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Back when I was teenager, I played golf with a fella whose short game was about as good as his horse knowledge when I told him who I had backed in the cup. The favourite that year was Flashing Red having just won the Ashburton Flying Stakes and almost every other lead up to the cup going in. One mare in particular that ran a cheeky race at Ashburton was the Open Class mare Foreal (2001 – Washington VC – Krystle). Never the safest from a stand, she missed away in the flying stakes and ran a slasher for fifth. While she missed away in the cup and put pay to her chances at the barrier tapes, I always remember what he said to me regarding the mare. “The difference between her and Flashing Red is that Flashing Red is a real race-horse.” Really? I wish I had infohorse on my old Nokia brick back then as I would have been able to spend the next 10 holes re-educating him on $664,800 in stakes and a career that spanned 5 Group race wins (2 at Group 1) and 12 Group race placings. The horse was quite literally, ‘Foreal’, and is now living up to that same moniker as a mother stamping her mark in the broodmare barn. Syd Brown, the Mosgiel property developer who bred, owned and even trained Foreal for her first two 2 year old starts (both wins) was delighted to see the second foal he has bred from the mare winning his first start of the new campaign. “It was a great win after all the trials and tribulations he’s been through really, and it was great to see a good outcome!” Field Marshal (2011 – Art Major) won the Prime Panels Mobile Pace comfortably in the hands of Dexter Dunn after flying the gate to hold the lead before handing up and securing a trail. He buzzed up the passing lane in a very quick final 400 of 26.9 to win going away. Syd’s wife Shona who shares in the breeding and ownership of the beautifully bred four year old entire said they were excited for what may lie ahead after the classy display fresh up. “That was his first start since he had surgery on his pallet” she said. “While racing in Australia it was discovered that he had a very severe wind issue and the vet, Alistair Mclean of Werribee Clinic couldn’t believe he was winning with the issue that he had!” Having run a super 1:54 mile at Menangle in February in the hands of Anthony Butt, he was then a disappointing 7th a week later in a heat of the NSW Derby. It was then the wind issue was discovered and the couple’s patience looks to have been rewarded since. For that a lot of the credit must go to Tim Butt who Syd say’s has shown his skill in placing the horse well and taking his time in bringing him back. Syd’s first experience with Standardbreds was typical of most when they catch the bug we call harness racing; “Umm really it was something that was way back when I was in my youth where I went up to Chirstchurch for the cup meeting helping out my next door neighbour Hector Anderton. And he took me up to Don Nyhans place because Hector had a horse there called Snow Globe (1958 – Johnny Globe – Snow Jane).” “I was out there and Don gave me a drive on one of his pacers and I was hooked from tha moment on. From that we went to the Interdominion sale at Forbury Park when they were held there and we bought a mare in foal to Johnny Globe called Omylight (1960 Light Brigade – Scotomy) and that was my start in the industry” he said. Syd was very understating in the success he and his wife have shared since when referring to the family he has bred from dating back to 1966. “I’ve been very fortunate to have bred some horses that were a little bit above average and it gives you a great thrill but also when you’re in this game, when you’ve got livestock, you’ve also got dead stock as well so you do have the ups and downs and it’s never plain sailing. And that’s what you’ve got to learn when you’re in this game is you’ve got to be able to take the knocks as well as the good times” he said. Members of the family to have given the Browns some of those good times mentioned include Sydney James (1968g – Johnny Globe – Omylight) which was the subsequent foal from the Dunedin sale. Syd credit’s the horse for getting him started and getting to the verge of cup class but it was a son of Lordship that took his family and friends on “many nice trips away and allowed me to meet many nice people in the game”. That horse was Regal Light (1971 – Lordship – Omylight) which was a high speed horse and won 11 races whilst under the care of Syd himself throughout the mid to late seventies. Foreal’s dam, Krystle (1985 – El Patron – Diedre) raced with distinction and won five races and placed in 21 more but happened to run into another quality mare in Blossom Lady when racing in the mares classics. Krystle was a broodmare gem leaving more winners in Clontarf (1992g – Vance Hanover), Regal Star (1993g – Smooth Fella – 16 wins & 23 placings in Queensland) and Checkmate (1997g – Jaguar Spur). Like Foreal, her deeds as a grand dam have been replicated with the (1997) Holmes Hanover mare in Coming Up Roses who Syd bred in partnership with his wife Shona. While she was only placed four times in 14 starts for Syd as the sole trainer, her progeny have gone on to bigger and better things for the couple. Regal Dash (2000g – Fake Left) was her first foal and was sold to Australia where it won its first nine of 11 starts including the Group 3 Bendigo Cup. Ask Me Now (2009m – Washington VC) ran a smart second in the Southland Cadeuceus Club Fillies race (Group 3) before going on to win 10 races in Australia and $112,344 in stakes. They have also enjoyed recent success with the smart 5 year old mare Delightful Dash (2010 – Lis Mara) who has won 11 races and had a stellar four year old season running in the money 13 times from 20 starts! With all the success that has come from the family it is hard for Syd to go past the deeds of the super mare Foreal. “To be honest she just couldn’t go from a stand, and some days was even a bit suspect from behind the mobile. She ended up costing herself a chance in the Mircale Mile at Harold Park as a four year old where she galloped on the gate and lost about thirty or fourty meters and flew home to be in a photo for the first four.” “To my knowledge she’s still the only filly to have won the Triple Crown in Auckland (G2 Ladyship Stakes, G2 Sires Stakes Filles Championship, G1 Great Northern Oaks).” She went on that year to win the NSW Oaks in a season where she won 9 of her 12 starts as a three year old. Outside of breeding and training Syd also got into the administration side of racing where he spent 10 years on the board at Forbury Park and eventually became the President of the trotting club. “Under Max Bowden’s term I also headed up a handicapping subcommittee to look at a handicapping system for the industry so I guess you can say I’ve had quite an involvement in harness racing right from breeding to training and even administration.” If Field Marshal’s fresh up win off a long layoff is anything to go by, Syd and Shona Brown will have quite a lot more involvement with the quality stock they continue to breed and race. Story from Breeders’ Weekly Subscribe here: View Issue 3 here: Brad Reid Executive Manager New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Assn  

The night clearly belonged to champion horseman Luke McCarthy. The Albion Park Harness Racing Club played host to a superb night of racing featuring the Seymour Nursery Pace Finals for two-year-old and three-year-old pacers. But McCarthy stole the show winning three of the four feature events including both Gr.1 $100,000 two-year-old finals with the Susan Hunter trained Waves Of Fire taking the colts and geldings division while his wife Belinda prepared fillies winner Smooth Showgirl. In total, McCarthy drove five winners on the bumper ten race program. “It was a good night at the office; Nursery Pace night is always a special card of racing and to win both feature events was super then to cap the night with Yank (Bling It On) winning another major is very special, he’s fast becoming one of my favourite pacers of all time.” McCarthy said. The Gr.1 $100,000 colts and geldings final featured highly regarded Sydney trained colt Artistic Flite who started a firm punters elect despite his wide draw but luck in running was against him and McCarthy landed a perfect trail with Waves Of Fire. With Admiral Bronski and Artistic Flite engaging in a survival of the fittest battle, Waves Of Fire loomed big danger approaching the final turn before unleashing a strong sprint over the concluding stages to beat a gallant Artistic Flite with A Good Chance running a brave race for third. Waves Of Fire, a Courage Under Fire – Operative Waves gelding was a maiden prior to the final. The winning mile rate was 1;58.4 for the 2138m. In the Gr.1 $100,000 fillies final, Smooth Showgirl started a clear favourite following her dazzling heat victory over the previously unbeaten Makes Every Scents earlier in the week and McCarthy wasted little time in sending the filly straight to the lead after stable Bamako Mali crossed to the marker line first. McCarthy controlled the pace perfectly with Smooth Showgirl before quickly turning the event into a sprint home over the concluding stages, Smooth Showgirl scored comfortably from emerging talent Feel The Faith while Bamako Mali finished third. Smooth Showgirl, a daughter of Art Major – Golden Showgirl is a graduate of the Australian Pacing Gold yearling sale and is raced by the Gurney Family and Paul Montgomery. The winning mile rate was 2;01.8 with the final section recorded in 27.3 seconds. The Gr.2 $75,000 three-year-old fillies final went the way of strong local talent Charming Allie who outstayed Freedom Is and Storm Delle in a thrilling contest. Trainer/driver Grant Dixon made his intentions clear early that he wanted to be up handy to the speed and kept pushing forward before finding the front nearing the mile marker. Dixon rated the filly perfectly in the first half of the race before sustaining extreme pressure from Morethanmeetstheye down the back straight on the final occasion. In the stretch, Charming Allie dug deep to hold off a brave Freedom Is while Storm Delle hit the line strongly once clear. The Mr Feelgood – Charm Personified filly is raced by her breeders, Kevin and Kay Seymour. The winning mile rate was 1;58.5. And in the Gr.2 $75,000 colts and gelding final, Bling It On clearly proved why is regarded as one of the best talents in the country with an effortless victory. Finding the lead with relative ease from Iam Mr Brightside, McCarthy dictated terms perfectly in front before blasting home in supersonic sectionals and winning by an ever expanding margin. The American Ideal colt raced clear in the home straight to score easily from Iam Mr Brightside and Raring To Go. Bling It On joins elite company as a dual winner of the famed Queensland feature. The winning mile rate was 1;59.0 with final splits of 28.5 and 26.5 seconds. McCarthy also claimed the $20,000 Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final with Mac The Finn while New Zealand owned mare Safedra also added to his loot by winning the Experience the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz QO Pace. The Sydney based horseman has now won the two-year-old feature seven times – Fleur De Lil, Slipnslide, Tip Your Hat, Aussie Made Lombo, Bling It On while both Waves Of Fire and Smooth Showgirl now add their name to the list. The Listed $25,000 Flashing Red Handicap provided young reinsman Trent Moffat with his biggest thrill in the sport after steering veteran campaigner Vegas Bound to victory while his boss Grant Dixon scored in the $14,999 Charity Cup Final with cult pacer Majestic Mach. By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

Butt warns punters that southerner may finally be on song for Auckland Trotting Cup. Driver Anthony Butt has vowed to turn Friday night's Auckland Trotting Cup into a war. He says Mah Sish, the most disappointing pacer of the New Zealand season, can finally pay back punters who have stuck with him. This time last season Mah Sish was one of the most feared pacers in Australasia, having won the Ballarat and Hunter Cups as well as finishing second to I'm Themightyquinn in the Inter Dominion final. However, those efforts seemed to drain the son of Mach Three and by autumn he was a spent force, a lack of mojo that carried over into this season. After opening one of the favourites for the New Zealand Cup he couldn't run a place in the lead-up races and has shown only flashes of his old fight for much of his Australian summer campaign. Recently, Butt has noticed two changes in Mah Sish - he has developed much higher gate speed and he is racing more like a one-paced stayer.   "And that is why I now have to drive him a bit like a Flashing Red type," says Butt, referring to his dual New Zealand Cup and Auckland Cup winning hero. Mah Sish was a brave third in a supersonic A$100,000 ($107,000) race at Menangle on Sunday after leading and blazing dazzling sectionals. Butt says that is exactly what he intends doing on Friday night. "He can't outsprint Adore Me and Terror To Love; we all know that," says Butt. "But he has developed into a really good stayer and having gate speed now means I can launch him at the start. "And I will just keep going until I get the lead, I have to. Then I will run every quarter [400m] as quick as I can for that distance. "I want them all out on their feet at the 600m and if Adore Me or Terror To Love run past me so be it. "I am not saying he will win but I am quietly confident he will go close. Alexandra Park is a hard track to run good horses down on." Butt's declaration and the gate speed of New Zealand Cup runner-up Fly Like An Eagle, who has drawn directly inside him at barrier four, suggests there will be genuine speed early in Friday's Cup and while Adore Me has drawn well at barrier two it looks unlikely she will now simply run to the front and dominate. TAB bookies think so as the champion mare has surprisingly only opened second favourite at $3.60, with Terror To Love the $2.80 top pick. The horse they are keeping safe is Saveapatrol, who is a $5.50 chance even though he looks like being three deep on the markers at best. Pembrook Benny rounds out the favourites at $6.50 while those willing to back Butt's judgement can get $21 about Mah Sish turning his New Zealand run of outs around. Locharburn has opened up prohibitively short in the $250,000 Woodlands Derby at just $1.55 over Tiger Tara at $3 and Sky Major at $6. Locharburn has drawn the ace but the connections of both Tiger Tara and Cyclone Prince, drawn barriers two and three, have at least expressed interest in their drivers having an early look at the lead. That could again see more pressure in the classic than the barrier draws first indicated. Meanwhile, star West Australian I'm Victorious is slowly improving after a horror check in Sunday's Inter Dominion Final ended his career. The former Kiwi pacer was struck by Mach Beauty at the 200m mark in the final and badly cut through the tendons in a front leg. He needed surgery to save his life but has responded well to that and last night was showing no signs of infection. "We are not out of the woods yet but hopefully we can save him, although the vets say he won't race again," said trainer Michael Brennan. NSW glamour driver Lauren Panella was suspended for eight weeks for the incident. Auckland Trotting Cup What: $250,000 Auckland Trotting Cup. Where: Alexandra Park. When: Friday night, first race at 5.55pm, Cup at 8.25pm. Who: Terror To Love, Adore Me, Pembrook Benny, Mah Sish and Easy On The Eye. Courtesy of the New Zealand Herald Read more by Michael Guerin

The problem with producing miracles is after a while people start to expect them. But training genius Tim Butt says there will be no miracle from Mah Sish in tomorrow’s $650,000 New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington. Mah Sish started the season one of the favourites for the great race after a rampaging Australian campaign last term in which he won the Hunter and Ballarat Cups and finished second in the Interdominion. With natural improvement, great manners and huge stamina, he looked the perfect New Zealand Cup contender. The only problem is, Mah Sish has barely run past a horse in four starts this campaign, his best result being a sixth of 10 two starts ago. His fall from grace has left master trainer Butt stumped. “To my eye, he looks perfect. Apart from what he is doing on the track,” says Butt. “His blood is great, his coat looks spot on and he is working well. “But he simply isn’t the same horse as he was last season. Not so far, at least.” Being Tim Butt comes with its big-race pressures though because all season punters have been waiting for him to pull the rabbit out of the hat. Most harness racing fans remember him doing just that in 2007 when Flashing Red went into the Cup well down on his best form but almost unfathomably overcame a 15m handicap to beat Monkey King. After having earlier weaned champion trotter Lyell Creek off Lasix after his US career and taken him back to the top again, Butt is routinely expected to do what other trainers can’t. “I know there are people out there who think we can turn them around for the big races but I just don’t see it happening,” says Butt. “With Flashing Red it was different. He had little issues and we eliminated them one by one right up till Cup day. "But Mah Sish seems and looks fine. We have been taking him to the beach but really, there is not a lot more we can do.”
 Mah Sish could well return to his best in Australia later this season but Butt admits maybe he went right to the bottom of the well with the gelding last season. “He had a long busy season and it was the right thing to do because he won nearly $800,000 last season without having to take on Terror To Love or Christen Me much.” And therein could lie the problem as Mah Sish is a son of Mach Three, whose best stock are world class when right but are prone to hitting the wall after hard campaigns --- just think of Auckland Reactor or Captain Joy. Butt’s frustration with Mah Sish is mirrored by his other Australian star of last season Vulcan, who has won 10 group ones but is racing like a lower grade battler. “He is a very funny horse because when he is right, which is usually in Australia, he is a machine,” explains Butt. “But when any little thing goes wrong he can completely lose form. “I think he is on the way back up but Peak is our better chance in the big trots this week.”
 Peak is the Swedish import who won fresh up for the Butt brothers at Ashburton two weeks ago so impressively driver Anthony has chosen him over Vulcan, who will be partnered by Ricky May this week. “Peak has improved since Ashburton and will keep getting better,” says Butt. “He is very close to being the real deal and while he has a great chance on Tuesday he is a super stayer so the race which will really suit him in the Dominion on Friday.”
 By Michael Guerin (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

Mark Purdon was pleased with Fly Like An Eagle’s first-up sixth the Avon City Ford Cup and believes the 5-year-old entire can go close to defending his Group Three $35,000 Methven Cup title on the Methven grass on Sunday (October 6). “I’ll think he will be hard to beat. I really liked the way he rounded off his race at Addington. At his peak he’s not far off the best free-for-allers going around,” said co-trainer and driver Purdon. Last Friday Fly Like an Eagle finished just under eight lengths behind Christen Me, in what was his first start since finishing eighth in the Winter at Addington in May. The son of Mach Three and Three Eagles is Purdon’s only nomination for this year’s Group 1 3200m feature. He is currently ranked at 10 for the NZ Cup. “He’s come through The Avon City Ford Cup really well. He was in need of that run. He won this race last year and I think that experience will take him a long way. He’s proved he goes alright on grass,” Purdon said. Fly Like An Eagle will start from the unruly mark on the 20-metre handicap. He is the most tightly assessed pacer in the 12-strong field. His 17 wins are three more than Four Starzzz Flash. He is also only one of two $500,000 horses in the field, thanks to his four Group One victories in the New Zealand Derby, the Jewels Final, the Breeders Crown Final, and the Cardigan Bay Stakes. Purdon agrees with that sort of CV he is going to be hard to beat in Sunday’s 3000m stand. “He’s had a good long break this time and that’s just been what he needed. Last year he put up some really nice performances against the best opposition. “I think he will keep improving as the Cup nears. I was particularly pleased with his third in last year’s Kaikoura Cup as well,” said Purdon who co-trains the bay with his partner Natalie Rasmussen at Rolleston. Fly Like An Eagle had two public outings before his Avon City Ford Cup run. He finished fifth and then second at the Banks Peninsula and Mid Canterbury Trials on September 9 and 17. Fly Like An Eagle won last year’s Methven Cup in 3:52.8. “After his long break this is the build-up he has needed. He’ll be spot on this Sunday,” Purdon said. Thirty-metre back-marker and Maurice Holmes Vase winner, Four Starzzz Flash looks the hardest for Fly Like An Eagle to beat. The Cran Dalgety trained son of Four Starzzz Shark was a fair fifth in stronger company last start and has placed at Methven previously. The Tim Butt trained Elmer Hanover might also be worth a look from the ace draw. He is unbeaten in two starts at Methven. Meanwhile, Field Officer, who would have started one of the favourites in Sunday’s Cup, was scratched by his breeder-owner-trainer, Peter Bagrie on Thursday morning - after being sold to Australia. The last horse to win the Methven Cup and then go on and win the New Zealand Cup was the Tim Butt trained and Anthony Butt driven Flashing Red in 2006. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

“Bring back Flashing Red.” Those were the words many would have been chanting after his daughter Red Hot Toddy won in emphatic style at Oamaru yesterday. The win was no fluke either; it followed a record breaking maiden win at Rangiora. So, where exactly is the dual New Zealand Cup winning warrior now? Well, to the best of my knowledge he is currently in Queensland, parading around as a show pony.  Why is he there and not standing at stud? That is something I’m not quite sure of. Maybe it is due to the lack of the support he was given when he stood at Roydon Lodge for a ghastly fee of, wait for it..., zero dollars.   Why was one of Australasia’s toughest modern day pacers not supported at stud? That one is simple, because he is an unfashionably bred son of Echelon. But, masterful Canterbury breeder Jim Dalgety will tell you, “His breeding isn’t actually as bad as everyone thinks!” And the owners of Red Hot Toddy and her dam, 10 win mare – Lady Toddy, must agree. “Her first two foals are by Christian Cullen and although they have plenty of speed they can’t stay. Her third foal, Hot Toddy, is by Falcon Seelster and she is also in a similar boat.” This prompted her owners to take a risk and try and add some toughness by breeding her to Flashing Red. “She is definitely the best one out of Lady Toddy so far,” said Steven Golding, who drove Red Hot Toddy to break Pascale Bromac’s record on debut. “She still has her fair share of speed, but she has also picked up a bit of dad’s toughness. That one once again evident yesterday, when Red Hot Toddy pulled herself lengths in front of the field, her opposition unable to breach the margin. Flashing Red has a further three qualifiers in New Zealand, but Red Hot Toddy is the first of them to race. In Australia he has three winners. Four-win mare Pretty In Red is currently the best of them. Who knows what will happen with Flashing Red in the future. Maybe, he will be rescued from the outback and return to stud duties somewhere – Which is similar to what happened recently with Thoroughbred stallion Zed. Or maybe he will continue to parade around the shows of Queensland, producing the odd winner here and there. by Mitchell Robertson

Achieving your first training success is no mean feat but to do it with a trotter that has shocking conformation is a big achievement. “He’s a crock, but like all of my animals he’s my friend first and racehorse second. It’s a shame he’s not formed right because he has got a bit of ability but he’s not the type you can race week in and week out,” said trainer James Ramsay.

Two harness racing meetings were held in Victoria on Wednesday April 24 at two of the most popular venues - Maryborough in the afternoon and Ballarat at night.

Another New Zealand harness racing season has been run and won, with the case-closing awards dinner being held in Auckland on Saturday night.

Flashing Red’s quest to make it to Moonee Valley for the 2008 Watpac Inter Dominion is officially over.

Tasmania, the breeding ground of some of the finest standardbreds in this part of the world, is home to a number of Australian Pacing Gold-eligible yearlings which will go under the hammer this Sunday (January 20).

Two-million dollar-earner Flashing Red is back on the track to good health. That's the opinion of his managing part-owner, Stuart Hunter.

Flashing Red, a $2 million-earner, may miss the Inter Dominion series at Moonee Valley early next year.

According to an article by Michael Guerin in the New Zealand Herald on Tuesday (December 4), Flashing Red has suffered a leg infection that may cause him to miss the Victoria Cup next week.

Australasia’s most enduring pacer, Flashing Red, today touched down at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport ahead of the action-packed Victorian summer of harness racing.

Most of tomorrow’s big New Zealand Free-For-All field will be racing for more than the lion’s share of the $127,000 in prizemoney.

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