Search Results
1 to 16 of 319
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

With the big names falling out of contention for 4-year-old Diamond, Harness racing trainer ​Mark Jones believes Rocker Band is now a winning chance at the Harness Jewels - but there is a downside. The withdrawals of last year's three-year-old Diamond winner The Orange Agent (injured), Fight For Glory (retired), Start Dreaming (injured) and then Australian invite Arms Of An Angel (virus), there is no dominant favourite. Now the most open of the nine divisions, Jones knows there is probably eight or nine other trainers sharing his confidence.  Better B Amazed ($3.60), Expressive Victor ($4.20), Democrat Party ($4.60) and On The Town are the main pre-barrier draw hopes with Rocker Band at $9.50. Jones believes the draws with be crucial. "The second line wouldn't be too bad but we wouldn't want to draw wide as you need to be handy at Cambridge. "With her (Arms Of An Angel) coming out it's probably opened it up for eight or nine horses so it could be very even," Jones said. Sunday's Oamaru meeting is the last chance for potential Jewels runners to increase their season's stake money to qualify into the fields. The race has become much more of a priority to Jones and Rocker Band's owner Greg Brodie because of the defections of so many leading chances. Rocker Band, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover and 2005 New Zealand Cup winner Mainland Banner, has been progressing nicely since her last-start 12th in the Group I Breeders Stakes on April 1, when she raced keenly for a good chunk of the 2600m trip. "Her record over a mile is pretty good and she's a speed horse," Jones said. Rocker Band's recent Rangiora Workout win Meanwhile, Tim Butt is a relieved man following duel Group I winner Field Marshal's recovery from a minor bout of colic on Tuesday. The Taylor Mile and Messenger winner was brilliant in his Auckland campaign and is a $1.55 favourite for the 4-year-old Emerald at the Jewels. Butt said you can never take anything for granted in the racing game and colic was an occupational hazard with horses but he was confident the minor setback was now behind the winner of eight of his last 10 races and 14 from 25 overall. "He'll just take it quietly for a couple of days but we kept the work into him after Auckland so that will help him," Butt said. Missing the Jewels would have been tough for Butt and owners Syd and Shona Brown, who bred the Art Major entire out of their outstanding race mare Foreal, because he missed much of his three-year-old season following a wind operation. Pre-barrier draw, Field Marshal looks the horse to beat but newcomer to the All Stars barn, Titan Banner, has been backed into $3.40.     "On form he looks like the best horse in the race but you still need a bit of luck in those big races." The All Stars stable looks to have both Group I features at Addington on Saturday in the bag with favourites in the New Zealand Oaks and 2-year-old Sires Stakes for colts and geldings. The All Stars barn of Mark Purdon​ and Natalie Rasmussen also looks likely to pick up a win across the Tasman to round out the day when High Gait, who will be driven by Darren Hancock, contests the Group II New South Wales Trotting Oaks. Christen Me should have enough class to win the Winter Cup (3200m) off 30m but front-markers New Years Jay and Titan Banner (off 10m) will make him work. Mat Kermeen

The clash of two talented 2yo fillies highlights the Auckland Trotting Clubs meeting at Alexandra Park tomorrow night. Spanish Armada starts from barrier 3 in the $150,000 PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales 2yo Fillies Final for the power Purdon/Rasmussen partnership. The Tab opening the Bettor’s Delight filly at $1.28 resembles how good the All Stars filly is. Already a multiple group winner, including the Young Guns, Sire Stakes and Caduceus Club Classic finals, Spanish Armada has earnt just over $200,000 in just the 6 life time starts. The All Star’s stable will line up another 4 runners in the Final, bringing their final number to 5 starters from the 7 fillies set to do battle. While it is now common to see the blue and sliver stars returning to the birdcage, Burnham trainer Mark Jones is looking to buck the trend. Jones will line up handy Bettor’s Delight filly Delightful Memphis, who has finished 2nd to Spanish Armada in 2 of the last 3 major races. While drawing out in barrier 5 with three All Star fillies inside her is not in her favour, she showed last week that with a tidy run, she has the point to point speed to upset favourite punters. Whoever wins tomorrow, the battle will continue at the Harness Jewels, where it is expected the 2yo section will be a highlight of a fantastic day of racing. Spanish Armada beats Delightful Memphis last start. Andrew Fitzgerald

Canterbury trainer/driver Mark Jones is set to step in the boxing ring again. Jones will be in action this Friday against Guy McMenamin in the “Corporate Chaos” at the Hornby Workingmen’s Club. While in the ring, Delightful Memphis and Real Torque will represent Jones in both ends of NZ.  Delightful Memphis will start in the Magness Benrow Sire Stakes Fillies Championship while Real Torque will line up in a heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Australian Campaign confirmed for Christen Me. As expected Trainer Cran Dalgety and connections have decided to set their eyes on the Len Smith Mile at Menangle (Sydney) on the 26th June. While the Brisbane Carnival is also on the radar depending on how he comes through his Sydney campaign. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ HRNZ NEWS Effective for the new racing season, commencing August 1st 2016; *Minimum programmed stakes for races will be increased from $5,000 to $6,000. *Clubs will be required to apply a stakes distribution model that guarantees a minimum of 2% of every programmed stake will be paid to all starters. *In addition, a Stakes Supplement Payment of $50 will be paid to all runners placed outside of the first four, in races with programmed stakes of less then $20,000. Andrew Fitzgerald

Talented 2yo filly Delightful Memphis will get her shot at Group 1 glory next week when she contests the $110,000 Woodlands Stud Caduceus Club Fillies Classic at Auckland. The connections of the Mark Jones filly, who last week was gallant in defeat after sitting parked almost the entire way, have stumped up the large $15,000.00 late payment fee. Jones was suitably impressed by the run last week and a start in the Caduceus Classic was an obvious choice. “She’s come through last week’s run really well, and with their only being three Group 1s for the 2yo fillies it makes sense to have a crack at this one while we are up here” said Jones. Blair Orange will take back the reins next week after Jones handled her himself last week. “Blair couldn’t drive her last week due to the premier meeting at Addington, but it worked out well as I didn’t mind driving her myself just to see how she handled that way around” “It’s an even bunch of fillies this year and it all comes down to whoever draws the best and receives the best trip, they can all run the time, you just have to be close enough at the 400m to win” said Mark. The late payment also makes Delightful Memphis eligible for the Peter Breckon Memorial Ladyship Stakes in December this year. Delightful Memphis is co owned by Wayne Higgs, cricket commentator Simon Doull, Sir Lions Limited, Pete & Debra Smith, Kaysan Farming Limited, BM & JH Holdings Ltd   Meanwhile the Paul Court trained filly Jewel on the Beach is unlikely to pay the late entry fee with connections set on featuring in next season's top races. Andrew Fitzgerald

Michelle Neilson has been appointed Stable Manager for the All Stars operation with her duties combing an administrative and liaison role which will help the stable function more efficiently in a number of areas. "I will be doing a lot of the day to day things that Mark or Natalie would have been doing such as bookings, nominations, notifications so they can concentrate more on what they do so well which is training and driving horses." "I will also have a role with owners contacting them when their horses are trialling and racing and advising them of their horse's progress." "I am looking forward to this as an extension of my previous experiences and I will still be available for practical help around the stables when required," Michelle said. Michelle is a long time friend of Natalie and followed her over to New Zealand working in the stables for a while before branching out to the Mark Jones stable and latterly Phil Burrows largely with the hope of greater driving opportunities. "I lost my Junior's licence this season and have found it hard going." "You just drop off the radar when that happens" Michelle noted. A successful driver in Australia before coming here, Michelle has had a good strike rate as a driver in this country and will have some opportunities in her new role. All Stars welcomes Michelle to her new role. Her contact number for liaison is 0279370206 David McCarthy All Stars Racing Stables   -   Check site here

 The $25,000 Caduceus Club of Southland Pace for Two year old fillies at the harness racing meeting at Ascot Park in Invercargil yesterday is a highly sought after race each year by South Island trainers and yesterdays field of twelve runners was indicative of that interest. The Leonard Memorial winner Delightful Memphis from the Mark Jones barn was a warm favourite even though she had drawn awkwardly at two second line. Her main competition was expected to come from the Mach Three filly Renske B from the All Star barn who had shown plenty of promise in her brief career to date and had pleased trainer Mark Purdon with her work leading into the race. Kotare Yarra and John Dunn flew the gate from barrier seven to lead early from Ariadne Lavra who trailed and Renske B who ended up in the one out position in the open. Hard on her back after getting a lovely run through from her second line draw was Delightful Memphis  and Ricky May. With Kotare Yarra setting a good tempo in front there were no mid race moves and the order remained the same as they went past the 400 metres. On the point of the turn, Delightful Memphis peeled three wide and slowly but surely worked herself past Renske B who fought hard but had no answer to the Bettor's Delight filly who went on to make it two from two in her career to date. A very game Renske B held second from Ariadne Lavra who never left the inner at any point of the race in running third why Kotare Yarra impressed once again by doing a power of work and sticking on for a game fourth. Delightful Memphis impressed Ricky May with her effort. " She gave me quite a few worries in her preliminary by running about something terrible." " I had been told she was still very green but the degree did surprise me." " However to be fair to her, when she turned to follow the mobile at the start, she was a lot more tractable and didn't do anything seriously wrong during the running." " With the run she got she was always going to win that race but she did give me a very nice feel and felt like a filly that could develop with further experience into a high class racehorse, "Ricky told Harnesslink post race. Raced by Wayne Higgs and Simon Doull amongst others, Delightful Memphis will shortly come up against the likes of Spanish Armarda and Casino Belle but on her two race starts to date ,she looks more than up to the challenge. Delightful Memphis Harnesslink Media

Miracle Mile placegetter Arms Of An Angel will represent Australia at the New Zealand harness racing Jewels in June. Officials issued an invitation to the connections of the Australian four-year-old mare and it was quickly accepted with trainer Shane Tritton confirming the daughter of Elsu will also be targeting the Taylor Mile at Alexandra Park on April 22. Arms Of An Angel has recovered remarkably well from her effort on Sunday and Tritton will look towards Menangle in the coming weeks to keep her 'ticking over' until her trip across the Tasman. "I've got seven weeks until the Taylor Mile, we had been working really hard with her prior to the Chariots Of Fire about teaching her to relax in her races and that all went out the window over the past few weeks," Tritton said. "What I need to do now is start tinkering with her gear in an attempt to get her to come back to Lauren after an early burn and that is what I will do in her next few starts in Sydney." The Len Smith Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle in June is another target for Tritton this season. "Everything works out pretty well by the looks of it, we've got the Taylor Mile in April, the Jewels in the first week of June and then we have three weeks until the Len Smith Mile. "After the Len Smith Mile I think she will have deserved a good break and then I'll sit down and look at what to do with her next season." Tritton is considering leaving Arms Of An Angel with New Zealand trainer Mark Jones during the month of May as he and Lauren Panella head to the USA. "Lauren and I are getting married on May 22 and we are having a bit of a reverse honeymoon with a week in Las Vegas in the first week of May. Originally the plan had been to have a week in Vegas, a week in New York and a week in Hawaii with the wedding at the end but now with Arms Of An Angel we might have to cut short the trip. "If she settles in with Mark and he is happy to look after her while we are away it might still work itself out but we're going to have to be a bit flexible with our plans now." Tritton has also showed interest in taking talented two year old Blue Moon Rising to New Zealand for the Jewels. The youngster was impressive on debut at Bathurst before winning again at Menangle. "We'd definitely be interested in taking him too but he probably has to keep on winning to keep his name up in front of the selectors. "The plan is to take him to Goulburn and then maybe Young and if his form warrants it and the invite is forthcoming then we would be very keen for him to go." Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State. HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. Greg Hayes    

The second leg of this years harness racing Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sale is being held in Sydney at Randwick today and it has taken an age to get into its stride. The first thirty lots were a bit of a struggle with a lot of buy backs but it slowly got a bit of momentum as we moved into the second thirty and leading New Zealand trainer Mark Jones set it going when he chased and secured Lot 234 for his New Zealand barn. A big upstanding daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, she is the first foal from the former outstanding age group performer in Joyfuljoy 1:51.6 ($480,422). A Harness Jewels winner at three at Ashburton, Joyfuljoy carried on at four and then in North America as an older mare. It has been a very smart  fillies family in New Zealand with Joyfulbelle 1:56.3 and Jumpforjoy 1:55.8 just a couple who have being competitive in age group classics over the last ten years. Mark Jones went to $65,000 for her which got the sale moving from then on. Mark thought he had got a bargain. " She is a lovely big filly by a sire who is predominantly a filly sire. " Rock N Roll Heaven fillies have done a great job all over the world and I thought on type she would fetch a bit more than she did." " The beauty in buying here is you you get two bites of the cherry with them." " You can race them in classics in  both countries for good money so it makes sense to buy here. "Her dam was a brilliant age group filly and the whole family is full of smart fillies so I am glad to get her for what I did," Mark told Harnesslink this afternoon.  Later in the sale Mark went back and dipped his toe in the market again and  bought a striking son of Somebeachsomewhere from a Falcon Seelster daughter of Tanisa Vance who sold as Lot 340 for $47,000 The number of Kiwis buying at the APG Yearling Sales continues to grow each year and it will keep doing so while they can buy quality fillies like Lot 234. For the full details on Lot 234 click here. Harnesslink Media   

Canterbury harness racing trainer Mark Jones has done all the hard work leading up to this years yearling sales, inspecting yearlings from one end of the country to the other. Mark has sorted out a core group of yearlings that have really impressed him and is confident that he has unearthed a few stars to be along the way. With all the success Mark has had in recent years buying from the yearling sales and on selling to Australia it is no surprise that his clients are lining up to reinvest once again. However Mark does have a problem this year in that he has identified the biggest bunch of yearlings that he has ever wanted to purchase and he is looking for some new owners to join the Overport Lodge team. " All the owners who have supported me over the last few years are back this year but I am probably targeting five or six more yearlings this year than I have in the past and so I am looking for some new owners to put together syndicates with." " I have seen so many quality yearlings during the the inspections this year that I have had to try to expand the ownership base as I think there will be a lot of value for money yearlings on offer next week, Mark explained to Harnesslink earlier this week. When you look back over the last few years at the record Mark has built up with buying yearlings from the sales, it is no surprise that his present owners reinvest every year. Mark has a history of selling quality horses, such as smart filly/mare Rocker Band (1:53.5, seven wins from 19 starts for $66,472), who he sold unraced to good Queensland stable client Greg Brodie. Last July, he on-sold Cruz Bromac, who has been a revelation in his Australian racing for Victorian trainer Dean Braun. Selected by Mark at the NZ Yearling Sales for $12,000, Cruz Bromac was given time . Despite leaving a cold Canterbury winter unraced, Cruz Bromac paced 1:51.6 (1609m) at just his third start at Menangle last August for the Braun stable. The Falcon Seelster-Crown Defender gelding has now won six of 12 starts for $62,815. The Braun stable was also the beneficiary after purchasing former Overport Lodge filly Itz Nosurprisesthere. Itznosurprisesthere was on-sold to Australia to maximize her earning potential after being born in the same season as champion Adore Me, who after dominating the 3YO fillies races that term, went on to win the 2014 NZ Cup winner and paced a 1:47.7 mile at Menangle. Itznosurprisesthere made her mark in Australia, winning the NSW Oaks, the Tasmanian Oaks and the Queensland Oaks. She won six of just 15 starts for $A216,900. Close relative Itz Bettor To Win sold unraced out of the Mark Jones stable after showing 2YO promise. He won the Group Three Alabar NZ Kindergarten Stakes at two first-up for the Allstars Stable in 1:54.3. Itz Bettor To Win has won eight of 18 NZ starts for $128,548. Others to be sold out of Mark’s stable to have made an impact across the Tasman include: (Glenferrie) Alexis (1:55.9, 19 wins & $288,323); Jackaroo Bromac (1:54, 18 wins & $A145,944; My Jellignite (1:52.4, 21 wins & $A212,569; Badjellys Courage (1:56, 13 wins & $A57,155); Courage Tells (1:54.8, 25 wins & $A170,003); Offtocullect (1:57.7, eight wins & $45,269); Lethal Rocket (1:55.5, 15 wins & $236,417); Jackaroozy (1:56.1, 16 wins & $A112,759); and My Man Dan (1:54.2, 32 wins & $A207,220). Former smart Kiwi pacer Ohoka Texas and quiet achiever San Fran Lady, have been a couple of many ex-Overport Lodge pacers to make their mark in the United States. Ohoka Texas, winner of 12 races in NZ including a Group Two Pelorus Trust 4YO Classic and a Group Three Invercargill Cup for Mark Jones, has lowered his career best to 1:50.2 in America. He’s won a further eight races and over $121,000 in the United States, with his career earnings closing in on $300,000. San Fran Lady, bred by Frances and Max Bowden, won three of 16 NZ starts for Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones, before being sold to race Australia, and latterly North America. She won 15 times in Australia, paced 1:53 there and won the Group Three $30,00 Sky Super Sprint Final at Newcastle, in November 2010. Six years on, San Fran Lady is still winning. She racked up her 30th career win from 102 starts with her latest win at Delaware, Ohio, on January 31, taking her earnings over the equivalent of $NZ233,000. She has lowered her lifetime mile best to 1:52 in North America. Her half-brothers, Union Buster and Princeton, also become good Australian winner after being sold to Australian interests from humble beginnings in Canterbury. Last season, Champagne Dreams, the Art Major year older half-sister to outstanding 2 and 3YO colt Lazarus (p2, 1:52.9, 12 wins and two placings from 14 starts for over $600,000), was sold to Australian interests. She won just once in NZ but was a raceplaced NZ 3YO filly over a mile in 1:55.9. Champagne Dreams has taken a 1:56.5 record across the Tasman, winning her first two Queensland starts. With that kind of record Mark has certainly established himself as one of the best buy and sell operators in New Zealand. If you wish to join him in any of the new syndicates he is putting together, you can contact him on the following numbers. Home - (03) 347-6240          Mobile - 0272328172            Email - turf21@hotmail .com     Harnesslink Media   

After a great run on Day 1, the Mark Jones trained, I Get Around was surprisingly sent out a $10 shot on Day 2 at the Nelson harness racing meeting. After getting a sweet trip in the trail, she burst to the lead in the straight and won as she liked for long-time owner and breeder, Kevin Stanley. Based in Sydney, we got in touch with Kevin to congratulate him.   What got you interested in Harness Racing?   My Dad was a keen racing man and he started taking me to Hutt Park, Wellington, when I was only about 10 years old. The whole thing fascinated me - the crowds, the cheering, the horses, the meat pies! As a teenager, I became even more fascinated - the intricacies of race tactics/driving, seeing stars of that era race up-close-and-personal, and the regular clashes between horses from the North Island and the South Island. Watching Bob Young, Maurice Homes, Charlie Hunter, Cardigan Bay, Geffin, Control (winning both double legs in one night, beating the pacers in one), Garcon Roux, etc, wasn’t a bad start in the game. The main things that have never left me are the accessibility of harness racing to the general public, the incredible evolution of the breed over my lifetime, and the genuine value, bang for buck, the sport offers.   When my wife and I married, in 1970, we didn’t have the wherewithal to become involved in harness racing as owners or breeders. Having kids, moving cities, studying, etc didn’t make it any easier. We both loved the game, especially me, so it was inevitable we’d get into it more seriously at some stage. After a $5,000 treble dividend at Ellerslie while recuperating from a cartilage operation (more serious back then), we bought our first horse, in 1979, a weanling colt by Mark Lobell. After he ran 4th in the first 2YO race of his season, we were offered reasonable money for him. Should have taken it - lesson one!   How long have you been breeding Standardbreds?   I bought a filly called Baise Francaise from Bruce Barlass back about the mid 1980’s. She didn’t make it as a racehorse, but I bred her with a stallion called Happy Cat. No idea why, and no success there either, but I guess we all learnt a lot. We were then out of the game, as more than race-fans, until 2004, after we had been living in Australia for about 15 years.   We then had a successful return to racehorse ownership, prompted by a good friend contacting me about an untried 2YO that his brother, Sydney trainer Martin Herbert, was very keen to purchase from Spreydon Lodge. Significantly for my future breeding biases, the colt was one of the first crop of Bettors Delight in NZ. History shows this horse, Franco Nester, won 29 races and was good enough to be a Harold Park “Horse of the Year”. What a return, and we were obviously hooked. Being a bit better placed financially to be involved in harness racing, for which we had never really lost our love, a few more racehorses followed, mostly purchased as young up-and-going horses from NZ.We started breeding, as a hobby really, in 2013, with a mare called Anna Finn, also by Bettors Delight. Anna had showed great speed but had bone chips and we decided not to try her as a racing proposition. She had breeding that intrigued me, being from a New York Motoring mare and a half-sister to the best early 2YO filly of her year in Australia, Molly Finn.   So, we’re new to the game really, but now we have three mares, two in Canterbury and one in NSW. Of potential interest to other breeders, we don’t have land, so we base these mares in the care of friends or respected agistment professionals. This can obviously be expensive, but it would be interesting to compare the real costs of having a small broodmare band on your own property, or paying someone else to do it all. Get involved with people you trust and who respect the horse as an animal - lesson two! Anna has an attractive filly in this year’s APG Sydney Sale, and we have two in the Christchurch Sale, a filly by Rocknroll Heaven from Niki Franco (Franco Nester’s half-sister by In The Pocket), and a colt by Mach Three from Cotton Row, who we raced in NSW but sent back to NZ for her breeding career. Niki had a colt by Bettors who sold in last year’s Christchurch Sale. He was our first “NZ bred” foal.   First horse you bred?   Anna Finn’s first foal was a colt by Stonebridge Regal. Named Regal Lager, he has won four races in Adelaide and we believe he has more wins to come. We race him with friends and he’s been a great source of fun. His first win was as thrilling as people say your “first bred winner” is! I’m conveniently forgetting the Happy Cat filly in the 80’s and saying we have a 100% winners to foals record.   First race winner you bred?   As above.   Why do you breed Standardbreds?   We’ve had a lot of luck with our racing ventures since Franco Nester. I put that success down to selecting from pedigrees that are either proven or involve new stallions from our favourite sire lines, to having great advisors when it comes to assessing conformation, and, of course, good trainers who have a love for their horses. We breed with that same spirit - loving the challenge of finding the right cross, the next successful stallions, and having the faith in the families of our small band of mares. My wife Linda would not want us to stay involved unless all the horses were well cared for - like damned pets, but it is important for her, and for me. We really do get a lot of joy out of seeing the young ones come through and get the best chance they can to make it. We plan to put all or most foals up for sale as yearlings, but are perfectly happy to retain any that don’t sell, because they will have passed the tests I refer to above - sire lines/crosses, conformation, and maternal lines we believe in. Saves us buying from other people…….   I could go on about this subject for ages. We certainly want to breed a top horse, but we’d hope to do that with good stock, not just hoping a good one will appear “from nowhere", and not by spending a fortune on the very best families. Breeding is a great challenge all round, and very rewarding. We’ve met some great people, as we have without racing interests, so it’s about the best retirement hobby a person can have - is that lesson three?   What is your favourite horse (or) the best one you have bred?   Young Quinn was my favourite from “back in the day”, but then along came Nester! He gave us so much fun and proved the little guy can make it in harness racing with the right advice. Making the final of the NSW Derby with him, beating Lombo Pocket Watch in the heat, was about as good as it gets.   What is your favourite Stallion of all time?   Bettor's Delight. He’s the latest in a line of game-changers in the standardbred breed. The next one? Oh if only we knew! The first time I realised this phenomenon of a pacing stallion making a significant improvement in the breed was Vance Hanover.    Have you bred anything this season?   All our three mares have nice foals on the ground now, so we are looking forward to proving, one way or the other, the merit of our mares and their families, over the next few years. We’re just heard that two of them are back in foal, Anna Finn to Sunshine Beach, and Cotton Row to A Rocknroll Dance.   Something you would like to see change for Breeders?   More professionally managed syndication initiatives. The more people we have involved in ownership, the more there will be for everyone in all aspects of our sport. Perhaps more professional advice for breeders when it comes to financial challenges and opportunities. The opportunity for people who have land and a love of horses, and breeding, but who don’t have the mares to realistically breed a good horse, to access well credentialed mares whose owners do not want to spend time and money breeding from them. Some people with good racemares just don’t want to be breeders, and some who do, can’t afford well-bred mares. Can we in the sport/industry help bridge the gap, and not simply lose foal numbers and potentially good breeding stock?   Click here to view:    Click here to Subscribe:                     

Leading into last nights $40,000 Lyell Creek Stakes at the harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park, the jury was well and truly out on who the best trotter in the country was. Stent, Master Lavros and Monbet all had supporters and those supporters could all make a case as to why 'their' horse should be rated number one. In the two minutes, forty four point six seconds it took to run last nights race, the question of who was the current top dog amongst the trotters was well and truly settled. Ricky May sent Monbet forward from barrier seven but he was caught three wide for the first 800 metres before finding the death seat. Mark Jones on Master Lavros had managed to find Monbet's back early in the race and had followed him around three wide at which point Mark Jones pressed on and found the front with just over 1200 metres to go, again leaving Monbet parked out. Stent from the outside of the second line had managed to slot in to four back in the running line but was a fair way off his adversaries with a lap to go. Mark Jones and Master Lavros applied the afterburners down the back straight in 28.3 which had quite a few in the field struggling but Monbet hadn't gone anywhere and it was obvious on the corner that these two would fight out the finish. Shortly after they straightened, Monbet just changed gear and went sailing on past for an emphatic victory by 2 1/4 lengths from Master Lavros with a further 2 3/4 lengths back to Prime Power. Stent made ground late when it was all over to finish fourth. Monbet trotted the 2200 metres in 2:44.6, a mile rate of 2:00.4 with closing sectionals of 56.4 and 28.1 The son of Love You has now won twelve from twenty two and over $228,000 in his career to date. Driver Ricky May was fulsome in his praise of Monbet. " He just went absolutely super tonight." " He got a bit keen early on when one of his earplugs came out but he came back to me fairly quickly." " I didn't mind sitting parked as he relaxes so well out there." " He gave me an incredible feel out there tonight and won that so easily." " There is no doubt that he is the best trotter I have ever driven and I think he proved tonight that he is the best trotter in the country at the moment," Ricky said  Greg and Nina Hope have done a wonderful job of looking after Monbet through his two and three year old seasons and are now starting to reap the reward for that patience. Harnesslink Media

With the Sires Stakes Final for 3 year old fillies looming large on the horizon, a lot of fillies are staking a claim for inclusion in the $150,000 final at Alexandra Park on December 31st. Last night at Alexandra Park, the Mark Jones trained Real Torque won her third race at just her seventh career start and gave notice that she will be competitive in the $22,000 Sires Stakes heat at Alexandra Park on December 11th. Bought out of the 2014 Australasian Classic yearling sale for the princely sum of $10,000, Real Torque has plenty going for her pedigree wise with her being a half sister to four winners including the very smart Statesman 1:50.2 who has recently passed the $500,000 mark in career earnings. The daughter of Real Desire has shown a liking for the Alexandra Park track which is a plus going forward and she is building nicely for her Sires Stakes heat. Last night Mark Jones worked her to the front early and dictated the tempo before brushing home in 57.6 and 28.5 for a comfortable victory. Mark Jones thought Real Torque would be hard to beat last night. " She was a two win horse in a maiden field so she was always going to be hard to beat. " If anything she should have won that a lot easier than she did but she had a couple of coughs during the week so she had an excuse." " She will have one more run before the Sires Stakes heat on December 11th and then hopefully into the final." " She is going to have to step up to be competitive but she is paid up so we are going to have a go," Mark said. Mark Jones is no stranger to bringing horses north and getting the money and with further progression, Real Torque is more than capable of picking up some of the spoils in the Sires Stakes Series. Harnesslink Media  

Leading up to the Dominion Handicap at Addington Raceway yesterday, most people thought Stent would continue his domination of the trotting scene in New Zealand. Stent had been in great form leading up to the Dominion Handicap yesterday but the one thing that raised the odd doubt in people's minds was the distance of yesterdays race- 3200 metres. If Stent looked to have one chink in his armour, it was his less than great record at the extreme distance. Stent had won the Rowe Cup at the distance but only after sitting on Master Lavros's back the whole journey and even then he just beat him by a nose. Master Lavros was an opponent again yesterday and while Stent isn't at his best at 3200 metres, Master Lavros has always excelled at the distance.  Master Lavros was away quickly for Mark Jones and grabbed the lead after 400 metres and kept up a steady tempo in the lead. Stent and Colin De Filippi after an early bobble had settled three back in the running line before looping the field to land outside Master Lavros's wheel at the 800 metres. Just when it looked like a match race between the two champions was on the cards, Master Lavros strode away for an emphatic victory with Mark Jones giving a great victory salute as he went over the finishing line. Alley Way and Matthew Williamson got home well for second in front of Sheemon who trailed the whole way while Stent only battled into fifth.  Mark Jones was very animated on his return to the winners circle "This is all down to Regan's hard work," Jones said of his Woodend Beach foreman Regan Todd. "There's a lot of satisfaction winning today after what we have been through with horse there is nothing better than getting back to the top of the pile" Jones said. "When you're in that position we were last season, you start to have doubts and you start to think you are lucky to have won what you have in the past." "I was starting to get to the point myself that Master Lavros might not win the Dominion again if he didn't win it this year as there are so many good young trotters coming through," Mark said. Jones was keen to get to the front early in the Dominion because he wanted to take bad luck out of play. "I just wanted to give him every chance and not have any excuses." "He goes good in front and we have come so far with this horse I wanted to give him every chance," Mark said. Regan Todd was just pleased it was over. "Its been a really long week leading up to today."  " A few people had doubts after Kaikoura but we always knew he needed that run," Todd said. The Rowe Cup is the main aim for Master Lavros for the rest of the season although a trip to Australia beforehand is still on the cards. Harnesslink Media

The All Star barn have had a great Cup Day the last couple of years and after Tuesday's six wins most pundits thought they would win as many if not more yesterday at Addington Raceway. One All Star runner expected to be hard to beat was Superfecta in the $32,000 Show Day Futurity. However Scott Phelan on Ashton K was determined that if he was going to be beaten, it wouldn't be through lack of trying. Scott and Ashton K flew out of the barrier from post seven and after balancing up Scott sent him to the front after 600 metres. Not long after Articulight and Mark Jones had a look for the front but Scott was having none of it and kicked up again. Going past the 600 metres he was joined by Superfecta but Scott kept him at bay and they turned for home together. Just when it looked like Superfecta would prevail, he went into a gallop and lost all chance leaving Ashton K clear for a hard earned victory. Scott was all smiles post race. “ It is good when a longterm plan comes off as it has here.” “ After a couple of burns during the race it was a good effort to stick on like he did.” “ I thought Superfecta may have had us at the top of the straight but my fella had fought back when Superfecta galloped,” Scott said. The 2600 metres was cut out in a very quick 3:10.8 so there was no place for the faint hearted in yesterdays final. Scott was unsure of where Ashton K would race next. “ He is much better the left handed way of going which is why we have brought him south so often but with the Auckland Cup meeting on our doorstep, we may have to give him his chance at Alexandra Park,” Scott said. Wherever he goes, Ashton K has shown he has what it takes to be competitive. Harnesslink Media   

The  victory of Master Lavros turned back the clock. The giant gelding led throughout to claim his second Gr.1 $255,000 Hellers Dominion at Addington in Christchurch defeating Alley Way and Sheemon in the 3200m stand start harness racing feature. Master Lavros scored in this event two years ago. The winning drive from Mark Jones, a former world driving champion, was inch perfect as he dictated terms nicely in front while race favourite Stent sat midfield in the moving line after a tardy beginning. Jones was able to quicken and slacken the speed which made it awfully hard for his rivals to find their groove. It was a perfect reminder that Jones is a truly gifted reinsman, one of the very best in Australasia. And while Jones is listed officially as the trainer, the man that pours his heart and soul into the gifted trotter is Regan Todd. Operating two stables, Jones is based at Burnham while Todd operates the Woodend Beach stables, of which Master Lavros is based and trained. Since winning this event back in 2013, connections have been left frustrated and perplexed as the gelding struggled to regain that dominating form that catapulted him to early stardom. The expectation and pressure created cracks and last season proved disappointing with only two victories from 11 starts, many breaks were made in running. But the seven-year-old has returned in solid form this season and the reason is simple, he’s sound and trotting perfectly. Master Lavros rated 4:05.9 which equates to a milerate of 2:03.6 while he covered his final 800m in a slick 57.6 seconds. The time was slightly slower than what he recorded two years ago. Master Lavros is now a dual Dominion champion while he has also collected the North Island’s major trotting event, the Rowe Cup. His earnings have now surpassed $500,000. The Sundon – Lavra Noblesse gelding is raced by his breeder, Kypros Kotzikas. Race favourite Stent finished fifth and had his chance after his early miscue, the Dominion proving to be his ‘bogey’ race. The next leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters will be staged on February 6, the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix at TABCORP Park, Melton. by Chris Barsby

The New Zealand Trotting Cup has been won by some of the biggest names and Lara trainer Dean Braun is hoping his stable star Im Corzin Terror can add his to the list of champions to have won NZ's greatest race. Im Corzin Terror has drawn the second line in a super field and Braun is a little apprehensive about the draw, saying he would have much preferred drawing the front row. “He is just a little funny following them out," Braun said. "He got knocked over early at Yarra Valley one day and he has been just a little funny since then. It would have been nice to draw the front row but unfortunately we haven’t.” Since arriving in New Zealand he has been stabled with Mark Jones and Braun said from all reports he has settled in super. “He has settled in really, really well. He is down at the beach with Mark Jones and Reagan Todd. He worked pretty good Friday morning and by all reports they are very happy with him.” He led in the Cup trial finishing fourth, but Braun is hoping with a clean start he can weave into the first six, where he will be saved for one run. He said Im Corzin Terror would relish the 3200 metres, hence the reason he has gone to NZ instead of Perth for the Inter Dominion. It will be a wonderful achievement if he can win NZ’s greatest race and Braun's career highlight. The NZ Trotting Free For All might have lost its lustre somewhat with the omission of NZ trotting champion Stent, who has opted to go straight to the Dominion Handicap next Friday, but it shapes up as another fascinating race with the two major chances drawn gates 1 & 2 in One Over Da Moon and Monbet. One Over Da Moon has won his past seven starts brilliantly, which includes beating Stent in the Ashburton Flying Mile last start. He is in breathtaking form for Tony Herlihy. Monbet couldn’t get into the race last start behind One Over Da Moon but he has a much better draw Tuesday to turn the tables. The other winning hopes here are Habibti, who split the two favourites at Ashburton, and Sheemon, who will get a cheap run on the pegs. The other feature is the NZ Sires Stakes Final and the clear favourite is the Mark Purdon trained Lazarus. A winner of seven of nine, we haven’t yet seen this guy in Australia but he is a genuine star and even though he has drawn the second row he will be very hard to beat. CODY WINNELL

1 to 16 of 319
1 2 3 4 5 Next »