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Well known Selwyn pig farmers Pete Molloy and Ray Seebeck have had a succession of nice horses around them over the years and their latest harness racing winner at Timaru today (Sunday 6th July) in Gotta Grunter is no exception. It is never hard to spot their horses at the races as most have a reference to pigs in their name. Ever since their smart racehorse Three Little Pigs 1:59.7 ($55,135) in the nineties, the two pig farmers have had a succession of horses with a "piggish" name. By the son of Christian Cullen, Gotta Go Cullen 1:58.3 ($1,127,567), Gotta Grunter is from the speedy Badlands Hanover mare Sheza Grunter 1:59.8 ($21,482) Starting his career with Spreydon Lodge trainer Steve McRae, Gotta Grunter looked very promising early on, running second at his first three lifetime starts. But from there Gotta Grunter had a few issues and his form fell away. A transfer to the Mark Jones Woodend beach stable followed and he was having his first start for his new trainer when he won today with regular pilot Craig Thornley in the bike. Sent straight to the front from his inside draw, Gotta Grunter was attacked a couple of times mid race but still had enough in reserve to hold on for a deserved success. He paced the 2600 meters mobile in 3:19.6, a mile rate of 2:03.5 with closing sectionals of 58.7 and 29.5. One thing you can be sure of is that this latest win by these two well known characters of harness racing in Canterbury will be celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm at one of the local watering holes tonight. Gotta Grunter Harnesslink media

You have to go back to the 1980s to find when the "Midfrew" tag first surfaced in the harness racing scene in New Zealand. The result of a breeding partnership between the late Bevan Smith and his wife it had some success but nothing really outstanding. With the mares passing to his daughter Rebecca on his death, she along with her husband, John Mooney have refined and improved the breed that Bevan left them to the point where it is one of New Zealand's hottest commercial families. But it has been anything but plain sailing for the Mooneys to get where they are today. Never one to do anything by half, the Mooney’s threw themselves into the harness racing breeding business with a passion but quickly came to realise what an unforgiving industry it can be. Having put a few through the sales with little success, they decided to invest in a couple of "blue blood" mares from the Sakuntala and Regent Guest families with a view to having more success at the sales. While this change was being implemented, one of the horses they had bred from the foundation mare Lu Baker that Bevan had left them was starting to show real promise on the track. Named Lucinda Midfrew, she was a typical Live or Die, possessing both speed and real grit in her races. By the time she was retired to stud she had won eight races and been placed nine times for $52,599 in stakes. Her best win was undoubtedly at Cambridge over 1700 meters where she came from last early to win in style in a 1;56.9 mile rate. At this point the Mooneys decided to concentrate their efforts on the breed that Bevan had left them and the "blue bloods" they had acquired were quickly passed on. Determined to give Lucinda Midfrew every opportunity to prove her worth at stud, they chose Mach Three as her first consort. The resultant foal was the Mach Three filly, Lucasta Midfrew who won twice in a brief career before she was leased by the late Dave Carville to go to his stallion, Ohoka Arizona who was standing his first season at stud. The resultant colt foal was named Eyre Crusher who as a late two year old last season was a very impressive winner at just his second life time start. He was subsequently sold for $100,000 to clients of leading Western Australian trainer, Gary Hall. Lining up for Hall this season as a three year old, he has had three wins and six placings from nine starts including an unlucky second in the West Australian Derby for $75,512 in stakes to date. The next foal from Lucasta Midfrew is a colt by Gotta Go Cullen whom the Mooneys will be offering at next year’s sales and she is back in foal to Christian Cullen.   The second foal from Lucinda Midfrew was the smart Christian Cullen filly in Lulabelle Midfrew who won five races and over $46,000 in stakes. Her first foal at stud was the American Ideal filly, Louisiana Belle who was passed in at this years yearling sale for $26,000. A real looker, she really impressed Neil Hamilton who broke her in and trainer Nigel McGrath was also impressed. The second foal, a colt by Rock N Roll Heaven is also bound for next years sale while the mare is safely back in foal to Bettors Delight. The third foal from Lucinda Midfrew was the Art Major colt in Castellano who unfortunately died while being prepared for the 2008 Ready To Run sale.   The fourth foal from Lucinda Midfrew was the Bettors Delight filly in Lulli Midfrew who has won six races and over $35,000 to date with a winning time of 1:56.8 to her credit.   The fifth foal from Lucinda Midfrew is this years sensational three year olf filly in Libertybelle Midfrew. This daughter of Christian Cullen was a smart two year old winning the $104,500 Caduceus Club Classic from Te Amo Bromac and Venus Serena and she has continued to shine as a three year old. Her run at Ashburton  in the mile against Venus Serena where after being wide early and parked for the remainder of the race yet still stuck on for a close third in 1:52.5 stamped her as a filly of real class. Sold for a hefty six figure sum after that race to clients of West Australian trainer, Mike Reed, she has had five starts for five wins in Western Australia including a stunning win in the West Australian Oaks for stakes of $130,215.   The only regret that the Mooneys have is that Libertybelle Midfrew is not eligible for the Breeders Crown. For some reason even they can't explain, the dam was not nominated that year. It is the only time ever that a mare they have bred has not been nominated for the Breeders Crown. However Sydneysiders may still get to see Libertybelle Midfrew as the long term goal is next seasons Ladyship Stakes.   The sixth foal is another daughter of Christian Cullen  in Lolapaloosa Midfrew who qualified at two recently for Nigel McGrath. Spelled after qualifying, she is expected to quickly make her mark next year at three.    The seventh foal from Lucinda Midfrew is the Rock N Roll Heaven colt in Lipstickonyourcollar who was sold at this years yearling sales to the Strides of Sydney for $95,000. Placed with Tony Herlihy, he has pleased his connections with his progress to date.   The eight foal from Lucinda Midfrew is a colt by Rock N Roll Hanover who is bound for next years sales while Lucinda Midfrew is safely back in foal to Christian Cullen.   It has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for the Mooneys over the years but they must draw a lot of satisfaction from the results they have achieved in the last few years and they can look to the future with enormous confidence with a breed that  just seems to get better by the day.   Harnesslink media

Star trotting filly Majestic Time looks primed and ready for the upcoming trotting features after setting an unofficial New Zealand record at the Ashburton workouts yesterday. Competing against C0 and faster pacers, Majestic Time trotted the 2400 metre journey in a time of 3-03.8, which is actually 1.9 seconds quicker than the official record for a three-year-old trotting filly which is held by Sun Watch. Majestic Time has had three starts for three emphatic wins this time in and looks set to extent her winning streak in next week’s 25,000 New Zealand Trotting Oaks. Another to impress at the trials on Tuesday was Bit Of A Legend, who scored a ½ length victory over Great Northern Derby winner Tiger Tara at Rangiora. The dual Breeders Crown champion, who is coming off the back of a disastrous WA campaign, is set to resume in next week’s Gotta Go Cullen Free-For-All, while stablemate Regulus, who finished third in the same trial, will compete in the 3YO Flying Stakes at the same meeting. In other news, dual New Zealand Cup winning trainer Brendon Hill is set to try his hand in public training. “Robert (Famularo) is going to start selling more of his stock at the Yearling Sales, but he will still have a half dozen nice horses in work with me,” said Hill, who will rent boxes at Famularo's Dancingonmoonlight Farm. “So I am a looking forward to having Robert’s ongoing support as I begin a new chapter and open myself up to the public,” he added. By Mitchell Robertson

A superb drive from one of New Zealand's most promising reinsmen ensured victory for second favourite Democrat Party in tonight's Group Two $80,000 Gotta Go Cullen Young Guns Delightful Lady Classic (1700m mobile) for 2-year-old fillies. Zac Butcher might have started from barrier six with the daughter of American Ideal but soon after found himself in the one-one. "She started real well and it was just a matter of luck really," a modest Butcher said. "She was always travelling well and at the top of the straight I thought she would be hard to beat. She doesn't like to let anything get past her once she hits the front," he added. Democrat Party paced the 1700m mobile in a slick 2:02.77. Mile rate: 1:56.2 and final 800m and 400m sectionals in 58 flat and 29.2 seconds. "She's a lovely filly, but still a bit green with a lot of improving to do. She has a really bright future," Butcher said. Democrat Party is trained by Butcher's boss and Hall-Of-Fame conditioner Barry Purdon. He is owned by her breeders F. J. and Mrs K. V. Price. The bay filly has now won two of her three starts and banked $52,400. Past winners (and times) of the Group Two Delightful Lady Classic for 2yo fillies have been: 2013: Angelina Jolie (David Butcher) 2:04.0; 2012: La Norvic De Milo (James Stormont) 2:04.9; 2011: Precious Rose (Zac Butcher) 2:06.5; 2010: Collectable (Nicole Molander) 2:04.9; 2009: Sixpence (Steve Reid) 2:06.1; 2008: World Of Dreams (Maurice McKendry) 2:05.4; 2007: So Deep (Graeme Harris) 2:06.4. By Duane Ranger (Friday March 7, 2014)    

She may not have the sheer speed of a mare like Adore Me, but Venus Serena has the staying ability to go down as one of the best fillies in New Zealand racing history. That was the opinion I was left under after the Mach Three megastar made mince meat of her rivals in the $125,000 Great Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park tonight. After being caught wide early, driver John Dunn worked Venus Serena forward to wrestle the lead of Rocknroll Arden with just under two laps to go. She then paced even clips in front, before dashing away for a supersonic 7 & ½ length win in a New Zealand fillies record time of 3-18.9, which shaved more than two seconds off the previous 2700m record held by Twist N Twirl. Rockroll Arden, who enjoyed a nice run in the trail, finished in second position, while Rockn Ruby, who edged out Pricillas Girl, was a further 4 and ½ lenghts away in third. Driver John Dunn was understandably astonished by the ease of Venus Serena’s win. “It’s pretty unbelievable how easily she is winning when you consider the times,” said Dunn. “After her two-year-old season I didn’t think she could get any better but she has proved me wrong and continues to step things up a notch,” Dunn enthused. Dunn was also full of praise for his uncle, and Venus Serena’s trainer, Geoff Dunn. “He does a terrific job with a small team and deserves every bit of success that he gets.” Meanwhile, driver Simon Lawson looks poised to get his first taste on big race success during the Auckland Cup carnival after winning both two-year-old events on tonight’s 10-race card. Lawson combined with Ray Green to win the PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales Graduate for colts and geldings with classy two-year-old Chachingchaching, before claiming the sixth heat of the Gotta Go Cullen Young Guns Series with talented filly Unforgiving. Both two-year-olds will compete in Group features on next week’s Auckland Cup night. By Mitchell Robertson

In our prominent harness racing stallion series we have reviewed American Ideal,  Art Major and Bettors Delight so far and today we have produced an in depth review for Christian Cullen Enjoy the read. BREEDING - By the son of Direct Scooter in "In The Pocket". As a stallion In The Pocket has been nothing short of sensational in New Zealand and is responsible for changing the breed in Australia and New Zealand. – becoming NZ’s Champion Sire in both 1998/99 and 2003/04 as well as being the Leading 2YO Sire five times and twice 3YO Sire of the Year. He is the sire of 3 NZ based millionaires and multiple Harness Horses of the Year. His best performers to date include: Changeover p, 1:54.3 $2,426,765 29 wins – G1 NZ Cup, G1 Len Smith Mile,G1 Taylor Mile, G1 NZ Derby, G1 Northern Derby, G1 3YO ABC Final etc…NZ 3YO Colt Pacer of the Year, NZ 5YO & Older Pacer of the Year. Now at stud, Courage Under Fire p, 1:54.2 $1,485,629 41 wins. UNBEATEN in his FIRST 24 starts. Winner of a World Record 6 Derbies. G1 2YO Sires’ Stks Final, G1 3YO Sires’ Stks Final, G1 NZ Derby, G1 GN Derby, G1 AUS Derby, G1 VIC Derby,G1 QLD Derby, G1 NSW Derby, G1 AUS Pacing championship, G1 QLD Pacing Chsp, G1 SA Cup. NZ 2YO Pacer of the Year, NZ & AUS 3YO Pacer of the Year, NZ 4YO Pacer of the Year. Now successful sire.  And of course Christian Cullen who we will detail more below. Christian Cullen is from a very wayward daughter of Bo Scot Blue Chip in Pleasant Franco. What is really notable about the dams pedigree is that it is so dual gaited with the grand dam of Christian Cullen, a half sister to the great Australian trotter in True Roman  (46 wins) RACE RECORD - Plagued by issues most of his racing career, Christian Cullen was a star from the time he stepped on the track. He was such a great looking colt and with ability to match his looks he quickly became a crowd favorite. While he won four from five at two and five from ten at three, it is his four year old career that he is most remembered for. Twelve from twelve says it all with the two highlights being his outstanding win in the NZ Cup and his demolition of a star studded field by 20 meters in the Miracle Mile. All up he faced the starter just 31 times for 22 Wins and 4 placings for $1,249,150 in stakes. AMERICAN STUD RECORD - Stood one season in North America but as was predicted when it was announced he was very poorly patronized with that single crop numbering just 26 live foals which were three year olds in the season just finished. Of that 26 foals 17 have been winners with the best of them being the smart pair Handsoffmycupcake 1:52.1f ($369,325) and Good Day Mate 1:49.3f ($321,483)  and has an average earnings per starter of $55,000.  He also has sixty-five horses who have raced in North America but were bred in NZ. Of those, 63 have won including the top mare Royal Cee Cee 1:49.3f  ($996,432), King Kat Anvil 1:52.4h ($918,191), Mighty Cullen 1:50.2 ($574,945), Classic Cullen 1:50.4 ($451,660), All Tiger 1:49.1s ($401,238), Lightning Raider 1:52.4 ($403,559) to name just a few.  Eligible to race - 91 Winners - 80 Sub 1:50 - 5 Average earnings per starter - $187,328 Total earnings to date - $16,297,512 AUSTRALIAN STUD RECORD.- Has a great record in Australia especially with his fillies. Off the ten highest stake earners bred by Christian Cullen in Australia, seven are fillies. He has produced fillies of the class of Make Mine Cullen 1:53 ($874,178), Keppel Bay 1:58.3 ($416,151), Staccato 1:58.2 ($393,216), Nowuseeme 1:57.2 ($287,234), The Archduchess 1:55.2 ($281,319) and Triliner 1:56.2 ($280,196) while his colts are headed by the likes of Catchmecullen 1:51 ($349,552), Secretagent Cullen 1:51.4 ($334,961) and Jukebox Music 1:53.6 ($261,321). Of his twenty six $100,000 winners in Australia, fifteen are fillies or mares. Foals 3yr old and older - 324 Winners - 158 % of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 48% $100,000 plus - 26 $1,000,000 plus - 0 Average earnings per starter - $48,245 Average earnings per eligible horse - $31,269 Total earnings to date - $10,131,440 NEW ZEALAND STUD RECORD. - Hard to do justice to it really. Like his father In The Pocket he has helped to changed the breed in NZ. Even though he stood at a fee of $25,000 for some of his career he has still covered large books in NZ due to the sustained success his stock have enjoyed on the track. He has produced so many champion fillies and colts that he truly is a world class sire. His oldest crop are 13yr olds and he had just 46 foals born that year for 25 winners including the following; Born Again Christian 1:51.2 ($133,130), Likmesiah ($427,965), Roman Gladiator ($318,022), V For ($208,777), Chris Riley ($306,732) Conte De Christo ($246,703) Dudinka's Star ($106,580) and C C Mee ($101,949). His 12 yr old crop produced 103 foals for 58 winners including the outstanding group headed by Mainland Banner ($684,579), King Cat Anvil ($918,191), Molly Darling ($575,150), Mighty Cullen ($574,945), Classic Cullen ($451,660), Whambam ($407,299), Kamwood Cully ($159,838), Dudinka's Cullen ($316,386), Chesterton ($136,376) River Waltz ($303,837), Supreme Edition ($386,829), Spiritual King ($204,624), Conte Cenovalli ($204,486) and Cullens Reign ($170,806). There is that many good horses that from here on I only want to mention the names. His 11yr old crop left 34 winners from 59 foals born and still left the very fast Pay Me A Christian ($354,770), Cruzee Lass ($99,544), Cyclone Cully ($399,635), The Midnight Owl ($283,630) and Wilson Jay ($147,267). His 10yr old crop of 136 foals produced 72 winners headed by Gotta Go Cullen ($1,173,343), Fergiemack ($230,653), Spicey ($162,014), Charles Bronson ($127,255), Cullens Blue Jean ($289,056), Chausettes Blanche ($329,250), Jimmy Cowan ($210,631), Aloha Christian ($212,358), CC's Lover ($241,306) and Christian Skipper ($189,176). His 9yr old crop  produced 241 foals for 138 winners headed by Kiwi Ingenuity ($491,821), Lizzie Maguire ($421,479), Ohoka Arizona ($273,498), Absolute Magic ($178,981), Benny Mac ($196,936), All Tiger ($401,238), Tact Lizzie ($128,988), Rakarebel ($309,876) and Roman Conqueror ($355,078). His 8yr old crop total was 204 foals with 109 winners headed by Stunin Cullen ($1,015,257), Lauraella ($649,946), Lightning Raider ($403,559), Rona Lorraine ($133,268), Cullens Crown ($320,215), Carolines Cullen ($333,518) and Mercurio ($223,603). His 7yr old crop produced 145 foals for 86 winners headed by Franco Emirate ($326,830), Royal Cee Cee ($996,432), Meridith Maguire ($226,167), Gotta Go Harmony ($205,909), Harrison Maguire ($103,634) and Supremacy ($107,910). His 6yr old crop of 154 foals has left 90 winners including Easy On The Eye ($315,650), Statesman ($306,632), Hands Christian ($263,930), The Muskeg Express ($111,331), Ohoka Texas ($174,342), Mr Hasani ($270,063), Jarcullembra ($207,410) and Empyrean ($121,302) Miss Moonlite ($184,000) and Rupeeno Cullen ($123,415). His 5yr old crop of 154 foals has produced 73 winners including the brilliant Christen Me ($767,324), Western Cullen ($441,159), O'Baby ($333,026), Chancellor Cullen ($363,752), Field Officer ($183,017) and Raging Bull ($115,581). The 4yr old group has 142 foals for 60 winners and already include Alta Christiano ($241,614), Classiesistar ($197,094), Delightful Christian ($327,321), Franco Nelson ($232,880) and his 3yr old crop of 124 foals he has left the promising Locharburn ($107,908), Libertybelle Midfrew ($100,656) and Allblack Stride ($146,466) to date. Several of his sons are being given an opportunity at stud including Stunin Cullen, Gotta Go Cullen and Gotta Go Collect.  Foals 3yr old and older - 1,431 Winners - 758 % of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 52% $100,000 plus - 64 $1,000,000 plus - 2 Average earnings per starter - $29,515 Average earnings per eligible horse - $20,625 Total earnings to date - $29,515,298 His broodmares are already firing with his mares already having left the winners of over the  $3,000,000 mark with Highview Tommy and Ohoka Punter their two best performers to date. POSITIVES - He has that ability to leave that exceptional individual year in and year out.Colt or Filly that can dominate as two and three year olds and still go on to race on the Grand Circuit as older horses. Has not only shown that he can compete with the best American stallions available but in most cases has outperformed them and over a long period of time. NEGATIVES -  His major one for most breeders has been his stud fee but at the end of the day that hasn't stopped them breeding to him in large numbers year after year. Otherwise he is just a great stallion with no major issues. OVERVIEW - A "Local" sire who has not only competed with the best North American Stallions but he has consistently outperformed them. His numbers for a stallion based in NZ are truly staggering. World-wide he has left over 1150 winners who have won over $55,000,000 in stakes. He has given the breeding industry in New Zealand the belief in its own product and set the bar for all that follow. OVERALL RATING 9.5 JC A Sire review - American Ideal A Sire review - Art Major A Stallion review - Bettors Delight Harnesslink has had such positive feedback on our "forgotten sires series" that we are running a series of reviews on our more prominent harness racing sires. As they say in racing you can criticize some ones car, house or wife but never their horse, and that still rings true. As a disclaimer to our next chapter of analysis we look to provide educated opinion based on years of industry knowledge and the truest form of critique backed by statistical data. The above PREVIEWS are set to strip back any sugar coated publicity often associated with Stallion promotion and give you the cold hard facts as JC sees them.  (All statistical data was provided by TrackIt for North American stats and the official organizations of New Zealand and Australia)  And here is "The forgotten sires series" This is a series of stallion reviews that Harnesslink have already completed with a view to sheading some light on some of  the "forgotten"sires in Australasia. Elsu - Redemption awaits McArdle - The quiet achiever Santanna Blue Chip - On the up and up! Major In Art - Big and fast Mr Feelgood - Dual hemisphere champion Pay Me Christian - Blistering speed Monkey Bones - All class Tinted Cloud - Still going strong Real Desire - The real deal Washington VC - Continuing excellence Wetern Ideal - A superstar sire Bacardy Lindy - Blue blood Monarchy - Out of Sundons shadow Artiscape - Frozen semen blues? Dream Vacation - Frozen semen superstar Badlands Hanover - Great value Lis Mara - The quiet achiever Brylin Boyz - Potential fulfilled  

Last Friday night (17th January 2014) was the first race meeting of 2014 for the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club and also the start of the much anticipated $500 Breeders' Bonus initiative. Four bonuses were won on the night. The NZMTC and the NZSBA congratulate the NZSBA members who each won $500: Spreydon Lodge, breeder of Fernleigh Rebel, winner of the Gotta Go Cullen Mobile Pace for three-year-old and older C0 Pacers. Russell and Carolyn Nelson, breeders of Crackaheiny, winner of the Active Electrical Mobile Pace for four-year-old and older C2 to C3 pacers. Alta Breeding Co Ltd (Tony Dickinson), breeder of Alta Jerome, winner of the PGG Wrightson Sale of the Stars three-year-old and older C1 pacers. Gaby and Julie Maghzal, breeders of Lothario, winner of the Hydroflow Trot for three-year-old and older C1 trotters. The $500 is paid to any member of the NZSBA who breeds the winner of a totalisator race at a NZMTC meeting, held at Addington Raceway. Kiely Buttell, NZSBA's Executive Manager said "it is never too late to join the NZSBA. An $89.95 membership fee could give breeders an instant $500 return! " Full terms and conditions are available at www.addington.co.nz or www.harnessracing.co.nz Kiely Buttell, NZ Standardbred Breeders' Assn  

Many might’ve thought that losing two stallions a couple of months out from the new stud season would be a real blow for Wai-Eyre Farm. Especially when one of them was Christian Cullen, and the other was his millionaire son Gotta Go Cullen. But the old saying ‘When one door closes, another opens’ rang true for the leading Canterbury stud farm – so when Pepper Tree Farm came calling, Wai-Eyre’s Darryl Brown was more than happy to join forces with highly-regarded Australian stud. “We’re very excited,” Brown says. “Pepper Tree have got a superb line-up of young stallions. They’re sires which are very popular in Australia and are serving big books over there, and now Rob and Julie Vandyke want to strengthen the presence of those sires on this side of the Tasman as well.” Brown says he was humbled when learning of the numerous reasons why Pepper Tree chose to approach Wai-Eyre Farm – most of which centred around how his organisation is already run, and the professional way that Wai-Eyre portrays itself in the marketplace. “Rob and Julie also liked that we’re independent and a family-owned business,” Brown continued. “They’d heard good feedback about our infrastructure as well, and that we had very efficient client contact/communication procedures in place through our Sales Manager John Robinson and Office Manager Sacha Crawford.” Pepper Tree’s Rob Vandyke echoed Brown’s sentiments. “We wanted a partner in New Zealand that believes in the same philosophies as we do,” Vandyke said. “And also a stud that’s got a vested interest in our stallions. “We think we’ve got some really promising sires moving forward, and it’s great that Darryl and his team do too.” The Pepper Tree additions to Wai-Eyre’s roster are Rock N Roll Heaven, Roll With Joe, Sportswriter and Always A Virgin. Combined with their five existing sires, this now gives the North Canterbury establishment a line-up of nine and far more punch than ever before. The Australian quartet has indeed been popular at their home base, serving nearly 530 mares between them last year alone. And for good reason. Rock N Roll Heaven is by far the best son of Rocknroll Hanover, winning over $2.7million on the track and taking a time of 1.47.6 as a 3-year-old. He’s about to start his third season at stud after covering books of 185 (Aus) and 32 (NZ) during 2012/13 and 215 and 32 the season before. Roll With Joe is the Cam’s Card Shark full-brother to Bettor’s Delight who won over $1.8million on the track and went 1.48.4 as a 3-year-old. He’s heading into his second season after serving 125 and 15 mares last year. Sportswriter is by Artsplace and collected more than $1.5million in his career, taking his fastest time of 1.48.6 as a 3-year-old. His fourth year approaches, having attracted 80 and 18 mares last year on the back of Aussie books of 148 (2011/12) and 214 (2010/11). Always A Virgin is a son of Western Ideal who won over $1.1million on the track and, like all of Pepper Tree’s sires, paced his fastest time (1.48.8) as a 3-year-old. This is also his fourth season at stud but it’s the first time he’s been available to New Zealand breeders, his Australian books being 138, 84 and 143 respectively to date. Brown stressed that even though Wai-Eyre has entered into a new relationship with Pepper Tree Farm, making a commitment to their stallions and becoming their NZ Booking Agent, this new association is simply an addition to what the Farm already offers its hundreds of clients. “Wai-Eyre is still a Semen and Broodmare Base, first and foremost. “Predominantly, over fifty-five percent of the mares we serve on-farm every season are on behalf of other major studs… like Alabar, Woodlands, Pepper Tree and Empire etc. So nothing’s going to change in that regard. “And of course, we’re also a stud with our own stallions as well – Ohoka Arizona, Klondike Kid, Monkey Bones, The Pres and Angus Hall – all of which are starting to do a really good job here. “So, looking forward, it’s a very exciting time for us. “Over the last few years, we’ve stood three pacing stallions which all belong to the same sire line. And if you don’t address such an issue, eventually you end up breeding your clients into a corner and give them no option but to go elsewhere. “This new arrangement with Pepper Tree just opens up the choices for our customers even more.”   By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)  

The only New Zealand-born woman to drive a Group one harness racing winner has hung up her whip in favour of giving 100 per cent to training.

The Franklin Trotting Club's annual yearling parade was held last week at the club's Station Road harness racing track in Pukekohe following its workouts. The one-day event was organised by Paulette Screen and judged by Irvin Behrns, Linda Hamilton and Alec McDonald.

All but one of Wai-Eyre Farm's stallions will be available at the same stud fee as it was last season. The only change lies with the leading Canterbury stud's flagship sire himself, Christian Cullen, who heads into the 2012/13 harness racing season with a $12,000 price tag.

The only woman to have ever driven a Group One winner will leave New Zealand on June 11 for a new harness racing life in New South Wales. Pukekohe-based Nicole Molander will take six horses with her and will be based on Racecourse Road - just two properties down from Menangle Park Raceway.

Harness racing super sire in the making "Bettors Delight" looks set (in the current 2010/2011 breeding season) to challenge his own record of 546 mares that he bred in the 2006/2007 breeding season. That year he bred 345 in New Zealand and 201 in Australia.

Harness racing television personality Justin Le Lievre has been appointed stallion sales manager for the Canterbury based stud - Wai Eyre Farm. The Trackside TV presenter started his new position this week. He will continue to work on television.

Auckland Reactor might be an aggressive speed machine on the race-track but away from the rigours of racing he's also a gentleman who is brilliant with young children and even babies. Just ask Pukekohe horsewoman and proud Mum, Nicole Molander.

Last year's Auckland Cup champion, Gotta Go Cullen has run his last race for South Auckland trainer, Tony Herlihy. The 5-year-old entire, who has won 24 of his 56 starts and $1.1 million in stakes, will now be trained by another harness racing legend, Vic Frost of Queensland.

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