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
You haven't had to look very far in the last eighteen months to see the changing dynamic in the harness racing siring charts especially in the broodmare end in New Zealand. After a brilliant siring career during which he dominated the New Zealand Sires lists, Christian Cullen was always going to make a similar impact in the broodmare ranks as he had done as a sire. Christian Cullen has been an outstanding filly/mare sire in his time and now that he has hundreds of well performed and well bred mares entering the broodmare ranks in New Zealand, he could well dominate the broodmare charts for some time to come. In the last twelve months, mares by Christian Cullen have left such outstanding types as Lazarus 1:52.9 ($488,262), Chase The Dream 1:53.1 ($294,646), Golden Goddess 1:55 ($169,810), Te Kawau 1:54.3 ($186,376) and No Doctor Needed 1:53.1 ($138,090) to mention just a handful. Looking at this years yearlings sales at both Karaka and Christchurch reveals countless examples of young well performed Christian Cullen mares with progeny for sale by the likes of Bettors Delight, Art Major and Mach Three so the momentum looks like building, not slowing in years to come. One of the better Christian Cullen racemares of the last few years to have her first progeny for sale this year is Supremacy 1:57.2p ($107,911) Her first foal is named Bounty Lady and will sell as Lot 93 at the Australasian Classic Yearling sale at Karaka on February 22nd. The daughter of Art Major has plenty of depth to her pedigree with her grand dam being none other than the former champion racemare Victor Supreme 1:54.7 ($247,022) who has carved out a great record as a broodmare as well. Not only has she produced Supremacy but Victor Supreme has also produced Victor's Delight 1:54 ($152,031) and Supreme Rocket 1:51.4 ($67,387) and is the grand dam of the speedy Pennsylvania 1:55.1 ($49,971). It has been a very strong fillies and mares family for several generations and Bounty Lady looks just the type to build the family record up even further. To view the Australasian Classic Yearling sale catalogue click here. Harnesslink Media
When Nandina Stud Ltd in New Zealand sold Princess Nandina to North America over 30 years ago, little did they realise what an outstanding contribution she would make in the harness racing broodmare barn in both hemispheres. At stud in North America, Princess Nandina produced the champion three year old filly of 1987 in Pacific 1:53 ($871,550), the daughter of Seahawk Hanover winning 27 of her 42 starts lifetime. Imported back to New Zealand in the mid 1980s by Dave Phillips and National Bloodstock, Princess Nandina produced another quality racemare in Twice As Good 1:56.5 who took her lifetime mark at Alexandra Park. The daughter of Butler BG has done an unbelievable job since retirement to stud as the following list of winners shows. * (H) Mark Dennis 1:54.2 ($219,519) * (M) Waitfornoone 1:55.7 ($201,805) - Now dam of Windinherhair 1:54.6 ($140,476) * (H) St Barts 1:57 ($162,506) * (M) Fight Fire With Fire 1:56 ($151,656) * (M) Twice As Hot 1:59.6 ($50,537) - Now dam of Flaming Flutter 1:53.9 ($608,907) * (M) Twice As Fine - Unraced - Now dam of Pacific Warrior 1:54.8 ($326,169) It is an outstanding record and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. The family is well represented at this years Australasian Classic Yearling sale at Karaka on February 22nd with Lot 33 being a daughter of super filly sire Bettor's Delight from a race winning Christian Cullen mare from Twice As Good. Named Bettorlooking Lass, she is the third foal from her dam Goodlookinggirl who has already produced the handy three year old Mach Three filly in Goodlookingbabe 2:00.6 who won at Alexandra Park recently. With the record of the family since the late 1980s being so consistently impressive, Bettorlooking Lass has a future both on the track and as a future broodmare when finished as a racehorse. To view the Australasian Classic Yearling sale Catalogue click here. Lot 33 - Bettorlooking Lass Harnesslink Media
Christen Me will not defend his Miracle Mile crown with harness racing trainer Cran Dalgety running out of time to have the champion Kiwi race fit for Australasia’s prestigious sprint. The seven-year-old gelding has been struck down with a virus which forced him to miss the New Zealand Trotting Cup and Inter Dominion Championship. Christen Me will also miss out on defending his Victoria Cup title, along with the AG Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile – he has won both of those features in his career. Dalgety was hoping to turn his attention to the Miracle Mile (1609m) at Menangle on February 28. The West Melton trainer understands that time is of the essence and his champion pacer wouldn’t be fit enough to tackle Australasia’s quickest horses. He seems really good and he is progressing but he’s not going to be up to race fitness in time,” Dalgety told stuff.co.nz. Christen Me was a brilliant winner of the Miracle Mile in 2014 after wearing down Beautide in the home straight to capture the Group 1 feature in a 1:49.1 mile rate. The gelding has missed most of the big Group 1 features having only raced four times this season. He won the Group 3 Maurice Holmes Vase (2600m) first up in September before a half-length defeat behind stablemate Mighty Flying Mac in the Group 3 Hannon Memorial (2600m). Christen Me would capture the Group 3 Avon City Ford Cup (2600m) before his final run for the preparation was a third-placing in the Group 2 Canterbury Classic (2600m) in October. Dalgety is hopeful that he can have Christen Me ready for the Group 1 Easter Cup (3200m) at Addington on March 26. The Easter Cup is probably the last one of the major races here so hopefully we might aim up at that,” he said. Christen Me won the Easter Cup in 2015 by a narrow margin over Border Control and Terror To Love who was having his final race start before retiring to stud. Dalgety will then consider a Queensland campaign that could see the son of Christian Cullen compete in the Group 1 Sunshine Sprint (1660m) and Group 1 The Blacks A Fake (2680m) at Albion Park. New Zealand Cup runner-up Smolda ran second in the Sunshine Sprint behind Avonnova and fourth in The Blacks A Fake behind Philadelphia Man in 2015. Smolda went there last year and it brought him right up so that may be an option we look at as there won’t be much else around for him,” Dalgety said. Christen Me has raced on 50 occasions for 30 wins and 13 minor placings. By Trent Orwin Reprinted with permission of the racingbase.com site
The injury plagued elite grade pacer Franco Nelson is to have a change of scenery once again as he heads over to join the Victorian barn of former Kiwi driver Anthony Butt Anthony and his new partner are in the process of setting up a small boutique stable on Gavin Lang's old property and there wouldn't be a better horse to get things under way with The six year old son of Christian Cullen is lightly raced considering he was mixing it with the best at two and Anthony will be his fourth trainer to date in his stop start career. Franco Nelson had his last start for his present trainer Michael House in the $57,500 Waikato Flying Mile at Cambridge Raceway on Friday night where he ran a very creditable third after leading easily off the gate in the hands of his soon to be regular pilot Anthony Butt who made the trip from Melbourne to drive the entire. Anthony is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to be involved with a horse of the class of Franco Nelson. " He went great in the New Zealand Cup in his first run for such a long time and Dexter had no luck in the Auckland Cup, being shoved out wide at the 800 metres mark so I think you can disregard that run". " There are so many opportunities for a horse like him in Australia" " With his proven class, he shouldn't be a hard horse to place," Anthony said. Anthony is not getting ahead of himself, fully aware of all the issues that have troubled the star pacer in recent times. " I have been really lucky in having such a quality horse sent to me to train but I have a pool there which he needs so I can do a lot of the day to day work with him." " If we can get him back to his best, it could be very exciting." " I can't wait to get him home and and sort out a programme for him," said Anthony. Franco Nelson is not the only horse that has Anthony excited heading into the major cup races and series in Victoria. " I have driven Keystone Del to his last two wins since he joined Brent's barn and he has gone super both times." " I think he will be very competitive when all the big trotting races come around," Anthony said. Anthony is also hopeful of attracting some more New Zealand owned horses to his new training establishment. " It would work out great if a few more horses came over from home." " There are great opportunities here for a promising horse and I more than happy to look after any visitors as well," Anthony said. Harnesslink Media This is a corrected version of a article Harnesslink first published on Friday 8th January 2016.
With the way the harness racing stallion business is these days, it is becoming harder and harder for the home grown stallions to break into the lucrative market that is dominated by the shuttle stallions from North America. Breeders have access to the very best from North America and that means the local stallion has a huge challenge when going to stud. Christian Cullen proved he was up to the mark in his prime but few others have made it to the top of the sires list down under. The jury is still out on Changeover with the son of In The Pocket churning out plenty of nice horses but he badly needs one or two genuine stars to lift him into the elite level of stallions. Another local who is attempting to break the grip of the Northern Hemisphere stallions is the son of Mach Three in Auckland Reactor. In an attempt to give him a genuine shot at challenging the elite stallions, his management team set his fee at $3,000 and in his first two years he served huge books of 213 mares in year one and 156 in year two in New Zealand and he will serve about 100 again in year three. Auckland Reactor has also done really well in Australia with 182 in year one followed by 210 in year two and is on track to serve about 220 again this year. It's long been accepted that for a stallion to establish himself, he needs to have the numbers on the ground and Auckland Reactor has certainly been given the opportunity with the numbers he has coming through. Auckland Reactors first lot of foals hit the yearling sales this year with five entered at Auckland and twenty four in Christchurch. One that caught our eye was the colt Jordan's Jury, the first foal from the former smart racemare in Georgia's Jury 1:58.7 ($59,871) who is being offered as Lot 29 at the Australasian Classic Yearling sale at Karaka on February 22nd. Georgia's Jury ran 2nd in the Sires Stakes at three behind the champion Adore Me and all up only had 22 starts for 5 wins and 7 placings. The dam of Georgia's Jury is the racewinning Christian Cullen mare in Van Seraa whose first three foals old enough to race have all been winners. Apart from Georgia's Jury, she has also produced Raesawinner 1:56 ($88,351) and the three year old Van Mara 1:58.2p who won his maiden race at Alexandra Park in December. This branch of the Rosalie family has been prominent since the very speedy racemare Good Going went to stud in the 1980s. Winners have flowed from that time with two of the best being Tribute 1:54.9 ($610,993) and Easy On The Eye 1:54 ($461,580) and that flow of winners shows no sign of slowing down. To view the Australasian Classic Yearling sale Catalogue click here. Harnesslink Media
The All Stars barn regularly sweep all before them at harness racing meetings in New Zealand but it is not that easy for the young reinsman tied to the stable. They get the odd drive on stable runners in junior drivers events or fill in when the leading stable reinsmen are away at Auckland for the classic races. So it was tonight at Addington Raceway when Conversion broke his maiden duck for the All Star junior reinsman Matt Anderson. Matt slotted him into a lovely one by possie from barrier four and Matt didn't have to move until they got to the home corner. Eased out three wide on the corner, Conversion just went on by and won with a lot in reserve. He paced the 1950 metres in a quick 2:21.4, a mile rate of 1:56.6 with closing sectionals of 57.3 and 28.7. The three year son of Christian Cullen and the former high class racemare Coburg 1: 56.7 ($205, 176) looks to have a bright future. The win tonight by Matt continues the great run that he has been having this season with a UDR of 2731 that any driver would be very happy with. Matt has a plan this season. " I am very keen to make the Australasian Junior Drivers Championship and I am right up there at the moment." " Whenever it fits in with Mark and Natalie I have been taking drives up north and down south with the aim of getting the top spot to qualify." " It is very competitive amongst the junior drivers but if I can keep getting the outside drives I give myself a chance of winning the top spot," Matt said. So any trainers out there from Northland to Bluff, if you need a top junior driver for an upcoming race Matt is more than likely available. Harnesslink Media
Former star apprentice jockey Michael Grantham has bright prospects of landing his most important winner as a harness racing reinsman by guiding the ultra-consistent The Bucket List to victory in the $35,000 group 3 Christmas Gift at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 20-year-old Grantham will drive the New Zealand-bred six-year-old for his uncle, Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan, and the gelding has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting out wide at No. 7 on the front line in the 2130m feature event. The Bucket List is certain to start favourite after being the fastest of the three heat winners last Friday night. He rated 1.56 when he sustained a powerful three-wide burst from fourth at the bell to win by almost a length from the pacemaker Our Major Mark, with a head to Im A Peregrine. The other heat winners were Fernleigh Rebel (1.56.3) and Bronze Seeker (1.56.7). Fernleigh Rebel will start from barrier two on the back line, with Bronze Seeker on his outside. Grantham, who rode 97 winners before increasing weight forced his retirement as a jockey in 2012, has a close affinity with The Bucket List, who he has driven four times for two wins and two thirds. The Bucket List has been a model of consistency throughout his 46-start career which has produced 13 wins, 12 seconds and six thirds for $157,336 in prizemoney. Since arriving in WA from New Zealand eight months ago he has had 13 starts for seven wins and six placings. By Christian Cullen, The Bucket List is the first foal out of the American-bred mare Saddle Ridge (by Artsplace). The mare’s second foal is the Mach Three gelding Extreme Machine, who won twice at Alexandra Park in November-December 2013 before being sold to America where he has proved highly successful for owner Joseph Muscara, trainer Darren Cassar and reinsman Eric Goodell. The Bucket List is sure to have to do plenty of work from his wide barrier in an open event in which the powerful Hall and Bond stables will each be represented by three runners. Gary Hall sen. will be pinning his faith on Algranco Under Fire, Soho Lennon and Mohegan Sun, while Greg and Skye Bond’s runners Jumbo Jet, Phoenix Warrior and Our Major Mark will be popular with punters. Algranco Under Fire will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier and Clint Hall is sure to make full use of the gelding’s good gate speed. Algranco Under Fire trailed the pacemaker Fernleigh Rebel when an excellent second to that pacer in a qualifying heat last Friday night. Hall sen. will be looking to one of his runners to give him his sixth winner in the Christmas Gift. He has been successful with Nixons Creed (1993), Allioop (2004), McRaes Mate (2007), Livingontheinterest (2012) and Toretto (2013). The Bond stable has won the Christmas Gift with Motu Treasure in 2010 and Russley Rascal in 2011 and Jumbo Jet, Phoenix Warrior and Our Major Mark are racing keenly and are capable of winning. Perhaps the best of the trio will be Jumbo Jet, who will be driven by Colin Brown from barrier four on the front line. Jumbo Jet ran home solidly from sixth at the bell when third behind Fernleigh Rebel and Algranco Under Fire last Friday night. Jumbo Jet gave a superb performance at his previous outing when he thundered home from the rear to win from Phoenix Warrior and Smokey The Bandit over 2100m at Bunbury. Fernleigh Rebel is in line to complete a hat-trick for 87-year-old Wanneroo owner-trainer Ken White after sparkling all-the-way wins over 2130m at his two most recent outings when he relished staring from the No. 1 barrier on each occasion. He will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line on Friday night, which will not prove an insurmountable problem. He can unwind a sparkling late sprint. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri will be looking to Im A Peregrine to give him his second win in the Christmas Gift, following the success of Savette in 1992. Im A Peregrine will be driven by the in-form Stuart McDonald, who will be toying with a plan to take the early lead from the No. 3 barrier. Im A Peregrine is not only a smart frontrunner, but has shown plenty of strength in races in which he has worked hard in the breeze. He raced without cover and fought on grandly when third, less than a length behind the winner The Bucket List in a qualifying heat. Bronze Seeker has struck a purple patch for Byford trainer Peter Anderson with fast-finishing wins over 2130m last Friday night and on Sunday afternoon. Chris Lewis will handle the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old who will start from the outside of the back line. Bronze Seeker is a smart sit-sprinter capable of making his presence felt. The Christmas Gift is one of the very few WA feature events which has eluded Lewis and the champion reinsman would dearly love to right that wrong on Friday night. by Ken Casellas
The second of tonights Inter Dominion heats looked a Philadelphia Man benefit even though he had drawn the outside of the gate via the preferential draw. After a false start, Mark Reed on Libertybelle Midfrew burned off the gate and worked his way to the lead after 250 metres with the plunge horse Major Crocker posted outside her. Philadelphia Man and Gavin Lang dropped out last early and seemed intent right from the start on following Waylade and Gary Hall jnr the whole way. With plenty of speed on up front there were no mid race moves until Easy On The Eye looped the field and found the death. With 1000 metres to go Waylade was sent three wide by Hall jnr with Philadelphia Man hooking straight onto his back for the drag home. Waylade got up alongside Libertybelle Midfrew at the 400 metres but that was as close as he got as the outstanding mare kicked clear for a narrow but decisive win. Philadelphia Man worked home well late to claim second in the shadows of the post with Waylade a game third after such a hard run. Libertybelle Midfrew had no luck on either of the first two nights and even though she won tonight looks unlikely to make the final. It was the 16th career victory for the daughter of Christian Cullen and took her earnings over the $540,000 mark. She paced the 2536 metres in a smart 3:02.3,a mile rate of 1:55.7 with even closing sectionals of 56.8 and 28.4. Mark Reed was unsure if that victory would get him into the final. " Hopefully that victory will get us into the final but if it doesn't she can line up in the mares race instead." " I drove her so aggressively tonight because I was sick and tired of getting held up and not getting a run." " I think the final is pretty open and the barrier draws and luck in the running will play a big part," Mark said. Harnesslink Media
While she has been a work in progress in many respects, it was great to see Cullens First Meddle finally rewarded for consistency at Addington Raceway on Friday night. A 4yr old Christian Cullen mare, Cullens First Meddle is the 5th foal out of the good racemare Make A Meddle (64 starts, 7 wins, 14 placings, $50,259) that was also trained by the stable. While she has been up for almost five months in her current campaign, Cullens First Meddle seems to be getting better, the longer that campaign goes. It was a last start 6th in the Futurity final on Show Day that gave driver Gavin Smith a lot of confidence heading into the race. "That was a pretty sharp field and they broke 3.11," said Gavin. "This was a big dropback to be honest and I thought that if we ran them along again she would have most struggling." After running even sectionals throughout, Cullens First Meddle had most off the bit a long way out. Running home in 800m 58.0 and 400m 28.6, she was a convincing winner at the line in 3.11.7 for the 2600m trip. "It didn't feel like we were running that quick," said Gavin, "but that track is so fast now they are running these times a fair bit." The win was a fitting reward for her breeders Warwick and Una Sparks, who have had a long association with the Robert Dunn stable over many years. The Sparks' have successfully bred and raced a number of "Meddle" horses including: Lionel's Meddle - 14 wins, Mahjac Meddle - 7 wins and Mr Meddle - 4 wins. There must have been times with this mare that they were despairing of ever getting a win, but with the convincing nature of her maiden win, she may have really turned a corner. "She lacks that real kick that you need," said Gavin, "but she can follow speed all day." "If they only walk there's no point sitting back on her, she's got to be up there dictating the pace, or outside the leader keeping that pressure on." While she will need a break at some point, she is clearly thriving and doing all the right things at present. Mike Drury Robert Dunn Racing Stables - Check site here
Since the mid 1990s, the harness racing breeding scene in Australasia has been home to a resurgence in the Direct Scooter siring line and it shows no signs of tapering off anytime soon. From Direct Scooter line stallions such as In The Pocket to Christian Cullen to Courage Under Fire to Mach Three, breeders have enjoyed access to some of the best siring talent available. Last years results announced the arrival of another descendant of Direct Scooter in Australasia in Somebeachsomewhere who had a sensational season down under with the brilliant Menin Gate and Waikiki Beach who each dominated their respective age groups in Australia. Somebeachsomewhere has dominated age group racing in North America in three of the last four years and is currently over $1,300,000 ahead of Bettor's Delight on the two year old siring charts this year. With Somebeachsomesomewhere only available via frozen semen and in limited supply, the market was wide open for a well performed son of Somebeachsomewhere to stand in Australasia. Alabar Bloodstock have taken the bull by the horns and have brought in the very well credentialed Sunshine Beach 1:47.8 ($977,438) From the first crop of Somebeachsomewhere in 2010, Sunshine Beach is from a very strong maternal family which keeps pumping out those elite level horses. The dam of Sunshine Beach is the unraced Artsplace mare Light Up. Apart from Sunshine Beach, Light Up has also produced horses of the quality of Safe Harbor 1:50.1 ($549,180), Warrawee Flare 1:50.3 ($524,095) and Western Moonlight 1:52.3 ($366,091 while one of her daughters in Warrawee Cammy has already produced Machal Jackson 1:50.1 ($562,715) The grand-dam is the smart Jate Lobell mare Lights On 1:54 (318,777) who has left eight winners at stud including the very smart two year old After Life 1:51.4 ($659,328) The third dam is the outstanding Flying Bret racemare Enroute 1:53.4 ($753,768) who apart from Lights On has also produced Take Flight 1:53.2 ($602,443), Flight Plan 1:50.1 ($394,251) and Bedeviled 1:55.3($326,212) It is a pedigree full of winners with several $500,000+ earners close up in the pedigree so Sunshine Beach lacks nothing in the breeding department. Sunshine Beach on the track was hindered throughout his career by kidney and bladder stones but when free from pain he produced some outstanding performances. At two, he had a handful of starts, winning in 1:52.2, running second in the $110,000 Nassagaweya Stakes and having a best placed time of 1:50.4 in his heat of the Metro Pace. Treated extensively in the break between his two and three year old seasons, Sunshine Beach came out at three and showed what a high class colt he was. His best performance was undoubtedly in the $500,000 Battle Of Brandywine Final at Pocono where he beat the champion colt Captaintreacherous in a life time best of 1:47.4 Other notable performances at three included the $284,000 Progress Pace at Dover Downs in 1:50.3, a Bluegrass Stakes win at the Red Mile in 1:48.2 plus two placings behind Captaintreacherous in time honoured classics. One was a second placing in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Final by a neck in 1:49.2 and the other was a third in the $635,000 Meadowlands Pace Final in 1:48.4. Sunshine Beach faced the starter 20 times between May and December at three for eight wins and eight placings and over $900,000. In fourteen of those twenty starts Sunshine Beach broke the 1:50 barrier. The kidney and bladder stone issues came back to haunt Sunshine Beach in a big way at four and his form wasn't what it should have been. After he was retired, Sunshine Beach went on the operating table to remove the most humongous golf ball sized kidney stone you will ever see. For Sunshine Beach to have raced as well as he did with that stone annoying him every inch of the way is a testament to how genuine and tough he was. Standing in Canada in his first year at stud in 2015, Sunshine Beach was very well received by breeders, covering 135 mares at $5,000. With Alabar having set his fee at $4,000 in Australasia, Sunshine Beach would seem great value for money and it would surprise us if he didn't serve as least as many mares down under as he did in Canada during this past breeding season there. Harnesslink Media.
Memories of former New Zealand superstar pacer Christian Cullen will be revived when Chevrons Champion clashes with other talented fillies, including the brilliant Dodolicious, in the 2130m Clipsal Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Chevrons Champion, part-owned, trained and driven by Nathan Turvey, will start from barrier four in a highly-competitive field of just five runners. After winning twice from nine starts in New Zealand for Cran Dalgety, Chevrons Champion has impressed greatly in Western Australia where her four starts have produced three wins and a second placing. She is by outstanding stallion Bettors Delight out of the unraced In The Pocket mare Dreamsaregold, a full sister to Christian Cullen, who amassed $1,249,150 in stakes from 22 wins and four placings from 31 starts in the 1990s. In 1998 his victories included the New Zealand Cup, Auckland Cup and Miracle Mile at Harold Park. Dreamsaregold also is a half-sister to Kates First, who earned $624,023 from 19 wins and 19 placings from 65 starts. Dodolicious, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, is on the doorstep of a wonderful career after her first nine starts produced five wins and four seconds. She resumed after a spell and made her first appearance as a three-year-old at Pinjarra on Monday of last week when she raced three wide early and then in the breeze before getting to the front 120m from the post and finishing second to Scoobys Delight (1.53.5) over 1684m. That was her first outing since she set the pace and finished second to the fast-finishing gelding Sprinter in the Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park in mid-July. She is sure to appreciate competing against her own sex this week. Baby She Rocks, trained and driven by Kaiden Hayter, and the Sonia Zucchiatti-trained The Spinster also have plenty of ability. They are excellent frontrunners. Baby She Rocks has led and won at Gloucester Park and Pinjarra in her five-start career and The Spinster was a smart all-the-way Pinjarra winner two starts ago before setting the pace and finishing third behind Scoobys Delight and Dodolicious on the same track a week later. Ken Casellas
Interstate trips for Caesars Folly have been few and far between. In fact, the talented Queensland harness racing pacer has only chased rich purses south of the border on two previous occasions, both trips made to Melbourne chasing the Australasian Breeders Crown. While he performed well on each trip, he didn’t win the major prize. But the husband and wife combination of Scott Miller and Shannon Price are looking to right that wrong this weekend. Caesars Folly makes his Sydney debut on Saturday night in the Gr.3 $31,800 SEW Eurodrive Open Class at Tabcorp Park Menangle. “He’s battled some injuries and setbacks since his last interstate trip but he deserving of this trip because his current form is first class and this race fits his schedule perfectly. We’re hoping to win this race and then return home to tackle both the Lord Mayors and Christmas Cups at Albion Park next month.” Co-trainer Miller said. The Christian Cullen – Lillian gelding has returned in excellent form this campaign including a narrow defeat in the Grand Circuit opener at Albion Park last month when runner-up to Our Hi Jinx in the Queensland Pacing Championship. Last week, he flashed late when second behind Mach Alert in a time of 1:52.9 while the final 800m was covered in 54.8 seconds. “We’re thrilled with the way he’s returned this campaign; he badly needed the run first-up in the Gold Coast Cup behind Bling It On in track record time while he past two efforts have been really encouraging. We think he’s back to his very best form, he’s a very talented horse and he’s capable of racing against the best opposition. “We think the style of racing at Menangle will suit his racing pattern and you would expect a bit of pressure early in this race looking at the field. The draw looks fair on paper but hopefully we can land a good spot and be close to the action before unleashing his sprint at the finish, he’s handled the road trip really well and settled in nicely at Blake’s (Fitzpatrick) property. “The open class features back home next month will be his next assignment, the Lord Mayors and Christmas Cups but this race came up at the right time so we’re giving it a shot. Having a driver like James Rattray engaged is good because he knows the local form as well as anybody and we think his style will suit Tiny (Caesars Folly).” The $25,000 Lord Mayors Cup is scheduled for December 12 while the $25,000 Christmas is the following week, both are Listed features. The hit/run missions to Sydney have proven fruitful for the Logan Reserve couple in recent times including victories with the likes of American Legend and Chevals Clivesdale quickly coming to mind. by Chris Barsby
The 2015/16 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit harness racing season is officially underway. And it’s started with a bang. The Gr.1 $200,000 Garrards Queensland Pacing Championship staged at Albion Park in Brisbane was taken out by New Zealand bred gelding Our Hi Jinx ($9.50) who defeated Caesars Folly ($51.10) and Avonnova ($13.90) in the sunshine state’s biggest event. Prepared locally by Ian Gurney, Our Hi Jinx was handled by Victorian reinsman Greg Sugars who replaced the suspended Adam Sanderson and drove a brilliant tactical race to claim the 2680 feature in track record time of 1;55.0 – eclipsing the previous mark of 1;55.9 held by Mr Feelgood from 2010. Race favourite Philadelphia Man ($1.40) finished 9th after being forced to work hard from his wide draw. Driven aggressively off the gate from the start, Sugars controlled the early going with Our Hi Jinx with Caesars Folly in the trail while Alleluia and Monifieth jostled early for handy positions. As the field worked past the mile marker, Our Hi Jinx took cover behind his stablemate Avonnova while Bling It On and Shannonsablast also made forward moves. The lead time was posted in 77.5 seconds. With Avonnova leading the way, Philadelphia Man made his move but was forced to cover plenty of extra ground in very quick sectionals. The first half of the final mile was covered in 28.9 and 28 seconds. Heading down the back straight on the final occasion, Avonnova maintained a solid tempo with Philadelphia Man working on his outside while Our Hi Jinx sat directly behind them. The third quarter was posted in 28.6 seconds. In the straight, Avonnova kicked clear from Philadelphia Man while Our Hi Jinx and Caesars Folly darted back to the sprintlane. Our Hi Jinx lasted by a half neck margin from Caesars Folly with a further 5 metres back to Avonnova in third. The final quarter was timed in 28.6 seconds. “We couldn’t have wished for a better trip and he travelled comfortably throughout, the solid speed suited him and he zipped quickly once we got the run via the inside. Ian (Gurney) was really happy with him going into the event and that gave me good confidence, he’s a neat little horse with really good speed.” Winning driver Greg Sugars said. The 2015 Queensland spring carnival has proven to be quite the windfall for Our Hi Jinx with victories in the Be Good Johnny Sprint and now the QPC. The Christian Cullen – Treasured Possession gelding was also placed in the Gold Coast Cup last week. Our Hi Jinx is raced by Gurney, Paul Montgomery and the Fleur De Lil Trust. The next leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit is the $750,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup at Addington on November 10. by Chris Barsby