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Robbie Royale was always going to be hard to beat at Ascot Park today. He ran a creditable seventh in strong company at Wyndham on Thursday and today's race was a massive drop in class. Trained by Brett Gray and driven by Brent Barclay he began safely and was allowed to settle into his gait for the first 100 metres. With 1600 metres to run Barclay moved the five year old forward and was forced three wide by Zoned Scarlett which also improved on his inside. Barclay allowed Zoned Scarlett to trot to the front before taking the top with 1200 metres to run. From there he held the lead beating her by three quarters of a length.   "He was good in front today. We thought we'd take everything else out of play by taking him to the front and let him roll," said Brent Barclay.  It was Robbie Royale's second win and the first for Brett Gray who took over his training last month from owner trainer Brian Norman. He's always shown he has the potential to progress further, but has broken in a number of his starts.  "He's a work in progress because he's still got a few rough strides in his gait but he feels like he'll win another couple of races alright. He's just very touchy in the mouth. When you grab him he's inclined to throw his head and that's when you lose him. You just have to go with him for the first three hundred metres until he balances up. We've got a softer bit in his mouth and he's getting better." His sire Raffaello Ambrosia left 50 foals in New Zealand with sixteen qualifiers or race winners. The best so far is Conon Bridge which has now won twenty one races and $264,367. He was good enough in 2015 as a two year old to win a Breeders Crown. Robbie Royale's fourth dam Castleton Queen is the mother of Sir Castleton, the winner of forty four races and of Castleton Pride which won eleven including the 1975 Interdominion Trotters Grand Final at Alexandra Park.  Sir Castleton won nine of his first twelve starts. He started an amazing four times in the Group One Rowe Cup finishing tenth in 1981, third in 1982, first in 1983 and second in 1984. He was trained for all bar three of his starts by Mawson MacPherson. Wayne Smart trained him for the lfinal three races and he won them all.  Meanwhile Star Reactor credited his sire Auckland Reactor with his sixty ninth individual winner; thirty seven in Australia and thirty two in New Zealand. Star Reactor - Photo File The Allan Beck trained mare trailed the leader and favourite Duke Of Dundee throughout the 2200 metres and she let down nicely up the passing lane to beat Duke Of Dundee by half a length with Don't Need An Excuse another two and a half lengths back in third. Auckland Reactor prodigy have now won $1.7 million between them.   Bruce Stewart

For decades Southern Bred Southern Reared horses have been proving the importance of the southern region to the Australian harness racing industry and beyond. It all started with trail blazers like Cardigan Bay, Robin Dundee, Stella Frost and Young Quinn. Southland has long been regarded as the Kentucky of New Zealand. Local vet Brendon Bell has worked in Southland for 22 years and he also says the climate is well suited to raising young stock. “Our temperate climate means there is plentiful grass over most of the critical phase of the foal’s development – from birth to yearling stage. This supply of grass means minimal hard feed is necessary to raise young horses.”  He adds that the summer climate gives the Southern region an advantage over the rest of the country. “Moderate temperatures – not too hot but not really cold. Adequate rainfall ensures grass growth over the summer. Somewhat cheaper land prices means more people can own and graze their own horses, keeping control in the hands of the horse owner.” He says the dairy boom has changed farm ownership but there’s still a groundswell of farmers who own or graze horses on their properties, in contrast to many horses in other provinces which are agisted at studs.  “Farm based horses exist with other stock which ensure minimal health issues, minimal parasite burdens from cross grazing, and normally plentiful feed.” He says Copper, Calcium, Phosphorus and Magnesium are important minerals for good animal development. So plenty of hard evidence to suggest southern foals get the best of starts to life. Young Quinn We profile twelve of the millionaires that have been proudly bred and reared in the Southern region.                                                                Themightyquinn - Washington VC – Love Sign (Maiden Soky’s Atom mare) Breeder: Dave Kennedy Province of Origin: Southland Lifetime: 111-58-21-12 $5,520,066 Biggest win: $1,000,000 2012 Interdominion Final Number of Group One wins: 13 Longest winning streak: 11 Sold: He was taken to the PGG Broodmare and Mixed Stock Sale as a weanling but was passed in. He was then sold privately later to Richard Aubrey who had seen him at the sale and contacted the Kennedy’s about buying him. Notes: Trained initially by Peter Bagrie and won six races in New Zealand before his sale to Australia Won Fremantle and West Australia Pacing Cups back to back in 2011 Won the 2011 Interdominion Final in Christchurch Win 2011 Auckland Cup Won the 2012 $1,000,000 Interdominion Final at Gloucester Park after winning his three heats Also won the 2013 $750,000 Interdominion Final becoming the second horse to win three consecutive Interdominion Finals (Blacks A Fake was the first). Won two Fremantle Cups (2011 and 2012) Started in 46 Group races (mainly Group Ones) in his Australian career Finished his career by winning the Group One Blacks A Flake                                                                     Holmes D G – Holmes Hanover – Bella Ragazza (Unraced Son Of Afella mare) Breeder: M J Gray, Mrs L J Dempsey and B M Dempsey Province of Origin: Southland Lifetime: 99-32-13-6 $1,949,617 Biggest win: $400,000 2000 Miracle Mile Number of Group One wins: 8 Longest winning streak: 5 New Zealand Record: 2-21.0 – 1950 metre mobile – Addington -10th November 1998 Sold: Privately Notes: Won New Zealand and Great Northern Derby 1997/1998 Horse of the Year 1997/1998 Three Year Old Pacing Colt or Gelding of the Year. Won the 1998 Victoria Derby Won 1999 Ashburton Flying Stakes Ist in the 1999 FFA at Addington 2nd in the New Zealand Cup 1999 Won the Victoria Cup in 1999 Ist in $100,000 The Treuer Memorial in 1999 Won 2001 $250,000 Auckland Cup (Group One) 2001/2002 5 year old and older pacing entire or gelding of the year 1999/2000 5 year old and older pacing entire or gelding of the year                                                                         Sokyola – Soky’s Atom – Maudola (Maiden Chiola Hanover mare) Breeder: GL McCulloch Province of Origin: Southland Lifetime: 161-78-29- 13 $1,890,990 Biggest win: $550,000 2004 Miracle Mile Number of Group One wins: 1 Longest winning streak: 12 Sold: Privately Notes: Started his career with Gore trainer Merv Todd. Had four starts for a win before being bought by Lance Justice. In his first 36 starts in Australia he won 25 and was placed second or third in the other 10. Was bought back to New Zealand for the Interdominions winning once and placing fourth twice in the lead up. He led and compounded in the final won by Elsu. Won the 2004 Miracle Mile Won the $300,000 2004 Victoria Cup (Group One)                                                                   Chicago Bull – Bettor’s Delight – Chicago Blues (3 win Christian Cullen mare) Breeder: John Price, Katrina Price, Roger Price and Helen Price Province of Origin: Southland Lifetime: 61-40-8-8 $1,820,709 (to date) Biggest win: $450,000 West Australian Pacing Cup Number of Group One wins: 4 Longest winning streak: 10 Sold: Privately Notes: Had seven starts as a two year old in Southland before he was sold to Gary Hall Seniors stable Won 13 of his first 16 starts in West Australia Won the Group One $300,000 Fremantle Cup and $450,000 West Australia Cup in seven days. Has started in 27 Group races in his 61 start career All of his Group One wins have been at Gloucester Park Has never finished further back that fourth (once) in his 54 starts in Australia Has a best winning mile time of 1-51.6                                                                         Washakie – Badlands Hanover – Shoshoni Sunrise (6 win OK Bye mare) Breeder: Big Stone Lodge Limited (Lester Paisley) Province of Origin: Southland Lifetime: 141-53-21-12 $1,838,473 Biggest win: $200,000 Queensland Pacing Championship Number of Group One wins: 8 Longest winning streak: 6 Sold: 2005 National Yearling Sales for $40,000 Notes: Bought by Cavalla Bloodstock at the sales Trained by Steven Reid. Won 11 races for Reid. Sold to Australia in 2007 Won the Group One MH Treuer Memorial five times (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013) Started in 73 Group races in his 141 start career                                                                 Beaudiene Boaz – Badlands Hanover – Beaudiene Babe (Maiden In The Pocket mare) Breeder: Dave Kennedy Province of Origin: Southland Lifetime: 60-25-9-4 $1,256,587 (AUD) Biggest win: $300,000 2016 Fremantle Pacing Cup Number of Group One wins: 3 Longest winning streak: 7 Sold: 2013 Sale Of The Stars for $62,000 Notes: Won the 2014 $125,000 Group One Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park Won the $200,000 2015 West Australia Pacing Derby Winner of the 2016 $300,000 Fremantle Cup 3rd in the 2016 Interdominion Final won by Smolda                                                                          Smiling Shard – Grinfromeartoear – Sly Shard (4 win Panorama mare) Breeder: Debbie and Mark Smith Province of Origin: Southland Lifetime: 50-17-15-7 $1,178,792 Biggest win: $311,000 2009 Breeders Crown (2 year olds) Number of Group One wins: 3 Longest winning streak: 4 Sold: 2008 Sale Of The Stars for $41,000 New Zealand Record: 1-53.7 – 1609 metre mobile – Ashburton 30th May 2009 Notes: Winner of the 2009 $200,000 Two Year Old Emerald in 1-53.7 Won $243,750 New Zealand Yearling Sales Open Final for Three Year Olds Ist in the 2009 Sires Stakes Final for Two Year Olds Won KaIkoura Cup in 2010 and 2011 Won Ashburton Cup 2nd in the 2011 Taylor Mile 3rd in the 2011 Interdominion Pacing Championship Grand Final won by Themightyquinn Two Year Old Colt or Gelding of the Year 2008/2009                                                                             Field Marshal – Art Major – Foreal (18 win Washington VC mare) Breeder: Syd and Shona Brown Province of Origin: Otago Lifetime: 60-25-15-6 $1,132,712 (AUD: 12/01/2019) Biggest win: $750,000 2018 Miracle Mile Number of Group One wins: 5 Longest winning streak: 7 Sold: Retained by Breeder Notes: Won 2016 Four Year Old Emerald worth $150,000 New Zealand Messenger Champion in 2016 ($100,000) Won Taylor Mile in 2016 Superstar Championship winner in 2016 Won Miracle Mile at Menangle in 2018 pacing 1-46.9 When he won the Miracle Mile he was the seventh fastest horse in the world. Fastest horse in Australasian                                                                  Arden Rooney – Bettor’s Delight – Tosca Hanover (Qualified Walton Hanover mare) Breeder: Noreen Stiven Province of Origin: West Otago Lifetime: 50-21-8-7 $1,070,230 Biggest win: $765,000 2015 New Zealand Cup Number of Group One wins: 2 Longest winning streak: 7 Sold: Passed in at the 2011 Sale Of The Stars for $16,000 Notes: 2015 Kaikoura Cup winner Won $765,000 2015 New Zealand Cup Group One First in the 2015 $400,000 Hunter Cup 2015 Mildura Cup winner                                                                 Highview Tommy – Bettor’s Delight – Baptism Of Fire (Unraced Christian Cullen mare) Breeder: Alan Clark Province of Origin: Southland Lifetime: 104-17-17-10 $1,021,903 Biggest win: $200,000 Two Year Old Emerald Number of Group One wins: 2 Longest winning streak: 3 Sold: 2007 National Yearling Sales for $40,000 New Zealand Record/Awards: 3-08.5 – 2600 metre mobile – all-comers – Addington 10th November 2009 2007/2008 Two Year Old Colt Or Gelding Of The Year Notes: Won 2008 Welcome Stakes - $100,000 for Two Year Olds Winner of the Two Year Old Emerald worth $200,000 in 2008 Won Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes at three Winner of the Tuapeka and Manakau Summer Cups Won Group Three Invercargill Cup Won 2011 Franklin Cup Won $125,000 2012 Ballarat Cup 2nd in the 2012 New Zealand Cup 2nd  in the Ashburton Flying Stakes and Kaikoura Cup (2010) 3rd in the 2011 New Zealand Cup 2007/2008 Two Year Old Colt or Gelding of the Year                                                                     Iraklis – Vance Hanover – Tuapeka Star (11 win Knowing Bret mare) Breeder: Est JC Cummings and Est Mrs JH Cumming Province of Origin: Central Otago Lifetime: 51-22-14-6 $1,019,042 Biggest win: 1996 $400,000 Miracle Mile Number of Group One wins: 2 Longest winning streak: 7 Sold: 1994 New Zealand Premier Sale for $88,000 (Top Lot)   New Zealand Record/Awards: 2-24.4 – 2000 metre mobile – all-comers- Addington 12th November 1996 1996/1997 Four Year Old Pacing Entire or Gelding of the Year 1996/1997 Horse of the Year 1997/1998 Five Year Old and Older Pacing Entire Or Gelding of the Year  Notes: Sold as Star Advance at the sales and renamed Iraklis Won 1996 Miracle Mile at Harold Park Won the 1997 New Zealand Trotting Cup ($350,000) Won 1997 Ashburton Flying Stakes Winner of the 1996 Free For All at Addington 2nd in the 1999 Hunter Cup ($400,000)                                                                          Cardigan Bay – Hal Tyrax – Colwyn Bay (3 win Josedale Dictator mare) Breeder: Davey Todd Province of Origin: Southland Lifetime: 154-80-25-22 $1,001,353 Biggest wins: $100,000 1966 International Pace and $26,000 1963 Interdominion Grand Final. Number of Group One wins: N/A Longest winning streak: New Zealand (7) Sold: Privately Notes: First pacer to win $1,000,000 At the Roxburgh meeting in April 1961 Cardigan Bay won the Roxburgh Handicap while another Southland great Robin Dundee won the Central Otago Stakes on the same day. New Zealand Record: At three (1959-1960): 8 starts – 2 wins – 1 second - £375 ½ At four (1960-1961): 4 starts – 3 wins – 1 second £1,040 ¼ At five (1961 – 1962): 9 starts – 7 wins – 4 seconds £7,815 At six (1962-1963): 12 starts – 7 wins – 4 seconds £9,005 At seven (1963-1964): 14 starts – 10 wins -1 second – 1 third £18,757 ½ Total: 47-29-8-1 £36,993 ¼ Australia record: At five (1961 – 1962): 2 starts – 2 wins £1,330 At six (1962 – 1963): 11 starts – 9 wins – 1 second £20,760 At Seven (1963 – 1964): 7 starts – 3 wins 2 thirds £2,850 Total: 20-14-1-2 £24,940 First New Zealand win: 2nd April 1960 at Winton in a division of the three year old stakes. Last New Zealand win: 18th January 1964 at Alexandra Park in the M.G.Pezaro Memorial starting off 60 yards. American record: At eight (1964): 17 starts 7 wins – 4 seconds – 4 thirds $160,750 At nine (1965): 17 starts 9 wins – 6 seconds $208,000 At ten (1966): 21 starts 10 wins – 3 seconds – 7 thirds $268,725 At eleven (1967): 13 starts – 4 wins – 2 seconds – 4 thirds $109,900 At twelve (1968): 19 starts – 7 wins – 1 second and 4 thirds $95,766 Total: 87-37-16-19 $843,141 Grand Total: 154-80-25-22 $1US 1,000,837 Biggest day: On September 14th 1968 at Freehold Raceway New Jersey Cardigan Bay capped his great career winning the $15,000 Freehold Special the last race of his life to push his earnings to $1,000,837 and becoming harness racing’s first million dollar earner.  Robin Dundee was second in that race. Major New Zealand Wins: 1961 and 1963 Auckland Cup. 1963 New Zealand Cup 1961 and 1963 New Zealand Free For All Alan Matson Handicap Olliver Handicap Southern Light – Southern Might Bruce Stewart

Not many would argue with the fact the Southern region of the South Island is one of the best places to raise young stock, whether it be lambs, calves or harness racing young Standardbreds. At February’s NZB Standardbred National Standardbred Yearling Sales fifty two yearlings will be presented under the Southern Bred Southern Reared umbrella and buyers know these youngster have had a good start to life. Lawrence breeder Dan Cummings has produced yearlings for the National Sales for years and he says daylight hours play a big part in a young horse’s development. “The days are shorter and colder in winter, but as spring progresses into summer the days become two hours longer, one in the morning and one in the evening. I think the process of light affecting grass growth (photosynthesis) lets the grass grow for two hours longer at the height of summer in the south,” he says. Cummings says he’s spoken to a lot of local dairy farmers who bought cows down from Taranaki and Waikato in the late 1990s and early 2000s and they have noted an increase in production in their herds. “To their great surprise the same cows produced around 20% more milk in the south than they had in the north. The farmers attributed it to the longer days.  Apparently in the north milk production peaks just before Christmas then tapers off till May. In the south the peak is during January and the taper is far more gradual.” He says another significant influence of light for breeding in the south is the fact that an increase in daylight is what stimulates cycling in the mares and that increase occurs later in the south. So foals tend to be born a month to six weeks later than in the north.  “That’s a generalisation of course but it’s an influence that will still be apparent when the foals come to be sold as yearlings.  This factor definitely still has an influence at the yearling sales.  We live with it but will continue to try and counter its effect. But because of the way the seasons work the foals catch up quickly.”  The mighty Iraklis bred under southern skies at Tuapeka Lodge - Photo Supplied  Local vet Brendon Bell has worked in Southland for 22 years and he also says our climate is well suited to raising young stock. “Our temperate climate means there is plentiful grass over most of the critical phase of the foal’s development – from birth to yearling stage. This supply of grass means minimal hard feed is necessary to raise young horses.”  He adds that the summer climate gives the Southern region an advantage over the rest of the country. “Moderate temperatures – not too hot but not really cold. Adequate rainfall ensures grass growth over the summer. Somewhat cheaper land prices means more people can own and graze their own horses, keeping control in the hands of the horse owner.” He says the dairy boom has changed farm ownership but there’s still a groundswell of farmers who own or graze horses on their properties, in contrast to many horses in other provinces which are agisted at studs.  “Farm based horses exist with other stock which ensure minimal health issues, minimal parasite burdens from cross grazing, and normally plentiful feed.” He says Copper, Calcium, Phosphorus and Magnesium are important minerals for good animal development. So plenty of hard evidence to suggest southern foals get the best of starts to life. Bruce Stewart

Yesterday the Price family of Winton had one on those magical days that are rare in harness racing when Perfect Stride and Pearl Harbour each won their juvenile races at Alexandra Park in Auckland. Pearl Harbour won a heat of the Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock Young Guns Fillies Series while Perfect Stride, which they bred with John’s parents Roger and Helen Price, won its two year old race. “It’s lovely to see the babies stepping out. We’re pretty proud,” Katrina Price said. Pearl Harbour was broken in and developed by John and Katrina, qualifying the Somebeachsomewhere filly at Winton in mid December. She was then sent north to Barry Purdon’s stable with the aim of starting her in the Young Guns Fillies Series. This is not the first time they’ve sent a filly north to Purdon’s. Democrat Party as a two year old was sent north in 2013. She won at her first start and subsequently in March 2014 won the Young Guns Fillies Final. “John spoke to Barry during the week and he was pretty bullish heading into the race. He thinks she’s very strong and has plenty of speed. He was worried about the draw and he wasn’t sure what Scott (driver Scott Phelan) would do off the gate.” John and Katrina have been very patient with Pearl Harbour knowing the potential was always there but that it needed managing. “She was pretty hot when she was being broken in. Here at home we’ve done lots and lots of slow work. When we broke her in she did a couple of months of walking. We took her a few times to the Winton track and Nathan (Williamson) came and drove her. She had a workout and a trial and the first time he deliberately pulled her back just to educate her. In her trial there were only two runners so she when to the front. At that stage Nathan said she would have lots of gate speed but he didn’t want to pull that switch. From day one she knew how to race and had that real competitive streak.” Pearl Harbour The Prices have entered Captain Nemo (Lot 360) which is a three quarter brother to Pearl Harbour in next month’s NZB Standardbred Sale in Christchurch. He’s by first season sire Captaintreacherous. Price says that Captain Nemo was a late foal that’s going to appreciate time. “He’s at least at the same stage as Pearl Harbour was. He’s a big rangy horse with a completely different brain on him, laid back, relaxed - a big cruisy dude.” The win by Pearl Harbour was also a bonus for West Otago breeders John and Judy Stiven who bred her dam Arden Caviar. The Stivens have a Bettors Delight filly by Arden Caviar’s full-sister Rocknroll Arden in the sale and Southwind Arden which is also owned by them has a Captaintreacherous colt in the catalogue.     Arden's Delight and Captain Arden - Photos Supplied  The Prices bought Arden Caviar from the Stivens after she was withdrawn from the yearling sales in 2013 due to having a skin complaint. “She had speed but just didn’t have the racing brain. That family has so much depth to it. When you look at Winter Rose, the job she’s done and you go further back with horses like Bella’s Boy - It was a family that we really wanted to get into.” Arden Caviar has a Betting Line colt on the ground and she has been served again by Captaintreacherous. “In speaking to David James at Empire (Empire Stallions), the Captaintreacherous’s have a completely different attitude to the Somebeachsomewheres. We’ve had three Somebeachsomewhere’s and they’ve all been pretty hot. You’ve just had to be careful with how you develop them.” The Price’s other success last night, Perfect Stride, (formally named Chicago Cub) was bred by John, Katrina, Roger and Helen Price and was the top selling lot at last year’s National Yearling Sale in Christchurch. He was bought by Emilio and Mary Rosati for $190,000. Perfect Stride Added to the magical day was a workout win at Winton by Perfect Stride’s half-sister Rockabilly Blues. She’s won two of her three starts and will resume her racing career at the Invercargill Cup Meeting this Saturday where she’ll line up in the Arden Lodge Robin Dundee Crown. It’s great to see Southern Bred Southern Reared Two Year Olds having success on a premier track in Auckland. Bruce Stewart

There are plenty of great reasons to attend the Invercargill Harness Racing Club’s Cup Day meeting on Saturday 26 January. A seven night stay at the Peninsular Beachfront Resort in Mooloolaba plus $1000 towards your airfares courtesy of Beach Road Holiday Park is one of the big prizes on offer on the club’s premier day of the season. Best of all, that prize can be won by anyone on course and it is as easy as filling in a coupon and awaiting the lucky draw which will win someone accommodation valued at $2415 Australian dollars along with $1000 NZ of airfares. That same coupon will also give you the opportunity to win with The Bet’s In The Bag where four draws will be made throughout the day to win one of several betting vouchers of no less than $100 to use on the day. In addition two people can win a share of the Tricode Syndicate’s runner, Please Shuddup. The prize includes the opportunity to spend a day enjoying hospitality with syndicate members in their own corporate box, plus benefits such as a stable visit to see the horse being geared up and should it win, a photo as part of the syndicate in the birdcage after the race. The syndicate will also place a $100 win bet on Please Shuddup in its race and also a $10 bet on every other race throughout the day for the lucky prize winner. A losing ticket draw after Race 6 will win one previously unlucky punter a $50 meal voucher courtesy of Level One Restaurant & Bar. To win any of these great prizes you must be on course on the day and be 18 years of age and over. Entry details for all of these great competitions will appear in the Southland Express over the next two weeks.  Bruce Stewart

Full Noise’s win at the Wyndham Meeting came with a huge sense of relief for Ryal Bush trainer Brent Gray who admitted to getting nervous prior to yesterdays’ race. “I do because I love the horse and he is special. I’m just glad we didn’t do too much damage on the horrible day at Cromwell,” Gray said. The stable was confident of a good showing after Full Noise had shown during the week that he’d taken no harm from his run on a heavy track at Cromwell. “I was away for the weekend and Craig O’Callaghan drove him on Saturday and he was really rapt with him. I took him to Nathan’s (Nathan Williamson) on Tuesday and worked him and Robbie Royale there and he (Full Noise) worked really nice. I just wanted to give him a change of scenery.” After a good beginning driver Brent Barclay settled Full Noise in fourth on the outside. With just over a lap to run Barclay had designs on the lead and moved the Majestic Son three year old forward to take over from Star Dude with 1200 metres to run. With 400 metres to run Full Noise had a four length advantage with second favourite Only One Way the only real challenger. Full Noise proved too strong beating Only One Way by a length and three quarters. All the way down the straight it was noticeable that Barclay was driving Full Noise on one rein. “It looked as though he (Only One Way) was going to get us but as I said he was on one rein. Brent said as soon as our horse saw him coming he got going. We’ve got a big year coming up and we have to time things just right. I just want to get his steering a bit better.” Full Noise beating Only One Way                           - Photo Bruce Stewart. His winning time was 3-05.7 a new track record for three year olds erasing Jaccka Jack’s 2009 record of 3-06.6. Gray was considering starting the three year old in the Hanley Formula Orari Challenge Stakes a 1850 mobile race for three year old trotters at Geraldine on Saturday 2nd February but he’s now not so sure. “I don’t know. We could miss that. I just don’t want to go to the well too much this season. We just need to get things right for up the road (Addington). I want to stick to few stands before he goes to the mobiles like the Hambletonian.” Full Noise is owned by Baynes Racing Limited which is Kenny Baynes and his sister in-law Penny. Winning connections and sponsor Michelle Caig                        - Photo Bruce Stewart    Bruce Stewart

The Southern Bred Southern Reared breeding group received a real boost on Friday night when two horses bred by the group quinellaed the Group One $300,000 Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park in Perth. My Field Marshal bred by Syd and Shona Brown of Mosgiel won the race by 1.2 metres, beating Galactic Star which was bred by Tuapeka Lodge in Lawrence. Some talk beforehand asserted that My Field Marshal wasn’t a true stayer but part owner Syd Brown was quick to dismiss it. And the Art Major entire proved that he can definitely stay, giving a dominating performance in front. “People make talk like that. You ask any good trainer or driver they’ll tell you that a sub 1-50 mile horse (like My Field Marshal) can’t do that (run a fast mile) unless they can stay,” he said. Trained by ex-pat Tim Butt and driven by his brother Anthony, Brown says their comments after the run were very positive. “They were thrilled. They did expect him to improve on his first run up and they’re confident that he can improve on that run again.” The win was My Field Marshal’s twenty sixth, elevated his stakes to close to 1.5 million dollars and he gets a chance to add to that tally in this Friday’s $450,000 Group One West Australia Cup on the same track. Brown has a three quarter brother to My Field Marshal entered in next month’s NZB Standardbred Yearling Sale in Christchurch. He’s by Art Major out of Washington VC mare Ednalea which is a full-sister to Foreal the dam of My Field Marshal. “He’s just a strong Art Major colt. He’s not too big, not too small and he’s very wide in the front with a good strong head but people need to look at that themselves rather than hear an owner tell them that.” SBSR horses have won the Fremantle Cup three times in the last four years with Chicago Bull winning the race in 2017 and Beaudiene Boaz in 2016. Another SBSR horse I’m Themightyquinn won the race in 2011. Im Themightyquinn in 2011 and Chicago Bull in 2017 won the prized Gloucester Park double: the Fremantle and West Australia Cup. Meanwhile former Southlander Graham Cooney bred two of the winners at the Bay Of Plenty Harness meeting at Te Aroha yesterday. Cooney now resides in Tauranga and he bred Misty Memory and Comic Book Hero which are both out of Deja Vous. Both horses were originally trained by Hamish Hunter at Ryal Bush. He won two races with each horse. Comic Book Hero is now trained by Ray Darby at Patumahoe while Misty Memories is trained at Tuapaki by Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins.   Bruce Stewart

Outsider Sagwitch became the eleventh winner this season for Gore trainer Syd Breen when he won the House of Travel Lakers Summer Cup at Ascot Park today. When talking to Breen early in the season I remember him being quite frustrated as his horses were running lots of placings at the time. But things have certainly changed since the beginning of November, and junior driver Mark Hurrell has been a big part of the success, driving seven of the winners – some penalty free. “Mark went to school with my nieces. He kept ringing me up. I told him to keep ringing. His first drive was on Lorretta Franco. Everything he’s driven for me he’s won on,” said Breen.     Sagwitch is by Lisa Mara out of Shoshoni Sunrise, an OK Bye mare which won six races for trainer Alan Paisley including the 2002 Roxburgh Cup. He’s a half-brother to millionaire Southern Bred Southern Reared pacer Washakie. Breen weaned Sagwitch as a foal and broke him in for breeder Lester Paisley as a yearling. He’s now won six races from thirty five starts and banked $41,678. After running tenth in the Roxburgh Cup six days ago Sagwitch didn’t have today’s Summer Cup on his schedule.   “I only really started him here but the race wasn’t going to get off the ground so I put him and Mucho Macho Man in. It was Santanna’s Rockets (another Breen runner) race to win as far as I was concerned.” Since Roxburgh Sagwitch has had a quiet time. “He hasn’t done much since Roxburgh, just four days jogging round the hill.” In today’s feature pacing race driver Mark Hurrell drove the five year old forward, surprisingly beating out stablemate Santanna’s Rocket which had drawn his inside. Hurrell then let Jonny Cox and Santanna’s Rocket take the lead before Please Shuddup took up the running which left Sagwitch three back on the inside. At the 400 Sagwitch was second last on the inside in the eight horse field. Hurrell plotted a path up the inside and he beat Royal Bengal by a length and a quarter. The overall time for the 2200 metre mobile was 2-42.0. Mark Hurrell driving out Sagwitch                       - Photo Bruce Stewart “He’s just got a wicked quarter on him and saved (for one run) he can go swoosh. Mark was pretty happy with him at Roxburgh and he wanted to drive him today. He was going to go to Wyndham next but he won’t be going there now. That race today was worth two races (in stakes) anyway and he’s got a cup and a dress rug.” Breen owns the gelding with Paul and Nancy Matheson. Winning connection and sponsors                                         - Photo Bruce Stewart  It paid $25.30 to win and $3.90 for a place. “Aaron Swain dropped off a bag of feed I’d won from winning a race at a Sunday meeting (part of the McMillan Equine Feeds promotion) and Sagwitch was out in the paddock just being an absolute clown. Aaron said ‘who’s that? I said it’s Sagwitch.’ He said ‘he’s well and I said yeah he’s paying four (dollars) for a place.’ He went over to his truck got on his phone and backed him. It’s rare, but when he’s right he tells you.”   Bruce Stewart

Skyvalley gelding War Admiral scored a deserving win in testing conditions in the main trot today(Sunday) at the Wyndham Harness Club’s meeting on the grass at Cromwell. Driver Sheree Tomlinson settled the gelding at the rear of the field and with 800 metres to run War Admiral was still six lengths off the lead. From that point Tomlinson elected to stick to the inside running line and on straightening she was right behind the leader Gorilla Playboy giving her rights to the passing lane. From that point Tomlinson held War Admiral together and he trotted up the inside to beat Playboy’s Brother by two and a quarter lengths. “The plan was to not let him go. To be honest I thought that at some part he’d make a mistake. She’s a good wee driver. She said he trotted really well and she hung on and made sure he kept trotting,” said Gore trainer Tony Stratford. The heavy track was a major concern for a lot of trainers and at his last start War Admiral had broken when looking likely. “I was pretty confident he would have won at Roxburgh if he hadn’t made a mistake so it was nice to see him get a win today.” The win - War Admirals second this season, elevates him to third on the Four Year Old Ruby for the end of season Harness Jewels at Addington. “We’ll plan round that. I’ll be surprised if you don’t see him at the Jewels in June.” As a three year old War Admiral showed immense ability, winning three of his seven starts and Stratford says he’s more consistent this season.    “He’s a bit of a rattle head and a hard horse to work with but when you get him in the cart and get him out on the track he’s certainly a lot more mature than last season. Clearly he’s trotting a lot better.” And he says he may start at the Wyndham meeting in a fortnight. “We’re better off just ticking away. I’ve learnt that when a trotter’s in form you’re better off keeping them going. He won’t be turned out but he’ll have a few easy days.” When asked if he’d consider travelling, Stratford pointed out that he may not have to. “We’re racing for such good money down here. Today’s raceswas worth $14,999 which was the same as the main pacing race. Most races he lines up for in Southland he’ll be racing for $10,000 or more. Providing we are not too far back in the handicaps there’s nothing wrong with racing down here.”    And on the conditions at Cromwell today? “The horses were coming back caked in mud. That’s as bad as I’ve ever seen (track conditions).” Meanwhile Canterbury visitor Zadaka proved his toughness when he won the Havtime Breeding/M&S Little Cromwell Cup. Due to the heavy track conditions his time of 3-42.6 was the slowest recorded in the twelve year history of the race. Devil May Care’s 3-37.4 in 2014 was the previous slowest (recorded on a Dead track). The race and track record of 3-20.8 is held by Glencoe VC. This was the third time Robert Dunn has won the race. He also won it in 2009 with Luckisaladytonight and in 2010 with Niraadi. The day was full of twists and turns and the Stewards had their busiest day of the season: --Because of a programmed TAB Website change and the introduction of their new App at 12 midnight tonight the Cromwell meeting started early at 10:38am. --Persistent rain starting falling from 8.00am in Cromwell and the track conditions were down-graded during the day to Dead after Race Three then to Heavy after Race Six. --There were ten late scratchings due to track conditions. --The mobile vehicle lost traction after the dispatch of Race Four and the later mobile starts programmed for Races Seven and Nine became moving starts. --The Clerk Of Course’s horse bolted leading to some scary moments. Both horse and rider were replaced with Otago trainer Amber Hoffman taking over the role. --During the day a variety of winning running lines were chosen by the drivers. Sheree Tomlinson chose the inside path in Race Eleven to win easily while in Race Twelve Mark Hurrell came  hard against the outside fence to gets Raksbets home by a half a length. --Winners were often hard to find with only four favourites winning during the twelve race programme. Many horses failed to handle the conditions.   Bruce Stewart

It felt like a homecoming for Ashburton trainer Ben Waldron when his mare Queen Bee Bardon won the Peters Generics Roxburgh Cup today. He was born and bred in Omarama which is just over the hill from Roxburgh, but he moved to the Canterbury region when he was ten. “It’s a massive thrill for me to win a race like this because it’s a wee bit like coming home. Of all the big races this means as much as any of them. It’s a great bunch of guys that run the Roxburgh Club,” he said. Many were surprised to see Queen Bee Bardon back up so soon after a gut busting run in the record breaking Central Otago Cup just two days ago at Omakau.   “All things considered it was a pretty good run. It looked bad but it was a 25 (second) opening quarter. Then she worked again shortly after settling and it was always going to take it’s toll. We had to be realistic and there was improvement there if we could just use her once (in today’s race).” Waldron said the Gotta Go Cullen mare recovered well from the Omakau run. “She’s as hard as nails. As she’s got older and older she’s got tougher and tougher. She’s one of those horses that bounces back remarkably quickly. She’s a good bit of livestock, you might say. She ate up and got on with it. She was tired after the run but recharged her batteries and got back into it.” In today’s 2700 metre Cup, driver Craig Thornley settled Queen Bee Bardon last with Mr Kiwi making the pace. When Pats Dragon and Especial moved forward three wide Thornley latched onto the three wide train. On turning in Queen Bee Bardon was the widest runner and she powered home down the outside to nail Nearis Green by half a length with a head back to Mr Kiwi.   Queen Bee Bardon winning the 2019 Roxburgh Cup - Photo Wayne Huddleston Wild Range Photography.  “I like to leave my drivers to do their thing otherwise I’d do it myself. We obviously wanted to give her an easier trip. Craig did a fantastic job. He’s a bloody good horseman,” said Waldron after the race. Today’s win was Queen Bee Bardon’s seventh in forty four starts and according to Waldron in many of her races she’s been unlucky. “She’s very rarely copped a decent run. She ran second in a Jewels Final behind Piccadilly Princess as a four year old. Generally speaking she hasn’t had a whole lot of luck. She’s been crook at the wrong time. It sounds pretty silly but her record is disappointing compared to what she feels like. She’s pretty sharp.” Waldron says her rating of 79 puts her into a challenging grade. “It is difficult. There is always a nice horse coming through. It’s a tricky grade because you’ve got a lot of potential cup horses on the way through. Or do you try off big marks in a race that’s a bit easier?” Queen Bee Bardon’s next target is likely to be the $100,000 Group One New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes at Addington on the 15thFebruary. “I’ve never been frightened to line her up. You’ve got to have a go.” Although she’s six, Waldron feels Queen Bee Bardon is just starting to peak. “Unfortunately she’s been a slow developing mare. She’s quite a big mare. She’s had a lot of wee niggles and quite a bad virus at one point. Sometimes these types of horses that are from left field breeding can turn up later in life.” Queen Bee Bardon is out of the Bionic Power mare Margaret Bardon and is owned by Renee Williams (Ben’s Fiancée), Gordon Guthrie and Mike Chequer. Guthrie and Chequer had shares in Mr Molly which Waldron trained to win fourteen races including the 2009 Northern Southland Cup Invercargill Cup double. Although she seems to have been round the racetracks for a long time Waldron says there are no plans to retire her. “There’s been no real reason to retire her because it’s felt like she’s got more wins in her.”          Bruce Stewart

For the past few years Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson has packed up his horses and set up at Cromwell for the duration of the Central Otago Harness Racing Circuit. He's dominated one race in particular – the Trotting Free For All at Omakau. Since 2013 he's won the race six times and in yesterday’s feature he started three horses; Smokey Mac, Jen Jaccka and up and comer Majestic Man. It was the latter that came out on top. Williamson said the win was a bit of a surprise for him. “He’s a very nice horse but today was a bit of a step up. This was his first free for all type race. I didn’t really expect him to beat them. He’s in the zone, in form and has got the winning habit going.”  Driver Brad Williamson sat the Majestic Son gelding parked for the first part of the journey. He moved him forward to the lead when stablemate Jen Jaccka started to progress forward realising she may well take the lead, which she did. Jen Jaccka looked to have the race in safe keeping when she shot clear by three lengths with 300 metres to run but Brad Williamson didn’t panic and Majestic Man ground down a game Jen Jaccka to win by a neck. “I knew it would be tough as Jen Jaccka has been really pleasing us of late.” As a young horse Majestic Man progressed through age group racing at two and three. “Last year he was running second to good horses at Group One level in races like the Derby.” The only real blip on the radar last season was his performance in the Harness Jewels at Cambridge. “He got a kick in the leg so that’s why he didn’t go any good in the Jewels. We had to treat him with a fair amount of antibiotics to clean up the injury. This year he’s come back bigger and better which we hoped he would and were just hoping he can improve more to get up to the very elite level.” After yesterday's win Williamson will give the gelding a break as he plans his path to the Jewels at Addington. “We are going to be a bit cautious with him. We’re Jewels bound and we won’t be doing too much racing in the interim. We’ll try and have him as good as we can for that race. He’ll have a freshener. He’s in great form at the moment and it seems a strange time to back off but you just can’t keep pushing the accelerator all the time.”        The Trotting Free For All has been run twelve times since it started in 2008 and Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson has won the race six times – the last four on the trot. His previous winners have been Alderbeck (2018), Monty Python (2017) and Springbank Sam (2013, 2014 and 2016). “We get a great thrill out of winning any race. We try to have our horses at their best for these types of meetings. We plan to have our horses at their peak at Christmas time and at Cup time.” Meanwhile another Williamson runner Shes Like The Wind won on debut at Omakau. Shes Like The Wind winning in the Williamson colours - Photo Wayne Huddleston Wild Range Photography By Majestic Son out of the Sundon mare Sun Mist the three year old filly was taken straight to the top by driver Matty Williamson winning by eight and three quarter lengths. His time from behind the mobile was 2-35.4 setting a new track record for three year old trotting fillies. “Yeah good filly with potential there. We just have to work on gait. It’s just not 100% yet, it’s just on the bends. Some horses can trot the bend really fluently and with some it takes them more time to get confident with it. It’s just a matter of having more practice and we’ll see if she gets better or not but when she does she’ll be competitive to race in the nice three year old fillies races we’re hoping.” Sun Mist is a daughter of champion mare Merinai which won nineteen races including a Rowe Cup and Dominion Handicap. Sun Mist has been a great breeder for her Winton owner Michelle Caig, leaving Pretty Sunday the winner of fifteen races, Sonofearl which won twenty three and Rosemma which won eight. Caig is presenting a quality Love You colt out of the mare at next month’s New Zealand National Standardbred Yearling Sales.  Meanwhile the Mark Purdon Natalie Rasmussen trained Funatthebeach set a new track record when he won the McLarens Transport/RD Petroleum Trotting Cup. His time for the 2000 metre mobile was 2-22.2. The previous open track record was 2-25.8 recorded by Bettor Think Twice in 2015. Funatthebeach winning the McLarens Transport/RD Petroleum Trotting Cup - Photo Wayne Huddleston Wild Range Photography The New Zealand record for 2000 metres mobile of 2-21.8 is held by another Purdon runner Auckland Reactor. That was recorded in Auckland in 2008. In today’s pacing feature driver Tim Williams didn’t get involved in the early rush with the Somebeachsomewhere gelding settling him at the tail of the field as Mossdale Rose, Queen Bee Bardon and A G’s White Sock took turns at leading. When Letspendanitetogetha made a lightning move with 900 metres to run Funatthebeach hopped onto his back. At the 600 it became obvious the race winner was going to be either A G’s White Socks or Funatthebeach, but Funatthebeach was the bravest winning by half a length.   Bruce Stewart  

Winton breeder Neville Skinner had one of those harness racing rarities when his name was in the race book four times for the first race on the card at his home track at Winton on Monday. He bred the winner Only One Way, as well as Helluva Way (5th) and Tommy Tiddler (9th).  All three horses drew next to each other at the barrier. The occasion would have been even rarer if Lucky Me which had drawn five, had started. After a good start driver Matty Williamson took Only One Way straight to the top and he remained there for the entire journey, running out a three and a quarter length win over Star Dude. This was the three year old’s second career start and after the highly promising Chinese Whisper was scratched, he was made a commanding favourite. “Last time in (as a two year old) we thought quite a lot of him but he just weakened off a bit. Although he went quite a nice race (in the New Zealand Two Year Old Trotting Stakes) we thought he might have done a little bit more than he did. Hopefully this time after a break he’ll be a better horse and kick on a bit,” said Williamson. The Skinner trio - Helluva Way (Allan Beck), Only One Way (Matty Williamson) and Tommy Tiddler (Ellie Barron) - Photo Bruce Stewart  Trained by Phil Williamson he’s owned by Neville Skinner, his sister Judy Ward her husband David and their cousin Grant McMaster. The same group owned the ill-fated Alley Way which won eleven races. Matty Williamson says the Majestic Son three year old will still have to improve if he’s to step up to the better grade. “He didn’t steer very well today so hopefully we can iron that out because going up a grade he’ll be wanting to be doing everything right. He was hanging a bit today but he’ll be a lot better for that one.” The winning connections with Maurice Skinner holding the Jimmy Dillion Cup - Photo Bruce Stewart Williamson says the Hambletonian at Ashburton in February will give the team a better idea if the horse is worthy of a start in some of the age group races later in the season. Only One Way is of a breed that former local vet Peter Williams and the Skinner family have had a lot of success with. The breed stems back to the broodmare Princess Way which produced a host of winners for Neville and Judy’s father Maurice including Arbitrator (3), Gregory Peter (6), Arlington (3), Whizz Way (3) and Sundon’s Way (15). No Way is a daughter of Whizz Way. Once again Canterbury based trainers dominated the Southern meeting with Ivan Court winning Race Two with outsider Choice Lustre. Aylesbury trainer Stephen Boyd won with Back In Black, Vi Lee and I’ve Already Told You. All were driven by Mark Jones. It was the first time Boyd had trained three in one day.   Bruce Stewart

Impressive Regent Car Court Nugget Final winner Mossdale Art looks to be the early favourite for the Southland Oaks in April. The Bettor’s Delight three year old has been impressive in both her wins at Winton in the last three weeks and her win today against a field of primarily three year old colts and geldings stamped her as a quality filly. “I think she’s a filly that should have a pretty good season. She’s had two starts for two wins and hopefully she’ll carry on learning,” said driver Ben Hope, son of Greg and Nina Hope who train the filly. In today’s final Vintage Rose showed early gate speed to lead before Zinny Mach took over. With 1300 metres to run Hope moved Mossdale Art out from three back on the inside to take up the parked positon for 200 metres before taking her to the front. In the last 50 metres she held out Zinny Mach which came up the inside to get within a neck of the winner with another half a neck back to a late charging Just Wondering for third. Mossdale Art (1) hanging on to beat Zinny Mach (2)                  - Photo Bruce Stewart. “I had the second and third horse well covered. I let her cruise to the line herself. As soon as Zinny Mac snuck up I had to nurse her across the line again. She had them well covered but just pulled up because of her inexperience.” Mossdale Art is owned by Mossburn breeder Archie Affleck and Hope thinks she can perform at a higher level. “It’s hard to know how far she’ll go but I’d say she’ll be able to keep up with most of the fillies.”  Affleck was one of Greg and Nina Hopes first clients. They have been training horses for the Mossburn based breeder for fifteen years with the first ‘Mossdale’ winner (Mossdale Cam) winning at Marlborough in January 2003. Winning connections       - photo Bruce Stewart Today’s win was the 31st ‘Mossdale’ the Hopes have trained for Affleck. The combination’s biggest winner so far has been Mossdale Conner which won thirteen races including the 2015 Taylor Mile. “It’s really great to get another win for Archie. He’s been with Mum and Dad for ages. He couldn’t make it last time when she won over a mile so it was great to have him here today.”   Bruce Stewart

Not many would argue with the fact the Southern region of the South Island is one of the best places to raise young stock, whether it be lambs, calves or young harness racing Standardbreds. At February’s NZB Standardbred National Standardbred Yearling Sales fifty two yearlings will be presented under the Southern Bred Southern Reared umbrella and buyers know these youngster have had a good start to life. Lawrence breeder Dan Cummings has produced yearlings for the National Sales for years and he says daylight hours play a big part in a young horse’s development. “The days are shorter and colder in winter, but as spring progresses into summer the days become two hours longer, one in the morning and one in the evening. I think the process of light affecting grass growth (photosynthesis) lets the grass grow for two hours longer at the height of summer in the south,” he says. Cummings says he’s spoken to a lot of local dairy farmers who bought cows down from Taranaki and Waikato in the late 1990s and early 2000s and they have noted an increase in production in their herds. “To their great surprise the same cows produced around 20% more milk in the south than they had in the north. The farmers attributed it to the longer days.  Apparently in the north milk production peaks just before Christmas then tapers off till May. In the south the peak is during January and the taper is far more gradual.” He says another significant influence of light for breeding in the south is the fact that an increase in daylight is what stimulates cycling in the mares and that increase occurs later in the south. So foals tend to be born a month to six weeks later than in the north.  “That’s a generalisation of course but it’s an influence that will still be apparent when the foals come to be sold as yearlings.  This factor definitely still has an influence at the yearling sales.  We live with it but will continue to try and counter its effect. But because of the way the seasons work the foals catch up quickly.”  Local vet Brendon Bell has worked in Southland for 22 years and he also says our climate is well suited to raising young stock. “Our temperate climate means there is plentiful grass over most of the critical phase of the foal’s development – from birth to yearling stage. This supply of grass means minimal hard feed is necessary to raise young horses.”  He adds that the summer climate gives the Southern region an advantage over the rest of the country. “Moderate temperatures – not too hot but not really cold. Adequate rainfall ensures grass growth over the summer. Somewhat cheaper land prices means more people can own and graze their own horses, keeping control in the hands of the horse owner.” He says the dairy boom has changed farm ownership but there’s still a groundswell of farmers who own or graze horses on their properties, in contrast to many horses in other provinces which are agisted at studs.  “Farm based horses exist with other stock which ensure minimal health issues, minimal parasite burdens from cross grazing, and normally plentiful feed.” He says Copper, Calcium, Phosphorus and Magnesium are important minerals for good animal development. So plenty of hard evidence to suggest southern foals get the best of starts to life. Bruce Stewart

If you happened to watch the replay of Mighty Santana’s run in the Wairio Cup, and timed some of the sectionals, you would have backed the John Hay runner today in the Gore Cup. “He went super at Winton. His sectionals were unreal. He didn’t get the best steer by me but he ran 55 (seconds) five and six wide around the bend so I was pretty confident (today) that if he got to the front he’d be hard to beat,” Hay said. That’s the way it turned out in today’s Mataura Licensing Trust sponsored feature. Hay took the Santanna Blue Chip gelding to the front with 2000 metres to run and there he stayed. At the end of the 2700 metre journey he had three quarters of a length to spare on Mr Kiwi. The winning time was 3-24.9. “He’s just a real nice horse. He’s got high speed and a wee bit of toughness too. He was gawking round and looking at everything in front but when the business came he was on the job. He was pricking his ears all the way up the straight and he pulled up a bit.” Mighty Santana (11) winning the Gore Cup from Mr Kiwi (inside) and Bettor Enforce (in tight quarters in the middle) - Photo Bruce Stewart. Mighty Santana has a very strong pedigree with plenty of good male pacers in his bloodlines including Mighty Cullen, Likmesiah and Mister Presley. He was a $10,000 buy at the 2015 sales. “He was a funny bugger to break in but when we took him to Addington first up I said it would take a good maiden to beat him and he sat parked all the way and won.” Hay is now considering races like the Invercargill and Northern Southland Cups. The five year old is part-owned by long-time stable client Peter Cate. “Peter’s in the ownership. He lives just around the corner from me. He lost his wife Jocelyn in the winter so it hasn’t been a good time for him. He had a win yesterday on the West Coast (Son Of A Tiger). He’ll be watching it from home today and the whole family will be there having a wine.” Hay’s no stranger to Southland. He started his career in the province in the early ‘80s. “I started with Jim and Ross Dynes. We didn’t have too many good horses so I moved back to Canterbury and I’ve had lots of good Southland owners since then. Russell Hill was my first ever owner and I didn’t know him from a bar of soap. He was one of the best owners you could ever have and he’s turned out to be a good friend.”   It was the second Gore Cup win for Hay. He won the event in 2012 with Jimmy Johnstone. Meanwhile Coolhand Easton bred and owned by Brian Norman won his second race for Gore trainer Syd Breen. The Breen team is on a bit of a roll at the moment and he's having his best season as a professional trainer. He currently sits on ten wins for the season.   Bruce Stewart

The very talented square gaiter Get Lucky provided one of the highlights of the Gore meeting yesterday when he out-trotted nine rivals into the ground in the $12,000 Gold Chip Final. The result was not only a track and Southland record, it was also a good result for the broodmare Bree which quinellaed the event when That’s The Story finished second. The result was also a quinella for the Williamson brothers Brad (Get Lucky) and Nathan (That’s The Story). Get Lucky showed he was a quality horse in the making last season when he ran second to Enhance Your Calm in the New Zealand Two Year Old Trotting Stakes, beaten only by three quarters of a length. Trainer Alister Black said that as a two year old he showed a few wayward tendencies, but Black has seen him mature. “Probably in his head. As we know he could do things wrong. He was very good in his gait today but he’s still got a bit to learn.” In today’s Stallions Australasia Gold Chip Final he was taken to the lead early on by regular driver Brad Williamson and from there it was game over. “He (Williamson) said he felt super when he let him roll down the back. Half his problem is that he gawks a lot and doesn’t concentrate until you ask him to do a bit. When you do a bit he starts trotting out real nice.” The winning margin was six and three quarter lengths and Black thinks he’s not at his best in a front running role. “He’s probably best driven with a sit. He’s got very high speed saved up for a quarter and he’s shown that.” Today’s winning time of 2-52.8 was a new track and Southland record. The previous record held by Brad’s Kenny was 2-53.3 and set in 2014. Back to the birdcage                                 -   Photo Bruce Stewart  After today’s win, the $12,000 Hanley Formula Orari Challenge Stakes which is a mobile 1850 metres race for three year old trotters at the Geraldine meeting on February 2nd is on the radar. “After that we might leave him up in Christchurch. We may give him a trial round Addington just to see whether he can get round. Then he can come home, then we can go again.” The Hambletonian at the Ashburton track in late February is also on the programme. “I don’t know how much he’s improved but he hasn’t lost any of that ability. We won’t know that until we strike Oscar Bonavena and Enhance You Calm and all of those ones. But he’s another year older.” It was a great result for the sponsors of the race as Get Lucky is by Lucky Chucky is one of their stallions.   Bruce Stewart

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