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She has a number of false starts on her score card but trainer Clark Barron has never gave up hope on Washington VC mare Omaggio. “One day we thought she’d get it right. We had her in the Ladyship at Invercargill and she ran a very good third,” he said. Yesterday’s Ladyship final at Winton was a tough ask with outstanding filly Better’s Tart, Wattlebank Star and Seventh Heaven among the opposition. But the four year old showed her toughness and took out the $12,000 feature. “The harder the run the better and that’s what happened today. Perhaps the weather helped us a wee bit and a few of the favourites had hard runs. The slowest part of the race was the last bit and we knew she’d keep going.” Omaggio is out of ten win mare Whanau whose wins include the 2002 Group One Nevele R Fillies Final.  Whanau’s best foal has been Mabrook which won twenty races – nineteen in Australia. “She (Omaggio) was very slow to mature. All the rest of Whanau’s progeny showed something as late two year olds or three year olds. Although Omaggio had ability we just had to wait on her.” Barron said Whanau had to be put down during lockdown last year. “She got a bad parrot mouth and the condition fell off her. Her last foal is a colt by Always B Miki.” Today’s win was Omaggio’s first in ten starts. “It’s quite a good maiden win when it’s a $12,000 race. She’ll just race through the grades now.” Omaggio is raced by Miracle Lodge which consist of Barron and Eric Parr. Barron is credited with introducing the idea of Ladyship Finals to the province so it was fitting that a horse he trained won the fillies and mares feature today. “He (Parr) raced gallopers and we were talking and he told me they could win a maiden race and then have a crack at a $20,000 race. That’s how I got the idea for these races. We’re not racing for that much though.” Barron says the concept has also found favour with punters. “These races are always the best betting races on the day.” Barron’s daughter Ellie drove Omaggio. Meanwhile Branxholme trainer Alister Black uncovered another quality horse when he produced first starter Keep On Dreaming to win the PGG Wrightson Mobile easily by two and a half lengths. Owned by Lindsay and Ian Thomson the three year old looks like Southern Supremacy Stakes material.   Bruce Stewart

I went to school with Graeme Anderson. We were in the same class at James Hargest High School in Invercargill back in the early 70’s. I can tell you first hand that the Turf Digest was the most read book he ever opened in those formative years and I can tell you he was in charge of the sweepstake on Melbourne Cup day – not that he got my money. He always had talent on the sports field too whether it was cricket or rugby and he always had an air of confidence about him. Those attributes have been well utilised to carve out a successful sporting and harness racing career. Graeme caught the racing bug at a young age through his connection to Riverton; his father Bill lived there for some of his life. “Riverton was a big thoroughbred area in those days and Dad’s sister ended up marrying Jack Cleaver. Jack trained a very good mare back in the sixties called Shangri-La. We would always go to the Easter races at Riverton. It was a family thing and mum would buy us new clothes. Other members of the family didn’t love it so much but I got hooked from a young age,” he said. Shangri-La’s many wins included the 1961 Winton 80th Anniversary Cup ridden by Rodney Marsh, the 1961 James Hazlett Gold Cup and the 1962 Wyndham Cup when ridden by Graeme Wright carrying 9lb 6oz. She was by Kurdistan out of Mystic. Kurdistan left 256 winners including Bagdad Note the winner of the Melbourne Cup, and Sydney Cup victor Gay Master. He also left versatile gallopers like Eiffel Tower, Kumai and Koral. Anderson was a pretty good rugby player as well. He played for the first fifteen at Hargest, was part of a successful Star senior side that won a few Galbreith Shields and also played for Central Pirates near the end of his playing career. “It was a bit of a change. Out there, there were Skinners, Browns, Deverys and Hunters. Brent McIntyre also played for us as well as Craig Hamilton. Wayne Adams played and coached us so there were plenty of harness boys.” He also played representative rugby for Southland. “We beat the Aussies in 1978 and French in 1979. Players like Leicester Rutledge, Ken Stewart, Brian McKechnie and Steve Pokere were around. One day we had seven to eight All Blacks playing for Southland so that was a pretty good side. There were also great trips away on the bus and a lot of the boys had a racing connection.” Later on, he had success as a coach, winning three Dunedin Rugby Premierships with the Taieri prems. “We started with nothing. We had a great group of managerial staff. I think fifteen of those boys played for Otago. There was Hayden Parker, Charlie O’Connell and Kieran Moffatt. We had a lot of high class players.” Some of that knowledge he gained throughout his rugby career he adapted in his horse training business. “I use a lot of the sports ideas when training.  I like to keep the legs fresh before playing rugby on Saturday. If you knocked yourself around on a Thursday or Friday you’d have dead legs. So with racehorses you get them fit the week before and just leave them alone. We do heart rates all the time and keep a comprehensive diary.” Although initially interested in gallopers he was also keen on the trotters and ventured into harness racing through Southland trainer Gary McEwan. “He taught me to drive and use a watch properly. He got me a trip to America on the horse plane. I went over with Donny Hayes. We stayed in California back then which was the centre of harness racing. It had three or four tracks. I had about six weeks over there and met a whole lot of people and that started my buying and selling career.” In the early years he also worked with Central Otago trainer Murray Hamilton. “We had a business together which didn’t last long. We shipped horses on the boat out of Bluff.” Early on Anderson also formed a good working relationship with legendary Gore galloping trainer Ted Winsloe. “I was training Standardbreds when I had Whisper Jet (galloper) and Ted had a few Standardbreds as well so I’d train his trotters and he trained my gallopers which was a nice arrangement. I ended up working a few (thoroughbreds) up. We got a few down from the North Island and had a bit of luck with them. It’s a bit tougher now (training gallopers). You can’t get the staff and the horses I used to buy at the South Island Sales have tripled in price. I’m not saying I won’t get another one but you just need to have the right people to work them.” One of the first pacers Anderson owned was the Fernside Bachelor gelding King Red. He was bred by John Higgins and trained by Bryce Buchanan. Fernside Bachelor was an unraced stallion by Bachelor Hanover out of Queen Ngaio. Queen Ngaio left good pacers Waratah (8 wins) and Trio (16 wins). King Red’s win was at Forbury Park in October 1988 and was the first winning drive for Doug Buchanan. “He was a claiming horse. We claimed a few back in those days. We’d take them to Addington because there was no racing down here in the winter. Tank Ellis and Tony Stratford were working for me back in those days. We used to have some great trips and we’d carry on to the Nelson and Blenheim circuits.” Anderson officially started training on his own account in 1998 and his first winner was Connor at Oamaru in October driven by Clark Barron. He also trained Ando’s Prospect to win three races. She later became a good source of winners for him leaving Southern Boy (5 wins), Southern Prospect (5) and Bonvoyage which won two races for him and another nine races in Australia. He ran second to Monkey King in a heat of the Interdominions at Harold Park in 2010. Another horse Anderson owned and trained was Good Prospect. By Son Of Afella out of Majestic Chance mare Karma, Good Prospect won three races and provided junior driver Belinda White with one of her six career winners. At that point he was mixing training with a fair bit of travel. “I was selling a lot of horses to Perth to guys like Greg Harper. One of the Australian guys decided to buy yearlings and leave them with me. I tried to farm them out but ended up buying a property at Rimu and building a big barn and doing them myself for him. Because I was also travelling a bit and selling I was only doing it when I was at home. “ At that point Tony Barron started to work for Anderson after a stint with Barry Purdon. The high point of Anderson’s buying and selling came in 1985 when he purchased Jay Bee’s Fella and Arden Meadow. “They quinellaed the 1986 West Australian Derby. They were two Son Of Afella’s I sent away to Greg Harper. That was the catalyst for me doing a lot of buying and selling of horses in Australia. On my trip to America I met a couple of boys from Perth who were over there trying to do the same thing. They’d run out of money. I didn’t have much but I lent them a couple of hundred bucks to get them home. They said that they would ring me. They did and it was through them that I sold Arden Meadow and Jay Bee’s Fella.” After Rimu, Anderson moved out to Winton where the success continued and he was able to train gallopers there. Xstream was one thoroughbred he trained there. He owned the mare in partnership with another harness trainer Allan Beck. She was good on dead to heavy tracks and won three races (all in a round), ridden each time by Riverton jockey Kerry Taplin. “We had success with Xstream, Carver (3), Feel The Heat (3) and Dusty Girl (5).” Anderson says training thoroughbreds gave him a good insight into training the modern day pacers. “We train pacers like thoroughbreds now. They’ve all got five or six generations of American blood in them and they just don’t take a lot of work.” After Winton he moved to Cambridge where he continued to train gallopers and travelling around Australia and Asia. In 2003 he headed back south and set up at Wingatui and from there re-established himself as a harness trainer at Westward Beach, adding another dimension to his training regime. “We’re lucky we’ve got the beach. It’s almost a three mile straight run. Sometimes it’s very difficult to work there but you’ve just got to get up and do it. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The other night we got home at 6:30pm in the dark because of a late tide. We don’t have a track so we can’t cheat ourselves. We just have to get out and do it.” He says horses get bored with just running around the same training track and the beach provides a different environment every day as the surfaces and vista changes with each tide. “You can do different things with them. We ride a few and canter a few. We have a couple of secrets when we work them which I’m not going to tell ya. If a horse is on R n R, he may have a paddle or trot in the sea for half an hour rather than work.” His Westward Beach stable isn’t flash – it doesn’t have any barns or boxes so the horses live outside. “They’re all out in the open. They’re all sand yards. It was Brenda Harland’s old place. She hadn’t trained for a long time and it was by fluke that I ended up there and I’ve never left. There are shelter sheds and plenty of trees and loopins to get their bums backed into. They’re all double rugged. With the sand hills around us it’s a lot warmer than you’d think. ” He actually came across the facility when he took a thoroughbred that had cut a leg in a fence to the beach. “I went out there to give it a bit of sea water treatment. That’s how I came to training at Westward Beach.” Since then his success rate in training horses and resurrecting careers has been outstanding. “95% of them you can improve but there’s 5% you can’t help. As long as they want to be with us we can help them.” Despite having a straight line sand surface it’s surprising that Anderson doesn’t train too many trotters. “This is a great environment for straight line training and we should have more trotters. They by pass me a go to Phil Williamson’s (laughter).” Anderson also likes to adopt a completely fresh approach when taking on tried horses. “We take off all the gear, ignore everything they’ve done before and start again. We have our tests. They’ve got to work a certain time and to have a certain heart rate at the end of that to know if they’re any good.” It’s also been noticeable over the years that a lot of his horses run without an over check. “That came from West Australia. I went over there and the great trainers like Fred Kersley, Greg Harper, Ray Duffy and the likes never had over checks and the horses were really relaxed and muscled up in the front. I came home here and saw guys pulling their horse’s heads up and the horses would be throwing themselves on the ground. I got criticised in some quarters when I did it originally because it wasn’t the done thing but there’s a few copying me now so I’m happy about that.” In recent times he’s gathered around him a loyal bunch of owners who have raced some of his better horses. Names like Brian Sceat, Ray Chalklin, Tony Dow, Stephen Pulley, and more recently Pauline Gillan. “They’re loyal but we’ve had a bit of success which helps keep them in.” And in those early years he trained for the much famed Essemdee (Sunday Morning Drinkers) Syndicate who raced gallopers Carver and pacers Ballindooly and Eb’s Fella. “It’s all fun when those guys are on the job.” Two of his best horses have come along in the last five years – Titan Banner and Eamon Maguire. “Titan was a tough horse but wasn’t as fluent in his gate as Eamon. Eamon has that high speed and beautiful gait and that helps you go a long way.” Eamon Maguire after his Supremacy Stakes win at Ascot Park   - Photo Bruce Stewart King Kenny is one of the few trotters he’s trained. “He came to me with a high suspensory problem. Then he went again then I got him back. When he was sound he was just a beast. He could work better than any of the pacers could. He could have been anything if he hadn’t succumb to an injury as a young horse. We never saw the best of him.” King Kenny won nine races from just twenty seven starts – two for Tim Butt and seven for Anderson. Anderson was also one of the first trainers to use World Champion reinsman Dexter Dunn and that partnership has proved formidable particularly at Anderson’s home track Forbury Park. “I remember the first day he drove. It was Front Page Girl. Cran had it and I was looking after it. He said to me he had this boy who had come back from Australia to work for him and the clients won’t put him on so he sent him down. I’d never met him. I said to him this horse will probably win tonight. He said ‘Mr Anderson this horse has been breaking at home.’ Big Stephen (Stephen Pulley one of Andersons owners) said to him ‘listen son, if Mr Anderson says it’ll win it’ll win.’ That’s how it started. He came down here as a junior and had a hell of a strike rate with me. I’m rapt to think that I was one of the catalysts for him being famous. We have that association and understanding and don’t have to say one word.” Dunn’s first winner for Anderson was the aptly named Dayinthepub on 19th June 2008. The winning margin was seven lengths. Dunn has driven 111 winners for Anderson as a solo trainer and 51 for Anderson and training partner for four seasons Amber Hoffman. Included in that tally were five winners on one night – Forbury Park 16th June 2011 when the Anderson/Dunn partnership scored with No Courage Russell, Grace Rex, Terrorway, Raven and Tom and Grace. Terrorway was one of the really good horses Anderson’s trained in the last decade. He bought the colt at the 2008 Sale of the Stars for $26,000 and raced him with Brian Sceat and Wendy Muldrew. He raced five times in New Zealand, winning at every start. He was sold to Aussie in July 2011 and won his first five races there. He went on to win 13 races in Australia including the Group One $100,000 The Blacks A Flake and Group One $100,000 Cranbourne Cup. He ended up posting a 1-52.6 mile. “He was a difficult horse to get going. He never raced until he was a four year old. He was a fizzy horse so we just took our time with him. We’d turn him out, bring him back and didn’t put any pressure on him. He was a good challenge.” Another one that Anderson was able to rejuvenate and get the best out of was Belkmyster. “He arrived as a four win horse and we got him to Cup class. He was one that we had to strip everything off. He was a Mach Three and he was a bit ‘sweaty’. We went back to basics and didn’t over work him. He came from Cran’s in great order but didn’t need to be a number. He just needed a bit of individual treatment. A lot of the Mach Three’s don’t have great feet so that’s where the beach training helped. It takes away a lot of the concussion.” But its Anderson’s UDR rating that is a true testament to his skill as a trainer. In the past five seasons he’s been one of the top three UDR trainers (UDR 20 + wins in the season). In 2017 he topped the UDR rating with .4706. In 2014 he finished third behind Mark Purdon and Geoff Dunn while in 2015, 2016 and 2018 he finished 2nd behind the All Stars stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Over the years Anderson has been a solid supporter of the national yearling sales. Some haven’t made the grade, but a good portion have. Successful racehorses he bought at the Sales included: Terrorway $26,000 (2008), Highview Anwell $29,000 (2011), Mako Banner $20,000 (2012), Sovereign Banner $13,000 (2013), Titan Banner $80,000 (2013) and Eamon Maguire $34,000 (2015). At this year’s sale he brought Vintage Crop (Mach Three – Queen Of The Crop) for $14,000 and Celebrating (Mach Three – Rejoicing) for $17,000. Anderson still lives at Wingatui but the property has been reduced in size and some of it’s used as an agistment farm. “It was 20 acres when we bought it but we sold 10 acres to a developer about three or four years ago. We have a house there. That’s where the horses go after they’ve raced and need rest and recreation. When they’re ready to go again we take them back to the beach.” Below is a list of wins from his best horses which Anderson trained either on his own or in partnership with Amber Hoffman. Pretty impressive. Titan Banner (13) Starsky’s Dream (9) Eamon Maguire (9) Tartan Rover (8) Yokozuna (8) Ballindooley (8) Highview Anwell (8) Blechnum Grove (7) Expresso Martini (7) King Kenny (7) Belkmyster (7) Sovereign Banner (6) No Courage Russell (6) Ants (5) Motu Moonbeam (5) True Macatross (5) Graeme Anderson has trained some very good horse flesh over the years. He’s had the ability to get the best out of horses that appeared to be at the end of their careers, and he has a good eye for young stock. He’s realised the importance of looking after a core group of owners and he’s been able to provide them with winning racehorses. His record to date is impressive and we expect his UDR to be up there for more years to come.   Bruce Stewart

Logic said Somejoy would easily win her heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series today (Saturday) and she did just that. From barrier nine driver Blair Orange realised he was on a hiding to nothing if he pressed forward so he eased the mare out of the gate and settled at the rear. At the 600, Dexter Dunn who was second last driving Especial, decided to press forward and Orange got right on her back. Just  before the turn Somejoy was running into the race four wide. Orange just had to  run the reins over her rump and she responded to win easily by two lengths from a game Especial. The mile was cut out in 1-53.2. It was a new track record for four year old and older mares. The previous record of 1-53.3 was set by Rocker Band in 2015. Somejoy winning in 1-53.2                        - Photo Bruce Stewart. Trained by Clark Barron at Rakauhauka , the Somebeachsomewhere mare was fitted for her assignment today with two trials at Winton on the 14th March and three days ago at Wyndham, winning both impressively.  "She does take plenty of work. We're lucky to have the Southern Belle series and after the final we'll have to reassess things I suppose. I haven't thought as far as the Jewels but it's a possibility," said Barron. It was the mare's eighth win from just eighteen starts and six of those have come this season.   "She's a lot stronger this year but we've been lucky enough to race the same pool of horses down here which makes her look good."  The winning time was 0.1 of a second outside of Kiwi On Show's Southland record of 1-52.2. The wins also means she surpasses her dam Jumpforjoys record of seven career wins.   "Like her mum her gait is immaculate." So the next race on the radar for Somejoy is the Southern Belle Speed Series Final on this track over the 1609  metre distance on 14th April. It's a race Barron hasn't yet won but this year could be different. "I've always been all for it. We've been luck enough to to keep a lot of mares and fillies and you always try to target those sort of races."   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness racing  

Southland harness racing trainer Clark Barron scored a double at Ashburton today (Sunday) when Raksbet and Somejoy both won. Barron, who has a handful of nice three year old fillies in his stable, rates Raksbet as the pick of them and that judgement was vindicated today when she came from a second line draw to get up by a neck to win the The Nevele R Three Year Old Fillies Series Conditional Heat. Owned by her breeder Brendon Fahy, it was the filly's second win in five race day appearances.  "Brendon and I have spoken a few times about one day the penny will drop for her after missing a full season of racing. It's taken a long time to get her fitness up because she's a gross doing filly. She was aided by a perfect run today and she made the most of it," said Barron. The Bettor's Delight filly missed her entire two year old season because of injury. "She had an operation to get a bone chip off her hock. It was a paddock accident at Brendon's. She was out for four months." Barron says the Bettor's Delight filly's main target for the season is the Group Two $45,000 Nevele R/ Macca Lodge Southland Oaks Final on Diamonds Day at the end of April.  She is now also eligible for the Nevele R Fillies Series Final. Her half-sister Raksdeal finished fourth in the Nevele R Series Fillies Final in 2014 and ran second behind Royal Counsel in the Southland Oaks Final so there's some unfinished business for Fahy and Barron.  The result also elevates Raksbet into the top twenty five for the end of season Harness Jewels.  Somejoy was also very impressive in winning the Studholme Bloodstock Fillies and Mares Mobile Pace. From the inside of the second row driver Blair Orange settled the Somebeachsomewhere mare seventh on the outside. With just over 800 metres to run, he sent her forward and she quickly when to the lead. Orange waited until inside the last 200 metres to pull the ear plugs and Somejoy, despite running out into the middle of the track, won easily by two and a half lengths. "She was pretty dominant wasn't she? She just suits that grade to be fair. She's qualified for the Southern Belle so we'll head down those lines."  Somejoy is owned by the Miracle Lodge Syndicate which consists of Clark and Eric Parr. The win puts Somejoy in the top three for the end of season Four Year Old Diamonds. "Eric and Wendy (Parr) were both on-course today."  Winning races at Ashburton isn't new to Barron but this is the first time he's trained two on the course on one day. Prior to today's wins he was successful with Motu Mister Quest in 1998, Kyak in 1992 and Rakalooka in 1990. On the breeding front Rakalooka was by Clever Innocence out of Sentimental Belle. Sentimental Belle is the third dam of Raksbet. Raksplace, the dam of Raksbet, has been a great broodmare for Fahy. All of her foals of racing age have been winners. Raksdeal won five races and $121,096, Rakarolla won four races in New Zealand and another five in Australia while Raksmach won once here before heading to Australia where he's won another ten races.  Jumpforjoy, the dam of Somejoy, ran third to Carabella in the 2011 Group One Three Year Old Diamond at Ashburton on Harness Jewels Day. Somejoy was her first foal while her second, a filly by Art Major, was sold to Malcolm and Sarndra Little at the 2017 Sale of the Stars for $27,000. She has a Mach Three colt at foot.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing    

On paper it may have looked as if Somejoy was slightly disappointing at her last start when she ran seventh at Winton (at the end of last month), but trainer Clark Barron says after reviewing the mare's performance he was prepared to just walk away from the result. "It was a very biased track at Winton the other day so I decided to come away from that run and forget about it. If it's wet, it's a different track. On the day anything that did work stopped, and all the favourites got beaten," he said.  That all changed yesterday (Thursday) when Somejoy easily won a heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series at the Northern Southland Trotting Club's meeting at Ascot Park. Barron took the Somebeachsomewhere mare forward from gate seven and ensured the race was run at a very fast pace. Her winning margin at the end of the 1700 metres mobile event was two lengths. Goodlookin Chick was second and there was another length and a quarter back to Hopes And Dreams in third place. The fourth runner was a further seven and a quarter lengths back.   The winning time of 2-01.5 was only 0.1 of a second outside of the All Comers Track, Mares and Southland record of 2-01.4 jointly held by Betta Go Fernco (2017) and another trained Barron mare Raksdeal (2014). The final 800 metres was run in 56.9 seconds with the last 400 timed in a smart 26.8. Somejoy beating Goodlookin Chick and Hopes And Dreams           - Photo Bruce Stewart. Barron says Somejoy has got stronger this season and is better equipped to stand up to the rigours of hard racing. "Last season as a three year old they were running 57 mile rates for 2700 metres and she was running fifth or sixth. She's got a high cruising speed."   Barron said after yesterday's run that he doesn't have any long term plans for the four year old mare other than the Southern Belle Speed Series Final. There are a couple of Group events at Addington for mares at the beginning of next month.    "The main target is the series down here. The Robin Dundee Crown ($14,000 over 1700 metres) on Invercargill Cup Day is another race we'll look at. We'll see how we go in that and then we might look a bit higher. I don't know." Yesterday's win was Somejoy's fifth in just fourteen starts and it continues the remarkable run of wins Barron has had with mares from this family. However he's reluctant to compare Somejoy with her dam and granddam at this point.   "She's probably got a way to go yet. Her mother (Jumpforjoy) was pretty special and her mother (Joyfulbelle) was very good." Barron also trained Giftofjoy, an Art Major filly out of Pride N Joy, to win her first race. The three year old was having her third start after finishing second and fourth respectively in her previous two races. She's out of Mach Three mare Pride N Joy who is also out of Joyfulbelle. Giftofjoy winning in the hands of Blair Orange                - Photo Bruce Stewart. "Very pleasing and once again the family stepped up. It was great to get a win and a mile time. I've got a full brother in the sales."   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing Somejoy winning in 1-55.0

The Pegasus Spur mare Bonny Reece won the qualifying heat for trotters over 2200 metres at Ascot Park today. The winning margin was a nose from Make My Day. Bonny Reece, trained and driven by Clark Barron,is out of the Sundon mare Pure Thrill which is a full sister to Makarewa Jake the winner of seven races. The winning time of 2-57.1 was 7.6 seconds inside the required qualifying time. The well bred filly Delightful Deal show a bit of class in winning her qualifying mobile heat by six lengths. She's out of the five win Julius Caesar mare Deal On The Day.  Delightful Deal winning by six lengths at Ascot Park today - Photo Bruce Stewart Deal On The Day is a half sister to Best Deal Yet (9 New Zealand wins) and Awesum Teddy (10 wins). Delightful Deal is owned by Marty Fairbairn and is trained by Nathan Williamson. Her winning time for the 2200 metre mobile was 2-47.7 - over 7 seconds inside the required qualifying time. Harrydahorse (Panspacificflight - Millwood Salli) was second in 2-48.5. Please Shuddup by Auckland Reactor looked promising when he won his 2200 metre mobile qualifying heat by a length and a half. He ran the distance in 2-47.5 - last 800 metres in 57.2 and 400 metres in 28.2. Franco Santino made ground late to run second with another seven and a half lengths back to High Line. "He's still got a bit to learn but he can run. He's got a lovely nature and is a good eater - just what makes a good horse. He's above average," said trainer Murray Brown about Please Shuddup.   Please Shuddup on the inside beating a fast finishing Franco Santino  - Photo Bruce Stewart. Thatswhatisaid trained by Kirk Larsen won the non-winners mobile heat by a length and a half from Wokalup. His time for the 2200 metres was 2-48.7. He started once last season as a two year old in the Sapling Stakes at Ashburton running fifth in 1-56.4. "We'll probably go to the Northern Southland meeting. He a pretty laid-back horse and he's hard to get a line on but he goes better when you take him off the place. He paid up for the sires (Sires Stakes Series). Whether he's good enough I don't know. We'll let him do the talking," said Thatswhatisaid's trainer Kirk Larsen.  In the final heat of the day a new addition to Nathan Williamson's barn Lady Of The Moment beat stablemate Pegarose by half a length. Lady Of The Moment, which had a big lead for most of the heat, is by Majestic Son and is closely related to Take A Moment (39 wins). Pegarose which has won two of her three starts hasn't been to the races since May 2016. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Reducing the maximum field size from 14 to 12 will be among items discussed at a meeting of the clubs attached to the Southern Harness Racing body, on Thursday next week. Southern Harness General Manager Jason Broad says TAB figures indicate 12 is the optimum field size and has the potential to provide not only a better betting contest but also a better spectacle. “It would also take the winner's share of the stake from 55 percent to 59 percent,” he added. Broad eases the fear dropping each field by two will reduce opportunities. “Since the rating system was introduced we've been running more races than ever,” he said. He puts this down to the good work of the programming committee of which he, along with Clark Barron, Geoff Knight, Murray Swain and Nathan Williamson, are members. “It's taken programming away from the Clubs and we've been able to put races on more consistently. Our discussions have only been positive and feedback good.” Field size will be but one of a number of items discussed next week at the meeting of Club Presidents to confirm plans for the new season. There may also be some review of the current season but a full picture of financial performance is still some way off. It will certainly be available for the AGM in November, at which the Board for the new season will be elected. The three board members each have a one year term with the current appointees being Murray Little (Invercargill HRC), plus John Earl and Kevin McNaught (other eight clubs). Nominations have not yet been called. Even without the financials, Broad said the season has felt more positive. Stakes were up and all runners received a share, and they will be up about another 10 percent this season as the result of the extra Racing Board funds. “Also, the HRNZ bonus of $1500 on every maiden race will go to the winner.” Broad pointed out that the Southern Harness Board provides bulk stakes funding for each meeting, the Programme Committee allocates a sum to each race, and Clubs can add to it. The only races run for less than $8000 will be the Claimers contests, at $6000 because of their penalty free status. Most races other than for non-winners would be tiered from $8000 to $12,000, depending on a number of factors, with Cup races starting at $14,000. The number of meetings in the catchment area for the new season is up from 38 to 40 with Ascot Park to host 18: Invercargill Club-14, Northern Southland-three and Riverton-one. There will be nine at the Central Southland Raceway: Winton-seven, Wairio-two; five each at the Young Quinn Raceway (Wyndham) and Gore Racecourse (Gore), and one each at Cromwell (Wyndham Club), Omakau (Central Otago) and Roxburgh. Mac Henry

After impressively qualifying earlier this season Dali Bread cleared maiden ranks today (Saturday) in the Anka Pipe Fittings Mobile Pace at Ascot Park. Harness racing trainer Clark Barron said after the win that the gelding has had his share of bad luck.  "Apart from one run in which he hung badly the rest he’s had bad luck. He’s still a work in progress but he’s got ability. He was only broken in twelve months ago so he’s come a long way in a short time and he was gelded late as well. He’s got talent but he’s just weak and immature,” he said.  The three year old gelding by Dali Bread is owned by Aucklander Grant Dowdall. “He’s been sending horses down here for a while. He's had a few slow ones but we won a race last season with Something Special. I’ve never met him but I’ve talked to him on the phone for about four years.” Dali Bread qualified at Ascot Park in March this year winning a 2200 metre mobile heat by ten lengths in 2-45.7 and Barron has rated him from day one.  “He’s a good looking horse and a very good pacer so it’s just a matter of waiting on him to develop.” In an inch perfect drive by Nathan Williamson Dali Bread ended up four back on the inside running line. With 1800 metres to run Williamson was able to get the gelding off the running line and followed the three wide train forward. With 900 metres to run he was sitting parked outside leader Matai Valour. Dali Bread went down to the post to win easily by a length from Matai Valour.  Returning to the birdcage                                  - Photo Bruce Stewart  As a stallion Dali has left twenty one named foals in New Zealand. Eleven have qualified including winners El Barcelona (5), Gotta Go Dali Queen (4), Dali Bread (1), Jeremy Jones (1) and The Dali Express (1). Clark Barron doesn't do too much driving these days, preferring to concentrate on training a large team at his base at Rakauhauka. The stable is going through a rebuilding stage after horses like Rakarolla and I'm Full Of Excuses were sold to Australia.  “We’ve got ten to a dozen being jogged up for next season already.” One horse he's enthused about is Black Ops. He's by McArdle out of the twelve win mare Special Ops. Black Ops, which is a half brother to Bettor Ops, qualified at Gore in February and is raced on lease by The Setarip Syndicate.  “We’ve just had to wait on him but he qualified pretty nicely.” Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

 - Zoey's Gift confirmed her spot in the group two New Zealand Trotting Oaks at Addington on 31 March with a New Zealand record winning performance at Winton on Saturday. Third daughter of the group one winning mare Jasmyn's Gift, Zoey trotted the 2400 metres from behind the mobile in 3:03.5, best ever for a three year old filly. The previous record had also been set on the track, by Jen Jaccka two years earlier. She was driven by Matthew Williamson and trained by his father Phil who has reservations about running in the Oaks but knows she is only eligible for it once. “I hope she will be competitive but I'm not getting too carried away,” he said. “She's a fair sort of horse but the 1950 mobile start is a bit draw-dependent. Her mother was outpaced in the Oaks and this filly might be too.” Jasmyn's Gift was having her third start when only eighth in the 2003 Oaks, but went on to win 17 of her 48 goes. Williamson said Zoey's Gift was too big to race as a juvenile and the family is better with time. “She should have a big future,” he said. - Matthew Williamson gained a second win on Saturday when he guided Gotta Del to victory in the C3 to C5 mobile 2400. They led all the way and cleared out to score by five and three quarter lengths in 2:58.2. Gotta Del is trained by Clark Barron for his breeder and owner Ian Hunter who won with his trotter Delestic last Sunday. The horses share the same third dam in the trotting winner Delalee. She left the group two winner Aron Del who finished fourth in the 1989 Rowe Cup. - Trainer Kirstin Barclay gained her first bag of three winners when My Rona Gold, Grace Burns and Magical Marn were successful. Grace Burns, a winner at Waikouaiti 11 days earlier, is raced by her breeder Tom Kilkelly. The mare is named after a sister of Kilkelly's father in law, long time southern harness administrator Peter Burns. Kilkelly also races the three year old Magical Marn, a $15,000 purchase at the 2015 premier sale. “Tom picked him but didn't go to the sales, I had to do the bidding and was a bit nervous, I went slightly over his limit,” Barclay said. Five year old grey mare Rona Gold is raced by Barclay's husband, Nick, Kilkelly's wife Julie, and Julie's daughter Holly Brown. Barclay was the successful driver of Magical Marn while Andrew Suddaby won on My Rona Gold and Grace Burns. - Earlier in the day, Suddaby had won the C0 claimers on Pegasus Merrily to give him three for the day. He'd previously achieved the feat at Invercargill in January 2002, and Forbury Park in November of both 2004 and 2005, but his best was Copper Belt, Jaccka Turbo, Boulder Bay and Elvis Rocks at Forbury Park in May 2005. Pegasus Merrily was trainer Matt Saunders' third win since his move to Tapanui on 6 January. He has taken over the seven-days-a week Four Square store there and trains on the old Tapanui race-course, sharing the facilities with galloping trainers Nikki and Barrie Blatch. “I can have three there, I paddock train them,” said Saunders. His first two wins were with Marshal Star, on the grass at Cromwell and Waikouaiti. Saunders said he sold the six year old to the Central Districts during the week and had only just replenished his team to three and it is back to two again. Pegasus Merrily, who won the mobile mile in 1:56.7, was claimed for $4500 by Rowena Mackintosh after spending about six weeks with Saunders. - Nathan Williamson kicked off a trainer-driver double with the unbeaten Shezacullengirl in a C0 mile. The daughter of Chloe Hanover had won her sole start as a juvenile in April and was getting ready to kick off in October when she strained a muscle in her back end. She paced the mile in 1:57.3 and pleased Williamson. “She doesn't thrill you at home but turned it on on raceday,” he said. Talented trotter Sundons Wish made it two from three and Williamson reckons he is back on track after failing at Ascot Park in January. “He was tying up and is trained out of the paddock now,” Williamson said, “he's got a good motor and trotted nice and square today.” - Rain had soaked the track before the C1 and C2 mares and fillies mile but Break Dance still managed to clock 1:55.9, fastest of the three mobile miles on the day. Break Dance is trained at Waikouaiti by Amber Hoffman and one of two winners for Blair Orange whose drives this season are about to crack the million dollars in earnings. In the final race of the day, fellow Cantabrian visitor, the Cran Dalgety-trained Baileys Rock gave Orange his second win. - Operative Asset, dam of the good performers Citylight and Belkmyster, struck again when I'm Jimmy James won at just his second time to the races. The three year old by Big Jim was bred and is owned and trained by Steve Baucke at Woodlands who said he had I'm Jimmy James running at two, he showed ability but he turned him out to grow. A half brother by Mach Three was picked up by Mark Jones for $12,000 and last week's sales. Baucke has an American Ideal two year old filly from operative Asset, she has a foal at foot by A Rocknroll Dance, and is in foal to Sportswriter. Mac Henry

Makarewa Rum's breeder, owner and trainer, Clark Barron drove the four year old to victory in the Willy's Flooring / J D Souness Ltd Trot at Wyndham on Sunday and then hung up his driving kit for the rest of the day. “I've been lucky to work for people who have known when to slow down,” Barron remarked, “I'm not sick of it and I'm not retiring, I've just got too many racing and not enough time to do both. I've pretty much finished outside driving.” At the previous Wyndham fixture, Barron had 10 racing and drove eight of them. In the first race on Invercargill Cup Day, he provided three of the six runners in the race. That helped him make the decision to cut down on driving and spend more time with the racing team.  Another factor was when his daughter Elle, a talented equestrian, regular assistant on raceday, and recently qualified physiotherapist, took up full-time employment with SportsMed at Stadium Southland. Barron had nine horses at Wyndham, including three for his brothers Ken and Tony, and double-ups on a couple of occasions.  He bred and owns Makarewa Rum in partnership with his father Ron. A four year old son of Bacardi Lindy, the gelding's dam Ali's Girl is out of 1991 Rowe cup winner, Gee du Jour. Ron Barron recalled the Cain family of Gore shared in the ownership of Gee du Jour who was trained by John Lischner when Ken Barron worked for him. Clark and Ron were given Ali's Girl to train, she failed to win, her owners didn't want to breed from her and gave her to the Barrons. “We took three foals, Makarewa Monarch had a second and third in New Zealand, and won in Australia,” Ron Barron said. Of the three visitors from Ken and Tony's barn, Shezza GNP and Don Domingo were both winners. Shezza GNP, one of a trio of three year old fillies to impress at Wyndham, was driven by Blair Orange in the Aon Insurance Mobile. Don Domingo scored in the hands of Matt Anderson who picked up both junior drivers events. From the All Stars stable, Anderson said he is happy to come south for just one drive and two wins was a bonus. His first winner, the Tim Butt-trained The Best Beg gave him special satisfaction. “He'd been doing things wrong, it was good to win on him,” he said of the victory in the Rodgers Garage Ltd Trot. Anderson was driving both horses for the first time and comfortable sitting parked on Don Domingo in the Marshalls Garage 2005 Ltd Pace. “The front wasn't available but I was on the best horse and dictated the speed to a certain degree,” he said, after winning in 2:57.6. The Southland Standardbred Breeders Association mobile mile for mares, third of four heats in the Southern Belle Speed Series, was won in 1:54.9 by Dexter Dunn aboard the Regan Todd-trained Kayteeoh Denario. From one off the gate, Dunn handed up to Matthew Williamson on My Cash, quickly when round to regain the lead and never surrendered. Bred and raced by Mark and Pauline O'Connor, Kayteeoh Denario is from the family of 1:48.4 miler Fake Denario. Kayteeoh Denario started her career with Wayne Adams at Invercargill but Mark O'Connor said she brushed a knee and it was decided to send her for straight line training on the beach.  She is named after the O'Connor's second daughter Kaitlen Therese, an Auckland banker who at Arrowtown a couple of days earlier, celebrated her 26th birthday. Kayteeoh Denario had been set for the mile series in a bid for a good winning mile time and will be back south for the series final at Winton on 9 April. In other highlights from Wyndham:  * three year filly Seaswift Franco lined up against the older horses in the MLT/Pioneer Tavern Handicap and won her first stand start contest in 3:00.1, a track record for females of any age; * Alister Black picked up a training double, starting with Bettor's Delight gelding Jean Luc's win in the non-tote Southern Bred Southern Reared mobile mile for two year olds in 1:57.6. Gavin Smith was the winning driver. Black's second winner was three year old Changeover filly Power Surge who overcame going from the outside of the second line on debut in the stand-start Alan Caldwell Contracting Pace; * another winner on debut was the Brett Gray-trained El Capitan in the Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Mobile for the Dolamite Syndicate, still going after 47 years and one of the oldest ownership groups in the country; * three year old Whittaker backed up his Invercargill win from last week with an even more impressive performance in the Placemakers Invercargill Mobile to make it three from four; * more than 13 years after winning with Cool Ripple at Wyndham, trainer Greg Hunter and driver Andrew Suddaby scored with her daughter Simple Pleasure, in the G T Chamberlain Builders Mobile; * on his first trip to Southland, West Melton six year old The God Botherer was successful in the Shane Matheson Crutching & Shearing trot. Mac Henry

She's been one of the big improvers of the Southland Harness Racing season and Rydgemont Milly won her second race at Ascot Park today. She's trained by Mark Shirley, President of the Invercargill Harness Racing Club and his partner Debbie Larkins.  "I came across her on Horse Trader. I was looking around for something that I could prepare. I contacted Murray Tapper (owner) on the website and he felt she was just going to need time. I said I've got time," said Debbie who works as the Office Manager at a local Doctors practice. Rydgemont Milly is by Monarchy out of the ten win Sundon mare Domination and is the mare's first foal.  "When I first got her I thought he was right about her going to take time. She had a bit of a jibbing habit. The first couple of times I put her in the cart she planted all four legs and I had to walk her home swearing and cursing at her with the reins in my hands. After she did that a few times I thought that I'd put her on the frame. From there she never looked back. For the next few months she was on the frame every day and we long reined her again and spent a lot of time mucking around with just basic stuff." Larkins drove her to win at Gore last month. Junior driver Andrew Fitzgerald drove the mare on the first day of the two day Wyndham meeting with Clark Barron taking over for her other two starts, including today. After the win Larkins said she'll have a couple of weeks off to freshen.  "Just during the week Mark and I felt she didn't feel her usual happy self and Clark made the same comment today. We can't find anything major wrong with her so we'll just give her a wee break."  From the front line the five year old stepped well. She trotted in fourth place early before she was checked by a breaking Bobbin,s finally settling four back on the inside. At the 600 metre mark Barron was able to push off when I've Got This broke and Och Aye The Noo weakened. At the top of the straight she trotted easily into second, challenging pacemaker Sundon's Flyer. She was tapped up by Barron to beat Sundon's Flyer by a length and a quarter with Bobbins coming home well for third.   Debbie Larkins and Mark Shirley with Rydgemont Milly           Photo Bruce Stewart "Clark said she stepped away very well today which has been her nemesis. In the past it's taken a few hundred metres to get her head in the right space. We put ear plugs in again and tried them for the second time and Clark said this time it worked."    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

There was a bit of word out for first starter Crime Scene at Winton today. The Bettor's Delight three year old trained at Rakauhauka by Clark Barron had impressed at the Wyndham workouts last month, beating some handy types in a good time. "He went extra good that day," said Barron.  Crime Scene is owned by Alan and Liz Sloan who bought him privately as a yearling from Tony Barron. He qualified at his second attempt as a two year old and had one more run at the trials before being turned out. "He was very immature and didn't know what he was doing. He was always going to be better with a bit of time."  In today's Trevor Proctor Painter Mobile Pace he lead out early from barrier one, handed up briefly to Dennis Lillee before taking up the leaders roles again from the 2000 metre mark. At the top of the straight Barron was getting to work on the three year old and true to the Bettor's Delight type he battled hard to the line beating Tact Ollie by one and a quarter lengths.   "He was very lost in front today but that's all new and they've got to learn that." His time today of 2-59.8 for the 2400 metres was respectable for this time of the year.  Crime Scene returning to the birdcage                                                      Photo by Bruce Stewart Crime Scene is well related and it's a family all three Barron boys (Clark, Ken and Tony) know well. He was bred by Tony and is out of the Mach Three mare Gross Misconduct. She won once for Tony in Southland before winning another ten races in Australia. She was brought back to New Zealand when her racing career had finished and Tony bred Southern GNP which was trained by Ken Barron to win four of his nine starts before heading to Australia. The mare's other foal Wrongly Accused also won here before she headed offshore to Australia.  Tony also trained the grandam of Crime Scene, Godet, which won four races for the Smudge Syndicate. The family roots stem back to a pedigree made famous in the province by Peter and Jan Williams. So what's next for Crime Scene?  "It depends on what Alan wants to do but we may give him another race or two to educate him then give him a break. Hopefully he can improve to the next level. Most of the Bettor's Delights wake up eventually so it could be all ahead of him."    Bruce Stewart

A relatively good summer, improved track grooming and the injection of some quality Canterbury horses led to a bumper season for track records in the Southern region. Forty one track records were broken over all southern surfaces during the 2015-2016 season which wrapped up at Invercargill on Queens Birthday Monday - the highest number for many years. And twenty of those were also Southland records. The Club that hosted the most track records for the season was Invercargill where 7 pacers made the list and 6 trotters were added to the record books. The Young Quinn Raceway at Wyndham had 6 pacing and 1 trotting record broken, Central Southland Raceway at Winton had 6 pacers break records. All other southern surfaces got amongst the action, Gore all weather (2 pacers), Omakau (2 pacers and 1 trotter), Roxburgh (1 pacer and 2 trotters), Gore Grass (4 pacers and 1 trotter) and Cromwell Grass (1 pacer and 1 trotter). Heading the class of record breakers was Nek Time who broke the 2400 metre mobile record at Winton in February running 2-53.0 which was also a New Zealand record for a three year old filly. She also broke the 2700 metre mobile record at Invercargill for three year old fillies running 3-19.4.  Meanwhile a number of Southland trainers are heading towards personal best seasons. Ryal Bush trainer Brett Gray is currently sitting on 24 winners which is 10 more than his previous best season of 14 in 2015. Gray trains for Australian owners Merv and Meg Butterworth who purchase horses in the province and many stay here initially before heading to Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen in Canterbury, Tony Herlihy in Auckland or to Australian trainers. Clark Barron recorded 22 training wins this season 4 more than his previous best of 18 in 2011 while Ascot Park trainer Brent Shirley who is only in his fourth season of training finished the season with 20 winners - 4 better than his old PB of 16 in 2014. Alister Black was another young trainer to improve his standing with 13 winners. His previous personal best was 8 in 2013. Driver Nathan Williamson was the only driver of note to better his driving PB. He currently has 86 wins on the board, that’s 8 better than the 78 he drove in 2013.   Bruce Stewart - Southland Harness

The $18,500 sixth heat of this years Nevele R Fillies Series was run at the harness racing meeting at Forbury Park on Thursday night and the Southland owned and trained Rakarazor upset a handy field of three year old fillies with a nice staying performance that suggests she is more than a forlorn place chance in the final in May at Addington Raceway. After an early dig for the lead by trainer/driver Clark Barron on Rakarazor which was rebuffed by Scarlett Banner and Gavin Smith, Rakarazor was parked for the first 700 metres before slotting into the one by one behind the well supported RR Sand Dollar. RR Sand Dollar went for home at the 300 metres mark and skipped away by two or three lengths with Love Ova Gold going with her after a wide searching run from back in the field. These two look set to fight out the finish but Rakarazor kept taking ground off the first two all the way up the straight, grabbing first Love Ova Gold and then right in the shadows of the of the winning post RR Sand Dollar. Rakarazor paced the 1700 metres in 2:03, a mile rate of 1:56.4 with closing sectionals of 59 and 28.2 It was the second lifetime victory for the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover from twelve starts but she has also been placed on a further six occasions including a nice third in 1:54.1 only last weekend. Clark Barron felt that RR Sand Dollar having a very hard run had brought his filly into contention. " I knew that RR Sand Dollar was the horse to beat and she had had a hard run so when I got onto her back I knew we wouldn't be far away." " My filly is a really good stayer and she has kept improving with every run lately so with the run we got for the last 1000 metres, we were always going to be a big chance." " I owe a big depth of gratitude for the win to Brent Barclay who has been driving her in her last few starts." " She wasn't really finding the line for me over that last 100 metres or so but Brent has turned her around in that regard so I owe him for getting her to attack the line like she does now," Clark said. Harnesslink Media

The harness racing industry in New Zealand has never been one for the faint hearted. Trainers and drivers have to be fairly resilient and thick skinned to make their mark and that in some cases in our experience leads to situations where people's behaviour and truthfulness can be less than exemplary at times. One trainer/driver who doesn't fit that mold is this season's leading Southland trainer,Clark Barron. Harnesslink has had many contacts with Clark over the years and we have always found his honest direct approach to everything refreshing in todays cynical environment. Recently we sat down with Clark to talk about his career in harness racing, the run of success he is having at the moment and how he sees the future. Harnesslink - I suppose harness racing was always going to be a career option with all the family involvement. Clark - Yes, it was always something that I was around from an early age and I always had the desire to work with horses. Harnesslink - Your father was keen on you having a qualification before you had a go at harness racing. Clark - He thought I needed a trade behind me before going into harness racing  full time so I qualified as a builder before working with the horses. I worked for Ray Harper during my apprenticeship. It took me four years but through all that time I kept my hand in with the horses. I use to go and help Maurice and Val Skinner every weekend and thats where I learned the basics of the game. I use to go and help out dad when I could so there was never much spare time. Harnesslink - Your first fulltime job in harness racing was with your father.  Clark - Yes I went to work for dad when I was twenty one. Dad went the extra mile on my behalf to give me every opportunity to make it as a driver. He convinced most of his owners to put me up so I never lacked for drives when I was starting out. It let me get my name out there and get established and I couldn't thank dad enough for his support in those early days. Harnesslink - Your first winner wasn't long in coming. Clark - I drove my first winner at just my third lifetime drive when Free Trouble won at Forbury Park in 1982. What made it really special at the time was I beat Peter Jones who I always thought was the best driver going around at the time so that added to the thrill of winning my first race. Harnesslink - It wasn't long before you got the drive behind some very talented horses. Clark - Yes, Titan Chip (7 wins) was one of the first really smart horses I drove and he certainly lifted my profile. Right through the 1990s I got to drive a number of very talented horses such as Whale Of A Tale (9wins) and Incredible Fella who dad trained also won nine. Harnesslink - Who is the best colt - filly you have driven? Clark - Prince Rashad - 21 wins ($202,375) was the best of the colts. He was just so tough and never gave an inch in his races The best filly was undoubtedly Lento - 15 wins ($272,110)  She had blinding speed and was easy to drive. In later times I would rate Raksdeal ($121,096) right up there . She had speed but was a great stayer as well. Harnesslink - You got married very early in your career  Clark - Yes I got married in 1983 to Jackie Honestly the best thing I ever did and I wouldn't change a thing. Harnesslink - They tell me your daughter Ellie may be following in the footsteps of her father. Clark - Ellie is training to be a physio at the moment but it wouldn't surprise me at all if  after she is qualified she ended up working with the horses full time. So yes following the path I took when I was her age. Harnesslink - You took out a training license in 1990 Clark - I started out at dads where I had twelve boxes and quickly had a good loyal group of owners around me. The loyalty of the owners in Southland  has always been good and it makes the whole exercise of being a professional trainer that much easier when you have such supportive owners. Harnesslink - Just when you were starting to put some good numbers on the training front in the mid-late nineties, Michael House called with an offer. Clark - Yes and it was such a good offer I had to give it a go. Michael was great for my career and a great boss to work for. He let me keep driving down south so I could maintain my contacts down here but I also got to travel throughout Australia and New Zealand with the stable runners. I learnt plenty in the couple of years I worked for Michael. He is a very accomplished horseman and quite innovative in a lot of ways so it changed my outlook on some things after my time there. I had a lot of success while there,driving 65 winners the second year. Harnesslink - Anywhere you went on your travels that impressed you. Clark - I know the industry in South Australia is not going so well these days but I loved the time I spent there. Probably the pick of the states I spent time in, in Australia. Harnesslink - Any reason you only worked for Michael House for two years. Clark - Jackie and I had made a decision before we went north that we would be settled back in Southland before Allie started school so that was the major reason we only stayed two years. Harnesslink - Any problems getting reestablished as a trainer after two years away. Clark - No, the same ten owners I had been training for before I left quickly came back to me when I moved home. It is that loyalty thing again. Harnesslink - You get involved in the yearling sales at all? Clark - I go every year but I focus on that $ 5,000- $15,000 bracket most of the time. I have had a lot of success over the years buying in that bracket and turning them over for good money down the track. My owners are comfortable in that price bracket and it means if we do miss it is not the end of the world. Quick Relection 1:54.9 ($126,630) is a good example. We only paid $10,000 for dollars for him at the sales and we only lined him up twice before selling him for really good money to the Jimmy Curtin barn. Harnesslink - Are you involved in the breeding side of the industry. Clark - The late Alec McDonald and I were breeding form several mares from the Lento family and the Joyfuljoy family and I have carried on since his death. I usually breed seven or eight a year and I like to go to the proven stallions to give the mares every chance. Last season I sent mares to Somebeachsomewhere, Bettor's Delight and Art Major and Auckland Reactor. Harnesslink - Have you had an Auckland Reactor through the barn yet. Clark - I have broken in a couple and I think they will both make the grade. They are both nice horses. Harnesslink - When did you move to your present property at Rakauhauka Clark - We have been here 14 years. When we came here there was just a couple of loose boxes so the building skills have come into play a bit since. I had seen a number of things on my travels that I thought I would like to incorporate into the setup when I built it so starting from scratch has let me do a lot of these things. It is a very functional setup which I think works really well We have room here for up to twenty five and I am pretty full most of the time. Harnesslink - The team has been on fire lately and you seem to have a bigger team racing than you normally do. Clark - Normally my owners and I would have sold a lot of them but that hasn't happened this year and as a result we have had a big team racing. Two or three have really stepped up which has been really pleasing and I still have a few more to bring out yet. Harnesslink - Big moment last year when you drove your 1000th winner. Clark - I am only the third Southlander to drive a thousand winners after Robert Cameron and my brother Ken but I was pretty happy that I had achieved the 1000 wins while based for most of my career in Southland.  Harnesslink - Any thoughts of slowing down at some point in the near future. Clark - When I turned fifty I stopped travelling outside of Southland to tracks like Forbury. I will still go anywhere in the country if I have the right horse but travelling a lot these days for the smaller meetings is not that appealing any more. I am happy with the size of the team at the moment but will look to downside a bit in the next few years. Harnesslink - Whats your opinion of the changes that HRNZ were proposing for Southland Clark - Very positive actually We are looking to take the bits that we think can really move the industry forward down here. Centralization is a dirty word down here but the idea of having the freedom to structure our whole season down here ourselves is exciting. We have a working group that is working through the issues for the clubs and I think it is an opportunity to secure the future of harness racing in Southland. Harnesslink - Thanks for your time Clark and all the best for the future. Harnesslink Media

Rakauhauka harness racing trainer Clark Barron was unsure about which of his two inform runners was the better winning chance in the SBS Pace at Ascot Park today in Invercargill.   In one corner stood the the Panspacificflight gelding Southern Pursuit who had won his last three races in the manner of a horse headed to the best grades.   In the other corner stood the Grinfromeartoear gelding All Jokes Aside who had won three of his last four in just as impressive fashion as his stablemate.   Clark opted for All Jokes Aside on the driving front with Brent Barclay taking the drive behind Southern Pursuit.   Southern Pursuit jumped to an early lead from barrier five before Clark worked All Jokes Aside around the field and took over after 800 metres.   Not long after Statham and Nathan Williamson moved up to sit on All Jokes Aside wheel and the battle was on.   Head to head from the half mile, the two paced the final bend together and settled down to battle it out.   Statham looked to momentarily put his nose in front before All Jokes Aside nudged back in front and grabbed a narrow advantage he was never to relinquish.   Statham was equally game in holding second after sitting parked the whole way in his first start in 10 weeks while Southern Pursuit got home well late to run third after having trouble with his first experience of the passing lane which tricked him up a touch.   All Jokes Aside paced the 2200 metres in a very sharp 2:40.9, a mile rate of 1:57.6 with closing sectionals of 57.2 and 28.9.   Clark was suitably impressed with his charge's performance.   “He got a good run through early but I had to use him a fair bit to get to the front.”   “I thought I was in a bit of trouble on the corner but he just won't lie down.”   “They can get up beside him but it is damn hard to get past,” Clark said.   Clark was a touch unsure as to where to from here with All Jokes Aside.   “I suppose we will have to see how he handles the standing starts now.”   “I think he will cope with them but we won't know until we line him up on raceday, “ Clark said.   Nathan Williamson was thrilled with the run of the second placed Statham.   “That was his first run since Cup day in November and his condition gave out late but he has gone super.”   “He will derive huge benefit from the run and he should be in for a big campaign this time in,” Nathan said.   All Jokes Aside is just another of the southern trained four year olds who are creating such a big impression this season and looks far from finished winning judging by today's effort.     Harnesslink Media

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