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On a 12 race programme at Winton on Sunday, seven of the races were mobile 2400 metre contests and all were run in faster than three minutes. Quickest was Bonnie Jean in 2:53.8 then Delight My Soul 2:55.1, Major Hippie 2:55.3, Steiger 2:56.4, Boom Time 2:56.8, Comic Book Hero 2:57.1 and Gabby's Delight 2:58.2. Other highlights of the under-card included: * After breaking for more than 50 metres in the final 200 at Invercargill and being disqualified, Bets Commando never put foot wrong on Sunday. Leading all the way she took the Winton Workouts Committee Trot for non-winners; * When you're hot you're hot and after starting April with just three wins for the season, trainer Alan Paisley has doubled his tally. He got two last week at Invercargill and Gabby's Delight in the Advance Agriculture Ltd up to M46 Mobile Pace at Winton; * More than 57 years after driving his first winner, Winterloch on the big grass track at Invercargill in October 1959, and 10 years since his previous, Village Lord at Invercargill in March 2007, Gary McEwan's win meter ticked again on Sunday when Our Budd took out the Cox Family Trot for up to R52 trotters. Included in his wins is one at Sacramento in California on a New Zealand horse Sholtz End. The 75 year old McEwan also trains Our Budd and had a second runner in the race, Eyre's Rag Doll driven by Hamish Hunter, who finished seventh. This was a reverse of the situation at Invercargill last November when Eyre's Rag Doll with Hunter aboard won - to credit McEwan with his first training success since Summit Invasion in 2005 - while Our Budd and McEwan finished seventh; * Woodlands trainer Steve Baucke dedicated the win of Delight My Soul in the SBS Bank Mobile for R52 to R54 pacers to the memory of his brother Darrin, who passed away in Hamilton on Thursday from prostate cancer, aged 51. With four racehorses, two joggers and one breaker in work, Baucke said he has more on the go than ever. Three wins, courtesy of Delight My Soul (two) and I'm Jimmy James, put him on target to beat his best from the 2011/12 term when Citylight won four. Citylight and I'm Jimmy James are half sister and brother. * Boom Time's win in the PGG Wrightson Mobile for MR47 to MR52 pacers added to the southern success of the Butterworth Racing Syndicate who won last week with Jimmy Mack. A Gotta Go Cullect three year old, he was bred by Robin and Mandy Swain with Robin also the trainer and driver. Boom Time qualified in December and changed hands the same week; * Comic Hero won the Lamb & Cattle Graziers Mobile for up to R44 pacers for his Tauranga-based owner and breeder Graham Cooney and local trainer Hamish Hunter. It was Hunter's eighth win of the season, four have been with horses bred and owned by the RIB board member alone and the other four with horses he has bred and owns in partnership; * From a 20 metre handicap in the Murray Gray Memorial R52 and faster Trot, Spotlight the Valley created a new all-comers track record for 2400 metres of 3:02.1. The record was previously held by Santorini Sunset of 3:02.8 set in March 2015. It was the five year old Skyvalley mare's third win since Christmas, all with Blair Orange in the sulky. She is trained at Balfour by Robert Wilson who is enjoying his best season, having won also with Another Delight (2), Eagle Galleon, Major Vibes and Machie Mach; * A second line draw didn't stop Steiger and driver Kirk Larsen early and they soon had the one-one in the Gallagher Animal Management R46 to R51 Mobile Pace. Three-back from the 900 meant they had work to do turning in though but wove a path through to get up by three quarters of a length. It was Larsen's second win from 10 drives on the son of Bettor's Delight who was bred and is raced by Jim and Alistair Veint and Warren Tuckey and trained by Lindsay Veint at West Plains; * All Stars first-starter Major Hippie dominated the New World Winton Mobile Pace in the day's fastest time for non-winners over 2400 metres from behind the mobile. The three year old is raced by Trevor Casey, Neil Pilcher, Jim Gibbs and Cheryl Rasmussen; * Bonnie Jean made it five from eight, and two from two for her dam Wave Runner when winning the Drainage & Excavation Services for R55 to R70 pacers and three year olds up R75. Bred by Julie Davie and Peter and Dan Cummings of Tuapeka Lodge, Bonnie Jean is a younger half sister to Southern Belle Speed Series winner Break Dance.   Mac Henry

Canterbury trainers Mark Jones and Regan Todd are both chasing the features at Winton on Sunday with favoured runners and both have realistic chances. Todd's representative in the $20,000 final of the Southern Belle Speed Series for mares four year old and older is Kayteeoh Denario who has the right credentials to win. On hand for the first race of the series at Winton in December, Kayteeoh Denario drew one but was crossed and shuffled. She had a wall in front of her turning in, waited, then flew for third.  At Wyndham on 5 February for the third heat, she was clearly superior when winning in 1:54.9, and didn't race again until the Addington meeting on the last day of March. From the 13 draw over 1950 metres, the mare sat back, joined the three-wide line, bided her time and ran home strongly for second out wide.  “She seems on song for this week,” Todd said, “we ran at Addington with the Southern Belle in mind, with a bit of luck she won't be far away.” Glenferrie Classic, daughter of Mainland Banner and part-owned in the south, is the Jones entrant. She won the Winton heat in December in 1:55.9 and raced on until a disappointing result in the Waikouaiti Cup on 12 February.  As preparation for Sunday, the four year old reappeared at the Addington trials on 27 March. In the hands of Jones and up against the stars in murky conditions, the mare sat fourth in line until asked to sprint from the 400. Waikiki Beach, who had dictated in front, reeled off a final 400 on the easy track in 27.8 and although Glenferrie Classic chased in vain, she looked solid to the end. Another Canterbury visitor in contention is the Brad Mowbray-trained Ultimate Desire who also contested the December heat at Winton. Drawn outside on the second line, the daughter of Real Desire ended up parked for the majority of the trip and was swamped late finishing sixth in 1:56.3. In the second heat, at Ascot Park, Ultimate Desire drew the outside of the front line, was parked briefly, got the one-one then snuck into the trail down the back. No explosive finish but she kept on for third. Another outside-of-the-front line draw at Ashburton on 4 February but with Dexter Dunn in the sulky she was soon in the one-one, applied the pressure across the top and held to win in an impressive 1:52.6. Although she goes from the outside of the front again on Sunday, Dunn will have the reins. “Dexter asked where we were going and when he knew, he was happy to stick with her,” Mowbray said. “She's good enough to lead or follow and Dexter's the expert, I'll leave it to him.” In her latest start, Ultimate Desire took on the top liners in the group one Breeders Stakes, again went from wide on the front line, sat back and ran home gamely along the poles for sixth. In the $14,000 Winton Businesses Cup, all eyes will be on top filly Delightful Memphis. Last time on the track, on Wairio Mile Day, she ran home from the back of the small field to stop the clock in a provincial record 1:51.9. On Sunday she has to go from a stand in public for the first time in her career.  In her favour, Delightful Memphis will be alone on the 20 metre back-mark and she has the services of top driver Blair Orange. Given a safe and not too tardy beginning, class should be enough to see her retain her unbeaten record in Southland. Just by starting, she will become eligible to run in the group two Southland Oaks at Ascot Park on April 30. Todd's Cup entrant is Torrid Bromac who was previously with Steven McRae and ran fifth behind Heaven Rocks and Classie Brigade in last season's Southern Supremacy Stakes. He has the services of Dunn on Sunday. “Dexter drives a few for me, he's never driven Torrid Bromac but I was talking to him at the trials and he's got the job,” Todd said. “There was no race for him at Addington so we thought we may as well have a crack. He's race hardened and should be competitive in that field. Take Delightful Memphis out and its fairly even. He goes from four on the 10 metre mark, outside the locally-bred half-brother to Fight for Glory in G I Joe. The Butterworth-owned four year old, now with Brett Gray, hasn't raced since July but won a workout at Wyndham in 3:02.8 last Saturday, beating race rivals, Bettor Ops and The Big Boss.   Mac Henry

Changeover gelding My Georgie Boy backed up his consistent form by winning at the Wairio harness racing meeting yesterday at the Central Southland Raceway. The three year old gelding is owned by Brendon McIntyre, Bill Moffatt, Paddy Cullen, Malcolm Pennack and Denis Mullally who are all good stable clients of trainer Peter Hunter. Hunter took My Georgie Boy straight to the lead and was able to dictate the pace from the top.  "We got it easy down the back and it worked out pretty good really," he said after the win. The horse was bred by Mandy Davis and was owned by her when he qualified at Wyndham last April.  "Mandy sold the farmlet at Mossburn so we decided to get a syndicate together and buy this one. He qualified behind Foo Fighter as a two year old but he's taken a wee while to come up." My Georgie Boy with winning connections      -Photo Bruce Stewart The winning margin was two lengths and the time was 1-57.0.  My Georgie Boy is out of the Holmes Hanover mare Mystic Maiden which has left a mixture of trotting and pacing stock. Mystic Sun by Sundon and bred by Colin McLean won ten races trotting while Southern Sun which was by Thunder N Lightning won nine races pacing, including The Robin Dundee Crown.  Southern Light, a one win daughter of Southern Sun, is also trained by Hunter.  Second to My Georgie Boy today was Maidonthebeach trained by Peter Hunter's brother Hamish. Hamish later won with Tiziano which continues the great run that stable client and breeder Graham Cooney is having at the moment. He co-bred Tiziano and also bred and owns two of the Hamish Hunter winners at Oamaru last weekend in Acolyte and Groomsman. My Georgie Boy winning at Winton Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Although trotter Zoey's Gift won impressively at Winton today her harness racing trainer Phil Williamson knows her next task is going to be harder. The talented daughter of Muscle Yankee and Jasmyn's Gift has the Group Two $40,000 New Zealand Trotting Oaks next Friday at Addington on her radar.  "It'll be difficult because they're good horses. She's definitely got the fire power there. If it was a mile and five (2600 metres) I'd be going there more confident but she's still not without a chance," he said.  In today's race driver Matty Williamson didn't panic early when Zoey's Gift was posted wide. With 900 metres to run he took her to the lead and when the ear plugs came out halfway down the straight she won easily by two and a half lengths.     "I was pretty confident that if she trotted she would win but it's never that simple. She's just got a wee bit of that class that stands her out from the rest."  Williamson said the filly is relatively inexperienced but he wasn't too concerned about starting her against hardened older trotters.  "I wasn't concerned at all. The Oaks is next week over 1950 (metres) and we wanted to have a wee crack at something short and sharp to get her ready. She's only had four races so she's still learning. She's a nice horse and will do a good job before she's finished," he added. Zoey's Gift was bred by Phil's wife Bev and was bought by Emilio Rosati after she qualified. Her dam Jasmyn's Gift won seventeen races including the Group One New Zealand Trotting Free For All and New Zealand Trotting Championship. "She's (Zoey's Gift) got that same good motor as her mother. It's been a good family. Directorship is from the same family and he was a very good horse."   Williamson said although the filly is owned in Australia there are no plans at this stage to venture across the Tasman.   "We'll have to be rock solid and beat the best here."   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing    

Three three-year-olds dominate pre-race discussions for the Southland Standardbred Breeders Mobile Mile at Winton on Saturday and one of them is Seaswift Joy, but her co-trainer Gordon Lee doesn't see it is as that simple. The scratching of Gotta Del will reduce the field size to six and Lee sees them all as threats, including Seaswift Joy's stablemate Royal Counsel who hasn't raced for 11 months.. “She was retired but didn't get in foal, we've had her back a bit over a month, she is shaping up very very well, we're very pleased with her, she's not out it,” said Lee, who trains the former Southland Oaks winner with his brother Colin, Royal Counsel's driver on Saturday. Gordon Lee will be in the sulky of Seaswift Joy and is also pleased with her. “She is going from strength to strength, has raced against most of the best three year old fillies and proven herself.” Seaswift Joy has the four draw with Eamon Macguire and Delightful Memphis outside of her. An added bonus for the two fillies, Seaswift Joy and Delightful Memphis is the $2000 attached to the stake for the first of them to finish. On a day known in the south as Wairio Mile day and previously staged in the spring, all 10 races on the programme are mobile miles. The Lees have Art Exhibit in the Southern Vet Centre Southern Belle Speed Series heat and her chances will be improved by having drawn two. “She's a frustrating horse but if she is handy in the running and doesn't have to be used up, she is a chance,” Lee said. Their other rep is Jeremy Jones, drawn one in the Morris Contracting Ltd Mobile Mile. “He was a surprise favourite at Wyndham, especially being a first starter, and was a bit disappointing,” Lee said of the three year old who broke early and galloped out of contention. “He's got the draw and not the ringcraft but if he did everything right he could run in the money.” Clark Barron has two in the same race and from the draw favours A Smart Excuse who tries a mile for the first time. “He's been knocking on the door, got a good draw, I hope the mile suits, I think it will,” he said. First starter Dali Bread represents Barron in the same race and the three year old goes from three on the second line. A son of Dali, he qualified in 2:45.7 a fortnight ago and won by 10 lengths. Barron said there is an element of risk with a first starter but as an introduction to racing he favours the distance. “Sometimes they are run off their feet but generally a mile is okay first up for a young horse.” The Rakauhauka trainer also has two in the Otautau Vets Ltd Fillies and Mares Mobile Mile and once again favours the one with the best draw, Manuka Valley over first starter Final Excuse. “It makes a big difference,” he said of the draw. “Manuka Valley is as honest as they come, (driver) Blair (Orange) has had a good run on her. Final Excuse has a lot of ability, she can run but is a bit highly strung, not sure of her manners and the draw is against her.” Rakarolla is the sole Barron rep left in the Southland Standardbred Breeders Mobile Mile. The five year old was on debut when he gained the first of his four wins, beating Rocker Band over a mile at Winton, and has won twice on the track since. “He'll give an honest account of himself but is against some very good three year olds,” Barron said. One of them, Eamon Macguire, relegated Rakarolla to runner up at Invercargill a fortnight ago in a 1:56.9 mile. Tayler Strong

Sundons Wish looked like a progressive squaregaiter when he won easily at Winton on Saturday. It was the five year olds second win in just three starts. He trotted off the mark and harness racing trainer driver Nathan Williamson took him to the lead early before handing up to favourite It's Elvis with a lap to run. As the front part of the field turned for home Sundons Wish was allowed to sprint up the lane beating It's Elvis by a length and a quarter. The style of Sundons Wish (4) beating It's Elvis (14) - Photo Bruce Stewart. "I was just pleased he got around in one piece and trotted nicely. Since his last start we've backed off him and changed his training a wee bit to try and get him trotting good. We know he's got the motor. He trotted nice and square today. We bought him up here last week for a private run and he trotted lovely," said Williamson.  Not only has Williamson changed his training regime but he's also made some gear changes with the half hopples coming off.  "He only needed them for confidence but I knew with the way he was working that we didn't need them today. We're training him out of the paddock and giving him a lot of strong work just to keep his muscles right. He's better with one sprint at them because he's not a horse who could do a lot of work at this stage. He's a confidence trotter, we'll just stick to what we're doing because he didn't touch in behind today. If he's trotting square he's a good horse." Sundons Wish is owned by his breeder Neville Cleaver and the horse's initial trainer Ian Jamieson of Winton. Ian Jamieson, Nathan Williamson, Sundons Wish, Oliver Kite, Neville Cleaver and Adrian Wohlers He's by Sundon out of Yule Ana - an unraced mare by Armbro Operative out of Little Miss Watch. Little Miss Watch, who was bred by Clarrie Woodward, won three races but as a broodmare left a handful of talented trotters including Sun Watch (7 wins), Musgrove (16), Aleana (6) and Flying Hardwick (22). Sun Watch who was trained by the late Bert Wohlers at Riverton still holds a New Zealand and track record at Winton. As a three year old in December 2003, he ran 2400 metres from a mobile in 3-02.3. Incidentally Wohlers' son Adrian who trained in Cambridge for a good number of years has just relocated back to Riverton and is keen to train a team on the beach in the Western Southland town. He's been a long time friend of Cleaver and was on-course today to share in the victory.  Cleaver reports that Yule Ana is back in foal to Sundon.    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

It was a stellar day for Southland harness racing driver Andrew Suddaby who drove three winners on the card at Winton on Saturday.  His winners were Pegasus Merrily for Matt Saunders and My Rona Gold and Grace Burns for Kirstin Barclay. Suddaby who drove his first winner at Timaru in January 1995 has now driven 220 winners. It's not the first time he's driven three winners in one day, and in fact in August 2005 he drove four in one night at Forbury Park (Boulder Bay, Jaccka Turbo, Copper Belt and Elvis Rocks).  Number two with My Rona Gold - Photo Bruce Stewart.      Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

 - Zoey's Gift confirmed her spot in the group two New Zealand Trotting Oaks at Addington on 31 March with a New Zealand record winning performance at Winton on Saturday. Third daughter of the group one winning mare Jasmyn's Gift, Zoey trotted the 2400 metres from behind the mobile in 3:03.5, best ever for a three year old filly. The previous record had also been set on the track, by Jen Jaccka two years earlier. She was driven by Matthew Williamson and trained by his father Phil who has reservations about running in the Oaks but knows she is only eligible for it once. “I hope she will be competitive but I'm not getting too carried away,” he said. “She's a fair sort of horse but the 1950 mobile start is a bit draw-dependent. Her mother was outpaced in the Oaks and this filly might be too.” Jasmyn's Gift was having her third start when only eighth in the 2003 Oaks, but went on to win 17 of her 48 goes. Williamson said Zoey's Gift was too big to race as a juvenile and the family is better with time. “She should have a big future,” he said. - Matthew Williamson gained a second win on Saturday when he guided Gotta Del to victory in the C3 to C5 mobile 2400. They led all the way and cleared out to score by five and three quarter lengths in 2:58.2. Gotta Del is trained by Clark Barron for his breeder and owner Ian Hunter who won with his trotter Delestic last Sunday. The horses share the same third dam in the trotting winner Delalee. She left the group two winner Aron Del who finished fourth in the 1989 Rowe Cup. - Trainer Kirstin Barclay gained her first bag of three winners when My Rona Gold, Grace Burns and Magical Marn were successful. Grace Burns, a winner at Waikouaiti 11 days earlier, is raced by her breeder Tom Kilkelly. The mare is named after a sister of Kilkelly's father in law, long time southern harness administrator Peter Burns. Kilkelly also races the three year old Magical Marn, a $15,000 purchase at the 2015 premier sale. “Tom picked him but didn't go to the sales, I had to do the bidding and was a bit nervous, I went slightly over his limit,” Barclay said. Five year old grey mare Rona Gold is raced by Barclay's husband, Nick, Kilkelly's wife Julie, and Julie's daughter Holly Brown. Barclay was the successful driver of Magical Marn while Andrew Suddaby won on My Rona Gold and Grace Burns. - Earlier in the day, Suddaby had won the C0 claimers on Pegasus Merrily to give him three for the day. He'd previously achieved the feat at Invercargill in January 2002, and Forbury Park in November of both 2004 and 2005, but his best was Copper Belt, Jaccka Turbo, Boulder Bay and Elvis Rocks at Forbury Park in May 2005. Pegasus Merrily was trainer Matt Saunders' third win since his move to Tapanui on 6 January. He has taken over the seven-days-a week Four Square store there and trains on the old Tapanui race-course, sharing the facilities with galloping trainers Nikki and Barrie Blatch. “I can have three there, I paddock train them,” said Saunders. His first two wins were with Marshal Star, on the grass at Cromwell and Waikouaiti. Saunders said he sold the six year old to the Central Districts during the week and had only just replenished his team to three and it is back to two again. Pegasus Merrily, who won the mobile mile in 1:56.7, was claimed for $4500 by Rowena Mackintosh after spending about six weeks with Saunders. - Nathan Williamson kicked off a trainer-driver double with the unbeaten Shezacullengirl in a C0 mile. The daughter of Chloe Hanover had won her sole start as a juvenile in April and was getting ready to kick off in October when she strained a muscle in her back end. She paced the mile in 1:57.3 and pleased Williamson. “She doesn't thrill you at home but turned it on on raceday,” he said. Talented trotter Sundons Wish made it two from three and Williamson reckons he is back on track after failing at Ascot Park in January. “He was tying up and is trained out of the paddock now,” Williamson said, “he's got a good motor and trotted nice and square today.” - Rain had soaked the track before the C1 and C2 mares and fillies mile but Break Dance still managed to clock 1:55.9, fastest of the three mobile miles on the day. Break Dance is trained at Waikouaiti by Amber Hoffman and one of two winners for Blair Orange whose drives this season are about to crack the million dollars in earnings. In the final race of the day, fellow Cantabrian visitor, the Cran Dalgety-trained Baileys Rock gave Orange his second win. - Operative Asset, dam of the good performers Citylight and Belkmyster, struck again when I'm Jimmy James won at just his second time to the races. The three year old by Big Jim was bred and is owned and trained by Steve Baucke at Woodlands who said he had I'm Jimmy James running at two, he showed ability but he turned him out to grow. A half brother by Mach Three was picked up by Mark Jones for $12,000 and last week's sales. Baucke has an American Ideal two year old filly from operative Asset, she has a foal at foot by A Rocknroll Dance, and is in foal to Sportswriter. Mac Henry

She hadn't raced for eleven month so it was a great training feat for Branxholme harness racing trainer Nathan Williamson to produce Shezacullengirl to win fresh up at Winton yesterday. The well bred filly won on debut at Invercargill in April last year as a two year old and was then turned out.  "She was ready to race in October but she had tying up issues which put us back. We had to back off completely. She had a couple of weeks off and a couple of weeks just going in the pool at Ben's (Grinaldi Lodge) to try and build up the hind quarters which she must have damaged in the paddock, The muscle issues have settled down now and her trial leading into today was okay. We were hopeful more than confident," said Williamson. In the Hydroflow Fillies and Mares Mobile Pace the daughter of Christian Cullen and Chloe Hanover was left parked early before getting cover halfway through the 1609 metre race.  "We were parked for a while but weren't doing any work or forcing the issue. Once she got a trial she travelled nicely. We got flushed out and had to make our run a wee bit early." Shezacullengirl (6) beating Yankee Diva (4) by three quarters of a length - Photo Bruce Stewart Shezcullengirl is owned by Malcolm Little and his wife Sandra of Cromwell and his uncle Murray Little. They bought her at the 2015 Sale of the Stars for $15,000 when she was at that time named Millwood Tiffany.  Malcolm Little, stable hand Oliver Kite, Sandra Little, Murray Little and Nathan Williamson "I thought she might need a race or two being away from racing for that long but she's pulled up good and there's a nice race for her at the Northern Southland meeting" said Williamson. The win is some compensation for Murray Little who recently due to injury, lost the service for the rest of the season for the talented Mach's Back. Also due to injury his American Ideal colt out of Suvarno Hanover was unable to make the sales.  Today's double win by Williamson puts him back on track to win another Southland training premiership. He now sits on ten wins for the season just one behind current leader Brett Gray.  Meanwhile Williamson is happy with the three purchases he made at last weeks yearling sales.  He paid $14,000 for a Dream Vacant filly out of Two Year Old Trotting Filly of the Year Kylie Ree Williamson trained the mare's first foal She's Allthe Craze which won once in five starts. He actually bought Kylie Ree in September his year. "It's a family I know and I looked at her on the off chance I might buy her. I really liked her and I'll syndicate her."   He also paid $27,000 at the Auckland sale to buy The Future. She's a Majestic Son filly out of seven win Gee Whiz II mare Cabaletta which has already left up and coming trotter Everybody Knows. The Future is from the same family as Allegro Agitato and Skyvalley.  To round out his spend he bought Arden Surf for $30,000 for a client.    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

As a three year old Pay Master showed some harness racing potential but failed to reach any great heights at that age. "When he started off he had a run of bad draws. He did run second in a weak field at the end of last season. When he came up this year he went no good. Then he got crook with a virus. He came back and had two workouts and won both of them. He then ran third at this last start," said trainer Alan Paisley.     That third behind Pick My Pockets and Navajo Art was an indication that he was heading towards recording his first win and that came yesterday at the Central Southland Raceway in the EH Ball ITM Mobile Pace. Driver Rory McIIwrick eased the four year old back to the rear of the field as favourite Tour Director took up the running. Inside the last 400 metres Pay Master was travelling like a winner three back in the three wide line. McIIwrick hooked him out at the top of the straight and he stormed home to beat Tour Director by three quarters of a length. Pay Master winning at Winton            photo by Bruce Stewart The Gotta Go Cullect gelding is owned by Paisley, his wife Gail and Jeff Crengle. He's out of Nuclear Princess, a four win Nuclear Canyon mare. Paisley had earlier trained another of Nuclear Princess's prodegy Princess Delight who won four races.   "We bought her (Nuclear Princess) in Christchurch at the mixed stock sale. She was an older mare and in foal to Extreme Three (Extreme Prince). She was also the mother of Princess Delight which was going good at the time.Then we bred him (Pay Master) and after that she wouldn't hold."     Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Overcoming adversity was a common theme among a number of winners at Winton on Sunday including the Otautau Four Square Supermarket Wairio Cup victor Franco Tristan. The four year old's driver Craig Thornley pointed out after the win that despite winning a trial as a two year old, Franco Tristan had a wind problem which required an operation. It kept him away from competition for more than a year but the wait was worth it and he made a winning debut on 29 July. The Cup was his third win in eight starts since and helped his West Melton co-owner Ken McRae celebrate his 70th birthday. Former Southlander McRae, whose son Steven trains Franco Tristan, had reached the milestone on Wednesday. The Roxburgh Cup is the next target for Franco Tristan. Lamborne Road bounced back from a lung infection to race for the first time since February and win the SBS Mobile. The Wayne Adams-trained five year old, raced by Joe and Raeleen Thompson, Niki and Stephen Keast, won two in his first five-race campaign but flopped in his second. “He always had ability but was training well and racing poorly,” Adams said. So Lamborne Road went for a spell on the Keast property at Myross Bush, where he began frothing at the nose and got very sick. “It was hard to get a diagnosis,” Niki Keast, a qualified nurse said. “It was caused by e-coli and pseudomonas. He had six weeks of antibiotics and nursing then we turned him out to grow.” From 11 off the gate, Lamborne Road clocked 2:54.6 in his comeback win. Somejoy, the first foal of group two Southland Oaks winner Jumpforjoy, made a winning debut in the Highway Services Invercargill Fillies and Mares C0 Mobile. Jumpforjoy had raced and won at two but Somejoy didn't even get to the workouts until August this year, by which time she was three. “She had an immature throat at two,” Barron said, “she was turned out and it got better.” The Somebeachsomewhere filly is raced by the Miracle Lodge Syndicate of which Barron and Ashburton accountant Eric Parr are the principal members. Barron said he has four by the sire and they can all run, as can members of her dam's family. “It's a good breed but they don't usually show it till raceday,” Barron explained. A fortnight before winning her debut on Saturday in 1:55.4, Somejoy had won on the grass at the Balfour picnic meeting in the hands of Barron's daughter Ellie.  Invercargill trainer Brent Shirley produced his first winner of the season when Fiddlethefool won the Ryal Bush Transport Ltd Pace. Earlier this season, Shirley's team was affected by a virus. Fiddlethefool was among them and the first to show he was over it. A four year old entire, he is the fourth winner from the Holmes Hanover mare Glowing Hanover whose grand-dam Bonnie Countess is the dam of 1982 New Zealand Cup winner Bonnie's Chance. After closing the door of his class-room for the year on Thursday, Central Southland College school teacher and junior driver Jamie Campbell's attention immediately turned to his passion for harness racing.  By two 'o clock on Saturday, he'd driven his second winner in six days, and third for the season from just nine drives. Later in the day, Campbell claimed a second placing in his only other drive. Campbell's specialist subjects are physical education and agriculture, and while a student at Canterbury University, he also spent time with Colin and Julie de Filippi. The 25 year old is showing now the benefits of the grounding he received there and his recent success has created an appetite for more. “I hope it helps me get more drives, I love it,” Campbell said, “that winning feeling, it's great.” During the early school holiday period, Campbell says he'll have more time to help out trainers and fellow drivers Craig Ferguson and Kirstin Barclay. After Christmas he has an option to work for Amber Hoffman at Waikouaiti for a few weeks. Campbell's winner on Saturday was Rocking Robyn in the Southland Vehicle Sales Junior Drivers Mobile Pace. The son of Christian Cullen and New Zealand Oaks winner Robyn's Treasure had been successful on the track six days earlier after leading for the final 1700 metres. Following the same recipe on Saturday, Rocking Robyn held the opposition out again and clocked a track record-equalling 2:54.1. In an extraordinary coincidence, the time was identical to the track record for males set six days earlier by Rocking Robyn's stablemate and close relative Robyn's Bad Boy. Campbell's other drive for the day was aboard trotter Spotlight The Valley in the Transport Services Ltd Junior Drivers Handicap. Always in contention, the pair challenged the leader Astral Ruler strongly in the run to the line but came up half a neck short in second place. Canterbury trainers David Mitchell, Nigel McGrath, Brent White and Steven McRae each had a win and Blair Orange drove two of them. With winning drives on Pick My Pocket and Franco Hamilton, Orange was the only driver to pick up two for the day. Mac Henry

The Nathan Williamson trained Dark Horse further cemented her status as one of the most exciting harnes racing trotters to come out of the province in recent times, when she easily accounted for eight rivals in the Winton Workouts Mobile Trot. The Bacardi Lindy four year old whose long term goal is the Harness Jewels at Ashburton was not rushed early by Williamson. At the 400 metre mark he peeled her off the back of Starlight Invasion and she trotted stylishly to the front and said good night nurse to the other runners. She trotted down to the finishing line untouched, winning by three and a half lengths from Overcast. Her winning time of 3-00.9 was marginally outside the mares track record and New Zealand mares record of 2-59. recorded by Ready Set in 2010.   Dark Horse winning easily                               Photo Bruce Stewart "She's progressing and felt good out there today. I'm not sure what's next for her but we'll sort something out," said Williamson who doesn't plan to race the mare too far from home for this part of the season. The win today was her fourth from just nine starts and she now carries a C3 assessment.   "She's got a lot stronger this year. Gait wise she's lovely. Manners are probably her one weakness. I don't think she can do a lot of work in her races yet but with so much speed she doesn't have to."   She was bred by the Grice brothers Bevan and Keith and raced on lease by the Griffins Syndicate and Seafield Trotting Syndicate.  Dark Horse is out of the maiden Sundon mare Juliana who is also the dam of Monty Python the winner of nine races, Father Christmas (8) and Sarah Palin (6). Bevan Grice said Juliana was a talented mare which ran second to One Over Kenny at Cambridge in the a two year trotting race in 2004 making up fifteen lengths to get within a neck of the winner. "Past the post she was in front. We found out that she had an infected uterus and that made her niggly," he said. Grice said that Nathan Williamson has the mare's next foal Pollyanna, a two year old filly by The Pres and he states that Juliana produced a colt foal by Quaker Jet this morning. She'll be returning to Bacardi Lindy. "I can't remember how Dark Horse got her name but Keith and I sit down and name all our foals. We like to have fun. We named a colt by The Pres out of Rugged Cross Donald Trump and a filly by The Pres out of Vivian Leigh Crooked Hillary. Both names have been approved."    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

He's perhaps one of the most underated harness racing horses in Southland but once again Robyn's Bad Boy with the right run, proves he's classy enough to go to a better grade. He proved that today at Winton when he dented a few reputations by winning the Fairbairn Plumbing Limited Mobile Pace in track record time. He was driven by regular pilot Craig Ferguson. "He's a horse we drive for one run so if he doesn't get any luck he can look pretty ordinary. Even though he was parked for the last 1000 it suited him because he wasn't doing anything," said trainer Ross Wilson. Wilson timed the first 800 metres of the race to be run in 57 seconds and the field went to the mile in 1-55. "That's why they ran the last half in 59 seconds."  The overall time of 2-54.1 lowered the aged geldings and entire track record of 2-55.3 recorded in 2012 by Bettor's Brigadier. Nek Time holds the open track record of 2-53.0 The win didn't surprise his trainer especially after those sectionals and he also said that the horse's work during the week had been first class.  "He'd had a freshener and I just jogged him last week. I was really pleased with his work this week. He was just humming." Robyn's Bad Boy after winning at Winton              Photo Bruce Stewart So the plan now is to map out a programme for him in the next few weeks including the Gore and Roxburgh Cups. "Rob's Ideal is having a bit of a freshener too. I was planning the Gore Cup for him but I don't like racing them against each other too much. There are four or five races over New Year so I'll split them."  Wilson is also a great advocate of sending his horses to Australia when they reach their grade here and that's where Robyn's Bad Boy could end up.   "The appearance fees that Menangle pays, pays for your training fees for a month so anything you earn is basically profit. It's a bit of a no brainer really. He's the perfect little racehorse. The only thing is that he's getting out of his grade so I'll probably have to send him to Australia." Later in the programme the well bred Rocking Robyn led for most of his race and won for Wilson and driver Craig Ferguson. Rocking Robyn winning at Winton        Photo Bruce Stewart He's a full brother to Robyn's Cullen - both being out of Wilson's quality mare Robyn's Treasure which won seven races including the DB Fillies Final and New Zealand Oaks double in 1994 at Addington.   Rocking Robyn after winning at Winton        Photo Bruce Stewart Wilson said prior to the race that if Ferguson could get to the front and not get taken on, Rocking Robyn would be a chance and that's exactly what happened. He was too strong for favourite Royal Bengal, winning by a length and a quarter.    Bruce Stewart Southern Harness Racing

"It was good to finally get the monkey off my back and get a bit of stress off the shoulders;" the first words  harness racing trainer Kirstin Barclay said after Just Say Go and Don't Pass I'm Fast won consecutive races at Winton today. Just Say Go in the hands of junior reinsmans Jamie Campbell won the John Keenan Memorial Mobile Pace comfortably by one and three quarter lengths. "I was pretty confident. He raced well first up at Invercargill in the slush with a hopeless draw and ran on strongly. We took him to Balfour last weekend and again he ran home strongly. It was a poor field today so we were confident." The win was Campbell's second in his career.  "It was great to get the win for Jamie. He's been a big help to us over the years. If we've ever been stuck we could always ring him and he'd come and give us a hand."  In the next race Don't Pass I'm Fast beat the claimers, running the mile in 1-59.9. After a nice trip driver Andrew Suddaby eased the Art Official mare out of the one one and took the lead at the top of the straight. She held on to beat favourite Longevity by three quarters of a length. Don't Pass I'm Fast winning                                                 Photo Bruce Stewart "Shes improving all the time. I really liked her early on after she showed a lot in track work but didn't show up on the racetrack. We've changed the way we train her. We've backed right off her. She used to cop a fair bit of work because she's a big strong looking horse. Andrew, who helps us out, suggested that maybe we try going the other way. She often has a day off before the races. She does very little." Don't Pass I'm Fast is out of the Wingspread mare Fast Winger. She also left the ill-fated Almost A Christian which won four of his eight starts and Still Laughin the winner of seven for Ken and Clark Barron.  Don't Pass I'm Fast returning to the birdcage          Photo Bruce Stewart Both Just Say Go and Don't Pass I'm Fast are owned by Tom Kilkelly. Don't Pass I'm Fast won the Regent Car Court Claimers Mobile Pace. Regent Car Court is owned by Kilkelly so it was a great result.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing    

Winton harness racing fixed odds movers as at 12:20pm Race 2 - Get Real is best backed on the win book over Vera Mac $4.80.   Race 3 - Sovereign Banner $2.05 - $1.85 has been heavily backed early on the win book & is all punter's want to be on in multi betting.   Race 4 - Denn Nee Rose Best $12 is the best backed on the win book with Holden Monarchy leading multi betting.   Race 5 - Shelby Bromac $10.50 is the best backed over Keepover $9.00.   Race 6 - Argyle Beach $2.90 leads win betting & multi betting.    Race 7 - No surprise to see all the win & multi money on the $1.30 favourite Dark Horse.   Race 8 - Bakari $5.50 leads win betting over Mach's Back $3.70.   Race 9 - Some Excusesomewhere $3.20 best backed over Angel In White $11   Race 10 - Fiddlethefool $3.10 - $2.80 leads win & multi betting easily.   Race 11 - Venice Beach $2.90 leads multi betting over Tact Rousey with the latter leading win betting.   In the Drivers Challenge Clark Barron $4.00 - $3.60 is best backed.    Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Brent Shirley has seen a third of the season go by and his runners have made it to the races only nine times.   However, he's got four in at Winton on Sunday and a workout last Saturday suggests they won't all be just making up the numbers.   “There was a bad virus in the stable at the start of the season and it really knocked them around,” Shirley said, “it was frustrating but I've learnt from the past the wisest thing is to stop. We lost a whole month.”   Slowly but surely, things have returned to normal and that was well illustrated when stable star Costa Del Magnifico joined Winton candidates Fiddlethefool and Black Athena in a six horse one win and faster 2200 metres mobile Workout at Invercargill on 3 December.   “Black Athena led Fiddlethefool and Costa Del Magnifico, then they went together and really cracked it up at the 300,” Shirley explained.   Officially, Fiddlethefool and Costa Del Magnifico dead heated with Black Athena three quarters of a length back in third. The overall time for the trip was an ordinary 2:51.9 but the closing 800 was cut out in quarters of 29.7 and 28.1.   “They went to the line under a hold full of running and their recovery was very good,” Shirley enthused, “so was the feeling they gave you.”   Fiddlethefool resumes in the A B Lime Ltd Mobile 2400 with Nathan Williamson in the sulky. He has drawn two in his first start for two months. That was also at Winton but over a mile and all was not well with the four year old. He beat only one home when finishing nearly 15 lengths from the winner. Shirley expects a lot better on Sunday.   “He was crippled by the virus but he's back and his work has been really good,” he said, “he's done the hard yards, first up is not a problem.”   Black Athena is in the opening event, the John Keenan Memorial 2400 metre mobile. She has drawn four and will also be handled by Williamson in her first start since May. It is more than a year since her only win but Shirley is not prepare to dismiss her chances.   “Her workout against two smart horses was really good, she's done the work and should go close,” he said.   Costa Del Magnifico won't be racing on Sunday but Shirley plans to have him out in the Wairio Cup on Saturday week (17 December).   “He'll have to get race-fit so we'll give him a start off 50 metres,” Shirley said, “he'll maybe go to Gore but the main target is the Central Otago Cup.”   If Costa Del Magnifico goes to Gore on 27 December, he would again start from 50 metres behind but the group three Central Otago Cup on 2 January is a mobile start free for all.   “He's very full of beans, lets hope the virus is behind him.”   Shirley has the non-winner Swap Over in the Nevele R Stud Mobile 2400. The son of Changeover also has the services of Williamson but has drawn the outside of the second line and Shirley is not sure what to expect.   “He has a lot of ability but makes his own problems on raceday,” he said. “He's well in himself but has let the punters down in the past.”   Shirley takes the reins himself behind Iguazu Rox in the Regent Car Court C0 Claimers with no great expectations.   Mac Henry

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