Harness racing trainer Stephen Hale had a look at the draw for his grey mare Lilly Jones at Addington tonight and his head dropped. Barrier nine over 1950 metres with some smart fillies drawn inside him was the last thing he had hoped for and he was unsure weather to go forward or back. Stephen, who works his horses at Cran Dalgety's Kentuckiana Lodge was having morning tea at the stables this morning when he mentioned his dilemma. Cran is never one to hold back when asked his opinion as Stephen related to Harnesslink tonight. " Cran pointed out the only thing you win pulling back is a tug of war contest." " So I told my driver Peter Davis to go forward and press on," Stephen said. Which is exactly what Peter Davis did, leading after 300 metres with Lilly Jones and then he continued to run them along at a steady clip and come the finishing line was still in front. Peter Davis was suitably impressed with the good looking daughter of Klondike Kid. " That was a really good effort from the outside of the gate." " She never looked like giving it away," Peter said. Stephen was more than happy with the outcome. " She works on her own most of the time and I think she would have won at Motukarara last Sunday but she got a bit lost the last little bit." " She needs to be out and rolling in her races as she hasn't got a real sharp sprint on her." " We will probably head to Methven now with a fair bit of confidence" Stephen said. Lilly Jones looks to have a fair bit of upside to her judging by tonights win. Harnesslink Media
The harness racing meeting at Forbury Park tonight was run in real winter conditions with driving rain and a cold southerly sweeping the course. The maiden pace over 2700 metres from a stand was more like a 3000 metres race in the conditions. The well travelled and tried Billy Klondike has been showing signs in his last few starts of winning his maiden and tonight he finally broke his duck after thirty one starts. Away well for driver Craig Ferguson to lead early, Billy Klondike took a trail with just over a lap to go and then used the passing lane to grab the lead and then hold off a late charge from Spinyback and Nathan Williamson. Billy Klondike who is owned and trained by Nora Bishop at Tomahawk paced the 2700 metres in 3:35.8 with closing sectionals of 59.6 and 28.8. Driver Craig Ferguson has always had a bit of time for the showy grey. " The son of Klondike Kid has got enough ability to win a race or two but his manners have been letting him down badly most of the time." "Just lately he has been starting to put it all together." "I thought he might go close tonight, Craig said. While it may have taken thirty one starts for Billy Klondike to leave maidens, he looks to have turned the corner in his last few runs and looks more than capable of handling the rise in grade. Harnesslink Media
The Marlborough Harness Racing Club carded four races last week and Nelson trainer Murray Pash won three of them – with just two horses. Pash cleaned up one day one of the dual-code meeting on Thursday winning with Arcano and Rosetta Stone. Then three days later Arcano did the business again. All three were driven by visiting Palmerston North driver, Stephen Doody. Pash said he would have loved to have driven his team, but said he lost putting Doody in the bike. “Stephen is a very accomplished and underrated driver. I asked him a while back if he could drive my horses and he said yes if he was coming down. He did a super job. I have always rated Stephen’s abilities in the cart. You have to - he’s driven more than 450 winners,” Pash said. Pash was taken to hospital following a three-horse crash at the Westport meeting on March 7. He is still waiting for a clearance to drive. “I’ll be seeing the Specialist in a week’s time and hopefully I’ll be right to get back in the sulky then. In saying that I’m still getting severe headaches so it will be interesting to see what he has to say,” Pash said. The 69-year-old only has three horses in work and it was his grey 4-year-old Arcano who got the chocolates on Thursday and Sunday. The son of Klondike Kid came from the second row (10) to win Thursday’s $7,000 Crafar Crouch Construction Mobile for the maiden pacers. He then repeated the dose from gate 11 on the second day in the $7,000 Haack Construction Mobile for the C1 and C2 pacers. His winning times for the 2400m were 3:31.7 and then 3:25 even. He won by 4-3/4 lengths and two lengths respectively. Mile rates: 2:21.9 and 2:17.5. Sectionals: 67.9 & 32.8 and then 64.2 & 31.6. Arcano has now won two of his 15 starts and placed in four others. Sixth favourite Rosetta Stone got up by a nose in the $70,000 Nigel & Trevor Mobile for C1 and C2 pacers on the first day. Winning time for the 2400m mobile: 3:29.6. Mile rate: 2;20.5. Last 80m: 65.5. Last 400m: 32 even. Rosetta Stone is a 4-year-old black Julius Caesar mare who has now won two of her 25 starts and placed in two others. “There’s not much between them. They are much of a muchness. Rosetta Stone was the first to win and the first to become a C2 pacer so I suppose she is slightly ahead on the points count at the moment,” Pash said. The Nelson horseman has been training out of Richmond Park since 1972 and said he still loved working and driving horses in his retirement. He regarded Eastburn Gee, Mac Raider and Bonnie’s Lass as the best three he had trained and said time would tell as whether or not Rosetta Stone and Arcano would go on with it. Pash has trained 40 winners since the 1970s and three of his five winners this season came at Waterlea last week. He’s also saluted the judge 60 times in his driving career. Arcano is owned by his breeder Ms M. R. Bickley, and M. P. Robinson, while Rosetta Stone is owned by her breeder Mrs D. M Berkett, and Mrs P. L. Gaugler, and Mrs C. B. Pash. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)
Many might’ve thought that losing two stallions a couple of months out from the new stud season would be a real blow for Wai-Eyre Farm. Especially when one of them was Christian Cullen, and the other was his millionaire son Gotta Go Cullen. But the old saying ‘When one door closes, another opens’ rang true for the leading Canterbury stud farm – so when Pepper Tree Farm came calling, Wai-Eyre’s Darryl Brown was more than happy to join forces with highly-regarded Australian stud. “We’re very excited,” Brown says. “Pepper Tree have got a superb line-up of young stallions. They’re sires which are very popular in Australia and are serving big books over there, and now Rob and Julie Vandyke want to strengthen the presence of those sires on this side of the Tasman as well.” Brown says he was humbled when learning of the numerous reasons why Pepper Tree chose to approach Wai-Eyre Farm – most of which centred around how his organisation is already run, and the professional way that Wai-Eyre portrays itself in the marketplace. “Rob and Julie also liked that we’re independent and a family-owned business,” Brown continued. “They’d heard good feedback about our infrastructure as well, and that we had very efficient client contact/communication procedures in place through our Sales Manager John Robinson and Office Manager Sacha Crawford.” Pepper Tree’s Rob Vandyke echoed Brown’s sentiments. “We wanted a partner in New Zealand that believes in the same philosophies as we do,” Vandyke said. “And also a stud that’s got a vested interest in our stallions. “We think we’ve got some really promising sires moving forward, and it’s great that Darryl and his team do too.” The Pepper Tree additions to Wai-Eyre’s roster are Rock N Roll Heaven, Roll With Joe, Sportswriter and Always A Virgin. Combined with their five existing sires, this now gives the North Canterbury establishment a line-up of nine and far more punch than ever before. The Australian quartet has indeed been popular at their home base, serving nearly 530 mares between them last year alone. And for good reason. Rock N Roll Heaven is by far the best son of Rocknroll Hanover, winning over $2.7million on the track and taking a time of 1.47.6 as a 3-year-old. He’s about to start his third season at stud after covering books of 185 (Aus) and 32 (NZ) during 2012/13 and 215 and 32 the season before. Roll With Joe is the Cam’s Card Shark full-brother to Bettor’s Delight who won over $1.8million on the track and went 1.48.4 as a 3-year-old. He’s heading into his second season after serving 125 and 15 mares last year. Sportswriter is by Artsplace and collected more than $1.5million in his career, taking his fastest time of 1.48.6 as a 3-year-old. His fourth year approaches, having attracted 80 and 18 mares last year on the back of Aussie books of 148 (2011/12) and 214 (2010/11). Always A Virgin is a son of Western Ideal who won over $1.1million on the track and, like all of Pepper Tree’s sires, paced his fastest time (1.48.8) as a 3-year-old. This is also his fourth season at stud but it’s the first time he’s been available to New Zealand breeders, his Australian books being 138, 84 and 143 respectively to date. Brown stressed that even though Wai-Eyre has entered into a new relationship with Pepper Tree Farm, making a commitment to their stallions and becoming their NZ Booking Agent, this new association is simply an addition to what the Farm already offers its hundreds of clients. “Wai-Eyre is still a Semen and Broodmare Base, first and foremost. “Predominantly, over fifty-five percent of the mares we serve on-farm every season are on behalf of other major studs… like Alabar, Woodlands, Pepper Tree and Empire etc. So nothing’s going to change in that regard. “And of course, we’re also a stud with our own stallions as well – Ohoka Arizona, Klondike Kid, Monkey Bones, The Pres and Angus Hall – all of which are starting to do a really good job here. “So, looking forward, it’s a very exciting time for us. “Over the last few years, we’ve stood three pacing stallions which all belong to the same sire line. And if you don’t address such an issue, eventually you end up breeding your clients into a corner and give them no option but to go elsewhere. “This new arrangement with Pepper Tree just opens up the choices for our customers even more.” By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)
The Gold, Green Shamrock colours of the father/son training partnership Mike & Pat O'Brien were dominant at today's (Tuesday February 5) Wairarapa Harness Racing Club meeting run at Manawatu raceway winning half of the eight race card and getting a quinella.
All but one of Wai-Eyre Farm's stallions will be available at the same stud fee as it was last season. The only change lies with the leading Canterbury stud's flagship sire himself, Christian Cullen, who heads into the 2012/13 harness racing season with a $12,000 price tag.