretty cruisey about it all really. The horse will let us know. He’s an athlete. He doesn’t need much work.”   Bruce Stewart

The Southern Harness racing season kicks off at Gore on Saturday 10th August, and the Club have once again put up a $1,000 bonus plus a cool down rug for its Spring Fling. The bonus will be paid to the highest point’ earner for two catogories (filly or mares and colt or geldings) over the first three days the Club races in August and October. Points will be allocated from first to fifth placings. ______________________________ Star Southland pacer U May Cullect is into his second week of work at Oreti Beach for trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis. His first major assignment is the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on Thursday 24th October. In his first season of racing he became the first southern trained horse to win his first seven starts. He also paced a mile in 1-52.1 at Winton which was a track and Southland age record. U May Cullect in the surf at Oreti Beach with co-trainer Kirstin Barclay – Photo Bruce Stewart U May Cullect is one of the favourites for Southland Horse of the Year at the Southern Harness sponsored Harness Awards to be held at scot Park Hotel on Sunday 11th August. Meanwhile Kirstin Barclay and Paul ‘Tank’ Ellis in their first season of training in partnership, have won the Southland Trainers Premiership recording thirty eight wins, eight clear of last year’s winner Brett Gray. Their list of winners this season include U May Cullect (7), Wee Man Trouble (5) and Paddyproudfoot (4). Paul Ellis with Wee Man Trouble and U May Cullect – Photo Bruce Stewart Barclay and Ellis train out of two stables – Tisbury and Oreti Beach and their first season success could see them win the Southland Achievement of the Year Award. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Southern Harness will have a new mobile vehicle for the forthcoming season. They have taken delivery of a 2019 Ford Ranger 4WD Mobile Barrier Vehicle which has replaced the 2WD Holden Southern Harness has used since 2012. Southern Harness’s new mobile – Photo Supplied. The need to upgrade became urgent after the old vehicle lost traction a couple of times during the season. The purchase of the vehicle has been made possible with funding from the Racing Safety Development Fund. EH Ball Ltd will continue to be branding sponsors. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Forgotten pacer Lamborne Road is being tried again by Tahakopa trainer Brian Norman. The rising eight year old by Washington VC last started at Addington at the end of March 2017 for Invercargill trainer Wayne Adams. He won five races for Adams from just eighteen starts before he began suffering from a lung infection. Norman says he’s progressing well in his new environment. Lamborne Road – Photo Bruce Stewart ____________________________________________________________________________________ The Peter Hunter trained Unloaded won his third race in as many starts when he wore down The Croupier in the Macca Lodge South of the Waitaki Final at Addington on Friday night. The four year old Mach Three gelding, raced by the Gottashearasheep Syndicate, sat parked for the last lap for driver Sam Ottley and proved too tough, beating The Croupier by a head. Unloaded and trainer Peter Hunter – Photo Bruce Stewart Unloaded has won $17,490 for his connections in the last three weeks, racing in the Macca Lodge sponsored series and winning two heats and the final. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Branxholme trainer Nathan Williamson says quality trotting mare Dark Horse is due to go to the workouts next month. The rising seven year old mare hasn’t started since running in the 2017 Dominion Handicap at Addington. “She seems fine at the moment. I’ll probably take her to Winton for a private run in the next couple of weeks. We’ll know how much this layoff has effected her when she starts racing I suppose,” said Williamson. Williamson says his other trotting star Chinese Whisper has just come back into work and won’t be seen until November. He won both of his two starts as a three year old impressively. Meanwhile Franco Santino will remain in work and will be aimed at the Kurow Cup. “The way it’s worked out, he’s been ready at the wrong time of year. We didn’t have much luck last season. When he was ready to race he got a wee bit of a bug, and later in the season he hurt his leg in the box. Another Williamson trotter Hawaiian Hula (Dream Vacation – Kylie Ree) is progressing well in a new preparation. She qualified in May 2018 as a two year old and hasn’t been sighted since. She’s a half sister to Springbank Lachie. “She had chips in her knee and was a wee bit scratchy every now and then so we decided to take the chips out. Because she was a big filly she was going to be best served with time.” Hawaiian Hula – Photo Bruce Stewart  ____________________________________________________________________________________ The Southern Programme Committee have decided that there won’t be a Super Nugget Final this season and instead they’ll programme six Nugget finals over the season, each worth $15,000. Southern Harness Manager Jason Broad says both the Nugget and Ladyship Finals in the new season could possibly be run under preferential barrier draw conditions based on winning stakes. He also says there’ll be a wider time gap between finals. In other programming news, Broad says junior driver races will continue to be for one win horses but will also include 40-55 rating events which will incorporate horses that have won two or more races. There’s also some consideration being given to holding $1,000 Two Year Old non-tote races from late November. Broad says this is to encourage horses to get out for a run without incurring a penalty. It’s planned to run these on race days.   Bruce Stewart

Auckland Reactor harness racing gelding The Great Buzz, formerly trained in Southland by Clark Barron is creating a bit of a stir in North America. “He was always a pretty nice maiden. While he didn’t win we threw him into a couple of Nugget Finals and he was never out of the money. I thought he’d get better as he got older. He was a big overgrown horse,” Barron said. The Great Buzz raced eight times for Barron finishing second three times and third twice before he was sold. He’s out of the unraced Bettor’s Delight mare Risonanza and was bred by Kakukuri Bloodstock Limited and Brian West of Studholme Bloodstock Limited. He was bought by Barron for $7,000 at the 2017 Sale of the Stars in Christchurch. Elmer Gantry (18 wins), Dillon Dean (20 wins) and Dillion Dale (17 wins) feature further back in his pedigree. In America, The Great Buzz won his qualifier in 1-56.2 on 15th June. “The horse that ran second (Starznheaven) has won 41 races and nearly $400,000,” said Auckland Bloodstock Agent John Curtin who sold him to regular American buyer Kevin Quinn. He won his first race in America at Saratoga, New York, on the 26th of June recording his lifetime mark of 1-53.3  The Great Buzz “53 on a half mile track is a hell of a run,” stated Curtin, who also sold Nerve Of Steel (5 wins) and Kiwi Tintin (9 wins) to Quinn. “That’s (The Great Buzz) the dearest horse he’s bought. I said to him it’ll be the best horse he’s ever bought. He said ‘no chance it’ll be Kiwi Tintin.’ He’s changed his mind now.” The Great Buzz is trained by Paul Zabielski and was driven on both occasions by James Devaux. “The owner rang me quite a few times. They’ve liked him from day one,” Barron said. The gelding is due to start at Saratoga again on Thursday where he’s drawn the outside of the gate. Because of his impressive form the Saratoga Club officials have also taken him out of the betting market and placed him on the outside. Curtin is not impressed. “He’s drawn seven on a half mile track. That’s brutal, it’s just a joke. The owner’s upset. This horse has only won $6,000.” Bruce Stewart

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