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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      

Former New Zealand trotter Keystone Del has done a tremendous job since joining the Nicole Molander stable. He has won four Gr. 1 events and brought up his second Gr. 2 victory on Saturday night when he won the John Slack Memorial at Ballarat. Molander has confirmed her stable star will now head to the paddock for a well deserved rest. "He could have up to four weeks off, it will just depend on how well he does because he does put on weight very quickly and it can be difficult to get it off him when he is in work," Molander said. "Keystone Del is an unbelievable horse, he is just so tough. What a lot of people don't know is that he suffered from a really bad abscess that had to be cut out just before the Glenferrie Farm Challenge and it has been a balancing act since to keep him at the races. In fact the farrier said today he has been only racing on half a foot." Molander is confident that it is only a matter of time before the hoof is back to normal. "There was a fair bit of dead toe there and he has had that cut away and the farrier didn't really have anywhere to nail the new shoe to but with the time away it all should heal nicely." "He has had a few hoof issues since he has arrived at my stable so he actually underwent an MRI scan to see if there is anything more sinister but there isn't anything there that is worrying long term." Keystone Del's owners live on the North Island of New Zealand and Molander is still yet to discuss with them what his targets will be next campaign. "I want to sit down with the owners and have a really good chat with them about where to go now. With the owners coming from New Zealand we have toyed with the idea of taking him back to compete over there but we will just have to wait and see." "He is amazingly tough, he has amazing ability and he has been so good for me." By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing  

1:51 miler Pure Power will arrive back in New Zealand tomorrow (Tuesday), 17 months after joining Nicole Molander’s New South Wales barn. The 2012 New Zealand Free-For All runner-up will now be spelled and then brought back for the New Zealand Cup and lead-up races at Addington Raceway in the spring. But to do that he will first have to overcome a muscle-tear which he copped when finishing seventh in the Society 389 Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Menangle on May 10. It was Pure Power’s first run back since February and Molander said it was unfortunate because he had been trialling well prior to the injury. Original co-trainer, Dave McGowan said the horse now needed the expertise of his wife Clare – a renowned equine physiotherapist, and also co-owner and trainer of the rising 8-year-old. “It sounds like an injury which Clare could treat,’’ McGowan said. “He’s pulled a muscle in his rump so we will get him home and get Clare to manipulate him – and then we will put him out for while. “It’s good timing because Clare gets home from England this week.’’ Both McGowan and Molander believed Pure Power’s 23-race stint in Australia had been a success. He won four of those starts and placed four more times for $177,035 in stakes. The bay won in 1:51 and placed in 1:50.6 and also won the Group Three $40,000 Ilsley Cup at Menangle on May 25 last year. He also ran third behind Baby Bling in the 2013 Miracle Mile. “It will be great to have him back, Nicole, who is like a daughter to me, has done a wonderful job with him. “He will probably end up with Nicole and Dean next year but for now it’s all about diagnosing his injury and then treating it. “If he does come back okay he can only really race at Addington because he can’t go the right-handed way around. “We would probably send him down to the beach for the lead-up races to the Cup. “There’s nothing for him at Cambridge, so that’s his only New Zealand option really.’’ Pure Power won on debut (with Tony Herlihy (MNZM) in the bike) at Cambridge Raceway back on July 1 2010. The Grinfromeartoear gelding has had 31 starts in New Zealand, winning nine of them and placing four times. His biggest win came on May 8, 2011 when he won the Group Three $50,000 Rangiora Classic. His last start in this country, on November 16, 2002, saw him run second behind Gold Ace in the New Zealand Free-For-All. His career stats now read 54 starts, 13 wins, six seconds, two thirds and $301, 202 in purses. “It’s a shame he can’t be treated in Australia, a vet can only do so much but physiotherapists can actually treat and cure the problem. “Personally I don’t think there are not enough equine physiotherapists in harness racing – and to me that is a shame. “It’s weird because every sports athlete or team has one. “I’m just so grateful for the skills that Clare has, I have learnt so much from her. “Without her skills there was no way in the world Be Seein Ya would have won at Alexandra Park last week. “She was a cripple until Clare worked on her.’’ By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

A late decision by Appin (NSW) harness racing trainer Nicole Molander to contest the $30,505 (Group 2) Bruce Skeggs Memorial Cranbourne Trotters Cup for TM0 or better class over 2555 metres at Cranbourne on Saturday after nominations were extended, paid dividends when  prolific winning six year old Dr Ronerail/Flipside gelding Keystone Del scored a fighting victory in the feature event on the program. With regular reinsman Blake Fitzpatrick again holding the reins, Keystone Del who two stars back was successful in the rich Great Southern Star Final at Tabcorp Park Melton in March, began swiftly from gate five, however Chris Alford aboard Spidergirl inside him had similar thoughts and the pair went head and head as the mobile barrier pulled away, with Keystone Del winning out. Allowed to dawdle at the head of affairs with the field racing in Indian file, Keystone Del went through the first two quarters of the last mile in 33.8 and 33 seconds, with Vics Cheval one of three David Aiken trained runners moving from last to creep forward in the open at the bell. In a last half mile of 29.9 and 28.6, Keystone Del had to pull out all stops to defy a strong challenge by Spidergirl along the sprint lane to gain the day by a nose in a pedestrian mile rate of 2-06.2, with Vics Cheval 4.8 metres away in third place. Even through the rate was nothing special, the race had the crowd on their toes cheering all the way up the running. It was Keystone Del’s 17th victory in 34 outings. The trotters took pride of place at the meeting, with brilliant Bacardi Lindy/All Finesse filly Claudys Princess taking the $10,275 Aldebaran Park Starlet for Three Year Olds over 1609 metres and in doing so, brought up her eighth victory from eleven outings. Driven by Gavin Lang for Kyabram trainer Mick Blackmore, Claudys Princess starting solo on the second line was allowed to amble at the rear of the field, before moving forward three wide racing for the bell to park in the open for the final circuit. Cruising to the front on straightening, Claudys Princess registered a 5.6 metre victory in a rate of 2-01 over Im Havinaball which led and  Indie Pepperell (one/one last lap) which came in third 8.7 metres in arrears of the pair. Bred by veteran Goulburn Valley trotting devotee Gus Underwood, Claudys Fancy is raced by the Catchya Racing Group of which Gus is a member. Honest eight year old Conch Deville/Springfield Wilma mare Rockin Wilma chalked up her 10th victory and first since February, when successful in The Red Shed Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2575 metres. Trained and driven by Sunbury’s Justin Livingtstone, Rockin Wilma starting from 20 metres was given the run of the race trailing the front runner Mosquito Spur after the heavily supported pole line favourite Seascape Boy galloped shortly after the start when contesting the lead. Taken away from the markers approaching the home turn, Rockin Wilma proved far too strong over the concluding stages to score by an easy 14.1 metres in advance of Seascape Boy which made up plenty of ground, with Mosquito Spur holding down third albeit 25.5 metres from the winner. Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

Contrary to reports throughout Australasia Keystone Del will not contest Alexandra Park’s ‘Triple Crown’ starting on Anzac Day (April 25). Trainer Nicole Molander confirmed with Harness Racing New Zealand today (Wednesday) that the son of Dr Ronerail would now go out for a “well earned” spell. “We want him to bow out for the season on a high. He deserves that. We have spoken to all of his owners and they agree that what he has achieved so far this season is more than enough. “Even though he’s come through his Great Southern Star races really well we don’t want to risk coming to Auckland and have him running there as a tired horse,” Molander said. Keystone Del won his $50,000 elimination heat of the Great Southern Star at Melton’s Tabcorp Park on Saturday and then later that evening went on to beat Stent in the $300,000 final. Both were 1720m mobile Group One events. Molander said the Anzac Cup, the Greenland Cup (May 2) and the Rowe Cup (May 9) were tempting. Her husband Dean even contacted the Auckland Trotting Club last week about lining the former Kiwi trotter up in all three races. “We were never going to make a decision until today. Some reporters jumped the gun. The horse’s welfare always comes first and that’s why we waited until he returned home from Victoria (to New South Wales) before we made any decision on coming to New Zealand. “He’s had 14 races this campaign and done a very good job for us. His welfare always comes first,” Molander stressed. In those 14 races Keystone Del has won seven times and placed on five occasions. All up he has now won 15 of his 32 lifetime starts, placed six times and banked $517,429 for Molander and fellow owners P. T. Hall, M. J. Hall, and A. J. Molander. His fastest mile rate of 1;53.9 was recorded when winning the Group One $100,000 Glenferrie Challenge at Tabcorp Park Menangle on March 2 this year. “We would like to follow the same racing schedule as what we did with him last year. The Glenferrie Challenge is definitely on the radar because no trotter has won that three times in a row. “The Southern Star is also part of the plan. As for New Zealand I think the Rowe Cup and supporting races could be a real possibility this time next year,” Molander said. The 6-year-old bay gelding had nine New Zealand starts for trainer Tim Hall before being exported to Australia on November 14, 2011. In fact he never won a race until his final two New Zealand starts – both of them within three days of each other at Manawatu in October 2012. Molander said Keystone Del would now be spelled for a couple of months. “He’s come back from Victoria in great condition. We’ll probably give him two months off and then get him back into training again, because he takes quite a bit of work getting him back to where he should be at,” Molander said. Keystone Del was bred by P. T and M. J. Hall. He is the second of three foals out of the Aereus mare, Flipside. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

It was a stunning harness racing final of the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star and Keystone Del outsprinted his more highly fancied contemporary to claim the $300,000 final. Starting from barrier one, race favourite Stent held up from the inside, working to hold out the early challengers. In a surprise, Keystone Del was shuffled back early as Cold Sister and eventually Blitzthemcalder worked around to find the breeze. But when the pressure went on it was Stent turning for home in front with an ominous figuring looming up out wide in Keystone Del. The ex-kiwi son of Dr Ronerail had to fight hard for it but struck the lead halfway up the lane and continued to grind him to take the race in 1:56.5. Stent held second from My High Expectations and Zedalite who got home into fourth. With the quinella showing form counts for everything after winning their heats, the second ever Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star will go down in history as another war of attrition. Keystone Del is trained by former kiwi Nicole Molander and was driven by usual driver Blake Fitzpatrick. Keystone Del has had an incredible six weeks taking the Glenferrie Farm Challenge and the heat and final of Saturday night’s race. by Blake Redden Harness Racing Victoria

The Nicole Molander trained Keystone Del will have his second shot at the Great Southern Star this Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton after competing in last year's inaugural series.  The son of Dr Ronerail finished last in his heat twelve months ago after making a mistake during the event but Molander believes he has mentally improved since then. "He has come a long way in the last twelve months, the steps he has taken are probably more mental than physical and I think he has learnt now what being a racehorse is all about," Molander said. "Keystone Del had another excuse last year as well because he had missed out on a key lead up race because of a little setback and was probably just too fresh at the end of the day but this year his preparation has been totally different and I am extremely happy with the way he has been trotting." Molander is looking forward to the opportunity of giving Keystone Del two starts on the one day and the Great Southern Star concept will allow for that should he make it through to the final. "I am really looking forward to seeing how he handles it because I remember the day when he trotted his mile in 1:54.9 at Menangle last year I actually worked him solidly on the morning of the race. The heat and final on the same day at the same meeting shouldn't really bother him." "He hasn't had much luck since arriving in Victoria this time, he got shuffled back on the pegs in his first run and charged home late and then was forced to sit parked last weekend and was still brave to the line." While some horses would be concerned by being away from home, Keystone Del handles the travelling comfortably. "He is a brilliant traveller, doesn't move on the float and being away from home hasn't been an issue for him before. Once we get through the weekend I will sit down and discuss what options there are for Keystone Del going forward with his owners but everything at the moment is just about Saturday." by Greg Hayes - SKY Racing (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)

Keystone Del might have drawn the inside of the second row but after staking his claim as one of Australia’s best trotters in the Glenferrie Challenge, nothing may stop his run towards the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star. Clocking an Australasian record less than a week ago (which was subsequently broken), Nicole Molander’s six-year-old is on the verge of stepping to the next level. And after winning his second Glenferrie Challenge in two years, he booked himself a place in Australasia’s richest trotting race. After an interrupted preparation last season, his trainer is convinced the team have a vastly superior squaregaiter now.  “Mentally he is a lot stronger, the racing and age under his belt has helped him manners-wise. He’s got a better rhythm in his gait and he is trotting a lot strong this time in,” Molander said. “He got a really good track in last week and a super cool drive by Blake (Fitzpatrick) but he hit the line really well.” Tackling The Knight Pistol on Friday night at Melton, Keystone Del will simply be keeping up to the mark as we head into the second running of what is quickly becoming a world-renown race. Molander explained that a similar plan was in the wings 12 months ago but after being struck down he never had the chance to show his best to Victorian trots fans. “We brought him down at the same time last year and planned to have a race before the Great Southern Star but his leg blew up so he missed an important lead up race last year whereas this time we will hopefully get a lead up run or two into him,” She said. The starting point of his Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star campaign has seen him come up with barrier eight. Being inside the second row may turn out the place to be with Kiwi Boizel drawn the pole. The draw itself hasn’t dented the camp’s confidence, in fact she need only look back to the Group 1 Dullard Cup in January as a guide to her gelded son of Dr Ronerail can excel. “Initially I thought oh no; but that’s what he drew in the Dullard Cup where he never saw daylight until the last little bit and being behind Boizel hopefully he can hold a forward position or we can find some gaps early,” Molander said. For more information on the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star you can visit the website at www.greatsouthernstar.com.au. by Blake Redden Harness Racing Victoria

It is already a race famous for attracting the best trotters in Australasia, the Group One Glenferrie Farm Challenge. Yet this $200,000 feature will now also be known as Nicole Molander's too after the former Kiwi, now based at Appin, near Campbelltown, made it back-to-back wins with Keystone Del when the six-year-old gelding scored an exciting win at Tabcorp Park Menangle today. In a race where none of the leaders were given much peace, Keystone Del came from midfield, rating a stunning 1:53.9 for the mile to knock four-tenths of a second off the Australian trotters' record. And while it was technically a victory for Australia in the Australia v New Zealand challenge, the result might easily had been different had Kiwi reinsman Colin De Filippi driving Stent not been stuck three back on the pegs and desperately searching for an opening to give chase to the leaders. Turning for home De Filippi had to turn five-year-old Stent sideways to find some open ground. And when Stent finally saw daylight, with about 80-metres left to travel, he whooshed down the outside to fail by just over a metre in finishing second with another Aussie Elegant Image (Kate Gath) back in third. Despite being defending champion in this race, Molander's star trotter actually started a $17 shot, but with champion reinsman Blake Fitzpatrick in the bike, the result was never in doubt. Harness Racing NSW  

Defending champion Keystone Del is among the list of horses being considered for the Australian team for the Glenferrie Farm Trotters Challenge at Tabcorp Park Menangle on March 2. With five Australian trotters and as many from New Zealand to be invited to contest the $200,000 Group One, the Nicole Molander-trained gelding is one of nine that could possibly line-up for what already looks to be a strong Australian team. Others dominate in the minds of selectors include the David Aiken-trained duo My High Expectations and Cold Sister as well as star squaregaiter Blitzthemcalder. Kyvalley Blur who is trained by master trotting conditioner Chris Lang senior, former pacer Mister Zion as well as Elegant Image, Aleppo Midas and Stoned I Am are considerations also. While the Australian team will be finalised in the coming weeks following the results of races, the New Zealand representatives have been selected. The New Zealand team being selected early to allow for travel are Dullard Cup winner Habibti, Danish Derby winner Peak, Anzac Cup victor Stent, Hellers Dominion winner Master Lavros and recent National Trot winner Irish Whisper. Three reserves have been added to the team being Vulcan, The Fiery Ginga and Sovereignty who could be called upon if neccessary. Team New Zealand: Master Lavros (trainer Mark Jones) Stent (trainer Colin De Filippi) Peak (trainer Tim Butt) Irish Whisper (trainer Tony Herlihy) Habibti (trainer David Butt) Reserves Vulcan (trainer Tim Butt) The Fiery Ginga (trainer Alan Clark) Sovereignty (Trainer Sean McCaffrey) Team Australia*: My High Expectations (trainer David Aiken) Kyvalley Blur (trainer Chris Lang) Mister Zion (trainer Geoff Webster) Keystone Del (trainer Nicole Molander) Elegant Image (trainer Andy Gath) Blitzthemcalder (trainer Dean Braun) Aleppo Midas (trainer Michael Eastman) Cold Sister (trainer David Aiken) Stoned I Am (trainer Bill Walker) *Five to be selected and one reserve

The 2012/13 HRNSW Industry Awards night was held at the Hilton Hotel Sydney on Saturday night where the feats of both humans and equines were recognised. Exciting filly Frith was unanimously named NSW Horse of The Year after a scintillating three-year-old season which included the NSW Breeders Challenge, Victorian Breeders Crown, WA and Victorian Oaks. The 3YO of the year was also taken out by Frith whilst Bling It On took the honours in the 2YO category. The Nicole Molander-trained Keystone Del was named Trotter of The Year and Gaius Caesar won the open aged horse division. The Board and staff of HRNSW would like to congratulate the following award winners:   Award Nominees Winner McLachlan Thorpe & Partners Carnival of Cups - Leading Trotting Trainer   Blake Fitzpatrick   Blake Fitzpatrick   Goulburn HRC Carnival of Cups - Leading Driver   Amanda Turnbull   Amanda Turnbull   NSW Standardbred Owners Association Carnival of Cups - Leading Trainer   Steve Turnbull   Steve Turnbull   Albury HRC Carnival of Cups - Leading Horse   Make Some Magic NZ   Make Some Magic NZ   Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 1 Meeting   Coolamon HRC Maitland HRC Penrith HRC   Maitland HRC   Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 2 Meeting   Eugowra HRC Fairfield HRC Orange HRC Orange HRC   Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 3 Meeting   Blayney HRC Broken Hill HRC Griffith HRC   Broken Hill HRC   Tabcorp Centurions   Amanda Turnbull Lauren Panella Blake Fitzpatrick Luke McCarthy Robert Morris Steve Turnbull Shane Tritton Belinda McCarthy   All   Daily Form Service Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Country)   Andrew Pitt Ashleigh Camilleri Grace Grant Paul Diebert Sam Hewitt   Paul Diebert   Lexus of Parramatta Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Metro)   Alex Alchin Kylie Barnes Lauren Panella Todd McCarthy   Lauren Panella   OAMPS Champion Junior Driver   Amanda Turnbull   Amanda Turnbull   OAMPS Champion Driver   Amanda Turnbull Amanda Turnbull OAMPS Champion Trainer   Steve Turnbull Steve Turnbull   National Trotguide Best Coverage by a Regional Newspaper   The Daily Advertiser - Wagga The Irrigator - Leeton The Maitland - Mercury   The Daily Advertiser Wagga   PMG Media Best Coverage by a Regional Television Station   Harbor Television Productions NBN Newcastle Prime 7 Wagga   NBN Newcastle   Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Volunteer Appreciation Awards                         Stephen Hunt Cootamundra HRC Greg Maxwell Young HRC John Den Eugowra HRC  Robert Chew Bathurst HRC Megan Lavender Bankstown HRC Andrew Ho Bankstown HRC Bert Read Bankstown HRC   All Penrith HRC Don Clough Appreciation Award   Richard Earnshaw   Richard Earnshaw   Harness Breeders NSW Broodmare of the Year   Falcon Black Beauty NZ Jackie Kelly Left For Me Full Pleasure Rochelle Hanover   Left For Me   Pepper Tree Farm NSW Sire of the Year   Presidential Ball USA Tinted Cloud USA Pacific Rocket Ifihadyourluck USA John Street North USA   Presidential Ball USA   Yirribee Stud in conjunction with Alabar Outstanding Service to the Breeding Industry   Pepper Tree Farm Pepper Tree Farm   Breckon Farm NSW 2YO Trotter of the Year   My Valerie NZ Swishbye Verbier   My Valerie NZ   Addington Raceway NSW 2YO Filly Pacer of the Year   Denises Legacy Distant Memory Majestic Amy Ocean Diva Spicy Stride   Distant Memory   House of Brook NSW 2YO C&G Pacer of the Year   Allblack Stride NZ All Eyes On Us Bling It On Business In Motion Lettucerockthem   Bling It On   Sky Racing NSW 2YO of the Year   My Valerie NZ Distant Memory Bling It On   Bling It On   Bulli HRC NSW 3YO Trotter of the Year   Duchess Ella Nickys Invasion Vincennes   Duchess Ella   Sir Lincoln NSW 3YO Filly Pacer of the Year                 Frith Gypsy Babe Im Tondelayo Laaganoosh Tarelle   Frith   Yirribee Stud in conjunction with Alabar NSW 3YO C&G Pacer of the Year   Be Brave Caesar Augustus Ee And Em Stride Home Of The Brave Sir Eric NZ Ultimate Art   Home Of The Brave   Tabcorp NSW 3YO of the Year   Duchess Ella Frith Home Of The Brave Frith   NSWHRC NSW Aged Trotter of the Year   Keystone Del NZ King Of Strathfield NZ Neville Vaughan NZ   Keystone Del NZ   Cordina Farms NSW Aged Mare Pacer of the Year   Baby Bling NZ Forever Gold Obahma Joy Our Sixpence NZ   Baby Bling NZ   Harness Racing Travelworld NSW Aged E&G Pacer of the Year   Chariot King Excel Stride Gaius Caesar NZ Ideal Scott NZ Mach Alert NZ Mach Beauty Washakie NZ   Gaius Caesar   Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Aged Horse of the Year   Keystone Del NZ Baby Bling NZ Gaius Caesar   Gaius Caesar   OAMPS - NSW Horse of The Year   Bling It On Frith Gaius Caesar   Frith        

Appin trainer Nicole Molander looks set to play a major role in the upcoming feature races in New South Wales with her stable stars returning to full fitness. Lightly raced trotter Keystone Del will race at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday for just the third time since competing in a heat of the Great Southern Star at Melton in March. "He won on Saturday night but he is a funny horse and can get stirred up if something upsets him, he got a little bit worked up when he had to wait to go on the track when the tractor was out there on the weekend but that's just him," Molander said. "At this stage his main target will be the Franco Trotters series here in Sydney and then I will have a think about another shot at the Great Southern Star but that is a long time off and I want to see how he goes." Molander confirmed that Keystone Del will be racing every three weeks or so in the lead up to his target. "I don't want to be racing him off harsh handicaps but I think there should be a good race for him every few weeks so I will just keep him ticking over." Neville Vaughan is another talented trotter in the Molander stable but he could be headed for a spell depending on his performance this weekend. "He has been up for quite a while, I will see how he races this week but he is definitely in line for a decent break so we will just have to wait and see with him." Pure Power is Molander's best performed pacer having competed in a heat of this year's Inter Dominion series and he is set to resume in the near future. "He is only about four weeks away and his main aim is the Miracle Mile, I'm really happy with how he is coming up and hopefully he measures up to the better horses again this time in." Nancy O'Grady || Harness Racing New South Wales |

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