Day At The Track
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Harness racing is full of sayings about what what you should or shouldn't do when it comes to buying yearlings at the sales. One of the oldest is never buy a full brother to a champion as lightening very rarely strikes twice in the same place. No one obviously told well known owner and breeder Ian Dobson who pursued the budding champion Locharburn's full brother Cullenburn with a vengeance throughout  his time in the ring at the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale at Christchurch yesterday and was never letting him go at any stage. In the end, Ian had to front up with $160,000 for Cullenburn but you got the feeling from the bidding that the money was inconsequential and Ian just wanted the great looking colt by his own superstar, Christian Cullen in his racing team. With Christian Cullen unable to commercially serve mares anymore, then all colts by him as well bred as Cullenburn, become possible successors if they can star on the track. Cullenburn certainly has the pedigree to be a star on the track. His full brother Locharburn looks the next big thing on the New Zealand harness racing scene if he can stay sound. His dam Suzys Delight was a very smart racemare ($48,186) and a full sister to Ruling V C 1:52 ($312,919) so there are plenty of classy horses close up in the pedigree. When one has a look at Cullenburn in the flesh, you can understand a bit more why Ian went to $160,000 to buy him. Cullenburn is just an absolute bull to look at and appears like a Christian Cullen that is going to just get up and run as a two year old. He looks very strong through the neck and shoulder but doesn't appear to the walking hulk that his full brother is. Trainers have always been split when it comes to the merits or otherwise of full brothers at yearling sales but like he has always done in his time in harness racing, Ian Dobson follows his own instincts in matters like this and has come out on the right side plenty of times in the past. All we can do is wish him good luck and watch Cullenburn's progress over the next two to three years with plenty of interest. Harnesslink Media

After a very active day at Karaka yesterday, John Street of Lincoln Farms was at it again at today’s New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale, purchasing a handful of yearlings including the sales topper. Described by Street as an absolute standout, he secured lot 124, Beaudiene Beaufighta, for $140,000. The pricey colt is a son of Bettor’s Delight out of top producer Beaudiene Babe, making him a half-brother to Harness Jewels winner Beaudiene Bad Babe. He is also a half-brother to capable nine win pacer Guns N Roses and a close relation of the very good Beaudiene Christian (11 wins), who was recently retired. Beaudiene Beaufighta was sold by Dawn and Dave Kennedy of Otautau. The other $100,000 plus lots were Bettor Think Quick, a Bettor’s Delight filly out of Rona Lorraine, who is a Group One winning half-sister to star filly Venus Serena, and Twinkle Bromac, a Rocknroll Hanover filly out of an Artsplace daughter of Tandias Courage. Bettor Think Quick was slammed down to the bid of Rosslands Stud for $105,000, while Twinkle Bromac caught the eye of brilliant judge Mark Purdon, and was secured by him for $100,000 Kerry Hoggart of Rosslands Stud also purchased a grouse Bettor’s Delight half-brother to Georgetown for $87,500. Other Bettor’s Delight colts to sell well included Franco Christiano, Better Than The Best, and G I Joe, while Christian Cullen colt Alpha Styx also fetched top dollar. Franco Christiano was sold to Mr Neumann of ‘Tyre General’ fame, who purchased the colt for $92,500, while Better Than The Best ($75,000) and G I Joe ($82,000) were purchased by the Kennards and the Butterworths, and are both likely to find themselves in the barn of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. However, Mark’s brother Barry got one back on him with the well related Christian Cullen colt Alta Styx, buying him for $87,500. The other $80,000 plus colt of the sale was Highview Joey, a Rock N Roll Heaven half-brother to Highview Tommy, who was knocked down to the bid of Cran Dalgety. Meanwhile, the top trotting lot of the day was Paramount Faith, a Pegasus Spur full-sister to Paramount Geegee and talented two-year-old Paramount Dream. He was purchased by Ian Dobson and will be trained by Colin & Julie DeFilippi. Today’s average was $25,191, with a clearance rate of 77%. However, that clearance rate is expected to rise when selling commences tomorrow. To view full results from the first day of the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale click here. By Mitchell Robertson

A year to the day after the death of the great J W Smolenksi, his namesake Jay Dubb has done him proud, winning his debut in emphatic style at Winton. Purchased out of the barn of Jack’s son Mark Smolenski for very big money by Ian Dobson for trainers Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen, Jay Dubb was sent straight to the front by driver Blair Orange, before dashing away to win, in the memory of Jack, by 2 ¼ lenghts in a time 1-57.7 Jay Dubb, who was co-bred by the man dubbed ‘the horsemen’s horseman’, is a two-year-old son of McArdle out of one of Jack’s favourite mares in Champagne Princess, who was victorious in 12 of her 23 starts. Jay Dubb is now likely to set his sights on the Kindergarten Stakes. Meanwhile, smart filly Goodness Gracious Me set a new 2400 metre track record for fillies when winning in a time of 2-58.1. However, the quickest time of the day went to Return To Sender, who remarkably paced a sub 2-56.0 mile and a half for the second time in just six days. By Mitchell Robertson

After driving his 1st winner for the Dunn stable at the end of December, Oamaru reinsman Matty Williamson is now three from three after today's Wyndham meeting. He again combined with Winton mile winner Cullen's Mercy as well as 3yr old Mach Three gelding Return To Sender. Return To Sender showed the benefits of a recent northern sojourn, dominating a handy C1 field in a great staying run after breezing throughout. "I was going to go forward early," reflected Willamson, "but there was a heap of speed inside so I bailed out." After heading towards the lead at the 1600m, it was clear this wasn't up for grabs, so a parked run was as good as it was going to get. After pressuring leader Better Buy It from the 600m, Return To Sender charged to the lead at the top of the straight before holding strongly from the late sweepers. Even more notable about this run was that the time of 2.55.1 was a new track record, having taken 0.6 seconds off the previous record set by his former stablemate Hurricane Bromac. "Yeah I knew we were running along," said Matty, "he's turned into quite a tough little bugger." This was the horse's third win from 19 starts for owner Ian Dobson and he has earned $49,625 in stakes after today's run. He looks sure to take further scalps at short notice as only a C2 assessed horse. The second win for Williamson came with the Ray Reekie owned Cullen's Mercy who was back in the south running in another heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series. "She didn't have the speed of Clark's one (Still Laughin) early on, but I was able to get around and to the lead pretty easily," said Matty. "She was always travelling and to be honest she won a lot easier than what the margin suggests. She's going great guns." Cullen's Mercy paced the full trip in 1.55.2, home in 800m 56.2 and 400m 26.9. No doubt she will look to spend more time in the deep south over the next few months. By Mike Drury (Courtesy of ROBERT DUNN RACING)

Sent south for an easier assignment away from cup week, Hurricane Bromac delivered in style, recording an 8.5 length victory and a winning time of 2.55.7 for the 2400m at Wyndham today. After crossing easily to lead from his wide barrier, Hurricane Bromac was always travelling for driver Dexter Dunn. Allowed to slide from the 600m, he immediately had all others off the bit and went to the line an empahtic winner, recording closing sectionals of 800 56.1 and 400m 28. This was the Christian Cullen 5yr old's 9th win from just 27 starts for owner Ian Dobson. It is likely he will remain down south for next Sunday's Wyndham meeting.   *Hurricane Bromac's time of 2:55.7 set a new track record at Wydham and was just .3 of a second outside of Bettor Brigaider's 2400m mobile all-comers New Zealand record By Mike Drury (Courtesy of Robert Dunn Racing)

On a night that was designated to showcase the talent of tomorrow, it was fitting that one of the "good old guys" of the game in Ian Dobson, who celebrated his 80th birthday during the week, was back in the birdcage on two occasions. Ian has been a long-time stable client and his connection with Robert was highlighted with the victory of Mainland Banner in the 2005 New Zealand Cup. He continues to be a great supporter of the stable and of harness racing in general. The first winner for Ian was his 3yr old colt Return To Sender, by Mach Three out of Mainland Banner.  While this colt had raced against the best at two, he was still an 11 start maiden going into tonight's race having recorded two 2nds and four 3rds in his first campaign, including 2 placings at Group Three level. His resuming run last week was a solid run and clearly readied him well for tonight's contest. Drawn out a nine, Dexter threw caution to the wind early on crossing easily to lead after 200m. Having assumed the pacemaking duties, Dexter rated the colt to perfection. Running home his last 800m in 58.3 and 400 in 27.6, he recorded an overall time of 3.15.9, winning comfortably by 3 lengths from his very unlucky stablemate Nikola who was late getting clear for John. This was a very encouraging performance and may be enough to convince connections to have a crack at next Friday's Sires Stakes heat. A few races later and the familiar lime green colours were again seen to the fore. Blazin N Cullen showed how far he has come this season as a racehorse with a narrow, but emphatic nose victory over the 1950m. A horse that needed to be driven a little "pretty" last season, he has shown that he can now tough it out as good as any.  After beginning well from a nice draw, John was obliged to sit in the breeze from the 1400m as the favourite Pass Them By took the lead and dictated. From the 800m it was race on and the "Blaze" continued to serve it up to the favourite. A mighty duel ensued well into the home straight, before Comply Or Die joined in at the 100m with the cold shot at them. Not to be denied though, John got the best out of his guy, in a driving nose, nose finish. The closing sectionals of 800m 56.0 and 400m in 26.0, add further weight to the quality of the performance. The overall time of 2.21.8 was very good on a blustery night. This was Blazin N Cullen's 8th win from 31 starts, for stake-earnings just under $70,000. He looks set for a very competitive campaign over cup week. Lauramegan to the fore again It was the "Gunman", Jason Thomas, who was again in the birdcage after a cool drive on stable runner Lauramegan in the boys' race. A convincing winner fresh up last week over the mile, Lauramegan had drawn awkwardly out wide this week. After being allowed to slide forward early, Jason allowed the 4yr old Tinted Cloud mare time to find her feet, content to sit outside the pacemaking Crackapaca. Things got a bit more serious from the 800m as the mare was allowed to slide forward and apply some pressure. She had mastered the pacemaker on the turn and weary of the early work she had done, Jason really let her down. While the margin was fast being eroded over the last 200m, she stuck to the task gamely winning by 3/4 length over Dream Gal. This was the mare's 5th win from just 14 starts for owners Clive and Rona McKay. She looks a lot stronger mare this campaign and looks sure to quickly add to this tally. For Jason this was his 4th winner for the season from just 17 drives. He sits 3rd in the Junior Drivers' premiership with an impressive UDR of 0.3137.   By Mike Drury (Courtesy of ROBERT DUNN RACING)     

The dedicated harness racing radio program “Harness Review” a recipient of numerous awards, will celebrate 20 years of continuous broadcasting at 979fm this October. Initiated by the Metropolitan & Country Harness Racing Association (MACHRA) - the oldest kindred body associated with the sport in Victoria to promote harness racing in general, Harness Review with hosts Len Baker and Roger Meulan first went to air as an experimental half hour program on Community Station Bulla fm at 6-30pm one Sunday in August 1993 with Chris Alford and David Miles as special guests, before being approached by what was then Melton fm with a request to transfer the program to the Melton studios. Following a short term presentation at Bulla, Harness Review then successfully commenced at Melton fm (now 979fm) as a half hour weekly program, before in time being extended to one hour, then an hour and a half, before extending again to its present two hour format. Produced and hosted by Melbourne Harness Racing Media personality Len Baker since first going to air, Harness Review had had numerous co-hosts over the years including Roger Meulan, Jeffrey Hurley, Bob Turnbull, Dr Mervyn Williamson and Dean Lewis, with present co-hosts Clinton Welsh, Alexandra Hurley and Brian Dobson alternating each week. Clinton in particular has been a stalwart of the program. The program has conducted over 8000 interviews with owners, trainers, drivers, members of the media and harness racing officialdom throughout the world since its inception. Heard every Monday between 8-00 and 10-00pm over the airwaves of 979fm from their Victoria University based studio in Melton and through the world wide web at, Harness Review features a four state review of the previous week’s interstate racing with regular presenters Tony Lawrence (S-A), Matt Robertson (Tas), Craig Rail (Q’land) and Robbie Dewar (W-A), plus an occasional NSW review/preview courtesy of Fred Hastings. Usually four to five additional guests take part in the program each week. Essentially a talk back program full of news, views, interviews and regular competitions, Harness Review is indebted to 979fm for their continued support of the program. For further information – contact Len Baker (0401-679745                     or Alexandra Hurley (0411-282394

Nevele R Stud, in conjunction with Ian Dobson, is thrilled to announce that champion stallion Christian Cullen and exciting young sire Gotta Go Cullen are to stand at Nevele R in the 2013-14 season.

Fresh off the back of a successful weekend on the West Coast, Robert & John Dunn continued their fine run of form winning four races at tonight's (Friday March 15) harness racing meeting at Addington

When Yankee Dream arrived at Perth airport on Friday she was effectively returning home as her dam Acropolis raced in this State more than a decade ago.

It came as no surprise that Blazin N Cullen won at Christchurch's Addington Raceway in New Zealand last Friday (July 20) night. The 2-year-old colt has rich maternal bloodlines, so much so his close harness racing rellies have been some of North America's top pacers and stallions.

New Zealand harness racing was given a vote of confidence with the first of the three day PGG Wrightson Sales of the Stars getting off to a flying start in Christchurch today (Monday March 5).

The late Falcon Seelster could have been well proud of one of his many harness racing sons yesterday (Boxing Day) after Falcon Crown won the Westport Cup at Richmond Park in Westport.

It was a buyers market today (Thursday October 6) on Day Four of the of the five-day 2011 Lexington Yearling Sale being held at harness racing's Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Lexington, Kentucky from Monday October 3-7.

High profile harness racing entrepreneur Ian Dobson received solid support from buyers today (Sunday) as 25 broodmares and 12 yearlings offered up by Cullen Breeding went under the hammer at Addington Raceway. A 100% clearance rate and a turnover of $732,000 was bolstered by the sale of former New Zealand Cup winner and superstar racemare Mainland Banner.

While all sorts of rumours have abounded about the reason for the sale of his 25 broodmares and1 2 just turned yearlings, harness racing owner and breder, Ian Dobson is categorical that this is nothing else than a change of direction at his time in life.

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