Day At The Track

A night of celebrations

09:28 AM 02 Aug 2017 NZST
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rsz_bettor_ops_800_x_533 (1).jpg rsz_seaswift_joy_winning_at_wyndham_900_x_332.jpg
Bettor Ops
Seaswift Joy winning at Wyndham
Photo - Bruce Stewart

The Southland Harness Awards celebrates its thirtieth year next Sunday night at Ascot Park.

Southern Harness INC will be the new sponsors of the Awards, following in the footsteps of Cullen Breeding, who had provided sponsorship for the past seventeen years.

The finalists in the much sought after Washington VC/Bryleigh Stud Southland Broodmare of the Year Award are Chicago Blues, Especial Franco, Rakarach and Sly Shard.

Chicago Blues is the dam of Chicago Bull, the winner of ten of fifteen races this season including the Group One West Australian Pacing Cup and Freemantle Cup. He’s won $674,769 this season and looks destined to become the provinces next millionaire pacer.

Especial Franco’s progeny include Expressionist, the winner of seven races in Australia this season. His best time during the season was a 1-51.7 mile. Especial Franco is also the dam of Envious – which won three races this season from just nine starts. One of her wins on the grass at Gore, was in race record time. Especial Franco’s latest named foal Especial won twice in the season under review.

Rakarach is the dam of Rakarazor which won one race in New Zealand this season before heading to Australia where she’s won another nine. Her biggest win in Australia was the Group Three Tailamade Lombo Stakes at Menangle when she paced 1-52.2 for the mile. Rakarach is also the dam of Rakasinc which ran second on debut in Australia as a two year old this season.

Evergreen mare Sly Shard left three winners this season lead by Mach Shard. The Mach Three colt won three races for trainer Barry Purdon including the Group One Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes.

She’s also the dam of Jamieson Shard which won his first two starts this season, and Linton Shard the winner of one race.

The finalists in the Horse of the Year category are Bettor Ops, Dark Horse and Seaswift Joy.

Bettor Ops won three races this season; at Gore, Invercargill and Addington. His Invercargill win at Ascot Park was in the bMac Sheetmetal Southern Country Cups Final in a smart time of 3-24.3. He won at Addington on Show Day,taking out the Macca Lodge ‘South of the Waitaki’ Mobile Pace in 2-20.4, a mile rate of 1-55.8 for the 1950 metres. The four year old gelding by Bettors Delight was trained at Branxholme by Kirk Larsen. He’s since been exported to Australia where he’s owned by David and Reg Turner.

Dark Horse winning at Winton                             Photo Bruce Stewart

She broke two track and Southland records in the season under review. In April she recorded 3-26.7 for the 2700 metre stand at Ascot Park. This was a new mare’s record for Southland and Ascot Park.

In the following month at Winton she ran 2-58.9 for the 2400 metre mobile. This was a new mare’s track, Southland and all-comers record for the province. Her time has only been bettered by Habibti Ivy which holds the New Zealand Record of 2-58.5.

She also ran third in the Group One McMillan Feeds Four Year Old Ruby on Harness Jewels Day at Ashburton.

Dark Horse finished her season in style in winning the listed Uncut Gems Trotters Classic at Addington by four lengths. In all she banked $57,200 for the season.

If Dark Horse wins the Southland Horse of the Year Award she’ll become the first trotting mare to win in the award’s history. Other trotters to win the award have been David Moss (1991 and 1993) and Alley Way (2015).

Seaswift Joy winning at Wyndham          Photo Bruce Stewart

There’s been a name change for the Person of the Year Award, and it’ll now be called Southland Achievement of the Year.

Finalists are Southern Harness board member Kevin McNaught, leading Southland trainer Brett Gray, Northern Southland stalwart and trainer Robert Wilson and Southern Harness website editor and journalist Bruce Stewart.

In honouring contributions to Harness Racing in Southland, recognition will be made to George Youngman (Gore), Doug Stewart (Wyndham), and Peter Drummond (Winton).

Also attending the Awards dinner will be Peter Burns, long time club secretary, Trotting Conference representative and recipient of the first Person of the Year award in 1988.

This year Roman Gladiator is the horse that will be honoured for past racetrack achievements.The Christian Cullen gelding won nineteen races for trainers Colin Baynes and Robin Swain.

He reached a pinnacle when he took out the Group One 2003 NRM Sires' Stakes Series Final. He also won the Group Two 2003 International Cargo Express Rising Stars 3YO Championship and the 2003 Ferrymead Restaurant & Bars NZ Welcome Stakes.

Other wins included the 2004 Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes Final Mobile Pace and $100,000 2004 NSW Derby over 2565 metre

If you’d like to attend the Gala Night, tickets are still available. Please contact Karen Milne, Clark Barron, Peter Hunter or Neville Skinner.

Bruce Stewart
Southland Harness Racing

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