Day At The Track
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Riversdale owner Neil ‘Ginger’ Timms experienced the winning feeling on both sides of the Tasman at the weekend when Bigandme won at Gore and a few hours later Afterdinnerspeaker, which Timms bred, recorded his third win on end at Menangle in a career best time of 1-49.9. The only down side to the celebration was that Timms had entered a Captaintreacherous filly out of the dam of Afterdinnerspeaker (Luckisaladytonight) in the Christchurch Sales but she had to be withdrawn. The timing of the win at Menangle would have been perfect otherwise. “The Captaintreacherous got a stone bruise as a foal at the stud and she just flicked a leg out so we’re not going to the sales. You have to go there and be a 100%. She’s a really nice filly. She won’t get on a knee or anything like that and six months down the track that leg will be back to 100%,” said Timms. Timms also has a two year old filly by Somebeachsomewhere with Malcolm Shinn. “She’s just had a Rocknroll Hanover filly and she’s in foal to Sweet Lou.” Luckisaladytonight is a seven win Presidential Ball mare which Timms bought at the 2010 Cullen Breeding Disposal Sales for $30,000. The mare has left a host of winners including Cullen Keefe which won five races for Laurence Hanrahan before heading state side where he’s won another six. The Manipulator is the winner of six while Ladys Are Ideal has won five races in Western Australia. Afterdinnerspeaker which is by Well Said out of Luckisaladytonight was bought as a weanling by Ken Barron and syndicated. He won four races in New Zealand before his owners decided to try their luck in Australian where he’s now trained by Shane and Lauren Tritton after initially being with Tim Butt. Meanwhile Gore winner Bigandme is also out of a Presidential Ball mare in Alta Biannco which Timms purchased in 2006 at the Karaka Yearling Sales. “She was quite small and Bruce Campbell trained her. She was a bit of a daisy clipper.” Her first live foal, Jimmy Nga, qualified as a six year old at Wyndham. He won two races from the Gordon and Colin Lee Wyndham stable before heading to Australia where he’s won another four races. “He went shin sore which is unusual for a pacer so I turned him out. Then he got a quarter crack so I turned him back out again. He was in the paddock for a long time,” said Colin Lee when explaining the reason for the horse’s late start. Colin shared in the ownership of Jimmy Nga with Timms. Timms has had horses with Lee family for close to forty years. Alta Biancco’s second foal was Bigandme. He also qualified late in life - at Balfour in November 2017 as a six year old. “When we sold Jimmy Nga, Timmsie picked a young one out of the paddock to replace him. When he was dropping off the young one he tried to talk me into his older horse (Bigandme). I said I wasn’t interested. He was actually in the Macca Lodge Ready To Run Sale and Ben Waldron ended up with him. I told Ginger I didn’t want him if Ben chucked him out.  He said that he hadn’t, he was just cutting back. Once I’d started working him I rang Ginger and said to him that this horse would be twice the horse of Jimmy Nga.” Yesterday’s win was only Bigandme’s sixth start and second win. “He’s a very hard horse to keep condition on. I mean hard. The hardest I’ve ever had. The trouble was I couldn’t get him eating. You couldn’t work him too hard or give him a hard race because the condition would just drop off him. I killed him that day at Invercargill (10th January) when I was three wide and they went 2-41 (for 2200 metres). That really knocked him but he ate well last night so he might have turned the corner as a seven year old. We’ve tried everything. It’s Hanley Formula that’s kept him going. He’s got a bit of ability.” And in appreciation of the work Colin has put into the horse especially with feed, Timms has offered him a full stake from the race at Gore. “I rang him last night and said “that winning stake - you get the whole lot mate. Don’t worry about splitting it in half.” Timms hasn’t bred from Alta Biannca since 2011. “The people next door wanted a horse to bring the cows in so I gave her to them (laughter). I can get her back at any time to breed from. That’s what normally happens when you give them away, their foals end up winning races.”    Co-incidentally the young horse that Timms dropped off is a three year old gelding by Net Ten EOM out of One Ali, a half-brother to The Bull Pen. Lee quite likes him. “I’m disappointed because he keeps going sore on me. We x-rayed the leg and there seems to be nothing wrong so I said to Ginger we might as well just turn him out.” Laughing, he said “He won’t be there for two years.”   Bruce Stewart

Bettor Ops, Dark Horse and Seaswift Joy have been short-listed for the title of Southland Horse-of-the-Year for the 2016-17 season. The 30th anniversary harness awards dinner will be held on Sunday in Invercargill. With a win in the $40,000 Uncut Gems Classic and third at the Harness Jewels, the Nathan Williamson-trained trotter Dark Horse is favourite for the award, winning six times last season. Southern Country Cups final winner Bettor Ops is trained by Kirk Larsen, while the Canterbury-owned Seaswift Joy had 11 of her 17 starts from the Wyndham stable of Gordon and Colin Lee, winning six. On Wairio Mile day she paced 1:52 when second to Delightful Memphis and was third in the Group Two Southland Oaks.   NZ Harness News http://www.theinformant.co.nz/

Gordon and Colin Lee are closing in on a milestone they didn't consider relevant in the past. The win of Magnate Mara at Invercargill on Saturday was their 15th for the season and took them to within one of the highest seasonal tally of their father Ernest 'Hori' Lee, 16 in the1989-90 term. Both sons played a part in that total with Colin winning two on Scapa Chip, including the group three New Zealand Mares Championship. Gordon's wins were Keyali and French Lustre (three each), Popsicle, Mighty Lustre and Jimmy Dundee (two each), After Match and Rainbow Taurus. Although training in partnership at Wyndham since 1998, winning races hasn't been Gordon and Colin's only priority. The brothers have never failed to get at least one every season but selling, particularly to Australia, has been a big part of their operation. Changes to Harness Racing Australia's import fees put a real dent in that. “We used to get up to three calls a week asking for horses or what we had coming along, not now,” said Gordon, who with Colin was the first trainer of 2013 Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling. Fifteen wins in a season is their best ever and represents one for every six starts. The winning began at Wyndham in November when, following open heart surgery and receipt of a new heart valve, Colin returned to the sulky on raceday to guide Jimmy Nga to victory. Jackofdiamonds, in the hands of Lance Justice on Trans Tasman Drivers Challenge day was next, with Gordon on board for the 13 that followed. The biggest contribution was made by brilliant filly Seaswift Joy who won six times, added a second and three thirds and grossed more than $40,000 from her 11 starts. Of their ten starters, nine were winners. “Lovey Dovey Moment is the only one that raced this season that hasn't won,” said Gordon, “he got a virus and filling in his legs, I'm quite confident he could have won otherwise.” Saturday's winner Magnate Mara, bred and raced by Brian Church and Lee's wife Betty, is the second foal out of Lavish Bromac. Lee reported the unraced mare split a pastern and attempts to fix it unsuccessful. “She would have been okay and this one (Magnate Mara) is not a bad horse.” Mac Henry  

Wyndham harness racing trainers Gordon and Colin Lee are on a roll at the business end of the season. With the big stakes up for grabs at Diamonds Day next Sunday their horses are at the peak of their form and three wins today were led by a stunning win by Seaswift Joy. She went down to the line relatively easily, putting her well and truly in the frame for next Sunday's Group Two Nevele R/ Macca Lodge Southland Oaks Final.  “That’s why we started her today just to tighten her up for next week because she’s going to have to be at her absolute best against those other good fillies. She went huge at Forbury and was doing the best of anything else at the finish. To run a quarter and a half like that was phenominal,” said Gordon Lee who drove the Bettor's Delight filly to win today.  From an outside draw Lee slotted Seaswift Joy into the outside running line. She got a nice drag into the race until the top of the straight before she cruised down the middle of the track to beat Mongolian Storm by half a length. The time for the 2200 metre mobile was 2-41.3.  Next Sunday's Oaks Final is shaping up to be a mouth watering affair with the inform Delightful Memphis, speedy Bonnie Joan and handy types in Ariadne Lavra all capable of figuring in the finish. The race will be run over 2700 metres from a mobile. That should suit Seaswift Joy. Meanwhile a former Southland Oaks Final winner Royal Counsel returned to winning form at Ascot Park today for the Lee brothers. She'd been away from the race track for some time before heading south from Canterbury for the Lees to once again take up the training of the Gotta Go Cullect mare who is now six. Prior to today's return to winning form she'd had two standing start races in the province.  Art Exhibit after winning at Ascot Park - Photo Bruce Stewart  “She didn’t go away good the other day because she trots out into her hopples. But she’s going to have to learn to pace out in that grade. The first run was pretty hard on her because they went that fantastic time. She hadn’t raced for eighteen months. She recovered and after her run in the Winton Cup I knew she was back to her old self,” said Gordon. The Lees have always had a soft spot for the mare and Gordon says they would like to hang onto her for as long as possible.  “They can’t get her in foal so it looks as though all she’s going to be is a racehorse. I don’t think Malcolm will want her back. She’s my old favourite really so I was happy to have her back. I always thought she’d be good enough to win a Country Cups one day. Not this year though.” In the Southland Standardbred Breeders Mobile Pace from barrier seven Lee took her to the front before handing up to favourite Hopes And Dreams. Royal Counsel took the inside passing lane to beat Hopes And Dreams by a neck. The winning time was 2-02.1 for the 1700 metres. “She hasn’t really got high speed but what she has got (speed) she can sustain over a long distance. That’s her forte really.” Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing    

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