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Doug McIntosh missed out on a piece of the eight-foot long cake, but the Wheatley resident still left the harness racing meeting at Dresden Raceway on Canada Day in a celebratory mood after Cincinnati Miss delivered an impressive victory in her $18,000 Grassroots division. "It's now one race at a time, but she kind of made us believers, and I'm very, very happy," said McIntosh. "It worked out great." Sent off as the narrow favourites over Allies Gift and Luc Ouellette, Cincinnati Miss and driver Trevor Henry sprinted away from Post 4 and took early control of the race. As the pair rolled through fractions of :29, :57.3 and 1:28 with Allies Gift tucked in behind them, McIntosh worried the tempo might be too quick, but Cincinnati Miss found another gear in the stretch and pulled away to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:58.2. "I was a little concerned that the fractions were pretty heavy," admitted McIntosh, who shares ownership of Cincinnati Miss with Ivey Pharm Stable of Cincinnati, Ohio. "But you know what, she made us proud in the stretch, she just dug in and got the job done, and within two-fifths (of a second) of the track record." The win improved the Kadabra daughter's sophomore record to two wins, two seconds and one third in five starts and boosted her season earnings to $25,160. The consistent young trotter will make her next start in the July 14 Grassroots event at Georgian Downs. "I can't say enough for Bob's team, they've done a great job," said McIntosh, who retired from training horses in the spring and handed care of Cincinnati Miss off to his brother Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON. "Daryl (Wayne) that looks after her is a very, very efficient groom, she's had a lot of experience and she knows what to do. She's very, very proud." McIntosh was also pleased to see the enthusiastic crowd gathered at Dresden Raceway to celebrate Canada Day and the Grassroots trotting fillies. In addition to Cincinnati Miss, the fans greeted six other fillies as they returned triumphant to the Dresden winner's circle. The aptly named Summers Jewel kicked things off with a 1:59.2 score in the first Grassroots division, circling out three-wide to claim a two length victory over Pointe Of Inquiry and JLs Too Hot Taj. Mario Baillargeon piloted the fan favourite to her first win of the season for his brother, trainer Benoit Baillargeon of Rockwood, ON, who also owns the daughter of Angus Hall. In the second division Hope Rises tracked down pacesetter Misslarissa heading for the three-quarters and accelerated away to a three and one-half length victory in 2:01. Fan favourite Lady Caterina settled for second, with Misslarissa hanging on for third. Sylvain Filion drove the Windsong Espoir daughter to her first win of the season for trainer Kelly Goodwin and owner-breeders Deborah Spike-Pierce of Lexington, KY and Madelon Spike of Jerome, MI. Local filly Judy The Beauty, owned by Randy Zhok of Dover Centre, had fans on their feet in the stretch of the third division, but finished one-quarter length behind winner Flexceptional in the 2:01 mile. Dave Tyrrell trains Flexceptional for Michael Casalino Jr. of Freehold, NJ and Anthony MacDonald piloted the Federal Flex daughter to the win. Tymal Fireitup rounded out the top three. La Bella Rosa's late sprint in the fourth division paid dividends, as she hit the wire one-quarter length ahead of Giona and fan favourite Kaddy. The Holiday Road filly gave driver Sylvain Filion his second win of the afternoon. Filion engineered the 1:59.4 win for trainer Reaume Bouvier and owners Bella Fortuna Stable of Laval, QC and Patricia McGuirl of Guelph, ON. Kadabra daughter Wing Flash displayed an impressive turn of foot in the fifth division, sailing along on the front end to a seven and one-half length victory in 1:58.2. Sheguindah and Stay In Touch completed the top three. Trainer-driver Wayne Henry of Arthur, ON shares ownership of Wing Flash with Daylon Farms of Komoka, ON. The final Grassroots division saw Trevor Henry make his second appearance in the Dresden winner's circle, guiding Muscle Mass daughter Sumthintotalkabout to a three and one-quarter length win for trainer Stephen Bossence of London, ON and his partner Stephen Palermo of Brampton, ON. Ill Stay Here and fan favourite Oh My Magic finished second and third in the 1:59.3 mile. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their third Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on July 14, with each of the Canada Day winners hoping to add a few more points to their total in pursuit of a berth in the post season. Ontario Horse Racing

JUNE 30, 2015 - Twelve days ago harness racing trainer Dustin Jones made an unanticipated return to the race bike behind his top trotting colt Dont Rush, a return that had a direct impact on Tuesday evening's Gold Series event at Mohawk Racetrack. "Chris (Christoforou) had got hurt that night in the parade, and I wasn't really prepared to drive him," said Jones of his last minute return to the race bike in the June 18 overnight. "Chris wanted me to leave with him and I said, you know what, if I leave with him and I get parked I'm going to be mad at myself. I said, I'll just put him in the back." Jones eased Dont Rush off the gate from Post 6 in the three-year-old conditioned event and the pair raced along well behind the leaders before closing hard to finish two and one-half lengths back in third. The mile may not have been the one Christoforou would have crafted, but it did cause Jones to firm up a decision he had been toying with since the start of Dont Rush's sophomore season. "He did trot his last half in :56.1, but I thought he was working too hard, his legs were going fast and he wasn't grabbing the track good enough, so I changed his shoes," said the Waterdown, ON resident. "I've been debating about that all year because I knew he was going to have to gain a few seconds, because he's not a very big horse." Jones switched Dont Rush's front footwear from steel to aluminum, which lowered the colt's gait a little bit, and the result was immediately apparent to Christoforou as he rolled in behind the gate for Tuesday evening's $105,000 Gold Series division. Lining up at Post 9 the Campbellville, ON resident opted to send Dont Rush to the front and the trotter looked every inch a division champion as he cruised home to a four length victory in a personal best 1:54.3. "Dustin made a great change and lightened his front shoes, and the colt's gait was much more efficient," said Christoforou after the race. "I have never raced him that way before, but with 11 horses in the field, and having the 9 hole, I was reluctant to risk getting him caught in traffic. He responded well and showed his class tonight." The win gives Dont Rush one Gold trophy, one Grassroots trophy, and one third-place result in overnight action through three sophomore starts and boosts his season earnings to $63,900. Jones, who shares ownership of the homebred son of Infinitif and Color Me Pretty with Greg Judson of Athens, ON, says last year's division champion will now begin preparations for the July 15 Gold Leg at Grand River Raceway. Dont Rush One race after guiding Dont Rush into the Mohawk winner's circle, Christoforou paraded onto the racetrack with another trotter benefitting from a recent equipment change. Like Dont Rush, Muscle Up The Goal captured his Grassroots division at Mohawk on June 4, but when the colt made a break in his Goodtimes elimination at the Campbellville oval on June 12 trainer Rob Fellows decided to add trotting hopples to his equipment bag. Christoforou and Muscle Up The Goal gave the hopples a test run in a June 23 qualifier at Mohawk, posting a two and one-half length win in 1:57.2, which had fans sending the duo off as their fourth choice in Tuesday's second Gold division. Starting from Post 1, Christoforou allowed the trotter to coast away from the starting gate and the pair was sitting fifth at the :27.2 opening quarter clocked by Raising Richard. With Olympic Son and Rubber Duck serving as a wind break, Muscle Up The Goal stepped into the outer lane heading for the :57.3 half and maintained that position through the 1:27.2 three-quarters. When Christoforou asked the Muscle Mass son for an additional gear, Muscle Up The Goal kicked home to a one and one-quarter length win in a personal best 1:55.4. "Muscle Up The Goal showed a lot of ability early last year then got hurt. It's been a long road back for him, but the addition of trotting hopples has seemed to help him tremendously," said Christoforou. "He got a nice trip tonight and raced very good." Rockwood, ON resident Fellows conditions Muscle Up The Goal for Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON. Before being injured early in his freshman campaign the trotter scored two Gold Series victories. In just seven lifetime starts Muscle Up The Goal now has four wins and earnings of $150,600. Muscle Up The Goal Like Dont Rush, Muscle Up The Goal will now turn his attention toward the third Gold Series event of the three-year-old trotting colt calendar on July 15 at Grand River Raceway. After a break for Canada Day, Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, July 2 with two Gold Series divisions for the three-year-old pacing fillies. Ontario Horse Racing

Campbellville, ON resident Chris Christoforou found his way to the winner's circle twice in Monday's three-year-old trotting filly Grassroots season opener at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack. Teaming up with regular mount Bistrobistro Taj in the first $18,000 Grassroots division, Christoforou hustled the filly away from the outside post and settled her in fourth spot, where the pair sat through the :27.2 quarter. Rolling toward the :57.2 half Christoforou sent the striking chestnut filly after the lead, and by the 1:26.1 three-quarters Bistrobistro Taj was comfortably in front. In the stretch Bistrobistro Taj opened up a four and one-quarter length margin on Judy The Beauty and Cincinnati Miss, sailing under the wire in a personal best 1:55.3. Christoforou engineered the win for trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON and owners 9215 6447 Quebec Inc. of Lasalle, QC. The victory was the Pilgrims Taj daughter's first of the season, but her third lifetime, with the other two victories also coming in Grassroots action. Through 11 lifetime starts Bistrobistro Taj has earned $69,650. The 2014 O'Brien Award winner's second Grassroots triumph came in the fourth division, when he piloted Oh My Magic to a 1:57.1 personal best for trainer Per Henriksen of Norwood, ON and Steve Organ of Aurora, ON. Christoforou and Oh My Magic wrestled command of the race from fan favourite Lady Caterina heading for the three-quarters and then held off late challenger Railee Priti in the stretch to secure the three-quarter length victory. Giona rounded out the top three. The win was Oh My Magic's fourth of the season, in which the Kadabra daughter has finished no worse than fourth in eight starts, earning $26,000. The filly is a half-sister to former Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series winner Friendly Amigo, who earned $588,266 in her career. Trainer Per Henriksen also captured the third Grassroots division with fan favourite Coloratura. Oakville, ON resident Rick Zeron piloted Coloratura to the 1:57.4 win for Henriksen and owner-breeder Andrea Lea Racing Stables of Lakefield Gore, QC. The win was the Angus Hall daughter's second this season and her first in Grassroots action. P L Indyanaca and I Feel Good finished second and third, one and one-half lengths behind Coloratura. Homebred Renegade Magic delivered an impressive effort in the second Grassroots division, ringing up a 1:55.4 personal best for driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, ON, trainer Ted MacDonnell of Allenford, ON and owner-breeders Jeff and Lori Thomson of Chesley, ON. Hape and Ladyone finished two and one-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite. Another Henriksen earned the win in the fifth division, with trainer-driver Dagfin Henriksen guiding Lady Ping to a 1:57.1 romp over Stay In Touch and Massima. Peterborough, ON resident Henriksen shares ownership of the Muscle Mass daughter with breeder Dr. Brett Anderson of Port Hope, ON. Through 13 starts this season the filly now has two wins, six seconds and one third for earnings of $42,150. The final division saw Muscle Kit and driver Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON cruise to a three and one-quarter length victory over Striking Ivy and GS Grasshopper in a personal best 1:56. Ervin Miller of Wind Gap, PA owns and trains the Muscle Mass daughter, whose dam Lookit was a Grassroots winner during her $187,033 career. The three-year-old trotting fillies make their second Grassroots start on July 1 during Dresden Raceway's Canada Day program. Mohawk Racetrack's action-packed Ontario Sires Stakes schedule continues next Monday, June 29 with the second Gold Leg for the three-year-old pacing colts. Ontario Horse Racing

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – The Hippodrome 3R hosted four $35,000 finals of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters and pacers Sunday and the action was fast and furious from the start. In the third race first division for older pacing horses, Atomic Million AM made the most of an ideal two-hole pocket trip from race favorite Champagne Phil, sliding out from second at the top of the stretch for driver Sylvain LaCaille and out gunning them to the wire in a track record time of 1:52.3. Driver Denis St Pierre sent Champagne Phil out for the lead from post five but LeCaille and Atomic Million AM had other ideas, stinging Pierre and Champagne Phil to the opening quarter in :26.2 before letting them take command. Separating from the rest of the field, Champagne Phil led with Atomic Million AM sitting right on his back through the half mile in :55.2 and the three-quarters in 1:24.2. Then sling-shotting from the pocket, Atomic Million AM collared Champagne Phil and going on to win by a half-length. Bali (Shane Weber) was third. The time of 1:52.3 was the second fastest mile in Hippodrome 3R history. It rewrote the track record for older geldings of 1:53.1 that was set by Duc D’Orleans in 2014. Atomic Million AM is also eligible for the $200,000 Prix D’Ete at the Hippodrome 3R on August 23. For Atomic Million AM, it was the four-year-old son of Million Dollar Cam’s fourth win in seven starts this year. He has yet to finish worse than second in a race. He is trained and owned by Alan Martin of Gatineau, QC and bred by Ferme Alain Martin. He paid $4.40 to win. There were no surprises in the fourth race finale for older trotting horses as the prohibited favorite, unbeaten Maximuscle and driver Mario Charron scored with ease in 1:57.3. It was the fastest trotting mile this season at the Hippodrome 3R, but a “walk in the park” for Maximuscle. SOS Ticket Master (Pascal Berube) was first out of the starting gate with Maximuscle and Charron floating on the outside in second place. Then after the opening quarter mile in :28.1, Maximuscle has taken command from SOS Ticket Master. Only SOS Ticket Master was able to stay somewhat close to Maximuscle as he cut easy fractions of :58 and 1:28. Then by the top of the stretch, SOS Ticket Master moved to the outside and was looming closer to Maximuscle. But Mario Charron just raised the lines and Maximuscle easily trotted to a two length triumph. SOS Ticket Master was second with Somoli E (Jerome Lombart) third. A four-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall, it was the fourth straight win for Maximuscle this season. He is trained by Maxme Velaye and owned and bred by Ecurie Provoguante of Mirabel, QC. Maximuscle paid the mandatory $2.10 to win. Over the past three years Maximuscle has made a clean sweep of the Quebec-Bred Series. My Tallia Ideal and driver Stephane Gendron took full advantage of the late scratch by Champagne Shower, and were not only able to leave and get to the lead, but cut torrid fractions and set a track record in the sixth race finale for older pacing mares. After getting stung early by Victoria Semalu (Stephane Brosseau) to the opening quarter mile in :27.1. My Tallia Ideal settled on the lead but kept motoring to the half mile in :56.3 and the three-quarters in 1:25.4. It was then that Brosseau moved to the outside with Victoria Semalu but they could not collar My Tallia Ideal who crossed the wire a winner by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.1. Chaleurs Fantasy (Gaetan Lamy) was third. The time of the race reset the track record for older pacing mares that was previously co-held by not only My Tallia Ideal two starts back, but also Champagne Shower (2015) and Sans Frontiere (2013). Trained by Michel Allard, My Tallia Ideal is a five-year-old mare by Western Ideal. She is owned and was bred by Gestion Mario Audet, Inc. and Yves Sarrazin, QC. She paid $2.80 to win. Viva Bayama and driver Denis St Pierre, despite being parked out three-wide from the start of the backstretch to the top of the stretch, was still able to pull away for a three length triumph in the eighth race finale for older trotting mares. Canbec Kangourou and driver Jocelyn Gendron out early but challenged right away by Kim Sorel (Martin Gingras) who took the lead at the opening quarter mile in :28.4. Then Gendron came right back with Canbec Kangourou to retake the lead. They raced to the half mile in :59 as Pierre came to the outside with Viva Bayama, but they faced road traffic as Lucyll Bro (Stephane Gendron) came to the outside and that forced Viva Bayama three wide down the backstretch. Hoping to clear and be first-over was out of the question for Denis St Pierre and Viva Bayama as Kim Sorel and Gingras came out again and kept Viva Bayama parked out three-wide past the three-quarters in 1:29.1 and around the final turn. But the classy mare Viva Bayama was up to the talk, collaring the leaders by the top of the stretch and then pulling away at the finish in 2:00.2. Kim Sorel was second with Sexy P V (Yves St Jacques) third. It was the third straight win for the four-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass. She is trained by Sebastien Groux and owned by Richard Dinelle and Andre St Laurent. She was bred by Bayama Farms and paid $3.20 to win. It was her seventh victory in ten starts this year. Live racing resumes Wednesday at the Hippodrome 3R. First race post time 7:00 pm. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – The center stage will be on the four $35,000 finals of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old pacers and trotters Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R. Culminating the three weeks of preliminary round action will be the top point earners in the month long series. And the very first final on the program is race three for older pacers and it has shaped up to be perhaps the toughest of the four finales. Both Champagne Phil and Atomic Million AM have been battling each other for the past three years and once again meet in the Quebec-Bred Series finale. Champagne Phil comes into the final on a five-race winning streak for trainer Francis Richards and driver Denis St. Pierre. The five-year-old gelded son of Shanghai Phil will start from post five and has been on a tear. Three starts back at Mohawk Raceway he took a lifetime mark of 1:49.4. Meanwhile, Atomic Million AM has been either first or second in his last seven starts for owner/trainer Alan Martin. He has almost never lost at Trois-Rivieres, scoring in 1:55.2 there two starts back. A four-year-old gelded son of Shadow Play, Atomic Million Am starts from post three. With these two high caliber contenders going head and head, the track record of 1:53.1, equaled two starts back by Champagne Phil, could well be broken. “I just finished watching my replays,” said Denis St Pierre Friday, “and I really think I can beat him (Atomic Million AM), I know his weakness. And Champagne Phil is a very very nice horse.” The fourth race is the $35,000 final for older trotters and the overwhelming favorite, who was barred from wagering his last start at 3R, is the undefeated Maximuscle. He starts from post six for driver Mario Charron. Three for three in 2015 for trainer Maxime Velaye, Maximuscle has just bullied his way in the series with no one able to stay close to him. The four-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall has led from start to finish in all three of his races this season, the fastest in 1:57.1. The real race will be for second place, which is worth $8,750. There we will see Andovers Touch (post 8), who won two of the three prelimary rounds when not facing Maximuscle, Somoli E (post 2) and George S P (post 4) in a close matchup. “I do not think another horse can keep close to Maximuscle,” said Mario Charron. “They have not been able to this season. I think he could break the track record with ease (1:56), but the trainer and owner do not want me to push him that hard. There is no need to but if I cut him loose he would break the record. I would go for it but they don’t want to. He is that good a horse.” The sixth race finale for older pacing mares features Champagne Shower going for her fifth straight win. She starts from post three for driver Denis St Pierre. The daughter of Santana Blue Chip seeks to make it a clean sweep of the Quebec-Bred Series for trainer Yves Tessier. Last week Champagne Shower and Pierre cruised to a four and three-quarter length triumph in 1:54.3. That mile tied the track record for older mares.  “She is strong,” Denis St Pierre said. “She passed the test last week as she won well within herself.” My Tallia Ideal (post 7) was the hot mare two starts back when she also won in 1:54.3, tying the track record, but last week she was only second best to Champagne Shower. Others contenders include series division winner Canbec Lindor (post 1) and Lutetia Semalu (post 2). Viva Bayama is the strong horse in the eighth race final for older trotting mares. She sports six wins in just nine starts for trainer Sebastian Giroux and starts from post three for driver Denis St Pierre. The Muscle Mass mare has won her last two starts at Trois-Rivieres the hard way, having to race first-over and grind it out as she has no ability to leave at the start of the race. “My plan will be the same,” Denis St Pierre said, “She cannot leave at all. We will have no choice but to be parked out and sit and wait.” Her main rival is just the opposite of Viva Bayama as Canbec Kangourou (post 5) is hot for the lead at the start of most of her races. She won one of the three preliminary rounds, leading from start to finish, but when facing Viva Bayama, she has been just second best. Canbec Kangourou is driven by Jocelyn Gendron and is expected to try and wire the field again. Denis St Pierre celebrates his 52nd birthday Saturday and would like nothing more as a birthday wish then to have a big day Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R. “I think that I could have a big day at 3R Sunday,” Pierre said. “After studying the race program and watching replays I could maybe win six of the races. That would make for a great day after my birthday celebration.” Post time Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R is 1:30 pm. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

The old saying in harness racing that the cream always rises to the top all things being equal is never more appropriate than in the case of young North Canterbury trainer Gavin Smith. After  a promising start to his training career, Gavin had struck one problem after another from blood issues to soundness problems and it seemed to be never ending and as a result, Gavin was on the verge of giving the training game away as recently as earlier this year. The harder he tried the worse it seemed to get and not surprisingly Gavin was having thoughts of getting a Monday to Friday job to pay the bills. This from a horseman who looked just a few years earlier to have a huge future in the harness racing industry after a stellar junior driver career. Gavin started out in the industry helping out Murray Hamilton during the school holidays. " Murray was a friend of mum and dads and I would help out there during the school holidays." " The first time I sat in a cart I was hooked and from that time on this is all that I have wanted to do," Gavin told Harnesslink this week. While his parents raced the odd horse, there is no family history of involvement in the industry. " I am pretty sure I am the only one from either side of the family who is involved in the racing industry as a career," Gavin said. Hooked by harness racing, Gavin got his first job in the industry at age 16 when he went to work for Doug Gale. " Doug was really good to work for and I was there for over two years before doing a three year stint with Mark Purdon." " You never stopped learning off Mark and he was always good to watch and learn from." " From there I did over four years with David and Catherine Butt and I can never thank them enough for all the opportuniities they gave me." "It was while there that I got established as a driver and I don't think I would still be in the industry if it hadn't been for their help." " After that I did 18 months working for Graham Rogerson when he was in partnership with firstly Peter Simpson and latterly with Steven Reid and like everyone you work for, you pick up little things from them that helps give their horses that edge," Gavin said. Deciding it was time to go out training on his own, Gavin returned to Canterbury and purchased a 20 acre block at Leithfield beach and it wasn't long before he brought another adjacent 20 acre block. While his driving for outside trainers such as Phil Burrows and Robert Dunn was going great, his own team was forever having issues. " I got a bad virus that went right through the stable and the horses struggled to get over it." " I could never get their blood right and I tested everything to try to get to the source of the problem with no luck." " I just had one of those runs where nothing went right." " It got to the point where I was thinking seriously about giving the training away." " Then I got the opportunity to lease the complex at Dancingonmoonlight and I thought a change of scenery might change my luck so I moved here on April 2nd this year." " The horses were coming right before I moved here and since the move they have continued to improve." "I have put a lot of time into understanding the results of blood tests and I now like to think I can nip a lot of things in the bud before they become a major problem,"Gavin said. Gavin is thankful to his owners who stuck by him even when things weren't going that well. "Trish Dunell has been with me since I started out on my own and she has been great to train for." "She has been so loyal to the stable and its good she is getting a bit of payback now," Gavin said. Over the last few years Gavin has brought a handful of cheaper yearlings at the sales with the aim to turn them over quickly at a profit and been reasonably successful in doing so but now the plan has changed. " I am not buying as many as I use to but the quality is a lot better and they are by better sires." "I really like three that I bought at this years sales." * Filly by The Pres from Howz Lucky for $16,000 * Colt by Muscle Mass from Whosinthenest for $19,000 * Colt by Artsplace from Sirius Flight for $38,000. " They have all shown plenty to date so I am really looking forward to racing them next season," Gavin said. Gavin is also breeding from three mares in Hanover Glory, Bute Falcon and All Settled Down and has covered them with high profile stallions with Hanover Glory going to Sportswriter, Bute Falcon to Mach Three and All Settled Down to Majestic Son. As with all stables Gavin has one horse that he has really high hopes for next season. " I think Scarlett Banner could be very competitive in the big fillies races next season." " I gave her one start this season when she ran fifth to Dream About Me and Arden's Choice and then had to put her aside." " She has just blossomed in the last couple of months and I am really looking forward to next season with her," Gavin said. Since the move to his new stables Gavin has really got his mojo back, racking up 15 wins as a driver and more importantly 10 winners from his own barn. The highlight though was undoubtedly his drive on the Fred Fletcher trained Sunny Ruby to win the 3 year old Ruby on Jewels day. " Fred and Sam did such a great job just to get her there." " She never started to come right until ten days before the race so to have her ready to run 1:54 was a great training achievement." " She use to over race quite badly but they have got her to settle now so they deserve a lot of credit for the turnaround in her attitude." "She has an all round game and I think she will measure up in the best company in time," Gavin said. With the massive turnaround in stable fortunes since the move to his new stables, Gavin is looking to the future with a lot of confidence. " The move has been positive on so many fronts." Not only with the horses but I get to see a lot more of the family not having to travel so much up to Leithfield. "Sara is running the breeding side with her father Robert and so we work in together a lot with the two operations." It is working out really well, Gavin said. Gavin knows how lucky he is to be in the position he now finds himself in. "I know how hard it is for people who don't have family in the industry to get established." "When I have a look now at all the drivers who were about in my junior driving days, only Nathan Williamson and Jay Abernathy have made it in the training ranks which shows you how hard it is for a young trainer to get established in harness racing," Gavin said. With the way his team is performing at the moment and the confidence he is gaining from driving so well at present, Gavin looks poised to reach the high levels that many astute judges in the industry always thought he was destined for. Harnesslink Media

JUNE 4, 2015 - Last season's freshman harness racing trotting colt champion Dont Rush made his Ontario Sires Stakes debut at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening, capturing an $18,000 Grassroots division in impressive fashion. In rein to Campbellville, ON resident Chris Christoforou, Dont Rush eased off the starting gate into eighth and then sat patiently in the outside lane until the stretch. When Christoforou asked the Infinitif son for another gear Dont Rush responded with a sharp finishing kick that propelled him to a neck victory over Ontheroad De Vie and Call Me Richard, stopping the Mohawk teletimer at 1:56.3. "He raced really good," said trainer Dustin Jones. "He was out the whole way and he brought it home in 28 flat, which was really good, we were happy with him." Waterdown, ON resident Jones said the colt's next stakes start will come in the Gold Leg at Mohawk on June 30. "We're not going to go to the Goodtimes (June 12) with him, we're going to try and find a race the week before the Gold and go to the Gold here," explained the horseman, who bred Dont Rush and shares ownership of the $305,000 winner with George Judson of Athens, ON. Joining Dont Rush in the June 30 Gold event will be his stablemate One Direction, who finished second in the fifth Grassroots division, two and three-quarter lengths behind winner Muscle Up The Goal. "We'll probably try him in the Gold the next time here too," said Jones of One Direction, a Deweycheatumnhowe son he owns in partnership with Ernst Gerbaulet of Germany. "He raced pretty good, but I knew when I got away third I wasn't going to be able to beat the other guy." Muscle Up The Goal controlled the fractions for the bulk of the ninth race, cruising home to a 1:56.2 win over One Direction and Thoughtful Leader. Milton, ON resident Steve Condren piloted the Muscle Mass son to the win for trainer Rob Fellows of Rockwood, ON and owner Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON. Like Don't Rush, Muscle Up The Goal enjoyed success on the Gold Series circuit last season, capturing two trophies before his freshman campaign came to an early end. Both Dont Rush and Muscle Up The Goal were sent off as heavy favourites, as was Infiniti AS, who clocked the quickest mile of the six Grassroots divisions. Driver Rick Zeron of Oakville, ON sent Infiniti AS to the front heading for the halfway marker and the Infinitif son sailed under the wire eight lengths to the good in 1:55. Pilgrims Joy and Boondock complete the top three. Anette Lorentzon trains Infiniti AS for owner-breeders ACL Stuteri AB of Paris, KY. Thursday's win was the colt's first in Ontario Sires Stakes action and his third in nine lifetime starts. The other Grassroots trophies were taken home by Kadabrasnewrecruit, Eternal Quest and Top Dollar. Kadabrasnewrecruit and driver Randy Waples of Milton, ON reeled in fan favourite Muscle Mack at the wire, earning their first victory of the season with a 1:56.2 clocking. A two-time Grassroots winner at two, the Kadabra gelding is owned by trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON. Molon Lave completed the triactor in the second division. Milton, ON resident Sylvain Filion opted for front end tactics with Eternal Quest in the fourth $18,000 division, besting New Muscle AS and Gronk in a sharp 1:55.2. The win was the Pilgrims Taj gelding's first in five lifetime outings. Chad Milner of Guelph, ON trains the trotter for owner Murray Ferguson Jr. of Sutton West, ON. The last Grassroots blanket awarded on Thursday evening went home with Top Dollar, who swept from last to first in the stretch under the guidance of Guelph, ON resident James MacDonald. The Deweycheatumnhowe son chased down fan favourite Seeking Steven and Federal Deputy to secure the 1:57.3 victory. Ann Karin Larsen of Norwood, ON conditions Top Dollar for her partners Steve Organ of Aurora, ON and Stig Westrum and Tor Jan Larsen of Norwood. The three-year-old trotting colts and geldings make their second Grassroots start at Grand River Raceway on June 24, while Mohawk Racetrack hosts the second Gold Series event on June 30. The Ontario Sires Stakes program makes one more stop at Mohawk this week, when the three-year-old pacing fillies battle in two $105,000 Gold Series divisions on Saturday. Post time for Saturday's program, which also features the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts, is 7:25 pm. Dont Rush Kadabrasnewrecruit Infiniti AS Eternal Quest Muscle Up The Goal Top Dollar OSS Program Information

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – Maximuscle, along with Andovers Touch and Viva Bayama, were all return winners in the third and final leg of the $125,000 Quebec-Bred Series Wednesday at the Hippodrome 3R. Maximuscle was such an overwhelming favorite that he was allowed to compete but was barred from wagering in the first race division for four and five-year-old trotters. Starting from the rail post position, Maximuscle and driver Mario Charron got away in third place as Excel P V (Sylvain Fontaine) went to the early lead with SOS Masters Boy (Jocelyn Gendron) grabbing the two-hole spot to the opening quarter mile in :28.3. But once the field settled down, Charron sent Maximuscle right to the lead before the half mile marker in :59.1, then held the field at bay to the three-quarters in 1:29.2 and breezed home to win by five and one-half lengths in 1:59.2. SOS Masters Boy was able to rally past Excel P V for second place. As the “official” winner of the race with Maximuscle barred from betting, SOS Masters Boy paid $23.00 to win. For Maximuscle, the four-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall posted his second straight win to stay unbeaten so far in 2015 for trainer Michel Fontaine and owner/breeder Ecurie Provoquante of Mirabel, QC. In the first race division for older horses, Andovers Touch and driver Stephane Pouliot took the lead away from George S P (Stephane Brosseau) after an opening quarter mile in :29.4 and then cruised the rest of the way to win by one and one-half lengths in 2:00.3. George S P held for second place with SOS Ticket Master finishing third after a valiant first-over effort at the half mile pole. The second straight win and third victory this year, Andovers Touch is trained by Dany Fontaine for owner/breeder Ecurie Gaetam Bono, Inc. of Montreal, QC and paid just $2.40 to win. Viva Bayama once again showed her great ability to race on the outside and she once again was “parked the mile” but still was able to win the Quebec-Bred Series third leg for mares. It was not a “walk in the park” for the four-year-old mare by Muscle Mass as driver Denis St Pierre once again let his steed sit on the outside in third place as Canbec Kangourou (Jocelyn Gendron) led the field from the start through fractions of :29.3, 1:01, 1:29.4, but once again could not hold off Viva Bayama who came on in the stretch to win by a quarter length in 2:00.1. Canbec Kangourou held for second place with Ocean Mist Beauty (Stephane Brosseau) third. Viva Bayama posted her second straight win and sixth victory in nine starts this year for trainer Sebastien Groux. She is owned by Richard Dinelle and Andre St Laurent-Sebastian and paid $4.50 to win. The eight top point earnings throughout the three-week long series will now return on Sunday, June 14 for their respective $35,000 finals. This Sunday live racing resumes at 1:30 pm with the final round of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old pacers. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

Harness racing trainer Nicole Molander and champion reinsman Chris Alford finished with winning trebles at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, Friday the 29th of May. To find out how many trebles Alford has had on a metropolitan race night it would take significant trawling through the archives, so I’ll have to take it on notice and put it on the to-do list. For now, let’s just say he’s probably had more trebles than the world's No.1 dart thrower. For Molander, her stable is on fire and tonight she wasn’t just enjoying success with the squaregaiters, which she’s famous for producing, but a lightly-raced pacer by the name of Dream Fulfilled, who impressively took the first race. The Bettors Delight/For Dear Life gelding won the DNR Logistics Pace Final with Rodney Petroff in the cart, who finished with a winning double of his own. A son of a former NSW Oaks winner and an APG winner and runner-up, Dream Fulfilled made up for a luckless last-start sixth at Bendigo with an all-the-way victory over 2240m. He carved out a 61.2 first half, quickened marginally through the third section (29.5) and sprinted home in 28.4 to rate 1:58.0 flat for a 2.8-metre win over polemarker Dependlebury (Anthony Butt) and third placegetter Snip Of Grand (Adrian Douglas). A top drive by Charlie Borg ensured in-form four-year-old mare Lucky Metro success in the Garrards Pace Final over 2240m for trainer Douglas Adams. The Metropolitan/Armbro Sunshine mare went super in her heat from a good draw, but had to overcome barrier 13 tonight. No problem. Lucky Metro cruised around early three- and four-wide to get to the breeze before out-staying early leader Five Star Belle, a brave Bushi and Nobetterthanthis in the finish. Bushi (Lance Justice) was a head behind the winner at the end with Nobetterthanthis (Michael Bellman sprint-laning for third in a mile rate of 1:58.3. Molander’s second winner for the evening came via impressive four-year-old Muscle Mass/Invasions Pride gelding Sammy Charles, who won the Alabar Vicbred Trot over 1720m despite an outside back-row alley. With Alford in the gig, Sammy Charles held off a fast-finishing Star Style (Gavin Lang) to score by 1.9m in 2:01.1. Alford took the half-brother to Let Me Thru and Lord Liam around the field three-wide to the home turn before staving off the late comers at the business end. Star Style’s run was nearly as impressive as his flashy mane, while third placegetter Opia and Monique Burnett are knocking on the door of another victory. Follow. Four-year-old mare Shes A Runa is well on song for this year’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series after defeating Barimah in tonight’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship First Heat. Crossed early by Damian Wilson aboard Barimah, Alford sat Shes A Runa (Jeremes Jet/Runacullen) behind the leader before bursting through along the sprint lane in the home run for a 2.3m win in 1:58.2. The Family Guy was third for Gavin Lang. Taswegian star Barynya captured the Eynesbury Golf Club Pace over 2240m for trainer Dick Eaves and Gavin Lang, the daughter of Blissfull Hall/Lombo Anastasia holding the lead from the pole and repelling fierce challenges from Spitfire Rose (Greg Sugars) and Washmepockets (Emmett Brosnan), who dead-heated for second. Keayang Active, who started favourite, ran fourth after sitting parked in the breeze throughout and weakening late. The winner's rate was 1:57.1. Alford was at it again in the sixth race, the Garrard’s Horse and Hound Trot over 2240m with in-form Monorail giving Molander three winners for the evening. The six-year-old gelding by Dr Ronerail out of Globe Trotter used the shortcuts to win along the sprint lane after sitting behind race leader Mister Independent, holding off Star Gun (Matthew Craven) by a half-head with Maybelina (Lang) pipping Mister Independent (Michael Bellman) for third. The winner rated two minutes flat. Reinsman Jason Lee continued his affinity with Metro Mike, winning his fourth race aboard the Metropolitan/Tuscan Skies six-year-old from the Emma Stewart stable in Race 7, the VHRMA Young Pedro Free for All. Despite drawing gate seven over the short-course 1720m trip, Metro Mike worked forward and proved too strong for his rivals, veteran Wartime Sweetheart (David Aiken) battling on for second and Exciteusinthecity finding the line nicely in third for Tim McLean. The winner went 1:54.5. Consistent five-year-old McArdle/Jarita mare McRita won the second heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship, Race 8, for trainer/driver Petroff. From the pole, McRita came out swiftly before handing up to Ithappenstobeametro, who flew out of gate seven. A slick lead time of 44.1 seemed to set it up for the swoopers, but they never really turned up and McRita was able to finish on strongly from behind the leader – using the sprint lane to advantage for a 4.6m win, Ithappenstobeametro running a big race for second, while My Bella Starr snatched third for Gavin Lang. McRita rated 1:56.3. King of the claimers Composed (Our Sir Vancelot/Troys Dream) took out the Teddy Boomgardt Claiming Pace over 2240m for trainer David Aiken and son reinsman Josh Aiken. The lone runner on the back row, Composed made his move mid-race, dashing around to run to the lead. Livin It Lovin It (Petroff), shooting for five straight wins tonight, had initially led from barrier seven but handed up when Composed came hunting. In the home straight Livin It Lovin It took it up to Composed, but the leader packed too much punch, holding on by 2.3m. Our Mels Dream, a stablemate of Livin It Lovin It from the Beau Tindale yard, ran third with Lisa Miles in the cart. The winner clocked a mile rate of 1:56.7. Capping the night was Fabrication (Dream Vacation/Figment) taking out the Olympus Feeds 3YO Vicbred Trot for trainer David Abrahams and driver David Murphy. Fabrication scored by 6.1m over Donski (Tony Mallia), who ran on well, and Belts (Bellman) in third, the winner’s mile rate 2:02.3. Tomorrow night’s harness racing heads to Bray Raceway, Ballarat, with the John Slack Memorial Ballarat Trotters Cup the feature event on what looks an exciting card. Cody Winnell

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec – Both Maximuscle and track record hold Viva Bayama were impressive winners at the Hippodrome 3R in the opening round of the $125,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters Wednesday. There were four divisions, each racing for a purse of $6,500. There are three weeks of eliminations with the highest point earners returning on Sunday, June 14 for the $35,000 finals in their respective divisions. Maximuscle and driver Mario Charron had little trouble in capturing their division in the fourth rae. Charron needed only to send Maximuscle to the lead and never looked back. The four-year-old stallion by Angus Hall showed his heels to the field, cutting fractions of :29.1, 1:00 to the half and then turned it on by the three-quarters in 1:29.1, breezing home to win by two and one-half lengths in 1:58.4. Andovers Touch (Stephane Pouliot) tried coming first-over at the half mile marker and held on to be second with the pocket sitting George S (Stephane Brosseau) third. It was the first start of the 2015 season for Maximuscle, who is trained by Maxime Velaye for owner/breeder Ecrurie Provoquante of Mirabel, QC. The winner went off as the overwhelming race favorite at odds of 1/9 and paid just $2.10 to win. The first race, first division saw Somoli E and owner/driver Jerome Lombart sit a perfect two-hole trip behind pacesetter SOS Masters Boy (Jocelyn Gendron) and then after a battle down the stretch, win by a neck in 2:02.3. SOS Robocop (Pascal Berube), after racing first-over, faded to be third. It was the first win in two starts this year for Somoli E, a four-year-old son of Mr Lavec, trained by Andreane Lapierre. He paid $4.50 to win. Viva Bayama and driver Denis St Pierre were able to race parked out first-over the entire mile and still was able grind it out in the fourth race first division for older mares. Canbec Kangourou (Jocelyn Gendron) left out of the gate and cut the mile as Pierre was content to race first-over. Viva Bayama finally cleared to the lead before the head of the stretch and then held off a fast closing Bambie Benjo (Rheo Filion) to win by three-quarters of a length in 2:01.3. Canbec Kangourou faded in the stretch and finished third. It was the fifth win in eight starts this year for Viva Bayama. The four-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass is trained by Sebastien Groux for owners Richard Dinelle and Andre St Laurent. She paid $4.40 to win. The sixth race second division was won by Ocean Mist Beauty and driver Stephane Brosseau. They cleared to the lead before the opening quarter, which saw the first four horses all try for the early lead, and Ocean Mist Beauty then led the rest of the one mile trot, winning by three-quarters of a length in 2:02. Lucyll Bro (Stephane Gendron) sat the pocket-trip to be second with Sexy P V (Steeve Genis) third. The five-year-old mare by Kadabra posted her first win in five starts this year for owner/trainer Carl Duguay of Gatineau, QC. She paid 3.20 to win. Mario Charron ended the program with a driving triple on the card. Live racing resumes Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R with the opening round of the $125,000 Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters. Post time is 1:30 pm. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

LEBANON, OH. - Artie's Last Party became the tenth Fillies and Mares Open pace winner in the first fourteen weeks of the 2015 harness racing meet on Friday night (April 3) at Miami Valley. Driver Jeff Nisonger was content to skim the pylons near the rear of the field in the early going as favorites Shine N Shimmer and Betterluvnexttime duked it out through a sizzling :26.3 opening panel over a sloppy surface. Following a :55.4 half Nisonger eased the winning six-year-old Artiscape mare into the outer flow following Rev Me Up, last week's winner. When the three-quarter clock flashed 1:25.2 the field fanned out for the stretch duel with closers getting the best of it. Artie's Last Party prevailed in the $17,050 feature race over Betit To Getit (Jason Brewer) and Ivory Collection (Jeremy Smith) in 1:55.2.  Trainer Eddie Poling owns Artie's Last Party who has banked $30,000 in a dozen seasonal starts at Miami Valley. The $10,000 championship leg of the Robert J. Brown Memorial Series was also contested on Friday with Mojita As (Jason Brewer) upset the field of green trotters in 1:59.1. Anette Lorentzon trains and co-owns the four-year-old Muscle Mass mare with ACI Stuteri Ab. Following a pair of runnerup finishes in the preliminary legs, Mojito As tracked mid-pack as Fly Away Bumblebee and E R Justiceforall played hardball on the engine. After a casual :29.2 opening quarter, the frontstepping pair went at it wheel-to-wheel through a :27.4 second panel to reach the half in :57.1. It wasn't until past the 1:28.3 third station clocking that the others began to close in on the speedsters with Mojito As strongest in the stretch to beat Held In Balance (Jeff Nisonger) with Fly Away Bumblebee (Kayne Kauffman) holding on for third. The 'Skeeter' Brown series featured trotters who hadn't won two races or $15,000 lifetime as of the March 1 nomination date. Racing resumes Saturday night at Miami Valley with a strong $18,150 Open Pace and two $10,000 divisions of the second leg of the Tom Tharps Memorial Series on tap. Post time is 6:30 p.m. On Easter Sunday, the Budweiser Clydesdales will be presented at Miami Valley from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., just prior to a special matinee program. Gregg Keidel

When people look at the harness racing sires list in North America you would think that they all race under the one flag but of course we know that is not the truth. Canada is fiercely independent and standardbred breeders in Canada are no different so we thought we would do a review of the performance of Canadian based stallions and their influence on harness racing in Canada and beyond.  The leading sire on the all age pacing sires list in 2014 that stands in Canada was Matt's Scooter son, Mach Three who headed off the perenial top dog in Canada in Camluck. This two were head and shoulders above the competition as the siring chart below shows. Canadian all age pacing sires list for 2014 Stallion Name                     Money won                                               Wins                                             MACH THREE                     $11,458,141                                             1181 CAMLUCK                            $7,159,237                                                 964 JEREMES JET                     $4,232,278                                                 453 BADLANDS HANOVER     $3,484,110                                                 423 SHADOW PLAY                   $3,055,528                                                 230 NO PAN INTENDED           $2,808,131                                                  331 MILLION DOLLAR CAM     $2,616,398                                                 335 SPORTSWRITER                $2,475,204                                                    78 STONEBRIDGE REGAL     $2,379,050                                                 344 MODERN ART                     $2,323,643                                                  274 The overall record of both Camluck who is now 28 years old and Mach Three who is 16 are outstanding and would hold their own anywhere in the world. Camluck   -    Winners   -     $100,000 Winners   -     Millionaires   -     Sub 1:50         Total Stakes                             1596                      592                                  28                       62                $217,969,096   Mach Three  - Winners   -  100,000 Winners   -  Millionaires   -  Sub 1:50         Total Stakes                                619                      211                        2                        21               $106,923,082                                                                                                                              (Worldwide)                                                                                                                                                  So it looks at the moment as if Mach Three and Camluck have a jump on the competition but two young sires are lining up to challenge them in Shadow Play and Sportswriter. Shadow Play finished fifth on the list even though he only had two and three year olds to represent him while Sportswriter finished eighth with just his two year olds to represent him. If they can maintain that early momentum from their initial crops then they have every chance of toppling the leading duo in the next two or three years The table above does have a very "Australasian" look about it with eight of the ten sires on the list having stood down under at some point of their career. The trotting sires list is again dominated by a couple of well estalished elite level sires in Kadabra and Angus Hall. The emergence of Muscle Mass as a leading sire will be bitter sweet for Canadian breeders as he has since relocated to Blue Chip Farms in New York.  Canadian all age trotting sires list for 2014 Stallion Name                                 Money                                        Wins   KADABRA                                     $7,239,806                                   542 ANGUS HALL                              $5,582,473                                    613 MUSCLE MASS                           $3,885,863                                   285 MAJESTIC SON                           $2,773,259                                   184 KEN WARKENTIN                       $1,930,438                                   252 DEWEYCHEATUMNHOWE      $1,907,078                                     85 STRIKING SAHBRA                    $1,814,017                                   207 AMIGO HALL                               $1,648,308                                    178 FEDERAL FLEX                             $947,671                                      92 DUKE OF YORK                             $914,302                                    133 The overall records of both Kadabra who is 16 years old and Angus Hall who is 19 years old are both outstanding as the figures show. Kadabra    -    Winners    -    $100,000 Winners    -    Millionaires    -    Sub 1:53    -    Total Stakes                              399                         141                                3                             15                 $51,015,193    Angus Hall  -  Winners    -    $100,000 Winners    -    Millionaires    -    Sub 1:53    -    Total Stakes                               746                        231                                6                              14                $87,008,509   With Muscle Mass no longer standing in Canada, the two established siring greats don't have any real challengers on the horizon which is never healthy long term. The 2015 season has started well for the Canadian based sires in the first nine weeks of the season with Mach Three leading the all aged sires list in North America with Camluck holding down seventh spot while on the trotting sires list for North America, Kadabra and Angus Hall are first and second at the moment. However the Canadian breeding industry really needs one of the new boys on the scene to step up big time in the next twelve months because the old guard can't go on forever. All in all the Canadian breeding industry continues to have a major impact on harness racing around the globe but it is in need of some renewal or that influence will start to wane. Harnesslink Media 

Most harness racing enthusiasts in New Zealand headed to the sales this week at both Auckland and Christchurch and a lot took home a yearling or two. With the dust just settling on the two days at the Premier Sale in Christchurch, we thought it a good time to assess the performance of our leading sires at that sale along with a few of the other sires who aspire to reach that level. All the numbers used are correct at the present time but may vary slightly as more of the passed in horses are sold post sale The elephant in the room in any review such as this is of course Bettor's Delight. He just completely dominated both days at Christchurch both in numbers sold and the average over the two days. Bettor's Delight  Number sold - 49 Overall average - $51,091 Colt average - $56,645 Filly average - $34,291 The surprising thing from those statistics is the big gap between his colts and his fillies. Bettor's Delight is renowned for leaving great fillies so to us the gap was surprising. Apart from that what can you say. A great sire who continues to dominate the sales and nothing happened in the two days at Christchurch to suggest that any change to the status quo is coming anytime soon. The next most successful sire with big numbers was the stallion that Bettor's Delight dethroned from the top spot in the yearling sales averages in Christian Cullen. His numbers held up well considering all the challengers he is facing on the siring front. Christian Cullen Numbers sold - 18 Overall average - $37,611 Colt average - $40,133 Filly average - $25,000 Considering where his service fee presently sits, Christian Cullen represents great value on yesterdays results and that is not something we were able to say just a few years ago. Every year the pundits predict his demise as a sire of significance but every year the buyers continue to put their hand up for the Christian Cullens and for big money to boot. Another elite sire who had a good sale was Mach Three. Mach Three Numbers sold - 20 Overall average - $30,700 Colt average - $32,062 Filly average - $29,791 This was one sire who had little difference in the average between his fillies and his colts. The top price of $71,000 was the same for both his best filly and colt and most of the leading trainers brought one or two by him. Has been doing a great job over the last few years but is probably overdue another high class colt in the next twelve months or else the so called experts will be suggesting his best days are behind him. American Ideal Numbers sold - 22 Overall average - $15,681 Colt average - $19,166 Filly average - $11,500  Considering the great last twelve months that his stock have had on the racetracks of Australasia, it was a real surprise to us and no doubt to vendors as well that he struggled as much as he did. Even more confusing was the lack of interest in his fillies when they have been his flag bearers in New Zealand over the last twelve months. Sometimes there is a lag in racetrack performance being converted into sales success and to us that is the most logical explanation here. Courage Under Fire Numbers sold - 8 Overall average - $32,375 Colt average - $34,857 Filly average - $16,000 Just continues to fly under the radar of most of the breeders in New Zealand but not the buyers thats for sure. Only sold one filly so that average is misleading but his colts were highly sought after throughout the two days. Has shown repeatedly that he can compete with any sire in the sales ring but his number of mares served in New Zealand continue to decline. He only served nineteen mares in 2014 so some vendors who have a foal by him may be in for a good return at next years sales. Art Major Numbers sold - 14 Overall average - $29,600 Colt average - $28,833 Filly average - $30,187  Considering the run that Art Major is having on both sides of the Tasman, the lack of big money for most of his yearlings took us by surprise. He did have one six figure filly but his second best yearling price wise only made $45,000. Didn't appear to us to be anything amiss with the yearlings in question and the only answer we could come up with was they weren't Bettor's Delights. Amazing result really when you look at the super season his three year olds are having in New Zealand Somebeachsomewhere Numbers sold - 5 Overall average - $48,000 Colt average - $55,000 Filly average - $20,000 First crop of any size in New Zealand and these yearlings were conceived via fresh semen. Without exception they were good looking types and were keenly sought after. Going by the type of yearling produced by Somebeachsomewhere at this years sales,  we could be about to see why the North Americans hold the son of Mach Three in such high esteem. Rock N Roll Heaven Numbers sold - 4 Overall average - $30,250 Colt average - $40,000 Filly average - $20,500 They all were nice types but what surprised us was his only filly made just $20,500. The fillies have been the ones flying the flag for Rock N Roll Heaven in North America and in Australasia so the emphasis on the colts was a surprise. Look very much like clones of their grand sire Rock N Roll Hanover which is a good thing in our book though attitude did seem an issue at times with a couple of them. Sportswriter Numbers sold - 5 Overall average - $26,300 Colt average - $27,625 Filly average - $21,000 The whole five of them were lovely types and we thought they under sold when you looked at the pedigrees and the individuals at the sale. All of them made at least $20,000 but only one kicked on from that to make $46,000. There are question marks over whether he can leave that elite level colt or filly but you couldn't fault the yearlings in Christchurch and we were a touch disappointed with the prices they made. Changeover Numbers sold - 10 Overall average - $11,550 Colt average - $12,333 Filly average - $10,375 Not the kind of sale he would have been looking for. He had his moments but his lack of classic winning horses from his first crop is starting to hurt him. All he needs is one or two top liners to appear and his stock will double in value over night. His overall numbers are great and everything else is on track but he does need those couple of stars and sooner rather than later. Love You Numbers sold - 4 Overall average - $28,875 Colt average - $28,875 A great result for a trotting sire to have four average over $28,000. They were keenly sought after when ever a Love You entered the ring. The only issue now is he only served 13 mares in 2014 and was unavailable this season so there will few of them at the sales in the next year or two. Muscle Mass Numbers sold - 13 Overall average - $16,923 Colt average - $16,625 Filly average - $17,400 A great return to New Zealand for the son of Muscles Yankee and he had a big sale considering his numbers and the fact some of the maternal families were ok but not sensational. A sire who is really on the up in North America but the only downside is this is his only crop in New Zealand to go through the sales and at this stage it will be his last as he hasn't shuttled for the last two years. Overview All the sires we have reviewed would in the main be satisfied with what they achieved at this years Premier sale in Christchurch. Some probably hoped to do a bit better and some probably did a bit better than they thought they would but the numbers for the sires we have covered are commendable. Some sires at this years Christchurch sales that we haven't reviewed here didn't help the overall sale on any level and you would have to question the value of continuing to present stock by them at what is meant to be a "Premier" sale. Harnesslink Media

Next weeks round of the harness racing sales has quite a few entries by the son of Muscles Yankee in Muscle Mass. Muscle Mass 1:53.8 ($229,000) won eight of twelve on the track before being injured with the highlight being his win in 1:53.8 at his second lifetime start at two. Muscle Mass is bred in the purple with elite level horses everywhere in his pedigree. His dam is Graceful Touch 1:56 ($192,000) by Pine Chip whose first six foals all went through the sales ring at either Harrisburg or Lexington and as you can see from the list below were keenly sought after. Muscle Mass by Muscles Yankee  -  $100,000 Touchdown Town by Muscles Yankee  -  $320,000  Muscle Massive by Muscles Yankee  -  $425,000 Thatsnotmyname by Windsongs Legacy  -  $250,000 Graceful Kelly by Muscles Yankee  -  $145,000 Mr Lucky Luke by Lucky Chucky  -  $450,000  Graceful Touch is one of only two foals from the high class Valley Victory mare in Act Of Grace 1:52.3 ($403,525) with the other being her full brother in Cobol 1:54 ($417,457)  With his pedigree and two year old speed, Muscle Mass was always going to be given his chance at stud in North America and he went to stud in 2009 in Canada. Right from the start Muscle Mass has shown the ability to leave elite level trotters and with his first crop just turned five, he already has $8,479,420 in stake earnings on his card. In the season just completed in North America Muscle Mass finished seventh on the three year old sires list ahead of such outstanding sires as Kadabra, Angus Hall, Muscles Yankee and Majestic Son. Last season Muscle Mass made the move to Blue Chip Farms in New York where he stands at a fee of $6,000 which is an indication of his standing now in the stallion ranks in North America. His full brother Muscle Massive 1:51 ($1,245,297) made a great start at stud last year with his two year olds finishing fifth on the two year old siring charts in his debut season. Available to New Zealand breeders via frozen semen in 2009/2010, the first and only crop to date of Muscle Mass old enough to race in New Zealand were born in the 2010/2011 season. Numbering just five live foals, that number is now four with Massuci having died. The remaining four foals are now four year olds and are all mares. Below is a record of their racing careers to date. Zheyna - 18 starts - 3 wins - 2 seconds - 4 thirds - Stakes $21,764 Mass Invasion - 12 starts - 1 win - 4 seconds - 1 third - Stakes $9433 Schleck - 6 starts - 2 wins - 2 seconds - 0 thirds - Stakes $16,439 K D Muscles 16 starts - 0 wins - 4 seconds - 3 thirds - Stakes $40,297 K D Muscles would have to be the biggest stakes winning maiden trotter in New Zealand having run second to Majestic Time in the the $25,000 New Zealand Trotting Oaks in a 2:00 mile rate and second to Thebestlove in the $97,500 Sales Trot in a 1:59.9 mile rate  . Four foals for four lovely mares is not a bad start however you look at it. Unavailable for the 2010/2011 and 2011/ 2012 seasons, Muscle Mass shuttled to New Zealand in the 2012/2013 season and served a healthy book of 71 mares on the back of the performance of his handful of foals from his first crop. Now yearlings, this crop numbers 55 and Muscle Mass did cover some lovely trotting mares in the one year he shuttled here. It was a no show again in 2013/2014 and 2014/ 2015 so if you want a son or daughter of Muscle Mass, this years yearling sales might be your last opportunity in the foreseeable future to acquire one. Harnesslink Media

TORONTO, November 28 - It was a frosty night Friday at Woodbine, but Mario Baillargeon and Sylvain Filion were both on fire in the Autumn Series finals for three-year-olds. The three-week series for Ontario sired three-year-olds came to a close with a finale for each division. In the first final of the evening, Meadowview Vicky completed the Autumn Series sweep with a 1:57.2 victory in the three-year-old filly trot. The daughter of Muscle Mass was sent off as the 4/5 favourite and got away in second for driver Mario Baillargeon behind Serendipitious and Chris Christoforou. In the second quarter, Baillargeon appeared to be pulling the pocket, but Christoforou asked Serendipitious to pick up the tempo forcing Meadowview Vicky to continue trotting along in the two-hole. After fractions of :58.2 and 1:27.1, the fillies reached the top of the stretch and Meadowview Vicky came off the rail and trotted by Serendipitious to win the Autumn Series final by a length. Superflex got up for third, while Osprey Impact finished fourth. By sweeping the Autumn Series, Meadowview Vicky has now won three starts in a row and seven of 14 this season. Trained by Mark Etsell for owner Meadowview Farms Inc, Meadowview Vicky has now earned over $70,000 in her first season of racing. She returned $3.80 to win. Meadowview Vicky In the $38,600 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings final, Baillargeon would find himself back in the winner's circle after guiding Rural Art to a 1:52 victory. The son of Major In Art was second over around the final turn following The Optomist, while Kindofabigdeal called the shots through the opening three-quarters. In the stretch, Rural Art popped off his cover and would track down Kindofabigdeal to score a half length victory with a :27.4 last quarter. Bugger Bruiser took the show spot, while V I P Bayama was fourth. Trained by John MacMillian, Rural Art finished second in the opening leg, but opted to skip round two and instead won an overnight event at Rideau on November 23. Rural Art has now won eight of 20 starts this season, nine of 24 in his career and banked more than $60,000 for owners 2099551 Ontario Inc and MacMillian. The clocking of 1:52 was a new lifetime best for the three-year-old gelding. He returned $6.20 to win. Rural Art While Baillargeon swept the opening two finals, it was now Sylvain Filion's turn in the spotlight. In the $40,000 three-year-old trotting colts and geldings final, Filion and Dontcheatonmenow held on to prevail in a win photo. Dontcheatonmenow was three-wide around the first turn and would duel with stablemate Warrawee Prince in the second quarter. Filion and Dontcheatonmenow would finally clear before the final turn and would post a three-quarter time of 1:27.1 to lead the field into the lane. In the stretch, Deweykeepumnwhy, who was second over on the final turn, would close ground on Dontcheatonmenow and the two trotters were almost inseparable as they hit the wire in 1:57. In the photo, Dontcheatonmenow was declared the winner by nose leaving Deweykeepumnwhy in the place spot. Stonebridge Rich and Tequila Haze finished third and fourth respectively. A son of Deweycheatumnhowe, Dontcheatonmenow is now trained by Richard Moreau for owner Rolling Hills Racing Stables and has now won three of 16 starts this season for earnings of over $46,000. Dontcheatonmenow won a division of the first Autumn Series leg, but skipped the second leg. In his career, Dontcheatonmenow has now visited the winner's circle five times and banked over $120,000. He paid $7.20 to win. Dontcheatonmenow Filion would return to the winner's circle in the $40,400 three-year-old pacing fillies final with Artistic Fusion. The daughter of Artistic Fella got away in fourth, but after a couple lead changes on the front, Filion sent the filly towards the front and would clear to the lead in the third quarter. After posting a three-quarter time of 1:23.3, Artistic Fusion would open a solid lead in the stretch en route to a career-best 1:52.4 victory by a length and a quarter over Double Joy. Mach Some Noise, the heavy favourite, finished third, while Performing Art was fourth. Trained by Joe Agostino for owner Mike Foote, Artistic Fusion won an opening round leg of the Autumn Series and then finished second in the second round. Artistic Fusion has now won five of 16 starts this season and six in her career. The Agostino trainee has now banked over $56,000 in two seasons on the track. She paid $21.50 to win. Artistic Fusion Along with winning a pair of Autumn Series finals, Filion also won two other races on the 11-race card for a grand slam. In order to be eligble for the Autumn Series, three-year-olds had to be Ontario sired and non-winners of $50,000 lifetime or $30,000 in 2014 as of September 30. Live racing continues Saturday night at Woodbine with an 11-race card. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, November 20 - Ontario sired three-year-old fillies returned to Woodbine Racetrack Thursday night for the second leg of the Autumn Series. Two $15,000 divisions for both gaits took place in the second round of the three-week series. In the first division for the trotters, Meadowview Vicky returned to victory lane for the second week in a row. The daughter of Muscle Mass was sent to straight to the lead by driver Mario Baillargeon and never looked back. Meadowview Vicky posted fractions of :28.1, :58.4 and 1:28.2 before trotting home in :29.1 to win by a length and a half in 1:57.3. Wings Of Ballykeel finished second after sitting in that position the entire mile, while Oho Diamond took the show spot. Trained by Mark Etsell, Meadowview Vicky has now won a division of the first two legs of the Autumn Series and will have a chance at the series sweep next week. Meadowview Vicky has now won six of 13 career starts for over $50,000 in earnings. She is owned by Meadowview Farms Inc. Meadowview Vicky returned $2.70 to win. Osprey Impact converted off a perfect second over trip from driver Dave Boughton to win the second division. The daughter of Federal Flex was able to pick up the cover of Cs Afternoondelite in the second quarter and followed that filly up to the front. Situated second over and less than two lengths from the lead at the top of the stretch, Osprey Impact tipped off cover and trotted by to score a 1 ¾ length victory in a career best 1:58.1. Acapulco Hall, who was third along the rail at the top of the lane, got up for second, while Serendipitous, who got a two-hole trip, finished third. Trained by Mario Macri, Osprey Impact finished third in last week's opening leg. The three-year-old filly has now won four of 13 starts this season and banked over $27,000 for owner Paul Larrabee. Osprey Impact returned $32.70 to win. Mach Some Noise recorded her fourth consecutive victory to take the first division for the pacing fillies. The daughter of Mach Three would take control of the race in the second quarter and leave her rivals behind. Mach Some Noise and driver James MacDonald posted a half of :57 and a three-quarter time of 1:25.2, before pacing home in :28.1 to win by 4 lengths in 1:53.3. Artistic Fusion got up for second, while Thrill Chaser finished third. Trained by Tony O'Sullivan, Mach Some Noise will take her four-race win streak into next week's final with an opportunity to record the series sweep. Owned by O'Sullivan Racing Inc, Kirk McKinnon and David Goodrow Stable, Mach Some Noise has now won four of nine career starts and banked over $37,000. The clocking of 1:53.3 is a new lifetime best for the three-year-old filly. A $2 win ticket returned $2.50. In the second division for the pacing fillies, Catlea Seelster never saw the rail, but still got the job done in 1:56.3. Driven by Anthony Macdonald, Catlea Seelster was parked around the first turn in mid-pack. The daughter of Stonebridge Regal would continue her outside journey down the backstretch and was first up at the leader's wheel as they rounded the far turn. In the stretch, Catlea Seelster showed her grit and wore down Debbies Mach to win by a neck. Performing Art took the show spot. Trained by Anthony Montini, Catalea Seelster entered the second leg of the Autumn Series off a seventh place finish in the opening leg. The round two victory is her second win in 15 starts this season and the third win of her career. Owned by Albina Montini and Teresa Davidson, Catlea Seelster has now banked over $33,000 in her career. She paid $14.90 to win. The top ten money earners to enter the final leg will contest next Friday night's final. Leg two action of the Autumn Series continues tomorrow night with the second round for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

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