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It is not often these days with the availability of the top North American harness racing stallions down under that a lightly raced colonial stallion is given a shot at stud.  Several of the out and out New Zealand bred champions such as Changeover 1:53.4 ($2,426,654), Auckland Reactor 1:51.4 ($1,837,042) and Terror To Love 1:51 ($2,429,618) are being given every chance to prove themselves against their North American counterparts which makes sense as they were outstanding racehorses on the track. One colonial stallion who is also being given a chance at stud by New Zealand breeders is the very lightly raced son of Christian Cullen in Raging Bull 1:56.6 ($115,586) Raging Bull only faced the starter ten times in an injury plagued career for five wins and five seconds. Those five seconds were behind just three horses. Smolda 1:50.6 ($1,295,334), Ideal Scott 1:52.8 ($757,014) and Christen Me 1:49.1 ($2,325,592) are three of the best horses to have raced in Australasia in the last decade so Raging Bull certainly kept good company on the track. An $85,000 purchase at the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale, Raging Bull has a pedigree that screams 'Blue Blood' in spades. Raging Bull is a son of the champion New Zealand sire Christian Cullen 1:54.1 ($1,249,150) who has sired the winners of over $87,000,000 worldwide while standing in New Zealand which is a fantastic achievement. The dam of Raging Bull is the imported North American mare San Sophia 1:52.6 ($91,481) who has produced two in 1:53 including Private Joke 1:52.1 ($154,792). The daughter of Artsplace is a full sister to the champion North American mare Galleria 1:49.1 ($1,814,453) who has already produced Gallie By The Beach 1:49 ($686,165) and Western Gallie 1:51.2 ($334,233) while another full sister to San Sophia in National Gallery has produced Smithsonian 1:48.4 ($508,230) and Lorrie Please 1:50.2 ($558,774). So while he was lightly raced in New Zealand, he did tick a lot of boxes for breeders looking for value. Raging Bull served 32 mares in his first season at stud for 29 live foals which are currently yearlings. Two of his yearling colts have made it into this years New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch and both have plenty to recommend them on both pedigree and type. Both are being offered by Robert Famularo of Cavalla Bloodstock Ltd and both have mouth watering pedigrees behind them. Lot 264 is named Getarattleon and is the second foal from the Sands A Flyin mare Lady Moonlight. The first foal is the Santana Blue Chip two year old colt Blue Moon Rising who won the $31,000 New South Wales Sapling Stakes (Group3) at Menangle recently in 1:54.9 and is two from two in Australia to date. Lady Moonlight is from the 1:54.4 mare Sirius Flight who is the dam of Malak Uswaad 1:49.4 ($637,242) and Timeless Perfection 1:56.9 while the third dam is the former champion two and three year old filly in Pacific Flight 1:51.2 ($562,345). It is a stunning pedigree and with Blue Moon Rising going so well, there should be plenty of interest in Getarattleon. The second of the yearlings to be offered is Lot 412 and the colt is named Boy George. Boy George is the first foal from Soul Sister, a Presidential Ball half sister to the former champion three year old filly in Carabella 1:55.2 ($693,617) This is an outstanding North American family with such standouts as Athena Blue Chip 1:50.6 ($457,118) and Art's Chip 1:49.6 ($726,999) close up in Boy George's pedigree. Both colts are lovely types as well so their reception by buyers at Christchurch will be watched closely by a lot of breeders to see if a lightly raced colonial stallion can still make it in todays highly commercial market. Harnesslink Media

The headline above is a question that we here at Harnesslink get asked repeatedly in the weeks leading into the New Zealand and Australian harness racing yearling sales each year and this year has been no different. As we try to explain to people, everyone has a different view on what makes or breaks a pedigree and how their preference can be influenced by their opinion of the stallion and not the maternal family involved. We rarely find ourselves in full agreement with people on this matter which is not surprising when you consider the variety of bloodlines offered at New Zealand sales these days. We are never afraid to state our opinion and looking at this years catalogue we came to a decision pretty quickly and conclusively. Lot 460 at The New Zealand Premier Sale in Christchurch on behalf of Cavalla Bloodstock a filly named Pearl White has as good a pedigree page as you will find in any sales catalogue worldwide. She is a daughter of the champion sire Artsplace who has lifetime figures as a sire that are just mind blowing. *Total Stakes won worldwide of over $182,000,000 *18 $1,000,000 winners *468 $100,000 winners *48 in 1:50 or better Artsplace is now dominating the broodmare ranks in the same fashion with numbers that are hard to comprehend. *Total stakes worldwide of over $345,000,000 *11 $2,000,000 winners  *42 $1,000,000 winners *849 $100,000 winners *1452 in 1:55 or better Pearl White is a daughter of the very quick Western Hanover mare West End 1:52.4 ($139,346) who was stakes placed at three before being imported downunder by Cavalla Bloodstock. West End made a healthy $85,000 when sold at Harrisburg as a yearling The second dam of Pearl White is the Matt's Scooter mare Grand Lady who also went 1:52.8 on the way to earning $235,571 but it is in the breeding barn that she has established herself as one of the best broodmares anywhere in the world in the last twenty years with a string of outstanding progeny. One of the all time great racemares in Glowing Report 1:49.4 ($2,095,144) was the best of them and being by Artsplace, she is a three quarter sister to Pearl White. Another three of her progeny have broken the 1:50 mark and all of them were involved on the Grand Circuit in North America. *Perfect Union 1:49 ($723,598)  -  By The Panderosa *Urgent Action  1:49.6 ($699,700)  -  By Artsplace *Get It Now 1:49.8 ($406,984)  -  By Western Hanover Another three quarter sister to Pearl White in the Artsplace mare Must See 1:52 ($487,122) is the dam of the brilliant racehorse and now sire, Well Said 1:47.6 ($2,569,342). Yet another daughter in Subtle Charm 1:55.6 has already produced Jazz Band 1:51.4 ($407,084) and Scandalous Hanover 1:49.3 ($363,570) to just keep the roll going. So Pearl White is a three quarter sister to Glowing Report 1:49.4 ($2,095,144) and a three quarter sister to Must See 1:52.4 ($487,122), the dam of Well Said ($2,569, 342) It is a world class pedigree and convinced us very quickly to make Pearl White our selection for the best bred yearling at this years sale. To view the New Zealand Premier Sale catalogue click here. Harnesslink Media

Riga Doon is one of those horses that most harness racing enthusiasts would love to own. His wins are spaced a fair way apart but he puts in 110% every start and is never far away from the action. Lacking a bit of high end speed, he is often put into the race early on which does leave him a bit of a sitting duck in most of his races. Yesterday was one of those times where things fell into place for Riga Doon and he notched up win number three on the second day of the Westport Christmas meeting. A bold second on the first day of the meeting to Albuquerque, Riga Doon showed further improvement with the run  Restrained by driver Ricky May from his wide draw, Riga Doon settled last in the eleven horse field before Ricky sent him forward three wide to find the death seat with just under a lap to go. Parked out for the rest of the journey, Riga Doon just kept on giving and prevailed in a tight finish by a neck over the highly regarded Bettor Be Smooth. Bred by Cavalla Bloodstock, Riga Doon is a full brother to the brilliant racemare Carabella 1:55.2 ($693,615) but was able to be leased by Judy May and the Phillips brothers as he had a major gait issue when first tried. Driver Ricky May can't believe the changes in the horse since they first got him " He use to hit his knees fairly hard when we first got him and that was the only reason we were able to lease a horse with his breeding." " Kerry Estreich has done an unbelievable job with his shoeing to the point he doesn't touch a knee any more and the spreaders are no longer required." " I brought the spreaders over with us just in case he didn't handle the tricky turns at Westport but he paced beautifully the whole way both days." " He is no star but he gives his all every start so he is always a chance to get some money," Ricky said. The five year old son of Bettor's Delight is never going to reach the heights of his illusturios full sister Carabella but there are still a few more wins in him yet. Harnesslink Media  

If you had asked anyone involved with harness racing in New Zealand who Robert Famularo was, the answer would invariably be the man who raced Monkey King and Carabella. But racing horses was never really meant to be the plan when Robert and his daughter Sara established Dancingonmoonlight Stud at Ohoka all those years ago. The plan had always been to set up Dancingonmoonlight as a boutique breeding establishment and to sell the yearlings they raised at the sales each year. But with the emergence of first Monkey King and then Carabella, those plans were put on hold as the emphasis understandably went on the racing team. Now Dancingonmoonlight is about to fulfill those original plans with a batch of yearlings heading to the Christchurch sales next week. Situated on nearly 200 acres at Ohoka, Robert and Sara have developed Dancingonmoonlight into a showplace the equal of any in the world. From the long tree lined entrance to the state of the art yearling boxes to the fully irrigated paddocks, no expense has been spared in establishing the stud. Sara is really looking forward to next weeks sales. " I am a bit nervous but excited at the same time about next week." " We have raised these yearlings from foals and I think there are some great types amongst our draft" " We are taking them there  to sell and thats the hard part for me as I've handled them all the way through but I will get a big thrill out of seeing them race regardless of who owns them," Sara told Harnesslink this week. At present they have about 15 mares in their broodmare band and Sara thinks that is not to far off their optimum number.  "We have bred a couple of Artsplace fillies with the sole intention of adding them to the broodmare band long term but apart from that we are pretty happy with the mares we have." Sara said. This years draft are all from mares that Cavalla Bloodstock have either imported or raced and as you would expect Sara has a couple of favourites amongst them " The two I really like are from full sisters actually." "One is the Mach Three colt from the very smart racemare Timeless Perfection (1:56.9 6 Wins) and the other is the Four Starzzz Shark colt from her full sister Miss Moonlight Shadow." "They are both lovely strong colts who have been very popular with trainers and owners looking at our draft," Sara said. Next year Sara expects to have up to twelve yearlings entered and the star lot of those will undoubtedly be the Mach Three colt from the champion racemare Carabella 1:55.2 ($693,617) " He is Carabella's first foal and is a lovely type. " We have all the top sires represented amongst our foals but we also have some Raging Bull foals to go through the ring next year. "He stood here last year and we have some lovely foals by him," Sara said. While it may have taken a bit longer than planned to get Dancingonmoonlight Stud functioning as they originally planned, Robert and Sara should be very proud to have a breeding establishment unrivaled in the southern hemisphere and a lovely broodmare band with which to take advantage of the superb facilities. Harnesslink Media 

Harness racing horseman Jesse Wederell has sold all of Garibaldi and the majority of Phil Monty, but that doesn’t stop him from smiling every time one of his ‘two boys’ cross the line in first place. And at the moment that is a frequent occurrence. Just last night, Phil Monty made it four wins from four Australian starts when strolling away to win easily at Geelong in the hands of trainer-driver Lance Justice. The win followed three equally convincing wins, including one in which his mile rate was 1:56.4. Garibaldi, who provided Wederell with his first training success before joining Phil Monty in the Justice stable in Victoria, is also putting together a fashionable record, having won three of his four stars to date. “He finished a narrow second in his other start but I’m not sure that he saw the other horse coming as they were wide apart,” said Wederell. Wederell says that he was sad to part with his good mates ‘Baldi and Monty’ but admits that the money was too good to turn down. “It was pretty crazy considering I only bought them for a thousand apiece as yearlings,” said Wederell. Wederell sold all of Garibaldi but has retained a small share in Phil Monty as he thinks he could be a little special. “Lance (Justice) has a pretty big opinion of Phil Monty so I’m hopeful he could develop into a genuine top-liner,” said Wederell. “Who knows, he might be his replacement for Smoken Up,” he laughed. “They were both pretty raw when they went over to Australia, but Lance is a great trainer and he is doing a good job of developing them,” he said praisefully. Since the departure of Garibaldi and Phil Monty Wederell has been back to the well to purchase two more babies from Cavalla Bloodstock. He has also purchased Shard Diego to race and “have a bit of fun with” while he develops his youngsters. Shard Diego finished fifth in his debut for the Wederell stable but  Jesse is hoping for improvement on Friday. “I’ve added the blinds to his gear to try and wake him up a bit and he has Dexter (Dunn) on so hopefully he won’t be far away. By Mitchell Robertson  

Fabulous harness racing mare Carabella went into today's Group One feature at Addington Raceway with a better draw than her arch rival Bettor Cover Lover which was forced to cover extra ground during the running of the $100,000 PGG Wrightson Breeders Stakes held in Christchurch today (Saturday February 4th).

Ricky May had a lot of praise for Carabella after she strolled to victory in tonight's (Fri June 18) Listed $100,000 PGG Wrightson Yearling Sakes NHT Final at Alexandra Park in Auckland. But the gifted filly did annoy the Mid Canterbury harness racing driver a little bit.

It was 'Monkey' fever at Addington Raceway yesterday (Saturday) as the harness racing King again reigned supreme over his opposition with the easiest of wins in the United Fisheries Ltd Summer Cup (2600 mobile).

You would be hard pressed to find an industry participant more positive than Christchurch auctioneer Paul Davies or one as knowledgeable overall as Jim (Me Old Mate) Dalgety of Lantana Lodge Stud West Melton. Both were extremely interesting to talk with recently ahead of Saturday’s Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka and the Premier Sale on Monday and Tuesday to be followed by a third day in Christchurch.

The race that we've been waiting for is finally here. The Continental Cars Spring Cup on Friday is the first serious hit-out for the North Island's Cup aspirants and it will hopefully go some way to answering the pre-Cup questions.

Unbeaten entire Auckland Reactor scooped every award he was eligible for at the annual Harness Racing New Zealand Awards dinner at Alexandra Park in Greenlane, Auckland, this evening.

Media front men could have been excused for claiming they were privileged to see two freakish pacers win feature races at Addington tonight Friday 28 March. The word freak or any offshoot of it is seldom used and reserved for only special occasions.

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