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YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 6, 2017-- Hugh Hefner N has found a second life after his namesake's first death. The four-legged version was at it again Friday night (Oct. 6th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $20,000 pacing opener in a down-the-road harness racing effort. Eight nights ago, and one night after the human Hefner's passing, the equine counterpart provided a morbid hunch play...which paid off to the tune of $4.60 as the wagering favorite. Moving up the claiming ladder (from $20,000 to $25,000) Friday night, he prevailed from the inside post position. 'Hef' won by a head in 1:53.1, his fourth victory in 21 seasonal starts. This time, he returned $10.60 as the third choice. The 9-year-old Down Under Falcon Seelster gelding (we're not going there again) was driven this time by Jordan Stratton for owner Keith Motusesky and trainer Doug Dilloian Jr. Hugh Hefner N went over the $200,000 North American career earnings plateau with the win. Friday night's $50,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap saw Call Me Queen Be (Jim Marohn Jr., $7.60) placed first after original 'winner' Scandalicious (Greg Merton) was set down to third for going inside a pylon off the final turn. The mile went in 1:52. Frank Drucker

The $400,000 Group 1 Eynesbury Victoria Cup is the next scheduled stop for exciting harness racing five-year-old Cruz Bromac after his all-the-way Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup win yesterday. Moments after his 4.7-metre victory over gun mare Berisari in the south-west Victoria club’s annual pacing feature, Braun said  Cruz Bromac (Falcon Seelster-Crown Defender) would be set for the Summer of Glory’s night one jewel on Saturday, January 28, at Tabcorp Park Melton. Driven by Chris Alford, Cruz Bromac toyed with his rivals yesterday to lead from barrier three, delivering Braun back-to-back Hamilton Cups, the Lara horseman having won the race last year with Im Corzin Terror. Cruz Bromac rated 1:57.3 for the 2660-metre trip, reeling off sectionals of 30.4secs, 30.3secs, 27.5secs and 27.3secs. Braun said Cruz Bromac, a winner of 12 of his 21 starts for stakemoney in excess of $152,000, was still learning the caper at the top level but was an exciting prospect moving forward. “I’ve always said I’ve got a big opinion of him,” Braun said. “He’s still got plenty to learn. He’s a big baby out there. He’s very immature and plays around.” Alford said Cruz Bromac travelled sweetly in the run yesterday and added he was confident Cruz Bromac would continue to improve as he matures. “If you have a look through the other runners in the field today they’ve all had plenty of starts, but he’s only had 21. He’s still learning. He’s untapped really at this level and he’ll keep getting better.” Yesterday’s win moved Cruz Bromac into outright third place on the $25,000 Own the Moment Trots Country Cups Championship ladder, two points behind Hectorjayjay and one behind Major Secret. The winner of the Trots Country Cups Championship at the end of the Country Cups season picks up $25,000, with $15,000 going to the winning connections and $10,000 to the winning trainer. Six-year-old mare Berisari from the Emma Stewart stable was game in second place yesterday and will likely head towards the $100,000 Alabar Ladyship Cup on Hunter Cup Night (which doubles as a qualifier for the $200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle). Idea Success was beaten 7.9m by the winner in third place for reinsman Grant Campbell, that six-year-old from the Kerryn Manning camp at Great Western now in equal fourth place for the Trots Country Cups Championship on six points. Meanwhile, Matthew Craven prepared El Paco (Yankee Paco-Kellybrooke) scored a tough win in the Mountain View Stud Hamilton Trotters Cup over 2660m. Driven by Glen Craven, El Paco moved to the breeze in the early stages of the race outside favourite and stablemate Uncas. El Paco softened up the leader during the third quarter, applying the pressure for a 28.1secs split, and kicked to a clear lead at the top of the straight before fending off fast-finishing Zedalite (Rod Petroff) in second, with Ainthatrightmacca third beaten 4.1 for Denbeigh Wade. “This is a terrific result for the stable and I’m really thankful for the whole team and the work they put in,” Matt Craven said post-race. “(El Paco) had run a nice race off 30m in Adelaide last week but wasn’t able to get the job done there, so to win today and for mum to own this one is pretty special.” El Paco is likely to head to Sydney to contest the NSW carnival features, with Craven saying “he is probably just a rung below the really top ones in Victoria”. The Hamilton Club slashed admission costs and had local market traders on track in a bid to attract new people to their big day. It worked, a strong crowd enjoying the action throughout the eight-race card, with plenty of positive feedback coming from happy patrons. The Trots Country Cups spotlight turns to Ballarat now for the running of the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup meeting on Saturday night. Check out http://www.trotscountry.com.au/ for the videos. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Underrated Falcon Seelster mare Zumba Bromac broke through or an overdue harness racing win when she emerged triumphant in a thrilling three-way photo-finish in C3-C4 pace over 1680 metres at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last night. The Juanita McKenzie-trained mare was slotted into the one-out-two-back position by driver Ricky Duggan from a second-row draw and she travelled sweetly to the home turn where Duggan was the first to ease into the three-wide line. But Gareth Rattray aboard Jetcraft, that had enjoyed the one-out-one-back position for most of the race, went ahead of Duggan's charge forcing Zumba Bromac four-wide at the top of the home straight. Race leader Deploy surrendered when Jetcraft swept to the lead and while the Deborah Williams-trained gelding gave his all over the final 100 metres Zumba Bromac was able to find enough to make last-ditch lunge to win by a nose with Deploy fighting on gamely to grab third only a half-head away. It was Zumba Bromac's second win for the season from 10 starts but it was her eighth career win from 28 outings. Peter Staples

“We’ve had some really nice horses, but I think potentially this guy could be the best I’ve had,” said harness racing trainer Dean Braun, moments after his talented five-year-old Cruz Bromac won the Group 2 $50,000 Casey Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. “He’s pretty scary in what he can do and he’s relatively green.” Braun’s five-year-old Falcon Seelster gelding put in a super performance, punching through the breeze outside Alotbettor and while the pace took a toll on the New South Wales visitor Cruz Bromac muscled on. The $50,000 stakes were hotly contested with Admiral Bronski, Mister Wickham and El Major pouring on the pressure, but the leader held up. “It was a really good field tonight,” driver Chris Alford said. “He had to do all the work sitting outside the leader, but things worked out OK early, we didn’t have to burn too hard and then got to the breeze nice and he was still really strong up the straight.” For such a field, the first two quarters were ticked off pretty comfortably enabling Cruz Bromac to hit the line with a 55.2 last 800m and win in a 1:56.4 mile rate. “He’s strong, but he has really high speed as well. He’s still a little bit funny in his gate, but once he all sorts himself out he will be a really good horse.” It’s a fact well-known to Braun, who has a soft spot for Cruz Bromac. “I don’t get sick with too many horses making me nervous, he is one of the three. He’s a very special horse,” Braun said. “To have Chris on him tonight and win this race, I’ve had a bit of luck in this race, it’s pretty special. “He’s had 15 starts and the sectionals he can run are pretty amazing really, and he’s not a one-trick pony as some people think he is. He can sit parked like he did tonight, he can lead, he’s devastating off the sprint as well. He’s very, very fast. “We will just see what happens. This was his man target early in the season. We will just give him a quiet time after this and reassess.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Talented New Zealand-bred filly Angel Bromac is on target to emulate her close relative Arma Xpress by proving too speedy for her rivals in the KAI Construction Gold Bracelet over 2130m at Gloucester Park harness racing  on Friday night .Arma Xpress set the pace and beat the Kim Prentice-trained and driven Eagle Rox by a half-length in the group 3 Gold Bracelet in 2012. Prentice also trains and drives Angel Bromac and he has high hopes of making amends for Eagle Rox’s narrow defeat by winning this week’s classic.  A convincing victory certainly would tempt Prentice to set Angel Bromac for the rich Golden Slipper the following Friday night. Arma Xpress completed the Gold Bracelet-Golden Slipper double four years ago, but she suffered a career-ending knee injury 18 months later and had to be retired with a record of 12 wins and one second from 18 starts for stakes of $279,890. The inexperienced Angel Bromac, owned by Robert Watson, is the first foal out of Falcon Seelster mare Amaretto Bromac, a half-sister to Arma Antoinette, the dam of Arma Xpress. Angel Bromac’s winning prospects soared when she drew the prized No. 1 barrier in Friday night’s classic. She possesses sparkling gate speed and Prentice is sure to plan for an all-the-way win. Angel Bromac is the least experienced runner in the field of ten, with only two starts, both at Gloucester Park. She made her debut on May 24 when she dashed to an early lead and went on to win by three lengths from Miss Twiggy Whitby at a 1.57.6 rate over 1730m. Then, on June 3 she was a 9/1 chance from the outside of the back line in the $100,000 Diamond Classicwhen she mustered great early pace to charge into the breeze after 450m. Prentice then applied considerable pressure on the pacemaker Red Hot Roxy which saw the first two quarters of the final mile whizz by in 28.8sec. and 28.1sec. Angel Bromac eventually got to the front 440m from home before she was swamped by the fast-finishing Lady Luca in the final 80m and finished a 2m second to that filly, who rated 1.55.6 over the 1730m journey. The Justin Prentice-trained Lady Luca, who finished boldly from sixth in the one-wide line at the bell, will start from barrier five in this week’s race and cannot be underestimated. However, Maczaffair (barrier three) and Doalittlerocknroll (two) look the toughest for Angel Bromac to beat. Maczaffair, trained by Mike Reed and to be driven by his son Mark, has excellent gate speed and she has won easily at her past three starts. She impressed at her most recent start, at Gloucester Park last Monday week, when she started from the outside (No. 9) and began fast to race three wide for the first 450m before bursting to the front and going on to win by two and a half lengths from Sarah Goody, rating 1.58.2 over 1730m. Doalittlerocknroll overcame the disadvantage of starting out wide at barrier eight to win the group 1 $100,000 Westbred Classic last Friday night. A 14/1 chance for trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice, Doalittlerocknroll settled down in eighth place before moving up to third (three wide) at the bell and sustaining her strong burst to overhaul the 5/4 on favourite Red Hot Roxy in the final stages to score by a head. Beach Goddess, a stablemate of Maczaffair, has raced eight times for four wins and three seconds and will have admirers. She will start from the No. 6 barrier with Colin Brown in the sulky. Ken Casellas

Harness racing trainer Emma Stewart admits she has a favourite horse around the stables. His name is Jadahson and on Sunday he comfortably held off a strong field of rivals to capture the silverware in the Charlton and District Community Bank Charlton Pacing Cup. “He is my favourite … Clayton (Tonkin) used to bag him all the time but he’s always been my favourite,” she laughed. WATCH JADAHSON TAKE OUT SUNDAY'S CHARLTON PACING CUP “He was really quiet and easy to get along with as a two and three-year-old. He’s not as much now but we get along really well.” The eight-year-old by Falcon Seelster out of Jadah Rose has won three races since returning from a long layoff to recuperate from a broken pastern, taking out an M2-M4 event at Tabcorp Park Melton, the Heathcote Pacing Cup at Bendigo and Sunday’s Group 3 feature at Charlton over 2570m in a mile rate of 1:57.9. Stewart heaped praise on the horse. “He’s done a terrific job. We didn’t think he’d come back quite as good but it was well worth getting the screw put in,” she said. “It’s very satisfying. You’re never quite sure how they'll come back.” It wasn’t just Jadahson drawing high praise from his proud trainer, however. Stewart lauded young reinsman Mark Pitt’s drive and predicted big things for the 22-year-old from Avenel. “He’s a great little driver. We want him to eventually step up and be our next main stable driver. We rate him really highly. He’s a good kid with a bright future,” she said. Pitt sat patiently towards the back of the field aboard Jadahson on Sunday before easing three-wide down the back the final time. At the home bend Jadahson hit the front from a tiring Barimah (third placegetter) and held off fast finishers Five Star Anvil (second) and National Service (fourth). The last 800m was covered in 57.7, with Jadahson about 20m off the lead at the half-mile. Jadahson won’t contest either of the cups this weekend at Cranbourne or Ouyen, but Stewart didn’t rule out a shot at the Kilmore Pacing Cup on March 19. “Not sure, we’ll just have to see what sort of field they get,” she said. Sunday’s win took Jadahson’s race record to 74 starts for 25 wins and 17 minor placings for earnings of $268,438. Meanwhile, Super Zeck continued his terrific run with a fourth straight win in the Charlton Trotters Cup on Sunday for trainer Darren Cole and driver John Caldow. CHECK OUT SUPER ZECK NOTCHING ANOTHER COUNTRY CUP WIN ON SUNDAY Cody Winnell

There was no more deserving win at the Wyndham Harness Racing Club meeting yesterday than that of Wyndham Cup winner Devil May Care.   The diminutive seven year old in his seventy fourth start beat a field of very good country cups horse and rewarded his trainer Hamish Hunter with his third Wyndham Cup. His other wins came in 2012 and 2014 with Franco Ledger.   "This is my roots, Wyndham. This is where I started off. It's always great to come back and compete here. It's a great thrill," said Hunter after the gelding's ninth win.     His record at Wyndham has been good. From eight starts on the track he's won one and notched up two seconds and two thirds. Hunter said Devil May Care has won a race every season he's started.   "The gelding son of Falcon Seelster raced as a two year old and won a race. He even ran fourth in the Welcome Stakes."   The seasons though have been peppered with a string of injuries and that's why he hasn't been sold.    "On average he gets injured once a year. He's a horse with high drama in that respect. He's managed to come back every time so it's been great. He's such a lovely horse who is so genuine."   In yesterday's 3200 metre race he bobbled away before settling behind Shak'n Cullen who lead early. Char Do Neigh then took over as the front runner leaving Devil May Care three back on the inside but three lengths off the leading two. Pulp Fiction took over with 1800 metres to run. With 1000 metres to run Hunter moved the gelding off the inside running to face the breeze. At the 500 Pulp Fiction started to struggle and Hunter moved up to challenge. On straightening he hit the lead and held off the Tony Barron pair Quick As A Trick and Delightful Dash. The winning margin was one and a half lengths.    "We just got a lovely run and he felt tremendous."   Devil May Care's last win was at Cromwell in January 2014.    He's owned by Graham, Jill and Ben Cooney. Graham also owns and Hunter trains, the winner of race two Comic Book Hero.    Hunter currently sits on 494 training wins.  Bruce Stewart - Southland Harness Racing  -  Check site here    

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.  

Mark Purdon probably had at least two harness racing lessons well learned  in mind when he bought Northern Velocity at the 2014 Premier Sale for $72,500.   The first  was learning from past successes. The other was to never leave a sale early.   Northern Velocity was the second last lot at the end of a long sale at Addington but Mark found the time to buy her for Cheryl Rasmussen and Trevor Titcomb, a decision they can hardly be regretting at this stage of the filly's development.   She certainly showed Mark enough by the summer that he went back to this year's sale and bought her full sister Tachydar (it was late in the sale too) at what might turn out to be a bargain price of $60,000.   Although Auckland Reactor and Fly Like An Eagle have been standout runners for the stable in the past, Mark is rarely without a Mach Three filly.   They can be difficult as many fillies can and they have their off days but the records are littered with age group filly stars by Mach Three and all leading stables need to have at least one in the mix.   Apart from their individual appeal, usually the most important factor with Mark in his final analysis, the pedigree cross of Northern Velocity must have  jumped out saying "pick me" when Mark and Natalie were studying the catalogue.   The Mach Three-Falcon Seelster cross which the filly carries has already proven a winner for All Stars.   Fly Like An Eagle is an obvious standout but the ill-fated Fiery Falcon won a Harness Jewels  and Millwood Meg while not outstanding on the track here later landed a West Australian Oaks and was another filly bred on this cross trained by All Stars (among others).   There are several other well known successes with this cross the best known recently being Venus Serena, one of the best fillies seen out in a long time.   "I went largely on type with her but I was certainly aware of that that cross had done for us in the past and it was a factor in my thinking" Mark says of his purchase.   The success of this cross is not a real surprise.   In fact the success of Falcon Seelster  mares crossed with Direct Scooter line stallions in general is no real surprise (the cross with Christian Cullen has been notably  successful) because Falcon Seelster is what counts for an "outcross " stallion in modern times.   He has no direct crosses of the Meadow Skipper line of Hal Dale nor the modern lines of Volomite through Direct Scooter.   In fact Falcon Seelster's pedigree looks like something which would have been extremely fashionable about 1970 -which is no bad thing.   It is full of Adios/Tar Heel crosses, Hal Dale/Volomite and even the Scotland/Volomite cross which was the foundation for the magical U Scott/Light Brigade cross 60 years ago in this country.   It might be claimed that Mach Three  gives them that high  speed and Falcon Seelster adds some old fashioned toughness.   Like many successful juvenile horses these days it seems Northern Velocity traces to a trotting influence in Beverly's Song whose notable foals beside Enna Gee were the fine trotters Mighty Dollar and especially Logan Cheval bred respectively by the Clark brothers Leicester and Tom.   Enna Gee a tough staying mare trained by Robin Butt and co-owned by him left three particularly smart pacers in Panyan,a  big success in Australia where he was placed in a Hunter Cup, age group black type winner, Rare Charm and Pathfinder who won the Group Two DB Superstar Final as a four year old after a light career to that point.   He broke down in Australia after one start.   While this family goes back to Topsy and has had its share of success, a lot of it has been in recent times.   Best known is Pembrook Benny, a half brother to Northern Velocity and the winner of over $1m, Pembrook Caesar a talented mare which won the Group Three Ladyship Cup at Melton for Jodi Quinlan in 2013, and Holme Fire,winner of both a Sires Stakes and a Nevele R filly heat.   All are from Northern Franco an unraced (though qualified) mare whose dam Natural Appeal took a 1.59 mark when that meant more than it does now who left nine winners at stud from 10 to race.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stable

Smudge Bromac scored a superb triumph in tonight’s harness racing Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup. Driven by Nathan Jack and trained by David Aiken, Smudge Bromac (a nine-year-old entire by Falcon Seelster out of Sabrina Bromac) sat parked for the last lap but still had 1.1 metres on runner-up Smo (Laura Crossland, $59.50) at the finish, with Road To Rock (John Caldow, $4.20) third. Smudge Bromac, who started from behind the 20m tape in the 2530m race, rated 1:58.6. The victory was one of two for Jack on the night, his other driving success coming aboard unbeaten Wingara in Race 3. by Cody Winnell

They said he was unlucky not to make it; they said he deserved to be a wildcard and the experts hollered he should just have been in the ‘Big One’ - the Inter Dominion. And former Kiwi pacer Franco Ledger proved all those ‘armchair experts’ were right, when he blew his rivals away in yesterday’s Bohemia Crystal Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Geoff Webster-trained and driven son of Falcon Seelster strolled away from a quality field, rating 1:55.4 for the 2400 metres to beat outsider Lochinver and Bit Of A Legend. It completed a great day for Webster, who prepared the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion runner-up Flaming Flutter, beaten by the mighty Beautide earlier in the afternoon. While Webster handed the drive behind Flaming Flutter to Greg Sugars, he was happy to pilot Franco Ledger. Settled towards the tail of the field, Franco Ledger took off three-wide with 800 metres to travel as Webster slowly made his way towards the head of the field. Turning for home the stallion darted clear to register an impressive victory. Webster paid tribute to part-owner Hamish Hunter who sent him a “ready-made” racehorse from the South Island of New Zealand. “He’s just a terrific little horse and to win a race like this with the prestige attached to it is a real thrill,” Webster said. “I have to thank my staff, especially ‘Skinny’; who brought both my horses up here and has looked after them all week. “They’ve all done a great job.” HRNSW Media

Spreydon Lodge has won a lot  of races over the years but not many would have been as well received by the staff at the famous stable as the win today by The Stag's Roar at the harness racing meeting at Motukarara. Bred by the estate of the founder of Spreydon Lodge in Wayne Francis, The Stag's Roar is raced by the staff at the now West Melton based training establishment and has been threatening to win a race for most of the season. Drawn out at barrier nine today, driver Craig Thornley let the daughter of Falcon Seelster find her feet early and then took her straight to the inner. After getting a charmed run up on the inner, Craig was able to move to three back in the running line at the 1400 metres mark. Still there half way up the Motukarara straight, Craig angled The Stag's Roar into the clear at the 300 metres mark and she flew late to grab a game Mighty Empire right on the line. Craig took some of the blame for The Stag's Roar still being a maiden before today. " She has had a run of bad draws that have hampered her this season but the main reason she hasn't won one before now is for a few starts there I was driving her upside down." "I have been driving her like the best horse in the race but if you use her like that she doesn't finish it off." "You need to hold her up and just have one run at them," Craig said Craig didn't downplay the bad run of draws that she had copped either. " She drew nine again today but to get up on the inner and then get out to be three back in the running line made all the difference today." " Give her that kind of run and she can really fly the last bit," Craig said. Spreydon Lodge moved to its new location at West Melton a few months back.  Formerly operating as Premier Stables under the guidance of Tim Butt, the Spreydon Lodge team has taken a while to settle into their new surroundings but todays win and a string of nice trialists lately around Canterbury would suggest that the team is starting to hit their straps. Harnesslink Media   

One of the great success stories of the last fifteen years in the harness racing industry in New Zealand has been the opportunity afforded the best of our home bred champions to compete in the stallion barn with their North American super sires that are now available to us. We have one stallion to thank for that change in mindset and that is of course Christian Cullen. Before he came along the emerging availability of the best sires in North America via shuttling or frozen semen looked certain to relegate New Zealand bred stallions to a supporting role away from the main stage. Christian Cullen exploded on to the scene from day one and proved that he was every bit as good as the stallions with imp besides their name. His success gave studs the confidence to buy and stand our best performers against the imports, a trend we are still seeing with Auckland Reactor receiving such huge support in his first two years at stud. Never blessed with the best fertility in the business, Christian Cullen's numbers have dropped in the last few years but any quick view of the racing scene will quickly show the influence he still has on harness racing down under. Last season's Australasian Grand Circuit champion Christen Me has carried on where he left off last year this season and looks odds on to win the crown again. Franco Nelson is another emerging superstar and while injured at the moment, Locharburn looked a champion in the making throughout his stellar three year old season. There are only five Christian Cullen's entered for this years Australasian Classic Sale in Auckland and having looked at the available videos and photos, the one that took our eye is Lot 73, Lorde O Lorde. This striking dark bay colt has a real Christian Cullen look about him. He is from a young Falcon Seelster mare in Karlysia and is her third foal. Karlysia was unraced but is a half sister to five winners, four of them in 1:58.5 or better including the very smart Statesman 1:50.4 ($414,504) who being by Christian Cullen is a three quarter brother to Lorde O Lorde. Other siblings of Karlysia include Imperative 1:55 ($65,569) and the the talented racemare Monaro 1:58.5 ($43,770) whose progeny include the smart racemare Maloo 1:54.7 pl ($55,880) who ran fourth to Adore Me in the Harness Jewels last year and this seasons very promising two year old in Walkinshaw 1:59.5 As Christian Cullen has shown repeatedly, he is still churning out those high class colts every year and Lorde O Lorde has certainly got that Christian Cullen stamp on him. Harnesslink Media  

Former New Zealander Franco Ledger sealed his position in two of harness racing’s biggest events with his success at Shepparton tonight. Thanks to his victory in the club’s flagship feature, Franco Ledger is certain to gain a berth in next Saturday night’s Victoria Cup and the A G Hunter Cup the following week. Should the seven-year-old race up to expectations, he will also compete in an Inter Dominion heat of February 14. Australasia’s pinnacle event, the Inter Dominion Final is scheduled to be held at Tabcorp Park Menangle on March 1. Since being transferred to local trainer Geoff Webster, Franco Ledger has won two of his three starts, while finishing fifth in the South Australia Cup after over racing a fortnight ago. During his two victories, Franco Ledger has been driven with a sit, which Webster stated is obviously the best way to drive the son of Falcon Seelster. “In his first-up win at Melton and again tonight he has finished brilliantly when given the chance to come with one big run in the straight,” Webster said. “Both times he has hit the line hard and felt terrific. “In South Australia when he led, he got on the steel pretty hard, which ultimately cost him. “With that said, he is obviously suited to being driven for a bit of luck.” With Webster in the cart during his latest triumph, Franco Ledger began slowly from the pole to settle two-back along the pegs as Lennytheshark and then hot favourite, Philadelphia Man led. Finishing swiftly along the passing lane, Franco Ledger sprinted to a two-and-a-half metre win from Philadelphia Man, with Lennytheshark three metres away third in his first run since last July. “He got a nice trip along and when the opening came, he was good enough to take advantage of it,” Webster said. “Down the back and around the home turn I knew he was travelling well and I was positive he’d run in the top three. “Once he straightened he just sprinted so well and rounded them up pretty easily. “That should be enough to see him make his way into the Victoria and Hunter Cups.” Covering the last half in a slick 55.1 seconds, the stallion rated 1:58.9 for the 2690-metre journey, with his time just five-tenths of a second outside Mr Feelgood’s track record set in the 2009 Cup. PAUL COURTS

Handy harness racing campaigner Jadahson is poised to provide his famous mum with her second Cup winner in eight days when he contests the Hamilton Cup on Sunday. By Falcon Seelster, the seven-year-old is from former top race mare and grand producer, Jadah Rose. A multiple Group One winner, Jadah Rose is also the dam of boom pacer, Guaranteed, which outclassed his rivals in last weekend’s South Australia Cup. No stranger to feature race glory, Jadahson has drawn perfectly for co-trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin in the provincial event. To be driven by in-form reinsman Nathan Jack, Jadahson will come from the pole, which has boosted connections’ confidence. “We couldn’t be happier with the draw,” Stewart said. “His confidence is right up after winning his last two starts and he is a strong chance of completing the hat-trick. “It’s a pretty handy field, but he will take some beating.” Jadahson is one of two Stewart/Tonkin representatives, with top flight pacer, Restrepo, facing a tough task from his 30-metre back mark. Fresh from his eye-catching second behind stablemate, Philadelphia Man, in last Sunday’s Horsham Cup, Restrepo will be partnered by master reinsman, Gavin Lang. With Lang driving Philadelphia Man last weekend, it was the first time in 43 starts another reinsman – Nathan Jack – had sat behind Restrepo on race day. “Coming off 30 metres isn’t going to be easy, but he is good enough to do it,” Stewart said. “We were very happy with his run at Horsham and his work since has been great.” PAUL COURTS

Former New Zealander Franco Ledger will form the second half of a two-pronged attack on South Australian harness racing’s flagship event – Pacing Cup. Impressed with the pacer’s victory at Tabcorp Park Melton last weekend, trainer Geoff Webster revealed Franco Leger will join stablemate, Flaming Flutter, on the interstate trip. Always a popular attraction, the Group One Cup is scheduled to be conducted at Globe Derby on Saturday night. Webster is no stranger to South Australia Cup glory, having captured the feature with Ryans Day in 1999, Mister Swinger in 2009 and Mister Zion in 2010. “I knew he was a nice horse before he got to me place, but I was very impressed with the way he rounded them up at Melton,” Webster said. “He’ll will go over for the South Australia Cup with Flaming Flutter now and we’ll see how that pans out.” With Webster in the cart, Franco Ledger travelled towards the tail of the field before outsprinted his rivals to score from Villagem and Cold Major. With the last half covered in 55.8 seconds, the son of Falcon Seelster rated 1:53.7 for the 1720 metres. “On the home turn I didn’t think he would be able to win, but he just sprinted so quickly and won with ease,” Webster said. Following his interstate engagement, Franco Ledger will be aimed at key targets such as the Bendigo, Shepparton, Victoria and A G Hunter Cups. Should he race up to expectations, the stallion will also contest the Inter Dominion. “In New Zealand he just wasn’t up to the likes of Christen Me and Terror To Love, so the owners called and asked if I would train him as there are more options for him here,” Webster said. “I will aim him at the main races as he will be competitive and can pick up a nice race or two with a bit of luck.” PAUL COURTS

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