Day At The Track
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Keith Moore was painting a roof when Miss V C, a mare he both races on lease and trains, won the $12,000 Southland Harness Awards Ladyship Final at Ascot Park on Saturday. The excitement of winning could have been enough to create a hazard but the Winton painter and decorator had taken the risk of a fall out the equation. “The people whose place it was called me just before the race and I got down and watched it,” Moore said, “it was very good, I thought she might have won one sooner than this.” He had trusted care of the race favourite to son Terry, a former junior driver, who helps his father prepare the daughter of Washington V C. “We both drive her in work,” said Terry, “we've got four on the go, it was overdue.” Miss V C's win was the first for Moore since Chief Thundercloud at Ascot Park in April 2014 and his 17th in total. Chief Thunderbird, Gillie's Gate and Bret's Bunny each contributed three. The race was the sixth Ladyship final for the season, catering for fillies and mares that had contested an event for non-winners since the previous final a fortnight earlier. The first two home in each heat are eligible for a $20,000 super final back at Ascot Park next Saturday and Moore will do his best to have Miss V C there. “You don't get too many opportunities to race for that sort of money,” he said Bred by Peter and Rolly Drummond of Winton, Miss V C has been leased from them for three years. Fellow Winton trainer Des Baynes backed up with a second win in consecutive weeks when Raffy Roo took the Southland Car & Commercial Painters Pace, following Slate's win on his home track. It was the six-year-old's third win and second in his past three starts. “He's come right,” said Baynes, pointing out that a number of niggles in the past, which required veterinary attention, appear to be behind him now. A gelding by Elsu, Raffy Roo is out of Holmezy who contested the opening race of the inaugural Jewels held in Ashburton in 2007. Trained by Hamish Hunter she ran sixth to GTH Aveross. Homezy's third foal is Alfie Romeo who won two from eight for Baynes. Sold to Australia and known now as Our Alfie Romeo, the Washington V C gelding has won 10 from 14 including the Group Three Lewis Fillies and Mares Final at Gloucester Park last month. His latest start was in a group three at Pinjarra last Monday and yielded a second placing. Eastern Southland owners Terry and Dawn McPherson enjoyed their first taste of winning when four-year-old Love The Blues took out the Magnum Automotive Group Pace in the hands of trainer Robin Swain. “I'd always been interested in racing but couldn't afford a horse until I sold my farm, to Kenny Baynes,” Terry McPherson said, “I'm semi-retired now, only got 15 acres but still help out on a dairy farm.” Their first venture was Pretty Pins, a half-sister to the big winner Carabella. The filly failed to make it to the races but has left a yearling colt by Captaintreacherous. At a later sale, the McPhersons acquired Bronte Lindenny but the mare has failed to place in 11 outings. At the same sale, they also bought Love The Blues by Auckland Reactor. “Love The Blues had a couple of starts as a three-year-old had trouble holding his condition,” McPherson revealed. Visiting Cantabrian but former local Jonny Cox had to wait until the second half of the day's programme before his first drive. Success wasn't immediate and it took until the last of the day before it finally arrived. The Doorman, trained and driven by Cox, led all the way and dominated the All Purpose Engineering & Southland Batteries Pace.   Mac Henry

Slate justified the decision of his Winton breeder owner and trainer Des Baynes to be patient, when the four-year-old won in 1:56.7 at just his second start. “He was big, all legs and a bit weak, I didn't do much with him at two or three,” Baynes explained. In November last year, Slate went to his first workout. Later in the month he had his one and only trial, qualified impressively and continues to improve. “He's shown high speed but is green and inclined to over- race so has led. He's had two front row draws, needs a few trips in behind, they go harder in the next grade so he should get them now.” By Changeover, Slate is the third foal of Dress to Impress. “She had a drop of speed but bad feet,” Baynes said. “Her first foal Granite was a nice horse but got injured. Her latest is an American Ideal filly and she shows a bit.” Sheree Tomlinson didn't know she was driving Fire Bug on Saturday until she saw the fields but didn't waste the opportunity, winning in 1:55.3. Drawn just one spot in from the outside of the second line, they went back at the start but then found a passage up the poles to soon be three back on the inner. Off the poles near the turn, the three-year-old on debut took time to work clear before finishing hard late. “I didn't want to push her forward in her first start so went back, I was lucky to get up the inside,” Tomlinson said of the Mach Three filly, “everything was stopping on the turn so I got her out, she did it really easily.” Fire Bug, from the stable of Mark Jones, was the first of three Canterbury visitors on the day. Second of the Cantabrians was Classy Kid whose 2:00.3 was the fastest of the winning stand-start times. The striking grey six-year-old, driven by Amber Lethaby - who in partnership with husband Jason also trains the son of Klondike Kid – led out but soon trailed Kiwi Bloke who held the advantage until late in the race. “He's never been far away and I would have led but the right horse to follow came round,”Amber Lethaby said. “I could have taken the lane but he hasn't sprinted so well in there in previous races so I chose to come off.” Lethaby named the good stake and shortage of stand-start races in Canterbury as reasons for making the trip south. Arden Lustre made it three wins for the visitors when winning the final event in 2:01.9. In the hands of Blair Orange, the winner of seven flew out when the stand-start tapes were released and was never headed from then.   Mac Henry for Southland Harness Racing

A little-known former New Zealand pacer has emerged as the key player in the A$500,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Final.  Because while former Southland pacer Galactic Star has had a top class career in West Australia, he would rarely have been on the radar of most New Zealand punters, even the serious harness racing players, until this Interdom series in Victoria.  Yet after drawing the ace for Saturday night’s 2760m final at Melton, the attitude of his connections could decide the race.  Galactic Star, who won four races in New Zealand two years ago when trained by Des Baynes, won his first night heat of this series using blazing gate speed and has been very good when placed in his subsequent two heats.  But his impact on the final outcome has been boosted enormously by him drawing barrier one, from where he looks certain to lead.  If driver Ryan Warwick wants to stay in front that will mean no shot at the lead for key front line runners Pat Delight (barrier three), Spankem (five) or Tiger Tara (seven).  It would almost certainly mean plenty of pressure to try and break him and potentially bring a horse like series points leader Cruz Bromac into contention after he fared poorly in the draw, copping the second line  But if Warwick and the Galactic Star’s connections decide the trail is the place to be then either of the well-favoured Kiwis, Pats Delight or Spankem, will fancy their chances of running to the front and therefore becoming the one to beat.   Spankem’s incredible rise throughout this series continued after the draw as he is now the $2.80 favourite for the classic just six weeks after punters could have got $41 for him to win it.  He has thrilled co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen with how he has bounced through his three heats but she has decided to stick with Cruz Bromac as her drive out of loyalty, having driven him five times for five wins.  That means training partner Mark Purdon takes the reins behind Spankem and gives him a shot at a unique piece of Inter Dominion history as he has won the last two pacing finals driving Smolda and Lazarus so could make it a three-peat on three different horses.  Spankem, who won only once last season as a three-year-old, is favourite over Pats Delight and Cruz Bromac still the third favourite even though his task looks enormously more difficult as he won’t be able to use his gate speed.  Gate speed and tactical decisions could also decide the A$150,000 Trotting Final on Saturday, which after the draw looks a two-horse race.  South Auckland trotter Speeding Spur has the advantage of barrier one giving co-trainer and driver Josh Dickie options of whether to stay in front or elects to trail favourite Tornado Valley.  The latter has drawn barrier six and may even have the raw speed to cross Speeding Spur but if the pair lead and trail it looks curtains for their rivals. (THESE FIELDS TO BE BROKEN OUT ON RUNNER PER LINE) The fields for the two Inter Dominion finals to be run at Melton on Saturday night are: $500,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Final, 2760m mobile, 11.45 (NZtime) 1: Galactic Star 2: Can’t Refuse 3: Im Pats Delight 4: Mach Doro 5: Spankem 6: Maximan 7: Tiger Tara 8: San Carlo (1 second line) 9: Cruz Bromac 10: Our Uncle Sam 11: Wrappers Delight 12: Audi Hare (em) 13: Cash N Flow A$150,000 Inter Dominion Trotting Final, 2760m, 11.08 NZtime 1: Speeding Spur 2: Monty Python 3: Save Our Pennys 4: Rompers Monarchy 5: Big Jack Hammer 6: Tornado Valley 7: Sky Petite 8: Illawong Armstrong (1 second line, em) 9: Tough Monarch 10: Kingdom Come 11: Kyvalley Blur 12: Wilmas Mate 13: Red Hot Tooth   Michael Guerin

Winton horseman Allan Beck has driven twenty three winners for Browns trainer Des Baynes and three of those were at the Winton meeting today (Sunday) when Gotta Minute, Quartz and Better Buy It all won for the combination. Beck's first winning drive for Baynes was at Forbury Park in April 1998 when he reined home Blow The Whistle.  On the training front, Baynes has trained two winners in one day eight times before but this was the first time he's trained three winners on the same day. His first double came at the Forbury meeting in January 1994 when Out All Knight and Toss The Dice both won. His second double came a week later on the same course with the same pair. The first of the three winners today was Gotta Minute in Race Three. From barrier six Beck was caught wide early before he was left parked. He finally got cover with 1000 metres to run. Turning in, Beck angled Gotta Minute three wide to make his challenge. The Badland's Hanover gelding came resolutely down the middle of the track to hang on and beat Gunslinger Bromac by a head. Gotta Minute, which is owned by Baynes, is out the Armbro Operative mare Jay Bee's Snap and is closely related to the Southland bred Jay Bee's Fella the winner of thirteen races including the Lion Red Four Year Old Mile Grand Final at Alexandra Park. In the that race he won by eight and a half lengths beating another Southland bred pacer in Lord Lenny. Jay Bee's Fella also won another four races in Australia.  Gotta Minute winning at Winton                            -- Photo Bruce Stewart. "He's (Gotta Minute) normally the sort of horse that needs a bit of cover. Well, I thought he did. He showed a bit of guts today," said stable representative Ian Jamieson.    The second winner was six year old Mach Three gelding Quartz. He too was parked early before he got cover with a lap to run. Beck was looking for room prior to turning in, as TC Business which he was following, was under a hard drive. At the top of the straight he pushed Quartz out to the middle of the track and he came with a stayers run to beat Broadway Banner by a half a length. It was only the gelding's third start. "He's had feet problems but we're on top of it now. We've put him out in the paddock and let the feet grow right out because he had a couple of bad quarter cracks. We weren't surprised at the win today because he's gone good at the workouts," said Jamieson.  Quartz winning at Winton                            -- Photo Bruce Stewart Bettor Buy It capped of a great day for Baynes and Beck winning the feature pacers race of the day the PGG Wrightson Sale Of The Stars Mobile Pace. Beck slotted him three back in the inside. With 500 metres to run the pair moved off the markers and followed through Jayedgar before Beck decided to duck down into the vacant passing lane. The seven year old let down nicely to beat a game The Big Boss by a length and a quarter with another two and quarter lengths back to Jayedgar. "He's also been going good at the workouts. He's a 100% sound."  Bettor Buy It is raced by The Test Syndicate - a group of old rugby mates from the Edendale Rugby Club of which Baynes was a member of. He's also a part of the syndicate. Bettor Buy It had been going well at local workouts before today's run - winning once and running a close second to the smart Nota Bene Denario in the other. The horse's last win at the races was at Kurow in August 2016 when he was trained by Greg and Nina Hope. Today was his fifth win from only twenty four starts. He was injured during the running of the 2014 Southern Supremacy Stakes at Gore and he missed the whole of his four year old season. The injury has restricted his career. The three successes today put driver Allan Beck on 798 career wins.  Meanwhile Des Baynes's cousin Kenny was in the money at Winton as well when his Pegasus Spur four year old trotter War Machine impressively won his third race in a row. He looks destined for higher honours for trainer Tony Stratford, driver Dexter Dunn and owners Kenny and Jo Baynes. The win was his seventh and third for Stratford. His other wins came in the North Island for Derek Balle. Today he beat an improving Grey Power by three quarters of a length.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing Bettor Buy It winning at Winton  

Two horses from Tactile Farm qualified impressively at the Winton trials yesterday, although both need paperwork to be completed to get final sign off. Trainer Trevor Proctor says it's just a formality. Lis Mara mare Tact Maggie paced the 2400 metres in 3-02.7 nearly 9 seconds under the required qualifying time. She won her heat by an impressive nine lengths. She’s out of ten win mare Tact Lizzie. “She’s like her mother. She relaxes and just keeps trucking on. She does it at her own pace unless you ask her to do something,” said Proctor. Tact Maggie had been to three workouts before yesterday’s trial, winning twice. “At the other one she had a gear malfunction and was pulled up. But Brent Barclay (driver) said she was travelling well at the time.” The other qualifier was Auckland Reactor filly Tact Bess which is named after the matriarch of the Dynes family Bessie Dynes who passed away earlier this year. Tact Bess won by three and a half lengths with the last 800 metres run in 56.7 seconds. “She’s more of a sit and sprint type. She’s got a good turn of foot.” Tact Bess is out of Tact Hayley who has left a host of winners including Tact Lizzie (10), Tact Hayley Jane (10) and Spectactular (8). The last time Proctor had two handy mares in the stable they both won their first races on the same day. It was at the Invercargill January meeting in 2008 when Tact Aunty won and Tact Lizzie repeated the dose a few races later. For the first time Proctor has entered a yearling in next year’s sale. He’s by Rock N Roll Hanover out of Tact Lizzie but Proctor says he’s unsure if the colt will make sale day. “He just has a bit of swelling in one of his hocks so we’ll get it x-rayed. He’s a striking horse. That’s why we entered him in the sale but he may have to come out.” Two of Tact Lizzie's foals that have raced have been winners. Tact Tate has won fourteen races, eleven in Australia and paced a mile in 1-51.9 while Tact Rousey, which was recently retired, won once here and recorded a further four wins in Australia. Her best mile time is 1-53.2.  Another impressive qualifier at the trials was Washington VC filly Alfie Romeo. She ran the 2400 metres in 3-01.7; the fastest of the day winning by five and a half lengths. She’s trained by Des Baynes at Browns and is out of the Holmes Hanover mare Holmezy which won seven races for Ryal Bush trainer Hamish Hunter. She ran sixth as a four year old, in the first ever race at the Harness Jewels at Ashburton in 2007.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Browns harness racing trainer Des Baynes has been training horses for the Eight Proof Syndicate for a while now and the partnership proved successful again when Ideal Breeze won at Gore today. The syndicate's last winner was Ideal Breeze's dam Windproof which won her second race at Forbury Park in October 2010. She injured a leg which put an end to her racing career.   "She (Ideal Breeze) brushes her knees a bit but I think she'll come out of that next year. She's a lovely wee thing to work with and I'm real pleased for the syndicate that owns her. We'll probably start her at Winton next week on her home track and then put her aside for next year," said Baynes who has trained 125 winners since taking up a licence in 1980. The American Ideal filly was given a perfect trip by Brendon McLellan tucked away three back on the inside. The gaps opened halfway down the straight and Ideal Breeze shot through to beat Country Grammer and two year old Repartee. Ideal Breeze and Brendon McLellan winning easily - Photo Bruce Stewart It was noticeable that Ideal Breeze was on the job today with McLellan having a tight grip on the filly's reins when warming her up.  "She's just been getting on the job a wee bit lately and I knew the false start today wouldn't help. As soon as she leaves the gate she just relaxes. I think that's just a maturity thing."   As a broodmare Windproof has left Gabby's Delight, which has had one win for Alan Paisley.     Bruce Stewart Southland harness Racing  

Des Baynes has always had a handy horse in his stable and judging from the way Galactic Star won at Ascot Park on Sunday it looks as if he has another.   His last potentially top liner Better Buy It which has been side lined with injury after running a gallant fourth in the 2014 Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes, is owned by The Test Syndicate the same syndicate that races Galactic Star.   “His debut run at Winton was good and he’s backed up a couple of weeks later and done it nice today,” said driver Allan Beck.   After the early rush for positions Galactic Star settled four back on the outside. He was second last inside the 800. Beck then moved the three year old gelding out of a trailing line and progressed three wide. At the 400 he was three wide and challenging. In the run home he quickly reached the front and held on by a length and a quarter from the late finishing Better Go Hurry. “He’s a nice striding horse." "He’s not a big horse and still lacks a bit of strength." "Once he gets to the autumn he’s going to get stronger and I think he’s got a big future,” Alan said   Galactic Star is by Better’s Delight out of the three win Christian Cullen mare Petra’s Star. He has Ermis (17 wins) and Iraklis (22 wins) in his pedigree.   “It’s all ahead of him. He won today with a leg in the air.”   Baynes paid $16,000 for the colt at the 2014 Christchurch sales.   The dilemma later in the season for his driver will be when  quality three year old gelding Shortys Mate trained by Beck, clashes with Galactic Star. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing - Check site here

Helena Jet added further to her broodmare value when jetting to a 1-54.4 victory in the $20,000 Southern Belle Mares Speed Series Final at Winton today. After being restrained from her wide draw by driver Ricky May, Helena Jet powered home from the tail of the field to win easily by two lengths over Repeat After Me and Twilight Franco. The Greg and Nina Hope trained four-year-old mare has now won on 11 occasions from just 24 starts. She currently sits second in the Harness Jewels leader board for the 4YO Diamond behind superstar mare Adore Me. Other impressive winners on the card included Bettor Buy It, who led all of the way to win in a slick time of 2-55.6; while Belkmyster gave the Met Seven Syndicate something to celebrate after The Wraith Of Robyn was disqualified and he was promoted to first in the Winton Cup. Des Baynes, who trains Bettor Buy It, enjoyed a double on the card with Picobello also winning, while both Gentle Western and Messini were impressive three-year-old winners for the Purdon – Rasmussen barn. In other news, war horse Stig will now miss the Great Southern Star after pulling up lame after his third at Addington last night. By Mitchell Robertson

Winton harness racing trainer Des Baynes was in fine form at the local meeting held at Central Southland Raceway today (Friday). Baynes picked up two winners late in the day when Ya Dreamin won on debut in the hands of Adam Sanderson, while promising sort Poacher made it a double when he took out the second to last race.

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