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The time honoured harness racing classic for two year olds, the Welcome Stakes is up for grabs on Friday night and we thought an in depth preview was in order. New Zealand Welcome Stakes 1) Arden's Choice - Starts: 3    Wins: 0    Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $9,550 Lovely filly who followed up two big runs leading into the Young Guns Fillies final at Alexandra Park by throwing her toys out in the big race with an early gallop. Ability not in question and while two or three of the colts may have her measure, she is more than capable of holding her own against most here. Trifecta and first four chance from the draw. 2) Classie Brigade - First Tote Start Beautifully bred son of Bettor's Delight from the former top racemare Trigirl Brigade 1:52.3 (pld) $143,711) who was a $60,000 purchase at last years Australasian Classic sale at Karaka. Has been prominent at trials and workouts in Canterbury but yet to win one yet from four attempts. His last trial was his best effort though with a 4 1/2 length second to Waikiki Beach at Rangiora. A work in progress for us and not in this field at this stage. 3) Sophisticated Lady - Starts: 2    Wins: 0    Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $4,668 Very good run on debut in Leonard Memorial when a smart second to Northern Velocity. Disappointing in the Caduceus Club Classic last Saturday at Invercargill but in her defence the track was very wet and she didn't look comfortable in it at anytime during the race. Still learning what the racing game is all about and at this stage we would prefer her in a fillies race rather than up against the colts here. 4) Waikiki Beach - Starts: 1    Wins: 1  Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $16,300  Outstanding debut at Invercargill in the $25,000 Kindergarten Stakes where he zipped the last 400 metres on a slushy track in 26.7  This big impressive looking son of Somebeachsomewhere was super impressive at last Wednesdays workouts at Rangiora and showed real speed off the gate which is a big plus here. The draw makes him the one to beat in our book but it won't be easy with Chase The Dream in here as well. Include in everything. 5) Vanquished - Starts: 1    Wins: 0  Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $1,150 Another well bred son of Bettors Delight who cost $26,000 at last years Premier sale at Christchurch. Has won a couple of workouts but not against the horses he faces here. His first up fourth in a field of five from barrier one was just ok and too many here  have the wood on him for us to see him as a major player. Not for us. 6) Ice Crusher - First Tote Start This smart looking son of Chistian Cullen cost $68,000 at last years Premier sale at Christchurch. Was looking sharp at trials and workouts in January after which he had a brief let up and he has come back in late March with a couple of tidy runs including a quiet third today at Rangiora. Has run time and looks a progressive type to us and appeals as a roughie to spike up those trifectas and first fours.  7) Motu Premier - Starts: 3    Wins: 0   Secs: 1    Thirds: 2    Life: $9,091 Lovely Bettors Delight colt who has gone three smart races in his career to date. Unlucky third in the Sapling Stakes after jumping a shadow on the corner which was followed by a run at Invercargill for second on a slushy track which he didn't seem to handle all that well. Last start third third to Chase The Dream was full of merit as he drew the widest in the small field and worked mid race as well. A must have for all combination takers. 8) Chase The Dream - Starts: 4    Wins: 4    Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $99,414 ($99,414) Unbeaten in four starts as a juvenile but that record is under threat here from his stablemate Waikiki Beach. Has great ringcraft which all the smart two year olds have and has an all round game being both quick and tough. You can't do anymore than win and being a Bettors Delight he won't give up his unbeaten streak without a real fight. But for the draw would have been first pick. Include in everything 9) MacKenzie - First Tote Start This daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven from the former outstanding racemare Kept For Pleasure 1:56 ($542,343) was an $82,000 purchase at last years Australian Pacing Gold sale at Sydney. Has been very prominent at trials around Canterbury and is being aimed at the APG sales race series in Australia. Big strong filly who has shown the ability to work in her trials and workouts. Quiet trial win at Rangiora today but home in 27.1 and not out of her depth here but draw makes it hard. Include in first fours SELECTIONS  This really is an All Star barn benefit. The draw makes us lean towards Waikiki Beach who has looked special at trials and his one raceday start. The obvious danger is Chase The Dream and these two look the obvious quinella. Motu Premier is a clear third choice for us in front of Arden's Choice, Ice Crusher and MacKenzie who should fight out that fourth placing. Harnesslink Media

The harness racing family that keeps on giving produced another feature race winner at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Making her debut, Rocknroll Magic has joined a host of her relatives by capturing a feature event. Prepared by power couple Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, Rocknroll Magic secured the Des McQueen Classic with Kate Gath in the cart. Leading from barrier two, the filly was then eased to take a trail behind the unbeaten Dancingwithsierra during the middle stages. With the pacemaker drifting away from the pegs around the home turn, Rocknroll Magic sprinted along the inside to score by a neck. Priddy Catchy, a stablemate of the winner, was seven metres away third. The beaten brigade also included Rocknroll Magic’s ‘aunty’ and stablemate, Celebrity Guest, which finished fifth. Covering the last half in 58.1 seconds, the two-year-old rated 1:59.7 for the 1720 metres. “She is a very nice filly and that was a pretty good way to start her career,” Stewart said. “There is a lot to like about her and she should get better as the season goes along.” By Rock N Roll Heaven, Rocknroll Magic is the first foal from All The Magic, which is a daughter of good producer Celebrity Ball, which scored at four of her 15 starts. Celebrity Ball is from broodmare sensation Larrakeyah Lady, the dam of nine winners from 10 starters. Larrakeyah Lady’s foals include Safe And Sound, Massarua, Gold Rocket and The Good Times, with the latter a stablemate of Rocknroll Magic. Lifeline – a daughter of Larrakeyah Lady – boasts six winners from nine starters, including Lovelist, which has won six of her 12 starts, and recent debut winner, Punchline…both members of the Stewart/Tonkin team. Lifeline’s daughter, Secret Life, has five winners from six starters, including Group One winners Beauty Secret and Major Secret…also prepared by Stewart and Tonkin. The clan also includes Doubter, Jazzam, Next Bonus, By My Side, Star Bonus, Lucky Punch, Quizzical, Dieing Secret, Exciteusinthecity, Firebomb, Ben Cartwright, Cyclone George and Paintball. As for Rocknroll Magic she has been aimed towards key features such as the Vicbred Super Series and Australasian Breeders’ Crown. PAUL COURTS

The only stallion of any note to have his first crop hit the tracks down under this season is the son of Rocknroll Hanover, Rock N Roll Heaven. Standing at Pepper Tree Farm at a fee of $11,000, Rock N Roll Heaven served 214 mares in Australia in his first season at stud from which he produced 153 foals who are two year olds this season. While it is early days it has been a less than auspicious start for the young sire. As of today he has had fifteen starters for  three winners and currently sits eighth on the Australian two year old sires list which for a stallion with 153 two year olds is slow going. Last season Sportswriter had a similar number of two year olds and was vying for the lead on the sires table for most of the season before Bettors Delight and Art Major forged clear in July and August so to date you would have to say that Rock N Roll Heaven has started very slowly. The three two year olds that have won all look promising enough with the pick of them being the Michael Stanley trained Soho Lexington who was impressive winning in a 1:58.1 mile rate for 1690 metres at Kilmore recently. In North America, Rock N Roll Heaven had a great start to his siring career last year finishing a close sixth on the two year old sires list with over $1.7 million on his card and that was on the back of a string of impressive fillies. The best of them was Sassa Hanover 1:50.1 ($485,591) and his four $100,000 winners from his first crop were all fillies. One filly that has caught our eye in Australasia is MacKenzie, a daughter of the former outstanding racemare Kept For Pleasure 1:56 ($542,343) A member of the all conquering All Star barn of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, she was purchased out of the  Sydney APG sale last year for $82,000. She has looked very smart at trials and is being aimed at the APG races in Australia and will be a player going by her efforts at the trials. Rocknroll Hanover has a reputation for leaving difficult to handle horses and it looks like his son Rock N Roll Heaven has passed on the same traits. That won't stop them winning races as the record of Rocknroll Hanover shows but it does lead to a lot of trainers looking elsewhere for stock, especially at yearling sales. In New Zealand in his first season he served 52 mares which resulted in 37 horses who are two year olds this season. The only one that has shown up so far is the filly Killer Queen 1:59.2 who has been placed in the Young Gun Series at Alexandra Park and is held in high regard by trainer Ray Green. The record of Rock N Roll Heaven in North America would suggest that the winners will come at some point but if you are going to compete with the Art Majors and the Bettor's Delights in the Australasian market, then those winners need to come sooner rather than later. Harnesslink Media

The Australian Pacing Gold harness racing sales moved to Sydney today and when the dust had settled there was a lot of happy faces among the vendors and APG staff.. The overall average shot up a huge 23% on last year at $28,265 and while it is still early days post sale, the clearance rate was good at nearly 84%. The top colt for the sale was Lot 377 which was by Art Major from the former outstanding racemare Kept For Pleasure 1:56 ($ 542,343) and was knocked down to Jean Feiss for $130,000. Jean brought a Rock N Roll Heaven filly from Kept For Pleasure at last years Sydney APG sale. Named Mackenzie, she has been burning up the trial tracks in Canterbury in New Zealand recently for Mark Purdon and is reportedly on her way to Australia for the APG series. The top priced filly at the sale was lot 399, a Rock N Roll Heaven from the former champion racemare Make Mine Cullen 1:53 ($874,178) and she was knocked down to Pepper Tree Farm Breeding and Racing, also for $130,000.   Once again New Zealand buyers were out in force with Cran Dalgety outlaying $86,000 for Lot 306 and Mark Purdon who outlayed $90,000 for Lot 373 and $41,000 for Lot 414. The only other Kiwi buyer active on the day was Mark Jones who paid $45,000 for Lot 475.                                                           2014 Sale                                                               2015 Sale                                                    Overall average                              $22,979                                                                  $28,265 Colts average                                  $26,649                                                                  $32,942 Fillies average                                 $19,864                                                                 $22,077 Clearance rate                                 90.3%                                                                    83.89%   Sydney Sale Results Lot Sire Dam Sex Status Buyer Sales Price Reserve Make An Offer 282 Somebeachsomewhere Vertigal Filly Passed In   $25,000 $30,000 Make An Offer 283 Big Jim Vin Cere Gelding Passed In   $7,000 $17,000 Make An Offer 284 Courage Under Fire Vizzarri Filly Sold Bernie Hewitt $15,000     285 Rock N Roll Heaven Warrawee Flare CA Colt Sold Robert Brumm $26,000     286 Bettors Delight Weona Badgirl Colt Sold Paul Fitzpatrick $40,000     287 Badlands Hanover Weona Sassy Filly Sold Steve Johnson $16,000     288 Rocknroll Hanover Zenas Art NZ Filly Passed In   $16,000 $17,000 Make An Offer 289 Art Major Zenolas Gift NZ Filly Sold Luke McCarthy $14,000     290 Rocknroll Hanover African Dancer Colt Passed In   $30,000 $66,000 Make An Offer 291 Mach Three Alashell Filly Sold Robert Watson $25,000     292 Mach Three All Eyes On Me Filly Sold Luke McCarthy $35,000     293 Courage Under Fire All Fire N Ice NZ Colt Withdrawn         294 Art Major Angel Rainbow Filly Sold Jarrod Alchin $4,000     295 Art Major Appealing Colt Sold Kevin Hurst $20,000     296 Rocknroll Hanover Arterial Way Filly Sold Calcidon & Marian Micallef $20,000     297 Four Starzzz Shark Artesian Babe Filly Sold PAUL MORGAN $9,000     298 Rock N Roll Heaven As It Is In Heaven Colt Sold Barrie Rattray $17,000     299 Mr Feelgood Athletic River Colt Sold Pooba Govender $10,000     300 Somebeachsomewhere Atworthy Maid Filly Sold Ted & Elione Morton $12,000   Make An Offer 301 Roll With Joe Baltic Fire NZ Colt Passed In   $37,500 $40,000 Make An Offer 302 Rock N Roll Heaven Baltic Wings NZ Colt Passed In   $12,000 $18,000 Make An Offer 303 Real Desire Beach Rendezvous Filly Passed In   $14,000 $15,000 Make An Offer 304 Rocknroll Hanover Beautiful Drive Colt Withdrawn         305 Changeover Behappysam NZ Filly Sold Robert Brumm $30,000     306 Somebeachsomewhere Bella Shine Colt Sold Cran Dalgety $86,000     307 Well Said Bendall Rose Colt Sold Andy Gath $35,000     308 Sportswriter Benevolent Filly Sold Robert Brumm $32,000     309 Somebeachsomewhere Betapic Filly Withdrawn         310 Rock N Roll Heaven Better Motoring NZ Colt Sold AD Investments Pty Ltd $20,000     311 Rock N Roll Heaven Bettorthanyou Colt Sold Meagan Lang $42,000     312 Somebeachsomewhere Blue Confession Filly Sold Marc Hanover & Gordon Banks $30,000     313 Mach Three Boldandbeautiful Filly Sold Maxfield Standardbreds Tasmania Pty Ltd $35,000     314 Art Major Bonnie Bay Castle Colt Sold Michael Muscat $55,000     315 Rock N Roll Heaven Bonnie Mahoney Filly Withdrawn         316 For A Reason Bovalai Colt Passed In   $7,500 $8,000 Make An Offer 317 Art Major Bullaroon Belle Colt Sold Ray Davis $13,000     318 Rocknroll Hanover Bye Rate Filly Sold Ann Tapp $18,000     319 Courage Under Fire Bylong Bele Filly Passed In   $20,000 $50,000 Make An Offer 320 Mach Three Caribbean Sunset Colt Sold Reg Turner $18,000     321 Roll With Joe Cassino Woman NZ Filly Sold SHANNON HOFFMANN $10,000     322 Rocknroll Hanover Clontarf Lady Colt Sold Mick Lew $23,000     323 Art Major Crazy Pocket Filly Passed In   $12,000 $15,000 Make An Offer 324 Art Major Cruiser Franco NZ Filly Sold Paul Fitzpatrick $63,000     325 Sportswriter Cunning Kate Filly Withdrawn         326 Somebeachsomewhere Dance of Life Colt Sold Glenn Holland $30,000     327 Courage Under Fire Daring Class Colt Sold We Us And Co $20,000     328 Mach Three Deadly Woman Colt Sold Maurice Mondolo $50,000     329 American Ideal Demi Plie Filly Passed In   $12,000 $17,000 Make An Offer 330 Rock N Roll Heaven Desperatehousewife Filly Sold Kriden Investments Pty Ltd $25,000     331 Courage Under Fire Duel Castle Colt Sold Larry Eastman $30,000     332 Art Major Dundrennan NZ Colt Withdrawn         333 Mach Three Elizabeth Kelly Filly Sold Ian Gurney $18,000     334 Somebeachsomewhere Eloquent Babe Colt Sold Jamie Kirk $50,000     335 Changeover Equus Franco NZ Filly Sold Nathan Jack $25,000     336 Mach Three Esther Jane Filly Sold Paul Fitzpatrick $20,000     337 Mach Three Eutropia Colt Sold Liam O'Connor $60,000     338 Rock N Roll Heaven Faye Kelly Filly Sold Watson, Robert $21,000     339 Roll With Joe Final Patrol NZ Filly Sold Theo Papadopoulos $9,000     340 Somebeachsomewhere Flair For Life Filly Sold Belinda McCarthy $42,000     341 American Ideal For Dear Life Colt Sold Ian Gurney $62,000     342 Well Said Formalize Filly Sold Allen Parmenter $18,000     343 Rock N Roll Heaven Full Pleasure Colt Sold Colin Dixon $40,000     344 Rocknroll Hanover Gamblers Daughter Filly Passed In   $15,000 $17,000 Make An Offer 345 Rock N Roll Heaven Gee R We There Yet NZ Colt Sold Robert Watson $26,000     346 Bettors Delight Gemmia Filly Sold Michael Muscat $33,000     347 Mach Three Glenferrie Diva NZ Colt Sold Dean York $32,500     348 Bettors Delight Glenferrie Elect NZ Colt Sold Raboki Pty Ltd $50,000     349 Changeover Glenferrie Miss Colt Sold Barry Cooper $31,000     350 Rocknroll Hanover Gloria Lombo Colt Sold Campbell Advisory Pacing Pty Ltd $20,000     351 Artsplace Go Right Babe Colt Sold Grant Fuller $24,000     352 Christian Cullen Gorgeous Guest NZ Filly Passed In   $17,500 $25,000 Make An Offer 353 Mach Three Halcyon Franco NZ Colt Sold Peter Gavin $42,500     354 Art Major Hay Sharon Colt Sold Mark Purdon $22,000     355 Rocknroll Hanover Headline Franco NZ Colt Sold Daniel Cordina $17,500     356 Courage Under Fire Hidden Gem Colt Sold AD Investments Pty Ltd $27,000     357 Rock N Roll Heaven Holme Safely Colt Sold Mark Thompson $11,000     358 Modern Art Holy Gal Filly Sold KTC Bloodstock $16,000     359 Shadow Play Im Insatiable NZ Filly Sold Norm Jerrick $20,000     360 Rocknroll Hanover Glenferrie Inn Filly Sold Troy Mee $10,000     361 Rocknroll Hanover Into The Fire NZ Colt Passed In   $18,000 $20,000 Make An Offer 362 Art Major Intrude Filly Sold Geoff Webster $55,000     363 Big Jim Irish Luck NZ Filly Sold Robert Brumm $9,000     364 Major In Art Its Jetsetgo NZ Colt Sold David Brown $14,000     365 Art Major Itsoktobeclassy Filly Sold We Us And Co $12,000     366 Julius Caesar Ivana Franco NZ Colt Sold Michael Muscat $23,000     367 Always A Virgin Jamin Filly Sold Ann Tapp $18,000     368 Art Official Jape NZ Filly Sold Kerry Hedges $4,000     369 Shadow Play Jilliby Deejay Filly Sold Grant Charlwood $16,000     370 Courage Under Fire Jordan Franco NZ Filly Sold Rod Drew $10,000     371 Rock N Roll Heaven Jovial Lass NZ Filly Passed In   $12,000 $15,000 Make An Offer 372 Mach Three Just Del Colt Sold Glenn Holland $45,000     373 Art Major Kalypso Colt Sold Mark Purdon $90,000     374 Mr Feelgood Kay Dee Hanover Filly Passed In   $13,000 $14,000 Make An Offer 375 Gotta Go Cullect Keep No Secrets Colt Sold David Druitt $6,000     376 Rock N Roll Heaven Keppel Bay Colt Sold Levarg Racing Group $46,000     377 Art Major Kept For Pleasure Colt Sold Jean Feiss $130,000     378 Roll With Joe Kirrilee Joy Colt Sold Shirley Bazley $24,000     379 Mach Three Kit Star NZ Colt Sold Barrie Rattray $21,000     380 Modern Art Kitty Maguire NZ Colt Withdrawn         381 Sportswriter La Bella Rufus NZ Filly Sold Josh Aiken $12,000     382 Stonebridge Regal La Litote Filly Sold Rayngold Pty Ltd $9,000     383 Well Said La Promesse Colt Sold Alix Khouiss $27,500     384 Somebeachsomewhere Lady Euthenia Colt Sold Allied Express Transport Pty Ltd $75,000     385 Big Jim Lasnicks Lass Colt Withdrawn         386 Art Major Last Sundancer Filly Withdrawn         387 Rocknroll Hanover Leila Rainbow Filly Sold Matthew Harding $11,000     388 Rock N Roll Heaven Lets Thank Heaven Colt Sold Maxfield Standardbreds Tasmania Pty Ltd $55,000     389 Roll With Joe Lifes Destiny Filly Withdrawn         390 Rock N Roll Heaven Lillydale Colt Sold Glenn Holland $25,000     391 Somebeachsomewhere Lincoln Room USA Colt Sold   $15,000     392 Rocknroll Hanover Lively Number Colt Sold Colin Watts $25,000     393 Rocknroll Hanover Lombo La Fe Fe Colt Sold Allied Express Transport Pty Ltd $45,000     394 Village Jasper Lombo La Shelly Colt Sold Brett Cotterill $13,000     395 Mach Three Lourdes Filly Sold Lynda Mellsop $36,000     396 Bettors Delight Glenferrie Magic NZ Colt Sold Robert Brumm $30,000     397 Mach Three Magic Maddy Lombo Filly Sold Ray Sellwood $35,000     398 Bettors Delight Mainland Banner NZ Colt Sold Campbell Advisory Pacing Pty Ltd $71,000     399 Rock N Roll Heaven Make Mine Cullen Filly Sold Pepper Tree Farm Breeding And Racing $130,000     400 Big Jim Marvellous Franco NZ Colt Sold Peter Gavin $22,000     401 Always A Virgin Mateship Miss Colt Sold Bruce Andrews $9,000     402 Christian Cullen Meljoy Colt Sold Sytka Pty Ltd $48,000     403 Ifihadyourluck Meredith Castle Filly Sold Geoff Barnes $8,000     404 Roll With Joe Miss Hazel Colt Sold Blake Fitzpatrick $50,000     405 Rock N Roll Heaven Missflite Filly Sold Campbell Advisory Pacing Pty Ltd $13,000     406 Somebeachsomewhere Modern Day Colt Sold Matthew Harding $35,000     407 Rock N Roll Heaven Muscle Beach Colt Sold Daniel Hewitt $20,000     408 Rock N Roll Heaven My Exotic Lover NZ Colt Sold John Starr $40,000     409 Art Major My Pacific Rainbow Filly Sold Tim Hoskinson $12,000     410 Mach Three Natuzzi NZ Filly Sold Cindy Rixon $13,000     411 Roll With Joe Never More Colt Sold Matthew Harding $15,000     412 Modern Art New York Score NZ Colt Withdrawn         413 Art Major Next Flight Liz Filly Sold Douglas Johnston $30,000     414 Bettors Delight Nightshade Franco NZ Filly Sold Mark Purdon $41,000     415 Rocknroll Hanover Noplacelikeholme Colt Sold Michael Moloney $17,000     416 Art Major Nothin Bettor Filly Sold Alex Smith $15,000     417 Courage Under Fire Nykea Jane Colt Sold Michael Muscat $9,000     418 Art Official Ocean Spur NZ Colt Sold Shannon Hoffmann $30,000     419 Mach Three Oh Eye See Filly Sold Jason Bussenschutt $50,000     420 Four Starzzz Shark Onassis Legacy Colt Sold Pooba Govender $13,000     421 Blissfull Hall Onedins Pocketgirl NZ Filly Passed In   $10,000 $15,000 Make An Offer 422 Julius Caesar Only In Dreams Filly Sold Julie Billinger $8,000     423 Art Major Only When I Laugh NZ Colt Sold Geoff Webster $21,000     424 Rock N Roll Heaven Our Ice Ice Baby CA Filly Sold Adam,Benjamin & Terry Cormack $30,000     425 For A Reason Our Suicide Blonde NZ Filly Withdrawn         426 Rock N Roll Heaven Parisian Melodee Filly Sold Julie Billinger $8,000     427 Sportswriter Petousa Filly Sold Wayne Honan $20,000     428 Always A Virgin Platinum Sign Filly Withdrawn         429 Western Ideal Precious Delight CA Colt Sold Maxfield Standardbreds Tasmania Pty Ltd $36,000     430 For A Reason Pretty Inpink Colt Sold Luke McCarthy $12,000     431 Somebeachsomewhere Protikori Filly Sold Adam,Benjamin & Terry Cormack $19,000     432 Courage Under Fire Quiet Talker Colt Sold Marcus Panton $26,000     433 Changeover Racquel Franco NZ Filly Sold Mark Thompson $22,000     434 Big Jim Red Hot Mumma Filly Sold Ann Tapp $23,000     435 Four Starzzz Shark Red River Swinger Filly Withdrawn         436 Rocknroll Hanover Regal Rainbow Filly Sold Robert Brumm $6,000     437 Somebeachsomewhere Reggae Miss Colt Sold Laspina Trabucco & Co Pty Ltd $50,000     438 Art Major Resolution Babe Colt Sold Mentally Stable Ltd $32,000     439 Somebeachsomewhere River Valley Romance NZ Filly Withdrawn         440 Rocknroll Hanover Roma Art Colt Sold Ray Davis $10,000     441 Mach Three Rosalind Colt Sold Athol Bennett $33,000     442 Rock N Roll Heaven Rosie Rose Colt Passed In   $18,000 $18,000 Make An Offer 443 Art Major Rossangel Gold Filly Passed In   $8,000 $18,000 Make An Offer 444 Artistic Fella Royale Albertina Colt Sold Jarrod Alchin $8,000     445 Courage Under Fire Ruffle My Feathers Filly Sold Redbank Lodge Standardbreds $10,000     446 Bettors Delight Runaround Rhonda NZ Colt Sold John McCarthy $85,000     447 Rocknroll Hanover Safely Susan Colt Sold Shannon Hoffmann $18,000     448 Rock N Roll Heaven Salix Colt Sold Michael Formosa $26,000     449 Rock N Roll Heaven Same Action Filly Sold Barry Cooper $11,000     450 Sportswriter Sassy Street Filly Withdrawn         451 Mach Three Glenferrie Serenade NZ Filly Sold Robert Morris $12,000     452 Rock N Roll Heaven Serene Angel Filly Passed In   $12,000   Make An Offer 453 Roll With Joe Serene Star Filly Passed In   $10,000 $18,000 Make An Offer 454 Rocknroll Hanover Seshny Bromac NZ Colt Passed In   $21,000 $22,000 Make An Offer 455 Roll With Joe Shark Filly Sold Christie Rothwell $8,000     456 Somebeachsomewhere She Aint Fakin Colt Sold   $26,000     457 Rocknroll Hanover Shoutaloud Colt Sold R.E.D. Harness Racing Pty Ltd $47,000     458 Rocknroll Hanover Silver Tail Lady Filly Sold Rachel Weaver $17,000     459 Courage Under Fire Sky Rainbow Colt Sold Jarrod Alchin $8,000     460 Mach Three Snug Harbor NZ Colt Sold Raboki Pty Ltd $45,000     461 Rocknroll Hanover Solataire Colt Sold Terry Cluse $50,000     462 Courage Under Fire Sounds Alive NZ Colt Sold Josh Powderly $11,000     463 Sportswriter Special Ball NZ Filly Passed In   $16,000 $27,000 Make An Offer 464 For A Reason Steda Dreams Colt Passed In   $6,000 $6,000 Make An Offer 465 Art Major Straight Left NZ Filly Sold Trevor O'Reilly $12,000     466 Sportswriter Strike Line Colt Sold Robert Brumm $28,000     467 Major In Art Sunopal Filly Passed In   $9,000 $12,000 Make An Offer 468 Bettors Delight Tactical Attraction NZ Colt Passed In   $22,000 $22,000 Make An Offer 469 Four Starzzz Shark Take a Hint NZ Colt Withdrawn         470 Courage Under Fire Talk Safely NZ Colt Sold Kevin Hurst $30,000     471 Mr Feelgood Tallaringa Drive Colt Withdrawn         472 Courage Under Fire Tears To Maple Colt Sold Andy Gath $18,000     473 Mach Three The Baggy Green Colt Sold Five Arrows Syndicate $30,000     474 Rock N Roll Heaven The Checkout Chic Colt Passed In   $17,500 $20,000 Make An Offer 475 Art Major The Crystal Star NZ Filly Sold Mark Jones Harness Racing Stable $45,000     476 Art Major The Kindly One Colt Sold Steve Thompson $44,000     477 Four Starzzz Shark The Magic Of Life Filly Withdrawn         478 Rock N Roll Heaven Timeltell Colt Withdrawn         479 Courage Under Fire To Die With Dignity NZ Colt Passed In   $14,000 $20,000 Make An Offer 480 Always A Virgin Touch Of Jerry Filly Passed In   $6,000 $7,000 Make An Offer 481 Roll With Joe Trudee Filly Sold Robert Brumm $20,000                                                 2015 Clearance Rate 83.89%             2015 Sales Average $28,265                               2015 Colts Clearance Rate 88.66%             2015 Colts Average $32,942                               2015 Fillies Clearance Rate 79.27%             2015 Fillies Average $22,077                                                 2014 Clearance Rate 89.74%             2014 Sales Average $23,000                               2014 Colts Clearance Rate 91.03%             2014 Colts Average $26,049                               2014 Fillies Clearance Rate 88.46%             2014 Fillies Average         $19,862  

Most harness racing enthusiasts in New Zealand headed to the sales this week at both Auckland and Christchurch and a lot took home a yearling or two. With the dust just settling on the two days at the Premier Sale in Christchurch, we thought it a good time to assess the performance of our leading sires at that sale along with a few of the other sires who aspire to reach that level. All the numbers used are correct at the present time but may vary slightly as more of the passed in horses are sold post sale The elephant in the room in any review such as this is of course Bettor's Delight. He just completely dominated both days at Christchurch both in numbers sold and the average over the two days. Bettor's Delight  Number sold - 49 Overall average - $51,091 Colt average - $56,645 Filly average - $34,291 The surprising thing from those statistics is the big gap between his colts and his fillies. Bettor's Delight is renowned for leaving great fillies so to us the gap was surprising. Apart from that what can you say. A great sire who continues to dominate the sales and nothing happened in the two days at Christchurch to suggest that any change to the status quo is coming anytime soon. The next most successful sire with big numbers was the stallion that Bettor's Delight dethroned from the top spot in the yearling sales averages in Christian Cullen. His numbers held up well considering all the challengers he is facing on the siring front. Christian Cullen Numbers sold - 18 Overall average - $37,611 Colt average - $40,133 Filly average - $25,000 Considering where his service fee presently sits, Christian Cullen represents great value on yesterdays results and that is not something we were able to say just a few years ago. Every year the pundits predict his demise as a sire of significance but every year the buyers continue to put their hand up for the Christian Cullens and for big money to boot. Another elite sire who had a good sale was Mach Three. Mach Three Numbers sold - 20 Overall average - $30,700 Colt average - $32,062 Filly average - $29,791 This was one sire who had little difference in the average between his fillies and his colts. The top price of $71,000 was the same for both his best filly and colt and most of the leading trainers brought one or two by him. Has been doing a great job over the last few years but is probably overdue another high class colt in the next twelve months or else the so called experts will be suggesting his best days are behind him. American Ideal Numbers sold - 22 Overall average - $15,681 Colt average - $19,166 Filly average - $11,500  Considering the great last twelve months that his stock have had on the racetracks of Australasia, it was a real surprise to us and no doubt to vendors as well that he struggled as much as he did. Even more confusing was the lack of interest in his fillies when they have been his flag bearers in New Zealand over the last twelve months. Sometimes there is a lag in racetrack performance being converted into sales success and to us that is the most logical explanation here. Courage Under Fire Numbers sold - 8 Overall average - $32,375 Colt average - $34,857 Filly average - $16,000 Just continues to fly under the radar of most of the breeders in New Zealand but not the buyers thats for sure. Only sold one filly so that average is misleading but his colts were highly sought after throughout the two days. Has shown repeatedly that he can compete with any sire in the sales ring but his number of mares served in New Zealand continue to decline. He only served nineteen mares in 2014 so some vendors who have a foal by him may be in for a good return at next years sales. Art Major Numbers sold - 14 Overall average - $29,600 Colt average - $28,833 Filly average - $30,187  Considering the run that Art Major is having on both sides of the Tasman, the lack of big money for most of his yearlings took us by surprise. He did have one six figure filly but his second best yearling price wise only made $45,000. Didn't appear to us to be anything amiss with the yearlings in question and the only answer we could come up with was they weren't Bettor's Delights. Amazing result really when you look at the super season his three year olds are having in New Zealand Somebeachsomewhere Numbers sold - 5 Overall average - $48,000 Colt average - $55,000 Filly average - $20,000 First crop of any size in New Zealand and these yearlings were conceived via fresh semen. Without exception they were good looking types and were keenly sought after. Going by the type of yearling produced by Somebeachsomewhere at this years sales,  we could be about to see why the North Americans hold the son of Mach Three in such high esteem. Rock N Roll Heaven Numbers sold - 4 Overall average - $30,250 Colt average - $40,000 Filly average - $20,500 They all were nice types but what surprised us was his only filly made just $20,500. The fillies have been the ones flying the flag for Rock N Roll Heaven in North America and in Australasia so the emphasis on the colts was a surprise. Look very much like clones of their grand sire Rock N Roll Hanover which is a good thing in our book though attitude did seem an issue at times with a couple of them. Sportswriter Numbers sold - 5 Overall average - $26,300 Colt average - $27,625 Filly average - $21,000 The whole five of them were lovely types and we thought they under sold when you looked at the pedigrees and the individuals at the sale. All of them made at least $20,000 but only one kicked on from that to make $46,000. There are question marks over whether he can leave that elite level colt or filly but you couldn't fault the yearlings in Christchurch and we were a touch disappointed with the prices they made. Changeover Numbers sold - 10 Overall average - $11,550 Colt average - $12,333 Filly average - $10,375 Not the kind of sale he would have been looking for. He had his moments but his lack of classic winning horses from his first crop is starting to hurt him. All he needs is one or two top liners to appear and his stock will double in value over night. His overall numbers are great and everything else is on track but he does need those couple of stars and sooner rather than later. Love You Numbers sold - 4 Overall average - $28,875 Colt average - $28,875 A great result for a trotting sire to have four average over $28,000. They were keenly sought after when ever a Love You entered the ring. The only issue now is he only served 13 mares in 2014 and was unavailable this season so there will few of them at the sales in the next year or two. Muscle Mass Numbers sold - 13 Overall average - $16,923 Colt average - $16,625 Filly average - $17,400 A great return to New Zealand for the son of Muscles Yankee and he had a big sale considering his numbers and the fact some of the maternal families were ok but not sensational. A sire who is really on the up in North America but the only downside is this is his only crop in New Zealand to go through the sales and at this stage it will be his last as he hasn't shuttled for the last two years. Overview All the sires we have reviewed would in the main be satisfied with what they achieved at this years Premier sale in Christchurch. Some probably hoped to do a bit better and some probably did a bit better than they thought they would but the numbers for the sires we have covered are commendable. Some sires at this years Christchurch sales that we haven't reviewed here didn't help the overall sale on any level and you would have to question the value of continuing to present stock by them at what is meant to be a "Premier" sale. Harnesslink Media

Any southern hemisphere harness racing breeder looking at the results of matings of Artsplace mares in the northern hemisphere will quickly come to one conclusion. Cover the mare with Rocknroll Hanover and chances are very good that the resultant foal will be a serious racehorse.  It has been a cross without parallel in recent times and six of the eight millionaires that Rocknroll Hanover has produced have been from Artsplace mares. Rock N Roll Heaven - 1:47.3 ($2,774,478) Put On A Show - 1:47.3 ($2,459,903) Rocklamation - 1:48.3 ($2,259,904) Pet Rock - 1:47 ($1,985,820) Rock N Soul - 1:49.4 ($1,158,637) Ticket To Rock - 1:50.3 ($1,131,163) Looking through the maternal families of horses bred on this cross in this years Australasian Classic yearling sale led us to Lot 129 and the filly, Crystal Sparkles. Crystal Sparkles is the second foal of the young Artsplace mare Taylor Kate who is from the former smart two and three year old filly in Black Maire 1:59.8 ($39,981) Taylor Kate is a half sister to six winners including the brilliant two and three year old filly Lauraella 1:55.9 ($649,946) The 2008/2009 three year old filly of the year in New Zealand, Lauraella won the New Zealand Oaks, Great Northern Oaks, Nevele R Fillies Final as well as the Harness Jewels Diamond at two. The first foal of Lauraella is this seasons very smart three year old Express Stride 1:58.1 ($119,525) Taylor Kate is also a half sister to a very smart two and three year old in The Muskeg Express 1:55.9 ($111,331) A full sister to Black Maire in Syriana is the dam of this seasons big improver in the four year old ranks, Meticulous 1:55.6 ($99,420) The third dam is the handy Vance Hanover mare in Corbie 1:57.2 who left six winners including the talented Agios Nikolaos 1:52.2 ($192,180) while the fourth dam is Black Watch herself. This is one of the strongest branches of the strongest family in the New Zealand stud book. Given that Crystal Sparkles is also bred on such a dynamic breeding cross makes her a great proposition both on the track and in the breeding barn. Harnesslink Media   

The Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) has numerous breedings for harness racing stallions standing in various states. These breedings are being sold and not auctioned to protect the value of the stallions. Some stallions are Yankee Cruiser, So Sureal, Shark Gesture, Rocknroll Dance, Rock N Roll Heaven, McArdle, Lucky Chucky, Jurgen Hanover, Big Stick Lindy, Real Desire and many more. This is SRF's most important and consistent source of funding, which comes from yearly and lifetime breeding sales and donations. The revenue generated helps provide for the care, boarding, feeding, veterinary, farrier, dental, worming, rehabilitation and re-training of 198+ Standardbreds, 125 of which are permanently retired due to age and/or injury. This is SRF's 26th year as the only organization solely dedicated to the Standardbred breed, the only one of its kind also providing full care for horses when adoption is not possible, and following their welfare in every home diligently for life. SRF has served thousands of Standardbreds, and helped hundreds of children through its award winning programs. Breeding donations, and SRF's sale of such gifts make a substantial difference. To donate or purchase a breeding please contact Tammy Hollock at 732-446-4422 or email accounting@srfmail.com. SRF is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization and gifts to SRF are tax-deductible. Tammy Hollock

The harness racing workouts at Rangiora today (January 28th) featured 20 heats but most interest was centred around the six two year old heats. There were plenty of well bred youngsters on display and some budding stars put their hands up today. We thought we would comment on all the juveniles that impressed us in their heats and as has become common in the last few seasons, most of those were runners belonging to the All Stars Stable. Chase The Dream - Straight to the front and gave nothing a look in in taking out his 2000 metres heat in 2:30.5, a mile rate of 2:01 with closing sectionals of 57.9 and 28.5 Seemed to do it with a fair bit in reserve and backed up his impressive trial win at Ashburton last week. Obvious contender for feature races coming up in the next few weeks. Waikiki Beach - Settled well back in the running,but made ground impressively late to run second to Chase The Dream, beaten two lengths. Ran through the line and seems to have a fair bit of bottom to him. One or two look better at the moment but he is the type to keep getting better with trials/racing. Major Ben - Settled midfield on the inner before breezing from the 600 and was holding his stablemate Motu Premier the last 50 metres after giving him the drag home. He cut the 2000 metres out in 2:29.5, the fastest time of the day, a mile rate of 2:00.2 with closing sectionals of 57.7 and 28.6. It was another impressive display after his 1:57.6 mile at the Ashburton trials last week. A big son of Art Major, Major Ben has all the attributes you look for in a top two year old and he looks to have a big future.  Linton Shard - Nice run for third this week after a handy workout win last week and the Changeover half brother to Smiling Shard 1:53.7 ($1,178,793) and Pemberton Shard 1:55.8 ($187,997) continues to impress. The addition of Dexter in the bike should make him competitive. Motu Premier - Ran his stablemate Major Ben to a head but did have the drag home on his back. Showed real improvement on his third at last weeks Ashburton trials and further improvement on today's effort will make him competitive where ever he starts. Mastercraftsman - Having his first run away from home, the son of Bettors Delight was very impressive storming home late to grab Ice Crusher. Cut out the 2000 metres in 2:30.9, a mile rate of 2:01.3 with closing sectionals of 58.1 and 29.3. Will definitely improve of his first run which makes him a major player anywhere he goes. Ice Crusher - Went good last week at the workouts but better again this week and has all the ringcraft to make a two year old. Looks a touch off a few mentioned here but manners and ringcraft will take him a long way. Dream About Me - The three quarter sister to champion mare Adore Me was very impressive finishing quickly late for the win. She paced the 2000 metres in 2:33..2, a mile rate of 2:03.2 with closing sectionals of 58.6 and 28.3 This was her first run back after a couple of unplaced trial runs in November and there is a lot of upside in this filly. Emeli Maguire - This daughter of Rocknroll Hanover is a half sister to the brilliant Lizzie Maguire 1:55.1 ($477,366). A winner and placed at her two previous trials last October/November, Emeli Maguire has come back  really well and looks a filly with a big future. Northern Velocity - Didn't run time today but very impressive performance. Last at the 800 metres, she worked forward from there and was too strong in the straight.   Has had plenty of practice to date and looks to have plenty of upside. Arden's Choice - Again she didn't run time but very impressive closing 800 metres of 57.2 shows she is a two year old of real potential A half sister to such standouts as Bettors Strike 1:55.7 ($890,201) Rocknroll Arden 1:54.8 ($172,154) and  Southwind Arden 1:58.4 ($150,127) means she has the breeding to match her ability. Also has the ringcraft to go with her ability Mackenzie - Big powerful filly who really made ground stylishly the last bit to push Arden's Choice. Coming off the back of a very impressive win last week at Ashburton, Mackenzie looks like a filly that can do a lot of work and still finish off her races. Mackenzie is by Rocknroll Heaven from the champion Australian racemare Kept For Pleasure 1:56 ($542,343) so she lacks nothing in the breeding department. The best Rocknroll Heavens to date have all been fillies so she ticks all the boxes. Harnesslink Media

There is no better advertisement in harness racing than Group One success, and with an average of one top shelf winner per year of operation, Benstud is more like a self-promoting billboard. Operated by the Judd family since 2008, Benstud has seen some of the brightest stars of the industry leave its farm. Names such as All Eyes On Us, Bellas Delight, Bling It On, Eljaykay Pheonix, Niki No No, Royal Treat and Soho Valencia began their path into the racing world via Benstud. And without taking anything away from those outstanding types, arguably the most exciting pacer in Australasia – Philadelphia Man – was among the Judds’ first crop! Philadelphia Man will be in action again his weekend when he aims to extend his winning streak to 12 in the Shepparton Cup. Given Benstud’s average, the 14 youngsters the Judds have heading to the Australian Pacing Gold Sale are destined to attract plenty of interest and bids. To be more precise, the nine colts and five fillies will enter the ring at the Melbourne leg of the APG Sales on February 1. Each is by a top sire from a good producing broodmare or classy race mare, such as Lot 116. By Rock N Roll Heaven, the colt is the second foal from feature race winner, Modern Girl. An APG graduate – finishing second in the 2009 Final – Modern Girl’s first offspring, a filly by Bettors Delight, is one of this season’s two-year-olds. By Modern Art from Sister Dancer, Modern Girl is a half-sister to APG champion Royal Verdict and Group One winner, Hexham Heartbeat. For those wanting a closer look at the colt, Benstud has led the way with a brilliant idea….’jogger cam’. Simply follow this link to see unedited footage of the youngster, and all of the yearlings, in action behind a jogger. Modern Girl’s son will be joined by colts via lots 57, 61, 120, 130, 131, 152, 191 and 197. For those looking to purchase a filly, they are lots 119, 144, 160, 174 and 207. As mentioned, each is by a leading sire such as American Ideal, Rocknroll Hanover, Somebeachsomewhere, Rock N Roll Heaven, Art Major, Shadow Play, Sportswriter and Grinfromeartoear. As for the yearlings’ families, they boast names such as Our Maestro, Classic Garry, Bag Limit, Provocative, Come On Frank, Sassy Sarah, Hesa Corka, Sparkling Melody, Aspiring Artist, The Quiet Village, Maggies Son, Saved A Corka, Whale Of A Tale and Albert Terrill to name a few! PAUL COURTS

The surprising thing when you look at the siring charts for the two-year-olds in the 2014 harness racing season in North America is the small number of new sires that cracked the top twenty list. As the season is now history we thought it would be a good time to review the impact the new sires had and how we think they performed. Only three stallions who were first season sires made last years top twenty list and they were: Sportswriter -- 1:48.3 ($1,649,411) Rocknroll Heaven -- 1:47.3  ($2,774,478) Rockin Image - 1:48.2 ($903,424) All three have plenty to recommend themselves as far as pedigree goes. Sportswriter is by Artsplace from Precious Beauty 1:53 ($112,842) who has also left the top Art Major filly in Precocious Beauty 1:50.1 ($778,196) Rocknroll Heaven is by Rocknroll Hanover from Artistic Vision 1:50.2 ($644,623) who is also the dam of Clear Vision 1:48.2 ($2,318,598) Rockin Image is by Rocknroll Hanover from Kikikatie 1:50.3 ($1,415,566) whose five live foals have all gone in 1:50 or better As they all stood in completely different states and sire stakes programmes it is hard to compare them and you end up having to make some judgments for better or worse. Sportswriter Stood his first season in 2011 in Ontario in the midst of the great broodmare exodus from Canada. With the access to the "pokie" money denied, there was a lot of doom and gloom in the Canadian breeding industry and a lot of the top end mares were relocated to the USA due to the fear that the  sire stakes programmes in Canada would be substantially reduced. They still continue to race for great money and recents agreements mean the stakes are set to improve again Even allowing for the problems at the time Sportswriter served a huge book of quality mares which resulted in a foal crop in 2012 of 154 (largest in North America) which raced as two- year-olds last season in Ontario. They took the Ontario Sires Stakes programme by storm and dominated a lot of the races throughout the season. His first season statistics make great reading Foals -- 154 Starters -- 89 Winners -- 48 Sub 1:55 -- 21 Sub 1:53 -- 5 Total Stakes -- $2,489,354  We thought we would take a look at the maternal families of his top five stake earners for the season to get a line on weather Sportswriter is lifting pedigrees. Sports Chic 1:54.2 ($241,389) is from Vesta Blue Chip (unraced) who amongst her many winners has also left the champion mare Rainbow Blue 1:49.2 ($1,600,012) Reverend Hanover - 1:51.1 ($218,500) is from Razzel My Tazzel 1:58 ($13,026) who already has four $250,000 earners but Reverend Hanover looks like he might be the best of them Code One Hanover - 1:54.1 ($182,325) is from the very smart racemare Current Hanover 1:50.3 ($380,248) and is her second $100,000 winner to date Sporting The Look - 1:53 ($178,594) is the fourth foal and best winner to date from the smart racemare Lyons Mandi 1:53 ($162,482) while the grand-dam is the talented Merci 1:55.3 ($264,938) Bob Ben And John - 1:53 ($149,996) is from My Best Girl (lightly raced) who is a half sister to the top horse Calypso Beat 1:52.1 ($828,361)  From that close look Sportswriter is obviously not hurting pedigrees. The one negative and one that is repeated frequently to us when we talk to clients and owners in North America is his lack of a real superstar to go with all the winners. Sports Chic finished 15th on the 2014 seasons money won list while Reverend Hanover finished 22nd on the same list so for Sportswriters two best winners to be so far down the list is a concern  No Sportswriters were in the 2014 versions of the  Metro Pace or the She's A Great Lady Finals even though those races were in their backyard at Mohawk. Reverend Hanover was a late arrival in the later part of the season who did look a touch special but never got the chance to prove it. Comment - A great first season all round but did have several things in his favour namely the 154 foals and the lack of competition in the Ontario Sires Stakes programme means it is very hard to get a real handle on how Sportswriter stacks up. The numbers on there own are great but he does need some grand circuit performers to emerge at three or the naysayers will be out in force.  Rocknroll Heaven When Rocknroll Heaven went to stud he did so with a fanfare not accorded many stallions. Everything about the horse suggested this was a horse that could be a great sire if you listened to a lot of the breeders and owners in North America. He had a great racetrack career to go with his looks and a maternal family to die for. His dam Artistic Vision had won $644,623 and taken a mark of 1:50.2 and had also produced Clear Vision 1:48.2 ($2,318,598) Consequently he served a big book of the best mares in the standardbred world but that was balanced a bit in our opinion due to the fact that he stood at Blue Chip Farms in New York That meant that his progeny would be in the same Sires Stakes programme as Art Major, Bettor's Delight and American Ideal. Without doubt the toughest Sires Stakes programme to compete in during 2014 was New York so any success that Rocknroll Heaven had was going to be well earned.  Rocknroll Heaven's first crop was noticeable for the fact that his best four performers were all fillies headed by the brilliant Sassa Hanover 1:50.1 ($485,591) Foals -- 103 Starters -- 62 Winners -- 33 Sub1:55 -- 16 Sub 1:53 -- 3 Total Stakes -- $1,731,306 Again we have a look at the maternal families of the five biggest stakes earners  from his first crop Sassa Hanover 1:50.1 ($485,591) is the first foal from Sayo Hanover 1:54.2 ($45,317) who is a half sister to Sharky Osbourne 1:49.4 ($900,660)  Shadyshark Hanover 1:47.4 ($771,172) and Shaky Hanover 1:51.2 ($500,189) Band Of Angels 1:51.3 ($184,373) is from Time N Again 1:54 ($60,186) which makes her a half sister to the outstanding filly Romantic Moment 1:50.1 ($1,077,352) Divine Caroline 1:53.1 ($142,597) is the second foal from Loving Caroline 1:52 ($197,059). The first foal is Aunt Caroline 1:51.3 ($230,382) while the second dam of Divine Caroline is Best Laid Plans 1:50.4 ($401,085) Heavenly Bride 1:50.3 pl ($119,345) is the first foal from the former outstanding racemare in Native Bride 1:50 ($707,493) Arque Hanover 1:52.2 ($66,820) is the first foal from A Pippin Hanover 1:52.4 ($104,230) who is a half sister to Appleoosa Hanover 1 52.1 ($519,187) What is very obvious from just those five examples is the quality of the mares Rocknroll Heaven served in his debut season. The performance of his fillies is a big bonus for breeders but there must be some concern that his best son only earned $66,820 Still his sons and daughters were racing in the toughest Sires Stakes programme on the planet so they performed creditably overall. Comment - Given every chance to prove himself with the quality of the mares he served in his first season but more than delivered in the tough New York environment. Able to produce a standout filly in Sassa Hanover (3rd on stakes won list) and several other smart fillies as well but the lack of a real top line colt is a concern. Rockin Image While not a real star on the track, Rockin Image was a very talented racehorse nevertheless. He won in 1:50.4 at two and 1:48.2 at three and banked $901, 756. The big plus is a pedigree without peer with the dam Kikikatie 1:50.3 ($1,415,566) having the unbelievable record of all her five live foals having gone 1:50 or quicker and earned $3,098,977 between them. Rockin Image ended up at stud at Victory Hill Farm in Indiana alongside the state's leading sire in Always A Virgin whose three- year-olds had such a great season last year. He served a large book of good mares who while probably not in the same class as those mares served by Rocknroll Heaven, they have still got a lot of credits to their name with plenty of smart horses on the pedigree page. Rockin Image had 107 foals in his first crop and they did a stellar job in their debut season in the Indiana Sires Stakes programme. He had a good mixture of fillies and colts in his better performers and finished the season in 8th place on the North American 2 year old sires chart which was a great result for a stallion based in Indianna. Foals -- 107 Starters -- 60 Winners -- 29 Sub 1:55 -- 19 Sub 1:53 -- 4 Total Stakes -- $1,339,063 Again we have a look at the maternal families of his five biggest stake earners. Freeky Feet Pete 1:50.3 ($261,950) is from Skyway Lori 1:54.1 ($56,663) who  already has six $100,000 winners apart from this colt. Rockin Good 1:53.2 ($181,250) is from Do Me Good 1:52.4 ($435,346) and the dam is a half sister to Another Mile 1:50.1($641,587) and Do Me Justice 1:53.2 ($412,844) Camturo Rock 1:52.3 ($100,980) is from the smart racemare Camturo 1:52.2 ($190,715) and the dam is a half sister to Matt Damon 1:51.2 ($261.205) Image Of Felicia 1:53.2 ($91,926) is from the smart racemare Keep Your Pans Off 1:51.1($298,441) who has three $100,000 credits as a broodmare including Pans Culottes 1:54.3 ($318,472) Rock The Look 1:54.4 ($88,020) is from Halle Go Lightly 1:54.2 ($65,660) and the dam is a half sister to Trade Sign 1:50.4 ($484,030) and Whogoesfirst 1:49.3 ($357,325) while the grand dam is Go Lightly 1:53.4 ($242,666) A nice group of mares who seem to have clicked with Rockin Image with most of these five on track to be the best winner produced by the dam.  Freeky Feet Pete was the eight fastest 2 year old produced in North America last year and has the look of a horse who will be a great flag bearer for his young sire as a 3 year old. Took the mantle of top 2 year old sire in Indiana off Always A Virgin at his first attempt, which given the success of that stallion on the national stage lately is no mean feat. Comment  - Did a huge job when you take everything into consideration and to finish eighth overall in North America in season one from a base in Indianna is a great result. Has smart fillies and colts and they seem genuine types which is a big plus. We will surely see a couple of the Rockin Image's on the grand circuit as 3 year olds. Harnesslink Media

Integrity will be at a premium for the annual Garrards 2YO Trialling Sale to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Sunday. HRNSW will take a select number of samples in consultation with the Sales organisers including the fastest horse of the morning. In addition to this any buyer will be able to have their purchase tested for Steroids by notifying the HRNSW representative at the sale and paying the appropriate fee. This is the first sale in which buyers have had this opportunity. The 51-head catalogue has brought together two-year-old colts, geldings and fillies from every Australian eastern Mainland State as well as New Zealand. Included in the draft are sons and daughters of such notable sires as Beautide's sire, Bettors Delight, Courage Under Fire, Mach Three, Rocknroll Hanover and Rock N Roll Heaven. HRNSW CEO John Dumesny said the controlling body want to make it clear that all prospective owners, stakeholders, participants and supporters that they can have faith in harness racing in NSW. "As has been acknowledged nationally HRNSW has the strongest approach of any jurisdiction to integrity processes." "The HRNSW commitment covers every aspect and it is with the support of the Ready To Race Sale organisers that swabs will be taken, tested and if required stored for future analysis." Only graduates are eligible to nominate for the associated Group Three feature, the C.J. Garrard Classic, to be held at Tabcorp Park, Menangle, next August. NSW Breeders Challenge Owners Bonus certificates can be used as legal tender at the sale. By Dale Walker  

The breeders involved in harness racing in Australasia have access in 2014 to the leading sires in the world but just three North American sires continue to dominate our breeding scene at the moment and they are Art Major, Bettor's Delight and Mach Three. Australia Art Major stands in Australia and is completely dominant on the stakes money charts in that country due in no small part to the large numerical advantage he holds over his two main opponents. The charts below show quite clearly the advantage he has.  Art Major   4 year olds - 167                   3 year olds - 129                   2 year olds - 153  Bettors Delight                    4 year olds - 56                    3 year olds - 84                    2 year olds - 74 Mach Three                    4 year olds - 53                    3 year olds - 33                    2 year olds - 49 As you can see Art Major has a huge advantage and thats what you see every time you go to the track. You see Art Majors everywhere and that reinforces the message that he is on top. But the big numbers are only important if the stallion can deliver elite level racehorses and Art Major can do that in spades as he has shown over many years. New Zealand Skip across the Tasman to the home of both Bettors Delight and Mach Three and you get a completely different picture, again entirely due to foal numbers. Bettors Delight is completely dominant there on the stake money won list due in the main to huge books which have given him huge foal numbers most years. He is extremely fertile and has the added bonus of being a great filly sire as well The charts below show that huge advantage Bettors Delight has numbers wise over Art Major and Mach Three. Bettors Delight                   4 year olds - 117                   3 year olds - 234                   2 year olds - 220 Art Major                   4 years old - 98                   3 year olds - 87                   2 year olds - 49 Mach Three                   4 year olds - 160                   3 year olds - 77                   2 year olds - 94 Last years three year old season in New Zealand was different from normal in so much as Mach Three had more foals than either Bettors Delight or Art Major for the first time in living memory. The result was that Mach Three won the 3 year olds stake money list  quite comfortably from Bettors Delight and Art Major which proves once again that foal numbers do matter when it comes to winning sire premierships Now plenty of sires are trying to break the dominance of the big three and the latest is Sportswriter. He met the first requirement for all new stallions trying to dislodge the top three in that he had the largest crop of 2 year olds with 155 of any sire in Australia last season and he did leave 33 winners from his first crop. But when it came to the big money races, the Art Majors and Bettors Delights scooped up most of the money. So a good start for Sportswriter but not up with the big boys yet. Another stallion who has been given a big chance to join the big boys in Australia is Shadow Play who served a huge book of 295 mares last season in Australia and a further 80 in New Zealand on the back of a great first season in North America. His first crop of two year olds in Australasia were good last season without being brilliant so the jury is still out as to weather he can challenge the big three. Rock N Roll Heaven served a book of 215 mares in his first year at stud in Australia and a further 52 in New Zealand so his first crop which are two year olds in the current season will be watched with great interest. His North American results in the super tough New York Sires Stakes have been very good so the signs so far are positive. Auckland Reactor is another stallion who has been handed an opportunity to join the big three serving 212 mares in New Zealand and 182 in Australia in his first season at stud. With that number of mares, Auckland Reactor needs to make a big slash right from the start or else he will be discarded quickly. As it stands the big three continue to dominate but one thing is very clear. To compete with the Art Majors, Bettors Delights and Mach Threes is never going to be easy as they are world class sires who perform in both hemispheres. For any new sire to challenge the dominance of the three established top sires, he needs a book of mares of a comparable size and quality to what they regularly serve or he is really going to struggle. Harnesslink Media

Sunday's Morrisville Sale featured overall numbers close to last year’s; five more yearlings were sold for a similar average of more than $10,000. Still, the number sold is down about 37% from 2011. Last year the first crop sales of high profile New York stallions Rock N Roll Heaven and Lucky Chucky created some buzz, while this year it was 2011 sophomore division winner Roll With Joe who was experiencing his first auction. Only five by that stallion sold at Morrisville, for a very modest $8,700 average. Most of the initial action on RWJ will come at Lexington, where nine fillies and eight colts will be sold, and in Harrisburg, where nineteen fillies and eighteen colts will be hammered down. Last year only six from Lucy Chucky’s first crop sold at Morrisville, for an encouraging $22,000 average—high for this sale. The $450,000 the Cancelliere brothers paid for a brother to Muscle Massive and Muscle Mass skewed the results at Lexington, but at Harrisburg 32 averaged more than $32,000. Overall, the Chuckys were well received. Lucky Chucky ranked third behind Conway Hall and Crazed on the NYSS 2-year-old earnings list; Nunkeri, who finished second in the Championship Final, was his top filly and Gabe The Bear Dean and Mambo Blue Chip were two of the better colts. All in all Chucky was competitive in the program but hasn’t made his mark on the Grand Circuit. Granted, opportunities for the latter have been limited. Twice as many sold at Morrisville this year—13—and they averaged about half of what they did last year--$12,423. A dozen Lucky Chuckys will sell in Lexington and 17 will be available at Harrisburg. Like Lucky Chucky, Rock N Roll Heaven keeps a low profile at the Morrisville Sale. Five sold for a $15,000 average last year while three averaged almost $13,000 today. What happened at Morrisville gave no clue about Heaven’s future sale prospects in 2013: 33 of them averaged a hefty $48,000 at Harrisburg. Twenty-five will be available there this year and 30 will sell at Lexington. Heaven ranked third in his division, behind Bettor’s Delight and Art Major, on the NYSS 2-year-old pacing money list. His daughters Sassa Hanover and Band Of Angels were dominant players in the division for Ron Burke, but in the Championship final at Yonkers, the leader in both age groups, Bettor’s Delight, stepped up for the win in the form of his daughter Mosquito Blue Chip. Heaven was a decidedly gyno-centric stallion; his colts were no factor. Prediction: nobody will be writing a $450,000 check for one this year. RC Royalty stands at Morrisville and topped the sale in the number available, as 17 brought an average of more than $13,000. This was down 27% from last year when 20 sold on the wave of Royalty For Life’s division championship. RC Royalty ranked fourth on the 2-year-old money list and fifth on the 3-year-old list. The sophomore filly Avalicious and the freshman colt Royal Deceptor were probably his best. There were no budding Royalty For Life’s in the mix. He sells one at Lexington and none at Harrisburg. His brush with fame did not propel the eleven-year-old beyond his regional stallion status. But the sales topper on Sunday was one of his daughters, Royal Encore, who brought $85,000. Cash Hall, the Self Possessed stallion who now stands in Ohio for $3,000, raised his profile markedly in the NYSS with his outstanding freshman filly Market Rally and her paternal brother Buen Camino. The former crushed the opposition on the Night of Champions. Premium performers will always garner a stallion more love than healthy averages. Last year Cash Hall, who still has NYSS eligibility, had 13 sell at Morrisville for an $8,800 average. This year only four sold, but they averaged three times that. Cash Hall is in a no man’s land between New York and Ohio right now. The young Credit Winner stallion, Crazed, is about to stand his third season at Hanover in Pennsylvania. His fee was dropped from $6,000 to $4,000 last year. Crazed, who still has NYSS eligibility, sold seven for $16,571 today, up from the 12 he sold for an average of $9,200 in 2013. He was second to Conway Hall among two and three-year-old trotters in the NYSS this year. Gural Hanover and Crazy Wow, both winners of their respective finals, were crazy good this year. Nineteen by Crazed sell at Harrisburg. The buyers haven’t been particularly receptive up until now, but we should see more enthusiasm for him this year. Credit Winner, Art Major and Bettor’s Delight play a very limited role in this sale.  The latter, who now resides in Pennsylvania, has exhausted his two-year-old eligibility which will transfer to Ontario next year. He won’t be missed by the other stallions. We’ll find out at Lexington and Harrisburg whether or not the buyers consider his little brother, Roll With Joe, a suitable substitute. Conway Hall, leader of both the two and three-year-old divisions, and the most underrated stallion in the sport, sold seven for a $19,000 average, just like last year. by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com

Vernon Downs held harness racing Finals in eight divisions of the New York Excelsior "A" Series on Saturday night with purses totaling $360,000.   The 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings were first up and provided an 11-1 upset with Commissioner Daley (Conway Hall-Irish Washerwoman) storming through the stretch once he got into the clear and rolling right past Genius At Work late to win in a final time of 1:55.2.   Commissioner Daley is owned by Ann-Mari Daley of Lake Worth, Florida and Michael White of Royal Palm Beach, Florida. Dan Daley is the trainer-driver.   2-year-old trotting fillies were up next and, as opposed to the first of the eight Finals, this one went according to form as 3-5 favorite Barn Girl (Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie) took the lead in mid-stretch and held off a strong closing kick from Morcredit Bluechip to score a victory in 1:57.   Barn Girl is owned by Steven and Nancy Pratt of Corfu, New York. The trainer is Howard Okusko and she was driven to victory by Jeff Gregory on Saturday night.   Freshman trotting colts & geldings provided the most exciting stretch drive of the night as part of a 5-1 entry, Progression (Credit Winner-Ens Curious), came through an opening on the inside left when the favored Crazshana drifted out in the lane. Progression's final time was 1:57.4.   Progression is owned by Leigh Raymer, who also trains, of Delaware, Stephen Moss of Pennsylvania, Harold and Helane Solomon of New York. Mark MacDonald was the driver on Saturday night.   The sophomore pacing filly race was won in gate-to-wire fashion by Expose (Artiscape-Good News Lady). She took the lead immediately and never was headed again as she triumphed in 1:52.4   Expose is owned by Linwood Higgins of Scarborough, Maine and Stake Your Claim Stable of Seacaucus, New Jersey. Linda Toscano trains and Jim Morrill Jr. was the winning driver.   Archetto Hanover (Bettor's Delight-Arts Masterpiece) took the 3-year-old colt and gelding pace after rallying past the favored Murder He Wrote at the top of the stretch. He went on to win by a length in a final time of 1:51.4   Archetto Hanover is owned by Paymaq Racing of Illinois, Greg Gillis of Ontario, Canada, and Louis Willinger of Kentucky. The trainer is Erv Miller and the winning driver was Marcus Miller.   2-year-old pacing colts and geldings might have provided one of the more impressive wins of the night from Artistic Major (Art Major-Western Dancer). Artistic Major (Brent Holland) made the lead at the top of the stretch and powered away to win by four lengths in a time of 1:52.4.   Artistic Major is owned by David Van Dusen and Michael Cimaglio of Ohio and Steve Elliott of New Jersey. Steve Elliott doubles as the trainer.   Freshman pacing fillies followed that and Rock Me Gently (Rock N Roll Heaven-Cam Swifty) prevailed in what turned into a clustered finish with multiple horses ending up close together. The final time was 1:55.   Rock Me Gently is owned by Old Block Stables Inc. and Kenneth Klein of New York and The Fra Stable LLC of New Jersey. The trainer is Steve Elliott.   The final Final of the Excelsior "A" Series on Saturday night was 3-year-old trotting fillies and the winner was Dreamsteeler (Cash Hall-Dream Street) with Jim Morrill Jr. driving. She took the lead right away and cruised to an easy victory by nine lengths in a final time of 1:56.3   Dreamsteeler is owned by Andrew Herzog of Monticello, New York and Tracy Brainard is the trainer.   Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Thursday night with an 11-race program. Post time is 6:45pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity

Batavia, NY---Betting Exchange and Berkley were on the outside looking in at the $1.8 million Night of Champions at Yonkers coming into tonight's final leg of the New York Sire Stakes 2-year-old pacing colt and gelding division. But winning heals all and that's exactly what they both did to advance to the final next Saturday. In the first $54,500 contest, Betting Exchange (Bettor's Delight-Cheeky Hanover) scored his second win in a row to move from ninth to sixth overall in the standings and lock up a spot in the $225,000 final. Betting Exchange came off the wings for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and went right to the front to cut the mile. After briefly settling in fourth, Americanprimetime and Mark MacDonald pulled and came up to challenge the leader. That move found the colt getting parked through fractions of :27.3, :56 and 1:25.2 before packing it in around the last turn. From that point on Betting Exchange ran away and hid, winning the race by three lengths in 1:55.1. The winner paid $5.70. Play The Field (Kevin Cummings) was second and K Ryan Bluechip (Joe Pavia Jr.) was third. It was the second win in five starts for Betting Exchange and boosted his earnings to $66,125 for owners Howard Taylor, Susan Kajfasz and Tom Fanning, who also trains the horse. After the race Morrill said "I didn't really want to get into a speed duel but he felt real good tonight so I let him roll. After he fought off Americanprimetime he paced very strong to the wire." In the second $54,500 split, Berkley (Art Major-Monterey) caught his competitors and the betting public asleep as he upset both with a strong stretch-drive victory at 17-1. The win boosted him from tenth to seventh in the standings and also qualified him for the lucrative NYSS final. Mark MacDonald sent Bet You out like a rocket and paced strongly on the lead to an uncontested :58.1 half when Southwind Masimo and Mike Lachance came first-over to challenge. That encounter was short lived when the pack straightened out up the backside and Bet You shifted gears to hold the group at bay. To this point, Joe Pavia Jr. had Berkley sitting comfortably In The Pocket behind the leader, just waiting to take his best shot at the head of the lane. Bet You opened up a two length lead coming for home but the fresh-legged Berkley rolled off the pylons and right by the leader with a furious brush to pull the upset in 1:55.3. The winner returned $36.00. Bet You hung on to be second and Southwind Masimo was third. This was the first win in nine starts this year for Berkley and raised his bank to $58,620 for owners Randy Bendis, Reed Broadway and Thomas Pollack. Berkley is trained by Ed Hart. Pavia had a glowing review saying "I was really impressed how good Ed (trainer Hart) had him tonight. He was much improved and raced super. He got a real good trip and we took advantage of it." There were also three divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card, each going for $12,600. The first division was won by Heaven Rocks (Rock N Roll Heaven-Cheerful Outlook) who was driven by Brent Holland in 1:56.1 and returned $4.70. He is owned by Paymag Racing, Greg Gillis, Mystical Marker Farms LLC and Louis Willinger and trained by Erv Miller. The second leg was won by Soto (Rock N Roll Heaven-Incredible Beauty) who was driven by Mark MacDonald in 1:55.2 to pay $4.90. He is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, R A W Equine Inc. and Jim Fielding and is trained by Jimmy Takter. The final split was won by Mystical Pacer (Bettor's Delight-Take My Pulse) who was driven by Brent Holland in 1:56.4 and paid $6.10. He is owned by Mystical Marker Farms, Paymag Racing and Ron Michelon and is trained by Erv Miller. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. scored a driving grand slam while Mark MacDonald and Brent Holland both registered doubles on the night. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Tuesday evening with a 6:35 post time. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Not even an hour after Sassa Hanover ($2.30) equaled JK Molly's 1:52.2 track record for two-year-old pacing fillies at Tioga Downs in her $53,500 New York Sire Stakes event, Mosquito Blue Chip ($6.10) set the record anew in her 1:52.1 Sire Stakes triumph, finding room up the inside off a pocket trip to just prevail on the all-stakes Thursday (September 4) evening card.   The daughter of Bettor's Delight and Sandfly Hanover held pocket position behind a speedy Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore) through a solid yet well-rated :56.4 half mile, tracking intently as favorite Bettor N Better (Matt Kakaley) charged first-over at Devil Child to force a :27 third quarter. Blocked in upper stretch,   Jim Morrill, Jr. wedged through at the pegs with Mosquito Blue Chip in the final 70 yards to take the lead from Devil Child, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.1. Bettor N Better flattened late, still holding third.   Trainer Paul Jessop co-owns Mosquito Blue Chip with the Our Three Sons Stable and Donato Falcicchio.   Earlier in the evening, Sassa Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sayo Hanover) gave Morrill his first Sire Stakes driving win on the evening, brushing to the fore with a circuit to go before turning aside a challenge from My Little Delight (Mark MacDonald) and subsequently kicking clear to a 2-1/4 length 1:52.2 win. Ron Burke trains Sassa Hanover for the Burke Racing Stable, the Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, and Larry Karr.   In addition to New York Sire Stakes action for two-year-old pacing fillies, freshman trotters contested five W. N. Reynolds Memorial Stake divisions. Colts SS Poseidon (Marcus Miller, 1:57.1) and Sixteen Encores (Matt Kakaley, 1:57.2) proved victorious in their divisions, while Gold Cora (Mike Simons, 1:56.3), Allerage Star (Corey Callahan, 1:56.1), and Big Barb (Mike Simons, 1:57.2) scored wins in the three filly divisions.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (September 5), with first post at 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

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