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Prompted by recent rumors concerning NZ Bloodstock's likely purchase of PGG Wrightson's harness racing auction business, and in light of our diminishing equine population (breeding down another 250 mares this year, rapidly approaching only 2,000 mares bred annually) and general lack of enticing prize money at offer, it is time for our Industry to take over ownership of its yearling and related auctions! Even in this depressed environment, yearling/weanling/broodmare Auction Sales exceed $11 million dollars annually, generating in excess of $1.1 million of gross income to PGG Wrightson. Think of how wonderful it would be if that money were made available to lift both overnight and stake purses! Why utilize an outside Auction house to do - and make money from - what we can do just as well ourselves? With a little creative use of existing facilities both Alexandra Park and Addington could hold the sales at their racetracks! Obviously, temporary stalls would need to be rented, some overheads incurred, vendor payouts and cataloging to be managed, and auctioneers to be rented for the sales - but it is hard to imagine that the financial windfall to harness racing would be far from $1 million annually! Additionally, if the sales were well handled, food and drink income for the sales days would be substantial! It would also tie in well with special race nights created to take advantage of the crowds that would already be on track for the sales! While PGG and NZ Bloodstock would have us believe that their expertise is vital, there is really very little to that bravado! The sales are self drawing, our industry can handle the operation, personnel overheads need not be high (there is certainly no need to inspect yearlings as foal numbers no longer require culling for the sales), and - while Karaka is a lovely venue - it is an unnecessary extravagance considering how nicely the $1million dollars at hand would benefit our racing product! Given Alexandra Park's bright economic future, they, alone, if necessary, could put on these sales. And combined with support from major Breeders/stud farms/consigned like Woodlands, Breckon, and Alabar, they could create an innovative new series and stakes benefiting 2 and 3 year olds! In this time of general doom and gloom in harness racing, this proactive approach would provide a breath of fresh air, utilize common sense, and give the Industry we love some forward momentum!!! Come on Alexandra Park and Addington, come on NZ Breeders, and let's MAKE this happen. Let's take our own horse by the reins! Harnesslink Media

Auckland Reactor is currently third on the harness racing three-year-old sires list in New Zealand with $341,698 in progeny earnings to date with 24 starters, nine winners and 48 qualifiers from 141 registered foals.  This Thursday, Auckland Reactor star three-year-old boom pacer Chase Auckland returns to the track in preparation for the upcoming Great Northern Derby in Auckland in three weeks time. With a unbeaten record of seven starts for seven wins ($255,179) and with a 1:52.2 mile rate over 1950 metres registered against his name, much is anticipated of this son of Auckland Reactor on his return to the track. It has been six weeks since he last raced. Chase Auckland is the first Group 1 winner produced by Auckland Reactor in New Zealand. Two other colts by Auckland Reactor, both nominated for the New Zealand Derby, to impress are recent first start winner Jazzy Star (1:55.8 mile rate) and Ardtoo winning his last two starts. In Australia Auckland Reactor was the leading first season sire for 2016/2017 season. He had 115 foals for 10 winners including a Group 1 winner Gold Reactor from his first crop. Gold Reactor won a $100,000 Queensland Final. Another filly to impress recently winning by large margins and winning her last three starts is Soho Burning Love 1:52.6. ​Auckland Reactor has already left a two-year-old filly winner in Australia from his second crop (Cap In Hand, 1:59.7 - one start) from four starters to date.  In summary Auckland Reactor (Mach Three) has bred two Group 1 winners from his first crop current three-year-olds, has progeny earnings of $624,936, has bred 24 individual winners to date and 83 qualifiers or starters to date and remember that the three-year-old season is just getting underway.  Chase Auckland Jazzy Star Ardtoo Gold Reactor Soho Burning Love Cap In Hand There are only 12 yearlings by Auckland Reactor at the New Zealand Sales this week, four colts and a filly in the main sales and two colts and five fillies in the supplementary sale and they should be much sort after by the discerning buyer. At the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka, in Auckland this Monday February the 12th, Auckland Reactor only has the one colt for sale, Lot 99 and what a stunner he is. Out of the very good race mare Impish this colt is called Crackator and he is a half-brother to seven winners including the very good mare The Fascinator 10 wins ($155,162). This colt is closely related to the promising three-year-old King Of Swing ($236,244). Lot 99 - Crackator (Bay colt Auckland Reactor - Impish - Falcon Seelster) Lot 99 - Crackator (Bay colt Auckland Reactor - Impish - Falcon Seelster) At the New Zealand Premier Sale in Christchurch on Tuesday and Wednesday( the 13th and 14th of February), Auckland Reactor is represented by three colts and one filly. The first colt is Lot 238, One Of Them, and he is an outstanding individual (you be the judge) and a chestnut colt to boot from the Studholme Park draft and just look at him he just oozes with class. He is a half-brother to nine individual winners and is closely related to recent Inter Dominion starter Code Black 1:50.8 ($213,535). Lot 238 - One Of Them (Chestnut colt)  Auckland Reactor - Rafiki - New York Motoring The second colt is Lot 244, Roscoe Bromac from the Bromac Lodge draft and he is from the Falcon Seelster mare Romancing Bromac. Roscoe Bromac is her third foal and is a half-brother to the promising Victorian pacer Romeo Bromac (4 wins to date). This colt is closely related to Code Black ($1,026,623), Naughty But Nice ($1,062,107) and a host of other top winners in North America. Lot 244 - Roscoe Bromac (Bay colt)  Auckland Reactor - Romancing Bromac - Falcon Seelster This next yearling a filly by Auckland Reactor is probably one of the best bred Auckland Reactors at the sales this year and the only filly by Auckland Reactor at the sales this year in New Zealand. It is Lot 250 Red Envy and she is a half-sister to six winners all good horses. Red Envy is from a half-sister to super mare Sparks A Flyin, 2000/2001 3yr old 'Pacing Filly Of The Year' who in turn has left several winners including the very good Bettor's Fire ($557,430) . Lot 250 - Red Envy (Chestnut filly)  Auckland Reactor - Sparks Under Fire - Fake Left Another super looking colt, this is the last colt for sale by Auckland Reactor, at this years New Zealand Premier Sale and it is Lot 323, Willie Go West and he is from the Studholme Park draft. Willie Go West is the first colt from the Bettor's Delight mare Bettor Go. This modern pedigree gives this colt more than a serious chance to make it as a top young race horse. Lot 323 - Willie Go West (Bay colt)  Auckland Reactor - Bettor Go - Bettor's Delight In the Supplementary Sale there are two colts and five fillies for sale.  Lot 437 - Falcon Reactor (brown filly)  Auckland Reactor - Ask Me Falcon - Falcon Seelster This filly is the second foal of its dam a Falcon Seelster mare who is from a sister to the 1982/1983 4yr old 'Pacer Of The Year' Our Mana 20 wins with $331,900 in the bank. (No photos or videos available for this filly). Lot 439 - Chemeia (bay filly)  Auckland Reactor - Alcheringa - Dream Away This filly is a three-quarter sister to the very good Mach Three mare (Famous) Alchemist ($322,869). Lot 439 - Chemeia (bay filly)  Auckland Reactor - Alcheringa - Dream Away Lot 447 - Crystal Belle (bay filly)  Auckland Reactor - Belle Elect - Life Sign This Auckland Reactor filly is a half-sister to two winners and is from Belle Elect a daughter of the brilliant 2000/2001 two-year-old 'Pacing Filly Of The Year' and 'Pacer and Harness Horse Of The Year' Elect To Live. Belle Elect is a half-sister to the top young horses Gotta Go Harmony (two-year-old 'Pacing Filly Of The Year') and Gotta Go Cullect now a decent stallion at stud. Lot 447 - Crystal Belle (bay filly)  Auckland Reactor - Belle Elect - Life Sign Lot 460 - Milly Mercedes (brown filly)  Auckland Reactor - Ella Sue - Elsu This filly is from a mare by champion race horse Elsu ($2,083,352) called Ella Sue who won over $100,000 and was Group placed. Lot 460 - Milly Mercedes (brown filly)  Auckland Reactor - Ella Sue - Elsu Lot 461 - Crusada (bay colt)  Auckland Reactor - Curve - Courage Under Fire Crusada is the second foal and first colt from the race winning Courage Under Fire mare Curve and this colt looks like he will go early. From the family of multiple Group 1 winners including Sly Flyin ($817,956), Smiling Shard ($757,492), Pemberton Shard ($225,212) and last year's good two-year-old Mach Shard. Lot 461 - Crusada (bay colt)  Auckland Reactor - Curve - Courage Under Fire Lot 463 - Mighty Reactor (bay colt)  Auckland Reactor - Elite Lass - Live Or Die Mighty Reactor is the last colt for sale at these New Zealand yearling sales. He is from a race winning Live Or Die mare Elite Lass who in turn is a half-sister to 7 winners. Lot 463 - Mighty Reactor (bay colt)  Auckland Reactor - Elite Lass - Live Or Die Lot 463 - Mighty Reactor (bay colt)  Auckland Reactor - Elite Lass - Live Or Die Lot 470 - Mandisa (bay filly)  Auckland Reactor - Jacaranda - Falcon Seelster And here is your last chance to buy an Auckland Reactor filly at these New Zealand Sales. Her name is Mandisa and she is from the famed Norice Family stacked full of great horses. This filly is an outstanding looker and should command the attention of serious buyers. Lot 470 - Mandisa (bay filly)  Auckland Reactor - Jacaranda - Falcon Seelster If you want to buy a winner then the odds are in your favour, big time, when you buy a yearling from the Breckon Farms draft at the 2018 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale. There is no doubt that this years Australasian Classic Yearling Sale is the best Catalogue of yearlings ever produced in New Zealand. Be there. To view the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale catalogue click on this link. Harnesslink Media  

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.    

If Ken Spicer doesn't have a good week selling horses he has nobody to blame but himself. Because not only is Spicer one of the leading vendors at the harness racing yearling sales which begin at Karaka on Monday before heading to Canterbury on Tuesday, he is also now in charge of the industry. Spicer, who will take a high quality draft to the Canterbury sale, is also the chairman of Harness Racing New Zealand so has more to lose than most from any dip in sales prices. But he says while the entire New Zealand racing industry has faced its challenges lately, he sees huge changes ahead that should boost this week's three days of action. "There are things of things in the industry which have to improve and the board of HRNZ want them improved quickly," says Spicer. "So while he know we have challengers, the appetite for change is very real and I can see some big things happening in the next 6-12 months. "People want change now and we are committed to that but its important not to forget there are plenty of good things going on right now." Stakes increases have already been flagged in the north, with the ATC announcing an extra $40,000 in stakes per meeting at Alexandra Park from the middle of next year. But Spicer says increases for the entire country --- as were announced in the thoroughbred industry this week --- are are on their way. "We have a couple of key things coming up, none more so than the Race Fields legislation, which when it is passed could help us to the tune of an extra $5million a year. "So I'd like to see a minimum stakes rise of $2000 per race before long and I think that is very realistic." Spicer says maximising turnover through increased field sizes is why so much effort has gone into the new ratings system and changes to programming, which seems to be reducing the number of hot favourites in the north. "Away from the Race Fields legislation we are confident of more funding from the Racing Board in coming years too through a range of things they are working on so there are some really positive things happening. "And the board knows people are tired of waiting so making these improvements quickly is crucial to us." The Australasian Classic Sale start at Karaka on Monday where the enormous continued success of New Zealand-bred horses like Lazarus should ensure plenty of Australian interest. The smaller, more boutique catalogue at Karaka includes many of the industry's most current families, with huge drafts from Woodlands Stud and Breckon Farms. Among the top lots is certain to be a Bettors Delight brother to Spanish Armada, winner of the Sales Series Pace at Addington on Friday and has been the dominant New Zealand filly this season. The Christchurch sales is bigger, hence the two days, with a brother to champion three-year-old Ultimate Machete one of the main draw cards late on Tuesday. "There are some lovely horses catalogued at both sales and I can see it being a strong week but the people who buy this week will be racing in a far stronger industry next year," says Spicer. - NZ Herald Read more by Michael Guerin 

Harness Racing’s first season sire A Rocknroll Dance is well represented at the up-coming New Zealand Yearling Sales where he has 39 babies for sale.  At the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale he has 11 progeny for sale and at the Premier Sale he has 28 progeny to be sold.  A champion racehorse from two through to four, A Rocknroll Dance (p2,1:49.1; p3,1:48.1f; p4,1:47.2 and $2,429,441 in earnings) is by Rocknroll Hanover from a half-sister to super sire Western Hanover.  You could say that A Rocknroll Dance is the best bred son of the great Rocknroll Hanover. A Rocknroll Dance was the first pacer in history to take three consecutive sub-1:48 wins.  - Canadian Pacing Derby elimination (1:47.3) - Canadian Pacing Derby final (1:47.2) - Invitational at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (1:47.4) A Rocknroll Dance dominated the track with his grit and toughness.  At two, he equaled  the world record and was the richest two-year old that year.  He won the Meadowlands Pace and the Battle of the Brandywine at three. In winning The Meadowlands Pace he beat the following outstanding horses, all stallions at stud today.  Sweet Lou ($3,484,251) State Treasurer ($2,072,450) Pet Rock ($1,985,820) Thinking Out Loud ($1,957,217) Bolt The Duer ($1,829,995) Heston Blue Chip ($1,779,373) Here is The Meadowlands Pace One of the very best sons of Rocknroll Hanover, A Rocknroll Dance has been enthusiastically received by breeders in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.  The early outlook on his potential as a sire is bright, with breeders praising his offspring's strength, looks and intelligence.  Breckon Farms are selling three yearlings by A Rocknroll Dance at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale on the 20th of February at Karaka, Auckland, New Zealand. They are; Lot 50 – Rockin Regal (brown colt A Rocknroll Dance / Spirit Of Spring) This colt is a half-brother to three winners including Umojo (1.51.2m, 29 wins $238,047) and Ebony Raider (1.58, 10 wins 17 places $27,696). Rockin Regal is closely related to Group 1 placed Major Star (1.53.5, 12 wins 21 places $169,068), Zenthura (1.56.5h, 16 wins 16 places $117,705), Group 2 winner Idancedallnight (1.59.3, 6 wins 12 places $103,655), Waltzing With Cullen (1.51.7m, 20 wins 45 places $212,951), Nureyev (1.55.3, 12 wins 9 places $94,414), dual Group 1 placed Fake Spirit (1.59.8, 5 wins $184,370) and Group 1 winner Chilli Palmer (1.51.5m, 14 wins 16 places $289,583) and Jinni’s Fantasy (1.51.8m, 59 wins $443,273). Lot 83 – Yorkshire Rose (bay colt A Rocknroll Dance / Veste) Yorkshire Rose is the third foal from 1:57.1 2yo Group 1 winning Christian Cullen mare Veste (1.57.1, 3 wins 1 place $106,024) who is a full-sister to 2 winners including Conversion (1.56.7, 4 wins 5 places $19,940). Her second dam is the very good race mare Corburg (1.56.8, 10 wins 13 places $201,312) who is a Group 1 winning ‘4YO Mare of the Year’ and half-sister to million dollar earner, multiple Group 1 winner and ‘3YO Pacer of the Year’ Stunin Cullen (1.54.1, 18 wins $1,493,716),  Gustavo (1.52.6h, 15 wins $139,207), Temepara Cullen (1.56.1; 5 wins 4 places $40,143) and Smiley Sophie (1:56.5, 1 win 8 places, $53,986). This is the family of dual NZ Cup winner, 10-time Group 1 winning and millionaire pacer Il Vicolo (1.57.6, 31 wins 10 places $1,580,948) and Auckland Cup winner, 5-time Group 1 winner, millionaire pacer and ‘2yo Pacer of the Year’ Gotta Go Cullen (1.58.3, 24 wins 17 places $1,173,343). Lot 137 – Miss Streisand (bay filly, A Rocknroll Dance / Goodlookinggirl) Miss Streisand is a half-sister to two winners, Fellamongstabeauty (1.59.7, 1 win $3,770 from just 2 starts) and Goodlookingbabe (2.00.6, 3 wins $20,475). She is from the Christian Cullen mare Goodlookinggirl (2.3.5, 1 win 3 places $5,277) who is a half-sister to eight winners including Group 3 winner and Group 1 placed Mark Dennis (1.54.2f, 29 wins $217,527), Group 1 winner Waitfornoone (1.55.7, 11 wins 14 places $201,805), St Barts (1.57, 15 wins 11 places $162,506) and Group 1 placed Fight Fire With Fire (1.56; 7 wins 13 places $151,656). This filly is closely related to Group 1 placed Windinherhair (1.54.6, 11 wins 14 places $140,476), dual Group 2 placed Twice As Hot (1.59.6, 5 wins 11 places $50,537), dam of Group 1 winner Flaming Flutter (1.53.9m, 19 wins 33 places $645,195) and Group 2 winner Pacific Warrior (1.54.8h, 28 wins 21 places $343,419).   Harnesslink Media

It has not been that often in the last few years that you would see the harness racing maestro Roy Purdon at Alexandra Park. Age and wear and tear affects the best of us and the 89 year old has preferred the comfort of his armchair at home as he has followed his sons Mark and Barry winning races from one end of the country to the other. In the last few weeks however, Roy has been sighted at  Alexandra Park more than once and it is all down to the generosity of his son Mark. Mark outlaid $62,500 at the 2015 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale for a Bettor's Delight colt named More The Better and promptly gifted a half share in the striking looking colt to his father Roy. Roy decided to bring his longtime friend David Levine into the ownership and the partnership of three has not looked back from that day. Last night More The Better went into the $100,000 Young Guns Final at Alexandra Park a close second favourite behind his stablemate Pacing Major and once again the two star two year olds fought out the finish. Mark sent More The Better forward from barrier four to grab an early lead from Pacing Major and that really was the winning of the race. Allowed to dictate terms in front, Mark got away with a couple of soft quarters during the race including a 29 effort between the 800 metres and the 400 metres before brushing home in a sizzling 26.8 for the last quarter. Pacing Major made up a wee bit of ground in the last 400 metres on the stablemate but not enough to trouble More The Better in front who still had half a length to spare at the finish with the Paul Court trained Mongolian Hero a further 6 3/4 lengths in third. More The Better paced the 1700 metres in 2:04.4, a mile rate of 1:57.8 with closing sectionals of 55.8 and 26.8 The win last night took More The Better's two year old record to 3 wins and 3 seconds from 6 starts for stakes totaling $83,385 with a best time to date of 1:53.6 Come the photo after the win last night and there was no sign of Roy. "Dad and Neil Pilcher are guests of the Club tonight on the top floor." " I think to get down here for the photo they would have had to make a start before the the last race" Mark quipped. But that wouldn't have worried Roy in the least who unbelievably was posting his first Group 1 winner as an owner and his longtime friend David Levine, who has been able to share in that thrill with him which has made it all that more special. The next time More The Better is seen on a racetrack will be in the South Island and it wouldn't be a surprise to see his excited part owners on track to watch him. Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing's New Zealand Premier two day sale at Christchurch has come and gone for another year and we thought it a good time to acknowledge the things that PGG Wrightson got right and the things they got wrong this year as we see it. Promotion Bruce Barlass and Peter Lagan did a wonderful job yet again of promoting the sale throughout Australasia and that was rewarded with a buyers bench that included a good number of Australians at both days in Christchurch. The PGG website is a credit to the company and provides all the pre sale information any buyers could ever want from the pedigrees through to the photos and videos.  There was also plenty of coverage prior to the sale from the main stream media. Some might argue that it is never enough but in todays marketplace, we thought the coverage was as good as you will see these days from the main stream media More co-ordination between groups like Southern Bred -Best Bred and PGG may lift the profile of groups like that even more because there was the odd rumbling of discontent from those quarters prior to the sale. Facilities There are some major issues here that need addressing before next years sale. Sound System Inaudible most of the time within the selling centre. You had more chance of hearing what was going on from outside the building than from inside it due to all the sound distortions from the sound system on both days. Sitting inside on both days covering the sale from start to finish resulted in getting a bad headache on both occasions and judging by conversations we had with buyers and vendors, we had plenty of company. Ventilation The temperature inside the selling complex is a major problem whenever you strike a hot day which in February is most days. Ventilation was very poor verging on non existent on both days and made staying within the arena very very uncomfortable for both buyers and the media. The temperature up in the stands was not conducive for people to stay for any length of time and big areas in the stands were empty for long periods throughout the two days which robbed the sale of a lot of its atmosphere. Catering Once again "Sooty Moffat and his team did an outstanding job of providing a wide range of quality food at prices that were very reasonable and it is hard to see at an event like a two day horse sale, how you could improve on what is currently provided. Thats not to say that it is to everyone's liking but it is far superior to what is offered at a lot of major sports events these days and the value for money is first class so kudos to everybody involved. Bid Spotters Sitting there through both days from start to finish was a real eye opener with regards  to the amount of bids which were regularly missed throughout the sale. The last two hours on the first day when the auctioneers were playing a bit of catch up with the timetable saw countless bids missed on a fair number of the lots offered. Tens of thousands of dollars went west because the bids were missed by the bid spotters or there wasn't enough of them on deck at the time. All the hard work had been done by PGG and the vendors only for them to leave so much money sitting on the sidelines at times due to bids being missed again and again. Auctioneers The presence of Steve Davis at the auctioneers rostrum lifted the sale to another level when he was auctioneer. His ability to get that that extra bid from buyers when the bidding was stalled stamped Steve as the key man on the gavel during the two days and was commented on by everybody we spoke to. He did with good humour and wit and was a pleasure to watch. However a couple of his contemporaries really let the side down at times and again left a lot of money on the shelf which the vendors really need. Good humour and wit went out the window on some lots and it was basically a my way or the highway attitude which never endears buyers at anytime. Too many lots were knocked down when there was obviously still room for further bids from the buyers bench. One had to feel a bit sorry for the vendors in such cases as if Steve Davis had been selling the same lot, the vendor would have had a much better result. Overview We do realize that our comments here are not going to go down well in some quarters but we are telling it like we saw it. We don't have a financial interest here or an axe to grind in this matter. Our opinions as we have expressed them here are what we observed over the two days at the Christchurch sale which could be so much better than it presently is. The more successful the Christchurch Premier sale is, the more everybody from PGG to the the vendors through to the wider harness racing industry benefits and that is why we felt compelled to bring these matters out into the open. JC

As the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale at Christchurch wound down yesterday, a lot of the public present stuck around. Even though it was quite uncomfortable in the steel shed in the 30 degree heat, the word was well and truly out that there would be plenty of fireworks on Lot 524, the second to last lot of the whole sale. The yearling in question is a colt by Art Major named Honor And Glory who is the third foal from the former New Zealand record holder in Breath Of Life 1:56.9 ($109,036). Her first foal Fight For Glory 1:52 ($651,212) needs no introduction and is a full sister to Honor And Glory while her second foal in G I Joe 1:59.3 was placed in Sires Stakes action this season. True to the rumours, Honor And Glory was the centre of a lot of buying interest as soon as he entered the ring. Big spending Australian couple Merv and Meg Butterworth were into the action early on as was leading trainer Robert Dunn. Unlike a lot of the six figure lots who slowed down once they passed the $100,000 mark, Honor And Glory kept on going and it wasn't until $170,000 that Robert Dunn decided enough was enough and let the Butterworths win this battle. Merv was typically understated in his comments after signing the sale docket. " He has a wonderful pedigree and presence and I was pretty determined that I was going to buy him prior to the sale," " He will be joining the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen team at Rolleston," Merv said. Well known Southland breeder and the vendor of Honor And Glory, Dianne Cournane was still shaking a bit post sale. " I was very nervous leading into the sale." " I had put a big reserve on him ($150,000) and was just hoping he made that," Dianne said. Honor And Glory has a lot to live up now with that sale tag around his neck but the outstanding success that Merv and Meg Butterworth have enjoyed with their expensive sales purchasers would suggest Honor And Glory has a good chance of repaying his purchase price. Harnesslink Media

The second day of the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale at Christchurch had been going through a bit of a flat patch when Lot 409 walked into the sales ring. A colt by Mach Three named Mach Shard, he is a half brother to the former champion two and three year old Smiling Shard 1:53.7 ($1,089,753) and the top racemare in Pemberton Shard 1:55.2 ($225,212) Straight away the tempo of the sale changed as all the big hitters came out to play. $100,000 came and went in a hurry and not long after the $150,000 mark went by the board. Finally the tempo slowed but Barry Purdon who had been in from the start was not going to be denied and when the colt was knocked downed for $200,000,it was Barry who was holding the final bid. Barry was a happy man to have secured what he thought was the pick of the colts in the southern sale. "I was starting to get a bit nervous at the $130,000 mark but Kevin and Trevor were keen to carry on." " I was really taken with him and luckily have owners who are prepared to back my judgment.'' He's a really athletic colt with a great back end on him."  Barry said. Barry was referring to two of the most successful owners in harness racing in Australasia at the moment in Trevor Casey and Kevin Riseley who have been riding a crest of a wave of success over the last 18 months. Barry has been building up a fantastic record with his sales purchasers over the last seven or eight years and he certainly looks to have unearthed another outstanding type going by the individual in the ring this afternoon. Mach Shard, as you can see from the photo is built like a bull, very strong through the chest and shoulder and just looks like an early runner. With the half brother Smiling Shard already standing at stud in Australia, there is the added bonus that Mach Shard has that option open to him if he can go as good on the track as he looks off it. " Both Somebeachsomewhere and Auckland Reactor are by Mach Three and at stud these days so Mach Three is a proven sire of sires. "Mach Three has proven he's well capable of leaving top horses and the mare is obviously proven too," Barry said. Harnesslink Media

Well known and respected yearling sale vendors Ken and Ann-Marie Spicer were keeping their fingers crossed when their cracking Bettor's Delight colt Corona walked into the sales ring at the New Zealand Premier Yearling sale at Christchurch today.  They knew they had done everything they could to present the colt in the best possible light and the interest had been there from the buyers bench with countless pre sale inspections. Ken was confident of a good result . " He is without doubt the pick of our draft and just a lovely individual in the flesh." " We have had a lot of positive comment so lets just hope two buyers want him when he is in the ring," Ken told Harnesslink today. Ken needn't have worried as Corona was the receipt of spirited bidding from the time he had entered the ring. Steve Thompson and Grant Dickey stuck to their guns the whole way through and signed the sales docket for $132,500 to add Corona to their list of high priced yearlings they brought over the three days of the sales in Auckland and Christchurch.Mark Purdon was the under bidder on Corona. As with all the yearlings they purchase, Corona will be joining the barn of leading trainer Ken Barron. "He's a lovely horse, a real standout," Barron said. Mark Purdon was the under bidder on Corona. The Spicers have a real soft spot for Rona Lorraine as Ann-Marie explained to Harnesslink post sale. " Along with our good friends the Flemings, we bought Rona Lorraine off the track when she had finished racing."  " She has done a great job in the broodmare barn for us with her first three foals all being fillies but the first two have raced in the Sires Stakes Series and the third one who is just a two year old, qualified super last week for Cran Dalgety, " Ann Marie said. For the record the three fillies in question have all been well sought after at the sales as the prices show * 2012 - Filly By Bettor's Delight  - Bettor Think Twice $78,000 * 2013 - Filly by Bettor's Delight  -  Bettor Think Quick $105,000 * 2014 - Filly by Bettor's Delight  -  Black Raine $42,500 Ann Marie would like a few more like Rona Lorraine in her broodmare band. " She just produces lovely types each year." " We have an Art Major filly from her for next year and she is just a standout so I am looking forward to next year already," Ann Marie said. A big part of the success enjoyed by the progeny of Rona Lorraine is down to all that hard work that preparers like Ken and Ann Marie Spicer put into their progeny on the road to sales day. Harnesslink Media  

Unlike the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka yesterday, the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale at Christchurch today lacked a vital ingredient and that was a strong middle market. There was a good buyers bench for stock in the $50,000 plus market but the $15,000 to $50,000 section of the market was a lot harder to read with wild fluctuations between lots of similar breeding and type. The top end end was consistent and it was no surprise to see Lot 244 bring up the second six figure purchase of the day. A colt by the outstanding trotting stallion Angus Hall named Hands Are A Gift, he is the first colt from the former brilliant trotting racemare Jasmyn's Gift (17 wins) ($192,436). The first foal is the four year old daughter of The Pres named Le Lievre's Gift 1:57.6 who is two from two to date which obviously helped today's sale. Hands Are A Gift paraded like an old timer and nothing seemed to phase him in his long spell in the ring which is another plus going forward. Straight out of the ring Hands Are A Gift stopped and posed for the cameras and stood there as quiet as a lamb while the pictures were taken. One gets the feeling he may be doing that a lot in his career. The next lot to break the $100,000 mark was also not entirely unexpected. Lot 260 was a daughter of  the leading sire Bettor's Delight and the brilliant age  group performer in Lancome 1:54.9 ($461,278) named Le Lancome and was just a stand out individual in the flesh. When we published a story about Le Lancome last week on Harnesslink we had three phone calls from North America enquiring about her such was the impression the photos had made. The Australasian buyers were just as enthusiastic about her and although she eventually made $105,000, the time in the ring was quite brief. Local interest won out in the end with Alan Neumann from Mid-Canterbury taking her home which is great for the harness racing industry in the South Island. Apart from these two lots, there was a lot of below par results spread between those high priced sales and a lot of vendors would be hurting tonight. Harnesslink Media    

The New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch was slow and patchy for nearly the first two hours today before Lot 211 walked into the ring. A colt by the champion sire Bettor's Delight from the In The Pocket mare Free As A Bird ($19,789), he attracted strong interest from the time he walked into the ring. Free As A Bird had just one winner beside her name on the catalogue page from her first three foals but the remainder of her pedigree is first class with the second dam Maikona having left several black type performers as had the third dam Paperback Writer. Bidding was brisk from the start and it wasn't long before six figures was reached. As to be expected the bidding slowed from there but at $130,000 Robert Dunn had won the battle and taken Styx Freedom home. What the pedigree page hadn't told us was that Robert had brought a half brother to Styx Freedom by Somebeachsomewhere at last years New Zealand Premier Sale for $100,000 and was that impressed he had come back for the half brother. “ It has been everything but plain sailing with last years buy.” “ The first thing he got was some ulcers in his mouth which stopped us breaking him in for six weeks.” “ Then we had an issue with him hanging the Auckland way round and we found he had bone chips in his hock so we had that tidied up.” “We gelded why he was out as he was getting a bit coltish and now he is about six weeks from the trials from our Auckland barn.” “ I think a lot of him and think he has a big future which is why we were so keen on his half brother,” Robert told Harnesslink this afternoon at the sale. Styx Freedom certainly has the looks of a smart horse in the flesh and impressed a lot of good judges today in the ring. Harnesslink Media

After the explosive start at the Australasian Classic Sale at Karaka yesterday, more of the same was expected at the New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch. However the Christchurch sale was subdued early with six of the first fifteen lots being passed in by their vendors. John Street of Lincoln Farms was one of the few buyers to get busy early on buying Lot 159, the Bettor's Delight colt from the 1:55 McArdle mare Casteellina Lover ($39,779) for $70,000. A lovely type, one got the impression that he might turn out to be a cheap buy as the sale moves on. John Street didn't take long to back involved buying Lot 165, a Bettor's Delight colt from the smart Christian Cullen mare in Citylight ($29,707) with the dam being a half sister to the very well performed Belkmyster($116,715) John Street was back in the action not long after when he went to $50,000 for a Bettor's Delight colt from the well performed Mach Three mare Donthavtime 1:56.5 who won seven races and $53,182. Several other Art Major and Bettor's Delights yearlings were making around that $50,000 to $70,000 mark but after an hour and a half the sale had yet to get into full stride. Harnesslink Media

The old saying about timing being everything when selling yearlings has always held true and this year will be no different. Stallions with progeny excelling in or dominating the big age group and classic races always extract a big premium on harness racing sale day. If the vendor is really lucky, they can also strike the jackpot where the numbers by the stallion in question are very low, creating an availability issue as well. That perfect storm is present at this years round of sales for the brilliant trotting sire,Love You. The last twelve months have been a stellar period for the European bred stallion with Monbet, Kincaslough, Habibti and Yagunnakissmeornot all excelling in classic and age group racing in New Zealand. His overall statistics are super impressive with a winners to foal ratio of just under 50% for his crops three years and older and he looks to have several very serious two year olds trialing at present which is only further enhancing his reputation. In such circumstances, you would normally expect a swag of the progeny of Love You to be cataloged for this years round of sales but issues between the two management parties supplying the frozen semen of Love You meant his availability was severely restricted in the 2103/2014 breeding season. As a result we only have two of Love You's progeny being offered at the New Zealand Premier Yearling sale this year and as luck would have it, Brian West of Studholme Park is the vendor of both. Not only are the two yearlings by the hottest trotting sire in the country, but they both have have a " Blue Blood' maternal pedigree to balance the pedigree page. Lot 294 at Christchurch is a colt named Thank You and is the first live foal of the racewinning S J's Photo mare Margaritaville who is a half sister to the 2011-2012 Broodmare of the year in Sheezadoosie (7 wins) who of course is the dam of the champion I Can Doosit 1:55.5 ($1,445,774) and Sno's Big Boy 1:58.4 ($215,309) Lot 334 at Christchurch is named Paramount King and is a son of Paramount Star (7 wins) who has already produced the brilliant age group star in Paramount Geegee 1:57.3 ($561,342) and a full sister to Paramount King in Paramount Queen 1:59.7 ($122,612) while Paramount Dream who has won seven in the last twelve months is another daughter on the rise. In normal circumstances both of these colts would be in high demand but throw in the supply side of the equation and heaven knows what they might bring. Both are chestnuts which a lot of the smart Love You progeny in New Zealand are and as you can see from the photo's, both have that touch of class in appearance. It is not often that trotters top the $100,000 mark at yearling sales in New Zealand but both of these colts have the potential to do so this year. Harnesslink Media

It is not often these days with the availability of the top North American harness racing stallions down under that a lightly raced colonial stallion is given a shot at stud.  Several of the out and out New Zealand bred champions such as Changeover 1:53.4 ($2,426,654), Auckland Reactor 1:51.4 ($1,837,042) and Terror To Love 1:51 ($2,429,618) are being given every chance to prove themselves against their North American counterparts which makes sense as they were outstanding racehorses on the track. One colonial stallion who is also being given a chance at stud by New Zealand breeders is the very lightly raced son of Christian Cullen in Raging Bull 1:56.6 ($115,586) Raging Bull only faced the starter ten times in an injury plagued career for five wins and five seconds. Those five seconds were behind just three horses. Smolda 1:50.6 ($1,295,334), Ideal Scott 1:52.8 ($757,014) and Christen Me 1:49.1 ($2,325,592) are three of the best horses to have raced in Australasia in the last decade so Raging Bull certainly kept good company on the track. An $85,000 purchase at the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale, Raging Bull has a pedigree that screams 'Blue Blood' in spades. Raging Bull is a son of the champion New Zealand sire Christian Cullen 1:54.1 ($1,249,150) who has sired the winners of over $87,000,000 worldwide while standing in New Zealand which is a fantastic achievement. The dam of Raging Bull is the imported North American mare San Sophia 1:52.6 ($91,481) who has produced two in 1:53 including Private Joke 1:52.1 ($154,792). The daughter of Artsplace is a full sister to the champion North American mare Galleria 1:49.1 ($1,814,453) who has already produced Gallie By The Beach 1:49 ($686,165) and Western Gallie 1:51.2 ($334,233) while another full sister to San Sophia in National Gallery has produced Smithsonian 1:48.4 ($508,230) and Lorrie Please 1:50.2 ($558,774). So while he was lightly raced in New Zealand, he did tick a lot of boxes for breeders looking for value. Raging Bull served 32 mares in his first season at stud for 29 live foals which are currently yearlings. Two of his yearling colts have made it into this years New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch and both have plenty to recommend them on both pedigree and type. Both are being offered by Robert Famularo of Cavalla Bloodstock Ltd and both have mouth watering pedigrees behind them. Lot 264 is named Getarattleon and is the second foal from the Sands A Flyin mare Lady Moonlight. The first foal is the Santana Blue Chip two year old colt Blue Moon Rising who won the $31,000 New South Wales Sapling Stakes (Group3) at Menangle recently in 1:54.9 and is two from two in Australia to date. Lady Moonlight is from the 1:54.4 mare Sirius Flight who is the dam of Malak Uswaad 1:49.4 ($637,242) and Timeless Perfection 1:56.9 while the third dam is the former champion two and three year old filly in Pacific Flight 1:51.2 ($562,345). It is a stunning pedigree and with Blue Moon Rising going so well, there should be plenty of interest in Getarattleon. The second of the yearlings to be offered is Lot 412 and the colt is named Boy George. Boy George is the first foal from Soul Sister, a Presidential Ball half sister to the former champion three year old filly in Carabella 1:55.2 ($693,617) This is an outstanding North American family with such standouts as Athena Blue Chip 1:50.6 ($457,118) and Art's Chip 1:49.6 ($726,999) close up in Boy George's pedigree. Both colts are lovely types as well so their reception by buyers at Christchurch will be watched closely by a lot of breeders to see if a lightly raced colonial stallion can still make it in todays highly commercial market. Harnesslink Media

With the yearling sales just ten days away now, all the vendors at this years sales have long ago finalized all their advertising and promotion of their stock. The photos and videos are up and all the vendors can hope for is that the prospective buyers are as taken with their yearlings as they are. One way that the odd vendor can get a lift in the last ten days or so before a sale is if close relatives to their offerings make a bit of a splash on the racing scene. Last weekend the very successful broodmare Juverna had stock winning races all over Australasia which can only bode well for the sale prospects of her Majestic Son filly on the first day of this years New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch. Selling as Lot 250, The Best Moment Yet had three siblings salute the judge on both sides of the Tasman in the space of 24 hours. First up was Quite A Moment who was ultra impressive winning a $20,000 trot at Melton where she easily accounted for the very smart Maori Time and One Over Da Moon. The daughter of Quite Easy simply bolted in and it was a run that really impressed driver Ricky May. " She won that so easily the other night I think she would be more than competitive against the best trotters going around and I think Greg is considering that option," Ricky told Harnesslink earlier in the week. It was her 14th career victory and took her earnings over the $258,000 mark. Two hours later at Albion Park, Duke Of The Moment kept the momentum going when he took out the trotters handicap. The son of Monarchy was recording his 18th career victory which took his lifetime earnings to just shy of $158,000. Come Sunday in New Zealand and the icing on the cake for Juverna was the performance of her Love You daughter Moment Of Love, who brained them by eight and a half lengths at the Wairarapa meeting at the Manawatu Raceway. Grant Beckett, the vendor of The Best Moment Yet at this years sales is still shaking his head over the three progeny winning last weekend. " With the sales just around the corner, to have three winners from the mare in just one weekend was a huge thrill. " The best advertising you can ever get is the progeny winning races and to have three do it together is a great achievement." " I already thought that The Best Moment Yet would sell well because I think she is best yearling on type that Juverna has produced so the three winners is really a bonus," Grant told Harnesslink earlier today.  Grant has a second yearling from the family that he is selling on the second day of the New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch as Lot 432 A daughter of Lucky Chucky 1:50.8 ($2,099,973) who sired a Hambletonian Oaks elimination winner from his first crop, the filly is named Luck Of The Moment and is from a Sundon daughter of Juverna. " She has just been a bit behind the other filly all the way through but has closed the gap just lately and has a lot of the family traits of Juverna so I have a bit of time for her," was Grant's opinion of her when talking to us today. Juverna has since produced a colt by Peak but it has already been sold. " Tim Butt was very keen to buy him so he has changed hands already and I put her back in foal to Peak." "Sunny Moment didn't have a foal this year but she is safely in foal to Andover Hall now," Grant said.  Juverna is from as good a trotting family results wise over the last twenty years as there is in the New Zealand stud book. The three winners last weekend is just a timely reminder to yearling buyers of how good this family is. Harnesslink Media

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