Todd Macfarlane won’t tell you he’s got a good eye for a racehorse. He’s too modest for that. Instead he’ll say it was bad luck that ensured that he ended up with rising trotting star, Heavyweight Hero. The 3-year-old Muscle Mass gelding has set two New Zealand records the last two Fridays at Alexandra Park. Last week Heavyweight Hero broke You Rock’s December 2011 New Zealand record by a whopping 2.8 seconds from 20m behind. He trotted the 2700m in 3:27.2 after getting well back and then sitting parked out. The week before he set a national record for 3-year-old trotters over the 2200m stand from his 10m handicap. His time of 2:49.8 was 1.4 seconds quicker than Rock Tonight's New Zealand record, also set at Alexandra Park in March 2015. “He did them both very easily to be honest,” said trainer/driver MacFarlane. “He is right up there with the best trotters I have driven. He just feels nice.” The best trotter Macfarlane has reins is the former multiple Group One winning Special Force, who won 27 races and $624,823 between February 1997 and March 2005. He was also a former New Zealand record holder for his Pukekohe trainers Dave and Clare McGowan. “I ended up getting Heavyweight Hero through the late Eric Inwood who had Tarn (three wins) and Mr Natural (two wins) with both Murray and then latterly me. “He was from Christchurch and it was just bad luck that I ended up with Heavyweight Hero. When Eric passed away I knew his Estate were looking to move some stock on. “I always followed what Murray and his team were up to. I worked for him when I was a kid. He’s a very good horseman and taught me quite bit. That’s how Heavyweight Hero ended up in my stable – I just liked him from day one. “Then Aaron Lowe, who has had horses with my stable for many years got networking and a Syndicate of us now own him,” Pukekohe-based Macfarlane said. Heavyweight Hero had five starts for Edmonds and Macfarlane was always watching his progress with interest. “I just liked the look of him and the way he was coming home in his races down south. We bought him for a fair price back then, but after what he’s achieved now it is quite a cheap price looking back,” his Pukekohe trainer/driver said. Heavyweight Hero has now had five starts for Macfarlane for three wins (two in NZ record time) and two seconds. But Macfarlane, who is also the Chairman of the North Island Trainers and Drivers Association, was quick to point out he’d only beaten R70 opposition and there were many tough assignments ahead. “I think given the chance there’s probably a few good ones tucked away and ready to make the step up as well – and perhaps if they competed in the races we have raced in they might have set national records too. “But all of his racing from now will be age group racing. That’s when we will see where he stands,” Macfarlane said. Heavyweight Hero will next race the Group One $80,000 New Zealand Trotting Derby at Addington Raceway on April 7 and then a couple of weeks after that will compete in the Group Two Sires Stakes Trotting Championship at Alexandra Park on April 21. April 28 will then see Heavyweight hero take on the best 3-year-old trotters in the Group One Northern Trotting derby. Both are worth $80,000. Macfarlane said he would then take on his Jewels opponents at Ashburton on June 3 and the Breeder’s Crown in Australia in August was also in the back of his mind. “You have to remember he’s only won three races against moderate opposition at this stage, so I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. I know in racing that is a foolish thing to do,” Macfarlane said. Heavyweight hero is currently ranked number one for the $100,000 3-year-old Harness Jewels ruby Final with earnings of $30,115. Fellow North Islander C K Spur ($27,327) is ranked second and South Islander Chevron Express third ($27,013.13). “I got him after he ran the Sires Stakes Final and then second in the Jewels so he came to me with some solid form and good ground work done by Murray. He’s also one of those type of horses who eats everything up. I think he’s a happy fella and really enjoys racing. “Now as he develops as a 3-year-old I can already see that he has the traits to make a very nice trotter one day. He has always had a beautiful constitution, good manners and a strong gait. He’s just getting stronger and stronger with each race. “He did it quite easily the other night (March 9), and even though I’m very proud of him I’m not one to get too carried away too soon,” the ever humble Macfarlane said. Heavyweight Hero is the fourth of six foals (and most successful) out of Canterbury breeder Gael Murray’s un-raced Sundon mare, Successor. Duane Ranger Heavyweight Hero winning at Auckland on the 10th March
Murray Edmonds went to Addington last night thinking one win from his three chances would be a nice result but left at the end of the night with two winners next to his name and a big smile on his face. The Motukarara horseman tasted double success in conflicting conditions last night with one win not quite expected, but hoped for, and the other completely from left field. After a good, consistent, run of form in recent weeks, Fatal Reunion was due a winning turn and she lobbed the trail throughout behind a keen to run Just A Dude everything fell into place. “She’s managed to pick up a bit of money before she won a race too which is a great result,” Edmonds said. “Her manners and ability to follow speed should mean she remains competitive up in grade but you never quite know. “She’s taken a while to come to it, I decided that instead of trekking to the trials I was better off racing her and it took a while to get her up to full fitness.” A half-sister to Heavyweight Hero, a two-year-old trotter last season who was sold to clients of Todd McFarlane, Fatal Reunion has a little breeding on her side. She’s closely related to Edmonds very good young trotter of a few years back, Running On Time. The stable’s second win came courtesy of a bold front running display from Chivasion. In front of the guidance of Stepehen McNally, the under-rated trotter was allowed to dictate terms in front and never really looked back - with-holding the late challenges of both Kingdom Come and Jean Sebastien. At odds of close to $28-to-one, the win came as a bit of a shock to punters but not so much Edmonds. “I’ve always thought he would be alright, but he flipped a palate which put us back a bit.” A good fifth in her previous start was a pointer towards a return to form. “He just loves rolling along and doing his own thing and we managed to get that which is the bonus.” Owned by Sue England, Chivasion is out of Lady Chiola who was a product of the late Carl Middleton. He’s now won two of his 28 starts and judging by last night’s effort it won’t be his last. The winning brace for Edmonds gave him first double since Paint The Moon and Danke won at Rangiora in 2012. “It’s been a while, I know that much,” Edmonds quipped. Earlier in the night Well Said gained his first New Zealand winner when Afterdinnerspeaker was victorious - giving Ken and Tony Barron their first success as a training partnership in the process. The son of the well-performed mare, Luckisaladytonight, did it tough throughout, sitting parked in the hands of Ken Barron before grinding his way to victory. Matt Markham
Since the inception of the Met Multiplier in the 2012/13 harness racing season a total of 67 pacers or trotters have won the bonus equating to a total pay-out of over half a million dollars. 26 have won the bonus this season. Each bonus is $7,500 with $5,000 going to the owners and $2,500 to the trainer. Leading the way with eight bonuses is prominent trainer Robert Dunn with his winners taking home an additional $60,000 on top of stakes won. His last runner to earn the bonus was the five year old mare She’s Got It who put her foot in the till on 22 May. Bruce Hutton with five comes in next followed by Mark Jones and Murray Edmonds with three bonuses each. There are plenty of trainers who have managed to win two Met Multipliers including Mike Austin, John Bromley, Jim Curtin, Kevin Townley, Phil Burrows, Brad Mowbray and John McDermott. The scheme is designed to encourage trainers to support the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (NZMTC) with a lucrative incentive for the connections. To earn a Met Multiplier a horse has to start at a NZMTC meeting a minimum of 15 times over a 12 month rolling period and be placed 1st or dead heat for 1st in one of those qualifying starts. So that means that your horse has 12 months to have the 15 starts and gain one win from when it first starts at a NZMTC meeting. E.g. A horse that has its first start at Addington on 1 June 2015 must have a minimum of 15 starts at NZMTC meetings and be placed first in one of those starts by 31 May 2016. Horses that have had more than 15 starts and are yet to win can still qualify as long as they win a race within their 12 month period and at the same time satisfy the 15-start criteria within that time period. Full details and conditions of The Met Multiplier Reward can be found under the Racing - Promotions and Incentives section at addington.co.nz or contact Brian, Richard or Colin at the Addington Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington
It is not very often that harness racing trials in winter unearth a really nice horse but thats what happened today at the Banks Peninsula Trotting Club trials at Motukaraara. There were only three horses entered in the qualifying trot but that didn't stop the three year old Sundon gelding, Sunny Pride from showing great manners and a big motor. Running along from the outset he stopped the clock for the 2600 meters stand at 3:25.8, a mile rate of 2:07.3, finishing 39 lengths in front of the runner up and a whopping 15.7 seconds inside the required time. It is the fastest time recorded in a qualifying race for trotters since the all weather track was first opened.. When you have a look at his maternal pedigree you soon understand why he can run like he did today. He is the second foal from a daughter of the smart trotting mare Doncella (4 wins) who left such talented types as New Year Whiz (7 wins), Fizz Pop Bang (6 wins) and Whatariskybizniz (5 wins) Doncella was a half sister to the very speedy Flame Up 1:55.8 (8 wins) It is a family that Murray Edmonds has had a lot of success with over the years and if today's run is any guide then it won't be long before the family has its next smart trotter. Harnesslink Media
Quid, an unbeaten trotter in Murray Edmonds' in-form Motukarara stable, has been sold to Victorian interests. Christchurch bloodstock agents Joan and Paul Davies have transacted his sale to Victorian owner Joe Aquilina, of Rockbank.
Retired Nelson orchardist Eric Inwood and his long time Motukarara trainer Murray Edmonds are on a roll with a purple patch of form being struck by their in-form representatives. The owner and trainer are no strangers to success but their run of luck in recent weeks has made for arguably their most productive period.