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New Zealand-bred five-year-old Crusader Banner has managed just one placing from his past eight starts, but he looks to be a star bet at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he resumes harness racing after a spell in the 2130m Seven News Pace. He will start from barrier two and trainer Gary Hall sen. is full of enthusiasm after his son Clint drove the Christian Cullen gelding to an effortless seven-length victory over stablemate Big Spook in a three-horse trial over 2150m at Byford on Sunday morning. “His trial was sensational,” said Hall sen. “It was fantastic and he’s come back better than ever and should win first-up. He went 1.57.3 in the trial and I expect him to lead from barrier two on Friday night. I don’t think the polemarker Mosquito Buzzin can hold him out.” The nine-year-old Mosquito Buzzin has a losing sequence of 25 and has won once from his past 41 starts. Crusader Banner, an M5-class pacer, drops significantly in class after contesting the interdominion championship series last November and December. He has won at 12 of his 34 starts. Little Boy Blue (barrier five) and Firebomb (three) possess good gate speed, but it is difficult to suggest that either pacer will be abler to wrest the early lead from Crusader banner. The Hall stable will also be represented by Our Arlington, an eight-year-old who has an M7 classification after winning at 18 of his 81 starts. He faces a stern test from the outside of the front line at his first appearance for 12 months. “Our Arlington has recovered from a damaged suspensory ligament,” Hall sen. said. “He has been working well and I wouldn’t say that he’s not without some chance. However, I doubt whether he can win first-up. But if he stands up he’ll win more races.” Hall also has high hopes of making a flying start to the ten-event program by winning the first event, the 1730m House Rules On Seven Pace, with the promising but inexperienced Dali gelding El Barcelona. El Barcelona, to be driven by Gary Hall jun., will start from the outside in the field of seven and should carry too many guns for his rivals, providing he is on his best behaviour. He was a hot favourite in the $50,000 Champagne Classic last Friday week when he galloped at the start, was last in the field of nine at the bell and went six wide on the home turn when fifth behind the pacemaking Wesley. El Barcelona overcame difficulties to get up and score a narrow win on debut at Bunbury two starts before that and then worked hard in the breeze before finishing third behind Major Pocket at Bunbury a week later. The main danger appears to be the Ed Dewar-trained Our Zak Whitby, who caught the eye at Bunbury last Saturday night when he came from eighth and last at the bell with a powerful finishing burst to be a close third behind Sergeant Oats and Heza Head Honcho in the 1609m de Campo Memorial. Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 13 May 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 13 May 2016 Ken Casellas

Champion pacer Christen Me is likely to make his first start at Addington in more than seven months on Saturday. Trainer Cran Dalgety faces a nervous wait to see if a c4 to open class mobile over 1950m will get off the ground on Saturday but nominations are looking positive. The reigning horse of the year has missed the majority of the season with a lingering virus but Monday's impressive trial at Motukarara was further evidence he is close to being back to his brilliant best. The West Melton trainer said his star pacer was showing no ill effects from the virus. Christen Me made a sensational winning return in the Rangiora Classic on April 24 and is on track for the Group I Len Smith Mile at Menangle on June 26. "At this stage we are very happy with him, we'll just have to cross our fingers that he gets a start this week," Dalgety said. The New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club had nine nominations for the race on Monday afternoon but the deadline was extended to 10am on Tuesday. There was some concern the inclusion of the more than $2 million earner may be enough to scare a couple of others away and the race is unlikely to go ahead with fewer than seven runners. There is an option the following week, but Dalgety is not so keen on the 3200m of the Winter Cup given Christen Me will be off a sizeable handicap. Dalgety said even if the 7-year-old son of Christian Cullen does gain a start on Saturday he is still likely to start in a lead-up race at Menangle a week before the Group I. Heading to the Queensland Carnival is a possibility if Christen Me can impress in Sydney. Dexter Dunn settled Christen Me at the rear of the six strong field in Monday's trial but followed up stablemate Lightning Mach in the running line with a lap to run, then sprinted home to win by a length over stablemate another Fifth Edition. Dunn gave the run his tick of approval. "He felt really good and he was nice and relaxed," he said. Christen Me paced the 2200m on the grit at Motukarara in 2:51.8 with a mile rate of  2:05.6 and closing sectionals of 56.8 and 28.8. Fifth Edition has not been sighted on race day since December 2014 due to suffering the effects of a bone chip but is likely to return before the end of the season.   Mat Kermeen

Cullen Breeding and Nevele R Stud wish to advise that for the coming harness racing breeding season Christian Cullen will stand at Dancingonmoonlight Farm in Ohoka, Canterbury. Both parties believe that the move is in the stallion’s best interests, given his age and well documented fertility issues, and that a smaller boutique stud environment would be beneficial to the horse. Cullen Breeding thanks Nevele R for the management and care of the horse in recent years. Dancingonmoonlight is very excited to be given the opportunity and looking forward to standing the champion stallion. Christian Cullen will continue to serve mares on-farm only, continuing the practice that Nevele R Stud introduced. With full stallion and broodmare facilities Dancingonmoonlight is confident of the best possible in foal results. Christian Cullen’s service fee will remain unchanged at $9,000 + GST. All enquiries should be to Sara at Dancingonmoonlight Farm on 03 312 6864, mobile 021 237 4223 or email sara.famularo@xtra.co.nz Ian Dobson Cullen Breeding

Cobbity harness racing trainer John McCarthy made the Treuer Memorial his own with talented pacer Washakie when he won the event on five successive occasions.  History also shows McCarthy has a dominant record in Penrith’s flagship race, the Renshaw Cup.  The Miracle Mile winning trainer has won three of the past four Renshaw Cups and could add another to his collection this Thursday night. The McCarthy stable will be represented by giant-killer Blazin N Cullen in this week’s $50,000 Group Two event.  The gelding became the first pacer to defeat Beautide over 2300 metres at Menangle last Saturday night handing the dual Inter Dominion winner just his second loss in races further than a mile at the track. Blazin N Cullen won the 2014 Renshaw Cup for McCarthy and was a fast finishing third behind New Zealand star Smolda in last year’s event.  Washakie won the race in 2013 while Terrorway won it in 2012.  The son of Christian Cullen is well bred.  His mother Rye Hanover is a full sister to stallions Red River Hanover, Rustler Hanover and Righteous Hanover while her half brother was $3 million winner Rocknroll Hanover. Punters should not be concerned about the recent workload for Blazin N Cullen as it will be his third run in the space of twelve days.  He came through an arduous Inter Dominion campaign late last year and raced four times in the space of seventeen days.  The final run of his Inter Dominion campaign saw him finish fourth in the Inter Dominion Consolation. Yayas Hot Spot looks the hardest to beat for Blazin N Cullen after the five-year-old gelding drew the front row.  The son of Jeremes Jet has the speed to cross to the front should Lauren Panella choose to fire him out of the gate.  He led for most of last year’s Renshaw Cup before being collared in the shadows of the post by Smolda.  Spare Me Days will start from barrier one if the emergencies are withdrawn.  The Brad Hewitt trained four year old defeated Frith in the Young Cup two starts ago and looks to be another of the winning chances in Thursday’s event. TAB has Blazin N Cullen equal favourite for Thursday’s race with last year’s runner up Yayas Hot Spot at $3.50.  Spare Me Days is next in the market at $4.60 while My General Lee is priced at $5.00. Greg Hayes  

With the depth of the open class pacing ranks in New Zealand not exactly flush this season due to injury and retirement, harness racing has been crying out for a new face to challenge the established stars and just lately there have been a few looking likely. Seel  The Deal and Costa Del Magnifico have suggested they will be challengers with some outstanding performances so far this season while some of those coming back from injury such as Locharburn and Franco Nelson are proven performers at this level but now have to really re-establish themselves after quietly working themselves back into form. Tonights $100,000 Group 1 Easter Cup at Addington Raceway only drew one horse to have raced on the Grand Circuit with distinction this season in the form of the Courage Under Fire gelding, Smolda who was handicapped on 20 metres.  Locharburn (Christian Cullen) is a renowned stayer and with a 20 metre head start, he was given a good chance of upsetting Smolda while several others had a case to be a first four player. Mighty Flying Mac and Blair Orange grabbed the lead early and kept the tempo solid before handing up to Sky Major and Zac Butcher with two laps to go. Two hundred metres later, Locharburn and Dexter Dunn who been working around the field for the first 800 metres swept to the front with ease and eased off the pace a touch to give the big horse a bit of a breather. With a mile to go, Smolda and Mark Purdon started to mooch around the field from the rear and ended up on Locharburn's wheel with 1000 metres to go at which point Dexter upped the tempo. Off the back straight Dexter went for broke and put two to three lengths on Smolda as they straightened for home. As only Smolda can do, he slowly started to reel in Locharburn in the straight and in the last 50 metres Smolda got up alongside Locharburn but just couldn't get past and was still a neck adrift at the winning post. Smolda was as game as ever in running second with Mighty Flying Mac flying along the inner late for third. Costa Del Magnifico provided a minor highlight of the race after working early, sitting parked for 600 metres and running on well again to break 4:00 in finishing fourth. Locharburn paced the 3200 metres in a very quick 3:58.9, a mile rate of 2:00.1 with closing sectionals of 55.3 and 27.9 It is the third quickest time for the 3200 metres Easter Cup since the race was changed to that distance in 1972 with only Christen Me and Monkey King having gone quicker. Smolda's official time of 3:57.4 off the 20 metres mark was a brilliant effort from the old warrior. Dexter Dunn was all smiles post race. "I had to work a bit early to get around them but once I got to front I was able to button off the speed a touch." "I upped the ante at the 1000 metre mark and really put the pressure on down the back straight." "When I had a look just before the corner, I thought Mark was a bit flat on Smolda so I went for home." "I thought I was on the winner until the last 50 metres when Smolda really came at us but Locharburn had enough of a lead to hold him out and my fella fights really hard," Dexter said. Locharburn plans are not set in concrete but Dexter felt that tonights race may be last this season with a view to having a long prep aimed at next years New Zealand Cup. Harnesslink Media  

Give Sage N the rail and Tim Tetrick driving and that's all you need as the harness racing combination worked for the second consecutive week in the $24,000 Mares Open pace at Dover Downs on Tuesday, March 23. George Dennis had a four bagger. Tetrick took command after a :55.3 opening half mile and was on the way for Sage N's fourth win of the year with a new mark of 1:50.4. Scott DiDomenico trains the six-year-old Christian Cullen-Smart Decision New Zealand-bred mare who has won half of her eight seasonal starts for $43,450 and now has won 10 times in her career for $90,147. Fashion Showdown and Corey Callahan raced gamely to finish second besting Empress Deo and Allan Davis by a neck. A 9-1 shot Foulk Stable's Marigold Bloom, a daughter of Artistic Fella-Classic Move, pulled a mild surprise in the $18,500 4&5-Year-Old Mares pace, one of George Dennis' four driving wins. Caviart Cari Ann (Vic Kirby) was second. Race favorite Nice Trip (A.Davis) took third. Another winning combo at the track is driver Andrew McCarty, trainer Jason Skinner and Only Money Inc.'s Truth And Liberty who have clicked for three straight wins. The latest was in a $16,500 Filly and Mares 1:52.3 pace, a lifetime best for the Total Truth-Jazzy Hall four-year-old. Westluckycam (Callahan) and Eternal Sunrise (Dennis) were second and third respectively. Veteran Paradise Lost and Corey Callahan featured a driving finish to win a $14,500 Mares pace. The win was the 31st for the nine-year-old Artsplace-Loving Ideal mare who now boasts an earnings bankroll of $351,253. Bob Winklelman owns and trains Paradise Lost. Jerseylicious (A.Davis) led through the early stages and hung on for second. Greatdayforamerica (Montrell Teague) was the third-place finisher. George Dennis led all drivers with four wins. Tim Tetrick and Corey Callahan had doubles. BLUEBIRD REVEREND, AWSOME VALLEY LEAD NINE IN $17,500 TROT Indiana stakes winner Bluebird Reverend, Awsome Valley and Cash On Delivery, all recent winners, lead a strong group of veteran trotters into the Wednesday, March 23 feature at Dover Downs. First post is 4:30 p.m. A two-time Open winner, Bluebird Reverend owned by trainer Bob Reeser, Denise Dennis, Jay Johannsen and Holly Case will be driven by Montrell Teague, and is program favorite in the field of nine. Frank Chick’s Awsome Valley reined by Tony Morgan drew the rail. Mike Casalino’s Tough Mac, gets regular driver Corey Callahan back and will leave from post 9 in the second tier. Ca;;a, Racing’s Spunky Jack is usually close in his efforts including four second-place finishes and is piloted by Roger Plante. Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta and Minisink Farms’ Celebrity Pegasus and Allan Davis have been disappointing recently breaking stride when favorite in his last three outings. David Miller’s Cash On Delivery with Vince Copeland, on the other hand as been very consistent with two wins in his last three races. Bob Shahan and Don Marine’s Six Gun Hall steered by George Dennis drops down a notch in class. Tim Tetrick will drive LA Express Stable’s Five Towns while Winemaster, owned, trained and driven by Toby Lynch must overcome starting from post 8.    . A strong array of trotting races compliment the rest of the program. Dover Downs races four days a week, Mondays through Thursdays beginning at 4:30 p.m. No Live racing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  Watch the races and enjoy dining in the Winners Circle Restaurant’s acclaimed Harness Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight at Dover Downs where there is no charge for parking and admission. Reservations are suggested for the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and for those planning to stay at the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad

Harness racing driver Tim Tetrick directed Sage N to her third win of the meet in the $24,000 pace at Dover Downs on a Ides of March Tuesday, March 15, at Dover Downs. Tony Morgan and Andrew McCarthy had three wins each. A major change in post positions from 8 last week to the rail was advantageous for Sage N who led the way from early in the $24,000 distaff feature to a 1:52 triumph. Trained by Scott DiDomenico for C.V.Iannazzo, JFE Enterprise and Triple D Stables, the six-year-old daughter of Christian Cullen-Smart Decision has picked up a check in six of her seven starts at the track including three wins while earning $31,450 this year. The win was the second for Tetrick. Empress Deo closed strongly for Allan Davis to finish second with 41-1 shot Matinee Dragon and Montrell Teague, third. One race earlier, Tetrick steered Caviart Scarlett to her fourth consecutive win in an $18,500 4&5-Year-Old Mares Winners-Over pace. It was win four in her last five starts and sixth in seven 2016 races for the Rich Lombardi, C.A.Atley and JJ&M Stable owned four-year-old by Sportswriter-Caviart Sydney, trained by Josh Green. Nice Trip (Davis) came on fast for second money while Cover Up Hall (Art Stafford Jr.) was third. The 2016 four-year-old debut of $1-million winner, Sassy Hanover, was not a success. Driver Andrew McCarthy put her into action several times but to no avail as she finished eighth. In a $16,000 pace for young females, Truth And Liberty, owned by Only Money Inc., made it two-in-a-row as Andrew McCarty guided the Total Truth-Jazzy Hall four-year-old, conditioned by Jason Skinner, to her fourth win of the year. She swept past front pacing Marigold Bloom (George Dennis) in mid-stretch for the 1:54 victory. Westluckycam (Vic Kirby) was third ending a five-race win streak. Ross Wolfenden piloted Bill Hall's Cedar Hall Heiress from off-the-pace to a 1:54.2 decision in a $14,000 pace for 4&5-year-old females beating Lady Spartacus (Tyler Davis) to the finish line after chasing leader Miss Read (Vic Kirby) who led coming for home. A daughter of Riggins-Paris The Heiress, the win for the Brian Wright trainee, was the second this year in eight starts. PT Stable's Jetomatt stormed home first via the passing lane at 63-1 odds to become the second highest longshot of 2016 at the track. The win in a $9,000 distaff pace was the first of the year for the Jereme's Jet-Mattoftheyear four-year-old. Two drivers collared three wins each, Andrew McCarthy and Tony Morgan, who is currently third in the driver standings with 113 wins this meet. Ross Wolfenden, in fourth place, with a driving double, now has 100 wins. Tim Tetrick and George Dennis, also had two winners. Gural Hanover, Somebody AS joins last week's winner War Cry Hall in the Wednesday feature, $25,000 Open trot. Monday through Thursday racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Dover Downs is dark on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. When at the track, watch live races and enjoy dining in the Winners Circle Restaurant's acclaimed Harness Racing Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight at Dover Downs where there is no charge for parking and admission. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant and for those planning to stay at the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600.  Marv Bachrad                              

Harness racing is full of sayings about what what you should or shouldn't do when it comes to buying yearlings at the sales. One of the oldest is never buy a full brother to a champion as lightening very rarely strikes twice in the same place. No one obviously told well known owner and breeder Ian Dobson who pursued the budding champion Locharburn's full brother Cullenburn with a vengeance throughout  his time in the ring at the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale at Christchurch yesterday and was never letting him go at any stage. In the end, Ian had to front up with $160,000 for Cullenburn but you got the feeling from the bidding that the money was inconsequential and Ian just wanted the great looking colt by his own superstar, Christian Cullen in his racing team. With Christian Cullen unable to commercially serve mares anymore, then all colts by him as well bred as Cullenburn, become possible successors if they can star on the track. Cullenburn certainly has the pedigree to be a star on the track. His full brother Locharburn looks the next big thing on the New Zealand harness racing scene if he can stay sound. His dam Suzys Delight was a very smart racemare ($48,186) and a full sister to Ruling V C 1:52 ($312,919) so there are plenty of classy horses close up in the pedigree. When one has a look at Cullenburn in the flesh, you can understand a bit more why Ian went to $160,000 to buy him. Cullenburn is just an absolute bull to look at and appears like a Christian Cullen that is going to just get up and run as a two year old. He looks very strong through the neck and shoulder but doesn't appear to the walking hulk that his full brother is. Trainers have always been split when it comes to the merits or otherwise of full brothers at yearling sales but like he has always done in his time in harness racing, Ian Dobson follows his own instincts in matters like this and has come out on the right side plenty of times in the past. All we can do is wish him good luck and watch Cullenburn's progress over the next two to three years with plenty of interest. Harnesslink Media

Over the last few weeks we have looked at a multitude of yearlings who are being offered at this years yearlings sales, especially those at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka. One of the things that has become clear to us as we have done this is the huge depth to the catalogue this year. Of the 151 yearlings catalogued at Karaka, 101 are by either Bettor's Delight, Art Major, Mach Three, Rocknroll Hanover or American Ideal. So this year the buying bench is spoilt for choice with progeny by our leading sires and in our view it is inevitable that some yearlings will fail to make their true value due to the high numbers of quality yearlings available. We have had a long study of the Australasian Classic Sale and have come up with three yearlings which we think are potentially the kind of horses that could slip through the net on sale day. Over the next three days we will highlight one each day in an effort to show you how competitive this years sale will be in our opinion because each of the yearlings we are highlighting has plenty to offer. This is the third of those reviews. Lot 65 - Bettor Sensation A colt by Bettor's Delight from the Christian Cullen mare in Perfect Sensation. This is the hottest cross in breeding in New Zealand at the moment which is reflected in the number of Bettor's Delights from Christian Cullen mares yearlings being offered at the Australasian Classic sale. All up there are 14 yearlings bred on this cross still in the Australasian Classic which can be a plus or a minus, depending how the buyers grade them. Bettor Sensation has plenty going for him on both the pedigree page and in the photos and video. He is the first foal of a three win Christian Cullen mare in Perfect Sensation who is a half sister to eight winners including such standouts as Village Hero 1:50.6 ($339,741) and He's My Hero 1:54.3 ($222,293) along with handy performers such as Explosive Art 1:59.1 ($61,177) and Fake Rose 1:57.8 ($42,363) This is the best branch of the maternal family that are descendents of the former top racemare Hilarious Guest and it  has fashioned a smart record. The individual himself has that real Bettor's Delight appearance about him and looks a well put together colt.   The photos are of him are good but for us the video highlighted what a smart looking colt he is. The only real issue for concern we have with Bettor Sensation is that with 14 bred on this cross being offered at the Australasian Classic,it creates the the obivious chance for a really nice yearling like him to slip through the cracks. Harnesslink Media  

As if to rival Brendon McCullam who achieved his 100 test match record in the cricket test against Australia currently being played, broodmare gem Chaangerr (Vance Hanover / Nell’s Pride) achieved a feat rarely heard of in the horse racing industry. She has produced 10 individual winners, who between them have won an incredible 100 races. What is just as amazing is that her progeny have amassed stake earnings of $2,889,229. A family that has been prolific in many ways, producing such stars on the track as: *Chokin, a dual Auckland Cup & Miracle Mile winner & NZ Cup winner (1.56.2h, 26 wins 7 places $1,240,098) *Fly Like An Eagle, a 5-time Group 1 winner, 2yo Jewels, NZ Derby & 3yo Breeders Crown winner (1.53.9, 11 wins 5 places $511,026) *Changeover a NZ Cup winner in World Record Time, 6-time Group 1 winner and successful sire (1.53.4h, 29 wins $2,426,765) Now the family has now produced a star in the matrons paddock. Chaangerr herself was a top racing filly and mare, winning 6 races, including a Fillies Series Heat, before going on to run 2nd in the Group 1 Final and she concluded her racing career with a win in the prestigious North Island Breeders Stakes, to subsequently be awarded the all-important NZ 4YO Pacing Mare of the Year title. Leading the way in her progeny on the racetrack has been Changeover, the winner of the 2008 NZ Cup, as well as two Derbies, two Harness Jewels and a Breeders Crown who has now gone on to be a successful sire. Other handy types Chaangerr has left include Change Time (1:56.2, 7 wins, $76,827) and Change Gear (1:54.4, 11 wins, $73,754). Currently Change Stride is doing an excellent job racing in Western Australia. He won at Gloucester Park on Friday night (12th February), bringing up win No. 100 for Chaangerr and he has won 10 of 15 starts this season alone, also clocking a career best 1:55.7 Mile Rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park and now has an impressive career record of 33 starts for 16 wins, 4 seconds and 4 thirds, for total earnings of $131,423. He is a ¾-brother to the first yearling to be offered for sale at this year’s round of NZ Yearling Sales. Lot 1 at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale on the 22nd February is an outstanding Rocknroll Hanover / Changedown filly. Changedown is a Falcon Seelster daughter of Chaangerr, who was unraced, but has started her career in the broodmare paddock with a bang. Her first foal, a filly by Christian Cullen, showed a lot of promise but had her racing career nipped in the bud with a horrific training accident injury. Her second foal is the Mach Three filly named Renske B who as a 2-year-old this season has won her only two trials and yesterday went on to be unbeaten in all her public appearances, with a win in the first of the 2YO Fillies Sires Stakes Heats. This filly sold at the 2015 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale for $30,000, so your chance to get into this prolific producing family is there to be had in Lot 1 this year, right from the get-go. She too looks set to continue the legacy established by Chaangerr, who is now enjoying her retirement on her co-owner, Rob Carr’s property in Karaka.  

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

Talented  seven-year-old Monifieth slipped under the guard of most harness racing punters at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight. And the $18 shot slipped under the guard of boom five-year-old Bling It On as well, to snatch a last-stride victory in the $200,000 Cordina Chicken Farms Sprint and secure the second spot, behind Lennytheshark in the SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile later this month. Bling It On, who made a mid-race dash and found the front failed by a half head to hold off Monifieth although his second placing also assured him a start in the Miracle Mile. It was a race that always promised a close finish as Bettor Bet Back fired across from an outside barrier to find the front, despite the efforts of Mach Beauty to hold him out. Yet Mach beauty's driver Lauren Panella would have none of that and no sooner had Bettor Bet Black settled in the lead with a 26.4s opening quarter then Panella came around and snatched the lead back from him. That didn't last long either as Luke McCarthy [Bling It On] took off from midfield with about 800m to travel and wrested the lead away from Mach Beauty. All this time former Miracle Mile winning reinsman John McCarthy was smoking his pipe at the tail of the field with Monifieth and turning for home the pair made a long searching run down the middle of the track to grab victory in the final stride. That final split of 27s gave the winner a mile rate of 1:50.7 which would make Monifieth competitive in most Miracle Miles. "We've travelled with this horse [Monifieth] and to be honest he has gone pretty ordinary a few times on other tracks so his part-owner Kevin Jeavons and I hatched a plan a few weeks ago to stick with Menangle," said John McCarthy. "The Christian Cullen seven-year-old gelding can bump his knee a little bit, but he loves this long straight and always races well here at Menangle. "So this is where he'll be racing for the rest of his career. To jag a win like this makes it all worthwhile." Michael Court          

One thing that you will find in a lot of the older New Zealand maternal families is a crossover between pacing and trotting stallions in some generations Quite a lot of the successful stallions were just as liable to leave a trotter as a pacer if the maternal pedigree had left either in the past. It was seen as a positive by breeders and gave you a second bite at the cherry if the planned  pacing career didn't work out. The second dam of the champion Christian Cullen in Pleasant Evening is a great example as she is a half sister to one of the all time great Australian trotters in True Roman ($532,732) Several stallions that were imported in the 1970s and 1980s into New Zealand  were dual gaited. One of those was Crockett, a son of Diller Hanover who left 86 winners in New Zealand, sixty two of them trotters and twenty four of them pacers. The best of the trotters was the champion racemare in Thriller Dee (24 wins) while the best of the pacers was Bronze Trail (18 wins)  Today you will still find Crockett turning up in a lot of maternal pedigrees in New Zealand and probably the one that is most well known is that of Eagles Three. Eagles Three won five races and left four winners at stud but it is one of her lightly raced daughters in Skyhigh Eagle that really lifted the family. Skyhigh Eagle left seven winners including Eagles Together 1:52 ($375,900), Regal Eagle 1:54.4 ($129,378), Galactic Eagle 1:54.6 ($127,815) and the smart In The Pocket mare Sky Beauty 1:58.4 ($58,666) who has produced the three time Harness Jewels winner in Sky Major 1:51.5 ($772,844). The family is represented in this years Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka on February 22nd by Lot 21, Guilty Of The Crime. She is a daughter of Art Major from a three win full sister to Sky Beauty in Eagles In My Pocket which makes Guilty Of The Crime a full sister in blood to Sky Major. As the photos and video shows, she is  typical of the progeny of Art Major and with so many classy relatives up close, Guilty Of The Crime is sure to attract plenty of attention on sale day. The value of having dual gaited stallions appear in maternal pedigrees at yearling sales has been debated since their introduction but the results would suggest that they have greatly enhanced pedigrees overall. Harnesslink Media  

The legendary New Zealand Hall of Fame harness racing trainer Roy Purdon was all smiles last night as his promising two year old More The Better cemented favoritism for next Saturday's Sapling Stakes at Ashburton with a narrow but impressive victory in the  two year old race at Addington Raceway. The beautifully bred son of Bettor's Delight from a full sister to the former champion Christian Cullen was thought to be slightly underdone by his connections going into last nights race and was considered vulnerable to both his stablemate Pacing Major and the the Paul Court trained Mongolian Hero. Wide early for driver Tim Williams in the 1950 metres event, More The Better assumed control from Pacing Major and Ricky May at the 1300 metres and applied plenty of pressure, running the next two quarters under 30 seconds. Blair Orange brought Mongolian Hero out to challenge at the 600 metres and sat on More The Better's wheel and these three smart two year olds drew away to fight out the finish. Most of the way up the straight it appeared that first Mongolian Hero and then Pacing Major would get the better of More The Better but it was not to be with the colt proving too strong in a tight finish. Pacing Major was a head away second with a further head back to a very game Mongolian Hero. More The Better paced the 1950 metres in a very sharp 2:22.5, a mile rate of 1:57.5 with closing sectionals of 56.6 and 27.1. More The Better was purchased out of last years New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale at Christchurch by Mark Purdon for $62,500 and he subsequently gifted his father a half share. Roy has since taken long time friend and racing partner David Levine into his share as well and it appears they are in for a big season with the colt. Last night Roy was struggling to remember the last time he had won a race as an owner at Addington. "Well its too long to be honest." "Probably back when Mark Roy was winning the Derby." " I won the Oaks down here with Pacific Flight about the same time." "David is very excited and I have to say it is great to win a race down there again," Roy said. The gap between drinks is significant with Mark Roy and Pacific Flight which were both co-owned by Roy winning the Derby-Oaks double in 1993 in the hands of Mark Purdon. Driver Tim Williams was suitably impressed with the winning effort. "It looked tight in the end but he was cruising half way down the straight and might have eased up a bit." "I expect he will go to the Sapling Stakes now," Tim said. With the Sapling Stakes only a week away,last nights three placegetters all gave their supporters plenty of encouragement heading forward to next weeks classic. Harnesslink Media    

Yesterday Harnesslink did a breeding article on the growing influence that mares by Christian Cullen were having on harness racing in New Zealand and how he had quickly risen to the top of the broodmare charts here. We drew attention to the progeny of a maiden Christian Cullen in Supremacy which had taken our eye on the pedigree page and on the video on PGG in this years Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka. What followed was a lot of our readers suggesting that there were several lots at this years round of sales that were on a par at least with the Lot we were highlighting.  “We wouldn't disagree with any of the comments in general but we are still of the view that as an all-round package, the Supremacy filly ticked all the boxes for us.” Another yearling in this years Australasian Classic Yearling Sale whose name cropped up a lot in the correspondence we received on this issue was Beachbabebeauty. He had a number of people in his corner when it came to topline Christian Cullen mares now coming through at the sales. Lot 57 at this years Australasian Classic Yearling Sale, Beachbabebeauty is a son of champion sire Somebeachsomewhere from the former champion Christian Cullen three year old filly in O Baby 1:54.8 (($391,273) and is her first foal. It would be hard to find fault with the pedigree page when you have the Broodmare Excellence award winner Tuapeka Star close up like she is. She produced four standouts in Iraklis 1:54.2 ($1,019,042), Blue And Royal 1:51.6 ($235,856), Ermis 1:59 ($191,868) and Braeside Seel Star 1:58.7 ($169,541) and the individual himself has that real Somebeachsomewhere look about him which is a big plus in our book. We would have no doubt that Beachbabebeauty will be keenly sought after on sale day as he has the pedigree and the type that attracts the top end buyers these days and deservedly so. In fact we wouldn't be surprised if Beachbabebeauty turned out to be one of the top priced lots at the Australasian sale. It would just be further confirmation to us that any stock from quality Christian Cullen mares are now drawing a premium at New Zealand sales. To view the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale catalogue click here. Harnesslink Media  

Christian Cullen 6yr old Callenberg has always enjoyed a bit of a reputation in the Robert Dunn stable, but has often been one bereft of luck in his races. However, with four solid runs to start his current campaign, there was a fair bit of confidence in the camp going into today's contest for the junior drivers at Oamaru Raceway. At his last start at Motukarara, Callenberg was badly squeezed at the start of his race, losing much of his front line advantage right away. He then did work in the race, before finishing a nice 5th behind a very much in form Lightning Mach. That was enough to rate him a very strong chance in today's race. Allowed to stay out of the early rush for positions, a succession of lead changes saw Callenberg parked for the last 1200m of the 2000m contest. On a day dominated by runners near the front, it was a very confident Matt Purvis that sent Callenberg for home at the 250m. While he had done all the work in the breeze and was vulnerable to runners coming off his back, he showed a real tenacity in the run to the line, winning by a convincing three and a quarter lengths in 2.40.29. It was the closing sectionals that were most telling running home in 800m 58.5 and 400m 27.9. Today's win was Callenberg's third from 20 starts and takes his stakes won to over $20,000. In his current vein of form, he is sure to pick up another win in C2 company pretty quick, today's being win being penalty free. For his driver Matt Purvis, today's win was his 5th from just the 51 starts this season. While having limited opportunities, Matt is certainly driving with a lot of maturity this season. Robert Dunn Racing Stables - Check site here

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