Life had "turned to muck" for a retired dairy farmer who became the financier for a major methamphetamine ring, a judge was told before he jailed the man for three years and 10 months. John Douglas McKenzie, 65, of Ohoka in rural North Canterbury, expected a very handsome return for the $180,000 he "invested" in the Christchurch meth conspiracy that the police busted with their Operation Granite investigation. He would have got a return of $144,000 when the investment fell due. Instead he has forfeited $180,000 cash to the Crown, and he was jailed at his sentencing by Justice Christian Whata in the High Court at Christchurch today, more than a year after the trial. Defence counsel Jonathan Eaton, QC, said the offending had arisen from naivety coupled with greed, but it was unfair for the judge to see a financier as equally culpable as the principal drug offenders. "When the case began three-and-a-half years ago he would have envisaged quietly living out his life on the farm, and everything's been turned to muck," he said. McKenzie continues to deny his guilt, despite the jury finding him guilty on a charge of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. "He never intended nor understood that he was getting involved in the level of operation that has ultimately been proved to be the case," Eaton said. He pointed out that McKenzie had drawn up a written loan agreement with the drug-ring kingpin, 32-year-old Matthew Allen Newton, and had the document witnessed. The agreement was found by police in a search of his property along with a note from Newton about part repayment. Crown prosecutor Barnaby Hawes said that the terminology of the note, the size of the loan, and the expected 80 per cent return on his finance indicated McKenzie was aware of the scale of the enterprise. Justice Whata said he regarded McKenzie's involvement as "opportunistic and motivated by greed". He had expected a very significant return on his investment. "The jury found that there was a proper basis for finding that you knew Newton was involved in the commercial-level manufacture of methamphetamine and that you knew that your loan would assist him in that enterprise," he said. But he was not satisfied that McKenzie was aware the scale of the operation, or that the investment return would be derived solely from the operation. Newton had been the CEO of a complex enterprise and he had skilfully isolated members from each other "so that no other member had a complete picture of its scale". He told McKenzie that without financiers, methamphetamine production could not occur. Justice Whata reduced McKenzie's jail sentence because of his unblemished record, his contribution to the community, his emotional condition, and his age which would cause him difficulties in serving a prison term. McKenzie was described as a retired dairy farmer who had a passion for horse and harness racing, and had contributed to the local community and school. He has no previous convictions. He is the last of the Operation Granite meth conspirators to be sentenced, after his sentencing was delayed by a series of appeals. The longest jail term for the conspirators was the nine years and seven months imposed on Newton. Courtesy of the Christchurch Press
Washington VC is one of the best performing stallions available to NZ breeders but seldom gets the accolades or mares his record suggests he should. As a racehorse he was smart without being a standout. Going US1:52:3 and earning $560,000 is not the record of a champion. He is a son of Presidential Ball who earned over $3,000,000 and also stood in NZ. At stud however Washington VC has a far superior record to Presidential Ball. When you try to ascertain how the inferior racehorse is the far superior sire, you are drawn to the dam side of Washington VC. He is from a full sister to the brilliant Dexter Nukes who was renowned for leaving great gaited and wickedly quick stock, traits which Washington VC is also known for. Imported to NZ by Keith Norman and syndicated amongst a group including noted yearling sales vendor Brian West, Washington VC was based in Southland at Norman's stud. Right from the start he has had issues with his semen traveling which has resulted in mares having to be served on farm which has meant he hasn't had access to a lot of the commercial mares in NZ, especially from the North Island. That has not stopped him from establishing a fantastic record of leaving top quality stock who are both quick and durable. The limestone country in Southland has always had a reputation for producing stock who handle the ravages of hard racing better than most and the stock of Washington VC are no exception. His flag bearer is the superstar I'm The Mightyquinn ($4,377,000) and he would have to rate up there with the best horses produced in the Southern Hemisphere. Horses of the caliber of Dasher VC ($630,000) Foreal ($623,000) Georgetown ($610,000) I'm Victorious ($540,000) are prime examples of the kind of stock he leaves. His American record is outstanding. He only has 11 horses to have been exported there, all have won with 10 earning $100,00 plus for total earnings of $3,067,000. His stock to have excelled include Report For Duty ($847,000) Steuban ($382,000) VC Atom ($376,000) and Ruling VC ($266,000). As with a lot of NZ sires a big proportion of his stock are exported but he has still managed to leave over 255 winners in NZ with 148 in 2:00 including such smart types as It's Ella ($291,000) and Vice Chairman, whose wins at the recent NZ cup meeting stamped him as a grand circuit star in the making. All things considered Washington VC has a stud record the equal of any. If his semen would travel his book would double overnight. Which makes what he has achieved from his Southland base so notable. Traveling mares to studs doesn't happen much these days but in the case of Washington VC it is definitely worth the trouble. JC This is a series of stallion reviews that Harnesslink are doing 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
The eliminations for the Italian Trotting Derby have been moved from Rome’s Campannelle thoroughbred venue to Ippodromo di Agnano and highlight a terrific racing card on Saturday. Three Deby eliminations are scheduled, each over 2100 meters for a 22,000 euro purse. The lineups follow: PREMIO G.P. 86° DERBY ITALIANO DEL TROTTO - BATTERIA A GRAN PREMIO Metri 2100 (GRUPPO I) € 22.000,00 - (7.820,00-3.740,00-2.040,00-1.020,00-680,00 ai proprietari; 920,00-440,00-240,00-120,00-80,00 agli allenatori;460,00-220,00-120,00-60,00-40,00 ai guidatori;4.000,00 agli allevatori)Iscritti 14 Ammontare Iscrizioni/Conferme/Partenti € 2.480,00 Maschi, indigeni, di 3 anni o femmine, indigene, di 3 anni . Nn 1 RAMBO ZS 2100 P.Gubellini Zanetti Walter T.Di Lorenzo 2 RE DEGLI DEI '' M.Baroncini Scud. Rocca Novella A.Farolfi 3 RE ITALIANO UR '' C.E.Hollmann Stecca Alessandro R.Vecchione 4 REMO GAS '' M.Smorgon Scud. Paper Moon A.Greppi 5 RUFOLI LUNG '' L.Fabbi Scud. Blue Moon Snc E.Baldi 6 ROI DE COEUR '' F.Cinotti Scud. Azzurra Nn 7 RADIO WISE '' P.Gubellini Cumana Group Srl R.Andreghetti 8 RAMADAN JET '' Vinc.Tufano Allev. Toniatti Sas A.Guzzinati 9 RADIEUX '' L.Kolgjini (E) (E) Lutfi Kolgjini Ab E.Bellei 10 RAZIONALE '' C.E.Hollmann Scud. Iav Stable E.Bot 11 RUE DU BAC '' E.Bot (E) Dream With Me Europe Ab - J.P. Dubois Gp.Minnucci 12 RONALDO SM '' D.Zanca Mondial Sports Srl IL CAVALLO N. 3 CORRE SENZA FERRI ANTERIORI PREMIO G.P. 86° DERBY ITALIANO DEL TROTTO - BATTERIA B GRAN PREMIO Metri 2100 (GRUPPO I) € 22.000,00 - (7.820,00-3.740,00-2.040,00-1.020,00-680,00 ai proprietari;920,00-440,00-240,00-120,00-80,00 agli allenatori;460,00-220,00-120,00-60,00-40,00 ai guidatori;4.000,00 agli allevatori)Iscritti 12 Ammontare Iscrizioni/Conferme/Partenti € 2.400,00 Maschi, indigeni, di 3 anni o femmine, indigene, di 3 anni . M.Smorgon 1 ROTARY OK 2100 M.Smorgon Varenne Futurity Srl Vp.Dell`Annunziata 2 ROMBO DI CANNONE '' Gior.D`Alessand. Sr Scud. Days Of Victory R.Andreghetti 3 RODIN INN RONCO '' H.Ehlert Malu` Sas R.Vecchione 4 RINGOSTARR TREB '' H.Ehlert Scarton Stable R.Bakker 5 ROBERT BI '' P.Hagoort Entrainement Hagoort Paul A.Greppi 6 ROGER PRAV '' C.Belladonna Lainate Nord Snc G.Lombardo Jr 7 RODEO DEI VENTI '' H.Ehlert Scud. Barbalbero Lor.Baldi 8 ROYAL BLESSED '' Lor.Baldi Vit Vit Snc P.Gubellini 9 REBY DI CELO '' P.Gubellini Scud. Fa.Li.An A.J.Mollema 10 ROCK ABOUT '' A.J.Mollema (E) Scud. Acqua Di Pietro A.Di Nardo 11 RUE VARENNE DANY '' Vinc.Tufano Scud. Esposito Srl E.Bellei 12 RAISE WISE AS '' J.Riordan Guida Italia Srl IL CAVALLO N. 10 CORRE SENZA FERRI IL CAVALLO N. 3 CORRE SENZA FERRI ANTERIORI IL CAVALLO N. 5 CORRE SENZA FERRI POSTERIORI PREMIO G.P. 86° DERBY ITALIANO DEL TROTTO - BATTERIA C GRAN PREMIO Metri 2100 (GRUPPO I) € 22.000,00 - (7.820,00-3.740,00-2.040,00-1.020,00-680,00 ai proprietari;920,00-440,00-240,00-120,00-80,00 agli allenatori;460,00-220,00-120,00-60,00-40,00 ai guidatori;4.000,00 agli allevatori)Iscritti 13 Ammontare Iscrizioni/Conferme/Partenti € 2.440,00 Maschi, indigeni, di 3 anni o femmine, indigene, di 3 anni . Gp.Maisto 1 RUTY GRIF 2100 M.Smorgon Bivans Srl R.Vecchione 2 ROCKFELLER FONT '' H.Ehlert Scud. Orange Warriors Fed.Esposito 3 RED BARON '' E.Hansen Bondo Incolinx E.Bellei 4 ROD STEWART '' J.Riordan Scud. Virginia Trotto R.Andreghetti 5 ROSSELLA ROSS '' J.Riordan Scud. Francesco Rosselli Srl M.Smorgon 6 ROMANESQUE '' M.Smorgon Scud. Trotto Italia Sas R.Bakker 7 RIKI D`ASOLO '' A.J.Mollema (E) (E) Stable Why Not P.Gubellini 8 RODOLFO PARK '' U.Todisco No.Ma.Farm Srl R.Gallucci 9 RIBOT GAL '' M.Finetti Finetti Massimo Gp.Minnucci 10 ROCKY HALL SM '' D.Zanca Mondial Sports Srl Vp.Dell`Annunziata 11 RIO DI MAZVALL '' H.Ehlert Il Ranch Srl M.Minopoli Jr 12 RENOIR DANY '' M.Smorgon Varenne Futurity Srl IL CAVALLO N. 4 CORRE SENZA FERRI IL CAVALLO N. 5 CORRE SENZA FERRI ANTERIORI I CAVALLI N. 2-3-7 CORRONO SENZA FERRI POSTERIORI The Derby eliminations include several that caught my interest. In Batteria A are Re Italiano UR (3m Ganymede-Dark Lane SM-Park Avenue Joe), Rambo ZS (3m Guccione Jet-Deledda RL-Park Svenue Joe) and the Dubois owner Rue du Bac (3m Infinitif-ICI-Diamond Way). Batteria C includes the strong performing Robert Bi (3m Toss Out-Up Front JM-SDelf Possessed), the Guida owned Raise Wise As (3m Donato Hanover-Garden Variety-Tagliabue) and Rotary OK (3m Andover Hall-Miss Possessed-Self Possessed). Elimination C hopefuls include Ruty Grif (3m Varenne-Correr By Pass-Donerail) along with two Jerry Riordan conditioned contenders, Rod Stewart (3m Love You-Valley Lane-Lindy Lane) and the filly Rosella Ross (3f Self Possessed-Northenr Jewel-Garland Lobell). Also on the card are the Tinio Triossi over 2100 meters for a 209,000 euro purse, the Carena Filly (1600 meters, 55,000 euro purse) and the Royal Mares (1600 meters, 45,100 euro purse). The fields for those races are shown below: Gran Premio Tino Triossi -euro 209.000,00- Gr. 1 – females Europeean 4 anni. Meters 2.100 Pablo Di Jesolo (G. Ruocco) Pacific Model (G. Trinchillo) Pioneer Gar (R. Vecchione) Dream Magic Be (Rud. Haller) Pick Kronos (Fed. Esposito) Princess Grif (R. Andreghetti) Prussia (P. Gubellini) Probo Op (E. Moni) Papandreu (E. Bellei) Perfect Step Lf (M. Minopoli jr) Paolo Om (G. Minnucci) Gran Premio Antonio Carena- € 55.000,00 – females European 4 anni. Metri 1.600 (Gr. II) Priscilla Zak (A. Di Nardo) Petra Axe (E. Bellei) Petra Inn Ronco (A. Gocciadoro) Paula Del Ronco (M.Minopoli jr) Peace Of Mind (A. Guzzinati) Pancottina Bar (A. Farolfi) Pearl Axe (x) Panthea Club (P. Gubellini) Pepevita (M. Smorgon) Per Amore Gual (R. Vecchione) Proud Wood (A.J. Mollema) PREMIO G.P. ROYAL MARES - ALLEVAMENTO GARIGLIANO meters 1600 (Gr. II) € 45.100,00 - (16.031,00-7.667,00-4.182,00-2.091,00-1.394,00 ai proprietari; 1.886,00-902,00-492,00-246,00-164,00 agli allenatori;943,00-451,00-246,00-123,00-82,00 ai guidatori;8.200,00 agli allevatori). Femmine, indigene, di 4 anni ed oltre o femmine, estere, di 4 anni ed oltre. A.Guzzinati 1 OIBAMBAM EFFE 1600 S.Carro Scud. Leonardo Srl R.Vecchione 2 ORSIA '' D.Di Stefano Agnello Monja Paola Maria E.Bellei 3 PARINAZ '' H.Ehlert Malu` Sas G.Lo Verde 4 NOVARICA '' D.Di Stefano Scud. Zabacor E.Baldi 5 OLIVIASS '' F.Cinotti Baldi Group Srl G.Lombardo Jr 6 ORLEANS OM '' L.Colletti Scud. Bellosguardo A.Di Nardo 7 OCCHIATA JET '' Vinc.Tufano Pine Chip Srl A.Gocciadoro 8 LINDA DI CASEI '' A.Gocciadoro Morzenti Ubaldo Gp.Maisto 9 MURUROA AS '' Gp.Maisto Bivans Srl R.Palomba 10 LA VIDA LOCA '' D.Di Stefano Cascio Leonardo Gp.Minnucci 11 OLONA OK '' D.Zanca Mondial Sports Srl G.Riccio 12 OLD GIRL PAR '' G.Riccio Russo Maria Vp.Dell`Annunziata 13 ORCHIDEA REAL '' A.Chiaro Scud. Cassino Sport M.Minopoli Jr 14 PARIS DANY '' Team Minopoli Srl Scud. Team Minopoli Srl I CAVALLI N. 5-6-9 CORRONO SENZA FERRI IL CAVALLO N. 3 CORRE SENZA FERRI ANTERIORI The prospects for victory include a number of well-bred contestants. In the Tino Triossi watch for Prussia (4f Ken Warkentin-Elvezia-Pine Chip) and Probo OP (4m From Above-Elimara-Lemon Dra). Veteran Linda di Casei (8f Uronometro-Comtesse Ferm-Diamond Way) is one worth watching in the well matched Royal Mares. This Alessandro Giccoadoro trained and reined mare has been one of Europe’s best over an extended period. by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com
I finally got out of my slump and went three for five last week and picked some decent money horses on top at 4-1 and 6-1. We won $18.10 (based on a $2 win bet each race). We are still in the minus earning column at -$21.60 going into this weekend and after last week's strong play we are up for another winning weekend and will bring that number down more. We start off the weekend at Northfield Park for the $126,000 Cleveland Classic for three-year-olds. This is the final Grand Circuit Stake for the 2013 season. We also have some good feature event at both the Meadowlands and Yonkers Raceway and we are once again taking shot at the Open Pace at Pompano Park too since that is in my backyard. $126,000 Cleveland Classic 3YO Pace 11th race Saturday, Northfield Park - Twilight Bonfire has won two of his last three starts and looks to end 2013 on a winning note, he may be the horse to beat but I think that Word Power is the winner in here. Last month he won the Windy City Pace and after a brief rest put in a strong qualifying win at the Meadowlands and should be fit and ready for a big effort. $37,000 Open Handicap Pace 6th race Saturday, Yonkers Raceway - Special Forces has been moving up the ladder of success with four wins in his last five starts. Plus he has done it from both on and off the pace and obviously likes being driven by George Brennan. I think he has drawn into a soft group for the Open and can steal this race at a price. $30,000 Winners Over Pace 8th race Saturday, Yonkers Raceway - Last week I picked Real Special and Matt Kakaley gave him a perfect trip and they won at 6-1. They are back again in the same class, another good inside post and the chance to get good live cover again. Morning line is at 6-1 and that would be a steal as I think he is strong enough to repeat. $25,000 A-2/A-1 Handicap Pace 6th race Saturday, Meadowlands - Looks like I am going with a few long shots tonight. Last week Yo Cheyenne Rocky put in a clunker but his prior lines show that he does that every other race or so. Check his lines out and it shows that he usually come right back the next week with a big effort. Hails from Robert Siegelman Stable and Robbie hates to miss out on a check. Morning is at 15-1 but I think he will go off much lower but still at a very good price. $10,000 Open 1 Pace 8th race Saturday, Pompano Park - I love it when I handicap a race and it works out just as I thought it would. Last week I really liked Thebestofjoel and he came through again and at 4-1 odds. He's back once again, has another outside post, which he overcame last week with ease. He has been perfect since coming to Pompano Park and should make it three straight tonight.
Back to normal this week after our brief dalliance with French racing, in which you would have done well with each way bets on our picks and with a nice winner in Asana Trembalaise. This week we are at Aby for a V75 qualifying round which features 'The Emperor' Maharajah in the gold division race. V75-1 Silver division 1640m: German horse Chapeau (12) was a strong winner of his last race, and is a former European 3YO Championship placegetter in Stig Johansson's barn but has a poor draw. The dangers are Prey Frontline (2) off a good draw and Stelton (9) who will be hoping his strong Norwegian form will carry over the border. I still think Chapeau is the class horse, but it might be prudent to carry an alternate with the other two, and I think Prey Frontline should be included in selections. Selection 12 (2) V75-2 Mares race 2140m: Spurs Rain (9) has won three in a row while Bascaphi In (5), Pompano Dream (1) and La Prinsess (4) are all coming off two wins in a row. This is a race to be safe in so I've taken all four. Selection 9-5-1-4 V75-3 Gold division 2140m: Maharajah (8) was undone by an aggressive drive in a staying drive when just a little underdone last time out. Back over the sprint distance he should be too good. Selection 1 V75-4 Klass II 2140m: This is a tough class with seven of the field being last start winners - favourite Reckless (9), Storm Passage (10), Indian Shore (3) and Quite Windy (12) winning their last two. Corleone Boko (5) is starting to show some of his early promise and should be included while Petri Puro's Napoleon C.D. is another on the way up and is well supported in the early markets. Selection 9-5-6-10-3 V75-5 4YOs 2140m: Tore (11) came straight out of Ake Svanstedt's barn and won a Klass I V75 final last start for new trainer Glenn Persson and looks well placed to keep to make it three in a row, even from the 20m mark. Bjorn Goop's Qualis Talis (4) is a product of Menhammar's breeding programme and has three wins from his first six starts and looks like one on the way up and may be best to be kept safe . Selections 11 (4) V75-6 Klass I 2640m: VÃ¤sterboontheNews (10) has been very consistent in this class and is good enough to overcome the draw, Mercury Broline (2) is drawn well has hit good form and has top driver Orjan Kihlstrom in the cart, while Flemming Jensen has seems to have sorted out the problems that had beset Monte Major (4) and from that draw he is a definite danger. Selection 10-2-4 V75-7 Bronze Division 2140m: I'm a huge fan of Mellby Viking (8), who I think could be a Vincennes horse in the future but this is shorter than his ideal trip, while Mellby Amiral (5) is no slouch and By Air (6) is also a danger. Still I'm going for the son of Viking Kronos from the one of top current French families in Mellby Viking. Selection 8 (5) TOTAL COMBINATIONS 60 - Cost $5 Also here are my win wagers from Aby . ABY SINGLE WAGERS $2 Race 5 Chapeau (12) Race 6 Spurs Rain (9) Race 7 Maharajah (8) Race 8 Napoleon C.D. Race 9 Tore (11) Race 10 VÃ¤sterboontheNews (10) Race 11 Mellby Viking (8)
Maharajah continues his undeclared path to the Prix d'Amerique with a 2140m V75 gold division race in Aby on Saturday night. 'The Emperor' disappointed his legion of fans, and thousands of owners, last time out when he was Maharajaha well beaten favourite in the Gavle Stora Pris, but he was driven two deep for most of the 3100m journey, and actually went three-wide around Haraldinho to improve his position about halfway through the journey. That extra exertion proved a little too tough in this stage in Stefan Hultman's stable star's preparation, with the 3100m telling on his legs but his handlers will know that this is the sort of run he will need to post to have any chance of winning at Vincennes, where the French horses can go three wide, challenge to improve position and then kick in the straight. Vets gave him the all clear following the run, and the Travkompaniet owners will still be taking it one race at a time as they target the race they covet, the Prix d'Amerique, and this time over this trip he will once again be the punters' choice. His vanquisher in the Gavle Stora Pris was Stig H Johansson's Perfectly Enough, who starts again here. The former Swedish Breeders Crown 3YO winner went a terrific race, driven with cover all the way and then peeled wide from the 300m to unleash a final burst which proved irresistible to the pacesetter Winning Love. Perfectly Enough has a draw which looks like giving him a similar trip again, but the shorter distance may make it tougher to overhaul the horse which gets the lead. US import Solvato has been prominent in early markets and is certainly well-bred being by Donato Hanover from the fine racemare Solveig the winner of $622,714,a Champlain Stakes winner and runner-up in the 2YO Breeders Crown who took a record of 1.56. Like many top racemares though, she has not had the same success so far at stud. He has only won six times in 27 lifetime starts but has impressed his new trainer Veijo Heiskanen since he arrived and won a 4YO race at Kalmar two starts back. But it is a big ask for a 4YO to step up to the Swedish Elite level, even with his breeding. Flemming Jensen's Danish-bred stallion Obi Wan and Lutfi Kolgjini's Juggle Face who will have Johnny Takter on board, are the others with support in the market. Obi Wan, is a son of Ganymede who is one of those French sires who actually does better crossed with American mares than he seems to in his native France, having proven especially successful in Italy and Denmark - another such French sire is Juliano Star, the sire of Commander Crowe and rising stars like Juliano Rags but of seemingly of little consequence in his own country. Obi Wan, who started off his racing in Denmark in Ken Ecce's stable was no age-group star and has taken his time to go through the grades but has improved with age and won six of his 12 races this season. He has been rising through the grades, with a win in the Silverdivision final at Aby in May and now has a respecatable record of 16 wins and 11 placings from 46 starts. Kolgjini's Juggle Face is the same age but has raced thirty more times and could not be more different. His dam is an Armbro Goal half sister to Triton Sund, a winner of more than $2.3 million and a record of 1.52.2 and now at stud after a stellar career. A Swedish Travderby and Breeders Crown winner Triton Sund went on to win several group ones such as Sweden's second biggest race, Olympiatravet and Denmark's biggest race, the Copenhagen Cup and even had a second placing in the Prix de Belgique and raced in the Prix d'Amerique. Juggle Face, who like Triton Sund is by Viking Kronos, won his first four starts as a 2YO, was second in the Breeders Crown at three and won the Solvalla Grand Prix at four. But he has not quite reached the heights of his illustrious relative, who was also trained for a time by Kolgjini although he has won 5.6 million SEK ($860K) and had group wins like the group two Orebro International and Eskilstuna FyraÃ¥ringstest. Gulddivisionen Aby 2013-12-14 289,000SEK 2140m 1 Obi-Wan (h Ganymede - Hejsa Reerstrup) Dr: Flemming Jensen Tr: Flemming Jensen 2 Solvato (h Donato Hanover - Solveig) Dr: Veijo Heiskanen Tr: Veijo Heiskanen 3 Yanantin Boko (g Viking Kronos - Ormonne Boko) Dr: Olle AlsÃ©n Tr: Olle AlsÃ©n 4 Rakas (h Victory Party - Tricky Woo Per Lennartsson) Dr: Tr: Per Lennartsson 5 Capello Bob (g Trade Balance - Yroflickan) Dr: Stefan Persson Tr: Stefan Persson 6 Juggle Face (h Viking Kronos - Rakel Sund) Dr: Johnny Takter Tr: Lutfi Kolgjini 7 David Sisu (h Lindy Lane - Keystone Delicious) Dr: Ulf Ohlsson Tr: Petri Salmela 8 Maharajah (h Viking Kronos - Chili Khan) Dr: Ã–rjan KihlstrÃ¶m Tr: Stefan Hultman 9 Oasis Bi (h Toss Out - Up Front Jm) Dr: Claes Svensson Tr: Stefan P Pettersson 10 J.T.'s Crown (h Buckaroo K. - Nadja Waltter ) Dr: Peter Ingves Tr: Glenn H Persson 11 Perfectly Enough (h Express It - Just About Enough) Dr: Erik Adielsson Tr: Stig H Johansson 12 Politiken (g Ens Snapshot - Goldie Hawn) Dr: Morten Friis Tr: John Friis by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com
The first full day of the Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming started off with a keynote address from NYRA CEO and President Christopher Kay. Kay discussed attracting new customer demographics, enhancing guest services and improving the overall on-track experience for all fans. The first panel of the day introduced a new show premiering January 7, 2014 on the Esquire Network named ‘Horseplayers.’ Attendees saw several clips of the show which served as a good introduction to a later discussion on handicapping contests. The panel before lunch was a presentation of different ways to present handicapping data to make it more accessible to the wagering public and easier to understand. The last panel of the day included members of the cast from the Horseplayers show, including Peter Rotondo,Christian Hellmers, and Michael Beychok. At the awards luncheon, the RTIP honoured Michael Blowen (outstanding contribution to racing), Martin Panza (distinguished alumni), and Claudia Koehler (distinguished student). The Turf Publicists of America presented a scholarship to RTIP student Randy Olson and honoured jockey Gary Stevens with the Big Sport of Turfdom Award. The Mark Kaufman Workshop presented by the TPA focused on controlling and properly communicating racing’s message to the media. To finish up the day, the first ‘Speed Networking’ event was held along with the closing reception. Submitted by RTIP
Champion NSW driver Greg Bennett was found not guilty of six charges of corruption laid against him by the Department of Public Prosecution at Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court today. Bennett faced six charges of corruptly giving former HRNSW steward Matthew Bentley money to ensure horses were not swabbed - to which he pleaded not guilty. The jury took very little time to hand down its decision. It is understood top Sydney lawyer Charlie Waterstreet for Greg Bennett won the day with a strong closing address. Waterstreet pointed out that Mathew Bentley was not a reliable witness and that he gave changed information in his statements; Prosecutor for the DPP Guy Newton took little time to summarize for the jury. The Crown case was heavily reliant on the evidence of indemnified Bentley, who had admitted his corrupt nature. Bentley’s evidence was substantial and supported by the phone records based on phone intercepts. The nature of Bentley and Bennett’s relationship was also drawn into question. The case which ran for over three weeks saw the first two juries excused and some DPP evidence rejected by Justice Bennett (no relation). Bentley, who had immunity from prosecution, was in the witness box for four days, giving evidence against Bennett. It was admitted and agreed by both the accused (Bennett) and the accuser (Bentley) that they had a close telephone relationship and they would communicated daily and at all hours. However Bennett said it was through friendship whilst Bentley claimed it was to carry out corrupt practices. There is little doubt they are now not friends and the jury did not believe the corruption line. Bennett admitted that he never met with Bentley and that the association was one that took place only over the telephone. He also admitted that no one else knew of the 'clandestine' relationship. Greg Bennett's team relied on evidence only from Jim Bennett (father) and leading NSW official John Baker. Witnesses called upon by the DPP were HRNSW chief executive officer Sam Nati, integrity manager Reid Sanders, senior steward Chris Paul, former steward Bill Cable as well as NSW detective senior constables Paul King and Eric Burgess as well as vet Brian Stewart.
Real Desire is one of those stallions that has just as many knockers as admirers when you judge his stud career. As a racehorse he was on a par with the very best horses ever. Starting 40 times , he won 25 and was placed 13 times in a stellar career, earning $3,233,000 and taking a time of US1;48:2. A record few have matched. So when he went to stud it was expected by breeders that the son of Life Sign would be just as big a star at stud as he had been on the track. And while he has done a great job at stud, he hasn't lived up to those expectations in the eyes of many breeders. The perception in the marketplace was he had underachieved and we know perception quickly becomes fact with breeders. Stud stats are a great way of cutting through all the hype and give a very different view of Real Desire than that held by a lot of breeders. USA - Stakes won - $41,233,000 Winners - 446 $100,000 earners - 120 Sub 1:50 - 26 Sub 1:53 - 136 $500,000 earners - 11 Including such standouts as Tell All $ 1,568,000 and Razzle Dazzle $1,005,000. A notable winner this year was Little Brown Jug elimination winner Resistance Futile (1:49:3 $238,000 at 3) who is from a daughter of high class NZ mare, Tupelo Rose. Australia - Stakes won $1,553,000 (from two crops) Winners - 53 From a first crop of 83 now 5yr olds, he has left 44 winners including such smart types as Secret Diary($ 88,000) Desirable Guy ($88,000) - All I Want ($79,000) - Real hammer ($76,000) amongst a host of good performers. From his second crop now 4yr olds he has already left the talented Hezarealgem ($93,000) New Zealand---Stakes won ($1,532,000) Winners - 62 His oldest are 5yr olds but he has no 4yr olds with his second crop being 3yr olds. He has left such talented horses such as Let's Elope ($273,000) and Cowgirls N Indians ($375,323) who were leading 2yr olds from his first crop along with Freespin ($70,000) - Secret Desire ($63,000) Speed and Desire ($61,000) and one of NZs leading young trotters in Realmein ($81,000). Anyway you look at it, it is a great record and one that is contrary to the view of him held by many breeders. He is the real deal. JC This is a series of stallion reviews that Harnesslink are doing 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
Bring on Ronnie Wrenn ,Jr. Those words weren't actually spoken but it's a good bet that Bruce Aldrich, Jr. felt that especially after winning five races on Tuesday, December, 10 at Monticello Raceway with his showdown with Wrenn looming Thursday (Dec.12). And it's probably somewhat comforting for Bruce that their upcoming Drive-Off will be on his home turf. "It might be a slight advantage but Ronnie is a great driver and he especially knows has way around a half-mile track," Aldrich said yesterday at day's end. "We each got to pick our own drives and it should be a good competition on Thursday I just hope I'm not embarrassed." On the cold and dreary Tuesday afternoon the falling snow made the racing surface muddy but it didn't seem to bother Aldrich. In his first drive on the card he won the second race with Mike Watson's Mechanical Bull ($5.30) in 2:03.3 and then came back in the next race to rein Mo Coo, Inc. and Jonathan Klee Racing's Thunder Seelster ( $2.10) home first in 1:59.1 for the geldings 15th seasonal triumph. Win number three immediately followed when he scored a 1:58.2 clocking with Norman Kelapire and Jeffrey Burley's Gota Go Bullville ($5.40). Four races later Aldrich scored win number four with Buckeye Baddler ($2.30), another pacer owned by Mo Coo Inc and Jonathan Klee racing and then Aldrich won for the fifth time in race 10 with Nancy Fugere's Hickory Louie ($3.40) for the pacer's 13th seasonal triumph and the third training victory on the card for Bob Lounsbury. And in the 13th and final race Aldrich just missed a six-bagger when Machin Music-another Lounsbury-trained pacer, was beaten just a nose in a time of 2:00.2. "I had some power today and I put them in the right spot and they fired," is how Aldrich described his afternoon production. " I hope my mounts on Thursday are as live as the ones I drove today." It's no secret that Aldrich is having his the best year of his illustrious career. Since Y2K Aldrich has garnered four driving titles at the Mighty M and recorded the vast majority of his 4698 driving victories and this year he's a cinch reach his goal of 600 wins this year. However, Aldrich wasn't the only one in the upcoming Drive-Off to win on Tuesday. Wrenn added a pair of victories last night at Northfield Park and now has 660 for the year which is tops on the continent. John Manzi
TORONTO, December 10 - Trainer David Menary has a pair of newcomers in his barn and hopes to start them off on a winning note in a pair of stakes engagements to be held Thursday and Friday at Woodbine. Newly acquired Envious Hanover will begin in the Niagara Series for pacing fillies, while Americhi will contest the Valedictory on Friday for pacing colts and geldings. Envious Hanover, a daughter of Western Ideal, will look for her third straight score when she begins in the $15,000 opening round. The talented filly pacer will also debut new owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi Llc, Frank Baldachino and Lawrence Karr. Envious Hanover will begin from post six in the first dash on Thursday for regular pilot Billy Davis, Jr. "She certainly seems like one of the better fillies in the series," said new conditioner Dave Menary. "Burke's (Burke Racing Stable Llc) and horse agent Marc Reynolds put the deal together and I'm just happy to have her in the barn." Envious Hanover certainly has made her impact on the WEG circuit over the past few months with her best racing of the season. The bay has sported a 2-2-0 record from her last five starts. "She's been improving with every start and developing into a nice filly," Menary said. "I spoke to Billy (Davis, Jr.) last week and he was really impressed with her latest win and how good she was on the front-end. She has terrific gate-speed and that comes in very handy at Woodbine." Just a $5,500 yearling purchase in the 2011 Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Envious Hanover was developed and co-owned by William Allan McNeil of Nova Scotia, before being sent to partner Mike Brealey in Ontario. The four-time winner has banked $31,590 in her career along with a 1:53 lifetime best taken last week. Looking ahead to Thursday, Menary remains optimistic about his filly that has been installed as the 5/2 morning line favourite. "She's had a good week and certainly belong in there," he said. "A seven horse field never hurts our chances either. She'll put in a good showing of herself and like I said, she continues to improve so hopefully that continues." The second $15,000 leg will go postward on Thursday, December 19. The Niagara Series is for three-year-old fillies, who are non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31. The Niagara Series will line up as follows on Thursday: Race 1 1. Twin B Heartland 2. Hands Off Hanover 3. Lyonssweetie 4. Miss Poppycock 5. Jeremeyes Jewel 6. Envious Hanover 7. Wonderful Charm Race 3 1. Dance Hall Girl 2. Bad Girl Vegas 3. Parade Route 4. Putmeintogo 5. Russian Kisses 6. D GS Pesquero 7. Negligent Hanover Americhi, also owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, has shipped north to Menary to contest the opening $15,000 round of the Valedictory Series on Friday evening. The talented five-time winner was a recent private purchase from Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Matthew Kakaley and Stable 45. "I watched his latest race at Chester and despite finishing second that was a super impressive mile," Menary said. "I've been looking forward to getting him up here for this series and he has a terrific shot not only to win this leg, but to win the series." With earnings of $63,271 and a 5-4-1 record from 15 career starts along with a 1:51.3 career triumph, Americhi certainly brings a level of consistency onto the racetrack. "He's made a terrific impression on me so far and this series fits him very well," Menary said. "He's a late bloomer and very versatile and it's nice to see that we drew well. "He's got a ton of speed and settled in really nice," Menary continued. "He was trained up well before he shipped here and he seems ready for Friday." Jody Jamieson will guide the son of American Ideal from post one. The second $15,000 leg will take place on Friday, December 20. The Valedictory Series is for three-year-old fillies, who are non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31. The fields will line up as follows: Race 6 1. Avatartist 2. Watersides Kipper 3. Alexas Jackpot 4. Trys Little Prince 5. Pappys Pal 6. Akoya 7. Hes A Sensation 8. Hopiesdragninthedo 9. Scarlet Chaser Race 8 1. Americhi 2. One Stop Deal 3. White Sportscoat 4. Greystone Moe 5. Mr Why 6. J C Onthebeach 7. Shark Fantasy 8. Yucatan 9. Tauranga Both $30,000 (Added) finals are scheduled on Boxing Day with a special 1 p.m. post. Greg Gangle WEG Communications - Standardbred
Atlanta, GA - Sportech Racing and Digital, a division of Sportech PLC, (LSE:SPO), will unveil a slate of innovative new digital products and services to the global racing industry at the 40th Annual Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming, in Tucson, this week. Sportech Racing and Digital is the newly established division to incorporate Sportech Racing, Sportech Interactive Products and Services and eBet Technologies, in order to offer a seamless and converging delivery of terrestrial, online and mobile wagering technology products to our customers. During the four-day Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming, Sportech Racing and Digital will introduce a suite of new mobile, online and digital products designed to significantly improve the racing fan wagering experience and make it easy and fun to wager on mobile, online and on track. Headlining the innovative developments is the new Digital Link™ suite of mobile applications. Digital Link™ – which has already been approved for inclusion in the Apple App Store℠ – works in conjunction with on-track wagering devices and the racing consumer’s own smart phone to deliver an array of wagering and account management services, including on-track mobile wagering, off-track mobile wagering, and Sportech's proprietary (patent pending) digital voucher, which provides a convenient paperless alternative to vouchers and betting tickets. The company will also feature a pioneering white-label wagering website – G4 – a framework for online horseracing wagering that provides consumers with a central dashboard from which to access all information needed in order to wager, manage accounts, and watch racing video, all with a minimal amount of navigation. Importantly, G4 has been developed to be ‘iGaming ready’ in order to to integrate horserace wagering with a full suite of other online gaming products including bingo, casino, poker, slots and other games. To provide this market leading products and customer experience as the US online gaming regulation evolves, Sportech has established a new joint venture partnership for the US market with Nevada located NYX Gaming Group. Finally Sportech has developed a new kiosk engineered to allow licensed operators to offer wagering account set-up, funding, and cash-out from a single-kiosk unit. Louis Skelton, Chief Technology Officer for Sportech, stated: "We have harnessed the significant investment made by our parent company to create game-changing products. We are particularly pleased to launch our new Digital Link™, which provides the player with an easy-to-use, convenient and more satisfying consumer experience. We consider that these products have the potential to improve the customer experience, drive handle improvements and deliver operator efficiencies." About Sportech Racing and Digital Sportech Racing and Digital is a leading global provider of wagering technology solutions to licensed racetracks, off-track betting networks, Internet wagering operators and casinos. In addition to the software, hardware and services that facilitate land-based pari-mutuel wagering, the group provides customized Internet, phone and mobile technologies and associated services to licensed gaming operators in the U.S. and Puerto Rico as one of the largest Internet wagering technology providers and operators in the U.S. About Sportech PLC Sportech PLC is a sports gaming and entertainment company and one of the world's leading pool betting organizations, focusing on highly regulated markets worldwide. Sportech provides betting technology for football (soccer), horseracing and, through its recent acquisition of Data Tote Limited, the majority of the UK and Ireland's greyhound tracks. Sportech PLC processes over $13 billion in bets annually with a presence in 30 countries. Sportech is headquartered in London, England with operational offices in Liverpool, Bristol, Atlanta, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, Netherlands, Germany and Ireland. For more information about Sportech PLC, please visit www.sportechplc.com. by Jennifer Conning for Sportech
A massive 132 nominations have been received for the 2014 TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Championship Sydney. The Host State, New South Wales, has the most entries with 38. Victoria has 27, Western Australia 25, New Zealand 20, Queensland 19, Tasmania 2 and South Australia 1. Qualifying Heats will be conducted at Addington, Tabcorp Park Melton, Albion Park and Gloucester Park with a further two heats at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Qualifying Heats are scheduled for Saturday evening 15 February and will be broadcast within a dedicated two hour window on Sky 2. The Grand Final will be at 3:40pm at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday afternoon 2 March 2014 with live nationwide coverage on Channel 9. Due to a miscommunication between the NSWHRC and trainer Tony Svilicich horses Mysta Magical Mach and Shardons Rocket were omitted from the Inter Dominion nominations These have now been included. Additionally the two Keayang's Cullen and Steamer trained by Margaret Lee in Victoria were omitted as was Fernleigh Renegade NZ trained by KerryAnn Turner in NSW. The list of 132 nominations are as follows; Horse Trainer State Ardghal NZ Shane Tritton NSW Baby Bling NZ Belinda McCarthy NSW Bettor Bet Black Darren McCall NSW Brave Wiggy NZ Shane Tritton NSW Chariot King John Tapp NSW Feels Like Magic NZ Kevin Pizzuto NSW Fernleigh Renegade NZ KerryAnn Turner NSW Fly Like An Eagle NZ Paul Fitzpatrick NSW For A Reason Luke McCarthy NSW Freyberg NZ Kevin Pizzuto NSW Gaius Caesar NZ Darren Binskin NSW Garnet River Luke McCarthy NSW Glengowan NZ Darren Binskin NSW Hawthorden NZ Shane Tritton NSW Hez Delcan NZ Neal Wardle NSW Heza Presidente NZ Shane Tritton NSW Ideal Scott NZ Luke McCarthy NSW Jackaroo Bromac NZ Shane Tritton NSW Kotare Mach NZ Peter Walsh NSW Lee Van Cleef NZ Kevin Pizzuto NSW Mach Beauty Shane Tritton NSW Mach Wiper Luke McCarthy NSW Master Joy Shane Tritton NSW Mister Presley NZ Peter Walsh NSW Monifieth NZ John McCarthy NSW My Dusky Sound NZ Steve Turnbull NSW Pure Power NZ Nicole Molander NSW Repelem Peter Walsh NSW Rockets Reject Ian Wilson NSW Rohan Home Paul Fitzpatrick NSW Satellite Ace David Reynolds NSW Scandalman NZ Ian Wilson NSW Seel N Print NZ Todd McCarthy NSW Suave Stuey Lombo Shane Tritton NSW Terrorway NZ John McCarthy NSW The Gold Ace NZ Luke McCarthy NSW Two Eye See Belinda McCarthy NSW Washakie NZ John McCarthy NSW Besotted NZ Ray Green NZ Choise Achiever NZ Tim Butt NZ Christen Me NZ Cran Dalgety NZ Easy On The Eye NZ Steven Reid NZ Elusive Chick NZ Timothy Butt NZ Four Starzzz Flash NZ Kevin Chapman NZ Franco Ledger NZ Hamish Hunter NZ Franco Nelson NZ Robert Dunn NZ Give The Wink NZ Geoff Small NZ Jarcullembra NZ Geoff Small NZ Jason Rulz NZ G Hope NZ Jivin Cullen NZ Robert Dunn NZ Kiwi Ideal NZ Steven Reid NZ Mah Sish NZ Timothy Butt NZ Pass Them By NZ Timothy Butt NZ Pembrook Benny NZ Barry Purdon NZ Rider On The Storm NZ Robert Dunn NZ Smolda NZ Mark Purdon NZ Terror To Love NZ Graham Court NZ The Sleepy Tripp NZ Robert Dunn NZ Alberto Contador NZ Grant Dixon QLD Avonnova Ian Gurney QLD Beau Dandy James Wanless QLD Bettor Draw Paul McGregor QLD Destreos NZ Ken Rattray QLD Devil Dodger NZ Grant Dixon QLD Field Officer NZ Grant Dixon QLD Forever Gold Darren Weeks QLD Franco Jamar NZ Bart Cockburn QLD Funny Boy NZ Ken Rattray QLD Goulburn Guy Vicki Rasmussen QLD Holy Camp Boy Vicki Rasmussen QLD Ima Sea Storm NZ Graham White QLD Jazzabout Cristina Monte QLD My Jellignite NZ Shane Sanderson QLD Only The Brave NZ Grant Dixon QLD Pub Blitz James Wanless QLD Sign To Inverell Darrel Graham QLD Vegas Bound Grant Dixon QLD Mark Dennis NZ Lance Holberton SA Beautide James Rattray TAS Biggernbettermax James Rattray TAS Abettorpunt David Lewis VIC Alchemy NZ Lance Justice VIC Amajorjo David Lewis VIC Amercian Muscle Ross Sugars VIC Bitobliss Scott Stewart VIC Blucolla Tigerpie Michael Stanley VIC Broadways Best Shannon McLean VIC Captain Joy Sue Hunter VIC Caribbean Blaster Andy Gath VIC Chancellor Cullen NZ Dean Braun VIC Devilish Smile Peter Tonkin VIC Guaranteed Emma Stewart VIC Hugo Play Lance Justice VIC Im Barney Rubble NZ Lance Justice VIC Im Corzin Terror NZ Dean Braun VIC Jaccka Clive NZ David Aiken VIC Jadahson Emma Stewart VIC Keayang Cullen Margaret Lee VIC Keayang Steamer Margaret Lee VIC Restrepo Emma Stewart VIC Savesomtimetodream Paul Rowse VIC Smoken Up NZ Lance Justice VIC Smudge Bromac NZ David Aiken VIC Toulouse Lautrec NZ Lance Justice VIC Villagem Glenn Douglass VIC Wartime Sweetheart David Aiken VIC Youranut Ross Sugars VIC Argent Treasure Ross Olivieri WA Can Return Fire NZ Greg & Skye Bond WA Condrieu NZ Greg Bond WA Crombie Gary Elson WA Daniel John Andrew DeCampo WA Dasher VC NZ Andrew DeCampo WA David Hercules David Thompson WA Dredlock Rockstar Michael Callegari WA Empire Flame NZ James Howlett WA Hez The Bart Man NZ Ross Olivieri WA Hokonui Ben NZ Gary Hall (snr) WA Im Terrific NZ Greg & Skye Bond WA Im Victorious NZ Michael Brennan WA Ima Rocket Star NZ Greg & Skye Bond WA Johnny Be Greg & Skye Bond WA Livingontheinterest NZ Gary Hall (snr) WA Lombo Navigator Andrew DeCampo WA Mach Banner NZ Greg & Skye Bond WA Midnight Dylan NZ Greg & Skye Bond WA Mysta Magical Mach NZ Tony Svilicich WA Our Major Mark NZ Greg & Skye Bond WA Red Salute Ross Olivieri WA Sensational Gabby Ross Olivieri WA Shardons Rocket NZ Tony Svilicich WA Your Good Fortune NZ Greg & Skye Bond WA Dale Walker
Bettor Cover Lover will shoot for three straight Queen Of Hearts victories at Alexandra Park on Friday night and there is only one thing standing in her way – Adore Me. In what looks to be a sequel to the Bettor Cover Lover and Carabella show, these two magnificent mares are set to clash for the first time. But, while pacing princess Adore Me is coming into the $100,000 feature in scintillating form, the same can’t be said for the champion Brent Mangos & Hayden Cullen trained mare. “Things didn’t quite go right for her in Perth,” said Mangos. “She struggled with the heat over there and she was tormented by the mosquitoes,” he added. Bettor Cover Lover’s best result during her three-start Perth campaign was a third in the $40,000 Norms Daughter Classic, but Mangos says that horrible barrier draws were also detrimental to her Australian raid. “Gloucester Park is a tight turning track and if you are not handy you virtually have no show.” Bettor Cover Lover travelled to Melbourne last week where she was looked after by co-trainer Hayden Cullen, before flying home to Auckland on Saturday night. “We haven’t done too much with her since she has been back but she is fit and healthy and seems well,” Mangos enthused. “She has done a bit of swimming and has had a couple of runs on the beach. We are really just trying to freshen her up,” he added. Mangos said that he would have liked to have had another week up his sleeve before the Queen Of Hearts, but he is still very confident of a bold showing. “She loves racing at Alexandra Park and she has the draw in her favour,” said Mangos. Gate flier Spirit And Desire has drawn in two, while Adore Me has barrier three to work with, but Mangos is confident that ‘Betty’ has the speed to lead. “She will definitely hold up from the one draw,” insisted Mangos. “I will just let her run the gate as quick as she wants to and go from there. “I am happy to try for an all the way win but I will just play it by ear,” he added. Mangos didn’t go as far as to say that Bettor Cover Lover will beat Adore Me on Friday, but he certainly isn’t conceding defeat. “I know that Adore Me effortlessly won the Northern Breeders Stakes last week, but if my mare brings her ‘A’ game she will take some beating,” he concluded. While the Queen Of Hearts will undoubtedly be the headline act on Friday, there is also plenty of mouth watering prospects on the undercard including the Kumeu Founders Cup, the Alabar Classic, heat one of the Young Guns, and heat four of the Alabar Sires Stakes. The latter will see last week’s Ladyship Stakes winner Venus Serena go head-to-head with Libertybelle Midfrew, who was an emphatic fresh-up winner at Timaru in track record time. That race is the first leg of the $40,000 Pick Six and I think you can safely negotiate your way through it with just the two runners on your ticket. *Attatched is the video of Bettor Cover Lover winning the 2012 Queen Of Hearts Highlights The Promising Prime Power will take on a smart field of trotters including Stent in race one at 5.17pm The two-year-olds will compete in the first heat of the Young Guns at 7.15pm Venus Serena will clash with Libertybelle Midfrew in race seven at 8.20pm A quality field on three-year-olds will do battle in the Alabar Classic at 8.50pm. Bettor Cover Lover and Adore Me will clash in the Queen Of Hearts at 9.21pm The Kumeu Founders Cup at 9.51pm By Mitchell Robertson
If Christen Me is going to win the A$400,000 Victoria Cup he is going to have to do it the hard way. The Kiwi pacing superstar will start from the outside of the second line in the 2240m group one at Melton on Saturday, with the only good news for his connections being key rivals For A Reason and Beautide will also start off the second line. That means the trio, who ran the trifecta in the Miracle Mile 11 days ago, will have to give starts to the likes of Smoken Up (5), Restrepo (4) and defending champion Caribbean Blaster (3). Auckland-owned Cranbourne Cup winner The Gold Ace will have to start from the outside of the front line. With the first three home in the Mile drawn the second line bookmakers don’t know which way to look, with the Australian TAB opening Restrepo the $4 favourite, with Christen Me rated a $6 chance. On a night with strong Kiwi interest, chestnut trotting mare Habibti was the best backed early runner after drawing well in the A$50,000 Dullard Cup. The Canterbury mare galloped twice in the Bill Collins Mile last Saturday but that was after drawing the second line and from barrier three on Saturday she was quickly backed from $4 to $3.20 in Australia yesterday. Meanwhile, champion Pukekohe mare Bettor Cover Lover could hardly have asked for a better homecoming present than the ace draw in Friday’s $100,000 Rosslands Queen of Hearts at Alexandra Park. The mare has a torrid recent trip to Perth where the heat caused her hoof problems and that combined with difficult draws saw her return without a win. But co-trainer Brent Mangos believes a near week-long stopover in Victoria will have the mare affectionately known as Betty close to her best as she tries for a Queen Of Hearts three-peat. “While he hooves weren’t the best over there she has travelled home well and had a plenty of time in Victoria where she could swim,” said Mangos. “So she will continue to improve and I think she will be close to her best by Friday, which she will need to be against Adore Me.” Bettor Cover Lover has drawn the one in the group one, with Adore Me at barrier three in one of the glamour clashes of the season so far. Friday’s premier meeting also boasts a sensational three-year-old pacing race, with the $50,000 Alabar Classic as good an early-season three-year-old field as has been assembled at the track in a decade. By Michael Guerin (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)
In harness racing, provisional drivers aren't supposed to get first call to drive the best horses on the grounds. Provisional drivers don't repeatedly drive horses to track records and absolutely under no circumstance do they ever win more often than their peers. But all of that changed Saturday at Batavia Downs where 23-year-old provisional driver Shawn McDonough concluded the meet at the Western New York track by becoming the first "P" driver in harness racing history to win a track's dash title. And in the end, it wasn't even close. McDonough took the lead atop the driver standings over the summer and entered the final week of the meet holding a 93 to 84 win advantage over the next closest driver, Ray Fisher. In the final three days of the meet, McDonough won three races Wednesday, another three on Friday, and for just good measure scored a grand slam on the meet's final night putting him over the 100 win mark. A strong Buffalo meet in the first half of the year that saw McDonough win 71 times from 591 starts gave the young driver a wave of momentum heading into the new meet at Batavia. There, a number of factors played a role in McDonough's record breaking success. McDonough said, "John Cummings left here and that opened spots up. A couple drivers got hurt (Ray Fisher and Jack Flanigen nearing the end of at Buffalo), and that opened up opportunities. I did well for a number of the trainers and they kept with me." McDonough credits the Empowered Racing Stable and Resilient Racing Stable as a large part of his success at Batavia. I was working for Empowered Racing Stable with Carl Smith and they put me on the right foot with some power to drive. My own owners, the Resilient Stable, they gave me a great opportunity to train horses and I've done well. In regards to Empowered, "You know, they have great horses and spend a lot of money on horses and bring them to these tracks. I broke the track trotting record this year with their mare Mystical Escapade," said McDonough. In addition to the smashing record setting performance by Mystical Escapade who would go onto be named Trotter of the Year at Batavia, McDonough also broke a track record with the pacing mare Xenia Hanover by virtue of a blowout eight length win in 1:53. Other horses of note from McDonough are Cactus Jack and Resilient Stable's millionaire trotter, Self Professed. McDonough said that his best of claim of the year was Debs Girloffortune. "I claimed her for $4,000 and she made almost $16,000 just at Batavia for me. I think she missed one check in about twenty starts." Even with the breakout success at Buffalo, it was hard for McDonough to envision just how much of that would carry over into the Batavia season. "Heading into the meet someone had asked me how many wins I'd get, and I thought maybe 75 or so. I can't explain it but for some reason every year I have better luck at Batavia than I do at Buffalo. Being a provisional driver I didn't know what the opportunities would be like, but a lot of my buddies are good trainers and they all helped to put me on the map pretty good." McDonough continued, "I never thought realistically I would hit the 100 mark; it was just a great year. I'm thankful for my owners, all my family and friends. I've got a good helper too with my girlfriend Ashley Holiday who helps out a lot. We've got a really great team here and everything clicked." In becoming the first provisional driver to ever win a track dash title, it does beg the question: Why is McDonough still a provisional driver in the first place? By the very definition of what a provisional license essentially is, it's almost inexplicable that McDonough remains under that classification. Ultimately, it is only the state appointed judges presiding at Buffalo/Batavia that can grant McDonough to a full "A" driver status. But despite the subjective nature at which that determination is made, McDonough has laughably outpaced what the standard minimum requirements are, pursuant to the United States Trotting Association 2014 Bylaws. There are a number of different ways that minimum requirements can be met, but generally speaking what's required while holding a 'P' license is one year driving experience, plus 25 satisfactory pari-mutuel starts and a win requirement of 5 wins. McDonough has held a 'P' license now for 4 years and in just this single year alone, he has won 174 times with earnings in excess of $900,000. Searching for an answer, McDonough said "I asked at the beginning of the Batavia meet why I can't yet have an 'A' license and didn't really get an answer, so I told myself that I'm going to have to go out there and try to win a title to show the judges. I'm not sure how it makes them look having a 'P' driver go out there and win a title, but you can't argue with them." He continued, "They're actually the ones that told me towards the end of the meet that I was going to be the first 'P' driver to win a dash title and break history, I didn't even know that." McDonough added, "I had an opportunity to go to the Meadowlands and drive for Empowered Racing. They asked me to go with them but I wasn't able to (because of the 'P' status). All I can do is be patient and keep it going. Just this year I've had close to 180 wins; I'm not dangerous and haven't caused any accidents - nothing." The next time we'll see McDonough in action is when Buffalo starts their new season on January 8. Until then, he's giving his horses time off for a little break. As for plans later down the road McDonough says "I'm just being patient. If I have a good year again maybe we'll look at trying Pocono. If I get a couple of my guys to go and get owners like Empowered and Resilient to move their stock we'll see what happens." In the meanwhile, McDonough will enter 2014 seeking his second consecutive track title in Western New York. Unheard of for a 'provisional' driver. by, Brett Sturman for The Racing Beard