Search Results
1 to 16 of 158
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Leading New Zealand harness racing trainer Tim Butt will arrive in Sydney on Thursday morning with talented three-year-old My Field Marshal in preparation for Saturday night’s Simpson Memorial at Tabcorp Park Menangle.  The son of Art Major was placed in last season’s Breeders’ Crown Final, although Butt admits it will not be an easy task after drawing wide this weekend. “Yeah the draw is going to make it tough for him, but he is not a speed horse anyway,” Butt said. “He likes to sit just off them and come with the one run, so his chances are normally dictated by the speed of the race. “He’s a lovely big three-year-old out of a mare called Foreal, she ran some great races in Sydney and won races like the New South Wales Oaks and the Ladyship Mile at Harold Park.” Butt believes it will not be the last time he races in Sydney this preparation. “The plans at this stage are to take him down to Melbourne for the Victorian Derby heats, and if he comes through that well, then we might look at concentrating on the New South Wales Derby heats,” Butt explained. “He’s a pretty nice horse, he isn’t a superstar by any means, but I think he will do a good job in some of the better three-year-old races in Australia.” My Field Marshal isn’t the only horse making the trip across the Tasman with Butt confirming his talented trotter Realmein is on the move as well. “I am bringing Realmein across for some of the feature trotting races too,” Butt said. “It is a bit of a shame I don’t have a fast class pacer to bring across at this stage, so unfortunately I will not have a representative in the Inter Dominion in Sydney. “I’m looking forward to getting back to Australia though and hopefully the stable can have a bit of luck.” GREG HAYES

The Butt brothers Tim and Anthony announced today that their imported superstar trotter Peak had been retired and would now take up full time stud duties. Peak was the flagship for an attempt by the Butt brothers to strengthen the trotting breed down under. The trotting breed in Australasia has always been the poor cousin in the harness racing industry in the Southern Hemisphere. Pacing has always been in the ascendancy and with access to the best sires in the world for the last fifteen plus years has closed the gap with North America. Trotting broodmare owners have not been as well served over the same period but in the last two or three years attempts have been made on several fronts to change that. One of those attempts was the importation of three well bred and performed European trotters by the well respected Butt brothers. Having witnessed first hand on their travels to Europe the ability and gait of European sired trotters, the Butt brothers imported the three entires and syndicated them to stable clients with a view to racing them first and then standing them at stud if they proved themselves in local conditions. As most people realize, it was a very brave decision to try to bring three stallions half way around the world and attempt to get them to adjust to the different racing style in New Zealand and the different training methods. The first of the three stallions to set foot on a New Zealand track was the son of the French super sire Ganymede in Peak. Although not 100% ready,Peak made his New Zealand debut in the Group 3 trotters Flying Mile at Ashburton in October 2013 and what a debut it was. Parked early, Peak worked to the front after 400 metres for Anthony Butt but was attacked from a long way out by The Fiery Ginga which should have made him a sitting duck in the straight. The whole way up the long Ashburton straight Peak lead and come post time he was still in front after cutting out the mile in 1:57.6. It was a wonderful introduction to New Zealand racing and held the promise of better things to come. Second up was the $80,000 Group 1 New Zealand Trotting FFA on Cup Day in 2013. Parked for the first 800 metres, Anthony took Peak to the front with 1200 metres to go and in a replay of Ashburton was immediately attacked again by The Fiery Ginga. Clear as they turned for home, Peak was challenged by a wall of trotters with 100 metres to go and when seemingly beaten got off the canvas to come back and grab the win. Peak's winning time was 2:26.4, a mile rate of 1:57.7 over the 2000 metres which was just outside the New Zealand record held by I Can Doosit It was a stunning performance and one that cemented him as one of the favourites for the $250,000 Group 1 Dominion Handicap three days later. Away well, Peak was shuffled back in the running line before joining the three wide chain at the 800 metres mark. Sent four wide by Anthony at the 500 metres mark, Peak looked poised to challenge as he ranged up to the leaders with 200 to go but then uncharacteristically broke and lost all chance. Sore the next morning, Peak has fought soundness issues ever since. Given a long break, Peak was readied for the 2014 New Zealand Cup meeting but when the pressure went on the soundness problems returned. Already available to New Zealand trotting breeders as Peak combined training with stud work, Peak has already served over twenty mares this season and with the announcement today of his retirement from the track that number should swell by a lot more before the end of the breeding season. The Butt brothers have had several champion trotters through their barn over the years with the likes of Lyell Creek 1:52.4 $2,961,137 and Take A Moment 1:56.7 $1,164,356 to name just two but their is no mistaking how highly they rated Peak. Anthony was effusive in his praise of the son of Ganymede. “The most clean gaited trotter I have ever driven. He is the perfect trotter with speed, gait , heart and manners. When you ask him to go he goes, and keeps going” he said. Tim was no less impressed by the abilities of Peak. “He is such a beautiful horse with a massive heart and superb attitude. He has an unbelievable gait, far superior to any other trotter I have trained. His will to win was his biggest asset,"  he said. Standing for a fee of $2500 +GST, Peak should get his chance to make it as a sire. The two other trotters brought in from Europe with Peak have been a mixed bag to date. Kvintet Avenger had one start in New Zealand before joining the Brent Lilley stable in Victoria where he has looked a trotter on the rise. In seven starts for Lilley, Kvintet Avenger has had five wins and two placings for $41,388 in stakes and looks headed for the best grades.  The other import was Sir Lexington who has won one race from six appearances to date but has had a decent spell and bigger things are expected of him when he resumes shortly. All things considered the Butt brothers should take a lot of heart out of the fact they were able to transport a horse like Peak half way around the world and turn him out a winner at the highest level. Harnesslink Media      

Tim Butt knows enough about training horses at the elite level to know that it will take more than a miracle for him to win one of the two main features at Addington tonight. But it’s not going to stop him from trying. One of our champion horseman over the past two decades will take three horses to tonight’s Premier meeting at Addington, two of whom he confesses have very little, if any hope, and one which he considers a cracking each way chance. The each way bet is Franco Harrington. And Butt says punters shouldn’t drop the big pacer after he was disappointing when beaten at his last start. “He’s a bit of a funny horse,’’ he said. “He probably should have won his last start, but I think you’ll see a better version of him this week.’’ The other of Butt’s chances tonight are Pass Them By who takes on a star-studded field in the Canterbury Classic and old stable favourite, Vulcan, who begins his Dominion Handicap campaign. Pass Them By has shown more the a glimpse of the form that first attracted Butt to him this time in but he still faces a massive task from a second line draw. “It’d be a surprise if he won it. “He’s going really good, but unfortunately he is just a couple of notches below the really good ones. “This race should give him a really good hit out before Methven next week which is our main aim with him at this stage. “I would have said he was a chance of sneaking a place had he drawn the front line but starting from the second row makes things that wee bit tougher and he would need lots to go right.’’ Then there is the Vulcan. Don’t bother asking Butt what to expect from the almost millionaire trotter – because he doesn’t know. His last public trial was that bad that every test imaginable was undertaken, but all were to avail with nothing being able to be detected. “It was a bit of a head scratcher. “At the end of the day we have put it down to him getting on a bit and he has thrown in the odd shocker along the way in the past. “We are really happy with him other than that. “But he’s got to find a few lengths to be competitive this week that’s for sure. “What you know with him though is that he will get better and better with racing.’’ Butt knows time is running out for the multiple Group One winner, but he’s keen to give his old mate, who has given him so many thrills as much opportunity as possible to reach the $1 million mark. “He deserves to achieve that feat I think. “It’s something a bit special because not many trotters have achieved it and when you consider what he has done in his career it would seem to be a fitting thing to happen.’’ Vulcan’s contest tonight in the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup a race which Butt has won twice before with his two brilliant trotters, Lyell Creek (2000) and Take A Moment (2001).  By Matt Markham Harness Racing New Zaland

Champion harness racing trainer Tim Butt will decide within the next few weeks whether to persevere with top trotter Vulcan. Failing to recapture his best form last season, Vulcan is yet to impress Butt during his track work, with the horseman stating the multiple Group One winner is “at the crossroads.” Vulcan is engaged in the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup on Friday night, which is one of three strikes the son of Earl will be granted. Earmarking two more races for the squaregaiter, Butt will decide Vulcan’s future after those assignments. “I am right at the crossroads with him at the moment,” Butt said. “He trialled well in his first hit out, then didn’t go so well last week. “I got him checked out and nothing is amiss with him, so it’s likely just age and hard runs catching up with him. “He isn’t far away from his top, but just can’t get to the peak, which is where he needs to be to race at the level he is at. “He’ll go around on Friday night, then there are races for him at Ashburton and Kaikoura, with those to decide his future.” As for his Addington engagement, Vulcan shares the 20-metre back line with early favourite, Habibti, with the pairing giving up-and-comer Kincaslough a 10-metre start. “Habibti is the one to beat,” Butt declared. “Her runs this time in have been solid and she’ll be right at her peak now. “Kincaslough is only new to this level, but has looked impressive getting through the classes.” Boasting 10 Group One wins, Vulcan’s earnings sit on $983,319, with Butt keen to break the million-dollar barrier. “He has done a terrific job and won a stack of Group Ones without being an out and out champion,” Butt said. “Even if he doesn’t get through this season, he’s done more than enough. “That said, I’d like to get him past a million dollars in earnings.” PAUL COURTS

The dream is fast becoming a reality for team Tiger Tara. The gritty four-year-old rocketed his way into New Zealand Trotting Cup contention with a professional victory in the time-honoured Hannon Memorial at Oamaru yesterday. And for Bob and Jen Sandford along with their co-owners John Gould and and Geoff Dunn – who also does the training – things are starting to fall into place nicely. The intention was never to push Tiger Tara toward a Cup start, but it was instead to let him find his own feet. Something he is doing in style. A bold second to Christen Me in the Maurice Holmes Vase pointed toward a big showing from the Sires’ Stakes Final winner of last season and he didn’t disappoint. “It’s all getting a bit exciting,’’ Bob Sandford said after the race. “To be honest we probably didn’t have too many expectations coming into this prep, we were just happy to see how things panned out. “But it looks now like we might get a shot at the big one.’’ Handled expertly by Gerard O’Reilly, Tiger Tara jumped out of the one out one back position rounding the final bend and his blistering speed got him to the line. And while in reflection that might not seem like anything special – especially considering that none of the big guns of this year’s Cup were in attendance for the race – when you break the performance down, it’s full of merit. He’s run his last 800 metres in better than 55.5 second and clocked his last mile in 1.55 as well. O’Reilly was forced to move a lot sooner than he had hoped which left the pair a sitting duck but when Four Starzzz Flash ranged up to win at the 150 metre mark, Tiger Tara kicked. The win should see him move high up into the Top 15 rankings for the Cup when the next round is released tomorrow afternoon. Dunn wouldn’t commit to where he was headed next but he gave an indication that it would probably be more likely to be the Canterbury Classic next month as opposed to the Avon City Ford Cup next Friday night. “We will have to sit down and have a think about that one.’’ Four Starzzz Flash looked a lot more like his old self with a barnstorming finish to run second. “He’s a funny horse, you need to keep him on the job and up on the nickel,’’ Dexter Dunn said. “He just got held up for long enough that I think it might have cost him going close, but Geoff’s horse was always going to keep fighting.’’ Pure Power, who led the field throughout and set up a 3.14.4 time for the 2600 metre stand – the third fastest running of the Hannon – finished third, but was later relegated to fourth behind Pass Them By after it was deemed the big pacer had shifted across the track and into the line of the Tim Butt trained runner.  Courtesy Matt Markham - Harness Racing New Zealand    

Following four successful running’s of the Seasonal Super Series held at Addington, the  New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (Met) will stage a fifth Alabar Super Series on  Friday 10 October 2014.  As well as some leading trainers including Robert Dunn, Terry and Glenys Chmiel, Ken  Barron, Tim Butt, Nigel McGrath, Cran Dalgety, Robbie Holmes, Brendon Hill and Mark  Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen cashing in, wins have been achieved by Peter Bagrie, Brian  Fahey, Gavin Cook, Craig Edmonds, Alex Hastie, Barry Ford, Noel Taylor and Kevin  Townley. Total stakes paid out in the Series will result in approximately $470,000 including  the October round.  The fifth Series, to be staged also at Addington, will once again cater for lower grade horses  with projected stakes totalling greater than $70,000 over three events.  There will be opportunities for:  C0 pacers at 9 August 2014 – Stake $23,500  C1 to C2 pacers at 9 August 2014 – Stake $23,500  C0 to C2 trotters at 9 August 2014 – Stake $23,500 All starters in these races are to receive a minimum stake of $500. There is no enrolment fee payable. Field selection will be based on a points system. To qualify to start in these races on 10 October 2014, a horse must have started at least  once at a Met meeting between 22 August 2014 and 3 October 2014. With five Met meetings at Addington during this period there is ample opportunity for owners and trainers  to prepare their horses for the series. It is the intention of the NZMTC that a similar series will take place early in the New Year on  30 January under like conditions.  Full details and conditions are to follow and can be viewed  Alternatively, please call Brian, Richard or Colin of Addington’s Racing Department on (03)338 9094. Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager - Addington

Blair Orange finished at the All Stars stable in July after a decade associated with the best stable in the country- and he has plenty to show for it. He finished on a high breaking into the "100 club" for the first time, the latest in a string of records he has established over the years. "My target was 50 at the start of the season. I thought I was doing well when I got to 75 and then I thought, well I might as well go for the 100. I might not get a chance to get that close again" With help from the Mark Jones stable he achieved his target -well ahead of any previous season. The stimulus All Stars gave his young driving career speak for itself. He had of course helped make his own luck, making marked improvement to rein 37 winners in the 2002 season mostly for smaller trainers like Trevor Craddock, Mike Austin, Craig Buchan, Kevin Townley, Andrew Stuart, Brian Kerr, John Parsons, Michael House and Peter Cowan. It is significant that his 100th winner for this  season was for Austin and his last driving night under the All Stars banner features a drive for Buchan. But the chance to work with Mark Purdon was going to another level and Blair has always aspired to go to the next level. "Mark rang me out of the blue. I had never driven for him. We talked, he made me an offer and I accepted. " Ohoka Atom was his first winner for the stable but one of his biggest thrills came a month later when Waihemo Hanger won at the Cup meeting. "I had never driven a winner on Cup Day so that was special ." Ironically one of his earlier regular drives for Mike Austin, Ado's Invasion, was second handled by Mark Jones. Blair's career had started nearly seven years earlier when he was with Tim Butt and drove Whizza Nova to win at Reefton in 1996. He won 18 races in his first season for All Stars but by 2007 topped $1m in stakes won thanks chiefly to Ohoka Arizona, Fiery Falcon and Steve McQueen. In only one season since have his stakes won been less than seven figures. His best season for the stable in  terms of wins was 2012 when he won 46 for All Stars from a season driving  total of 81. However even in his final season with Mark and Natalie driving many of the A graders he won 39 races for the stable.  Altogether he has won $12.6m in stakes for owners over the years. His biggest month for All Stars was in March of 2009 when he drove 11 winners for the stable going close with 10 in the same month this season. So as he heads for his own training career -though with plenty of free lance driving still part of the package-what has he learned. Naturally the answer is "a lot". "Obviously the overall organisation is something you don't work with often. I have worked in other top stables such as Tim and Anthony's but there is always something different they do, something you can pick up on. The handling of the two year olds has been one of the great experiences for me. How they are brought along and managed and each one assessed for what they can handle as youngsters. Then how they are managed during their campaigns. There was a lot in that'' "But the overall routines and stable management was just as important. So much to learn and adapt when I go out on my own training. Mark is a master at planning a programme so the horses peak for the big days. Not many can do it like he and Natalie can'' " From a driving viewpoint the horses at All Stars give you confidence in what you are going. That is a hell of an advantage and it carries over to your other drives " If it was so good why leave ? "I would have been quite happy to stay to be honest if an offer like Ken's (Barron) had not come along. But I was going to have to strike out a bit more on my own sooner or later and this was a deal I thought too good to let pass. It could open the way for me to have my own training operation which is the long term aim. In the meantime I will still be doing a lot of free lance driving and some of that for Mark Jones who has been such a boost to me this season." Blair is aware there are plenty with doubts he is doing the right thing but that is of no concern to him. "While I was mulling over the offer I had a few doubts myself but once I made the decision I was confident it was the right one and what anybody else thinks is not important to me.  It would be fair to say Blair Orange came to All Stars still an apprentice and left as graduate with honours on the driving track. So what were his five most memorable experiences at the stable ? In no particular order: LENNON "I won a lot of races with Lennon in my first season with Mark and races like the Kindergarten, Welcome, Sapling and the Sires Stakes. He was a class horse and he gave me a lot of confidence that I could measure up in the big stuff" WAIHEMO HANGER  "He have me my first winner at the Cup meeting and that was a huge thrill for me at the time. You don't forget things like that" AUCKLAND REACTOR- "I won the Taylor Mile behind him. He was just a terrific horse. He had that something extra you never forget " ADORE ME -"Winning the Easter Cup gave a thrill like Auckland Reactor had. A special horse to drive" HIGHVIEW TOMMY " He might have only run second in the Cup but second in the Cup was a big thing for me. It is the race everyone wants to win and we went close. He gave me a lot of other big moments too and Tommy could be full of surprises so you never knew quite what was going to happen" (Blair set some sort of record with Highview Tommy too driving him to win in five successive seasons. Maybe not even Mark has done that with one of the team in Blair's era). Courtesy Of All Stars Racing

Harness racing can be really frustrating at times when you know horses have ability to burn but they are having problems translating that into performances on the racetrack. New Deal fits into that category bigtime but he is finally starting to repay his supporters with displays more in keeping with his ability. Before New Deal ever had his first start, he gave a glimpse of how talented he was at a trials meeting at Rangiora. In a maiden 2000 meters trial, New Deal led early, steadied and then brushed home in 54.6 and 26.9 without being driven out. It was a display of raw talent that was not missed by punters but what New Deal didn't have in those early days was ringcraft. New Deal was prone to every mistake in the book and raced accordingly with just one win in his first ten starts.  He started to turn the corner late in his last campaign, winning two of his last three starts and resumed recently with an emphatic win at Rangiora. Sent straight to the front by regular driver Colin DeFilippi, New Deal toyed with his rivals in the 2000 meters mobile, winning in a 1:59.6 mile rate with smart closing sectionals of 55.8 and 27.3. Tonight at Addington, New Deal has drawn two at the barrier over his pet distance of 1950 meters and if he brings his "A" game to the table he will be very hard to beat. However the strength of the field means New deal will need to be at his best as there are several promising horses drawn handily in the 1950 mobile for C3 - C5 pacers. The Tim Butt trained Franco Harrington has drawn barrier one and the son of Lis Mara is coming off a great second to Dalton Bromac at his last start. Weather 1950 meters is really his go is debatable but the draw and ability means he is a big chance. Lewy Risk from barrier four has Ricky May in the bike tonight and he looms as another winning chance with four of his five wins coming at 1950 meters. His last start third to Dalton Bromac was also full of merit and given a run to suit will be very competitive. The last of the main chances is Lumos form the Robert Dunn barn who has drawn barrier six and he comes into the race with a great last start third to Christen Me and Lochaburn. It is an enormous drop back in class here but the 1950 meters has not been kind to Lumos in the past with just one win from 13 attempts. Class will take him a long way but we would prefer him over more ground. So for us, New Deal to continue his progression through the grades with Franco Harrington, Lewy Risk and Lumos  the main dangers.  Throw in Hi Jinx and Florin for trifecta and first four players. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing needs its pin up stars and there’s no bigger star at the moment in Australasia than Follow The Stars. Punters backed Follow The Stars into $1:10 after a brilliant semi final win at Ballarat last Saturday. One punter dropped $50,000 on Follow The Stars at that money and he would have had few worries during the running. The Mark Purdon trained son of Art Major was at his brilliant best today at Tabcorp Park Melton, taking out the American Ideal @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Final for two-year-olds. Working straight to the lead despite an outside-front-row draw, Follow The Stars controlled the race like he has done nine times before (from 10 career starts -- and his only defeat came in the Harness Jewels in New Zealand when he got knocked over, so he arguably he should have a perfect record). Follow The Stars cruised home by 4.9 metres over stablemate Kept Under Wraps for Greg Sugars, while My Field Marshall, from the Tim Butt stables, made it a trifecta for the Kiwis. While the Kiwi trainers dominated the race, there was a strong Australian connection with the winner – with Lauriston Bloodstock having bred the winner. Follow The Stars recorded a winning mile rate of 1:56.7, finishing off with a smart 55.7secs for the last half-mile. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria    

When Bulla harness racing trainer Kerry O’Riley entered Ourboyjay in Saturday night’s Goldfields Catering 2YO Pace at Bendigo, he was under the impression his gelded son of Village Jolt would be a fair show of recording a second win at career start number seven. The pacer scored an impressive win at Yarra Valley two starts back in a 2C0 event before a luckless eighth of 11 at cricket-score odds in the Tatlow Stakes at Tabcorp Park Melton when he got carted back at a vital stage. But O’Riley was shocked when he realised who his competition would be in Saturday night’s $6,505 race -- none other than Australasia’s best two-year-old Follow The Stars and his highly rated stablemate Linda Lovegrace. Both Follow The Stars and Linda Lovegrace are trained by Mark Purdon and will be using Saturday’s race as a hit-out ahead of the rich Breeders Crown series. For good measure, another Kiwi in My Field Marshall – who has won three from six and hails from the smart Tim Butt camp in Christchurch – will also line up on Saturday night. “It’s a lot stronger a field than I thought it might be,” O’Riley chuckled. “Let’s just hope he can run a personal best on Saturday night. It’d be the stuff of fairy tales to think you could beat Follow The Stars.” But Daryl Douglas, who drives Ourboyjay, is somewhat more upbeat about the horse’s chances, according to O’Riley, even if it was just Douglas’ natural optimism shining through. “Daryl’s always pretty optimistic but he said to me, ‘If you’re not in it, you can’t win it’,” O’Riley said. While simply hoping for a positive run this weekend, O’Riley believes Ourboyjay will develop further next season. “He’ll make a better three-year-old and he hasn’t much luck as a two-year-old,” he said. “He locked wheels in the Vicbred semi-final and got knocked over on the top turn and then in the Tatlow he got caught behind a tiring horse.” Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria   Related Links Fields for Bendigo, Saturday 09 August 2014 Form guide for Bendigo, Saturday 09 August 2014  

Ever since his first appearance at the harness racing trials this season, the Tim Butt trained two year old Field Marshal has turned heads with his combination of good looks and raw ability. After a series of impressive runs at the trials, Field Marshal was thrown in the deep end with a debut run in the New Zealand Welcome Stakes against the best two year olds in New Zealand. Try as he might, Field Marshal didn't have the ringcraft that night and appeared all at sea for driver Anthony Butt. Given a month gap before he was next produced at Timaru, Field Marshal comfortably accounted for a maiden field at Timaru in a 2:00.6 mile rate for the 2000 meters and looked to be back on track. A week later Field Marshal lined up again at Oamaru against older horses. Drawing nine at the barrier in the 2000 meters mobile , he was three wide until the 700 meter before finding the death seat. From there he fought like a tiger to run a meritorious second to the smart Mako Banner. What made the run even better was that the 2000 meters was cut out in 2:25.4, a mile rate of 1:56.9 with closing sectionals of 56.7 and 27.7. After such a hard run, Field Marshal did not race again for five weeks until he went around at Rangiora in a 2000 meters mobile. Sent straight to the front from a handy draw, Field Marshal was pressured in front the whole way which told in the last 100 as he was swamped by a couple of swoopers. The time for the 2000 meters mobile in bitterly cold winter conditions was 2:26.7, a mile rate of 1:58 which was a top effort by Field Marshal as a two year old against older horses. Sent North after that run for a Breeders Crown heat, Field Marshal had a “ walkover” win as he was the only eligible horse nominated. In preparation for tonights race at Cambridge he had a run at the workouts on Saturday and scored a stylish four length win in 2:46.9 for the 2200 meters mobile, a mile rate of 2:02 with closing sectionals of 56.2 and 27.4. It showed that Field Marshal even from his draw of eight tonight in the John Makgill Memorial Pace is the horse they all have to beat. Not only is Field Marshal by the top sire Art Major but he is also from the top mare Foreal. Foreal was one of the best mares of her time in Australasia, taking a record of 1:57.4 on her way to winning $664,800 in a stellar career. Safely through tonight, Field Marshal may yet head to Australia for the Breeders Crown semi finals in August. If he was to make the trip to Australia for the Breeders Crown, Field Marshal has all the credentials to be a serious contender. Field Marshall seen here winning at Timaru   Harnesslink media

Top New Zealand filly Ideal Belle has been scratched from her two-horse Australasian Breeders’ Crown heat at Alexandra Park tomorrow night and has been ruled out of the rich series by trainer Barry Purdon. The New Zealand Oaks winning filly, who would have been one of the favourites for the Group One 3YO fillies division, has suffered a leg injury after being caught in a fence at Purdon’s Clevedon property. The tall American Ideal filly, who showed she was right on song for the series with a smart workout last week, will now head to the spelling paddock. Her scratching means that the Geoff Small trained Zeta Bromac will get a walkover ABC heat win, as will Ideal Belle’s stablemate Sky Major who is still well on track for the 3YO colts and geldings division of the series. In other Breeders Crown news, the Tim Butt trained Field Marshal is set to arrive in Melbourne on August 6 in preparation for the ABC after qualifying in a one horse heat at Cambridge last week, while Katy Perry, who was defeated in her Cambridge heat by Joanne’s A Delight, is already in Australia and will compete in the Tatlow Stakes (Group Two) at Melton on Saturday before heading to a Breeders' Crown Repechage. Katy Perry is just one a strong contingent of Kiwi trained or owned horses that are seat to do battle in feature races across the Tasman this weekend. Others include Messini, Kept Under Wraps, Iceobar, Bettor Rock On, My Arya, Primz Luck, One Over Da Moon, Our Twentyten, and Daenerys Targaryen. However the two highlights of the weekend may come from champion Australian pacers Im Themightyquinn and Smoken Up. ‘Trigger’ (Smoken Up) is set to have his last start in New South Wales at Menangle on Saturday and his trainer-driver Lance Justice is expecting a big performance, while ‘Quinny’, who will be reunited with Gary Hall Jnr, will battle it out with Mach Beauty, Suave Stuey Lombo, and Avonnova for Group One glory in the Blake’s A Fake at Albion Park on Saturday. After much talk about drivers leading into the race, Lauren Panella has decided to stick with Mach Beauty, while Bart Cockburn, who has been sacked from Avonnova after his interesting drive in the Sunshine Sprint, will take the reins behind Suave Stuey Lombo. Replacing Cockburn in the sulky behind Queensland star Avonnova is Shane Graham, who was victorious in his only drive on the gelding. By Mitchell Robertson  

Oamaru Raceway could have easily been mistaken for the North Pole today. Not only was it was it freezing cold but Father Christmas was there. And, like every Decemeber, he didn’t disappoint. After starting from the unruly, Father Christmas and driver Brad Williamson looped the field three wide with cover with a lap to go, before surging to the front down the back straight. He then kicked strongly in the home straight to hold off a late challenge from Foreverman. Little Bro was a further two lenghts away in third. The Phil Williamson trained three-year-old, who was greeted in the winners’ circle by a syndicate of owners wearing Santa hats, has now won three of his six starts and placed on a further two occasions. However, had it not been for a couple of mistakes his record could be even more impressive. “Phil (Williamson) has always had a big opinion of him and he seems to be getting more full-proof all the time,” said wife Bev Williamson. “We think he has a pretty big future and he should still get better as he is only three,” she added. By top French stallion Love You, Father Christmas was bred to be good and should continue to get even better. He hails from a family of smart trotters including Dependable, Jo Anne, Shirley Temple, Ima Gold Digger, and Doctor Mickey. Meanwhile, junior reinswomen Samantha Ottley and Kimberly Butt both won two races on the card today and tied for first in the Streamline Freight Drivers Challenge. Kim was successful aboard the Tim Butt trained Pantheon and the Robbie Holmes trained Lurah, who provided her with not only her first double but also her first outside win “Before today I had only ever driven winners for Tim Butt (uncle) and Mark Jones (employer-second cousin),” explained Butt. Ottley was victorious aboard Valmagne and Joe The Hunter and now has a four win lead in the Junior Drivers Premiership over northern reinsman Sailesh Abernethy. By Mitchell Robertson

Multiple Group One winning pacer Mah Sish, who was a long-time favourite at Premier Stables, left New Zealand last week and is now a resident of the US of A. “He had been spelling at Todd Mitchell’s and flew out on Thursday,” advised his former strapper, Sonya Swain. Know by many of his biggest fans as 'Baxter', Mah Sish was victorious in 15 of his 54 starts in Australasia with stakes in excess of $800,000. His biggest wins came in the $A400,000 Hunter Cup and the $A150, 000 Ballarat Cup, while he also placed second in the Interdomion Final and the Victoria Cup. Mah Sish was also a creditable fourth in the 2012 running of the New Zealand Cup. The tough Mach Three seven-year-old, who has a huge will to win, is being trained by ex-pat Kiwi Richard ‘Nifty’ Norman, who is also the trainer of world champion trotting filly, Bee A Magician. “It was a sad old week at Premier Stables,” said Swain. “I have never worked with a horse with so much character,” she added. “He is a huge attention seeker, but I love him to bits and hope that he does a great job in America.” Mah Sish had an uncanny ability of winning on Swain’s Birthday, in fact, his last ever win ‘Downunder’ in The Pure Steel came on that exact day, the 25th of January. “That was an extremely emotional night as he had been badly out of form prior to the win. I was in tears that night,” she admitted. Mah Sish was amazingly also successful in the $150,000 Ballarat Cup on Swain’s Birthday in 2013. Mah Sish was originally trained by Dean Taylor, before being purchased for a six figure-sum by clients of Tim Butt, who took the gelding to the next level. It is suspected that Mah Sish has been bleeding in his recent races, but in America he will be able to race with the assist of Lasix, which is an anti-bleeding medication. Also on Mah Sish’s flight were former Reid-McMullen trained horses, Commander Galleon and Destination Moon. Commander Galleon, a seven win trotter, will be trained by Erv Miller, while Destination Moon, who is a speedy three-year-old brother to Tintin N America, will join the barn of Linda Toscano. By Mitchell Robertson

Following three very successful runnings of the Seasonal Super Series held at Addington this season, the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (NZMTC) will stage a fourth Super Series on Friday 8 August 2014. The three rounds of the Series held in October and December 2013 and May this year, proved to be very successful with a good level of runners (an average of 13 starters) competing in both the finals and consolations. It was encouraging to see a “spread” of winners from a wide range of trainers taking out their share of the stakes, providing a number of different owners with a healthy return. As well as some current top 20 premiership placed trainers including Robert Dunn, Terry and Glenys Chmiel, Ken Barron, Tim Butt, Nigel McGrath, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen cashing in, wins were achieved by Peter Bagrie, Brian Fahey, Gavin Cook, Craig Edmonds, Alex Hastie, Barry Ford and Noel Taylor. Total stakes paid out in the new Series will result in approximately $400,000 including the August round. The fourth Series, to be staged also at Addington, will once again cater for lower grade horses with projected stakes totalling greater than $100,000 over six events. There will be opportunities for:    C0 pacers at 3 May 2014 – Stake $23,500  C1 to C2 pacers at 3 May 2014 – Stake $23,500  C0 to C2 trotters at 3 May 2014 – Stake $23,500 Consolations for these races will be run should numbers warrant, with each consolation carrying a total stake of $12,500. All starters in the open race (final) are to receive a minimum stake of $500 and all starters in the consolations will receive a minimum stake of $250. There is no enrolment fee payable. Field selection will be based on a points system. To qualify to start in these races on 8 August 2014, a horse must have started at least twice at a NZMTC meeting between 10 May 2014 and 31 July 2014. With nine NZMTC meetings at Addington during this period there is ample opportunity for owners and trainers to prepare their horses for the series. It is the intention of the NZMTC that a similar series will take place later in the year on 10 October 2014 under like conditions. Full details and conditions are to follow and can be viewed Alternatively, please call Brian Rabbitt or Richard Bromley of Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington

A close association with All Stars going back 12 years will end in July when Blair Orange strikes up a new career combining training with driving. Blair has entered into an agreement with Ken Barron to operate a training/driving operation similar to that which Ken enjoyed with his mentor John Lischner which resulted in Ken ultimately taking over the training operation. Blair will continue to drive free lance where he can and is sure to be seen in the All Star colours again-but not as a stable associate which he has been since 2002.  "The only reason for my leaving is that this is an opportunity too good to miss” Blair said. "It was always going to come to this sooner or later because I intended striking out on my own. This is just an ideal way to take the next step. Mark and Natalie have been involved through the process and we part on the best of terms. I have been grateful for what happened to me during my time at All Stars. It lifted me into the big time you could say and gave me great opportunities I would not have got otherwise. We have always had a good relationship and that will continue. But you have to keep moving forward. I was due to do that. I am looking forward to the challenge'' Blair was approached by Ken after the latter decided he would take a step back from race driving and concentrate more on stable administration.  Both Mark and Natalie offer Blair all the best in his new venture. As Natalie put it "We wish Blair all the best. He had been with the stable 12 years or so after all and has always been an important member of Mark's team and he justified that confidence and was very loyal.  There always comes a time when you move on and this is a good opportunity for him'' Blair joined All Stars within a couple of years of leaving junior driver ranks. In December 1997 he drove his first winner, Whizza Nova, at Reefton, trained by Tim Butt who was then his employer. His winning total in stakes was just over $7000. By 2007 his winning drives had topped $1m a season in earnings having built steadily during his stay with All Stars and have rarely dropped below that figure. Blair has set a stack of personal records including seven Harness Jewels wins and set such marks as four of the last 8 runnings of the Welcome Stakes. All Stars have helped him push his total wins to 929 and he should join the 1000 club before the end of the year. Even if the 1000th winner does not come in All Stars colours Blair would be the first to say its contribution to his career has been crucial. By David McCarthy (Courtesy of ALL STARS STABLES)

1 to 16 of 158
1 2 3 4 5 Next »