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With the yearling sales quickly descending on us in New Zealand (five weeks), the adverts and videos are up everywhere including this site as harness racing vendors try to find an angle for those prospective buyers to take a serious look at their offerings. It is not an easy thing to accomplish but one effort that made us have a chuckle here at Harnesslink was the naming of Lot 126 at this years Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka on February 22nd. The vendors have recognized that there is only a very small group of potential buyers for their beautifully bred trotting colt and hence named him Forget The Price Tag. The old adage being here that if you can afford to seriously considering buying this 'Blue Blood', then whether you can afford him would be the least of your concerns. Lot 126 has one of those sale yearling catalogue pages that screams quality and class. Forget The Price Tag is by the leading age group trotting stallion in both Australia and New Zealand last season in Majestic Son so that is a big plus to start with. The maternal family of Forget The Price Tag is even better. He is the first foal from the smart Muscles Yankee mare Yankeedoosie ($43,999) with of course Yankeedoosie being a full sister to the champion trotter I Can Doosit 1:55.5 ( $1,445,774) and Sno's Big Boy 1:58.4 ($215,309) As has happened quite a lot in the last few years with imported mares, the credit for this North American trotting family finding itself in New Zealand is down to Dave Phillips and National Bloodstock. Dave imported the Speedy Crown youngster Becalm Lobell to New Zealand where she had a fine race career, making it to the verge of open class for Robert Mitchell. Sheezadoosie ($48,632), who has been broodmare of the year twice in New Zealand has kept the family in the headlines down under while her half brother Golden Blend 1:55 ($294,630) did a fine job in North America. Bred the way he is, Forget The Price Tag was always going to attract a lot of attention from the big end of the market and his naming only serves to reinforce that. To view the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale Catalogue click here. Harnesslink Media  

The Central Otago Trotting Club meeting at Omakau just after New Year has always attracted plenty of handy horses from Canterbury down to Southland and yesterday was no exception. The very smart two year old trotter from last year in Gunners Coin with Dexter Dunn in the bike was backed as though he was unbeatable in the maiden trot but a first starter from the powerful Phil Williamson barn in Royal Kenny had other ideas. The four year old daughter of leading sire Majestic Son went straight to the front from barrier two for inform reinsman Brad Williamson and sent up a hot tempo right from the start of the 2000 metres race. Royal Kenny and Brad had a lot of them off the bit with a lap to go and there was no let up as they went clear by four or five lengths down the back straight the last time. As they turned for home, Brad had a quick look and saw he had the race in safe keeping and let Royal Kenny work down to the finish with Brad sitting quietly in the bike. Gunners Coin got home super for second after having an interrupted run in the last lap in front of Denn Nee Nose Best who had trailed from the start but they were both still over three lengths in arrears at the finishing line. What made the run of Royal Kenny even more meritorious was the brilliant time of 2:29.8, a mile rate of 2:00.5 with closing sectionals of 59.2 and 29.7 The time broke the previous track record for a trotter for 2000 metres at Omakau by 2.6 seconds Brad was suitably impressed with the debut effort " We knew that she was way better than a maiden but had the odd doubt with Gunners Coin being in the field." "She won that very easily, I didn't even pull the plugs." " She has really improved in the last six months and shows no sign of stopping yet." " It is a breed that is really tough and has plenty of stamina and thats why I drove her like that." " She only had a couple of  trials prior to her debut so there should be plenty of improvement left in her yet," Brad said. A half sister to the smart trotter Queen Kenny (7 wins), the dam of Royal Kenny is a race winning full sister to the millionaire One Over Kenny 1:57 ($1,098,007), One Under Kenny (11 wins) and a half sister to One Kenny (19 wins) and it is a family that continues to produce star trotters generation after generation. Going by her win at Omakau, Royal Kenny looks to have inherited all the family ability Harnesslink Media  

Trying to predict how harness racing mares will perform at stud is like trying to predict which politician will keep his word. In other words it is a fruitless pursuit but all breeders do it to some degree or other. Sometimes the immediate results can be very disappointing and then suddenly two or three generations later the family blossoms. Such is the fickle game of breeding horses. One mare who disappointed when put to stud many years ago was Gay Helen. The racewinning daughter of Gay Piper was a full sister to the cup class pacer Mobile Globe and much was expected of her but she only left two winners, that being the one win trotting mare Frivolous and Three Tens. Three Tens left several smart age group trotters such as Pitcher (8 wins), Signor Gabrielli (8 wins), Four Leaf (5 wins) and Ten Four (4 wins) who is the grand dam of the brilliant Habibti 1:56.5 ($325,465) and Habibti Ivy (2015 NZ Trotting Oaks).  However Frivolous wasn't much better at stud than Gay Helen leaving just one trotting winner as well but one of her daughters Fickle has righted the ship bigtime. Fickle has left three classy winners in Without Fear (NZ Trotting Oaks), Fear Not ($47,505) and the 2005-2006 NZ Two year old Trotting Filly of the Year in Fear Factor ($59,192) who won the NZ Sires Stakes Championship at two. At stud Fear Factor has already left one better than herself in the form of Prince Fearless 1:55.2 ($146,034) who was a factor in all the three year old classics last season and has made the step up to the best grades at four, the highlight so far being a 13 1/2 length victory at Addington on Cup Day. A full brother to Prince Fearless will be offered as Lot 25 at this years Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka, in Auckland on February 22nd. Named Stress Factor, the son of Majestic Son is a long barreled athletic type who looks every inch a trotter Gay Helen may have made a poor start to her breeding career but mares tracing to her have certainly made up for it in the last twenty years and in Stress Factor they look to have a likely type to add to the family record. For the catalogue click here Harnesslink Media  

Sean McCaffrey and Ross Paynter are only in their first full season of their training partnership together but already the signs are very encouraging heading into the future. Last night they took three runners to Alexandra Park and to even their surprise came away with three winners. First up was the smart Love You trotting mare in Yagunnakissmeornot who made it two from two for the season with another impressive victory. Sean was always of the opinion that the mare would get better with age. " She is a big daughter of Love You and I always thought time would be her best friend." "She has never really disappointed me the whole way through and I think she is probably still twelve months away from being at her peak." "That was her tenth win last night at just her 20th career start so you know if you are patient with her, she will reward you down the track," Sean said. Contrary to some reports, Yagunnakissmeornot did not get the bonus for winning ten races at the park as some of her two year old wins were penalty free. The second win for the partnership last night came in the form of the four year old Real Desire mare in Norvic Ruby. Sean has always had a bit of time for the mare. "I broke her in as a late two year old and she impressed me but just needed a little time." " She kinda got forgotten about and ended up having 15 months out." This is only her second time in and she has gone from unqualified to race winner in one preparation so she has a future. " She just needs to be driven cold and have one shot at them and James (Stormont) drove her beautifully last night," Sean said. The third winner for the partnership came in the form of the very well bred three year old trotter Royal Willie. The three year old son of Majestic Son and the former top racemare Miss Whiplash (13 wins) was driven a treat by the inform Maurice McKendry and grabbed the favourite Matatoki late for a stylish victory with the rest of the field over six lengths away. Talented enough to be competitive in the Harness Jewels last season, Royal Willie has really come on between campaigns. " He is very bossy and territorial at home and likes to let you know that he is about." This season he still does that at home but as soon as he gets to the track he is behaving like an old campaigner. " No noise at all last night and he was well behaved the whole time at the park." " Maurice was very confident going into the race and told me post race that he won it a bit easier than it looked from the stands," Sean said. Sean and Ross have made a good start to their training partnership and with the team they have around them, they should be in for a very successful season. Harnesslink Media

Prince Fearless has always looked a horse headed to the top of harness racing but has fallen short at times of fulfilling his promise as he grew into his massive frame.   Competitive as a three year old against the very best, Prince Fearless is now starting to produce the performances everybody knew he was capable of.   Today on Cup Day at Addington Raceway he missed the start slightly but a false start helped him have a second bite of the cherry.   On start two, Mark Purdon stepped him straight to the front and from there Prince Fearless turned the race into a procession.   Given a bit more reign at the 400 metres the four-year-old son of Majestic Son shot away and distanced the opposition, winning by over 13 lengths.   Mark Purdon gave the horse a big rap post race.   “ He is the best trotter in our stable and is in great form.”   “ He is headed to open company in a hurry.”   “ He has the all round game to be very competitive when he gets there.”   “ Today he stepped well and trotted beautifully throughout,” Mark said.   Part owner Neil Pilcher was confident going into the race.   “ He went super at the Cup trials behind Monbet who is the hot favourite in the FFA so I knew he was a big chance today.”   “Last season he was a big gangly horse who was very immature but he has filled out into his big frame now,”Neil said.   The open class trotting ranks are full with talent but Prince Fearless looks the type to become a star amongst the elite trotters.     Harnesslink Media

Louisville, KY --- When he received the call about a 2-year-old trotting filly that was for sale, Frank Bellino was in no mad rush to sign a check. His reluctance to purchase Muscle Baby Doll had nothing to do with her family tree or the fact she commenced her career on the Iowa fair circuit. He simply had already acquired a filly of the same age and gait that was also staked to the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series. “I had just bought You’re Majestic,” said Bellino. “The connections are from Louisiana, but bring their horses to Ohio to sell them. I got her after she won her first start very impressively at Northfield. I was also looking for something that was eligible to the Ontario program. “Since I already had that filly, I did not need another one for the same conditions and although she (Muscle Baby Doll) was a $5,000 yearling, the price the Huffmans (the filly’s former owners) wanted was much, much more than that. “I finally made the move to get her because I loved her pedigree. (Jimmy) Takter trained her mother (Have You Ever) and made over $200,000 with her. I have purchased Iowa fair circuit horses before and done quite well with them. They were not stakes horses but performed great in overnights. Also, I really liked her races. It impressed me she beat older horses on a fair track as a 2-year-old. Even after I bought her, I still thought You’re Majestic would be the better filly.” While You’re Majestic has certainly not disgraced herself as she has amassed just over $200,000 in her short career, Muscle Baby Doll was a quality filly last year and dominated the Ontario Sire Stakes circuit this year. She defeated Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown victor Wild Honey in their $26,250 Elegantimage elimination on Sept. 11 at Mohawk Racetrack and captured seven consecutive races before losing the $307,040 final. With Bellino deciding not to supplement Muscle Baby Doll to the Breeders Crown and You’re Majestic also being ineligible, he decided to ship his fillies to Hoosier Park to compete against one another in the $140,000 Crossroads of America on Friday (Oct. 30). Muscle Baby Doll, fresh off a track record performance of 1:53.1 in her $46,750 division of the Circle City over the same surface last week, will leave from post position two in what is carded as the 10th race. David Miller will be holding the lines and the filly is the 5-2 morning line selection. You’re Majestic drew the 10 hole with Yannick Gingras at the controls and is rated at 15-1 off her seventh place finish in the first division of last week’s Circle City. Although both fillies are conditioned by Tony O’Sullivan, they will race under Trent Stohler’s name this weekend. “Both of them have raced at Hoosier Park before and done well,” Bellino said. “Tony pointed out to me that ‘Baby Doll’s’ race was a track record when he showed me the winners’ photo. I planned on supplementing her to the Breeders Crown, but that performance in the Ontario Sire Stakes final (10th) can be thrown right out. Something got her all worked up behind the gate, she broke and everything just went wrong for her, which is not like her at all. After what happened in the Breeders Crown, Tony and I were Monday morning quarterbacks because we were saying, ‘what if we had put her in’ but hindsight is 20/20 and she was excellent at Hoosier last week. I expect her to race well this weekend. “With You’re Majestic, we just thought she would perform a bit better. Not that she has been bad at all, but she is definitely not as strong as ‘Baby Doll’ and just did not seem to advance from two to three.” Muscle Baby Doll is a daughter of Muscle Mass and the Yankee Glide mare Have You Ever. She is the third foal from her dam, who won a $103,938 Simcoe Stakes division in 2004, was third in the Buckette, and fourth in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks and $325,000 Delvin Miller Memorial. She was sold to Swedish interests after this filly was weaned. In her two years of competition, Muscle Baby Doll has collected $387,720, compiled a record of 22-13-4-2 and a mark of 1:52. She has been a model of consistency and a very pleasant surprise for her connections. She really illustrated an incredible amount of potential with a strong second place finish to Danielle Hall in last year’s Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final. Muscle Baby Doll’s equipment was broken, but she still managed to charge to the line to just miss. This year she rolled along on that win streak until she had an off night in the Elegantimage and came home eighth. She was then second in a $78,750 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event and 10th in the Super Final after some unknown disturbance. You’re Majestic has been entered in the same events as her stablemate and while trotting steadily, has been nowhere near as flashy or accomplished. The daughter of Majestic Son and You’re Adorable has earned just under $77,000 in 2015 while coming home fourth in the Super Final and fifth in the Elegantimage. Her lone win of the season came in a non-winners contest in June. “Tony thinks she (Muscle Baby Doll) slipped through the cracks,” said Bellino, who is recognized as a pacer man due to the success of such horses as Rock N Roll Heaven and Pet Rock. “She went really late in the sale and he thinks people just were not paying attention to her. It does happen, but trust me we paid a lot more than $5,000 for her. “Actually we’ve been offered quite a bit of money for her, but I wouldn’t sell. After the season ends though, I need to sell one of these fillies. It looks like that will be You’re Majestic, but she does get over a half (-mile track) well and Yonkers goes for really good money. “We have had an offer from individuals in Sweden for Baby Doll, but I really need to think about it. Tony absolutely loves her and does not want me to sell her, but it’s hard for a 4-year-old to race against males and other older horses. Look how good Bee A Magician is and what her 4-year-old season was like. I have a lot to consider and plan on thinking long and hard about what to do. Especially since we don’t normally part with many horses, especially if they are stakes horses.” How Carroll and Rick Huffman came to take Muscle Baby Doll home for only $5,000 remains a mystery, but Bellino knows one thing, he is thrilled he took a chance on her. “I think she can compete with anyone,” he said. “If we don’t sell her to the Swedish interests we will keep her and breed her. Her pedigree is outstanding and she has already proven her class and toughness. When I told Tony I bought her, he asked me if we were now in the 2-year-old trotting filly business and was not sold on her, but now she is his favorite trotter out of all he has had. I didn’t think I wanted her and she showed me I was wrong.” The Crossroads Of America PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-I'm So Fancy-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-3-1 2-Muscle Baby Doll-David Miller-Trent Stohler-5-2 3-Smokinmombo-Aaron Merriman-Christopher Beaver-10-1 4-Livininthefastlane-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-8-1 5-Fox Valley Yoko-John De Long-Curt Grummel-30-1 6-Churita-Trace Tetrick-Matt Rheinheimer-8-1 7-Armatrading-Mark O'Mara-Mark O'Mara-30-1 8-Speak To Me-Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-6-1 9-Bright Baby Blues-Tim Tetrick-Bob Stewart-4-1 10-You're Majestic-Yannick Gingras-Trent Stohler-15-1 by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

Tony Herlihy is hoping to put two more pickets on the fence. One Over Da Moon has now strung together seven wins on the trot after his upset win in Monday's Group III Trotters Flying Mile at Ashburton Raceway. Punters showed little interest in the son of Majestic Son who drifted out to $9.10 on the tote. Formally trained by Paul Nairn, One Over Da Moon has been in blistering form at Alexandra Park but he has not been beating quality fields.  But what he has been doing is winning from 40 and 50 metre handicaps and because of that, Herlihy fells he was possibly a little underrated heading into Ashburton. "He's been in great form but this was a step up," Herlihy said after his perfect front running drive. The Papakura trainer plans to back One Over Da Moon up in both the Group I NZ free-for-all over 1950m on cup day and the Group I Dominion Handicap three days later. "Sometimes he can be a bit funny when he's on the fresh side so I think we will head to both days." Herlihy essentially stole the race after he pinched a break turning for home and One Over Da Moon just kept on giving. Stent, the $1.50 favourite, charged forward from three back in the running line but could not make up enough ground.  Such was Stent's dominance with punters, just after midday the TAB's Thad Taylor told Radio Trackside there was $20,000 in the win pot with $19,500 of it on Stent. Colin DeFilippi was disappointed not to win the race after finishing half a length behind in second but there is no sign of panic ahead of cup week. DeFilippi said the race panned out in a funny way and admitted he was "out foxed" by Herlihy's cunning drive as he expected the main dangers to be coming from behind him. Stent was coming to the end of his run in the final 100m but DeFilippi is still predicting him to be right on song for the cup week double. Habibti is seemingly back to full health after storming home down the inside to finish three quarters of a length behind Stent in third. Australian trotter Vincennes in the care of Craig and Aimee Edmonds, was satisfactory in fourth and the Edmonds' other runner Kincaslough looked more like her best in sixth. Monbet put in a massive run from the back to finish fifth in his first go at open class company and with a better draw could have easily been a winning chance. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ    -    Check site here

Swedish trotter Daryl Boko could make his first public outing in New Zealand as soon as next week. West Melton harness racing trainer Tim Butt said the six-year-old Majestic Son trotter has continued to thrive in the last few weeks. Daryl Boko is on track for cup week but is still no certainty and Butt said while it would be great to see him racing in the big time so soon, the winner of nine races from 28 starts would not be rushed if he was not ready. "We'll just play if by ear and give him a couple of quiet trials and see how it goes," Butt said. "He'll tell us when he's ready, there's still a bit of fine tuning to go yet but the main things is to go to the trials and work out where we are and what we need to change." If Daryl Boko is ready to go for cup week, Butt said he would be leaning towards racing on only one of the two days. "I'm probably more inclined to go for the Dominion (Handicap) because it's a prestigious race, it's the bigger stake and I think he is a pretty good little stayer. "Generally the French and Swedish trotters are pretty good stayers because they are used to going quick the whole way, the run each half in a minute they don't loiter around, that's just their style of racing," Butt said. In the northern hemisphere Daryl Boko has won over a mile right through to 3100m. Daryl Boko arrived in New Zealand in early August and went straight into work at Butt's Premier Stables after coming out of quarantine. Butt said because the seasons are back to front for Daryl Boko, and it's been a strong relatively cold spring, he has started to develop his winter coat but overall he had acclimatised well. Daryl Boko's last race day start in Sweden was on July 2. Butt has experience with bringing in trotters from the Northern Hemisphere and that was paying dividends with the preparation of Daryl Boko. Scandinavian trotter Peak looked to be the future of Butt's already lengthy trotting legacy when he won his first two starts in the 2013 Group III Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile and the Group I NZ Trotting Free-For-All but picked up a suspensory ligament injury in the Dominion Handicap three days later that ended his racing carer. Peak began a successful stud carer but Butt and many of Peak's syndicate went looking for a replacement and found Daryl Boko. If Butt can bring out Daryl Boko's best form, it would be good enough to challenge the current crop of top liners. Meanwhile, Stent, Master Lavros, Habibti and Kincaslough have all been nominated to return to Addington this week for the Group III Canterbury Park Trotting Cup on Friday. Sheemon, who did not race last week and Alley Way, who has not raced since May, are also in the nominations. Harness jewels winner King Denny will trial at Addington on Tuesday. The Group II Canterbury Classic looks likely to be the strongest pacing field this season, with Smolda resuming to take on Christen Me plus Brilliant Strike, Te Kawau and Ideal Success in the nominations to join the crop that have already contested the Maurice Holmes Vase and Avon City Ford Cup. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with the permission of Stuff NZ   -   Check site here

Glenferrie Typhoon's force is looking more and more powerful every time he steps out of late. The Andy Gath trained trotter, who won Friday night’s Bacardi Lindy Trot in easy fashion, looks destined for bigger and better things. The six-year-old by Majestic Son out of Cyclone Vance now boasts back-to-back wins at Melton and next year’s Great Southern Star is potentially on the radar. After working hard three-wide for the first half a kilometre, Glenferrie Typhoon eventually found the top, giving early pacesetter Action Kosmos a trail in the 2240-metre race. Once in front driver Kate Gath applied the brakes and the gelding trotted through his first and second quarters in 32secs and 31.3secs, sprinting up down the back to get Action Kosmos off the bit and chasing (29.3secs) before blasting clear seemingly under a hold in the home straight to score by 10.8 metres in a mile rate of 1-58.9 (last quarter 27.6secs). Action Kosmos held on for second place, defiantly withstanding the challenge of Cold Sister in third. Later on the card Ellas Puppeteer beat Iceobar in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series C Final. The four-year-old gelding by Shadow Play out of Smiley Ella, who smashed the track record at Charlton leading into Friday night’s race, rated 1-53.7 over 1720 metres from his inside-back-row draw. Trainer/driver Michael Stanley kept Ellas Puppeteer out of trouble early, going back to last before cruising around the field to assume control at the bell. Iceobar trailed and stuck on gamely thereafter but was no match for the winner. Ellas Puppeteer now boasts three wins from five starts and looks to have a sparkling metro career in front of him. by Cody Winnell >> Replays and results from Friday night's Melton trots.

This years mixed age sale at the Shepparton harness racing complex yesterday (Sunday) reinforced the view that it is a tough market out there at the moment. Sixty nine of the cataloged horses went through the ring yesterday but 22 (31.8%) were passed in which must have disappointed both the auctioneers and the vendors. The first horse to stir a bit of emotion from the bidders was lot 12 which was a two year old filly by Courage Under Fire from a Holmes Hanover half sister to nine winners including Allwoods Chief ($465,497) She was knocked down to the bid of Trevor Cottrell for $20,000 which was the equal top price for the whole sale. Shortly after lot 16 had the bidders active again with a three quarter sister to lot 12 attracting a lot of interest. The two year old filly by Courage Under Fire was from a Even Odds half sister to Allwoods Chief ($465,497) but failed to sell, being passed in for $10,000. It took more than another twenty lots before the bidders got fired up again. Lot 37 was the smart Modern Art racemare More Than Alright 1:58.6 ($45,369) who is a daughter of the very smart Imported Cam Fella mare Out Of Sight 1:52 ($200,142) who is a half sister to the champion Volez Hanover 1:49.4 ($1,690,543) Sold as either a racemare or a broodmare, More Than Alright surprisingly only made $10,000 and was knocked down to the bid of Garry Hawthorn The next lot after that was the half sister by Badlands Hanover to More Than Alright in Vista Bella 1:57.9 ($110,291) In foal to the champion sire Art Major, Vista Bella went home with Bruce Dumesny after he bid $20,000 In the yearling section, two youngsters shared the top price of $9,000  Lot 58 was a Majestic Son colt from the racewinning Holdonmyheart mare Closetomyheart from the family of the top New Zealand trotting filly French Accent who was sold to Nathan Jack. The other top priced yearling was lot 72 who was a Mach Three colt from the very speedy Artiscape mare in Room With A View 1:56 ($45,369) who was purchased by the Racerpacer group. This sale has the potential to be a really good clearing sale for breeders and trainers but it is not quite there yet. Check sale results here Harnesslink Media

Silence Son made his swansong at the harness racing meeting at Running Aces  a memorable one by winning the $9600 Open Trot for the third consecutive week on Sunday night (August 30). According to owner-trainer George Reider, the six-year-old gelded son of Majestic Son is now headed to the Delaware, Ohio Blooded Horse Sale where he'll sell as part of the supplemental catalog at the end of the Monday (September 1) session. Driver Nick Roland left alertly from the assigned outside post position and coasted through front-stepping fractions of :28.1, :58.1 and 1:26.4 before trotting home in :28.4 for the 1:55.3 victory. El Azteca (Gerry Longo) raced gamely to finish a head behind in second with Thekeptman (Luke Plano) three lengths back to garner the show dough. It was the 11th 2015 triumph in 28 tries for Silence Son, who now sports 27 career victories in 88 lifetime starts and has banked $110,829. Gregg Keidel Director of Racing      

As this weekends Australasian Breeders Crown finals loom large, here at Harnesslink we thought we would do a runner by runner preview of each of the finals at Tabcorp Park Melton. First up is the $84,000 two year old trotting fillies final 1) High Gait  (Muscles Yankee)     Starts 8   -   Wins 7   -   Seconds 1   -   Thirds 0     Stakes  $100,631   High Gait has had an outstanding season winning seven from eight and being beaten a nose in her other start. Beat the boys on Redwood day and from this draw with her gait speed it is hard to see her beaten.  Great manners just add to the impression that she is nigh on unbeatable from barrier 1 2) The Cooler  (Majestic Son)   Starts 4   -   Wins 0   -   Seconds 0   -   Thirds 3   -   Stakemoney $8,200 The Cooler is yet to go a bad race in her brief four start career with three thirds and a fourth. Hard to see her troubling two or three here on class but does things right which is a big plus in two year old trots. Throw in for trifectas and first fours 3) Smile Smile Smile  (Angus Hall)   -   Starts 3  -  Wins 2  -  Seconds 0  -  Thirds 1  -  Stakes $7493 Promising filly with a good draw but needed to draw inside High Gait to be a chance to beat her. Still on the up and looks a major player her. Must include for trifecta and first four takers. 4) A Nip Will Do (Bacardi Lindy)  Starts 14  -  Wins 0  -  Seconds 1  -  Thirds 3  -  Stakes $7,178 Thereabouts in a lot of her starts this season but it is hard to see her playing a major part here. Several runners appear to have the wood on her in this race going on past performances. Not for us. 5) Jay Bee Flex (Federal Flex)  Starts 6  -  Wins 0  -  Seconds 0  -  Thirds 2  -  Stakes $4363 Last run at Maryborough was her best run this season, finishing a close up third to Smile Smile Smile. However the depth of this field is far stronger and the draw doesn't help either. Not for us. 6) Liava (Bacardi Lindy)  Starts 4  -  Wins 0  -  Seconds 0  -  Thirds 0  -  Stakes $1403 Has failed to really impress in her four starts todate. Hard to see on exposed form how she is a player here. Not for us 7) Parisian Chic (Love You)  Starts 6  -  Wins 3  -  Seconds 1  -  Thirds 0  -  Stakes $18,658 A real winning chance if she had just drawn well instead of the outside of the front line. Really nice second two starts back to Missandei and has won three of her last four. Major player here but more a trifecta and first four chance due to the draw                                                                                                                         SECOND LINE 8) Missandei (Angus Hall)  Starts 7  -  Wins 3  -  Seconds 2  -  Thirds 1  -  Stakes $76,530 The obvious danger to High Gait  having drawn on her back and seems to have improved even further since her Harness Jewels win. Only filly in this field to have beaten High Gait but her fortunes may depend on how much mid race pressure the favourite is put under. Can win this but does need a few things to go her way. Clear second pick. 9) Cobbler Creek (Great Success)  Starts 9  -  Wins 1  -  Seconds 1  -  Thirds 0  -  Stakes $6438 Has won a race this season which is more than some here. Just appears to be be a length or two off the good ones in this race Not for us. 10) Sky Majesty (Skyvalley)  Starts 8  -  Wins 1  -  Seconds 2  -  Thirds 1  -  Stakes $12,540 Has really come solid in her last four starts and has definitely improved lately. Needed a good front line draw to help her chances so from three second line she faces a real challenge. First four player at best for us from the draw. 11) Fear Not (Skyvalley)  Starts 12  -  Wins 0  -  Seconds 0  -  Thirds 0  -  Stakes $2935  ( Emerg 1) The emergency for the race and on disclosed form would appear to be out of her depth. Not for us 12) Social Fireball (Courage Under Fire)  Starts 7  -  Wins 1  -  Seconds 4  -  Thirds 0  -  Stakes $18,676 Pacing bred filly that has developed into a lovely trotter. Hard to fault her last five runs with her second in the $60,000 Vicbred Trot in smart time over the distance of 2240 metres a good pointer. Appeals to us as a trifecta and first four player even from the draw. 13) Mizurri (Skyvalley)   Starts 3  -  Wins 0  -  Seconds 1  -  Thirds 0  -  Stakes $1,038 Very inexperienced filly and this looks a huge jump in class to us. Throw in the draw and it looks like mission impossible. Not for us. SELECTIONS High Gait from the draw looks very hard to beat. Should lead and should win Missandei is the clear second pick and if High Gait is eyeballed in front during the race, she is a chance to upset the favourite up the passing lane. For trifecta and first four takers, throw in The Cooler, Smile Smile Smile, Parisian Chic and Social Fireball. Harnesslink Media

Yearlings by many of the world’s greatest sires will go up for auction at the Shepparton Mixed Sale, to be held at the Shepparton Racing Complex on Sunday September 6.   The 18-strong yearling contingent features yearlings by 14 different sires headed up by champion sire Mach Three and leading trotting sire Majestic Son, as well as Modern Art, Shadow Play (3 lots), Artistic Fella, Jet Laag, Village Jolt (3 lots), Major In Art, Tell All and Mister Big.   Several exciting, young sires will be represented by their first crop and they include  USA 2YO of the Year Big Jim, the $1.6million winner Betterthancheddar, dual NZ Horse of the Year Auckland Reactor and NZ 2YO of the Year Smiling Shard.   The catalogue comprises youngsters out of 2:00 winning mares and 2:00 winner producers.   There’s colts out of the former 3YO Filly of the Year Yeronga Songbird, Melbourne winners Room With A View (1:56) and Our Favourite Girl, Got The Gold (6 wins) and Closetomyheart (Tr 2:04.2) and fillies from the USA Stakes winner Out Of Sight  1:52.4 ($200,142), the NSW Oaks placegetter Lahaini (1:57.5) and the Melton winner Kiss And Fly (1:58.4).   The sale also highlights half-sisters to   *The Youthful Stakes winner Vista Bella 1:57.9 ($110,021)   *The smart racemares Twirling ($105,707) and Golden Grinder 1:55.6 ($90,340)   * Half-brothers to the Moonee Valley winner Stormwarning, Boston Yankee (1:56.6) and The Lombo heat winner Rosemay.   For a catalogue or further information contact Shepparton Harness Racing Club manager Ian McDonald on phone 0428 231 403 or email shepparton@hrv.org.au    Pedigrees can be downloaded from the website www.sheppartonhrc.com.au   Click on the News link. Pedigrees are also available on the Shepparton HRC Facebook page.   Peter Wharton

He did it with Peak in 2013 and now Canterbury harness racing trainer Tim Butt is hoping another Swedish trotter named Daryl Boko can get him back into the big time. The five-year-old flew into New Zealand last weekend and will join Butt's Premier Stables in another week and, hopefully, be ready to contest the feature trotting races at cup time in November. He will be a welcome recruit for Butt who has just ended one of his quietest seasons since he started training, producing only 85 starters for just six wins.  Butt has been on the lookout for a replacement for Peak since he galloped out of the 2103 Dominion Handicap in only his third start here and was later found to have injured a hind suspensory ligament. It was a cruel blow for Butt and the syndicate which imported Peak and two other trotters from Scandinavia as Peak won his only two other starts, the Trotters' Flying Mile at Ashburton and NZ Free-for-all at Addington. "He was an awesome horse to drive and could have been anything," said Butt who attempted to bring Peak back but eventually retired him to stud, where at Alabar he is now attracting a lot of attention. Unable to buy one of the better trotters here, Butt also tried importing one from the United States in the well performed Imperial Count but that project foundered when the horse bled in his first race here, last September's Ordeal Cup. "We didn't know what we needed when we bought the last lot from Scandinavia but Peak proved up to the best and we didn't want to go below his standard this time. "Even though Kvintet Avenger also won a Group I race in Australia (the Trotters Cup at Menangle) you have to pay good money for the really good ones. "I didn't want an old horse, who'd done it already, I wanted a young, up-and-coming one, and they're not easy to get." Butt entrusted his search to Swedish trainer Sofia Arronson who worked for him here in 2006 and she eventually hit the jackpot securing Daryl Boko from Veijo Heiskanen for a sum well into six figures. Most of Butt's loyal owners who had shares in Peak have come in on Daryl Boko, with a few newcomers as well, Butt said. "I didn't initially want a gelding - with a stallion you always have a stud career to fall back on - but Peak was pretty colty and geldings actually settle in better to new surroundings. "Daryl Boko is five by northern hemisphere time but he's had only 28 starts and is untapped." Butt said he had clocked Daryl Boko in several of his races and he had run the equivalent of  2:25 for 2000 metres and 3:57 for 3200 metres, times which would win him any race in New Zealand. With nine wins, four seconds and three thirds and NZ$130,000 in stakes, Daryl Boko had shown he was a top flight contender, winning a heat of the Finnish Trotting Derby (2640m) last September and running third in the $NZ165,000 final. Peak had won the Denmark Derby, a slightly inferior quality race.  By Majestic Son, the leading age group trotting stallion in New Zealand, Daryl Boko was actually bred in the United States out of the Donerail mare Insider Trade. Butt said while Daryl Boko had been stuck in quarantine for four weeks in England and would have a fortnight couped up here before being released, he raced as recently as July 2 so his job of readying him for racing would be easier. "But to be racing by cup time we can't afford anything to go wrong." Butt said he was in a rebuilding phase after many horses had reached their mark and were sold. His team was down to only 14. "It's tough going. We've had to start again and the owners aren't there like they used to be - they don't want to compete against the big stables like Mark Purdon, Robert Dunn and Cran Dalgety. "But we have some nice young ones coming along." Butt served notice that he was on the front foot again, with two wins from his first two starters of the season in Franco Harrington and Prestine, placing him second on the premiership after two weeks. But he knows it will take a while again before he enjoys the highs of 2006 and 2007 when Flashing Red won the New Zealand Trotting Cup twice and, more recently, 2011 when he was seventh on the trainers' ladder with 47 wins racing high achievers like Vulcan, Stunin Cullen, Choise Achiever and Raglan. Barry Lichter Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ - Check site here

Magical Steph scored her third straight win in Grassroots action at the harness racing meeting during Georgian Downs' celebration of the Ontario Sires Stakes program on Saturday evening. The two-year-old trotting filly and driver Steve Byron of Thornton, ON powered away from Post 7 and sat third through fractions of :28 and :59, then moved to take command of the race heading for the 1:28.3 three-quarters. One and three-quarter lengths ahead of the field turning for home, Magical Steph hit the wire three lengths ahead of her peers in 1:58.1. Dayliner and Wonder Wand earned the second and third place shares of the $18,000 Grassroots purse. "Some of the guys in our barn, they joke that she's been push button right from the start," said owner-trainer Gary Lance with a chuckle. "A Kadabra - push button." Magical Steph qualified at Georgian Downs on June 27 and made her racing debut in the first freshman trotting filly Gold Leg at the Innisfil oval on July 12. The daughter of Kadabra and I Like Stephanie finished a closing fourth, but Lance felt a stint at the Grassroots level would serve as a better platform for the filly's long term development. "She was a late foal, she's a May foal, and we lost a little bit of time with her in the spring." "We knew going into the start of the Sires Stakes that she was a little bit behind the other fillies, probably a good month, so that's kind of why we just thought we'd try her in the Gold and see how she was," explained Lance. "She's getting better every week and these races in the Grassroots have really helped her develop." Since moving down to the Grassroots level, Magical Steph has posted a 2:02.1 quarter length victory at Grand River Raceway on July 22, a four and three-quarter length 1:57.1 personal best at Mohawk Racetrack on July 30 and Saturday night's victory at Georgian Downs. Through four starts she has banked $31,200. Once the filly has a had a few days to recover from Saturday's contest, Lance will decide whether her next start will be the fifth Grassroots event at Rideau Carleton Raceway on August 16 or the fourth Gold Series event, back at Georgian Downs on August 15. "We'll see how she comes out of this, we haven't decided what we're going to do next week, whether we're going to go to Ottawa," said the Port Perry, ON resident. "It's kind of a long hike up to Ottawa, so we just might stay local around here and try the Gold." A $50,000 purchase from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale last fall, Magical Steph is a full-sister to Lance's good trotter Cold Certified, who was a three-time Gold Elimination winner in his 2012 sophomore season. Since then the colt has gone on to earnings of $436,478 and currently competes out of the Jeff Brewer barn at Scioto Downs. "We raced the full brother to her, Cold Certified, I bought him off Robert and Owen Coblentz from Double Spring Farm in Ohio," said Lance "She's kind of like the spitting image of him, looks just like him and travels the same way on the track like him." Lance, who works full-time as a maintenance manager at Ontario Power Generation, currently has one other trotter in his barn in addition Magical Steph and says the support of family and friends have been instrumental to both the filly's and her brother's success. "This is our hobby, and we always have a good contingent of people that come with us and support us." "My buddy Brian Samis and his son Ryan, they come to almost every race," said Lance. "We always have fun when we go to race, we always enjoy it." "I think it's kind of a boys night out for us because we don't race very often, and when we go out we really enjoy it and we enjoy each other's company." "We have a great time when we do race." "And my son helps out quite a bit, Trevor (Lance), he helps around the barn and comes and helps us race and he helps with the daily activities at the barn, he's quite involved as well." Other ownership groups that were celebrating at Georgian Downs on Saturday were those connected to Dewdle All Day, Its All About Sam, Majestic Presence, Smash Hit, Liseberg and Mariana. Dewdle All Day popped out of the pocket to win the first division for trainer-driver Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON and his partners 9177 8720 Quebec Inc. of Saint-Sauveur, QC and Greg Judson of Athens, ON. The Deweycheatumnhowe daughter hit the wire in a personal best 1:59.3, one and one-quarter lengths ahead of favourite I Want Kandy and Shezastrikin Loral. Its All About Sam picked up her third Grassroots trophy in the second division, cruising home a two and three-quarter length winner in 1:58.3. Paul MacDonell of Guelph, ON crafted the win for trainer Scott McEneny of Waterdown, ON and owners Brad Grant and Teresa Davidson of Milton, ON and Michelle McEneny of Waterdown. Tough Affair and Chapel Hall finished second and third behind the Angus Hall daughter. Majestic Presence went gate-to-wire in 1:58.4 to record her first lifetime victory for trainer-driver Anthony MacDonald of Guelph, ON and owners Brenda Selwyn Waxman and Isaac Waxman of Dundas, ON, Rene Allard of Milford, PA and Danielle Henri of Saint-Esprit, QC. The Majestic Son daughter bested Trumpets and Jarette AS by four and one-half lengths. Smash Hit also earned her first victory with a 1:59.2 score in the fifth division. The Kadabra filly and trainer-driver Per Henriksen of Norwood, ON hit the wire one and one-half lengths ahead of Traviata and Anneli Hanover. Steve Organ of Aurora, ON and Asa Farm of Norwood share ownership of Smash Hit. Owner, trainer and driver Dagfin Henriksen of Peterborough, ON guided Liseberg to her first win in Race 6, one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Cadillac Sally and Malia. The Johnny William daughter controlled the tempo from start to finish, reaching the wire in 1:58.1. The final Grassroots trophy of the evening went home with Mariana, who sprinted down the stretch to a 1:59.3 victory over Malibu Seelster and T C Sno Massive. Riina Rekila of Campbellville, ON trains and drives Manofmanymissions daughter Mariana for Overseas Farms Ltd. of Campbellville. Next Saturday, August 15 Georgian Downs hosts Gold Series action for both the two-year-old pacing fillies and two-year-old trotting fillies. Ontario Horse Racing

JULY 22, 2015 - Guelph resident Anthony MacDonald took his brother's advice about an equipment change on two-year-old trotting filly Onatopp, and it paid off with a harness racing Grassroots victory at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday evening. "I was stubborn; I didn't want to put the hopples on her. I felt that, the few times that I put them on her, I didn't feel that she was as strong or as fast with them on, and I felt that I could keep her trotting, at least on the bigger track, without them," said MacDonald, who co-owns, trains and drives Onatopp. "And James had schooled her for me when I was away and he said, you know, I think she needs the hopples. And, you know, he was right. I put them on her and she was really, really good." Making her debut with trotting hopples from Post 9 in Wednesday's sixth Grassroots division, Onatopp was able to secure a spot on the rail in fourth as favourite Ballykeel Rocket led the field to a :31.4 opening quarter. MacDonald was content to sit fourth through the 1:04.3 half, but when Favourite Tweet stepped into the outer lane from third, he followed suit. Rolling by the 1:36 three-quarters MacDonald tipped Onatopp out three-wide and she sailed effortlessly past the leaders to the front, pulling away to a two and one-half length lead in the stretch and stopping the clock at 2:05.1. Ballykeel Rocket settled for second and pocket sitter Sweet With Heat was third. "I know she only went in 2:05.1 tonight, but she can go as fast as any Grassroots filly out there, there's no end to her speed," said MacDonald. "I mean she come a last half in :59 or something tonight and I never pulled the ear plugs, never even asked her, I just moved her out in position where she could do her work, and she was more than happy to do it." MacDonald and his partner Rene Allard of Milford, PA purchased Onatopp out of the Canadian Yearling Sale for $11,000. The filly is a Manofmanymissions half-sister to $529,825 winner Sim Brown, and the partners had high hopes for her all winter. Onatopp made her Ontario Sires Stakes debut in the July 12 Gold Series opener at Georgian Downs, but made a break and finished eighth, a result that prompted MacDonald to take his brother, James MacDonald's, advice. In addition to his brother, the horseman said a great deal of credit for Onatopp's victory falls to his wife Amy who works alongside him in their 11-horse stable. "She works really, really hard on them and she deserves a lot of the credit, a lot of the credit," he emphasized. In addition to Onatopp, six other fillies went home from Grand River Raceway with Grassroots trophies on Wednesday, with four of them also stepping down from the Gold Series for their second Ontario Sires Stakes start. Mariana and trainer-driver Riina Rekila kicked things off in the first race with a 2:04 clocking, reeling in pacesetter Shezastrikin Loral and pocket sitter Tala Seelster in the stretch. Rekila and Esa Lahtinen bred and own Mariana through their Overseas Farms Ltd. of Campbellville, ON. Rekila piloted the daughter of Manofmanymissions to a runner-up result in the Grassroots season opener at Georgian Downs on July 7. Trainer-driver Eddie Green piloted Malia to a 2:03 win in the second $18,000 division. The Cornaro Dasolo daughter bested Tymal Tempest and Early Decision by one-half length. Green conditions Malia for Kristine Green of Ohsweken and, like MacDonald, sent her to the Gold Series for her first provincial appearance, where she finished sixth. Guelph resident Phil Hudon crafted a gate-to-wire victory for Toss It Back in the third division. The Majestic Son filly cruised across the wire four lengths ahead of Chapel Hall and Talbotcreek Jetta. Trainer Pat Hunt of Cambridge, ON shares ownership of Toss It Back with Leo Fleming of Campbellville, ON. The win gives the filly one victory and one fourth-place result through the first two Grassroots events. Magical Steph was the second filly of the evening to step down from the Gold Series and find success, capturing the fourth Grassroots division with a late sprint past pacesetter and favourite Shes In Gear. Major Muscle rounded out the top three in the 2:02.1 mile. Steve Byron engineered the Kadabra filly's first victory for trainer Gary Lance and owner GL Racing Inc. of Port Perry, ON. In the fifth division, Deweycheatumnhowe daughter Dewdle All Day hit the wire three and one-half lengths up on Windsongmusclelady and Herbe A Loral in 2:03.3. Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON drives, trains and co-owns Dewdle All Day with partners 9177 8720 Quebec Inc. of Saint-Sauveur, QC and Greg Judson of Athens, ON. Dewdle All Day came into the test off a sixth-place result in the July 12 Gold Series event. The final Grassroots trophy of the evening went home with Myretirementticket, the fifth competitor shifting from Gold to Grassroots competition. The Cornaro Dasolo daughter and owner-trainer-driver Eli Wagler of Ingersoll, ON cruised along on the front end to a 2:01.1 victory, crossing the wire two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Very Classy and Cadillac Sally. The two-year-old trotting fillies make their third Grassroots start at Mohawk Racetrack on July 30. Grand River Raceway's next Ontario Sires Stakes event will come during the highly anticipated Industry Day program on Monday, Aug. 3. The Elora oval will host the third Gold Leg for the three-year-old pacing fillies in addition to the finals for its signature races, the Battle of the Belles for two-year-old pacing fillies and Battle of Waterloo for two-year-old pacing colts. Ontario Horse Racing

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