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By Garrick Knight.  Steve Lock really didn’t want to take on Tact Denzel late last year. Until he heard the magic word. “They’ve got to be priced right for me, and that is free,” he quipped after the seven-year-old finally cleared maidens at Gore on Sunday. “I wasn’t that interested because he’d been through a few stables. “He beat my horse Shindal when they qualified at the Balfour trials and that’s really the only reason I agreed to take him. “Bill McDonald had him then, and he sacked him, then I think Rory (McIlwrick) bought him and got sick of him. “After that Brian Norman got him then Matt Saunders had him and he didn’t hang around there for long at all. One start, I think. “And that’s when I got him. “He was free and he had beaten Shindal so I figured there must have been some ability in there somewhere.” There hasn’t been any magic turnaround for Lock – Tact Denzel had placed just twice for him in 28 runs before Sunday’s win in the hands of McIlwrick. “He had been a wee bit of a pain in the butt on the lead so the last couple of weeks I’ve put him in the cart to gallop and it seems to have woken him up. “Rory said that today he was a lot better and more enthusiastic whereas usually he would be trying to scrub him up a lap out.” Lock doesn’t expect Tact Denzel to suddenly start winning with regularity after clearing maidens. “He’s just an ordinary horse; the two times he ran second, things went his way and he got a reasonably handy trip. “And that was the key today – he stepped and got handy in the trail, which was half the battle. “They didn’t go any great time, but he still went faster than the other ones.” The win was the third for the Lock/McIlwrick combination since the latter returned to driving late last season after the best part of a year away from race day driving. “I was short a driver one day and I text Rory and asked him if he would be interested. “He was working for Phil Williamson and happy just doing that but I twisted his arm and I think he’s glad I did. “He said to me, you know, if you hadn’t contacted me, I still wouldn’t be driving. He’s in a good space and was happy with his lot. “But I know he’s loving being back out there driving again. “What I love about Rory is none of the horses come back in with a welt mark.” Lock is the first to admit he’s never had the best winning strike-rate as a trainer because he only gets other trainer’s giveaways, but he’s had five winners this year and is arguably in ‘career best’ form. He admits to being just as excited by the run of stable newcomer Honour Scroll, who ran home well for sixth. “I think I took more enjoyment out of her run than Tact Denzel’s win. “I’m excited by what she could do this season.”   Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

The Ivan Court trained Silk cleared maiden ranks at her sixth start at Gore today. The four year old Sir Lincoln mare has been placed in four of her first five starts and the win was overdue. Court said the mare can be a bit of a handful and she has got keen in some of her previous starts. She’s out of the Bettor’s Delight mare Brunswick which was unplaced in eight starts for Court. He said he was confident he’d get a win both days when he took the mare to Nelson in June, but she was unlucky on both days finishing third and fourth. At her last start at Addington she broke during the score up and missed the start by six lengths before driver Robbie Holmes took her to the lead with a lap to run. She was run down, finishing second by three quarters of a length. Silk winning her first race at Gore today                            - Photo Bruce Stewart Silk is likely to have a short break and be given light cart work to help settle her for her next set of race starts. Court predicts a good future for Silk. He says she’ll be aimed at the $15,000 Ladyship Final which will be held on the Gore track on the 12th October. Court has a Terror To Love gelding out of the mare which he says runs along nicely but is on the small side. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Local mare Elva Jaccka won her fourth race for owners Charlie and Alisa Smaill and trainer Brett Gray. The Tintin In America six year old hadn’t been sighted at early season workouts but Gray said her work during the week indicated she’d perform well today. Elva Jaccka easily                      - Photo Bruce Stewart After the early rush driver Brent Barclay had to settle Elva Jaccka three back on the inside as Star Ruler shot to the lead. At the 350 Barclay was able to move off the inside running line and was up quickly to challenge a tiring Star Ruler. Elva Jaccka just needed encouraging in the run home and Barclay didn’t have to activate the hood. The winning margin was four and three quarters of a length and her time for the 2200 metres of 2-46.6 was the fastest of the day. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Bettor’s Delight gelding Willison cemented his place in the first Nuggets Final when he won the Barclay-Ellis Racing Mobile Pace. From a second row draw driver Sam Ottley settled Willison fourth last on the outside. With just over a lap to run Ottley decided to move forward and he flushed out third favourite Leap Of Faith. Ottley was left three wide when Leap Of Faith got to the lead inside the 600. But he didn’t panic and waited just before straightening up before pulling the ear plugs. The gelding gave plenty to wear down Leap Of Faith and won by a neck. Jones says he’s a typical Bettors Delight: tough. Willison beating Leap Of Faith                  - Photo Bruce Stewart  The three year old is out of Classical Art which won five races here as a three year old for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen before heading to Australia. She won another seven races in Australia before being sent to stud. Willison is her first foal. Jones bought the horse at the Australian Sales and says he’s currently the pick of his three year olds. He’s owned by a host of owners whose names were all crammed into the race book. The first Nuggets Final will be held at the Northern Southland meeting on 5th October and is worth $15,000. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Well bred Spirit Of St Louis qualified nicely at Gore today. The three year old gelding by Sweet Lou is trained by Graeme Anderson and was bred by Trevor Casey who shares in the ownership with some of Anderson’s regular clients including Pauline Gillan, Steve Pulley and Ray Chaklin. That trio also have shares in Eamon Maguire. Spirit Of St Louis is out of the Art Major mare Spirit Of Art whose first foal Dracarys has won ten races in West Australia including the Group Three Two Year Old Gold Bracelet at Gloucester Park. Spirit Of St Louis with Mathew Williamson qualifying at Gore today       - Photo Bruce Stewart   Bruce Stewart

Majestic Rose provided Hilderthorpe trainer Kerry Kelly with her first winner. The Majestic Son mare was having her twenty fourth start today and her second for this season. She was four wide going into the first turn before driver Mathew Williamson took her to the lead. She then handed up to Barham Belle. Williamson took the passing lane when the field turned in and held on to beat a late run from Justan’s Sister. She took the race by a neck. Kelly who first had a license in 1984, bought Majestic Rose from the yearling sales in 2016 for $8,000. “She was my first purchase at the yearling sales and I have no idea why I bought her. I just liked her,” she said.  “I’ve dabbled with horses for donkeys years but we had a house fire and had four young kids so we put the horses on the back burner. Because my husband (Bruce) is now retired we decided to go for it again. We enjoy it.” In the 1980s Kelly worked for Ray Wilkie and Ron Carter at Forbury Park and later for Oamaru trainer Clarrie Woodward. One of her first horses was Casey’s Chance (Jack Chance – Casey Girl). From seventeen starts his best placing was third at Forbury Park in April 1985 when driven by junior driver Ray Faithful. “He (Casey’s Chance) had accidents and only had one good leg.” Majestic Rose’s dam Duchess won once and is out of Sunvette which left the handy trotter Mountbatten – the winner of eight races.  Kelly says Majestic Rose is a flighty mare who has a few tricks. “That’s why I like to stick with one driver. She’s a bit of a problem child at times and you have to be careful when you’re shoeing her. Her favourite trick is rearing up in the air, slamming down on the over check snapping the middle of the harness. She also likes to swing sideways. That’s why she’s got full winkers and a hood on.” Majestic Rose (8) beating Justan's Sister (6)           - Photo Bruce Stewart  Kelly says the mare likes to keep moving while around at the start. “If you stand her still you’re asking for big problems. Any time the starter says ‘right’ or blows his whistle she’ll go in the air.” Kelly currently has five horses in work including Iron Woman which ran seventh today. She’s worked for most of her life on dairy farms while husband Bruce has been a chef. They jog their horses on a small clay track and float them to the Oamaru track which is only 1.5 k’s away for fast work.   Bruce Stewart

“She’s a lovely wee mare who seems to go good on the wet tracks,” said trainer Brett Gray after Born To Boogie won her fifth race at Gore today. The four year old was driven by the country’s leading junior John Morrison who was filling in for a suspended Brent Barclay. Morrison took the Rock N Roll Heaven mare to the front with 2000 metres to run before handing up to Santannas Rocket. Just before the top of the straight Morrison hooked Born To Boogie off the back of Santannas Rocket and she came down the middle of the track to beat him by a length and a quarter with Delightful Deal another length and a quarter back in third. Gray says Born To Boogie’s future may now be in the North Island. The Ryal Bush trainer is slowly getting back to full mobility after Full Noise kicked him in the leg after winning at Winton last Saturday. He says he hasn’t been able to drive fast work for most of the week but is now back in the cart. Full Noise, which ran third today behind Nottingham K Two, will have to wait until tomorrow’s Oamaru meeting before his place at the Harness Jewels is confirmed. Gray said he wasn’t too disappointed with the three year old’s performance today. “It was one of those races. In the past he hasn’t gone so well on the wet tracks. He just got a wee way back today and the wet track just takes the speed out of him.” It wasn’t the fairytale ending for Santanna Rocket’s Southland career. He’s heading to Australia on a 50/50 deal with Robert Morris. The Morris stable have had success with another Santanna Blue Chip gelding James Dean, winning three races with him since December. Meanwhile Robyns Playboy which had to be scratched from the race, is on a course of antibiotics after stablemate Hans Ideal kicked him after work during the week. Stable spokesperson Chris Wilson said it’s hoped that Robyns Playboy will take his place in the Harness Jewels in a fortnight. He said the stable hope to get another run into him before the Jewels after he broke at Winton last Saturday. That misdemeanour was caused by a cut to the mouth. Wilson says Robyns Playboy’s chances of making the Jewels will be known in the next few days. The stable gained some consolation when Swift Robyn won her maiden race and Hans Ideal ran second later in the programme.   Bruce Stewart

Two years ago Fiery Ferret’s harness racing career looked to be over but the Mister Big gelding had other ideas. “We were going to retire him because he had quite sore hocks. The owner Kelvin Reed just had so many other horses. I asked him if I could I have him for my granddaughter as a riding horse and he said that was fine. I put him in the paddock and he hated it so he was back on the jogging frame two weeks later. Kelvin and I went fifty fifty in the horse. He’s won five more races since then,” said co-trainer Jude Knight who drives the gelding in all of his work. Jude trains in partnership with husband Geoff and she says the horse seems to be free of any leg problems. “His legs are better than they’ve ever been. He had weak joints as a two year old. He’s out now for a few months and will be back for the new season.” Knight says there was some confidence in the stable today, as the horse had good wet track form and his warm up indicated to her that he was ready to perform.  “When he was jigging around in the warm up and wouldn’t pace I got confident. When he does that at home it means he wants to get on with the job. Once we got to the lead I was pretty confident.” Driver John Morrison took the six year old straight to the lead and after a few cheap sectionals he went down to the line, beating Groomsman, which trailed him for most to the journey by two and three quarter lengths. “My sister and I booked a trip to Fiji next month. I said to Geoff that I feel so guilty about doing the trip on my own. Now I can pay for it and don’t feel guilty anymore (laugh).” It’s been a great month for Fiery Ferret’s dam Touch Of Rose with three of her progeny winning. The Ideal Touch (American Ideal) won at Invercargill while her older sister Ferritt’s Sister (Bettor’s Delight) won fresh up at Alexandra Park for her new trainer Nicky Chilcott. The mare’s next two foals are colts. One by Art Major, which is a yearling and the other is by He’s Watching.   Meanwhile Nottingham K Two won his second race this season on his home track. Both wins have been in the hands of Southland’s leading junior driver Ellie Barron. Trainer George Orr and Ellie Barron enjoy the win with Nottingham K Two - Photo Bruce Stewart By Bruce Stewart

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

Star Ruler finally got his maiden win at Gore today (Saturday) and co-trainer Geoff Knight was happy about that. The most consistent non-win horse running round in the south, held on to beat Futura Easton by three quarters of a length for Knight, his wife and co-trainer Jude, and the Corner Shop Syndicate. It was a winning ‘double’ as the syndicate is headed by race sponsor Brian Pitcher; the Gore representative for AON Insurance. “We’ve made him the patron of the syndicate because he’s only ever missed one of his horses’ races,” said Geoff. Today was the Washington VC gelding's twenty third start and before today’s win he’d recorded six seconds and five thirds. “He’s a great syndicate horse because he’s run a lot of places and today in a $10,000 maiden he’s got the job done. I’m rapt for the horse because he’s finally won a race.” Hanging on to beat Futura Easton - Photo Bruce Stewart  Star Ruler was driven by Canterbury driver Tim Williams. “Really grateful to Tim because he’s stuck with him all the way through. He liked him because he always tries.” Co-trainer Geoff Knight watching the mobile dispatch with Star Ruler second on the outside and heading to the front - Photo Bruce Stewart. Over the years the Knights have been great advocates of syndicate racing and the Corner Shop Syndicate is one of their oldest groups. “Central Courage Syndicate is the oldest and the Corner Shop Syndicate is the second oldest. They’ve probably been with us for fourteen years. It was called the Corner Shop Syndicate because in Oturehua near Poolburn there’s a new pub that started up. It used to be the old Poolburn Pub and the boys used to say 'let’s go down to the corner shop for a beer on Friday night.” The syndicate have raced a number of horses including Lionels Meddle which won four races for the group and Valhalla which won two races and was placed numerous times. “We’ll look for a junior driver’s race next. He loves the grass so maybe we’ll go to Oamaru while he’s in the zone because the one win horses get preference up there.” Wayne Huddleston, Geoff Knight, Jude Knight, Tim Williams and Brian Pitcher - Photo Bruce Stewart  After years of racing a big team the Knights are looking to scale down their Roxburgh operation to concentrate on race horses rather than young stock. “We’ve got the RD 1 and RD 2 mail runs now so we’ve scaled down and we're only going to work ten to twelve horses. A lot of the younger horses will go south to Nathan Williamson and Craig Ferguson for their early education and some of them may even stay there. We’re just at a time in our lives where we want to spend time with our grandkids and do a few more trips. Working racehorses is quite easy but young ones are a big commitment. Unless you give them a 100% the horses (young ones) need to be somewhere else.” They have five grandchildren – four in New Zealand and one overseas. “We’re heading to Perth in March for my sixtieth birthday. We’re all going to catch up with my brother over there and my sister’s coming over too.” Geoff has always been a forward thinker when it comes to the harness industry and he says the wider harness family needs to help boost the diminishing horse population. “We’re at the crossroads really. Most of the owners that are still in the industry are still breeding but I reckon if every trainer bred one horse it would make a huge difference.” Today’s stake was $10,000 for non-win horses after Southern Harness announced last week that all maiden races were going to carry that stake level. “It’s unbelievable. Southern Harness should be really commended because they’re putting the industry money back into the industry. There’s a few clubs that aren’t.” As a footnote one of the Corner Dairy Syndicate members was course photographer Wayne Huddleston. For this race he had to get Kirsty Adams to take the winning photo. Meanwhile Lady Zara capped off a consistent formline when she came down the middle of the track to win the Hokonui Honda Trot for Winton trainer/driver Alister Kyle. The Pegasus Spur four year old had recorded two thirds prior to today’s race and the win was her first in eight starts. Ellie Barron did the right thing for the Teal Pants Campaign when she won the Gore Town and Country Club Trot on Nottingham K Two. Nottingham K Two on the inside winning for Ellie Barron - Photo Bruce Stewart  Barron is the local Ambassador for the Teal Pants Campaign. The win means Harness Racing New Zealand ($200), Woodlands Stud ($100), Gore HRC ($100) and Southern Harness ($100) donate money to the Australian New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group for help with research into ovarian cancer. Later in the day other Teal drivers Sarah O’Reilly (Bigandme), Kim Butt (Sheeza Sport) and Sheree Tomlinson (Hurricane Banner), added to the fundraiser. A great day for the cause. Another Teal win - Bigandme winning for Sarah O'Reilly - Photo Bruce Stewart    Bruce Stewart

American Ideal gelding Burlington looks to be a horse with plenty of potential judging by his win at Gore today. The Brent White trained three year old was having his first start and won by an impressive four lengths. He was bought by Ross McCutcheon at the 2017 National Yearling Sales in Christchurch for $10,000. McCutcheon originally owned him along with White’s partner Alena Henson. In today’s race, driver Stephen McNally got a nice run through from the second row and was sixth early. With 1000 metres to run Burlington was in front but had to race wide to get there. Coming down the straight having the rein run over his rump was all he needed to beat Mighty George. “We had a trial at Ashburton and came home super and trialled up well at Methven last week so we were quietly confident,” said White. The win was great timing for new owners Kevin and Valerie Schmack who bought 25% shares in Burlington just last week. Burlington winning easily with Stephen McNally                - Photo Bruce Stewart. White has had the gelding since he was a yearling and there’s always been a bit of buyer interest in him. “We got him up and running to sell as a two year old. Terry Chmiel drove him and he trialled awful. We came home and found out that he had a lung infection so we just gave him a spell. He’s a big raw boned bugger so we’ve given him a bit of time. I like all the American Ideals. They’re all laid back. He’s just a lovely natured horse really, that wants to run.” White says Burlington is likely to return for the next Nuggets Final at Invercargill on the 3rd March before looking at the $20,000 Super Nuggets Final at the Northern Southland meeting six days later. “He’ll definitely come down for the Nuggets Final, then we’ll just take it race by race. Three of the owners come from Nelson so they’d dearly love to have him in Nelson in the winter time.” Burlington is out of the Live Or Die mare Last Port Of Call who, as the name suggests, is the last foal of the very good producer Port Medley which received a Broodmare Excellence Award in the 2005-2006 season. She left fifteen foals all of whom raced, and twelve were winners. They included Falcon’s Medley (16 wins) and Lively Medley (20 wins). It’s a family that Southland knows well, with which owner Peter Marshall and former Southland trainer Tony Barron have had lots of success. Meanwhile Whites progressive trotter One Apollo was beaten by a nose by back marker Jen Jaccka in the feature trot of the afternoon. It was Jen Jaccka’s ninth career win.   Bruce Stewart for Southland Harness Racing

If you happened to watch the replay of Mighty Santana’s run in the Wairio Cup, and timed some of the sectionals, you would have backed the John Hay runner today in the Gore Cup. “He went super at Winton. His sectionals were unreal. He didn’t get the best steer by me but he ran 55 (seconds) five and six wide around the bend so I was pretty confident (today) that if he got to the front he’d be hard to beat,” Hay said. That’s the way it turned out in today’s Mataura Licensing Trust sponsored feature. Hay took the Santanna Blue Chip gelding to the front with 2000 metres to run and there he stayed. At the end of the 2700 metre journey he had three quarters of a length to spare on Mr Kiwi. The winning time was 3-24.9. “He’s just a real nice horse. He’s got high speed and a wee bit of toughness too. He was gawking round and looking at everything in front but when the business came he was on the job. He was pricking his ears all the way up the straight and he pulled up a bit.” Mighty Santana (11) winning the Gore Cup from Mr Kiwi (inside) and Bettor Enforce (in tight quarters in the middle) - Photo Bruce Stewart. Mighty Santana has a very strong pedigree with plenty of good male pacers in his bloodlines including Mighty Cullen, Likmesiah and Mister Presley. He was a $10,000 buy at the 2015 sales. “He was a funny bugger to break in but when we took him to Addington first up I said it would take a good maiden to beat him and he sat parked all the way and won.” Hay is now considering races like the Invercargill and Northern Southland Cups. The five year old is part-owned by long-time stable client Peter Cate. “Peter’s in the ownership. He lives just around the corner from me. He lost his wife Jocelyn in the winter so it hasn’t been a good time for him. He had a win yesterday on the West Coast (Son Of A Tiger). He’ll be watching it from home today and the whole family will be there having a wine.” Hay’s no stranger to Southland. He started his career in the province in the early ‘80s. “I started with Jim and Ross Dynes. We didn’t have too many good horses so I moved back to Canterbury and I’ve had lots of good Southland owners since then. Russell Hill was my first ever owner and I didn’t know him from a bar of soap. He was one of the best owners you could ever have and he’s turned out to be a good friend.”   It was the second Gore Cup win for Hay. He won the event in 2012 with Jimmy Johnstone. Meanwhile Coolhand Easton bred and owned by Brian Norman won his second race for Gore trainer Syd Breen. The Breen team is on a bit of a roll at the moment and he's having his best season as a professional trainer. He currently sits on ten wins for the season.   Bruce Stewart

The very talented square gaiter Get Lucky provided one of the highlights of the Gore meeting yesterday when he out-trotted nine rivals into the ground in the $12,000 Gold Chip Final. The result was not only a track and Southland record, it was also a good result for the broodmare Bree which quinellaed the event when That’s The Story finished second. The result was also a quinella for the Williamson brothers Brad (Get Lucky) and Nathan (That’s The Story). Get Lucky showed he was a quality horse in the making last season when he ran second to Enhance Your Calm in the New Zealand Two Year Old Trotting Stakes, beaten only by three quarters of a length. Trainer Alister Black said that as a two year old he showed a few wayward tendencies, but Black has seen him mature. “Probably in his head. As we know he could do things wrong. He was very good in his gait today but he’s still got a bit to learn.” In today’s Stallions Australasia Gold Chip Final he was taken to the lead early on by regular driver Brad Williamson and from there it was game over. “He (Williamson) said he felt super when he let him roll down the back. Half his problem is that he gawks a lot and doesn’t concentrate until you ask him to do a bit. When you do a bit he starts trotting out real nice.” The winning margin was six and three quarter lengths and Black thinks he’s not at his best in a front running role. “He’s probably best driven with a sit. He’s got very high speed saved up for a quarter and he’s shown that.” Today’s winning time of 2-52.8 was a new track and Southland record. The previous record held by Brad’s Kenny was 2-53.3 and set in 2014. Back to the birdcage                                 -   Photo Bruce Stewart  After today’s win, the $12,000 Hanley Formula Orari Challenge Stakes which is a mobile 1850 metres race for three year old trotters at the Geraldine meeting on February 2nd is on the radar. “After that we might leave him up in Christchurch. We may give him a trial round Addington just to see whether he can get round. Then he can come home, then we can go again.” The Hambletonian at the Ashburton track in late February is also on the programme. “I don’t know how much he’s improved but he hasn’t lost any of that ability. We won’t know that until we strike Oscar Bonavena and Enhance You Calm and all of those ones. But he’s another year older.” It was a great result for the sponsors of the race as Get Lucky is by Lucky Chucky is one of their stallions.   Bruce Stewart

The Gore Harness Racing Club have organised a $10,000 Pick 10 Winners competition for their meeting on Thursday 27th December. The competition starts on Race One and is run on a knockout basis so only those who’ve picked the winner of the first race will progress. The competition winner will be the person or persons who pick all ten winners. If there’s more than one winner the prize money will be shared. There’s also a prize of $1,000 for the person who picks the most winners from Race One if the major prize is not won. Entry forms will be in the race book on the day and are limited to one per person. The Club is also putting on a Champagne Brunch from 10am – bookings are essential and during the day Tapas and full dinner menus will be available. The day will also feature live music with John Hellewell and an after race function at the Thomas Green with a Courtesy coach available. The meeting is supported by key sponsor The Mataura Licensing Trust, The Thomas Green Pubic House and Dining Room and Heineken, with all businesses passionate about saving the Gore race track. Pam Norman is the contact for further details. Race one starts at 2:28pm. The main race on the card is the Mataura Licensing Trust Gore Cup; a $14,999 feature for R60 to R110 horses. It’s the second race in the Southern Country Cups Championship and starts at Wairio this weekend, ending on Diamonds Day in late April. The standard 17 points will be awarded to each winner whilst two events (Roxburgh Cup and Waikouaiti Cup) will carry additional points. Points will also be allocated to other placegetters. The Diamonds Day Handicap on April 29thwill carry double points for all placegetters. The winner of the Southern Country Cups Championship will receive $6,000 plus a dress rug while second place will win $2,500 and third $1,500. Full details are available on The HRNZ website. Bruce Stewart

Gore trainer George Orr never lost faith in his trotter Nottingham K Two. On Saturday at Gore most punters wouldn't have given the horse any chance in a field where other horses had higher ratings. Orr wasn't deterred though, especially since the Simon Roydon seven year old had run a close second to Amabede at Ascot Park last weekend.  Driver Hamish Hunter settled Nottingham K Two at third early, before taking him to the front with two laps to run. With just under 1600 metres to go backmarker Grace O'Malley took over ,giving Nottingham K Two the perfect trail. Majestic Man was sitting parked. At the top of the straight in the run to the finish Majestic Man hit the front but Hunter and Nottingham K Two came resolutely up the passing lane to nab the favourite by a head. Nottingham K Two (5) on the inside getting the better of Majestic Man (13) - Photo Bruce Stewart "I thought there were two or three that would be too good for him but he got away well and got into a good trail. I thought when Grace O'Malley went round that we'd be tough and if she could get us to the passing lane he'd do the rest. He does follow speed good and you saw last week in that race at Invercargill that he had nine horses in front of him at the half (finished second)," said Orr. "He's a horse that's got a lot of ability but it's taken a long time to get it out of him and get all the ringcraft together. It's a great thrill. I've never had many trotters. They're a different ballgame and you've just got to take your time. Hopefully now we've turned the corner and we'll go forward from here." He says it's been a long process to get the horse to this point and he was very complimentary of veteran horseman Gary McEwan.  "I had Gary McEwan driving him and they did a lot of training together. If I hadn't had Gary it's hard to know where he would have finished up because he could have had ten drivers and eight could have said he was a mongrel. Hamish Hunter who drove the horse yesterday, has also played a big part in shaping his career.  Nottingham K Two was bred by Orr who purchased his dam Strawb's K Two off his breeder Brian Wastney in 2008. He was unaware of how the mare got her name until he got a phone call one day from a lady selling raffles.   "The raffle was for a centential jubilee for the Nelson or Blenheim Trotting Club. We got talking and she said 'what have you got going?' I said I had a trotter that was only a two year old that had a bit of ability. She asked me what he was by and out of and I told her. The next thing she was laughing on the end of the phone.  "She said 'I actually broke the horse in. I was working for Martin Denton. I think it was him but I won't guarantee that. It got it's name because it climbed the wall of the shed, jumped out of the yards and did everything it could do to get away.' (K2 is the second highest mountain in the world).    In the early part of his career Nottingham K Two showed raw ability but too often he broke and couldn't make up the ground needed to feature in the finish.  "He's done that all along. If you go back two years he was losing 100 metres at the start and just mowing other horses down. That gave me encouragement all the time." Orr also gained a certain amount of satisfaction winning this race (Colin Baynes Memorial) as he and his father spent a lot of time at Baynes Otama property. "Dad (Len Orr) went to Colin Baynes or Alan Jones (Kina Craig) with five or six mares a year. I would have loved Dad to be here now. He hated trotters."   Orr doesn't train too may horses and the win yesterday was only his sixth. One horse he trained that he reckon's never reached it's potential was Nottingham VC. He won two races here and was placed ten other times on fifty one starts. "He was a Cup horse but he broke two legs; one before he got started and it had to have five screws in it. The other one went after six or seven starts. He was a seven year old maiden and every time I took him to the races he was in the money if he was sound. I ended up selling him to Australia."  Orr trains on a small track at Don Collett's old Thoroughbred stud just out of Gore which was named Nottingham Park - hence the Nottingham name.  The win was Nottingham K Two's second in thirty eight starts.  "He's the type of horse that won't win a million dollars. But we'll have a bit of fun with him and I think he'll go on."    Bruce Stewart

Branxholme trainer driver Nathan Williamson has always had a high opinion of Bettor's Delight mare Delightful Deal and yesterday she vindicated his opinion when she beat The Empress in the Jaccka Lodge Ladyship Stakes Final at Gore. This was the four year old's fourth start and she had the draw (1) to work with. When favourite The Empress was taken to the front the perfect scenario fell into place for Williamson.  "Yep it worked out well from the draw. She went out well and we were just tracking the right horse all the way. She had come on a bit after her first up run which you'd have to expect," said Williamson. Delightful Deal qualified last year but the season didn't pan out as well as Williamson had hoped. "It was unfortunate but she got kicked in the back leg. It cost her because we were thinking she was good enough to have a crack at the Southland Oaks series. I'm not saying she was good enough to win it. Marty has been real patient." Owned by Winton plumber Marty Fairbairn, Delightful Deal was down to start her four year old season last month on this track but had to be scratched.  "The morning of the race she was holding her foot off the ground. She had an abcess burst out of her foot. But since then she's been good and it's just a matter of waiting on her." With win number one on the board Williamson is contemplating some bigger goals.  "We might give her another start down here in a fortnight, maybe look at going to Addington and look at the South Of The Waitaki race if she goes well." The win was one of four for Williamson who also won on Wayward Roc, Stay Aboard and Please Shuddup. His brothers Brad and Matty also won races on Mr Handleman (Brad) and Matinee Idol (Matty).  Craig Ferguson also drove two winners; Cool Scooter for Greg Hunter and Bridesdale Robyn for Ross Wilson. It's was Wilson's one hundredth training success. His first was with Mister Majestic at Roxburgh in April 1980.    Bruce Stewart

The final meeting in the Gore Harness Racing Clubs Spring Fling will be held at the Gore Raceway on Saturday. The winners of the colts and geldings and fillies and mares sections will each win $1,000 plus and Cool Down Rug. Horses in the colts and geldings section that are up the leader board and are starting on Saturday are: The Croupier in Race Ten, Matai Jetstar in Race Seven, Balius in Race Nine and Jacks N Jazz in Race Ten. Mares that have good points after two meeting and are in the ‘bonus zone’ are: Grace O’Malley, Ellnbac and Delight My Soul. Points: 1st – 10 points, 2nd – 6 points, 3rd – 3 points, 4th – 2 points, 5th – 1 point (Countback Applies)   Leader Board - Colts and Geldings 16 points – The Croupier 13 points – The Manipulator 11 points – Matai Jetstar 10 points – Stickman, Broadway Banner, Bold Ruler, Franco Santino, Balius, Pyramid Magic, Wolf West, Jacks N Jazz, Stun Gun 9 points  – Doubt Me Not 8 points - Benio Ben 6 points -  Dismara, Pat The Monkey, Matinee Idol, The Bull Pen, Triple VC, Dusky Eyre, Mongolian Machete, Jabali, Mr Kiwi   Leader Board - Fillies and Mares 16 points - Danielle Marie 13 points  – Grace O’Malley 10 points – Ellnbac, Edie Jaccka, Delight My Soul 9 points – Elva Jaccka 6 points – Madison Jane, Grace Burns, Heavens Art   Bruce Stewart

Harness racing sire Changeover produced back to back winners at Gore today(Sunday) when Edie Jaccka and Jacks N Jazz won their respective races. Edie Jackka, which is raced by her breeder Charlie Smaill, had six starts as a three year old last season but trainer Brett Gray said she was always going to improve with age. “She went near enough but was just a little bit weak. We had a few starts and then Charlie chucked her in the paddock. I didn’t realise that Nathan’s one was scratched (Delightful Deal was late scratched in the race because of a foot abcess). It would have been the one to beat so I thought that was pretty cool. It made life easier. She had to do a bit of work and left no excuses for anything else. She’s actually been working super at home,” said Gray. After sitting back early driver Brent Barclay took the four year old mare to the lead with just over a lap to run and she won by a length and a quarter from Heavens Art. Edie Jaccka and Brent Barclay winning at Gore - Photo Bruce Stewart One race later another horse sired by Changeover, Jacks N Jazz won his R47-R49 mobile pace.   Out of the Union Guy mare Surfing Franco, he was bought for $6,000 at the yearling sales by co-trainer Jude Knight. “He was one of the last lots and she felt a bit sorry for him. He was a big dumb bugger, always going to take a bit of time and last year was a good year for him. We kept him on the unruly because he was a bit panicky last season. But by the end of the season we were confident that this year would be a better one for him,” said Geoff Knight, who co-trains the five year old. Craig Ferguson has a firm grip on Jacks N Jazz with a lap to run - Photo Bruce Stewart Jacks n Jazz is named after Geoff’s daughter Jazmin and grandson Jackson. Jasmine’s husband Tony Crofts has a quarter share in the horse, Jude owns a quarter, while the other half share is leased to the Have Fun Syndicate. Driver Craig Ferguson took Jacks N Jazz straight to the lead from barrier three and withstood a number of challenges throughout the 2200 metre journey holding on to beat Triple VC by a head.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing    

Wolf West provided his sire Net Ten EOM with his first New Zealand harness racing winner when he easily won at Gore today. The three year old gelding was bred by Riversdale farmer Neil Timms and is raced by the ten member Cold Coast Syndicate from Balcultha. “Craig Dempster wanted a horse and Wolfy (trainer Tony Stratford) broke him in. We syndicated him and I kept a share. Dexter (Dunn) drove him a two year old race last season and really liked him. He was just a big gangly fella. Paul Pierce really looked after him over the winter,” said Timms, adding that the horse will now have a month off. Driver Tim Williams settled the gelding four back on the outside early in the run. With a lap to go they were in the one one behind favourite Mongolian Spear. Turning in, Williams eased Wolf West out and he ran home nicely down the middle of the track to beat Matinee Idol by a length and a quarter. Wolf West which is named after his trainer, is out of the Son Of Afella mare Ali’s Fella which is also the dam of Ted West (the winner of six races here and another six in Australia) and Sioux West the winner of three in New Zealand and two in Australia. Timms has since given the mare away to Katy Sutherland from Waipunamu. But he has a two year old by Shadyshark Hanover as well as a youngster which is a full sister to Wolf West. Net Ten EOM, a Somebeachsomewhere stallion was retired early in his career because of injury. He has thirty seven foals on the ground in New Zealand but he’s been poorly patronised both here and in North America. “It’s hard up there. He only had a small book in his third year so they decided to put him back into work. As a young horse he fractured his knee a couple times - the first time in the paddock and the second time in a gate. He’s won three more races over there since he returned to the track and has run 1-50 on a half mile track,” said Macca’s Lodge’s Brent McIntyre. Macca Lodge has frozen semen available by the sire. A Net Ten EOM colt that McIntyre is excited about is Sa Fact which is out of Christian Cullen mare One Christian. “He’s just a wee fella but he’s about to come back into work. We quite liked him last year because he was natural at two and wanted to be there.”     Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

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