Day At The Track
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Maryborough home of "The Redwood" hosted Thursday afternoon harness racing featuring Repechage's of the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Series 16 for both Two and Three Year Old Trotters, all over 2190 metres. Redwood winner Daenerys Targaryen a daughter of Majestic Son and Niamey trained and driven by Mark Purdon snared the 1st Repechage for Two Year Olds. Given a sweet trip one/one from the extreme draw, Daenerys Targaryen eased three wide approaching the home turn and as expected, finished best to score from the pacemaker Guiltless in a rate of 2-05.2, with Asdenro third after racing in the open. The second Two Year Old Repechage went the way of Sutton Grange trainer Ross Graham's most consistent Monkey Bones/The Wallflower filly Four Lillies in a rate of 2-05.4. Driven by Daryl Douglas, Four Lillies scorched away from gate six to lead effortlessly, just lasting to register a nose victory over the favourite Dell Boy which trailed from the pole before easing outside the winner on the final bend. Coimadai Lodge finished third from three back in the running line. Repechage One for the Three Year Olds was taken out by Lara trainer Dean Braun's very smart former Kiwi Love You/ Dreamlands Nancy gelding Our Dreamlover. Handled by stable reinsman Chris Alford. Our Dreamlover enjoyed a cosy passage one/one from gate three, with Lance Justice's Invasive leading from gate four.  Taken three wide on the final bend, Our Dreamlover had to pull out all stops to overhaul Invasive in the shadows of the post to register a 1.9 metre margin in a rate of 1-59.9. The Boss Man battled on gamely to finish third (6.4 metres away) after facing the breeze. Parwan duo Craig Demmler (trainer) and Jodi Quinlan (driver) captured the Second Repechage with speedy Dream Vacation/Adelas Dash colt Glenferrie Dreamer, leading throughout from gate four to easily account for Lord Liam (one/one) by 2.3 metres in a rate of 2-04.1, with Fiftyshadesofbrown running her usual honest race for third after following the winner from the pole. Len Baker  

Many might’ve thought that losing two stallions a couple of months out from the new stud season would be a real blow for Wai-Eyre Farm. Especially when one of them was Christian Cullen, and the other was his millionaire son Gotta Go Cullen. But the old saying ‘When one door closes, another opens’ rang true for the leading Canterbury stud farm – so when Pepper Tree Farm came calling, Wai-Eyre’s Darryl Brown was more than happy to join forces with highly-regarded Australian stud. “We’re very excited,” Brown says. “Pepper Tree have got a superb line-up of young stallions. They’re sires which are very popular in Australia and are serving big books over there, and now Rob and Julie Vandyke want to strengthen the presence of those sires on this side of the Tasman as well.” Brown says he was humbled when learning of the numerous reasons why Pepper Tree chose to approach Wai-Eyre Farm – most of which centred around how his organisation is already run, and the professional way that Wai-Eyre portrays itself in the marketplace. “Rob and Julie also liked that we’re independent and a family-owned business,” Brown continued. “They’d heard good feedback about our infrastructure as well, and that we had very efficient client contact/communication procedures in place through our Sales Manager John Robinson and Office Manager Sacha Crawford.” Pepper Tree’s Rob Vandyke echoed Brown’s sentiments. “We wanted a partner in New Zealand that believes in the same philosophies as we do,” Vandyke said. “And also a stud that’s got a vested interest in our stallions. “We think we’ve got some really promising sires moving forward, and it’s great that Darryl and his team do too.” The Pepper Tree additions to Wai-Eyre’s roster are Rock N Roll Heaven, Roll With Joe, Sportswriter and Always A Virgin. Combined with their five existing sires, this now gives the North Canterbury establishment a line-up of nine and far more punch than ever before. The Australian quartet has indeed been popular at their home base, serving nearly 530 mares between them last year alone. And for good reason. Rock N Roll Heaven is by far the best son of Rocknroll Hanover, winning over $2.7million on the track and taking a time of 1.47.6 as a 3-year-old. He’s about to start his third season at stud after covering books of 185 (Aus) and 32 (NZ) during 2012/13 and 215 and 32 the season before. Roll With Joe is the Cam’s Card Shark full-brother to Bettor’s Delight who won over $1.8million on the track and went 1.48.4 as a 3-year-old. He’s heading into his second season after serving 125 and 15 mares last year. Sportswriter is by Artsplace and collected more than $1.5million in his career, taking his fastest time of 1.48.6 as a 3-year-old. His fourth year approaches, having attracted 80 and 18 mares last year on the back of Aussie books of 148 (2011/12) and 214 (2010/11). Always A Virgin is a son of Western Ideal who won over $1.1million on the track and, like all of Pepper Tree’s sires, paced his fastest time (1.48.8) as a 3-year-old. This is also his fourth season at stud but it’s the first time he’s been available to New Zealand breeders, his Australian books being 138, 84 and 143 respectively to date. Brown stressed that even though Wai-Eyre has entered into a new relationship with Pepper Tree Farm, making a commitment to their stallions and becoming their NZ Booking Agent, this new association is simply an addition to what the Farm already offers its hundreds of clients. “Wai-Eyre is still a Semen and Broodmare Base, first and foremost. “Predominantly, over fifty-five percent of the mares we serve on-farm every season are on behalf of other major studs… like Alabar, Woodlands, Pepper Tree and Empire etc. So nothing’s going to change in that regard. “And of course, we’re also a stud with our own stallions as well – Ohoka Arizona, Klondike Kid, Monkey Bones, The Pres and Angus Hall – all of which are starting to do a really good job here. “So, looking forward, it’s a very exciting time for us. “Over the last few years, we’ve stood three pacing stallions which all belong to the same sire line. And if you don’t address such an issue, eventually you end up breeding your clients into a corner and give them no option but to go elsewhere. “This new arrangement with Pepper Tree just opens up the choices for our customers even more.”   By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)  

New Zealand's oldest active harness racing conditioner - Bill Darrah says he wants to train one more winner and then he could consider retiring. "I'll keep going until I'm 100 if that's how long it takes," the Thames horseman told Harnesslink.

Franklin horseman Matthew Pemberton recorded his first training and driving success of the 2012-2013 harness racing season at Alexandra Park last Friday (October 12) - and when he crossed the line his late father Bill wasn't far from his thoughts.

The Franklin Trotting Club's annual yearling parade was held last week at the club's Station Road harness racing track in Pukekohe following its workouts. The one-day event was organised by Paulette Screen and judged by Irvin Behrns, Linda Hamilton and Alec McDonald.

All but one of Wai-Eyre Farm's stallions will be available at the same stud fee as it was last season. The only change lies with the leading Canterbury stud's flagship sire himself, Christian Cullen, who heads into the 2012/13 harness racing season with a $12,000 price tag.

Mark Purdon and Grant Payne might have won the Listed $20,000 Cambridge 3yo Trotting Stakes with Stent at Cambridge Raceway tonight (Thursday) but May 17 wasn't all red roses and celebration for the Rolleston-based harness racing duo.

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