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The opportunity to work with some of the world’s best trotting stallions and mares and to leave New Zealand’s handicapping system well behind him are the reasons Sean McCaffrey will leave Cambridge in the middle of next month (March). The Waikato horseman has been living in Cambridge for 50 years, but said the lure to be farm manager at Pat Driscoll’s Yabby Dam Farms in Ballarat, Victoria, was too great. “I went to the Sales with Pat last September and built up a good rapport with him. Then not long ago he asked me if I wanted to relocate to his magnificent farm and after some thought my wife, Joanne, and I agreed to move. McCaffrey said Anton Golino would continue as head trainer, while he would manage the 720 acre (almost 300 hectares) farm as well as conditioning the young horses at Yabby Dam Farms. “I will retain my property in Cambridge and Ross Payne will take over our team of about 15. It’s a good opportunity for him and he has the support of our owners. My wife will follow me once the loose ends have been tied up,” he said. McCaffrey, who is 57, has lived in Cambridge since he was seven. He said he had trained some very nice horses over the years, but the best of them was the 28-win ($780,386) multiple Group One winning trotter, Sovereignty. All up he has trained 442 winners ($3.7m) from 1986 to 2016 and 40 ($366,076) more with Ross Paynter this season and last. He’s also trained about 50 others overseas taking his tally well beyond the 500 mark. In the sulky McCaffrey saluted the judge 134 times ($903,524) between 1983 and 2017. However he wasn't always the stable's number one driver, often preferring to use Maurice McKendry. McCaffrey said he was looking forward to working for O’Driscoll’s elaborate and state-of-the-art Yabby Dam Farms. “I’m excited because I’ll be working with some of the best possible horse-flesh you could get. Pat has lured the best stallions and mares from all around the world,” he said. O'Driscoll said it was great to have someone with McCaffrey's experience on board. He said he would compliment the professionalism he had at his Farm. “The trotting world was undergoing something of a revolution as the best bloodlines of Europe and North America combined to produce horses of superior gait, outstanding speed and enhanced stamina. "Our mission is to provide Australian and New Zealand breeders with access to the best and most modern trotting bloodlines available in the world,” O’Driscoll said. He said his philosophy remains to continually evaluate and source the best available trotting genetics from around the globe and to make those genetics available to our clients, to assist them in breeding world-class Trotters in Australia and New Zealand." O’Driscoll said he had been busy over the past 12 months, having built the training and breeding facility in Ballarat, where we stand our French group winning stallion Used to Me. "Our roster of immaculately bred, race performed French stallions have continued to increasingly be influential with Love You being named ‘New Zealand Trotting Stallion of the Year’ and his son Monbet being crowned ‘New Zealand Horse of the Year’. "How can you not be excited about working with quality horse-flesh like that? That’s not forgetting the world-class 50 or 60 mares Pat also has on his property. “Sure the handicapping debacle was a reason why I’m leaving but the lure of Yabby Dam Farms and its state-of-the-art professionalism was the main reason,” McCaffrey said. Some of those mares include: La Coocaracha, Showmethemaori, La Biscuit, Donegal Flat, Calder Luck, Glenferrie Elixir, and from New Zealand - Kincaslough, Arboe, and Parisian Chic. Their best colt or gelding so far is the 17-win Ganymede (France) - Showmethemaori gelding, Vincennes. Duane Ranger

Two lots, one after the other, went a long way to holding the head of yesterday’s first day of selling in Christchurch, at the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sales, above the water. The consecutive offerings, which sold for a combined total of $345,000, sparked a bit of life into a sale which up until that point had ebbed and flowed at a vicious rate as vendors and buyers struggled to find a common ground on which to meet and cut a deal. Again it was an Australian influence that led to the biggest sale of the day with Emilio and Mary Rosati going big to secure a Bettor’s Delight colt from the Spreydon Lodge mare, San Rafaella, for an impressive $190,000 after an opening bid of $100,000 was received for the colt. That was followed immediately by Cran Dalgety getting himself in on some of the action as he went to $155,000 to get the next set of legs that walked into the ring - Rocknroll Arden’s first foal, a colt by Art Major. After a quiet day at Karaka on Monday, Dalgety who is one of the sales most frequent buyers, stretched the wallet a little further yesterday purchasing four lots - including a standout colt by Roll With Joe who he purchased for $54,000. “I was drawn to him straight away,” Dalgety said of the son of Roll With Joe. “He’s a standout colt for sure.” After a mixed review from Karaka on Monday, where the well-bred sold well and those not so fortunate on the breeding page struggled there was plenty of anticipation about the Riding for the Disabled Arena at the Christchurch Showgrounds. Without putting some icing sugar on top of things to make it seem pretty, the day felt like a constant battle with lots frequently passed in and struggling to meet reserves with plenty of attendees from all walks of the industry airing their frustrations. With a clearance rate of just over 72 per cent though, it would appear the majority of vendors were content with what they received for their offerings, although the average of more than $10,700 is a major concern from the perspective of the studs who have to market their lesser claimed stallions against the powerhouses. All totaled 112 of the 154 lots offered were sold with 42 passed in although many were later sold through deals after the time in the ring. Reg Caldow was one who was all smiles as his Bettor’s Delight colt from Star Of Venus was purchased for $110,000. Jean Feiss, who grabbed Monday’s top lot for $220,000, purchased the colt with it almost a certainty he will join the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen stable. Purdon himself went to $90,000 to secure the full-brother to exciting pacer, Rakapuka Ruler while All Stars owners, Phil and Glenys Kennard purchased the next three top lots for the day including the full-brother to current top three-year-old Ultimate Machete for $85,000. “We missed out on one we really wanted at Auckland, so to get what we purchased today is really pleasing,” Phil Kennard said. “Ultimate Machete’s brother will be owned by the Major Mark group who own Ultimate Machete and we also picked up a Bettor’s Delight colt from My Style for the group who own Lazarus.” The top trotting lot for the day was $55,000 which Nigel McGrath paid for a Muscle Hill colt from Majestic Kenny. Selling resumes at lunchtime today with a further 160 lots to be sold. Matt Markham

The latest harness racing star to come out of the John and Katrina Price Winton stable Chicago Bull, is now doing a fantastic job in Western Australia for trainer Gary Hall. The diminutive gelding was bred by Roger, Helen, John and Katrina Price from their Christian Cullen mare Chicago Blues which they bought off Aidan Johnstone for $40,000 at the 2008 Yearling Sales. Chicago Blues is from the famed Black Watch family and her dam Bluejeanbabyqueen is by Jenna’s Beach Boy out of the nine win Vance Hanover mare Pacific Flight whose wins included the 1993 New Zealand Oaks. She then went on to have a successful racing career in America winning a further thirty eight races and recording a mile time of 1-51.2. Bluejeanbabyqueen despite her international pedigree didn’t reach any great heights on the race track. She started her career in America in 2004 before she came to New Zealand where David and Catherine Butt took over her training. Her only win was at Wyndham in March 2016. Chicago Blues is Bluejeanbabyqueen’s first foal and one of only two winners from her eight live foals. “We were interested in her (Chicago Blues) but she was passed in. She wasn’t a big filly. It was Aidan Johnstone who sold her. He had a terrible sale that year. One other yearling that he had which was probably going to fetch a bit slipped over on the concrete and broke a pelvis. She (Chicago Blues) went early in the sale but after that I guess he was keen to sell because he hadn’t had a very lucky sale at all.” Katrina said. Consequently Chicago Blues was bought by the Prices privately a week later. “We always wanted something out of the Black Watch family and she was one that we targeted for that reason.” Looking back into Chicago Blues pedigree; as well as leaving Bluejeansbabyqueen, Pacific Flight also left the unbeaten Sirius Flight (The Big Dog) which won five of its five starts in America. Chicago Blues third dam is Significant which has made a major contribution to the New Zealand breeding scene. She’s left winners of 104 races with her biggest winners being Pacific Flight (47 wins) and The Unicorn (29). Sirius Flight after her stint in America went to stud in New Zealand where she has left Malak Uswaad (9 wins) and Timeless Perfection (6 NZ wins). She’s owned by Cavalla Bloodstock and they continue to breed from her. They offered a colt foal by Raging Bull out of Lady Moonlight (Sands A Flyin – Sirius Flight) at last year’s Yearling Sales which was bought by Chrissie Dalgety for $27,000. Commentator Mark McNamara and Cavalla Bloodstock are breeding from another one of Sirius Flight’s daughters Miss Moonlight Shadow (Christian Cullen). Her son Schweinsteiger by Falcon Seelster was purchased by the owners of Franco Ledger – the Whatever Syndicate,and Hamish Hunter for $16,000, also at last year’s sales. But back to Chicago Blues.As a racehorse she showed potential. “She had a lot of ability but she had a few problems as well. She used to lock on and hang very badly. As a four year old she used to tie up really badly. We only had her right a couple of times. One of those days she ran a super second to Malak Uswaad at Winton when those two cleared out from the field. She was hormonal and always in season so we had to make the decision to quit,” said Katrina. “She showed a lot of speed when we first broke her in,” added John. It was just a matter of slowing her down.” At the end of her racing career Chicago Blues was sent up to Cran Dalgetys. “She just wouldn’t go for him because she just kept hanging so we brought her home,” said Katrina. So twenty three starts yielded three wins, two seconds and a third. She was sent to Bettor’s Delight to begin her stud career. Her first foal Chicago Bull was born on the 14th October 2014. “He was small but nuggety so he got the nickname Bull straight away,” said Katrina.  We castrated him early because Peter Williams said “I think you should cut him. It might help him grow,” said John. He never did grow much and for a start there were reservations about him even making it as a racehorse. “He wasn’t a natural at the start. He just wouldn’t pace at all. I was going to give up on him but John had another go and the day he started pacing he was just off.” It was then that he started to show real potential. “Up here at Winton one day be worked 2-04 one day, half in 56 in September and did it on his ear. The year before we’d had Democrat Party and we thought he was as good as her at the same stage,” stated John.  I’ve had other horses that have felt good until you hit top speed. Whereas he never felt good until you hit that top speed. The faster you went the bigger he felt,” said Katrina. He won at Winton twice as a two year old and buyer interest began to heighten but his size was putting some off. “They’d ring up and say they’d checked him and he was too small. The guy that wanted him originally from Perth said he wasn’t good enough for him. He ended up buying another horse that’s gone no good,” Katrina said. Chicago Bull finished his two year old season by running seventh in the Two Year Old Emerald at Ashburton behind Lazarus. His time for the 1609 metres that day was 1-53.7 and he was less than five lengths from the winner. He was then sold to clients of Gary Hall Senior’s stable in West Australia. “It was a strong crop that year with horses like Lazarus. He ran home in better than 25 that day when he came along the rails. That’s what sold him really. They bought him a week after that,” said John. North Island bloodstock agent Peter Blanchard did the deal. “He was a neat wee horse to work with. He was always on your side. As far as a two year old goes whatever we asked him to do at home he never ever stop trying and he was always hitting the line really strongly,” said Katrina. “At home I always thought we never got to the bottom of him. He always had his knockers because he was so small and you were always worried that he’d reach his limit quickly. He’s in the right spot at Gloucester Park. He just seems to like that track.” His Australian record is impeccable - sixteen wins, three seconds and four thirds from twenty three starts. Chicago Bull His wins include the Group One West Australian Derby, Group One McInerney Ford Four Year Old Classic and $450,000 Group One West Australian Pacing Cup. He has now won $854,314. Chicago Blues continues to be bred from, producing a colt by Somebeachsomewhere named Maliblu Beach and a two year old filly by Rock N Roll Heaven.   “He (Maliblu Beach) was just the complete opposite in every respect to Bull. He was huge, ugly, slow and dirty, said Katrina.                                                                                                 “We roped him so many times but he’d still kick you so he’s not around.” added John.  The two year old Rock N Roll Heaven filly appears to be better. “She’s really big. She’s done a bit and is a nice filly but she’s in the paddock.” And the good news is that Chicago Blues has just had a colt by Bettor’s Delight making him a full brother to Chicago Bull. And she’s returning to that sire. “We want a colt. Don’t want fillies. We had a run where we had 23 foals and we had 21 fillies. We really want colts,” said John. Although the Prices are having a quiet time on the training front there are plenty more foals to be broken in and tried and certainly some rich pedigrees to match up with the wide array of stallions available. Chicago Bull still has plenty of racing ahead of him and the Prices will no doubt continue to watch a bit of late night Trackside as he tends to do most of his racing in Western Australia. And despite his diminutive stature he’s proof that size doesn’t matter.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Our Sky Major (formerly Sky Major) has won his first race in Canada – just a couple of months after he and trainer Duane Marfisi arrived in back in his homeland of Canada. The 6-year-old Art Major - Sky Beauty (by In The Pocket), who was the 4/5 favourite, won on debut in the hands of Doug McNair on Sunday (NZ time) in two degree temperatures - in 1:50.2. Starting from the outside arm (nine of nine) Our Sky Major N hit the lead down the back straight and then left his eight opponents to it winning by one-and-three quarter lengths from five-to-one shot Carraco Hanover (6) and Sylvain Filion. There was five-and-a-quarter lengths back to 10-to-one prospect Sportsmanship (1) and Andrew Macdonald in third. His sectionals were 12.4, 26.3, 56.1, 1:22.4, 1:50.2. The $16,000 Mobile Mile was for pacers who have not won in Canada in their last five starts and earned $9,000 or less - or for pacers who haven't won in their last 10 starts and have earned $18,000 or less. Marfisi, who was stable foreman at Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s barn in Rolleston for three seasons was as he put it: ‘ absolutely rapt’. “I am very pleased with his progress and the win just capped it all off. He was a wee bit afraid of the snow when he first saw it piled up. “I tip my hat to Barry Purdon. It's easy to work with a horse that has been educated perfectly. He is one of the most intelligent horses I have ever worked with!” Marfisi said. Marfisi said Sky Major went into the race after winning his second qualifier by 18 lengths, pacing the mile in 1:56. “In his first trial he was second to another former Kiwi, Brilliant Strike, who is trained by another former New Zealander, Tony O'Sullivan. "The big horse ate up as fast as he raced. Trevor (Casey) and I went over the stakes and we have staked him to a lot of great aged pacing races. It's exciting to think you have a player!" said Marfisi, who has trained more than 300 winners in Canada. He said Sky Major flew over on October 23 and went straight to Blairwood Farms for a fortnight before being shipped to a former employee of his for his jog prep. "I arrived on December 15 and started to apply the 'Allstars' fast-work program and it has worked a treat. 'Sky' is still a tad fat, and a bit blown up over the back, so better things are still to come," Marfisi said. Credit must go to Trev for flying him over and giving me a chance. It is not a cheap investment. Sky Major is owned by ‘New Zealand’s man-of-the-moment’, Trevor Casey and John Lohman. Casey said he always had faith in Sky Major. “When and when Duane was going back to Canada it was a no brainer to ask him if he would train him for us. John I originally owned an 18 per cent share each and when syndicate wanted to sell him we brought the other 64 per cent. “We the sent him over in hope he would capture his former form that saw him win several Group One races here and in Australia,” Casey said. “It wasn’t a cheap exercise but we both had faith in him,” he added. Casey said he got to know Marfisi when he worked for the ‘All Stars Stable’ and soon learnt to tresp-ect his worldly knowledge. “He is a nice guy with so much standardbred knowledge. We sat down and mapped out a few series that we staked him for. “Perhaps the Meadowlands one day, but at this very early stage we are enjoying the ride and taking it one day at a time with him,” said Christchurch-based Casey Casey will have two starters in Saturday night’s prestigious 50th Miracle Mile in Sydney – New Zealand Cup winner Lazarus and Our Waikiki Beach. He was obviously delighted with the Canadian result but hinted Lazarus would not be following Sky Major to the Northern Hemisphere. “Probably not because Mark said there were p-lenty of nice stakes and big races for him down here. There’s plenty of money on offer Down Under including another New Zealand Cup and possibly an Interdominion. “Another reason he would stay ‘Down Under’ would be because he has a lucrative stud career here when he retires,” Casey said. Sky Major won 15 of his 52 starts in New Zealand and placed 18 times for $796,486 in stakes. His Group One wins were: The New Zealand 4yo Messenger beating Tiger Tara and Ohoka Punter in April 2015; Three Jewels crowns at two, three and four years of age, and in Australia he nailed the 2015 Chariots Of Fire as well as numerous other Group and Listed placings. Marfisi came to New Zealand in early 2014 because his wife, Janet, had gained a position at the Christchurch Hospital. Until then he had worked with horses in Ontario for many years. In fact he had a star of the tracks some years ago with Dali who had the misfortune to be born in the same crop as Somebeachsomewhere. That didn't stop Dali from winning major events at the Meadowlands as well as in Ontario. when establishing himself as the fastest juvenile in the world. His landmark victory was in the Woodrow Wilson at two a huge performance and he held the world record on a 1000m track at three when Somebeachsomewhere stole all the glory. But Dali still won $C1.4m and took a mark of 1.48.,2 before being retired to stud. Marfisi worked with the leading horsemen in Canada before setting up on his own and spent about 20 years training around 25 horses in Ontario. and try and get one who could take you all the way. “Dali (Real Artist) was a great horse but he was just born the wrong year," said Marfisi. His win on Saturday night (Canada time) can be viewed here:   Duane Ranger

Kim Butt wouldn’t mind if they held races at Orari every week. The talented junior driver made it two wins from as many meetings at the South Canterbury track on Sunday when she piloted OK I’m Bad to success for local trainer Denise Ottley at the Geraldine Trotting Club’s meeting. Butt had found herself in the winners’ circle at the first meeting their for the season, incidentally also in the junior drivers’ event, when she managed to get Real Torque home over the top of his opposition. Sunday was a little different though with Butt dictating terms from the outset and holding far too many guns for her rivals. “It worked out really well, we managed to get across them easy enough and then got a pretty good time of it in front,” Butt said. “He’s a nice horse, he felt really strong coming up to the home turn and he really kicked when I asked him too. “I’m just really lucky that I was given the opportunity to drive him by Denise and Sam (Ottley), you always know when you get on one of Denise’s horses that you are going to have a chance.” The win took Butt’s tally for the season to 10 and in with a sniff of her best mark of 20. A six-year-old gelding by Badland’s Hanover, OK I’m Bad’s win was his second from 10 starts. He’s a half-brother to the extremely talented Lislea’s Flame who unfortunately had his career cut short by injury. While Mum tasted success, Sam Ottley made sure she wasn’t left out of the action when she produced a confident drive on Trailer Park Girl to win impressively. Ottley is fashioning a good record on her old home track, winning races frequently when they do race there. A Courage Under Fire filly trained by Steve Dolan, Trailer Park Girl backed up a good second on debut behind Carter Michael with the victory on Sunday and there’s promise of plenty more. “She’s a really nice filly,” Ottley said. “When you get on one of Steve’s horses you can be quite confident because you know they are always ready to go a big race.” The win took Dolan’s tally for the season to eight, from just 17 starters, which sees him with the highest UDR of a trainer in the country who has had more than 10 starters for the season. Matt Markham

Yearling sales often throw up surprises but not many as big as the sales topper at Karaka yesterday (Monday). A day that started slowly at the Australasian Classic harness racing sale got far more serious before the top lot brought a whopping $220,000 for Woodlands Stud. The South Auckland powerhouse stud providing the sales topper wasn’t the surprise, with many predicting it could be a rare filly from their breed as Lot 89, or Lot 129, a brother to leading filly Spanish Armada. Both easily broke the $100,000 mark but it was their draftmate who nobody saw coming as the clear star of the day, a Bettors Delight colt from four-win mare Daisy Dundee. From the family of Courage Under Fire and Cyclone Kate he was typically compact and racey and ended up with almost all the leading Australian buyers chasing him. It the end it was Victorian Jean Feiss, owner of Spanish Armada, who won the war at $220,000, with the colt almost certain to join the the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen stable. Vendors Woodlands were thrilled but stunned, with no indication the colt was going to be top of the pops. The late money for him and his draft mates as well as three huge sales for Breckon Farms dragged the average up to $38,950, just over $5000 down on last year’s bumper sale. There was more lots passed in than many vendors would be comfortable with and for the same reasons that have dogged standardbred sales for the last five years. Buyers are red hot on good colts by the champion stallions like Bettors Delight and Art Major but unproven stallions and anything but blueblood fillies struggle. A prime example were the stock of former speed freak Auckland Reactor, who has had a satisfying start to his stud career with his first crop on the track but hasn’t had the numbers yet to provide any great advertising. His sale was soft and Alabar Stud are realistic about the fact he could do with a smart juvenile or two this season to get buyers keen for his stock next season. He is not the only one rowing that boat. There was also an element at yesterday’s sale of some of the more commercial mares having yearlings by the lesser favoured stallions, which might be great for the diversification of the overall harness racing gene pool but it rarely ends well on sales day. One of the great success stories of the day was the a stunning pinhooking job -- much rarer in harness racing that galloping -- by Breckon Farms. On his way to the Harness Jewels last year Ken Breckon popped into Karaka and bought Partyon’s weanling brother for $44,000, barely 24 hours before big sister won the Jewels. Yesterday he sold that colt to Emilo and Mary Rosati from New South Wales for $187,500, the second highest price of the day. Breckon Farms won the select battle for best trotter though, with a Muscle Hill colt out of a half-sister to I Can Doosit going for $125,000. The sales move to Christchurch for the next two days where vendors with stock by anything but the most commercial sires will be feeling nervous and the Australian presence will be crucial.   KARAKA HARNESS SALES Lots Sold: 102 Passed: 40 Top price: $220,000 Total sales: $3,973,000 Average: $38,950 (down over $5000 on last year) Michael Guerin

Hopes of finding missing harness racing horseman Shane Hayes alive are sadly fading. The popular 53-year-old who spent much of his adult life training and driving out of Kumeu, NZ, has been missing at sea since February 10. Family friend and spokesman Peter Smith said Hayes took his boat out over the Mangawhai Heads, north of Auckland, to test it for an upcoming fishing competition and has not been seen since. “There are a lot of people searching for him and we even have helicopters and a crop dusting plane from a local farmer involved,” said Smith. “But the family are realistic now. They are holding on to hope but everybody realises we may not see Shane again. “It is terribly sad but it may be a case of searching for a body now.” Hayes, who is married to Laureen and has two children, Harry and Jackie, is best known for his association with talented trotter Chiola Cola in the late 1990s. Along with his father Don they trained the giant trotter to win 17 races and he even campaigned in Scandinavia alongside champion mare Pride Of Petite. The Hayes were rarely without a good horse and had their share of success with pacers but were best known for their trotters through their association at stud with Great Evander. Shane moved out of harness racing full-time when the family moved from Kumeu a decade ago but still dabbled. He is an immensely popular figure in northern harness racing, a big man with a big smile and engaging conversationist. A Givealittle page has been set up to help fund the search for Shane and support the family through this tough time. by Michael Guerin

You can view a live stream of the 2017 Australasian yearling sales at the below link.   Live stream of sale click here   Results click here     Harnesslink Media

It was more than a hometown win when aged gelding Jerry Fitz won at Gore today. Jerry Fitz raced in his early days for local harness racing trainer Ross Wilson who bred the gelding. But today he lined up for Geoff and Jude Knight and provided their junior reinsperson Genevieve Crawford with her first winning drive. After winning for Wilson as a two year old back in 2011 the Live Or Die gelding has raced every season from two to eight and won at every age. In the latter years he's been a regular in claiming races and at the end of that he was supposed to have been rehomed by Crawford.  However he's been given a reprieve by a syndicate of owners which includes Crawford's parents. And to complete this great story the race Jerry Fitz won today was sponsored by Ross Wilson, who not only bred the gelding but trained and raced him to win five races.  The Knights have had him for the majority of the latter part of his career and they were thrilled with today's win.  "Ross has been great. He said "you guys just take him and do what you like." He's a real fun horse. He's like a three year old coming up. He's now eight and is as sound as a bell and it's great for Minnie (Genevieve's nick name)," said Geoff after the win.  The horse has had a number of owners over the years and is currently ownded by the Gabriels Gold Syndicate from Lawerence which is run by Genevieve's parents Jimmy and Kerren Crawford. Genevieve has been working for the Knights off and on for four years; the last three fulltime.  "She's a great girl who comes from a farming background and horses are a passion in her life. She's rehomed over a 100 horses. She's been with us since she was a school kid. She helped us in the school holidays and had a small stint with Gavin Smith. We then had an opportunity to take her on full time and she's become a lot more like a family member than an employee. King Kone is a horse we bought for her to give her practice, and her driving has just got better and better."  Crawford who was having her thirty third race day drive today was also rapt to gain her first winner. Jerry Fitz (blue and yellow colours) on the inside winning at Gore      - Photo Bruce Stewart. "It's quite cool to win on Jerry because we've had him for a while. It's his twelfth win and my first. Geoff drove him in his last workout before today but normally I drive him and have the most to do with him. He does what he likes most of the time and deserves to I guess," she said. Crawford is not only a junior driver but her passion extends to rehoming standardbreds that have either not made it as racehorses or have reached the end of their careers.  "I probably rehome about thirty horses a year. The best one I've rehomed is King Kenny who was trained by Graeme Anderson. Jerry was actually given to us to rehome but we thought "we're give him one last go." As long as they (the horses) can come home to the South Otago farm I'll carry on doing it."  And to make this story even more complete Ross Wilson had ten dollars each way on his old mate Jerry Fitz which more than covered his sponsorship of the race. Jerry Fitz paid $42.70 to win.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

The Brent Shirley trained, Nathan Williamson driven Costa Del Magnifico added to his harness racing 'cups record' when he won the McDowell Painting and Decorating Gore Grass Track Cup. His time of 3-20.4 was a new race and track record beating the old record of 3-27.6 recorded by Titian Banner which won last years Cup. With 1200 metres to run Dexter Dunn took second favourite Sovereign Banner to the lead and Williamson sent Costa Del Magnifico forward shortly after. By the 900 metres he'd hit the lead and from there he won untouched, by two lengths from Acolyte. The last 800 metres was run in 57. 7 and last 400 in 28.7. Impressive on a grass track.  He has now won the Gore Grass Cup, Northern Southland Summer Cup, Southern Country Cups Final, Invercargill Cup, Wairio and Winton Cups. Today's win was his twelfth in thirty five starts.  The track today at Gore was lightning fast with six track records being broken. They were as follows: Eamon McGuire: 2-15.3 over 1800 metres mobile for three year old colts and geldings. The old record of 2-19.4 was held by Fiery Ferret. Sheezus 2-18 .6 over 1800 metres mobile for three year old fillies. The old record of 2-29.0 was held by Canderdal . Envious 2-17.0 over 1800 metres mobile for mares. Old record - 2-21.5 was held by Vera's Delight. Costa Del Magnifico 3-20.4 for the 2600 open stand. Previous record of 3-27.6 was held by Titian Banner. Explosive Star 3-30.6 for the 2600 metres open stand for trotters. The record was held by Ottawa at 3-33.0. 2600 metre stand for trotting mares. The new record is now 3-33.3 claimed by Delestic. The old record of 3-44.4 was held by Chiola Belle.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Presented by Winger Motors, the 2017 Oaks & Derby Festival is set deliver two exciting evenings of top harness racing and the latest designer fashion. Hospitality packages for Alexandra Park’s festival on the first two Fridays in March are selling fast, says Joel Reichardt, Alexandra Park Sales & Marketing Manager. Fashion at the Oaks will take place on Friday 3 March with tickets for the glamorous evening in the Tasman Room available for $99 per person. Attendees will not only enjoy a gourmet three-course meal but a glass of bubbles on arrival, a deluxe goodie bag, and a great night of fashion shows featuring the latest collections from leading designers Adrienne Winkelmann, Kay Goss, Yvonne Bennetti, Augustine and Hailwood. Fashion at the Oaks is set to be a fun night out with Alexandra Park now encouraging people to gather their friends and colleagues together. Tables and tickets during the festival can be reserved and purchased by calling (09) 631-1165 or emailing dining@alexandrapark.co.nz For the lovers of harness racing, Top of the Park upstairs on Oaks Night will provide the perfect place to watch New Zealand’s best three-year-old fillies battle it out on the track in the Group One Pascoe The Jewellers Northern Oaks, with different buffet dining packages still available. Derby Night is on Friday 10 March with the big race being the Group One Woodlands Stud Northern Derby. That night an array of beverage and dining packages are again available in both the Tasman Room and Top of the Park. Derby Night will also see the annual Best Dressed At The Races competition for fashion-forward track-goers 18 years or over to enter. There will be three categories - Best Dressed Lady, Best Dressed Man and Best Headwear - with some amazing prizes on offer and one grand prize for the best dressed overall. Best Dressed At the Races will see plenty of catwalk action in the Tasman Room, with further information about the competition on Alexandra Park’s Facebook page and website. General admission into Alexandra Park as well as car-parking and race books remain free on both evenings. For further information on the 2017 Oaks & Derby Festival check out www.alexandrapark.co.nz Joel Reichardt: (021) 786-034

Sheezus provided local harness racing breeders Macca Lodge with an early breeding double at Gore today. Trained by Tony Stratford on the course for his sister's father in-law Pete Hughan from Wellington, the Panspacificflight filly in the hands of Dexter Dunn proved too good for a large maiden field of fillies and mares. Her winning margin was a length and a quarter and her time of 2-18.6 broke the three year old fillies track record of 2-29.0 previously held by Canderdel. Sheezus and Dexter Dunn (white and green colours)   - Photo Bruce Stewart. "I've always like her. When Mach Of The Man who was owned by Pete was getting to a stage when he was reaching his mark we got this filly," said Stratford. Despite her win today Stratford is conscious of not over racing the filly and waiting for her to develop into a four year old.  "If we don't overdo her this time round she could develop into quite a handy mare. At the end of the day she's probably not up to those better three year old fillies. In time though she could develop into a Southern Belle Speed Series mare. Sh's got good gas."  In the previous race the Macca Lodge bred Tangled Up In Blue won for Macca Lodge owner/trainer Brent McIntyre. Both horses are by Panspacificflight.  Meanwhile Stratford's former stable star Pulp Fiction notched up his first win in Australia last night when he won at Menangle.  "It was good to see him go to the line well like he did a lot of times down here. He went down to the line without being touched in 1-51 so that was great. I think a couple of times over there they've over driven him but in his last couple of runs they've been more positive especially when last week he came from last and ran third in 1-50."  Stratford says Pulp Fiction's previous owners have set aside some money to buy at next weeks sales but short term are enjoying racing the promising Bettor's Delight gelding Lilac Flash.    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Trotter Delestic has spent a few days in Gore recently as harness racing trainer Nathan Williamson looks to get some 'trotting miles' into the Majestic Son mare. He's bought her to the workouts, trials or races three times in the last ten days just to give her practice. From the unruly mark on the second row Delestic today began slowly but safely while her main rival and favourite Jaccka Josh galloped away. Ultimately that proved to be the difference between the two in the Hokonui Honda Trot. Delestics' winning margin at the end of the 2600 metres was two lengths.  Delestic winning easily at Gore on the grass surface           - photo Bruce Stewart      "She trotted good at the workouts and we were confident that if she showed her manners she'd go well. She's got a fair amount of ability but manners are her biggest issue," said Williamson.  The four year old was having her fifth race day start and she's been in the top three favourites in all her career starts. Her owner Ian Hunter was on-course to see her run today, taking a short break from a local bowls tournament.  Meanwhile her talented half sister Splash Cola who went amiss again recently, is due to start work again. "Hopefully  she won't go amiss this time. It was one of those wee niggly things that have been the story of her life. She's got a fair bit of ability and is right up there with horses like Dark Horse."    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Another round of the annual Standardbred Yearling Sales with the harness racing “Sale of the Stars” as they are dubbed, set to start on Monday. The Australasian Classic Yearling Sale is to be staged at Karaka, in Auckland, on the 20th February, with the Parade Day the day before on Sunday the 19th February.  This sale is followed immediately by the NZ Premier Yearling Sale at Christchurch, on the 21st and 22nd February. Many internet based and hardcopy advertising programmes have long been put in place and Breckon Farms pride themselves on their proactive approach to yearling promotion for their entire draft of farm owned and client yearlings. Our promotion began back in December with exposure through banners on the Harnesslink, HRNZ and Australian Harness Racing websites, linking to Breckon Farms Website Yearling Sales section, where all the latest information, photos and videos have been available.  Added to this were regular in-depth articles on Harnesslink of all Breckon Farms lots, race sponsorship, racebook advertising, oncourse big screen advertising, industry magazine advertisements and on-farm parades, flowing through January and February. Three yearlings that harnesslink have not covered to date are; Lot 124 – Top Change (brown filly, Well Said - Changedown) The sire of Top Change is Well Said 1:47.3 ($2,690,820) who is by Western Hanover from the very good race mare Must See p2,1:52 ($562,858), an Artsplace daughter of the Matt's Scooter mare, Grand Lady 1:52.4 ($235,571). What can you say about a horse that paced in 1:47.4 as a three-year-old, won $2,690,693 in purses and only had 26 starts for 14 wins 4 seconds and 2 thirds? Nothing, except it was an outstanding result! A really smart two year old who could mix it with the best at that age without being dominant. At three Well Said was just a monster, running time and winning Grand Circuit races one after another. Any three year old who can top $2,000,000 in earnings has a right to be called a champion. As a stallion Well Said has delivered where it counts with his sons and daughters doing a fine job on the track. His overall numbers are up with the best. Sire of 2015 Canadian two-year-old of the year Control The Moment who went on to win the 2016 Meadowlands Pace and is now at stud. Top Change is a half-sister to dual Group 1 and Group 3 placed filly Renske B ($57,349) and from a half-sister to 10 winners, including New Zealand Cup winner, 6-time Group 1 winner, millionaire pacer and successful sire Changeover (1.53.4h, 29 wins 16 places $2,426,765). Lot 62 – Mathew James (bay colt, Bettor’s Delight - Taylor Kate) Matthew James is the third foal and first colt from a qualified Artsplace mare who is already the dam of a winner in Crystal Sparkles ($20,530) and who is a half-sister to 4 winners in multiple Group 1 winner and 3yo Pacing Filly of the Year who set a NZ Record Lauraella (1.55.9, 10 wins 7 places $649,946), multiple Group 1 placed The Muskeg Express ($111,331), The Pacman (15 wins 23 places $100,235) and Estilo (1.54.1f, 11 wins 16 places $66,797). Lot 147 – Hot Rhythm (bay filly, Bettor’s Delight - Hot Shoe Shuffle) Hot Rhythm is a half-sister to seven winners including Group 1 winner Glenferrie Shuffle (1.57m, 13 wins 16 places $279,839), Listed race winner and Group 2 & 3 placed Jivin Cullen (1.54m, 12 wins 15 places $169,082). Her dam Hot Shoe Shuffle ($295,011) is a Group 2 and dual Listed race winner and dual Group 1 placed Falcon Seelster mare who is a full-sister to Iwasborntoboogy (1.50.4m, 31 wins $282,306). With the Australasian Classic Yearling Sales now so close, it is pertinent to reinforce some of our historical achievements as the major yearling sales preparer at the North Island Sales. In the 23 sales from 1993 through to 2015 (current 3YO’s) we have produced 385 winners from 646 yearlings sold, which is almost 60% winners to yearlings sold. We have produced the winners of 39 Group 1 Races, including wins in such races as an Interdominion Grand Final, NZ Cups (3), Hunter Cup, Harness Jewels, Breeders Crowns. Through the PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Series races we have produced the winners of 7 Open Finals, 10 Fillies Finals, Northern Hemisphere Time Final and Aged Handicap Pace. There have been 4 Millionaire Pacers that have come from our drafts, plus who could forget the Superstar of Harness Racing in the trotting ranks, I Can Doosit, who would have been the 5th millionaire if he hadn’t had to be withdrawn from the sales. Since this year’s catalogue was published there have been many updates to pedigrees of yearlings in our draft and these are listed below, so as you are fully aware of the latest successes in relation to Breckon Farms Draft yearlings. In lot order, they are:- Lot 22 – Drum Beat (bay colt Art Major / Milagro) Emiliana now has 5 wins & 8 places for $40,045 KATY PERRY now has 22 wins & 15 places for $504,533   Lot 32 – Goodman (bay colt Wishing Stone / Olesya) The Muscle Hill half-brother Star Of Olesya qualified on the 14th January 2017, running 2nd by a ½ neck in 2:10 and now has 2 starts for 2 seconds   Lot 40 – Oynas (bay colt Mach Three / Paddy Brown) BETTORBEASTAR now has 10 wins & 13 places for $72,520   Lot 46 – Toomuchlip (bay filly Art Major / Racketeers Girl) Dream To Reality now has 3 wins & 1 place for $14,065   Lot 50 – Rockin Regal (brown colt A Rocknroll Dance / Spirit Of Spring) MAJOR STAR now has a 1:53.5 Mile Rate and 13 wins & 21 places for $179,628   Lot 54 – Ball Of Art (bay colt Art Major / Star Of The Ball) (OUR) MCARDLE STAR now has 7 wins & 3 places for $42,847   Lot 62 – Mathew Jones (bay colt Bettor’s Delight / Taylor Kate) Crystal Sparkles now has 1 win & 6 places for $20,780 EXPRESS STRIDE is 3-from-3 this campaign and now has a best Mile Rate of 1:49.8 and now has 9 wins & 10 places for $191,790 ARMAZEM now has a 1:54.7 Mile Rate and 11 wins & 26 places for $84,640   Lot 66 – All Yours (bay colt Art Major / Temepara Cullen) STRAWBERRY STRIDE is now a winner in Australia and has 2 wins & 2 places for $41,884 and a best Mile Rate of 1:57.4 SMILEY SOPHIE is now a winner with a 1:56.5 Mile Rate and 1 win & 7 places for $54,486 ART I SPECIAL now has 8 wins & 23 places for $61,986   Lot 71 – Fantasize (bay filly Art Major / Thebestamancanget) MAJOR STAR now has a 1:53.5 Mile Rate and 13 wins & 21 places for $179,628   Lot 75 – My Kiwi Lass (bay filly Bettor’s Delight / Toast To Cullen) NIMBLE JACK now has another win and now has 12 wins & 37 places for $94,894 KENRICK also has another win and now has 4 wins & 11 places for $54,234   Lot 83 – Yorkshire Rose (bay colt A Rocknroll Dance / Veste) Purest Silk is a 2YO Young Guns Heat placed filly at her only start to date STRAWBERRY STRIDE is now a winner in Australia and has 2 wins & 2 places for $41,884 and a best Mile Rate of 1:57.4 SMILEY SOPHIE is now a winner with a 1:56.5 Mile Rate and 1 win & 7 places for $54,486 ART I SPECIAL now has 8 wins & 23 places for $61,986   Lot 91 – Zinny Mach (bay colt Mach Three / Zingara) LAREDO TORPEDO now has a best Mile Rate of 1:59.7 and now has 2 wins & 6 places for $18,692 EXPRESS STRIDE is 3-from-3 this campaign and now has a best Mile Rate of 1:49.8 and now has 9 wins & 10 places for $191,790 ARMAZEM now has a 1:54.7 Mile Rate and 11 wins & 26 places for $84,640   Lot 104 – Kokomo Beach (brown colt Bettor’s Delight / Beach Parade) PARTYON now has 7 wins from 7 starts and a Race, Track & Australian Record 1:51.3 Mile Time for $265,075   Lot 112 – Macca’s (bay colt Mach Three / Bella Me) ECLIPSE ME now has a best Mile Rate of 1:57.5 and now has 6 wins & 11 places for $84,264   Lot 137 – Miss Streisand (bay filly A Rocknroll Dance / Goodlookinggirl) FLAMING FLUTTER now has 21 wins & 35 places for $687,715   Lot 147 – Hot Rhythm (bay filly Bettor’s Delight / Hot Shoe Shuffle) JIVIN CULLEN now has 13 wins & 17 places for $175,572 SEM’S DELIGHT now has a best Mile Rate of 1:57 and now has 2 wins & 5 places for $46,076 We also look forward to seeing you at the Parade Day on the 19th February and then ready to go on Sale Day, the 20thFebruary, at Karaka.    

MachThree has become one of the most influential harness racing stallions in the world. His recent sudden death was a shock to the entire Industry as his true legacy is only just starting to unfold through the deeds of his siring sons and grandsons and also his daughters. As a racehorse Mach Three was a very good two and three year old with exceptional gait and speed. He faced the starter just 27 times for 18 wins and 6 placings, taking a track record at The Meadowlands of 1:49 in the $1,000,000 Meadowlands Pace and a track record on a half mile track of 1:51.1 in a heat of the Little Brown Jug on his way to earning a total of $2,376,700. As a stallion right throughout his career he has shown the ability to leave that exceptional horse who are as dominant on the racetrack as he was. His champion son Somebeachsomewhere 1:46.4 ($3,328,755) is the hottest sire in the world right now and his Southern Hemisphere champion in Auckland Reactor 1:51.4 ($1,837,043) is being given his chance to follow suit with him serving 1,300 mares in his first four seasons at stud. Mach Three's progeny have produced a staggering earnings world-wide total of $136,000,0000. In North America his average earnings per starter is over $112,000. One of the few sires in the world today who is able to leave one as good or better than himself (a special one) both on the track and at stud. Somebeachsomewhere is reshaping the North American breeding industry with his complete dominance of his stock on the race track. Auckland Reactor is being given the same opportunity at stud in Australasia. All in all Mach Three is an outstanding and champion sire. Breckon Farms have five Mach Three yearlings for sale at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka in Auckland on Monday the February 20th. Lot 28 – Miracle Moose (bay colt, Mach Three - Minnie Moose) Miracle Moose is the second foal from the black type Bettor’s Delight mare Minnie Moose ($142,791) and is closely related to Ashcott El ($124,651), dual Group 3 winner and Group 1 placed Diamond Moose ( $75,585) and Famous Deal ($124,019). Lot 40 – Oynas (bay colt, Mach Three - Paddy Brown) Oynas is the third foal from a five win Christian Cullen mare Paddy Brown ($46,726).  The second dam is the Group 1 placed Braeside Star ($67,225) a half-sister to New Zealand Cup & Miracle Mile winner Iraklis ($1,019,042). Braeside Star has had seven to race and they’ve all won and are all Black Type performers. This is the family of 3yo Pacing Filly of the Year O Baby ($391,273) and Group 1 Great North & Victoria Derby winner and three-year-old Pacer of the Year Lavros Star (1.50m, 28 wins $534,382). Lot 112 – Macca’s (bay colt, Mach Three - Bella Me) Macca’s is a half-brother to two winners in including Eclipse Me ($83,944). The second dam Estabella (1:56.3) is the dam of three winners including Milly Me ($246,999) and the Group 3 placed Delight Me ($77,092). This is the  family of dual Group 3 winner and Group 1 placed Pocket Me ($266,979), Fear Me ($60,168), Jungle Genie ($278,090), Jungle Jewel ($221,047), Buster Me ($265,430) and Puppetandmee ($201,518). Lot 91 – Zinny Mach (bay colt, Mach Three - Zingara) Zinny Mach is from a race winning Christian Cullen sister to the dam of the top Group 1 winning mare Lauraella ($649,946). This colt is the dam's second foal with the first foal being the now race winning three-year-old Laredo Torpedo who raced in the recent Victoria Derby. Lot 95 – Gimme Hope (brown filly, Mach Three / Affairs Are Bettor) Check this page out for all the history of this Gimme Hope wich we have already covered. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing fixed odds early movers for Geraldine today as at 11:45am  Race 1 - Spurred By Success $9.00 is best backed over Jedi Josh $5.50.   Race 2 - Sharknado $7.00 leads win betting over Master Jordy $8.00.   Race 3 - Supreme Banner $3.00 is the only runner wanted early.   Race 4 - Monkey Luck $9.50 is best backed over Free Bird $7.50 - $6.00.   Race 5 - The big word early here is It's All Over Now $9.50 - $5.00.   Race 6 - Chivasion $6.00 $7.80 - $6.00 is best backed.   Race 7 - The favourite Trailer Park Girl $1.75 - $1.60 dominates betting early.   Race 8 - Muscles Galore $5.50 is best backed over Di'z Luck $7.00.    Race 9 - A quiet market early  with Ildivo $25 - $23 best backed.   Race 10 - Bobby T $15 - $11 is best backed over Sweet Loress $16.   Race 11 - Bevan's Cullen $4.80 easily leads early win betting.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

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