Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 413
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Ricky May is determined his career in the sulky is "not going to end like that". The "that" May doesn't want to be the final act of his storied harness racing driving career was almost also the final act of his life. Racing viewers Australasia-wide were stunned when May collapsed lifeless in the sulky when leading the Central Otago Cup driving A G's White Socks on January 2. When he fell to the track, the racing world held its breath.   May's heart stopped without warning, his official diagnosis later being hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy. He lay motionless on the Omakau track, receiving CPR from junior driver Ellie Barron and was soon after treated by medics. But when the 61-year-old woke up in Dunedin Hospital two days later doctors told him he had probably been dead for 10 minutes that day. A few days later he had surgery to have a cardioverter defibrillator implanted, a device that delivers a shock through a wire which runs into a chamber of the heart and May will have it in his chest for the rest of his life in case his heart stops again. But two months on from that operation May hasn't needed the defibrillator yet and is hoping he never will. "The doctors told me if it was going to happen again it would most likely be in the first two months," May told the Herald. "So I am now going to get on with my life. "I feel good, almost back to normal. I have a few aches and pains from the fall and the operation but my energy levels are good." May is back working on his Methven farm but last week he started back at his other job. He jumped in the sulky and drove fast work. "It was good to do it again, but I was a little tentative just at the start," says the man who has won seven New Zealand Cups. "The doctors say I can go back to driving but they are a bit worried about the shaking and vibrations that can go through the body on a rougher surface. "So ideally they have said to start out slow and if possible maybe wait six months before I go back to race driving." So that is what May is planning to do. He admits he might be lured back earlier but at this stage he plans to be back driving in races next season, which starts August 1. "I want to be careful for a while and to be honest I wouldn't have too many good drives coming up in the next few months. "And I don't mind missing the winter racing," he laughs. But May will 100 per cent, as much as any of us can predict our futures, be back. "I have to go back to it because I can't let what happened be the way it ends. That wouldn't sit comfortably with me." The next great goal is obvious for a man who has driven 2949 winners in his domestic career. Joining Tony Herlihy and Maurice McKendry as the only 3000-win horsepeople (drivers or jockeys) in New Zealand is an honour May deserves. "I can go back to driving any time I want now, once I get a medical certificate which shouldn't be a problem. But I will wait and do it right. But I will be back. I am looking forward to getting back out there."   Michael Guerin

By Jonny Turner Invercargill horsewoman Ellie Barron is being hailed a hero after coming to the aid of fellow harness racing driver Ricky May when the champion reinsman collapsed during a race. May was revived after suffering a medical event, slumping in his sulky and falling to the track when driving A G's White Socks at a Central Otago meeting. He was in a serious but stable condition yesterday in the intensive care unit at Dunedin Hospital. Barron was among the first to May's side after he fell. She began giving CPR on the reinsman with the help of another driver, Lawrence McCormick. Barron is being hailed a hero by many who witnessed the incident. She was quick to deflect any praise and said her concern was for May's recovery. "I am just hoping for the best for Ricky, it is sounding positive from all accounts. I just hope he improves, really." Barron is a trained physiotherapist who has worked with the Southland rugby team. She credited her training for providing her with the skills to help revive May. "He was breathing when I got there, so I was worried about his neck and head. Then we had to change plan a wee bit." Barron also credited the paramedics and off duty medical staff that rushed out of the Omakau crowd to assist May. "It all happened so fast – there were two doctors there in what felt like a minute, then the paramedics came." "Everyone that could help did – it was good – but terrifying at the same time." Ricky May is in intensive care after collapsing during a race. Photo / file An intensive care paramedic played a crucial role in stabilising May, Barron said. "She waltzed in and she was so calm and she sort of just took over. I feel like he was so lucky to have been where he was when it happened. He could have been at home on the tractor." May's horse, A G's White Socks, has drawn praise following Thursday's incident. The 6yr-old is known to be a slightly moody type on race days. That was evident when the horse bolted frantically back to the stables after winning a race at Oamaru in 2016. But the horse did not panic without the control of his driver and angled wide on the track before May fell from his sulky. The remaining horses and drivers were able to easily manoeuvre past May when the race was called off. Canterbury driver John Dunn was driving the horse following A G's White Socks when May collapsed. He showed quick reactions to slow his horse, Heisenberg, when it was apparent May was unwell. Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald

3 January 2020   Craig Wiggins, on behalf of the May family has expressed their thanks for the outpouring of concern from the harness racing community regarding Ricky May’s condition after the incident at the Omakau meeting yesterday. “Ricky remains in Dunedin hospital and at this stage there is no confirmation regarding what caused Ricky to collapse. Speculation regarding the cause is unhelpful and we respectfully ask that this ceases until more is known. The May family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to all of those people who assisted Ricky yesterday. We will provide a further update when we are in a position to do so and would appreciate the family now being given space and privacy to focus on Ricky’s recovery”.       Ken Spicer, HRNZ Chair, who was on course at Omakau yesterday said, “We wish to sincerely thank all of those who provided assistance to Ricky yesterday. The reaction from all concerned was tremendous, starting with the actions of the other drivers in the race in averting any further incidents, through to all of those who were so quickly on hand to provide medical assistance to Ricky before he was transported to hospital by the Air Rescue service. Our thoughts are with Ricky’s family and friends at this difficult time and I am sure all racing fans will join me in wishing Ricky well as he recovers”. For more information, please contact: Ken Spicer, Chair, HRNZ 021 320 106  Peter Jensen, CEO, HRNZ 021 998 982

Well-known harness racing driver Ricky May has suffered a "medical event" and been transported by air to Dunedin Hospital, the chairman of the stewards in the New Zealand Racing Integrity Unit has confirmed. May was driving the race favourite A G's White Socks in the Central Otago Cup at 4.11pm before about 5000 people. Racing journalist Michael Guerin says May appears to have collapsed in the sulky while leading the main race at Omakau this afternoon. Guerin says that a helicopter landed on the track to take May to hospital. The chairman of the stewards in the Racing Integrity Unit, Vinny Munro, has confirmed May suffered a medical event. He said all races at Omakau have been abandoned. Munro said he is not able to confirm any further information at this stage. Racegoers at the meet say that there was an announcement that May was in a critical but stable condition. Witnesses say he appeared to fall back in the sulky while the horse continued to race, then fall onto the track. A witness at the track said race officials rushed to his aid. Afterwards, many people who went to cash in their tickets stayed to donate the money to St John's Ambulance or May's family. May has driven almost 3000 race winners in New Zealand - making him the third most successful driver in New Zealand trotting history. He is a seven-time winner of the NZ Trotting Cup, New Zealand's biggest annual harness race. Radio New Zealand

The Cardrona Distillery/MLT Three Year Old Harness Racing Stakes at Gore last Friday was the most talked about race of the day.  The field, albeit small in numbers, was packed with possibilities and proved to be an early indication of how exciting the Southern Supremacy Stakes could be later in the season. From a wide draw Matty Williamson used plenty of gas early with second favourite Spirit Of St Louis and out of the first bend he was in front with favourite Minstrel and Ricky May dropping in to trail. “I used him up a bit early. I would have been quite keen to stay in front but it was just the way it worked out,” said May referring to the early rush. Spirit Of St Louis stayed in front and sprinted hard with 400 metres to run. But Minstrel proved too powerful at the finish getting up to beat a gallant Spirit Of St Louis by three quarters of a length. “He does give me the feel of being a good horse. He’s only going to get better because it’s only his fourth start today,” May said in summarising his drive on Minstrel. The three year old gelding by Rocknroll Hanover is trained at Woodend Beach by David and Catherine Butt. The winning time was 2-45.7 with the last 800 metres run in 56.1 and the 400 metres in 26.6 which was outstanding considering the rain and hail which was falling at the time. It was Minstrel’s second win in the province and he’s now fully qualified for the Supremacy Final in April which the Butts won with Ohoka Texas in 2011. Minstrel has been staying with local trainer Brett Gray at Ryal Bush for the last two weeks and impressively won his previous start at Winton seven days ago. “It was a better field today than last time. Brett thought he’d improved a bit. I think he might be right.” Of the beaten brigade Spirit Of St Louis, after leading in trying conditions, was very brave when running second and the run by Pembrook Playboy for third just two lengths from the winner would encourage his connections to look at travelling north for some the bigger three year old races in Canterbury. By Bruce Stewart  

The Greg and Nina Hope trained Luella smashed the New Zealand harness racing record for 2yo fillies over a mobile 2400m, yesterday at the Nelson Trotting Clubs winter meeting. Luella  2 B f Sweet Lou - Stella Franco  (Badlands Hanover) ran the mobile 2400m mobile in 2-57.7 which broke the old record by nearly 4 seconds. The old record was held by Kotare Elite who ran 3-02.6 at Ashburton in June 2017. Driver Ricky May had back to back wins when the Benny Hill trained Koromiko Eyre gained an overdue win in the following race. Koromiko Eyre 4 B g Ohoka Arizona - Hanover Eyre (Peruvian Hanover) looked likely to run another second 50m before the finishing post until the leader Stetson knocked off and Koromiko Eyre came again to get his head in front on the line. Koromiko Eyre winning for driver Ricky May _______________________________________________________________________________ Tony Herlihy notched up another amazing milestone at Alexandra Park on Friday night when he became the first New Zealand harness racing driver to get to 3500 wins. Herlihy won onboard the impressive Gambit who won his second race in a row in a quick 2-41.8  for the 2200m mobile.  Maurice McKendry is the closest to Herlihy in the all time wins leaderboard on 3248 wins. (see leaderboard below) Gambit winning on Friday night.   New Zealands leading drivers with 2000 wins or more. Driver Total Wins Tony Herlihy 3500 Maurice McKendry 3248 Ricky May 2916 David Butcher 2378 Dexter Dunn 2226 Colin DeFilippi 2021     Harnesslink Media

Champion reinsman Tony Herlihy is willing to swap one of the greatest milestones in New Zealand racing history for a Harness Jewels win this weekend. But he admits he might struggle to get either. Herlihy took his record total of domestic driving wins to 3497 when Gambit won at Alexandra Park on Friday night, meaning he is a good night at the office away from becoming the first driver or jockey in this country to 3500 wins. While 3500 is hardly a number that roles off the tongue, every winner Herlihy drives is a new record as Maurice McKendry, who sits next to Herlihy in the Alexandra Park drivers room almost every week, is the only other horseperson to partner over 3000 winners here. Ricky May is the next reinsman honing in on the number, with 2913 domestic wins in his career and with Dexter Dunn driving so successfully in North America, it could be a long time before anybody in either code threatens Herlihy's numbers. David Walsh holds the record for a jockey with 2451 victories. But Herlihy could end the weekend still stuck on 3497 as he won't drive at Alexandra Park this Friday night because he will be in Christchurch preparing stable reps Tickle Me Pink and Bolt For Brilliance for the Jewels on Saturday. Bolt For Brilliance is already in Canterbury and won well enough at the Addington trials on Saturday to suggest he is not the worst chance in the juvenile trot but Tickle Me Pink is the second favourite for the 3-year-old trot and has been one of the comeback stories of the season. Her week has not gone to plan though, as she was one of 11 horses whose flight from Auckland to Christchurch has been delayed by fog in Canterbury, but with the weather there changing, all the horses are expected to make it to Jewels day. Herlihy warns if the worst happened and the flight can't make it, Tickle Me Pink wouldn't be risked travelling down by road. "It is too late for that, so we are sticking with the plane to get her down, but it sounds like they will get them here," Herlihy said last night. While Tickle Me Pink has won three Alexandra Park races in impressive fashion since returning from a nine-month break, Herlihy doubts she can beat the best version of Enhance Your Calm should he turn up on Saturday. "He is a bit of beast and unless he galloped and lost quite a bit of ground, he might be too good for all of us," says Herlihy. "But our filly has a touch of class and is racing really well. I am very proud of what she has achieved in basically a month of racing after coming back from such a long break." As for the hitherto unreached 3500 wins, Herlihy didn't even know he was that close until informed on Friday night and knows milestones are impossible to plan. "The last time I knew one was coming up was the 3000-win one and the family came to the races a couple of weeks in a row to be there for it and I didn't drive any winners," he laughs. "So it will happen when it happens, but it will still be a nice number to get to." Now 60, Herlihy is still driving as well as ever but not as often. He rarely drives in New Zealand outside of Alexandra Park, Addington and the better Cambridge meetings, often handing the latter opportunities to stable No2 Tony Cameron. And considering it has taken him over eight years to get from 3000 to the brink of 3500, he isn't even entertaining making it to 4000 domestic career wins, which could mean driving until he was 70. "I don't think I'll be doing that, although I am a very young 60," he says with his customary giggle.   Michael Guerin

The Greg and Nina Hope trained A G's White Socks got a desreved harness racing win in the Airpark Canterbury Gr3 Rangiora Classic yesterday, when he fired home late down the centre of the track to upset a brave Thefixer right on the line. Driven by Ricky May the underrated pacer had been the bridemaid in Group races on several occasions this season but yesterday his usual fast finishing burst was enough to see him home by a nose in the $27,000 race. The son of Rock N Roll Heaven will now be put out for a spell before preparing for a New Zealand Cup tilt in November. Thefixer was tough in second for Natalie Rasmussen after working around to lead with 1400m to go and then fighting hard and only getting beaten right on the line. He too is headed for a six week break while his third and fourth placed stablemates Chase Auckland and Ashley Locaz who both performed well fresh, are being aimed for the rich 4yo feature races the Taylor Mile and NZ Messenger in Auckland at the end of the month. A G's White Socks winning the Airpark Canterbury Gr3 Rangiora Classic   Harnesslink Media

Monbet’s road back to the top of New Zealand trotting just took another detour.  But driver Ricky May is hoping his latest setback doesn’t cost the former Horse of the Year a shot at the Rowe Cup in a few weeks.  The great trotter has only had one start back after a nearly two and a half year layoff during which he has battled a range of leg problems and general unsoundness.  With a race under his belt last month he won at the trials on March 13 and was all set for his return to group one action in the $100,000 NZ Trot Championships at Addington on Friday.  Except Monbet won’t be there after developing a splint in one of his hind legs.  “It shouldn’t be that big a deal and Greg (Hope, trainer) wasn’t that worried about it when I spoke to him yesterday,” said regular driver Ricky May.  “He was about 70 per cent on starting him this week so it wasn’t that bad but he has obviously decided against it.  “It is a real shame because he trialed so well and Greg thought he was ready to go after giving him a proper workout the other day. “But obviously it is still annoying him so it looks like he will miss this Friday.”  Hope could not be contacted last night.  Friday’s 2600m mobile was to be the first clash of trotting’s big three in Monbet, Speeding Spur and Marcoola.  The latter two are in the nominations for Friday’s group one and Monbet could theoretically join them still has nominations have been extended until this morning.  But if he doesn’t then May hopes Monbet can be back on track for the Anzac Cup (April 26) and Rowe Cup (May 3) both at Alexandra Park. The Trotting Champs won’t be without real depth though as rising stars Winterfell, King’s Landing and Sundees Son step up to the open class group one level for the first time. Friday night’s meeting is one of the strongest of the year with the $200,000 New Zealand Derby for the pacer and the $100,000 equivalent for the trotters as well as the Easter Cup.  Ultimate Sniper retains favouritism for the pacing Derby even after an expensive last-start gallop, rated a $1.70 by the TAB ahead of stablemate Jesse Duke at $4. Letterkenny Boy, who is third favourite in the futures market for the Derby has not been nominated and is instead entered for a lower grade race on Friday night so is very much a case of punter’s beware.  Enhance Your Calm will be unbackable in the Trotting Derby while the Easter Cup is likely to bring together New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer, Auckland Cup winner Turn It Up and Miracle Mile hero Spankem. But the shock of that race is the entry of superstar three-year-old filly Princess Tiffany, because her high rating means there are no other races on Friday, outside the Derby, she is eligible for. But she won’t be starting it was just trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen making a point about how poorly off the best three-year-olds, especially fillies, can be treated by the rating and programming systems when the country’s best filly can’t find a suitable race. Michael Guerin

The two most important drives of Ricky May’s weekend could hardly be more different.  But that doesn’t mean the result will be.  May treks north to Alexandra Park tomorrow night to try and lead throughout the $125,000 Pascoes Northern Oaks with Wainui Creek.  That is not giving away any pre-race secrets as May, who can sometimes lean toward the conservative, is open about what he intends to do in the classic. “She hasn’t had a lot of good draws and she has finally got one so I will be trying to use it,” says May.  “So she will attempting to stay in front and if they are good enough to come from behind her and beat her, then so be it.” Wainui Creek returned to racing with a storming late third at Alexandra Park last Friday and after drawing the ace she and arch rival Belle Of Montana (two) completely dominate the market for the Oaks, the feature at Alexandra Park’s premier meeting to start their Derby week.   Wainui Creek has been able to get in front of Belle Of Montana the last two times they have met and been run down by the northern speed machine both times but this time she could be on the markers while the latter could be covering extra ground in the running line, so often the kiss of death in Alexandra Park staying races.  “That other filly (Belle Of Montana) is very fast but I think you will see the best of Wainui Creek up to the 2700m,” says May. While May has only one plan in the Oaks he is going to let the horse do the talking when champion trotter Monbet returns on Sunday.  The incredible trotter hasn’t raced for over 27 months and at times during that period it felt like his injuries would rob us of ever seeing him again. But after a bold trial at Rangiora last week he has accepted to start in a 1980m mobile trot at Addington on Sunday afternoon in which he has drawn the outside of the front line.  “Greg (Hope, trainer) thought it was easier to go back to the races than chase them off a log mark at the trials,” explains May.  “But after such a long break from racing it is a big, big ask to expect him to win.  “He felt great at the trials last week and most importantly very sound but winning might be another thing.”  So how does a driver approach driving the best trotter, and maybe even the best harness horse in the country, fresh up after such a gigantic break?  “I can’t go out there with a plan. I will have to just drive him how he feels but I really don’t think he will win.”   Michael Guerin

Harness Racing New Zealand is thrilled to announce that two of our industry participants have made the finals for this year’s Norwood Rural Games Awards. For the first time Harness Racing was included in the awards, which are held to celebrate sports with animal and rural backgrounds. Held in conjunction with the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games in Palmerston North on March 9 and 10, the Norwood Awards are to be held on Friday 8 March at Awapuni Racecourse. Sheree Tomlinson has made the final three for the Fonterra New Zealand Rural Youth of the Year, with last year’s Australasian Young Drivers Championship victory and her history making Dominion Handicap win propelling her into the final. Whilst Ricky May made the final cut for the prestigious Toyota Lifetime Legacy category. The award is for sportspeople who have consistently delivered at the elite level in their sport – fitting for a seven time New Zealand Cup winning driver, with strong rural roots through his ‘other’ career in agriculture. Harness Racing New Zealand congratulates Sheree and Ricky on this huge achievement to just make the finals, given that this has been the most competitive year for the judges to decide on just three finalists. We wish them all the very best for the Awards on March 8. Full information on the Rural Games can be found at www.ruralgames.co.nz 2019 Norwood Rural Games Awards Finalists Norwood NZ Rural Sportsman Of The Year: • Tony Bouskill – Fencing – Napier • Kieran Fowler – Gumboot Throwing – Dunedin • James Kilpatrick – Tree Climbing - Tauranga Skellerup NZ Rural Sportswoman Of The Year: • Nicky Ward-Allen – Tree Climbing – Eltham • Pagan Karauria - Wool Handling – Alexandra • Bex Baynes – Sheep Dog Trials - Wairoa Fonterra NZ Rural Youth Of the Year: • Briar Burnett-Grant – Equestrian - Taupo • Bradley McDowell – Cowboy Action Shooting - Wanganui • Sheree Tomlinson – Harness Racing - Canterbury Levno Contribution To Rural Sport: • David James – NZ Arb – Blenheim • Neil Sidwell – Shearing – Waiwera • Nick Liefting – Fencing – Pukekohe Toyota Lifetime Legacy: • Ricky May – Harness Racing – Ashburton • Hugh McCarrol – Shearing – Whangamata • Maurice Beatson – Equestrian – Dannevirke   HRNZ Marketing

Border rivalry will be to the fore when the What The Hill Drivers Challenge takes place at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill on Friday (23 November). The challenge repeats last year’s successful format where a team of six from North of the Waitaki took on a team from South of the Waitaki. The North of the Waitaki team took the team honours on that occasion spearheaded by a former Southlander now domiciled in Canterbury, Gavin Smith, who took the Individual honours. However both teams were tied on points going into the final heat so it was a close run thing. As the defending champion Smith returns as part of the north team this year joined by Ricky May, Blair Orange, Samantha Ottley, Tim Williams and Jim Curtin. Attempting to wrest the silverware back onto this side of the Waitaki is the South of the Waitaki team led by the Williamson brothers – Nathan, Matthew and Brad along with Brent Barclay, Craig Ferguson and Allan Beck. The invited drivers compete in four heats with points allocated to the first five home on each occasion with 10 points for a win, 7 for second, 5 for third, 3 for fourth and 1 for fifth. Each driver receives the points they accumulate towards finding an individual champion while their points also go into their teams score to find the champion team. The event is a twilight meeting with the first race timed to start at 3.38pm. It is a perfect night to come out and enjoy some top class racing. Admission to the course will be free. One punter will take home a meal voucher from Level One Restaurant & Bar in Invercargill when a draw of all losing on course tote tickets is made after Race 6 while also after race 6 all children on course receive a free bag of lollies.   HRNZ Marketing

Wow.....where do we start with the 2018 Gr.1 $800,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup? As the second leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit, the Kiwi feature is steeped in tradition after first being staged back in 1904 when Monte Carlo proved victorious while many great names line the pages of history. And another great pacer will etch their name into the record books on the famous second Tuesday in November at Addington. The build-up has been intense and absolutely relentless as we draw closer to the 3200m stand start feature. The early scratchings of Australian star Chicago Bull and local ace Ultimate Machete have only added to the pre-race drama. In fact, the race has seen more moves than a 1980’s disco dance floor! And so many questions need to be answered. All the normal types like who has the Best Stamina? Endurance? Willingness? Desire? And Hunger? But what about answers to the following; Can the All Stars win another Cup? The Mark Purdon/Natalie Rasmussen combination has won 3 of the last 4 editions (Lazarus x 2 & Adore Me) and this year is represented by Thefixer, Cruz Bromac, Eamon Maguire and Dream About Me. Can Dream About Me become the latest mare to claim the Cup? The last mare to score in the Cup came from this stable with Adore Me triumphant four years ago. At this point, Dream About Me is the only mare starting in the Cup although Queen Bee Bardon is listed as the third emergency. Thefixer is facing the starter for only the 16th time, only Mainland Banner has had less starts prior to winning the Cup (it was her 12th start). Can the All Stars prepare the trifecta in the Cup? Back in 2016, they prepared 1st, 3rd & 4th (Lazarus, Titan Banner & Smolda). The biggest number of starters in a New Zealand Cup from All Stars is five (2012). Respected trainer Robert Dunn has the biggest representation in the Cup with five starters; he will gear up Alta Orlando, Captain Dolmio, Letspendanitetogetha, Billy Badger and Zadaka. Can he train his second winner of the event? Dunn scored with wonder mare Mainland Banner back in 2005. Can Ricky May score a record 8th Cup victory when he partners the Greg and Nina Hope trained A G’s White Socks? The next best is Cecil Devine who won 6 Cups. Can Aussie raider Tiger Tara join the likes of Steel Jaw, (My) Lightning Blue and Arden Rooney as an Australian trained winner of the Cup? Prepared by Sydney horseman Kevin Pizzuto, the $1.59 million earner will be handled by regular reinsman Todd McCarthy who is taking his 3rd Cup drive. Now an eight-year-old, Can Tiger Tara join Monkey King (2010) as the most recent winner of the Cup at that age? Tiger Tara is starting in his 4th Cup. Champion reinsman Tony Herlihy is chasing his 4th Cup victory and will partner the highly regarded Auckland trained Star Galleria for trainer Steve Reid. Can Barry Purdon train his 4th Cup winner when Jack’s Legend takes his spot in the Cup? If successful, it will be his 1st outright victory after preparing his trio of winners in partnership with his legendary father Roy. Can Zachary Butcher (Jack’s Legend) join his father David (Changeover – 2008) as a Cup winning driver? Oddly, Changeover (Geoff Small) was the most recent North Island trained winner of the Cup. Can Natalie Rasmussen (Thefixer), Sam Ottley (Forgotten Highway) or Sheree Tomlinson (Locharburn) join Kerryn Manning as a female winning driver of the Cup? Can super sire Bettors Delight claim his 5th Cup after winning the past 4 editions? This year, the record breaking stallion is represented by Thefixer, Dream About Me, Jack’s Legend, Forgotten Highway & Tiger Tara. Can 1998 Cup winner Christian Cullen produce his 2nd winner (Mainland Banner – 2005)? The wonder horse is represented by Locharburn and Baileys Knight (2nd emergency). Interestingly, the horse that has claimed the title of APG Grand Circuit champion for the past two seasons has won the Cup…..the one and only Lazarus! So, all this and more will make sense late on Tuesday afternoon. Because then, at 5.12pm Local time, it will be time for answers.   Chris Barsby

Not many owners can claim to have won a New Zealand Derby, a New Zealand Messenger, and a Four Year Old Emerald. And to have had two consecutive sales toppers at the yearling sales, but that’s what Stu and Pauline Gillan of Lochiel have achieved. The Derby, the Messenger and the Emerald were all achieved this season with two horses - Eamon Maguire and Sheriff. It’s been an outstanding racing season for the couple who not only have shares in Sheriff and Eamon Maguire, but also in Thefixer, English Rose and Motu Top Mach. And between them all this season they’ve won thirteen races and stakes of $418,548. The Gillan’s sales toppers as yearlings were Titanium in 2013 and Bollinger in 2015. Stu doesn’t come from a racing background, but he says his interest was developed at an early age. “My father enjoyed his five bob doubles. He’d put the doubles on and listen to the first leg and normally miss out. Then he’d go to the pub and talk about what happened. He didn’t go to the races a lot. He went to Wingatui and Waikouaiti on News Years Day. I used to have bets (pretend) with my father and pick horses I could pronounce,” he said. Listening to the wireless in those early years also heightened his passion for the industry. “I remember as a nine year old running home from school to hear the 1954 New Zealand Trotting Cup which Johnny Globe won. We were all fans of Johnny Globe. He was a lovely black horse.” Stu was educated at Kings High School in Dunedin and loved sport. That’s where he met Phil Creighton. As teenagers they played cricket together for Albion and rugby for Pirates. “I loved rugby and cricket but I was bloody hopeless at playing them. I also played squash for years.” In later years he also refereed rugby in Southland.                                                                                           “I really enjoyed that because all you do is look after yourself while if you’re coaching you’ve got twenty guys you’ve got to try and get on the field. I got to know the Browns (Southland trainer Murray Brown and his brother Bevan). They didn’t mind helping me referee games.” Stu met Pauline in 1970 after he was transferred to Invercargill to work for New Zealand Insurance.   He subsequently worked for a number of different companies before setting up his own accounting business. “I worked for the Permanent Building Society, then got offered a job with John Harrington of Harrington and Partners. After five years the company merged with Forrest, Burns and Ashby. I was made redundant and Pauline talked me into having a go on my own. It’s good to be able to work on your own and be independent.” As an accountant he doesn’t have big flashy companies on his books, preferring to deal with the southern farming type. “I’ve got good smaller sheep farmers. I don’t have any dairy farmers because they owe too much money,” he chuckled. Pauline has been the receptionist at the Southland Hospital Children’s Ward for the past twenty six years and is also an ardent netball fan, having followed the Southern Steel and Sting since the franchise started in the old Invercargill Centennial Hall. She and her good friend Bronwyn Queale, also from Lochiel, were often first in line when it came to getting their seasons tickets. Stu’s first yearling purchase was in 1975 when he bought Scottish Hanover colt Pierre Scott for $3,000. It was out of the Thurber Frost mare Heather Frost. Pierre Scott started eighteen times for three different trainers; Hamish Hunter, Stu Campbell and Noel Creighton, without banking a cheque. “He was hopeless. Anyway the guy that bred him Roy Adam who was a Life Member of the West Australia Trotting Association, was so disappointed with the price he got (for Pierre Scott) that he took the mare home in foal (to Lumber Dream). That foal was Preux Chevalier.” Preux Chevalier went on to win forty one races in just fifty six starts and $791,331. His wins include an Interdominion Final in Melbourne, a West Australian Cup, NSW Miracle Mile and New Zealand Free For All. The one that got away!! Stu’s first winner was in 1995 when Mocca Magic, which he raced with Phil Creighton, won. She was by Vance Hanover out of the Local Light mare Mia Mocca. Trained by Greg Hope, she won another race before becoming a broodmare. Creighton and Gillian bred from her for a number of years and her best foal proved to be Angela Gold (In The Pocket) which won two races here before heading state side. She won a further twenty two races there, recording a best mile time of 1-53.0. “Phil gave me a share in her (Mocca Magic). She won at Forbury Park driven by Ricky May. Phil gave him fifty bucks unbeknown to me and I gave him fifty as well. Ricky didn’t say no to either.” (Laughter). So the breeding bug had begun. “Over a few years Phil bought three broodmares that I had shares in. 1981 was our first sale and we took a filly up to Christchurch. He’s had two or three in the sales each year ever since and I’ve had an average of one. We never made any money for many years but by selling them it kept the pot boiling.” Gillan also bought at the sales, purchasing a Bettor’s Delight colt Match Point at the 2011 Yearling Sales in Christchurch. He was out of the lightly raced Badlands Hanover mare Clijsters. Her second dam Vicario was a half-sister by Soky’s Atom to New Zealand Cup winner Il Vicolo. Vicario was a very good broodmare leaving Stunin Cullen the winner of the Hunter Cup, Great Northern Derby, Ashburton Flying Stakes, Sires Stakes Final, as well as twelve other races with total stakes of $1,493,716. Vicario also left Coburg (10 wins). “Dean Taylor trained him (Match Point) for three or four starts and said he was going to take time. Eventually we brought him down to Graeme Anderson to train on the beach. I think the beach work and more aggressive driving by Dexter Dunn helped him. I owned him with John Blakeley who passed away about a year ago. Unfortunately in New Zealand you soon get out of your class and he wasn’t good from a stand so we sold him to Australia.” Match Point won his first start at Forbury for Taylor and two other races from that stable before he was transferred to Anderson’s stable. He won first up for Anderson at Winton in March 2015. He won three other races before he was exported to Aussie later that year. In Australia he’s won another seven races and paced a mile in 1-51.6. “That was my introduction to Graeme Anderson. I’ve been fortunate that we’ve been able to buy shares in three horses with him since.” Typical of his accounting background, Gillan has been calculating with these investments. From capital gained from the sale of his high end yearlings he’s reinvested in racing stock that have been up and running and with potential. That investment money has primarily come from broodmare gem Asabella. She was bought as a yearling at the 2002 yearling sales by Creighton for about $48,000 and Gillan bought into the ownership. She was by In The Pocket out of the Smooth Fella mare Bellisimo. It’s the family that has produced Jovial Jennie the winner of nine races and the dam of Happy Hazel which won twelve races including the 1989 Great Northern Oaks. Asabella was initially trained by Mark Purdon and won just two races. “She had a bit of speed but lacked toughness. She raced a bit in Auckland over the short distances and didn’t have much luck.” After her racing days were over the partnership set about breeding from her. In 2008 they sold Red River Hanover gelding Black Denim to Rob Storer for $27,500. He was renamed Code Red and won six in New Zealand and another six in Australia. The following year Dave Carville bought the mares next foal Bet On Black for $45,000 and he was renamed as well – Ohoka’s Bondy looked smart at two but was exported to Australia winless. However he ultimately won twenty two races in Australia including the $125,000 Group One Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park. Asabella’s next foal and first filly Dancing Diamonds was also sold at the yearling sales in 2010 - knocked down to Mark Purdon for $110,000. She was raced by Braeden and Caroline Whitelock. She won her first four races as a two year old and her two biggest wins were in the New Zealand Yearling Sales Series Two and Three Year Old Championship. She won $343,276. As a broodmare Dancing Diamonds has left two foals of racing age; Rock Diamonds which has won fourteen races in Australia including the Group Two Caduceus Club Classic at Gloucester Park, the Group Three John Higgins Memorial and Group Two Westral Four Year Old Classic both at Gloucester Park. The mare’s other foal is the unbeaten Art Major filly Princess Tiffany. Her five wins include the Group One Caduceus Club Two Year Old Fillies Classic and Two Year Old Diamond at this year’s Harness Jewells at Cambridge. The following year Trevor Lindsay from Australia bought Asabella’s Mach Three filly Bluegrass Belle for $52,000. She was exported to Australia but never raced. Things were about to get even better for the Creighton and Gillan breeding partnership. In 2013 and 2015 they bred the top lot at the Christchurch yearling sales. Both out of Asabella; Titanium was bought by Emilo and Mary Rosati for $170,000 in 2013 while two sales later the same couple bought Asabella’s next foal Bollinger for $200,000. Since then Robinson Crusoe ($24,500) and Brantley ($35,000) the mare’s next two foals, have sold but are currently unraced.  Asabella’s eight foals when sold at the sales grossed $664,000 that being an average of $83,000 per foal. “She’s eighteen now and we’re very keen to get a filly out of her to carry on the bloodline. She aborted a Bettor’s Delight filly about eighteen months ago and is in foal to Art Major so hopefully we get a filly at Christmas time. Those sales (Titanium and Bollinger) gave us a bit of money to buy into pacers. Phil had a quarter share in three horses with the Kennards and he gave me a half of his quarter share in all three horses. They all won. Meticulous was the best, he was a nice horse but he had a lot of injuries.” Meticulous was the first foal by Christian Cullen out of the Falcon Seelster mare Syriana, and she’s from the famed Black Watch family.  He was bought by Mark Purdon for $100,000 at the 2012 Australasian Classic Yearling Sales.  “I love the sales. I study the catalogue every night. I’m more of a theory man than being hands on.” Since then Stu’s had shares in seven to eight horses with Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. “Thefixer’s been the best. He’s back in work.” Thefixer has won six of his eleven starts, and won his last two during Cup week last November. He hasn’t been sighted since. “He got a nail in the foot at Auckland. He came back and raced at Cup Week on both days but then it got infected so we turned him out for two months.” The Gillans also bought into Titan Banner in October 2015 after the horse had won five races. He went on to win another eleven with Pauline in the ownership and finished his New Zealand career when he ran second to Vincent in the 2017 Auckland Cup. They also purchased a share in the Art Major gelding Eamon Maguire which had won two workouts and qualified before they joined the ownership.   Bruce Stewart

Pat’s Delight is on target for the New Zealand Free-For-All after a scintillating fresh up win in the Selwyn Paul Memorial Tuapeka Cup at Forbury Park today. Pat’s Delight eclipsed his eight rivals in close to track record time in his first race since he won the Harness Jewels for 3yr-old colts and geldings at Cambridge in June. Pat’s Delight ran the 2700m in 3.21.6, 0.3sec outside the track mark set by Wrath Of Robyn in 2015. Driver Ricky May sent Pat’s Delight to the front at the 1200m after starting from 30m and the son of Bettor’s Delight – Righteous Franco cleared out in the closing stages to win by six and three quarter lengths, the last 800m in 56.1. “Cran (Dalgety, the trainer) told me to drive him like that. He needed a decent run with the NZ Free-For-All in mind,’’ said May. It was May’s fourth win in the Tuapeka Cup, the first with Abbeyshrule in 1999 and the others with Owaka Jack (2001) and Explosive Art (2014). “He did begin very well so that’s a bonus. Many people have told me about Eamon Maguire last year. There was only nine in it (Tuapeka Cup) and he was hot favourite, off thirty (metres) and he only beat one home. It’s very hard to catch a front runner if they run like rabbits up front. He (Pat’s Delight) began well and Ricky at the mile rolled to the top. Then he controlled his own last mile so he didn’t turn into being a chaser. So a smart drive from Ricky,” said Dalgety. Pat’s Delight, raced by breeders Pat and Margaret Kubala, of Gore, has now won 10 of his 22 starts and $194,000 in stakes. “He (Pat’s Delight) has just strengthened up so much. I wanted to give him a decent break after the Jewels and that ruled out the NZ Cup this year,’’ said Pat Kubala. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the way things have gone.” Dalgety said he had the option of racing at Ashburton tomorrow or Tuapeka. “We tossed the coin between the Ashburton Handicap and this race. What swayed us was Pat living down there (in Gore) and being an older man he doesn’t come to Canterbury a lot. So I thought it was a great opportunity to show him off to him. The stakes and handicap were similar and it’s only another couple of hours down the road. We were lucky enough to get some happy owners,” he said. Dalgety says Pat’s Delight has developed into an impressive four year old stallion. “It’s interesting. You see a lot of age group two and three year olds have a hollow four year old year. I don’t know how it works. When we turned him out he had six weeks and he just went from being a boy to a man in physique. We’ve been able to lift his work load and the intensity a bit higher and he’s accepted it so that’s been exciting. From Jewels Day to now he could be 26-28 kg’s heavier. I’m sure he’ll get a touch better too.” Dalgety says he is considering the Kaikoura Cup as an option prior to the FFA but other than that he’ll remain close to home. “He’ll stay pretty tight now.” With today’s driver Ricky May committed to AG’s White Socks, Dalgety may have to look for another driver but he’s pretty relaxed about making that call. “I’m not one to plan too far ahead because it blows up in your face. I’ll naturally throw Ricky in the mix. If he can drive him that’s great if he can’t he can’t.” Trainer Dalgety and May also won with Buzinga and Just Dance. The stable had four horses at the meeting in charge of Dalgety’s son, Carter. Buzinga a 3yr-old Bettor’s Delight – Safedra filly scored comfortably after racing in the open over 1700m. It was her third win in four starts. Just Dance stormed home wide out. She is raced by the Woodlands Partnership syndicate No 23, Kieran Read and Andy Ellis.   Taylor Strong with quotes obtained by Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Greg Hope had two open class reasons to smile yesterday. And that could mean the long wait for champion trotter Monbet to return to the track is almost over. Hope not only trains Monbet but New Zealand Cup contender A G’s White Socks and both are coming off setbacks of wildly different lengths. Monbet hasn’t raced for 23 months after an array of leg issues while A G’s White Socks was dragged off the track just minutes before Sunday’s Methven Cup after soft tissue damage believed to have been suffered in a raceday slip. But the news is good for both. Monbet made one of his first public appearances since winning the Dominion at the Cup carnival two years ago when Hope snuck him on to the Rangiora track for a workout yesterday. There was nothing official about it, with Monbet working solo over 2600m but it was as good as a trial and a massive step in the right direction. He trotted 3:24 for 2600m, his last 800m in 60 seconds and final 400m in 28 and most importantly pulled up sound. It was nice work and showed he is ready for a trial next week and then the races at Addington on November 2,” said Hope.  “After that, all going well, we will aim him at the Trotting Free-For-All on Cup Day (November 13).”  Hope and his wife Nina pulled Monbet out of the Dominion, New Zealand’s richest trotting race on November 17, because they believe they couldn’t get enough competitive miles into his legs in time for the gutbusting 3200m.  “And we want to do the right thing by the horse. He has won it before and it is a long season so we didn’t want to rush him.”  A G’s White Socks is improving steadily after his weird setback on Sunday and has accepted for Monday’s Flying Stakes at Ashburton and looks 90 per cent likely to start.  “What happened last Sunday was very strange. I actually worked him the morning of the race and he was great then we put him away for a while before taking him to the races.  “During that break I think he must have slipped and hurt himself a little bit. There was no sign of it at the races until he started to warm up and we had to pull him off the track.  “But I am confident we are over that now and can still get the racing into him he needs for the New Zealand Cup.” Monday’s 2400m stand looks the most important New Zealand Cup lead-up of the season so far with many of the big namesheadlined by Dream About Me (barrier 1), Eamon Maguire (2), Ultimate Machete (7) and Star Galleria (8), with A G’s White Socks to start from barrier nine if he makes the race.  In the Flying Mile for the trotters Harriet Of Mot (barrier 2, but likely to start to one) and Great Things Happen (likely barrier 2) have got the best of the draws in what is traditionally New Zealand’s fastest open class trotting mile. Michael Guerin

1 to 16 of 413
1 2 3 4 5 Next »