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The lift in demand for the straight-out trotter has been reflected in the results achieved on Day 1 of selling at NZB’s National Yearling Sale in Christchurch, with the aggregate, average and median figures exceeding that of last year’s result. “There has been a tremendous development of the stand-alone trotter and for the turnover to break the million-dollar mark is a great achievement,” commented NZB Standardbred Manager Peter Lagan. “It’s been great to experience another lift with the average reaching over $30,000, reinforcing that the trotter has really become quite a commercial product.” With 40 lots sold this afternoon, the aggregate surpassed the seven-figure mark to close at $1,203,500 (up 26% on 2018). The average rose to $30,088 (up 16% on 2018), the median settled at $21,500, while the clearance rate was a strong 83%. Seven lots sold for $50,000 or more with the highest-priced yearling fetching $105,000. The Love You colt, King of Love, was offered by Mansfield Farm as Lot 192 with local trainer Greg Hope the winning bidder. “We’ve got a Love You filly at home that we are in raptures about and we couldn’t resist having a full blood brother to that,” commented leading buyer Hope who spent an aggregate of $140,000 for two lots. Champion European sire Love You topped both the leading sire table by aggregate and average (three or more sold) having sold 10 lots for $403,500 in receipts, and a healthy average of $40,350. Jim Connelly was active at the Christchurch Sale after making his presence felt in Auckland. Purchasing under his KPC Racing banner, Connelly secured two trotting yearlings today for a total spend of $130,000. Selling six lots for a total trade of $163,000, Ripple Creek were the leading vendors by aggregate with their results bolstered by a Father Patrick colt (Lot 156) who sold for $50,000. Studholme Bloodstock were the leading sire by average (three or more sold) having sold three lots at an average of $42,333, including a Muscle Hill filly (Lot 158) who made $65,000. “It was a wonderful result for the farm,” commented Studholme Bloodstock’s Brian West. “I’ve been in and out of the trotters for nearly three decades, and once I had spent some time in Europe, I came home convinced that we should start investing in good trotting blood – simply because we can access the best trotting sires in the world.” The Christchurch Sale continues tomorrow with Lot 196 to Lot 401 going under the hammer from 11.00am. All horses purchased at the National Yearling Sale are eligible for the NZB Standardbred Harness Million Series with approximately $1 million in prizemoney for graduates. To make enquiries about any Passed Lots, contact Cam Bray on +64 21 737 199. Read more....   Reprinted with permission of NZB Standardbred

THE Bathurst Harness Racing Club played host to coaching staff and players from the Panthers and St Pats Rugby League Football Clubs on Sunday afternoon. Formerly known as Group 10 Day, the meeting was very entertaining both on and off the race track with the highlight on the 10-race program being the Group 10 Rugby League Cup. Run over the 2260 metre journey, the small field didn’t disappoint as the fireworks went on from the outset. Bernie Hewitt was able to fire royally bred mare Make Mine Heaven ($2.50) out of gate three to cross the second elect Coolie Kid ($4.60) who was the likely leader as he had drawn inside the favourite. But after just 500 metres, driver Mitch Turnbull was having no part in allowing Hewitt to dictate terms and he came off the pegs to challenge strongly and take up the running. From there, Turnbull was taking no prisoners as he reeled off sub 30 second quarters. Leaving the back, Hewitt moved off Coolie Kid’s back to challenge and it was clearly evident that the leader was a spent force. Coolie Kid tried in vain to raise another effort but at the top of the lane, Make Mine Heaven sailed on by and Hewitt surged the mare to the line, scoring convincingly by almost 16 metres to post a 1.55-mile rate. Stablemate, Royal Story ($5, Scott Hewitt) who had sat back at the tail of the field for most of the trip got to the line strongly to finish second while Karloo Damajor ($15, Mat Rue) was aided by a soft run on the pegs and snuck into third just ahead of the tiring Coolie Kid. In his post-race interview, Bernie Hewitt said he was pleased with where the daughter of champion racemare Make Mine Cullen and Rock N Roll Heaven was at in her preparation and said that he would head back to Menangle with her on Saturday night. Make Mine Heaven has now raced on 28 occasions, winning eight races and placing six times, amassing more than $73,000 along the way. Sydney trainer, driver Michael Muscat took the honours on Sunday with a double aboard Ferdinand in the Ben Flick Memorial and Delilaah in the Bathurst Panthers Under 18’s League Tag Pace. Ferdinand ($1.85) was brave in his win as he worked forward early from his wide draw to eventually find the death chair and he simply proved far superior, going on the score by almost five metres in a 1.55.7-mile rating. Delilaah was returning to Bathurst for the first time since taking out the Star Trek Final back in November and the $2.25 favourite didn’t let her supporters down, leading throughout and cruising to victory with five and a half metres to spare. She posted a smart time of 1.55.2 in defeating Im Cool Harry (Nathan Xuereb). Third placed Misterfreeze (Tom Pay) was having his first run for the Gemma and Mat Rue camp and is one to put down in the black book as he flooded home from near last and appeared to be a touch unlucky. Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s next meeting is a midweek (Wednesday) fixture on February 27 where the feature race will be the $10,000 HRNSW Rewards Series Final. Craig Dumesny

Want to walk the Red Carpet at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) annual Dan Patch Awards dinner at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla. on Sunday night, Feb. 24? An expected crowd of more than 300 will have the chance, but so too do those who can't make the trip. For the second year in row, well-known harness racing personalities Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder will be walking the Red Carpet, sponsored by Southwind Frank Partners, and broadcasting live on their Facebook pages. The Facebook Live shows will begin at 6 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m., when the awards dinner will commence. "If you can't make the banquet we are going to bring the party to you!" said Wilder. "And it's going to be some party!" Heather Vitale's Facebook page can be found at facebook.com/PacinHeather. Heather Wilder's Facebook page can be found at facebook.com/heather.k.wilder. Vitale has hosted two popular television shows: Post Time and PA Harness Week. In addition to her local weekly productions, the charismatic personality has covered the sport nationally on espn2, CBSSN and MAV-TV. Vitale loves communicating with Standardbred enthusiasts around the world via social media and her unconventional interviews with a "when in doubt, add glitter" attitude has brought a unique sparkle to the sport and grabbed the attention of new fans. Wilder is currently known for her handling talent management for the Delaware County Fair during the live TV broadcast of the Little Brown Jug. While working as public relations and marketing director for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association she became a pioneer of reporting on racing on Facebook Live and coordinated the promotion of countless on-track events. She was the 2013 recipient of USHWA's Lew Barasch Memorial Breakthrough Award. Sponsored by Crawford Farms and Crazy Wow, the entire awards dinner, hosted by Roger Huston and Jason Settlemoir, will be broadcast live on the USHWA Facebook page and available on the U.S. Trotting Association's YouTube page the following day, Monday, Feb. 25. From the United States Harness Writers Association  

With the 2019 National Yearling Sale kicking off, we take a look at the strength of the New Zealand standardbred and their performance in the elite harness racing races throughout Australasia. Like any sport, the end goal is to take top honours, and these powerful pacers and trotters that hail from New Zealand are doing just that for their breeders, trainers and owners alike. Like any sport, the end goal is to take top honours, and these powerful pacers and trotters that hail from New Zealand are doing just that for their breeders, trainers and owners alike.      

The lift in demand for the straight-out trotter has been reflected in the results achieved on Day 1 of selling at the harness racing NZB’s National Yearling Sale in Christchurch, with the aggregate, average and median figures exceeding that of last year’s result. “There has been a tremendous development of the stand-alone trotter and for the turnover to break the million-dollar mark is a great achievement,” commented NZB Standardbred Manager Peter Lagan. “It’s been great to experience another lift with the average reaching over $30,000, reinforcing that the trotter has really become quite a commercial product.” With 40 lots sold this afternoon, the aggregate surpassed the seven-figure mark to close at $1,203,500 (up 26% on 2018). The average rose to $30,088 (up 16% on 2018), the median settled at $21,500, while the clearance rate was a strong 83%. Seven lots sold for $50,000 or more with the highest-priced yearling fetching $105,000. The Love You colt, King of Love, was offered by Mansfield Farm as Lot 192 with local trainer Greg Hope the winning bidder. “We’ve got a Love You filly at home that we are in raptures about and we couldn’t resist having a full blood brother to that,” commented leading buyer Hope who spent an aggregate of $140,000 for two lots. Champion European sire Love You topped both the leading sire table by aggregate and average (three or more sold) having sold 10 lots for $403,500 in receipts, and a healthy average of $40,350. Jim Connelly was active at the Christchurch Sale after making his presence felt in Auckland. Purchasing under his KPC Racing banner, Connelly secured two trotting yearlings today for a total spend of $130,000. Selling six lots for a total trade of $163,000, Ripple Creek were the leading vendors by aggregate with their results bolstered by a Father Patrick colt (Lot 156) who sold for $50,000. Studholme Bloodstock were the leading sire by average (three or more sold) having sold three lots at an average of $42,333, including a Muscle Hill filly (Lot 158) who made $65,000. “It was a wonderful result for the farm,” commented Studholme Bloodstock’s Brian West. “I’ve been in and out of the trotters for nearly three decades, and once I had spent some time in Europe, I came home convinced that we should start investing in good trotting blood – simply because we can access the best trotting sires in the world.” The Christchurch Sale continues tomorrow with Lot 196 to Lot 401 going under the hammer from 11.00am. All horses purchased at the National Yearling Sale are eligible for the NZB Standardbred Harness Million Series with approximately $1 million in prizemoney for graduates. To make enquiries about any Passed Lots, contact Cam Bray on +64 21 737 199.   2019 National Yearling Sale Statistics - Christchurch Sale Day 1   2019 Trotting Sale Aggregate $1,203,500 Average $30,088 Median $21,500 Clearance 83% Catalogued 50 Sold 40 Top Price $105,000 Lot 192 Sassy And Sweet (B.C.) Love You - Diedre's Jewel   Top Lots Lot Type Breeding Vendor Purchaser Location Price 192 B.C Love You / Diedre's Jewel Mansfield Farm Mr G Hope Canterbury $105,000 176 Ch.C Love You / Sun Mist M. Caig E & M Stride New South Wales $90,000 173 B.C Muscle Mass / Nice One Kenny Ardgowan Lodge KPC Racing Victoria $80,000 158 B.F Muscle Hill / Margaritaville Studholme Bloodstock Mr AG Herlihy Auckland $65,000 189 B.C Orlando Vici / Belle Galleon A. D. Edmonds Mr CW Lang Victoria $51,000 156 B.C Father Patrick / Hot Pants Ripple Creek Mr NR McGrath Cambridge $50,000 168 B.C Muscle Mass / U Dream Rosedale Farm KPC Racing Victoria $50,000 160 B.C Father Patrick / Kylie Ree N. P. Williamson Mr B Purdon Auckland $45,000 172 BR.F Love You / Sierra Roydon Lindenny Lodge Mr BM Williamson Otago $42,000 191 B.C Andover Hall / Bree Studholme Bloodstock IG & LF Thomson Southland $42,000   Leading Purchasers Purchaser Bought Aggregate Average Top Price Top Lot Mr G Hope (Canterbury) 2 $140,000 $70,000 $105,000 192 KPC Racing (Victoria) 2 $130,000 $65,000 $80,000 173 E & M Stride (New South Wales) 1 $90,000 $90,000 $90,000 176 Mr B Purdon (Auckland) 2 $70,000 $35,000 $45,000 160 Mr AG Herlihy (Auckland) 1 $65,000 $65,000 $65,000 158 Mr GL Clarke (Otago) 3 $64,500 $21,500 $32,000 182 Mr GD Smith (Canterbury) 2 $56,500 $28,250 $37,500 159 Mr BM Williamson (Otago) 2 $52,000 $26,000 $42,000 172 Mr CW Lang (Victoria) 1 $51,000 $51,000 $51,000 189 Mr NR McGrath (Cambridge) 1 $50,000 $50,000 $50,000 156   Leading Vendors by Aggregate Vendor Sold Aggregate Average Top Price Top Lot Ripple Creek           Ripple Creek 6 $163,000 $27,167 $50,000 156 Studholme Bloodstock 3 $127,000 $42,333 $65,000 158 Rosedale Farm 5 $116,000 $23,200 $50,000 168 Mansfield Farm 1 $105,000 $105,000 $105,000 192 M. Caig 1 $90,000 $90,000 $90,000 176 Ardgowan Lodge 1 $80,000 $80,000 $80,000 173 M. Baird 2 $69,500 $34,750 $37,500 159 A. D. Edmonds 2 $66,000 $33,000 $51,000 189 G. M. Murray 3 $49,500 $16,500 $20,000 169 N. P. Williamson 1 $45,000 $45,000 $45,000 160   Leading Vendors by Average (three or more sold) Vendor Sold Average Aggregate Top Price Top Lot Studholme Bloodstock 3 $42,333 $127,000 $65,000 158 Ripple Creek 6 $27,167 $163,000 $50,000 156 Rosedale Farm 5 $23,200 $116,000 $50,000 168 G. M. Murray 3 $16,500 $49,500 $20,000 169 Dancingonmoonlight 3 $14,833 $44,500 $19,000 185   Leading Sires by Average (three or more sold) Sire Sold Average Aggregate Top Price Top Lot Love You 10 $40,350 $403,500 $105,000 192 Father Patrick 6 $34,917 $209,500 $50,000 156 Muscle Mass 9 $28,389 $255,500 $80,000 173 Majestic Son 5 $14,600 $73,000 $20,000 162  

The Brian Loney harness racing stable sent nine horses to post on Monday (Feb 18) at Northfield Park. Those nine starters resulted in seven trips to the Winner's Circle. Loney's triumphs were with Always'syourway ($4.60) in race three, Twin B Stingray ($14.60) in race four, Montana Pablo A ($5.20) in race six, Bully Pulpit ($5.00) in race nine, Dante Ivy ($5.80) in race 10, Man He Can Skoot ($7.60) in race 11 and Hunch Man ($3.00) in race 14. Loney won his first race in 1996, a $3,000 claiming race at Fairmount Park with Stealth Fighter for a purse of $1,600. Since breaking his maiden, Brian has won nearly 1,800 more times with purse earnings in excess of $6 million.  

Three of New Zealand’s best pacers will miss their biggest targets of the season after shock errors ruled them out of Menangle features over the next fortnight. Star Galleria misses his shot at qualifying for next week’s A$1 million Miracle Mile and Utmost Delight and Elle Mac the Ladyship Mile after all missed the nomination cut off yesterday morning for the preludes at Menangle this Saturday.  Star Galleria needed to contest a $100,00 prelude of the Miracle Mile to have any chance of qualifying for the great race, while his stablemate Utmost Delight and the All Stars-trained Elle Mac had to start in a mares race this week and finish top four to qualify for the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile.  Trainer Steven Reid missed the nomination time for both Star Galleria and Utmost Delight by two minutes.  “I was buying a horse at the sales and thought I had plenty of time but when I went to nominate the free calling number you use doesn’t work from New Zealand,” explained Reid.  “By the time I googled the office number and then rang them, got through to the racing office via reception I was too late. “I tried to explain what happened but their boss John Dumesny told me he would check the phone records and if I was late they couldn’t bend the rules.  “He checked the phone log and I was two minutes later and they won’t let them start. So they are coming home.”  While Reid was disappointed, the owners of Utmost Delight, Paul and Mary Kenny, were pragmatic about the error.  “It is disappointing but people make mistakes,” said Kenny, who still has Dream About Me in the race.   Elle Mac was being nominated online but because she had never raced in Australia she was not already in their system so that couldn’t be completed and by the time the phone call was made to try and rectify that problem it was too late.  That leaves New Zealand with six potential Miracle Mile contenders, all from the All Stars, contesting preludes on Saturday while Dream About Me (Ladyship Mile), Princess Tiffany (NSW Oaks) and I’m Anothermasterpiece (NSW Derby) will contest preludes of those races. Michael Guerin

Harness racing’s yearling sales got the turbo boost they needed with a dramatic first entry into the industry by New Zealand Bloodstock at Karaka yesterday.  The National Standardbred Yearling Sale, held for the first time since thoroughbred powerhouse New Zealand Bloodstock opened their standardbred division last year (NZBS) could only be termed a huge success, with a record average for a harness racing sale in this part of the world.  And with the promise that things are likely to get better.  Right from parade day on Sunday the sales ground had more hype and confidence than in years and it resulted in 13 yearlings being sold for $100,000 or more, topped by the $190,000 for Lot 18, a Art Major colt from Goodlookinggirl, a half sister to top mare Elle Mac.  Fittingly on a day when the thoroughbred theme was so strongly in evidence he was purchased by one of New Zealand’s most successful ever galloping trainers in Graeme Rogerson.  Rogerson became heavily involved in harness racing a decade ago and even finished second on the trainers premiership but that side of his dual-code operation had quietened right down until some recent success.  But he was aggressive early yesterday in purchasing the top lot and a $120,000 Bettors Delight filly, the latter sold by a group of owners including former Black Caps bowling star Kyle Mills and All Black halfback Ant Strachan. But Rogerson wasn’t the only one bidding up big early as Lincoln Farms went to $140,000 for a Bettors Delight colt early while later in the sale traditional big names like buyers Jean Feiss, Emilio and Mary Rosati, Mark Purdon and Phil and Glenys Kennard purchased $100,000 or higher lots. But there was also new blood in Auckland-based owner Ross Dallimore, who spent $320,000 on four lots, including $110,000 for a Mach Three colt and $105,000 for a son of Bettors Delight, all four likely to be trained by John and Josh Dickie.  While most of the Australian interest was focussed at the middle market, four of the $100,000 plus lots were purchased by Australian-based owners but most are likely to be trained, at least early in their careers, in New Zealand.  Once the dust had settled on a rapid-fire day of selling the average of $46,750 will have left harness racing regulars stunned, up enormously on the $33,850 average price last year.  That came as 100 lots were sold for a total of $4,675,000, a clearance rate of 73 per cent that should bump up slightly after post-sale deals but still one NZBS will be keen to see improve.  NZBS managing director Andrew Seabrook was beaming as he left the sales ground bound for Christchurch, where the next two days of the sales will be held. “We are thrilled with that as a start for our business in harness racing but also for the industry as a whole,” said Seabrook.  “We had a great top end and a lot of happy vendors and some plenty of strong interest from Australia, some of which will flow on to Christchurch.  “But this is also a start for us and we want the sales to get bigger and better.”  He wasn’t the only New Zealand Bloodstock boss smiling as the company’s supremo Sir Peter Vela was chuffed to pick up a Bettors Delight colt for a bargain $40,000, with the famous Pencarrow colours to be worn by the colt for trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Other highlights were the strong money for top-end trotters, with two topping $100,000, both sold by Breckon Bloodstock, while second season sire Sweet Lou had a big day of the office.  Both of the heavyweight vendors, Breckon Bloodstock and Woodlands Stud, were enthused by the new dawn of harness racing sales. How the momentum carries to today’s Christchurch sale without their firepower will be interesting.   Michael Guerin

He’s had more leg problems than Ironside, and has made more comebacks than Lazarus, but you would never have guessed that following Beaver’s easy run-away victory at Albion Park on Saturday night. The 10-year-old pacer, who never stops trying and loves to race, nailed his first win in three starts this season in the sixth event – the $13,000 AQWA Construction Open Pace. The son of Art Major has now won 22 races from 116 starts ($173,151) in an ‘off-on’ career spanning back to his debut third at Goulburn in February 2012. “Even though he’ a bit lazy and very laid back at home, he’s definitely the family favourite. The kids love him. He always gives of his best on race-day, and is just a lovely horse to have around the stable. He’s the best of our four in work," trainer Melissa Gillies said.  “We’ve retired him a couple of times, but he gets restless and just wants to keep racing." The Wanora horsewoman, who has a share in the bay gelding, said Beaver had suffered from a lot of leg issues since they got him off Neil Day (NSW) five years ago. “Everything he does is a bonus. We have no expectations of him now. He suffered from front leg problems and was spelled and then we had to put him out again when his hind legs went," she said. “That’s when we thought his racing career was over, but he got keen again when we worked our babies, and we could tell he didn’t enjoy doing nothing in his paddock, so we gave him another prep. “To go 1:52 in just his third run back (since March last year), and to do it parked, was phenomenal." Beaver sat in the ‘death seat’ throughout and then at the 400m Trent Dawson let him down and they ran away in the straight to win 5.4 metres over the grey, Mandy Kriden and Brendan Barnes. He paced the 1660m mobile in 1:56.2 with a slashing 1:52.6 mile rate. His sectionals were 27.8, 29.6, 27.3 and 28.1. “He’s very much a day-to-day proposition and we are going to enjoy him while we can. We will keep lining him up at Albion Park until he tells us he’s had enough,” Gillies said. “At home he only ever des what he has to, but when he’s in front on race night, like he was last night, he tends to find another gear." Meanwhile, the ‘Team Teal’ campaign, which is raising money for Women’s Cancer Research, has now hit the $5400 after win 27 by Narissa McMullen aboard favourite Comply or Die in the second race last night. Lola Weidermann brought up the $5,000 for the Women’s Cancer Foundation on Friday at the same venue with race one winner Redriverdebba, and then McMullen (Narissa) added to the tally in race three with Miss Invasion. The campaign ends in early March.   Duane Ranger  for Racing Queensland

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 18, 2019 -- Early in the morning, Dave Kuzara teaches his pupils not to jump. Later in the day, he wants his students to jump as high as they can. Strange? Not really, because Kuzara has chosen a career combination that may be unique. He's a part-time harness racing trainer at The Meadows and full-time assistant coach for the University of Pittsburgh women's gymnastics team. Currently, Kuzara has only one active horse, Black Ruby, who's in to go Tuesday. She leaves from post 7, race 4 for Tony Hall. The card begins at 1:05 PM. Growing up near Detroit, Kuzara was a budding gymnast but got the coaching bug while pursuing his undergraduate degree. A youngish 59, Kuzara has been coaching gymnastics for 40 years with stops at the University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, the University of Arkansas, the University of Massachusetts and West Virginia University. Oddly enough, it was his grandmother who introduced him to harness racing. "She loved bingo and racing, so one day I took her to Detroit Race Course," he recalls. "There were more than 10,000 people there, and it was the most exciting thing I'd ever seen. I knew then that at some point, I would work with horses." In the 1980s, he bought his first horse, a quarter claimer named Pumpernickel who won twice for Kuzara but didn't earn much bread. He was much more successful with Peaches, a daughter of Water Tower who banked $161,482 for her career. "She ended up winning everywhere, including the Meadowlands. She had the track record at Plainridge Park before Bunny Lake broke it. It was amazing what she accomplished. She was just so tough." When UMASS eliminated a number of sports, including gymnastics, Kuzara was left jobless and thought he would try harness racing full time. "I had an eight-horse stable at Saratoga; that was my occupation for a year," he says. "I decided that coaching gymnastics was way easier. The horse business is tough." Kuzara's typical day is virtually endless. At 5 AM or soon after, he's at the Washington County Fairgrounds to work and feed his horses. Then he travels 30 miles or so on I-79 and I-376 to reach Pitt and his gymnastics charges. Finally, he's back at the fairgrounds late in the afternoon. "I've been fortunate in that my commute happens in non-peak-rush-hour times," he says. As you might expect, his coaching responsibilities require semi-regular travel. During those periods when he can't handle the day-to-day care of his horses, Kuzara relies on the assistance of fellow horsemen. "I've been fortunate to be associated with people like Joe Casagranda in Michigan, Don Guidette, Jr. at Plainridge and Bob Barnard and his family at The Meadows," he says. "They've helped me and taught me." For all the apparent differences in his two sports, Kuzara sees key similarities. "Both are anaerobic," he says. "In both, having a training schedule and sticking with it is important. And in each case, you have to pay attention to your students. I can watch a gymnast limp and know that I have to back off with her. I can watch my horse move and know that she's feeling good. Doing both endeavors has made me a lot more alert to the condition of the athlete." In gymnastics, though, his goals transcend winning. "I'm not really coaching gymnasts," he says. "We're in the business of developing strong women with a voice. That's what we should be doing." by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Harness racing Team Rogerson arrived at Karaka this morning for the first standardbred yearling sales for New Zealand Bloodstock. Not long after, they had unloaded $190,000 after engaging in a furious bidding war to get what was to be the top lot of the sales in Billion Dollar Boy  Billion Dollar Boy is a fantastic looking colt by Art Major from Goodlookinggirl by Christian Cullen from the Butler BG mare Twice As Good.  Rogerson stable foreman Dylan Ferguson suggested the colt was a bargain when speaking to NZBStandardbred after the purchase. "We liked his pedigree right from day one out of the catalogue, being a half brother to a multiple group one winner. "When we inspected him his type matched his pedigree and we thought he was definitely the top colt in the sale and that is why we were so keen to get him. "After the first day I saw him I told Graeme (Rogerson) I thought he would make $200K so some would say we got him cheap," he said. Rogerson also paid $120,000 for a Bettor's Delight filly out of Eyre To The Throne later in the day. John Street and Lincoln Farms were also busy buying, paying $140,000 for Lot 20 a Bettor's Delight colt and full brother to 1-52 miler Lancewood Lizzie. Street also paid $80,000 for a Rock N Roll Heaven – Lady Fingers colt during the sales.  Other high priced lots to sell were a Muscle Hill – Love Ya Doosie colt for $110,000 to KPC Racing in Australia, a Bettor's Delight – Safedra filly to Canterbury trainer Mark Jones and a Sweet Lou – Pacing Delight to Jean Fiess from Victoria. Mr JR & Mrs W Giumelli from Western Australia paid $120,000 for a Somebeachsomewhere – Dancing Diamonds filly and Canterbury trainer Cran Dalgety paid $100,000 for a Sweet Lou – Revere Me colt. Mark Purdon and All Stars Stables paid $130,000 for a Captaintreacherous – Veste colt and Phil and Glennis Kennard purchased a Muscle Hill – Alannah Hall colt for $100,000. Late in the day E & M Stride from NSW purchased a Bettor's Delight – Diamond Like colt for $100,000 after paying $90,000 earlier in the day for a Muscle Hill – Miss Pegasus filly.   Full sales results can be viewed here   Harnesslink Media

Champion Australian reinsman Chris Alford says taking on the most feared horse in harness racing could actually help Poster Boy win the A$1million Miracle Mile.  The Victorian four-year-old earned an automatic invite to Australasia’s richest harness race with a stunning display in the A$200,000 Chariots of Fire at Menangle on Saturday night.  He came from fourth last at the 600m mark to blow past some superstar opponents and had punters beaming after being backed in from $5.50 to start $3.80.  Trainer Emma Stewart was quick to accept the invite to the Miracle Mile on Saturday week so Poster Boy joins longshot Newcastle Mile winner Yayas Hot Spot as the only guaranteed starters with the other six spots to be decided from two preludes at Menangle this Saturday.  In one of those preludes will be the iron warrior of pacing Tiger Tara, fresh from adding the Hunter Cup at Melton to his Inter Dominion and Victoria Cup victories this season which has seen him ascend to the top of the Australian pacing ranks.  But while Tiger Tara remains the $3.50 Miracle Mile favourite with the Australian TAB compared with Poster Boy’s $6.50, driver Alford says the hard-running champ could aid Poster Boy.  “The harder they go in the Mile the better it will suit us,” said Alford, who tipped Poster Boy strongly last week.  “He will follow any speed and in fact his best chance of winning the Mile would be if they went really hard and he can sit off them just like he did tonight.  “I am glad Emma accepted the invite because he has developed into a really good Grand Circuit horse.  “He has always been fast but now he is strong enough to carry that speed longer and that is what you need for a Miracle Mile.” While Poster Boy has his spot in the great race the competition for the remaining six places has intensified as more big names eye the preludes.  Tiger Tara’s trainer Kevin Pizzuto will also have Majordan in them after he smashed some serious free-for-all opponents on Saturday night, leading from barrier nine to pace 1:49.5, which compares favourably with Poster Boy’s 1:49.1 considering Majordan did all the work in his race.  “He is a really good horse but Tiger is flying at the moment,” said Pizzuto comparing the pair.  Kiwi trainer Mark Purdon could have up to five prelude contenders, including Chase Auckland who was the luckless Chariots favourite after never getting clear in the straight.  Saturday’s meeting will also sees heats of the NSW Derby and Oaks as well as the open class mares chasing the final four spots in the Ladyship Mile, which will be run Miracle Mile night March 2.  Dream About Me and Elle Mac will make last minute trips to Sydney on Friday to contest the final lead-up to the Ladyship Mile, with the pair needing at least a top four finish to be guaranteed a start.  And they will be joined on the flight by Princess Tiffany, who was originally going to miss the NSW Oaks but after trialling well at Rangiora last week she will head to Menangle on Saturday night for the Oaks heats. Michael Guerin

LEBANON, OH. - All About Cowboys was all about business on Sunday (Feb. 17) afternoon at Miami Valley Raceway, winning the $22,500 Open I Trot in a front-stepping 1:55 effort. The 6-year-old black son of Swan For All has now put together a streak of four weeks with two wins and two place finishes in the weekly harness racing top trot. Driver Jason Brewer guided the winner through a well-rated mile that included checking in at the early stations in :27.3, :56.4 and 1:25.4. Sent off at 3-1, All About Cowboys had to hold off a furious late rally by Pine Dream (Chris Page) to notch the narrow victory. Monopoly Blue Chip (Kayne Kauffman) was best of the rest, while Another Breath (Dan Noble) and Trotting Grace (Brett Miller) picked up the remaining paychecks. Ken Rucker trains All About Cowboys for owners Green Acres LLC and Mike Klimas. The victory was his 15th in 88 career starts and raised his lifetime earnings to $186,000. Mystical Power (Chris Page), moving up from the $20,000 claiming level, garnered to honors in a $20,000 Open II Trot. The 6-year-old Yankee Glide mare bested Impressive Chief (Miller) and Primed N Powerful (Tyler Smith) in 1:55.4. It was the winner's tenth win overall and fourth in her last five starts, but the first in open company. Clarence Foulk conditions Mystical Power for L & L Stables. Racing resumes Monday afternoon (Feb. 18) at 2:05 p.m. at Miami Valley. Featured will be the $15,000 Survival Series championship leg for $5000 claiming mares, slated as Race 10 on the program.   From the Miami Valley Media Department

Veteran local trotter Cash Me Out (Cash Hall) made his return in style to the Spa on Sunday afternoon as the 2019 harness racing season got underway at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Kyle Spagnola-trained trotter has spent the majority of his career competing at Saratoga and on Sunday prevailed in the first Open of the season. Phil Fluet guided the 1-5 betting favorite out to the early lead in the $12,000 Open Trot and the veteran high-stepper never faced an anxious moment. Cash Me Out got the money, going coast-to-coast with relative ease, stopping the timer in 1:57.1 in the season's first feature at the Spa. Mandeville (Jimmy Devaux) finished second while Zagster (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot. Cash Me Out's win, which was the 38thin 164 career starts, boosts his lifetime earnings to just above the $995,000 mark. The 78th racing season is now underway at Saratoga Casino Hotel and features matinee race cards this week contested on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons starting at 12:00pm each day. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

New Zealand Bloodstock look to be getting into the standardbred business at the right time.  The auction house which has taken New Zealand thoroughbreds to the world hold their first yearling sales for harness horses at their famed Karaka grounds today after launching NZBS last year. That put them in direct competition with long-time standardbred sales company PGG Wrightson and the competition didn’t last long, with every major vendor in the country supporting NZBS.  They are set to be rewarded with a larger financial contribution to the Sales Series programme and a return of the Ready to Run sale in October and better financing rates for pin-hookers, which looks set to be a  popular option for young trainers in particular.  They are icing on the cake though and the real reasons for optimism heading into today’s sale and the two days in Christchurch which follow are the basic fundamentals — supply and demand and high quality stock.  The standardbred breeding industry is shrinking but the demand for the product in Australia and a return of the North American market means there are less horses but more people wanting them. Add that to increasing stakes domestically, headlined by Alexandra Park, and there will be no shortage of people wanting good horses.  With today’s catalogue full of stock by sales legend Bettors Delight, his regular support cast of stallions like Art Major, American Ideal, Somebeachsomewhere and newcomers like Sweet Lou and Captaintreacherous, the pacing stallions on show are the equal of any where in the world.  But even more importantly the drafts on offer today have won race reviews from the right people.  Champion trainer Mark Purdon told the Herald the standard of yearling he has seen in the north this summer at the best he has ever viewed while vendors, even away from powerhouses like Woodlands and Breckon Farms, say they have had more visitors and paraded their horses more often than in recent years.  NZBS boss Andrew Seabrook says while today is a launching pad for the company into the standardbred industry they have big plans, including dreams of boosting the glamour sales series races to $500,000 in years to come.  After the runaway success of the Karaka Million thoroughbred meeting, such claims will be music to the ears of harness breeders.  There will still be bargains at Karaka today, although they are usually more easily found at the larger Canterbury sale, and there will still be disappointed vendors, that is the nature of any horse sale.  But with the horses available, the interest from overseas and a pin-hooking market to help boost the lower end, NZBS’s first real day at the office should prove a success.   Michael Guerin

AUSTRALASIA’S champion pacer Tiger Tara will headline a trio of Miracle Mile hopefuls Kevin Pizzuto will run at Menangle next Saturday night. Pizzuto confirmed star speedster Majordan and his Chariots of Fire fifth placegetter Picard would also tackle one of the Miracle Mile qualifiers this week. “Picard’s come through the Chariots and he’ll be fitter for the run as well. He’s going around this week again for sure,” Pizzuto said. “He did all the work and was only beaten five metres. I know he’ll be better for it.” Majordan’s turbulent campaign took a crucial turn for the better when he did everything right and blasted away a good field, headed by NZ Cup winner Thefixer, at Menangle last Saturday night. Pizzuto reaffirmed what he’s been saying for months that Majordan rates right along Tiger Tara as a Miracle Mile prospect. “Tiger Tara’s got all the form on the board, but over a mile at Menangle, Majordan is right at home,” he said. “He’s been a bit fresh and doing things wrong. I’ve changed his bit, got some more work into him and he won really well the other night. “I can assure you he’ll keep getting better now. When he’s galloped in this races, he’s missed the hitout. Last night will bring him on a lot more.” So what about Tiger Tara and his quest to complete a total dominance of our biggest races by winning the Miracle Mile? “He’s well. Really well. He his work was fantastic on Saturday and he’ll another strong workout at Bankstown this week,” Pizzuto said. “I’m glad now I skipped Newcastle and gave him a few quiet days after the Hunter Cup. “He’s freshened-up well and with a mile run under his belt this week, he’ll be absolutely spot-on on for the (Miracle) Mile.” The latest Aussie TAB Miracle Mile market shows Pizzuto’s key role with Tiger Tara $3.60 favourite, Majordan $7 third elect and Picard at $21. Adam Hamilton

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