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The harness racing Molander stable has bolstered its stock with the inclusion of a former Kiwi named Dead Cat Bounce, who will make her Australian debut in the St Arnaud Sporting Club Trotters Cup on Sunday. Trainer Nicole Molander is hopeful the well-named daughter of Revenue/Wee Annie can defy her “lazy track work” since arriving at Riddells Creek.  “We were warned beforehand and I’m glad we were because she’s the laziest thing I’ve ever seen at home,” Molander said. “She arrived last Sunday and I think she’ll be the type who’ll hopefully put it all together on race day.” Dead Cat Bounce won two of her last five starts at Addington before crossing the ditch and has a 41:7-4-8 record overall. “The owner of Cillas Boy, John Green, had been looking to sell that one for a while but wanted to replace him with another horse for the stable. Dean (Molander) had been watching Dead Cat Bounce for a while … and John said go for it,” Molander said. Dead Cat Bounce has barrier three for Sunday’s 2520-metre stand-start cup but with the scratching of Maorisfavouritesun she’ll only have one horse – Tiroroa Tom – drawn to her inside. The Trotters Cup will be run at 3.43pm. Molander will saddle up two runners for the Weirs Supa IGA St Arnaud Pacing Cup in Cillas Boy and Im Meticulous. “He thought he was king pin when he won three in a row and last start he didn’t get much chance,” she said of Cillas Boy. “A lot will depend on whether he steps away on Sunday.” On Im Meticulous Molander was more confident, nominating it her best winning shot for the afternoon. “He came back making a horrible noise last start after a disappointing run. We had him scoped and he’s fine now. He flipped his palate, so we’ve popped the Cornell Collar on to remedy that.” by Cody Winnell

Keystone Del’s team will hope to build on his latest harness racing winning streak on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton and leave recent injury woes well in his wake. The eight-year-old will be favoured to record a fourth successive win in the Group 3 City of Melton Scotch Notch Memorial, a fine comeback since a right kidney tear threatened to derail his 2015. Dean Molander, husband of trainer Nicole, said connections were eager to “just take it one race at a time”. “So far so good,” he said. Keystone Del reeled off 13 consecutive wins from March 22, 2014, beginning with the Group 1 Great Southern Star. Coincidently, it was the 2015 staging of the same race – when Keystone Del faded to finish seventh – that concerns emerged about the gelding’s ailing health. “He had quite a bit of blood is his urine when he was getting swabbed,” Molander said. “It happened a few times.” The repeat incidence made connections believe it was more than muscle tie-up. Keystone Del was sent to the University of Melbourne, where he was placed on a dialysis machine and across three days of testing the tear was discovered, with rest the anecdote and enabling his return.  “After every run now he has a urine test and is monitored,” Molander said. And, to repeat, “so far so good”. “He set a track record two starts ago and Chris Alford said if he let him go last time he would have broken it again.” It was August 14 at Melton where Keystone Del ran a track record 1:54.5 mile rate, fittingly eclipsing favourite Maori Time, who eight months earlier broke Keystone Del’s 13-race winning streak. Alford then guided Keystone Del to a 6.7m win in Group 3 True Roman Trotters Free For All at his last start, having been called to have “coasted” in a “one-act affair”. Notably, Pretty Sunday (second), Aleppo Midas (third) and Aleppo Sunrise (fourth) were among those in his wake and they’ll return for potentially a repeat dose Saturday night in the City of Melton Scotch Notch Memorial. “Everything being equal you’d expect he will go very close, and he trialled very well at Geelong on Monday,” Molander said. The pre-race trial is common practice for Keystone Del, who Molander said was not one to overtrain, “and if we give him one decent run the week of his race that just brings him right up.” He said Kyvalley Blur would be “the hardest to beat” Saturday night, but added “the only time he has beaten him was when he had those kidney problems”.  “(Kyvalley Blur) is a very good horse and has a good record, but I’m sure the rest of the runners are more scared of us than we are of them.” All going well, Keystone Del will be directed at the Bill Collins Trotters Mile in November before, longer-term, a return assault on the Great Southern Star in March where the team will attempt to adhere to some unfinished business. by Michael Howard Related Links Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 10 October 2015 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 10 October 2015

Conon Bridge defeated Cyclone Chief by a metre to claim Group 1 glory in the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown 2YO Colts and Geldings Trotters Final at Melton’s Super Sunday program. The Paul Nairn-trained son of Raffaello Ambrosio/Diedre’s Girl survived a protest from the second horse, with the winner veering inwards in the home straight. However, stewards couldn’t be satisfied that the interference cost Cyclone Chief the race and the first horse over the line held his position, much to the relief of the favourite punters. Bob Butt drove the winner and Todd MacFarlane was aboard the second horse. Conon Bridge started $1.40 and led throughout from the pole, his winning mile rate 2:03.9. Cruisin Around ran a mighty race for trainer Michael Hughes and driver Greg Sugars to finish third, while Sundons Courage was fourth from three back along the pegs, running on well after a slow early pace up front. Reina Danzante goes all the way in fillies' final Reina Danzante won her second Group 1 for trainer Nicole Molander and driver Chris Alford with an all-the-way triumph in today’s IMV Technologies Breeders Cown Final for 3YO trotting fillies. The daughter of Armbro Invasion out of champion mare La Coocaracha led from barrier four to score by a neck in a mile rate of 2:00.9, Glenferrie Burn running on for second and My Arya finishing third. “Nicole and Dean (Molander) have done a super job,” Alford said. “Two Group 1s has been great and she should only get better too.” Once in front Reina Danzante posted a 31.4secs first quarter before a 29.4 second split. Reina Danzante got home in 58.7secs. Reina Danzante won the Vicbred Super Series earlier this season. by Cody Winnell

Reina Danzante became a harness racing Group 1 winner at just her fourth trip to the races tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton. The well-bred daughter of Armbro Invasion out of former champion mare La Coocaracha enjoyed a comfortable run in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotting Fillies Final before bursting through late to defeat Sky Petite. Driven by Chris Alford for trainer Nicole Molander, Reina Danzante began well but was crossed by Sheza Amason and Rebecca Bartley. Reigning Vicbred Super Series champion Endsino was caught without cover for the trip after getting a good run through from her second-line draw, Alford able to sit quietly until the home straight. Sky Petite (Steve Duffy) made a strong run turning for home and almost looked the winner, but Alford and Reina Danzante fired up late to get the victory by 2.4 metres, with Val Gardena (Chris Svanosio) rattling home out wide for third. “She’s come in leaps and bounds since she came down,” Alford said. “They (Nicole and Dean Molander) do a good job with their horses. They don’t have a big team but they’re all pretty spot-on.” Donski finished fourth and Zaire Diva fifth. Watch Reina Danzante win her Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final Cody Winnell

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

Star trotter Keystone Del is recuperating in a paddock after pulling up sore from Great Southern Star night. Trainer Nicole Molander said the 26-time winner would have his shoes removed by the farrier and his cracked hoof worked on during the next couple of days. Molander has also ordered the vet to test Keystone Del’s blood to ensure there are no other health issues. “He’s a bit sore and he’s resting in the paddock now,” Molander said. “He’s got a crack on his hoof that we’ve been looking after. It had quite a bit of movement in it after the Great Southern Star. “The farrier will take the shoes off in the next day or so. So he’s out for a spell.” Keystone Del ran second behind Sheemon in his Great Southern Star heat last Saturday night before backing up and running seventh in the Final, which was won by Stent. HRV Media

Reigning Great Southern Star champion Keystone Del is well-positioned to defend his harness racing title at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Back to his best following some minor setbacks, the Nicole Molander-trained trotter has drawn to lead throughout the opening heat. In what should prove little more than a training exercise for the son of Dr Ronerail, the gelding will begin from barrier three. Along with having an extra half-hour rest before the Final than those in the second heat, on paper Keystone Del’s qualifier also appears to be the weaker of the two. The extra rest and likely softer run make Keystone Del the one to beat in the series yet again. New Zealand raider Stent, which beat Keystone Del in the Grand Prix a fortnight ago, faces a tougher task in the second heat. The Colin De Filippi-trained squaregaiter will come out of barrier six, with handy types such as My High Expectations, Spidergirl and Neville Vaughan among those drawn on his inside. Unbeaten from three Aussie starts this campaign, Stent will need to be at his top against a solid assembly. Stent and Keystone Del dominated last season’s heats before the latter claimed the Group One decider in which the Kiwi visitor was runner-up. Although still in its infancy, the Great Southern Star has quickly developed into the nation’s premier trot, with the $300,000 Final scheduled for 10pm PAUL COURTS

Top harness racing performer Keystone Del remains on target for the Great Southern Star. Despite a minor setback, Keystone Del will be ready for his title defence according to trainer Nicole Molander. A notable absentee from recent trotting features, Keystone Del has been hampered by muscle soreness, but has responded well to treatment. As such, the son of Dr Ronerail is likely to start in next week’s Group One Australasian Trotting Grand Prix. “He had muscle soreness over his hamstring and was jarred up because of a crack in his hoof,” Molander explained. “We put bar shoes on to stop the movement of the crack and have remedied that, but had to work on his muscles. “He is back to a regular shoe and is moving freely again. All is fine with him.” Despite the break from racing, Keystone Del fitness has been maintained through slow, steady training. “He hasn’t really missed much work as part of his treatment was to keep him jogging,” Molander said. “We’re pretty happy with him now. “He will trial at Melton on Monday and race next week. “If we feel he needs another run before the Great Southern Star he will go around in the free-for-all the following week.” PAUL COURTS

Harness racing trainer Nicole Molander received an early house warming present at Ballarat last night. Molander captured the V L Dullard Cup with outstanding trotter Keystone Del, with the win an ideal way to celebrate her move to Victoria. Molander and her family will exit New South Wales for their newly purchased Riddells Creek property on Friday. With the move – and her three children - keeping her busy, Molander’s husband, Dean, handled the racing side of the operation at Ballarat. “This is a great way to kick off the week we move down to Victoria,” Dean declared. “It’s going to be a busy time for us with the move, settling in and still racing.” Driven a treat by Blake Fitzpatrick, Keystone Del worked to the lead from his second row draw before accounting for Elegant Image and Stoned I Am. “I’m very happy with the way he went tonight,” Dean said. “You never want to go into a Group One too confident, but we felt he had their measure. “Blake has been fantastic with this horse. He was a handful when we first got him, but Blake has been patient and helped get the best out of him.’ Covering the last half in 56.9 seconds, the son of Dr Ronerail rated 1:59.2 for the 2200 metres to stretch his winning streak to 11. To be given “an easy week”, Keystone Del has been aimed at several key targets such as the Australian Grand Prix, Great Southern Star and Glenferrie Farm Challenge. The seven-year-old has won the first two editions of the Glenferrie Farm Challenge at Menangle. “There are plenty of good races ahead for him,” Dean said. “While they would all be great to win, it would be good to win the Glenferrie Farm Challenge for a third successive time.” PAUL COURTS

Harness racing trainer Nicole Molander is hoping for an early house warming present at Ballarat on Saturday night. Molander has star trotter Keystone Del engaged in the V L Dullard Cup, with a win the ideal way to celebrate her move to Victoria. Molander and her family will exit New South Wales for their newly purchased Riddells Creek property next week. With the move – and her three children - keeping her busy, Molander’s husband, Dean, will head to Ballarat with Keystone Del. “It certainly would be a great way to kick off the week we move to Victoria,” Molander said. “It’d be a nice house warming gift. “It’s a busy time for us with the move and racing, so Dean will head down while I take care of things on the home front.” Despite his awkward second row draw, Keystone Del has been installed a prohibitive $1.70 favourite in his bid for an 11th consecutive victory. Fresh from his triumph in last weekend’s Bill Collins Mile, Keystone Del has “trained on well” according to Molander. “I am very happy with his condition,” Molander declared. “He has trained on well since last weekend and will be at his peak for the Dullard Cup. “The draw is not the best, but from there he can hopefully be pushed through at the start, if not, at least he hasn’t drawn on the pegs and can get into the running line early. “With My High Expectation being scratched it makes it easier also.” Following his Group One engagement, the son of Dr Ronerail will be kept fresh ahead of targets such as the Australian Grand Prix, Glenferrie Farm Challenge and Great Southern Star. PAUL COURTS

Australasia’s best trotter Keystone Del continued his winning streak tonight at Cranbourne. The Nicole Molander trained seven-year-old made it 10 wins on the trot with a 2m victory in the Group 1 Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Mile over 1609m. The now five-time Group 1 winner went 1:59.5 for reinsman Blake Fitzpatrick to defeat Brent Lilley trained Pretty Sunday, who paid $11.30 the place, with Anthony Butt in the cart. Elegant Image was third for driver Kate Gath and Stoned I Am – a Cranbourne local – ran fourth for Simone Walker. Tonight’s trotting feature was a qualification race for the Great Southern Star in March at Tabcorp Park, which Keystone Del won last year. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Popular harness racing couple Dean and Nicole Molander are facing a busy, yet exciting, month. Beginning with a hit-and-run mission to Melton this weekend, the Molanders will make several trips across the Murray River during the next few weeks. The border hoping will cease on December 19 when the Molanders officially leave their New South Wales base to move into their new Riddells Creek property. Astute trainer Adam Kelly has been preparing his team on the property, which includes two tracks, swimming facility and several dams. “We are really looking forward to the move,” Nicole said. “The time was right for us to head down to Victoria, so we’ve bought a property in Riddells Creek.” Citing the handicapping system in New South Wales as a major influence on their decision, Molander also stated the extra opportunities for trotters was also a factor. “The handicapping in New South Wales has become frustrating to say the least,” Molander said. “The handicapping is not that flash at Menangle and we are finding it hard to get competitive races there. “We also have three trotters, which are better catered for in Melbourne. Plus we are in a position to buy a place and you get more for your money in Victoria and it’s still close to Melton.” As for the first trip south, Dean will bring outstanding squaregaiter Keystone Del to Tabcorp Park for the Derby Royale Free-For-All. Keystone Del is the sole runner off the second row in the feature named after the 1978 Inter Dominion champion. Winner of his last nine starts – including two this campaign - Keystone Del has been installed favourite at $2.20, with local performer My High Expectations next in line at $4.80 after drawing the outside of the front line. “He has come back in great form,” Molander said. “We couldn’t be happier with him. “He’s pulled up well from his run last Saturday night and should be hard to beat again.” Following his Group Three performance, Keystone Del will return to New South Wales, with plans of heading back to Victoria two weeks later. The son of Dr Ronerail has been aimed at the Bill Collins Mile on Cranbourne Cup night, followed by the V L Dullard Cup a week later. The Dullard Cup is part of the Ballarat Pacing Cup program on December 13. “When he returns for the two main races in December he will stay in Victoria at Brent Lilley’s place as we move into our new home a week after the Dullard Cup,” Molander explained. PAUL COURTS

Talented trotter Mingara will look to keep her unbeaten Australia record intact when she steps out at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night.  The daughter of Thanksgiving has been super impressive since arriving in Sydney for harness racing trainer Nicole Molander and driver Blake Fitzpatrick believes her manners will take her a long way again this weekend. "She has been very safe here in Sydney and she has also been very quick away from the start so if she continues with that pattern she should prove hard to beat," Fitzpatrick said. "Her manners are so good that I think she will continue on her upward spiral and in my opinion she has been better with each run she has had for Nicole." Molander's stable star Keystone Del arrived from New Zealand winning six of his first eight starts but Fitzpatrick isn't ready to label Mingara in that class. "She is no Keystone Del but she could progress through to open class racing. Her last win here in Sydney was very comfortable and she won by more than fifteen metres when coming off a ten metre handicap." "Nicole does a fantastic job with her trotters. She has a lot of experience with the square gaiters and she gets them trotting so well which is important especially at Menangle where the trotters race at such a fast speed." Fitzpatrick is currently serving a driving suspension but will return to the sulky this weekend. "I will be driving Windinherhair for Nicole as well. She picked up two races last week and hopefully she can continue that form. She is racing well but it is a step up again for her." "Mister Presley looks well placed this week and I think he will be a good chance on Saturday night, especially if he can return to something like his best." Greg Hayes - Harness Racing New South Wales         Related Links Fields for Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle, Saturday 09 August 2014 Form guide for Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle, Saturday 09 August 2014  

For anyone to be a commercial breeder in the standardbred industry in New Zealand means they usually need a benevolent banker and a determination to stick it out for the long term. It is a part of the harness racing industry that sees a lot of participants come in all gung ho and leave a short time later, wiser and poorer for the experience. A small number have been able to structure their breeding operations in such a way that not only are they profitable but they produce a high quality and successful product to boot. At the forefront of this small group in New Zealand is the founder of Studholme Bloodstock, Brian West. Recently we travelled to his magnificent 300 acre property at Coes Ford in Canterbury to spend an afternoon with Brian to get an over view of his involvement to date and what the future holds. Harnesslink When did you first develop an interest in the Harness Racing Industry. Brian West  My first memories were as a thirteen year old. That interest grew to the point where in my early twenties  I  purchased my first horse. I used to go to local dispersal sales looking to pick up well bred stock with a view to trading them further down the track. Harnesslink Anyone you turned to for advice in those early days. Brian West Jim Dalgety was a great help in those early days and I still seek his advice at times today. He has a wealth of knowledge and is very generous with his time. Alec Purdon and Des Callaghan (Tara Lodge) were two others that I sought out in those early years and they both helped me immensely. I am indebted to them all for their help. Harnesslink How did Yonkers Breeding Partnership come about? Brian West In 1986, I set up Yonkers Breeding Partnership in conjunction with four close friends of mine. We floated the partnership and it ended up with 100 investors all up. The aim was to target the top end of the yearling market. The partnership purchased the bloodstock and things looked to be coming together nicely when out of the blue the government of the day completely changed the tax structure for bloodstock. That completely compromised the financial viability of Yonkers Breeding Partnership. As a result we sold down the bloodstock over a period of three years at a significant loss. The partnership was very fortunate however as the funding borrowed from Barclays Bank was secured against the bloodstock and not the investors so the money lost by the investors was minimal. In 1986, we set up Club Classics Syndicates as an outlet for some of our bloodstock. The first syndicate was made up of seven horses with seven different trainers but we were having trouble selecting the seventh horse for the package. Robert Dunn went and looked at a group of horses we owned and to our surprise chose a smallish plain looking Stampede colt as the seventh horse. Of course he turned out to be Defoe 1:53 ($423,372) and that gave the syndicates a lot of creditability going forward. We were based at the old Watties farm in Shands road at the time and we had employed Michael House to do all the pre-training of the syndicate horses which also helped in their success. Harnesslink How did Yonkers Breeding Partnership (1989) come about. Brian West After the wind up of Yonkers Breeding Partnership, a few of the investors wanted to start again. So we wrote to the 100 original investors and offered them the opportunity to be involved. About 10% took up the offer and together we formed Yonkers Breeding Partnership (1989). We purchased the ten best pedigreed mares from the original Yonkers portfolio. Harnesslink How long did Yonkers Breeding Partnership (1989) last for? Brian West A little over twelve years all up. Most of the investors were coming up to retirement and wanted to free up some cash. The Bloodstock was valued and purchased by Studholme Park (BD West) The partnership made a profit every year of its twelve years, something I and manager, Jack Hartley, were very proud of, as they were very difficult days in the standardbred industry in New Zealand. Harnesslink At what point did the bloodstock operations evolve to their present name of Studholme Bloodstock? Brian West Studholme Bloodstock was formed in January 2003. Taking ownership of the bloodstock formally owned by Studholme Park (BD West) Harnesslink Why did you move from the Shands road property as it was beautifully set up Brian West I was looking to down size our breeding operation to create more leisure time, at the same time a developer made an offer to purchase the Shands Road property. I wasn't sure where I was going to go but I ran into an old friend of mine in real estate and not long after that he convinced me to have a look at the farm we are presently on. I would have to be honest and say when I first saw the property as I drove in, I was less than impressed as the house and outbuildings looked very run down. But my friend convinced me to have a look at the farm and I am glad I did because it is an outstanding property. I purchased 70 acres at first and then further down the track I purchased an additional 230 acres of an adjoining property to give me the 300 acres we presently have. It is a beautifully set up farm with 10 acre paddocks and shelter to each paddock from the easterly and the southerly winds. The earthquakes destroyed the main house (built in 1863) and I have yet to finalise its future with the insurance company but I have restored the other buildings on the property including the fourteen box ‘mews’, a two-storey stable complex and recently refurbished a small cottage which is now my home. Harnesslink How many stocks does the farm carry? Brian West Can vary from time to time but usually we would be carrying 100 horses and we finish up to 200 cattle as well. We run the cattle behind the horses and we crop some paddocks each year. All our paddocks are sown with a grass mix that has a heavy emphasis on red clover which seems to suit our soil type here. Harnesslink Any outside clients Brian West No, I have turned down dozens of approaches over the years. I do have breeding arrangements with a few people on a 50/50 basis and race some fillies with friends. I would calculate that Studholme Bloodstock owns outright about 70% of the horses on the farm at any one time. I am in breeding and racing arrangements with long term clients and friends: Peter Smith and Winky Foley (Kahukuri Bloodstock), Neville Tilsley, Mike and Sue Grainger (Grainger Bloodstock), John Purvis (Grassy Meadows Farm), Vicky Purdon, Mike Gourdie, Gavin Chin, Graham Gimblett and Ken McDonald of Master Musician and For a Reason fame. Harnesslink You didn’t sell fillies at the sales for a period of four or five years there not long ago .Why? Brian West When I first set up Studholme Park, I sold every foal I bred as that was the only way to pay the bills and keep our heads above water. Buyers of yearlings are generally looking for a reason not to buy and unless they are faultless in conformation and pedigree they were not giving me a return on my investment. As I became more financial and aware that our fillies were being sold at a loss in most instances, I decided to retain all fillies and try them as a race horse. The result of this decision has been very positive for my farm. These days we will sell the odd filly but they have to tick every box before I enter them in the yearling sales. This year I retained nine fillies which have all been broken in. Harnesslink What trainers do you use? Brian West I stopped counting when I got to seventy. These days though I mainly use Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen while I also have some with Cran Dalgety and Robert and John Dunn and Grant Payne. Different fillies suit different trainers. Secret Lotion and Art Critic never really settled at Marks and Natalies but have been in great form since joining Robert and John’s team so I am not afraid to move them if I think it might help. One year I sent seven fillies to Nicole Molander in Sydney. They all won enough money to pay their way and came back home with smart mile rates besides their name which is always helpful when selling at the sales Harnesslink How many have you got for next years’ sales and could you give us a rundown on their programme from weaning up to sale day. Brian West I will have 12 colts and two fillies barring injuries for next years’ sale. We run them in small mobs right through from weaning. They are fed a barley based mix that I have made to our specifications which has a 16% protein component. We change the mix on the 1st of August, reducing the protein component to 13% The hard feed is supplemented with lucerne/red clover baleage and some meadow hay. We have 14 double fenced yearling paddocks which we use during the sale prep. The sales prep starts on December 1st, we bring them in from the paddocks at seven in the morning. Following breakfast, they will be put on a walker for 30 minutes. They stay in for lunch and are put back in their paddocks at two in the afternoon and they stay there overnight. We do that right up to Christmas and then give them ten days off to freshen them up. We will then start again in early January and go right through to the sale which is usually around the 20th February. A lot of trainers/buyers like to come and see the horses on farm and we fit in around them as much as we can. Also, we are part of the very successful sales bus tour. Our main marketing push comes in the form of a booklet showing a photograph of each yearling. Harnesslink Whom would you rate the best horse you have raced –bred—seen Brian West The best horse I have raced would have to be Secret Potion 1:57.5 ($285,313) who won both the Great Northern Oaks (Group1) and Nevele R Fillies Final(Group1). Close behind would be Lancome 1:54.9 ($461,278) who won 13 races including the Harness Jewels  4 year old Diamond (Group1) The best horse I have bred would have to be A Bit Of A Legend 1:54.7 ($720,710) who has won 17 to date including both the two and three year old divisions of the Austrlasian Breeders Crown (Group 1) The best horse I have seen would have to be Lord Module 1:54.9 ($251,750) At his peak he made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up with his speed and power. Harnesslink What have been some of the major changes that you think have been positive for the industry in your time. Brian West Two stand out for me. 1.) The DNA testing regime was a major step forward and made those mistakes of the past impossible. 2.) The other was the introduction of shuttle stallions which allowed the breeders in the southern hemisphere access to the best stallions in the world. Jack Rice, a USA lawyer and John Curtin had to fight tooth and nail to establish shuttle stallions and yet neither has ever had their contribution recognised which is a shame as we wouldn't be where we are today without their efforts. Harnesslink How do you see the future of harness racing and breeding in New Zealand. Brian West One of the major impediments to the future of the harness racing industry in New Zealand is the archaic governance structure that we have in this industry. The ‘Clubs’ run the industry in New Zealand. Clubs were set up to run race meetings and that should be their primary focus. The industry should be governed by a board of directors elected by industry participants, licence holders, breeders and owners. Such a board would free the industry from the glacial pace of change we have under the current structure. The other major problem that needs attention and soon is the lack of any incentives for people to breed. The number of mares bred this last breeding season was the lowest for 45 years and is in a downward spiral. The focus so far has been to increase stakes and that has been successful to a point but still the numbers of mares bred continues to decline. We need to incentivise the breeders to breed. There are several ways you can do that and there are several places overseas which run breeding incentive schemes. Which one would best meet the New Zealand industries needs further evaluation but one thing is certain, the French have it right, twelve and a half percent of every dollar earned is paid to the breeder. If we don't start to reward the people who produce the product that keeps our industry alive then we may not have an industry long term. Harnesslink Thanks for taking the time to speak to us Brian. It is much appreciated. Harnesslink media  

This season has been a breakthrough one for the well known husband and wife harness racing training partnership of Jason and Megan Teaz. How much credit should go to Jason is debatable as he spends a good part of his time hundreds of kilometers away in Dunedin as the commentator for the Otago region for the Trackside channel and does a fine job of it to be fair. And Jason does commute on a regular basis. Meanwhile his wife Megan is based at Ohaupo in the Waikato training a small team that has a trotting bias. The stable star to date has been Mingara who won 6 in New Zealand with Megan the pilot for all six wins. With few opportunities in New Zealand at this time of year, her owners recently transferred Mingara to Sydney to take advantage of the good stakes on offer at Menangle Mingara did her part, winning first up last Saturday night for new trainer, Nicole Molander. So the Teazs needed a replacement for their stable star and if the win of King Of Cool last night at Cambridge is any guide, they may have a ready made one to take the step up. Sent out of the gate from seven by Megan, King Of Cool made the lead after 150 meters and then proceeded to turn the race into a procession from that point, cruising home  a very comfortable two and a half length winner. By the outstanding trotting sire Monarchy, King Of Cool is from the smart Sundon mare Cool Kahli who won seven on the track. This was the third win from just 14 starts for King of Cool who has been placed on five occasions as well. The ease of last nights win by King Of Cool must have given the husband and wife team plenty of confidence as they plan his immediate racing future. Harnesslink media  

The NSW Rising Stars series commenced at Tabcorp Park Menangle yesterday with keenly contested racing across both heats. The opening heat was taken out by the Nicole Molander trained Cillas Boy for 16 year old reinsman Chris Geary. Geary was at it again in the second heat when he scored in strong fashion on the Peter Trevor Jones trained Beetson. In winning both heats Geary has taken a big lead in the series on 34 points with defending champion Max Hughes in second with 17 points. The current points tally is as follows; Chris Geary 34 Max Hughes 17 Jack Trainor 16 Grace Grant 14 Nathan Xuereb 13 Kasey Hocking 12 Todd Prest 10 Kristy Sheehy (WA) 8 Liam Armstrong 4 Mitch Turnbull - Western Dist - 4 The next three heats will be held tomorrow at Bathurst Harness Racing Club race 1 - 5:14pm, race 3 - 6:06pm & race 5 - 7:10pm The second round of heats will be conducted at Bathurst this evening. Dale Walker | Manager - Marketing | Harness Racing New South Wales      

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