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.
David Butcher believed Changeover was nearing the peak condition which saw him win the 2008 New Zealand Cup at Addington last November. That was the call immediately after the tough 5-year-old won the sixth heat at the 2009 Watpac Interdominion Pacing Championship on the Gold Coast tonight (Saturday).
Australia made a clean sweep of the four Interdominion pacing heats at the 2009 Championships at Parklands Raceway on the Gold Coast tonight (Saturday) when $15 shot Karloo Mick beat Auckland Reactor by 7.6 metres in the fourth heat.
New Zealand's two best pacers have been the big winners out of a dramatic last-minute change to the Interdominions. The connections of Auckland Reactor and Changeover expected the pair to meet in the opening rounds of heats at the Gold Coast on Saturday night but instead they will contest different heats.
New Zealand's harness racing bookie, Steve Richardson has released the odds for the first round of heats at the 2009 Watpac Interdominion Pacing Championship at Parklands Raceway on the Gold Coast, startiing at 11pm (NZ time) and 8pm local time. Interestingly, championship favourite, Auckland Reactor has drawn four in the final heat and as a result is paying a paltry $1.10 to win the 1609m mobile. In Australia he's paying just $1.08, and $2 to win the grand final on March 28.
New Zealand's harness racing bookie, Steve Richardson has released the odds for the first round of heats at the 2009 Watpac Interdominion Pacing Championship at Parklands Raceway on the Gold Coast, startiing at 11pm (NZ time) and 8pm local time. Interestingly, champiosnhip favourite, Auckland Reactor has drawn four in the final heat and as a result is paying a paltry $1.10 to win the heat.
In two days we will know who is the number one ranked trotter in New Zealand. Will it be recent Interdominion runner-up, One Over Kenny, or Auckland Cup nominee, Stig? Both South Island trained trotters will line up as the favourites from their 40m handicaps in Friday's $20,000 Swiss Deli Handicap.
A week of agistment on the lush Victorian grass has worked wonders for New Zealand Cup winner, Changeover. The Geoff Small trained millionaire couldn't be better as he prepares for the Group One $400,000 Hunter Cup at Moonee Valley on February 7.