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The late Sir Roy McKenzie had a long term influence like no one else on the harness racing industry in New Zealand with the possible exception of his father who started it all ninety plus years ago. With the importation of stallions and mares from North America, Sir Roy completely changed the New Zealand industry and gave it a lift that can still be felt today. From stallions such as Sundon to mares whose daughters have left us stars such as Monbet, Sir Roy McKenzie was instrumental in dragging the New Zealand breeding industry up to international standard. One mare that Sir Roy imported who initially was very disappointing was the Adios mare Tina Rainbow.  Tina Rainbow had plenty to recommend her from a breeding prospective, being a half sister to Vicar Hanover 1:59.1 ($266,323)  who was a star on the grand circuit in the 1960s in North America and a half sister to the dam of Vance Hanover who dominated the New Zealand stallion scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s However two of her daughters turned that initial disappointment around in the next generation with Tina Scott producing the brilliant racehorse and successful sire in Knight Rainbow 1:57.7 (22 wins) ($243,693) while another daughter in Rainship produced the brilliant racemare Waihemo Rainship 1:58.2 (8wins) ($99,270) Waihemo Rainship was just as good in the breeding barn leaving eight winners including such smart colts as Anvils Revival 1:57.7 ($162,810), Tempest Anvil 1:52 ($91,600), West Coast Anvil 1:58.9 ($69,047) and Anvil's A Christian 1:58.3 ($56,346). The fillies she produced weren't much inferior if at all, including the very talented Anvil On Fire 1:55 ($81,862) whose first foal Karmic Fire was a six length winner on debut recently. Another daughter in Waihemo Anvil 1:59.2 has already produced two classy individuals in Anvil's Big Punt 1:57 ($131,980) and the high speed mare Anvil's Delight 1:54.4 ($60,941) to carry on a trend of a family that seems to produce just as many smart fillies as it does colts. There are a few from this family in this years yearling sales but the one that took our eye was Lot 141 at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka on February 22nd. Named Bebe, she is a daughter of champion sire Bettor's Delight from the racewinning Christian Cullen daughter of Waihemo Rainship in Bella Anvil.. Being bred on the same cross as Lazarus and Chase The Dream is never a bad start for any horse at the moment when trying to impress yearling buyers and the individual herself has a touch of class as you can see from the photos. The Sir Roy McKenzie influence on harness racing in New Zealand shows no sign of tapering off and the performance of Waihemo Rainship at stud is just another successful chapter to add to the record. Harnesslink Media  

One of the huge differences between trotting in the Southern Hemisphere compared to the Northern Hemisphere is the number of elite level trotters down under that still have a lot of pacing blood in their pedigree. With breeders in the south unable to access top line trotting bred sires until recently, a lot of the pacing sires that were available were bred over trotting line mares at the time with the result that they are still quite prominent in a lot of trotting pedigrees down under. The most famous of those trotters of course would be the brilliant Lyell Creek 1:52.4 ($2,130,319) who did a great job in North America late in his career but there are numerous examples of other pacing bred mares who are having an influence on trotting down under. One mare whose influence continues is Meriden. The daughter of the Race Time stallion Farm Timer only won a couple of races on the track as a pacer but at stud produced two elite level trotters, one to a pacing sire and one to a trotting sire. Merinai (19 wins) was a daughter of Tuff Choice, a son of Windshield Wiper who was a major disappointment at stud in New Zealand in the early 1990's. Her half brother Rosscoe (17 wins) was a son of the champion trotting sire Sundon so we are none the wiser there as to why they both trotted. Some times daughters of pacing bred mares such as Meriden do not breed on but that is far from the case with Merinai who has established a very strong trotting progeny record at stud. Top of the pile todate is Sunny Elegant 1:57.2 ($102,330) who was an age group star in Australia but she is just in front of Miss Pegasus ($86,391) and Wingsonhai ($62,626). The first daughter of Merinai to go to stud in Sun Mist has done a great job producing Pretty Sunday ($166,629), Sonofanearl ($117,798) and Rosemma ($82,994) from her six winners. It is a family that is finding itself represented more and more at the yearling sales as each season  goes by and this year there is a well bred colt at the Australasian Classic yearling sale at Karaka on February 22nd. Named Popcorn Sutton, he is the third live foal from Classic Armbro, a race winning daughter of Armbro Invasion and Merinai. The first foal from Classic Armbro is the Love You three year old Tough Love who has qualified for Lou Driver from Balcairn in smart time and looks promising. Sam Bourbon will not be a name known to a lot of Southern hemisphere breeders but he has been doing a fine job in Europe with his initial crops and is a highly regarded stallion by breeders north of the equator. The way Merinai has bred on at stud, which has now been continued by her daughters suggests Popcorn Sutton has plenty to recommend him to lovers of the trotting gait. Harnesslink Media  

Last-start St Arnaud Trotters Cup winner Irish Whisper will be chasing two cup wins in two weeks in the Cohuna Car Sales Bill Poxon Memorial Gunbower Trotters Cup on Sunday. The Tony Peacock trained eight-year-old has twice beaten New Zealand champion Stent, so he’s always had ability, but Peacock has him at the peak of his powers right now. He did plenty of work last Sunday but still proved too strong with Damian Wilson in the sulky. Wilson will drive the son of Sundon again this weekend. “We haven’t had him long but he’d gone all right at the trials." "He’s beaten Stent twice." "We knew he was going good and he’d run a good race,” Peacock said of the St Arnaud success. “He’s got ability that’s for sure.” Nicole Molander and Chris Alford will combine with former Kiwi Dead Cat Bounce, who attacked the line strongly last week after making an early break behind Irish Whisper, while Brent Lilley trained trotter Sun Of Anarchy is sure to have plenty of supporters.   CODY WINNELL

Leading Southland trainer-driver Nathan Williamson had another big day at the office yesterday at Wyndham. It started in the first when the well bred young trotter I'doitmyway lived up to her pedigree and cleared maiden ranks at just her second start By Sundon out of Whizz Way she's a full-sister to Appian Way (6 wins), Idid It Myway (14 wins) and Any Old Way (6 wins) I'doitmyway has big shoes to fill but in the space of three weeks she's made the initial step very well.   "When she qualified a couple of weeks ago, that was her first time off the place." "She qualified by herself so it was a big step into the deep end when she ran last week (at Wyndham)." "She handled that well and she was better today." "She's better off the place than she is at home so that's why we've carried on racing her."   "She also can be a bit of a handful at home - her nick name is Fizz." "She's got a liking for the big tracks so that's why we've started at these two Wyndham meetings." "She can have a wee break now and then race on the bigger tracks around Christmas time," said trainer driver Nathan Williamson.   The promising Bernie Winkle also cleared the maiden grade today to give Williamson an early double.   "Couldn't have wished for a better trip." "He was one out and one back and he ended up three wide with cover." "He pounced on them pretty quickly turning for home." "He's just got a bit of a habit of knocking off when he gets to the lead." "He did enough to get there quite nicely." " He's got a bit of speed and I think he'll get better as the season goes on."   After a slow start to the season, Williamson, Southland's leading trainer last season, is starting to get some runs on the board both locally and also in Canterbury.   Tas Man Bromac, the star of the stable ran second to Maverick on Cup Day while Statham improved on his second at Rangiora, coming out to win the Macca Lodge sponsored South Of The Waitaki Mobile Pace on Show Day at Addington.   "He's(Tas Man Bromac) just had an easy week and will have another one this week and then both him and Statham will be racing again in the cup races around Christmas." "Tas Man Bromac's main aim for the season is the Invercargill Cup at the end of January while Statham will probably go for some of those grass cups like Waikouiti and Oamaru - not that he's any better on the grass but a big horse like him will be suited by the big spaces."    Later in the day Williamson continued his good relationship with the much improved Machrie. The gelding has turned a bit of a corner after trainers Katrina and John Price changed his training regime. Bruce Stewart Reproduced with permission of Southland Harness Racing   -   Check site here      

After their six winners on New Zealand Cup Day, a lot of pundits were predicting that the all conquering All Star barn could have an even bigger day on Show Day yesterday. Prince Fearless was the most impressive of the Cup Day winners from the All Star barn, bolting in by over 13 lengths in very quick time and he was a very short priced favourite in the first race yesterday. However as all racegoers know there are no certainties in racing and that's how it played out. Waterloo Sunset and Bob Butt made a flyer from the 10 metre mark and were in front after 200 metres. Bob kept the huge son of Sundon up to the mark in front until Prince Fearless and Mark Purdon looped the field with 800 metres to go and assumed control. Just when everybody thought Prince Fearless would cruise clear for an easy win in the straight, Waterloo Sunset and Bob flew up the passing lane and went straight on past Prince Fearless for an emphatic victory.  Bob thought he was a chance to roll the favourite. " Waterloo Sunset had been going super prior to Tuesday's run having run second to Stent the start before." " He wasn't a happy horse Tuesday, missing away and not trotting any good at all." " Paul (Nairn) thought a splint was troubling him and treated it after Tuesday" " Today he trotted the best he has ever trotted and I was confident a fair way out I would be tough to beat," Bob said. Trainer Paul Nairn was just happy to have his huge trotting star back on track. " He is such a big horse that he has a few niggles off and on so I am happy to have him back on track after Tuesday's effort." "We will look at the big trot at Geraldine at the end of the month with him next but Auckland in December is on the radar as well," Paul said. Waterloo Sunset has always looked a top trotter in the making and it is a credit to Paul Nairn that his patience is now starting to pay off. Harnesslink Media

The  victory of Master Lavros turned back the clock. The giant gelding led throughout to claim his second Gr.1 $255,000 Hellers Dominion at Addington in Christchurch defeating Alley Way and Sheemon in the 3200m stand start harness racing feature. Master Lavros scored in this event two years ago. The winning drive from Mark Jones, a former world driving champion, was inch perfect as he dictated terms nicely in front while race favourite Stent sat midfield in the moving line after a tardy beginning. Jones was able to quicken and slacken the speed which made it awfully hard for his rivals to find their groove. It was a perfect reminder that Jones is a truly gifted reinsman, one of the very best in Australasia. And while Jones is listed officially as the trainer, the man that pours his heart and soul into the gifted trotter is Regan Todd. Operating two stables, Jones is based at Burnham while Todd operates the Woodend Beach stables, of which Master Lavros is based and trained. Since winning this event back in 2013, connections have been left frustrated and perplexed as the gelding struggled to regain that dominating form that catapulted him to early stardom. The expectation and pressure created cracks and last season proved disappointing with only two victories from 11 starts, many breaks were made in running. But the seven-year-old has returned in solid form this season and the reason is simple, he’s sound and trotting perfectly. Master Lavros rated 4:05.9 which equates to a milerate of 2:03.6 while he covered his final 800m in a slick 57.6 seconds. The time was slightly slower than what he recorded two years ago. Master Lavros is now a dual Dominion champion while he has also collected the North Island’s major trotting event, the Rowe Cup. His earnings have now surpassed $500,000. The Sundon – Lavra Noblesse gelding is raced by his breeder, Kypros Kotzikas. Race favourite Stent finished fifth and had his chance after his early miscue, the Dominion proving to be his ‘bogey’ race. The next leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters will be staged on February 6, the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix at TABCORP Park, Melton. by Chris Barsby

From the time he stepped onto a racetrack as a four year old, Waterloo Sunset has always looked a horse headed to the best grades. An entire by Sundon from the Rowe Cup winning mare Inspire, Waterloo Sunset is a blue blood in anyones language and he has the ability to go with the bloodlines. Last night at Addington Raceway he comfortably won his fifth race from just twenty starts and in doing so edged closer to being a genuine open class contender. Paul Nairn is a master trainer of squaregaiters and he has always thought that with time Waterloo Sunset would make it to the elite level in New Zealand. " I have always thought a lot of him from day one and I still think he will get better yet" " We have come a long way with him but I think the best is yet to come." "One thing I do know is that he is the biggest horse I have ever trained," Paul said. When you see Waterloo Sunset in the flesh you can understand Paul's sentiments as he is one huge piece of horseflesh. That in itself has meant waiting for Waterloo Sunset to fill out into his massive frame but as a six year old he now looks ready to kick on. Never afraid to back his horses up, Paul intends to keep Waterloo Sunset active over the next few weeks. " He can go to the big trot at Kaikoura on Monday and then race during Cup week," Paul said. Regular driver Bob Butt is confident that Waterloo Sunset has what it takes to be competitive in the top grade. " He is such a different horse this time in to what he use to be." " He use to get really fired up before the start and even during his races but the trips to Auckland have help turn him into a different horse" "He is much more relaxed these days and his manners are really good now"  " He gives you such a great feel when you are driving him and he is the best horse I have driven," Bob said. Paul Nairn has such a big opinion of Waterloo Sunset that he covered some of his own mares with the stallion last season. " I served three mares with him last season and the first of them is due shortly so he about to become a dad for the first time." " He has all the attributes of a top horse and I can't see why he won't leave them," Paul said. Waterloo Sunset has been very patiently handled to date and that patience looks like it is about to pay off. Harnesslink Media

Mark Jones is hardly screaming from the rooftops but he is starting to find some confidence in Master Lavros. The giant trotter stepped away from the tapes and went on to a one and three quarter lengths win in Friday's Group III Canterbury Park Trotting Cup at Addington Raceway with a display that puts him right in the Group I Dominion Handicap scrap. Sure there was no Stent, but Jones is starting to feel that the son of Sundon could be close to the sort of form that saw him win the Dominion in 2013. "He was feeling that good at the bend I probably could have gapped them by four or five lengths at the bend," Jones said. The improvement this week gave Jones plenty to smile about after he was run down late by Stent seven days earlier. Master Lavros strode home to win in 3:18.8 for the 2600m and Jones gave the impression there was plenty left in the tank had it been required. But the trainer-driver has plenty to think about in the coming days and weeks. The logical next step would be Ashburton for the Group III Trotters Flying Mile on Labour Day but with Master Lavros' manners from his two stands back being so good, Jones is thinking he may be better off to avoid the mobile start at Ashburton and head to Kaikoura. "I just don't know if the mobile will help us at the moment," Jones said. But if he does head to Kaikoura, he could potentially have to skip the Group I NZ Trotting free-for-all on Cup day. "I just think that could be a bit too much to do those three so close together," Jones said. Wherever Jones goes, he knows he is past the issues that plagued Master Lavros' season last year. Master Lavros trotted to the lead mid race and Jones had the field right where he wanted them and never gave up the lead. The Greg and Nina Hope pairing of Quite A Moment and Harrysul were much improved when running into second and third. Greg Hope was rapt with the effort of both trotters and said they would now likely head straight to Ashburton. Sheemon was disappointing in the final 300m to finish fourth after racing in the one-one and trainer Kevin Townley will have the classy trotter vetted to try and better understand the underwhelming performance. A fresh-up Alley Way was fifth in his first start for the Colin and Julie DeFilippi barn but was five lengths of Master Lavros. Colin DeFilippi said he expected a little better but was happy enough first up. He will line Alley Way up again at Addington next Friday. Habibti and Kincaslough blew their chance with mid race breaks. David Butt, who co-trains Habibti with wife Catherine, said it was disappointing but he confirmed he was also likely to head back to Addington next Friday night. The talented mare was super last week in her first race back in 11 months after a suspensory ligament injury and Butt is confident Friday night's break was just a small bump in the road. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ   -   Check site here  

If Master Lavros can get the first 30 metres right, the next 2570 should be no problem. The 2013 Dominion Handicap winner starts his campaign at the harness racing meeting at Addington on Friday night as he heads towards the 2015 edition of the Group I. A $12,000 trot is hardly the glitz and glamour of the $250,000 Dominion but with Stent, Habibti and Kincaslough in, it shapes as an interesting leadup. Trainer Mark Jones has hardly had the perfect build up after Master Lavros missed a trial last week due to a minor illness, but Jones knows the giant 7-year-old son of Sundon is in much better shape than last year when was plagued by issues early in the season. Those issues made for frustrating times for Jones and his owner Kypros Kotzikas as manners continually blew his chances in races that should have been easy kills. In his only trial this preparation, Master Lavros skipped away from the tapes to give the field a 100m head start, something he cannot afford to do on Friday night. Master Lavros stepped perfectly in his final three stands last season and Jones puts the trial blemish down to being a bit fresh. "There's always a small question mark with him fresh up but I'm pretty confident he will step away this week, he seems very settled," Jones said. All the big bangers start off 30m with Habibti and Kincaslough off the unruly. "Because he's off 30m there isn't much in front of him and that's when he usually steps away best," Jones said. Jones is happy with Master Lavros' fitness despite missing the Rangiora trial and believes he could be fit enough to win. "Missing the trial could have been a blessing because the track was slushy," Jones said. "He's been trotting super so I'm pretty happy with him." Bookmakers currently have Master Lavros a $3.60 favourite to win the Dominion, with Stent at $3.80 and Sheemon at $5.50. Meanwhile, the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club has increased its minimum stake to $7500 from November 1. Club chairman Barry Dent said stakes and bonuses have risen 20 per cent at Addington since 2012. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ  -  Check site here

Harness racing breeders in Australasia saw the passing of the great racehorse and sire Sundon this year but his impact on breeding downunder continues to grow. With the end of the season in New Zealand in sight, we thought we would have a look at his stats this season and yet again he has been dominant on all fronts. With his win in the 2015 sires premiership for trotters, Sundon took his 15th consecutive title as the leading sire of trotters in New Zealand. During that period he also managed to win two New Zealand Siring premierships covering all starters This year Sundon will also take out his fifth consecutive New Zealand trotting broodmare premiership with a lead of over $2,000,000 on his nearest rival. Even more impressive this year was his feat of winning the overall broodmare sires premiership with a lead of over $300,000 on last years winner In The Pocket The record across the Tasman is no less impressive. If he wins the premiership this season and he is $60,000 in front at the moment, then it will be  Sundon's13th successive title in Australia. The broodmare title in Australia is also a non event with Sundon nearly $2,000,000 in front of his nearest competitor. Sundon is currently setting records for premiership wins that are unlikely to ever be challenged. He is without doubt the greatest trotting stallion to have stood in Australasia and he isn't finished yet. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing driver Ashley Matthews joined the “Group 1 club” tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton with a gun steer aboard Chris Angove-trained trotter Sundons Courage in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series two-year-old colts and geldings’ final. Matthews, whose father John is a trainer based in Havelock on the outskirts of Maryborough, remained cool as Sundons Courage – by champion sire Sundon out of Truscott Photo – slotted three back on the pegs in the run. “I didn’t think we’d be three the pegs,” Matthews said post-race. Down the back the final time Matthews had the opportunity to angle one-off the inside but chose to remain on the pegs, clearly pulling the right rein as the moving line runner he would have jumped behind dropped out and Sundons Courage saved plenty of territory before coming out after tearaway leader Cruisin Around. In the straight Sundons Courage pegged back the Michael Hughes-trained frontrunner and stuck his head in front when it mattered, taking the prize by a half-neck in a mile rate of 2:01.5. “It’s great… I’m a bit lost for words,” Matthews said. “We thought we were a real big chance. He’s got a ton of ability this horse. He never gives up, he’s got a great will to win.” Matthews is 35 and said he’d been driving for 10 years. “I’ve driven a lot of slow ones, but you’ve just got to keep going around and hopefully get on a horse like this,” he said. Big Jack Hammer ran third for Geoff Webster. Cody Winnell

It is quickly coming around to that point of the New Zealand harness racing season where we start to hand out the gongs for best performed in each age group and gait divisions. Harnesslink thought we would do a review of each of the categories with our view on where the contenders sit. This is our review of the three year old trotting fillies division 1) Habibti Ivy - 2015 Season:    9 starts,    3 wins,    0 seconds,    4 thirds,    Lt $46,629 Very smart Love You filly who raced the boys most of the season with great credit. Won the Trotting Oaks very comfortably and first filly home in both the New Zealand Trotting Derby and the New Zealand Sires Stakes Final. Has a better head to head record against both Sunny Ruby and Arya. Missed the Harness Jewels due to a foot issue but her dominance the rest of the season makes her the top pick for this award. 2) Sunny Ruby - 2015 Season: 20 starts, 4 wins,  4 seconds,  1 thirds,    Lt $78,469     Very busy season having been racing in September and still going now in June. Has gone from being a typical Sundon headstrong filly with a tendency to over race to a lovely mannered filly with a lethal sprint. Ran 2nd in the Trotting Oaks and capped off a great season with a stunning win in the Harness Jewels in 1:54.7 Has finished behind Habibti Ivy both times they have met which makes it hard to place her in front of that filly for this award. 3) Arya - 2015 Season:    9 starts,    6 wins,    0 seconds,    1 thirds,    Lt $118,692 Daughter of Angus Hall having a right old time of it in Australia as her record above shows. She seems a class above them but real question marks about the quality of the opposition. Came back to New Zealand for the Trotting Oaks but soundly beaten by Habibti Ivy when she ran fourth there. Again finished behind Habibti Ivy in the New Zealand Sires Stakes Final before beating that filly home in the Northern Trotting Derby when Habibti Ivy broke. Hard to make a case for Arya to be New Zealand 3 year old trotting filly of the year when she has one third placing in New Zealand from only three starts this season. 4) Yagunnakissmeornot - 2015 Season: 11 starts, 4 wins,  1 seconds,  3 thirds, LT $41,324   Very strong early part of the season but not so good when thrown in against the very best. Unlucky to have struck such a strong crop of quality fillies and did have a few issues especially left handed which explains her missing some of the big races down south. Selection Habibti Ivy - She has a better head to head record against all her challengers and won the big race restricted to fillies in the Trotting Oaks. First filly home in both the New Zealand Derby and New Zealand Sires Stakes  which gives her a big edge for this award. Harnesslink Media

Ten-year-old Si Capisco will make its Queensland debut in the Trotter’s Discretionary Handicap at the harness racing meeting at Albion Park on Saturday night with his new Caboolture-based trainer Greg Eeles banking on the decorated Monte convert being fit enough to progress to a bigger prize the following week.   A versatile performer, Si Capisco is a multiple Victorian Metropolitan and Country Cup winner with two wins this year under saddle in Monte (ridden trot) races at Bendigo and Melton, in track record time.   Just last November Si Capisco also lined up in a Group One Final at Menangle (NSW) against some of the best trotters in the land and he has had multiple ‘black type’ race wins in trotting cup races in Victoria.   Among those wins have been the 2013 Stawell Trot Cup, the 2012 John Slack Memorial Trot Cup at Ballarat, 2012 Mildura Trot Cup, 2010 Ararat Trot Cup, 2009 VSTA Trot Cup Final at Moonee Valley and many other wins.   One feature of the big square-gaiter’s Cup wins has been that they have all been over lengthy distances.   “My target for this horse is the Trotters Marathon, I really want to get a guide on his fitness on Saturday to make sure we are ready for the longer race next week,” Eeles said.    “He has been trained for Monte races of late and it’s probably not the best preparation for the (sulky race) marathon but if I can get him spot on for next week he will be in his element over the long trip.”   Just three weeks has elapsed since Si Capisco a gelded son of Sundon and Sorry Hall joined Eeles’ two horse stable, after travelling to Queensland from Jodi Quinlan and Craig Demmler’s very successful Victorian barn.   On Saturday night he will start from the pole mark position off the front line in the $8000 handicap at Brisbane’s trotting headquarters.   “It’s not really the draw I wanted, I am a little bit worried about drawing the pole from a standing start at his first look at Albion Park,” Eeles said.   “I have Darrel Graham driving him and I want him to get the horse away cleanly so we can have a look at what he can do.”   “If he can strike the form he showed down south he would have to be a chance racing up here, some of his country cup wins were by big margins against good horses.”   “He won the Mildura Cup in record time by almost 45 metres.”   Eeles said Si Capisco has buddied up with his three-year-old paddock mate Rollon Chilli and has settled in well to his new home.   “It’s like David and Goliath when you see the two together, Si Capisco is a giant of a horse, lovely big type and Chilli is a midget, but they get on well.”   Vicki Rasmussen will harness up two of the top chances in Saturday night’s Trot, Goldstar Invasion, the 20 metre backmaker also headed for next week’s Trotters Marathon after finishing runner up in the distance race last year and Mister Malakye which will start from the 10 metre mark in this race.   Next week’s Statewide Taxation Services Trotters Marathon carries $14,999 prizemoney and will be raced over 3157 metres.   David Aldred

Many harness racing trainers in New Zealand focus on trotters rather than pacers and one of the most successful in that regard is the Weedons horseman Fred Fletcher.   Whenever Fred lines a trotter in any of the classics it pays to take notice as he has had a great run for longer than I care to remember.   Today at Ashburton he lined up the smart Sundon filly Sunny Ruby in the Group 1 Harness Jewels three year old $100,000 Ruby and although the formline was impeccable, she went out at odds of twelve to one.   Away well to lead from barrier two for driver Gavin Smith, Sunny Ruby took a trail soon after behind the well performed Prince Fearless.   Monbet and Ricky May breezed up at the 500 metres mark and slowly started to wear down Prince Fearless.   Just when everyone was acclaiming Monbet the winner, Gavin Smith angled Sunny Ruby wider on the track and flew late to win a lot more easily than it looked.   Monbet battled on bravely for second in front of the pacemaking Prince Fearless.   Warm favourite Speeding Spur galloped wildly soon after the start and then produced a massive performance to run fifth just under seven lengths from the winner    Sunny Ruby trotted the mile in 1:54.7 which took a massive 1.8 seconds off the previous New Zealand record for a three year old trotter held by Prime Power.   Gavin Smith was quick to heap praise on Fred post race.   " Fred has done a great job with this filly to get her to race a lot kinder and he deserves a lot of the credit for today's win."   " I got a lovely run on the back of Prince Fearless and I thought I was a chance at the 200 metres when she was travelling so well."   "She has tremendously high speed if saved for one run," Gavin said.   Todays Harness Jewels win by Sunny Ruby was Fred Fletchers third and just further added further lustre to his reputation as a great trainer of trotters.   Harnesslink Media  

With only two horses in work at his Muckleford camp, harness racing trainer Chris Angove would achieve quite a remarkable feat if he were able to secure a Group 1 winning double at Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow night. But he’s a genuine live chance with his pair of juvenile trotters both well in the market in the finals of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic Finals. Sundons Courage (by Sundon out of Truscott Photo) has won three from four starts and defeated Charlie Runkle in his Platinum heat by 2.1 metres. Having secured gate one for tomorrow night’s final over 1720 metres, the impressive young squaregaiter has to be considered a huge chance at securing the lion’s share of the $50,000 stake money with reinsman Haydon Gray in the cart. Angove then puts the polish on Truscott Law (by Lawman out of Yankee Truscott) in the fillies’ final, the last-start Maryborough heat winner to come out of gate four for driver Ashley Matthews. The Home Grown Classics are Races 3 and 4 on the Melton card and will be run at 6.28pm and 6.57pm. VIDEO: Sundons Courage wins his Vicbred Platinum heat by Cody Winnell Related Links Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 23 May 2015 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 23 May 2015

With two thirds of the New Zealand harness racing season over, we thought it was a good time to take a look at how some of our siring charts were tracking. The one that immediately caught our eye was this season's broodmares sires list which is currently headed by the outstanding trotting sire and now broodmare sire in Sundon. Second last year to champion broodmare sire In The Pocket, Sundon has established a healthy lead over his pacing rivals this season and is going to be hard to head off. As of today Sundon holds an advantage of $314,494 over reigning premiership winner In The Pocket  with Holmes Hanover and Christian Cullen close behind. There are few major changes to the list this season below the top handful with the exception being Live Or Die who has dropped down a few places after finishing fifth last year and the emergence of Mach Three whose mares have only left 84 foals old enough to race yet he presently sits in 20th place after finishing 41st last year and is obviously a broodmare sire on the rise. The ability of Sundon to lead the broodmare list is quite a stunning achievement as generally the trotting component  of most meetings is only three races on average yet he is heading off pacing broodmare sires who have at least double that number of races at most meetings. Armbro Invasion is making steady progress as a broodmare sire and has overtaken Chiola Hanover as number two on the trotting only side of things but is well over a million behind Sundon still. On the pacing side of things nothing else is really standing out but Bettors Delight is just starting out as a broodmare sire and after finishing 90th last year, is presently sitting in 62nd place. With Bettors Delight being widely recognized as the best filly sire worldwide by a lot of breeders and with the huge number of  his well performed mares heading off to stud in the next few years, it would seem only a matter of time before he tops the broodmare sires list as well.   Harnesslink Media  

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