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Rocker Band booked a start in the $140,000 Nevele R Fillies Final at Addington on May 9 when defeating last season’s Breeders Crown-winning 2YO filly Katy Perry at Methven on Sunday, February 22. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover and 2005 New Zealand Cup winner Mainland Banner shared favouritism with Katy Perry in the Hororata Trotting Club’s Nevele R heat on the grass. Both had turns at leading, with Rocker Band having the early gate speed to cross, then driver Ricky May elected to take a trail on Katy Perry nearing the final 800m. Rocker Band had the superior sprint in the run home, coming clear by 2 1/4 lengths in a useful 2:02.3 (1609m) on a drizzle-affected grass track. She was a slightly disappointing fourth at her previous start in the Ashburton Nevele R Heat for trainer Mark Jones, who expected more after securing the perfect trail. She was still racetimed in 1:55.6 there, but couldn’t go with the top Mark Purdon/Natalie Rasmussen-trained fillies of Fight For Glory, who was too good in 1:54.5 from Linda Lovegrace and Supersonic Miss. Both Fight For Glory (New South Wales Oaks Heat) and Supersonic Miss (Pascoes The Jewellers Northern Oaks Prelude) complimented the Ashburton heat run by winning again last weekend. Rocker Band had also been earmarked for the New South Wales Oaks series, but the domestic Nevele R heat was a more suitable target after Ashburton. She was recording her second win at her fifth start for Queensland owner Greg Brodie. The Overport Lodge stable moved to 34 wins and crashed through the $300,000 stakes barrier for the season wtih Rocker Band’s success. The stable also produced Zakspatrol for an upset $40.80 win price in the hands of Kimberly Butt at Addington on Friday night. Kim was able to secure a good trail on the outer with the Grant and Katherine Hatton-owned Zakspatrol in the Blue Star Taxis Pace. They finished too well for Sunnivue Bay Boy, Little Lion Man and Mach’s Terminator in 3:21.5 for the stand start 2600m. The stable also went close at Auckland with trotter Charming Lavra, who ran a close second after moving up in the open for Blair Orange. Courtesy of Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here  

The all conquering harness racing barn of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen had horses racing at five tracks in two countries this weekend and at times Mark and Natalie must have wondered where their next representative was lining up. They sent a small team to Wyndham with stable employee Matt Anderson with the focus on the time honoured Kindergarten Stakes. The All Star barn had two runners with the Australian bred Somebeachsomewhere colt  Waikiki Beach the punters elect but not by much from the other All Star runner in Motu Premier.  A son of Bettor's Delight, Motu Premier with Matt Anderson in the bike left quickly from barrier four before handing up to Arden's  Legacy and Ross Payne. Waikiki Beach slotted into the one by one early behind Hanna's Boy and that was still the order as they turned for home. Reinsman Brent Barclay angled Waikiki Beach three wide on the point of the turn and he quickly put the issue beyond doubt, scooting away for an easy victory by 2 1/2 lengths with the last 400 metres in a sizzling 26.7. Motu Premier finished attractively along the passing lane for second to give the All Star barn the quinella while Arden's Legacy fought on well for third. Waikiki Beach paced the mile in the slushy conditions in 1:58.9 with closing sectionals of 57.7 and 26.7 Matt wasn't surprised by the performance of Waikiki Beach. "He's been a natural two year old right from the start." "He's got  real speed but has the ring craft at the same time." "He's is a very sensible type in everything he does" Matt said. Matt wasn't disappointed with the run of Motu Premier.  "Motu Premier didn't really handle the track at all." "I don't think a track like that suits his action." "He was just never pacing well." "He is a horse who can sprint home in 26 but he was never going to beat Waikiki Beach on that track," Matt said. Australians should get ready to see a fair bit of Waikiki Beach as the plans are for him to head across the Tasman to tackle the Australian Pacing Gold series. Harnesslink Media    

All the harness racing trainers in New South Wales with smart three year olds  must have breathed a sigh of relief when they heard that Mark Purdon was sending Follow The Stars back to New Zealand for the Derbys there after the Victorian Derby. What they wouldn't have known was that the horse he was sending to the New South Wales Derby at Menangle in his place in Hug The Wind was little if any inferior to his star stable mate. Well after the first derby heat tonight at Menangle, no one will be in any doubt about how good he is after the son of Bettor's Delight sat in the death seat throughout before kicking clear late for a super impressive Australian debut win. Having his first start since the end of December, Hug The Wind did enough to win the heat without having to be seriously asked by co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen. You would expect Hug The Wind to derive some serious benefit from his first start for over seven weeks and he will strip a much fitter horse for the final. Aztec Bromac was just as clearly second for Robbie Morris and Kerry Ann Turner and looms as a legitimate place chance in the final but the other qualifiers in this heat look to be on mission impossible going by the margin between the first two and the rest tonight. Hug The Wind paced the 2400 metres in 2:53.4, a mile rate of 1:56.3 with closing sectionals of 55.7 and 27 Going on tonights run Hug The Wind looks the horse they have to beat on Sunday week. Harnesslink Media

Tonight harness racing followers at Addington Raceway were witness to an outstanding run from last seasons dual derby winner in King Denny. After galloping away from the ten metres mark, King Denny with co-trainer Mark Purdon in the bike settled a long way off the pace early which was set by Monty Python. With 1600 metres to run, Mark eased King Denny into the running line from the rear and slowly worked his way forward. By this time Clover Don had taken over and King Denny ended up on his wheel passing the 600 metres mark.  Just when the run should have been taking its toll as they turned for home, King Denny just went up a gear and went to the line a comfortable winner. Credited with an official time of 3:21.3 for the 2600 metres from a stand, King Denny was privately timed to run his last 2400 metres in a very quick 2:59.6 after his early gallop. What made the run even more meritorious was King Denny ran into a strong easterly in the home straight. Mark Purdon was rapt with the run " He has gone huge really" " To sit parked and run into that strong breeze and still win like he did was a top effort," Mark said. Mark is not to concerned with his tardy beginnings at his last two starts. " He never got any experience of stands as a three year old as most of his races were mobiles." " He is getting better but just needs a bit more practice on raceday," Mark said. Future plans for the four year old son of Majestic Son are based around a trip to Auckland. " We will keep him close to home over Easter and just race him at Addington. " The long term aim is to have at his peak for the Rowe Cup at Auckland," Mark said. The manner in which King Denny has won his last two starts would suggest he is a huge chance to take home the silverware in Auckland. Harnesslink Media  

All the harness racing pundits thought tonights $20,000 yearling sales graduette was a gift for the All Stars barn runner Northern Velocity. The big strapping daughter of Mach Three had been in great form at trials in Canterbury recently and the punters made her a short priced favourite. Away well, driver Mark Purdon settled her in the one by one early before moving up to the death seat outside the leader Flyingretna with 800 metres to go Passing the 400 metres mark Northern Velocity suddenly went into a wild gallop losing all chance in the process. Just when it looked  like the other All Star runner Emeli Maguire would get home, Sem's Delight with John Dunn in the bike swooped down the outside to nab the win right on the line. The daughter of Bettor's Delight had disgraced herself on debut at Timaru when galloping but showed the benefit of having had a raceday run tonight. John Dunn has a good opinion of the filly. " I have always really liked her but I didn't think she had the ringcraft to win the race with the Purdon duo in there." " Last week wasn't really her fault as it was only her third time off the place in her life." "She is very green still and just needs a bit more experience," John said. Sem's Delight, a $44,000 purchase at last years Australasian Classic sale by Robert Dunn on behalf of long time clients Clive, Rona and Shona McKay is providing some consolation to Clive and Rona who have had a hard luck run recently with their star pacer Franco Nelson. John was of a mind to back off a bit now. " She has come a long way in a short time and with two runs in a week it may pay to back off her now." " There is a really good race for her next week (Leonard Memorial) but it may pay to miss that with all that she has done recently, "John said. Mark Purdon was at a loss to explain why Northern Velocity galloped. " She was travelling really well at the time but just seemed to lose her concentration at the 400 metre mark." "I am at a loss to explain why she did that," Mark said.  Tonights win by Sem's Delight highlights once again that there is no such thing as a certainty in racing. Harnesslink Media  

The first of this years harness racing sales took place today at Auckland and in a splurge that started from lot one, the sale took off and never really slowed down. Lot one was a Bettors Delight colt from the former smart juvenile Veste 1:57.1 ($106,024). Named Voltaire, he was sold to the bid of Maurice McKendry acting as agent for $100,000. With a start like that the sale took off and when lot eight walked into the ring the bar was raised even higher. A three quarter brother to Adore Me and Have Faith In Me from a three quarter sister to Christen Me and Hands Christen, the colt called Praise Be was knocked down to Mark Purdon for $200,000. Mark was acting on behalf of Dennis Dunford and his son Mark who have raced Hands Christian and Have Faith In Me from the All Star barn. There were several other six figure sums achieved on the day which we have listed below: *Lot 106  -  Bettors Delight   -  Scuse Me  -  $180,000 *Lot 133  - Bettors Delight  -  Temepara Cullen  -  $165,000 *Lot 119  -  Art Major  -  Sky Beauty  -  $150,000 *Lot 116  -  Bettors Delight  -  Splendid Dreams  -  $120,000 *Lot 137  -  Art Major  -  Thebestamancanget  -  $107,500 Most of the well known buyers were in attendance but some weren't buying as much as they have in the past. Cran Dalgety was very quiet today buying just one yearling and what was just as surprising was it was Lot 46 an Angus Hall filly which cost him $47,500. We have listed the major players from today below: * Mark Purdon  -  Number brought - 5     Total spend  -  $490,000 * Barry Purdon  -  Number brought - 6     Total spend  -  $357,000 * Lincoln Farms - Number brought  -  4     Total spend  -  $367,500 * Nigel McGrath - Numbers brought  -  5     Total spend  -  $263,500   Hall of Fame thoroughbred trainer Jim Gibbs signed the ticket for two yearlings including lot 95, an Art Major colt which cost him $75,000 Australians  brought seventeen of the 112 lots that changed hands today today with the usual players like Trevor Lindsay involved once again while Emilio and Mary Rosati only brought one lot but it was the $165,000 filly, Kharizma. The overall aggregate for the sale was an impressive $4,653,500 with the average a staggering $41,549. As expected Bettors Delight won the sires battle with the forty sold averaging $55,512. Day two is at Christchurch tomorrow. Sales Results  Select a sale: Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2015 Auckland Autumn Weanling and All Age Sale - 2014 Christchurch Autumn Weanling and All Age Sale - 2014 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale - 2014 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2014 Auckland Weanling and All Age Sale - 2013 Christchurch Weanling and All Age Sale - 2013 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 2 - 2013 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 1 - 2013 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2013 Auckland Autumn Weanling and All Age Sale - 2012 Christchurch Autumn Weanling and All Age Sale - 2012 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2012 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 2 - 2012 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 1 - 2012 Ready to Run Sale - 2011 Spreydon Lodge Reduction Sale - 2011 Auckland Autumn Weanling and All Age Sale - 2011 Christchurch Autumn Weanling and All Age Sale - 2011 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 3 - 2011 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 2 - 2011 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 1 - 2011 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2011 Ready to Run Sale - 2010 Cullen Breeding Dispersal Sale - 2010 Auckland Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2010 Christchurch Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2010 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 3 - 2010 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Days 1 and 2 - 2010 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2010 Ready to Run Sale - 2009 Auckland Autumn Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2009 Christchurch Autumn Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2009 Bromac Lodge Sale - 2009 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 3 - 2009 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Days 1 and 2 - 2009 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2009 Ready to Run 2yo Sale - 2008 Auckland Autumn Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2008 Christchurch Autumn Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2008 Spreydon Lodge Sale - 2008 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale - 2008 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2008 Christchurch Ready to Run Sale - 2007 Auckland Autumn Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2007 Christchurch Autumn Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2007 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2007 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale - 2007   Lot Name Colour Sex Sire Dam Vendor Buyer Location Price   1 Voltaire B C Bettor's Delight Veste Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo M McKendry as agent AUCKLAND $100,000 2 Alta Roulette B C Bettor's Delight Whambam Alta Breeding Co. Ltd Waiau Pa MR T VINCE HOWICK $42,500 3 Major's Nice Girl B F Art Major Wouldnt It Be Nice Solid Gold Standardbreds WA DAILY GRIND SYNDICATE LINCOLN $14,000 4 Angie Maguire BR F Rocknroll Hanover Zenola Starbuck Jubilee Park Cambridge Not sold. Res $20,000     5 Smiley Sophie B F Art Major Vicario Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo JIM GIBBS MATAMATA $35,000 6 Delightful Zen B C Bettor's Delight Zenstar Mrs. A. Small Ramarama & Mr. J. C. & Mrs. K. M. Laurie Hamilton Not sold     7 Melman B C Sportswriter Anarchy Mrs. A. F. Cooney Taupaki N MCGRATH CHCH $20,000 8 Praise Be BR C Bettor's Delight Abide With Me Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon M PURDON CHCH $200,000 9 Sochi B C Bettor's Delight Warm Soak Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo Withdrawn     10 El Gran Senor B C Bettor's Delight Belleruche Highfields Bloodstock Albany Not sold, Res $40,000     11 My Generation B C Bettor's Delight A New Sensation Croon Bloodstock Ltd Auckland MR AJ MCINTOSH POKENO $30,000 12 Welcome Change B F Well Said Anna Matao Messrs. R. G. Carr Karaka & D. G. Kirkbride Pukekohe Not sold, Res $20,000     13 Laredo Torpedo BR C Bettor's Delight Zingara Braeside Lodge Palmerston North B PURDON CLEVEDON $75,000 14 Miss Kitty BR F Bettor's Delight American Sweetheart Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon B PURDON CLEVEDON $16,000 15 Kissme Quick BR F Majestic Son Anytime Aimey Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury ROB LAWSON HAMILTON $15,000 16 Emira B F Real Desire Ballie Hanover Mr. K. J. Haycock Tuakau Not sold, Res $15,000     17 Ring The Till B C Mach Three Affairs Of State Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo GARETH DIXON CLEVEDON $37,500 18 Heidi Maguire BR F American Ideal Bhutan Jubilee Park Cambridge MR GREG PAYNE CHCH $10,000 19 Neighlor BR C Bettor's Delight Braeside Star Braeside Lodge Palmerston North B & P HUGHES as agent PUKEKOHE $52,500 20 Sacred Angel BR F Somebeachsomewhere Dark Angel Highfields Bloodstock Albany Not sold, Res $60,000     21 Marbelous BR F Bettor's Delight Anam Cara Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo MR MARK JONES CHRISTCHURCH $19,000 22 The Tax Cullector B C Gotta Go Cullect Betty's A Delight Mr. K. Warneford Ohaupo GARY BARTON AUSTRALIA $15,000 23 Game Of Thrones BR F Christian Cullen Black And Royal Mrs. M. Carson Helensville EARL SAKAREASSEN AUSTRALIA $25,000 24 Saxon Rose B F Angus Hall Calamity Gal First Grade Lodge Mangere A CONTE AUSTRALIA $13,000 25 Smiling Stunner B F Art Major Black Maire Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo PENRITH HOLDINGS P/S DUNEDIN $52,000 26 Zenner B C McArdle Zenterfold Mr. G. C. & Mrs. A. Small Ramarama JOHNNIE BUTCHER KUMEU $60,000 27 Callme Giganaire B C Shakennotstirred S Call Me Daphne Ashmere Lodge Farm Pukekohe Not sold, Res $5,000     28 Change Pace B C Rocknroll Hanover Chaangerr Messrs. R. G. Carr Karaka & D. G. Kirkbride Pukekohe AUCKLAND TROTTING CLUB 2016 SY TAKANINI, AUCKLAND $35,000 29 Chaaat B C Rocknroll Hanover Braeside Lady Braeside Lodge Palmerston North MR MARK CONNORS GREYMOUTH $32,500 30 Italian Delight B C Bettor's Delight Chivasso Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon MR A G HERLIHY PAPAKURA $30,000 31 Gifted B F Bettor's Delight Gift Of Grace Highfields Bloodstock Albany Not sold, Res $25,000     32 Alta Teresa B F American Ideal Alta Camilla Alta Breeding Co. Ltd Waiau Pa P KERR CHCH $30,000 33 Ima Classic Delight B F Bettor's Delight Classical Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo K M BARRON CHRISTCHURCH $16,000 34 Coopers Beach BR F Somebeachsomewhere Bishops Blessing Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury MR TREVOR LINDSAY AUSTRALIA $40,000 35 American Dynasty B C American Ideal Chokin Hanover Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon KIM PRENTICE AUSTRALIA $27,000 36 Glenferrie Depot B C Changeover Custom Franco Glenferrie Farm NSW P KERR KAIAPOI $20,000 37 Sertorius B C Muscles Yankee Classic Armbro Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo GRINALDI LODGE INVERCARGILL $47,000 38 Whatdoesthefoxsay B C Bettor's Delight Cyathea Wairau Farm Raglan MR ROBERT S TOMLINSON AUSTRALIA $46,000 39 The C E O B C Gotta Go Cullect Dana Maguire Mr. E. B. & Mrs. M. H. Brodie Hamilton Not sold, Res $15,000     40 Acceptance BR C Bettor's Delight Dream Offer Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon ROSSLANDS STUD AUCKLAND $75,000 41 Heart Of Art B F Art Major Classic Nymph Biddlecombe Equine Ltd Auckland S REID PUKEKOHE $70,000 42 Braveheart BR C Bettor's Delight Highfields Angel Highfields Bloodstock Albany MR AJ MCINTOSH POKENO $25,000 43 Runrunjimmydunn B C American Ideal Delightful Paula Letterkenny Lodge Ltd Clevedon PA & DL CRONIN TUAKAU $40,000 44 De Lovista B F Bettor's Delight De Lovely Les Girls No.2 Syndicate Pukekohe Not sold, Res $100,000     45 Franconia B F Art Major Coburg Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo N MCGRATH CHCH $35,000 46 Wistful Dreams B F Angus Hall Galleons Dream First Grade Lodge Mangere CRAN DALGETY CHCH $47,500 47 Unchanged B F Mach Three Changedown Messrs. R. G. Carr Karaka & D. G. Kirkbride Pukekohe M PURDON CHCH $30,000 48 Stone The Crows BR C Mach Three Bishops Dream Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury MR JC HAY ASHBURTON $25,000 49 Rock Diamonds B C Rocknroll Hanover Dancing Diamonds Braeside Lodge Palmerston North PENRITH HOLDINGS P/S DUNEDIN $50,000 50 Keep On Rockin B C Rock N Roll Heaven Elite Belle Messrs. J. H. & W. S. Abernethy Papakura WN HICKEY TUAKAU $22,000   Lot Name Colour Sex Sire Dam Vendor Buyer Location Price   51 Spanish Armada BR F Bettor's Delight Galleons Supreme Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon J FEISS AUSTRALIA $75,000 52 Spellbinding B F Art Major Highfields Diamond Highfields Bloodstock Albany Withdrawn     53 Bobs Your Uncle B C Artsplace Delightful Dale Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo MR GREG PAYNE CHCH $19,000 54 Dreamy Nights B C Gotta Go Cullect Dream Holiday Wairau Farm Raglan Not sold, Res $20,000     55 Ready To Fire B F Somebeachsomewhere Fight Fire With Fire Croon Bloodstock Ltd Auckland MR G ROGERSON HAMILTON $37,000 56 Forgotten Highway B C Bettor's Delight Grace Way Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon P KERR KAIAPOI $75,000 57 Oxygen B F Art Major Dontdrinkthendrive Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo K M BARRON CHCH $23,000 58 Swank BL F Mach Three Erinyes Mr. J. A. Fowler NSW Not sold, Res $12,000     59 Peanut Bettor B F Bettor's Delight Cullerfillee Mr. K. Warneford Ohaupo Withdrawn     60 Alltherightmoves B F Bettor's Delight Indulge Highfields Bloodstock Albany MENTALLY STABLE CHCH $16,000 61 Megamind B C Pegasus Spur Fear Factor Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo JB & JR DAVIES HAMILTON $42,000 62 High Voltage B F Rocknroll Hanover Highly Regal First Grade Lodge Mangere Not sold, Res $50,000     63 Kissmeimloaded BR F Majestic Son Dutch Annie Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury B PURDON CLEVEDON $36,000 64 Flash Boy B C Bettor's Delight Gentle Anvil Croon Bloodstock Ltd Auckland MR G ROGERSON HAMILTON $80,000 65 Major Hippie B C Art Major Hotinthecitytonite Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo MR NEIL PILCHER CHCH $70,000 66 Some Change B C Somebeachsomewhere Dancingonmoonlight Messrs. R. G. Carr Karaka & D. G. Kirkbride Pukekohe Not sold, Res $40,000     67 Paros B C Bettor's Delight Its Showtime Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon WALMSLEY DEVELOPMENTS PTY LTD AUSTRALIA $38,000 68 I'm Just Awesome B F Pegasus Spur Hanover The Gold Mrs. M. B. Lloyd Kumeu & Mr. J. B. Miller Pakuranga MR J P STORMONT **SBRED** PUKEKOHE $11,000 69 Rockahula King B C Art Major Hot Shoe Shuffle Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo Withdrawn     70 La Bella Mia B F Christian Cullen Inspiration Highfields Bloodstock Albany HOOF IT RACING STABLES LTD AUCKLAND $20,000 71 Di'z Luck B F The Pres Howz Lucky Mr. B. R. & Mrs. R. G. Tims Matamata MR GAVIN SMITH KAIAPOI $16,000 72 Awa Charles B C Pegasus Spur Iwi Alex Mr. W. E. & Mrs. E. C. Darrah Thames Withdrawn     73 Lorde O Lorde BR C Christian Cullen Karlysia Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo M BERGER AUCKLAND $12,000 74 Pick My Pocket B F Bettor's Delight La Filou Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon N MCGRATH CHCH $90,000 75 Logic Bomb B C Art Major Elena Star Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury G SMALL PUKEKOHE $18,000 76 Kamwood Kid B C Bettor's Delight Kamwood Diva Kamwood Lodge Pukekohe MENTALLY STABLE CHCH $25,000 77 Snoozeyouloos B C Bettor's Delight Kelly Maguire Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo F D & AF COONEY HENDERSON $30,000 78 Always The Brave B C Well Said Prove The Point Highfields Bloodstock Albany MR GREG PAYNE CHCH $21,000 79 Speculator B C Bettor's Delight La Vicola Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon GARY BARTON AUSTRALIA $16,000 80 Tinny Girl BR F Tintin In America Khatcha Fire Miss L. S. Edwards Morrinsville & Mrs. S. D. Edwards Paeroa Not sold, Res $20,000     81 Strawberry Moose B C Mach Three Magic Moose Braeside Lodge Palmerston North G SMALL PUKEKOHE $30,000 82 Pump Up The Volume BR C Lis Mara Kilmore Mr. D. E. & Mrs. K. M. Kaa Mr. B. A. Hodges Cambridge & Mr. R. S. Tomlinson West Australia M BERGER AUCKLAND $16,000 83 Runaway Train BR C Bettor's Delight Lady Cullen Croon Bloodstock Ltd Auckland TONY PRICE AUSTRALIA $87,500 84 Lead The Way B C American Ideal Lisdargan Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon JEREMY YOUNG PUKEKOHE $7,000 85 Never Say Never B C Bettor's Delight Maid In Splendour Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo PENRITH HOLDINGS P/S DUNEDIN $60,000 86 The Coordinator B C American Ideal Monaro Wairau Farm Raglan D BLACKWELL TE AWAMUTU $26,000 87 Kiss Me Hardy BR C Majestic Son Emma Hamilton Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury B PURDON CLEVEDON $52,500 88 Warloch B C Well Said Pure Envy Highfields Bloodstock Albany MENTALLY STABLE CHCH $42,500 89 Nova's Delight BR C Bettor's Delight Milagro Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo MATTHEW CRAVEN AUSTRALIA $56,000 90 Casino Belle B F Bettor's Delight Lislady Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon M PURDON CHCH $30,000 91 Billy Twelvetrees B C Mach Three Maikona Brogden Lodge Cambridge MR GP & MRS NM HOPE KAIAPOI $22,500 92 Glenferrie Devotee B F Changeover Navarra Franco Glenferrie Farm NSW Not sold, Res $10,000     93 Veluti B C Christian Cullen Neat Franco Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo EARL SAKAREASSEN AUSTRALIA $20,000 94 G B Maverick B C Art Official Okay Matao G B Lodge Huntly KYLE MARSHALL CAMBRIDGE $8,000 95 Pacing Major B C Art Major Pacing Grace Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon JIM GIBBS MATAMATA $75,000 96 Yankee Whizard B F Muscles Yankee Our Sunny Whiz Mr. R. M. Southey, Snells Beach & Mrs. S. D. Lean, Waimauku DOMENICO MARTELLO AUSTRALIA $40,000 97 Got The Music In You B F Rocknroll Hanover OK Rock Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo MR RL SANDFORD CHCH $10,000 98 The Boulevard B F Mach Three Hearty Lass Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury Withdrawn     99 Everlasting Legacy B F Art Major Sabelle Highfields Bloodstock Albany MR MD FAIRBAIRN WINTON $30,000 100 Pleasurable B F Bettor's Delight Pleasureseeker Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon MR GREG PAYNE CHCH $10,000   Lot Name Colour Sex Sire Dam Vendor Buyer Location Price   101 Lawton Luck B C Bettor's Delight Paddy Brown Braeside Lodge Palmerston North G LEE WYNDHAM $30,000 102 Attitude Plus BR F Bettor's Delight Personality Plus Croon Bloodstock Ltd Auckland MR G ROGERSON HAMILTON $80,000 103 Anna Barclay B F Bettor's Delight Precious Maiden Kamwood Lodge Pukekohe BALTIC FAMILY SYN PAPAKURA $11,000 104 Fabregas BL C Muscles Yankee Serene Queen Mr. C. B. Rapley Otorohanga KPC RACING AUSTRALIA $40,000 105 Fullofheart B F Artsplace Pocketfullofposies Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo GENNARO SPOSATO AUSTRALIA $10,000 106 All About Me BR C Bettor's Delight Scuse Me Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon M PURDON CHCH $180,000 107 Mrs Zippy B F American Ideal River Liffey Messrs. N. J. Fleming Oakura & P. B. Fleming Stratford JOHNNIE BUTCHER KUMEU $32,500 108 Carley Maguire BR F Somebeachsomewhere Saccha Maguire Jubilee Park Cambridge STEVE WITTE CHCH $26,000 109 Bettor Under Fire B C Bettor's Delight Queen Of Fire Butterworth Bloodstock Syndicate Victoria MR MARK JONES CHCH $20,000 110 Heavens Secret B F Rock N Roll Heaven Secret Obsession Highfields Bloodstock Albany Not sold, Res $10,000     111 Ace High BR C Bettor's Delight Splendid Deal Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon Withdrawn     112 Te Mahia B C Somebeachsomewhere Hi Ho Silver Lining Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury MR NEIL PILCHER CHCH $42,500 113 Thunderbolt Kid BR C American Ideal Spirit Of Spring Biddlecombe Equine Ltd Auckland       114 Cleaver Green B C Christian Cullen Safin Letterkenny Lodge Ltd Clevedon N MCGRATH CHCH $77,500 115 Alta Intrigue B C Mach Three Samantha Q Alta Breeding Co. Ltd Waiau Pa LINCOLN FARM KUMEU $85,000 116 Accumulator BR C Bettor's Delight Splendid Dreams Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon B PURDON CLEVEDON $120,000 117 Head Honcho B C Rocknroll Hanover Stateofthenation Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo PGW as agent CHCH $34,000 118 Malik B C Somebeachsomewhere Slipinn Slipinn Breeding Partnership Pukekohe Not sold     119 Sky Diamond B C American Ideal Sky Beauty Wairau Farm Raglan LINCOLN FARM KUMEU $150,000 120 Ideal Conquest BR F American Ideal Pocket Conquest Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon MR MD FAIRBAIRN WINTON $5,000 121 Lerato B F Art Major Suidelike Meisie Mr. K. J. & Mrs. D. M. Madgwick Te Aroha. B PURDON CLEVEDON $57,500 122 Brother In Arms B C Art Major Shy Annie Highfields Bloodstock Albany M PURDON CHRISTCHURCH $50,000 123 English Rose BR F Bettor's Delight Sloane Square Bruce Carter Bloodstock Ltd Kumeu P Kennard as agent CHCH $40,000 124 Sister Sandrine B F Santanna Blue Chip Sophie Neveu Mr. A. H. Nicolson Auckland REVELL DOUGLAS AUCKLAND $6,000 125 Vettel B C American Ideal Talks To Angels Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo MR GREG PAYNE CHCH $20,000 126 Lambros BR C Bettor's Delight Queen Camille Mr. S. A. Kolovos Pukekohe S L MCCAFFREY CAMBRIDGE $30,000 127 Star De Lis B F Lis Mara Star Of Astreos Mr. G. J. & Mrs. P. K. Balle Tuakau Not sold, Res $4,500     128 Alta Leonie BL F Big Jim Thanks Anita Alta Breeding Co. Ltd Waiau Pa MR D F HIGGINS TE AROHA $7,000 129 Crystal Sparkles BR F Rocknroll Hanover Taylor Kate Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo BUTTERWORTH RACING SYNDICATE AUSTRALIA $50,000 130 Blind Faith B C American Ideal Running On Faith Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon LINCOLN FARM KUMEU $25,000 131 Thefixer B C Bettor's Delight Tosti Girl Letterkenny Lodge Ltd Clevedon PI & GJ KENNARD B/STOCK CHCH $47,000 132 Bejewelled B F Somebeachsomewhere The Jewel Highfields Bloodstock Albany Not sold, Res $30,000     133 Kharizma B F Bettor's Delight Temepara Cullen Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo EMILIO & MARY ROSATI AUSTRALIA $165,000 134 Trilight Brigade BR F Bettor's Delight Trigirl Brigade Miss S. A. Matthews & Mr. R. & Mrs. C. A. Faulkner Papatoetoe N MCGRATH CHCH $41,000 135 Tipsy B F Bettor's Delight Saturation Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon ROBERT LUND & TANIA HARVEY PUKEKOHE $27,000 136 Crackacheek B C Rocknroll Hanover Trilby Cambridge Standardbred Stud Ltd Cambridge PAUL T COURT CHCH $17,500 137 Vasari B C Art Major Thebestamancanget Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo LINCOLN FARM KUMEU $107,500 138 Twinklingofaneye B F Art Major Twilight Beauty Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury ROBERT LUND & TANIA HARVEY PUKEKOHE $35,000 139 Thats Who BR F Monarchy Tats That First Grade Lodge Mangere N A NORTHCOTT MANUKAU $3,000 140 Veddy Veddy Good B C Art Major Twice As Good Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo Withdrawn     141 Show Business B F Bettor's Delight Uptown Attitude Croon Bloodstock Ltd Auckland K M BARRON CHCH $14,000 Harnesslink Media

Like anything connected to harness racing in New Zealand at the moment, if pays to have Scuse Me somewhere in your pedigree if you are racing horses or selling at the sales. Be it Christen Me or Adore Me on the racetrack or the progeny of Scuse Me or any of  her daughters in the yearling sale ring, Charlie Robert's super broodmare Scuse Me is just dominating the scene like no mare in the history of the sport in New Zealand. That was reinforced today at the Australasian Classic yearling sale when Charlie Robert's consigned several members of the family to the first of this years sale The first of the really close relatives of Scuse Me was Lot 9. Named Praise Be, the son of Bettors Delight is the first foal from the smart Christian Cullen mare Abide With Me 1:57.7 ($36,033) which makes the colt a three quarter brother to both Adore Me 1:51.6 ($1,435,101) and Have Faith In Me 1:53.2 ($201,502) The dam Abide With Me is a three quarter sister to both Christen Me 1:49.1($1,923,091) and Hands Christian 1:52.5 ($330,824) so Praise Me had a pedigree to die for. To top it off the individual was as good as the pedigree and from the time he walked into the ring the bidding was fierce. When the dust settled the colt was headed to the All Star barn at Rolleston after Mark Purdon stared downed the opposition but not before he had outlaid a cool $200,000. Mark Purdon purchased Praise Be on behalf of  Dennis Dunford and his son Mark who have raced his close relatives Have Faith In Me and Hands Christian from the All Stars barn.   The next one of the breed to create real interest today was lot 106 and he is named All About Me. Offered by Charlie, the son of Bettor's Delight is from Scuse Me making him a full brother to the champion mare Adore Me and this years star three year old Have Faith In Me. The bidding opened at $50,000 and quickly went into six figures as Mark Purdon and Nigel McGrath battled for the great looking colt. In the end Mark was not to be denied and when the bidding stopped at $180,000 the colt was on his way to the All Stars barn at Rolleston. lot 106 The third and last of the close relatives that was highly sought after today was Lot 116 named Accumulator. Another son of Bettor's Delight, Accumulator is a half brother to Christen Me, Hands Christian and a three quarter brother to Adore Me and Have Faith In Me. The bidding started slowly but then took off and once again it was a Purdon signing the sales docket but this time it was Mark's brother Barry doing the honours. At $120,000, he was the cheapest of the three close relatives to make six figures. Charlie must still wonder at his luck when he agreed to buy Scuse Me all those years ago as she has gone on to dominate the New Zealand harness racing scene both on the track and at the yearling sales  like no mare before her. Harnesslink Media

The harness racing sales in New Zealand continue to go from strength to strength on the quality front and this years Australasian Classic Sale is no exception being chock full of quality individuals. One family that has been to the fore over the last 25 years is the one that traces to Black Watch which was carefully nurtured over a long time by the doyen of northern breeders, Sandy Yarndley. There are a lot of her descendants in this years sales but one filly from the family that took our eye was lot 45, Franconia. By boom sire Art Major who is having such a strong run world wide at the moment, Franconia is a daughter of the former outstanding racemare Coburg 1:56.7 ($205,176) who was the four year old mare of the year in New Zealand in 2004. At stud Coburg has already produced Veste 1:57.1 ($106,023) who won the Caduceus Club Classic at two for legendary trainer Mark Purdon. Mark must have liked Veste because last year he went back and brought another one out of Coburg in Conversion who qualified in 2:00.4 at the recent Ashburton trials and looks a very promising two year old. Coburg is a half sister to the champion pacer Stunin Cullen 1:54.1 ($1,493,716) and Coburg's dam Vicario is a half sister to IL Vicolo 1:55.6 ($1,253,807) and to the dam of Gotta Go Cullen 1:58.2 ($1,173,343). Regardless of what Franconia does on the racetrack, her residual value when retired to the broodmare barn will be significant. Harnesslink Media   

Margaret Purdon, wife of the Hall Of Fame trainer Roy Purdon and mother of modern day legends Mark and Barry, passed away on Tuesday night just a day shy of her 86th birthday after a short illness. The sporting talent in the Purdon family wasn't  limited to Roy and their children as Margaret was a talented sportswoman in her younger days repersenting New Zealand at golf  touraments overseas and golf remained a passion right up to her recent short illness. Roy has been quoted numerous times over the years that his wife Margaret was the foundation on which all the success the family had achieved over the years was built on. Roy and Margaret had been married for 60 years. Here at Harnesslink  we would like to express our sincere condolences to Roy, Barry and Katrina, Mark and Natalie, Owen and Gaylene and Suzanne and Tony and the wider Purdon family at Margaret's passing.

Young Gippsland harness racing participant Mary Elliott embarks on the trip of a lifetime this week. Elliot is heading to New Zealand to take up a position with the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trotting stable after being recommended by local trainers Gary and Debbie Quinlan. The experience and education Elliot will gain in New Zealand working for one of the world's leading stables will be invaluable to her career. Elliot is a graduate of the Gippsland Harness Racing Training Centre and is keeping a tradition going as several past graduates throughout the years have been able to travel interstate or overseas to further their experience in trotting. Last year was a big one for Elliot, who registered her first win when driving Zoes Dream and also having her first starter as a trainer. Already 2015 is shaping as being another year full of achievements for the dedicated young horsewoman, who has been working in recent times for fellow Gippsland trainer Michael Hughes. KYLE GALLEY

What do harness racing trainer’s Mark Purdon, Belinda McCarthy and Emma Stewart have in common? The easy answer is prizemoney. To be more precise, Mark is the leading money earning trainer in New Zealand, while Belinda and Emma are the leading money earning trainers in New South Wales and Victoria.  If you look a little deeper, however, you’ll discover they share something else in common, which is undoubtedly an important factor in their success. Besides their outstanding ability with equines, and meticulous attention to detail, one of the key factors to their success is their ability to source quality horses from the APG yearling sales.  It is no coincidence New Zealand, Victoria and New South Wales’ leading three trainers are also the three most active buyers at the APG Yearling Sales. Importantly, statistics show the performance of these trainers’ APG Sales Graduates significantly exceeds the success they achieve with the other horses in their stable - quite an achievement considering the quality of horseflesh these trainers have in their team at any given time! A breakdown of all three trainers’ statistics for last season makes for some interesting reading:   Performance with APG Sales Graduates:   Trainer Starts Wins Earnings Average Earnings per Start Mark Purdon 62 32 $1,007,675 $16,253 Belinda McCarthy 146 32 $862,079 $5,905 Emma Stewart 124 36 $619,708 $4,998   Performance with remainder of Stable:   Trainer Starts Wins Earnings Average Earnings per Start Mark Purdon 477 140 $2,774,665 $5,817 Belinda McCarthy 547 122 $1,934,296 $3,536 Emma Stewart 396 112 $1,198,998 $3,028   Another amazing fact is Purdon, McCarthy and Stewart’s APG Sales Graduates which started last season already have combined earnings in excess of $7.2million, at an average of nearly $150,000 per horse. The figure is destined to grow as 60 per cent of their starters were only two or three-year-olds last season and have plenty of racing ahead of them, while many of their older horses are still in their prime. Of course, it is not just these three trainers who enjoy success with APG Sales Graduates.  The 50 leading trainers of APG Sales Graduates last season (based on total earnings) collectively earned almost $9.5 million in prizemoney with their APG Sales Graduates at an average of over $2130 per start. That last figure is more than two-and-a-half times the national average (which includes NZ-bred horses racing in Australia). So if you want to maximise your chances of success, make sure you’re at the APG Melbourne Sale on Sunday, February 1 to make your dreams a reality! Photos and videos of many of APG’s Melbourne Sale horses are already available for viewing by clicking here, and more are being added on a regular basis. Harnesslink Media

If you thought that the All Stars had been on a roll lately with their domination of the premier harness racing meetings this season, then the bad news for the competition is they are about to bring out some more than capable replacements in the next few weeks. One horse who has been away from the track for a fair while is Didjamakem Bolt who is on track to resume at the end of the month at Addington. The 6 year old son of Tinted Cloud has won six of his nine lifetime starts to date but it is a career that has been plagued by injury. Another star due to return to the track is Border Control who is being set for the same Addington meeting at the end of January as Didjamakem Bolt. The son of Bettors Delight who has won seventeen of his thirty five starts and taken a mark of 1 :50.6 is another to have been troubled by injury over the last few months but seems better this time in judging by his trial on Wednesday at Ashburton. Although only a three horse trial, with Christen Me, Border Control and Didjamkem Bolt involved it had plenty of class with Didjamakem Bolt winning by a head from Border Control with a nose to Christen Me. The 2400 metres from the mobile was cut out in 3:04.4 with closing sectionals of 56.1 and 27.3. Co-trainer Mark Purdon was happy with the feedback from the staff. "The boys reported they went well at the trials on Wednesday and we will see how they progress from there. " said Mark. Mark indicated that the Easter Cup could be the longer term goal of both pacers who have had long absences from the track as a result of various ailments. Another All Star runner to impress at the trials last Wednesday was last seasons leading 3 year old trotter in King Denny who cut out the 2400 metres from a stand in a very sharp 3:05.9 with closing sectionals of 57 and 28.4. King Denny could be headed to the Northern Southland meeting next Thursday if the the field stands up and the stable are very happy with him heading into his season's debut. Two other stable runners impressed at the same trials. The smart 3 year old filly Big Lucy is nearing racing trim and she won her heat in 3.02.8 for the mobile 2400m (56.5 / 27.2) while Snakes N Ladders impressed taking out his 2 year old heat in a smart 1.58.3 (57.3 / 27.1) Just when rival trainers were looking for some relief from the All Stars barn after all the racing they have had recently, they now realize that the replacements are of the same quality. Harnesslink Media

Plenty of harness racing pundits thought that the smart 2 year old Lazarus would be hard pushed to repeat his debut win when he lined up in heat two of the Young Guns series at Alexandra Park today. After all his main competition in Swamp Major and Motown had both drawn nicely in close while Lazarus had drawn badly at barrier eight. With the margin from their first meeting being so narrow, many thought that the result would be reversed this time. Swamp Major with Blair Orange in the bike left the gate quickly and grabbed the early lead while Motown slotted into a lovely trail from barrier two. Mark Purdon went forward from barrier eight with Lazarus and when Sabrage galloped he was able to slot onto the back of Kimani in the one by one. That is the way the order stayed until 150 metres from home where Mark angled Lazarus off Kimani's back and dashed home the last bit for a narrow but impressive victory. Swamp Major was game in second place with Motown battling into third place along the passing lane. Lazarus paced the 1700 metres in a quick 2:03.1, a mile rate of 1:56.5 with closing sectionals of 55.7 and 27. Part of last years Studholme Bloodstock's consignment to the yearling sales, Lazarus was purchased by long time All Stars clients Kennard Bloodstock for $75,000 and they were joined in the ownership by Trevor Casey and Kevin Riseley.  While loath to compare him to previous top 2 year olds he has trained, Mark Purdon gave the son of Bettor's Delight a good rap. " He is just a natural 2 year old and has great manners and that counts for a lot in these races." " The time didn't surprise me as they have been running time in most of the races here," Mark said. When quizzed about whether Lazarus looked the early favourite for the Young Guns final Mark was a touch more circumspect. " Bit early to say but he is certainly heading in the right direction,"Mark said  Harnesslink Media  

Adore Me might be forcing harness racing trainer Mark Purdon into a corner ... a corner in Victoria. The great mare recorded another group one at Alexandra Park last Friday but was made to work for the $100,000 Rosslands Queen Of Hearts, after Purdon made the brave decision to take luck out of play. He could have easily punched through from one on the second line to trail Helena Jet and see what happened next, aware than after winning a New Zealand Cup, Adore Me doesn’t really have that much left to prove. But instead Purdon chose to take luck out of play and snagged Adore Me straight off the markers, a move that saw him settle second last but gave him the option to progress when he wanted. That was at the bell and while Adore Me got to the parked position without great effort, Helena Jet and trailer Lancewood Lizzie had had easy runs and were going to make her work to get past them. So it proved as Adore Me took most of the straight to grab the front, courtesy of a 26.5 second last 400m, during which she even looked vulnerable at the 200m mark. It wasn’t her best or biggest win but like a female pacing All Black, she found a way to win at the highest level with what wasn’t her absolute best performance. Purdon was pleased after her defence of the title she won last season and confirmed the Flying Mile at Cambridge on January 9 is almost certainly her next target. But then he suggested a surprise deviation in her plans, with the possibility she could contest either the Victoria or Hunter Cup. Nominations for those races closed last Friday and Adore Me was among them, Purdon initially putting her in “just in case.” A far more likely target, then and now, was a mares race at Addington at the end of the month but while they would be at her mercy, the two Melton races are A$400,000 each, enormous money. But with the change of date for the Breeder Stakes from late January to March 20, all of a sudden Australia looks a far juicier option. And complicating the matter is the $50,000 Inter Dominion heat slated for Addington on February 14 is looking under threat, especially as Christen Me, Terror To Love and Franco Nelson are heading to Victoria. So Purdon needs to weight up whether to stick to mares racing for a total of about $300,000 from mid January to March, or head to Victoria and then have the possibility of the Inter Dominion on March 1, which means racing for A$1.6million. That is a huge difference and after what she did in the New Zealand Cup, who would argue she couldn’t win a Hunter Cup, especially as Beautide and For A Reason will miss that race. “Victoria is definitely becoming more of an option” admitted Purdon. “But really I want to take it one race at a time. So we will head to Cambridge and then make a decision after that. “If she went there she might only start in one of them, the Victoria or the Hunter Cup. But we are entered for them now so it is a possibility.”
 That would be news to the ears of the trainers of the other top mares in the country as a good race at Addington could await one of them. But if Adore Me stays that doesn’t look achievable because she showed again last week she can sit parked and beat them. Its not always easy, but she can still do it. Another horse who could have a Victorian change of plans is Christen Me. Trainer Cran Dalgety says the Miracle Mile winner is now a chance to head to the Shepparton Cup on January as his lead-up to the Victoria and Hunter Cups the following Saturdays. “He will need a lead up race to the Victoria Cup and the mile at Cambridge is too soon,” said Dalgety. “So I am looking at Shepparton, even though he would be off a 30m handicap.” By Michael Guerin Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand

Harness racing can be very cruel at times especially when everything is going well. That was the feeling in the All Stars barn this week when their top 3 year old Alta Orlando sustained an injury which has brought  a sudden halt to the career of this budding star. Mark Purdon was typically philosophical when talking about Alta Orlando this week " Its a suspensory problem in a back leg." "Its a shame as he was as fit as he could be and ready to race but that's racing," Mark said. Alta Orlando was at the top of his game from the time he stepped onto a racetrack as a 2 year old with his five starts as a juvenile bringing three wins a placing for $141,749 in stakes. His best win as a 2 year old was in the $195,000 Sales Series Final in a 1:56.2 mile rate for the 1950 metres. The 3 year old final of the same series that is held at Auckland at the end of this month was the next major race on Alta Orlando's schedule before his injury. The son of Courage Under Fire was a $35,000 purchase out of the 2013 Australasian Classic sale and is owned by longtime All Star client Neil Pilcher along with Hall Of Fame thoroughbred trainer Jim Gibbs and his wife Ann. Never an easy horse to drive, Alta Orlando has raced off the unruly in all the big races. That usually meant Alta Orlando doing a lot of work in his races as in this years Sires Stakes final where he was three wide for a long way but still ran third in a 1:53.7 mile rate for the 1950 metres. Regarded by many as the 3 year old from the All Star barn with the most ability, Alta Orlando had been the subject of overseas interest just before his injury which makes it all a bit harder for the connections to take. " There was a lot of overseas interest in Alta Orlando in the last few weeks and then this happened," Mark said. Everyone in the harness racing industry knows how fickle things can be at times but that knowledge doesn't makes situations like Alta Orlando's injury any easier to handle.   Harnesslink Media

One thing Australian harness racing trainers got tired of seeing last year was the sight of Follow The Stars disappearing up the track on his way to winning their 2 year old classics. Those trainers would have hoped that the brilliant son of Art Major would concentrate on age group features in New Zealand before heading back across the Tasman but the New Zealand handicapping system has meant that Australians will get to see plenty of Follow The Stars starting with the Victorian Derby. The New Zealand handicapping system rates every win in a race with a stake of $15,000 or more as a win that attracts a penalty, even as a 2 year old. Hence going into his 3 year old year in New Zealand, Follow The Stars is classed as a C8 for handicapping purposes which means he is graded just behind our best Grand Circuit horses. So not surprisingly the All Star team have decided that  it is too tough for a early 3 year old to race those older race hardened horses and are heading back over the Tasman with their star where under the Australian handicapping system, Follow The Stars is still an M0. Being an "Aussie" by birth, Follow The Stars was always going to spend a lot of time on that side of the Tasman as he is eligible for everything but the New Zealand handicapping system has fast tracked his appearance. The All Stars team have mapped out a programme for last years champion 2 year old and everything is on track at this stage. Follow The Stars is due to head to the North Island on December 13th and trial in the north before having his season debut run in the $20,000 Waikato Guineas at Cambridge on January 9th. From there it is on the plane to Melbourne to contest the Victorian Derby heats on January 31st. Following the Derby, Follow The Stars is expected to spend most if not all of his season in Australia which while not what a lot of Australian trainers would have been hoping for, will be greeted with a sigh of relief by a lot of trainers in New Zealand. With his great 2 year old record and being from the great American maternal family that he is from, Follow The Stars has stallion potential written all over him if he can reproduce at three what he achieved as a two year old. Harnesslink Media 

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