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By Garrick Knight As far as quick returns on investments go, Scott Dickson has hit a home run with his latest buy, Thunderfromthethrone. He followed up an impressive win at Manawatu on Friday night with a similar performance less than two days later on the grass at Otaki. “I got a bit lucky there, I suppose,” he told HRNZ modestly. Dickson, partner Lydia Pickford and their friend, nearby galloping trainer Dean Cunningham, only purchased the son of Auckland Reactor a fortnight ago. “Full credit has to go to Steven McRae and Craig Thornley, really. “I’ve had him less than a fortnight and done bugger all with him – they did the hard work.” Dickson says Thornley, who works for McRae, rung him and offered him the horse between the Nelson and Marlborough two-day meetings. “He asked if we were keen on buying him, and we were. “That was before Blenheim so he raced for us there and ran fourth both days.” In both wins over the weekend, Thunderfromthethrone benefited from a solid tempo meaning he could find his feet and roll over the top of his opponents down the straight. “He looks like he’s got quite a bit of speed about him that allows him to get over the top of them late. “He’s been a bit lucky that they ran hard up front both days, but it all worked out.” The horse will now likely have to take on the ‘top’ horse in the region meaning due to his rating and Dickson is hopeful he rises to the task. “You never know, but he seems to have settled in nice and I think he’ll continue to do a good job.” Dickson has really expanded his business model over the past 12 months, ramping up the number of horses he sells on overseas. This of course means he’s buying more stock. “It’s important to send the right ones overseas because if they go good, those buyers will come back and get another one of you.” Already, Dickson is finding that is the case. The key, he reckons, is not to get too invested in what he paid for a horse when deciding its future because some horses will be duds and others will be gems. “Take a horse like Frankie Jones – he was one of the dearer ones I’ve brought and I think he’ll be lucky to win one race for me. “Whereas The Bandit Queen was cheaper and is doing a good job; she’s a nice mare. “I actually had her sold to America for good money but then she fell at Cambridge and the deal fell through. “When you get one like her, you catch up pretty quickly on some of the others that might not have worked out. “Sometimes you’ve just got to move them on rather than trying to chase your money, especially in to the next season. “That’s when you’ll get burnt. “I’d sooner retire them and move on to the next one.” Finding horses isn’t as easy as you might think for Dickson and, surprisingly, he says his phone doesn’t get blown up by people offering horses from the south island as much as you might think. “Often we have to ring and chase them, actually. “But we’re finding the prices are too high at present and it’s hard finding the right ones. “Sometimes you pass on one and later on think, I probably should have grabbed that one, but it also works the other way too.” As for Thunderfromthethrone, Dickson doesn’t expect the phone to be ringing from Australia just yet. “We’ve got the guiders on him because he’s a wee bit narrow in front, and that’s normally a problem when you are trying to sell them on.”

The Steve Dolan trained Atomic Blast will now do his harness racing, and one would think winning, in the Northern Hemisphere after being exported this week. The son of Auckland Reactor had just three starts on New Zealand soil managing an impressive winning turn at Rangiora on the 3rd of January when fighting off the effort of JR Bromac throughout the length of the home straight. The winning effort came in just his second start with a gallop on debut at Banks Peninsula and a 7th at Timaru after mid-race work being his only other race day appearances. Atomic Blast’s sole win could be largely attributed to the strength of his dam Caroline’s Cullen. Caroline’s Cullen, by Christian Cullen out of a Holmes Hanover mare, amassed a small fortune in stakes after racing successfully throughout both Australasia and North America. While group wins remained elusive in New Zealand Caroline’s Cullen was competitive in top company particularly at age group level and raced with distinction in both the Jewels behind Beaudiene Bad Babe and Sires Stakes Fillies Championship Final behind Joyfulljoy. Her combined North American and Down Under record makes for terrific reading with 27 wins 28 seconds and 26 thirds for $346,049 in earnings. Gavin Smith and Caroline's Cullen A half sister to Atomic Blast is being offered at the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale. Lot 88, named Bettor Blast, is a Bay Filly by sire of sires Bettor’s Delight and is the second foal out of Caroline’s Cullen. Caroline’s Cullen The wider maternal line has produced Cee New York (24 wins) and the Soky Atom mare Warm Soak whose progeny have been most impressive and include Hudy Haxwell (10 wins, 83K) and Hot Mach (6 wins, 50k)  Ben McMillan    

Auckland Reactor harness racing gelding The Great Buzz, formerly trained in Southland by Clark Barron is creating a bit of a stir in North America. “He was always a pretty nice maiden. While he didn’t win we threw him into a couple of Nugget Finals and he was never out of the money. I thought he’d get better as he got older. He was a big overgrown horse,” Barron said. The Great Buzz raced eight times for Barron finishing second three times and third twice before he was sold. He’s out of the unraced Bettor’s Delight mare Risonanza and was bred by Kakukuri Bloodstock Limited and Brian West of Studholme Bloodstock Limited. He was bought by Barron for $7,000 at the 2017 Sale of the Stars in Christchurch. Elmer Gantry (18 wins), Dillon Dean (20 wins) and Dillion Dale (17 wins) feature further back in his pedigree. In America, The Great Buzz won his qualifier in 1-56.2 on 15th June. “The horse that ran second (Starznheaven) has won 41 races and nearly $400,000,” said Auckland Bloodstock Agent John Curtin who sold him to regular American buyer Kevin Quinn. He won his first race in America at Saratoga, New York, on the 26th of June recording his lifetime mark of 1-53.3  The Great Buzz “53 on a half mile track is a hell of a run,” stated Curtin, who also sold Nerve Of Steel (5 wins) and Kiwi Tintin (9 wins) to Quinn. “That’s (The Great Buzz) the dearest horse he’s bought. I said to him it’ll be the best horse he’s ever bought. He said ‘no chance it’ll be Kiwi Tintin.’ He’s changed his mind now.” The Great Buzz is trained by Paul Zabielski and was driven on both occasions by James Devaux. “The owner rang me quite a few times. They’ve liked him from day one,” Barron said. The gelding is due to start at Saratoga again on Thursday where he’s drawn the outside of the gate. Because of his impressive form the Saratoga Club officials have also taken him out of the betting market and placed him on the outside. Curtin is not impressed. “He’s drawn seven on a half mile track. That’s brutal, it’s just a joke. The owner’s upset. This horse has only won $6,000.” Bruce Stewart

Sky Vale a promising 3yo harness racing filly by Auckland Reactor has kept her unbeaten run intact by winning her second race in succession today at the early winter meeting at Rangiora. Trained at Rangiora by Glenn Gillard, Sky Vale (Auckland Reactor-Countess Vale) blasted straight to the lead in today’s race for leading driver Blair Orange, before handing up to Jazelle (John Dunn) and settling for a cozy ride home in the trail. Turning for home Sky Vale came off the back of the tiring leader and easily had the measure of the field cruising down to the line to win by more than 2 lengths at the line. Arocknatthepark (Gavin Smith) ran home well for second and Secret Bet (Terry Chmiel) finished on ok for third. The winning time in today’s race was a very quick 3-14.3 for the mobile 2600m. That represented a mile rate of 2-00.2 with a closing 800m in 58.4 and a final 400m in 28.2 seconds. Blair Orange moved well clear of his rivals in the New Zealand drivers premiership with the win on Sky Vale and he is currently sitting on 206 wins for the season, more than twice as many wins as his closest rival John Dunn who has driven 100 winners. Another of Auckland Reactor’s progeny Armed Reactor won his first race at his fourth start at Alexandra Park on Friday night. In the race Armed Reactor (Auckland Reactor - Pomis Arms) settled back in the field before making a sharp midrace move to sit parked with a lap  to go. Up the home straight Armed Reactor showed some of Auckland Reactor's toughness and dug deep to hold off his rivals for driver Peter Ferguson,  The 4yo gelding finally got to the line a half length clear of Vespa and Tony Herlihy, with the favourite Man Of Action a further head away in third. Auckland Reactor has sired over 100 winners in New Zealand and Australia with his oldest progeny now four-year olds. He also sired a winner in North America recently when The Great Buzz N won at Saratoga Raceway in 1:55.2   Harnesslink Media

Euroa-based harness racing trainer-driver Cameron Maggs produced a nice winner on debut at Shepparton last Friday - and punters didn't let it get under their guard. Four-year-old mare Maddielea (Auckland Reactor-Allison June (Major In Art) was heavily supported into favoritism on fixed odds and the issue was never in doubt. Maggs sent Maddielea to the head of affairs in the $7000 Alabar Pace for C0 only pacers and looked to have things well under control from that point. The first split was 28.2, followed by a 31.4, and then the mare was allowed to stretch out in 28.3 and 29.6 to win by 15 metres in a sharp 1.57-5. Despite not being sighted at the trials for some time, the course commentator Brendan Delaney advised shortly before the start that the fixed odds that had been put up regarding Maddielea had been knocked down from $19 to $4. Betting then tightened to $3.50 and $3.20, with the eventual starting price $3.50. "The winner landed some big bets, and someone has their pockets full for the weekend, you would think!" Delaney quipped after the race. To watch the video replay of this race click here. Maddielea certainly looks a horse destined for a bright future and is expected to make it two wins in under a week as she has come up the top selection at Shepparton this Wednesday afternoon in the CO-C1 mares' event. The daughter of Auckland Reactor, who continues to stamp his mark as a quality sire, goes about her business in trade-like fashion. With a nice gait, she has some of her dad's renowned grit as well. Maddielea, raced by P.L and S.L Maggs, was bred by her trainer Cameron Maggs. She is out of an unraced mare in Allison June (Major In Art-Miss Nightowl (Our Sir Vancelot). The recent winner also has a three-year-old full brother, yet to be named. Miss Nightowl was only lightly raced with four wins and seven placings from 26 starts for earnings of $14,480. The mare was successful for Maggs at Wagga and Echuca, while Nathan Jack was the winning driver at Bendigo and Mildura. It was also a very good outcome for connections who also took home a lucrative first win VicBred bonus. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E   W      

A tragic coincidence involving a promising north west Victorian pacer has dealt a devastating blow to one of the Mallee Reactor's most enthusiastic harness racing owner groups. In the space of eight days, the eight-member group of mates from the Ouyen region, suffered the untimely death of not only their star three-year-old Mallee Reactor (Auckland Reactor-Our Angel Flight (In The Pocket), but also his promising two-year-old half-sister Wonforthegirls (Village Jasper-Our Angel Flight (In The Pocket). Mallee Reactor was broken in and prepared by astute Ouyen trainer Murray Jardine for eight wins and two placings from 10 starts before being transferred (on Jardine's recommendation) to Adam Kelly, at Toolern Vale. "They were two lovely horses and the owners' group, who are friends of mine, are just absolutely shattered," Jardine said. Wonforthegirls was a full sister to the syndicate's successful pacer Carload (11 wins, $94,000) (Village Jasper-Our Angel Flight (In The Pocket) and had showed enormous promise in her early preparations with Jardine. "She was a late foal and she was a fiery little thing who took a little while to start putting it together, but at the same stage, she was better than either Mallee Reactor or Carload," Jardine said. "She was definitely going to win a lot of races, but we thought in mid-May she had done enough, and she still needed a bit of maturing, so I recommended to the owners that they turn her out for the winter. "I let her down for about a week, before they came and picked her up for her spell." Wonforthegirls was spelling on a property owned by one of the connections near Speed, but tragedy unfolded when they found the filly dead in the paddock on the Monday of the Queen's Birthday long weekend. The group was further devastated by the loss of Mallee Reactor eight days later. Mallee Reactor became the pin-up horse of the Northern region after bursting onto the scene as a two-year-old and winning his first five races in brilliant fashion. At his final start in the north west, Mallee Reactor was driven by Jardine's son Simon and ran second in the Guineas during the Mildura Pacing Cup Carnival, behind Victorian rising star three-year-old Im Sir Blake. Simon had a good affinity with the horse, driving him to seven of his eight wins. To watch video of Mallee Reactor winning click on this link.  "Mallee Reactor was best-suited to do his future racing somewhere closer to Melton and nearer to a lot of the bigger tracks, because he was a terrible traveller - he'd get hot and sweaty just travelling 100 kilometres from Ouyen to Mildura, which was doing him no good," Jardine said. After his move south, the pacer finished third at his first start for Kelly at Ballarat in mid-May, then was given a short freshen-up. Mallee Reactor had trialled at Melton and Kelly was pleased with the run which was a leadup to his return to racing at Kilmore last Wednesday. On the Saturday prior, Kelly noticed the horse had a high temperature and called a vet, but Mallee Reactor could not be saved. "It's absolutely tragic for the boys because all of them just loved their horses and they were having the time of their lives in the sport," Jardine said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E   W      

Instead of watching tonight’s Redcliffe Yearling Sale 3YO Final from the grandstand, Greenbank trainer Graham Dwyer will be right in the thick of it. Dwyer prepares TAB favourite Hipstar ($2.80), which is looking to bring up win number seven in the Listed event over 1780m at 6.52pm. Tonight will be the first time Dwyer has taken the reins behind Hipstar since his debut run at Redcliffe on ANZAC Day in 2018, with his usual driver John Cremin serving a suspension. “I wish I wasn’t driving,” Dwyer laughed. “I would definitely prefer John to be driving because he’s cool under pressure and he knows the horse really well. The horse is a bit of a ‘dumbo’ and John knows how to get the best out of him.” Hipstar has mixed it with the best of his generation in Queensland over the past 12 months. His highlights include a win in the 2018 Breeders Classic consolation at Albion Park at start number two, and a recent fourth in the G2 QBRED Triad Final. But Dwyer believes his Auckland Reactor gelding has plenty of maturing left to do. “He’s immature and foal-like,” Dwyer said. “We have always said that when the penny finally drops he’s going to be a nice animal.” Dwyer is in two minds as to how tonight’s feature worth $26,000 will play out. “I think the race will depend on what Boulder City does. If he goes back he gives his chances of winning away. He’s probably got the speed to cross them and if he’s in front he’ll be hard to beat,” Dwyer said. We asked Dwyer whether he thought he could make a mid-race move to sit in the death, where he settled during his tough 5m heat win last week. “I just don’t know if I can get there,” he said. “I’ve got to drop onto Malibu Dream’s back. That will put me back a step or two. It’s only over a mile so you’ll have to burn to get there. But if an opportunity arises that’s not to say we won’t take it.” Dwyer sits inside the top-10 on the Queensland trainers’ premiership this season with 38 winners from 258 starters. Cremin is expected to return from suspension in time to drive the talented two-year-old Pelosi next Saturday night. Pelosi and Cremin, along with trainer Anna Woodmansey, provided one of the stories of the year when they combined to win the Group 1 APG 2YO Final for Fillies at Albion Park last month. “Pelosi could be one of the best two-year-old fillies I’ve seen to come out of Queensland,” Dwyer said. “If I think back through the ages, I can’t think off too many better.”   Alex Nolan

He was a huge drawcard on the racetrack...and now Auckland Reactor continues to leave his mark at stud with his maturing progeny now attracting the eye of astute harness racing horsemen. Bred by Dr Tony and Anne Parker, Auckland Reactor (Mach Three-Atomic Lass (Sokys Atom) was the quickest horse ever to get to the one-million-dollar mark in earnings. Bursting onto the scene and winning his first 17 straight got the powerful pacer's bank roll looking healthy and he finished his astonishing racing career with 32 wins and four placings from just 53 starts. Auckland Reactor's oldest progeny are now four-year olds, and from his 385 Australian foals old enough to race he has has recorded 120 starters and 54 individual winners for just under $1.3 million. One of Auckland Reactor's impressive recent winners was well-bred bay filly Torque With Esteem (Auckland Reactor-Effective Torque (Jennas Beach Boy), which saluted at Queensland's Redcliffe in successive weeks. Trained by Chantal Turpin and her husband Pete McMullen at their property at Patrick Estate (population just 200), about an hour from Brisbane, the pacer has certainly shown a liking for the bayside track. "She has now won four races this year at Redcliffe and I think with more experience, she should develop into a nice horse," McMullen said. "They do need to have a bit of ability these days, and thankfully she's not missing in that department," he said. "Our stable worker Reece Maguire won with her the first two times, then Chantal was successful, and I got the money on her at the most recent win." The only chink in the armor for Torque With Esteem is a tendency to race a little greenly at times. "Her manners are not all that good, but she's getting better," McMullen said. "It's nothing too serious, she just tends to run around a little. But I'm sure with more race experience that will improve." The pacer is raced by enthusiastic breeder-owner Ian Corazzol. "Ian has four or five horses with us at the moment. He just loves watching all his horses. It doesn't matter if it's at a country meeting at Marburg, or a metro fixture at Albion Park, Ian will be watching them go around," McMullen said. To watch Torque With Esteem win on the 22nd of May click here. To watch Torque With Esteem win on the 29th of May click here. Another son of Auckland Reactor, exciting Queensland youngster Hipstar (Auckland Reactor-Oh So Hippe (Life Sign USA) has been raising eyebrows in recent months. Trained by respected horseman Graham Dwyer, the three-year-old has now won four of his past seven outings. His winning purple patch kicked off at Albion Park, Brisbane, on March 8. He then showed that wasn't a fluke with further victories at that venue on April 2 and May 10. His latest win at Redcliffe showed he's as "tough as old boots" with in-form reinsman John Cremin the winning driver. Hipstar is destined for bigger things that's for sure! His career at the moment stands at 26 starts for six wins and nine placings with a PB of 1.56 posted at "the creek". To watch Hipstar win on the 29th of May click on this link. And the Auckland Reactor juggernaut rolled along at Ballarat, and then down the highway to the Melbourne metropolitan meeting at Melton. Trainer Jeremy Quinlan and junior Bendigo reinswoman Tayla French delivered a knockout blow to punters at Ballarat when they combined with four-year-old You Ninety Two (Auckland Reactor-Numismatic (Elsu NZ) to score at odds of 20/1 in the Best Western Plus Ballarat Suites Pace. French, who works part-time for successful Bendigo trainer-driver Chris Svanosio, did an exceptional job as the horse raced strong on the bit and she found herself in a pocket approaching the home corner. But when You Ninety Two (bred and owned by Peter and Beatrice Salathiel, of Goornong) saw daylight, he knuckled down to the task, out four and five wide, to find the line nicely. It was the first time French had driven the pacer. And to explain his name? U92 is the chemical symbol and atomic number of Uranium on the periodic table of elements. And to add more intrigue, the grandmother of the horse is Atomic Fusion, while the dam of Auckland Reactor is Atomic Lass. To watch You Ninety Two win on the 24th of May click on this link. A nice Emma Stewart mare coming through the ranks in Shining Oro (Auckland Reactor-Totally Oro (Totally Ruthless) also recently won well at Melton. Raced by Sam Stewart, brother of the trainer, the four-year-old was rated to perfection by master city reinsman Chris Alford. Splits of 28.9, 30.2, 28 and 27.9 saw a handy rate of 1.54 to the winner. Shining Oro now has four wins from her seven outings this preparation. To watch Shining Oro win on the 25th of May click on this link. In-form country Victorian trainer Rebecca East continued on her winning way at Terang on Tuesday night with a winning double. Lightly raced three-year-old gelding Crowded Reactor (Auckland Reactor-Threes A Crowd (Armbro Operative) scored a narrow win in 1.59-6. Tim McLean was the victorious driver. The pacer started his career with Kevin Brough and was transferred to East late last year. The gelding has now won two and certainly looks an improving type. To watch Crowded Reactor win on the 4th of June click on this link. The second leg of the East double came in the form of Girls In Charge (Lincoln Royal-Proud Trick (Falcon Seelster). Popular reinsman Michael Bellman, who is closing in on a century of wins for the season, landed the money.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

A highly-regarded pacer from north west Victoria's remote Mallee region will face the toughest assignment of his short harness racing career when he steps out at Kilmore this Friday night. Youngster Mallee Reactor (Auckland Reactor-Our Angel Flight (In The Pocket) has established quite a reputation in a short time and is one of eight runners in a star-studded field assembled for the $25,000 Reg Withers Three Year Old Classic. Mallee Reactor, raced by a group of harness racing enthusiasts from around the Ouyen district, has developed a huge and loyal following through the deeds of father-son trainer-driver combination, Murray and Simon Jardine. Now the baton has been passed to Toolern Vale trainer Adam Kelly who's recently taken over the training of the gelding. Under the care of the Jardines, Mallee Reactor had a sensational form line of eight wins and two placings from 10 starts. The Withers Classic, the feature event on the big 11-race program at Kilmore, sees some of our brightest stars of the future, including a quartet from the all-conquering Emma Stewart-Clayton Tonkin stable. And how surreal would it be to have the likes of one of these in your barn: Centenario, Hurricane Harley, Fourbigmen or Demon Delight? The big four in the race have faced the starter on 57 occasions for 31 wins and 13 placings for a staggering combined purse of $725,570. Assuming ace Melbourne reinsman Chris Alford had first pick and has jumped on Centenario, that would have to be some sort of heads-up for punters. He's drawn the coveted pole position and prior to his uncharacteristic ninth in the NSW Derby last start, when something was obviously amiss, he has an entrancing form line. Mallee Reactor has drawn fortuitously with the eight marble and will start directly behind the exciting colt. Members of the ownership syndicate have enjoyed some good times through the deeds of a half-brother to Mallee Reactor in consistent racehorse Carload. A C4 and M1 pacer, Carload has 10 wins and 20 placings for over $88,000 and is now with Jarrod Alchin, of Glen Alphine, a suburb of Sydney. In somewhat of a fairytale, they were offered Carload's dam, the unraced broodmare Our Angel Flight, who was in foal at the time - the result being none other than Mallee Reactor. It would be a fair bet to say that most of the Ouyen boys and their family members will be trackside cheering on Mallee Reactor. They have been having an unbelievable ride so far and this would certainly be the icing on the cake if there was an upset result. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Stamina and speed were undoubtedly a major factor of former star Kiwi pacer Auckland Reactor’s dominance during his sensational harness racing career – and it’s now emerging through the progeny of the champ. Auckland Reactor sired his 50th individual Australian winner this season at Newcastle last Tuesday night. All up it’s the 87th victory for the “Reactor Factor” (as he was known to rival trainers and fans) for stakes of more than – this is not a misprint – $2.2 million. The pacer notching up the sire’s Oz half century was Stephens Spirit (Auckland Reactor NZ-Big Smiles Please (Grinfromeartoear USA), trained by Clayton Harmey, of Cessnock. “I really like the horse, and he’s only going to get better with more race experience,” Harmey said. “He likes to roll along, particularly with a consistent speed, and he’s got a future,” he said. Stephens Spirit certainly showed his depth, with the three-year-old being pinged out of the gate, then holding off Aspiring Stride (Michael Formosa) and Ultra Bliss (Glenn Bull) at the finish. Harmey said it was fortunate that Stephens Spirit took no harm in a race three days earlier when his driver Will Rixon was dislodged from the sulky. “I actually didn’t see the incident because I was busy with some other horses. But I think Will got tipped out after there was some tightening and locking of wheels. “The clerk of the course was apparently quick to grab our horse so there was no damage done, thankfully. “I gave him the following day off and then bowled him along a bit on the Monday to ensure there weren’t any problems with him.” Harmey said when Stephens Spirit was able to lead at Newcastle and coast along in 28.7, 31.8, 29.5 and 29.4, he thought he would take so catching. “But I wasn’t too sure at the 300-metre mark because he appeared to be under siege. But I was pleased at the way he fought on and held them all off,” he said. Stephens Spirit is the only live foal out of a former handy racemare Big Smile Please, who finished with nine wins and 10 placings for over $37,000. Harmey said before Stephen Sweeney died, he gave some money to his family. “Joel Sweeney and his mum Roslyn bought Big Smile Please. I was training her when she won a heat of the prestigious Inter-City heat at Newcastle, but injuries prevented her from showing her best,” Harmey said. “We all liked Auckland Reactor – we just thought he was an awesome racehorse (winner of his first 17 starts in a row and 24 of his first 27 starts), so it was decided to take Big Smile Please to get in foal to him and the resultant foal was Stephens Spirit.” Harmey said the win was a welcome reward for Joel and Roslyn for their help around the stables. “Joel cleans out all the boxes and helps with feeding up and Roslyn is there to do waters and other jobs,” he said. “Without those two, my life would be hell. They got a big kick out of the win and they deserve it.” Harmey trains at the Cessnock show grounds and despite reducing his numbers to 17 a while ago, there has been a sudden increase in numbers recently, and he’s now back up to a team of 27. He has a large proportion of youngsters, and Harmey has high hopes for a three-year-old Straddie, a winner of two races and five placings from just 10 outings. “He’s a half-brother to millionaire pacer For A Reason (27 wins for $1.1m) so the breeding is certainly there,” he said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

If ever there was a horse who shouldn’t have “made it”, Great Western Harness Racing trainer Michelle Wight reckons it’s her promising three-year-old Reactor Now (Auckland Reactor-Who’s Sorry Now (Western Ideal). Wight freely admits the accident-prone gelding has presented some challenges – but after two assertive wins in succession, it seems “Goose”, as he is known around the stables, might finally be repaying her dedication. “To put it bluntly, he sat on a post just before he was due to come back into work as a yearling and the injury he sustained was horrible.  We really weren’t sure he would ever race,” Wight said. And anyone who’s ever tended a serious equine injury wouldn’t dare argue. The 16-inch gash in the large muscle mass on the horse’s near side rump was deep and extremely difficult to manage.  But, over a period of four months, Wight and her husband Craig, with the assistance of their vet, managed to nurse Goose back into “one piece”. “We had a few setbacks along the way, including at one stage the internal stitches breaking open, but we got there in the end,” Wight said. But even after the prolonged recovery, the troubles weren’t over for Reactor Now. “We finally got him back into work as a two-year-old and there was another hiccup.  Because of the damage to the muscle, he was a little short in his action on that leg, which we were just working him through slowly,” Wight said. “One day he just worked a little bit lame on the leg and I got the vet to have a look and he’d somehow fractured a pastern bone. So, yes, he has been a project!” she laughed. Wight said Reactor Now’s three-year-old preparation had been necessarily and understandably slow. “We probably had him in work most of the last half of last year and have been mindful of allowing him to make a full recovery and looking after him,” she said. The gelding had his first start at Horsham in February but “got a bit excited” and proved a handful for Wight’s brother-in-law, reinsman Grant Campbell. But Campbell managed the gelding superbly when he returned to the track at Ballarat a month later, easing Reactor Now from the mobile barrier as the leaders poured on the speed.  At one stage in the first lap Campbell found himself 40 metres from the leaders, but unflustered tacked on with 1200 to go, slid into the death seat and applied the pressure.  He hit the front before the home turn and dashed away to score by 12 metres untouched. To watch the video replay of this race click on this link. The pacer was just as impressive at Terang a fortnight later (March 19) when he was caught three wide early, for nearly half a lap, before working to the death-seat.  Approaching the bell, Campbell clicked the big fellow up a gear to surge to the lead.  When he pulled the plugs on the home corner, Reactor Now careered clear, eventually winning by 10 metres, with the last quarter in a sizzling 27.4 (half in 56.6). To watch the video replay of this race click on this link. “He’s always showed his potential, but he’s been a big, awkward, green fellow and he’s taken a lot of time to learn, and probably get the confidence to go fast,” Wight said. “When he’s within his comfort zone he is good, but if you push him beyond that, he can get a bit rough and break,” she said. “But in his two wins he has won well within himself and we haven’t pushed him, so we haven’t really found the bottom of him yet. I think if one came up beside him he would find a little bit because he has got a competitive streak. “It’s fair to say he’s done more than we expected at this stage.” Although horse and connections endured a torrid 18 months, Wight said Reactor Now ticked all the boxes when he was purchased after the APG Gold 2016 sale. “He’s owned by Graeme and Liz Old, their nephew Frank and his wife Robyn and their daughter Narelle Hall and her husband Steve,” she explained. “He was a bit of an afterthought at the sales because all the ones we liked were above our budget. So, at the end of the day we were looking at what had been passed in. “My husband Craig loves to go through the books and choose them from the breeding and Frank prides himself on picking them on looks.  So between the two of them they picked out Reactor Now. Reactor Now “He is a very natural athlete and pacer and even when I was long-reining him he was pacing.  But he was a big fellow and we knew he would take time – just probably not quite this much time!” But it’s no surprise Wight has managed to put the polish on “Goose”, with her reputation for finding a way with problem horses. “This group of owners are the same ones who had Frances Annie – aka ‘The Mad Trotter’,” she said. “We had a five-horse truck and she needed all the dividers out and to travel on her own just to get her to the races. Once we got there, she needed spare stalls either side of her. “Once the lease was up, the owners weren’t too keen on having her back immediately, so we have her out the back in foal (to Skyvalley).  She did test my patience, but she did win $100,000, so you never know!” Reactor Now is entered in the Group 3 Victoria Sires Classic $40,000 for three-year-olds race at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

A father and son harness racing combination from the small north west Victorian township of Ouyen teamed up with boom sire Auckland Reactor to steal the limelight in spectacular fashion at Mildura on Wednesday night. Astute horseman Murray Jardine produced highly-talented Mallee Reactor (Auckland Reactor NZ-Our Angel Flight (In The Pocket) and Ian Raymond (Auckland Reactor NZ-Black Dress (Village Jasper) to post an eye-catching double. Both winners were handled by his reinsman son Simon, who drove copybook races to get “the chocolates” on the short-priced fancies. “I’m really enjoying it at the moment because dad has them flying,” a jubilant Simon said. “They’re the only two by Auckland Reactors in our stable, and we are now wishing we had a few more,” he said. “They are two nice horses and we aren’t rushing them, just bringing them along slowly and picking out suitable races in our area as we go. “I don’t know if dad will be tempted in a few months to make a trip south to Melton or not, but I reckon he should certainly think about it.” Mallee Reactor was at least 40 metres off the leaders in the early stages of the opening race on the Mildura program, the DNR Logistics Pace for C1 class pacers, after being caught wide and snagged back to second last. Come On Elvis and Friends set a blistering pace with a sharp lead time, followed by quick opening quarters of 28.6 and 29.7 secs. “I was actually wondering when they were going to ease up because they certainly weren’t waiting for anyone,” Simon said. Friends, a well-backed second-favorite, was pulled up out of the race with broken gear with a little over a lap to go, but Denbeigh Wade still kept her foot on the accelerator with Come On Elvis, recording closing splits of 29 and 29.6 secs. Mallee Reactor, three wide and three back with a lap to go, appeared to be cruising. And this was certainly the case, because when Jardine launched down the back straight, they charged to the lead on the home corner for a super win. While the mile rate of 1.56-4 was a few seconds outside the track record, it’s rarely posted by C1 class competitors on the not-so-spacious 805 metre Mildura circuit. “I think I might have made a bit of an error in running Mallee Reactor at Mildura on December 28 when it was so hot,” Murray said. “His next run about 10 days later when he got third was okay but he wasn’t as sharp as he could have been,” he said. “In saying that, I’m not taking anything away from the two who beat us. They were very good on the night.” Mallee Reactor now has the awesome career record of seven starts for six wins and a third placing for over $21,000. He will race at the Ouyen Cup meeting on Sunday week, March 24, then Mildura on April 2 with his major assignment, the $14,000 Mildura Guineas, on Mildura Pacing Cup night, April 13. The second leg of the Team Jardine/Auckland Reactor double came via four-year-old gelding Ian Raymond, who took out the Tasco Petroleum Pace, also for C1 horses. The pacer, raced by popular Ouyen identity Helen Chisholm, was bred by Helen along with her late brother Ian Raymond, hence the name. “He was always travelling comfortably and dug deep when I asked him for an effort,” Simon said. Ian Raymond lobbed in the sweet seat from the wide six draw and did look the winner a long way from home. After zipping out three wide at the bell, the gelding worked past the leaders on the home corner and cruised to the line with plenty in the tank. Former SA junior driver Jayden Brewin, now based in Victoria, drove a well-deserved double at Mildura, with Cashwrangs Smoker (Chief Marty-Glassawyne (Sports Town) and Ned’s Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Winter Rose (In The Pocket). Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The pure speed of excitement machine racehorse Auckland Reactor is clearly passing through to his progeny, with the promising sire having starters from his first crop in two of Australia’s top harness racing sprint races this weekend. Auckland Reactor’s oldest offspring are now just four, but he has a starter in both the $1,000,000 Group 1 Ainsworth Miracle Mile and the $200,000 Group 1 HQ Insurance Ladyship Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle in Sydney on Saturday night, a rare achievement for a first crop sire.. Chase Auckland (Auckland Reactor - Delicata - Falcon Seelster) is a wildcard entry into the $1m Miracle Mile and has drawn barrier three, while the very good mare Soho Burning Love (Auckland Reactor - Soho Bordeaux - Western Terror) has drawn barrier 5 in the $200,000 Ladyship Mile. The pair have emerged as two of the leading lights in what has been a remarkably forward first crop for the former star Kiwi.  Auckland Reactor has recorded 74 winners from 218 starters to date, with just under $2 million in total stakes in the bank. Lining up in the Miracle Mile has Chase Auckland following in the footsteps of his sire, who also raced in the 2009 Miracle Mile won by Monkey King.  The four-year-old has won 10 of his 14 starts to date with over $425,000 in stakes and lines up as the lowest-assessed starter in the Miracle Mile, a modest C8 M2 assessment. Soho Burning Love has won 10 races from 36 starts with just under $200,000 in stakes to date. As a sire, Auckland Reactor’s Australian offspring are outperforming their New Zealand counterparts, with 41 winners to date. And while they’ve performed well as young horses, they’re now showing themselves to be maturing well, with Auckland Reactor having 40 individual starters lining up to race from this Friday to Monday. In New Zealand he has produced 33 winners and 119 qualifiers for just over $900,000 to date. Total stakes to date for Auckland Reactor as a sire has almost reached $2 million. In New Zealand, at Alexandra Park tonight, Aha Reaction (Auckland Reactor - Dreamy Delight - Bettor's Delight) won his third race from just nine starts and rating a very good 1:56.6 mile rate over the 2200 metres. Meanwhile, down South at Addington, Smoke N Reactor (Auckland Reactor - Smoke N Mirrors - Pacific Rocket) won her second race scoring easily over 1950 metres. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Champion harness racing horse and now sire Auckland Reactor got a double when 4yo pacers Smoke N Reactor and then Aha Reaction won their respective races in the South and North Islands tonight. At Addington in Race 3, Smoke N Reactor (Auckland Reactor - Smoke N Mirrors - Pacific Rocket) boomed home out wide from near last for driver Laura McKay to obliterate her opposition winning easily by more than 3 lengths. The Mark Jones trained Smoke N Reactor rated 1-58.9 for the 1980m mobile event and ran home her last 800m in 59.2 seconds. In a contrasting win at Auckland, Aha Reaction (Auckland Reactor - Dreamy Delight - Bettors Delight) had to endure a survival of the fittest to win his race at Alexandra Park. After holding the lead early from barrier one for driver John Dunn, Aha Reaction handed to the favourite Ideal Star with 1200m to go. The pace was cetainly on all the way and in the straight the Auckland Reactor gelding fought best in a thrilling three way battle to the line winning narrowly by a head. The time was a sizzling 2-39.3 for the mobile 2200m which equated to a 1-56.5 mile rate. The last 800m was cut out in 56.0 with a closing quarter in 27.7 seconds. Auckland Reactor has 34 winners and 119 qualifiers in New Zealand to date and in Australia he has produced 99 starters for 41 winners to date. He has total stake earnings for his progeny of just under $2 million and rising fast. Chase Auckland has made the $1 million Miracle Mile at Menangle on Saturday night and his best mare to date Soho Burning Love has a good chance in the $200,000 Ladyship Stakes at the same track. Aha Reaction winning in a 1-56.5 mile rate.   Smoke N Reactor booming home out wide to win at Addington Harnesslink Media  

Two more names were added to the growing list of Auckland Reactor-sired rising stars at the Swan Hill harness racing meeting this week. Thermal Reactor (Auckland Reactor - Ballygeana - Presidential Ball) trained by Zac Steenhuis and driven by Ryan Duffy gave a dominant front-running display to score by 18 metres in the Steven and Kyra Valentines pace.  To watch the replay click here. The win was followed up by another impressive performance in Quamby Reactor (Auckland Reactor - Lady Lunchalot - Armbro Operative) trained and driven by Chris Svanosio. To watch this video replay click here Both are four year olds and both amply demonstrated the depth in maturity that’s emerging in the Auckland Reactor progeny. “Quamby Reactor took a little while to put it all together as a young horse, but he has improved massively with each preparation,” an elated Svanosio said. “He’s a very big fellow and I think that was part of the problem in his first prep - he was gangly and took a while to get it all together. But once he worked things out he won his three year old and his Vicbred bonus and we gave him another break,” he said. “This time as a four year old he’s come back really strong and he won well at Swan Hill. I think he’ll have a few more wins in him yet.” Quamby Reactor posted a 1:55.8 mile rate thrilling the big crowd of owners and supporters at the Swan Hill meeting. The ownership group is made up largely of farmers from the nearby Kerang-Quambatook area, and who raced Quamby Reactor’s mother Lady Lunchalot.  “They’ve been a fantastic group to work with. When the horse was taking longer than I’d thought I asked them if they would like to try another trainer, but they were happy to wait for him to click,” Svanosio said. “They never miss his races and even his trials so it’s great to see him rewarding their loyalty.” The Svanosio stable itself is also “putting it all together” of late,  also notching up three second placings at Swan Hill and Chris getting another second as a driver. Based at Junortoun, Bendigo, Svanosio has a “essentially a full team” of 20 horses in work with the help of Michelle Phillips, Tara Youngson and Taylor French. The stable has had four winners and a swag of placings over the past two weeks. “Im lucky to have a fantastic team of staff and they do a great job.  The last few weeks things have been going nicely, which is great - it gives everyone a kick along,” he said. “We just need to keep things going and build from there.”  Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Goulburn horsewoman Amy Day had more than one reason to celebrate when she piloted Atomic Bombshell (Auckland Reactor-Art Asset (Artsplace) to a harness racing victory at Orange. Day, 28, drove a well-judged race last Sunday afternoon to break Atomic Bombshell’s maiden status; and the filly did it while racing on a grass track for the very first time. And if that wasn’t enough for some sort of celebration, the talented trainer-driver posted her 300th winner as a driver. “I didn’t realize I was close to such a nice milestone until a friend told me,” Day said. “I’d been stuck on 299 wins there for a while, so it was fantastic to finally make it, and I was so proud of the horse because she’s a bit of a favorite of mine,” she said. “She has a turn of speed, but without doubt her greatest attribute is an unbelievable attitude, she’s willing to do anything.  And along the way I’ve found that to be so important in a horse.” It was also an outstanding day for exciting Alabar sire Auckland Reactor, who, in his racing days, had the nickname “The Reactor Factor” because of his utter dominance.  Auckland Reactor progeny landed the quinella at the Orange event, with Whata Reactor finishing runner up to Atomic Bombshell.  Auckland Reactor has now sired 39 winners in Australia.  In New Zealand he has 34 winners with superstar Chase Auckland leading the way for stakes of $405,329. Day shares a property and training facilities owned by her father Neil to prepare her team of about 13 and has predicted a bright future for Atomic Bombshell. “I raced outside the leader to win on the grass at Orange and the mile rate of a tick over 1.58 was pleasing,” she said. “Racing on the grass is a bit different but the track is the home of the Orange gallops and it was in good condition. “We thought Atomic Bombshell would give us a good sight, because her form as a two-year-old was okay and she has come back stronger after a three-month spell.” Day has been driving for 10 years but has been involved in the training caper for five years. “I’m enjoying it and there’s always some family help in close reach when needed. I work in well with dad and my mum Vickie is always ready to lend a hand.  My brother Justin takes care of the farrier side of things,” she said. Day said being in Goulburn was a great base for harness racing in NSW. “It’s so central to a stack of tracks.  The Riverina racing is perhaps two or three hours away; Canberra is an hour down the road, and Menangle is around a one-and-a-half-hour trip.” And as for a favorite win during her short career? “Any success is a good one because there’s such a lot of hard work involved,” Day said. But she did say she fondly remembers May 5, 2012 at Wagga when she took out the Cup with 40/1 shot Marooned (Hare Hare – Greek Jewel (Golden Greek), trained by Frank O’Sullivan, and then landed the Derby with Armalife (Life Sign – Arma The One (Badlands Hanover), prepared by her father Neil. “Yes, that was surreal, but we didn’t get involved in any crazy celebrations of course – we probably all had horses to train or trial the following day!” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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