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By Jonny Turner    Winton trainer Des Baynes will step out a small team packed with winning chances on his home track at today’s Wairio mile day.   Baynes has produced brilliantly consistent results this season with a win and ten placings from just 21 starts. Naturally, Baynes would have liked to have converted more of his run of placings in to wins. “I joked with some of the boys that I might have to start training a Kidz Kartz pony so that I can get a win,” the trainer said.  “But, I am not too worried about it, so long as the horses all go good honest races I will be happy.” The trainer’s highly talented two pronged attack on race 8 with smart pacers Slate and See Ya Write looks best chances of upping his winning strike rate today.  Baynes has Slate just ahead of his stablemate as his leading chance in the race. “Slate is a 5yr-old and a little bit older and tougher, so I would lean towards him.” “See Ya Write is a nice little horse and he has been going some good races.” “I am just not sure where he might end up from his draw. See Ya Write starts from barrier 5, with Slate inside him in barrier 4. Slainte and See Ya Write are two of several smart types that will do battle in race 8. Pocket Watch steps up in class after dealing to inferior opposition in his last start at Forbury Park. The 3yr-old and Stringray Tara, who has produced consistent form in strong fields recently, will both give away a draw advantage to the Baynes pair when they start on the outside of the front line. Baynes had thrown his maiden mare, Might Be Me, in the deep end in one of today’s features. The runner-up in her last three starts will take on seasoned, race winning mares in a Southern Belle Speed Series heat. “This is the last heat of this series, so I was keen to get her in to get some points,” Baynes said.  “This is probably the weakest heat and without wanting to disrespect the opposition, she should be up to them.” Amore Lancôme looks the toughest horse for Might Be Me to beat. The 4yr-old was third in a stronger mares event behind Cheezel and Yankee Party, at Winton two starts ago. Baynes will also step out Dress Code for her debut in race 6. The 3yr-old comes in to her mile (1609m) assignment after finishing in the first two in her last five trials and workouts. “She is a nice filly – she is Slate’s half brother – she  has gone well at the workouts and trials,” Baynes said.  “It’s her first start, so you don’t know what might happen, but she should go a good race.” A patchy form line and a tricky draw make Saint Tropez in race 10 the roughie among the Baynes team.  The 3yr-old will start from barrier one on the second row of the mobile in a capacity field. “He didn’t go too bad in his last start at Wyndham,” Baynes said.  “From where he is drawn it will depend how many times the lead changes in front of him.” Today’s Winton meetings is the first in Southland to be run under new rules excluding spectators and owners in response to the covid19 pandemic.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

The Regan Todd trained mare Cheezel won the Robin Dundee Club Mobile Pace at Winton today. Regan is currently in Auckland looking over yearlings for tomorrow’s Auckland Sales at Karaka, he wasn’t on course, and left Cheezel in the care of his father Barry who brought her south yesterday. Todd has had the mare since November and has now won three races with her. She was previously trained by her part-owner Brian Fahey. The other owner is Trevor Casey. “He just sent her out here for a bit a change of scenery. We’ll give her one or two more races before she hits the breeding paddock. She’s done a good job,” Regan Todd said. Driver Blair Orange was three wide early after chasing Cheezel out of the gate. After the first 400 metres he was in front. He eased up on the speed, but things started to heat up when Amore Lancome moved up beside her on the outside, and the two went head to head between the 800 and the top of the straight. Cheezel shook Amore Lancome off but had to withstand the challenge of Yankee Party which had enjoyed a cosy run behind the leader. Cheezel held on to beat Yankee Party by half a length with Amore Lancome another half-length back in third. The mile was run in 1-57.8 with the last 800 metres run in a slick 56.1. “We had a scare a couple of weeks ago. She had a heart fibrillation at Addington so I’ve had to be a bit easy on her, but she’s bounced back.” Todd indicated that Cheezel could be back for the last heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series at Wairio on 21st March. In other races on the card Carnegie Hall lived up to her international breeding and cleared maiden ranks in the Lamb and Cattle Grazier Trot. The four year old trained by Bob Butt was sent south to Lauren Pearson’s Winton barn and was driven by her partner Brent Barclay. The Andover Hall mare trailed early before Barclay went to the front with 1300 metres to run. The winning margin was a length from T Bone Rawhide. Long shot Targaryen made the most of an economical trip on the inside to come up the passing lane and beat second favourite Croesus by three quarters of a length. The Big Jim gelding owned by Michelle Larsen and trained and driven by husband Kirk was at odds of 53-1. Favourite Triple VC appreciated the drop in class when he won the Regent Car Court Pace. The winner of four races was up against primarily one win horses. He was patiently handled by Sheree Tomlinson who settled the six year old at the back of the field before bringing him down the outside to win by three quarters of a length. The Washington VC gelding is owned by local breeder Cleland Murdoch and The Fanny Allen Family Trust. He’s trained at Ascot Park by Murray Brown. The Interceptor completed a profitable weekend for Kenny Baynes. The Mach Three gelding trained by Brett Gray, driven by Jonny Cox and owned by Baynes Bloodstock Limited (Kenny and sister in-law Penny Baynes) lead all the way to win easily by five lengths. The Interceptor was having his ninth start today and looked comfortable in front. At Addington on Friday Miss Mucho owned by Kenny upset at odds of 54-1. The well-bred The Optimist won her first race for Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis. Out of the twelve win Armbro Operative mare Special Ops and by Christian Cullen the five year old was in the one one early before Barclay took her to the lead. She held out Sunset Red and Rakarippa. Barclay and Ellis have just recently taken on the training of The Optimist and have started her four times.  She was previously trained by Jack Harrington. The day ended with Lilac Becky winning for Southland Ambassador for Team Teal, Ellie Barron. It was one of two winning drives for her.   This will be the third running of the Team Teal campaign in New Zealand. Founded by Duncan McPherson in Victoria in 2014, the campaign was started to help raise awareness and funds for research of ovarian cancer. McPherson lost his wife to ovarian cancer. He vowed to continue her fight, and has grown the movement from Victoria, to nationwide Australia and now New Zealand. Every female driver in New Zealand wore the Teal Pants during February and March 2019, with each win receiving $400 in donations, $200 from Harness Racing New Zealand, $100 from Woodlands Stud and $100 from the respective Club. Other female drivers Kirstin Barclay (The Optimist) and Sheree Tomlinson (Triple VC) contributed to this great cause today as well.   Bruce Stewart

Monkey Bones mare Seekie Monkey was back in the winners circle at Winton today after recording a handful of placings in her last six starts. Owned by Kevin Strong and Trevor Little the five year old began well from the fifteen metre handicap and settled sixth early. With a lap to run trainer driver Nathan Williamson moved her off the running line to sit parked. At the 800 leader Whatwillbewillbee galloped, leaving Seekie Monkey in front. “I was quite happy to sit parked but when that horse broke. It left me in front which turned out okay,” said Williamson. Just after turning in, he pulled the ear plugs on Seekie Monkey and she let down nicely to hold out Chloe Rose and Full Noise. “She’s a lovely mare and did it all right today.” The winning margin was one and a half lengths and the time for the 2400 metres was 3-04.3 with the last 800 metres run in 58.4. “She got beaten last start by a pretty nice horse (Cuchulainn) but I wasn’t 100% happy with her. Since then we’ve changed a few things so we came here today confident that she was right on track. She had a bit of vet work done which has made a big difference. We also altered her shoeing slightly so I’ll have to give Franksie (farrier Brendan Franks) a bit of a plug.” Kevin Strong and Trevor Little with Seekie Monkey and Nathan Williamson    -Bruce Stewart photo Williamson said Seekie Monkey will continue to race through the Southland handicap grades. It was the Branxholme trainer’s sixteenth win of the season and he currently leads the Southland Trainers Premiership.   Bruce Stewart

By Garrick Knight    It’s been a long, hard few years for Winton horsewoman Tracie McGrannachan and unfortunately, it’s not about to get any easier. A botched surgery and ongoing health problems were compounded by a serious accident involving her daughter. So, the win of Dangerous on her hometrack yesterday was a welcome relief from what has been and is to come. The five-year-old has his fair share of talent but has proved a problem horse the last 18 months and McGrannachan is happy to seem back to something like his best. “His bloods were all sorts of wrong last year and we just couldn’t get on top of it. “We tried injecting his hocks and he ran fourth the start after that. “He was still a stallion at that point and was very easy to handle. Good around mares and that sort of thing. “Then he reared up, tore his shoe off and it took half of his foot away. “We decided it was the right time to geld him since he was going to be out a fair while recovering.” After a long spell, Dangerous resumed last month at Wyndham, but he broke mid race and tailed the field home. It’s not uncommon for him and the fact he wears spreaders lends itself to that. “He’s always sort of cross-fired and goes close to a knee. He’s very narrow in front.” McGrannachan had to come up to Auckland earlier this month to milk her daughters’ dairy cow herd while she was in hospital and that meant Dangerous was entrusted to her Winton neighbor, Chelsea Faithful. “Two years ago, my daughter fell off her quad bike during a flood and broke her leg. “She’s just had her fifth – and hopefully last – operation to fix it so I come up and look after the cows for her. “Chelsea used to lease my stables from me when I was in a partnership with John Cox. “Now she has her own barn and I am back at mine as John and I no longer train together.” She paid credit to Faithful and her horse instincts as well as a high capacity for hard work. “She can read a horse so well, it’s a real skill. “And she works so hard. She gets up at 5am and does her team then goes and works full time for Nathan Williamson. “Once she finishes up there, she goes back and finishes up her own ones as well at night. “A real hard worker.” McGrannachan heads home just in time for Christmas and her team of three pacers. But she’s got a another big challenge dawning on the horizon after being diagnosed with a serious illness recently. “I start treatment on the 24th and might have to have surgery at the beginning of next year, I don’t know just yet. “They actually noticed something two years ago when I was having a follow up scan after a botched gall blader surgery. “But it was never followed up and now I find myself in a potentially far worse situation.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

It was a training feat for Alister Black yesterday when Vintage Cheddar won a Country Cups Series race at his first start since the beginning of June. All credit must go to the conditioning skills of Black and his team of helpers, who were all on course when the son of Betterthancheddar just got up to beat Franco Santino in yesterday’s Wairio Cup. Black had given Vintage Cheddar two workouts, running fourth in the first, before winning his second against moderate opposite. The judge’s call seemed to take an eternity but the cheers of delight from in front of the north stand said it all. Black, who has an excellent UDR rating, had three runners in the Cup and the win by Vintage Cheddar didn’t surprise him. “No. He won fresh up last year. He trialed up nice at his last workout and trained well this week. He was pretty ready for today’s assignment,” he said. Franco Santino was very brave, sitting parked (which is not really his forte) and just getting nabbed by a nose. He too was in a fresh state. Vintage Cheddar’s driver Blair Orange wasn’t sure whether he’d won but close to the line you can see him having great delight in telling Nathan Williamson  he thought he had. The winning time of 2-56.8 was a new race record. The previous race record of 2-57.2 was recorded by Jamie in 2006. The time was also a new track and Southland record for four year old and older entires or geldings. Black said the five year old will have his next start in the Omakau Cup at the Central Otago Meeting on the 2nd January. “The long term goal this season is the Easter Cup. That’s why I didn’t worry too much about the New Zealand Cup meeting this year. The next Cup meeting will be right up his alley whether it’s in the Junior Free For All or the actual Cup. Vintage Cheddar is owned by Lindsay and Ian Thomson who have now provided Black with 53 of his 66 winners. Black trains from a property the brothers own. Vintage Cheddar with Sheree Black, Alister Black, Lindsay Thomson, Riley Black , Ian Thomson, Shirley Leckie and Tony Leckie                – Photo Bruce Stewart. Lindsay and Ian bred Vintage Cheddar from their Grinfromeartoear mare Howfarnow which is out of the ten win mare Whanau. “He’s just an awesome horse to have around. He was a bit of a hard thing when he was a young horse but plenty of repetition and hard work and he’s come right.”   Bruce Stewart

By Jonny Turner    If the team from Kirstin Barclay and Paul Ellis’ stable go as well on the track at Winton on Sunday as U May Cullect has been going off the track, they will be in for a big day. The training partners will line up five strong chances on the Winton Harness Racing Club’s innovative programme, including former All Stars pacer Freddiesam. The former All Stars 3yr-old has been sent south in the hope he will find suitable races and break his maiden after being competitive in good fields in Canterbury, recently. “The owners just wanted find an easier spot for him,” Barclay said. “With his Canterbury form, you think he would be a good show.” Freddiesam headed south after producing a sound fourth behind the talented Navagio at Kaikoura last month. The pacer showed good gate speed to lead, which he gets to show off again from barrier 1 in Sunday’s 1609m event. The ace draw gives Freddiesam an edge over his stablemate, Cab Calloway, who is drawn out in barrier 5. “From the draw Freddiesam is just a little bit sharper at the moment, I would say,” Barclay said. Cab Calloway goes in to Sunday’s race after going sound races behind smart pacers, Cassius Bromac and Silent Major, in strong maiden fields. “He is actually a really nice horse, he is a good chance as well,” Barclay said. “He just lacks a little bit of top end speed, but he tries hard.” The Barclay-Ellis team start another talented maiden in race 8 in Watch Me Now. The 3yr-old finished off strongly, but a little roughly, behind Renegade Rose at Wyndham last month. “She is definitely a nice filly in the making – she is still a bit green and learning it all,” Barclay said. “But, she is not far away from putting her hand up.” Betterthenbrie represents Barclay and Ellis in race 6 — Sunday’s feature — the Equine Stakes for mares. The 5yr-old, who starts from barrier 2 on the second row, went a reasonable race when fighting on for a last-start fifth, after running in to smart types, Rockabilly Blues and Lawrence, in her previous two runs. “Its not a bad draw for her – she should lob a nice possie and she is always there abouts,” Barclay said. “She has been going some great races this season and popping up and running some nice placings.” Lite Percussion also ran in to Lawrence recently – in his last start at Ascot Park The 6yr-old drops significantly in class when he starts in race 3 on Sunday. “I thought he definitely had a good chance,” Barclay said. U May Cullect has continued to please his trainers during his rehabilitation from the tendon injury that ruled him out of the New Zealand Cup Carnival. Barclay and Ellis have been walking the southern sensation along Oreti Beach to help build up strength in his affected leg. “He is doing amazing – we are absolutley rapt with him,” Barclay said. “He is up to walking 20 minutes and his leg looks really good.” “He is going up to Dunedin for another scan after Christmas, but it is unbeleivable how good it looks.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner  Tapanui trainer Matt Saunders has not left room for many excuses if his pacers Rah De Rah and Sadhana do not perform at Winton on Thursday.  Both stable newcomers will attempt to continue their good form when starting from handy barrier draws for leading reinsman Blair Orange. Rah De Rah won his first start for Saunders at Gore, before running in to fifth behind Donegal Mary Francis at Ascot Park, last weekend. The trainer was initially disappointed with the 8yr-old’s last start effort, but a closer look at the race’s fast closing sectionals changed his mind.  “He is just not a sit sprinter – he used to be before, but against these wee bit better ones he needs to be out rolling and he gets his chance to do that this week,” Saunders said. Saunders is still learning about the 8yr-old after having him for less than a month. Rah De Rah had a quiet two weeks and could have still have had improvement left in him leading in to his last start.  “If there was any excuse, I was possibly a bit easy on him going in to that last run,” Saunders said.  “If anything I think he will be improved from the run.” Drawing barrier 1 in race 5 means Rah De Rah should be perfectly placed to land on the speed on Thursday.  Though Saunders will not be issuing any instructions to Orange, it looks a logical game plan for the horse to try to lead all of the way.  “Drawn one around Winton – he is unbeaten on that track,” the trainer said. Sadhana continued Saunders’ brilliant form with horses new to his stable when winning in her first start for him at Ascot Park on Saturday. The trainer admitted the strong front running victory surprised him, despite his good record with newcomers. “It was a hell of a surprise.” “She just kept running - I cant really put it down to anything.”  “I had no expectations.” Sadhana led and ran a smart 2:43.4 time in her 2200m win with Orange in the sulky. The 5yr-old faces a big step up in grade when taking on a higher class of horse in race 6 today.  Canterbury pacer Carlos Bromac will back up in the event after his impressive win at Ascot Park on Saturday.  Thursday’s feature trot sees an exciting clash between Picketts Ridge and Wee Man Trouble. Picketts Ridge impressed when downing his rival in his first start for the season at Winton, earlier this month. Wee Man Trouble launched a big finish to easily hold second in the event. Picketts Ridge had a 10m headstart in that race, but will not have that advantage this time.  Both trotters will start from the 30m back mark in their 2400m handicap.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Gore trainer John Ryan showed what a master he is with the square gaiters today at Winton (Sunday) when he produced Picketts Ridge to win the Majestic Son At Alabar Handicap Trot. The six year old Skyvalley gelding driven by regular pilot Nathan Williamson, hadn’t raced since the Riverton meeting at Ascot Park in November last year and had only two workouts to prepare him for today’s run. “I was thrilled with him. What a tremendous training effort by John to get him that sharp and go 3-02 on a cold day. Today was the best he’s felt as far as his gait goes. He felt really solid. He’s always had the ability to be a really good horse.” Picketts Ridge’s winning margin was two and a half lengths over Wee Man Trouble. The winning time on a cold eight degree day of 3-02.6 was 1.6 seconds outside of the track record of 3-01.0  held by Majestic Man. It was Picketts Ridge’s fifth win in eleven starts and he looks destined for a better grade. The day also proved rewarding for two Canterbury drivers. Leading reinsman Blair Orange drove three winners; Plutonium Lady for trainer Mark Jones, Rah De Rah for Tapanui trainer Matt Saunders and impressive looking Tom Martin which won his second race in as many starts. The Paul Court trained Tom Martin lead early before handing up to Kingmaker. But when Hazer started to come round the field with 1700 metres to run Orange took the Mach Three gelding to the front again and there he stayed. His winning margin over Amore Lancôme was a length and a quarter. Tom Martin holds out Amore Lancome                                             --Bruce Stewart photo “He’s a big strong guy who’s still learning but the motor’s there. He just hasn’t got the best pacing actions and he can chuck a few steps in here and there. He’s also not a great steering horse just yet but he’ll only get better. Today he was always travelling well so I was happy enough,” Orange said after the run. Tom Martin’s win capped off a good day for West Otago breeder and trainer John Stiven. He bought Raindowne, the dam of Tom Martin, a few years ago of Tuapeka Lodge. Later in the day Stiven produced Countess Of Arden to win her second race and his first win as a trainer. Canterbury driver John Dunn was also in good form, driving two winners back to back. The first was the Bettor’s Delight filly Need You Now – she beat second favourite Kickupyaheels by half a neck. The two locked wheels close to the finish and Robin Swain trainer of Kickupyaheels lodged a protest which was later dismissed. Need to Know just holding out Kickupyaheels – their wheels locked together   --Bruce Stewart photo Need You Now is raced by All Black captain Kieran Reed, former All Black Andy Ellis and the Woodlands Partnership Syndicate Number Two. She’s out of the Badlands’ Hanover mare Lady Antebellum and is a half-sister to Billy Badger which won eight races for Robert Dunn who also trains Need You Now. In the following race the father and son combination lined up three year old Sportswriter gelding Tyron’s Bit Of Lemon. He took the race out, beating Invaluable by a length and a quarter. Another success on the day was converted pacer Justan’s Sister which won her first race in the trotting gait for trainer Shane Matheson.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

By Garrick Knight The training sect of small West Otago town Tapanui had a day out at Sunday’s Winton races with two of its three licensed horsemen recording wins. And for John Stiven, better known as a highly successful commercial breeder, the win of Countess Of Arden gave him a memorable first training success. It’s not the first time he’s held a training license, but with 2019 being a landmark year for Arden Lodge, he was compelled to give it another crack. “This year is the 50th anniversary for Arden Lodge,” said Stiven. “It was established here in 1969 and that milestone was part of the reason I thought I’d have a wee crack at training again this year.” Stiven is no stranger to the craft, having helped his late father Doug with a team on the same property before his passing in 2001. “I’d been thinking about getting back in to it for a long time,” he told HRNZ. “I took over the licence when dad died, and had just one starter before giving it away to focus on the breeding side of things. “I used to help dad back in the day and knew the times they used to run back then. “So, I spoke to (fellow Tapanui trainer) Alan Shaw about it and he said I wouldn’t need to do much different than what we used to.” The first issue was the farm’s training track, which was somewhat dilapidated after 18 years without being used. “It had a fair bit of grass coming through it in parts that had to be worn off. I actually re-grited it a couple of weeks ago.” Then all he needed was the key part of the equation – a horse. Enter Countess Of Arden, who was a rising four-year-old daughter of Net Ten EOM that had been born and raised on the farm before going through three different stables. “She had been leased to Bob Sandford and Geoff Dunn and they sent her home in May after a couple of starts. “Well she arrived here with new shoes on and I thought, well, rather than pull them off, I’ll wear them off her.” After an encouraging fifth and second at the two Gore meetings, Stiven went to Winton on Sunday semi-confident. That was only magnified when white-hot favourite Chevron Flies was late-scratched an hour before the race. After showing early speed from the mobile start point, Countess Of Arden settled in the trail for junior driver Ben Laughton, whose appointment carried the added bonus of a penalty-free win. The short Winton straight meant she needed to show some zip to reel in leader, Betterthanspraying, but she got there by a half-head in the shadows of the post. With Barry Purdon, Brad Williamson and Dunn having handled her previously, it’s somewhat intriguing that Stiven has managed to get the best out of her. “She’s enjoying life. She’s happy to be home in Tapanui, just like we are.” So, does Stiven have any plans to ramp up his training operation? Probably not immediately with 16 mares nearing foaling and nine yearlings to prepare for next year’s sales. “Just for the moment we will see how it goes, but it’s probably fair to say I’ve got the bug back now.” An added thrill for Stiven was the win earlier in the day of Rah De Rah, who is prepared by fellow Tapanui trainer, Matt Saunders. “Those two horses worked together during the week so it was quite exciting to see them both win on the day. “Matt works them on the galloping track and does a great job. “He’s been up here once and I’ve been down there probably half-a-dozen times.” Like most of Saunders’ winners, he was a recent purchase out of Canterbury and was having his first start from new quarters. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight A heady Nathan Williamson drive spelled the end of U May Cullect’s unbeaten record at Winton on Sunday. Williamson, driving the horse he trains, Franco Santino, ensured a frantic pace throughout which meant the 50-metre handicap of the race favourite was insurmountable. Despite running a last half in a tick over 53 seconds, U May Cullect could still only manage third. “The way it worked out, once we made a good beginning, it just sort of made sense to keep them running,” Williamson told HRNZ. “We had a 30-metre advantage over him and there was no point letting him cruise back in to the race because he was always going to be too good in that situation. “I wasn’t actually expecting to be in front, but when the speed backed off early, I thought I would whip around and put it back on.” Franco Santino, kept in work through winter, had a distinct advantage on the score of fitness, and that paid dividends. And for Williamson, the second win in a row has been an overdue delivery of the ability he always knew the horse had. “He’s been a bit of a problem horse in that he showed a bit of ability early - he actually went 1.52 as a three-year-old – but has always struggled to get really physically stronger. “He couldn’t take a lot of work and we kind of had to baby him through it. “As well as that, he was a picky doer and we had to space out his runs because of it.” A trip to Addington for an unplaced effort in the Uncut Gems in June left Williamson scratching his head, “That’s the only time he’s only disappointed me badly and to be honest I think it’s because he didn’t travel up that well. “Being a colt, in new surrounds, he did not settle in and for two days was running around, not himself.” Not gelding the son of Christian Cullen was a conscious decision on the part of owner Neville Cleaver, but one that Williamson agreed with. “Neville loves colts and he spent a bit of money on him so didn’t want him gelded. “And because he’s always been physically a bit behind the others his age, I thought leaving him a colt might help is development. “That extra bit of testosterone would help him get stronger. “And he’s good-mannered for a colt so it worked out well.” Exactly why Franco Santino has come ahead the last couple of starts, firstly with a win at Gore and now Winton, isn’t something Williamson has put his finger on just yet. “Just in the last month he seems to have turned the corner for unknown reasons. “He feels a bit stronger and seems to be eating better so is copping a bit more work. “Hopefully it means we won’t have to space his races anymore.” Kirstin Barclay, revitalised after a holiday in Queensland, was over the moon with the fresh-up performance of her and Tank Ellis’ stable star, U May Cullect. “I was absolutely rapt with him. “He couldn’t have run home any quicker than what I timed him in. “He just got too far back and the horses in front didn’t cart him up.” But it was after the race that had Barclay particularly excited. “He pulled up a treat and would hardly have blown out a candle, so I think we are right on track for the Hannon Memorial next week.” Also heading that way will be Franco Santino, Williamson keen to get a line on where his in-form pacer sits against the big guns. “We might look at the Hannon with him. “Not because I think he’s a huge winning chance, but because it will give us a good line on where he’s at.“ Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Such is the ease in which star Southland pacer U May Cullect is winning, today driver and co-trainer Kirstin Barclay had to remind the five year old that getting to the line first is what good pacers do. “I had to give him a wee slap today. He’s just got into the habit of pulling up because there’s no competition. He’s actually going to be better coming off their backs. But really happy as that was a nice step up in grade,” she said after the gelding scored another emphatic victory at Winton today. From barrier three Barclay took the Tom Kilkelly owned gelding straight to the top and he easily won the 1609 metre trip by three lengths from stablemate Paddyproudfoot.  “Paddy went super. I was rapt with a wee man.” The winning time was 1-53.1. “There was a race for him at Addington but we decided to stay down here and support the local clubs at the end of the season because people are coming out to see him.” U May Cullect winning today Although in front again today, Barclay says she’d like to educate U May Cullect to race in the field. “If we can get a preferential race he should get a draw and take a sit. The first time in that higher grade that’s what I’d like to do to give him confidence.” So what’s next? “No plans. We’ll take him week by week. He still needs a spell somewhere along the line.” U May Cullect returning after winning - Photo Bruce Stewart This was the gelding’s fifth start and fifth win and I can’t remember the last Southland trained pacer to win their first five starts. Microscopic, after running fourth on debut won his next six races while Honkin Vision ran second on debut then won four straight. Later in the day today the Mitchell Kerr trained Zinny Mac driven by Nathan Williamson broke the track record for three year old colts and geldings. His time of 2-54.3 was 0.1 of a second better than the previous record broken in December by Robyns Playboy. The win was one of two for Kerr who trained Justasec to win the last race of the day. The win was also one of three for Southland’s leading reinsman Nathan Williamson. Meanwhile Jonny Cox did the right thing for his family by winning the Cox Family Celebration Trot on the Amber Hoffman trained Imran Khan. The Pegasus Spur six year old won by an impressive five lengths and Cox threw in a victory salute well before the winning post for good measure. Back to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart Imran Khan is part-owned by Trackside presenter Mark McNamara and Matt Cross, jockey Samantha Wynn and ODT Journalist Jonny Turner.   Bruce Stewart

Wildwest had tongues wagging at Central Southland Raceway today when he impressively won on debut by twelve and a half lengths. “He’s always been a nice horse. We’ve always looked after him. He’s lost a bit of condition on the way through so we’ve put him aside then brought him back. He’s still a bit untapped,” says driver Brent Barclay. The Raging Bull three year old is trained by Barclay’s partner Lauren Pearson at Winton and was sent out hot favourite on the back of some impressive workouts and trials form. With the weight of money on the horse Barclay had no option but to take the horse to the front once he was safely underway from the stand. “I was a little bit worried at the start when he got a bit jumpy but he stepped real nice. He’s got a lot of speed and I would have liked to have seen him in behind today but in that type of field you have to drive him like the best horse.” His time was 3-03.6. The track record for three year old colts and gelding is 3-01.3 which was recorded by Shorty’s Chance in 2009. “It just felt like 3-10 not 3-03 but he’s very deceptive.” Wildwest winning his first start today The three year old has been patiently handled and local trainer Ian Jamieson managed his first two preparations. “He used to buck a bit early on but he’s been a real gentleman lately.” Wildwest is owned by Kevin Strong who has bred and raced many horses over the years. “He’s had so much bad luck so that’s why we’ve looked after him. It’s just great for Kev.” Trainer Lauren Pearson, Wildwest, Kevin Strong and driver Brent Barclay - Photo Bruce Stewart Barclay says the horse has been attracting the attention of buyers prior to his debut today. “We’ve had a lot of interest in him but we’ll discuss that with Kev.” And as for his future racing programme? “Probably Invercargill. He wouldn’t be going to Gore. I got suspended. There would have been plenty lining up to drive him there (laugh).” Pearson trained Wildwest’s dam Bay Jet which was by Jereme’s Jet. Bay Jet ran third and first at workouts but never qualified. Wildwest is her first foal. Wildwest in by the Christian Cullen stallion Raging Bull which won five of his ten starts for Canterbury trainer Cran Dalgety.    Bruce Stewart

TAB News March/April NZ Bonus Quaddies Every Friday, Saturday & Sunday in March & April there will be a Bonus Quaddie on a NZ meeting. Thoroughbreds: $25k Bonus Late Quaddie every Saturday Harness: $5k Bonus Early Quaddie every Sunday - Rangiora Harness: $5k BONUS Early Quaddie on Races 2, 3, 4 & 5 Greyhounds: $5k Bonus Late Quaddie every Friday evening Pick6 this Week Thu 11 Apr $25k Guaranteed at Palmerston North Night Harness - Jackpot of $2,802.99. Fri 12 April $25k Guaranteed at Alexandra Park Night Harness   Addington Raceway – Friday Day Meeting 12 April Hello Everyone, IRT HARNESS JEWELS  - Remember to book your perfect spot! We are delighted to host the IRT Harness Jewels at Addington. Please see below details of all the festivities.   Welcome Pre Function Dinner – Thursday 30 May 6.00pm Silks & Satin Lounge, Level 2 Metropolitan Stand Hosted by Greg O’Connor and Michael Guerin, this special evening will celebrate the history of this wonderful event.  Included in the festivities will be the IRT Harness Jewels commentators Tony Lee, Mark McNamara and Aaron White who through their commentaries, will highlight this special race series.  As part of this night HRNZ will present the IRT Harness Jewels colours to the leading set of connections in each category. Evening includes; Three course plated dinner Cash bar facilities available $70 per person $650 for a table of 10 To book or for more information please contact Joanne McMaster on 339 7908 or   IRT in association with TAB Harness Jewels Golf Day – Friday 31 May This is a Four Ball Best Ball Stableford event to be held at the Templeton Golf Club.  The day will start with a pre-game BBQ from 10.30am with teams teeing off from 11.30am.  There will be a prize giving post game. Individual $50 per player Sponsorship $250+GST per hold including a team of 4 To book or for more information please contact Greg O’Connor at greg.o’   IRT Harness Jewels – Hospitality Packages – Saturday 1 June Ruby Lounge Located on level 3 of the Metropolitan Stand, enjoy panoramic views over the track in a lounge setting with casual seating.   Ideal for groups of friends wanting the best views, in a more relaxed atmosphere where you can mix and mingle with other racing enthusiasts. (No allocated seating) Package Includes: · Course admission, racebooks and access to the Ruby Lounge · Complimentary drink on arrival · Stand-up grazing stations with an array of antipasto and seafood platters, fresh salads, carvery meats, fresh breads, hot vegetables, and a dessert selection · A cash bar offering a selection of premium wines, NZ premium and standard beers, house spirits and non-alcoholic beverages (beverage tabs can be arranged on the day) · Barista coffee and tea available throughout the day · Private TAB facilities and Trackside TV’s · Racing Master of Ceremonies $195 per person   Silks & Satin Lounge Soak up the atmosphere and excitement in one of our largest lounges on course. Located on level 2 of the Metropolitan Stand with uninterrupted views of the winning post, this is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after positions for those wanting the complete hospitality experience. Allocated seating is at shared tables of 10 people. Package Includes: · Course admission, racebooks and access to the Silks & Satin Lounge · Three course buffet lunch, including cold meats, seafood and salads, hot dishes, carvery, and mouth-watering desserts · All beverages included – premium wines, NZ premium and standard beers, house spirits and non-alcoholic beverages · Barista coffee and tea available throughout the day · Live entertainment · Private TAB facilities and Trackside TV’s · Racing Master of Ceremonies $295 per person   Spectators Punters Lounge This is the perfect place for racing enthusiasts wanting a relaxed and casual place to mix and mingle. Enjoy the comfort of lounge facilities with access to the front of the Lindauer Lawn to watch all the trackside action. Spectators also offers a large screen, bar leaners and casual seating. (No allocated seating) Package Includes: · Course admission, racebooks and access to Spectators Punters Lounge · Continuous spit roast grazing stations including fresh vegetables, seasonal salads, pork, Canterbury lamb and sweet treats · A cash bar offering a selection of premium wines, NZ premium and standard beers, house spirits and non-alcoholic beverages (beverage tabs can be arranged on the day) · Barista coffee and tea available throughout the day · Private TAB facilities and Trackside TV’s · Racing Master of Ceremonies $125 per person        For hospitality bookings or for more information please contact Joanne McMaster on 339 7908 or All details and booking forms are also on our website – We are looking forward to hosting an outstanding day of our sport on Saturday 1 June.  Have a great week. From the Addington Team   Alexandra Park – Friday 12 April Friday 12 April 2019 – Mile Night Friday 12 April will see all races at Alexandra Park on the night run over the distance of a Mile. In the past this style of racing at Alexandra Park has resulted in some exciting racing and unexpected winners and now with the minimum stake of $15k on offer for all races there is bound to be some fireworks.   Friday 26 April 2019 – American Night Howdy Partner! Saddle up for Alexandra Park’s American Night on Friday 26th April from 5.30pm. Enjoy some harness racing action, all-you-can-eat southern style cuisine and a chance to wet your whistle. Cowboy hats and boots encouraged! Can you stay at the top of the mechanical bull leaderboard and take out the top prize? It’s gunna be a hoot. Ya'll get your group together and join in the fun. What are you waiting for? Secure your table today! Go to The night is supported by the Caduceus Club along with their loyal group of sponsors who support the running of the Woodlands Stud Caduceus Club Fillies Classic for 2 YO fillies as well as 6 other races on the card including the John Devlin Memorial Trot. Also run on the night we have the Taylor Mile for 4 YO pacers, the final of Haras des Trotteurs Sires Stakes for 3YO Trotters and the HR Fisken & Sons ANZAC Cup for the highest rated trotters. With this being the first night of the Premier racing in the Autumn at Alexandra Park all these horses will be able to compete for Group 1 glory again the following week if they happen to met with bad luck in the run.   Friday 3 May 2019 – 2019 Reharvest Rowe Cup Friday May 3rd Harness Racing at its best - 3 Group 1 races as well as the Magness Benrow Sires Stakes 2 YO Fillies Championship will be run during the evening at Alexandra Park. The other feature races through the night will be the Dawson Harford NZ Messenger Championship for 4 YO pacers, Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby for 3YO Trotters and the 2019 Reharvest Rowe Cup for the best trotters in the country racing for a stake of $150,000.00. Top of the Park will open on this night for all your dining requirements and should you like more information or would like to make a booking go to   Winton – Saturday 13 April BIG DAY OF RACING AT WINTON Feature races include the final of the Southern Belle Speed Series run over 1609 metres for a stake of $20,000. The series, supported by Regent Car Court, Fast Track Insurance, VetSouth Equine and the Southern Standardbred Breeders Association, is an important one for the southern harness racing industry. Other features include the Aldebaran Park Super Gold Chip Final Trot over 2400m for $20,000 and the Winton Businesses Cup also over 2400 metres for a stake of $14,999. On course patrons can also be in to win with two lucky losing ticket draws courtesy of Gypsy Kitchen Nightcaps after Race 6 on the day.  Racing is scheduled to start at 11.40am and admission to the course is free!   Rangiora Harness Racing Club – 14 April Rangiora Harness Racing Club will be holding its Rangiora Classic Race Day on Sunday 14th. The feature event will be the Airpark Canterbury Rangiora Classic, a Group Three Free For All carrying a stake of $30,000. This race has attracted some of the country’s best pacers in past years and the Club is hoping for a top field again this year. A second feature race on the programme is the Kotare Downs Rangiora Three Year Old Stakes for a stake of $13,000. This race provides an opportunity for, to date lesser performed horses to win a significant feature race before the end of their three year old season. This race has gone from strength to strength in recent years and the Club is looking forward to another exciting event this year. The winners of both races will receive silver trophies and dress rugs. The fillies and mares race for 3yo & older race horses on the card for this meeting will see the winner receive a free service to Terror to Love kindly donated by Harcourt Lodge.   HRNZ Marketing

Southland reinsman Brent Barclay joined a very small number of Southland horsemen to drive 700 winners when today on his home track be drove Nota Bene Denario to win. Clark Barron 1,038, Allan Beck 816, Nathan Williamson 749 and Henry Skinner 717 are the only other drivers in the province to have achieved the milestone. “That was my main aim this year and to get it early is really good,” he said after winning on the Brett Gray trained four year old. His first winner was Dougie Wood at Westport in 1989, a trotter that was trained by his father Keith. “I was only about sixteen then. It was a long time ago.” Over the thirty one seasons he’s been driving he’s driven some very good horses and says he seems to have had a special affinity with fillies and mares. “I’ve driven a lot of good fillies actually like Whanau, Natal Franco and Windermere Girl. A lot of them were three year old fillies.” Early in his career when he worked for Noel Creighton he drove the very good OK Bye juvenile pacer Corumba. He reined him to win the 1995 Welcome Stakes and 1995 Kindergarten Stakes. “Corumba was a bit of a standout. I was pretty young when I drove him. I think if I drove him now he’d be a lot better horse.” The following season he won the Southern Supremacy Stakes with Corumba. In all, Barclay drove him to win six times. He’s had stints with Findlay Road trainer Wayne Adams for whom he’s driven eighty two winners with the first being Nevalookbak in 1997). Other trainers he’s worked for include Kirk Larsen, Bud Baynes and in Australia Darrell Graham and Grant Dixon. These days he’s firmly attached to Brett Gray’s Ryal Bush stable and he feels he’s driving as good as ever. “This year I’m probably driving as good as I ever have. I said to Lauren (partner Lauren Pearson) and Brett at the start of the season that I’ve got to be a bit more aggressive this year especially at the start. If you get back these days and try to get round them with the speed they’re going it’s just too hard. But there are certain horses you can’t go forward and burn too much.” The win on Nota Bene Denerio was Barclay’s twenty seventh of the current season and his seventy second for Gray. “For me to get this many wins early in the season is really good. We’ve had a really good run with Brett since we’ve come back from Australia. Couldn’t have worked out better.” Barclay has ventured a couple of times to Australia to try his luck, linking up with Darrell Graham and the powerful Grant Dixon stable.     “Over there it’s just attack attack attack. There’s no looking after them there. I thought I’d go well when I went there but it backfired a bit. But we still had a good run. I might have driven 50 winners while I was there. You were only ever on the second stringers and when you’re working for a stable like that you very rarely got any outside drives.” Of the 700 New Zealand winners the horses he’s driven the most times to win (seven) have been Bonnie Lass, Be Not Afraid and Jamie.   Barclay rates Duke Of Wellington as the most underrated horse he’s driven. He won five races with him last season including the Southern Supremacy Stakes. “Last year he was still untapped I thought. We worked him up before he went over to Australia and I thought he’d improved immensely.” Nice trotters he’s driven include Be Not Afraid (7), Johnny Wishbone (6) and Smokey Mac (6). “I’m very lucky because I’ve driven 140 odd trotting winners and to be fair I think Full Noise is going to get there (best he’s driven). I really like driving a nice fluent trotter. Full Noise is a bit like that – he’s got a great gait, a good turn of speed and can also stay. I drove a trotter early on called Be Not Afraid. She was only one dimension. She was very fast, could trot all the way with a beautiful gait. This day and age she wouldn’t have won as many races.” But back to today’s 700th winner. It was fitting that it was for Brett Gray and that it carried the number seven saddle cloth. “People were probably saying he’s been disappointing but it was probably a drop in grade for him today. Brett’s changed a bit of gear on him and he just felt like his old self. He feels like quite a sharp horse.” After leading early Barclay decided to hand up to Allan Beck when he came round on Bettor Enforce.   “He felt super in front but when Becky came round I thought it was the one to beat. It worked out perfect.”   For the record the winning margin was one and a quarter lengths. All done and dusted - Photo Bruce Stewart  The Brent Barclay 700 winner’s fact file: Combined pacers and trotters: 7,355 starts, 700 winners, 684 seconds, 665 thirds for stakes of $4,765,303. Just trotters: 1266 starts, 142 winners, 130 seconds and 94 thirds. Only four other Southland drivers have driven more winners: Clark Barron (1,038), Allan Beck (816) Nathan Willliamson (749) and Henry Skinner (717). First winner was the trotter Dougie Wood on Boxing Day at Westport in 1989. He was trained by his father Keith. Trainers worked for: Keith Barclay, Wayne Adams, Noel Creighton, Kirk Larsen, Bud Baynes and Australian trainers Darrel Graham and Grant Dixon. Biggest winner: Corumba 1995 Welcome Stakes and 1995 Kindergarten Stakes. Southland Junior Driver of the Year 1996 (10 wins) and 1997 (11 wins) Southland races he’s won three times: Kindergarten Stakes; Corumba (1995), Bought In The Pub (2003) and Waikiki Beach (2015) Southern Country Cups Final; Bonnie Lass (2001), Whanau (2003) and The Jaccka (2005). AON Insurance Equine Stakes; Magnetic Chip (1993), Whanau (2002) and Shezacullengirl (2018) Supremacy Stakes; Corumba (1996), Looksaflyer (2006) and Duke Of Wellington (2018) Best season; 2003 – 51 winners Winner of 2006 Interprovincial Drivers Championship Winner of Southland Drivers Premiership in 2006 (37), 2007 (44) and 2008 (38) Trainers- Most winners for: Wayne Adams (82-First: Nevalookbak 1/11/1997), Brett Gray (72-First: Frampton Bromac 8/1/2009), Lauren Pearson (41 – First: Eweburn Sun 8/1/2004) and Roger, John and Katrina Price (31 – First: Gypsy Road 26/11/1999) Four winners in a day: Wairio 15th December 2006 (Jamie, Hillarys Home, Mystic Sun and Fino) and Forbury Park 13th December 2002 (Cool Chip, Sayonara, Cripple Creek and Jay See Eye). Biggest wins: 2018 Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes Final (Duke Of Wellington) 2015 Alabar Kindergarten Stakes (Waikiki Beach) 2006 Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes Final (Looksaflyer) 2006 NZ Sapling Stakes (Jackson Brown) 2005 Nevele R Stakes (Western Dream) 2003 Southern Country Cups Final (Whanau) 2001 Southern Country Cups Final (Bonnie Lass) 1999 Southland Oaks Final (Windermere Girl) 1995 New Zealand Kindergarten Stakes (Corumba) 1995 New Zealand Welcome Stakes (Corumba) 1996 Southern Supremacy Stakes Final (Corumba) Biggest winners; Bonnie Lass (7) Be Not Afraid (7) Jamie (7) Johnny Wishbone (6) Smokey Mac (6) Corumba (6) Duke Of Wellington (5) Windermere Girl (5) Natal Franco (5) Scotty Mac (5)   by Bruce Stewart

It appears that Riversdale trainer Brent McIntyre was meant to hang onto giant American Ideal pacer Huntaway. As an unraced horse he could easily have slipped through his fingers on a number of occasions. “I originally bred him for the sales but he was such a big lanky skinny thing that I was actually going to put him down. He was awful. In the end we tossed up whether or not to break him in and when we did he actually went all right,” he said. Roxburgh trainer Rory McIIwrick then leased him.                                        “I think he took him to the trials but he got lame in the back leg so he pulled the pin. A couple of other guys wanted to lease him but they never turned up so we started working the bugger and today’s the end result.” Huntaway is out of the qualified but unraced Christian Cullen mare Holly Marie. She’s only left four foals of racing age, one being Annajodi which won three races for Murray Brown and another seven in Australia. Huntaway’s third dam is the 1987 New Zealand Oaks winner Young Eden. “He’s five, so old enough to go to school but he’s just needed to mature. At home he’s a handful but he is getting better. The family leaves a lot of good horses, Ken Barron has had a few of them.” Wanting for his return, Trainer Brent McIntyre, son Kane who part owns Huntaway and good stable client Neil Timms - Photo Bruce Stewart Barron trained Ewie Duncan (8 New Zealand wins and 11 USA), Kenny The Cowboy (2 New Zealand wins and 18 USA wins), Roland John (6 New Zealand wins and 8 USA) and Captain Crazy (6 New Zealand and 8 USA wins). The timing of the win was perfect for McIntyre as he has Huntaway’s half-brother by Bettor’s Delight in this week’s NZB Standardbred Sale in Christchurch. The colt is owned by his breeder Ken Milne. “That’s one of the reasons I started him today.” From the outside of the second row driver Nathan Williamson settled Huntaway well off the pace. At the 1200 metres Williamson flushed out favourite Valiant Charger and got onto its back, progressing forward. At the 600 Williamson decided to go round Valiant Charger and in a good burst of speed was up challenging for the lead. He had hit the front with 400 metres to run and at the finish he had a three and a quarter length buffer on the second horse Hans Ideal. The winning time was 2-57.5. “He’s a nice horse. How good I don’t know but we’ll find out. I think he will progress. He didn’t even pull the plugs on him today. I’ll enjoy a beer on him.” Earlier this month McIntyre decided to sell his unbeaten three year old filly Balcatherine which was also by American Ideal so today’s win helped in a way, to ease the pain. “It was very hard to let her go.” Meanwhile Ashburton trainer Brent White’s hot Southland form continued when quality trotter One Apollo in only his third start overcame a rocky passage to impressively win the Gold Chip Trotters Final. The win was one of four for the country’s leading reinman Blair Orange who now sits on 100 wins for the current season. One Apollo winning for Blair Orange - Photo Bruce Stewart. One Apollo looked to be out of contention when turning in after Whatwillbeewillbee broke in front of him, forcing him to go off stride. He picked himself up off the canvas and started to trot again but was seven lengths from the leader Somethings Burning. In a phenomenal burst of speed One Apollo trotted down the middle of the track to win impressively by three lengths. He seems destined to win a big race at some point of his career.   by Bruce Stewart

Impressive Regent Car Court Nugget Final winner Mossdale Art looks to be the early favourite for the Southland Oaks in April. The Bettor’s Delight three year old has been impressive in both her wins at Winton in the last three weeks and her win today against a field of primarily three year old colts and geldings stamped her as a quality filly. “I think she’s a filly that should have a pretty good season. She’s had two starts for two wins and hopefully she’ll carry on learning,” said driver Ben Hope, son of Greg and Nina Hope who train the filly. In today’s final Vintage Rose showed early gate speed to lead before Zinny Mach took over. With 1300 metres to run Hope moved Mossdale Art out from three back on the inside to take up the parked positon for 200 metres before taking her to the front. In the last 50 metres she held out Zinny Mach which came up the inside to get within a neck of the winner with another half a neck back to a late charging Just Wondering for third. Mossdale Art (1) hanging on to beat Zinny Mach (2)                  - Photo Bruce Stewart. “I had the second and third horse well covered. I let her cruise to the line herself. As soon as Zinny Mac snuck up I had to nurse her across the line again. She had them well covered but just pulled up because of her inexperience.” Mossdale Art is owned by Mossburn breeder Archie Affleck and Hope thinks she can perform at a higher level. “It’s hard to know how far she’ll go but I’d say she’ll be able to keep up with most of the fillies.”  Affleck was one of Greg and Nina Hopes first clients. They have been training horses for the Mossburn based breeder for fifteen years with the first ‘Mossdale’ winner (Mossdale Cam) winning at Marlborough in January 2003. Winning connections       - photo Bruce Stewart Today’s win was the 31st ‘Mossdale’ the Hopes have trained for Affleck. The combination’s biggest winner so far has been Mossdale Conner which won thirteen races including the 2015 Taylor Mile. “It’s really great to get another win for Archie. He’s been with Mum and Dad for ages. He couldn’t make it last time when she won over a mile so it was great to have him here today.”   Bruce Stewart

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