Day At The Track
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Bridgewater On Loddon breeder/owner/trainer Eric Rothacker at 86 years of age is still winning races 59 years after he won an Inter-dominion. Eric who was successful in winning the 1956 (Sydney) Inter Dominion Championship with Gentleman John, was victorious with lightly raced six-year-old Last Sunset/Maorita gelding Watch My Sox in the 136 Days To St Arnaud Pacing Cup Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2100 metres at the St Arnaud HRC fixture conducted at Charlton last Thursday. Driven by Inglewood’s Peter Sanderson, Watch My Sox, coming off an eye-catching third at Bendigo a week earlier, began brilliantly from 10 metres to lead running into the first turn and scored by an easy 7.3-metre margin. Tella Tall Tale, which trailed the whole way, eased off his back on turning to no avail, with New Divide (one/one) a further 8.3 metres away in third place. Eric’s wife Ann also shares in the ownership. Cody Winnell  

Pearcedale father and daughter Bill and Simone Walker combined for their second Warragul Cup win on Easter Sunday with their harness racing star pacer Hectorjayjay. After Doolan Jack won the race in 2009, Hectorjayjay led throughout on Sunday, setting a track record mark on 1:59.8 for the first Cup run over the new distance of 2627 metres.   Aged just four the Dream Away gelding having only his thirty-seventh race start, Hectorjayjay held off all his rivals to score his sixteenth win.   It was only his second start at the Warragul Pacing Bowl - Hectorjayjay scored his maiden win on the circuit at age two.   Since then, he has worked his way through the classes and has raced against, and beaten many of, the best competitors in three seasons of racing.   The Walker family look set for some fun times ahead in future too with Hectorjayjay, winner of over $142,000 in stakes.   Owner Matthew McLellan accepted the gold cup from Frank Hone, representing race sponsor the Warragul Sporting and Social Club.   Trainer Bill Walker was clearly emotional at the trophy presentation - he hasn't enjoyed the best of health in recent times however Sunday's win will be a great boost for him.   The Walker stable have been great supporters of Warragul trotting for decades, and their win was a celebrated one among the local crowd.   Hectorjayjay     Feature race for the trotters on Sunday was the Eddie Evison Memorial Cup.   Sunset Invasion won the event. Accepting the Cup was Barry Garbutt - ironically he shod horses for the late Eddie Evison as a farrier in Gippsland many years ago.   Connections of Sunset Invasion were delighted with their victory - the Last Sunset six-year-old is a most consistent racehorse having recorded 14 wins and 16 placings from only 36 starts.   The Ken Miller Memorial Pace went to exciting four-year-old Kurahaupo Gambler, now a winner of three on end for Burrumbeet horseman Michael Stanley.   Undefeated since settling in Australia from New Zealand, the Bettor's Delight four-year-old looks set for greater success after his all-the-way win in Sunday's race.   All mobile start events on Sunday saw times which broke the magical two minute barrier - a first at Warragul and a credit to the track maintenance team.   Despite overcast weather conditions, attendance numbers were up slightly on last year at the Cup meeting.   Trotting returns to Warragul on Monday afternoon, May 4.   Kyle Galley

Gollaham caused a boil-over at Boort on Sunday, taking out the Loddon Valley Stud Boort Pacing Cup after a brilliant drive from harness racing trainer driver Paul Gadsden.   Gadsden positioned the five-year-old Dream Away / Jazz Opera gelding behind the leader from his barrier-six draw, sitting quietly behind Cam Before The Storm (Chris Alford, $4) before using the sprint lane for a 3m win in a mile rate of 2:03.3 for the 2612m trip from the stand start.   The winner paid $32.70.   Cam Before The Storm held on for second ahead of Hilltop Hustler (Michael Stanley, $3.20fav), who started off 20m.   Turnpike Cruiser (Zac Phillips, $7.70) lost all chance early when he galloped out, punters receiving basically no run for their money.   Earlier in the day Sunset Invasion ($2fav) took out the Haras Des Trotteurs Boort Trotters Cup for reinsman Phillips and trainer David Garbutt.   The six-year-old was first-up since August last year but proved too strong by a head for a game Rumbustious (Peter Sanderson, $12.60) with Looks A Moral (Rodney Petroff, $6.30) in third beaten 14.9m.   The winner, by Last Sunset out of Maramas Invasion, clocked a mile rate of 2:06.0.   Shepparton’s Amanda Turnbull took driving honours at Boort with a double aboard Times A Bonus in Race 3 and Dobop in Race 6.   KEY NOTES FROM BOORT   - Gadsden guides Gollahman home in Boort Pacing Cup   - Sunset Invasion takes out Boort Trotters Cup   - Winning double for driver Amanda Turnbull   - Quaddie: 8-7-6-1 $3661    - Good Form Game Plan (goodform.trot.com.au): Outlay: $270. Return: $173   See who won $1000 at Boort thanks to the TAB in HRV's Trot Selfies competition   Boort Cup Day results   Cody Winnell   COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER   HARNESS RACING VICTORIA  

Trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan experienced a rollercoaster ride at the track last weekend, with a brilliant winning double on Friday night at Melton followed by a fall at Ballarat 24 hours later. “I’m a bit sore,” Quinlan said of the fall from Sir Hutchy in the Kirsten New Pace, when her horse ran into the back of a fiercely galloping Bettor Downunder. Despite the bumps and bruises, Quinlan was back in the sulky during the week and has a strong book of drives this Friday night. Punters are likely to judge Quinlan's best winning chance to be Sunset Invasion in the Seelite Windows and Doors Winter Trotters Cup Final (Group 2) over 2240m. The five-year-old gelding by Last Sunset was the most impressive heat winner last Friday night, recording a mile rate of two minutes even and a 58.7secs last half to lead all the way and defeat Unico Pegasus by 4.9m. Despite leading throughout a week ago, Quinlan said Sunset Invasion was “better driven with a sit”. She said the Holmfield and Derby winner as a three-year-old was now ready to take the next step. “He’s a really nice horse and he’s going really well. I don’t think the draw is going to be too much of a problem on Friday night. I wouldn’t swap my bloke for anything.” Earlier on the card Quinlan will kick off her night aboard Glenferrie Dreamer, which found the line strongly first-up at Maryborough. “He’s up a long way in class but we were happy with the first-up run. Craig’s got him in this because he needs to keep him ticking over, but he’s drawn well and hopefully will run well.” Quinlan then pilots last-start winner Glenferrie College in the Alabar Pace over 1720m. The four-year-old son of Mcardle stunned most punters last time out at Maryborough when he won at $22, but Quinlan said he should never been that price. “You had to put the pen through the two runs beforehand,” Quinlan said. “His run three starts before at Melton had been terrific. He’s definitely going a lot better than his form might suggest. He ran good time the other day.” Glenferrie College went 1:55.5 with a last half in 57.1secs, finishing strongly from back in the field after sitting solo three-wide. The Quinlan/Demmler team will have two runners in the Woodlands Stud Pace, Essbee Doubleyou drawn gate two and Lombo Flashlight in five. “I was really happy with Lombo Flashlight’s first-up run. Fitness wise he’ll be improved and he certainly can win. “The other one (Essbee Doubleyou) is drawn to lead and it was a super run last time, so he should go well, too.” And the stable has Our Eastwood Cullen in the last race, the Junction Hotel Claiming Pace, drawn inside the back row. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

A small but select field will vie for the $30,505 Group 2 John Slack Memorial Trotters Cup at Ballarat tomorrow night. While only five runners will line up in the 2200m race after the scratching of Cold Sister, there are winning form lines aplenty for punters to think their way through. The expected favourite is New South Wales visitor Keystone Del from gate two. The six-year-old boasts a five-win streak and dug deep to hold off tomorrow night’s polemarker, Spidergirl, two starts back at Cranbourne. Keystone Del is tipped to find the lead again with Spidergirl most likely holding his back, making for a potential carbon copy situation from Cranbourne. Spidergirl, from the David Aiken stable with Chris Alford in the spider, has gate speed and has won three of her last four starts – including a 1.8m win over Brunelleschi in the Uncle Petrika Trot at Melton on May 2. Brunelleschi has drawn gate four tomorrow night for Amy Tubbs. The son of Tennotrump has only been unplaced four times in 24 starts with 12 wins to his name. Two starts back he overcame a wide draw to win at Melton over Sunset Invasion before a tough effort for third when forced to work in the run last time out. Aleppo Midas is drawn widest of the five runners tomorrow night and will be hoping to bounce back after throwing her chances away last start when fourth to Spidergirl after breaking in the score up. She had won three races leading into that event with victories over Cold Sister, Brunelleschi and Shes An Image. The longshot of tomorrow night’s field is likely to be five-year-old mare Waikare Sunset from the Graham McDermott stable at Nagambie. The daughter of Last Sunset finished 3.1m second to Spidergirl in the La Coocaracha Trot in April but hasn’t been able to fire in three runs since. Another highlight for patrons at Ballarat will be the running of two heats of the Young Drivers Challenge (Races 2 and 3). Rebecca Bartley made a perfect start to the series at Shepparton on Thursday night, winning the first two races after producing impressive drives. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

The ultimate test of speed and stamina – the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Trotting Series restricted to mares over 1609 metres commenced at Lord’s Raceway Bendigo on Saturday March 8, with both the Silver and Gold heats taking place. Considering the association that Duncan McPherson and his family have had with the Lang stable over the years, it was appropriate that trotting maestro Chris Lang was going to dominate on the night winning both races. Without doubt, the Gold Heat was the highlight  – the victor being five year old Shes An Image bred and raced by the Humphrey’s from Melton. Beginning brilliantly from outside the front line, Shes An Image almost crossed the well tried Quite A Moment (gate two) as the mobile gate pulled away, however Greg Sugars was able to retain the inside running approaching the first turn, with Shes An Image being restrained to immediately take a trail on her back. Kerryn Manning aboard the local hope Aleppo Midas (gate three on the second line) was off and running prior to the bell and joined Quite A Moment with a lap to travel. With the two favourites engaging in a two horse war along the back straight, the pace was a cracker with neither giving an inch. Just as Aleppo Midas was being hailed the winner in the shadows of the post, Shes An Image a daughter of Last Sunset and Joyces Choice sprouted wings along the sprint lane to score by a head in a tricky finish, with Quite A Moment 1.3 metres away in third place. With splits of 28.9, 30.5, 28.5 and 29.6, Shes An Image returned a mile rate of 1-57.4. The Silver heat going the way of long odds-on favourite Maori Time ($1.40), a well performed daughter of Pegasus Spur and Sundonna bred and raced by Fred Crews which goes back to the famous Maoris Idol dynasty. Not bustled from gate four with Im Anonymous leading from gate two, Maori Time ambled to the breeze, before taking over at the bell. Always in control, Chris allowed Maori Time to cruise to the wire, scoring by 1.4 metres only from Queens Vacation (three back the markers) and Canadian Dream (four back) in a mile rate of 1-59.8. Further heats including the Bronze, will be conducted at Shepparton on Friday March 14. Finals are held on Saturday 22 March - Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star & Girls' Night Out at Tabcorp Park Melton. Videos attached of both races Len Baker Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria

In our prominent harness racing stallion series we have reviewed American Ideal,  Art Major, Bettors Delight, Christian Cullen, Courage Under Fire, Mach Three and Western Terror so far and today we have produced an in depth review for the outstanding trotting stallion Sundon (In North America called Sondon) Enjoy the read. Sundon was bred in North America by prominent New Zealand breeder Sir Roy McKenzie whose father established the famous Roydon Lodge stud in New Zealand. He was a son of Arndon who was bred by Sir Roy from his good mare Roydon Gal. The dam of Sundon was the B F Coaltown mare in Sungait Song.  Brought to New Zealand with her foal Sundon at foot, this mare has established an outstanding record at stud in New Zealand. Apart from Sundon she has left Sungait Reb (US,1:57.1s), 15 wins 15 seconds and 8 thirds for $178,000 in stakes, Sunning ($95,077), Sunbeam Song ($14,475) and A Touch Of Sun ($37,576). Sunning is the dam of Burano ($105,000) and other daughters have left Roydon Flash ($214,000) and Solar Fire ($214,00) who is the dam of Sheemon ($137,964). RACE RECORD - Bred to North American time, Sundon was giving away six months to his age group competition when he stepped on to the track at two. But that didn't stop him winning 11 straight at that age and he started the same way at three winning 8 of his first 9. He carried on through to Grand Circuit company as a older horse and although he was a bit inconsistent at times, when he put it all together he was nigh unbeatable. All up he faced the starter 60 times for 27 wins and 8 placings on his way to earning $264,000 AMERICAN STUD RECORD - Sundon was known as Sondon in North America. He never stood in North America but he does have 81 horses who have been imported from New Zealand and they have compiled an outstanding record. They are headed by the brilliant Westland Sun 1:52.3s ($729,624) and include such talented horses as Locofoco 1:53.4s ($714,998), Lets Get Serious 1:52.2m ($621,912), Supreme Pat 1:54.3m ($322,891), and Ima Gold Digger 1:55f ($271,289).  As the stats below show his percentages and average earnings are up there with the very best. US statistics Eligible to race - 81 Winners - 76 $100,000+ winners - 34 Sub 1:54 - 4 Average earnings per starter - $119,716 Average earnings per eligible horse - $116,760 Total earnings to date - $9,457,553 AUSTRALIAN STUD RECORD - Surprisingly he has only produced 259 live foals in Australia (spread over 16 seasons with his biggest crop totaling just 44 foals) which given his complete dominance of the trotting sires list over nearly twenty years is hard to fathom. Never the less from those foals he has sired such standouts as the outstanding I Didn't Do It ($455,554) along with such smart horses as Donny Bouchea ($326,062), Red Samurai ($230,722), Compressor ($212,303), Right Interest ($202,096) and Aleppo Sunrise ($183,090) to name a few. Australian statistics Foals 3yr old and older - 259 Winners - 107 % of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 41% $100,000 plus - 16 Average earnings per starter - $37,721 Average earnings per eligible horse - $22,000 Total earnings to date - $5,698,092 BROOD MARE STATS - Already his daughters have produced 47 winners in Australia headed by last years leading two year old in I"m Stately ($182,915) along with Sassy Pinevale ($176,195) and Spidergirl ($139,075) for stakes totaling $1,995,461 to date.    NEW ZEALAND STUD RECORD - He has completely revolutionized the trotting breed in New Zealand. From his first crop he has stamped himself as a sensational sire and any look at his record in NZ shows how dominant he has been for over 20 years. He has been voted New Zealand 'Stallion Of The Year' four times and he has been the leading trotting sire for many seasons and even managed to top the overall stakes won by all stallions in 2007 which considering the difference in stakes and racing opportunities in New Zealand is truly remarkable. He has left superstars galore with his male offspring headed by the millionaire and champion Sundons Gift ($1,275,264) along with such top performers as Springbank Richard ($651,245), Whatsundermykilt $510,484), Houdini Star ($427,327), Pompallier ($398,138) and Delft $353,910) whilst his females are headed by the brilliant One Under Kenny ($1,060,394) along with such stars as Allegro Agitato ($524,399), Martina H ($391,867), Our Sunny Whiz ($348,781), Some Direction ($307,804) and Escapee ($242,363). His latest star is Master Lavros ($210,868) who is currently the best trotter in NZ. New Zealand statistics Foals 3yr old and older - 1,706 Winners - 670 % of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 39% $100,000 plus - 54 $1,000,000, plus - 2 Average earnings per starter - $28,622 Average earnings per eligible horse - $14,562 Total earnings to date - $24,844,368 BROOD MARE STATS - Going to be as dominant here as he has been in the siring barn. His mares have already left 278 winners including Vulcan ($858,793), Sovereignty ($716,496), Paramount Gee Gee ($497,100), Habibti ($258,790), Stent ($283,140), Royal Aspirations ($256,149) and Prime Power ($136,759). Stakes won to date are nearing 10 million and he has the opportunity in the next ten years to set benchmarks as a brood mare sire that may never be bettered. POSITIVES - A dominant sire in Australasia for near on 20 years and now doing the same as a brood mare sire. Completely changed the standard of trotting down under and his ability to lift non descript families is legendary. Credit must be given to his owners who have always kept his stud fee very affordable which has allowed the average breeder to access this great sire. NEGATIVES - The word "HOT" and Sundon have always gone together. Gelding was one of the first things you did when acquiring a Sundon colt, hence the absence of any of his star sons at stud. One that may have proved the exception was the speedy Last Sunset 1:55.2 ($312,423) who died prematurely when looking a very promising sire. He sired just 41 foals before his death of which 16 have started for 11 winners to date that have earned $568,198 in stakes to give him an average earnings per starter of a very good $35,512. He only bred the two small crops of 10 and 31. OVERVIEW - Without doubt the greatest trotting sire to have ever stood in Australasia. His  dominance at stud over such a long period has cast a huge shadow over his competition during that period. With over $40,000,000 on his card worldwide and his daughters now leaving the next generation of stars, Sundon has lifted the trotting breed in Australasia to a much higher level than breeders thought possible. A truly great sire and top brood mare sire. OVERALL RATING - 9.5/10 JC A Sire review - American Ideal A Sire review - Art Major A Stallion review - Bettors Delight A Stallion review - Christian Cullen A Stallion review - Courage Under Fire A Stallion review - Mach Three A Stallion review - Western Terror Harnesslink has had such positive feedback on our "forgotten sires series" that we are running a series of reviews on our more prominent harness racing sires. As they say in racing you can criticize some ones car, house or wife but never their horse, and that still rings true. As a disclaimer to our next chapter of analysis we look to provide educated opinion based on years of industry knowledge and the truest form of critique backed by statistical data. The above PREVIEWS are set to strip back any sugar coated publicity often associated with Stallion promotion and give you the cold hard facts as JC sees them.  (All statistical data was provided by TrackIt for North American stats and the official organizations of New Zealand and Australia)  And here is "The forgotten sires series" This is a series of stallion reviews that Harnesslink have already completed 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 Washington VC - Continuing excellence Wetern Ideal - A superstar sire Bacardy Lindy - Blue blood Monarchy - Out of Sundons shadow Artiscape - Frozen semen blues? Dream Vacation - Frozen semen superstar Badlands Hanover - Great value Lis Mara - The quiet achiever Brylin Boyz - Potential fulfilled    

Wintery weather didn't deter trotting lovers Australia wide from attending the 28th running of the $50,000 (Group 1) Seelite Windows & Doors "The Redwood" Classic for Two Year Olds over 2190 metres at Maryborough on Sunday July 14, taken out by Kiwi filly Daenerys Targaryen for champion Christchurch based harness racing trainer/driver Mark Purdon.

The mandatory two meeting Thursday took place on May 16, with Shepparton harness racing in the afternoon and Bendigo at night.

The spotlight was on the squaregaiters at the Bendigo harness racing fixture held on Saturday March 9, with the commencement of the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Series for trotting mares over 1609 metres.

Former Kiwi harness racing trainer Brent Lilley now based at Bolinda in the Macedon Ranges District, landed both heats of the C0 class event over 2100 metres at the Birchip Graduation class meeting held at Charlton on Thursday February 21, Crusader Acey taking the the Birchip Hotel Pace and Lavra Florence the Living's Hardware Pace, both horses driven by Melton's Rod Petroff.

The Geelong Harness Racing Club held a Graduation class fixture on Monday November 5, with smart four year old gelding Mark Dennis opening his season's winning account in the Prestige Jayco Pace for R4 to R6 class over 2100 metres.

The cream of harness racing squaregaiting talent descended on Maryborough Sunday July 15, for the 27th running of $50,000 The Redwood Classic, a Group 1 feature for Two Year Old Trotters over 2190 metres, sponsored by Michael Taranto's Seelite Windows & Doors.

Tabcorp Park Melton hosted three feature harness racing events on Friday June 8 - the $50,000 (Group 1) Glenferrie Farm Victoria Trotters Oaks, the time honoured $20,000 Italian Cup and the $25,000 Vicbred Championship Final for M0 class.

Friday night June 1 harness racing at Tabcorp Park was huge for the nearby Bacchus Marsh District, with Jodi Quinlan taking the $25,000 (Group 3) VHRSC Holmfield for 3-Y-0 Trotters over 1720 metres aboard Sunset Invasion and Andy & Kate Gath the $50,000 (Group 2) Schweppes 4YO & 5YO Championship with Chariots Of Fire winner Caribbean Blaster.

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