Geoff Dunn has just had a harness racing season he will probably never top with his two leading 3 year olds Venus Serena and Tiger Tara winning the age group titles at the recent New Zealand awards. Going by the run of Zin Zan today (August 17th) at Rangiora though, Geoff appears to have another 3 year old of real quality. Very unlucky at his debut run at Oamaru two weeks ago, Zin Zan was restrained off the gate from barrier eight by driver Gerald O'Reilly and settled second last. The free going Millwood Faith went straight to the front and set up a solid clip in front. There were few changes until they turned for home where the favourite Western Art worked to the lead and looked all over the winner. Zin Zan was still second last at the 400 meters before being sent on a searching run by Gerald O"Reilly. Western Art still seemed the winner 100 meters from home before Zin Zan flew home late for a narrow but super impressive win. Zin Zan paced the 2000 meters from the mobile in 2:27.2, a mile rate of 1:58.4 with closing sectionals off the front of 56.5 and 28.8. Zin Zan was miles off the leaders at the half so his closing sectionals must have been really special. It shouldn't be a surprise that Zin Zan is so talented as he is one beautifully bred individual. Purchased out of the 2013 Australasian Classic for $50,000, Zin Zan is raced by Geoff Dunn with his long time stable clients, Bob and Jenny Sandford. By Bettors Delight, Zin Zan is the first foal from a Christian Cullen half sister to Zenad 1:55.4 ($192,636) Zensational 1:54.8 ($138,808) Zenola Seelster 1:58.2 ($102,706) and to Zenterfold, the dam of Tintin In America 1:53.2 ($934,305). Zin Zan looks to have inherited all the family ability and it would not surprise to see him take on the better 3 year olds later in the year. Harnesslink Media
Harness racing buyers at this years All Aged sale in Canterbury held the upper hand right from the opening lot. Most of the broodmares for sale had foals at foot by such well-established sires such as Badlands Hanover and McArdle but most failed to even make four figures. Lockerup, the aged dam of champion trotter Sovereignty $678,321 made $5,000 in foal to Monarchy but most struggled to attract interest. Good examples of that lack of interest would be mares such as: Keepalert - A Life Sign half sister to Mach Alert $394,945 with a Changeover filly at foot made a paltry $400 High Tops Hanover - A mare by Western Hanover from a Big Towner half sister to Holmes Hanover with a filly by Tintin in America at foot fetched just $700 Cullen Katching - A striking young mare by Christian Cullen from a Western Hanover half sister to seven winners including Pacific Flight 1:51 $562,345 and The Unicorn 1:56.7 $488,524, who was not in foal sold for a touch more at $1100. The weanlings were much more in demand. Top price went to the stunning McArdle colt from the 13 win mare Lady Toddy who is already the dam of four in 1;58. He fetched healthy $15,500 which in the context of the sale was a great result for the vendors, Nevele R Stud. Other weanlings to attract interest included *Changeover / Last Port Of Call colt--$8100 *Monarchy / Lockerup colt--$6400 * Vintage Master / Joyful Holmes colt $6200 *Vintage Master / Supreme Classie colt $4600 *Dali / Tammy Franco colt $4500 For full results click here. The North Island leg of the All Aged sale will be held at Karaka on May 30th, The day before the Harness Jewels at Cambridge. Harnesslink media
A Bettor’s Delight colt with ‘Rockstar looks’ out of Christian Cullen mare Galleons Supreme has topped the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale, fetching $130,000 for his Woodlands Stud vendors. Bettor Cheer, who is out of a half-sister to star Bettor’s Delight mare Cheer The Lady ($314,625), was purchased by prolific Australian owners Emilio and Maria Rosati and is likely to be trained in New Zealand by Tony Herlihy The bay colt, who was lot 57, hails from the family of top producer No Regrets, who herself was a half sister to Cup winner Globe Bay and a relative of the immortal Cardigan Bay. Galleon’s Cheer, Galleon’s Treasure, No Equal, Nevermore, Chancellor Cullen, Franco Nester, and Franco Nelson are just some of the names printed in black on Bettor Cheer’s pedigree page. John Street of Lincoln Farms was another who was prepared to fork out big dollars at the sale. His most expensive purchase was a Mach Three colt out of top mare Angelina Jane called Like A Hurricane who set him back $96,000, while he also secured a full-brother to Besotted for $32,500, and a Real Desire half-brother to Tintin In America for 84,000. Purdon brothers, Mark and Barry, both purchased yearlings from families they have had great success with in the past, with Barry securing a brother to Bettor Offer for $46,000 and a sister to Five Card Draw and (half) Ideal Belle for $75,000. Mark on the other hand, purchased a Mach Three half-brother to his Oaks winning filly O Baby for $48,000. His other buys included Conversion (Christian Cullen – Coburg), $45,000, and Sophisticated Lady (Mach Three – Gentle Anvil) $70,000, while his large band of owners were also very active. The other top lots were lot 45 - Alta Las Vegas, Bettor's Delight - Alta Camilla ($77,500 - Robert Dunn), lot 75 – Derringer, Bettor’s Delight – Bury My Heart ($75,000 – Mark Jones), lot 76 – Zadaka, Mach Three – Copper Beach ($115, 000 – Geoff Small), and lot 108 – Mavros, Bettor’s Delight – Its Showtime ($75,000 – Rosslands Stud) The overseas contingent once again played a strong part in the sale with many yearlings now Australian bound and two possibly even heading for the USA. Those two particular yearlings are Cyclone Charlie (Rock N Roll Heaven – Eyre To The Throne) and Maia Maguire (Bettor’s Delight – Mystic Gold) who were purchased by G L Banks & M J Hanover of the USA for $74,000 and $31,000 respectively. Meanwhile, the top trotting lot of the day was lot 47, Gunners Coin, a stunning Muscle Hill colt out of Galleons Dream. He reached $100,000 but that fell well short of his $200,000 reserve. To view full results for the Australasian Classic Yearling Sales click here. By Mitchell Robertson
The flagships of the Division are the Australasian Classic and New Zealand Premier Yearling Sales held in Auckland Monday 17th February and Christchurch Tuesday and Wednesday 18th and 19th of February. Billed as the “Sale of the Stars” their graduates include seven modern day New Zealand Cup winners, thirty two Harness Jewels winners and thirty one Australasian Breeders Crown winners. Unity under the PGG Wrightson organisation has been a major benefit to the sales. Especially in producing a top quality catalogue, funding a very successful inward buyer scheme and the $1 million Sales Race Series now in its 24th year. Harnesslink is running a short series on some of the yearlings on offer. Lot 79 Premier sale - FRANCO TAI SIRE - Lis Mara is one of the big movers on the New Zealand sires list this season. The winners have been coming thick and fast lately and all he needs now is that flag bearer in all the classics.That horse may have arrived with Quick as A Trick looking more like Derby material with every run. DAM - The dam Thatcher Franco (p3,1:59.4) is by the noted filly sire in McArdle from the race winning Badlands Hanover mare in Thoroughly Franco. She is a half sister to the smart Franco Taima (p3,1:59.4. 2240m) who has won seven races and $30,721 to date. The third dam Think Again Franco only left two foals who both won including Try Me Franco (TT1:58.8). The third dam is a half sister to the brilliant Franco Tiger ($991,387) and they both are progeny of the brilliant race mare Tempest Tiger who went on to be the brood mare of the year in the 95/96 season. OVERVIEW - Great chance to buy into one of New Zealands most prolific juvenile producing families. First two dams have been winners and have left winners so Franco Tai is a great chance to add to this families success. Catalogue pedigree Lot 149 Premier sale - FRANCO CHRISTANO SIRE - Bettors Delight needs no introduction. He ticks every box as a sire with his stock being smart age group performers who go on to the Grand Circuit as older horses. DAM - Cherish A Franco (1:58.2) is a race winning daughter of Caprock from the outstanding brood mare in Cherubic (1;57.2 placed). This is her fifth foal and she is already the dam of two very smart performers in Cruiser Franco (1:53.4. $118,000) and Franco Czar 3 wins and 9 placings to date. The dam is a half to eight winners including the brilliant Franco Catapult (1:49.4. $640,831) and Franco Conquest (1;53.4. $94,993) OVERVIEW - A colt by the leading sire in Australasia from Cherish A Franco (1:58.2) who is a daughter of Cherubic (1:57.2). The dam has already left a 1:53.4 winner in Cruiser Franco so the question is not will this colt win races, the question is how many will he win? Catlogue pedigree Lot 259 Premier sale - FRANCO JAMESON SIRE - McArdle is an established sire with over $10,000,000 on his card in New Zealand including such stars as Tintin In America (1:53.2. $906,422) and Elusive Chick (1:53.9. $299,844) DAM - Jazz Franco is a daughter of prominent brood mare sire in Live Or Die. This is her sixth foal and she already has four to race including the full brother to this colt in Franco Jazzman (1:55.7h. $101,840) and a half sister in Jolene Franco (1:58.1) while another full brother in Franco Joaquin was placed in 1:57.9 as a two year old last season. The race winning grand-dam has left five winners including Franco Jonquill (1:52.6) and Franco Justin (1:56.4f). OVERVIEW - A full brother to two smart types in Franco Jazzman and Franco Joaquin, this colt is from a mare that hasn't missed at stud to date. The four foals 3 years and older have all raced and Franco Jameson looks a likely type to join his siblings in the winners circle. Catalogue pedigree JC
One of the more intriguing aspects of the 2014 round of New Zealand Yearling Sales is the return (in numbers) of the progeny of Real Desire. As the winner of over $3.3 million in a stellar race career, Real Desire attracted huge interest from breeders when he first stood in New Zealand in 2007. The resulting crop of foals made an immediate impact and included three Group 1 winning two-year-olds – Cowgirls N Indians (NZ Jewels and Aust Breeders Crown, NZ 2yo Filly of the Year), Lets Elope (NZ Sires Stakes Open Final) and Secret Desire (Vicbred 2yo Fillies Final). While the brilliant Cowgirls N Indians tragically broke down, Lets Elope has gone on to win $280,000 and numerous other highly talented individuals have also emerged from this debut crop – including the likes of Regal Knight (1:53.2, 2nd NSW Derby), Awesome Belmer (12 wins, $100,175), Desirable Guy (14 wins, $95,623), All I Want (14 wins, $87,406), Freespin (1:53, $82,627), Reuben Brogden (12 wins, $90,134), Canardly Lover (8 wins, $86,492), Realmein (8 wins $88,030), All Star Man (6 wins, $69,272) and Spirit And Desire (9 wins, $66,341). All told, Real Desire’s first crop in New Zealand and Australia has produced a tremendous 110 individual winners including 57 in 2:00. Due to poor health, Real Desire did not return to stud in New Zealand for the 2008 season. This break in continuity has put him on the back foot with his stud career downunder. While he did return to New Zealand in 2009 and 2010, Real Desire’s absence for a season reduced his profile and he struggled for numbers. It all changed, however, in 2011 off the back of the wonderful racetrack success of his first crop of two-year-olds. The numbers and - most importantly - the quality returned. Only Bettor’s Delight served more mares than Real Desire did in the 2011/12. The Real Desire yearlings selling in 2014 are the foals of this bumper crop. All told, Real Desire has 20 colts and 12 fillies selling in New Zealand in 2014 – and the quality is very much there. Cowgirls N Indians is out of an In The Pocket mare. There are seven yearlings in the sales bred on this same cross including a half-brother to Tintin In America and a colt from a full-sister to Christian Cullen. Lets Elope and All Star Man are out of Soky’s Atom mares. There are three yearlings in the sales bred on this same cross including a half-brother to Lancome. Other compelling Real Desire lots include a three-quarter brother in blood to Lets Elope and two colts from Christian Cullen mares – one mare a half sister to Venus Serena, the other a half to New Age Man. Astute yearling buyers will remember the success of Real Desire’s last significant crop and be on the lookout for the next Cowgirls N Indians or Lets Elope at Karaka and Christchurch this year.
Smythes Creek (Ballarat) trainer Emma Stewart and freelance Bacchus Marsh reinsman Gavin Lang each recorded doubles at Saturday's Cranbourne fixture, Stewart with two six year olds - Mister Sheedy in the Tintin In America Pace for C6 or better class over 2080 metres and Tara Toplady the Cranbourne Trainers Bonanza for C4 & C5 class (mares) over 1609 metres, while Lang was successful aboard Gatesys Girl in the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2575 metres and Flaxton Filly in the Bayside Group Pace for C1 class over 1609 metres. Mister Sheedy a gelded son of Presidential Ball and Intoxicating driven by Michael Stanley, was surprisingly able to head off the favourite Astronaut shortly after the start from gate five and after an easy time, proved too strong for Astronaut along the sprint lane in a rate of 1-59.4 (last half 56.9 - quarter 28.3), with the Cranbourne specialist Stylish Jasper close up in third place after following the pair. Bettors Delight/Perfect Passion mare Tara Toplady taking a concession for reinswoman Jaimie-Lee King, was a big winner of her race after being trapped three wide from gate four and eventually working to the lead at the bell. Joined by Arber for the final circuit, the pair raced away approaching the home turn with the race to themselves, with Tara Toplady giving plenty to hold a margin of a neck on the wire. Jasmine Sheffield (one/one) was 8.2 metres away in third place. The mile rate 1-56.9. Smart 5-Y-0 Conch Deville/Glamor Loch mare Gatesys Girl is good when she's on her game and was at Cranbourne with a tough victory in a mile rate of 2-07.4. Trained in Gippsland at Longwarry by Michael Hughes, Gatesys Girl stepped cleanly from a 10 metre handicap, with Lang having no hesitation is sending her forward to park outside the pole line leader Mallee Trapper. Appearing to be under pressure on the final bend with the leader holding a clear margin, Gatesys Girl rallied under desperate driving to score by a head right on the wire in a rate of 2-07.4. The 40 metre backmarker Earl Or Nothing ran on late from last to finish third. Eight year old Village Jasper/Turn To Gold mare Flaxton Filly which had recorded 6 wins from 86 outings prior to the race, was given a cosy trip three back on the marker line from inside the second row, with the heavily supported Obama leading from gate four with Monique Burnett in the sulky for trainer Maree Caldow. Extricated into the clear on straightening, Flaxton Filly came with a brilliant burst of speed to register a runaway victory in advance of Obama which offered no resistance, with Zoomba third after racing in the open. The mile rate 1-59.8. Lara trainer Dean Braun made it three from three with recent stable addition Sals Mo in the Ade Turf Equipment Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2080 metres. Beginning with a wing on every foot for Nathan Jack from gate five, Sals Mo was untroubled to lead throughout, winning by 9.6 metres in a rate of 1-58 from Conflict Of Interest (one/two) and Courageous Spirit which trailed the winner. A five year old Art Major/Dream Chaser gelding, Sals Mo is the 6th winner from the dam, the most noticeable being 18 race winner Detriot Dan (By Oil Burner). Len Baker
Cranbourne will host another quality card of action on Saturday and the night will be highlighted by the Tintin In America Pace. Thanks to the generosity of Glenferrie Farm, the winner of the race will be bestowed with a service to the rising stallion. But the race itself could turn into a war between two of Cranbourne’s leading trainers in Hugh Cathels and Vivian Tomren. Their local warhorses Stylish Jasper and Astronaut will go head-to-head and Cathels explained that his charge, Astronaut, has always been a more than honest gelding. “He’s been consistent throughout his whole career except about 16 months ago,” Cathels said. “Before that he cleaned up Suave Stuey Lombo and Saint Flash in a heat of the four-year-old sires and a week later got a really bad viral pneumonia which ,to be frank, knocked him around for the best part of a year. “If he can stay as well as we think he can, and he keeps getting away from the stand then we will definitely look at a few of the lesser class Country Cups.” Noted for his gate speed, Astronaut has drawn three and with his local rival taking up a polemarking position, they are likely to be in front and behind the leader in the early stages. It’s a deep race however as the powerful Emma Stewart/Clayton Tonkin team bring Mister Sheedy to Cranbourne as he looks to avenge his defeat at Tabcorp Park Melton last week, while Melton’s leading trainer last term, Lance Justice, has Alchemy engaged for a first-up tilt. The Cranbourne Trainers Bonanza Pace will be another highly sought after race on the program with Tim Bolitho’s stable recruit Arber drawn the outside the front row in a small field. The meeting kicks off at 6.30pm. by Blake Redden Harness Racing Victoria
The Auckland Trotting Club is pleased to announce the following bonuses for Owners and Breeders on Friday Night (30th August). Glenferrie Farms are kindly donating a service fee for Tintin In America to the winning owners of both of their sponsored races (races 1 & 9). Five time Group One winner Tintin In America is standing at Nevele R Stud for a fee of $2250 +GST. The Auckland Trotting Club is also offering a service to Tintin in America for tender (any collection, transport or other associated costs are not included). Tenders should be forwarded in writing to the following address before 5pm Friday 6th September 2013; Auckland Trotting Club PO Box 26021 Epsom Auckland 1344 (Please note highest or any tender not necessarily accepted) As a bonus for Breeders, the winning Breeder of the ‘Equibreed NZ Mobile Pace’ will receive a $500 Equibreed voucher to be used towards a breeding programme. Friday night will also see the annual running of the Island Of Origin Drivers Series with 12 of New Zealand’s leading drivers competing. David Branch
Harness Racing SA has announced that they will run a stallion tender in conjunction with Glenferrie Farms and they are offering FOUR (4) services from leading stallion, Tintin In America, who stands at Nevele R Stud, in New Zealand. The services are to be sold by tender. Tintin In America is by McArdle from the In The Pocket mare Zenterfold. He won five Group 1 races during his career including the 2009 3yo Breeders Crown at Melton, he also won the Harness Jewells as a 3 & 4 year old. Tenders for all four services close at HRSA offices at 5pm on September 2nd and must be on official tender form found here. Victorian trainer reinsmen Glen Douglas made a hit and run raid to Betezy Park Globe Derby on Saturday night and went home with a double, Jordylan and Gohardorgohome both saluted for Douglas. He also had Itsnewstome finish second to Hilltop Raider in the opening event and Spersub a gallant third to Turnover, Mount Gambier held their annual dinner and stallion auction at the Comfort Inn Silver Birch last week and as usual the night was a great success with services to Julius Caesar, BG’s Folly being scooped up by Western Australian breeders and one lucky NSW breeder was successful in securing the Alabar new boy Smiling Shard service. Other stallions offered where Union Guy and Western Edition who has relocated to Ian and Judi Slater’s Goodtime Lodge near Colac. Mount Gambier president Phil Wood said” the night was successful but we still have services to Lawman and Ambro Variable still for sale” and if anyone is interested contact Phil Wood on 0407609206. Wood also said” the club contributes some $60,000 toward prize money each year and this fund raiser along with sponsorship goes towards that target.” He added Harness Racing Victoria has also included Mount Gambier in four heats of a R0 series in which the finals will be run at Hamilton and Horsham, so those events are likely to attract Victorian visitors. Mount Gambier season kicks off on December 8th. Gary Newton
Peter Hilliard had a taste of Canadian harness racing earlier this year and loved it so much he's handed in his resignation to his employer of eight years - Geoff Small, Patumahoe.
North American harness racing fans know all about the driving talents of Dexter Dunn, who is currently in the United States about to compete in the World Driving Championships. But be warned he's not the only New Zealand junior driver who has the talent to take on the world.
Mystery surrounds the future of glamour pacer Tintin In America. The 5-year-old entire has been stricken with a 'mysterious affliction' which has kept him off the racetrack and away from all the big harness racing purses available this season including the Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park and Interdominions at Addington Raceway - both in March.
Mr Feelgood will try and pen another unusual chapter to one of the strangest stories in pacing history in the Auckland Cup. With the Alexandra Park classic now on his radar it is shaping as the possibly the hottest harness race of the season, with racing's X-factor mare De Lovely also a Cup chance.
Ian Small will take over the training duties of his older brother Geoff's strong Patumahoe stable following a Harness Racing Victoria six month ban, which starts today (November 1) and finises on April 30 next year.
Imagine outlaying a total of $8,700 for a 50th share in a harness racing syndicate and then a few years later getting a $75,000 return on your money. Say what you want, but an 857% profit on your money is a fantastic investment in anyone's language.
Alby Gain called his last harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park on 'Black Friday' August 13, but the 65-year-old had nothing but great fortune when he made one final appearance at the Auckland racetrack tonight (August 28).