Day At The Track
HRA - stop TAXING us to death

Andrew Kelly, HRA - stop TAXING us to death

The new ‘Stallion Levy’ proposed by Harness Racing Australia is a move that has created more questions than answers as Australasia’s biggest breeders know it will have a negative ripple effect on the industry at all levels.  What is wrong with Harness Racing Australia and Andrew Kelly? With Andrew Kelly producing FAKE NEWS with ridiculous numbers today of $18 million spent on “International Sires” it is hard to understand how HRA can justify his salary. With no experience and no investment in the Stallion business he is out of control. He has been in this position for 12 years and far too long! Andrew Kelly is not the only person responsible for this proposed TAX though. Below this letter, we have listed all State members that have been a part of this TAX proposal. This is what the majority of breeders have to say today about this unbelievable TAX that HRA is trying to get in place; Dear Mr. Kelly & the HRA Executive With regards to your recent announcement of a proposed 15% levy on all shuttle and frozen semen non-resident stallions, we would like to formally express our opposition to this Proposal. It is extremely disappointing that there was no industry consultation or discussion in advance of this Proposal. Stud farms, stallion owners and breeders’ organisations were not notified of this Proposal prior to the posting of a general press release on the HRA website. This press release creates far more questions than answers. Based on the breeding data available on HarnessWeb as of April 19th, there were 5,118 total mares bred in Australia to 166 registered stallions in the 2020/21 season. Pacing stallions served a total of 4,331 Australian mares with Australian domiciled stallions serving the majority of mares – 2,662 (61%). The remaining 39% of pacing mares bred (1,669) were served with semen from shuttle and frozen semen stallions. Australian-based shuttle stallions served 700 pacing mares, NZ-based shuttle stallions served 531 Australian pacing mares and North American frozen semen was used to serve 438 pacing mares. A total of 787 trotting mares were bred in Australia. Australian domiciled stallions served 292 trotting mares (37%). The remaining 63% of trotting mares (495) were served with semen from U.S. shuttle stallions, frozen semen from U.S. and European stallions and NZ domiciled stallions. Australian-based shuttle stallions served 62 trotting mares, NZ-based shuttle stallions covered 29 trotting mares, NZ domiciled stallions 109 mares and non-resident frozen semen was used to serve 295 trotting mares. Pacing and trotting stallions who permanently reside in Australia accounted for 58% of all mares bred last season. It should be noted that 114 Australian domiciled stallions will not be assessed this levy and therefore will not be contributing any funds to HRA’s 15% Proposal. Contrary to the opinions of a few self-interested parties who have created a huge misconception within the industry, there is far less money being paid to North American breeding syndicates for the use of their stallions than rumored. In addition, a large percentage of breeding rights for several of the most prominent shuttle stallions are owned by Australian/New Zealand studs or investors with the bulk of collected service fees remaining in Australasia as a return on investment. Also, many stallions are under long-term lease agreements contracted when a 15% levy was not included in the configuration of expenses.  Breeding farms have been relied on to help support the industry by offering discounts as high as 25% to breeders to assist them with rising costs and to provide complimentary breeding’s to clubs and breeders organisations throughout the country as well as various sponsorships within the industry. Now it is proposed that stud owners fund prize money increases to the Inter Dominion, Derbys and Oaks for benefit of a select few. We are not in agreement that breeding should be funding racing. Most of the studs who stand shuttle or offer frozen semen stallions have made significant contributions to the Australian agricultural and general economy. We have made substantial investments in property, buildings, equipment and livestock, we employ staff, purchase hay, feed and other farm supplies as well as support many local businesses (printers, office supplies, petrol, etc.). If this levy were to be adopted by HRA, there would most definitely be a ripple effect felt throughout the entire industry. HRA is attempting to change the way studs conduct their business which we feel would result in a dramatic change to the established culture of breeding. Breeders should be afforded the option of selecting the best stallions available for their mares without being penalized by a 15% levy. Below are just some of the major impacts we believe this 15% levy would have on Australian breeding. It has been a long-standing practice within the industry for studs to offer breeders a discount on the advertised service fee – whether it be for early payment, bookings for multiple mares or farm loyalty discounts. Over the last 25 years, very few breeders, if any, have ever paid the full advertised service fee. This proposed 15% levy on the advertised service fee will certainly see the elimination or reduction of service fee discounts for both shuttle and frozen semen stallions. This levy is extremely discriminatory as it provides Australian domiciled stallions a 15% price advantage as they are not subject to this levy. Many studs offer clients the opportunity to pay the service fee on a live foal basis. HRA has stated the proposed 15% levy will be imposed following a 42-day positive pregnancy test which may lead to the elimination of these pay on live foal options. With regards to the proposed 15% levy being invoiced on a 42-day positive pregnancy test, does this levy carry a live foal guarantee or a refund to the stud farm if the mare fails to deliver a live foal and when would this be repaid? Is the levy applicable to free returns? Complimentary breeding’s? Donations? Ultimately it appears that studs will have little or no choice but to pass this proposed levy on to breeders. Studs cannot be expected to absorb this additional cost on top of an already expense laden business. As breeders’ costs rise due to this levy, breeding numbers, live foals and race starters will undoubtedly decrease. This levy is an HRA attempt to push breeders towards supporting Australian/Colonial stallions who are not subjected to this levy. The most popular and successful commercial stallions available to breeders in Australia are shuttle or frozen semen stallions.  Commercial breeders are less likely to experience the same returns at the yearling sales that they currently enjoy if they are forced to breed to “Colonial” stallions due to this levy.  The considerable number of horses exported overseas by Australian owners will also be affected as Colonial-sired horses will not be as recognizable and may not be in great demand by mainstream North American or European buyers.  Stallion choices in the future will be limited as fewer shuttle/frozen semen stallions will be available due to this proposed levy. This levy, added to the mounting costs of shuttling to the southern hemisphere, will question the economical feasibility of bringing the best-bred and performed stallions to Australasia.  Faced with both 10% GST and this 15% levy, most international stallion owners will be discouraged from considering Australia in the future. If fewer mares are bred to shuttle/frozen semen stallions due to this levy, the Australasian gene pool will be negatively affected in the future. This 15% levy will negatively impact industry sponsorships. Studs have played a critical role in race and club sponsorships over the years, but this levy will certainly affect monies available for these sponsorships. If studs are being asked to fund racing prize money as suggested in your Proposal, how can they be asked to continue to sponsor tracks, clubs and smaller industry events as well? As an example, International Racehorse Transport has stepped up its sponsorship of the Standardbred industry in the last several years, but if fewer stallions are flying back and forth from North America or Europe, how can IRT be expected to support an industry that no longer supports their business model? We would like to request a meeting with the HRA Executive to further discuss our concerns regarding this proposed 15% levy. It is evident that HRA has not considered this Proposal from the point of view of the Studs. We would welcome the opportunity to educate the Executive on the realities of the breeding industry and assist in seeking alternative proposals to benefit the ENTIRE Standardbred community. Faithfully yours, Pat Driscoll, Haras des Trotteurs/Yabby Dam Farm Alan Galloway, Alabar Farms Mark Hughes, Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd David James, Empire Stallions Corp Dr. Kath McIntosh, Northern Rivers Equine Vet Clinic Kody Charles, KTC Bloodstock Belinda McCarthy, Cobbity Equine Farm Ged Mooar, Nevele R Stud Peter O’Rourke, Stallions Australasia Anthony Perkins, Trump Bloodstock Darren Reay, Medowie Lodge .................................................... Here are the people that are complicit in proposing this TAX. One of the main promoters of this TAX is one of those members Bob Fowler who has a vested interest in Colonial stallions. Feel free to lobby these ill informed officials below.   HRA Office Bearers, National Body, Corporate & Service Providers     Office Bearers for 2020/2021 Effective Date of Implementation:   30 October 2020 Executive Members                             Graeme Campbell OAM Independent Chair         Ken Brown AM Deputy Chairman (NSW-HRNSW)     Dale Montieth Treasurer (Vic-HRV)                             Executive Members                         Margaret Reynolds (Qld-Racing Queensland)   Joel Wallace (Tas-Tasracing Pty Ltd)     George Fiacchi  (SA-HRSA)     Bob Fowler (WA-RWWA)                           HRA National Body       Andrew Kelly   Chief Executive            Chief Executive: Andrew Kelly   Head of Finance and Strategy: Cameron Brown   Equine Health & Welfare Co-ordinator: Kathleen Mullan   DNA Co-ordinator, Registration, Naming, Clearances: Laraine Rischitelli   HRA Website & Database Administrator, Reports: Kathy Gebert   Clearances, Administration Services: Kerry Macaloney   General Email: hra@hra.com.au   Naming Enquiries: naming@hra.com.au   Phone: 61 3 9227 3000   Fax: 61 3 9227 3030     Mail: Level 1, 400 Epsom Road, Flemington Vic  3031  Australia

Kat Gardiner, Harness racing

Living the dressage dream

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk    Kat Gardiner is not your stereotypical truck driver. Yes, she is a Class 5 swing lift operator, who’s on the road five days a week, but she’s also a mother and a dedicated dressage rider who has high hopes of taking her beloved “Vinny” to the top. “He’s going to be my best horse,” says Gardiner. Vinny is the impeccably-bred Dream Major (Art Major - Christian Dreamer), who is a half brother to Amazing Dream and Chase The Dream. On debut in 2018 he was a three length winner at Alexandra Park for trainer Barry Purdon and driver Zachary Butcher as a $1.30 favourite. But he had just one more start. “He blew a knee,” says Gardiner, who’s been involved with horses all her life, and lives with her family on a four hectare block at Cust, North Canterbury. She sharedrives trucks with husband Craig Roberts. Moving 40-foot containers around the country is her stock and trade. Over the years she’s had upwards of a dozen horses - “90 per cent of them standardbreds”. Following his injury “Vinny” went to Rebecca Glass in Rakaia in Mid Canterbury. About the same time Gardiner was watching the Future Stars dressage competition in 2019 and thought to herself “bugger it, I’ll give it a go”. But it wasn’t until March last year that horse and rider became acquainted. “I re-homed him a week before lockdown.” “Rebecca was hacking him out … I thought he was very cute” And so began their dressage journey. “He did not want to listen to me on that first ride…. Now he picks it up like he was born to do it.” Gardiner reckons Vinny has “heaps of potential” and she’s doing all she can to realise it, by committing plenty of time and money. That includes getting top class coaching from the likes of Tania McKenzie and Greg Smith. “They just fine tune what we are doing and we learn new movements.” The results are building. “He couldn’t trot in a 20 metre circle – now he’s winning Level 2 dressage and was reserve champion in the non-graded at Future Stars.” Getting to the Future Stars itself was a massive tick for Gardiner and Vinny. Now it's onwards and upwards. “We have been doing 'shoulder-in' and just started 'counter canter' .... he’s happy to give everything a go.” The ambition is to one day make it to Horse of the Year and, with Dream Major still only being a five-year-old, they have time to burn. “Whichever level it is I don’t know but I just want the two of us to keep getting better, and let's see where it ends up," said Gardiner. “The Dream is happening!”

Harness Analyst, Harness racing

Harness analyst - Addington 11th May

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Mid week racing racing hits Addington today with a seven race program starting at 4:06pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. Addington selections 11th May 2021 Best Bet:  R4 Bonnie Boy Best Value:  R7 Nerano   Race 1 Smokin Annie (8) Proviseur (3) Wolfenstein (9) To Ri Caitlin (10)   Race 2 Twilight Bromac (1) Luminite (8) Rocknizzy Rulz (5) Greenback Boogie (2)   Race 3 Ruby's A Delight (9) Cha Cha B (14) Reflectionsofmylife (8) Woodlea Diego (3)   Race 4 Bonnie Boy (3) Georgias Baron (13) Lilac Star (7) One Direction (8)   Race 5 Blink N Bones (9) Count Eyre (3) Michelle (12) Our Pegasus Pearl (14)   Race 6 Baileys Diamond (4) Senorita Margarita (5) Honour Scroll (1) Boarding Call (11)   Race 7 Nerano (7) Lennox Bromac (2) Four Starzzz Shiraz (4) Mighty Reactor (3)   Harnesslink Media

Addington,harness racing

Addington moves form into the future

Addington Raceway are moving form analysis in New Zealand into the future by becoming the first club to support in-depth punting data guide, The Ultimate Racebook. Utilising data available through the StrideMASTER system which individually times every horse who races at Addington, The Ultimate Racebook will provide punters with crucial information on which horses have the speed to be prominent at certain stages of races. It will also show “time equivalent” sectionals, breaking down how fast horses have actually run a certain sectional inafter taking into account how much extra ground they covered. “We are looking forward to working with Dan Cooney from The Ultimate Racebook to provide more in-depth information than has ever been available to New Zealand punters before,” says Darrin Williams, Racing Industry Manager for Addington Raceway. Dan Cooney, created The Ultimate Racebook. “I first started working on this during the covid lockdown. As a keen follower of racing I was impressed with the amount of information StrideMASTER provides and thought about how that information could be presented to make it easier for punters when looking at form for a race meeting. Addington have been tremendous to partner with and we are very pleased to launch this week” Dan said. The Ultimate Racebook and Addington will also produce a cheat sheet for each meeting to show which horses racing at that meeting has the most early and/or closing speeds to help punters find crucial value. For more information on this next step in the future of New Zealand harness racing punting check out The Ultimate Racebook at theurb.co.nz. For more information on StrideMASTER at Addington visit our website here.    Addington Raceway

Mark Jones is set to show off even more of his skills as a horseman following his impressive victory with Kowhai Sunset at Rangiora on Sunday. The colt put himself in Harness Jewels contention when sitting off the speed in a hotly contested two-year-old trot before powering to victory. The win displayed Jones’ skill as a leading trainer and a former World Champion driver as he produced a more polished version of Kowhai Sunset than seen in his last two starts. The trainer then pulled out a pinpoint drive behind the colt, bred and raced by John and Jill Hartnell. View the Rangiora Results click here! Even more of Jones’ horsemanship will be on show on Wednesday when he steps out his first runner as a thoroughbred trainer at Ashburton when Mistletoe starts in race 1. Jones brought a sense of humour and a touch of modesty when assessing the horse’s chances. “I didn’t realise but the horse has gone from Jamie Richards to John Bary to Terri Rae to me, so I don’t think I will be able to improve it,” Jones quipped. “But at least now I can go into the birdcage and get all the good excuses that the jockeys use.” Jones has had his thoroughbred licence approved so that he can step out Mistletoe, who he also owns. “I actually quite enjoy the gallopers and it is going to be a good challenge.” Unlike Mistletoe, Jones obviously does not want to see a strong gallop from Kowhai Sunset any time soon. The colt made mistakes in two starts after making a solid debut when fourth behind Highgrove at Addington. On Sunday the trotter showed his true worth, which makes him a horse to follow in the upcoming two-year-old feature trots. “We will have a go at the Sires Stakes now and then we will look to go up to the Jewels,” Jones said. “It will be up to the owners if we go up there, we haven’t discussed that yet.” “Outside of Highgrove you would think he would be pretty competitive with the rest.” Kowhai Sunset was covered in sweat before and after his victory on Sunday. That was not a sign the horse had worked himself up or was in need of his run, the trotter is simply a free-sweating type. Kowhai Sunset is just the second winner in New Zealand for trotting sire Creatine, who is available through Nevele R Stud. Jones liked what he saw in Kowhai Sunset and planned to buy more of Creatine’s stock at this year’s NZB Standardbred National Yearling Sales but unfortunately missed out.   by Jonny Turner

The first Road to the Harness Racing Jewels video for 2021 features Ben Hope and Muscle Mountain (4YO Ruby)    HRNZ

It’s proving to be a competitive junior driving premiership this year.   Here we look into those that are impressing this season and who is making a late bid to challenge for the title.     As we head into the middle of May John Morrison continues to head the standings. His winning tally of 45 wins so far meaning his lead is currently nine. Notable recent victories include a winning turn on the flying Lifes A Beach at Addington and his Wyndham Cup winning steer while behind Memphis Tennessee.   The real mover in the ranks has been Sarah O Reilly who now finds herself leading the chasing pack after a successful last two months or so. Her partnership with Michael House trained runners has paid handsome dividends of late with wins coming aboard Rake, Abadabado and Smokin Annie at Manawatu along with an impressive front running display on Changearound at Invercargill. O’Reilly has also piloted home the likes of Spanna, who was able to get over the top of rivals at Methven,and Ideal Invasion who surprised them all at Waimate, the horse paying an attractive $30.10 dividend.   If there’s such a thing as premiership momentum then it most certainly lies with O’Reilly currently.   Sheree Tomlinson and Ben Hope (both on 33 wins) are both within sight of Morrison too and shouldn’t be dismissed from premiership calculations. The sound form of known stand-starter Homebush Lad adding a couple of wins to the tally of Hope alongside his memorable driving display to snare his first Group One success when guiding Muscle Mountain to a win in the Fred Shaw Memorial NZ Trotting Championship when beating out the reining king of the squaregaiters in Sundees Son.           Luke Whittaker and Alicia Harrison are currently locked in the tightest of battles for Northern honours with the pair each on 16 wins for the season so far .Whittaker recently pulled of a brace of driving wins at Cambridge on the 15th of April aboard Pull The Other Leg and Bankers Gold while Harrison answered that threat to her premiership aspirations by guiding home Emmber and Sarandon at Cambridge on the 6th of May.  It’ll be exciting to see how this riace plays out over the coming weeks.      In the South Ellie Barron has enjoyed 13 wins this season with Sheree Tomlinson and Mark Hurrell also plying their trade across the Southern parts of the Country with success.   As for impressive UDR figures Devon Van Til is a notable performer. While only the single victory has been achieved by Van Til (the memorable win coming aboard High Flying Harry at Banks Peninsula) a further 6 minor placings mean her UDR is a strong .2292. and you’d have to think that more wins aren’t too far away either. Alana Cameron, with her strong association with the M Purvis stable, continues to see her season be a successful one and her UDR remains a competitive.2083 with 9 victories so far from the 72 starts. Tristan Larsen has also been driving well of late with two wins behind King Of The North and Stoneyroyd coming on the 23th of April. His UDR is currently .1437 in only his second season within the junior ranks with 8 winning drives and 14 minor placings from just under one hundred race day drives.   A dynamic premiership that’s still got a few twists and turns to come yet.            Ben McMillan     

Addington’s massive night that featured three Group Ones and two Group Twos also saw the biggest betting turnover in April.  The meeting on Friday April 9 resulted in turnover of $1,544,624.  Among the features on the card were the NZ Trotting Championship, the Welcome Stakes, the New Zealand Trotting Derby, and the New Zealand Pacing Derby.   Other meetings to go over seven figures were Banks Peninsula on April 5 ($1,053,418), Methven April 11 ($1,150,337), and Auckland April 30 ($1,126,451).  Total betting turnover for the month was $22,383,951.  Harness Racing New Zealand plans to release the turnovers every month so participants can see how the industry is faring from a betting perspective.    You can view April 2021 Turnovers here   Harness Racing New Zealand

The old marvel is back at it again. The one-time “King” of Menangle, Cash N Flow, returned from a break to post his 22nd win at Sydney’s home of harness. That’s from just 39 starts. The eight-year-old’s Group 1 days may be behind him, but Cash N Flow’s gate speed and love of Menangle still makes him a fantastic money-spinner for connections, including HRNZ CEO Gary Woodham. Cash N Flow’s now banked $574,201 from 72 starts with 34 wins and 13 placings. Luke McCarthy balanced him up early before surging around to take the lead from Thunder Dance, dictating terms through the middle and dashing home in 26.5sec for a 1min51.3sec mile. Watch the race replay click here! ____________________________________________________________________________________ Cash N Flow's was the middle pin of a thumping five wins for Luke McCarthy at Menangle. The biggest of them came when he teamed with former Kiwi and now Victorian-based trainer Brent Lilley to win the Group 2 NSW Trotters’ Derby with the Breckon Farms-bred Kyvalley Hotspur. The colt worked his way to the front and absolutely bolted in by 14m over last week’s NSW Trotting Oaks winner Aldebaran Ursula in a slick 1min58.6sec mile rate for 2300m. McCarthy’s others wins came with Kingmaker, La Bella Vita and Mister Catch. Former Kiwi gelding Kingmaker is loving life in Sydney. The son of Mach Three cruised to his fifth win from as many Aussie runs for Team McCarthy when he worked to the front and clocked a 1min55.7sec mile rate for 2300m last night. Stablemate La Bella Vista added to her fantastic record since crossing the ditch with a slick 1min52.7sec mile win at Menangle on the same card. Watch the race replay click here! The Changeover mare has raced eight times for Team McCarthy for six wins, a second and a third. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Champion trotter Tornado Valley is creeping towards rather than bursting through the millionaire club. For the third consecutive start, when victory would’ve taken the nine-year-old past $1 million in earnings, Tornado Valley fell short. This time he was a tad disappointing by his lofty standards when a well-held third after sitting one-one behind leader and winner Sparkling Success in the Group 3 Vulcan Trot at Melton. The $2400 third prize took his career earnings to $996,797. But all credit to the winner, Sparkling Success, a star himself before a serious injury a couple of years ago, who led throughout for trainer John Meade and driver Jackie Barker in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 1720m. It’s been a story of persistence for Meade on the comeback trail with last night’s victory being only Sparkling Success’ second win from 19 starts since his long stint on the sidelines. The nine-year-old’s won 19 of his 56 runs and $466,390. His comeback is also a fantastic opportunity for the talented young Barker on a class horse in some big races. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Memories of the great trotter Knight Pistol were revived with Plymouth Chubb’s monstrous Group 1 Vicbred Home Grown Final win at Melton last night (Saturday). Amazingly, it was the first time in 11 years father and daughter Peter and Kerryn Manning have teamed-up to win a Group 1 race, the last time being with Leilani Lombo in the 2010 Australian Gold 2YO fillies’ final. The Mannings shared a glorious ride with the mighty Knight Pistol through the mid-1990s, winning a stack of Aussie features and even a Group 1 race (the Harley Davidson Trot) in Norway. So it was fitting they won their first Group 1 race as a combo with a trotter. Plymouth Chubb’s win was remarkable and he looked every bit a potential trotting star of the future when he overcame losing 40-50m after an early gallop to win pulling clear by 17.7m. The Majestic Son galloped and lost all hope on debut and has won all four starts since. The fillies’ Home Grown final went to trainer-driver Geoff Webster with his exciting daughter of Skyvalley, Aldebaran Misty. ____________________________________________________________________________________ The man with the pink wheels was at it again last Friday night. The popular and bubbly Chris Voak teamed with trainer Barry Howlett to win the $50,000 Group 2 WASBA Breeders Stakes for fillies and mares with the emerging Star Of Diamonds. Voak wanted the front on the daughter of Bettors Delight and eventually got there, but had to survive some serious midrace pressure (56.3sec split from the 1200-400m) before winning comfortably by 4.5m over former Victorian mare Heavens Showgirl. It continued a breakthrough season for Star Of Diamonds, who has raced nine times this term for five wins, three seconds and a third and banked almost $100,000. Talented young horseman Corey Peterson teamed with trainer Kim Prentice for an upset win in the free-for-all with Kiwi-bred son of Washington VC, Extradite. In the other feature of the night, the $50,000 Australian Gold 4YO Consolation final, father and son Mike and Mark Reed upstaged the favourites with their $17 shot Caveman. ____________________________________________________________________________________ The Rando clan is one of the real backbones of NSW trotting and richly deserved a semi-feature win with Empire Bay in the Bulli Trotters Cup. Renowned for his big finish, Empire Bay camped off a solid pace for driver Chris Geary and put his rivals away in the blink of an eye halfway down the home straight to win by 6.2m. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Former Kiwi Amanda Grieve is helping out the rampaging Anthony Butt/Sonya Smith barn and having some fun herself with recent Kiwi import Hezacrocwatcher. The son of Hes Watching showed promise with two wins and three placings from six NZ starts and has thrived in Victoria with three wins from as many outings. There was a lot to like about his win in the $30,000 Group 3 Nutrien Equine Country Clubs Championship final at Melton. Driver Zac Phillips wanted the front early, but was posted wide, did plenty of work and eventually got to the top, but still ran home in 57.4 and 28.9sec to score by two metres in a 1min56sec mile rate for 2240m.   by Adam Hamilton

Brad Williamson will do what is best for his stable star Cracker Hill by withdrawing him from the Harness Jewels. The Oamaru squaregaiter will not head to Cambridge next month for the four-year-old trotters’ championship, which is still set to be of the most hotly contested Jewels events despite his withdrawal. Cracker Hill was to have raced at Wyndham last month before suffering a minor knee injury, which set his autumn campaign back. After that issue was rectified and the trotter returned to work he was still on track to head north. However last week Williamson made the call to withdraw Cracker Hill after his work wasn’t quite where he would have liked it to be. “It is nothing major, but we just want to do what is best for the horse,” the trainer-driver said. Williamson will send Cracker Hill to the spelling paddock with one major target in mind for his next campaign. The star trotter will be out to go one better than his second placing in the New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All when he returns to New Zealand Cup day later this year. Cracker Hill’s withdrawal helps the Jewels hopes of another Williamson trotter in Ultimate Stride. The Phil Williamson trained four-year-old bounced back to his best form in emphatic style when winning the feature trot on Diamonds Day at Ascot Park. That victory took Ultimate Stride to 20th on the Harness Jewels leader board, which will become 19th following the withdrawal of Cracker Hill. That places the four-year-old less than $1000 off the race’s top 12 with three weeks of qualifying left. Ultimate Stride will be nominated for this week’s premier night at Addington and could charge up the Harness Jewels rankings with a victory. Bolt For Brilliance and Muscle Mountain head qualifying rankings for the Four-Year-Old Ruby. Muscle Mountain may not be seen at the races before the Queen’s Birthday weekend event. The Greg and Nina Hope camp are likely to trial the four-year-old at Cambridge before the Jewels. But it is undecided whether he will start in the north ahead of his Group One assignment.   by Jonny Turner

Harness racing driver-turned-trainer Jesse Alford appeared at a Judicial Control Authority Hearing this week after investigators caught him injecting two horses with the banned substance formalin, which contains 10 per cent formaldehyde. It comes after last month’s hearing of greyhound trainer Angela Turnwald, who was handed a $3500 fine and a temporary racing ban because her dog tested positive for meth. University of Otago senior lecturer Marcelo Rodriguez Ferrere says he believes both incidents are “open and shut” cases under the animal welfare act that should lead to prosecution, but MPI says it hasn’t laid any charges. “It's a clear breach of the act in my opinion and it's something both MPI and New Zealanders in general should be very concerned about” he says. “The problem is MPI is a very reactive organisation, they’re ill-resourced and simply not well equipped to investigate and enforce the law in every given circumstance, its simply not good enough.” MPI’s Director of Compliance Services Gary Orr told 1 News it takes animal welfare “very seriously”. “MPI is engaging an independent expert to provide additional advice regarding the application of methamphetamine to a greyhound as well as formalin/formaldehyde and bicarbonate of soda to a horse," he said.   Read the full story from TV One news click here! TV One News

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Racing racing hits Rangiora  today with a ten race program starting at 12:05pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. Rangiora selections 9th May 2021 Best Bet:  R8 Artatac Best Value:  R4 Conspirator   Race 1 Toro Stride (6) Miss Yo (1) Te Rapa (3) Night Watch (2)   Race 2 Anna Love (2) Rocknizzy Rulz (1) Arden Country (11) Big Mama Morris (9)   Race 3 Quik Shot (6) DD's Super Stuart (8) Tequila Sunset (4) Martha Stuart (1)   Race 4 Conspirator (5) Adhara (7) Opawa Louie (9) Don't Quote Me (3)   Race 5 Buckingham (2) Mossdale Mac (4) Kennedy (5) Heaven Helpus (8)   Race 6 Royal Jester (7) Moment Of Kaos (5) Monaro Mako (4) Kenny Keko (6)    Race 7 Lulu Le Mans (8) Tas Girl Bromac (6) Overarm (7) Sky Vale (12)   Race 8 Artatac (11) Times Are A Changin (5) Krystal Delight (10) Angel Of Montana (12)   Race 9 Bright Glow (2) Sundons Flyer (4) Navara (6) Salvo (8)   Race 10 Kiss The Girls (2) Sense Of Occasion (4) Nerano (8) Terry (6)   Harnesslink Media

Winton trainer harness racing Chelsea Faithful was expecting new recruit Ideal BB to run well at Ascot Park today, but getting a win did surprise her. “I was expecting her to go nice but not to win like that,” she said. Ideal BB settled third last early avoiding an early galloper before running two back on the outside. At the 400 driver Nathan Williamson let the mare slide forward and she let down nicely centre track to get up and beat pacemaker Superfast by two and a quarter lengths. The winning time of 2-45.9 was respectable on a cold day. “I thought she’d be short for the run today and she will improve. She’ll win another one relatively easily I think.” Shortly after the finish Ideal BB looked to be in trouble as he galloped and had to be taken to the inside of the track. “I stopped watching and everyone said ‘what happened to your horse. Did it break its leg?’ She pulled a shoe just before the finish putting in a couple of rough ones. It looked a lot worse than it actually was.” Ideal BB qualified for Kirk Larsen at Winton in October 2019 and had two race day starts from the stable – the last 12 months ago. “Kirk did all the work with her. She hasn’t raced for a year. She was spelled to strengthen up because she’s quite a big mare.” Faithful has had the American Ideal mare for three months. “She’s had two workouts for me. The first one she went fair but in the second I was much happier with her as she found the line nicely.” Ideal BB is raced by Dunedin Doctor Onn Chin who’s had lots of success with the Tartan breed, which he’s had for many years. “Onn have been pretty good to me let me have a go with them. The one’s I’ve got here at the moment are not superstars but they’re honest and go good races every week. These are their last race horses. Kirk liked her (Ideal BB) but she hadn’t shown too much. Coming here was a change and something different. Being in a smaller stable suits her because she’s quite an anxious horse. She does a bit of thinking but she loves the one on one (attention).” Recently retired Tartan Trilogy is still at the stable. “He’s been a pest. He’s the stable GP at the moment. He keeps them all in line. I’ve just got Tartan Raider to come back.” Faithfuls success, and the way in which she turns her horse out on race day, mean her services have been in demand, but she has limited stable space. “It’s frustrating at the moment. I’ve got so many horses here that I don’t have enough boxes for and some of them have to stay outside. I don’t really like paddock training them especially in winter. I’m waiting for the builder to come and put up two more boxes which will be ideal.” Faithful is now looking at starting Ideal BB in a junior driver’s race. “They’re not that easy to win at times. I’ll look to get Mark Hurrell to drive her but he’s suspended at the moment so it’ll depend on when he gets back. I always like using the more experienced juniors – the ones that are patient and listen.” Meanwhile stable star Pay Me Speedy is likely to line up at Addington this Friday. “It’s Premier night and there’s a $20,000 race there for her. She’s good enough to go so there’s no point in shying away. It’s a 2600 metre mobile which should suit her down to the ground.” It’ll be the first time the young trainer has ventured to the metropolitan track. “I’m a bit nervous already. I’ll be a good experience for both her and me. It’ll make her grow up.” Faithful works for Williamson during the day and trains her own horses when she can. “I’ve got to go now and work Tartan Roxy.” Today’s win was one of four for Williamson. View the Invercargill harness racing results click here!   by Bruce Stewart

View the Invercargill harness racing results click here! “That’s as good as he’s gone,” trainer driver Kirk Larsen said after Tolkien won his fourth race at Ascot Park today. “He hasn’t been an easy horse. He’s got a real quirky nature and is his own boss. He trains well at home but you just don’t know which horse is going to turn up on the day.” Consequently the gelding has been a very difficult horse to follow both for his trainer and punters, but he had a few things in his favour today. “Being on the second row I thought that would help which it did. If he draws two or three on the front and there’s a delay and they muck around he loses it.” Although he ran down the track at his last starts, his previous two runs had been good. “The last start he missed away but before that he raced behind the mobile which he loves but you don’t get that many down here.” Larsen said the horse normally gets worked up while travelling to the races or in his box prior to the race but today was different. “Normally in the float he’s a bloody idiot – he rocks and rolls and mucks around but today for some reason he was as calm as anything. I’ve struck him like that a couple of times. Anytime he’s been like that, he’s gone pretty well.” After trotting off the mark today Larsen settled the five year old midfield on the outside. As other horses started to improve at the 600 he had to give up his good spot and move Tolkien around the field. “He felt extra good. When I peeled, I didn’t really want to go but I had to get handy.” At the 300 he had trotted up to the leader Palisade and hit the lead on straightening. He beat  Insist The Win by two and a quarter lengths. “For some reason he’s trotting the bends a lot better. He always used to crab the bends and run in a bit but now he’s actually running out and since he’s been doing that he’s trotting the bends a lot better.” Tolkien is owned by Lynette Philpot and Larsen’s son Tristan. Philpot raced Auckland Cup winner Howard Bromac from the Larsen stable. “Michelle’s (Tristan’s mother) sister Susan Hayes was actually in the horse as well but she gave her share to Tristan for this eighteenth birthday.” So after a frustrating run of luck and a few ‘outs’ the Larsen’s are rewarded by a trotter that hasn’t finished winning yet. “There was a time when he was frustrating me so much I was going to put him on Gavelhouse (auction site) but we stuck with him and he’s won two since then.” Larsen says the stable has a good number of young trotters coming through. “Tristan has always been keen on the trotters and we’ve got a few around us. They have three trots a day now so if you haven’t got one you’re missing out. I remember working at Bryce Buchanan’s. They had ten sets of bell boots and shoes welded inside other shoes. She was a bit of a battle to get them going but trotters are so much better these days.”   By Bruce Stewart

Mister consistent Lynryd Skynryd capped off his harness racing season with his second win at Ascot Park today. The five year old trained at Ascot Park by Jack Tither made the most of a handy draw and was taken straight to the top by junior driver Kerryn Tomlinson. From there he was never headed. The winning margin was a length and a quarter. Named by part owner Narelle Pollock after the band Lynryd Skynryd whose biggest hit was ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ Tither said the giant gelding was always going to take time. “Hopefully time will be his friend but we’ll find out next year. He’s done a lot better this season than I thought he would. I thought we’d have to wait until he’s six and fills out a bit,” he said. By A Rocknroll Dance, Lynryd Skynryd seems to race best when he’s in front. “He loves it in front.” The gelding is out of the Christian Cullen mare Shez Windermere and was bred by Tithers father-in- law Murray Faul. The mare is now owned by Otautau breeder Brent Smith. Her six foals of racing age have all qualified with RnR Windermere winning five races and BD Windermere winning four here, and another five in Australia. View the Invercargill results click here!   By Bruce Stewart

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The new ‘Stallion Levy’ proposed by Harness Racing Australia is a move that has created more questions than answers as Australasia’s biggest breeders know it will have a negative ripple effect on the industry at all levels.  What is wrong with Harness Racing Australia and Andrew Kelly? With Andrew Kelly producing FAKE NEWS with ridiculous numbers today of $18 million spent on “International Sires” it is hard to understand how HRA can justify his salary. With no experience and no investment in the Stallion business he is out of control. He has been in this position for 12 years and far too long! Andrew Kelly is not the only person responsible for this proposed TAX though. Below this letter, we have listed all State members that have been a part of this TAX proposal. This is what the majority of breeders have to say today about this unbelievable TAX that HRA is trying to get in place; Dear Mr. Kelly & the HRA Executive With regards to your recent announcement of a proposed 15% levy on all shuttle and frozen semen non-resident stallions, we would like to formally express our opposition to this Proposal. It is extremely disappointing that there was no industry consultation or discussion in advance of this Proposal. Stud farms, stallion owners and breeders’ organisations were not notified of this Proposal prior to the posting of a general press release on the HRA website. This press release creates far more questions than answers. Based on the breeding data available on HarnessWeb as of April 19th, there were 5,118 total mares bred in Australia to 166 registered stallions in the 2020/21 season. Pacing stallions served a total of 4,331 Australian mares with Australian domiciled stallions serving the majority of mares – 2,662 (61%). The remaining 39% of pacing mares bred (1,669) were served with semen from shuttle and frozen semen stallions. Australian-based shuttle stallions served 700 pacing mares, NZ-based shuttle stallions served 531 Australian pacing mares and North American frozen semen was used to serve 438 pacing mares. A total of 787 trotting mares were bred in Australia. Australian domiciled stallions served 292 trotting mares (37%). The remaining 63% of trotting mares (495) were served with semen from U.S. shuttle stallions, frozen semen from U.S. and European stallions and NZ domiciled stallions. Australian-based shuttle stallions served 62 trotting mares, NZ-based shuttle stallions covered 29 trotting mares, NZ domiciled stallions 109 mares and non-resident frozen semen was used to serve 295 trotting mares. Pacing and trotting stallions who permanently reside in Australia accounted for 58% of all mares bred last season. It should be noted that 114 Australian domiciled stallions will not be assessed this levy and therefore will not be contributing any funds to HRA’s 15% Proposal. Contrary to the opinions of a few self-interested parties who have created a huge misconception within the industry, there is far less money being paid to North American breeding syndicates for the use of their stallions than rumored. In addition, a large percentage of breeding rights for several of the most prominent shuttle stallions are owned by Australian/New Zealand studs or investors with the bulk of collected service fees remaining in Australasia as a return on investment. Also, many stallions are under long-term lease agreements contracted when a 15% levy was not included in the configuration of expenses.  Breeding farms have been relied on to help support the industry by offering discounts as high as 25% to breeders to assist them with rising costs and to provide complimentary breeding’s to clubs and breeders organisations throughout the country as well as various sponsorships within the industry. Now it is proposed that stud owners fund prize money increases to the Inter Dominion, Derbys and Oaks for benefit of a select few. We are not in agreement that breeding should be funding racing. Most of the studs who stand shuttle or offer frozen semen stallions have made significant contributions to the Australian agricultural and general economy. We have made substantial investments in property, buildings, equipment and livestock, we employ staff, purchase hay, feed and other farm supplies as well as support many local businesses (printers, office supplies, petrol, etc.). If this levy were to be adopted by HRA, there would most definitely be a ripple effect felt throughout the entire industry. HRA is attempting to change the way studs conduct their business which we feel would result in a dramatic change to the established culture of breeding. Breeders should be afforded the option of selecting the best stallions available for their mares without being penalized by a 15% levy. Below are just some of the major impacts we believe this 15% levy would have on Australian breeding. It has been a long-standing practice within the industry for studs to offer breeders a discount on the advertised service fee – whether it be for early payment, bookings for multiple mares or farm loyalty discounts. Over the last 25 years, very few breeders, if any, have ever paid the full advertised service fee. This proposed 15% levy on the advertised service fee will certainly see the elimination or reduction of service fee discounts for both shuttle and frozen semen stallions. This levy is extremely discriminatory as it provides Australian domiciled stallions a 15% price advantage as they are not subject to this levy. Many studs offer clients the opportunity to pay the service fee on a live foal basis. HRA has stated the proposed 15% levy will be imposed following a 42-day positive pregnancy test which may lead to the elimination of these pay on live foal options. With regards to the proposed 15% levy being invoiced on a 42-day positive pregnancy test, does this levy carry a live foal guarantee or a refund to the stud farm if the mare fails to deliver a live foal and when would this be repaid? Is the levy applicable to free returns? Complimentary breeding’s? Donations? Ultimately it appears that studs will have little or no choice but to pass this proposed levy on to breeders. Studs cannot be expected to absorb this additional cost on top of an already expense laden business. As breeders’ costs rise due to this levy, breeding numbers, live foals and race starters will undoubtedly decrease. This levy is an HRA attempt to push breeders towards supporting Australian/Colonial stallions who are not subjected to this levy. The most popular and successful commercial stallions available to breeders in Australia are shuttle or frozen semen stallions.  Commercial breeders are less likely to experience the same returns at the yearling sales that they currently enjoy if they are forced to breed to “Colonial” stallions due to this levy.  The considerable number of horses exported overseas by Australian owners will also be affected as Colonial-sired horses will not be as recognizable and may not be in great demand by mainstream North American or European buyers.  Stallion choices in the future will be limited as fewer shuttle/frozen semen stallions will be available due to this proposed levy. This levy, added to the mounting costs of shuttling to the southern hemisphere, will question the economical feasibility of bringing the best-bred and performed stallions to Australasia.  Faced with both 10% GST and this 15% levy, most international stallion owners will be discouraged from considering Australia in the future. If fewer mares are bred to shuttle/frozen semen stallions due to this levy, the Australasian gene pool will be negatively affected in the future. This 15% levy will negatively impact industry sponsorships. Studs have played a critical role in race and club sponsorships over the years, but this levy will certainly affect monies available for these sponsorships. If studs are being asked to fund racing prize money as suggested in your Proposal, how can they be asked to continue to sponsor tracks, clubs and smaller industry events as well? As an example, International Racehorse Transport has stepped up its sponsorship of the Standardbred industry in the last several years, but if fewer stallions are flying back and forth from North America or Europe, how can IRT be expected to support an industry that no longer supports their business model? We would like to request a meeting with the HRA Executive to further discuss our concerns regarding this proposed 15% levy. It is evident that HRA has not considered this Proposal from the point of view of the Studs. We would welcome the opportunity to educate the Executive on the realities of the breeding industry and assist in seeking alternative proposals to benefit the ENTIRE Standardbred community. Faithfully yours, Pat Driscoll, Haras des Trotteurs/Yabby Dam Farm Alan Galloway, Alabar Farms Mark Hughes, Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd David James, Empire Stallions Corp Dr. Kath McIntosh, Northern Rivers Equine Vet Clinic Kody Charles, KTC Bloodstock Belinda McCarthy, Cobbity Equine Farm Ged Mooar, Nevele R Stud Peter O’Rourke, Stallions Australasia Anthony Perkins, Trump Bloodstock Darren Reay, Medowie Lodge .................................................... Here are the people that are complicit in proposing this TAX. One of the main promoters of this TAX is one of those members Bob Fowler who has a vested interest in Colonial stallions. Feel free to lobby these ill informed officials below.   HRA Office Bearers, National Body, Corporate & Service Providers     Office Bearers for 2020/2021 Effective Date of Implementation:   30 October 2020 Executive Members                             Graeme Campbell OAM Independent Chair         Ken Brown AM Deputy Chairman (NSW-HRNSW)     Dale Montieth Treasurer (Vic-HRV)                             Executive Members                         Margaret Reynolds (Qld-Racing Queensland)   Joel Wallace (Tas-Tasracing Pty Ltd)     George Fiacchi  (SA-HRSA)     Bob Fowler (WA-RWWA)                           HRA National Body       Andrew Kelly   Chief Executive            Chief Executive: Andrew Kelly   Head of Finance and Strategy: Cameron Brown   Equine Health & Welfare Co-ordinator: Kathleen Mullan   DNA Co-ordinator, Registration, Naming, Clearances: Laraine Rischitelli   HRA Website & Database Administrator, Reports: Kathy Gebert   Clearances, Administration Services: Kerry Macaloney   General Email: hra@hra.com.au   Naming Enquiries: naming@hra.com.au   Phone: 61 3 9227 3000   Fax: 61 3 9227 3030     Mail: Level 1, 400 Epsom Road, Flemington Vic  3031  Australia
By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk    Kat Gardiner is not your stereotypical truck driver. Yes, she is a Class 5 swing lift operator, who’s on the road five days a week, but she’s also a mother and a dedicated dressage rider who has high hopes of taking her beloved “Vinny” to the top. “He’s going to be my best horse,” says Gardiner. Vinny is the impeccably-bred Dream Major (Art Major - Christian Dreamer), who is a half brother to Amazing Dream and Chase The Dream. On debut in 2018 he was a three length winner at Alexandra Park for trainer Barry Purdon and driver Zachary Butcher as a $1.30 favourite. But he had just one more start. “He blew a knee,” says Gardiner, who’s been involved with horses all her life, and lives with her family on a four hectare block at Cust, North Canterbury. She sharedrives trucks with husband Craig Roberts. Moving 40-foot containers around the country is her stock and trade. Over the years she’s had upwards of a dozen horses - “90 per cent of them standardbreds”. Following his injury “Vinny” went to Rebecca Glass in Rakaia in Mid Canterbury. About the same time Gardiner was watching the Future Stars dressage competition in 2019 and thought to herself “bugger it, I’ll give it a go”. But it wasn’t until March last year that horse and rider became acquainted. “I re-homed him a week before lockdown.” “Rebecca was hacking him out … I thought he was very cute” And so began their dressage journey. “He did not want to listen to me on that first ride…. Now he picks it up like he was born to do it.” Gardiner reckons Vinny has “heaps of potential” and she’s doing all she can to realise it, by committing plenty of time and money. That includes getting top class coaching from the likes of Tania McKenzie and Greg Smith. “They just fine tune what we are doing and we learn new movements.” The results are building. “He couldn’t trot in a 20 metre circle – now he’s winning Level 2 dressage and was reserve champion in the non-graded at Future Stars.” Getting to the Future Stars itself was a massive tick for Gardiner and Vinny. Now it's onwards and upwards. “We have been doing 'shoulder-in' and just started 'counter canter' .... he’s happy to give everything a go.” The ambition is to one day make it to Horse of the Year and, with Dream Major still only being a five-year-old, they have time to burn. “Whichever level it is I don’t know but I just want the two of us to keep getting better, and let's see where it ends up," said Gardiner. “The Dream is happening!”
Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Mid week racing racing hits Addington today with a seven race program starting at 4:06pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. Addington selections 11th May 2021 Best Bet:  R4 Bonnie Boy Best Value:  R7 Nerano   Race 1 Smokin Annie (8) Proviseur (3) Wolfenstein (9) To Ri Caitlin (10)   Race 2 Twilight Bromac (1) Luminite (8) Rocknizzy Rulz (5) Greenback Boogie (2)   Race 3 Ruby's A Delight (9) Cha Cha B (14) Reflectionsofmylife (8) Woodlea Diego (3)   Race 4 Bonnie Boy (3) Georgias Baron (13) Lilac Star (7) One Direction (8)   Race 5 Blink N Bones (9) Count Eyre (3) Michelle (12) Our Pegasus Pearl (14)   Race 6 Baileys Diamond (4) Senorita Margarita (5) Honour Scroll (1) Boarding Call (11)   Race 7 Nerano (7) Lennox Bromac (2) Four Starzzz Shiraz (4) Mighty Reactor (3)   Harnesslink Media
Addington Raceway are moving form analysis in New Zealand into the future by becoming the first club to support in-depth punting data guide, The Ultimate Racebook. Utilising data available through the StrideMASTER system which individually times every horse who races at Addington, The Ultimate Racebook will provide punters with crucial information on which horses have the speed to be prominent at certain stages of races. It will also show “time equivalent” sectionals, breaking down how fast horses have actually run a certain sectional inafter taking into account how much extra ground they covered. “We are looking forward to working with Dan Cooney from The Ultimate Racebook to provide more in-depth information than has ever been available to New Zealand punters before,” says Darrin Williams, Racing Industry Manager for Addington Raceway. Dan Cooney, created The Ultimate Racebook. “I first started working on this during the covid lockdown. As a keen follower of racing I was impressed with the amount of information StrideMASTER provides and thought about how that information could be presented to make it easier for punters when looking at form for a race meeting. Addington have been tremendous to partner with and we are very pleased to launch this week” Dan said. The Ultimate Racebook and Addington will also produce a cheat sheet for each meeting to show which horses racing at that meeting has the most early and/or closing speeds to help punters find crucial value. For more information on this next step in the future of New Zealand harness racing punting check out The Ultimate Racebook at theurb.co.nz. For more information on StrideMASTER at Addington visit our website here.    Addington Raceway
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