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By Garrick Knight Handy Canterbury mare Uptown Lady has been sold to American interests. The daughter of Art Major left for Colts Neck, New Jersey, last Friday. Her former trainer, Mark Jones, says it was disappointing to lose a mare of her quality. “She has a good turn of speed, a great attitude and will love the hard racing over there. “I was sad to lose her but the lack of fillies and mares’ options here was a reason to sell. “And we lose a nice future broodmare, too.” Accompanying her across the Pacific was another four-year-old Art Major mare in Flashazz, a one-win daughter of former Harness Jewels winner, Pembrook’s Delight. Also on the flight was Global Domination, who ran fourth in last year’s New Zealand Derby behind Ultimate Sniper and had just resumed racing for the new season with a couple of inauspicious performances. He’ll join the stable of Peter Tritton, a prodigious buyer of New Zealand stock over many years. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Former Group 1 winning trotter Great Things Happen has had a minor setback. After a disappointing resumption in the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup at Addington on October 4, Rangiora trainer Gavin Smith got the horse checked out. “It was the worst he’s ever gone – he just doesn’t do that,” Smith said of his 10-length defeat at the hands of Oscar Bonavena after doing no work in transit. “I thought something had to be drastically wrong. “So, we got him scoped and he was full of snot. His bloods were fine so it’s no wonder we couldn’t detect it beforehand.” With the horse requiring an easy time of it, his Dominion Trot preparation has been compromised and Smith now faces a race against time to get him fit enough for the November 15 feature. ___________________________________________________________________________________ An old friend is about to reunite with the dominant All Stars stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Cruz Bromac is due to return to their Rolleston stable next week for a second Spring stint in Christchurch. The New Zealand-bred pacer won last year’s New Zealand Free For All on Show Day after being slightly unlucky in the New Zealand Cup three days earlier. He then contested the Inter Dominions for Purdon and Rasmussen, going undefeated in the heats before running third behind Tiger Tara in the Final. He stayed in Australia through the winter and recently resumed for trainer Amanda Grieve, running third in Saturday night’s Victoria Cup. Purdon confirmed the $12 fifth favourite for the New Zealand Cup was due in the next 10 days when speaking on Radio Trackside on Monday. “He’s going to join us; we’re making arrangements this week to fly him over so hopefully they’ll have him on the way by next Sunday. “It was an eye-catching run in the Victoria Cup; he made up good ground for third. “I’ve spoken to Dean Braun and he’s been very, very happy with his preparation and how he is.” Cruz Bromac is also nominated for December’s Inter Dominion Series in Auckland. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight A national record run has forced trainer Steve Telfer’s hand with his stable star, Triple Eight. He took out the $30,000 Kerry Hoggard Memorial – Holmes D G in a thrilling finish with Mach Shard, the two capitalising on a break-neck speed that played perfectly in to their hands. Both started from handicaps but ended up getting sweet trips in the running line which allowed them to fight out the finish, Triple Eight prevailing in 3.17.2. It was a remarkable time that shaved 2.4 seconds off the previous mark, set by Vincent. Telfer purposely avoided nominating for the New Zealand Cup, saying the Inter Dominions at Alexandra Park at the end of the year were the clear focus. And while that still remains, Triple Eight will now head south for two races, contrary to earlier plans. “Looking at the programme at Auckland, and knowing he needs some good hard runs to prepare him for the Inter Dominions, we are going to send him south next week. “So, we’ll go to Kaikoura and then the junior free for all on Cup Day. “But that will be it; he’ll come home and prepare for the Inters after that.” Stablemate Check In will also head south to race, joining stablemates, Ivana Flybye and Flying Steps, who are already down there. Earlier in the night, one of the stable’s best three-year-olds, Mimi E Coco, resumed with an all-the-way win in the hands of David Butcher. She has classic potential according to Telfer, but will need to be expertly-managed to realise that. “It’s early in the season but she gives you that feel of a horse that will be up to the better fillies’ races later on. “She has a lot to learn though – at the moment she is a lot better in behind. “David was saying she was switching off and needed a horse up beside her to keep her mind on the job.” The name, according to her breeder and part-owner, Scott Plant, was chosen on a whim while he and his wife were on an overseas holiday. “Initially she was going to be called The Last Mach but my wife didn’t like that. “We were talking about in a café in the south of France and on the wall was a sign that said Mimi E Coco. “I said what about that? And she liked it so we went with it.” It’s actually Italian and language experts spoken to by HRNZ suggested it refers to ‘soulmates’ or a couple displaying extreme levels of love for one another.   Old friends combine with Sole Ambition Sole Ambition is one of those horses everyone would like to own. His front-running win on Friday night capped off a consistent run of form for trainer Barry Purdon, who owns the son of Bettor’s Delight with American-based expat Kiwi trainer, Chris Ryder. “I’ve known Chris for as long as I can remember – we got right back to the eighties when he was training here.” Ryder, who owns star trotter Oscar Bonavena with Purdon’s father, Roy, also has ownership interests in Henry Hu, Bad To The Bone and three other unraced horses in the stable. He looks like being the best performer to date out of former champion race mare One Dream, who has been somewhat disappointing at stud. There’s no real story to tell behind the rise of Sole Ambition – just a good, honest horse that keeps getting better, like all the stock of his sire. “He’s really stepped up recently and kept on improving,” said Purdon. Purdon was non-committal on the immediate future for the horse but says, at this stage, sending him to America to race for Ryder was not on the cards. Purdon had a decent night at the office with Thumbs Up clearing maidens and Sunny Glenis getting another win while he also had placings with Henry Hu, Wainui Creek and Mach Shard. The latter was narrowly beaten by Triple Eight again but lost no admirers in a New Zealand record run. “He’s a pretty damn good horse, I think. “We’ve been patient with him and he’s just continually gotten a bit better. “He’ll race here again on the 25th and then go south for the Cup trial and the Cup.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight The addition of a key piece of gear helped James Stormont train his 200th winner, with Sunny Petite at Alexandra Park on Friday night. “She was really good early on and I’ve always had a bit of time for her,” he told HRNZ. “But she would panic and gallop here at Auckland so I’ve really had to try and educate her as I go. “I put the half-hopples on her and they have helped big time.” Sunny Petite had been unplaced in all five runs at Alexandra Park to this point, but had been racing well at Cambridge. Stormont says there is an element of frustration in the fact that trainers have been unable to give their horses workouts at Alexandra Park for the past couple of years, owing to the building development. “It would be nice if we could trial here and I’m hopeful that once the buildings are finished that will be the case again, because it’s so important, especially for the trotters.” Sunny Petite, by Majestic Son, is a granddaughter of one of New Zealand’s greatest ever trotting mares, Pride Of Petite. It’s a family made famous by semi-retired Takanini horseman Snow Weaver, who still breeds from two descendants of the great mare and horses with Stormont, as well as Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis. Stormont will now carefully place Sunny Petite so as not to overexpose her to established and more experienced horses. “It can be cruel to trotters just out of maidens, this handicapping system.” Stormont has driven 1236 winners since kicking off his career in 1982, but he only took up training in 1995. Mr Kiwi floors punters Punters may have been shocked by the upset win of Mr Kiwi in the R60-68 pace, but his co-trainer John Dickie wasn’t. “I couldn’t believe he paid $43. “His trial last Saturday was super; he hit the line hard for third behind Wainui Creek.” It was probably the draw that put punters off – the inside of the second row with hot favourite Wainui Creek and her stablemate, Henry Hu on the front line. But some canny early driving from Dickie’s son, and training partner, Josh, negated that. A power of early speed from noted gate-runners Nanelle Franco and Court On The Edge spread the field out early and that allowed him to extract Mr Kiwi from an early four-markers sit to then challenge for the lead. From there he set a solid clip before whipping home in 55.9 to defy a fast-finishing Henry Hu with Wainui Creek in third. “They’ve gone 2.40 but no one really looked at him, which was quite surprising,” said John. It was the first northern win for Mr Kiwi, who arrived in Auckland from Brett Gray’s Ryal Bush stable at the start of the year with four wins in the bank. Dickie and stable client Steve Waters, a local property developer, joined the former’s longtime supporter, Southland’s Ben Calder, in the ownership. Mr Kiwi’s first Auckland campaign didn’t yield a win from six starts, but the Dickies weren’t panicking. “We didn’t have any issues with him; he was just very tired by the end of it because he’d had a long season.” He’ll go up in grade now and likely have to contend with the better class of horse on display, but for now there isn’t any major concern in the camp. “He’s a good stand start horse so that won’t be a problem.”

By Garrick Knight The most interesting runner at Alexandra Park tonight is without a doubt Millwood Maizie. Anyone watching Trackside last Saturday night might have done a double take when they scanned the fields earlier this week because she raced – and won – at Menangle. “She only flew in to Auckland on Tuesday morning,” said Jamie Gameson, her part owner and new trainer. Gameson is also her old trainer and, while she lines up in his name tonight, he won’t have actually laid a finger on her before the race. “Todd MacFarlane is looking after her; he got up at 4.30 to meet the truck and worked her yesterday for me. “He was pretty happy and said she worked well.” There is a method to Gameson’s madness in starting her over 2700 metres from a stand less than four days after landing from Sydney - bearing in mind she has never had a standing start in 107 career outings. “I want to bring her back up to Auckland at Christmas time for the Queen of Hearts so I thought I would chuck her in and let her have a look at the track. “It’s a big ask but she has been racing horses just as good as any of those ones recently.” He’s right – two starts ago she ran fourth behind millionaire pacer Bling It On in 1.50.2. “And Luke (McCarthy, driver) said she would have run second if she didn’t get held up in the straight.” McCarthy and Craig Cross, who train in Sydney, were the last leg of Millwood Maizie’s three-and-a-half year, three-state tour of duty across the ditch. She had won one race – at Reefton – for Gameson when the decision was made to send her to Victoria as a three-year-old. “It started with a chance meeting of her other owner, John Gould, and Nathan Jack at the Ashburton Harness Jewels the year before (2015). “John was sitting at a table with Nathan at a function the night before and they just got chatting, as John does. “He said he might be interested in sending Nathan a horse one day and six months later we decided to do it with her. “Initially she went to Nathan and Amanda Turnball but then Nathan got in a bit of strife so we sent her up to Brisbane and a good mate of ours in Daren Garrard. “He did an amazing job with her and, even though she had a lot of starts, she ran a truck load of placings.” Once the decision was made to bring her home and serve the full sister to Ohoka Punter, a stopover in Sydney become appealing. “We had to go to Sydney to fly home so we thought we’d go to Luke’s for a few starts. “The first start she drew one and got up in 1.51.4, which was a new lifetime winning mark for her.” After this week’s run, the plan is to target the restricted mares’ race at Addington on Show Day before a return to Auckland for the Queen of Hearts and then the two Addington mares’ features in the late summer, which will be her swansong. A nomination is held for the Inter Dominions, but that clashes with the Queen of Hearts and is most unlikely. “We are going to serve her in November so we can take in those two races at Addington early next year. “Initially we held a booking to Captaintreacherous but at the last minute they said they don’t take them if they’re still racing – they want them to have a 40-day stand down before being served. “So, we’ve gone with Downbytheseaside instead. “I got talking to David Miller when he was driven down here a few years ago and asked him what horse he drives that he would recommend as a future stallion and, without hesitation, he said Downbytheseaside. “At the time he was driving Always B Miki too, so I thought that was a big endorsement.” Bookies have Millwood Maizie at $19 tonight, well adrift of race favourite Mach Shard ($3) and Triple Eight ($3.80).

By Garrick Knight The money was on him at Phar Lap Raceway yesterday and debuting trotter B D Yasothon delivered in style for his many supporters. The four-year-old son of Andover Hall displayed perfect manners in the hands of driver Matt Anderson to lead within half a lap and never give his opponents a look in thereafter. It confirmed the high opinion held of him by his Flaxton trainer Philip Iggo. “He’s got quite a lot of ability, this horse. “He can be a funny wee fellow at the start – he reaches for the bit and plays with his mouth so you can’t just get him to walk up and stand there. “But fortunately, because he’s so well-gaited he will move in to a trot quickly. “And once he’s underway, he’s got the ability to make his own luck.” Iggo and his wife, Martine, race B D Yasothon with his breeder, Brent Smith, who recently moved from North Canterbury to Otautau in Western Southland. “Brent is a very good friend of ours and the ‘B D’ prefix is made up of the B from his name and the D from his late son, Dallas, who died tragically at just eight years’ old. “Yasothon is a town in Bangkok, Thailand, that we once rented a house and stayed at. “BD Khaosan, his half-brother, was named for the same reason.” Next up for will be a junior drivers’ race at Addington on October 18 as Iggo tries to manage his horse to get in to a $25,000 race on New Zealand Cup day in five weeks’ time. “The race for him is a rating 48-60 so if he wins another race that will put him over the limit. “So, we have to look to a junior drivers’ race to keep him within that band.” The win of B D Yasothon continued the brilliant start to the season for Anderson, who sits a clear third on the drivers’ premiership, with 18 wins, behind only Blair Orange and John Dunn. “Matt drove him perfectly,” said Iggo. “I think he thought he had the best horse in the race and got him in to the best position to capitalize. “We are all seeing lately just what a good driver he is.” Anderson has also partnered Iggo’s stable star Bordeaux in three of his four recent trials as he makes a comeback from injury. He’ll keep the drive on race night, which looks like being the $15,000 mobile free for all at Addington next Friday night. “He’s had four runs now and is creeping closer and closer to full fitness. “The shorter trip is not his obvious preference but he’s got to get underway and he has won over the 1950 metres before. “We’ll head to Kaikoura after that. “Of course, we are hoping to avoid Sundees Son and Oscar Bonavena, but I think most are.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight A technique honed over more than 60 years of training horses has helped transform Majestic Sunset, a winner at Phar Lap Raceway in Timaru on Sunday. The four-year-old trotter was a freebie for his 86-year-old Christchurch trainer, Ivan Schwamm, who says he thinks his charge can go right through the grades. “I got him for nothing off Bruce Negus. Bruce bred him, and trained him, but didn’t really like him. “So, he sent him to Bruce Hutton, who put him on the jogging machine for five or six weeks, but he sent then it home saying it was going to take a long time to get him going. “I had a great association with Bruce Negus’ late father, Bob, and that’s what prompted him to offer me the horse. “He said he thought it might come right for me after working down the roadside and he was right.” Schwamm, who turns 87 later this week, says he finds the benefits of training on the roadside similar to that of another common training method. “The straight-line training is just like they do on the beach. I do it on one of the side roads in Springston, on the grass verge. “This horse has actually been quite well-mannered since I got him, he was just very fat and used to blow like hell. “He couldn’t really get around the corners in his first few races so I worked away at that and got him sorted. “But as I’ve worked him down, he’s changed in to a new horse. “I never put him on a track or work him with anyone other horses and he seems to like it that way.: Jimmy Curtin did the driving for Schwamm yesterday and despite sitting parked, he nursed the horse home with expert poise in a close finish. “I’ve known Jimmy since he was a 10-year-old boy. “He’s an excellent horseman and did the right thing by the horse today. “He could have asked him to go at the two furlongs and taken the ‘lick’ out of him, but he never really asked him until short of the line.” Schwamm gifted a half share in Majestic Sunset to Burnham couple, Phil and Ginge Silcock as a gesture for them letting him stable the horse at their property. “They are such nice people to me that I thought it was the right thing to do. “When you get to my age, it’s lovely to have good friends because you look around and many of them aren’t there anymore. “Some have passed away and others just can’t do anything and it gets to the stage that you lose contact with people.” Which is part of the reason Schwamm continues to train horses when most his age are in retirement homes. “It was so great at the races today, the number of people that called out to me, owners, trainers, drivers – many of them I’ve known for years and years. “It’s a fellowship and I love it.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight Every stallion needs a flagship horse in their first crop if they want to join the elite ranks as time wears on. The new stallion game can be a cruel and unforgiving exercise for studs, who take the annual gamble on new sires to try and gather a bigger slice of the ever-dwindling market share. Christchurch’s Nevele R Stud, once the country’s flagship stud farm and nursery, had fallen off the pace in recent years as super sires the likes of Bettor’s Delight and Art Major had boosted their Auckland-based competitors. But like most things, the stud game is cyclical and Nevele R are on their way up the ladder thanks in to part to a little bit of luck. When Ged Mooar and the team at Nevele R secured the frozen semen rights to a new trotting stallion back in 2016, they could not have imagined just what a good move that would turn out to be. The USA-based son of Cantab Hall has since shot to stardom as the father of superstar three-year-old colt Greenshoe, who came from his first crop. “What it marks it more remarkable is that he only had 29 foals in that first crop,” said Mooar, the General Manager at Nevele R. “He was still racing at the time and only covered 40-odd mares. “So, to get a superstar like Greenshoe is quite amazing.” Early last week, the flow-on effects of that were evident when his full brother, Maverick, sold for US$1.1 Million at a Kentucky auction. And Nevele R are now are benefitting too with Father Patrick’s book for this breeding season fully subscribed well in advance. “We started getting calls back in March from a lot of people, a lot of top breeders with good trotting mares. “I must have put the sign up over a month ago that he was full and he’s attracted a wonderful book of mares.” Father Patrick’s first Down Under crop have just turned two and the New Zealand contingent numbers 29 foals, too. Despite the calendar only just ticking over to October, he already has a workout winner and it came from New Zealand’s best stable. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen took the filly, named La Reina Del Sur, for a public hit-out with a stablemate at Rangiora on September 25 and she got home in a 30-second quarter to win. Importantly, she trotted perfectly and did everything right. “That’s in line with everything we have heard from breakers and trainers who have done the early education with the Father Patrick stock,” said Mooar. “Quite a few have said they’re rapt with them and that has been reflected in his book this season. “We’ve been astounded, to be honest, at the interest in him.” And Greenshoe isn’t just a one-off freak, either. Father Patrick’s next crop, juveniles in North America, have been kicking goals too and he is battling it out with the established king of trotting sires, Muscle Hill, at the top of all metric tables there at present. Unfortunately, there are only 12 yearlings in New Zealand this season, but the next crop, foaling down this spring, will number more than 80 while next year’s is expected to be well in to six figures. Trotting buffs will get their chance to buy one though – Mooar says Nevele R and sister company Spreydon Lodge plan on consigning a colt out of the former good mare Hot Pants in the upcoming yearling sales. It wasn’t just Father Patrick doing the job for Nevele R in Kentucky last week – pacing sire Always B Miki also stuck his hand up, his progeny selling incredibly well. Eleven of his stock sold for six-figures at the premium ‘day 1’ sale, including a high price of US$290,000 for a filly. In fact, by all common indicators, he was second only to Somebeachsomewhere in terms of popularity. He’s stood two seasons in New Zealand so far, in a joint collaboration between Nevele R and Alabar Stud, getting just shy of 100 mares both times. But there will be none of the usual ‘third season hangover’ that strikes virtually every stallion – the breeding season before their first crop have been broken in or going through the yearling sales. “He’s going to serve more mares this year than in each of his first two,” said Mooar. “They sold like hot cakes in the USA last week and the feedback has been that he has really left a stamp on his stock. “Really impressive, athletic types with good conformation and that was reflected not only in his American sale results, but in the interest we have been getting down here. “Peter Lagan, from New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred, made a point of telling me that in his recent inspections, he was quite impressed by them” The third strong to the bow for Nevele R as they fight their way back up the stud ladder is Vincent, who is about to embark on his second season at stud, again in a joint deal with Alabar. “He got 260 mares between here and Australia last season, and 150 of them were in New Zealand. “The first foals are dropping now so are we are eagerly anticipating their arrivals. “He’ll serve a nice book again, going by the bookings we have so far.” Recently retired pacing star Ultimate Machete is a new sire for the Stud and already has in excess of 60 bookings. “He’s going ok – it’s never easy for a colonial stallion, but we are happy with the response to him. “He’s impeccably-bred; his brother was last season’s three-year-old of the year and his sister is a Group 1 winner in Perth. “We’re optimistic.” Not just about Ultimate Machete, but the future of the famous nursery, no doubt. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight There are plenty of questions to be answered heading in to tonight’s $22,000 Sires Stakes heat at Cambridge. Local colt Eagle Watch is fresh-up since contesting the Jewels at Addington back in early June but faces the high-calibre Ray Green-trained pair of Copy That and Line Up, and the Robert Dunn’s impressive Mighty Looee. But one, if not both, of Green’s duo have question marks hanging over them and it would be reasonable to think that Eagle Watch could be the benefactor from a preferable gate. But co-trainer Matty White says his horse, too, is not at 100 percent ahead of this crucial race, so punter’s should exercise caution. “The only time I’ve been really happy with any of his three workouts was the last one (last Saturday at Cambridge). “He might just need a bit of racing to get to his peak and I wonder whether a couple of those he faces this week might have the fitness edge on him. “I’m happy enough with him going in to it though and he came through that last workout well.” White says he “would like to think” Eagle Watch can find the markers and trail one of the race’s three favourites, which would set him up nicely for a cosy trip. “He hasn’t got blistering gate speed and he’s never really drawn well enough to be used early, so we will learn a lot more this week.” Line Up, who has a big reputation within the Lincoln Farms camp, has been struggling with the effects of a foot abscess, which burst out of his foot last Wednesday and is believed to be the reason behind his defeat after pacing rough when last produced a fortnight ago. “It could have been brewing for a month and would certainly explain way he galloped out of the gate the other night and put in those funny steps,” Green said on the stable’s website. Green noted yesterday that Line Up had shown vast improvement in the past seven days, but the fact remained he had missed some work. “It’s impossible to say how far down on his best he’ll be but obviously he could be going into the race better.” Copy That, who has herculean when winning at Alexandra Park last time, subsequently won a workout impressively on his home track in Pukekohe last Saturday. But he has shown repeatedly, in both workouts and races, that he has deficiencies in his gait, especially on bends at high speed, and will need a faultless display this time to beat some high-quality opponents. The other leading chance is Mighty Looee, who turned heads with a last-to-first win on September 13, but that was a significantly weaker field than he faces tonight. Bookies opened Copy That a $2.30 favourite, with Mighty Looee and Line Up on the second line at $3.20 while Eagle Watch was on the third line at $16 alongside Cloud Break. White and training partner Mike Berger take three others to the races tonight and he felt the big boy, All Yours, was the stable’s best chance, in a 2700-metre junior drivers’ race. “He’s just so honest and has been running good sectionals lately. “We were a little disappointed last time but he came up with a bruised heel afterwards and that’s behind him now. “He’s quite versatile and the longer trip will definitely suit.” White also gave a lead towards maiden trotter Presidential Jewel in the first race, who he pilots for Roger Villiger. “I quite like her and wouldn’t think she’ll stay a maiden for long. “She’s lovely gaited and the 2700 will suit her as well.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight An inspired plan delivered immediate on-track results when Triple Eight took out the $30,000 Franklin Long Roofing Spring Cup at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Always regarded as a brilliant talent with impressive speed, the big son of American Ideal just had a couple of flaws that he needed to overcome if connections wanted to tackle the best races going forward. “He’s always had a roughness in his gait and, while it will never be perfect, we felt that part of it was because he just wasn’t strong enough,” trainer Steve Telfer told HRNZ post-race. “So, after he ran third in the Uncut Gems at Addington back in June, rather than spell him, we gave him six weeks on the water walker instead. “The result is he came back much bigger and stronger.” It took a canny David Butcher drive to get the win after the horse was four back on the markers with a lap to go. Butcher is the master of the legal push-out shortly after the winning post with a lap to go and he once again pulled it off at the expense of outsider Red Reactor, who was then forced to race three-wide the last lap. Butcher let Triple Eight down over the final two furlongs and he nailed a very brave Mach Shard, who sat parked throughout, in the shadows of the post. So, are we about to see the horse scale the heights of the open class ranks and become a serious threat to the All Stars army? Telfer isn’t getting carried away yet, but he does have ambitious plans. “We’ve mapped out a plan for him and that will include the Inter Dominions, Auckland Cup and then a trip to Aussie in the new year. “I don’t think I’ll be tempted to late nominate for the New Zealand Cup – you just can’t do it all. “To prepare for a big race like that, then return to Auckland for three races in a week, then possibly a final and the Auckland Cup, it’s just too much. “We’ll keep him at home and prepare for a big summer up here – that’s the best option for us.” After only one “soft” trial in the lead up, Telfer expects firm improvement heading forward, with the Holmes D G in a fortnight’s time the next logical aim. “He looked to be getting tired 100 out so I expect he will get a lot of benefit out of it.” Last night’s win was also the first start for a bunch of new Australian owners that purchased a quarter share in Triple Eight over the winter. The group, headed by Victorian commercial breeder Shannon Nixon, now race Triple Eight with his breed, Scott Plant, and Jill and Steve Stockman’s Stonewall Stud. While only finishing sixth, Star Galleria put up a superb performance off his 20-metre handicap to get as close as he did. Trainer/driver Steven Reid was ecstatic post-race. “I’m rapt with that; when they slowed to a 32 quarter that took us out of it, otherwise we might have been a chance of winning. “He’ll come back here in two weeks, over the 2700, a lot fitter horse, and be very hard to beat.” Reid also reported that a scope earlier in the work had cleared the horse of any recurrence of a throat issue that required minor surgery in November of last year. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight It may have said he ran last, but a quiet workout at Cambridge last Saturday told Andrew Neal everything he needed to know ahead of Credit Master’s resumption at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Local spies clocked him home in 56 seconds under a stranglehold and, sure enough, that translated to race night success when he upset hot favourite Lemond six days later in the night’s $23,000 feature trot. “Yeah, it was nice,” said Neal. “And I knew he would improve from it because he needed the run.” Credit Master blasted off the gate to lead and never looked like being headed, the clock stopped in 1.56.9. “I thought he would lead because he’s always shown us good speed. “As it turns out I didn’t really have a choice; he just bolted.” Neal and training partner/wife, Lyn, nominated Credit Master for the Inter Dominions yesterday, believing he is finally in the right head space to deliver on his potential. “We only did it because it’s here and it will help the numbers. “We have no big expectations with him and he will need to continue to improve but tonight was a great start.” The ability has never been in question with the now six-year-old son of Muscles Mass, it’s been his capacity to deal with life that has caused the Neals frustration. “He has mental health issues,” said Neal, seemingly only half-joking. “He worries about everything, especially on race night. “At home he is usually quiet as a lamb, but he gets himself so worried coming to the races. “That’s why we brought his little mate along to for the trip tonight – it helps keep him happy and in a good space.” By coincidence, the little chestnut stablemate, an unqualified three-year-old trotter, has some interesting breeding. “He’s a half-brother to Lemond.” The Neals, who have had a fairly quiet time of it on the racing front over the last 12 months, are about to roll out a plethora of three-year-olds, including four high-quality pacers. “We’ve already had Ideal Agent and Louie The Horse win as two-year-olds last season and they are both back at the workouts stage. “There are two more coming up that are just as good, we think.”   Marshall repays Casey’s faith Having one of the country’s leading owners send you horses is the dream for any young trainer trying to make it in the game. So, when Kyle Marshall produced a quinella at Alexandra Park last night for Canterbury owner Trevor Casey, it’s fair to see he was proud as punch. Casey, who raced champions Lazarus and Stent among many others, sent Cambridge-based Marshall Bettor Sensation and Pembrook Charlie after their previous trainers moved them on. The pair ran one-two in a $15,000 R40-55 mile, Bettor Sensation smoking through a gap late to peg back his smaller stablemate. “I was really happy to get the quinella for Trevor,” said Marshall, who drove Pembrook Charlie. “I got to know him when I was in Australia working for Brent Lilley and Trevor had horses in the stable. “I drove a few of his horses over there and he always said he would send me a horse to train one day. “To have the support of someone like him means a lot to me. “It’s just a shame we didn’t have two sets of the ‘Lone Star’ colours for the photo.” Bettor Sensation has always shown ability, he’s just struggled with getting himself organized early in his races, meaning he’s always had to be driven cold. “We are still working him out and making a few gear changes as we go. “He’s never been able to get going early but he led at the workouts a few weeks ago and there are still a couple of things I think we can do to further improve him.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight A matter of weeks in to her new role, Kimberley Blakemore is enjoying life as forewoman for the Auckland arm of Michael House’s stable. With the guidance of Pukekohe trainer Steven Reid, Blakemore is managing the dozen or so horses House has in the north. “I’m absolutely loving it; it’s nice to be able to run the barn and sort of do my own thing,” Blakemore told HRNZ. “Reidy writes up the board every day and checks in with me on how the horses were that day and it’s all going really well. “We are all working really good as a team and I’m just grateful for being trusted with the responsibility.” Blakemore drove Warloch to victory in a junior drivers’ race a fortnight ago and will hunt her second driving win for her new boss at Alexandra Park tonight. Santanna Mach is a newcomer to the north and is having his first start right-handed, but Blakemore says she cannot foresee any likely issues in the first on the card, another junior drivers’ event. He brings strong Addington form in to the race but has lucked out with a draw on the inside of the second line. “He’s settled in great.” “He’s a lovely big horse and I don’t think right-handed will bother him whatsoever. “I’m just hoping for a bit of speed on early in the race, which will really suit him, but we will need things to go our way from the awkward draw.” Bookies opened Santanna Mach at $12, behind warm favourite Megastar ($2.40), who will be driven by Dylan Ferguson for trainer Robert Dunn. House has a three-strong attack on the night’s R56-67 mile, headed by race favourite Delightful Major, who had been backed in from an opening quote of $3.60 to $3 by Friday night. He made up a stack of ground coming wide in a similar race two weeks ago and Joshua Dickie sticks with the ship this time. But Blakemore is going with stablemate Warloch ($12) from the coveted ace draw while Shillelagh ($26) will need a lot of luck from barrier eight. “I would say Warloch is the best chance as he’s got the handy draw and if he does no work early, I can see him getting over them all at the finish.” Rounding out the team is Final Delight, who came in for a lot of support at the last mile night on September 13 following an impressive workout win in the hands of Reid the Saturday prior. Things didn’t go his way that night, being forced to sit parked in the race won by the exciting Line Up, and Blakemore is expecting a better performance in a modest field tonight. “We are happy with him and he’s drawn this week to get cover and not do it tough which will definitely suit him. “He’s a good chance if things go his way.” Bookies have Final Delight, who will be driven by Zachary Butcher, at $12. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight Inter Dom noms shaping nicely Australian interest in the upcoming Inter Dominion series is strong, according to early nominations received by the Auckland Trotting Club. Racing Manager Regan Cotter says 11 of the 25 pacing nominations received to date are Australian-trained, and there have been indications from connections of a further half-dozen that they are likely to nominate ahead of Monday’s deadline. Among those officially nominated are five from Amanda Turnball’s Sydney stable, two trained by Melbourne’s Craig Demmler and the familiar names San Carlo, Our Uncle Sam, Cruz Bromac and Sicario. Defending champion Tiger Tara, comeback millionaire pacer Bling It On and rising Queensland star Colt Thirty One are all expected to nominated by Monday. Leading trainer Emma Stewart is expected to make a decision over the weekend on a few of her stars, including Shadow Sax and Poster Boy while Kiwi trainer Tim Butt will do the same with Our Field Marshal. In the trotters section, there are already 29 names, including the Australia-trained Kyvalley Blur and Fratellino. At least another six are expected by Monday, including the likes of Tough Monarch, McLovin and Big Jack Hammer. Defending champion Tornado Valley has been ruled out by his trainer, Andy Gath, citing the horse’s dislike for travel. Cotter says while the on-track stuff largely takes care of itself, it’s the off-the-track stuff that is consuming most of his team’s time. “It was always going to come around quicker than we thought and that has sort of been the case. “And for us with 40 other meetings a year, life still goes on, so we’ve been very busy. “The planning for the event is coming along quite well and there are some really exciting things in the pipeline that we hope to announce within the coming weeks.” A massive crowd, possibly the biggest seen in decades, is expected at most of the carnival’s four meetings. “The carnival falls at the same time as Christmas at the Races, which on any given year would see two or three thousand people on course. “Add in all the racing purists and fans that turn up for the sheer fact it’s the Inter Dominions and we are expecting a massive attendance. “We are pretty confident that everything is tracking quite well.”   Retirement for injured trotter Well-performed trotter Heard The Whisper has been retired after fracturing a pedal bone during a race at Alexandra Park last Friday night. Initially disappointed with the run given he didn’t gallop, trainers Jason and Megan Teaz soon realised why he had dropped away from the field down the straight. “As soon as we took the gear off, he was standing on his tip toes, which was unusual,” said Jason Teaz. “Then as we went to walk him away for a wash, he couldn’t put the foot on the ground.” The attending race night vet suspected a fractured pastern and put a special splint on the foot to stabilise it. Heard The Whisper was dropped at a veterinary clinic in Cambridge at 1am, his trainers fearing the worst and hoping for the best. Saturday morning x-rays identified the broken pedal bone and, while far from ideal, it was a best-case scenario. “A broken pedal bone is better news than a broken pastern. “He won’t need surgery, just a bar shoe and being confined to a small yard for a few weeks.” Eventually, the seven-race winner will return to owner Gerald Cayford’s property in North Otago. “Gerald said he will give him a home for life down there in Waikouaiti. “He’s going to put him in a paddock next to his horse and they hope one day to be able to ride him along the beach.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ  

By Garrick Knight Cop that! Brilliant win from unpolished colt He’s far from the finished product, but Copy That showed just why Ray Green rates him as good as stablemate Line Up when recording a sensational win at Alexandra Park on Friday night. He went rough and galloped twice in the 2200-metre event, including at the 400-metre point, but still managed to regather his momentum and storm home to win in the hands of Zachary Butcher. Initial indications were final sectionals of 54.9 and 26.9 coming very wide on the track. Butcher reported to Green as expected – the bends are still an issue, but he’s like a Rolls Royce on the straights. “Zac said it was the corners that he was having trouble with, but once he got round them he was all business,” said Green. The Sires Stakes heat at Cambridge on October 3 is the next aim and then, hopefully, a trip to Christchurch for the $170,000 Final on New Zealand Cup Day. Having won the race in 2009 with Sir Lincoln and run second with King Of Swing two years ago, Green knows the type of horse it takes to be competitive in the Spring feature for three-year-olds. “In my opinion he’s up to the best horses and will be very competitive in a race like that. “That’s the main mission at this point, and it’s a matter of managing him through to there. “We took him to Cambridge last Saturday for a workout and he never put a foot wrong. “He’s possibly better left-handed so that’s a good line, at least with a view to the Sires Stakes.” Copy That was purchased by Green and wife Debbie as a weanling before they on-sold him three months ago to Australian stable clients, Merv and Meg Butterworth, for a handsome profit.   American sale possible for C K Spur Arna Donnelly reckons she might have found the key to training after preparing another winning double. Both Donnelly and stable junior Alicia Harrison spent four days in Samoa to start the week, returning just in time to see both C K Spur and Young Conqueror get the chocolates. “It’s pretty easy, this training business,” she joked shortly after her second success of the night. C K Spur has turned in to a real money machine for his owners, Karen De Jongh-Kennedy and Kevin Foley, and his $25,000 race win took his lifetime stakes over the $120,000. That will soon be boosted further when he earns a promoted win from a recent placing due to a swabbing issue. It means he has shot up the ratings and there has been plenty of interest in him from overseas as a result. “Someone in Perth was keen on buying him but there is also a bit of talk about a sale to America,” said Donnelly. “Nothing has come of it yet, but I was told they were keen to try and get him on a flight next week.” If that doesn’t materialize, Donnelly reckons she might have a crack at one of the country’s two biggest trots. “I know we won’t beat Johnny Dunn’s good horse (Sundees Son), but I reckon he will love the two miles of the Dominion.” Young Conqueror made it two in a row when winning the R53-64 pace earlier in the night in the hands of Scott Phelan. “I’m really pleased for the owner, Robert Symon,” said Donnelly. “He puts a lot in to the game and has been a good supporter of mine.”   Down The Hatch continues dam’s excellent record The brilliant record of broodmare gem Slangevar continued when Down The Hatch cleared maidens for Steve Telfer. The daughter of Mach Three delivered on strong tote support with a commanding all-the-way win in the hands of Benjamin Butcher. Telfer says she’s only really become a racehorse in the last month after battling wayward tendencies as a juvenile. “She was always very lazy and green. “It’s only been in the last month that she has switched on; she’s really come ahead in leaps and bounds. “I was actually a bit surprised Ben led on her, because I wouldn’t even do that at home. “She’s always looking at things and switching off. “But she travelled the whole way, which was great to see.” Down The Hatch is the sixth foal, and fifth winner, out of Slangevar, a one-win mare by Cameleon, following on from First Home (9 wins), Cheers Kathy (14 wins), Prince Of Pops (21 wins) and current stable star for Telfer, Triple Eight (8 wins). “She’s been a wonderful producer,” said Telfer. “And the funny thing is, they have all been different types and different sizes. “Physically, she (Down The Hatch) looks like Triple Eight, but she’s a lot nicer pacer.” The next foal out of Slangevar is a Rock N Roll Heaven two-year-old filly called Little Suzie. “Brent Donnelly broke her in for us and the reports were all good.” Telfer recorded a double on the card, classy mare Ivana Flybye returning to form with a dominant win in the first race on the card, run in an electric 2.38.8 (1.56.1 MR). Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight What a difference a week can make. Eight days ago, John and Joshua Dickie late-scratched their entire team as a precaution against a potential contamination issue. Last night at Alexandra Park, the father-and-son training partnership prepared four winners at Alexandra Park and only a brilliant performance stood between them and five. “It’s been a good turn around and it was nice to get that winning feeling back,” Joshua Dickie told HRNZ. “We had a nice team in and you sort of hope they’ll race well but it never usually works out like that.” The wins of Kay Cee, Bettorstartdreaming, Brydon Earl and Callie’s Delight matched the four winners the pair produced at a meeting in September of 2016. Bettorstartdreaming won the night’s $25,000 main pace, a 2200m standing start, redeeming himself from the tapes after a misstep in the Te Awamutu Cup when last produced. “Cambridge was a disaster and wasn’t really his fault. “He’s a versatile sort of horse and from the front line we had to take advantage if he stepped away.” After settling second, Bettorstartdreaming was pushed back to third so Dickie made a concerted effort for the lead, but eventually settled for the trail behind Kotare Cullen. “I wanted to keep him handy and I knew what he was capable of.” Despite a strong late dig from race favourite The Devils Own, Dickie always had things in control with the New Zealand Cup-nominated pacer. Star pacer Star Galleria made an early error from his 30-metre handicap and was one hundred metres behind the field thereafter, along with Dance Time. Next week’s Spring Cup is firmly on the agenda for Bettorstartdreaming, before the Dickies start to look south. “We really want to get him to the Sales race at Kaikoura and we’ve also nom’d for the Cup. “You’ve got to have goals. “He’s a lovely stayer in the making and will definitely make an open class horse one day. “He’s got the speed and stamina to be a factor in most races.” Dickie says a taxing run back in March spelt a premature end to what was a promising three-year-old campaign. “He worked too hard in the Derby trying to cross Ultimate Sniper and it undid him. “So, we backed off him, turned him out and he has come back a lot stronger. “I definitely think he’ll win a nice race somewhere down the track.” Kay Cee had run four seconds in his last five starts so no-one was begrudging the five-year-old son of Majestic Son a win in the R47-55 trot. But Dickie thinks it might be time to ease up and reset for next year. “He’s had a few issues so has really come a long way from where he was. “We’ll probably just back off him now because there are a couple of things we need to sort out. “He’s fast and does have a bit of stamina. Next year will be his time – I think he’ll make a decent trotter eventually.” All the talk was for West Auckland pacer Cloud Break in the night’s male maiden pace after a super performance over the mile last week. Bookies opened him at $1.50 and never flinched but a lack of ringcraft saw him get bested by the Dickie-trained Brydon Earl in the hands of Zachary Butcher. The five-year-old son of Art Official was the second-last horse bred by the late Bryan Newberry, whose family race him in his memory. He looked handy in five races last season but really showed a nice turn of foot to win his resuming run last night. “He’s been a bit unlucky; he got crook and a few little things haven’t gone his way,” said Dickie. “But his trials have been really good over the last month and I think he’s turned the corner. “Zac said he won well tonight and felt good.” Rounding out a memorable night was Callie’s Delight, who showed too much speed for main rival M T Pockets in the first South of the Bombay series races. “I was pretty confident because her trials had been great and her first up run a Cambridge was good without much luck. “She’s another that has turned the corner and just gotten that little bit stronger. “She has that real high speed and in a field like that, it’s always going to be really potent.” The Paua Diver nearly made it five for the night, but he got monstered late by Copy That, who had to run a sub-55 second half to reel him. “He’s just run in to a good horse on the night, but I was really happy with his run, too.” The Dickies are hoping to capitalise on this kick-starting of their season by rolling out some quality horseflesh in the next few weeks. “We’ve got a couple of nice maidens there, including one that had a couple of starts for ‘Coaster’ Howe up here last season. “There’s also a good bunch of two-year-olds and, while it’s hard to know with any certainty, we are pretty excited about what they’ll do going forward.”

By Garrick Knight After three months on the sidelines, Todd MacFarlane is just happy to be back doing what he loves. The experienced horseman returned to race night driving last week after an extended period of convalescence thanks to a couple of grumpy horses. “I copped a decent kick in the back while out with a jog team,” he told HRNZ. “I had one in the cart and two on the leads and they were fighting with each other. I got caught in the cross-fire.” The result? Some pretty serious injuries. “The main issues were a bruised kidney and a split liver. “It meant two months recovery but for the third month I felt fine and like I could return. “But they wouldn’t give me medical clearance because they felt like it hadn’t given my liver enough time to heal properly. “So, even though I felt alright I had to watch from home.” The worst part, MacFarlane says, was that he was on his own when the incident happened and he had three horses in his control. “I just had to suck it up for a while there and try and get back to the barn.” Any good trainer is only as good the team around them and that more than rung true for MacFarlane, who had to rely heavily on his staff for a fair few weeks. “Luckily I’ve got a good crew and they all did their bit, keeping things going.” MacFarlane has his second night back driving at Alexandra Park this evening and will pilot three horses, including two stable runners. Maiden mare Royal went out very well-supported in her resumption last week off the back of an impressive trial on August 31. But she let her supporters – and MacFarlane – down with a middling effort to finish fourth behind Some Do last week. “She’s no star but I was a little bit disappointed with her last week. “I’m hoping for a bit of improvement this week because if she runs like she did in that trial, she won’t be very far away.” Bookies have let her go this week, opening her at $14, well behind race favourite, Down The Hatch ($1.70), who has drawn the ace for Steve Telfer and Benjamin Butcher. “He went super last time out and will be very hard to beat. “Hopefully we can settle handle and finish in the money.” Recent maiden winner Cyclone S Adams opened at $21 for the R47-55 trot and MacFarlane concedes that he’s still a wee way away from reaching physical maturity. “He’s still very much a work in progress. “I think once mentally and physically he develops, he’ll be a good honest horse. “He’s got a lovely way of going and generally his manners are really good. “But he’s a bit tall and immature and that’s just going to hold him up for now.” MacFarlane expects his race team to ramp up over the next month and is looking forward to the return of stable star Heavyweight Hero, along with a number of promising maidens, including Joshua Richard and Harvey Spector. “Hopefully one or two of them step up; in another month we should have quite a handy team around us.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight Wainui Creek joins Purdon Barry Purdon will roll out his stable’s newest acquisition at the Pukekohe workouts this coming Saturday. And it’s an adversary of his existing stable star, Belle Of Montana. Wainui Creek, twice Group 1 placed in three-year-old fillies’ features last season for Canterbury trainer Richard Aubrey, is now in the north’s most revered stable. “She’s been working great; a pretty decent mare,” said stable foreman Scott Phelan, deputising while Purdon is on holiday in Japan. “We’ll take her to the workouts this Saturday and map out a plan from there.” Also stepping out this weekend will be Purdon’s sole New Zealand Cup hope, Mach Shard. He hasn’t been in public since running third behind Spankem and Turn It Up in both the Taylor Mile and New Zealand Messenger back in April. On The Cards, who raced through until the Harness Jewels in June and won’t be going to the New Zealand Cup, has just started fast work, as has Belle Of Montana. “She looks amazing,” Phelan said of the latter. “She’s come back from her spell in great order. She’s been hoppling a couple of weeks now and is probably a month away from trialing.” Classy trotter retired Group 3 winner Majestic Ali has been retired to stud. Co-trainer Michelle Wallis confirmed the move, saying the now eight-year-old mare could no longer be placed to advantage. “She was a lovely mare, who would probably still be racing if there were mares’ trots. “But the handicapping is too hard on her now.” Majestic Ali, who will be served by Muscle Mass shortly, won eight races and over $117,000, her feature win coming in the 2018 $30,000 Northern Breeders Stakes.   Dominion winner returns Last season’s Dominion Trot winner, Marcoola, reappeared in public at the Ashburton workouts on Tuesday. In the hands of part-owner Clint Ford he defeated three inferior opponents off a 30-metre handicap to win by four lengths. According to Ford, the horse’s fitness is very advanced due to a long preparation. “We gave him a month off after the Rowe Cup and he came back in to work just after the Jewels. “He’s had plenty of work and could easily have raced by now if we wanted.” But it’s the Canterbury Park on October 4 that will be his likely starting point before a trip north. “We could look at Kaikoura with him. “Given the Ford family hails from Kaikoura, the South Bay Trotters Cup is a race I’ve always wanted to win.” A defense of his Dominion crown and a tilt at the Inter Dominions in Auckland are foremost in Ford’s thinking. “But it will be a big test. The good trotting races are really stacking up at present. “It’s great for the public and the punters - no doubt there will be plenty of great racing this season. “I can’t wait to be a part of it.”  Marcoola beating Stylish Duke at the Ashburton workouts

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