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In Melbourne.—- If the Kiwi domination of the harness racing summer is going to continue on Saturday night they may have to buck the trend of the season. Because while we have a huge array of chances in both the A$500,000 Hunter Cup and A$250,000 Great Southern Star, they are likely to have to come from behind some very good Australian horses to beat them.  And that hasn’t been the story of the season so far. This Victorian carnival, starting at Ballarat and then Melton last Saturday, has been dominated by on-pace runners in the biggest races.  The Derby, Oaks and Ballarat Cup have all been won by leaders and while Temporale and Mach Shard managed to come from back in the field to win A$50,000 races last Saturday, they were minus some of the stars who hit the track tonight.  Go back a step further to the Auckland Cup, National Trot, Inter Dominion Pacing and Trotting Finals and all were won by horses on the speed with a lap to go. This has not been the summer of the swooper.  But it might have to be if the Kiwis want to take home some serious Aussie cash in the baking heat of Melton tonight.  That is not to say the likes of Mach Shard (2) and Chase Auckland (4) can’t lead the Hunter Cup, both are in strong form and with two of the best NZ-based drivers on Aussie tracks in Zachary Butcher and Natalie Rasmussen. But as fast as they are off the gate horses like Alta Orlando (1) and Cash N Flow (5) have been racing well at Menangle where gate speed is the weapon of choice for many.  Their drivers know if the Kiwis get the lead and can control the race they will probably be too good so expect fireworks early and with the economical marker pegs runs so crucial in major staying trips, winning the Hunter will be trickier than the market suggests. A new spanner could be thrown in the works this morning, with local iron horse San Carlo to undergo a veterinary examination on a troublesome hoof. If he is scratched emergency King Of Swing gets a start from a good draw and with intentions of leading.  That would rachet up the pressure a notch or two more.  The good news is that all four New Zealanders in the race have won races from behind off a solid speed.  Triple Eight, who is drawn wide, is at his best following a hot speed while A G’s White Socks may have led to win the Ballarat Cup last start but he was stunning coming from off the speed to win an Interdom heat in November. So you get the feeling a New Zealand-trained horse might still get over the top of the locals but that will become more difficult should King Of Swing get into the field.  The A$250,000 trot will be even harder for the visitors as not only will Oscar Bonavena, Massive Metro, Temporale and Majestic Man have to come from off the speed but the leader will almost certainly be Tornado Valley.   He won the Inter Dominion leading here 14 months ago and has been unbeatable in front since joining the Andy Gath stable as a mid-grade battler from New Zealand. Tornado Valley has been heavily backed from $3 to $2.30 and will take an enormous amount of running down, particularly if he gets a soft first lap so speed becomes the key to the race. Oscar Bonavena was expensive for punters when fading to eighth after working over the last lap last Saturday and while nobody doubts his ability the hype and his place in the market don’t match his group one performances yet. He has had four starts in group one races for one placing and while that includes two gallops, he is still getting used to the rough and tumble of racing at the highest level.  Trainer Mark Purdon blamed himself for having Oscar Bonavena too pretty last Saturday and has vowed he will have him at his peak tonight. Driven cold he may do something special but that hasn’t really been the way to win the richest harness racing races all season.  But with three very serious other New Zealand trotters in the race, tonight might buck the trend.  Earlier in the night Belle Of Montana should lead or trail and win the A$100,000 Ladyship Cup for Barry Purdon and Zac Butcher.   Michael Guerin

Two harness mates, Bronson Munro and Craig Ferguson combined to win the $15,000 Gold Chip Final for trotters at Wyndham yesterday. Skyvalley mare Sunny Valley trained by Munro and driven by Ferguson caused a minor upset when she beat Galleons Future by two and a quarter lengths. “She went well at her last run but we thought being in the Nugget Final we were up against it. But she stepped up,” Ferguson said after the run. He took the five year old to the lead early before handing up to Matai Jetstar. who took him to the straight and from there Ferguson was able to angle Sunny Valley into the clear. “We got to the middle of the track at the top of the straight and when I pulled the ear plugs and asked her to go she showed speed like a pacer – changed gear and went.” It was the mare’s first win in ten starts and the biggest of her young trainer’s short career. “I’ve been down here a couple of weeks staying with Craig. To get a result like that with the two of us, I’m rapt. Craig and I have been great mates for a long time.  $15,000 stake for a maiden is pretty good,” said Munro who’s in his second season of training. In the birdcage                                                                          --Bruce Stewart photo Sunny Valley was bred by Lew Driver and is a product of a long line of Roydon Lodge mares. Her mother Sundon’s Sensation recorded two thirds in fifteen starts and Sunny Valley was her only foal. “She’s a contagious tart. She’s pretty hard to deal with sometimes. Out on the track her manners are perfect and that’s a credit to Donny Ross who did a lot of education with her. He’s still got a share in her so it’ll be a great thrill for him as well.” Local Southern Harness Board member Tom Kilkelly scored back to back wins at Wyndham yesterday. The double was kicked off by Gotta Go Cullen six year old Lite Percussion which led all the way winning the MLT/Three Rivers Hotel Mobile Pace by three and a half lengths and running the 1609 metres in 1-56.2. Lite Percussion                                     --Bruce Stewart photo He was taken to the front by driver and co-trainer Kirstin Barclay and won easily. Consistent Major Meister won the next race for the same combination.  He led early before handing up to favourite Raksjameson. Barclay waited for the passing lane then reined the three year old colt up the inside to win by a length and a half from Raksjameson. Meanwhile four nicely bred two year olds appeared at the Winton Workouts today. Beach Start and Brent Barclay beating Yorokobi and Tristan Larsen at the Winton Workouts – Photo Bruce Stewart Beach Start (Net Ten EOM – Weka Lass) won the heat by a neck from Yorokobi (Bettor’s Delight – Rockin Cullen) with a neck back to Who’s My Mother (Sweet Lou – Dancing Dixie) and another neck back to Special Dream (Bettor’s Delight – Christian Dreamer).   Bruce Stewart

Three of the top selling yearlings from the Southern Bred Southern Reared draft at the 2018 Sale of the Stars have already provided an excellent return for their owners, and there’s plenty more in store.   Here are three fine examples of yearlings that were SBSR and sold for top prices at the 2018 Sale in Christchurch.   Flying Even Bettor (purchased for $90,000) Current return: (15-3-8-2 $145,435) Of the $145,435 in stakes he’s won $106,735.. Has been in place money mainly in Group and Listed races. Ran third in the Listed New Zealand Sires Stakes Final, second in the Group One Two Year Old Diamond, second in the Two Year Old Sires Final, third in the New Zealand Yearling Sales Two Year Old Final, second in the Welcome Stakes and New Zealand Sapling Stakes.   Perfect Stride (purchased for $190,000) Current return: (16-5-4-4 $109,405) Won three races in a short New Zealand career before heading to Australia where he’s won another two races including a Breeders Crown Two Year Old Colts and Gelding Semi Final. He ran third in the final. Recently ran third in the Group One $200,000 Victoria Derby. Perfect Stride as a yearling   Ultimate Stride (purchased for $160,000) Current return: (10-6-1-1 $149,550) Ultimate Stride particularly, has blazed a new path for juvenile trotters, winning two of his six races in this country before going to Australia and winning all three of his starts there. His wins in Australia include the $50,000 Group One Redwood Classic and the $100,000 Group One Breeders Crown for two year old colts and geldings.   Ultimate Stride and trainer Phil Williamson     By Bruce Stewart

NZB Standardbred’s 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale will showcase the very best New Zealand has to offer over four action-packed days of harness racing  inspections, parades and selling with the Auckland Sale carded for 16 & 17 February at Karaka, followed immediately by the Christchurch Sale on 18 & 19 February at Canterbury Agricultural Park. ON-FARM TOURS The annual on-farm yearling inspection tour moves to Canterbury this Sunday 2 February, with the final stop in Southland on Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 February. The tour began in Auckland in mid January, with crowds gathering at the local farms to inspect the quality yearlings on offer at NZB Standardbred's 2020 National Yearling Sale. All are welcome to join the tour, with lunch and dinner to be provided on some of the days. Full schedule available online or contact the team for more info.    STRONG SIRE REPRESENTATION AT 2020 SALE By whatever metric you choose, the sires catalogued in New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale represent some of the best available in the world. The internationalism of Northern Hemisphere shuttle stallions as well as the ability to access frozen and chilled semen has given New Zealand breeders an opening to the leading edge of sires. Full sire profiles here.     COMPLEX MAP The iconic Karaka Sales Centre is located at 10 Hinau Road, Karaka. Just a 20 minute drive from Auckland Airport or 30 minutes from Auckland's CBD. Upon arrival, check in to the Sales Day Office to register and pick up your catalogue along with a NZB Standardbred cap to wear.  The Business Centre, located next to Barn I, has access to phone charging stations, computers with internet access and international payment terminals. Free WiFi is also available to all visitors.  The Christchurch Sale is located at the Canterbury Agricultural Park - 102 Curletts Road, Wigram. The Sales Day office is located inside the RDA Building.      THE KARAKA EXPERIENCE Head out to the lawn, next to the outdoor parade ring, and grab yourself a coffee from the barista. For a cafestyle menu and an extensive selection of beverages, the Karaka Garden Bar can be found on the ground level. If you are short on time, snack items and sweet treats are located on the first level at the Tulloch Cafe. On Sale day at Karaka, invited guests are able to enjoy the complimentary hospitality provided by NZB in the Phar Lap Room located on level 1. The ‘Koru-Club’ style lounge offers a retreat from the busy complex.   SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY The iconic Sooty Moffat and his ‘Little Sister,’ Jane, assisted by the Aunties, will again purvey their renowned homemade/quality foods at Christchurch. Blue cod, hot ham sandwiches, delicious carrot cake, date scones, sensational ice-cream or berry sundaes, and those miraculous meringues to name a few. This year will have two coffee carts operating. A full bar service is available and everyone is welcome to the wind down together at the end of the day.   SALE BROADCAST NZB Standardbred offers a live webcast for the duration of the Sale. Go to www.nzbstandardbred.co.nz and click on the Sale link. The action can also be viewed from the live stream on NZB Standardbred's Facebook page.   NZB TEAM CONTACTS Get in touch with any member of staff to assist you with your trip or purchasing a yearling.  James Jennings - Director & Operations +64 272 233 333 |  james.jennings@nzb.co.nz Cam Bray - Bloodstock Sales & Auctioneer +64 21 737 199  |   cam.bray@nzb.co.nz Rachel Deegan - Administrator +64 21 939 950  |   rachel.deegan@nzb.co.nz   NZB SERVICES Once the gavel falls, every aspect of your bloodstock interests can be managed in the one location with NZB’s Airfreight, Insurance and Finance divisions. Plus, overseas buyers can leave their purchases in New Zealand for up to 24 months and defer the GST. NZB can assist international buyers with this simple process for purchases destined for export.   SELLING SCHEDULE This timetable has been calculated based on normal selling time, withdrawals and conditions.   AUCKLAND Monday 17 February Lot 1 - 11:00am Lot 32 - 12:00pm Lot 63 - 1:00pm Lot 94 - 2:00pm Lot 125 - 3:00pm Lot 131 - 3:15pm CHRISTCHURCH Tuesday 18 February Lot 132 - 4:00pm Lot 163 - 5:00pm Lot 179 - 5:30pm CHRISTCHURCH Wednesday 19 February Lot 180 - 11:00am Lot 211 - 12:00pm Lot 242 - 1:00pm Lot 273 - 2:00pm Lot 304 - 3:00pm Lot 335 - 4:00pm Lot 366 - 5:00pm Lot 388 - 5:45pm   HELPFUL LINKS Online catalogues: https://www.nzbstandardbred.co.nz/  NZB iPad app: www.equineline.com/SalesCatalogApp  NZB Directory New NZeTa Requirements for travel to New Zealand Buyer Registration Appointment of Agent We look forward to welcoming you back to the Sale. Should you need any assistance with your trip, contact rachel.deegan@nzb.co.nz or call +64 3 381 0141.  

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North American every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound.   Lochinvar Art’s Bonanza   Lochinvar Art, a good looking Modern Art entire, is rated Victoria’s top four-year-old to date this season, particularly after his success in the $100,000 4YO Bonanza, one of the season’s major age classics. He has won twice and was an unlucky fifth in his three starts. In the Bonanza, he was not really extended in running out the 1720 metres in a track record mile rate of 1:48.6, the last 800 in 53.7 and the final 400 in 26.4.   Watch the race replay here!   Lochinvar Art, by Modern Art, is out of Ponder In Paris, who took a record of 1:56.5. Ponder In Paris, the dam also of Roseuponher (1:55.5), was a half-sister to Art In Paris 1:56.2 (11 wins), being by Ponder from Alive In Paris, by Live Or Die from Zora Paree, by Torado Hanover from the Hilarious Way mare Paree Beauty. This was the family founded by the New Zealand bred mare Bessie B.   Lochinvar Art                                                     -Stuart McCormick photo   From the Paree Beauty branch of it and to which Lochinvar Art belongs, others in My Cherie (Vic. Oaks and Vic. Sires Stakes Final), Drunken Desire 1:51.4 ($351,503), Mind The Wire (Qld Lord Mayor’s Cup) and All Hotted Up (NSW Derby heat) are also members.     Siring feat to Bettor’s Delight   Rather a notable siring feat was credited to the Cam’s Card Shark horse Bettor’s Delight at Melton last Saturday, when he had three runners in the 12-horse field in the Victoria Derby.   Two of his stock, Line Up, a good type of colt, and Perfect Stride finished first and third respectively, and his third representative, Bad To The Bone, finished a creditable eighth.   Line Up                                                                        --Stuart McCormick photo   Bettor’s Delight, who stands at Woodlands Stud, the breeders of the Derby winner, also provided the quinella pair, Dr Susan and Stylish Memphis, in the Victoria Oaks on the same night.   Beach Parade, the dam of Line Up, is also the dam of Typhoon Stride, who won at Bankstown one night earlier, and the top flight racemare Partyon 1:51.3 ($638,261), the winner of five races at Group 1 level. By Beach Towel, Beach Parade was unraced but she left four winners. She was out of Idle Franco, by Falcon Seelster from the Nero’s B B mare Imperial Franco, a half-sister to the standout pacer Franco Ice.       Balraj wins in 1:49.9   Balraj, a New Zealand bred gelding who has won three races in quick time this season including a 1:49.9 effort at Menangle – and has graduated to a NR86 mark, is regarded as one of the best young pacers in the country.   He is unbeaten in eight appearances on Australian soil and has won 10 of his 13 lifetime starts for $47,680 in stakes and holds a mile record of 1:49.1.   Balraj winning in 1:49.9 at Menangle Balraj is a four-year-old gelding by the Artsplace horse Art Major, who has been a leading sire for more than a decade. He is the first foal of the lightly raced Mahendra (2:01.6), a Courage Under Fire mare from the same family as that which produced a top Australian pacer in Iam Mr Brightside.   Mahendra ranked as a sister to the Roxburgh Cup winner Indra 1:59.1 ($90,993), being out of Ce’nedra, an unraced mare by Caprock from A Bel Air (2:05.8), by Bo Scot’s Blue Chip from the Armbro Hurricane mare Jascoe (9 wins), the dam of four winners including the dual Harold Park winner Bou Grattan and the Greymouth Cup winner Chummy.     From Larrakeyah Lady family   Always Fast, who led throughout in the inaugural $50,000 Mercury80 Final at Melton, is another member of the noted Larrakeyah Lady tribe. He ranks as a half-brother to two high class pacers in Ride High 1:55.2 ($211,547) and Rocknroll Magic 1;54.5 ($466,183), being a four-year-old entire by Always A Virgin from All The Magic, by Live Or Die from Celebrity Ball, by Presidential Ball from Larrakeyah Lady, who established a great winning line for Victorian breeders Peter Gleeson and Bruce and Craig Cameron.   She left a Hunter Cup winner in Safe And Sound ($995,606), a top racemare in The Good Times and others in Massarua, Gold Rocket and Safeguard, all $100,000 earners.       Addington winner from good broodmare   One Over Da Son, a Muscle Hill four-year-old and a winner at Addington last Friday, is out of One Over Kenny, a champion racemare with a bankroll of over $1 million, who is proving a successful broodmare.   One Over Da Son winning at Addington   Over Over Kenny is also the dam of One Over Da Moon Tr 1:55.5 ($368,548), a Group winner on both sides of the Tasman, Ultimate Stride Tr 2:00 ($145,635), last year’s Australian 2YO Trotter of the Year, and others in One Over Da Skye, One Over Da Stars and One Over Dover.   A close relative of One Over Da Son and co to win at Auckland on the same night was Kenny’s Dream, a five-year-old by Dream Vacation from the Sundon mare One Under Kenny, a sister to One Over Kenny.   Another full sister, Nice One Kenny, ranks as the dam of this week’s impressive Menangle winner Princess Kenny (by Monarchy), the winner of five races at the Sydney headquarters’ track this season.     Golden Guitar to Wet My Whistle   The $50,000 Group 2 Golden Guitar, for intermediate grade pacers, one of the features of the Music Festival carnival at Tamworth, was won by Wet My Whistle, a lightly raced four year-old gelding by Bettor’s Delight from Dreaming Spires.   Bettor’s Delight, a son of Cam’s Card Shark, has been the leading sire in both hemispheres for four of the last five years. He sired an earlier winner of the Golden Guitar in Emjayem Grand.   Dreaming Spires, the dam of Wet My Whistle, has proved a prolific broodmare. She is also the dam of Hug The Wind 1:49 ($548,660), winner of the NZ 2YO Sires Stakes Championship and still racing successfully in America, the Melton winner Our Summer Wind 1:54.8 ($117,446), The Valiant (1:59.5) and Delicata (2:01), the dam of the NZ 3YO of the Year and Inter Dominion finalist Chase Auckland 1:50.4 ($747,069) and the promising three-year-old filly Little Miss Perfect (1:56.9).   Another daughter of Dreaming Spires in Forgotten Dreams figures as the dam of the former top WA juvenile Sprinter, who took a mile record of 1:48.6 in America. Wet My Whistle was bred by Tony and Anne Parker, of Auckland.     Won Leeton Breeders Plate   The Group 3 $30,600 Leeton Breeders Plate, the first major two-year-old classic of the season, was won by The Kew Legend, a colt by Bettor’s Delight from Sexy Lady, by Panorama.   A $36,000 Melbourne APG graduate, The Kew Legend ranks as a half-brother to the Melton winner Juliustigres 1:56.5 ($81,095) and Smash It 1:57.7, who won twice as a three-year-old last season.   Their dam, Sexy Lady, who won two races, was a half-sister to a top trotter in Gentleman Jim, the winner of 21 races including the Scotch Notch Memorial and $131,817, and a smart pacer in Mesmerizing 1:57.9 ($179,221), the dam of the classics and cups winner Messini 1:54.2 ($711,711).   The third dam, Jasmarilla, was one of the best female pacers ever raced in this country. She won 50 races and $503,000, took a mile mark of 1:55.2, was a dual Vicbred champion, set an Australian mile two-year-old record and was named 2YO of the Year.   At the stud Jasmarilla left only the one winner, but she is the grand-dam of the top flight juveniles Hardhitter (1:51.4) and Eye See Diamonds (1:51.6), both winners of the NSW Breeders Challenge Final, and the Seymour Nursery winner Two Eye See (1:52.4).       First winner by Artspeak   The Western Ideal horse Artspeak, a former USA 2YO Colt of the Year and who is now at the stud in Canada, was recently represented by his first Australian winner from his first crop in the two-year-old filly Indyanna.   She took full advantage of a perfect trip to outfinish her rivals in a heat of the Kindergarten Series at Port Pirie on her racetrack debut.   Before going to Australia, Artspeak stood at Hanover Shoe Farms and from 80 foals of racing age he has produced 54 starters and 30 winners with 20 in 2:00 or better.   Aalyah Rose, the dam of Indyanna, won 16 races, took a mile record of 1:55.8 and earned $80,920 in stakes and was well above the average. She ranked as a sister to Melegend 1:57.2 (16 wins) and Blissed Out and a half-sister to Farasthe Eyecansee 1:59.6 (7 wins to date).   Indyanna was bred and is raced and trained by leading Adelaide veterinarian Toby Ryan.     Prix d’Amerique winning line   The Prix D’Amerique winner Face Time Bourbon is a son of the Star’s Pride line horse Ready Cash, who won the Prix d’Amerique twice himself and sired two earlier winners of the premier European race in Readly Express (2018) and Bold Eagle (2016 and 2017), who carried on to win the USA Breeders Crown.   Face Time Bourbon’s win was only the third time a five-year-old has won the race in the last 25 years and he became only the 11 th five-year-old to win in 100 years.   Face Time Bourbon with driver Bjorn Goop winning the Prix d'Amerique   --Sarah Thomas photo   Vita Bourbon, the dam of Face Time Bourbon, was sired by Love You, a son of the 1996 Prix d’Amerique winner Coktail Jet.       by Peter Wharton

By Jonny Turner    Leading filly Spellbound will attempt to get her summer campaign back on track at Addington tonight. The Robert Dunn trained 3yr-old put in a performance too bad to be true when she tired from the 600m in Amazing Dream’s Sires Stakes Championship at Alexandra Park, last month. Spellbound was found to have been suffering from a virus, which did not show up leading in to the group 1 event. “It was one of those ones that was out of the blue – we couldn’t pick it,” Dunn said. “She was working great and she was eating great.” Spellbound returned to Dunn’s Woodend Beach stable after her northern campaign. The filly has pleased the trainer’s son, John, who manages the southern base and will drive Spellbound from barrier 8 in race 1.  “She seems really good now, Johnny is pretty happy with her,” Dunn said. “She will obviously need this race this week and then she has the Sales Series race in a couple of weeks.” “She has drawn out a bit, so I don’t think Johnny will be doing anything drastic at the start, he won’t want to knock her around.” The Dunn stable start two of the leading chances in race 8 in Spot On and Hayden’s Meddle. Spot On beat rivals Bettathanfast and Mongolian Cavalry at Addington last week. “He would have to be a great chance again, it is not much of a different field to last time,” Dunn said.  “He is just a nice horse all round.” Hayden’s Meddle comes in to the race after running second to his stablemate, Stars Tonight, in the Marlborough Cup.  Star mare Princess Tiffany will have her first start as a 4yr-old in tonight’s group 2 Premier Mares Championship. The All Stars filly has looked ready to resume when reeling off slick sectionals to win two trials leading in to her resumption.  Despite that, co-trainer and driver Natalie Rasmussen is weary about the task in front of Princess Tiffany.  “She is really well and fit but I am worried about her lack of racing and I fear she could be vulnerable in the late stages because of that,” she said on her stable’s website.  “The leadup race that could have suited her is restricted to keep mares like her out of it.” Princess Tiffany opened the hot $1.40 favourite for the 1980m feature.  Father and son trainers Peter and Tom Bagrie start two of the main challengers to Princess Tiffany. Peter lines up Bettor’s Heart from barrier 12 and Pressed For Time starts from barrier 7 for Tom.  Though the mares do their trackwork together, they are difficult to compare as they are contrasting types.  “They are both class mares, I will say mine is the best and Dad will say his is the best,” Tom said. “It is hard to compare them, because they are different.”  “Pressed For Time is a great stayer and I think she would be able to sustain her speed for a long time.” “Bettor’s Heart is a sit sprinter that has got a bit tougher over time.” Bettor’s Heart stuck on well for second after she sat parked outside star mare Belle Of Montana in the group 1 Queen Of Hearts, three starts ago.  The 6yr-old then beat a moderate field at Alexandra Par,  before tuning up for tonight’s race with a solid fourth behind rival Enchantee at Addington, last week. “We were pretty happy with her run last week because she probably needed that run and she should improve a lot from it,” Bagrie said. Pressed For Time goes in to the Premier Mares Classic after making a perfect two-from-two start to her 4yr-old term. Though she is already a group 2 winner, tonight’s race will be her toughest career test. “Obviously there are some nice mares in there and we are optimistic that we will be able to measure up,” Bagrie said. “She has been working great with Bettor’s Heart.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    After driving his 100th New Zealand winner at Rotorua on Sunday, Dylan Ferguson came out and said he wanted to “get cracking” on the next 100. A mere five days later he gets the best possible opportunity to do that when he takes a full book of drives at Manawatu Raceway for regular visitor, Michael House. “I’ve had a little look through them and going by the odds, it might be between me and dad (Peter) to see who comes out on top in the drivers’ challenge,” Ferguson told HRNZ. “They’re all a good chance on paper; I might walk away with a winner or two or might walk away with four. “It just depends on the luck we get, but we do have some decent draws so are at least starting in the right places.” House has utterly dominated Manawatu racing for the best part of three seasons now, usually with the country’s leading reinsman, Blair Orange at the forefront of driving duties. But he’s at Addington tonight so Ferguson, Todd Mitchell and Peter Ferguson have all been showered with drives amongst House’s 25 starters. “Anything Michael brings north is going to be a chance, we know that. “But I’d like to think my two best chances are the two with penalty-free wins available to them.” Those two are one-win trotter Boyz Invasion and course specialist Apocalypse, who has five wins and three placings from eight go’s on the Palmerston North all weather. “Michael seemed pretty bullish about Boyz Invasion when I spoke to him, so taking a line through that, it might be a good start to the day.” Ferguson also made mention of Razcal Alley, a career maiden that was knocked over when looking likely at Tauherenikau. “I thought she was a good chance this week, it’s just being drawn one on the second row that doesn’t help us. “I came in after her last run and said she’d win next time, so we’ll see how good a judge I am. “Being a 63-start maiden, I’m probably putting myself out there a bit.” The only non-House runner Ferguson drives is Bankers Gold, a three-year-old that ran second at his last start for trainer Sean McCaffrey. “We actually pre-trained him for his owner Keith Hasler so I know a bit about him. “Sean has been educating him in his races to date but he’s got his best draw to work with this week and he should be a good chance on that alone.” Ferguson’s book:  R1 Boyz Invasion; R2 Razcal Alley; R3 Magic Blaze; R4 Bankers Gold; R5 Apocalypse; R6 Changearound; R7 My Mate Ben; R8 Marianna Bromac; R9 Play Ball. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Breckon Farms bred harness racing stock have a great chance of nabbing another group one race this week, with four of the runners in this Saturday's $500,000 Hunter Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton having been bred at Breckon Farms. Cash N Flow, Triple Eight, My Kiwi Mate and the emergency for the race King of Swing, were all born on the Breckon Farms property and all have their chance in what is an even line up for the 2750 mobile start Group 1 event. Cash N Flow coming off the back of a strong second last week in a quickly run (1-52.7 Mile Rate) Group 2 race is arguably the best chance of the Breckon bred runners. To watch this race click on this link. He has the gate speed to possibly head for the lead and dominate from the front from his barrier draw of five. The Mach Three - Karen Donna gelding has had 19 wins from 51 starts in his race career so far with winning stakes of $348,541. Lots 101 and 106 from the Breckon draft at the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale  at Karaka on the 16th and 17th of February 2020 present an opportunity to purchase a closely related yearling to Cash N Flow. Lot 101 - Dale's Delight Lot 106 - Illavabubbles            

The charmed run of progeny of Muscle Hill continues unabated across Australasian racetracks with the stallion continuing to flex his siring power with victories coming in bunches over the last fortnight and potential riches on the horizon for those he’s sired at upcoming harness racing features.   Recent New Zealand based winners by Muscle Hill have included the royally-bred John and Joshua Dickie trained Daisy Hill who scored by 4 1/2 lengths at Alexandra Park on the 24th of January, Bolt For Brilliance (Harness Jewels winner last season) who extended his record to two wins from just six starts with a win on the 17th of January, and two runners from the Nigel Mcgrath stable who won at different tracks last week with Chloe Rose being too strong at Banks Peninsula on Sunday while One Over Da Son outstayed a nice field to take victory a couple of days prior at Addington Raceway. One Over Da Son will look to continue putting palings on his growing picket-fence form-line (he’s won his last two) at Addington on Friday night.     Recent Australian victories by progeny of Muscle Hill have been spearheaded by arguably the sires Australasian headline-act in Dance Craze. The 6yr old Anton Golino-trained mare accounted for both Tornado Valley and Wobelee in the E B Cochran Trotters Cup at Group 2 level on the 18th of January at Ballarat. To watch Dance Craze win the 2020 E B Cochran Trotters Cup click on this link. To watch Dance Craze win the 2019 "What The Hill" Great Southern Star click on this link. Dance Craze will attempt to defend her Great Southern Star title, a title she won last year by beating out Temporale, on Saturday night at Melton where the mare has drawn the inside of the second row and will follow out Red Hot Tooth. A repeat been-there-done-that performance of last years victory would be some feat indeed with this years field being one of both outstanding depth and quality. All things said and done this latest spate of victories continues to outline just what a magnificent addition Muscle Hill has been to breeding stocks and operations around the world from the time of his racetrack retirement right up until the current day. His progeny winning in excess of $65 million (including ten millionaires) in North America alone so far!  Average earnings per starter is just over $140,000. Muscle Hill will once again be strongly represented at this years 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale with the sire still attracting top-line mares despite only having limited lots in the sale. The three Muscle Hill lots to be offered at Karaka are all offered by Breckon Farms and include- Lot 115, a bay filly ,“My Fear Lady” who is out of former 2yr trotting filly of the year Fear Factor. The yearling looks likely to produce a bit of fear factor herself if her illustrious lineage plays any part in affairs.   Lot 115 - My Fear Lady This well known trotting family has shown a genuine knack for early success on the race track with both Prince Fearless (8 wins including the 2yr old NZ Yearling Sales Series at listed level) and Group 1 Victorian Trotters Derby winner Stress Factor showing that the breed is a genuine threat to all when first hitting the track. That go-early-win-early trend has been marvelously carried on by the Tony Herlihy trained Cheeky Babe (again by Muscle Hill) who went 100% through her first four race day appearances before running a 3rd (first filly home) in the NZ Yearling Sales Open Trot Final behind the Nathan Williamson driven Ultimate Stride. Cheeky Babe is out of a 1/2 sister to My Fear Lady. Lot 64 - Hill Of Grace Another potential star square gaiter by Muscle Hill is found in lot 64 “Hill Of Grace” The filly is out of (Im) Whitney who managed to win 8 times during her career including a win in the Group 3 Northern Trotting Breeders Stakes (when beating out Pretty Sunday) (Im) Whitney also placed in two Group 2 races behind Queen Kenny and All Royal Gal (14 wins, $172’000) Hill Of Grace is the first foal out of Whitney and is sure to carry interest with those interested in an entry into proven trotting bloodlines. Ben McMillan              

By Jonny Turner    Roxburgh trainers Geoff and Jude Knight will attempt to keep their strong run of recent form going at Wyndham today. The husband and wife trainers have been striking at a good rate over the summer months while they juggle racing a small team with their day jobs as rural delivery contractors. The Knights kept their momentum going when the consistent Jacks N Jazz won at big odds at last weekend’s Invercargill Cup meeting. Despite running second in his three starts leading in to the meeting, the 6yr-old scored a $18 win price. Last weekend’s victory was a case of the horse getting the extra ounce of luck he needed to break through for a deserved victory, Geoff Knight said. “He paid huge money considering how he had been going.” “He got a lovely run and that was the difference, really.” The Knights will attempt to cash in again with the three runners they take to Wyndham today. Wolfenstein is in a similar position to what Jack N Jazz was going in to his Ascot Park win ahead of today’s opener. Despite having not missed a top four finish in his past four starts, the pacer was rated a $15 outsider when race 1’s fixed odds market opened, last night. The way the Wolfenstein is working and feeling, that quote might turn out to be good value for punters. “He is thriving at the moment,” Knight said. “He has been a horse hard to keep condition on, but lately he has been better and better.” “It’s partly down to him maturing, but also we treated him for stomach ulcers a while ago.” “Since then he has been a very happy horse.” Wolfenstein beat a field down on form to win his maiden four starts ago, before being competitive while stepping up in company in each run since. “He beat a pretty average field at Forbury, then beat a stronger field in his next start.” “He ran a really good third against a nice field at Cromwell then his fourth at Wyndham last time was pretty good, too.” Delightful Gloria also has her form trending upward ahead of race 6, today. The 4yr-old improved on her fresh up sixth at Cromwell to produce a third at Ascot Park, before winning her last start at Wyndham, recently. Whether she can win again on the track today could depend on where she lands from barrier 1 on the second row, following out the pole-marker, Miss Waikiwi. “She is improving all the time and she is a great follower of speed,” Knight said. “If Miss Waikiwi were to lead and we were to trail, or if we were three back on the markers, she would be a great place chance.” Star Ruler has been in career best form for the Knight stable heading in to race 4. The 6yr-old should get a good run through at the start from barrier 2 on the second row as he follows out one of the likely leaders in Groomsman. “He doesn’t win out of turn as he has only won the one race, but he is in the best form of his career,” Knight said.  “He should be thereabouts in that field.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

If Barry Purdon had been allowed to pick his own draws for A$600,000 worth of races at Melton on Saturday night he would have ended up exactly where he is. Which suggests Mach Shard in the A$500,000 Hunter Cup and Belle Of Montana in the $A$100,000 Ladyship Cup give the training legend a legitimate shot at a huge group one double. Purdon flew into Melbourne yesterday to oversee the final preparations for the pair, one of who will start favourite and the other will go close to that position. Mach Shard has drawn barrier two in one of the most even Hunter Cups of recent years and will have plenty of fans after overcoming a second line draw to win the Casey Classic, the final lead-up at Melton last Saturday. He shares the front line with fellow Kiwi pacers Chase Auckland and Triple Eight while A G’s White Sock’s chances may have taken a hit by him drawing the second line. One of the shocks of the field was former NZ Cup winner Thefixer missing the Hunter and heading to a support race after he disappointed in the Casey last week. “Barrier two looks ideal, you would take that every day of the week,” said Purdon of Mach Shard’s draw. “He should be handy in the running line from there and he was very strong to the line last week so I think he has a real chance.” Mach Shard has been one of the constant improvers of the open class pacing season, finishing second in the Inter Dominion Final at Alexandra Park, and consistently hitting the line well. Unless driver Zachary Butcher elects to try and cross to a leading or trailing position early, Mach Shard looks set to be handy in the running line on what should be a good tempo and has been elevated right into the top chances in the race. But as good a chance as he is, Belle Of Montana is clearly Purdon’s best hope on the night returning to the track where she won the Victoria Oaks last season. She has barrier one in the $100,000 Ladyship Cup and Purdon says that is perfect as she has the speed to use it. “She can get off the gate well and it gives Zac options,” said Purdon. Her gate speed will be aided by Purdon leaving hopple shorteners in for the outstanding mare even though a malfunction from them caused her to gallop twice on New Years Eve. “That was just one of those things that day,” says Purdon. New Zealand will also have huge representation in the A$250,000 Great Southern Star where the key talking point is Natalie Rasmussen replacing partner Mark Purdon as the driver of Oscar Bonavena. Oscar Bonavena recorded his worst career performance in the Dullard Cup last Saturday and Purdon thinks he left the high-class trotter short of race fitness, something he has promised to fix for this Saturday. But he will still leave Rasmussen to drive him, Chase Auckland in the Hunter Cup and Smooth Deal in a support race after nothing seemed to go right for the stable last Saturday. Oscar Bonavena has drawn barrier four, which is good but not great as Inter Dominion champion Tornado Valley is drawn directly inside him and looks certain to lead so the young star is going to need to come from behind some serious horses if he is to make the Great Southern Star his first major career win.The fields for the two major group ones out of Melton on Saturday night is.—   Race 6, 10.32pm NZ time, A$250,000 What The Hill Great Southern Star, 2760m mobile.— Red Hot Tooth (1), Massive Metro (2), Tornado Valley (3), Oscar Bonavena (4), Sky Petite (5), Sundons Courage (6), Tough Monarch (7), Dance Craze (8), Margaret Ruth (9), Majestic Man (10), McLovin (11), Temporale (12), Wobelee (13).   Race 8, 11.30pm, A$500,000 Hunter Cup, 2760m mobile.— Alta Orlando (1), Mach Shard (2), King Of Swing (3), Chase Auckland (4), Cash N Flow (5), Triple Eight (6), Lochinvar Art (7), Our Uncle Sam (8), Code Bailey (9), Bling It On (10), A G’s White Socks (11), San Carlo (12), My Kiwi Mate (13).   Michael Guerin

Debbie and Mark Smith have been preparing yearlings for the National Sales on and off since 2000. They calculate they’ve had 59 yearlings through the ring so far, and next month they’ll be presenting ten – their biggest draft to date.  A far cry from twenty years ago when their first yearling was presented by then first season sire Live Or Die. He was small and nuggety and sold for $10,000. “The first to have a look at him was Mark Purdon. Mark said at the time “He certainly hasn’t missed a feed,” said Debbie. The proceeds of that first sale were used to buy Soky’s Atom mare Sly Soky and with her their breeding dynasty began. “The mare came south in foal to Panaroma. That foal was Sly Shard which won four races when trained by Doug McLachlan. She eventually broke down with an eight centimetre tear in her tendon,” said Debbie. From the foals of Sly Shard and her daughters the Smiths have had a tremendous run of success starting with multiple Group winner Smiling Shard. “When Smiling Shard was a yearling I got a call from Wai Eyre Farm saying that the mare (Sly Shard) was starting to bust her ligaments around her stomach. The stud asked if I wanted to save the mare or the foal. I told them the mare. The foal (by Christian Cullen) had to be put down. They did an autopsy on him and he had a growth on his bladder,” Debbie said. But luckily for the Smiths the Standardbred Industry allowed AI and ET, and all of Sly Shards foals are produced that way. “They flush an embryo out of her every year and most years she gives us one egg. This year she got in foal in October to Bettor’s Delight so she’s going to give us our earliest foal next season.” Debbie and Mark have been in Southland for over twenty years on a small holding at Myross Road just out of Invercargill. “When we came to Southland twenty two years ago Debbie said we should buy a house with some land. We started off with ten acres and Debbie’s riding horse. I used to muck out every day with beautiful piles of dung,” said Mark when talking about his introduction to the horse world. The Shard name comes from wine but for commercial reasons it’s spelt differently. “I liked wine at the time. It was as simple as changing the Chard to a Shard,” Debbie said. Mark and Debbie are proud of their success. From small drafts they’ve done well, particularly in the last few years. Mach Shard has been their sale topper at $200,000 followed by $170,000 for The Shard last year. Other big sales include Mr Presley for $105,000, Mighty Shard for $100,000 and Romeo Shard $100,000. “The Shard has been renamed Vanquish Stride. Ray Green really likes him,” said Mark. But it’s the $200,000 sale of Mach Shard that remains vivid in Mark’s memory. “He had a $45,000 reserve. We didn’t really know what he would sell for and we had a lot of people look at him. I was standing there with Ben Calder. The sound system in those days wasn’t very good so I asked Ben to confirm that the price was at $120,000. It kept going up and I saw Ray Green give the five signal which made it $195,000. Then from the other side of the arena Barry Purdon took it to $200,000. You just floated out of the arena. It’s an amazing feeling.” That sale helped pay for a family holiday to Europe following their daughter Georgia who was part of the New Zealand Under 19 Women’s Rowing Team which was racing in Rotterdam. “It was great. We were able to follow her because of Mach Shard,” Debbie said. Mach Shard as he presented as a yearling Mach Shard has won eight races, his latest being the $50,000 Group Two Allied Express Casey Classic over 2240 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday 25th January. His winning time was 2-36.8 a mile rate of 1-52.7. This brings his stakes total to $321,413. The sale of the first foal out of Pemberton Shard was also a thrill. “When he came back from Macca Lodge he was a long leggy colt but we insured him for $50,000 straight away. We normally wait two or three months before insuring them just to see what they look like,” said Mark. “Even before that Brent McIntyre (Macca Lodge) said he wanted him off the property because he was too valuable.” Among the highs, naturally there have been some lows. “We bought back Dawn Maree Shard (Christian Cullen – She’s Mighty) at $85,000. We syndicated her and gave her to Dean Taylor to break in, but we got a phone call one day to say she was rolling round in the paddock with a twisted bowel. We had to put her down,” said Mark. Debbie says not only is Southland a great place to rear horses, it also has strong community support. “Southland has a sense of community that you don’t get in the big cities. Southern Harness has done a great job. They’ve done a lot of what HRNZ couldn’t do. They’ve got people that think strategically. The opportunities for average horses are quite good in Southland.” Outside their passion for horses, Mark and Debbie both have jobs. Debbie is a Senior Technical Manager at Silver Ferns Deer Plant just down the road starting at 5:30am and finishing at 3pm. “There’s only 55 people working there and it’s a family atmosphere which I enjoy. It fits in with what I’m doing here.” Mark is also up early, he has a bread run, requiring him to be up at 2.00am and is normally home between 8.00 and 9.00am. “I read the paper, have a cup of tea then I get onto the list of jobs Debbie has left me. I cross them off from the top but there’s another five added to the bottom.” Over the years the Smith have not only prepped their own yearlings, they’ve also taken in outside horses. Long-time Southland breeder Russell Morton has provided them with colts most of the past fifteen years, whilst Michael Turner, Aveross and Jaccka horses have also featured on their books. “Michael just sends his horses down here after weaning. He bred Eloquent Mach which won $150,000 in Australia and is away to America.” This year of the ten yearlings being offered at the Sale, seven are from their own mares and the other three are from well-known Southland Breeder Vin Devery. The Smiths are especially excited by one of the Devery horses – an Art Major colt out Christian Dreamer named Dream Breaker. He’s a half-brother to big winners Chase The Dream and classy three year old filly Amazing Dream. Dream Breaker (lot 356) Photo supplied “He’s quite fine boned compared to other Art Majors. He’s got good conformation and it looks as though he’ll run as a young horse. He’s a pleasure to have round the stable and is easy to handle. He’s actually ready to go to the Sales right now,” said Mark. Perhaps the pick of their own horses is Bettor’s Delight filly Moet Shard. She’s the second foal out of Pemberton Shard. Moet Shard (Lot 243) Photo supplied. “She’s a big strong filly. As a young horse she was headstrong which is not a bad thing for mares. She’s beautifully put together,” said Mark. Another one being offered by Vin and Daphne Devery and the Estate of Alan Blackler and Phillipa is an Art Major filly out of seven win Badland’s Hanover mare Natal Franco. “She’s a fine looking animal with presence.” Mark is also excited about a Bettor’s Delight filly out of Western Ideal mare Priscilla Shard. Priscilla Shard is a daughter of their other foundation mare She’s Mighty. “We expect her to grow a bit in the next month. Brent Mangos has broken in the full-brother, given him a couple of preps and loves him to bits. We hope to see him as a two year old at Easter.” In the sales business it’s all about timing and Christian Cullen mare Lady Gaga’s two year old filly Shard’s In Manhattan recently qualified for Canterbury trainers Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon. The Smiths have a Bettor’s Delight half-brother to her ready to sell. Lochart Shard (Bettor’s Delight – Lady Gaga colt) Lot 187 – Photo supplied “He’s magnificent and a very compact colt.” Mark also expects there to be strong interest in their Art Major colt out of Shards Echo (Changeover – Sly Shard). They own Shard’s Echo with Invercargill Real Estate agent Neil Van Schaik. Her first foal, also by Art Major, Soho Whisper, has won three races in Western Australia. “He’s (Van Shard) a big boy with perfect conformation. It’s hard to say but he may not run early as he’s a big boned horse.” Van Shard (lot 271) Photo supplied. Up and coming sire He’s Watching has a Shards Of Myross filly as part of the Smith draft. “She’s a cool wee filly. Bob Butt bought her half-brother by Sportswriter. He loves him and he’ll probably be running round as a two year old.” Prominent Australia buyer Jean Feiss visited Shard Farm recently and Mark said she took a liking to the Bettor’s Delight- Sly Shard filly (Lexie Shard). “Jean said ‘you’ve got a nice filly there.” Lexie Shard (Lot 303) – Photo supplied Mach Shard’s win in Australia will certainly help sell this filly. Others in the draft include a Sweet Lou colt out of All Time Glory and a Bettor’s Delight colt out of Follow The Dream. “He looks like he’ll run at two like the rest of the family does.” Long term, Debbie has expressed an interest in preparing yearlings full time. That would mean extending the stable, re-fencing, or perhaps finding a new property. She says a number of Southern Breeders have expressed an interested in sending their yearlings to her to prepare, and she says she’d like to handle up to twelve quality yearlings. Mark is confident his wife will do a great job. He says she’s renowned for feeding both the mothers and the foals well. “When there’s more grass around we just button back on the hard feed,” said Debbie. “By three grains of barley,” added Mark with laughter. The Smiths are currently breeding from eleven mares and they have thirty horses on their books between Macca Lodge and Shard Farm. No doubt once the Sales are completed there’ll be fewer horses for a time, until spring when the foals replenish the stock, and another chapter of Shard Farm unfolds. Debbie and Mark Smith with the trophies after Sly Shard was added the Southland  Elite Mare Honours Board at the 2017 Southland Harness Awards   By Bruce Stewart

Manawatu Harness Racing Club - 31st January Every trainer lining up a runner will be in the draw for an over 50% discount voucher for a set of X FLO Wheels rrp $1,900 from the Sulky Shop Cambridge. Winner will be drawn on the night. Geraldine Trotting Club - 1st February The Geraldine Trotting Club meeting is the first meeting of the Team Teal Campaign in New Zealand. Donation buckets and merchandise will be available on the day to purchase. Please see attached a poster in regards to the Orari Challenge Stakes Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club - 2nd February The Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club holds its annual harness race meeting at the Otaki Maori Racecourse on Sunday 2nd February 2020. Gates open 10am, first race held just after ‘noon’. There will be a nine race programme. The only harness racing event to take place in the Wellington Region annually. A feature on Sunday February 2nd is the recently reintroduced Wellington Trotting Cup, standing start 3000 metres. This time honoured event once raced for by open class pacers at Hutt Park. The Taranaki Kidz Kartz will be in attendance with some very competitive races between these young people, the future of our industry. Patrons are encouraged to be on-course to participate in the All-Up Place Competition with a $500 prize up for grabs, for 5 place selections in a row with a $20 entry [all entries placed on the tote, and all successful keep their winnings]. Another feature race at the Inter Island Summer Festival Raceday, on February 2nd is the $12,000 Otaki Cup run over 3000 metres from a stand for the pacers. This year featuring locally owned horse ‘The Kapiti Express’, a syndicated horse raced by many members and supporters of the Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club. Taranaki Kidz Kartz will provide free sulky rides, along with plenty of other free activities for the children, including a bouncy castle, face painting, fun run events, treasure hunts, pony rides and much more. On-course entertainment will include live music and ‘Flash Dancing’ displays. A family fun community event, harness racing not to be missed on the Kapiti Coast. Competitive stakes, and very competitive racing on a grass track surface. Come early, bring a picnic basket, enjoy an afternoon in the sun on the grassed area on one of the most picturesque racecourses in New Zealand…. Otaki Maori Racecourse. Amberley Trotting Club - 6th February Once again the Amberley Trotting Club are holding their annual InterIslander Summer Festival race meeting on Waitangi Day, Thursday February 6th. As per last year we will again be racing on the grass surface and will cater for all grades including $10,000 Non winners and $12,000 intermediate grades and also the $14,000 Valley Inn Tavern R51 & faster Discretionary 2600m Handicap Trot and the $20,000 Rangiora Equine Services Amberley Cup R63 & faster Discretionary 2600m Handicap Pace. We will again run the $500.00 breeders bonus as per the conditions set out in the Programming section. This year will also see the introduction of the Sunny Glenis Reward for the trotting races carded on the day, which are the Non win trot, the R40 to 50 trot and the R51 and faster trot. This will consist of a one off $1000,00 payment to the connections of the winners of each of the trotting race. This is a fantastic gesture from a sponsor who is keen to help support the squaregaiters. We are also pleased to welcome aboard Dunstan Feeds who will donate a bag of feed to the winning trainer of each of the races. The Amberley committee welcome not only the Trainers and Drivers on the race day but also the owners and as such along with the fantastic stakes, the winning owner in each race will take home a trophy, a bottle of wine, and a set of coasters with pictures of their horse winning ,so they have something to remember the occasion by. Along with the racing side of things we also have a day filled with activities and competitions for both young and old alike, so this is a great opportunity for trainers to encourage their owners and families to come out and experience country racing at its best. Alexandra Park: The Great Kiwi BBQ Nothing says traditional Kiwi summer like a BBQ! On Friday 7th February from 5.30pm at Alexandra Park, you can enjoy racing action, a bottomless Kiwi BBQ feast, beverage packages that will quench your thirst for the entire evening and a casual but lively social atmosphere complemented by the tunes of a live performer! Sound like a bit of you? Click here to book now! Alexandra Park’s Summer Carnival: Oaks and Derby Oaks and Derby combines premiere racing action, fashion, entertainment plus bottomless dining and beverage packages across two days in February and March. In addition, Alexandra Park is supporting the Teal Pants Campaign with various activations happening at Oaks Night! Save when you buy a Summer Carnival Pass which gets you into both events! We recommend booking sooner rather than later as prime seating is being sold as a first come, first serve basis. Click here to find out more information and to book your tickets! Alexandra Park’s Owners Night Retail therapy? Valentines gift? Why not buy a horse? If you’ve ever considered ownership, then Alexandra Park’s Owners Night from 5.30pm on Friday 14th February in the Tasman Room is where you’ve got to be! Entry is FREE, so it’s the perfect way to find out more on how to break into the harness racing industry, by mixing and mingling with other owners here on the night. Our MC will be drawing prizes throughout the night while you enjoy delicious food from the Lyell Creek Lounge located on the same floor with an open cash bar. We hope to see you there! Register your interest by contacting Karen Blanchard on 027 808 3150 or by emailing karen.blanchard@alexandrapark.nz Ladies Night at Cambridge Raceway - Friday February 21st Get your gal pals together for a very special edition of our popular Friday Night's Under The Lights series in support of Team Teal. $5 from every ticket will be donated to the Team Teal campaign - a NZ Harness Racing initiative where all female drivers in New Zealand wear teal coloured driving pants to help raise funds and awareness for Ovarian Cancer. The evening will also feature the inaugural running of the $30,000 Waikato Trotting Breeders' Stakes (2700m) for fillies and mares. VIP TICKETS are only $49 EACH (use code: "teamteal" for a $10 discount) Ticket price includes: 1x glass of bubbles on arrival, $30 food voucher, $5 betting, race book, 1x drink voucher (wine, beer or non-alcoholic beverage only) and & goodie bag. ENTRY TICKET $10 EACH Ticket price includes race book + drink (beer wine or non-alcoholic). For more info on this event or to book tickets please click on this link

Somewhere in Tony Herlihy’s harness racing stable there’s a calendar with a big red circle around the months of December and January and the words “Dina Brown” scribbled all over it. There has to be! The daughter of Bettor’s Delight has made the summer months her own in recent weeks bringing up two wins and three minor placings in her last six starts. This strong run of form started on the 13th of December with a mile-distance second to The Paua Diver at Alexandra Park and was quickly followed by a gallant second to Fabrizio when gearing up to celebrate the end of the year on the 31st of December. Her form obviously wasn’t effected by any 2020 celebratory hangover with a comfortable win accomplished at Cambridge on the 5th of January when driven by junior driver Taitlyn Hanara.    Her latest trip into the birdcage for photos being an emphatic four length romp at Alexandra Park on the 24th of January when setting a sound pace and running away from race rivals at the top of the straight. The overall time of 2.41.4 over the 2200m mobile completed without the use of the persuader. This run of consistent winning form mimics an initial 3yr old campaign which saw Dina Brown win or place in three from her four starts over the same December-January period. While the mare does seem to have penchant for sun-god worship it’s also worth remembering that she’s been able to foot it in all conditions with a third placing in the 3yo Diamond at last seasons Harness Jewels behind none other than Princess Tiffany and race winner Belle Of Montana. The performance, albeit aided by the inside draw, came on an easy Addington track that had been the victim of heavy rains the night before. The recent race record of Dina Brown is starting to deliver on a strong family tradition, that of winning. Her dam Pullover Brown (12 wins, $333,000) left fields in her wake during the early 2000’s with notable victories coming in the form of an NZ Oaks title alongside a truly successful Australian campaign that included wins in the Victorian Oaks, Australian Oaks (5 length winner over the Maurice Mckendry driven Classical) and a Breeders Crown 3yr old Fillies Final title captured at Bendigo. Pullover Brown, herself a full sister to the sub-1.50 pacer Montecito, has also been able to add a well coiled broodmare-string to her bow leaving serial Australian winner In Runaway Bay (39 wins, $279’000) and Dina Bolt, who placed in the Group 2 2yo Classic behind Virgil at Invercargill in April of last year and currently has two wins from just eight race-day starts.   The next “Pullover-production” is due to to be offered at the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka on the 16th of February. Coming out of the Breckon Farms draft Lot 19, a son of American Ideal, carries the name American Conqueror and will no doubt have his fair share of ability. Lot 19 - American Conqueror His favourite time of year is yet to be determined…           Ben McMillan

The North Island Junior Drivers have all come together to support the Team Teal Campaign.  Each time a North Island Junior Driver wins a race in the North Island during the Campaign (1st February to 15th March) all of the Junior Drivers in the North Island will donate $5 to the cause.  Currently we have 13 North Island Junior Drivers so every time they win a race we see $65 donated to Team Teal.  Initially, Zev Meredith and one of our North Island Ambassadors Alicia Harrison worked together to come up with ways for the male Junior Drivers to be involved in the campaign, once all the Juniors got talking about it they all agreed that the whole group would like to be donating and be involved. "It's great to be able to support a good cause "said Zev. With two Junior races programmed in the North Island during the campaign, Team Teal are guaranteed at least $130 towards the cause from the drivers.    Harness Racign New Zealand

The latest gavelhouse.com Standardbred auction is set to close tonight with 8 of the 28 Lots on offer on the market as of Wednesday morning. The catalogue includes a quality selection of 11 foals from Woodlands Stud as well as tried and untried racing stock and four broodmares.  Bidding is set to close, starting with Lot 1, from 7pm on Wednesday 29 January. Bidding tips Make sure you're registered and your account is set up properly well before the auction is set to close.  Each auction will auto-extend by adding extra time on if a bid is placed in the final 30 seconds. This will happen indefinitely until no further bids are placed and will also add more time onto each of the subsequent Lots.  Use auto-bids to take the stress out of the final countdown and use the refresh button to make sure your page is keeping up with the live auction. If you have any questions about the bidding process please call 09 296 4436 VIEW FULL CATALOGUE Featured Lots Lot 1 DOWNBY THESEASIDE colt Colt out of the American Ideal mare American Grace, making him closely related to Pacing Grace, Jessie's Cullen, Pacing Major, All U Need Is Faith, Linda Lovegrace, Im A Gigolo and many more. This colt is by the newest sire to the join the Woodlands Stud Stallion roster, Downbytheseaside. He is a sire with a staggering race track record – 35 starts for 22 wins and 10 placings and over $2.1 million in earnings. He took a 1.48.6 race record and was USTA 3yo of the year in 2017 over Huntsville and Fear The Dragon. He was the best of his division before retiring sound and serving two quality books of mares in 2018/19 and 2019/20.  Sire: Downbytheseaside Dam: American Grace Seller: Woodlands Location: Auckland VIEW ONLINE Lot 4 DOWNBY THESEASIDE filly This filly is by the newest sire to join the Woodlands Stud Stallion roster, Downbytheseaside. He is a sire with a staggering race track record for the ages – 35 starts for 22 wins and 10 placings and over $2.1 million in earnings. He took a 1.48.6 race record and was USTA 3yo of the year in 2017 over Huntsville and Fear The Dragon. He was the best of his division before retiring sound and serving two quality books of mares in 2018/19 and 2019/20.  Sire: Downbytheseaside Dam: Divine Seller: Woodlands Location: Auckland VIEW ONLINE Lot 6 DOWNBY THESEASIDE filly Filly out of a six-win American Ideal mare and by the newest sire to stand at Woodlands Stud, Downbytheseaside. He is a sire with a staggering race track record for the ages – 35 starts for 22 wins and 10 placings and over $2.1 million in earnings. He took a 1.48.6 race record and was USTA 3yo of the year in 2017 over Huntsville and Fear The Dragon. He was the best of his division before retiring sound and serving two quality books of mares in 2018/19 and 2019/20.  Sire: Downbytheseaside Dam: Idealistic Seller: Woodlands Location: Auckland VIEW ONLINE Lot 7 WHAT THE HILL filly This filly is by the newest trotting sire at Woodlands Stud, What The Hill. He is a champion son of trotting sensation Muscle Hill, out of a full-sister to Majestic Son. He earned $1.34 million in stakes and took a 1.51.4 record and was the 3YO of his year after defeating the older horses in the TVG including millionaire Crazy Wow. He has served a number of quality mares down under in the last two seasons.  Sire: What The Hill Dam: Miss Continental Seller: Woodlands Location: Auckland VIEW ONLINE Lot 10 DOWNBYTHE SEASIDE colt Colt out of a Bettor's Delight mare and by the newest sire to the World Class Woodlands Stud Stallion roster, Downbytheseaside. He is a sire with a staggering race track record for the ages – 35 starts for 22 wins and 10 placings and over $2.1 million in earnings. He took a 1.48.6 race record and was USTA 3yo of the year in 2017 over Huntsville and Fear The Dragon. He was the best of his division before retiring sound and serving two quality books of mares in 2018/19 and 2019/20.  Sire: Downbytheseaside Dam: Supreme Brigade Seller: Woodlands Location: Auckland VIEW ONLINE

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