Day At The Track

Kerryn Manning talks Teal, and making history

By Dave Di Somma, Harness Racing News Desk      A chance to own what’s believed to be a one-off piece of trotting memorabilia is currently on Trade Me.  They are a pair of Teal Pants signed by history-making driver Kerryn Manning. They were given to Harness Racing New Zealand to auction off as part of the Teal Pants campaign to raise awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research.  The auction finishes on Thursday afternoon.   Earlier this year  Manning became the first woman in history to rein home 4000 winners, she also created history when she trained and drove the 2015 New Zealand Cup winner Arden Rooney.  The Victorian took time out from her busy schedule to talk to HRNZ Marketing about the pants and what she thinks they are worth, as well as her achievements on the track.   To view the auction which finishes on Thursday - click here

Krug (NZ) dominates, Harness racing

NZB Standardbred graduates dominate features

Simply stunning is the only way to describe the winning display Krug (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) produced in the $192,000 Group One Woodlands Stud Northern Derby (2700m) at Alexandra Park on Friday 5 March.  The NZB Standardbred graduate turned the first classic race of the season for New Zealand’s three-year-old colts and geldings into the most spectacular of one-act affairs when leading a star-studded field by 15 lengths leading into the final lap. The Cran and Chrissie Dalgety trained colt would go on to eventually be eased down at the finish by driver Tony Herlihy, who added a second Group One title to Krug’s glittering resume. Krug was purchased by Kentuckiana Lodge for $155,000 from the Smolenski Stables draft at the 2019 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch. Cran Dalgety watched on like any other harness racing fan in the middle stages, firstly surprised Krug had run to such a lead and secondly, hopeful the horse would run out the Derby distance powerfully. But the trainer did not have the same concerns at the 800 metre mark after doing some quick calculations. “At the 800 metre mark I thought he was about 3 seconds in front of the field and I thought he could probably run home in about 31 seconds and still win it,” Dalgety said. “He ran three back-to-back quarters in 28 seconds and if it was any other horse I would be expecting them to knock up, but this guy is an exceptional animal and we had a master in the sulky. “Again, if it was anyone else driving him I might have been a lot more concerned. “But it was Tony Herlihy and even though the race wasn’t quite going to plan, I knew he would have things under control,” he said. Krug’s spectacular win was made more satisfying by the extra efforts that Kentuckiana Lodge went to in order to prepare their pacer for his first Derby tilt. Dalgety flew back and forth between his home base in Canterbury and Auckland, with his latter trips complicated by the country’s COVID-19 Alert Levels changing. The trainer was in a rare position in that he was pleased to be in Auckland for the latest lockdown as it meant he was there to oversee the final stages of Krug’s Northern Derby preparation. “It was a big thrill,” Dalgety said. “It has been about seven weeks since we first came up here and we have had our challenges.” “I think I have flown up and back six times. “But it’s an easy trip to make when you are training a quality horse like this for a Group One race. “To pull it off is very satisfying.” February and early March have been a busy time for Kentuckiana Lodge with the Dalgetys securing eight yearlings at NZB Standardbred’s 2021 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch. Krug headed home a trifecta of NZB Standardbred graduates, who dominated Friday night’s Group One feature. Luke John (NZ) (Mach Three) charged into second placing, three and three-quarter lengths behind the winner, for trainers Logan Hollis and Shane Robertson and driver Brent Mangos. American Dealer (NZ) (American Ideal) produced another strong performance in a Group One event with his third placing for trainer Ray Green and driver James Stormont. NZB Standardbred graduates filled the first five placings in Friday night’s classic with Hot And Treacherous (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) running fourth and Raven Banner (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) finishing fifth. Nine of the ten runners in the Group One Northern Derby are graduates of NZB Standardbred’s National Yearling Sale. Vendor Smolenski Stables Purchaser Kentuckiana Lodge Breeding Bettor’s Delight – Champagne Princess Sale 2019 National Yearling Sale, Christchurch, Lot 381, $155,000 Bred By Est J W Smolenski   NZB Standardbred

Belinda McCarthy and Mach Shard, Harness racing

Aussie news

Mach Shard was part of an impressive Kiwi showing at Menangle on Saturday night,  winning the $100,000 Group Ainsworth free-for-all. The former classy Barry Purdon-trained pacer was having just his second start for Belinda McCarthy and showed a dazzling turn of speed from a midfield trail to easily beat stablemate and another top former Kiwi pacer Star Galleria. Watch the race replay click here! Mach Shard was so impressive it heightened talks how stiff he was to miss a Miracle Mile berth. The gelding finished an unlucky third to Wolf Stride at his first Aussie run in a Miracle Mile qualifier the previous week, but the last spot in the Miracle Mile went to Ignatius, who only finished fourth in his qualifier. “We thought he was unlucky not to get into the Mile. He’d have gone close to winning last week with any luck and came out tonight and proved that,” driver Luke McCarthy said. “He works like our very best at home. He’s here to stay and will be set for all the big races. “I want to thank Barry and Katrina (Purdon) and the owners for sending such a lovely horse across.” Mach Shard ran a 1min53.2sec mile rate for the 2400m and was privately clocked to rip home his last half in 53.3sec. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Young Kiwi horseman Jack Trainor finished a career-changing Carnival of Miracles in style. Trainor’s recent stable addition, Mighty Flying Deal, brilliantly won the last race of the four-night Carnival and landed some big bets in the process. It was a Carnival where Trainor stamped himself as a serious force in training and driving ranks. Stylish Memphis gave him so many highs, including his first Group 1 win in the Ladyship Mile. On the same night won another Group 1 on Anntonia in the NSW Oaks. “It’s just been the most awesome few weeks,” he said. “I had to beg Mark Jones to send that mare across for the Ladyship and then she raced five weeks in a row for about $1.5 million stakemoney. “It’s been a chance to get my name up in lights and she’s done so much for me.” _________________________________________________________________________________________ What could have been a horror Miracle Mile night for David Moran, actually turned out to be a ripper. Having his stable star Lochinvar Art miss the Mile with a hoof injury was heartbreaking, but Moran still won a Group 1 race on the night and finished second in the Mile itself. Patsbeachstorm showed why Moran has been so excited about him for so long with a stunning Group 1 NSW Derby victory. Having just his eighth start, Patsbeachstorm did some work early then landed a lovely trail before using his stunning change-up speed to pounce at the top of the straight and win easily in a 1min55.9sec mile rate for 2400m. “It sounds strange when I’ve got Lochinvar Art, but this is my favourite horse on so many levels,” Moran said. “To go through what he has and come back so well, it’s pretty special.” Moran’s referring to what’s presumed to have been a spider bite which left Patsbeachstorm fighting for his life in the middle of last year. “It was touch and go, 50-50 whether he’d pull through they said, so to have him back like this is amazing,” Moran said. “He’s just got such unbelievable high speed and if he can develop some toughness to go with it, he could be anything. I’m so fortunate to have ‘Arty’ and now a horse like this come along.” Moran was stoked with Expensive Ego’s second to King Of Swing in the Miracle Mile. “I had to put him into the race once King Of Swing found the front and was going to dictate. He ran a super race, he just kept giving,” he said. “It’s a big step-up from a Chariots to the Miracle Mile, but he showed the sort of potential he’s got.” Expensive Ego was the fifth consecutive Chariots winner to be placed in the Mile. _________________________________________________________________________________________ It is remarkable how fast the babies go these days. A perfect example was the $50,000 Group 1 Sapling Stakes at Menangle on Saturday night where Mister Rea blazed a 1min52.3sec mile to win at just his second race start. Delve deeper and you’ll see the son of Pet Rock went much quicker opening splits that King Of Swing in the Miracle Mile. Mister Rea’s first quarter was 26.3 and half 54 flat, compared to King Of Swing’s 26.6 and 55.2sec. Sure he overall mile was a lot slower, but Mister Rea, who blasted out from gate eight and eventually sat behind the leader, Smaltese, did a remarkable job to win by 11.6m. It’s got to be said Smaltese’s effort to hold on for second was huge as well. Mister Rea is trained by Ray Walker at Temora in the Riverina and Daryll Perrot took the reins. Walker has long been regarded as a fantastic conditioner of young horses. Imastrongone is one of Walker’s best horses. He won 34 races in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including a Paleface Adios Sprint and he ran fourth in the NSW 3YO Sires final. _________________________________________________________________________________________ It was terrific to see former superstar trotter Sparkling Success return to winning form on Saturday night. The nine-year-old’s Melton win was his first in 13 starts on the comeback trail from a serious injury when derailed his career and plans to race in the US. Sparkling Success had won the Great Southern Star among other features in a stellar 2018, but injury struck after a Melton win on September 8 this year. Jackie Barker took the reins for trainer John Meade and Sparkling Success snatched a half-head win over talented former Kiwi trotter C K Spur. The pacing free-for-all went to the promising Malcolms Rhythm for trainer David Aiken and driven Zac Phillips. Phillips trailed the leader and stablemate Sirletic and used the sprint lane to score in a slick 1min54.9sec mile rate for 2240m. Top young trainer-driver Chris Svanosio continued his fantastic strike rate with a training and driving double at Melton with trotters Peregrine Phoenix an Dels Destiny. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Former classy Victorian pacer Major Times has quickly become a hit in Perth. Connections sent the six-year-old, who upset Lochinvar Art in a race at Ballarat back on August 8 last year, after he finished ninth in the Breeders Crown Graduate free-for-all at Melton on November 20. Nothing went right at Major Times’ first run for new trainer Ross Olivieri, but the tough customer has won both starts since, including a powerhouse win in last Friday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Bunbury Cup (2569m). Chris Voak took the reins, worked Major Times forward from gate four to find the front and never looked in danger, sailing clear in a 55.3sec closing half to win by 7.3m over The Bird Dance with Bletchley Park third. Major Times was trained by Emma Stewart and had plenty of success, including third in a NSW Derby and second in the Vicbred 4YO final. He’s won 20 of his 51 starts with another 20 placings. WA Pacing Cup winner Vultan Tin, on the quick back-up after winning last Monday’s Group 2 Pinjarra Cup, couldn’t reproduce the form and was 18.1m away in fifth spot. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Still in WA and outstanding three-year-old Lavra Joe continues to his impress. Driver Chris Lewis made the most of a pole draw to lead and win win as he liked by almost 12m in a blazing 1min53.5sec mile rate for 2130m the Group 3 Caduceus Club Classic. The Ray Jones-trained colt boasts 14 wins from 26 starts and will be a serious rival to the much-hyped Ragazzo Mach when he heads to Perth and Mike Reed’s stable for the WA Derby. Gary Hall Sr and Jr teamed for a treble at Saturday night’s Gloucester Park meeting, including wins with emerging pair Texas Tiger and Silent Major. Texas Tiger, who won just two of 20 NZ starts, is unbeaten in five runs for Hall Sr in WA and looks headed straight to open-class.   by Adam Hamilton

Majestic Man, Harness racing

Majestic Man caps off great Aussie campaign

Majestic Man’s win in the Group One Trotters Mile at Menangle last night capped off a remarkable six race run for not only the horse, but for trainer Phil Williamson and his son Brad who drove in his Australian campaign. “It was great for Brad. He’s put a fair bit into getting over there and looking after the horse. He’s done a great job. We didn’t want to go to all the hassle of going over there for no result. Fourth was his worst (placing) so the trip was a great success” said Phil Williamson. In that time Majestic Man won three Group One races, won $152.750 in stakes and trotted a mile in 1-53.5. He’s now won eighteen of his fifty five starts and banked $559,162 for his owners the Griffins Syndicate. Williamson says with Covid disrupting everything worldwide it was a major logistical nightmare to get both horse and driver across the Tasman. “The horse’s flights were cancelled twice. Brad had flown over a couple of days before the third flight was due to leave. I thought if we didnt get the horse over there Brad would be stuck in Australia with a quarantine time that he can’t change. It was a wee bit stressful I will admit.” The travel for Majestic Man wasn’t helped by blood tests having to be analysed in both New Zealand and Australia. “Because of the high demand in Australia they ran out of test kits. It was tough on IRT (horse Transport Company). I’m so thankful to them for getting us there. Without them we wouldn’t have made it for all those early races. They had to get the horses that were more urgent across first.” Williamson says once there it’s just been a matter of keeping the horse happy. “He’s had a whole season of racing here so he was fit. Because he’s been racing nearly every week over there he hasn’t needed a whole lot of hard work. Brad’s been able to train him lightly and just work on keeping his health great.” Of the six races Majestic Man in which Williamson raced, the most satisfying win was his first, the Dullard Trotters Cup. “There was a fair bit of pressure on the horse to get there, Brad had to sacrifice a fair bit with his own stable put on hold so it was great to win this time honoured race and smash the Melton track record.” The six race plan was; Group One TAB VL Dullard Trotters Cup (1st), What The Hill Great Southern Star Heat (2nd), Group One What The Hill Great Southern Star Final (3rd), Group One Alderbaran Park The Knight Pistol (4th), Group One TAB Australian Trotting Championship (1st) and Group One Aquagait Equine Centre Trotters Mile (1st). It was trainer Phil Williamson’s ninth Group One win in Australia. Springbank Richard won the New South Wales Trotting Derby, One Over Kenny the Australasian Trotting Championship, Allegro Agitato the Grand Prix in 2005, Liberty Stride – Father Patrick @ Nevele R Stud Breeders Crown Series and Ultimate Stride won both the Volstead Redwood Classic and Alderbaran Park Breeders Crown. Williamson has now won twenty Group One races on both sides of the Tasman with Allegro Agitato winning five of these. While the Majestic Man returns to New Zealand on Tuesday Brad has to wait out his time in Australia to fit into his pre-booked quarantine in Auckland. He’s expected to be back in Oamaru on Tuesday 6th April. “I think Brad is going to look after Anthony Butt,s team in Sydney for a while, while Ants goes back to Melbourne. After that he’s going to have a bit of a look round and go to one or two of the stables. Like New Zealand, Australia is full of good trotting people and they’re more than happy to say, hey come out and have a day with us.” Williamson says Majestic Man has the all-round trotting game. “He never breaks, he’s fast and he can stay. He’s been a very good horse from day dot. At his very first start at Forbury he went from last to first so he looked a wee bit special. He’s a bit of a pin up boy and at the peak of his powers at the moment. If he stays sound and healthy hopefully we’ll have another couple of seasons in him.” Once safely back in New Zealand Williamson says Majestic Man will be prepared for the Anzac and Rowe Cups before being spelled. “There’s nothing to stop us going back to Australia next year and have another crack at it.” The result was a good one for the Griffins Syndicate who race Majestic Man. During the years the syndicate has operated they’ve owned Majestic Man (18), Monty Python (14), Dark Horse (14), Sol Invictus (7) Sarah Palin (6), Rugged Cross (3), Lord Roydon (2), Bet Pray Love (2), Westerly Wind (2) Arc De Triomphe (1) Rugged Peak (1), Shutterup (1) and Mega Pixels (1). The syndicate also has shares in the Seafield Trotting Syndicate and the Griffins Number Two Syndicate whose winners have been Father Christmas (17), Cuddly Jess (5) and Daiquiri (4) and hope they can continue their winning run at the Northern Southland Trotting Clubs meeting at Ascot Park on Saturday when Dark Horse lines up in the Great Southern Star. They’ve won the race twice with Monty Python in 2017 and Majestic Man in 2019. If Dark Horse wins she will be the syndicate’s 100th winner.   by Bruce Stewart

Harness racing fans, harnesslink community, we have some important and exciting news to share with you. The current iteration of our website is now over ten years old and while it has done it's job incredibly well, the time has come for an upgrade.  Due to a number of technological changes, our current website has started to experience several problems behind the scenes which need to be solved. This has also fortunately given us the chance to review our current design as website design has changed a lot over the last ten years.  Our new website will be coming sometime in the next few weeks and should bring with it a faster, cleaner, more modern design. We know that change is hard but we also hope that you will keep an open mind and enjoy our new look when it is launched. Here's to the next chapter! John and the Harnesslink team Here is a picture of our original Website dated 2002

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Woodlea Beaver was originally purchased as a paddock mate by part-owner and trainer Thomas Twidle, but she has her opportunity to put her name up in lights when she contests the Gr.3 Downbytheseaside Leonard Memorial Stakes (2000m) at Addington on Sunday. Twidle travelled north to New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred’s All Aged Sale at Karaka two years ago to invest in a filly and while he got the horse he wanted, he decided to have a go at bringing Woodlea Beaver home as well after being impressed with her upon inspection at the South Auckland sales complex. “We went up to buy a really nice bred filly,” he said. “We bought a nice Sweet Lou filly out of Tricky Girl, which is a Bettor’s Delight half-sister to (Group One winner) Elusive Chick,” Twidle said. “We didn’t have to pay as much as we thought and we saw this filly (Woodlea Beaver) the day before and really liked her and the way she walked, so we thought we would try and buy her. “We had all older horses at home and wanted a paddock mate for the other filly and that is what she is, a paddock mate, and has turned out very well as a paddock mate.” While her more fancied stablemate has yet to make it to the track, Woodlea Beaver has had two starts for a fifth-placing on debut and was then runner-up over 1980m at Addington Raceway last start. “I have been absolutely rapt with her,” Twidle said. “She is a nice little filly and she has improved every time she has gone out onto the track.” Woodlea Beaver has drawn the ace barrier for Sunday’s contest, but Twidle admits to being wary of a few of his race rivals, namely Hayden Cullen’s debutants A Bettor You and Suntan. “I don’t think she has got the express speed perhaps of one or two of the others, but I think she will have the ticker to match them,” Twidle said. “It’s a nice batch of horses there, including two for All-Stars who are turning up on Sunday which I haven’t seen yet. I did watch their trial and even though they didn’t go a quick time, they looked like they were doing jog work. That’s a bit of a worry. “If we can finish in the first three I will be happy.” If she performs well on Sunday, a trip south to Invercargill six days later could be on the cards to contest the Gr.3 Caduceus Club Of Southland/Alabar Fillies Classic (2200m). “There is the Caduceus race at Invercargill next weekend and if she comes through it well, and she would have to perform pretty well on Sunday, I would look at going there, just to give her a trip away and a bit of experience.” A victory on Sunday would become one of the highlights of Twidle’s training career, however, Woodlea beaver isn’t the first promising juvenile filly in Twidle’s care. “Early on I had a filly called Woodlea Life and as a two-year-old she was winning trials down here and I ended up taking her up to Auckland for her first start in the Delightful Lady Classic. “It wasn’t a Group race then unfortunately, but it was still a big race, and we won that against Idancedallnight and Molly Darling, who were pretty useful animals. “That was a pretty big moment for us.” View the Addington fields click here!

Rangiora pacer Madame Frost bolted in at Addington on Friday night to seal her future as a broodmare. The Erin Crawford trained seven-year-old worked hard in the early stages on her 2600m assignment to hold the lead before shrugging off that extra effort at the top of the straight and going on to win by four lengths. Though she earned a nice winner’s cheque from Friday night’s $10,000 race, part-owner Greg Wright joked that the win might end up costing him and his fellow owners, wife Annette and Dawn McLaughlan, money. “Unfortunately the fourth win is going to cost me money because if she won four I promised my son in law I would breed from her.” “And he is going to hold me to that.” Madame Frost ran home smartly for fourth from a long way off the pace in her previous outing on her home track at Rangiora. Driver Kyle Cameron made sure she was never going to be too far out of her ground with an aggressive steer to hold the lead on Friday night. “She has been a bit unlucky in her last four or five starts, so it was good to see her get away nicely and keep on trucking,” Wright said. Madame Frost is continuing an association between the Wright family and the family of her dam Fulham Frost’s trainer, part-owner and breeder, the late Bill McLaughlan and his wife Dawn. “That horse and I go back 16 years, Bill McLaughlan and I bred her mother.” “Fulham Frost won her first race at Westport on the middle day, after Boxing Day, and she won exactly the same race 16 years later.” “She races in Bill’s colours because Dawn has got part-ownership of her.” “It is just a nice bit of family tradition, really.” Madame Frost will head back to the West Coast next week in search of more success. “She is off to Westport on Friday and then we will probably start looking at Rangiora.” Following her upcoming trip it is hoped Wright, who is president of the Rangiora Harness Racing Club, can enjoy a win at his home track. “Rangiora have got two meetings in April, so I would like to race her there.”   by Jonny Turner

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. Harness racing hits Addington today with a ten race program starting at 12.20pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. Cheviot selections 7th March 2021 Best Bet:  R3 Hattie  Best Value:  R8 Greenbank Betty   Race 1 Galway Girl made up quite a bit of ground after a gallop last start. Can win with manners and top selection … KD Hawk big late finish last start. Can run top three here with a safe getaway and luck in the running…… Majestic Whisper ok late last start and has had a trainer change. Could upset at nice odds….. Gift Card disappointing run last start but has the motor. Manners not great but can win with no mistakes Selections:  Galway Girl (6),   Gift Card (8),   Majestic Whisper (14)   KD Hawk (10)   Race 2 Haiti Franco has the draw and opened way over the odds. Hard to beat here after her last start effort..……. Done Deal nice run here fresh up but terrible last time out. Good winning claims if he runs up to his first start second …… Cheapcheap could be considered unlucky his last couple. A good winning chance with a soft run in transit…… Ruby's A Delight well bred and a better run last start. One for longer odds Selections:  Haiti Franco (1),  Done Deal (5),   Cheapcheap (3),   Ruby's A Delight (6)   Race 3 Hattie racing well and should be hard to beat. Top selection in this race….. With Grace has been racing well and likely to get a good run on the pegs. Good winning claims at nice odds….. Lifes A Beach unlucky last start and drawn ok. Will be improved and can run top three….. See Me Now racing ok and good third in a strong field last start. Draw hurts but not the worst Selections:   Hattie (6),   Lifes A Beach (4),   With Grace (1)   See Me Now (7)   Race 4 Midnight Dash tricky handicap but class horse of the field. Should be winning if close enough turning for home….. Overzealous has raced well in stronger fields. Good chance if she gets a cart into the race ….. Prince Teka has raced well on the track in the past and drawn handy. Likely early leader who could stick on for a place.….. Phoebe Onyx disappointing last start but well suited to this race. Could surprise at nice odds Selections:   Midnight Dash (10),   Overzealous (9),   Phoebe Onyx (2)   Prince Teka (4)   Race 5 Miss Impression good draw and decent run last start. Definitely can win with a good run in transit and top junior on board. Needed.…...   Not Really Blonde disappointing last start but dangerous with a sit. Good chance here….. Jeremy Wells another who needs the right run to figure but good chance from the draw and could provide some value at big odds. Include..….. Bettor Believe It good beginner with a tidy formline. Should be thereabouts in this field Selections:   Miss Impression (1),   Not Really Blonde (4),   Bettor Believe It (11)   Jeremy Wells (2)   Race 6 Anna Love running good races and better draw here. One of the leading chances in the race.…. Woodlea Beaver good second last start but hardest test to date. Good winning claims with a good run in transit …… Suntan drawn to follow the possible leader here and trialled nicely leading into this. Include ..… A Bettor You coming in fresh but has trialled well. Will need luck from the draw but not the worst Selections:  Anna Love (6),   Woodlea Beaver (3),   A Bettor You (10), Suntan (8)   Race 7 Last Of The Mohicans from a stable who can get them ready and unlucky last start. Should be running first or second here if can find the front early….. Ivana Legacy stronger now and looks hard to beat in this. Should run close to the placings here….. Kiss The Girls races well on the track and stand the only concern. Include here….. Deus Ex tricky handicap but big at trials on Tuesday. Can go close if the fav makes a mistake Selections:   Last Of The Mohicans (2),   Ivana Legacy (3),   Deus Ex (10)  Kiss The Girls (4)   Race 8 Greenbank Betty has been breaking in her races but has the motor. Hard to beat at big odds if she trots all the way….. Royal Pride big run in a stronger field last start. Can win with no mistakes in the running….. Michelle good finish last start and a major player if she can get handy before the home turn. Include here….. Aldebaran Floss has been racing the top trotting fillies and drops back here. Good winning claims Selections:   Greenbank Betty (3),   Michelle (17),   Aldebaran Floss (5)  Royal Pride (12)   Race 9 Rocknroll Mama racing well and has been running time. One of the better chances in the race….. Sky Vale coming in fresh but has a decent reputation. Include here at nice odds……. Storm has speed and well suited here even from the bad draw. Winning claims and should be close to the placings…. Passion And Power badly drawn but will be running on late. Big chance if she can get handy midrace Selections:  Rocknroll Mama (6),  Storm (9),   Sky Vale (7)    Passion And Power (12)   Race 10 Archman racing well but cops a tricky draw here. Opened over the odds and can win….. Idealindreams drawn to lead early and form is good. Hard to beat in this field……. Better Fly has gate speed and will press forward early. Winning claims if she can find the front early…. Rocknsnap well drawn and dangerous with a soft run in transit. Nice winning chance Selections:  Idealindreams (2),  Archman (9),   Rocknsnap (1)    Better Fly (8)   Harnesslink Media

Going back-to-back in Australasia's greatest harness racing sprint race was never going to be easy. Yet King Of Swing made it look that way with another remarkable Group 1 success in tonight's $1m Garrards Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Belinda McCarthy-trained and Luke McCarthy-driven superstar did everything he had to in surging to a two-and-a-half metre win over stablemate Expensive Ego (David Moran) and Wolf Stride (Anthony Butt). The predicted early fireworks never really eventuated as The Black Prince held the front from gate one before King Of Swing moved up to his outside and quickly worked past him to take the lead. Watch the race replay click here! To be honest the rest of them were never a chance to run down the superstar son of Rocknroll Hanover as he rated 1:49.1 to win virtually as he pleased. "He's such a smart horse . . . and he's a pleasure to drive," said Luke. "He's had a fairly easy week with plenty of swimming and a few canters and he was right on his game tonight." McCarthy explained that as a professional driver he had a job to do and like the other drivers had to keep his mind on the job and not let the pressure be a factor. "I have so much confidence in this horse . . . he's just a superstar," he said. "He has stamina, he has speed and is just so strong and we really haven't found the bottom of him yet. "Winning a race like this is just such a thrill. "I know it's hard to compare horses from different eras and I've driven some good ones. "But King Of Swing is close to being the best horse I have driven. "And he just keeps getting better; he's unreal." While the race is renowned for the speed it brings, King Of Swing didn't let the others into the race. After a 26.6s first split of the mile he was actually able to 'walk', by his standards in the second split, which was a leisurely 28.6s. That left plenty of fuel in the tank as McCarthy upped the ante with a 28.1 third split before zooming home in 25.9 to give nothing else a chance. Expensive Ego tried hard and lost no admirers with his plucky second while Wolf Stride was one of the few to make ground late for third, albeit four and a half metres behind the second horse. For Menangle racing results click here!   Mandy Madern Club Menangle

ALL week the harness racing experts have been lamenting his absence from the $1m Miracle Mile. And Mach Shard certainly added to that argument with a scintillating win in tonight's $100,000 Ainsworth Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Belinda McCarthy-trained and Luke McCarthy-driven former Kiwi raced right up to expectations when he romped away from stablemate Star Galleria (Jack Callaghan) and Burnham Boy (Blake Fitzpatrick), rating 1:53.2 in a four-metre win which had class written all over it. Watch the race replay click here! It was a nice consolation success for the six-year-old and Luke later paid tribute to champion New Zealand trainer Barry Purdon for sending the horse across to their stable to chase some of the rich plums on offer here. "With a little bit of luck, he'd have been in the Miracle Mile but he didn't get a clear shot at them until too late last week," he said. "The way he was travelling I knew he would be in the finish and just needed a clear shot at them; he followed Bright Energy and had a lovely run into the race. "I knew he'd finish really well. "He's here to stay and hopefully he'll continue to improve, and we can chase some of the big races along the way. "He's just a lovely horse." McCarthy would agree he might be the perfect horse for next year's Miracle Mile. And the way he put this field of stars, with the race normally regarded as a Miracle Mile consolation race, no-one would argue his credentials. The speed went on early over the mile with One Change, Kowalski Analysis and Balraj jostling for the front and the early honours. While One Change (Shane Graham) held firm, Balraj settled third before coming one off and racing without cover for the rest of the journey. Stablemate Bright Energy landed a one-one trail and Mach Shard finished up with a charmed run in the box seat. From there he looked the winner a long way from home and had little problem rounding them up in the straight. Star Galleria ran home well for second spot with Burnham Boy coming from three back on the pegs t o grab third, just ahead of the fast-finishing Western Sonador. For Menangle racing results click here!   Mandy Madern Club Menangle

HE came, he saw and he conquered. That was the simple equation when superstar New Zealand trotter Majestic Man put paid to Australia's harness racing best trotters with a stunning win in tonight's $50,000 Aquagait Equine Centre Trotters Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. And he did it easily. Majestic Man made it three Group 1 successes on this trip to Australia and even facing two weeks in quarantine when he heads home won't dent the joy of showing Australia what they are up against if they have any hope of heading over there later in the year to take on Majestic Man on his home turf. It was a race of changes and as usual it never went the way many expected when Arnold (Luke McCarthy) and Red Hot Tooth (Chris Alford) both missed away at the start while Majestic Man and Victorian visitor Pink Galahs did just the opposite. Pink Galahs forced Brad Williamson and Majestic Man to lower the handlebars probably earlier than they had expected - or wanted to - as the pair went straight into battle when the starter said go. Yet Majestic Man was on his best behavior and was able to hold the lead from barrier three and turned the race into a procession when he won with ridiculous ease, beating another Victorian Always Ready (Blake Fitzpatrick) by six metres, with Pink Galahs (Matthew Craven) a nose away in third place, in a 1:53.5 mile rate. Watch the race replay click here! Earlier Pink Galahs became unsettled in the parade ring and almost landed on her backside when she reared up before going on to the track. That resulted in a vet check with meant the race went a little later than expected. But really there were no excuses for the beaten brigade . . . Majestic Man was just too strong. "That was great and just the icing on the cake for our trip to Australia," said Williamson. "It's been a really nice trip for both of us. "It's never easy winning Group 1s and I must admit Mark Purdon has relegated me to second place in a few of the big ones back at home in New Zealand. "To come here and win a few is just so good and we're over the moon with the way the horse has gone since we've been here in Victoria and now in New South Wales." For Menangle racing results click here!   Mandy Madern Club Menangle

DAVID Moran came to Sydney planning to deny Team McCarthy tonight’s $1million Garrards Miracle Mile at Menangle — now he wants to win it for them.  Australasia’s richest harness race hasn’t panned out exactly how Victorian-based Moran hoped after he was forced to scratch his long-time favourite Lochinvar Art because of hoof trouble.  But Moran has been stabled at Belinda and Luke McCarthy’s property and got the surprising call from his frenemies to drive second favourite Expensive Ego in tonight’s great race.  “Sure, I’d love to be out there with Arty but he is actually still a a bit sore so we made the right decision pulling him out,” says Moran.  “And now I am on a really good chance thanks to Belinda and Luke and when I roll onto to the track I won’t be thinking about what could have been, I’ll be trying to win.” Expensive Ego was driven by Luke McCarthy to win the Chariots Of Fire two weeks ago and appeals as the greatest danger to stablemate and hot favourite King Of Swing tonight, sitting close to the speed and finishing hard.  For Moran the last few weeks have opened his eyes to just why Team McCarthy is so dominant.  “What they have build on this property is incredible,” explains Moran.  “They have a jog track on an incline, as well as a straight track on an incline, water walkers, normal walkers so the horses are rock hard fit but they get that way without too much pressure being put on their legs.  “So you can see why they are so successful, it is unlike anything else I have seen.” For all the usual pre-Miracle Mile tactics chat the reality is it will take something special to stop King Of Swing defending his title.  He has much higher gate speed than he is usually asked to show and he is likely to be in front after 400m in a race that appears to lack attackers. Even allowing for the class of the swoopers like Expensive Ego, Wolf Stride and Stylish Memphis the sectionals may play against them.  “All three of ours are exactly where they need to be but King is the clear one to beat. And I am confident he will get the lead,” says McCarthy.  The champion horseman rates Mach Shard (R5, No.3) is next best of the night while Moran can get further compensation in the $200,000 NSW Derby with Patsonthebeach (R6, No.8).   by Michael Guerin

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    It was a case of mission accomplished for Plutonium Lady on Friday night when winning the Listed Magness Benrow NZSS Northern Mares Classic (2200m). She will head home to trainer Mark Jones’ Burnham property undefeated in her northern raid, after winning the Listed Charles Roberts NISBA Stakes (2200m) last week. While victorious on Friday night, Plutonium Lady didn’t have everything in her favour. The daughter of Bettor’s Delight was trapped three-wide after being caught in a speed duel from her wide barrier early on and driver Maurice McKendry elected to press forward with his charge to sit parked. Plutonium Lady found the back of leader Need You Now, courtesy of a tiring Adieu Flirt, in the closing stages and was able to take advantage of the passing lane and wear down Need You Now to win by 1-1/4 lengths. “She went good and Maurice drove her well,” Jones said. “They (Need You Now and Plutonium Lady) were the two class horses (of the field), and she (Plutonium Lady) had to do a bit of work and had to sit parked, so probably the better horse won on the night. “It was a good one to get and it’s mission accomplished up there.” Jones said Plutonium Lady took plenty of confidence from her win last week. “She seems pretty confident at the moment. Jeremy Young does a good job with her up there, so it has worked out well.” While the broodmare paddock is beckoning the regally-bred mare next season, she still has a number of stakes targets ahead of her this campaign. “There is a speed series down south in a couple of weeks, so she will go down for that, then get ready for the Jewels and then probably go in-foal next season,” Jones said. Later that the night Jones was disappointed when talented filly La Rosa broke in the early stages of the Gr.1 2021 Pascoes The Jewellers Northern Oaks (2700m), costing her all chance in the northern Classic. “She picked a bad night to do it,” Jones said. “She has had a history of doing that and she picked two bad nights to do it on. “You have just got to turn the page and move on. It’s frustrating, but you can’t do much about it. “She will come home and get ready for the Nevele R and the Oaks down here.” Meanwhile, the Tony Herlihy-trained Mr Kaplan ran away to a comfortable victory in the Gr.2 Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock Delightful Lady Classic (1700m). The Betterthancheddar filly was given a perfect trip in the trail by driver Joshua Dickie, who was able to navigate his way around the tiring Tick Tock Go with 400m to go. She hit the lead rounding the final bend and made light work of her opposition in the home straight, beating Dance Till Dawn by 3-1/2 lengths, with Chevrons Bypass a further neck back in third.

Harness racing favourites have dominated the feature races tonight at Alexandra Park with all the Group One events being won by the best backed runners in their respective races. Top filly Bettor Twist started the pain for the TAB bookmakers in the 2021 Pascoes The Jewellers Northern Oaks.The classy filly got a very cushy time in front and won as she liked at very cramped odds for driver Zachary Butcher.  The Honey Queen held second at big money after managing to cross the favourite at the start and then getting a cart home in the trail. Second favourite Darling Me who raced three back on the fence ran home well for third. Bettor Twist (Bettor's Delight - Twist And Twirl)  ran the 2700m mobile distance in 3-23.7 and by winning, emulated the win of her mother Twist And Twirl who won the same race in 2012.  One race later Montana D J sat parked in the Group 1 Breckon Farms Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes and was too good for his opposition, giving driver Zachary Butcher two Group 1 races back to back. Montana D J (Captaintreacherous - One Dream) is trained by Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan and the win was Scott's first Group 1 win as a trainer. Classy Operator and Maurice McKendry held on for second after leading and Casino Action with Joshua Dickie ran into third after tracking the winner during the running.   Another hot favourite won the next event with Krug sensationally winning the 2021 Woodlands Stud Northern Derby after taking matters into his own hands by clearing out from the rest of the field midrace for driver Tony Herlihy. Michael Guerin was able to get these comments from Tony straight after the race.   “He just took off,” I tried to get him to come back to me but when he wouldn’t I just went with him so he wouldn’t choke down. Thank god he won. Imagine if he had got beaten after that”   Watch the race unfold in the replay below.     Krug (Bettor's Delight - Champagne Princess) ran the 2700m in a respectable 3-18.0 for trainers Cran and Chrissie Dalgety, beating a game Luke John who ran on for second and American Dealer who comfortably held third.   Earlier in the evening Plutonium Lady (Bettor's Delight - Timeless Perfection) showed some good staying qualities to down the favourite Need You Now in the listed Magness Benrow NZSS Northern Mares Classic for driver Maurice McKendry and trainer Mark Jones.       Mr Kaplan (Betterthanchedder - Time And Tide) provided a minor upset when she won the Group Two Crombie Lockwood BL'Stock Delightful Lady Classic for driver Joshua Dickie and trainer Tony Herlihy.     View the full results from Alexandra Park click here!     Harnesslink Media

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound Three-year-old world record  A fresh world 2400 metre record rating for a three-year-old filly was established by the Bettor’s Delight filly Anntonia of 1:52.9 – bettering the previous record of 1:56.7 held by La Machane – when she won the $200,000 NSW Oaks at Menangle. Anntonia, who has now won five of her 10 starts – she finished second to Beach Music in her heat – is a member of the same family as Franco Hat Trick. Anntonia ranks as a half-sister to the NSW Breeders Challenge winner Miss Halfpenny 1:55 ($234,540), being by Bettor’s Delight from the Christian Cullen mare Perfect Penny (1:58.8), whose dam, the Oaks winner, Threepence 1:57.3 ($253,306), was by Holmes Hanover from Have A Go Franco, by Ok Bye from Heather Franco, by Nero’s B B. Threepence was a sister to a fine racemare in Our Sixpence 1:51.3 ($613,977), who set an Australian mile record for mares winning the 2013 NSW Ladyship Mile. Their dam, Have A Go Franco, was a half-sister to two high class pacers in Franco Hat Trick 1:52 ($659,210) and Franco Heir 1:56.4 ($392,272), both NSW Derby winners. This is the family which produced such winners as Vandanta (1:50), Howard Hughes (1:53), recent winner of the Pinjarra 4YO Classic, Lady Luca (WA Diamond Classic), Magic Franco (1:54.2), Franco Harbourmaster and Silent Major (1:55), who captured the Village Kid Sprint at Northam on the same night as Anntonia won.   Pink Bonnet winner Silk Cloud, the season’s latest two-year-old classic winner, in beating a useful field in the $50,000 Pink Bonnet at Menangle, gives the impression that she could develop into one of next season’s top three-year-olds. Silk Cloud            --Club Menangle Photo   Bought for $13,000 at the 2020 Bathurst Gold Crown Yearling Sale, Silk Cloud is a well developed filly by Shadow Play from Modern Babe, the dam of an earlier winner in Ultra Bliss (2:00.5). Their dam, Modern Babe, was a Modern Art mare from Flawless Babe, by Windshield Wiper from Our Flawless, by Out To Win. It is an interesting fact that there is a double strain of Bye Bye Byrd in Flawless Babe (grand-dam of Silk Cloud), through both Windshield Wiper and Out To Win (sire of the dam of The Unicorn). Modern Babe is a half-sister to a capable pacer in Mirfak Prince, who took a record of 1:56.6, won 32 races and $128,936, Incorruptible 1:55.5 (who won 12) and to the Classic Garry mare Fearless Babe, dam of the Melton winner Fearless Courage (1:58.6). A top flight racemare in Torrent belongs to this family. She won 13 races including the NZ Easter Cup, Timaru Cup and Inter Dominion Consolation.  Amaze, winner of the NZ Derby, the triple NSW Sires Stakes champion Step Outside, Cavaliere Servente, Elite Angel and Jamestown are among many good winning members of Silk Cloud’s family.   Stylish Memphis in 1:49.2 Stylish Memphis, winner of then $200,000 NSW Ladyship Mile in 1:49.2, continues to prove herself in the top bracket among the mares. She is a member of one of NZ’s most successful families, being a four-year-old Bettor’s Delight mare from Memphis Melody (2:00.1), a Badlands Hanover mare who produced others in the Group winners Delightful Memphis 1:51.5 ($507,811) and Memphis Tennessee 1:58.5 ($113,015), Harley Earl 1:55.3 ($146,184) and Virginia Lightning (1:57.1). Memphis Melody was out of Ok Deb (1:58.1), a Victoria Oaks heat winner by Ok Bye from the Dundee Adios mare Deborah Dundee, dam of a fine racemare in Adios Dream 1:58.4 ($167,597) and the NZ Sires Stakes 2YO Final winner Advance Debra, who, in turn, of the mighty Courage Under Fire 1:54.2 ($1.4 million) and a top juvenile pacer in Advance Attack 1:57.2 ($406,094). Other members of this family, which was founded in NZ by the Bribery mare Entice, were Jesse Duke (NZ Sires Stakes 2YO Final and Harness Jewels), the Breeders Crown champion Cyclone Kate (1:50.6), Passion Stride and last year’s outstanding WA youngster Black Jack Baby.   Siring feat to Fly Like An Eagle Rather a notable siring feat was credited to the Mach Three horse Fly Like An Eagle at Gloucester Park last Friday, when he provided the quinella pair in the Group 1 APG 2YO Fillies Sales Classic Final. Valhalla Miss, a grand type of filly, led throughout to defeat Extraordinary Mary (second), and his third runner, Shes An Eagle, finished a respectable seventh. Fly Like An Eagle’s oldest stock are four-year-olds, and they include Chasing The Wind (a Group winner in NSW as a two-year-old), Dancelikeanangel, Dancinginthedark and Mondos Eagle. Fly Like An Eagle was the first son of Mach Three to stand stud in WA, and his early crops have been most impressive. Based at Allwood Stud, Fly Like An Eagle is closely related to the champion NZ pacer and now highly successful sire Changeover.    Well related three-year-old filly Just For Love, who won the $50,000 APG 3YO Fillies Sales Classic at Gloucester Park, showed ability as a two-year-old last season when she finished second to Black Jack Baby in the Westbred Classic. She has opened her three-year-old season on a winning note and will be well in line for the major juvenile classics. Just For Love is a filly by the Matt’s Scooter horse, Mach Three, from Harper Grace (1:55.5), the dam of the recent Sales Classic two-year-old heat winner Rock On Top (1:58). Harper Grace ranks as a half-sister to a smart juvenile and Australian Pacing Gold winner in Bus To Harland, being by Grinfromeartoear from Tiz Herself, by Exotic Earl from the noted producer Laurick’s Pride, by Dale’s Gift. Just For Love was bred by prominent Perth breeder Steve Johnson.   Star trotter by Father Patrick Have No Fear, a brilliant straightout trotter by the American sire Father Patrick from Without Fear (a member of the same maternal line as the Derby winner Stress Factor), advanced strong claims to being the best young trotter in the country when he won the Group 1 Need For Speed Prince Final at Melton. Have No Fear                     -- Stuart McCormick Photo   A three-year-old, Have No Fear is in his second season of racing, but from nine starts he has won five and been twice placed. He has a background of trotting blood second-to-none. Apart from being by Father Patrick, and one of his first frozen crop, Have No Fear is out of the Sundon mare Without Fear (6 wins), a sister to a top NZ filly trotter in Fear Factor, being out of Fickle, by Wide Acclaim from Frivolous, by Rodney Day from the Gay Piper mare Gay Helen, whose family today is one of the best in the NZ stud book. It includes Derby winners in Habibti and Stress Factor and other fine trotters in Our Renezmae (Breeders Crown 2YO), the Dominion Handicap winner Habibti Inta, Habibti Ivy (NZ Oaks), Saratoga and Prince Fearless (Central Victorian Championship).   WA Sales Classic winner Bought for $30,000 and now a winner of $61,925, Floewriter became the first two-year-old classic winner for the season when he won the $100,000 APG Sales Classic Final at Gloucester Park. By the Artsplace horse Sportswriter, Floewriter is out of Maddy White (1:56.9), by the Australian bred horse Lombo Mandingo. Maddy White left an earlier winner in Star Of Diamonds (1:58.4), who was twice placed in Group company. Maddy White, the winner of 11 races and $110,824 in stakes, was out of Benjor Maddy Lombo, by Perfect Art from Magic Maddy Lombo, by Classic Garry and tracing to the noted family founder in Bessie B. Maddy White was a half-sister to the WA Derby and Governor’s Cup winner Handsandwheels 1:53.2 ($666,379), the WA 3YO Sales Classic winner Rock Me Over 1:53.8 ($292,119) and the promising three-year-old Squinta (1:58.6). Their dam, Benjor Maddy Lombo, was a half-sister to two high class pacers in Suave Stuey Lombo 1:49.6 ($587,032) and Miss Trickin Lombo 1:53.3 ($230,312) and to the Panorama mare Sweet Maddy Lombo 1:59.5 ($106,588), a Group winning juvenile who became the dam of the Menangle winner Lombo Idle Belief (1:51.1). The Bessie B family had a terrific influence on NZ and Australian breeding through several branches.   First winners by Always B Miki Always B Miki (1:46), the equal fastest horse of all-time and who shuttles between North America and Alabar’s Victorian branch, was recently represented by his first Australian winner in the two-year-old gelding Uncle Miki.  He led most of the way and won by open lengths at Bathurst.  The gelding is the second foal from the Village Jasper mare Balcony (1:59.9). A second Always B Miki winner was the two-year-old filly Taking The Miki, who won at her second start at Northam. She is the first foal of All American Dream (1:58.7), a Bettor’s Delight mare.   Need For Speed to Queen Elida The $60,000 Need For Speed Princess, for three-year-old trotting fillies, one of the features of the Aurora Australis carnival at Melton, was won by Queen Elida, a well performed filly by Love You from Queen Kenny. Queen Elida      --Stuart McCormick Photo   Love You, a son of Cocktail Jet, has been one of Europe’s top sires of trotters for many years, and his frozen crops in New Zealand and Australia have produced a cavalcade of stars. He has sired such winners as dual NZ Trotter of the Year Monbet (1:55.2), Enghien (1:57.3), Habibti (1:56.5), Ultimate Stride, Il Pirata, Father Christmas and other top trotters. Love You had sired an earlier winner of the Need For Speed Princess in Amour De Frere. Queen Kenny, the Group winning dam of Queen Elida, was by Monarchy, who also distinguished himself as a sire of trotters, from Nice One Kenny, the dam of the Menangle winner Princess Kenny (1:55.3), Royal Kenny (2:00.5) and the promising Here Comes Kyvalley and the second dam of the ill-fated Im Jake The Mus (1:58.8). This has been a most successful family, as One Over Kenny, a sister to Nice One Kenny, was one of NZ’s greatest ever trotting mares and ranked as the dam of the top colt trotters One Over Da Moon, now at the stud in NZ, and Ultimate Stride. The latest Need For Speed Princess winner, Queen Elida, has certainly a wealth of successful trotting blood on both sides of her pedigree.   by Peter Wharton

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By Dave Di Somma, Harness Racing News Desk      A chance to own what’s believed to be a one-off piece of trotting memorabilia is currently on Trade Me.  They are a pair of Teal Pants signed by history-making driver Kerryn Manning. They were given to Harness Racing New Zealand to auction off as part of the Teal Pants campaign to raise awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research.  The auction finishes on Thursday afternoon.   Earlier this year  Manning became the first woman in history to rein home 4000 winners, she also created history when she trained and drove the 2015 New Zealand Cup winner Arden Rooney.  The Victorian took time out from her busy schedule to talk to HRNZ Marketing about the pants and what she thinks they are worth, as well as her achievements on the track.   To view the auction which finishes on Thursday - click here
Simply stunning is the only way to describe the winning display Krug (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) produced in the $192,000 Group One Woodlands Stud Northern Derby (2700m) at Alexandra Park on Friday 5 March.  The NZB Standardbred graduate turned the first classic race of the season for New Zealand’s three-year-old colts and geldings into the most spectacular of one-act affairs when leading a star-studded field by 15 lengths leading into the final lap. The Cran and Chrissie Dalgety trained colt would go on to eventually be eased down at the finish by driver Tony Herlihy, who added a second Group One title to Krug’s glittering resume. Krug was purchased by Kentuckiana Lodge for $155,000 from the Smolenski Stables draft at the 2019 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch. Cran Dalgety watched on like any other harness racing fan in the middle stages, firstly surprised Krug had run to such a lead and secondly, hopeful the horse would run out the Derby distance powerfully. But the trainer did not have the same concerns at the 800 metre mark after doing some quick calculations. “At the 800 metre mark I thought he was about 3 seconds in front of the field and I thought he could probably run home in about 31 seconds and still win it,” Dalgety said. “He ran three back-to-back quarters in 28 seconds and if it was any other horse I would be expecting them to knock up, but this guy is an exceptional animal and we had a master in the sulky. “Again, if it was anyone else driving him I might have been a lot more concerned. “But it was Tony Herlihy and even though the race wasn’t quite going to plan, I knew he would have things under control,” he said. Krug’s spectacular win was made more satisfying by the extra efforts that Kentuckiana Lodge went to in order to prepare their pacer for his first Derby tilt. Dalgety flew back and forth between his home base in Canterbury and Auckland, with his latter trips complicated by the country’s COVID-19 Alert Levels changing. The trainer was in a rare position in that he was pleased to be in Auckland for the latest lockdown as it meant he was there to oversee the final stages of Krug’s Northern Derby preparation. “It was a big thrill,” Dalgety said. “It has been about seven weeks since we first came up here and we have had our challenges.” “I think I have flown up and back six times. “But it’s an easy trip to make when you are training a quality horse like this for a Group One race. “To pull it off is very satisfying.” February and early March have been a busy time for Kentuckiana Lodge with the Dalgetys securing eight yearlings at NZB Standardbred’s 2021 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch. Krug headed home a trifecta of NZB Standardbred graduates, who dominated Friday night’s Group One feature. Luke John (NZ) (Mach Three) charged into second placing, three and three-quarter lengths behind the winner, for trainers Logan Hollis and Shane Robertson and driver Brent Mangos. American Dealer (NZ) (American Ideal) produced another strong performance in a Group One event with his third placing for trainer Ray Green and driver James Stormont. NZB Standardbred graduates filled the first five placings in Friday night’s classic with Hot And Treacherous (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) running fourth and Raven Banner (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) finishing fifth. Nine of the ten runners in the Group One Northern Derby are graduates of NZB Standardbred’s National Yearling Sale. Vendor Smolenski Stables Purchaser Kentuckiana Lodge Breeding Bettor’s Delight – Champagne Princess Sale 2019 National Yearling Sale, Christchurch, Lot 381, $155,000 Bred By Est J W Smolenski   NZB Standardbred
Mach Shard was part of an impressive Kiwi showing at Menangle on Saturday night,  winning the $100,000 Group Ainsworth free-for-all. The former classy Barry Purdon-trained pacer was having just his second start for Belinda McCarthy and showed a dazzling turn of speed from a midfield trail to easily beat stablemate and another top former Kiwi pacer Star Galleria. Watch the race replay click here! Mach Shard was so impressive it heightened talks how stiff he was to miss a Miracle Mile berth. The gelding finished an unlucky third to Wolf Stride at his first Aussie run in a Miracle Mile qualifier the previous week, but the last spot in the Miracle Mile went to Ignatius, who only finished fourth in his qualifier. “We thought he was unlucky not to get into the Mile. He’d have gone close to winning last week with any luck and came out tonight and proved that,” driver Luke McCarthy said. “He works like our very best at home. He’s here to stay and will be set for all the big races. “I want to thank Barry and Katrina (Purdon) and the owners for sending such a lovely horse across.” Mach Shard ran a 1min53.2sec mile rate for the 2400m and was privately clocked to rip home his last half in 53.3sec. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Young Kiwi horseman Jack Trainor finished a career-changing Carnival of Miracles in style. Trainor’s recent stable addition, Mighty Flying Deal, brilliantly won the last race of the four-night Carnival and landed some big bets in the process. It was a Carnival where Trainor stamped himself as a serious force in training and driving ranks. Stylish Memphis gave him so many highs, including his first Group 1 win in the Ladyship Mile. On the same night won another Group 1 on Anntonia in the NSW Oaks. “It’s just been the most awesome few weeks,” he said. “I had to beg Mark Jones to send that mare across for the Ladyship and then she raced five weeks in a row for about $1.5 million stakemoney. “It’s been a chance to get my name up in lights and she’s done so much for me.” _________________________________________________________________________________________ What could have been a horror Miracle Mile night for David Moran, actually turned out to be a ripper. Having his stable star Lochinvar Art miss the Mile with a hoof injury was heartbreaking, but Moran still won a Group 1 race on the night and finished second in the Mile itself. Patsbeachstorm showed why Moran has been so excited about him for so long with a stunning Group 1 NSW Derby victory. Having just his eighth start, Patsbeachstorm did some work early then landed a lovely trail before using his stunning change-up speed to pounce at the top of the straight and win easily in a 1min55.9sec mile rate for 2400m. “It sounds strange when I’ve got Lochinvar Art, but this is my favourite horse on so many levels,” Moran said. “To go through what he has and come back so well, it’s pretty special.” Moran’s referring to what’s presumed to have been a spider bite which left Patsbeachstorm fighting for his life in the middle of last year. “It was touch and go, 50-50 whether he’d pull through they said, so to have him back like this is amazing,” Moran said. “He’s just got such unbelievable high speed and if he can develop some toughness to go with it, he could be anything. I’m so fortunate to have ‘Arty’ and now a horse like this come along.” Moran was stoked with Expensive Ego’s second to King Of Swing in the Miracle Mile. “I had to put him into the race once King Of Swing found the front and was going to dictate. He ran a super race, he just kept giving,” he said. “It’s a big step-up from a Chariots to the Miracle Mile, but he showed the sort of potential he’s got.” Expensive Ego was the fifth consecutive Chariots winner to be placed in the Mile. _________________________________________________________________________________________ It is remarkable how fast the babies go these days. A perfect example was the $50,000 Group 1 Sapling Stakes at Menangle on Saturday night where Mister Rea blazed a 1min52.3sec mile to win at just his second race start. Delve deeper and you’ll see the son of Pet Rock went much quicker opening splits that King Of Swing in the Miracle Mile. Mister Rea’s first quarter was 26.3 and half 54 flat, compared to King Of Swing’s 26.6 and 55.2sec. Sure he overall mile was a lot slower, but Mister Rea, who blasted out from gate eight and eventually sat behind the leader, Smaltese, did a remarkable job to win by 11.6m. It’s got to be said Smaltese’s effort to hold on for second was huge as well. Mister Rea is trained by Ray Walker at Temora in the Riverina and Daryll Perrot took the reins. Walker has long been regarded as a fantastic conditioner of young horses. Imastrongone is one of Walker’s best horses. He won 34 races in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including a Paleface Adios Sprint and he ran fourth in the NSW 3YO Sires final. _________________________________________________________________________________________ It was terrific to see former superstar trotter Sparkling Success return to winning form on Saturday night. The nine-year-old’s Melton win was his first in 13 starts on the comeback trail from a serious injury when derailed his career and plans to race in the US. Sparkling Success had won the Great Southern Star among other features in a stellar 2018, but injury struck after a Melton win on September 8 this year. Jackie Barker took the reins for trainer John Meade and Sparkling Success snatched a half-head win over talented former Kiwi trotter C K Spur. The pacing free-for-all went to the promising Malcolms Rhythm for trainer David Aiken and driven Zac Phillips. Phillips trailed the leader and stablemate Sirletic and used the sprint lane to score in a slick 1min54.9sec mile rate for 2240m. Top young trainer-driver Chris Svanosio continued his fantastic strike rate with a training and driving double at Melton with trotters Peregrine Phoenix an Dels Destiny. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Former classy Victorian pacer Major Times has quickly become a hit in Perth. Connections sent the six-year-old, who upset Lochinvar Art in a race at Ballarat back on August 8 last year, after he finished ninth in the Breeders Crown Graduate free-for-all at Melton on November 20. Nothing went right at Major Times’ first run for new trainer Ross Olivieri, but the tough customer has won both starts since, including a powerhouse win in last Friday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Bunbury Cup (2569m). Chris Voak took the reins, worked Major Times forward from gate four to find the front and never looked in danger, sailing clear in a 55.3sec closing half to win by 7.3m over The Bird Dance with Bletchley Park third. Major Times was trained by Emma Stewart and had plenty of success, including third in a NSW Derby and second in the Vicbred 4YO final. He’s won 20 of his 51 starts with another 20 placings. WA Pacing Cup winner Vultan Tin, on the quick back-up after winning last Monday’s Group 2 Pinjarra Cup, couldn’t reproduce the form and was 18.1m away in fifth spot. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Still in WA and outstanding three-year-old Lavra Joe continues to his impress. Driver Chris Lewis made the most of a pole draw to lead and win win as he liked by almost 12m in a blazing 1min53.5sec mile rate for 2130m the Group 3 Caduceus Club Classic. The Ray Jones-trained colt boasts 14 wins from 26 starts and will be a serious rival to the much-hyped Ragazzo Mach when he heads to Perth and Mike Reed’s stable for the WA Derby. Gary Hall Sr and Jr teamed for a treble at Saturday night’s Gloucester Park meeting, including wins with emerging pair Texas Tiger and Silent Major. Texas Tiger, who won just two of 20 NZ starts, is unbeaten in five runs for Hall Sr in WA and looks headed straight to open-class.   by Adam Hamilton
Majestic Man’s win in the Group One Trotters Mile at Menangle last night capped off a remarkable six race run for not only the horse, but for trainer Phil Williamson and his son Brad who drove in his Australian campaign. “It was great for Brad. He’s put a fair bit into getting over there and looking after the horse. He’s done a great job. We didn’t want to go to all the hassle of going over there for no result. Fourth was his worst (placing) so the trip was a great success” said Phil Williamson. In that time Majestic Man won three Group One races, won $152.750 in stakes and trotted a mile in 1-53.5. He’s now won eighteen of his fifty five starts and banked $559,162 for his owners the Griffins Syndicate. Williamson says with Covid disrupting everything worldwide it was a major logistical nightmare to get both horse and driver across the Tasman. “The horse’s flights were cancelled twice. Brad had flown over a couple of days before the third flight was due to leave. I thought if we didnt get the horse over there Brad would be stuck in Australia with a quarantine time that he can’t change. It was a wee bit stressful I will admit.” The travel for Majestic Man wasn’t helped by blood tests having to be analysed in both New Zealand and Australia. “Because of the high demand in Australia they ran out of test kits. It was tough on IRT (horse Transport Company). I’m so thankful to them for getting us there. Without them we wouldn’t have made it for all those early races. They had to get the horses that were more urgent across first.” Williamson says once there it’s just been a matter of keeping the horse happy. “He’s had a whole season of racing here so he was fit. Because he’s been racing nearly every week over there he hasn’t needed a whole lot of hard work. Brad’s been able to train him lightly and just work on keeping his health great.” Of the six races Majestic Man in which Williamson raced, the most satisfying win was his first, the Dullard Trotters Cup. “There was a fair bit of pressure on the horse to get there, Brad had to sacrifice a fair bit with his own stable put on hold so it was great to win this time honoured race and smash the Melton track record.” The six race plan was; Group One TAB VL Dullard Trotters Cup (1st), What The Hill Great Southern Star Heat (2nd), Group One What The Hill Great Southern Star Final (3rd), Group One Alderbaran Park The Knight Pistol (4th), Group One TAB Australian Trotting Championship (1st) and Group One Aquagait Equine Centre Trotters Mile (1st). It was trainer Phil Williamson’s ninth Group One win in Australia. Springbank Richard won the New South Wales Trotting Derby, One Over Kenny the Australasian Trotting Championship, Allegro Agitato the Grand Prix in 2005, Liberty Stride – Father Patrick @ Nevele R Stud Breeders Crown Series and Ultimate Stride won both the Volstead Redwood Classic and Alderbaran Park Breeders Crown. Williamson has now won twenty Group One races on both sides of the Tasman with Allegro Agitato winning five of these. While the Majestic Man returns to New Zealand on Tuesday Brad has to wait out his time in Australia to fit into his pre-booked quarantine in Auckland. He’s expected to be back in Oamaru on Tuesday 6th April. “I think Brad is going to look after Anthony Butt,s team in Sydney for a while, while Ants goes back to Melbourne. After that he’s going to have a bit of a look round and go to one or two of the stables. Like New Zealand, Australia is full of good trotting people and they’re more than happy to say, hey come out and have a day with us.” Williamson says Majestic Man has the all-round trotting game. “He never breaks, he’s fast and he can stay. He’s been a very good horse from day dot. At his very first start at Forbury he went from last to first so he looked a wee bit special. He’s a bit of a pin up boy and at the peak of his powers at the moment. If he stays sound and healthy hopefully we’ll have another couple of seasons in him.” Once safely back in New Zealand Williamson says Majestic Man will be prepared for the Anzac and Rowe Cups before being spelled. “There’s nothing to stop us going back to Australia next year and have another crack at it.” The result was a good one for the Griffins Syndicate who race Majestic Man. During the years the syndicate has operated they’ve owned Majestic Man (18), Monty Python (14), Dark Horse (14), Sol Invictus (7) Sarah Palin (6), Rugged Cross (3), Lord Roydon (2), Bet Pray Love (2), Westerly Wind (2) Arc De Triomphe (1) Rugged Peak (1), Shutterup (1) and Mega Pixels (1). The syndicate also has shares in the Seafield Trotting Syndicate and the Griffins Number Two Syndicate whose winners have been Father Christmas (17), Cuddly Jess (5) and Daiquiri (4) and hope they can continue their winning run at the Northern Southland Trotting Clubs meeting at Ascot Park on Saturday when Dark Horse lines up in the Great Southern Star. They’ve won the race twice with Monty Python in 2017 and Majestic Man in 2019. If Dark Horse wins she will be the syndicate’s 100th winner.   by Bruce Stewart
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