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About 40 horsemen and women attended a ‘handicapping meeting’ at Franklin Park in Pukekohe last night (Tuesday), but it wasn’t until the Auckland Trotting Club president Bruce Carter spoke, that the meeting came alive. Carter not only announced stake increases at Alexandra Park in 2018-2019, but also said trials and workouts would almost be a thing of the past at ‘northern headquarters’ while development proceeded over the next few years. Carter said an extra $40,000 would be distributed at each ATC meeting thanks to all 246 apartments being sold. "We have spoken about the handicapping system all night and we know it won't please everyone, but it comes down to horse numbers. "If owners aren't getting what they deserve they will take their business elsewhere. We have to give them the best possible product on offer and we believe stake increases will help do that," Carter said. He also said the on-going developments meant very few trials and workouts would be held at Alexandra Park in the next few years. "Franklin Park is now our training facility and we might have the odd trial/workout at Alexandra Park before perhaps a premier meeting. "But Franklin has proved popular and is still growing. We will continue to support that facility as well," Carter said. He also said there would be three further meetings per season at Alexandra Park starting from August 1. That led Taupaki horseman, Frank Cooney to ask the meeting if other clubs would suffer as a result of more metro meetings. Chairman of HRNZ's Handicapping Sub Committee Rob Lawson said meetings would become more centralised, which led Cooney to ask if in fact there was any future for grass track meetings. “Are we going to see just three tracks – Alexandra Park, Cambridge, and Manawatu being used in the North island and the rest laying idle?” questioned Cooney. Lawson replied: “I think that is the way we are headed with perhaps the odd grass track meeting say like Tauranga being a novelty meeting. It’s not written in stone but the costs are high to use other tracks. I think centralisation is the way of the future,” Lawson said. ATC Board member, John Green and recently appointed North Island Handicapper, Kevin Smith also fronted the meeting. Smith said the purpose of last night’s meeting was to further educate, consult and cover handicapping issues in the North Island. “The North Island handicapping system is evolving all the time since it was introduced on August 1. The South Island will embark on its new handicapping system on March 13. “We just want to make it fair and we realise you will never please everyone. The whole purpose of the new system is to be fair and have horses with similar abilities racing against each other. “We haven’t got the horse numbers we used to have. There are breeding and export concerns. I see it as my role to be fair. That’s all I want fairness for every horse owner but in this world we all know we can’t please everyone,” said Smith. “I am always open for consultation at any time,” he added. There was both support and disagreement from the horsemen and women who asked questions to the trio at the head table for almost 90 minutes. Duane Ranger

The man who helped lay the Franklin Trotting Club racetrack and then later went on to become a life member and patron of the Pukekohe-based Club passed away in Pukekohe last Friday (January 6). Don Glasgow was 86. His wife of 61 years, Alison said he was the kindest, gentlest and most loving husband and father anyone could ever wish for. “I was blessed having Don in my life. We have three beautiful children and we all got on so well. Don was originally into the gallops and was a ‘gentleman’ jockey and won a few point to point steeplechases before he later got into harness racing. “Up until recently we never ever missed a meeting at Alexandra Park. We used to sit in the same little corner on the first floor for about 30 years. We are all so sad with Don’s passing but thankfully he is suffering no more,” Mrs Glasgow said. Mr Glasgow was born on the Hauraki Plains and attended Hauraki College. He had several jobs throughout his career, including employment at the post office, shearing, farming, and truck driving. “Don drove trucks and actually helped lay the foundations the Franklin Trotting. We loved sharing our harness racing hobby together. We went all over New Zealand and Australia to watch the horses run. “Don was involved in the Kamwood and Directorship Syndicates and I was in the Elsu one, but apart from that we never owned too many horses. We just loved the sport. It was and still is our passion, and hopefully one day soon I can get back to the track again,” Mrs Glasgow. Mr Glasgow joined the Franklin Trotting Club in 1965 and was elected to a steward position in August 1967 when at this time his father-in-law Frank Symes was the President. After four years as a Steward, Mr Glasgow then became a committee man (1971). Franklin Park’s general manager, Karen Blanchard said after serving a three-year term as Vice- President on 31 July 1986 Mr Glasgow was then elected to the position of President which he held until 29 October 1989. “The years from 1989 until 1993 saw him active for the club in the role of Immediate Past President. In October 1993 Don was made a Life Member of the Franklin Trotting Club. “Then Don then was given the huge honour of being named Club Patron the Patron of the club in 2005,” Blanchard said. Both Mrs Glasgow and the Franklin GM said harness racing had been an integral part of Mr Glasgow’s life as an owner, breeder, syndicate member, punter, administrator, volunteer, assistant stipendiary steward, judge and advisor to many. “Over many years Don was regular volunteer for the workouts and trials that are held at the Franklin Trotting Club complex His usual role was as the judge but was often called in to act as the Stipendary Steward for the day. “He will leave a huge hole in our club,” Blanchard said. Mr Glasgow’s death notice read:  GLASGOW, Donald Hugh. - Dearly loved husband of Alison. Cherished father and father in law of Jim and Raewyn, Ian and Mavis and Jane. Adored Papa of Rebecca, Adam, Sam, Jessica and Nicole. Poppa Don of five great grandchildren. Dearly loved and will be forever missed. Special thanks to the staff at Pukekohe Aged Care Facility. A service for Don will be held at Grahams Funeral Home Chapel, West Street, Tuakau, on Wednesday 11th January at 1.00 pm. Duane Ranger

The Franklin businessman who bred and owned two New Zealand Cup winners; an Inter Dominion quinella; won 300 races; and netted more than $6 million in stakes passed away on Waiuku on Sunday (June 5). Robert Reid was 82. The retired market gardener bred and owned Luxury Liner and Christopher Vance to win the 1988 and 1991 Cups with his late brother Leo. Luxury Liner also won the 1987 and 1988 Auckland Cups while Christopher Vance won that Group One feature in 1991. He also quinella-ed the 1991 Inter Dominion grand final with Mark Hanover (Mark Purdon) and Christopher Vance. Tony Herlihy (MNZM) drove both Cup winners. Mr Reid’s wife Janice said her late husband was born in Ngaruawahia and then relocated with his family to Franklin when he was just four. Ten years later he left school to work in local market gardens. “He was a workaholic from the time he left school. Robert was destined to be a farmer. He harvested his first crop of vegetables when he was about 10 from their home garden. “He later established Reid Brothers with Leo and started off with several crops before specialising in onions, pumpkin and squash. “Robert talked his father into leasing some land off him, then when they proved they were capable they leased some more. Well before he was 20, Robert and Leo bought their first land. together which was the Kidd road base we still farm today. One great crop of carrots went towards paying for this property,” his wife said. She said Mr Reid and his brother bought their first horse - Steads in 1961. Then Miranda Bay, a mare that was acquired for the “none too cheap” sum of $1000 guineas. “It couldn’t run to save itself. Although that was probably his biggest ‘punt’, he definitely wasn’t a betting man!” Mrs Reid said. She said her husband’s number one hobby was the horses and he would spend hours looking through stud books and bloodlines. “It was about the only reading he did. We had many trips following the horses around Australia and New Zealand. The whole family has very fond memories of those times. “Certainly, there were lots of proud moments with the races won, Robert said ‘it was a bit hard on the ticker’. His biggest achievement was having the first two horses home in the Inter Dominion grand final in Auckland in 1991. “In his stable there were 50 horses than won 300 races. Robert was disappointed his brother Leo didn’t get to share the glory as he passed away just prior to the success of Luxury Liner and Christopher Vance,” Mrs Reid said. Wiauku horseman, Steve Hunt, who worked for Mr Reid for 25 years up until January, said he was sad to hear of his former boss’s passing. “I was his private trainer and early on I used to prepare his horses for trainers like Roy, Barry, and Mark Purdon, and also Tony Herlihy. “He was a good friend of mine and very good to work for. He never ever told me what to do. He trusted my horsemanship. He was good to me and I will never forget him. He played a big part in my life,” Hunt said. Mrs Reid said her husband had a heart bypass at 56 which bought him another 26 years of good life. “He was proud of what he achieved and even in his hospital bed he wanted to know how the planting was going, and what the price of onions were doing,” she said. Mr Reid’s funeral was scheduled for Graham’s Funeral Parlour in Tuakau at 10.30am today (Thursday). He is survived by his wife of 56 years Janice, their four children, six grand children and one great grand child. Robert Reid Winners (with broodmare in CAPS and wins and stake earnings): MIRANDA STAR: Top Star 5 17,825 Country Star 10 45,532 Disco Girl 1 1,775 Proud Star 6 34,723 Top Vance 8 72,440 Christopher Vance 38 1,747,167 Mikes Pal 9 139,730 Disco Night 2 25,410 Christopher Too 2 16,450 Dynamite Girl 2 24,274 Operation Dynamite 2 9,365 Star Baron 1 4,065 Alert Motoring 8 147,813 Napoleon 11 124,515 Pacific Cruise 4 22,570 York Star 2 7,495 111 wins total and $2,441,149 MIRANDA BELLE: Kiwi Lord 8 34,355 Julie Vance 7 73,168 Knight Vance 8 120,249 Motoring with Julie 2 10,136 Luxury Liner 37 1,721,984 Me An Roy 740,655 69 wins and $2,000,547 MIRANDA LASS: Vance Glory 13 119,365 Willy Run 7 31,850 Star Glory 8 50,625 Star Motoring 7 42,470 Major Danger 4 21,905 39 wins and $266,215 FOYS FOLLY: Jodi Vance 1 win and $10,635. PLEAD: Miss Clevedon 13 79,930 Mark Hanover 18 700,597 Roy’s Advice 2 15,283 Mark Roy 11 249,916 Vance Lee 3 31,820 Clevedon Lord 3 15,755 Nippy Lord 4 25,810 Surdon 5 44,125 Miss Ardmore 5 62,180 OK Roy 1 4,420 Vice Regal 3 17,295 Hunter’s Valley 3 16,500 Miss O’Shea 2 11,860 Vicky Hanover 1 1,875 Upshot Harry 1 4,330 75 wins total and $1,281,696 STEADS 3 wins and $2,520 LE CHARLES 2 wins and $1,630 TOTAL WINS 300 TOTAL STAKES $6,004,392. Duane Ranger

Simon McMullan has decided to end his junior driving days on a high. The 25-year-old Franklin horseman steered Take A Hint to victory on co-trainer David Butcher’s 50th birthday at Cambridge Raceway last Thursday night – and then said that’s his race-day driving was all done and dusted. “Who knows I might return to the sulky one day, say if I lease a trotter and have to drive him, but that’s it for now. “I certainly won’t be driving as an open horseman next year. I want to concentrate on one thing at a time. I’m in a privileged position working for Steven and I want to keep improving as a trainer. “That’s where my focus is now,” McMullan said. Take A Hint won the last race of the season at Cambridge. He and McMullan sat in the trail and then pounced to win the $7,000 Fairview Motors Mobile for C2-C4 pacers. They won by three quarters of a length pacing the 2200m mobile in a slick 2:42.8 with final 800m and 400m sprints of 58.5 and 29.8 seconds. The black Washington V C gelding won with a 1:59 mile rate. It was the 4-year-old’s fifth win in 28 starts. He was the third favourite and paid $8 to win. “He’s a nice horse. Not many pacers can go 2:42 and that tells me he’s got a couple of wins left in him yet. “It’s a drive I won’t forget in a while,” McMullan said. Pukekohe-based McMullan has driven 55 winners since taking out his licence in 2008. He’s also placed 130 times from his 648 starts, and won $428,521 in stakes. Training-wise he has won 29 races and just over $360,000 since joining forces with Reid at the start of the season. They finished 19th on the national training premiership. But McMullan has been with ‘The Reid Man’ for eight years now. “Steven had no right to make me a partner in his stable at the start of the season. He has rewarded me for my loyalty to him and for that I’m extremely grateful. “That’s why I want to give the driving away. I want to repay Steven’s faith in me and keep doing my best and learning from him,” McMullan said. McMullan’s first training wins came via Roger Ramjet and Sweet Jane in races one and four at Alexandra Park on August 16. McMullan was educated at Burnside High School and has worked for Brent Lilley, Brendon Hill and Doug Gale prior to coming to Reid’s Pukekohe stable. His work ethic soon ensured he was stable foreman before being promoted to a partner on August 1. Reid and McMullan are working a team of about 25 out of the Franklin Trotting Club’s complex on Station Road. “We’ve got some nice young horses coming through the ranks. Potentially I think our rising 3-year-old Art Major colt - Zennart is the most promising racehorse we have got. He won really well first-up at Alexandra Park on Friday. “My ambition is to train a Group One winner next season. Hopefully some of the younger horses or perhaps Unforgiving can do that for us,” McMullan said. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

A "SPECIAL" general meeting of Franklin Trotting Club members will today decide whether to merge with the Auckland Trotting Club, a move that president Don Smith believes might signal the start of a nationwide strategy to reverse a harness racing industry in decline. In a letter to Franklin’s 219 members, Smith says the club is under immense financial pressure following the winding up of the northern harness operation involving Auckland, Kumeu and Manukau. ‘‘Your committee has done and continues to do everything in its power to keep FTC operating but at this stage we cannot generate sufficient cash flow to reinvest in the plant and equipment or to maintain the property to the desired standard.’’ Smith told the  Star-Times while the club had been running for 65 years, it could no longer go on ‘‘treading water’’ with harness racing being in rapid decline in the northern region. ‘‘You can’t throw your chest out like you used to and say, oh we’ll be fine,’’ said Smith, who admitted his committee had mixed feelings over the way ahead. ‘‘We’re handling things reasonably well but we’ve got to look ahead to the next 20 years.’’ Smith said most members accepted something had to be done, which was why they gave the committee mandate to explore the merits of amalgamating with the ATC at last year’s annual general meeting. Now, after 14 months of doing their homework,  it was just a question of whether members were convinced today by a presentation which would be put by ATC president Kerry Hoggard and CEO Dominique Dowding. Under the ATC grand plan, Auckland would take over all the assets and liabilities of Franklin. The club owns land with a Government valuation of $4.54 million and owes $390,000. In return, Auckland has pledged to put up $4 million to upgrade and further develop Pukekohe into a top class training centre, to be called Franklin Park. ‘‘We have a magnificent training facility here, the equal of anywhere  in Australasia, but we can’t hide in the corner. ‘‘We’ve got to attract young trainers into the area. We need to be able to say here’s a lovely training facility, here are the high stakes at Auckland, come and be part of it. We have more chance of attracting them  if we do something.’’  Smith said the ATC had given an undertaking that Franklin’s assets would be used only for harness-related benefits now and in the future. Franklin members would automatically become members of the ATC and retain existing privileges. Smith said members would be sure to quiz the ATC on just when it will be investing in the Pukekohe property and where its $4 million would be coming from. ‘‘The members will decide but this is a crucial meeting for the future of harness racing in the north,’’ said Smith, who believes parochialism could no longer work. ‘‘I think there will be a lot of other clubs nationwide who will have to look at joining hand in hand to make a go of things. This is possibly just the start of it. ‘‘We have to get stakes up to a level that is acceptable for owners, so racing a horse is viable.’’ Auckland’s proposal to turn Pukekohe into a major training centre will hopefully have major benefit for the industry, says Harness Racing New Zealand chief executive Edward Rennell. ‘‘We think the proposal is great,’’ Rennell said. ‘‘Anything that will help address the fall in horse numbers has got to be good.’’ Rennell said young trainers, in particular, faced unrealistic costs to set up, with land prices soaring, especially if they didn’t have family connections. ‘‘Over time I think we’ll see more demand for centralised training facilities. There’s no doubt there’ll be a need for it in Canterbury and Southland.’’ Meanwhile, the Kumeu Trotting Club, which repelled the ATC’s attempt to take over and sell its North Auckland track, is battling on, despite being told by Auckland that it can no longer race at Alexandra Park. President Scott Gibbons said Kumeu members were adamant they did not want to see harness racing excised from the area and, while it was still investigating venues, it was likely all three of its meetings would be held on the grass at Avondale. Auckland had effectively shot itself in the foot, and would lose two Friday nights of income from food and drink, he said. The Thames Harness Racing Club, which also rejected Auckland’s bid to take over its property assets, does not yet know what will happen to its three Alexandra Park dates next season. Club president Derek Player said the ATC was happy for Thames to keep its low-key Sunday date but its two Friday night fixtures might be in danger. Update At this afternoon's meeting of the members of the Franklin Trotting Club, approval for the proposed merger between the two Clubs.was passed. By Barry Lichter Reprinted with permission of The Sunday Star Times.

Not even the thought of having to drive back to Nelson from Christchurch last night could wipe the smile off the face of Dylan Stratford after he was crowned the regional winner of the Primary ITO Cadet of the Year competition yesterday. The 23-year-old horseman fended off the challenge of 12 of his peers from the Canterbury area to claim the first ever regional title in the inaugural running of the competition and will now head to the national final at Addington Raceway next month to contest for the supreme title of national champion. Stratford, who is now based in Nelson and working in a labouring job, drove South on Tuesday night to compete and then jumped back in his car almost instantly to face the drive back home. “It’s going to be a little bit easier than if I hadn’t won that’s for sure,’’ he said. In a three-part competition which pitted the Level 4 cadets against each other in a myriad of challenges which included a driving challenge and being able to correctly name 20 different types of horse feed - Stratford shone. He claimed the outright top score in three of the six different stages of the competition and finished in a tie for first in another – underlining his all-round knowledge. “I really enjoyed the competition, it’s been a really enjoyable day and the team in charge of it need to be applauded for coming up with something like this. “The Cadet scheme has really come along in the last couple of years, what is being offered up to us has been of huge value and a series like this only compliments it I think.’’ Stratford will head to the national final knowing that it will be more than likely be his last chance to win it as he intends on heading overseas later this year. “If I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it. “So I’m working up in Nelson and trying to save up a bit of money and I plan to head to America later in the year.’’ Stratford will be joined in the final by fellow Cantab, Alex Veint. Due to the large number of Level 4 Cadets, two competitors from the Canterbury region will compete in the national final alongside the regional winners from both the Southern and Northern regions. Veint scored the highest mark in the driving challenge with a score of 51 out of a possible 60 in what proved to the most popular discipline of the day. Without a stopwatch the cadets were asked to work a horse over a 2400 metre distance with specific time guidelines set for each of the three 800 metre stages of the workout. 1 point was deducted for each second the driver was out from the set times – but all managed to produce impressive scores considering they weren’t allowed the use of a watch and that a number had never driven around Addington before. Veint claimed top prize in the challenge, while Denis Van Werhooven finished second with 50 points and Todd Quate was third with 49 points. The regional finals now move to Invercargill and the Southern Region on Wednesday, July 2 and then the Northern Region final at the Franklin Trotting Club on Monday, July 7. By Matt Markham (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Well known North Island harness racing identity Jeff Crouth will retire from training in mid-October after more than thirty years of involvement. But, before that, he would like to get that winning feeling one more time. “I may line-up a couple of horses next week but that will be it,” said Crouth. “So it would be nice to get at least one more winner,” he added. The Pukekohe based conditioner will start three horses on Friday at Alexandra Park, which all look at least each-way chances. The first of them is Home From The Sea, who competes in race one and looks a good chance on the back of a handy fresh-up third. “She came from the outside of the front line last week, so it was a good effort,” said Crouth. “From the four draw you would think she would have to be at least a place chance.” The next of Crouth’s runners is Tormenta, who is a full-brother to his former stable star Stormy Sirocco. “He is a very nice maiden with a lot of ability,” said Crouth. “He doesn’t have a great draw and there are a few handy ones in the field, but he is definitely an each-way prospect.” The last of the runners that will sport Crouth’s red, white, and black colours on Friday is Molly O’Shea, and Crouth rates her as the best of his three charges. “She is a lovely filly, who has trialled up really well,” Crouth enthused. “She has drawn two, and I expect her to go very close to winning.” “Millie Sampson dead-heated with her in a recent trial so perhaps she will be the hardest to beat,” he added. When asked what he is going to do once retired, Crouth said him and his wife Trish would spent a year on the road travelling around New Zealand before making any other plans. “We haven’t had a decent holiday in years, so we will get that out of the way first,” laughed Crouth. Crouth said that he believes that things need to change dramatically if people are going to stay in the game. “It’s hard for anyone outside the top 10 on the trainers’ premiership to survive these days.” “We are also losing too many good horses to Australia. Stormy Sirocco is doing well over there but exports are tough on trainers. I’ve lost a couple recently,” he added. Crouth has recently purchased a retirement home at Marsden Cove just south of Whangarei. “I’ve had some close shaves with my health in recent years and the Grim Reaper has confronted me three times. I think it’s now time for us to be doing better things than training horses. Crouth rates Great Northern Oaks and Harness Jewels winner Running On Faith as the best filly he trained during his career, while he said Casino Lord and Butlers First are among the best male pacers he has been involved with. “Cheetah Man, Thunderstorm, Vital Eyes, and Kamwood Kango, are other nice horses I have been associated with,” he added. The former Franklin Trotting Club president had a great association with the rich Sales Series Final and won the race an amazing four times. Crouth has also been president of the Horseman’s Association and was vice president of the North Island Standardbred Breeders Association. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in harness racing but now it’s time for me to do something new. I might own one, one day but that will be it,” Crouth concluded. By Mitchell Robertson    

Jeff Crouth has seen the Grim Reaper too many times to carry on training standardbreds. The 67-year-old said it was finally time for he and his wife Trish to think about themselves. In mid-October Crouth will retire from training after just on 30 years involvement in harness racing. The Pukekohe horseman, who drove four winners in the early 1980s, was a better than average conditioner training 230 winners from 1,876 starters. He’s also placed 416 times for $2.76m in purses. His UDR strike rate currently stands at 0.2239. Crouth’s best year was in 1995 when he trained 19 winners. Stakes-wise 1991 was his most lucrative season winning $344,478. He’s won more than $200,000 in a season four times. “My wife and I are going to have a year to ourselves travelling around New Zealand and then we will decide what we do. We could buy a small business but it’s our time now and I won’t be returning to training. “I might own one, one day but that will be it. I don’t leave on a sour note. I have loved the industry, but these days unless you have loyal owners or a really good horse the game is a bit tough. “I believe things do have to change dramatically if people are going to stay in the game. It’s hard for anyone outside the top 10 on the trainers’ premiership to survive these days,” Crouth said. “We are also losing too many good horses to Australia. Stormy Sirocco is doing well over there but exports are tough on trainers. I’ve lost a couple recently,” he added. The Pukekohe horseman said he had bought a retirement home at Marsden Cove just south of Whangarei. “I’ve had some close shaves with my health in recent years and the Grim Reaper has confronted me three times. I think it’s now time for us to be doing better things than training horses. “It’s a young man’s game these days - but boy does it does make you tough. As they say in poker, it’s time for me to fold,” Crouth said. You can’t blame for Crouth wanting to take it easy. He has suffered a triple by-pass, beat deep vein thrombosis, dealt to abdominal aneurisms, and abscesses of the liver. Crouth has had some good horses since the early mid-1980s. The former Franklin Trotting Club president (four years) trained Running On Faith to Jewels and Northern Oaks victories in 2007. He also won Sales Series Finals with Casino Lord, Butlers First, Vital Eyes and Kamwood Kango. “I won some pretty big money back when the big money wasn’t really about. Those Sales Series Finals races were all worth more than $100,000,” Crouth said. Crouth has also been president of the Horseman’s Association and was vice president of the North Island Standardbred Breeders Association. Crouth was born at Murawai Beach and educated at Helensville High School. At the age of 17 he joined the Police Cadets but didn’t pursue a career there. Instead he entered the building trade prior to taking up harness racing in 1985. By Duane Ranger Harness Racing New Zealand

“Steven (Reid) had no right to make me a partner in his training establishment. He has rewarded me for being with him for seven years. I’m extremely grateful.” Those were the words from Simon McMullan after he trained his first two winners at Alexandra Park last Friday (August 16). The Reid and McMullan trained Roger Ramjet and Sweet Jane won the first and fourth races at the Franklin Trotting Club’s meeting. Twenty four-year-old McMullan was over the moon with his first two wins. “It’s a great feeling alright. I backed off the driving a bit when we travelled with our team last year. Even though I’d like to have a crack at the Australasian Juniors later in the season training is where it’s at for me right now. “I love working horses and I love working for Steven. He is the consummate professional. He has rewarded me and now I just want to keep experience this winning feeling,” McMullan said. “I am grateful to what he and Wendy have done for me,” he added. Both Roger Ramjet (Todd Mitchell) and Sweet Jane (Simon Lawson) were backed into favourites in their respective maiden paces on Friday. Reid and McMullan only had two starters to the races that night and McMullan said he was stoked to have come away from his home-town meeting with a 100 per cent strike rate. McMullan was educated at Burnside High School and has worked for Brent Lilley, Brendon Hill and Doug Gale prior to coming to Reid’s Pukekohe stable. His work ethic soon ensured he was stable foreman before being promoted to a partner on August 1. “I didn’t expect this. I’ve learnt so much from Steven. In fact every trainer has taught me something new. That’s the great thing about this sport – you never stop learning. I am still only young and try and digest every piece of information that is given to me,” said McMullan. He said he was still excited about being able to work for a former New Zealand champion trainer and one of the country’s leading stables “We’ve got a powerful stable when you take into account the top horses like Gold Ace, Easy On The Eye and Kiwi Ideal. They are the guns but then again we’ve also got a lot of promising ones coming through like Destination Moon. “He’s our best 2-year-old and Martine Maguire would be our best 2-year-old filly. She won a $25,000 race at Cambridge in March. “We’ve also got a really nice Lis Mara 4-year-old named Franco Nikau who only qualified on August 13. He’s one to watch out for when he lines up. Then there’s Charge Forward (eight wins) and our best trotter Commander Galleon (six wins),” McMullan said. Commenting on Friday’s two winners, McMullan said: “Three-year-old Roger Ramjet has a lot of potential and will win more races. And now that Sweet Jane has won one I think she will go in with it. A lot of horses do that after breaking their duck." By Duane Ranger Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand

Host Alexandra Park tenant sure to vote for unification but other harness racing clubs' feelings are unknown. The historic and potentially crucial first step to changing the way harness racing is run in the north will be put to a vote tonight.

Last on the final turn - first home. Courage To Rule proved how much harness racing class he possesses when notching up his 12th career win at Alexandra Park tonight (Friday April 12).

The funeral of one of New Zealand's most loyal harness racing owners and breeders - Graeme Blackburn - will be held in Auckland on Saturday (March 23). Mr Blackburn of Lincoln Farms fame, will have a Rosary and sharing of memories in his honour at St Patrick's Cathedral in Wyndham Street (Auckland central) at 7.30pm on Friday night.

Thirty seven-year-old harness racing driver Gene Robb said he felt like a 17-year-old driving up the Alexandra Park straight in the first race at the Franklin Trotting Club's meeting at today (Tuesday March 5).

A long-serving and highly respected member of the Franklin Trotting Club has died. Harness racing stalwart Edwin (Ed) John Stoupe died last Saturday (February 16). Mr Stoupe first joined the Franklin Trotting Club as a member in 1957, and he was elected as a steward of the Club in 1967 from which time he gave continuous service in that role up until his resignation recently due to his ill health.

New Zealand harness racing history was made at Alexandra Park last Friday night (February 8) when the first ever dead-heat was recorded in a feature Kidz Kart race. Olivia Montgomery (She Can Doosit) and New Zealand Cup champion, Taitlyn Hanara (Scooby) could not be separated at the finish of the 2013 Franklin Cup.

The Barry Purdon trained Cheer The Lady won the feature harness racing event at tonight's (Friday February 8) Franklin Trotting Club meeting at Alexandra Park in Auckland.

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