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The start of the Southern Country Cup series and appearance of 16 Canterbury-trained runners spread over 10 of the 11 races will be among the highlights at Winton on Saturday when the Wairio Club stages the first of its two meetings of the season.  In previous years, the club would already have held its popular mile day but that has been scheduled this term for 25 March. West Melton trainer Steven McRae will have four at Saturday's fixture and expects his best chance to be in the first, the WINTON NIGHT 'N DAY FOODSTORE TROT. Kash Valley started off the unruly at Oamaru, was slowly but safely away, improved across the top, was wide turning in and ran home for fourth. She is off the unruly again at Winton but has only six opponents. “I”m pretty happy with her, she's trotting well at home, its a big track and small field and she is ready to win,” McRae said. Thisismylastflight contests the fifth, the RYAL BUSH TRANSPORT LTD MOBILE PACE and has drawn the ace. Winner of three of his past five, two of them at Addington, the four year old is part owned in the south and will have a break here after the race. “He's been up for a while and it would be nice to go out on a high note,” McRae said, “he's still a big kid but has got a good motor. He hasn't beaten a lot yet so in that field we'll get a line on him.” The HIGHWAY SERVICES INVERCARGILL FILLIES & MARES MOBILE PACE is the sixth on the card and McRae has Tara Tutaia starting from four in the one mile contest. The three year old filly is the fifth foal of Tara Gold and the first four have all been winners including New Zealand Cup runner-up Tiger Tara.  “I used to played cricket with Tim Grant, (one of her breeders and owners), I broke her in and have kept her,” said McRae. This will be Tara Tutaia's second start and second trip to Winton, the first in March as a two year old when she finished last. She trialled at Ashburton on Tuesday last week, started from the outside of the seven-horse field and settled last. Still back on the turn, Tara Tutaia unleashed powerfully in the closing stages for a spectacular win. “She is on the way up and if she gets covered up, she's got enough speed,” said McRae. Race nine is the OTAUTAU FOUR SQUARE SUPERMARKET WAIRIO CUP (HANDICAP PACE), first of the Southern Country Cup Series. The Gore, Roxburgh, Cromwell, and Northern Southland Summer Cups follow in the next 30 days. The Cup has drawn an exciting mixture of some of the south's genuine up and comers and some its established stars. Joining them is McRae's rep Franco Tristan, the sole visitor from Canterbury. “He's out of his class but he's good from a stand and its a good stake.” In Franco Tristan's most recent start, he wasn't well served by the six minute delay at the start at Methven - caused by a number of erratic starters - and got back. Starting the final lap the McArdle four year old, looped the field, sat parked from the 800 and beat all but Vincent. “Methven has been his best run, he's got good manners, if he goes out well and gets a good sit, he won't be out of it.”  Nigel McGrath has two runners in three races and hopes they both get a run over a mile. Three year old filly Pick My Pocket will be on debut and has a start in the MCNEILL'S POULTRY FARM (2006) LTD MOBILE PACE, race three. She has been balloted one out in the sixth, the HIGHWAY SERVICES INVERCARGILL FILLIES & MARES MOBILE MILE but that race would be McGrath's preference. “It's hard to find miles for maidens,” he said. According to McGrath, Pick My Pocket is still learning and would benefit from the trip away. A fortnight ago, she won a workout round the outside of the grass at Motukarara and “she went really well”, he said.  McGrath has C1 filly Fire One contesting race 10, the MACCA LODGE FILLIES & MARES MOBILE MILE. A last start winner over 1950 metres at Addington, the daughter of Mach Three had previously won over a mile at Ashburton in 1:54.7. “She's got great gate speed and loves short distances,” he said. Other Canterbury trainers represented on Saturday are Ray Jenkins (three), Tim Butt (two), Craig and Josh Kennett, Nick Le Lievre, David Mitchell and Jesse Wederell. Mac Henry

ENGHIEN SHINES, AND NOW SPELLS Stage one of the three-year-old campaign for Enghien is complete. The next stage won’t come until 2017 though. Last season’s two-year-old trotter of the year made light work of his three-year-old debut on Thursday night at Addington sitting parked outside Harness Jewels winner, Donegal Bettorgretch, before grinding her into the deck to win with a bit of authority. And while the temptation might be there for Greg and Nina Hope to keep the foot on the pedal, Enghien is now in the paddock enjoying a couple of weeks off. “The plan was to always get him up for a race and then turned him out for a while,” Greg Hope said. “He will head out for a bit now and then we can bring him back up and get ready for the three-year-old features later in the season. “I’m more and more impressed by him, there’s a lot of ability there.” Enghien trotted home in 56.7 to win the event, showing that despite his impressive staying abilities, he is also a horse of high speed when required which will make him a dangerous prospect through the Derbies and then onto the Harness Jewels.   ASHBURTON BOUND BRIGADE Nigel McGrath is looking at a three-pronged Ashburton Cup attack on Boxing Day. A stable quinella, headed by his stable star Classie Brigade, was a highlight for his stable over the weekend and the NZ Derby runner-up and Ears Burning will be joined by Maverick in the Mid Canterbury feature. “Auckland was a possibility, but I think we are better off looking at Ashburton and sticking a bit closer to home,” McGrath said. “He’s going good, but probably not as good as he can yet and I can’t put my finger on what’s going on. “It could be a number of things, or it could be something quite simple.” Ears Burning showed he’s going to be no slouch in the intermediate grade with his great run for second. Maverick went around in last Sunday’s Methven Green Mile, but does appear better suited to the Ashburton Cup.   FORD COMES UP DIAMONDS Jason Ford had to wait a wee while for Sunday. So when Time For Diamonds went past the post first in the opening race at Motukarara, the Rakaia horseman had every reason to raise a hand in the air in celebration. After taking out his trials licence back in 2004, Ford’s first full season in the sulky as an open driver has been successful thus far and Time For Diamonds win put the icing on the cake. It was Ford’s first win in the sulky and he produced a gem of a drive on the horse trained by his father Allan. After placings over the previous two weeks, the five-year-old daughter of Majestic Son was in line to break her maiden status and did so with a wee bit of authority yesterday. Matt Markham

As reported by Michael Guerin from the New Zealand Herald, Luisanabelle Midfrew's last New Zealand  start should be a winning one at Addington tonight. While trainer Nigel McGrath admits he will be sad to lose the harness racing group one winner, he won't be finished with her after tonight. The 4-year-old mare meets opposition lengths below what she has been racing in a leg of the $40,000 Pick6 tonight and even from the outside of the front line she looks an anchor. Luisanabelle Midfrew was good enough to beat some of the better older mares in a historic New Zealand Breeders Stakes on April 1 and has since been brave but outclassed by the superstar fillies, headed by Dream About Me. Realising their pride and joy faced that same prospect in the new season, her connections have opted to send her to NSW trainer John McCarthy next month. But before then she will fly the New Zealand flag at the Breeders Crown in Victoria, starting with a semifinal on August 20. "We weren't going to go to Aussie but with the big three fillies (Dream About Me, Golden Goddess and Piccadilly Princess) out this was too good a chance to miss," says trainer Nigel McGrath. "Taking a line through Nek Time, who went over there and won the Queensland Oaks, I think we are a chance with a good draw in the final. "And it makes sense for her to stay on in Australia afterwards because there isn't a lot here for her." McGrath says that while Luisanabelle Midfrew will be short of her best tonight he still expects her to win, especially as the small field means driver Matthew Williamson has options. McGrath is starting to stoke up his team after a quiet winter and rates all four of his reps tonight as each-way chances, with Kashana (R2) as his next best hope. "She has gate speed so the ace over 1950m suits her." Tonight's meeting sees the latest finals in the hugely successful Super Series, with three $23,500 races for lower grade horses. Two of them look set to be dominated by Purdon-Rasmussen runners, with Stars Align (R3) and Mr Mojito (R5) looking particularly hard to defeat. Later on the weekend, the All Stars stable changes its focus to its Victorian assault when Harness Jewels winner Custodian starts odds on in the Redwood Classic at Maryborough. The race is a rarity for a 2-year-old trotting feature in that it is a standing start but Custodian has been solid from behind the tapes at the trials and is drawn well so is the one to beat against one-time Jewels invite Illawong Byron and the Auckland-owned Our Regal Love. The latter was originally trained by the All Stars but was sent to Australia for better late season racing opportunities and won by 33m at Melton last Friday. Sunday's other classic sees Wilma's Mate, High Gait, Temporale and Matatoki in the Victoria Trotters Derby. Wilma's Mate will be the favourite in a race where manners will be the key.   Michael Guerin

Harness Racing punters keen to invest on the short odds on offer for Classie Brigade in the Sires’ Stakes Sophomore Classic should do so with caution. That’s the line of thinking from the exciting colt’s trainer, Nigel McGrath as he heads into a slight unknown with his star pacer today at Addington. Unsighted since his shock defeat in the Southern Supremacy at Invercargill, the New Zealand Derby runner up heads into today’s assignment on the fresh side as he looks to march his way towards next month’s Harness Jewels at Cambridge. And while McGrath is counting out a victory, he is hopeful more so than confident. “I’m thinking this is more of a freshener for him than anything else,” McGrath said. “We have to get ready for the Jewels somehow and while we could have gone for a trial, a race like this seems to suit quite well.” The road back to today from the Southern Supremacy hasn’t been an easy one. “He was a pretty tired horse, the Supremacy was probably a bridge too far after the NZ Derby, so we’ve had to take it easy with him.” With all that in mind, those who have taken the shorts shouldn’t be disappointed if Ricky May doesn’t light the speedy colt up during the middle stages of $40,000 feature.  “I’ll be leaving all that up to Ricky, but an ideal scenario is getting a nice trip into it and then unleashing on them late.” McGrath has a strong second hand in the race in Ears Burning, who although beaten last week by rival Major Ben, was far from disgraced. A winner of four of his six starts, McGrath is looking forward to the chance to drive the Grinfromeartoear colt a little quieter than he has been forced to so far in his career. “He shouldn’t have to do it tough this week which will be good, we can look to get a quiet run and I think he will surprise a few people with how well he goes.” The Weedons horseman will also have a crack at Group One Flory today when Luisanabelle Midfrew tackles The Breeders New Zealand Oaks. A bold fifth in last week’s Nevele R Fillies Final is a good pointer ahead of today, but a wide barrier draw hasn’t helped. “The draw would have been ok if Golden Goddess hadn’t drawn so well. “We could go forward, but we might have to use a bit of petrol to get there. She’s going great, but we just need that bit of luck against the three top fillies.” Matty Williamson will continue his association with the NZ Breeders Stakes winner. Matt Markham

Weedon’s based trainer Nigel McGrath has set his sights on the Harness Jewels with smart 3yo Ears Burning. Well supported by punters at Addington today, the 3yo Grinfromeartoear colt didn’t disappoint his followers with a dominate win in the 7th race of the afternoon. “He’s won really nicely; we had to burn around to find the front but he was strong after that. There is a super series race for him next week and then hopefully a jewels start” said McGrath. Currently 12th on the Jewels leader board , Ears Burning will drop back to 13th with the return of the All Stars runner Chase The Dream who is making his way back to New Zealand after competing in the WA Derby. The Super Series race Nigel refers to is the C0 and Faster Mobile pace which Ears Burning sneaks into, while it is a preferential barrier draw meaning he will pick up an average draw, there wouldn’t be many, if any horses to fall into those conditions that are going as good as he is. Meanwhile, McGraths star colt and Jewels leader Classie Brigade has had a wee freshen up and is preparing well for his Jewels challenge. “He will have one trial and go to the Jewels” said McGrath. Ears Burning Great Things Happen put pay to a handy trot field today when he boomed up the passing lane for trainer/driver Gavin Smith. Today’s victory was the Love You geldings 5th in a row and 7th career win, and pushed him up to 18th in the Jewels standings, just under $3,000.00 shy of the 12th placed, Greg/Nina Hope trained Everybody Knows. Owned by E J Edwards and Sara Smith, Great Things Happens was the first foal out of 7 win S J’s Photo mare Calamity Gal, who was trained by Gavin for her last two career starts. Today’s winning time of 3.17.4 was impressive, but so was the run of runner up Harriet Of Mot, who’s amended time from her 30m back mark was 3.16.4 and put the writing on the wall for the 4yo mare to be very competitive at the Harness Jewels. Her performance capped off a great day for Noel Kennard’s GoHarness Syndication’s brand when recent purchase Order Online won for trainer Ken Barron and the GoHarness Buy Race & Sell Syndicate. The 3yo Washington VC gelding was purchased out of the Clark Barron stable earlier last month and delivered a great mothers day victory for some owners. GoHarness always have shares available so don’t hesitate to get in contact with them, their details can be found at Great Things Happen Order Online Andrew Fitzgerald

Ears Burning not only surprised a few people on course but also his trainer Nigel McGrath with the ease of his victory is today’s Kotare Downs Rangiora 3yo Stakes. A half brother to talented types in Fuoco, El Fuego and Burning, the 3yo Grinfromeartoear colt was bred Rankin Bloodstock Limited and I J Rule who still share in the ownership today. “The Rankin family have been big supporters of mine, they have had some nice horses before but it’s good to see them with another nice one in this guy (Ears Burning)” said trainer/driver Nigel McGrath. “Apart from a wee problem last start, he’s basically unbeaten and doing a really good job in all his races. He’s behind those good ones, but I think if he can qualify for the jewels, he would acquit himself well” Ears Burning currently sits 23rd on the jewels ladder after today’s victory, with just over $5,000.00 between him and the 12th placed Swamp Major. Away nicely from barrier 5, McGrath soon found himself parked, but soon cover arrived in the form of Wannabet (Blair Orange). That was the only move of the race and with everyone else happy to sit back as John Dunn and Bite The Bullet strolled along in front, McGrath found himself in a lovely 1x1 spot. When extricated to the outside with 400m, Ears Burning quickly found himself in front and burning away to win by 3 ¼ lengths back to another McGrath runner in Kashana. “He surprised me how easily he’s done that, we got a lovely run but it was a handy field and he won that comfortably” said Nigel. McGrath's star Classie Brigade has been sent for a freshen up. "Those runs behind Lazarus took it out of him, and Ricky said he just didn't feel as sharp as usual down south, he was a very tired horse last week, so he can have a freshen up and have a trial or two before the jewels"  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Christen Me’s return to the grand circuit took a huge leap today, when he won the Group 3 Dawe Contracting Ltd Rangiora Classic. Up against arch rival Locharburn, Christen Me was having his first race day run for the best part of 7 months, which saw him miss the 2015 NZ Cup. Driver Dexter Dunn fired the 7 year old Christian Cullen gelding across to lead early, but Mighty Flying Mac was quickly around to take over with Dunn happy to take a sit. Meanwhile main rival Locharburn was having a tough run sitting parked before receiving the 1x1 at the bell, it appeared early on that Christen Me was the likely winner. With Blair Orange launching Locharburn out from his spot at the 600m to deal it up to the leader, D Dunn was able to push out of the trail and follow Locharburn into it before these two top class horses went to war, with Christen Me sticking his head in front at the line to beat a super brave and tough Locharburn. The official margin was a head, with 10 ½ lengths back to early leader Mighty Flying Mac, who set up a NZ record equalling time, 3-06.5. Funny enough Christen Me now holds that record with today’s rival Locharburn who only set the record back in February’s summer cup at Addington. “He was super today, as he had to be to beat a brave Locharburn. It’s great to have him back” said trainer Cran Dalgety. “The Len Mile is a possibly target, all the big guns will be there and there isn’t much here for him.  The long term aim is the NZ cup but the inter dominions is also at the back of my mind. I’ll see how he comes through today’s run, but Sydney does look a great option” Check out our story on former New Zealander and Dalgety trained runner Bit Of  A Legend's win in America this morning on our New Zealand home page. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Meanwhile Rangiora driver Robbie Close saluted the judge twice today, winning on Claus for Stan Moore and Pay Me Visa for Andrew Stuart; both trainers are also based in Rangiora. Claus, a 3yo Tintin in America gelding, put the writing on the wall with a handy 3rd at Addington just 3days ago. Sent out as a $26.00 chance by punters, Robbie Close or “Goose” as he’s called around the stables, had Claus in front early but soon found himself 3 back the pegs and looking for a bit of luck. “He came out really well from the ace draw and got a lovely trip from then on. He hit the gap at the top of the straight nicely and was still trucking at the line, he will be a handy horse in 6months time” said Close. “It’s always nice to get a winner for the Moore’s, they are lovely people and Stan’s breed has produced some nice horses, it’s great to see them getting some success” Stan won the Rangiora Classic back in 2009 with his star Fake Chance, a winner of 12 from 127 starts including 27 placings; the Fake Left gelding was a regular in free for all races. While Claus isn’t at those heights yet, it’s always nice to see small trainers getting success on a large day. Robbie’s second winner came in the last race of the day for Rangiora Racecourse based trainer Andrew Stuart. Pay Me Visa, now a winner of 5 from 25 starts was having his first start on the all weather track today. “Being his first start on the grit, it was a question mark on how he would handle it. We got a decent trip and he was bolting on the turn, when he found some room he hit the line really nicely” said Close. A 4yo McArdle gelding owned by Andrew himself, rated the 2000m in 2-25 flat, a mile rate of 1.56.6 57.2 28.4. He paid $11.60 & $2.10 on the tote. By the look of today’s win, it certainly won’t be Pay Me Visa’s last. Andrew Fitzgerald  

This Fridays Taylor Mile is one of the most even fields you will see in a while. Won by Mossdale Connor last year, other stars to win this sort after race include, Christen Me, Terror To Love, Changeover and Elsu. While this year nobody really stands out above the others. After the scratching of Say My Name this morning the Dunn barn have Robbie Burns and Little Rascal engaged. Robbie Burns made an early mistake back on the 31st March, he lost close to 50m and was seen storming home behind Bettor Spirits in a quickly run affair. “Robbie Burns was super last start, he’s a great chance from his draw, and there isn’t much between them both” said John Dunn Little Rascal was another to make an early mistake last week and cost himself plenty of ground in a tidy field. They ran home in 55.2/27.4 off the front and he finished just in behind them after being 5L off them at the 400m. “Little Rascal’s run last week was a lot better then the form line reads, he’s been going nice races and I wouldn’t rule him out of a top 4 placing with a handy trip” said Dunn. Other Canterbury visitors Maverick (Nigel McGrath) and Field Marshal (Tim Butt) look strong chances. Maverick has been a revelation since joining Nigel McGrath’s barn; Owned by A J McGrath and breeders Ken and Anne Marie Spicer, this season Maverick has won 6 from 16, including 5 seconds. "Maverick has travelled up well, his bloods weren't right a while ago and we missed a trial so I’d expect him to improve on this weeks run. The 2700m is more his go" said McGrath. The Tim Butt trained and likely favourite Field Marshal, will look to continue his picket fence line after beating Locharburn last start. Drawn awkwardly on the second line, driver Dexter Dunn will have to at his very best to get the Art Major entire over the line in first place. Hug The Wind (Barry Purdon) and Bettor Spirits (Mike Berger) look the best of the Northerners chances, both have been in super form recently but have tough barriers to work from. While Prince Of Pops (Garlick/Telfer) and Risk (Andrew & Lyn Neal) have drawn perfectly in barriers 1 and 2 respectively. Australian My Kiwi Mate arrives on a flight late this week looking to qualify for the Harness Jewels. With Tact Tate likely to receive the Harness Jewels invite, trainer Craig Demmler will be hoping to qualify his runner through the Taylor Mile and Messenger Andrew Fitzgerald

Leading harness racing trainer Nigel McGrath has never had it easy with Luisanabelle Midfrew in his barn but all the problems she has had are quickly fading from his memory as the daughter of American Ideal starts to fulfill the potential she showed as an early two year old. After a great start to her career including a second to Dream About Me in the $138,000 Sires Stakes Final at Alexandra Park, Luisanabelle Midfrew all but died on two occasions after the Harness Jewels last year and her future was in doubt for quite a while. Nursed back to full health by Nigel McGrath, he has taken his time with the filly all season and only really trained her down for the $150,000 PGG Sales Final at Addington Raceway in early February which she won easily. The question then was could Luisanabelle Midfrew make that last step back up to the elite level fillies she had competed against at two after all her health issues. A start at Methven on the grass in a Nevele R Fillies heat left a lot of people having doubts after she battled into sixth but tonight at Addington Raceway she produced a performance right out of the top draw and announced herself as a major contender for the fillies classics at Addington in May. Driver Matthew Williamson sent her forward off the gate from her wide barrier of seven and settled her three back in the running line as Artful set up a good tempo in front. Going past the 800 metres, Matthew looped the field with Luisanabelle Midfrew and took over in front going past the 600 metres and then proceeded to slowly put daylight between her and the rest of the field. Matthew eased Luisanabelle Midfrew down over the last 150 metres as she coasted to the line an easy winner by 3 1/2 lengths in what was without doubt her most impressive win in her career to date. Luisanabelle Midfrew paced the 1950 metres in a smart 2:21.9, a mile rate of 1:57 with closing sectionals of 58.4 and 28.3. Matthew Williamson was thrilled with the performance. " That is the best she has ever gone for me in since I began driving her." " She was absolutely jogging at the 800 metres which is why I took off when I did." " I didn't even pull the plugs tonight she was traveling that well" " On that run tonight, she will be competitive against the best fillies," Matthew said. Nigel McGrath was still scratching his head tonight over the run of Luisanabelle Midfrew at Methven. " I thought I may have backed her up too quickly from the PGG Sales race as there was only a nine day gap but maybe it was just the grass track that tripped her up." " She has really come on lately and I was pretty confident she would go a big race tonight, " Nigel said. The manner of the win tonight by Luisanabelle Midfrew would suggest that she will be a major player in the 3 year old fillies classics in May at Addington Raceway Harnesslink Media

When it comes to people being passionate about harness racing, Canterbury owner John Mooney would be up there with the best. John wears his heart on his sleeve for all to see and in the countdown to last nights $150,000 PGG Sales Final at Addington Raceway he was struggling to control his emotions. Not only did John have a runner in the race but he had a serious winning chance in the well performed filly Luisanabelle Midfrew and he was nervous to the point of distraction. From the time John took her home from the yearling sales at Christchurch, the daughter of American Ideal had faced one hurdle after another in her racing career. " I had just sold Libertybelle Midfrew to Perth and she was going through the sales ring when Matty Williamson texted me to say what a great looking filly she was." "On the spur of the moment I decided to keep her." " When Nigel McGrath sat behind her for the first time, the first thing he said to me when he hopped out of the cart was that keeping her was the best decision I had made in a long time," John Mooney explained when speaking to Harnesslink last night. Second to Arden's Choice on debut and then subsequently second to Dream About Me in the $138,000 New Zealand Sires Stakes Final at Alexandra Park, Luisanabelle Midfrew was expected to be a big player on Harness Jewels day at Ashburton but failed to flatter at any point,finishing twelfth. "She was really sick at Ashburton and she was very lucky to survive, "She had an attack of small intestine colitis and it was touch and go for a while." " Just when it seemed she was on the mend,she had a relapse and all but died for a second time," John said. Trainer Nigel McGrath knew he faced major hurdles getting Luisanabelle Midfrew back to best form but nursed her through her first few runs back on the track. " The whole aim of this campaign was the Sales Race and I didn't want to put her under any serious pressure leading into that race. " She may have looked disappointing to people at times but we were working to a plan to have her spot on for one race. " I stepped up her workload in the last three weeks and her work leading into last nights race had been super," Nigel said. Away well last night for regular driver Matty Williamson from barrier two, Luisanabelle Midfrew led for the first 700 metres before handing up to the well supported front runner Killer Queen. From there she looked to travelling as good as anyone and when the passing lane appeared, Luisanabelle Midfrew was through in a flash and quickly put the race beyond doubt, coasting down to the line an easy winner. " Nigel had her spot on tonight, she felt the best she ever has." " The plan was to lead early and then hopefully hand up to Killer Queen who would get us to the passing lane and and the plan worked a treat." "I couldn't believe how easily she was travelling off the back straight." " She knocked off a bit when she went clear but she had plenty left in the tank at the finish." Matty said. Nigel McGrath was full of praise for his trainee. " She has been through so much but she is a very smart filly and it showed tonight." " Going forward we just have to look after her and not knock her about too much." " Something like the Southland Oaks is probably better for her at this stage of her comeback than taking on the very best," Nigel said. John Mooney post race was like a man who had just won Lotto, with the excitement of the win written all over his face. It was great to see that harness racing can still excite such passion. Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing gelding Spirit Eclispe doesn't have any idea of how lucky he is.   Seriously hurt in 2013, the six-year-old son of Jeremes Jet has had no expense spared in his recovery and all at no cost.   Veterinary surgeon Bill Bishop donated all his time and expertise and that resulted in Spirit Eclispe making a slow but steady recovery.   Nigel McGrath took over the training, again at no cost.   The reason for the huge generosity by both Bill and Nigel was the decision to give any stakes won by Spirit Eclispe in his second go at racing to the cancer charity, Ronald McDonald House.   Placed in his first couple of starts back, no one really expected Spirit Eclispe to beat a handy field of C1 pacers on Cup Day at Addington today.   Away well to trail the leader, he took the passing lane in the straight and to the roars of the huge crowd oncourse, held on for the win.   Driver Ricky May was as surprised as anyone.   “He got a great run and went to the front quite easily actually.”   “ He was getting a bit tired the last bit but it is a great result for everyone involved” Ricky said.   Bill Bishop was just blown away by the win.   “What a fantastic result, incredible that he has been able to win on Cup day.”   “When you start something like this you hope for the best but this is just unbelievable.”   “ I am having to pinch myself, it all seems a bit surreal,” Bill said.   The old saying that good things happen to good people fits the Spirit Eclispe story perfectly.     Harnesslink Media

The horse racing for a great cause is due to have his first start under his new ownership on Sunday at the harness racing meeting at Motukarara. Spirit Eclipse is a standardbred racehorse that severely fractured his leg in a training accident in November 2014. This was a life threatening injury for the horse in that only two treatment options were available; euthanasia or attempt surgical repair of the fracture, in the hope that the horse would race again. Witnessing a fighting spirit in the horse, Canterbury Equine Clinic stepped in to save him. With Spirit Eclipse a symbol of hope, the idea arose to use this opportunity to raise funds for a much bigger and wider-reaching cause, The Ronald McDonald House South Island. Canterbury Equine Clinic successfully performed surgery on Spirit Eclipse. All costs associated with his surgery, convalescence and now ongoing veterinary care have been donated by the Canterbury Equine Clinic. After four months, Spirit Eclipse was fit to resume training again. A Spirit Eclipse syndicate, made up of Spirit Eclipse Charter Members, was formed to cover the costs of his training, provided at a significantly discounted rate by trainer Nigel McGrath. These Spirit Eclipse Charter Members are people from the general population who have embraced the opportunity to fundraise for an incredible cause. They have each donated $250 to join the syndicate. The Spirit Eclipse Syndicate will race the horse. He will race in specially commissioned Ronald McDonald House South Island colours. All stake money won during Spirit Eclipse’s ongoing racing career will be donated to Ronald McDonald House South Island. In addition to that, all money left over after racing expenses from the Charter member contributions will also go directly to Ronald McDonald House South Island. At the end of his racing career, Spirit Eclipse will be retired with a good home already arranged. Spirit Eclipse is set to race at the Banks Peninsula meeting at the picturesque Motukarara Raceway on Sunday (27th September). He is competing in the aptly named Spirit Eclipse-Racing For Ronald McDonald House (SI) Pace at 4.36pm. There is already interest from several news and media outlets to cover the race. Hopefully he will be able to give everyone something wonderful to cheer about. For more information visit Stacey Markham  

The first of this years harness racing sales took place today at Auckland and in a splurge that started from lot one, the sale took off and never really slowed down. Lot one was a Bettors Delight colt from the former smart juvenile Veste 1:57.1 ($106,024). Named Voltaire, he was sold to the bid of Maurice McKendry acting as agent for $100,000. With a start like that the sale took off and when lot eight walked into the ring the bar was raised even higher. A three quarter brother to Adore Me and Have Faith In Me from a three quarter sister to Christen Me and Hands Christen, the colt called Praise Be was knocked down to Mark Purdon for $200,000. Mark was acting on behalf of Dennis Dunford and his son Mark who have raced Hands Christian and Have Faith In Me from the All Star barn. There were several other six figure sums achieved on the day which we have listed below: *Lot 106  -  Bettors Delight   -  Scuse Me  -  $180,000 *Lot 133  - Bettors Delight  -  Temepara Cullen  -  $165,000 *Lot 119  -  Art Major  -  Sky Beauty  -  $150,000 *Lot 116  -  Bettors Delight  -  Splendid Dreams  -  $120,000 *Lot 137  -  Art Major  -  Thebestamancanget  -  $107,500 Most of the well known buyers were in attendance but some weren't buying as much as they have in the past. Cran Dalgety was very quiet today buying just one yearling and what was just as surprising was it was Lot 46 an Angus Hall filly which cost him $47,500. We have listed the major players from today below: * Mark Purdon  -  Number brought - 5     Total spend  -  $490,000 * Barry Purdon  -  Number brought - 6     Total spend  -  $357,000 * Lincoln Farms - Number brought  -  4     Total spend  -  $367,500 * Nigel McGrath - Numbers brought  -  5     Total spend  -  $263,500   Hall of Fame thoroughbred trainer Jim Gibbs signed the ticket for two yearlings including lot 95, an Art Major colt which cost him $75,000 Australians  brought seventeen of the 112 lots that changed hands today today with the usual players like Trevor Lindsay involved once again while Emilio and Mary Rosati only brought one lot but it was the $165,000 filly, Kharizma. The overall aggregate for the sale was an impressive $4,653,500 with the average a staggering $41,549. As expected Bettors Delight won the sires battle with the forty sold averaging $55,512. Day two is at Christchurch tomorrow. Sales Results  Select a sale: Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2015 Auckland Autumn Weanling and All Age Sale - 2014 Christchurch Autumn Weanling and All Age Sale - 2014 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale - 2014 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2014 Auckland Weanling and All Age Sale - 2013 Christchurch Weanling and All Age Sale - 2013 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 2 - 2013 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 1 - 2013 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2013 Auckland Autumn Weanling and All Age Sale - 2012 Christchurch Autumn Weanling and All Age Sale - 2012 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2012 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 2 - 2012 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 1 - 2012 Ready to Run Sale - 2011 Spreydon Lodge Reduction Sale - 2011 Auckland Autumn Weanling and All Age Sale - 2011 Christchurch Autumn Weanling and All Age Sale - 2011 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 3 - 2011 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 2 - 2011 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 1 - 2011 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2011 Ready to Run Sale - 2010 Cullen Breeding Dispersal Sale - 2010 Auckland Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2010 Christchurch Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2010 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 3 - 2010 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Days 1 and 2 - 2010 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2010 Ready to Run Sale - 2009 Auckland Autumn Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2009 Christchurch Autumn Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2009 Bromac Lodge Sale - 2009 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Day 3 - 2009 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale Days 1 and 2 - 2009 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2009 Ready to Run 2yo Sale - 2008 Auckland Autumn Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2008 Christchurch Autumn Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2008 Spreydon Lodge Sale - 2008 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale - 2008 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2008 Christchurch Ready to Run Sale - 2007 Auckland Autumn Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2007 Christchurch Autumn Broodmare and All Age Sale - 2007 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale - 2007 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale - 2007   Lot Name Colour Sex Sire Dam Vendor Buyer Location Price   1 Voltaire B C Bettor's Delight Veste Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo M McKendry as agent AUCKLAND $100,000 2 Alta Roulette B C Bettor's Delight Whambam Alta Breeding Co. Ltd Waiau Pa MR T VINCE HOWICK $42,500 3 Major's Nice Girl B F Art Major Wouldnt It Be Nice Solid Gold Standardbreds WA DAILY GRIND SYNDICATE LINCOLN $14,000 4 Angie Maguire BR F Rocknroll Hanover Zenola Starbuck Jubilee Park Cambridge Not sold. Res $20,000     5 Smiley Sophie B F Art Major Vicario Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo JIM GIBBS MATAMATA $35,000 6 Delightful Zen B C Bettor's Delight Zenstar Mrs. A. Small Ramarama & Mr. J. C. & Mrs. K. M. Laurie Hamilton Not sold     7 Melman B C Sportswriter Anarchy Mrs. A. F. Cooney Taupaki N MCGRATH CHCH $20,000 8 Praise Be BR C Bettor's Delight Abide With Me Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon M PURDON CHCH $200,000 9 Sochi B C Bettor's Delight Warm Soak Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo Withdrawn     10 El Gran Senor B C Bettor's Delight Belleruche Highfields Bloodstock Albany Not sold, Res $40,000     11 My Generation B C Bettor's Delight A New Sensation Croon Bloodstock Ltd Auckland MR AJ MCINTOSH POKENO $30,000 12 Welcome Change B F Well Said Anna Matao Messrs. R. G. Carr Karaka & D. G. Kirkbride Pukekohe Not sold, Res $20,000     13 Laredo Torpedo BR C Bettor's Delight Zingara Braeside Lodge Palmerston North B PURDON CLEVEDON $75,000 14 Miss Kitty BR F Bettor's Delight American Sweetheart Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon B PURDON CLEVEDON $16,000 15 Kissme Quick BR F Majestic Son Anytime Aimey Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury ROB LAWSON HAMILTON $15,000 16 Emira B F Real Desire Ballie Hanover Mr. K. J. Haycock Tuakau Not sold, Res $15,000     17 Ring The Till B C Mach Three Affairs Of State Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo GARETH DIXON CLEVEDON $37,500 18 Heidi Maguire BR F American Ideal Bhutan Jubilee Park Cambridge MR GREG PAYNE CHCH $10,000 19 Neighlor BR C Bettor's Delight Braeside Star Braeside Lodge Palmerston North B & P HUGHES as agent PUKEKOHE $52,500 20 Sacred Angel BR F Somebeachsomewhere Dark Angel Highfields Bloodstock Albany Not sold, Res $60,000     21 Marbelous BR F Bettor's Delight Anam Cara Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo MR MARK JONES CHRISTCHURCH $19,000 22 The Tax Cullector B C Gotta Go Cullect Betty's A Delight Mr. K. Warneford Ohaupo GARY BARTON AUSTRALIA $15,000 23 Game Of Thrones BR F Christian Cullen Black And Royal Mrs. M. Carson Helensville EARL SAKAREASSEN AUSTRALIA $25,000 24 Saxon Rose B F Angus Hall Calamity Gal First Grade Lodge Mangere A CONTE AUSTRALIA $13,000 25 Smiling Stunner B F Art Major Black Maire Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo PENRITH HOLDINGS P/S DUNEDIN $52,000 26 Zenner B C McArdle Zenterfold Mr. G. C. & Mrs. A. Small Ramarama JOHNNIE BUTCHER KUMEU $60,000 27 Callme Giganaire B C Shakennotstirred S Call Me Daphne Ashmere Lodge Farm Pukekohe Not sold, Res $5,000     28 Change Pace B C Rocknroll Hanover Chaangerr Messrs. R. G. Carr Karaka & D. G. Kirkbride Pukekohe AUCKLAND TROTTING CLUB 2016 SY TAKANINI, AUCKLAND $35,000 29 Chaaat B C Rocknroll Hanover Braeside Lady Braeside Lodge Palmerston North MR MARK CONNORS GREYMOUTH $32,500 30 Italian Delight B C Bettor's Delight Chivasso Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon MR A G HERLIHY PAPAKURA $30,000 31 Gifted B F Bettor's Delight Gift Of Grace Highfields Bloodstock Albany Not sold, Res $25,000     32 Alta Teresa B F American Ideal Alta Camilla Alta Breeding Co. Ltd Waiau Pa P KERR CHCH $30,000 33 Ima Classic Delight B F Bettor's Delight Classical Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo K M BARRON CHRISTCHURCH $16,000 34 Coopers Beach BR F Somebeachsomewhere Bishops Blessing Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury MR TREVOR LINDSAY AUSTRALIA $40,000 35 American Dynasty B C American Ideal Chokin Hanover Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon KIM PRENTICE AUSTRALIA $27,000 36 Glenferrie Depot B C Changeover Custom Franco Glenferrie Farm NSW P KERR KAIAPOI $20,000 37 Sertorius B C Muscles Yankee Classic Armbro Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo GRINALDI LODGE INVERCARGILL $47,000 38 Whatdoesthefoxsay B C Bettor's Delight Cyathea Wairau Farm Raglan MR ROBERT S TOMLINSON AUSTRALIA $46,000 39 The C E O B C Gotta Go Cullect Dana Maguire Mr. E. B. & Mrs. M. H. Brodie Hamilton Not sold, Res $15,000     40 Acceptance BR C Bettor's Delight Dream Offer Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon ROSSLANDS STUD AUCKLAND $75,000 41 Heart Of Art B F Art Major Classic Nymph Biddlecombe Equine Ltd Auckland S REID PUKEKOHE $70,000 42 Braveheart BR C Bettor's Delight Highfields Angel Highfields Bloodstock Albany MR AJ MCINTOSH POKENO $25,000 43 Runrunjimmydunn B C American Ideal Delightful Paula Letterkenny Lodge Ltd Clevedon PA & DL CRONIN TUAKAU $40,000 44 De Lovista B F Bettor's Delight De Lovely Les Girls No.2 Syndicate Pukekohe Not sold, Res $100,000     45 Franconia B F Art Major Coburg Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo N MCGRATH CHCH $35,000 46 Wistful Dreams B F Angus Hall Galleons Dream First Grade Lodge Mangere CRAN DALGETY CHCH $47,500 47 Unchanged B F Mach Three Changedown Messrs. R. G. Carr Karaka & D. G. Kirkbride Pukekohe M PURDON CHCH $30,000 48 Stone The Crows BR C Mach Three Bishops Dream Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury MR JC HAY ASHBURTON $25,000 49 Rock Diamonds B C Rocknroll Hanover Dancing Diamonds Braeside Lodge Palmerston North PENRITH HOLDINGS P/S DUNEDIN $50,000 50 Keep On Rockin B C Rock N Roll Heaven Elite Belle Messrs. J. H. & W. S. Abernethy Papakura WN HICKEY TUAKAU $22,000   Lot Name Colour Sex Sire Dam Vendor Buyer Location Price   51 Spanish Armada BR F Bettor's Delight Galleons Supreme Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon J FEISS AUSTRALIA $75,000 52 Spellbinding B F Art Major Highfields Diamond Highfields Bloodstock Albany Withdrawn     53 Bobs Your Uncle B C Artsplace Delightful Dale Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo MR GREG PAYNE CHCH $19,000 54 Dreamy Nights B C Gotta Go Cullect Dream Holiday Wairau Farm Raglan Not sold, Res $20,000     55 Ready To Fire B F Somebeachsomewhere Fight Fire With Fire Croon Bloodstock Ltd Auckland MR G ROGERSON HAMILTON $37,000 56 Forgotten Highway B C Bettor's Delight Grace Way Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon P KERR KAIAPOI $75,000 57 Oxygen B F Art Major Dontdrinkthendrive Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo K M BARRON CHCH $23,000 58 Swank BL F Mach Three Erinyes Mr. J. A. Fowler NSW Not sold, Res $12,000     59 Peanut Bettor B F Bettor's Delight Cullerfillee Mr. K. Warneford Ohaupo Withdrawn     60 Alltherightmoves B F Bettor's Delight Indulge Highfields Bloodstock Albany MENTALLY STABLE CHCH $16,000 61 Megamind B C Pegasus Spur Fear Factor Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo JB & JR DAVIES HAMILTON $42,000 62 High Voltage B F Rocknroll Hanover Highly Regal First Grade Lodge Mangere Not sold, Res $50,000     63 Kissmeimloaded BR F Majestic Son Dutch Annie Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury B PURDON CLEVEDON $36,000 64 Flash Boy B C Bettor's Delight Gentle Anvil Croon Bloodstock Ltd Auckland MR G ROGERSON HAMILTON $80,000 65 Major Hippie B C Art Major Hotinthecitytonite Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo MR NEIL PILCHER CHCH $70,000 66 Some Change B C Somebeachsomewhere Dancingonmoonlight Messrs. R. G. Carr Karaka & D. G. Kirkbride Pukekohe Not sold, Res $40,000     67 Paros B C Bettor's Delight Its Showtime Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon WALMSLEY DEVELOPMENTS PTY LTD AUSTRALIA $38,000 68 I'm Just Awesome B F Pegasus Spur Hanover The Gold Mrs. M. B. Lloyd Kumeu & Mr. J. B. Miller Pakuranga MR J P STORMONT **SBRED** PUKEKOHE $11,000 69 Rockahula King B C Art Major Hot Shoe Shuffle Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo Withdrawn     70 La Bella Mia B F Christian Cullen Inspiration Highfields Bloodstock Albany HOOF IT RACING STABLES LTD AUCKLAND $20,000 71 Di'z Luck B F The Pres Howz Lucky Mr. B. R. & Mrs. R. G. Tims Matamata MR GAVIN SMITH KAIAPOI $16,000 72 Awa Charles B C Pegasus Spur Iwi Alex Mr. W. E. & Mrs. E. C. Darrah Thames Withdrawn     73 Lorde O Lorde BR C Christian Cullen Karlysia Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo M BERGER AUCKLAND $12,000 74 Pick My Pocket B F Bettor's Delight La Filou Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon N MCGRATH CHCH $90,000 75 Logic Bomb B C Art Major Elena Star Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury G SMALL PUKEKOHE $18,000 76 Kamwood Kid B C Bettor's Delight Kamwood Diva Kamwood Lodge Pukekohe MENTALLY STABLE CHCH $25,000 77 Snoozeyouloos B C Bettor's Delight Kelly Maguire Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo F D & AF COONEY HENDERSON $30,000 78 Always The Brave B C Well Said Prove The Point Highfields Bloodstock Albany MR GREG PAYNE CHCH $21,000 79 Speculator B C Bettor's Delight La Vicola Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon GARY BARTON AUSTRALIA $16,000 80 Tinny Girl BR F Tintin In America Khatcha Fire Miss L. S. Edwards Morrinsville & Mrs. S. D. Edwards Paeroa Not sold, Res $20,000     81 Strawberry Moose B C Mach Three Magic Moose Braeside Lodge Palmerston North G SMALL PUKEKOHE $30,000 82 Pump Up The Volume BR C Lis Mara Kilmore Mr. D. E. & Mrs. K. M. Kaa Mr. B. A. Hodges Cambridge & Mr. R. S. Tomlinson West Australia M BERGER AUCKLAND $16,000 83 Runaway Train BR C Bettor's Delight Lady Cullen Croon Bloodstock Ltd Auckland TONY PRICE AUSTRALIA $87,500 84 Lead The Way B C American Ideal Lisdargan Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon JEREMY YOUNG PUKEKOHE $7,000 85 Never Say Never B C Bettor's Delight Maid In Splendour Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo PENRITH HOLDINGS P/S DUNEDIN $60,000 86 The Coordinator B C American Ideal Monaro Wairau Farm Raglan D BLACKWELL TE AWAMUTU $26,000 87 Kiss Me Hardy BR C Majestic Son Emma Hamilton Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury B PURDON CLEVEDON $52,500 88 Warloch B C Well Said Pure Envy Highfields Bloodstock Albany MENTALLY STABLE CHCH $42,500 89 Nova's Delight BR C Bettor's Delight Milagro Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo MATTHEW CRAVEN AUSTRALIA $56,000 90 Casino Belle B F Bettor's Delight Lislady Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon M PURDON CHCH $30,000 91 Billy Twelvetrees B C Mach Three Maikona Brogden Lodge Cambridge MR GP & MRS NM HOPE KAIAPOI $22,500 92 Glenferrie Devotee B F Changeover Navarra Franco Glenferrie Farm NSW Not sold, Res $10,000     93 Veluti B C Christian Cullen Neat Franco Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo EARL SAKAREASSEN AUSTRALIA $20,000 94 G B Maverick B C Art Official Okay Matao G B Lodge Huntly KYLE MARSHALL CAMBRIDGE $8,000 95 Pacing Major B C Art Major Pacing Grace Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon JIM GIBBS MATAMATA $75,000 96 Yankee Whizard B F Muscles Yankee Our Sunny Whiz Mr. R. M. Southey, Snells Beach & Mrs. S. D. Lean, Waimauku DOMENICO MARTELLO AUSTRALIA $40,000 97 Got The Music In You B F Rocknroll Hanover OK Rock Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo MR RL SANDFORD CHCH $10,000 98 The Boulevard B F Mach Three Hearty Lass Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury Withdrawn     99 Everlasting Legacy B F Art Major Sabelle Highfields Bloodstock Albany MR MD FAIRBAIRN WINTON $30,000 100 Pleasurable B F Bettor's Delight Pleasureseeker Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon MR GREG PAYNE CHCH $10,000   Lot Name Colour Sex Sire Dam Vendor Buyer Location Price   101 Lawton Luck B C Bettor's Delight Paddy Brown Braeside Lodge Palmerston North G LEE WYNDHAM $30,000 102 Attitude Plus BR F Bettor's Delight Personality Plus Croon Bloodstock Ltd Auckland MR G ROGERSON HAMILTON $80,000 103 Anna Barclay B F Bettor's Delight Precious Maiden Kamwood Lodge Pukekohe BALTIC FAMILY SYN PAPAKURA $11,000 104 Fabregas BL C Muscles Yankee Serene Queen Mr. C. B. Rapley Otorohanga KPC RACING AUSTRALIA $40,000 105 Fullofheart B F Artsplace Pocketfullofposies Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo GENNARO SPOSATO AUSTRALIA $10,000 106 All About Me BR C Bettor's Delight Scuse Me Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon M PURDON CHCH $180,000 107 Mrs Zippy B F American Ideal River Liffey Messrs. N. J. Fleming Oakura & P. B. Fleming Stratford JOHNNIE BUTCHER KUMEU $32,500 108 Carley Maguire BR F Somebeachsomewhere Saccha Maguire Jubilee Park Cambridge STEVE WITTE CHCH $26,000 109 Bettor Under Fire B C Bettor's Delight Queen Of Fire Butterworth Bloodstock Syndicate Victoria MR MARK JONES CHCH $20,000 110 Heavens Secret B F Rock N Roll Heaven Secret Obsession Highfields Bloodstock Albany Not sold, Res $10,000     111 Ace High BR C Bettor's Delight Splendid Deal Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon Withdrawn     112 Te Mahia B C Somebeachsomewhere Hi Ho Silver Lining Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury MR NEIL PILCHER CHCH $42,500 113 Thunderbolt Kid BR C American Ideal Spirit Of Spring Biddlecombe Equine Ltd Auckland       114 Cleaver Green B C Christian Cullen Safin Letterkenny Lodge Ltd Clevedon N MCGRATH CHCH $77,500 115 Alta Intrigue B C Mach Three Samantha Q Alta Breeding Co. Ltd Waiau Pa LINCOLN FARM KUMEU $85,000 116 Accumulator BR C Bettor's Delight Splendid Dreams Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon B PURDON CLEVEDON $120,000 117 Head Honcho B C Rocknroll Hanover Stateofthenation Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo PGW as agent CHCH $34,000 118 Malik B C Somebeachsomewhere Slipinn Slipinn Breeding Partnership Pukekohe Not sold     119 Sky Diamond B C American Ideal Sky Beauty Wairau Farm Raglan LINCOLN FARM KUMEU $150,000 120 Ideal Conquest BR F American Ideal Pocket Conquest Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon MR MD FAIRBAIRN WINTON $5,000 121 Lerato B F Art Major Suidelike Meisie Mr. K. J. & Mrs. D. M. Madgwick Te Aroha. B PURDON CLEVEDON $57,500 122 Brother In Arms B C Art Major Shy Annie Highfields Bloodstock Albany M PURDON CHRISTCHURCH $50,000 123 English Rose BR F Bettor's Delight Sloane Square Bruce Carter Bloodstock Ltd Kumeu P Kennard as agent CHCH $40,000 124 Sister Sandrine B F Santanna Blue Chip Sophie Neveu Mr. A. H. Nicolson Auckland REVELL DOUGLAS AUCKLAND $6,000 125 Vettel B C American Ideal Talks To Angels Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo MR GREG PAYNE CHCH $20,000 126 Lambros BR C Bettor's Delight Queen Camille Mr. S. A. Kolovos Pukekohe S L MCCAFFREY CAMBRIDGE $30,000 127 Star De Lis B F Lis Mara Star Of Astreos Mr. G. J. & Mrs. P. K. Balle Tuakau Not sold, Res $4,500     128 Alta Leonie BL F Big Jim Thanks Anita Alta Breeding Co. Ltd Waiau Pa MR D F HIGGINS TE AROHA $7,000 129 Crystal Sparkles BR F Rocknroll Hanover Taylor Kate Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo BUTTERWORTH RACING SYNDICATE AUSTRALIA $50,000 130 Blind Faith B C American Ideal Running On Faith Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon LINCOLN FARM KUMEU $25,000 131 Thefixer B C Bettor's Delight Tosti Girl Letterkenny Lodge Ltd Clevedon PI & GJ KENNARD B/STOCK CHCH $47,000 132 Bejewelled B F Somebeachsomewhere The Jewel Highfields Bloodstock Albany Not sold, Res $30,000     133 Kharizma B F Bettor's Delight Temepara Cullen Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo EMILIO & MARY ROSATI AUSTRALIA $165,000 134 Trilight Brigade BR F Bettor's Delight Trigirl Brigade Miss S. A. Matthews & Mr. R. & Mrs. C. A. Faulkner Papatoetoe N MCGRATH CHCH $41,000 135 Tipsy B F Bettor's Delight Saturation Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Clevedon ROBERT LUND & TANIA HARVEY PUKEKOHE $27,000 136 Crackacheek B C Rocknroll Hanover Trilby Cambridge Standardbred Stud Ltd Cambridge PAUL T COURT CHCH $17,500 137 Vasari B C Art Major Thebestamancanget Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo LINCOLN FARM KUMEU $107,500 138 Twinklingofaneye B F Art Major Twilight Beauty Mr. A. J. & Mrs. P. R. A. Parker Drury ROBERT LUND & TANIA HARVEY PUKEKOHE $35,000 139 Thats Who BR F Monarchy Tats That First Grade Lodge Mangere N A NORTHCOTT MANUKAU $3,000 140 Veddy Veddy Good B C Art Major Twice As Good Breckon Farms Ltd Ohaupo Withdrawn     141 Show Business B F Bettor's Delight Uptown Attitude Croon Bloodstock Ltd Auckland K M BARRON CHCH $14,000 Harnesslink Media

Like anything connected to harness racing in New Zealand at the moment, if pays to have Scuse Me somewhere in your pedigree if you are racing horses or selling at the sales. Be it Christen Me or Adore Me on the racetrack or the progeny of Scuse Me or any of  her daughters in the yearling sale ring, Charlie Robert's super broodmare Scuse Me is just dominating the scene like no mare in the history of the sport in New Zealand. That was reinforced today at the Australasian Classic yearling sale when Charlie Robert's consigned several members of the family to the first of this years sale The first of the really close relatives of Scuse Me was Lot 9. Named Praise Be, the son of Bettors Delight is the first foal from the smart Christian Cullen mare Abide With Me 1:57.7 ($36,033) which makes the colt a three quarter brother to both Adore Me 1:51.6 ($1,435,101) and Have Faith In Me 1:53.2 ($201,502) The dam Abide With Me is a three quarter sister to both Christen Me 1:49.1($1,923,091) and Hands Christian 1:52.5 ($330,824) so Praise Me had a pedigree to die for. To top it off the individual was as good as the pedigree and from the time he walked into the ring the bidding was fierce. When the dust settled the colt was headed to the All Star barn at Rolleston after Mark Purdon stared downed the opposition but not before he had outlaid a cool $200,000. Mark Purdon purchased Praise Be on behalf of  Dennis Dunford and his son Mark who have raced his close relatives Have Faith In Me and Hands Christian from the All Stars barn.   The next one of the breed to create real interest today was lot 106 and he is named All About Me. Offered by Charlie, the son of Bettor's Delight is from Scuse Me making him a full brother to the champion mare Adore Me and this years star three year old Have Faith In Me. The bidding opened at $50,000 and quickly went into six figures as Mark Purdon and Nigel McGrath battled for the great looking colt. In the end Mark was not to be denied and when the bidding stopped at $180,000 the colt was on his way to the All Stars barn at Rolleston. lot 106 The third and last of the close relatives that was highly sought after today was Lot 116 named Accumulator. Another son of Bettor's Delight, Accumulator is a half brother to Christen Me, Hands Christian and a three quarter brother to Adore Me and Have Faith In Me. The bidding started slowly but then took off and once again it was a Purdon signing the sales docket but this time it was Mark's brother Barry doing the honours. At $120,000, he was the cheapest of the three close relatives to make six figures. Charlie must still wonder at his luck when he agreed to buy Scuse Me all those years ago as she has gone on to dominate the New Zealand harness racing scene both on the track and at the yearling sales  like no mare before her. Harnesslink Media

The Canterbury rural districts are in the midst of a real dry spell at the moment with the result that conditions in much of the province are tinder dry. Several fire outbreaks have already occurred recently but harness racing trainers have managed to avoid being caught up in the mayhem up until today. Today a fire broke out on the property adjoining Nigel McGrath's Maddisons Road property at Weedons and quickly spread into Nigels place and continued on its way through more properties. The fire brigade were quickly on the scene in full force along with many water trucks and the helicopter with its water bucket. Word very quickly spread through the local harness racing community and before long the place was swamped with people and their floats wanting to help out and do whatever they could to help. A few horses were moved off the property and just when everyone thought that things were under control the fire department issued instructions that every horse on Nigel's property had to be moved immediately. So back everyone came and before very long all the stock had been removed from Nigel's property in what was obviously a safety precaution on behalf of the fire department. It was all done in incredibly quick time and and was a credit to those involved. If ever you needed an example of just how tight knit the local harness racing community is, then the response today would be as good as you could get. It was just great to be part of the great team helping out and seeing everyone else do likewise. Courtesy Of Noel Kennard - Canterbury

Generations of families being successful in harness racing is quite common in this industry and the one name at the top of that pile is the one tracing to Wes Butt. The list is way too long to compile here but one of the latest from this trotting dynasty to branch out on his own is Bob Butt. Son of the 2006 and 2007 premiership winning trainers David and Catherine Butt, Bob has been around horses all his life. Bob first got serious about a future in harness racing while still at school. " I use to help Nigel McGrath out after school and that confirmed to me that I wanted to do this for a career," Bob told Harnesslink recently. After Bob left school, he went and worked for Cran Dalgety for 18 months before heading north and working for legendary trainer Barry Purdon for just on two years. " It was great going and working for trainers like Cran and Barry." "You learn so much from them,especially all those little things that can make all the difference,"Bob said Returning home to his parents establishment at Woodend Beach after his stint at Barry Purdon's, Bob was only home a short time before being offered an opportunity to travel to Australia to work for the former Kiwi trainer Brent Lilley in Melbourne. "I always wanted to have a look at the Australian scene so i didn't twice about taking the offer to work for Brent" "Brent put me on a lot of nice horses while I was with him and I ended up driving over 80 winners in my time there," Bob said. Returning to New Zealand about 18 months ago , Bob began working for his parents with their team while training one or two of his own account. This season Bob thought it was time to take up training on his own account and is working ten from  boxes he is renting from his parents. He hopes to slowly builds up his team numbers and has the capacity to handle quite a few more. "The facilities are as good as you can get so there are no excuses." "They lack for nothing here," he said Bob has taken over the distinctive colours made famous by his grand - father Robin Butt of green with white sleaves which were carried by such stars as Locarno (Miracle Mile) and Camelot (New Zealand Cup)  The smart qualifier Bettor Be Smooth is the most promising horse in the stable at the moment but Bob has high hopes for a couple of 2 year olds that he is training and found it hard to split them. "I really like both of them to be honest." "There is an Art Official colt out of Honey Babe and a Rocknroll Hanover colt out of Special Rose and they both go pretty good," he said. Expectations are always high for young trainers like Bob when your family is a house hold name in the industry and that can sometimes be hard to overcome. However with over 200 winners as a driver in Australasia and seven winners in his brief training career to date along with the thorough grounding he has undertaken, Bob looks well placed to add another layer to the Butt family harness racing dynasty. Harnesslink Media

The first harness racing meeting for the new season at Methven comes up for decision on Sunday and as per usual for this time of year it sees the emergence of a lot of spring 3 year olds. Race 1 for the CO 3 year olds and older over 2300 meters from behind the mobile has drawn a smart field with several promising 3 year olds lining up. McArdle Star form the Ken Barron barn has drawn poorly at three on the second line but his trial runs suggest a big debut run from the son of McArdle. Brought out of the 2013 Australasian Classic Sale for $30,000 by long time stable clients Steve Thompson and Grant Dickey, McArdle Star will have the services of in form reinsman Blair Orange and looks a big winning chance. Highview Freddy from the Robert Dunn barn is another 3 year old who looks above average and from the one draw can make his own luck. A full brother to the outstanding Highview Tommy 1:55.2 ($1,021,904) Highview Freddy had four starts at two against Say My Name and company so it is a big drop back in class here. He ran a lovely fourth behind Margarita in his first run back from a spell and looks sure to be a major player with Sam Ottley in the bike. Another runner from the Robert Dunn barn is Altissimo who has drawn nicely at barrier three. She is a 3 year old daughter of Mach Three from a Beach Towel half sister to the champion pacer Elsu 1:53.6 ($2,083,352). Altissimo qualified recently on the track in very impressive fashion and has the services of leading reinsman John Dunn in the bike.  Another 3 year old making his debut for the season is the Gotta Go Cullect gelding Until Further Notice from two on the second line from the Jimmy Curtin barn. Until Further Notice is a recent addition to the stable and he is now owned by long time stable client Ralph Nieper who raced his half brother Slash An Burn 1:54.7 ($277,288) from the Curtin barn. Placed twice as a two year old when racing out of the Murray Swain barn in Southland, Until Further Notice won a trial last week at Ashburton with smart closing sectionals of 56 .8 and 27.4 and looks ready to rumble. Just so all the 3 year olds don't have it all their own way, the Nigel McGrath trained and driven Western Art with four seconds in his last five starts looms as a fly in the ointment for the 3 year olds as he is well overdue to take out a maiden race.  We think with his favourable draw Highview Freddy just gets the nod from us but it  really is an open race and it wouldn't surprise us to see one of the other four mentioned in this article salute the judge. Harnesslink Media

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