Day At The Track
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The depth of quality in this year’s yearling draft is reflected in the record number of harness racing trainers and owners who have registered to attend Southern Bred Southern Reared’s Yearling Tour in February. Included in this year’s draft are some of the big names in the industry and in addition there’s going to be a sprinkling of new faces. Michael House and Ken Barron have been on all previous Tours and many other prominent potential buyers have been regulars, including Robert Dunn, Brent Mangos, Ray Green, John Dunn, Phil Kennard, Ken and Karen Breckon, Greg Payne, Trevor Casey, Ken Barron, Grant Payne, Tony Herlihy, Michael Purdon, Cran Dalgety, Bunty Hughes, Gavin Smith and Peter Blanchard. The Tour is into its seventeenth year and regular visitor Michael House says as a buyer/trainer it’s a great opportunity to see what’s available and replenish racing stock. “There’s often a good horse hiding amongst them and its wonderful comradery with the boys. It’s good to get it out of the way because there are some horses you don’t have to see later on and you can focus,” he said. The Tour, particularly in recent years has produced some high priced graduates. One of these is Chicago Cub, a full brother to millionaire pacer Chicago Blues. Chicago Cub topped the Christchurch Sales last year selling to Emilio and Mary Rosati for $190,000. The second highest yearling was another SBSR colt bred by Arden Lodge’s John and Judy Stiven - Arden Roanoke, which sold for $155,000. In 2016 The SBSR group produced the top two lots in Mach Shard ($200,000) and Honor And Glory ($170,000) whilst further back Bollinger sold for $200,000 in 2015. His half brother Titanium was the top lot in 2013 at $170,000, and Beaudiene Beaufighter was a sales topper in 2014.  When Michael House was on the Tour in 2007 he spotted a diminutive black Bettor’s Delight colt named Highview Tommy at Highview Stud in Riverton. “I’ll never forget that day. There was quite a bus load of us. He was a small horse but he was very strong in stature. At Dave Clarks he was standing in the middle of the courtyard and everyone was walking around him. He was so relaxed. I was taken by him and I had to have him after that. Smiling Shard was another horse I really loved. Every year there seems to be a good horse.” Highview Tommy House bought Highview Tommy for $40,000 before selling him at the Ready To Run Sales to Hazel van Opzeeland and Glenys and Phil Kennard for $200,000. He ultimately won seventeen races and $1,021,904. This year sees some of the younger trainers coming on the Tour with the likes of John Dunn, Mitchell Kerr, Michael Purdon, Bob Butt and Regan Todd all confirmed visitors. “The trick to yearling sales and my advice to anyone wanting to start out is that you’re buying the horse that is in front of you not its relative. That’s a quote from Michael House. The page (in the catalogue) is only a guide,” he advises. Ken Barron has also attended all seventeen Tours and has seen it develop in that time. “It’s a very well run tour and it’s had a bit of fine tuning over the years. To fly to Invercargill and out of Dunedin has streamlined it a bit,” he said. Barron says that because the three major yearling areas – Auckland, Canterbury and Southland/Otago all have to fit their yearling tours in post-Christmas the schedule has got tighter. “It used to be good to see them early on and then later, see how they’d developed. Now it’s so close to the sale it’s about eliminating the ones you don’t want or seeing the ones you like, to save you time on the day.” He says SBSR has tried to work through this issue but everyone has accepted that the tours are difficult to programme now. “You can’t do it pre-Christmas and there’s very little time between Auckland, Canterbury and Southern. John Stiven has worked very closely with the buyers and tried to appease us all. It’s the only thing we can’t do anything about.” One of the first time visitors on the tour in February is young Canterbury trainer Michael Purdon whose uncle Grant Payne recommended that he should come south. “He said it’s quite a good tour and worth checking out. As a young trainer I’m building up a bit of a client base so you can do these sorts of things. It’s a good chance to look at them while they’re still relaxed and they’re not worried about anything that’s going on around them. You can go up to them and have a good look at them,” Purdon said. He bought three yearlings from last year’s Sale of the Stars; Ringo’s A Star (Bettor’s Delight-Blackbird Fly) for $23,000, Willie Go West (Auckland Reactor – Bettor Go) for $20,000 and One Guz Hall (Angus Hall – Landora’s Pearl – passed in at $35,000. “They’ve turned out pretty good so far. The Angus Hall trotter is on a deal.”  One Guz Hall carries the ownership of breeders Heather and Lex Williams and Michael and his brother Nathan while Ringo’s A Star is owned by Michael Purdon. Willie Go West is also owned by Michael and his mother Vicky. The SBSR Tour will be held over two days - Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th February. On Day One the Tour will visit Price Bloodstock and Julie Baynes in Winton and then Dave and Dawn Kennedy at Bayswater. Day Two features yearlings at Shard Farm, Arden and Macca Lodge combined, Tuapeka Lodge and Wingatui. Southern Bred Southern Reared looks forward to presenting an excellent group of horses for perusal and sale. Bruce Stewart

Not many would argue with the fact the Southern region of the South Island is one of the best places to raise young stock, whether it be lambs, calves or harness racing young Standardbreds. At February’s NZB Standardbred National Standardbred Yearling Sales fifty two yearlings will be presented under the Southern Bred Southern Reared umbrella and buyers know these youngster have had a good start to life. Lawrence breeder Dan Cummings has produced yearlings for the National Sales for years and he says daylight hours play a big part in a young horse’s development. “The days are shorter and colder in winter, but as spring progresses into summer the days become two hours longer, one in the morning and one in the evening. I think the process of light affecting grass growth (photosynthesis) lets the grass grow for two hours longer at the height of summer in the south,” he says. Cummings says he’s spoken to a lot of local dairy farmers who bought cows down from Taranaki and Waikato in the late 1990s and early 2000s and they have noted an increase in production in their herds. “To their great surprise the same cows produced around 20% more milk in the south than they had in the north. The farmers attributed it to the longer days.  Apparently in the north milk production peaks just before Christmas then tapers off till May. In the south the peak is during January and the taper is far more gradual.” He says another significant influence of light for breeding in the south is the fact that an increase in daylight is what stimulates cycling in the mares and that increase occurs later in the south. So foals tend to be born a month to six weeks later than in the north.  “That’s a generalisation of course but it’s an influence that will still be apparent when the foals come to be sold as yearlings.  This factor definitely still has an influence at the yearling sales.  We live with it but will continue to try and counter its effect. But because of the way the seasons work the foals catch up quickly.”  The mighty Iraklis bred under southern skies at Tuapeka Lodge - Photo Supplied  Local vet Brendon Bell has worked in Southland for 22 years and he also says our climate is well suited to raising young stock. “Our temperate climate means there is plentiful grass over most of the critical phase of the foal’s development – from birth to yearling stage. This supply of grass means minimal hard feed is necessary to raise young horses.”  He adds that the summer climate gives the Southern region an advantage over the rest of the country. “Moderate temperatures – not too hot but not really cold. Adequate rainfall ensures grass growth over the summer. Somewhat cheaper land prices means more people can own and graze their own horses, keeping control in the hands of the horse owner.” He says the dairy boom has changed farm ownership but there’s still a groundswell of farmers who own or graze horses on their properties, in contrast to many horses in other provinces which are agisted at studs.  “Farm based horses exist with other stock which ensure minimal health issues, minimal parasite burdens from cross grazing, and normally plentiful feed.” He says Copper, Calcium, Phosphorus and Magnesium are important minerals for good animal development. So plenty of hard evidence to suggest southern foals get the best of starts to life. Bruce Stewart

Yesterday the Price family of Winton had one on those magical days that are rare in harness racing when Perfect Stride and Pearl Harbour each won their juvenile races at Alexandra Park in Auckland. Pearl Harbour won a heat of the Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock Young Guns Fillies Series while Perfect Stride, which they bred with John’s parents Roger and Helen Price, won its two year old race. “It’s lovely to see the babies stepping out. We’re pretty proud,” Katrina Price said. Pearl Harbour was broken in and developed by John and Katrina, qualifying the Somebeachsomewhere filly at Winton in mid December. She was then sent north to Barry Purdon’s stable with the aim of starting her in the Young Guns Fillies Series. This is not the first time they’ve sent a filly north to Purdon’s. Democrat Party as a two year old was sent north in 2013. She won at her first start and subsequently in March 2014 won the Young Guns Fillies Final. “John spoke to Barry during the week and he was pretty bullish heading into the race. He thinks she’s very strong and has plenty of speed. He was worried about the draw and he wasn’t sure what Scott (driver Scott Phelan) would do off the gate.” John and Katrina have been very patient with Pearl Harbour knowing the potential was always there but that it needed managing. “She was pretty hot when she was being broken in. Here at home we’ve done lots and lots of slow work. When we broke her in she did a couple of months of walking. We took her a few times to the Winton track and Nathan (Williamson) came and drove her. She had a workout and a trial and the first time he deliberately pulled her back just to educate her. In her trial there were only two runners so she when to the front. At that stage Nathan said she would have lots of gate speed but he didn’t want to pull that switch. From day one she knew how to race and had that real competitive streak.” Pearl Harbour The Prices have entered Captain Nemo (Lot 360) which is a three quarter brother to Pearl Harbour in next month’s NZB Standardbred Sale in Christchurch. He’s by first season sire Captaintreacherous. Price says that Captain Nemo was a late foal that’s going to appreciate time. “He’s at least at the same stage as Pearl Harbour was. He’s a big rangy horse with a completely different brain on him, laid back, relaxed - a big cruisy dude.” The win by Pearl Harbour was also a bonus for West Otago breeders John and Judy Stiven who bred her dam Arden Caviar. The Stivens have a Bettors Delight filly by Arden Caviar’s full-sister Rocknroll Arden in the sale and Southwind Arden which is also owned by them has a Captaintreacherous colt in the catalogue.     Arden's Delight and Captain Arden - Photos Supplied  The Prices bought Arden Caviar from the Stivens after she was withdrawn from the yearling sales in 2013 due to having a skin complaint. “She had speed but just didn’t have the racing brain. That family has so much depth to it. When you look at Winter Rose, the job she’s done and you go further back with horses like Bella’s Boy - It was a family that we really wanted to get into.” Arden Caviar has a Betting Line colt on the ground and she has been served again by Captaintreacherous. “In speaking to David James at Empire (Empire Stallions), the Captaintreacherous’s have a completely different attitude to the Somebeachsomewheres. We’ve had three Somebeachsomewhere’s and they’ve all been pretty hot. You’ve just had to be careful with how you develop them.” The Price’s other success last night, Perfect Stride, (formally named Chicago Cub) was bred by John, Katrina, Roger and Helen Price and was the top selling lot at last year’s National Yearling Sale in Christchurch. He was bought by Emilio and Mary Rosati for $190,000. Perfect Stride Added to the magical day was a workout win at Winton by Perfect Stride’s half-sister Rockabilly Blues. She’s won two of her three starts and will resume her racing career at the Invercargill Cup Meeting this Saturday where she’ll line up in the Arden Lodge Robin Dundee Crown. It’s great to see Southern Bred Southern Reared Two Year Olds having success on a premier track in Auckland. Bruce Stewart

In recent years the Australian export market has become a vital component of the New Zealand Standardbred industry, providing harness racing owners here with a chance to on-sell all grades of horses and to keep their finances in good shape. Good horses like Cardigan Bay, Stella Frost, Young Quinn and Robin Dundee lead the way in promoting the southern part of the South Island and over the years, thousands of horses have left the area to race in Australia. Some are purchased at the yearling sales but the majority are purchased in Southland by agents or privately through the trainers. In recent times the Southern Bred Southern Reared flag has been flown by horses like Themightyquinn, Smiling Shard, Field Marshal, Arden Rooney, Highview Tommy, Iraklis, Chicago Bull, Sokyola, Holmes D G, Washakie and Beaudiene Boaz all of whom won major races in both New Zealand or Australia, each winning over $1,000,000.00 in stakes. Records show that Themightyquinn was Australia’s leading stake earner in 2011 ($619,360), 2012 ($1,250,060) and 2013 ($941,360). In recent times horses such as Chicago Bull, Beaudiene Boaz and (My) Field Marshal have kept the SBSR name to the fore in Australia. My Field Marshal and another SBSR horse Galactic Star quinellaed last Friday’s Group One $300,000 Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park. Horses from the southern region of New Zealand have dominated this race in the last few years with Chicago Bull winning in 2017 and Beaudiene Boaz in 2016. Let’s have a closer look at some the horses flying the SBSR flag in Australia. Chicago Bull has been a real revelation in Western Australia. He was bred by John, Katrina, Roger and Helen Price of Winton and won he two races as a two year old before he headed to Perth and took up residency at Gary Hall Senior’s stable. His size put a few buyers off but not Hall, who’s judgement that size doesn’t matter is proving to be a big windfall. He won thirteen of his first sixteen starts there and has started in twenty seven Group races in his sixty one start racing career. In total he has won $1,820,709, his biggest wins being the Group One $300,000 Fremantle Cup and the $450,000 West Australia Cup, within seven days of each other. Having won a total of three Group One races, he’s never finished further back than fourth in his 54 starts in Australia. The Bettor’s Delight six year old has a best mile time of 1-51.6 and no doubt there’s more to come. Chicago Bull’s impressive lifetime record is: 61-40-8-8 $1,820,709 Chicago Bull (My) Field Marshal is another Southern Bred Southern Reared racehorse flying the flag at the highest level in Australia. He was bred by Syd and Shona Brown of Mosgiel. By Art Major out the eighteen win Washington VC mare Foreal he’s also tasted Group One success in Australia winning the 2005 NSW Oaks and the Ladyship Mile, both at Harold Park. Field Marshal’s biggest win came in last season’s $750,000 Miracle Mile which he won in 1-46.9. This was the seventh fastest mile time in the world at that time and Field Marshal is still the fastest pacer in Australasia. In New Zealand he also won the 2016 Four Year Old Emerald worth $150,000, the New Zealand Messenger Championship ($100,000), The Taylor Mile in 2016 and the Superstar Championship. He continues to race well in well in Australia, recently winning the $300,000 Group One Fremantle Cup in Perth. Lifetime record for Field Marshal is: 61-26-15-6 $1,324,712 (15th January 2019) (My) Field Marshal Galactic Star was bred by Peter and Dan Cummings and their sister Julie Davie. By Bettor’s Delight out of their Christian Cullen mare Petra’s Star, he was purchased by Browns trainer Des Baynes for the Test Syndicate for $16,000. He raced in the south for one season as a three year old winning four of his thirteen starts. He was then sold and exported to Australia where he’s won another twenty races including a heat of the Interdominions at Gloucester Park last season. He’s won or has been placed in a number of Group races and his career earnings are $385,235.  He’s recorded a best lifetime mile rate of 1-52.0. He recently competed in the Interdominion Championships and finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in his three heats before running 6th in the Grand Final. He has now won 25 races and banked $465,335 (15th January 2019). Galactic Star Bred by the late Bessie Dynes, Tact Tate had one season of racing in the south for Winton trainer Trevor Procter before heading across the ditch. He’s won twelve races in Australia including the $100,000 Group One Bohemia Crystal FFA at Menangle, the Group Two Treuer Memorial at Bankstown and the $100,000 Group One Four Year Old Bonanza at Melton. The seven year old by McArdle has won $348,138. He has high speed, and given the right run there could be more big races in this gelding. His lifetime record is: 46-15-3-5 $348,138. Tact Tate Aged gelding Maximan is a very good example of how SRSB stock have plenty of longevity. The Armbro Operative gelding was bred by Ian Bennett who raced him out of Craig Laurenson’s Edendale stable. From fourteen starts he won three races for Laurenson and was placed second five times before he was sold and transferred to Jim Curtin’s stable. He won the 2013 Westport Cup and two more wins earned him the West Coast $5,000 bonus. He was sold to Australia and this ninety start veteran has now collectively won twenty three races, paced a mile in 1-51.4, and banked $324,909. Maximan Back on this side of the Tasman the Southern Bred Southern Reared brand has also been winning races. The Tuapeka Lodge bred Bonnie Joan has kept the Cummings breed to the fore. She’s won ten races in a relatively light career; seven as a three year old, including the Southland Oaks. She ran second in both the Nevele R Fillies Final and New Zealand Oaks, both Group One races. Last season as a four year old she won the North Island Breeders Stakes and Premier Mares Championship. Bonnie Joan The emergence of quality filly Mossdale Art also highlights a breed that Northern Southland breeder Neil Timms developed and raced over the years. This side of the family continues to bring success to Cromwell breeder Archie Affleck who races Mossdale Art.  Mossdale Art won her last two starts and has cleared maiden company by running 1609 metres in 1-52.5 at Winton. Mossdale Art It’s clear there are plenty of flag flyers on both side of the Tasman keeping the Southern Bred Southern Reared brand in front of potential buyers and I suspect there are plenty more green and black flags to be hoisted yet. Bruce Stewart

Not many would argue with the fact the Southern region of the South Island is one of the best places to raise young stock, whether it be lambs, calves or young harness racing Standardbreds. At February’s NZB Standardbred National Standardbred Yearling Sales fifty two yearlings will be presented under the Southern Bred Southern Reared umbrella and buyers know these youngster have had a good start to life. Lawrence breeder Dan Cummings has produced yearlings for the National Sales for years and he says daylight hours play a big part in a young horse’s development. “The days are shorter and colder in winter, but as spring progresses into summer the days become two hours longer, one in the morning and one in the evening. I think the process of light affecting grass growth (photosynthesis) lets the grass grow for two hours longer at the height of summer in the south,” he says. Cummings says he’s spoken to a lot of local dairy farmers who bought cows down from Taranaki and Waikato in the late 1990s and early 2000s and they have noted an increase in production in their herds. “To their great surprise the same cows produced around 20% more milk in the south than they had in the north. The farmers attributed it to the longer days.  Apparently in the north milk production peaks just before Christmas then tapers off till May. In the south the peak is during January and the taper is far more gradual.” He says another significant influence of light for breeding in the south is the fact that an increase in daylight is what stimulates cycling in the mares and that increase occurs later in the south. So foals tend to be born a month to six weeks later than in the north.  “That’s a generalisation of course but it’s an influence that will still be apparent when the foals come to be sold as yearlings.  This factor definitely still has an influence at the yearling sales.  We live with it but will continue to try and counter its effect. But because of the way the seasons work the foals catch up quickly.”  Local vet Brendon Bell has worked in Southland for 22 years and he also says our climate is well suited to raising young stock. “Our temperate climate means there is plentiful grass over most of the critical phase of the foal’s development – from birth to yearling stage. This supply of grass means minimal hard feed is necessary to raise young horses.”  He adds that the summer climate gives the Southern region an advantage over the rest of the country. “Moderate temperatures – not too hot but not really cold. Adequate rainfall ensures grass growth over the summer. Somewhat cheaper land prices means more people can own and graze their own horses, keeping control in the hands of the horse owner.” He says the dairy boom has changed farm ownership but there’s still a groundswell of farmers who own or graze horses on their properties, in contrast to many horses in other provinces which are agisted at studs.  “Farm based horses exist with other stock which ensure minimal health issues, minimal parasite burdens from cross grazing, and normally plentiful feed.” He says Copper, Calcium, Phosphorus and Magnesium are important minerals for good animal development. So plenty of hard evidence to suggest southern foals get the best of starts to life. Bruce Stewart

In the last five years harness racing yearlings produced out of Southland, Otago or Central Otago under the Southern Bred Southern Reared banner, have been among the sale toppers at the annual Yearling Sales in Christchurch. Last year Chicago Cub, a full brother to millionaire pacer Chicago Blues topped the sales, selling to Emilo and Mary Rosati for $190,000. He was bred and prepared by Winton couple John and Katrina Price. In 2016 SBSR group produced the top two lots in Mach Shard ($200,000) and Honor And Glory ($170,000) while further back Bollinger sold for $200,000 in 2015. The honour board also includes Titanium in 2013 at $170,000 and Beaudiene Beaufighter which topped the Sales in 2014.  The highest amount paid for a Southern Bred Southern Reared yearling was in 2008 when Tuapeka Mariner sold for $250,000. This February the SBSR group will present fifty two yearlings at the NZB Standardbred Sale in Christchurch. SBSR was a concept initially talked about by the late Doug Stiven of Tapanui, and Dave Kennedy of Bayswater and it was in 2002 that Dave Kennedy, Mark O’Connor, Debbie Smith and John Stiven formed the inaugural committee. “The reason we got SBSR going was to get Southerners working together to raise the profile of the product at the Sales,” Stiven said. SBSR is open to all breeders in Otago and Southland and one of the highlights of the year is the annual bus tour and yearling parades.  Stiven says the tour for trainers and buyers is one of reasons SBSR has been successful. “We get about 22 to 25 buyers each year now and it’s very beneficial for those buyers to be able to come, and of all our vendors. Ken Barron and Michael House have never missed one.” Dave Kennedy agrees the tour has been a big part of the success story. “The SBSR tour is the best thing we’ve ever done there’s no doubt about that. You get the main buyers arriving on your doorstep. They see your place and see what you’ve done and what your horses look like.” This year the tour will be held on 11th and 12th February. SBSR also promotes substantially through a variety of magazines and websites and employs local TV personality Tom Conroy to film their stock. Stiven says the SBSR brand is being recognised in Australian with horses like I’m Themightyquinn, Beaudiene Boaz, I’m Victorious, Fight For Glory, Arden Rooney and Galactic Star flying the flag. I’m Themightyquinn Outside of the Yearling Sales SBSR is also the group behind The Diamond Creek Farm Classic at Ascot Park Invercargill on Diamonds Day. To date the race has been won by Kept Under Wraps, Lazarus, Mongolian Hero, Aloka and A Bettor Act. It’s sponsored by American heavyweight Diamond Creek Farm.  “We asked Adam Bowden if he thought Diamond Creek Farm was a good fit for Diamonds Day and We said that SBSR supported the two year old race. He was happy to make a five year commitment through service to A Rocknroll Dance and Sweet Lou with the right of renewal.” For decades SBSR horses have been proving the importance of the southern region to the Australian racing industry and beyond. It all started with trail blazers like Cardigan Bay, Robin Dundee, Stella Frost and Young Quinn. Cardigan Bay - 1963 New Zealand Cup - Addington, Christchurch Cardigan Bay - 1964 Yonkers Raceway - Stanley Dancer - 1st USA start Cardigan Bay Stiven said “Southland has long been regarded as the Kentucky of New Zealand. The SBSR group has managed to work together for the betterment of the Southern region as a platform to show unity in the sale of yearlings from this special part of the world. It also shows the group is (about) more than yearlings with the sponsorship of the Two Year Old Diamond Classic.” Continuing to put Southland on the map, from now until sale time I’ll write a number of stories about SBSR including what makes the south so good for breeding, the twelve millionaires the group has produced, the SBSR yearling tour in February and I’ll profile six of the well-bred youngsters that SBSR will be presenting at the Christchurch yearling sales. Bruce Stewart

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