Day At The Track
Search Results
17 to 32 of 125

The Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee is proud to again announce that a record number of horses have been nominated for the sixth annual VDM weekend of racing. The richest stakes weekend in all of Ireland and the UK, the VDM has developed into a must attend week-long festival in Dublin, Ireland with the races being held August 12 and 13, 2017. "To say we were overwhelmed with the support from the horse owners," said race founder Derek Delaney. "would be an understatement for our festival of harness racing. While we are slightly down on numbers in the two-year-old divisions, we made up for it on three-year-old's with our new joint sponsorship with Alabar Stud and Oakwood Stud." The premier event of the weekend is the sixth annual Vincent Delaney Memorial for two-year-old's. Perhaps harness racing's most grueling race as it calls for two-year-old's to race in elimination divisions Saturday and then the final on Sunday. A record number of pacing fillies entered the Diamond Creek Farm VDM with 38 nominated over 35 in 2016. The newly sponsored Hanover Shoe Farm VDM for colts saw a decline over prior year with 38 nominated for 2017 vs 45 in 2016. Rhyds Mystique, the BHRC filly of the year in 2016 and IB Coyote, winner of the Diamond Creek Farm VDM Final last year, are both nominated. Another record was set in nominations for the three-year-old Alabar-Oakwood Stud Derby with a total of 45 colts and fillies entered. The colt division has 23 entered and the new filly division has 23 nominated. Heading the list of colts for the Derby is Tyrion Hanover, the BHRC colt of the year last season and the winner of the VDM colt final. In the four-year-old newly sponsored Yirribee Paul Murtagh, SR. Memorial, only seven entered the horse division, mainly because of the presences of the 2016 Harness Horse of the Year in Ireland and the UK, Miraculous, returning for another championship season. He is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest racehorses ever in Ireland and the UK. Unfortunately, due to a lack of entries (only four) in the Yirribee Murtagh Mare Division, the race has been canceled. "We will however," said Delaney, "try our very best to stage a four-year-old and older mare's race on the weekend. "Overall we are really excited that our three major stakes events are up again in total horses." Delaney add, "This year we have 127 entered for the three stakes and last year was at 120. Anytime we can continue to increase total nominations it shows we are growing and that is always good." Complete listings of all the horses nominated will be available soon at By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial      

It was sweet revenge for harness racing owner Daniel Cordina, of Cordina Chicken Farms, when the well-backed Charlaval took out today’s thee-year-old colts and geldings Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle today. Cordina was holidaying in the US a few years ago when Blissfull Guy lost a Breeders Challenge to No Ah Saint on protest. But Cordina was “back in the spotlight” today when Charlaval came from well back on the home turn to beat Sams The Master by a head with Rock Of America 3.6m away third in a 1:51.9 mile rate. Cordina was delighted to finally get a Breeders Challenge trophy for the sideboard. “I’m just sorry my Dad (his late father Joe) was not here to see this win,” he said. “Dad actually raced a horse by the same name about 50 years ago and I never for a moment dreamed we would be here today to celebrate something like this.” Trained by Cordina’s good friends KerryAnn Turner and reinsman Robbie Morris, Charlaval’s win was even more impressive as he appeared to be racing on a slower section of the track. Morris was delighted with the win. “It always good to be here on these big days and for him to do all that work and come down the outside like that was a real thrill,” he said. “It’s hard to believe he didn’t even make this race last year. “He matured late and took all day to do everything but he’s really hitting his straps now and we couldn’t be happier with him. “I needed everything to do a bit of work and it sort of played in my hands really. Match In Heaven carted me into it for a long way and that probably helped a lot and we were able to come off his back and move right into the finish. “It’s been a great combination (with KerryAnn) and our is a real family affair at home: we’re a tight knit team and you couldn’t do it without them. “We’ve always had that family support. Kids come and help at the weekend and it’s a really good feeling to score in a race like this. “I couldn’t be happier for Daniel.” Michael Howard

It's no surprise to see leading harness racing owners Emilio and Mary Rosati in the winners’ circle on Breeders Challenge Day at Tabcorp Park Menangle. And beautifully-bred mare Sapphire Stride added to the fanfare when she scored a surprise win in today’s Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Group One for four-year-old mares. What did surprise, however, was the price: Sapphire Stride was sent out at the amazing odds of $36.20 on the TAB before leading most of the way to defeat Hey Porsha and Dolly Braveheart, scoring by a head in a 1:52.7 mile rate. Disappointment of the race was the $1.30 favourite Ameretto (Ash Grives), who settled down near last and couldn’t make up the ground in the straight before finishing a close fourth. In a field of young drivers, John McCarthy could probably be classed as a veteran, even though he’s only mid 50s, but he took Emilio Rosati’s advice and showed the youngsters a thing or two. “I thought she’d be quick out and I might struggle to get to the lead (from gate five),” said a jubilant McCarthy after scoring on the Belinda McCarthy-trained mare. “But they just didn’t come at me in the straight. “I was getting a bit tired near the line  . . . but so were they and she just kept boxing on.” McCarthy [senior] described Sapphire Stride as a nice mare: “We had a good barrier today and it might have been different if we didn’t and this win has made it really good for her as a broodmare later on. “Emilio said you go show them – and today we did.” Michael Howard

We are pleased to announce the service fees for our 2016/17 harness racing roster which we believe is the best we have ever offered. The leading sires Art Major and Mach Three once again head the roster. This season we are thrilled to announce the additions of Rock N Roll Heaven, Roll With Joe and Sportswriter. Having previously stood at Pepper Tree Farms, all three are Group One producing stallions. With his oldest only three in the Southern Hemisphere, Rock N Roll Heaven has already put together a very impressive resume. He is clearly the leading young sire in Australia and New Zealand. His three-year-olds include no less than four Group One winners and ten stakes winners overall. Those Group One winners are Heavens Trend, Jilliby Jitterbug, Frankie Rocks and the brilliant NZ pacer Heaven Rocks. Roll With Joe is of course Bettor’s Delight’s brother but he is also clearly forging his own path. He was the leading two-year-old sire in New York in 2015 and, with his oldest only two in Australia, he has already sired a Group One winner – Allmightyjoelouis 1:56.9. Sportswriter continues to be a prolific sire of age-group winners and the son of Artsplace will surely remain very popular with breeders. His two year olds include the smart performers Wesley 1:57.4, Fastestgirlintown 1:57.9, Mitch Maguire 1:57.7 and The Lone Ranger 1:59.6. In a boon for New Zealand breeders, Sportswriter will stand this season at Alabar NZ. This is on the back of him producing six qualifiers and two NZ Jewels finalists from his two-year-old crop of just fourteen foals. Rock N Roll Heaven, Roll With Joe and Sportswriter are not the only new additions to the Alabar roster however. We will also be standing the Group One winning son of Love You in Amore Stride. Raced by Emilio and Mary Rosati, Amore Stride is a beautiful rangy chestnut and a classically European-type. His conformation and looks are backed up with a sensational pedigree – he is the highest priced trotting yearling ever to sell in New Zealand. He joins fellow trotters Majestic Son and Peak on the Alabar roster. The roster also includes the exciting young stallions A Rocknroll Dance (standing at Nevele R), Alta Christiano, Auckland Reactor, Betterthancheddar, He’s Watching and Sunshine Beach. While the Group One producing stallions Courage Under Fire, Elsu, Grinfromeartoear and Shadow Play round out the incredible line-up. With 18 high class stallions on offer to breeders it promises to be a really exciting season ahead. Service Fees 2016/17   Aust Fee (incl GST) NZ Fee (plus GST) Standing at Alabar Australia     Alta Christiano $2,750 $2,750 Amore Stride $2,500 $2,500 Art Major $12,000 $12,000 Betterthancheddar $4,400 $4,000 Courage Under Fire To be advised NA Grinfromeartoear $3,300 $3,000 Rock N Roll Heaven $8,000 $7,000 Roll With Joe $5,500 $5,500 Shadow Play $4,400 $4,000       Standing at Alabar NZ     Auckland Reactor $3,000 $3,000 Elsu $2,200 $2,200 He's Watching $6,000 $6,000 Mach Three $12,000 $11,000 Majestic Son $5,000 $5,000 Peak $2,500 $2,500 Sportswriter $4,950 $4,500 Sunshine Beach $4,000 $4,000       Standing at Nevele R     A Rocknroll Dance $6,000 $6,000

The barrier draw for the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge for two year old colts and geldings was conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The colts and geldings qualified in semi finals earlier in the evening. The $127,500 is one of seven Group 1 events to be run on Sunday June 26 at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The barrier draw is 1 Three Of The Best Shannon Price 2 Brobenah Boy Bernie Hewitt 3 Jilliby Bandit 2nd EMERG Marg Lee 4 Rockin In Memphis Glenn Freeman 5 Atomic Red Steve Turnbull 6 Bullet Stride Belinda McCarthy 7 Awesome Stride Belinda McCarthy 8 Our Little Digger Bernie Hewitt 9 Conviction Steve Turnbull 10 San Domino Ben Settree SECOND ROW 11 Sackheim Geoff Harding 12 Redbank Blaze Kerry Ann Turner 13 Hez All Courage Bernie Hewitt 14 Heza Cracker 1st EMERG Kevin Pizzuto   Greg Hayes

While there is a lot of harness racing talent distributed across the Alabar Breeders Challenge heats at Bathurst, Penrith, Young and Newcastle this week, the field sizes are surprisingly small.  Bathurst’s two year old heats attracted 18 runners and Penrith’s heats on Thursday night have attracted six runners in both the colts and geldings and fillies divisions.  The heats at Newcastle on Friday are similar to Penrith in size however Young has attracted full fields for both divisions. Some owners and trainers are already turning their attention towards the Alabar Breeders Challenge Regional Finals, acknowledging their youngsters are not as fast as the leading horses. However, HRNSW CEO John Dumesny was quick to remind participants that horses competing in the major Breeders Challenge series get preference for the Regional Final. “It was quite surprising to see the field sizes for the first set of heats for the Breeders Challenge,” Mr Dumesny said. “Participants are reminded that those competing in the heats of the Alabar Breeders Challenge will receive preference in race field selection for the Regional Finals over those horses that did not.” Mr Dumesny also confirmed the Alabar Breeders Challenge Finals for two year olds will be twelve horse fields. “Twelve horses will start in the two year old finals, it is the current policy of HRNSW to have fields of twelve on the bigger tracks in New South Wales.  The recent Bathurst Gold Crown and Tiara both proved exciting events with similar sized fields. “The Australian Pacing Gold fillies final at Tabcorp Park Menangle saw ten horses compete, however with heats for that series conducted in NSW, Victoria and Queensland it was important that the heats and finals were the same size.” Participants can view the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge conditions by clicking here The last chance for two year olds to qualify for the Breeders Challenge semi finals will be at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday May 31 with all eligible runners guaranteed of a start. Greg Hayes

THE first heats of the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge for this season will be conducted at Bathurst on Wednesday night.  Heats will be conducted at a number of different tracks across the state over the next month as horses attempt to qualify for the semi finals at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The aim of all owners, trainers, drivers and breeders is for their horses to qualify for ‘Super Sunday’ on June 26 with nine Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge finals to be conducted across three age groups. In Wednesday night’s two heats, thirteen different stallions are represented including Courage Under Fire, Art Major, Mach Three and Roll With Joe.  In the heat for the colts and geldings, the two leading stables in NSW are represented.  Belinda McCarthy has Bullet Stride drawn in barrier one while Steve Turnbull has three runners – Rainbow On Fire, Conviction and Atomic Red. Lightly race Mach Three gelding Machgower will have his first run since March for Bigga trainer Dennis Picker.  Machgower was scratched from a heat of the Bathurst Gold Crown and was immediately aimed towards the Breeders Challenge series. Local trainer Bernie Hewitt has four fillies in the second heat.  Leading Sydney drivers Todd McCarthy and Robbie Morris have been booked to drive for the Hewitt stable while Bathurst reinsman John O’Shea will also get an opportunity to drive in the race. Sydney trainer Rickie Alchin will make the trip to Bathurst with smart filly Decapria on Wednesday after she broke through for an impressive maiden victory at Menangle last start.  Out of metropolitan performed mare Betapic, Decapria recorded a 1:55.5 victory and won by more than twelve metres.  Elle Yeah finished second and will be forced to race the talented filly again this Wednesday night. Other Alabar Breeders Challenge heats will be conducted at Penrith on Thursday night, Young on Friday afternoon and Newcastle on Friday night. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: Name: Greg Hayes Position: Media Manager Phone: (02) 9722 6600 Email:

The Alabar Blue Ribbon Sale is on this Sunday and there is a horse for every budget. The sale will be held at Alabar Farm and features weanlings as well as mares, including the dams of the Group 1 winner Golden Showgirl and the current star 2yo Wrappers Delight. Mares in the sale have been covered by some of the best stallions available including Art Major and Mach Three. There will be 14 weanlings on offer and these are by such stallions as Art Major, Mach Three, Shadow Play, Auckland Reactor, Betterthancheddar as well as the first crop stallions Alta Christiano and Caribbean Blaster. The majority of lots now have photos up on our website which can be viewed here. If you do want to buy at the sale then please complete a Bidder Registration Form and return it to us. If you can't make it to the sale then you will still be able to watch it online here. Please note that there will be a slight delay on the stream. Bidder Registration Form: Catalogue: Sale Stream: Withdrawals: Press Release:  

Smart mare Miasblaze made it three wins from four starts this preparation with an all-the-way win in the Gowans Homes & Renovations Harness Racing Pace (1800m) at Globe Derby Park on Saturday. Backed from $2.20 into $1.80 favourite, Miasblaze by Ponder from Christianity exploded from gate five to cross and lead before the first turn and had a comfortable 4-1/2 metre win from Amightyfinehorse ($5.40) with Regal Lager ($17.60), 5-1/2 metres away third. Father and son owners Cec and David Wills are enjoying the ride with trainer-driver Peter Borrelli. “All credit goes to Peter,” Cec Wills said. “He has taken his time before bringing her to the racetrack and she is proving he has made the right decisions. “We bought Miasblaze from Alabar Bloodstock as a yearling but we found she had a soft palate and she had an operation to correct the problem. “I put her up on my property at Eudunda in the mid-north for a while before taking her back to Peter.” Borrelli is delighted with Miasblaze’s form and said he will just try to keep her going through her classes. “She has good gate speed but also can do it a bit tough,” Borrelli said. “Her run last week was very good coming off a back row draw and finishing second (to Hit Maka in 1:59.9 on a slow track) and I think she could have been even more competitive from the front.” Graham Fischer  

Breeding giant Alabar will be the naming rights sponsor of the Harness Racing New South Wales Breeders Challenge for the next three years.  The Breeders Challenge has become Australia’s leading breeding scheme through the development of a lucrative race series which sees more than $840,000 distributed in prizemoney on the Finals day in June. Overall the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge delivers more than $3.5 million to the industry annually.  Through the partnership with Alabar, HRNSW will continue to support local breeders and Chief Executive John Dumesny praised the management of Alabar for its decision. “Pepper Tree Farm have been great supporters of the NSW Breeders Challenge in recent years and with announcement that Rob and Julie Vandyke would be entering into a commercial arrangement with Alabar, HRNSW is pleased to confirm Alabar has agreed to continue to sponsor the NSW Breeders Challenge for the next three years,” Mr Dumesny said. “The Alabar Breeders Challenge will continue to maintain its position as the nation’s leading breeding scheme and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Alan Galloway and his team for their support.” The first of the Alabar Breeders Challenge heats will be run on May 18 with all of the finals to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday June 26th. “The Breeders Challenge has continued to develop since its inception and for the first time the three-year-old-pacers finals will be worth $150,000 later this year. “The square gaiters have not been forgotten either with a four-and-five-year-old trotters final worth $30,000 to be conducted for the first time on the final Sunday in June.” Greg Hayes

The fire that burnt Durham Park to the ground last December may have burnt all the buildings and fences on the farm but it certainly hasn't dimmed the enthusiasm of the owner Bruce Edward. Interviewed on APG TV during Sunday's yearling sale at Oaklands Junction, Bruce was looking forward to completely rebuilding the property.   " My accountants were not that keen for me to rebuild the property but I have a real passion for the industry." " It's what I want to do when I wake up in the morning so the planning is underway to rebuild all of the buildings and fences on the property." " I had spent ten years developing the property when the fire struck but now we have a clean slate I will get the opportunity to change a few things for the better." " Its going to take anywhere from nine to twelve months to get the property back to where it was and all the broodmares and foals will remain at Alabar until everything is completed,"Bruce said. After the fire Bruce took up a generous offer from Alabar surpremo Alan Galloway to move his stock to the Alabar farm free of charge and to use the facilities there to prepare his yearlings for Sundays sale. Durham Park catalogued eleven yearlings on Sunday and sold ten of them on the day with the only yearling not sold being the full sister to last years brilliant two year old filly, Heaven's Trend 1:52.1 ($136,933) who was passed in at $25,000, just short of her reserve of $28,000. The other ten yearlings all found a new home and when the dust settled, Durham Park had grossed $244,000 with an average for those sold of $24,400 which was not far short of the overall sale average. Considering Bruce had no yearlings by Somebeachsomewhere who was in such hot demand on the day and only a couple by Bettor's Delight who was the other stallion whose stock were in demand, he achieved a good result overall. Two yearlings in his draft drew particular praise from Bruce even before the sale. " I have a lot of time for Lot 99, the full brother to last years New South Wales Derby winner Ideal For Real 1:55.8 ($182,485). " He is such a nice horse to do anything with." " He is bred on the American Ideal - Real Desire cross which has already produced the brilliant He's Watching 1:46.8 ($1,129,215) and Ideal For Real still holds the quickest last quarter in a race in Australia so that high speed is coming through." "The other yearling is Lot 195 who is a Bettor's Delight colt from an American Ideal half sister to three in 1:50 including the champion Maltese Artist 1:48.3 ($2,322,671)." "Andy Gath has his two year old half brother and holds him in high regard," Bruce said. The last few months must have been really trying for Bruce and his family but to see the passion he still clearly holds for the harness racing industry is quite special. Harnesslink Media

Want to be involved in the excitement of racing the first Auckland Reactors? Alabar is putting together a syndicate so you can do just that. As one of New Zealand’s greatest on the racetrack, Auckland Reactor has been extremely well supported at stud. His first yearlings will enter the sale ring next month – and the reports as to their quality continue to build. The yearlings for the syndicate will be hand-picked at the 2016 Yearling Sales by three of New Zealand’s top trainers – Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Geoff Small and Nathan Williamson. The appeal of having yearlings selected and trained by these outstanding horse-people is obvious – as is the fact that they represent a geographical spread throughout New Zealand with them being based in Auckland, Canterbury and Southland. Another point of interest with the syndicate is that fractional ownerships from 2% upwards will be available. This is a very popular system in North America with owners being able to choose the level of investment they are comfortable with – bringing a range of people together in the enjoyment of racing a horse. Full details will be available from Alabar after the 2016 Yearling Sales. There is a possibility the syndicate will also include the progeny of a proven Alabar sire. Alabar’s Graeme Henley says, “We’ve been thinking about starting up syndicates for a while now. It’s been watching the first crop of Auckland Reactor develop into such impressive types that’s got us excited to kick it off this year. “What’s more, Ivan Behrnes is going to look after the syndicate for us and he’s really passionate about it – you need someone with that level of enthusiasm and commitment to bring it all together for everyone involved. “It should be a lot of fun seeing the syndicate horses race from Invercargill to Alexandra Park and, who knows, maybe Australia as well. “We’ve already had a lot of interest so it looks like it will fill up pretty quickly. The plan is to do other syndicates in the future including ones specifically for breeding and another for the trotters - I’m sure there is a place and a demand for them.” For further information or to register your interest contact Ivan Behrnes - Alabar Syndicate Manager 03 615 6332, Alabar (NZ) Ltd is an authorised syndicator

One of the shocks that hit the harness racing industry in Victoria late last year was the fire that engulfed the well known Durham Park Standardbred nursery. Even though all the buildings and fences were burnt to the ground, by some miraculous luck, not one horse lost their life in the inferno that swept over the property. Proprietors Bruce and Vicki Edward were swamped with offers from within the industry with Alabar Bloodstock especially prominent, offering free grazing for all the stock and facilities at Alabar Stud from which the couple could have their yearlings prepared for this years Australian Pacing Gold at Oaklands Junction on February 7th. Durham Park has twelve yearlings catalogued this year and it presents an opportunity for Bruce and Vicki to get back to doing what they are best at which is selling yearlings with a truly international pedigree into the Australasian market. Seven of the twelve yearlings being offered at Oakland by Bruce and Vicki are from mares imported from North America and the star of the show is undoubtedly Lot 99. A son of American Ideal, he is a full brother to last seasons brilliant three year old Ideal For Real 1:55.8 ($182,485) and looks a potential sale topper for the Edwards. Others with a North American maternal family that have plenty to recommend them include Lot 41 - A Western Terror colt from the Bettor’s Delight mare Molly’s Lucky Star 1:54.2 ($96,700) who is from a half sister to the successful sire Pacific Fella 1:48.2 ($1,064,631) Lot 48 - A colt by  Courage Under Fire from the very quick Western Ideal mare in O Narutac Bella 1:51.2 ($154,536) Lot 156 - A filly by Courage Under Fire from the Artsplace mare Catapult 1:53.4 a half-sister to the Cane Futurity winner Lyonssomewhere 1:48.2 ($571,148) from the talented mare in Miss Kitty Hanover 1:51.1 ($461,684) Lot 175 - Another Bettor’s Delight colt out of the Rocknroll Hanover mare Diva DeVie USA, who is a  half-sister to the Stakes winner Sand Shooter 3, 1:49.4 ($471,957). Lot 188 - an Art Major filly from the Stakes-winning mare Garden Gate Tina Ca 1:53.2 ($146,804) who is from a half sister to Life Is A Cabaret 1:50.2 ($869,280). Lot 195 -  a colt by sire sensation Bettor’s Delight  from a daughter of American Ideal in Hawaiian Hottie USA (3, 1:55.2). The colt’s dam ranks as a half-sister to world champion and multi-millionaire Maltese Artist 1:48.6 ($2,340,872) and Artesian 1:49.2 ($987,884) The Durham Park yearlings are available for inspection at Alabar Bloodstock, Echuca. The chances of those twelve yearlings being sold at this years Australian Pacing Gold sale when the fire swept through Durham Park in December would have been next to zero but with the help of a lot of people within the industry it is now a reality. To view the twelve yearlings, you can do so by contacting either Kim Farnsworth on 0424 397 040 or Bruce Edward on 0412 951 633  To view the Catalogue click here. Harnesslink Media

Some times in harness racing it is hard to do justice in words with what you have just witnessed on the racetrack. So it was today with regards to the run of Golden Goddess in the Alabar three-year-old filly $150,000 Group 1 Sires Stakes Final at Alexandra Park. The daughter of Art Major produced a run that will long live in this writers memory as she did nothing right during the running, was wide for a good part of the journey and yet still won in New Zealand Record time. It was a freakish performance that should send a scare through all the owners of three year old fillies in Australasia. From two the second line, she put in a rough step early when trying to hold Killer Queens back and then over raced a touch when shuffled back beyond midfield by the three wide train. Once on to the three wide train, she followed her stablemate Piccadilly Princess around and found the death outside Killer Queen with just over a lap to go. These two went to war down the back before Golden Goddess went to the lead as they straightened for home. Lurking on her back was Piccadilly Princess who looked to be travelling but Golden Goddess was not to be denied and held on for a brilliant victory. Golden Goddess paced the 2200 metres in 2:36.9, a mile rate of 1:54.8 with closing sectionals of 56.2 and 27.1 Driver Natalie Rasmussen was suitably impressed post race. " She is a lovely filly and I am thrilled to bits with her." " As you could see she is still very green." " She put in some rough steps and over raced early on but she still won." " I was a bit worried about Piccadilly Princess on my back on the corner but she is such a genuine filly I knew they would have trouble getting past her," Natalie said. Now the winner of seven of her eight starts, the All-Stars trained Golden Goddess is quickly becoming the pin up girl of New Zealand harness racing.  Harnesslink Media

It is a fact of life in harness racing that having a season or two away from the track due to injury or illness can be career ending for some horses who never recapture their former glory once they comeback. Having a horse attempting a comeback after six and a half years on the sidelines due to injury and stallion duty would seem a herculean task but that is what the former age group star Gotta Go Cullect is attempting at the moment. Brought outright by Alabar (NZ) Ltd for stud duties when injury brought his racing career to a premature end , Gotta Go Cullect was given every show by breeders in his six years at stud. He has served 550 mares in those six seasons which has resulted in 399 live foals on the ground. As of today he has produced 45 winners including such smart types as Al Raza 1:52.1 (H) ($149,977), the Southland Oaks winner Royal Counsel, 1:54.2 ($88,202), the current form pacer Cullect A Guinness, 1:55.1 ($39,690 and Harrysul 1:57.1 ($45,056) but overall his numbers have fallen short of what is required in today’s hugely competitive stallion market and the numbers of mares he served each season has dropped accordingly. Alabar head honcho Graeme Henley was at a crossroads as the 2015-2016 breeding season drew close on what to do with Gotta Go Cullect – especially with the imminent arrival of high profile new recruit He’s Watching meaning Alabar needed to free up a stallion paddock. " I’d previously had a couple of approaches from Jay Abernethy to lease the horse and when I weighed it all up that looked to be the best option for Gotta Go Cullect going forward." "Especially with Jay having a water treadmill to get him fit without having to put pressure on his legs." " Jay had driven Gotta Go Cullect in his first five starts for four wins and a second and has a genuine fondness for the horse and was keen to be reunited with him." " Gotta Go Cullect has had six years as a stallion." "He’s kept himself fairly fit but without the stress of training and racing. As a result his legs were looking great when he went to Jay's." " The reports from Jay have been very positive and I think at this stage it is highly likely we will see Gotta Go Cullect back at the races early in 2016. We’re really grateful to Jay for looking after Gotta Go Cullect and hope it goes well for them both" Graeme said.   Gotta Go Cullect was an outstanding two and three year old racing against quality horses such as Stunin Cullen, 1:53.7 ($1,493,716), Highview Tommy 1:54 ($1,021,904) and Tintin In America 1:53.2 ($934,305) and while it is unrealistic to expect him to race at that level again at this stage of his career, class will ensure he won't disgrace himself where ever he lines up. Harnesslink Media

This writer is not a religious person by any means but I am a bit lost for an explanation for what happened to 53 harness racing horses over the weekend in at Durham Park Standardbreds. Situated on 400 acres of rolling countryside thirty minutes south east of Ballarat, Durham Park was established by Bruce Edwards in 2006 and has quickly become one of the pre-eminent standardbred nurseries in Victoria. Bruce had built up an outstanding band of North American, New Zealand and Australian mares and everything was on track for this years round of yearling sales when the fire struck late last week. The staff had to leave in such a hurry there was no time to grab any clothes or possessions and there was just no time to even think about moving the horses. When Bruce was let back in on Saturday afternoon, he was immediately confronted by evidence of the ferocity of the fire. What he saw left Bruce numb. " There was no fences, no sheds, no house, no water in the dams – just nothing." " There wasn't one blade of grass you could see on the property." " Unbelievably I came across the horses who seemed to have somehow survived the carnage." " However before we could do anything, we were kicked out again due to the danger from the fire," Bruce explained when talking to Harnesslink today. The next morning Bruce was allowed to go back onto his farm by authorities but he was quite nervous about what he might find. " The noise and smoke from the fire was huge and with the helicopters adding to that, I thought the horses would be spread far and wide over the property as we had no fences at all and I wasn't sure how many may have survived the inferno." " To my amazement they were still where they had been the day before." " I thought getting halters on them and loading them on to the floats would be fraught with problems but they stood there like lambs and walked straight on." "We had sixteen unbroken yearlings there but we caught them all with no problems and unbelievably they loaded onto Clayton Tonkin's truck as though they had been doing it all their life." "We moved the whole lot in four hours over to Clayton and Emma's property and after we did a headcount we found we hadn't  lost a single horse." " I didn't know some of the float people who turned up to help but I can't thank them enough." "Special thanks must go to Clayton and Emma who were just brilliant," Bruce said. Since the fire Bruce has been humbled by the offers of help from all over Australia. " I have had over 100 calls from all over Australia offering feed, agistment and help which is really quite humbling." " One call was from Alan Galloway and I was just gobsmacked by the offer he made to me"  " Alan offered to graze the whole 53 horses we took off Durham Park on Sunday for six months free of charge. "On top of that he gave us access to his barn complex so we now have somewhere to prepare our yearlings for the sales and there is accommodation included for my staff as well." " I grabbed the offer as my staff lost everything in the fire and this will help them get back on their feet." " The horses are being treated for smoke inhalation at the moment but will be moved to Alabar as soon as that has been completed." "I can't thank Alan Galloway enough, he has been a life saver," Bruce said Alan Galloway was also behind another initiative to help Bruce get back on his feet. "Bruce has been a great client of ours for many years and we were only to happy to step up and help out." " On top of the grazing and use of our facilities, Alabar Bloodstock has got together with Blue Chip Farms in New York, Pepper Tree Farm and Muscara Standardbreds to offer services to Art Major, He's Watching and Auckland Reactor. " We hope that Courage Under Fire will join the offer in the next few hours." All the money raised from the sale of the services will be forwarded to Bruce," Alan said. At the end of the day, we should be really thankful that no human or horse loss their life in this fire. Post fire we have been able to witness that great camaraderie that exists in the harness racing industry where industry participants will always reach out to those in need As to how to explain 53 horses going through a firestorm and coming out the other end unscathed, that one I can't answer Harnesslink Media

17 to 32 of 125