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Kentuckiana Lodge trainer Cran Dalgety has joined Patumahoe’s Geoff Small as NZ’s most successful trainers of Group One Breeders Crown Final winners after Katy Perry’s hard fought success in last Sunday’s $A297,000 Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Australasian Breeders Crown 2YO Fillies Final at Tabcorp Park, Melton. Both have achieved five Breeders Crown Final successes in the specialised two-four age group categories, just one ahead of NZ’s premier trainer Mark Purdon. Cran Dalgety’s growing list of ABC Grand Final winners is: Sparks A Flyin (2001 3YO fillies), Smiling Shard (2009 2YO colts/geldings), Bit Of A Legend (2012-13 3YO colts/geldings) and Katy Perry (2014 2YO fillies). Former world champion driver Mark Jones partnered Sparks A Flyin. Current NZ champion Dexter Dunn has driven the stable runners since 2009. The Kentuckiana Lodge mentor is challenging as NZ’s most successful trainer at the Breeders Crown, taking into account his additional three Grand Final seconds _ Smiling Shard (2010 3YO colts/geldings), Onlyforyou (2012 2YO fillies) and Bit Of A Legend (2014 4YO entires/geldings). Northern-based, but Canterbury-raised Geoff Small, set the early pace among the Kiwis. Small’s ABC Pacing Grand Final winners are: Pullover Brown (2003 3YO Fillies), Changeover (2007 3YO Colts/geldings), Tintin In America (2009 3YO Colts/geldings), De Lovely (2010 3YO Fillies) and Cowgirls N Indians (2011 2YO Fillies). He also has a Group Two Australasian Breeders Crown Graduate FFA (open class race) to his credit, with All Tiger in 2009. Recuperating Cambridge driver David Butcher has partnered all but one of Small’s ABC winners. Templeton driver Anthony Butt partnered Pullover Brown for her ABC win after also driving her to win the NZ Oaks that season.  Anthony Butt, a close second driving Joanne’s A Delight in last Sunday’s 2YO Fillies Final, also won the 1998 ABC 3YO Fillies Final driving Under Cover Lover, Mark Purdon, who gained early ABC Final training successes with Galleons Assassin (2005 2YO trot) and Fly Like An Eagle (2012 3YO colts/geldings), doubled his quota when (My) Ayra (2YO fillies trot) and Follow The Stars (2YO colts/geldings) delivered last Sunday. His additional driving win with (Our) Twentyten (who he formerly trained) in the 3YO trot final on Sunday, makes him jointly NZ’s top driver in the 2-4YO age group catergories, with David Butcher, who besides the Small-trained winners, also reined Miami H to win the 2010 3YO trot final for trainers Derek Balle and Owen Gillies. Victorian trotting training master Chris Lang is the most successful Breeders Crown trainer with seven wins. His successes, all in ABC trot finals, are: Kyvalley Road (2002-03 2 & 3YO trot), Right Interest (2006 3YO trot), Skyvalley (2008-09 3 & 4YO trot) and Let Me Thru (2009-10 3 & 4YO trot). Lang has also added three Group Two Australasian Breeders Crown Graduate FFA wins, a race for open class trotters, with former champ, Sundons Gift (2007-08 & 2010). Lang’s brother, champion Victorian reinsman Gavin, although winless at the Breeders Crown this year, remains the most successful driver in Breeders Crown Finals, with 10 successes. Courtsey Of Cran Dalgety Racing

Champion trainer Chris Lang has announced he will retire from harness racing once his property is sold at auction on October 17. The leading trainer, a pioneer in in the Australian trotting industry, has made the decision to concentrate on his health as he battles Raynaud's Disease, which is a rare disorder of the blood vessels affecting his hands. Lang, 54, told Harness Racing Victoria media this morning he was shattered to have to step away from the sport, but said he was making the tough call for the betterment of his long-term health. “Basically it’s a decision that was forced upon me,” Lang said. “I’ve had a few minor health issues over the last few years, with pneumonia and a lung infection, autoimmune disease and rheumatoid arthritis, and basically I have little ongoing issues that are minor now but because of the lifestyle I lead can lead to far more major issues later on. “I have Raynaud’s Disease, which affects the circulation in my hand, especially during the winters. “At the present time it’s very minor but it has the potential to develop into a far more life-changing condition if I don’t go and try to get it fixed now.” While shattered to have to make the call, Lang said he was determined to pull the pin while he still had some say in the matter and said he won’t rule out returning to training in future. “I’m going to make the decision while it’s still my decision to a degree rather than wait until I’ve got no other option,” he said. “This is possibly just a hiatus for me rather than a retirement. “If I’m able to go away now and get this sorted out then who knows what will happen in the future?” Lang has informed his owners of his decision and stressed it was “business as usual” until his property in Nagambie is sold at auction. Lang, who has developed his property from bare land to a state-of-the-art harness racing training mecca, said he was disappointed to be selling the venue. “When we shifted there about 21 odd years ago it was a bare paddock and to build it into something that Sharon and I are so immensely proud of, I always envisaged being carried out of there in a wooden box to be honest. “We’ve always said though that we want to do the right thing and we feel this is the right thing as hard as it is.” Lang has been an indomitable force in Australian trotting circles for many years. He won the 2009 and 2010 Inter Dominion finals with the glorious squaregaiter Sundons Gift and consequently earned an invitation to the Elitlopp in Sweden. “That was an amazing achievement, really,” Lang said. “Going over there (to Sweden) was in my opinion the greatest experience because it was life-changing. “We brought a whole lot of knowledge back with us from that trip.” Lang, whose other stable champions have included Kyvalley Road, Skyvalley, Let Me Thru, National Interest, Jauriol and Lester Scot, said he remembers attending the Shepparton trials with his trotters and being the only trainer there with squaregaiters. “Now 40 to 50 per cent of horses at those trials are trotters,” he said. “It’s actually amazed me how far trotting has come since then in Australia. I’d like to say I sat back and could see it happening, but that wouldn’t be true. It really has amazed me.” Lang will continue training and driving horses until his property has been sold and said he would likely remain in the sport as an owner afterwards, but he was yet to make a decision on that. He said it would be up to his individual owners to decide how they wanted to handle the transition. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Boom youngster Eljaykay Phoenix registered a slice of harness racing history at Tabcorp Park Melton last Sunday.   Triumphant in the prestigious Australasian Breeders’ Crown, Eljaykay Phoenix became the first trotter to capture Victoria’s ‘big three’ two-year-old events.   Beginning with the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series, Eljaykay Phoenix then annexed the Redwood Classic before rounding off his season in the Crown.   The three Group Ones have been run simultaneously since 1998.   Heading into the futurity, the David Aiken-trained freshman was one of five squaregaiters to complete the Sires’/Redwood double.   The features have been part of the racing calendar since the Redwood’s inauguration in 1986, with Young Trouper capturing both that year.   Kano Regal followed suit in 1996, with Storm Blazer achieving the milestone in ’99.   Former star mare, Jauriol, became the only filly in the crew when she outclassed the ‘boys’ in 2004.   Thrilled with Eljaykay Phoenix debut term, Aiken believes the son of Sundon is capable of repeating the dose as a three-year-old.   “I don’t want to sound like I’m ahead of myself, but he is capable of doing it all over again,” Aiken said.   “I’m not saying her will, as a lot will have to go his way, but the ability is there.   “He is just such a natural racehorse and I can’t see any reason why he won’t improve next time in.”   Driven by Aiken’s reinsman-son, Josh, last weekend, Eljaykay Phoenix worked to the lead from barrier seven, after his main danger, Shared Interest, was eased to take the trail.   Given a ‘breather’ during the middle stages, Eljaykay Phoenix strode clear along the home straight to score by three-and-a-half metres from Shared Interest.   After travelling two-back along the pegs, Kyvalley Boomerang was 10-and-a-half metres away third.   “Once I was able to find the front with him, I knew he would be hard to run down,” Josh said.   “Then when I was able to back off and make it a sprint home, they were never going to catch him.   “He is such a great young trotter and it’s been a privilege to be driving him.”   Covering the last half in 58.6 seconds, the gelding rated 2:04.7 for the 2240 metres, taking his record to an imposing eight wins and two seconds from 10 starts for earnings of $169,622.   To be given a lengthy spell, Eljaykay Phoenix will be aimed at the various Derbys, along with his Vicbred and Crown title defences next season.   “He has all the attributes of a star and should come back better again after a spell,” Aiken said.   “I haven’t decided how long he will have off and will have to count backwards from the main races next season.   “The majors don’t start until late in the season, so he probably won’t race again until at least February.   “That will give him between eight and 10 weeks off.”   Paul Courts  

Harness racing driver Mark Purdon has paid tribute to Brent Lilley after winning the Pegasus Spur @ Woodlands Breeders Crown 3YO Trotting Final with Our Twentyten. The Kiwi horseman, who has driven three Group 1 winners today at Tabcorp Park Melton, said Lilley had done a super job with Our Twentyten, who is by Muscles Yankee out of Regal Volo. “Credit to Brent,” he said. “He’s got him absolutely spot on for today and he’s done a fantastic job.” Our Twentyten started $1.70 favourite on the tote but had his work cut out for him rounding the home turn when pole marker and pacesetter Bad Habbott, who ran a mighty race, kicked clear. Purdon took Our Twentyten back behind the leader at the final bend before peeling out again and overpowering the Russell Commens trained son of Sundon in the last 150m. “He tested me on the corner and I dropped in but by the time we straightened up he felt good again,” said Purdon. Lilley said he was thrilled to notch the Group 1. “He’s done a super job since we’ve had him. I’m grateful to Mark for the opportunity,” he said. “He’ll go for a well-deserved spell now.” Asdenro ran third for Haydon Gray, while Master Hugh was fourth for Chris Svanosio. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria  

Eljaykay Phoenix completed the Vicbred Super Series/Breeders Crown harness racing double with a strong win in the two-year-old colts and geldings’ final today at Tabcorp Park Melton. Despite strong backing coming late for second favourite Shared Interest, which defeated Eljaykay Phoenix last time out, the David Aiken trained son of Sundon assumed the front early and never looked back. No one wanted to take on Eljaykay Phoenix mid race, allowing driver Josh Aiken to thoroughly control the pace. Shared Interest sat behind the leader, while the stablemate of the winner, Hadrians Phoenix, worked to the breeze. Late in the race Primz Luck and Illawong Armstrong made their moves out wide, but the pacemakers had had things too easy up front and they were always going to kick on. Eljaykay Phoenix scored by 3.5m over Shared Interest, who used the sprint lane late, while Kyvalley Boomerang ran third for Chris Lang. “It’s just great to see. It’s a great way to finish the season,” David Aiken said. The winner’s mile rate was 2:04.7 with a last half in 58.5 seconds. Aiken has the long odds-on favourite in the next race, the 4YO Breeders Crown Trot Final, Spidergirl. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Here at Harnesslink, we thought we would be brave and offer our opinion on the Breeders Crown Finals as we head towards one of the seasons biggest harness racing days at Melton on Sunday. Our first preview is of the 2 year old trotters division.  2 year old Trotting Fillies Breeders Crown Final The $87,000 Aldebaran Park final for 2 year old fillies looks to be a battle between three fillies that are all sired via frozen semen and are all by stallions that are at the top of the siring charts in North America. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained daughter of Angus Hall in Arya looks very hard to beat here after an outstanding season in New Zealand which was followed up by a great second to the leading Australian male trotter in Eljaykay Phoenix in the Redwood Classic. Arya has been foolproof all season which in the 2 year old trotting ranks is a major plus and with no Endsino in the field she looks to have a class edge as well. Arya should come into five on the front line which is the perfect draw for here as she can stay out of the early rush and work to the lead without having to burn from the gate. The two main dangers to Arya have both drawn nicely on the front line and are both beautifully bred trotters. Glenferrie Burn who has drawn one is a daughter of the brilliant Muscle Hill from the 16 win Sundon mare in Adellas Dash ($102,626). She has developed as the season has progressed and looks a real chance from the draw to get a soft run. Val Gardena who has drawn three is a daughter of leading North American sire Kadabra from an Andover Hall mare. She has only missed a placing once this season in ten starts and comes into this race a last start winner. From her handy draw Blake Fitzpatrick has plenty of options with Val Gardena and she looks a major player here. Of the others Meadow Valley Road and Naked Majesty have both shown enough to be serious place chances but its hard to see them as genuine winning chances. Selections Arya clearly on top, followed by a combination of Val Gardena, Glenferrie Burn, Meadow Valley Road and Naked Majesty. 2 year old Trotting Colts/Geldings Breeders Crown Final The $87,000 Aldebaran Park Final for 2 year old colts/geldings has drawn a cracking field and the draw has only evened out the contest even more.  All the top contenders have drawn the front line with the favourite Eljaykay Phoenix fearing the worst with barrier seven. A son of champion sire Sundon, Eljaykay Phoenix has looked a class above them for most of the season but his recent defeat by Shared Interest has thrown this division wide open. Throw in his draw and the fact that all the real challengers have drawn inside him means if Eljaykay Phoneix and Joshua Aiken are going to win the final, they are going to have to do it the hard way. His main challenger is the son of Angus Hall in Shared Interest who has drawn beautifully at barrier two which gives Nathan Jack plenty of options Weather he tries to park Eljaykay Phoenix or takes a sit on his back, Shared Interest has the all round game to win the final. The chances don't end there with both Illawong Armstrong and Primz Luck capable of toppling the favoured duo if things go their way. Illawong Armstrong finally gets a good draw and Jodi Quinlan will be hoping that the favoured pair go to war which then brings her horse right into play. The enigma of the field is The Pres gelding Primz Luck whose ring craft has let him down lately but who has ability to burn as he showed in New Zealand several times. Now in the Kerryn Manning barn and to be driven by her in the final, Primz Luck threw it away on his Australian debut in the Redwood Classic. Kerryn has had five weeks since then to iron out those kinks and if he gets around on Sunday they will all know they have been to the races. Selections. Can't split the two favourites in Shared Interest and Eljaykay Phoenix due to the draws but lean a bit towards Eljaykay Phoneix on his overall record. Illawong Armstrong and Primz Luck are both live chances depending how the race is run. Throw in Kyvalley Boomerang, Fabrication and Hadrians Phoenix for trifectas and first fours.  Harnesslink Media    

“That's about twice as many entries as we expected to be honest”.  Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association chair Noel Kennard is pleasantly surprised by the more than 60 broodmares that make the bulk of the web based catalogue for the organisations horse sale on September 11th. The group took on the spring sale of in foal or ready to be bred pacing and trotting mares after requests and demand from it's 270 strong membership wanting a platform to buy and sell stock at the start of the harness racing breeding season. “While nobody's expecting much above bargain prices many of the mares have the potential to engage a bidding duel before they find a new breeding barn”. A sale co-coordinator Sheldon Murtha, is quietly enthusing over the quality that's surfaced during the final days of accepting entries. “The two mares from Tuapeka Lodge will get plenty of views through the website and the prospect of having a spring foal by Art Major or Mach Three should spin some wheels on several other lots”. Fans of the square gaiter should enjoy researching some of the trotting mares listed. If half sisters to 'Sundon' and 'Sky Valley' don't grab, those in foal to current hot stallion 'Monkey Bones' and french bleu blood 'Repeat Love' should have computer mouses clicking through to pedigree pages. Noel Kennard says the convenience of combining the new sale with the associations popular Stud and Stallion promo night may turn out to be a welcome strategic bonus. “Anyone buying a mare at the sale during the first part of the night will have the stallion service offer right there in front of them during the second half” he suggests. “We're assured the stud farms will be ready to make a deal with any new owners that night”. The CSBA Broodmare and Mixed stock horse sale begins at 5pm on Thursday September 11th in the 'Blossom Lady' lounge at Addington Raceway. The horses for sale are now listed on the highlighted web pages at www.harnessracing.co.nz. Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association  

Whenever you are assessing a trotting race at any harness racing meeting in New Zealand, the first thing to check for is the name of Phil Williamson as trainer alongside any of the runners names. You can guarantee that any of Phil's runners will be well educated and ready to rumble. That was the reality facing punters at the first meeting of the new season at Invercargill today (August 10th) when Phil lined up Kylie Castleton in the Southland Harness Awards trot over 2200 meters from a stand. The 4 year old daughter of Majestic Son has a reputation as a progressive horse courtesy of some smart trial performances prior to starting her racing career. Away safely from barrier three, driver and owner Brad Williamson sent Kylie Castleton to the front after 300 meters and from that point the race was in safe keeping. With Brad sitting as quiet as a church mouse,Kylie Castleton coasted down to the line for an easy win. She trotted the 2200 meters from a stand in 2;58.3 in the cold conditions, a mile rate of 2:10.4 with closing sectionals of 61.1 and 30.2 Kylie Castleton is bred to be good as she is from the Sundon mare Castleton's Jewel ($20,836) who is a full sister to Castletons Mission ($237,242) and a half sister to Castleton's King ($115,395). The third dam of Kylie Castleton is a half sister to none other than the former champion trotter  Sir Castleton ( 44 wins) ($302,043) It was a real Williamson family occasion as not only does Phil train Kylie Castleton, but she is owned and was driven by his son Brad and was bred by his wife Bev. Going by todays win, there are plenty more in store for this talented mare.   

Solar Fire was an outstanding two and three year old trotter in the late 1990s, and a harness racing star on both sides of the Tasman. By the time the daughter of Yankee Reb went to stud she had won 14 races and amassed $213,205 in stakes. There was an expectation that her foals would carry on in the footsteps of their dam but in the early days it wasn't to be. From her first seven foals, Solar Fire produced just two winners with Hot Vacation (2 wins) her best performer. And then Sheemon appeared and all her previous foals were forgotten. To date Sheemon has had 36 starts for 12 wins and 19 placings for $249,273 in stakes and looks set to be a major player in all the elite trotting races as a five year old. The next foal from Solar Fire after Sheemon was a filly by CR Commando named Shell Seeker.  Raced extensively at three, she showed glimpses of real ability coupled with a lack of ringcraft. Slowly but surely her trainer Kevin Townley who is a renowned conditioner of trotters, has moulded Shell Seeker into a racehorse. A couple of good thirds in strong fields recently pointed to her being a big chance in the Alabar Super Series Consolation at Addington tonight. ( August 8th) Sent to the lead early by driver Dexter Dunn in the artic like conditions, Shell Seeker was attacked by Innes Boyz and took a trail after 800 meters. Fifty meters later Dexter whipped her out of the trail and back to the front with 1500 meters to run. From their she kept up a steady clip and turning for home it was obvious Shell Seeker had the field in trouble. Dexter just kept her up to the mark in the straight as she held on for a comfortable win.  She trotted the 2600 meters from a stand in terrible conditions in 3:23.8, a mile rate of 2:06.1 with closing sectionals of 62 and 29.5. While there are obviously more wins in store for Shell Seeker before she retires to the broodmare barn, it is there that her real value lies. Not only is Shell Seeker a half sister to Sheemon from a champion racemare in Solar Fire, but her grand dam is a half sister to none other than the champion racehorse and sire in Sundon ( 27 wins) ($264,085). It is a family thats continues to excell and is keenly sought after by breeders in New Zealand. Harnesslink Media  

The battle for the title for leading sire of 4 year olds for the 2013/2014 harness racing season in New Zealand was a one horse affair with Bettors Delight finishing just under a million dollars in front. While that was a comprehensive win, the issue of a much larger crop once again helped to cement in that dominance. As Mach Three proved in the 3 year old division, numbers are really important.  Bettors Delight as is the norm for this great sire produced a freakish mare in Adore Me who was the top earning 4 year old of either sex. His colts and geldings were a handy lot as well but not in the class of Adore Me. The overall numbers for Bettors Delight are outstanding which has been par for the course throughout his siring career. The only negative if you wanted to be picky was the continued lack of any sire prospects emerging from each crop. Bettors Delight can produce champion mares like no other sire but his colts and geldings while very talented are not in the champion class. His best colts and geldings were headed by Elios 1:55 ($149,762) Arden Rooney 1:55.4 ($121,462) and Give The Wink 1:58 ($62,216) The best mares were headed by Adore Me 1:52.4 ($355,658) The Fascinator 1:58.9 ($47,601) and Maloo 2:00.4 ($30,022) Foals - 234 Winners (Aust / NZ) 114 % Winners / Foals - 48.71 Stakes (NZ) $1,803,565 Mach Three finished second nearly a million dollars behind Bettors Delight and a big part of that was the lack of contribution from his mares. While there was plenty of them on the track, they were a touch disappointing overall Mach Three did have a string of very nice colts which were all good enough to go around in the major classics. His overall percentages were up there with Bettor's Delight. His colts/geldings were headed by Cyamach 1:58.8 ($56,584)  Fifth Edition 1:56.6 ($56,251) and Machs Gladiator 1:57.7 ($50,642). His mares were led by Russley Haste 1:59.8 ($36,238) along with Clarisa 1:59.9 ($20,283) and Channell Bromac 1:59.1 ($18,932). Foals - 163 Winners (Aust / NZ) 75 % Winners / Foals - 46.01 Stakes (NZ) $823,098 Third on the sires list was the champion sire Christian Cullen who had a quieter year than normal. Even in a quieter year Christian Cullen managed to produce two horses that look capable of winning Grand Circuit races. Franco Nelson 1:53.1 ($174,990) and Saveapatrol 1:56.9 ($98,127) both look to have huge futures in front of them going by their performances this season. His mares racing in New Zealand were a touch disappointing but that was due in no small way to the fact his best two mares from that crop in Delightful Christian 1:52.1 ($368,611) and Opulent 1:57.3 ($188,047) were racing in Australia. Foals - 122 Winners (Aust / NZ) - 46 % Winners / Foals - 37.70 Stakes - $583,148 The trotting division was as clear cut as the pacing division with Monarchy completely dominating this division. The three biggest earners in Sheemon 1:57 ($135,872) Prime Power 1:56.5 ($67,201) and Royal Aspirations 1:56.5 ($60,488) were all sons of the Balanced Image sire. Second nearly $400,000 behind Monarchy was his Roydon Lodge stablemate in the form of the evergreen Sundon while Love You and Monkey Bones were close up in third and fourth. The emergence of Monarchy from Sundon's shadow and the prominent showing by the likes of Love You and Monkey Bones are all positive signs for the trotting breed going forward. Harnesslink media

There have been a lot of great trotting stallions over the lifetime of harness racing in Australasia but there has never been one as good as Sundon. Right from the time he first went to the stallion barn, Sundon has cast a huge shadow over all the other trotting sires available in Australasia. In the last few years many have been quick to suggest that his time has passed and that the new boys on the block were ready to assume the mantle of “king”of the trotting sires. Well judging by the results the 28 year old son of Arndon has achieved this season in both Australia and New Zealand, the obiturary may be a bit premature. His stats in New Zealand are as compelling as ever. Not only has he topped the stallion sires list again for trotters but Sundon has all but won the broodmare title for allcomers this season. His broodmares have produced the winners of $2,259,369 to date  this season to place him second only to In The Pocket, a fantastic achievement for a trotting stallion. He is a staggering $1,751,754 ahead of his nearest trotting rival on the broodmare stakes won list. In Australia Sundon has yet again topped the trotting sires list and the broodmare sires list as well. AUSTRALIA  1st sires list             2nd sires list          1st Broodmare list          2nd Broodmare list    Sundon                       Earl                           Sundon                              Aereus  $1,120,540                $764,926                   $1,615,601                      $437,689 As you see he is still number one by a fair margin as a sire and is completely dominant as a broodmare sire in Australia. NEW ZEALAND 1st sires list             2nd sires list          1st Broodmare list          2nd Broodmare list   Sundon                      Monarchy                     Sundon                        Chiola Hanover   $1,506,904              $1,035,930                   $2,259,369                        $507,575 Again he is still nearly half a million clear on the sires list but is a huge $1,751,794 ahead of Chiola Hanover on the broodmare sires list. And just to reinforce that he still has the ability to sire that smart young horse, Sundon has sired Australia's best 2 year old trotter this season in Eljaykay Phoenix ($110,569). All in all another great season for the greatest trotting sire to have ever stood in Australasia. Harnesslink media

Brilliant trotter Eljaykay Phoenix is this year’s Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic champion. The son of Sundon from the all-conquering David Aiken yard made it six wins from seven starts in the $50,505 Group 1 event on Sunday at Maryborough. Runner-up My Arya made a race of it though, the New Zealand two-year-old champ getting within a neck of Eljaykay Phoenix at the end of the 2190m journey. The pair finished 12.5m clear of third placegetter Endsino and will both be leading contenders come Breeders Crown finals time next month. Sunday’s victory was junior driver Josh Aiken’s second Group 1 triumph after he won on Eljaykay Phoenix in the Vicbred Super Series final recently for his first. Eljaykay Phoenix worked to the lead early in the Redwood before coming home in a last half-mile of 58.7secs. My Arya and Mark Purdon used the sprint lane to close on the winner late, while Endsino for Andy and Kate Gath worekd home strongly for third after travelling three back the markers. Fabrication finished fourth and Sheza Amason finished fifth. The well-backed Twice As Much had a day to forget, galloping twice in running to finish tailed off last. Eljaykay Phoenix By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

It must be hard at the moment for harness racing owners Lex and Heather Williams to stop smiling as their golden run continues on both sides of the Tasman. Last night at Melton One Over Da Moon won again  for trainer driver Chris Lang in a 2:00.8 mile rate for 1720 meters as he continued his preparation for the Victorian Trotting Derby. That was the icing on the cake after their Angus Hall two year old trotting filly Petite One gave a handy field of older trotters a start and a beating on debut at Addington last night. Dropping out to last early from her bad draw, Petite One was sent forward three wide by her trainer driver Mark Purdon with 1200 meters to run before eventually getting up outside the leader Strathfield Son with 700 meters to run. From there she sprinted strongly once they turned for home, putting the issue beyond doubt in a few strides. Mark Purdon hardly moved in the bike as Petite One went to the line with plenty in reserve. Petite One covered the 1950 meters in 2;30 with closing sectionals of 60.4 and 29.5 , an impressive run in the bitterly cold conditions. When you look at the pedigree of Petite One it is little wonder she is so talented. Not only is she by the great Canadian trotting sire Angus Hall but her dam is the very talented Sundon mare Petite Sunset (7 wins)($115,070) and her grand-dam is none other than the champion trotting mare Pride Of Petite (35 wins) ($811,816). The manner of Petite One's victory last night would suggest that it might not be the last time she brings a smile to Lex and Heather's faces. Petite One One Over Da Moon winning last night in Melbourne Harnesslink media    

Kristie Hill has always wanted to campaign a horse at Alexandra Park and now thanks to her father Brian and enigmatic trotter Sunchita, she fulfilling that dream. Hill snr, who trains in Nelson, took Sunchita to Auckland and Kristie took over the reins a couple of days before the 6-year-old mare had her first race at Alexandra Park last Friday. Sent out a $3.40 second favourite and under the guidance and driving exploits of Tony Herlihy, the daughter of Sundon never looked like losing. Away well from her 10 metre handicap, Sunchita settled handy to the pace before Herlihy sent her forward to find the lead at the 500 metre mark from where she simply out-trotted her opponents – winning by 1 ½ lengths. It was Sunchita’s third consecutive win, fifth this season, and seventh in a career spanning 51 starts. She’s now banked $52,101. “She had to earn her trip up north and prove to us she was worthy of going up there and she did that at Nelson.’’ Hill senior said. “I have campaigned Single Lord and McShane up there before but this is the first time Kristie has been in Auckland with one of our team. “She has lots of friends up there and she always believed Sunchita would go well that way around because that’s the only way we train her back home.’’ He said Sunchita would have two more starts at Alexandra Park over the next two Fridays before returning home. The father and daughter combination both believe the often frustrating trotter has finally turned the corner and put it all together on the track. “If she keeps improving the way she is, well who knows she could start in the Dominion Handicap in November, I don’t want to get ahead of myself but that is the goal. “It’s every trainer’s dream to have a horse line up in either the Dominion or Rowe Cup.’’ Kristie is staying with Steve and Ann Phillips in Waiau Pa, while Sunchita is being stabled half an hour away at Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis’s Waiuku barn. “She loves being beach trained and the wet track on Friday would have suited her, she has really turned the corner now,’’ Kristie said. “We haven’t made too many changes to her gear. “Once upon a time she either finished first or last because of her tendency to gallop. “I think we can put her recent improvement down to maturity.’’ Hill, who is the former Education Manager for Harness Racing New Zealand, said the stakes at Alexandra Park also swayed their decision to bring Sunchita north. “The money on offer was too good to resist and I always wanted to bring her up here because I felt she would go better this way around. “It was a great performance first-up and a brilliant drive by a brilliant reinsman.’’ Hill is a graduation driver who has won 12 races since 1998. She has also placed 38 times from 293 starts for $93,897 in stakes. Two of those wins have come aboard Sunchita while Blair Orange and Jimmy Curtin have also won on her twice prior to Herlihy’s victory on Friday night. Hill said she wasn’t tempted to jump in the sulky and have a drive around Alexandra Park on this trip and was happy to leave the driving duties to Herlihy. “No I won’t be getting in the sulky when I’m up there, why would you put me in the sulky when one of the best drivers in the world can do the business?” Brian and Kristie own Sunchita and also bred her. She is the third of six foals (and most successful) out of Hills’ three-win Dancing Master mare, Carmenchita, who was also trained by Hill. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

This season has been a breakthrough one for the well known husband and wife harness racing training partnership of Jason and Megan Teaz. How much credit should go to Jason is debatable as he spends a good part of his time hundreds of kilometers away in Dunedin as the commentator for the Otago region for the Trackside channel and does a fine job of it to be fair. And Jason does commute on a regular basis. Meanwhile his wife Megan is based at Ohaupo in the Waikato training a small team that has a trotting bias. The stable star to date has been Mingara who won 6 in New Zealand with Megan the pilot for all six wins. With few opportunities in New Zealand at this time of year, her owners recently transferred Mingara to Sydney to take advantage of the good stakes on offer at Menangle Mingara did her part, winning first up last Saturday night for new trainer, Nicole Molander. So the Teazs needed a replacement for their stable star and if the win of King Of Cool last night at Cambridge is any guide, they may have a ready made one to take the step up. Sent out of the gate from seven by Megan, King Of Cool made the lead after 150 meters and then proceeded to turn the race into a procession from that point, cruising home  a very comfortable two and a half length winner. By the outstanding trotting sire Monarchy, King Of Cool is from the smart Sundon mare Cool Kahli who won seven on the track. This was the third win from just 14 starts for King of Cool who has been placed on five occasions as well. The ease of last nights win by King Of Cool must have given the husband and wife team plenty of confidence as they plan his immediate racing future. Harnesslink media  

David Aiken's promising two-year-old gelding Eljaykay Phoenix made it four wins from five starts with an impressive victory in the second heat of the Empire Stallions Super Series for trotters at Bendigo's Lord's Raceway last night. The $1.20 favourite rounded up its opposition 1100m out with Gavin Lang finding the top at the post with a lap to go. Lang released the brakes on the final turn and the son of Sundon sprinted away for a 9.9m victory. Black Valley (Robert Shellie/Rebecca Bartley held down second ahead of Bring the Action (Darren Gray/Doc Wilson). Eljaykay Phoenix trotted home the final quarter in 29.9secs for a 2:03.7 mile rate. The first foal of Maple Eve Phoenix (Malabar Maple) was narrowly beaten at its first race start then has gone undefeated at four starts since, winning twice at Melton. HRV Media

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