Jimmy Johnstone has landed on the open class scene with a bang, after taking out yesterdays $35,000 Methven Cup (Gr3) at Mt Harding Racecourse. The lightly raced five-year-old, who was superbly driven by trainer-driver John Hay, settled one-one early doors before working to the front and subsequently landing the trail behind Pass Them By. He then emerged in the home straight to narrowly down last year’s winner Fly Like An Eagle, who was super in defeat after being trapped wide on a hot last 800 metres of 56.6. Sleepy Tripp was also good in third, while Pass Them By and Four Starzzz Flash dead heated for fourth. Jimmy Johnstone, a son of P-Forty-Seven, was second up after a fresh-up eighth at Addington last week. Last season he was successful in the Southern Country Cups Final as well as the Winton and Gore Cup. Jimmy Johnstone is currently paying $51 for a win and $15 for a place in the futures market for the New Zealand Cup. He was ranked 29th when the last official Cup rankings were released, but yesterday’s win is sure to see him leapfrog many of his opposition. He is owned by J K McRae, A J O'Donnell, Mrs D J G McRae and Miss I M Lee, and is now verging on $100,000 in stakes. Meanwhile, the feature trot for the day, the $13,000 Pegasus Spur Trotbred Fillies & Mares Handicap Trot, was taken out by Mamselle, who broke through for her fifth win after a string of minor places. Co-trainer and owner Leonne Jones said the Continentalman granddaughter of top mare Tussle is likely to be breed from this season but will carry on racing while in foal. “We will see if she can’t pick up another race or two while in foal,” said Jones. “She is booked to Majestic Son,” she added. The win edged Mamselle’s stake earnings over the $50,000 mark. By Mitchell Robertson
Riverside owner-breeder Charlie Smaill said his feet still hadn’t touched the ground some three days after Jaccka Justy pulled off the biggest win of his 35-race career on Sunday (September 29). The Jonny Cox and Amber Hoffman (Westwood Beach) trained 7-year-old put up a huge performance to over-power his nine rivals in the $25,000 Group Three D.G. Jones Trotting Cup on the Motukarara grass. “This is as special as when I had my first training success with him at Ascot Park in May 2011. I won’t forget this in a while. A Group win is to be treasured. “I’ve always wanted to travel up to Canterbury and grab a nice stake. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a speech after winning a Group race. Now I have to wonder no more,” said Smaill who owned and bred Jaccka Justy with is Harness Racing New Zealand Board Member wife, Ailsa. Jaccka Justy skipped away from his front line draw and was second last and a long way off the leaders trotting into the big Motukarara straight the first time. But the further they went the better it suited the Continentalman – Janine Jaccka gelding. In fact the 2810m played right into his hands because in the straight Cox was able to power down the outside to win by 1-1/2 and 1-3/4 lengths from Clover Don (Colin De Filippi) and Dr Hook (Jim Curtin). One of five horses off the front line, Jaccka Justy stopped the clock in 3:54.7. Mile rate: 2.14.3. Last 800m: 60.9. He was the eighth favourite and paid a whopping $30 to win. It was Cox’s ninth driving success of the season and Cox and Hoffman’s six training success of 2013-2014. It was just his third race of the season and Smaill said he would now start in the Cliff Irvine Memorial Trot in a couple of weeks and then possibly one more Canterbury start before the Group One Dominion in November. “He takes a bit of recovering from his races, especially on the grass so we will see how he pulls up this week. “It would be great to have another Dominion starter. Jonny drove my last starter in the big race when Jaccka Jack ran in 11th in 2011,” Smaill said. Jaccka Justy is the second of five foals out of the unraced Sundon mare Janine Jaccka. Full brother and sister Jaccka Jack (12 wins) and Jess Jaccka (five wins) banked $124,579 and $21,110 races respectively. He has now had 35 starts for 11 wins, two placings and $67,594. The bay gelding started out with Nathan Williamson in December 2010 before Smaill took over a year later. Smaill then handed the reins over to Dave Anderson in April 2012 before Jonny Cox was given the training duties in May. Smaill has trained him intermittently throughout his career. He said it was exciting to nail a Group winner again. “I think my last Group winner came about 10 years ago when The Jaccka won a Country Cups Final. “I still can’t believe this latest win. It was a huge performance for him to get up and win. It’s exciting times alright,” Smaill said. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)
Westwood Beach trainers’ Jonny Cox and Amber Hoffman enjoyed their biggest win to date yesterday when taking out the Group 3 DG Jones Trotting Cup with Jaccka Justy. “It was a huge thrill for Amber and I as it was out first Group training success,” said Cox. “It also meant a lot to win a race in honour of the great Derek Jones,” he added. Jaccka Justy was slow away at the start and settled five back on the fence, but due to a perfect Jonny Cox drive he was able to find clear air in the straight and come with a whirlwind finish to down Clover Don, Dr Hook and Cyclone U Bolt. “It has taken him a while to get used to the quicker tempo of the races in Christchurch but he seems to be there now,” enthused Cox. “All those trips to Addington have paid off. He used to be able to sprint real quickly after they had gone slow during the race but he found it a bit harder trying to sprint off the back of a good tempo.” Jaccka Justy was one of the outsiders, and paid odds of $30 for a win and $6 for a place. But the win did not surprise Cox. “Both his runs back had been good and I knew the grass track would suit him more than most. He was super in a couple of trials on the grass last season.” Cox said that Jaccka Justy is definitely the quickest trotter that he has sat behind and that was evident yesterday. The Canterbury Park Trotting Cup on 11th of October is next on the agenda for the seven-year-old son of Continentalman. “He doesn’t back up that well, so we will just keep looking for a good race for him every two or three weeks. If he is still going well around Cup time the Dominion is the obvious aim.” The win topped off a great weekend for Amber Hoffman, who also enjoyed success with galloper Enchanter at Wingatui on Saturday. Meanwhile, earlier on in the day at Motukarara, Mark McNamara and the YOR! Racing With Boes McNally Syndicate enjoyed their first win with Ataahua Tiki. “It was great for the Syndicate,” said trainer Stephen McNally. “They thought it was Christmas,” he added. “She has been knocking on the door for a while and really deserved a win.” By Mitchell Robertson
The Nyah Harness Racing Club hosted the May 1 Wednesday night meeting at the Swan Hill Racing Centre which featured a thrilling fast class event - the Nevele R Stud Pace for C5 or better class over 2240 metres which saw the Bruce Rose trained Port Pirie Cup winner Have A Bender (Luke Watson) do battle with the Shayne Cramp trained Ouyen Cup winner Jamies Boy (John Caldow), with Jamies Boy the victor.
West Melton harness racing trainer Marty Larter describes The Blazing Conman's win at Addington on Friday night (February 22) as one of his best ever.
Shelbourne (Bendigo) harness racing trainer Michelle Eastman's exciting 5-Y-0 mare Aleppo Midas scored an outstanding victory in the Mick & Tom Mahar Memorial Trotters Handicap for T2 or better class over 2200 metres at Bray Raceway Ballarat on Thursday
The Cobram Harness Racing Club situated on the border of Victoria and NSW staged their annual cup day program on Thursday December 27 attended by a large number of holiday makers.
New Zealand's oldest active harness racing conditioner - Bill Darrah says he wants to train one more winner and then he could consider retiring. "I'll keep going until I'm 100 if that's how long it takes," the Thames horseman told Harnesslink.
Zac Butcher loves driving so much he couldn't wait for his recent holiday on Australia's Gold Coast to finish. And going by the results of the first three races at northern harness racing headquarters in Auckland tonight (Friday September 14) you could tell why the gifted 21-year-old was biting at the bit to get back to Alexandra Park.
Daylesford harness racing trainer Mick Barby chalked up a first ever stable double at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday - Remember Jasper taking the $15,000 Petstock Vicbred Pace for M0 class over 2240 metres and Miss Southern Land the $15,000 Glenferrie Farm Trotters Handicap for TM0 or better class over 2760 metres, both driven by Melton freelance Rod Petroff.
One-horse harness racing trainer Gary Noakes created his own slice of New Zealand racing history last weekend when he trained and drove Patienceofasaint to a nice trotting victory at Alexandra Park. That was a remarkable feat in itself - because it was 31-year-old's first training success. It was also his first driving win since saluting the judge with Jodie's Express at Te Aroha eight-and-a-half years ago.
1991 World champion reinsman Maurice McKendry knows a good horse when he sees one and without getting too carried away you could sense the Pukekohe harness racing trainer and driver is looking forward to the career of Beau Vite.
Maryborough in Central Victoria was the venue for Monday harness racing on April 2, when a compact eight event card catering for all classes was held.
Mysta Magical Mach warmed up for the V75 interdominion pacing championship series in grand style at Gloucester Park on Friday night when harness racing driver Morgan Woodley drove the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old to a dazzling victory in the $50,000 V75 Punters Club Pace.
Up and coming squaregaiter Miss Southern Land brought up three wins in succession when victorious in the Danny Hawkes Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2100 metres at the central Victorian harness racing venue of Charlton on Monday September 19.
Albion Park is back to a standard eight event program this week after the highly successful 2011 Winter Carnival of Harness Racing wrapped up last Saturday night. The first event of the night is the Garrards Horse and Hound Pace at 5.02pm, a 1660 metre trip for the M0 assessed pacers.