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The harness racing community mourn the loss of Alexander (Alex) Robert McDonald who passed away at Invercargill Hospital on Wednesday night aged 68. McDonald, who was Mosgiel bred and raised, had been a long time supporter of the industry not only as a breeder but also as an owner and trainer. His greatest achievements in the sport came through two of his foundation mares Lento (15 wins, $240,000) and Rockne Del (four wins). Lento, a top mare who McDonald trained himself, was purchased as a weanling for $1000, while Rockne Del was purchased as a yearling for a mere $1500. Back in 2011, McDonald told the Southland Times that he didn’t have a thousand bucks to spend on Lento, only five hundred. “Lorraine Coutts (wife of Keith Coutts) said she would add another five hundred for her half share and we raced her together.” McDonald trained her for 12 wins, including two in Australia. Henry Skinner trained her for three wins. McDonald later bought Lento outright. He and Mrs Coutts had gone foal about, McDonald breeding Whanau. Lento was later sold to Robert Famularo of Cavalla Bloodstock. Whanau, a daughter of Sands A Flyin, won 10 races and 137,726; her biggest win came in $100,000 Nevele R Fillies Final. She was trained by Henry Skinner and on that occasion was driven by Peter Jones. Through Lento grew the relationship of Alex McDonald and Clark Barron, who drove the bonny mare to numerous victories. “I have been involved with Alex for the last twenty years,” said his good friend and long time racing partner, Clark Barron. Although it was Lento who ignited the McDonald and Barron partnership, it is McDonald’s other foundation mare, Rockne Dell, that has given them the most success of late. “I trained Joyfullbelle (Road Machine – Lento) to win eight races ($58,798) for Alex and then later bought a share in both her and Whanau for breeding,” said Barron. “We race horses together under the Miracle Lodge Syndicate,” he added. Joyfullbelle has been a great producer for both McDonald and Barron in recent years, having produced the likes of multiple Group winner Joyfuljoy and the 2011 Southland Oaks winner Jumpforjoy. “We had two starts with Joyfuljoy, before John Curtin (JC International) bought her for Ian Dobson for $100,000.” Joyfuljoy was then placed in the hands of Mark Purdon, of who she won 11 races and $339,612 for, before being on sold by JC International to J Alfen of North America. Jumpforjoy, however, raced out her career with Clark Barron and as well as winning the Southland Oaks, won six other races and placed third in the Harness Jewels. She is now in foal to Somebeachsomewhere. “You never really think about what you are going to say in interviews like this one,” said Baron. “He has certainly had a huge impact on my career. “He was a very genuine fella, and was straight up and down. He said what he thought.” “Through all our dealings, very few bad words were said between one another,” Barron added. Although McDonald has passed, don’t expect his breed too. “We promised him we would carry the breed on so hopefully we can produce a few more good horses yet. We will certainly be doing our best,” concluded an emotional Barron. As well as a passionate harness racing enthusiast. McDonald was also a former farmer, shearer and meat worker. His funeral will be held on Monday (July 22) at 2pm. Mitchell Robertson

It may not have been in record-breaking time, like the last New Zealand harness racing driver to reach 1000 wins - Dexter Dunn - but it was still an outstanding achievement when 'The King' Ken Barron brought up his milestone at tonight's (Thursday April 11) Forbury Park meeting.

The Oamaru Harness Racing Club will once again host their unique gala heritage race meet on Saturday 19th November 2011 at Oamaru Racecourse.

Well respected Southland horseman and harness racing identity Henry Skinner has died aged 78. Skinner was best known for his deeds with Honkin Vision, a gun juvenile which he trained in partnership with Alan Devery to win 16 races and over a half million in stake earnings during the late 80's.

A popular win by the locally owned and bred filly Jumpforjoy was one of many highlights at yesterday's (Saturday) Invercargill Harness Racing Club meeting held at Ascot Park. The win by Jumpforjoy was also one of four stylish performances by the progeny of Cam Fella stallion Bettor's Delight who continues to impress with his ability to leave top quality racehorses.

The widow of one of New Zealand's greatest ever harness racing pedigree analysts is getting a bit desperate. When Kevin Coutts passed away on January 16 he left his wife Pam a Tight Connection mare named Tight's Sight. Now Pam has been forced to virtually give the 15-year-old mare away.

The Oamaru Harness Racing Club will once again host their unique heritage race meet on Wednesday 17th November 2010 at Oamaru Racecourse. The day marks the launch of the town's renowned Victorian Heritage Celebrations, the premier event in the Waitaki District.

The Clark Barron trained and driven Jumpforjoy continued on it's winning way at the Wyndham Harness Racing Club's meeting held today (Sunday) at Young Quinn Raceway.

The Clark Barron trained and driven Jumpforjoy was the major benefactor in a hotly run Sires Stakes Fillies Heat at the Tuapeka Harness Racing Club's meeting held at Forbury Park today (Sunday).

Cam Fella stallion Bettor's Delight continues to make his presence felt as a producer of quality juveniles. Today (Sunday) it was the Clark Barron trained and driven two year old filly Jumpforjoy, who flew the flag with an outstanding debut performance at the Winton Harness Racing Club's meeting.

A two year break away from the racing scene proved ineffectual to the fresh up performance of seven year old mare The Peace Rose, at the Gore Harness Racing Club's meeting yesterday (Sunday). Trainer/driver Clark Barron knew what his mare's greatest strengths were, and used them to his best advantage.

Clark Barron, one of the seasoned pros of the Southland harness racing scene, took two stoutly bred three year old sons of standout sire Mach Three to the Wyndham trials today (Wednesday) and both qualified. Barron said Panamach (Mach Three-Panodoll) was probably on the way to the paddock for a freshen up after winning his heat in 3:07, seven seconds faster than the required 3:14 for 2400 metres (stand).

Trainer Trevor Proctor has a choice of races for Tact Lizzie next week but said after her win at Invercargill tonight (8 December) that his preference was for starting in the $55,000 group three Northern Southland Cup.

Palmerston North driver Stephen Doody is poised to have a major say in the outcome of American Ideal at Woodlands Stud Provincial Drivers' Championship, staged at Ascot Park on Saturday (22 November) for the 20th time. His best winning chance in the five-race series would appear to be Rakarebel while Demon Darb, Jaccka Nikos and Washington Seattle represent a more than useful supporting cast.

There was an interesting sidebar to the win today (28 October) of Presidential Reign in the 2008 edition of the Riverton Trotting Club and it involved a galloping race staged 75 years ago. Presidential Reign was bred by Roger Price of Oporo near Invercargill.

Five-win Southland trotter MacArthur Park is to do his future racing further up the island and after arriving at Oamaru with his existing trainer on Sunday (21 September) will leave with his new one. The 7-year-old will race for his Winton trainer Tim White at Oamaru on Sunday and go from there to Toliman Lodge where his preparation will be taken over by Ken Barron.

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