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The last couple of weeks have not been easy for Southland owner Brendon McIntyre. As an integral part of the What Ever Syndicate which raced Franco Ledger, he was saddened when the stallion died suddenly at Macca Lodge earlier this month. “It was a pretty good death if you’re going to have one. It was painless. I was always worried about him because he served mares naturally. If he got injured because of that someone was going to have to make a tough call one day,” McIntyre said. However his Somebeachsomewhere gelding Port Au Prince which won today may have helped soften the loss a little. Trainer Driver Peter Hunter settled the gelding at the back of the second half of the field before letting him slide forward with just over a lap to run to sit parked. “Pete talked about it before the race. If they slackened off he was going to get round them and take luck out of play.” When the leader Leconte started to get reined, Hunter took Port Au Prince to the lead and he went down to the finish to beat favourite Lynryd Skynryd by three and three quarter lengths. McIntyre who races the gelding with his wife Jaque bought Port Au Prince from breeder Ron Croon “We liked him at two, but racing didn’t get off the ground (for that age group) and when it did he was probably ready for a spell.” Franco Ledger is gone, but McIntyres, Peter Hunter and his wife Jo who is Brendon’s sister, have a promising two year old called Justalittlesip by the stallion. “He’s just having a spell at the moment but he’ll come back and we’ll give him an opportunity. He ticks all the boxes at the moment. From what we’ve been told and from what we’ve seen all the Ledgers have got great manners.”   by Bruce Stewart

He’s not ready for the free legged trotting game yet, but the well-bred Kiwitrix has put two good performances together wearing half-hopples. A last start third encouraged his trainer Nathan Williamson to leave the hopples on for today’s race and superbly handled by inform driver Ricky May, the four year old won easily at Ascot Park today. “We might have to fly Ricky down each week to drive him,” said Williamson. May got the gelding away safely and let him find his rhythm. With a lap to run May was in front and he didn’t have to move on the four year with the combination winning by three lengths. “He had the hopples on last start and trotted all the way. Two good runs from two starts, which is good. Concentration’s a big thing. He never breaks at home. We’ll just keep going the same way we’re going hopefully. He’s building a bit of confidence now.” Kiwitrix was bred by Williamson and his wife Katie and her parents Ross and Robyn Jones hold a share in the son of Trixton and Kylie Ree. Kylie Ree won four of her eleven starts including the Hambletonian Classic and Two Year Ruby. She was trained by Mark Purdon and Grant Payne. All of her foals have won races with She’s Allthe Craze winning eight. Kylie Ree is a dam of the very promising Son Of Patrick trained by Barry Purdon. Today’s win by Kiwitrix was one of three for Mid-Canterbury reinsman Ricky May. He also won on Swift Robyn and Onesmartfella.   by Bruce Stewart

Chicago Bull’s win in last night’s Freemantle Cup in West Australia elevated him on a number of fronts. He’s a diminutive wee champ. He won by 5.7 metres over another Southern Bred Southern Reared horse Galactic Star, and the win was his sixtieth. Chicago Bull is now the second highest race winner in the history of Southland Harness Racing, with only champion Cardigan Bay ahead of him at 80 lifetime wins. Themightyquinn (58 wins) still holds the record for the highest stake earning horse to come out of the province, having won $5,520,066. “He’s (Chicago Bull) exceeded everyone’s expectations. Just the way he tries so hard in every race. He’s so consistent and never lets anyone down,” said Katrina Price who bred Chicago Bull with her husband John and his parents Roger and Helen Price of Winton. It was Chicago Bull’s fifth Group One and second Freemantle Cup and his stake earnings are fast heading towards a quarter of a million. All his wins bar one, have been at Gloucester Park. He also becomes his sire Bettor’s Delight’s second biggest Australian stake earner with only Lazarus ahead of him with $4,423,391. Adore Me is third on the list with $1,677,032. Price says Chicago Bull may now be aimed at The Hunter Cup in February after he runs in the WA Pacing Cup early next month. Chicago Bull as a two year old at Winton Chicago Bull is out of the Christian Cullen mare Chicago Blues. “She’s having a forty two day scan on Monday so hopefully there’s a little baby sister there.” The Prices have a full-brother to Chicago Bull named Chicago Bear going to next year’s sale. “He’s got rock star good looks whereas poor little Chicago Bull missed out on all that. He’s pretty determined and was really tough to break in but he’s onside now. He loves people and is very social. If he has that determination out on the racetrack he’ll do alright.” Katrina and John recently purchased American Ideal mare Hartofdixie that won six races for Barry Purdon. She’s out of a half-sister to Maxim which won twelve races including the 2014 Victoria Derby. Hartofdixie’s third dam is Scuse Me, New Zealand Broodmare of the Year in 2012-2013 and 2014-2015. “We’re preparing her yearling colt by Bettor’s Delight and he’s going to go through the sale.” Katrina is also preparing four yearlings for Tuapeka Lodge, including Tuapeka Dan, the first foal out of Bonnie Joan – the winner of ten races and just over $200,000. He’s by Bettor’s Delight. Also in the draft is a Bettor’s Delight colt out of five win Art Major mare Break Dance, named Point Break. “They’re coming down on Tuesday. It’ll be a pretty nice draft. I’ve also got two of Dave Kennedy’s trotters. There’s a bit of everything this year and with eight yearlings we’re going to be pretty busy.”   by Bruce Stewart

Franco Ledger was one of Southland’s favourite horses in his racing days. Sadly he died on Sunday at Macca Lodge,  where he has been a resident on farm stallion for the past few years. During the Hannon Memorial in September 2016, he suffered a leg fracture and subsequently he had to be retired.   From 98 starts he won 25 races, and was second and third 11 times. He won two thirds of his stakes in New Zealand and the remainder in Australia where he was trained by Geoff Webster. For a horse that was primarily trained in Southland he achieved a remarkable record. Fifty nine of his ninety eight starts were Group races. “All the way through his racing career he raced against the top level and was 100% sound. It’s been a terrific ride really. He raced from a two year old to nine and won all that money. He’s seen a lot of Cup horses come and go,” trainer and part owner Hamish Hunter commented after said after Franco Ledger retired. As a two year old the Falcon Seelster colt had just four starts. “I would regard him as a B grade two year old. At his last race at two he ran in the Kindergarten Stakes. He was three wide for the first half and parked after, and they went 1-54 and he was still there at the top of the straight. That gave me an idea of his future.” His best season was as a three year old when he won seven races from twelve starts. “He just grew another leg once he got another year on him which is typical of the Falcon Seelsters. He developed this real high speed and on his day he was very very good.” His biggest win was at Menangle in Australia in the Group One Bohemia Crystal. Franco Ledger winning the Bohemia Crystal at Menangle He also won the Group Two Shepparton Cup, beating Philadelphia Man and Lennytheshark. He was placed second behind Arden Rooney in the 2015 Group One Hunter Cup. On the national front Franco Ledger became the fourth horse to win back to back Hannon Memorials (2012 and 2013). The others were Palestine (1976-1977), Idolmite (1980-1981) and Iraklis (1997-1997). “Winning two Hannon’s was special.” Franco Ledger winning the 2012 Hannon with Hamish Hunter beating Franco Emirate Throughout his racing career he was a bit of a Cups king, winning the Central Otago Cup (2012), Wyndham Cup (2012 and 2014), Wairio Cup (2013), Invercargill Cup (2013), Southern Country’s Cups Final (2012), Methven Cup (2014) and Waikouaiti Cup (2012 and 2014). “He won two Waikouaiti Cups and a Methven Cup and was never beaten on the grass.” His win in the 2014 Waikouaiti Cup was one of the highlights for Hunter in the horse’s career. “It’s probably a World record on grass because they don’t have too many two mile races on grass.” He held two 3200 metres all-weather track records – one at Invercargill (3-58.7) and one at Wyndham (3-57.0), which still stands. “He beat the New Zealand Cup winner (Arden Rooney) in the Wyndham Cup (2014). It was a terrific run.” He was twice named Southland Horse of the Year (2012 and 2013). Hunter remembers him having his little quirks. “If you were standing next to him in a stall and everyone was relaxed and he wasn’t getting the attention he’d kick the back wall and you’d swear the building was going to fall apart.” His biggest stakes winning season was in 2015 when he won four races – three in Australia and one in New Zealand. He banked $233,781 that season. Trainer Hamish Hunter drove him to win 15 races while others who were successful on him were; Peter Hunter (3), Geoff Webster (3), Anthony Butt (2) and Colin De Filippi (2). Hunter is rightly full of admiration for the Falcon Seelster stallion which he part owned with the much travelled and boysterish What Ever Syndicate. “You’d run out of tape if you talked to them (laughter).” As a stallion Franco Ledger has 16 two year olds on the ground and 11 yearlings. “We should see the first of his progeny on the track this season. My brother (Peter) has got a nice two year old running round and you’ll see him later on.” His name is Justalittlesip and is out of the three win Bettor’s Delight mare Justasip. For the record: Group Wins: Group One Bohemia Crystal Group Two Shepparton Cup Group Three Hannon Memorial (twice) Group Three Invercargill Cup Group Three Central Otago Cup Group and Listed Seconds: Group One Hunter Cup Group One Easter Cup Group Two Kaikoura Cup Group Two Ashburton Flying Stakes Group Three Rangiora Classic Group Three Central Otago Cup Group Three Invercargill Cup Listed Five Year Old Emerald “In the Harness Jewels when they had a race for five year olds he came from the rear. Terror To Love won the race but Franco Ledgers sectionals were unbelievable. A galloping trainer told me after the race that he had gallopers that couldn’t come home as quick as he did that day. So that gave you an idea of the spear speed he had.” Group Thirds: Group Two Interdominion Heat Group Two Interdominion Consolation Group Two Superstars Group Three Canterbury Classic Group Three New Brighton Cup Group Three Forbury Park Four and Five Year Old Championship Group Three Northern Southland Cup Group Three Casey Classic Group Three Bendigo Cup   by Bruce Stewart

Winton trainer Chelsea Faithful admits she gets nervous prior to her horses racing and today on her home track at Winton she was doubly so, with two runners in the New Zealand Bloodstock Junior Drivers Mobile Pace. Four year old mare Pay Me Speedy, having only her second start, duly did the business, coming from the back and winning by three quarters on a length from Robyns Shadow. “It’s always a bit nerve wracking watching one of your own especially her, because I’ve got a bit of a wrap on her,” Faithful commented after the win. Although she holds a junior license herself,  she chose to give the drives to Mark Hurrell (Pay Me Speedy)and Ollie Kite (Tartan Roxy 11th ). Prior to today’s run Pay Me Speedy had had two workouts. “I just wanted a quiet one for the first (workout) but she wanted to over race and broke. Nathan drove her the next time and we changed a bit of gear.” Driven by Mark Hurrell today, her winning time of 2-56.8 was impressive for a mare of her grade. This was her second win in as many starts. “She settled pretty well for Mark today. She can get keen but she’s still learning the game. I did expect her to go well but perhaps need the run and to do something like that was pretty impressive.” Pay Me Speedy is owned by Faithful, her grandparents Norm and Bev Cox, and her mother Louise Cox. She’s out of the Artsplace mare Pay Me Painter which won four races and was placed in the Southland Oaks. “She’s still pretty green and I’ve never really screwed her down. Providing everything goes to plan I think she’ll have a bright enough future. The phone will start ringing again and for now I’d like to say I’ll keep her. She’s my baby.” Norm, Bev and Louise Cox, Chelsea Faithful, Pay Me Speedy and Mark Hurrell – Photo Bruce Stewart The win reinforces Faithful’s remarkable strike rate but with the recent retirement of Tartan Trilogy, the sale of Toby O’Gara to Australia, and Imperial Tartan breaking down, her training numbers have been halved. “I’ve gone from six to three so I’ve got a bit of time on my hands and I don’t know what to do with myself.” Meanwhile Panspacificflight gelding Macandrew Aviator won at his second start for trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis. The four year old came home nicely on debut on this course in October in the hands of Brent Barclay. He reined the gelding today as well, beating second favourite Angus by a nose. Harry H having his third start for Southland trainer Shane Matheson won at odds of 29 to 1. The Muscle Yankee gelding had previously won seven races for a number of North Island trainers. He’s a half -brother to Martina H and Tony H.   by Bruce Stewart

Not many trainers would have had the faith to lock horse Lock It In Eddie in to a long term contract but Winton trainer Tracie McGrannachan has a special bond with the six year old and doesn’t have any problems with the gelding these days. The horse got it’s name from a phrase contestants use in the Australian Television Series “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” hosted by Eddie McGuire. He’s related to handy types Mark Hanover and Mark Roy. Lock It In Eddie rewarded Tracie’s faith in him once again when he won his second race on his home track today. “He was the worst horse you’ve ever seen when we got him. He was gelded the day he came home. He haemorrhaged, and the vets came out a few hours later. We thought he was going to die. I stayed with him the night and he ended up pulling through,” she said. The six year old Changeover gelding is owned by McGrannachan, her daughter Brooke, her husband to be Bryan Trethowen, Ian Goodman and Peter Kane. “He has taken a wee while but as you can see he’s big and overgrown. Every time you did something with him he’d buck and kick. He was a shocker so we’d turn him out and bring him back in. We just kept doing that. Every time we did it he forgot what his habit was the time before.” In today’s event driver Nathan Williamson settled the gelding back. With a lap to run he settled into the one one after sitting parked. With 450 metres to run Williamson moved off the tiring The Night Watchman’s back to come down the centre of the track. Bunter’s Dream, which took the inside passing lane, got a half a length in front but Lock It In Eddie under a hard drive from Williamson got up to win by half a neck. McGrannachan says the horse reponds well to hitting the shaft and making some noise. “I dare say Nathan’s probably got a sore throat.” “He’s really chilled now but early on everything scared him. John Dunn drove him at Wyndham one day and he nearly put him over the fence. That was what he was like. Brad Williamson said one day ‘if he clicks he should win a couple in a row.” Winners side by side – Pay Me Speed and Chelsea Faithful and Lock It In Eddie and Tracie McGrannachan- Photo Bruce Stewart Maybe this is the first of a double Tracie?   Bruce Stewart

After today’s impressive win in the Macca Lodge South of the Waitaki Mobile Pace co-trainer and driver Kirstin Barclay had no hesitation in rating Watch Me Now as the best mare she’s driven. “I’ve been lucky to drive some nice horses but she’d be by far the best mare,” she said. Into today’s $30,000 feature for horses trained south of the Waitaki River, Barclay said she was unsure what her raceday plan was but she felt she had options from a wide draw. “She’s more than a one trick pony. She can do a bit of work, sit parked or lead.” From gate seven Barclay pushed the mare forward early. “Once she scored up behind the gate she was pretty keen, came out well and we got across quite easily.” Once in front she settled into a nice rhythm. “She’s a funny mare. She switches off easily and relaxes. She just enjoys rolling along and that’s what she did.” At the 600 metres Watch Me Now was just cruising. “I thought I’d gone a lap too soon. I expected them to come at her at the bend but they didn’t.  She did it very easy in the end.” At the finish she was six and a half lengths clear of second place getter Sentry. “I didn’t think it was going to be easy by any means. Primarily she’s been racing against fillies and mares so it was quite a step up. I was confident of a good showing but I wasn’t dead set confident she would come out and win like she did.” The winning time for the 2600 metre mobile was 3-10.0 – a mile rate of 1-57.5. The last half was cut out in 56.0 with the last 400 run in 26.8. Today’s win was Watch Me Now’s sixth from just ten starts. “That’s a credit to Tank. He’s spaced her races out really well and looked after her. That’s one of his talents – plotting a path with horses and he’s done it to perfection with her.” Watch Me Now is out of the Mach Three mare Mach N Elle which is owned by Steve and Claire Sloan and Macca Lodge Stud master Brent McIntyre who sponsored today’s race. As a broodmare Mach N Elle has left Darcee the winner of eight races in New Zealand, and she was also successful in America. Barclay and Ellis have had Watch Me Now from day one, Ellis having had success with her half-sister Machjagger. “Right from day one we liked her.v She’s always been a beautiful gaited horse who felt like she had a bit of a motor.” So are there any bigger plans for the mare? “No. I’ll leave that to Tank. He does all the planning. My job is to drive these sorts of horses in work and on race day.” Watch Me Now is owned by Steve Sloan, Claire Sloan, Brad Sloan, Mrs J Sloan and Hayley Gibb. Meanwhile other stable star U May Cullect has come home to Southland after an unsuccessful campaign running in some of the big races leading into the New Zealand Cup for which he held a nomination. “He’s home having a month off on good grass. He lost a bit of condition and he had a couple of joint issues which we thought we were on top of.  His dicky leg is really good. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong but the good thing is that he’s sound. When you’re racing at that level you just have to be one hundred percent right. We were just on the back foot all the way through. We just have to get him right and happy again.”   by Bruce Stewart

Branxholme trainer Nathan Williamson is in for a big week. Pembrook Playboy and Andy Hall are his two starters for Cup Day in Christchurch on Tuesday, and Dark Horse, Franco Santino and Longueval will start on Show Day. Giant trotter Andy Hall will run in the Hydroflow Handicap Trot a 3200 metre race, on Cup Day. “He hit the line well in his first start and did much the same at Ashburton.  He’s been going well and I think the two miles won’t worry him. He’s drawn handy and he doesn’t possess a lot of early speed but hopefully he ends up handy.  I think he’s a top five chance.” Pembrook Playboy represents the stable in the Group Three Junior Free For All and comes into the race with excellent form line, including a last start second to Burnham Boy in the Southern Supremacy Stakes. “I thought it was one of his career best runs in the Supremacy. He was just beaten by a better horse on the day. He’s trained on well and I can’t see why he can’t run another good race. He seems happy in himself so we’ll go up there with a wee bit of confidence.” On Show Day quality mare Dark Horse is down to start in the Group One $270,000 Majestic Son Dominion Handicap. The eight year old mare has been domiciled in Oamaru for the last month based at Williamson’s father Phil’s property. “She trialled on Wednesday (Oamaru) and she went okay.” Chinese Whisper will be missing from the carnival having  been turned out for a short spell. “I wasn’t happy with his run at Tuapeka and subsequently he hasn’t trained on so he’s in the spelling paddock. It’s just a couple of wee niggly things so we’re just backing off and reassessing things. He won’t have long off and we’ll look at Christmas racing. There’s no point in going up there if you’re 90%.” Consistent entire Franco Santino will represent the stable in the Free For All on Show Day. “We’re racing him on Friday rather than the Tuesday. On Friday it’s 1980 metres. He seems to be more of a speed horse and we’ve left the 2600 metre race on Tuesday for Pembrook (Playboy). He seemed to have come though his last race well and he’s in good form.” Four year old Longueval will start in the highly competitive South of the Waitaki also run on Show Day. “He’s a nice wee horse and he’s going to get a good draw so he’s going to get a run along the markers not doing too much. He’s a good follower of speed. He’ll be competitive but there’s one or two smarty’s that might be a bit good for him. If he can run a competitive race he could be attractive to buyers at Cup Week as the owners are looking to sell him on.” Nathan also drives Majestic Man, one of the favourites in the New Zealand Trotting Free For All. He won this race driving Jasmyn’s Gift in 2006.   by Bruce Stewart

Trainer driver Tim Robertson got plenty of satisfaction from Miss Jessica’s win at Ascot Park today. He raised the whip just after the finish line as the five year old trotting mare scored her second win in a career’s spanned thirty two starts. “She just needed time to grow into her frame,” Robertson said. He trains a small team of nine horses at his Makarewa stable with help from his father Leith. “She (Miss Jessica) just does a lot of slow work, and a lot of it. Dad does most of the jogging and I do most of the fast work.” A second placing three starts ago indicated Miss Jessica wasn’t too far away from getting her second win. “She’s been working well all week and I was expecting a big run, but you can never be too confident with her because she makes up her mind on what she wants to do in that last 800.” After getting away well Robertson had the mare handy early –  either two or three back on the inside. Within the last 600 metres Miss Jessica was moved off the inside to challenge the leader Helluva Way. Turning in she took over the lead and held on to beat King Of The North by a neck. It was Robertson’s seventh winning drive. His first was at Wyndham in April 2008 when Blue Eden jointly trained by himself and Leith won. Robertson comes from a chefing background having worked at the Kelvin Hotel and Eat on Windsor. “I left that about 18 months ago.  I’m a truck driver in the morning delivering to the restaurant and I still do three shifts a week at the local restaurants just to give them a hand.” Partner Anne-Maree Fulton and children Grace and Amelia were on-course today to see the win. “It was good to have them here. They don’t normally come to the races.” Racing Minister capped off some good form when he won his second race for Myross Bush trainer Doug McLachlan. He got up to beat Bunter’s Dream by half a length. Auckland Reactor gelding Tiger Moth in only his third start for new trainer Lyndon Bond, won the R40-R45 Mobile Pace. The six year old started his career with Bond’s uncle Graham. Prince Envy which had been backed and beaten in his first two starts won his first race for Australian owners Merv and Meg Butterworth. Trained at Ryal Bush by Brett Gray the five year old Majestic Son gelding lead for most of the trip for driver Nathan Williamson and bolted in,  winning by seven and three quarter lengths from stable mate Peregrine which made up a stack of ground after breaking in the running. Peter Hunter produced Glenledi Captain to win his maiden race. Taken straight to the front (where most Somebeachsomewhere progeny run well) the four year old was too strong for Leconte winning by six and a half lengths. Glenledi Captain’s stable mate Port Au Prince was a close third. A big drop in class helped Whatwillbeewillbee win the main trotting race of the afternoon. He’s raced against better quality horses in his recent outings and led all the way for driver Jonny Cox to hold out a late run from Tweedledee. The Wayne Adams trained Tulsa Jaccka came with a late run to nab El Dorado in the Level One Restaurant and Bar Mobile Pace. This was her nineteenth start and third win.   by Bruce Stewart

Burnham trainer Mark Jones became the first trainer to win both the Southland Oaks and the Southern Supremacy Stakes on the same day in the same year, with Stylish Memphis and Burnham Boy winning at Ascot Park today. In the Macca Lodge/Nevele R Southland Oaks Final, driver Ricky May took Stylish Memphis forward off the mobile with local filly Watch Me Now taking the lead. With 600 metres to run Watch Me Now and Need You Now went to war, with May sitting patiently in the trail. He moved Stylish Memphis off the inside and once the field straightened for the run home the Bettor’s Delight mare let down nicely. “She ran past them and knocked off. She could have won by a lot more. You don’t get paid for winning by more,” said Jones. The winning margin was three quarters of a length from Need You Now with Watch Me Now another three quarters of a length away in third. Her winning time of 3-16.3 created a new race, track and Southland record for mares erasing Bonnie Joan’s record of 3-17.1. The time was also a new all comers record. “The driver and the draw were in our favour. She’s a good stayer and had been running good times over in Aussie and a truly run 2700 metres didn’t worry her. The first three home are very good fillies.” It was the fourth time May has won the Southland Oaks. He previously won it on Impact (1996), Flash Tactics (2000) and Mainland Banner (2005). Stylish Memphis is owned by Wayne Higgs. “In two weeks time at this stage she’ll head to the Nevele R Final. Wayne is toying with the idea of running in the New Zealand Cup, said Jones.” Stylish Memphis may also go back to Australia again in the new year. Last season she won the Group One New South Wales Oaks. “If we place her right she’s definitely good enough to win another Group One.” The Jones double was completed when Burnham Boy led all the way and held out a game Pembrook Playboy by a neck at the end of the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes. “The way the wee fella’s been going he’s shown he’s pretty tough so when we saw the draw I thought I’d like to roll forward and lead up if I could,” said driver Sam Ottley. “He’s a really genuine horse who drops the bits wherever you put him. When I asked him to go he still had plenty left.” Both the Southland Oaks and Southern Supremacy were rescheduled after Covid prevented both finals from being run in April. “We really love coming down here. Southern Harness didn’t have to re-run these races but they did which is great. They’re good races to win.” Trainer Mark Jones was also full of compliments for Burnham Boy. “He deserved to win a race like this. He’s no superstar but he tries really hard. He’s a good genuine race horse which you’d like a stable full of,” he said. The four year old came into today’s final with impeccable form over short distance racing at Addington. “The short trips back home don’t suit him but the 2700 suited him today. If he got into the New Zealand Cup this year we’d probably start him. After the way he went today we’d probably make the late payment.”   Bruce Stewart

Woodlands trainer Steve Baucke has always liked Bizzie Lou and she won for the stable at the Wairio Meeting today. He bought the filly at the Weanling Sales in Auckland. “She wants to be there. She’s a tough little nut,” he said. Bizzie Lou is out of the In The Pocket mare Bizzie Girl and was bred by Woodlands Stud. Bizzie Girl has also left Eliza Duska which won nineteen races in Australia including the Group Three Pink Bonnet. She ran third in the NSW Oaks. Her breed goes back to twelve race winner In Or Out , who was developed by Harry Maw. Bizzie Lou drew the inside of the second row in today’s race, and she ended up four back on the inside for driver Matty Williamson. “I was worried. I thought fourth might be our lot today.” Williamson had a handful of horses turning in and once her got the gap twenty metres short of the winning post, she sprinted hard to win by half a neck from pacemaker New York Man, with another half a head back to Beaver. “She went massive to get up. She just keeps stepping up when she goes out,” said Baucke. The horse was subject to some big bets and went in as the favourite. “Carol (Baucke’s wife) has two dollars to win and three dollars for a place and I had twenty over thirty so it wasn’t coming from us.” Those that follow the Wyndham workouts would have spotted her winning easily last Sunday. “She went well at the workouts the other day. She’s shown a bit of ability so there’s some nice fillys racing coming up.”   Bruce Stewart

Pembrook Playboy showed all the qualities of a horse going places when he beat a tidy field at the Northern Southland Trotting Club Meeting at Ascot Park today. What made the win memorable was that he had to sit parked, but still had the class to win. “I was following two horses that I didn’t want to be following so I had to commit to the outside. The horse did the rest. He went great,” Williamson said. His trainer has always known the Bettor’s Delight entire has speed but today he showed great staying qualities. “He’s developing into a very good all round horse. That’s what he needed today, a nice hard run. He’s a pretty good horse.” After sitting parked outside leader Memphis Tennessee for the last 1650 metres Pembrook Playboy was brave in winning by half a length from Memphis Tennessee. The winning time was 3-21.5 with the last 800 metres cut out in 55.3. “He felt good but they were going a bit. He hadn’t raced for a while so he was busy enough out there.” Pembrook Playboy was bought by owner Chris Alcock at the 2018 National Yearling Sales. He’s out of the three win Christian Cullen mare Dudinka’s Star whose wins included the Great Northern Oaks and the Group One Ladyship Stakes. The four year old holds a nomination for the New Zealand Cup. “It’s not a goal. We’ll continue to pay up. If the field falls away and he gets a start it won’t be a bad idea as part of his growing up process. He’s probably twelve months – even two years away. He’s only four and hasn’t got the ring craft.” Meanwhile Her Majesty overcame a second line draw to lead and hang on to win the Walker Murdoch Mobile Pace. The four year old mare driven by co-trainer Kirstin Barclay got a nice run through on the back of favourite Miss Auckland and made the lead inside the first 400 metres. Her Majesty which is a sister to Dizzy Miss Lizzy and Lady Madonna was starting to get the stitch at the end of the 2200 metres but held on to beat Maya Angelou. Willangus Lad showed plenty of tenacity when after being headed by Insist The Win, he came again to win his second race in as many starts. The Angus Hall five year old trained by Northern Southland Committee man Robert Wilson took over the lead after early leader Madrik broke. The winning margin was half a length. Jabali came from three back on the inside to nab pacemaker Hazer by a neck in Race Five. It was the ten year old’s sixth win in ninety two starts for trainer Ross Hope. Jabali has now won over $66,000. Promising Sentry won the Regent Car Court/Caduceus Club Of Southland Nuggets Final for trainer Craig Laurenson. The Chelsea Faithful trained Toby O’Gara capped off a memorable day when he outfinished his rival to win the GJ Gardner Homes Mobile Pace.   by Bruce Stewart

Chinese Whisper lit up Ascot Park today, coming from a long way back to win his sixth race and in doing so breaking a track and Southland record. The excitement machine was the highlight of a days racing that saw for the first time, full public attendance at Ascot Park since Covid. “I didn’t have to pull the plugs and he sprinted up pretty good. It was pretty impressive,” trainer driver Nathan Williamson said after the win. From the back mark of thirty metres the Sundon gelding got well off the pace early. With 400 metres to run he was still eight lengths off the pace and he had to go five wide out of the last bend. Chinese Whisper came down the outside of the track and got up a beat a brave Sundons Flyer by half a length. The winning time of 3-26.2 was a new track and Southland record for entires and geldings. The previous record of 3-26.3 was held by Monty Python. The open record of 3-24.0 is held by Pres The Belle. Williamson has been very patient with Chinese Whisper who’s had only ten starts over three seasons of racing. “He’s quite temperamental and touchy. With management he’s slowing getting there. Every time he goes out there he’s learning something different. He dropped the bit completely today. I put him on the bit with a lap to go and he travelled up nice.” The plan now is to race him at Tuapeka in a fortnight. The five year old is owned by Williamson’s wife Katie and farrier Brendon Franks, and is currently ranked 30th in November’s Majestic Son Dominion Handicap. “I might base myself in Christchurch before Cup Week, take him to the Cup trial, line him up on Cup Day and see how he goes in that sort of company. Dark Horse is my Dominion horse though.”   by Bruce Stewart

The Southland Harness Awards for the 2019/20 season were presented last night but without the usual accolades provided by a live audience. The  usual ceremony dinner at  Ascot Park Hotel was cancelled due to the impact of Covid 19 and the awards were presented by Nicole Elliot on the Southland Harness Facebook Page instead. Southland Harness Horse of the Year: Owned by Neville Cleaver and trained by Nathan Williamson Christian Cullen entire Franco Santino was crowned Southland Harness Horse of the Year. He was the province’s leading stakes winner with $32,930. He won three races and his three placings included a second in the Group Three Invercargill Cup. Southland Broodmare of the Year: Chiola Cola mare Delcola owned by Ian Hunter was named Southland Broodmare of the Year. She’s the dam of Splash Cola which won three races last season from seven starts. One of her wins was in the Group Three Summer Trotting FFA in which she broke a New Zealand record. Another of Delcola’s progeny Delson won twice in eight starts while her latest race winner Andy Hall also won twice from just four starts. Southland Achievement Awards 2019-2020 As well as being names asSouthland’s leading Junior Driver Ellie Barron also picked up the Southland Harness Achievement of the Year Award. Ellie was the province’s ambassador for the Teal Appeal and on January 3rd at Omakau Barron played a pivotal part in saving Ricky May’s life. May collapsed in the sulky and fell to the track when driving A. G. White Socks in the Central Otago Cup at Omakau. Ellie Barron administered CPR until the paramedics took over. Southland Trotter of the Year and Contribution Awards: The Caduceus Club of Southland Trotter of the Year Award was won by the Lyndon Bond trained Crusher Collin while Dave McDonald was presented with a Contribution to Southland Harness Racing Award.   Other Awards: Two Year old Colt or Gelding of the Year: Major Punter Three Year Old Filly of the Year: Renegade Rose Three Year Old Colt or Gelding of the Year: See Ya Write Group Certificates: Amazing Dream (Vin and Daphne Devery) and Splash Cola (Ian Hunter). Leading Southland Trainer: Nathan Williamson Leading Southland Driver: Nathan Williamson Leading Southland Junior Driver: Ellie Barron Leading Driver of Trotters in Southland: Nathan Williamson Elite Broodmare Award: Chicago Blues Leading Two Year Old Stakes Earning Filly of the Year: Braeview Kelly Leading Three Year Old Stakes Earning Filly of the Year: Watch Me Now Leading All Age Mare of the Year: Crusher Collins Fastest Winning Mile Time in Southland: Watch Me Now New Zealand Record Holders: Pres The Belle, Paramount King and Splash Cola. Two Minute pins were awarded to the owners of the following horses: Allaboutjoy, Arden’s Reality, Ball Of Art, Italian Lad, Lagertha, Lite Percussion, Maidonthebeach, Major Watson, Pearl Harbour, The Paua Diver, Paramount King and Splash Cola.   By Bruce Stewart

Mach Shard played the lead role in a hot twenty four hours of success for Southern Bred Southern Reared horses on both sides of the Tasman. The Mach Three gelding bred by Debbie and Mark Smith capitalised on the perfect trip to get up and win Friday night’s Spring Cup at Alexandra Park with favourite Copy That a head back in second. Trained by Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan it was the six year old’s ninth win and he has now won $353,594. Earlier in the night Christianshavtime bred by Murray Little impressively won R59-R78 pace. Trained by Logan Hollis and Scott Robertson the American Ideal gelding sat in the one out line for most of the trip. Just before straightening driver Maurice McKendry hooked the four year old wide and be came down the middle of the track to win by a length and a quarter. His time was an impressive 2-39.7. Christianshavtime’s second dam Dream Angel is a full sister to multiple group winning mare One Dream. Further south at Addington southern bred horses quinellaed the Sire Stakes Three Year Old Trotters Prelude. Leaf Stride bred by Michelle Caig of Winton won the 1950 metre feature by half a head from Son Of Patrick which was bred by Nathan Williamson. It was Leaf Stride’s second win in as many starts and both trainer Phil Williamson and driver Matty Williamson have a good opinion of the Love You gelding. Later on the card the royally bred Arden’s Ace got up to nab pacemaker Under Wraps by a head. Arden’s Ace is by Art Major out the sixteen win race mare Venus Serena. The win was the three year old’s second win in as many starts. He was bred at Arden Lodge in Tapanui by John Stiven. Across the Tasman two Southland bred mares quinellaed the Group Three Ladyship Pace at Menangle last night. Bettor Enforce bred by Ben and Karen Calder won her sixteenth race when she beat another Southland mare Havtime running the mile in 1-49.8. Bettor Enforce has now won over a quarter of a million dollars. Meanwhile at Gloucester Park in Western Australia on Friday night Jimmy Mack, Rakasinc and Talkerup all bred in the south, won their respective races. Bruce Stewart

In his debut run, Jaccka Cooper provided a change of luck for owners Charlie and Alisa Smaill. The Smaills have had a string of placings recently with horses they own and yesterday’s win was welcomed by the couple who were on course to see the win. Jaccka Cooper is out of Art Major mare Comeon Jaccka which won a race for Ascot Park trainer Wayne Adams. “She had a bit of speed but didn’t carry on with it,” Charlie said. Comeon Jaccka is out of Comeon Franco which the Smaills purchased at a Wayne Francis sale in the mid 2000s. Comeon Jaccka was by Holmes Hanover out of Cherubic. Jaccka Cooper has taken a bit of time to organise but appears to be getting the hang of the racing game. “He looked quite nice as a three year old and I sent him down to Brett’s but his head didn’t grow with his body. He got upset with grit so we brought him home and turned him out.” In yesterday’s maiden race Jaccka Copper lead and had to withstand constant pressure throughout the run but he had enough resolve to hang on to win by a neck from Sentry which came up the passing lane. The A Rocknroll Dance gelding has been to the fore at trials and workouts. “He’s had four preparation runs and he’s won the lot.” Smaill who’s held a trainers licence off and on over the years, still like to be hands on at his Riversdale property. “Usually I do about a month with them before they go to Brett’s. I have a lady who’s worked for me for years. We get them up and running and reasonably fit.” Smaill mainly breeds trotters these days and particularly likes Janine Jaccka’s three year old colt Jaccka John. “I quite like him. I also have a Father Patrick that’s a brother to Jasmine Jaccka. He’s a bit headstrong but I quite like him too.” Meanwhile Paul Andrews trained his first winner when Tad Lincoln won his maiden race at Ascot Park. The six year old Sir Lincoln gelding out of Lady Writer was bred by John Earl and Tom Kilkelly. Earl trained him initially, then Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis had him for a number of starts. He also had a short stint for Adrian Wohlers before Andrews took him on in June of this year. He’s had fifteen starts for Andrews and at times has looked as though he could win another race. Andrews has held a license since 1993 and prior to this win has taken horses to the races 147 times. From gate four driver Mark Hurrell pushed Tad Lincoln forward but was left parked for the first lap before Marika gave him cover. At the 300 Hurrell pulled the gelding out and he came down the middle of the track to win by two lengths from Man I’m Good. Tad Lincoln was at odds of 28 to 1.   Bruce Stewart

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