When I talk to overseas harness racing administrators, trainers and owners on my travels and we discuss the management and governance structures of our respective countries and whether they are delivering the best results for participants in our industry, I am frequently having to defend the structure and management of the industry in New Zealand. Northern Hemisphere people struggle to see how you can run harness racing in 2014 with a structure and governance that is a relic of a different time. Northern Hemisphere tracks are owned by either wealthy individuals or companies and they make all the decisions with regards to their tracks. This gives them the ability to adapt their programs and race structure to suit their immediate needs or those of the stakeholders who operate at their tracks. These tracks live or die on the strength of their product and they try at all times to deliver a superior product to their customers. As with any structure, there are issues and conflicts but in the main they do a far better job of selling and marketing harness racing to the general public than we do here in New Zealand. Over a period of time I have come to the conclusion that they have a far better management and governance structure than the Southern Hemisphere does. I have given up defending the structure of harness racing in New Zealand and have become a strong advocate for major change in how our industry is governed. How can it be in 2014 that we have a system of governance for our industry that is manifestly inappropriate for a business in the 21st century. Currently we have a system that is controlled by the trotting clubs of New Zealand. Any major changes to the administration or structure of ANYTHING within the trotting industry requires the approval of a majority of those clubs. They meet once a year which means change within the industry happens at a glacial pace. The Executive of Harness Racing New Zealand can tinker at the edges but for anything major they need to take the proposal to the annual meeting of trotting clubs for their approval. Can you imagine any business in 2014 being able to survive and prosper if they were unable to adapt to changing trends and challenges in their business on a regular basis due to the necessity to wait for a once a year meeting for approval. If you speak as I do regularly do to a lot of the successful businessmen who are involved in the harness racing industry in New Zealand, you quickly appreciate how frustrated they are at the inability to change what many see as a dysfunctional governance and management structure. Both the Auckland and New Zealand Metro trotting clubs have made massive gains in recent years in how they structure and manage their business due to the influence of several successful businessmen on their respective boards. But there is so much more they would like to do both now and in the future but are hamstrung to a certain extent by the current management and governance structure. So what should any new management and governance structure look like. First and foremost the clubs should concentrate on what they do best, running their clubs and their race meetings in a professional and profitable manner. That is what they were originally set up to do and most do an exemplary job. But any governance or leadership role in the management structure of harness racing in New Zealand should be withdrawn. The management of the day to day running of harness racing should remain as it is now. Harness Racing New Zealand employees do a sterling job implementing the current policies and strategies of the industry as set by the executive and we are lucky to have them. The current executive and clubs structure should be replaced by a board that has industry representatives but also has a much stronger business focus and expertise. An eight member board with five business orientated members who have a knowledge of the harness racing industry along with one representative from each of the three industry groups that have a large monetary investment in the industry; 1) Owners 2) Breeders 3) Trainers/Drivers Should this board be elected by industry participants or be a mixture of elected /appointed members is something for wiser heads than mine. However the details of how a structure such as this would evolve need to be carefully developed so we don't harm the industry we are trying to help. Now I can hear the screams emanating from some quarters but I also know from having already had this discussion with many of the major players in the New Zealand Industry that there is a broad consensus on the need for structural change. People involved in the harness racing industry are some of the most passionate people you would ever come across. Why would you work in this industry with its long hours in any weather if it wasn't for a genuine love of what you were doing. We have some fantastic people in the harness racing industry in New Zealand who do a wonderful job of promoting our sport to the wider public and we have a great racing product that is in my view as good as anywhere in the world. What we don't have is a governance structure that lets this industry flourish. Just have a look at the last twenty years and see how much this industry has changed and progressed. Frozen Semen and Shuttle Stallions have opened our industry up to the very best stallions available worldwide with a result that our equine product has closed the gap enormously with the Northern Hemisphere product. Trackside has taken our racing product to a much wider audience throughout Australasia. Betting options have expanded and harness racing clubs have diversified their income streams. The only thing that has NOT changed for several generations are our governance structures. I have spoken to several government ministers about this issue and the message is always the same. Any change to the present structures must come from WITHIN the industry itself. If this industry is to truly reach its potential and maximize its returns to its stakeholders, then we need a governance structure that is more applicable to the 21st century and not the 19th century. I therefore invite any like minded people who hold a similar view to my own to contact me to see if there is a way we can progress this matter further. John Curtin JC International firstname.lastname@example.org
Junior harness racing reinsman Matt Anderson got his All Stars career away to the best possible start when guiding juvenile pacer Bettor With Bourbon to victory at Rangiora today. In what was his first ever drive for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Anderson sent the Bettor's Delight two-year-old to the front from barrier three before taking a trail behind favourite Western Art. He then looked flat down the back straight but under the urgings of Anderson he picked up the bit again and finished strongly along the passing lane to down Western Art by half of a length. Livura finished a further length and a half away in third. Anderson, who only started work with All Stars a fortnight ago, took up a spot with the country's leading stable after an opening appeared as a worker and junior driver earlier this month when Purdon's sons Nathan and Michael headed away on their big OE. With the encouragement of mate Nathan, Anderson was quick to, not only take up that opening, but also notch up his first winner in the bullet proof colours. Anderson, 22, returned home to Canterbury to take up the position after spending six months in the North Island working for Purdon’s brother-in-law, leading trainer-driver Tony Herlihy. Anderson said that he had learned a lot from Herlihy and had thoroughly enjoyed his time in the North but he had struggled for drives during his six month stint. "I was stoked to get a good opportunity for All Stars so soon after joining the stable and was pleased that I didn't let them down," beamed Anderson post-race. "Hopefully it is the first on many for the stable." "I am really enjoying working for Mark and Natalie," he added. "They have phenomenal team around them and putting on the colours certainly gives you a lot of confidence." Anderson, who looks a natural in the sulky, does not come from a racing background but gained earlier experience in harness racing through Canterbury trainers Dean Taylor and Robbie Holmes. Matt, who won his first race aboard the Robbie Holmes trained Highview Ember at Rangiora back in August of last year, has now won seven races from just 57 drives. *Bettor With Bourbon was All Stars 21st individual two-year-old winner this season. Their 20th was Big Lucy, who was successful in a heat of the Breeders Crown at Ballarat on Saturday night. By Mitchell Robertson
The McArdle four year old gelding Lord Baltimore has had a few ups and downs in his brief career to date but turned that all around today with a stylish victory in the Ohoka Pace at the Rangiora Harness Racing Club's meeting at Rangiora. A virus and a couple of minor niggles have held Lord Baltimore back from racing in the last few months but he looks ready to make up for lost time now. Originally with Brian Kerr at West Melton, he was transferred to his present trainer Geoff Dunn recently and the change of scenery has turned Lord Baltimore's season around. After being beaten a nose at Ashburton last week at his first start for Geoff Dunn, Lord Baltimore was sent out favourite today. Sent straight to the front by Gerald O'Reilly in todays 2000 meter stand, Lord Baltimore always looked to be cruising in front and when asked for an effort as they turned for home he scooted away for an easy three length win. He paced the 2000 meters from a stand in 2:36, a mile rate of 2:05.5 in the cold winter conditions with closing sectionals of 58.2 and 27.4 Lord Baltimore is raced by three well known stalwarts of the Kirwee Rugby Club in “Dandy” Stewart, “Pup” Hulston and “Gully” Gilmour who have raced horses together for nearly forty years. The trio are well known in harness racing circles in Canterbury for racing horses with the “Celine” tag over the years with the best horse the trio have raced in recent years being Here Lies A Dream 1:50.3 ($89,192) Lord Baltimore is from the Holmes Hanover mare Classy Celine 1:58.3 ($39,041) who is closely related to such smart horses as All Most 1:54.2 ($105,925) and Sycamore (8 wins) It is a family that they bought into when first starting out in the industry in the 1970s on the recommendation of the legendary Jack Litten. While Lord Baltimore has taken his time to make it to the winners circle, on todays display it certainly won't be the last time. Lord Baltimore Harnesslink media
Two of the most well known identities in harness racing in Auckland in Graham Mackie and wife Trish Dunell have always dabbled in both codes. Trish , who is the HRNZ photographer at northern harness racing meetings and Graham have struck the jackpot with one of their homebred thoroughbreds. Read and enjoy. Every owner dreams of getting a racehorse good enough to win a million dollars. Spalato has done it in just four starts for his South Auckland breeder Trish Dunell. "I'm no student of breeding. I just got lucky." Trish Dunell's economical choice of words hardly does justice to the incredible sequence of events which led to Spalato winning the Group One Singapore Derby. And while it is two weeks since the horse she bred and races with husband Graham Mackie annihilated his rivals in the S$1.15million feature, there's not a morning goes by when she doesn't wake up and think: Did that really happen? Isn't that kind of result reserved for the rich and famous? When she watched a video replay of the race last week, for the umpteenth time, she burst into tears. The excitement of the big win is now being replaced by raw emotion as everywhere she goes she is hugged and congratulated by wellwishers, both friends and strangers. In her email box a message from NZ Bloodstock principal and leviathan owner Sir Peter Vela tells of the inspiration he gained from the feat. Winning a major international Group One feature is nothing new to Sir Peter but it's certainly a novel feeling for Dunell, who has raced horses for nearly 40 years, 10-win trotter Silver Wheels her previous best. The closest Dunell had come to a Group I win before was seeing other owners' joy through the lens of her Canon, as the country's leading equine photographer. So in Singapore, when it came time to honour the horse they call "The Pony" Dunell was lost for words. "There are no words," Dunell managed to get out when interviewed immediately afterwards. For when Dunell looks at Spalato she sees more than the flying machine who under Brazilian jockey Manoel Nunes put a big space on his derby rivals. And she doesn't just think of the ridiculously big dollars - $NZ975,590 to be exact - that the horse has earned in only four starts. She sees the little foal who popped out one October night in 2009 at Highview Stud near Hamilton. And she can't help but recall the trials and tribulations that led to his even being there. Always on the lookout for a bargain - a trait of her whole family, including son Cameron after whom Spalato was originally nicknamed - it seemed like such a good plan to buy Miss Forty Niner at Ashford Park Stud's dispersal sale at Otaki in 1996. The broodmare had seen a few summers but, being by Mr Prospector, was a full sister to the former successful sire Straight Strike. Bloodstock agent Peter Jenkins, instrumental in importing the mare from the States when Sir Arthur Williams' stud was at its prime, recommended Dunell buy her and her weanling filly Delph. Dunell can't recall how much she paid - "but it wasn't a lot" - and as it turned out that seemed just as well as the mare, who already had a chequered breeding history, kept losing her foals when close to giving birth. "I didn't get one foal out of her," Dunell said. "I tried three or four times - Glenmorgan Farm tried too with the same result. I even leased her out and they didn't get a foal either." Any hopes Dunell had of recouping her outlay by racing Delph were dashed when the weak little weanling, by the unheralded Blue Razor, failed to furnish - and she was put to stud, dropping her first foal in October, 2000. But it was Delph's second foal, Aftershock, that gave Dunell and Mackie hope that the family might yet deliver for them. He debuted in winning style in February, 2006, and only seven starts later in November was running in open company, dead-heating for a close second in the Avondale Cup. Sadly, he started roaring and after being operated on, went in the wind again. Knowing how good he could have been, Dunell went in search of his closest relation - Delph's third filly foal. To cut expenses, she had done a foal-for-foal deal with Frank Drummond, sending the mare to his Cheval Stud to be served by Express Duke - "Graeme really liked Express Duke as a racehorse" - Drummond to take the first born and Dunell the second. "When I called him and asked what had happened to the filly he said he was about to sell her as a polo pony. He'd done nothing with her and she was still running round the hills." In the nick of time, Dunell bought the filly, named Ellington who, big and strong, proved a real handful when broken in by Toni Croon. Ellington, however, didn't have much ability and even though she "tried like a tiger" the $150 she earned for fifth in her debut was the extent of her earnings. In four subsequent starts, three for beach trainer Sue Martin, she finished among the tailenders each time. Ellington stopped so quickly in her last go at Avondale, Dunell suspected she may have been bleeding, and decided to quit her. "If they show nothing at all on the track I find homes for them, as riding horses or polo ponies," Dunell said. "I hate to get them put down or give them horrible homes." But Ellington wasn't your typical kids' pony. "She didn't have the right temperament to be someone's favourite pony," said Dunell who got to know her funny little traits during the time she looked after her at their former Takanini property. "She was quite unsociable - very hard to catch. I'm sure she would have been a hermit in the wild. She wasn't even sociable with other mares. She was happier standing with the cows. "It would have been very hard to find a place for her. You couldn't say she was even pretty - she's very plain - she wouldn't have made it in the show ring. "If I had been realistic, she wouldn't have made the cut as a broodmare." Dunell says she puts her decision to breed from Ellington down to her tendency to be "a little potty over the Delph family. "I kept on thinking there has to be another good horse out of this family. But I shouldn't have bred from her - nobody else would have." Perhaps what kept Dunell going was that, while a little cranky, all the family were honest and tried hard. That about summed up the ability of two of Delph's other foals, full sister and brother Divine Miss Em and Roverto, who gave Dunell a thrill when they quinellaed a $5000 maiden race at Waipa in August, 2011. But whatever the reason, Dunell will forever be thankful that she did keep Ellington because Delph is now dead and Ellington's second foal turned out to be Spalato. The hand of fate was on Dunell's side again when Spalato failed to sell as a yearling because he was on the small side. And yet again when Spalato won his second trial and looked like being sold, the deal fell through. So Spalato ended up in Singapore, where the prizemoney puts New Zealand racing to shame and owners get a NZ$840 rebate every time their horses start - unless they run first or last. A small bone chip in his fetlock delayed his debut but since he finally stepped out in May - in a maiden race worth NZ$60,000 - he's never stopped winning and now, with an unbeaten streak of four, he's being talked about as one of the most exciting horses to have raced in Singapore. Dunell's name might not appear as an owner in the racebook - she never bothered to sign the papers to avoid the NZ$530 annual fee - but Spalato is as much her baby as Mackie's who with 15 wins is Singapore's leading owner this season, S$280,000 ahead of Laurie Laxon's Oscar Racing Stable. Since Spalato's boom run, Dunell says she's been told by breeding buffs how her choice to go to the stallion Elusive City was truly inspired. "But it was just luck. All I do is try to make sure they're not too closely bred and I have to like the stallions on type. And that's it. I'm no student of breeding." Dunell said she invariably chose a new stallion, because they were cheaper, and just hoped that the sire would become commercial and not flop. That's why you won't find any big name sires in the list of consorts for Ellington who has been to Royal Gem, Strategic Image and Per Incanto. Ellington is now at Lime Country in the Hawkes Bay, due to foal to Niagara, an Encosta De Lago stallion Dunell and Mackie have a major share in. Lime Country's Greg Griffin is busy breaking in Ellington's latest yearling, who only last week he described as a real "toad" - just like the rest of the family. Ellington's third foal, by Strategic Image, has just joined Spalato in Singapore after three trial placings but Dunell knows the chances of him ending up as good are a million to one. But then Dunell already has her million dollar horse. And the memories she has of that Group One day at Kranji will linger. While trainer John O'Hara, who wept openly as Spalato ran to the line, couldn't feast with them that night because of Ramadan, nearly everyone else did. Staff at the Regent Hotel were kept busy extending tables, then spilling them into another room, as people turned up to help celebrate the big win. And outside, like a beacon to all, sat the motorbike which Spalato's groom Sylvester Gho has had specially repainted with his idol's name and registered racing number 250. You get the feeling Spalato mania has only just begun. Courtesy of Barry Lichter and the Sunday Star Times
Smart three-year-old Sky Major looks right on song for the upcoming Breeders Crown Series in Australia after downing a smart field of older rivals at Alexandra Park last night. The Art Major colt, who was having his first race start since his emphatic victory in the 3YO Emerald division of the Harness Jewels, was driven cold by Zac Butcher, sitting last before moving into the race three wide down the back straight. He then let down strongly in the home stretch to run down Cyamach, who looked home after kicking away at the top of lane. Beyond The Silence finish a further half length away in third after enjoying a nice run in the trail. The Barry Purdon trained star paced the 2200 metre journey in a slick 2:43.3. The official last half was 56.5. However, Sky Major would have gone his last 800 metres a lot quicker as he came from a long way off the pace. The dual Jewels winner, who won a walkover heat of the Breeders’ Crown at Cambridge last week, will now head to Australia to compete in an MO at Melton on the 8th of August before tackling the 3YO Breeders Crown semi finals on August 22. All going well he well then progress through to the rich Group One final on the 30th of August. Cyamach, who was good in second behind the speedy colt, is also likely to head to Australia for the four-year-old male division of the series, while Cambridge winners Field Marshall and Cyclone Kate will also be part of the ever-growing Kiwi contingent heading across the Tasman for the series. Meanwhile, star Australian three-year-old Bling It On, who was thought to be the main danger to Sky Major in the ABC 3yo colts and geldings division, suffered a shock loss to Kiwi export Alleluia in a two horse heat of the Breeders Crown at Albion Park last night and will now head to repechage on the 13th of August. After sitting second while Alleluia set a leisurely pace in front, driver Bart Cockburn set Bling It On a light at the 700 metres. The pair then eyeballed each other until the bend, but it was Alleluia who showed more dash in the straight, sprinting away for a 6 metre win. Alleluia paced his last 800 metres in a sizzling 54.8 with a final quarter of 26.3. Driver Bart Cockburn was questioned regarding his driving tactics on Bling It On when allowing Grant Dixon to go through the first half of the last mile in 68 seconds. Under rule 149 (1) he was suspended for a period of eight weeks. By Mitchell Robertson
Winter star Fifth Edition will be given a well earned spell after winning the feature Free-For-All pace at Addington last night. Driven confidently by Dexter Dunn, Fifth Edition was sent straight to the front from his wide draw. He then controlled the pace before kicking strongly in the straight to hold off a sustained bid from the smart Someardensomewhere. Fifth Edition paced the 1950 metre journey in a slick 2-21.6 (1-56.3), suggesting that he will still be competitive when some of the more seasoned free-for-all types return next season. The four-year-old son of Mach Three, who has proved to be a revelation during the colder months winning seven of his last eleven starts, will now enjoy a brief let-up before being set for feature racing in November. Trainer Cran Dalgety has highlighted the Junior Free-For-All on Cup Day as a possible target. Fifth Edition was one of two winners for Dalgety, who was also victorious in the last race with Digital Art, bringing his season earnings as a trainer in excess of $1 million dollars. He is also now just 19 wins shy of joining a select few to achieve 1000 training wins in New Zealand. By Mitchell Robertson
Grey trotting machine Idle Bones will now head home to Christchurch to compete in the upcoming Lower Grade $23,500 Super Series Handicap Trot at Addington on the 8th of August after completing a hatrick of wins at Alexandra Park. The reformed rogue mare, who won her debut before bad manners led to a 16-race losing streak, has now won five of her last six starts and looks set to continue through to open class. After settling towards the back of the field from her 10 metre handicap, driver Brent Mangos set the Monkey Bones mare a light with a lap to go, looping the field to find the front. She then trotted along boldly in front, before leaving her rivals breathless and sprinting away for a four and a half length win. “It was a great race to win as it was a $15,000 stake and her third win at Alexandra Park, so she got the money bags bonus as well,” explained owner Dave McHugh, who has enjoyed a great run as an owner in the last few weeks having also won with Ellmer Hanover and The Yaldy’s Ideal. “You have to enjoy it while it lasts but unfortunately there is only one way I can go from here and that’s back down again,” he laughed. McHugh was full of praise for trainer Paul (Tank) Ellis, who also shares in the ownership of the grey mare. “She has given 'Tank' a few headaches but he has stuck with her and now we are getting the rewards,” said McHugh. The win landed a few big bets on the talented mare including $10,000 at $1.80 and $3,000 at $1.70 Idle Bones, who had four starts at Alexandra Park during her northern sojourn for three emphatic wins and a narrow second, will head home to Christchurch on Thursday. “Provided she comes through the trip alright she will start in the Super Series Trot at Addington before heading for a well earned break,” stated McHugh. By Mitchell Robertson
The In The Pocket stallion Changeover continues to enhance his growing reputation with every meeting recently and that continued tonight (July 25th) when he was repersented by winners at both metropolitian harness racing venues, Alexandra Park and Addington Raceway. First up at Alexandra Park was the smart gelding Prince Of Pops who registered his third win for the season with a stylish win over older horses, rating a smart 1:59.8 for the 2200 meters. Just as impressive was the filly Change The Rulz who showed a clean pair of heels to her competition in the A Electrical Ltd Mobile pace over 1950 meters for two and three year old fillies at Addington Raceway. It was the fourth individual filly winner for Changeover in New Zealand in his debut season. Sent straight to the front from barrier six by leading driver Dexter Dunn, Change The Rulz kept up a solid tempo throughout before skipping clear on the home turn and holding out a good finish from She's Extreme to win by a length and a quarter. It was her first win at her fifth start but Change The Rulz had hinted at an early win with a close third last time to the races. Trained at Woodend by Greg and Nina Hope, Change The Rulz is raced by Greg along with the well known Westport trotting identity, Richard Dellaca. She paced the 1950 meters in the cold conditions in 2:24.1, a mile rate of 1:58.9 with closing sectionals of 58 and 28.4. From the “Rulz” family which has been long associated with Richard Dellaca, Change The Rulz is a half sister to this seasons promising 3 year old Ranfurly Rulz. (3 wins). Her dam Victoria Rulz is a half sister to the brilliant Courage Under Fire gelding Jason Rulz 1:54.6 ($207,985). Like a lot of the Changeover's, Change The Rulz looks just the type to develop into a really smart horse at three. Change The Rulz Harnesslink media
The Cameleon mare Slangevar was no great shakes on the racetrack, winning just once from 15 starts and taking a mark of 2:01.6. However being a half sister to the former age group star Mr Williams 1:56.7 ($133,242) and another handy horse in Piper Heidsieck 1:53.4 ($78,988), Slangevar was given her chance at stud and has proved that you don't need to be a star on the track to be a star in the broodmare barn. Tonight (July 25th) at Alexandra Park, Slangevar's only three foals old enough to race were all in action and none of them let the mare down. First up was the 3 year old Badlands Hanover filly Cheers Kathy who was sent out favourite in race one. Sent straight to the front by driver Scott Phelan, Cheers Kathy took a trail behind Miss Lotty after 200 meters and received a lovely drag from then on. Angling off Miss Lotty's back as they turned for home, Cheers Kathy quickly put the issue beyond doubt, winning by an ever increasing 2 ¾ lengths. It was the first win for the Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick trained filly and took her stake earnings to $14,552. Cheers Kathy paced the 2200 meters in 2:47.5, a mile rate of 2:02.5 with closing sectionals of 57.6 and 29. Cheers Kathy Next up in race two were Cheers Kathy's two half brothers in the 2 year old Prince Of Pops and the 4 year old First Holme who both race out of the Telfer and Garlick stable as well. Sent out of the gate by driver Zac Butcher, Prince of Pops ended up in the death after 200 meters outside the well supported Fizzi Lizzi while the Scott Phelan driven First Holme settled well back in the field from his second row draw. First Holme was sent forward with 1100 meters to go, finding the death outside Fizzi Lizzi a lap out and giving his stablemate a nice drag home. Peeling out on the point of the turn, Prince Of Pops shot clear for a comfortable win with Party Boy running on well for second and First Holme sticking on well for third. It was the third win for the gelded son of Changeover and took his earnings in his debut season to $26,948. Prince Of Pops paced the 2200 meters mobile in 2:43.8, a mile rate of 1:59.8 with smart closing sectionals of 56.4 and 28.2. Prince Of Pops With two winners and a place getter on the night from her three foals eligible to race, Slangevar is certainly making her mark in the broodmare barn. Harnesslink media
Nevele R Stud, in conjunction with EMP Invest Oy of Finland, is delighted to announce that one of the world's leading and most influential trotting stallions Andover Hall will be available to New Zealand and Australian breeders for the first time this coming breeding season. The youngest, and arguably the best, of the legendary triumvirate of Hall brothers - Angus Hall and Conway Hall being the other two - Andover Hall was a brilliant juvenile, winning eight of his nine starts at two which saw him crowned the Dan Patch and Nova 2-year-old trotting colt of the year in 2001. A natural two-year-old, legendary reinsman John Campbell had this to say about Andover Hall. “He was great-gaited and very athletic. It was unusual for a two-year-old to come to his speed as quickly as he did.” At three, Andover Hall set a then world record of 1:51.6 when winning the $550,000 World Trotting Derby at the Du Quoin State Fair in Illinois – defeating the likes of millionaire square-gaiters Like A Prayer, Chip Chip Hooray and Kadabra in the process. As good a racehorse as he was, it is unquestionably as a sire that Andover Hall has really made his mark. Incredibly popular with North American breeders from the day that he first went to stud at Hanover Shoe Farm, Andover Hall’s sensational first crop of foals included the champions Donato Hanover and Pampered Princess – whom both went on to claim the 2 and 3-year-old colt and filly trotter of the year titles and whom both contributed to him finishing his debut season as North America’s leading sire of two-year-old trotters – almost $850,000 clear of his nearest rival, his brother Conway Hall. Next season that phenomenal first crop would produce the Hambletonian winner (Donato Hanover), the Hambletonian runner-up (Adrian Chip), the Hambletonian Oaks winner (Danae) and the Elegantimage and Del Miller winner Pampered Princess. This exceptional group of youngsters, along with another very capable crop of 2-year-olds, saw Andover Hall become the Leading All Age Trotting Stallion with just two crops racing – something that very few stallions of either gait ever achieve. That incredible initial success saw his progeny sell up to $825,000 in the sales ring and his service fee rise at one point to $30,000. Andover Hall remains one of North America’s leading trotting stallions with progeny earnings of over $53 million, six millionaires, 133 $100,000 earners and average earnings per starter of $97,000. He was the leading North American sire of 3-year-old trotters in 2013, courtesy of the outstanding Spider Blue Chip (winner of the Breeders Crown) and Creatine (winner of the Kentucky Futurity and Bluegrass Stakes), and also finished second on the All Age Trotting Sires Premiership. By Garland Lobell and out of the greatest trotting mare of the modern era Amour Angus (by Magna Force), Andover Hall is essentially an outcross sire and as such suitable for the majority of Australasia's trotting broodmare population, and should be a great match in particular for Sundon mares - with both his full brother Angus Hall and Angus Hall's son Majestic Son achieving tremendous success with daughters of Sundon to date. Andover Hall's service fee has been set at NZ$7,500 + GST and AU$8,250 incl GST. For more information please visit Nevele R's website nevelerstud.co.nz or phone 03 349 8627.
Addington is pleased to announce that one of the key lead up races to the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup has a new sponsor in 2014. Allied Security, who is a key business partner of Addington’s, will take naming rights of the Group 3 $25,000 Maurice Holmes Vase. The race is to be known as the Allied Security Maurice Holmes Vase. The winner of the race on 5 September will automatically gain qualification for theChristchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup on Tuesday 11 November along with thevwinner of the Avon City Ford New Brighton Cup on 26 September and the first three place getters in the Christian Cullen Canterbury Classic on 10 October. Allied Security is the largest New Zealand owned and operated security company specialising in the supply of friendly, professional and highly trained security staff, wherever and whenever you need them. They offer an efficient and economical but professional security service. Further information about Allied Security can be found at www.alliedsecurity.co.nz Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington
Harness racing luck can be brutal at times and at other times everything just falls into place. Dave McHugh, the mine host of the Yaldy Hotel in Christchurch is having a golden run at the moment, winning races all over the country with different horses. The star of the team at the moment is the 4 year old Monkey Bones trotting mare Idle Bones who has won four of her last five starts and is looking an open class trotting mare in the making. Trained by Paul Ellis, who races Idle Bones with Dave McHugh, this talented mare has been a revelation in her recent runs at Alexandra Park. Last Sunday another member of the McHugh owned horses broke his duck in the Ashburton Security Mobile Pace at the Ashburton Trotting Club meeting. Trained by Geoff Dunn at West Melton, The Yaldy's Ideal stormed home late for a narrow but impressive victory in the hands of Gerald O'Reilly. It was an overdue win for the 3 year old son of American Ideal. And to top things off, Ellmer Hanover was successful tonight in the Cambridge Jockey Club Handicap Pace at Cambridge Raceway. The five year old son of Armbro Operative made a good beginning in the 2700 meters standing start event and was sent forward by driver Brent Mangos with 2000 meters to go. Keeping up a solid clip from there, Ellmer Hanover skipped clear on the turn and had enough in reserve to hold on for a comfortable win. He paced the 2700 meters in 3:26.9, a mile rate of 2:03.2 with closing sectionals of 57.6 and 28 Ellmer Hanover is another horse trained by Paul Ellis and raced in partnership with Dave McHugh. And just to keep the pot boiling,Idle Bones is a starter in the Totem – Cirque Du Soleil Handicap Trot at Alexandra Park tomorrow night. With the run that Dave McHugh is having at the moment,it would be a very brave man to bet against Idle Bones winning again tomorrow night. Ellmer Hanover winning tonight Harnesslink media
The Christian Cullen Mobile Pace for fillies and mares at the Waikato Harness Racing meeting at Cambridge this evening looked to be a benefit race for the smart Mach Three filly Zeta Bromac. The winner of four of her six lifetime starts had drawn perfectly at four for the 1700 meters mobile while her main competition Cyclone Kate had drawn poorly. Backed into microscopic odds by punters, Zeta Bromac went straight to the front and kept up a hot pace in front throughout. Turning for home Zeta Bromac looked to have the field in trouble until the smart two year old filly Cyclone Kate angled off from three back on the inner and stormed home for a narrow but impressive win. It was the third win in nine starts in her juvenile season for the daughter of Mach Three and showed once again how dangerous she is with a soft run. Placed second earlier in the season in the $75,000 Young Guns Final to the very smart Democrat Party 1:56.1 ($60,524), Cyclone Prince is raced by a group of owners that includes New Zealand cricketer Kyle Mills and former Auckland Blues rugby player, Ant Strachan. Cyclone Kate paced the 1700 meters mobile in a very quick 2:02.08, a mile rate of 1:55.5 with closing sectionals of 57.5 and 28.3 Cyclone Kate is from the Presidential Ball mare Eyre To The Throne 1:58.9 who won three of her five lifetime starts. The first foal from Eyre To The Throne is this years smart three year old Cyclone Prince 1:57.1 ($128,607) who is a full brother to Cyclone Kate. The grand dam of Cyclone Kate is Erin Brockovich who is a full sister to the former champion juvenile, Courage Under Fire 1:54.2 ($1,551,941). It is a family littered with classic winning horses and Cyclone Kate looks to have inherited all the family ability if tonights win is any guide. Harnesslink media
Top harness racing trainer Cran Dalgety has complete faith in his star two-year-old filly Katy Perry. That is why he has allowed her to bypass this weekend’s ABC heats for two-year-old fillies at Ballarat after what was a taxing week for the Group Two Tatlow Stakes winner. “She was a wee bit down after the flight over and having raced last week,” Dalgety said on his Kentuckiana Lodge website. “But because we started in the heat at Cambridge (second to Joanne’s A Delight, July 10) she’s eligible for a Repechage on August 6, so we’ll hold back for that,” he added. The risk in that is that if Katy Perry doesn’t win her repechage her Breeders Crown bid will come to an abrupt end, but if her dominant front running display in last week’s Tatlow Stakes at Melton is anything to go by that shouldn’t be a problem. After working through from her second-line draw, driver Dexter Dunn soon had Katy Perry up challenging for the lead. Dunn then gave her a nice run in front, holding her back to the field before releasing the hand-brake at the 200 metres, allowing the Bettor’s Delight filly to roar away for a comprehensive win. One person who will be particularly pleased with Dalgety’s decision to bypass this weekend’s round of heats for two-year-old fillies is fellow New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon, who has Big Lucy engaged in the first heat of the night. The Badlands Hanover filly, who was desperately unlucky in her first two starts when unable to find clear racing room on both occasions, has remarkably drawn one on the second-line for the third time in a row, however this time she has no horses drawn on her outside so driver Chris Alford should have no problem getting her away from the fence. From there you can expect the talented filly, who was brilliant at the trials prior to making her race debut, to prove too classy for her seven rivals and progress through to the semi-finals with no qualms. By Mitchell Robertson
Last week the ring-around produced six winners with Matthew Williamson, Nathan Williamson, Scott Phelan, Ricky May, John Dunn, and I all delivering the goods. The best result was my tip Spell which romped in at odds $5.50. Let’s see what winners we have in store for you this week: Cambridge – Thursday Jay Abernethy: Thinks Equulei can kick the ring-around off in style in the first race at Cambridge. Simon Lawson: Rates Betty Boop Brogden as a good each-way chance in the fourth race on the card. Alexandra Park – Friday Todd Mitchell: Has opted for Miss Lotty, who was seen doing her best work late when second last start. She looks a good chance in the first race. Brent Mangos: expects impressive trialist Vibhuti to prove very tough to roll – race four. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for Djokovic, who looks a bold chance in race five. Scott Phelan: Rates the chances of inform pacer Cyamach, who looks a strong chance despite meeting a very good field in the sixth race at Alexandra Park. Addington – Friday Ken Barron: Expects both Bracken Ridge (race two) and Quaint Glen (Rangiora race 3) to prove very hard to beat. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Bracken Ridge – race two Mark Jones: Thinks the consistent Jaccka Len can break through for another win – race five. Gavin Smith: Rates She’s Extreme as a good place chance in the sixth event on the card. John Dunn: Is expecting a big run from two-year-old filly Cullens First Meddle – race six. Tim Williams: Has opted for smart mare Here We Go Again, who downed likely favourite Fifth Edition in her last start – race eight. Matthew Williamson: Expects Ohoka Benson to be hard to beat in what looks an average C1 field – race ten. Rangiora – Sunday Terry Chmiel: Has opted for the inform That Guy Finn, who looks a good chance despite meeting a strong C1 and 2 line-up – race six. Jonny Cox: Thinks Explosive Art can continue to explode through the grades – race nine.
Ever since his first appearance at the harness racing trials this season, the Tim Butt trained two year old Field Marshal has turned heads with his combination of good looks and raw ability. After a series of impressive runs at the trials, Field Marshal was thrown in the deep end with a debut run in the New Zealand Welcome Stakes against the best two year olds in New Zealand. Try as he might, Field Marshal didn't have the ringcraft that night and appeared all at sea for driver Anthony Butt. Given a month gap before he was next produced at Timaru, Field Marshal comfortably accounted for a maiden field at Timaru in a 2:00.6 mile rate for the 2000 meters and looked to be back on track. A week later Field Marshal lined up again at Oamaru against older horses. Drawing nine at the barrier in the 2000 meters mobile , he was three wide until the 700 meter before finding the death seat. From there he fought like a tiger to run a meritorious second to the smart Mako Banner. What made the run even better was that the 2000 meters was cut out in 2:25.4, a mile rate of 1:56.9 with closing sectionals of 56.7 and 27.7. After such a hard run, Field Marshal did not race again for five weeks until he went around at Rangiora in a 2000 meters mobile. Sent straight to the front from a handy draw, Field Marshal was pressured in front the whole way which told in the last 100 as he was swamped by a couple of swoopers. The time for the 2000 meters mobile in bitterly cold winter conditions was 2:26.7, a mile rate of 1:58 which was a top effort by Field Marshal as a two year old against older horses. Sent North after that run for a Breeders Crown heat, Field Marshal had a “ walkover” win as he was the only eligible horse nominated. In preparation for tonights race at Cambridge he had a run at the workouts on Saturday and scored a stylish four length win in 2:46.9 for the 2200 meters mobile, a mile rate of 2:02 with closing sectionals of 56.2 and 27.4. It showed that Field Marshal even from his draw of eight tonight in the John Makgill Memorial Pace is the horse they all have to beat. Not only is Field Marshal by the top sire Art Major but he is also from the top mare Foreal. Foreal was one of the best mares of her time in Australasia, taking a record of 1:57.4 on her way to winning $664,800 in a stellar career. Safely through tonight, Field Marshal may yet head to Australia for the Breeders Crown semi finals in August. If he was to make the trip to Australia for the Breeders Crown, Field Marshal has all the credentials to be a serious contender. Field Marshall seen here winning at Timaru Harnesslink media