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The “larger than life” founder of the North Harbour Trotting Club will leave this earth without any fanfare. Bruce Lloyd will not be having a public funeral. Instead he will be farewelled privately by family this week. Mr Lloyd died in North Shore Hospital on Monday morning (May 9) – just 20 days short of his 80th birthday. “It’s quite ironic that a man so public and loved by many wanted to disappear without any big ordeal. Bruce did eulogies at other funerals and has attended many more over the years. He insisted that he had no funeral. He wanted me to promise him that he will go quietly,” said Margaret, his wife of 36 years. She said her husband had suffered a stroke in October last year which meant he could no longer train horses. “He was in hospital for three weeks this time and he seemed to progressing - and then we got a phone-call at 7.30am from the Hospital suggesting we come and see him. By the time we got there poor Bruce was dead,” Mrs Lloyd said. Mr Lloyd formed the North Harbour Trotting Club at dairy Flat on October 1 1985. He also trained, bred, and owned standardbreds. He obtained his trainer’s licence in June 1983 and since then Mr Lloyd 67 winners from 1,182 starters. His horses placed 155 times and he won just under $400,000 in stakes. His first training success came at Hutt Park on May 31, 1980 when 12th favourite and $32.30 shot, Johnny Treylor won in the hands of then junior driver Joe Barnes. His last winner came via the one-win trotter, Knead The Dough and junior driver Jack MacKinnon at Thames on January 10 this year. MacKinnon took over the training when Mr Lloyd was sick and the 4-year-old has since been sold to Australia. Mackinnon had nothing but praise for the late horseman. “Bruce was a great man that will be sorely missed, he has helped me out so much over this last year and I couldn't have done a lot of the things that I have achieved without him. Our shared love for trotters saw us spend many hours over at the stables bouncing ideas off each other.  “One of the highlights of my career so far was when knead the dough won at Thames. Bruce has been sick for a while before I started training from his place and I always told him that I was going to win a race for him and to do it on that horse that we put so many hours into getting him trotting right was a very special moment,” MacKinnon said. Mr Lloyd never trained any more than three winners a season but his wife said the best horse he trained was the 1978 Great Evander entire, Rick Evander, who won six races and $34,375. Mr Lloyd was born in Ngaruawahia and educated at Otahuhu College. His family relocated there because his father (Selwyn) was one of the bosses in the boning room of the Otahuhu Freezing Works. “Bruce’s Dad (Selwyn) had gallopers and one of his horses named Yardgar won a Great Northern Steeplechase. Believe it or not Bruce used to ride track work until his legs got too long. From an early age he was also horse mad,” Mrs Lloyd said. Mr Lloyd worked in the cosmetic industry when he left school. “He could sell snow to Eskimo. People couldn’t say no to him. They seldom let him down and he was not afraid to ask. When he became a company director we shifted to Dairy Flat and bought 10 acres. That was in the mid-1970s. “We lived in a caravan and Bruce bought the property so he could train greyhounds. He had dabbled with them before and wanted to go boots ‘n all again. In fact Bruce never did anything in halves, he always went in with all guns blazing,” Mrs Lloyd said. She said the property was equipped for greyhound training and things took a different direction when Mr Lloyd attended the Alexandra Park Standardbred Sales. “I remember the date being February 2, 1976 because Bruce and his mates bought the horses and when his friends asked me about it I said ‘what horse?’ “”It was called Mark Scott and was passed in the first time and then when he was brought out a second time the auctioneer said the first bidder can have it for $500. “Bruce obviously jumped at the opportunity and hasn’t looked back since. Jimmy Smith trained Mark Scott. By 1978 we had stables and a track on our property. Bruce was never one to muck around,” Mrs Lloyd said. Mr Lloyd is survived by his daughter Megan and several “equine grandchildren,” his wife Margaret said. By Duane Ranger 

It’s been just over nine years since David Broadhurst drove his last winner, but at Blenheim on Sunday the 69-year-old trained, drove, owned, and bred Patrick Bee to victory. “He’s a promising horse and I think he will win a few more. It was a great feeling to be saluting the judge again,” the Kaikoura horsemen said. It was Patrick Bee’s first win in 28 starts. He’s also placed 12 times. His three-quarter length victory comes 3,416 days after  Broadhurst drove Patrick Jay to win at Nelson. It was the January 12, 2007 and he was a $9.40 third favourite. Patrick Bee, who is no relation, was the $4 second favourite after finishing fourth when favourite on the first day. “He’s the second of three foals left by Ima Showoff. She died when giving birth to a Sands A Flyin foal in 2012. She was a cantankerous, dirty ole thing who didn’t win a race but did go two minutes. “I was given her for free when I was working for Inter Island Transport. She was from the Vin Devery breed. He’s actually very well bred. His line goes back to the Tactics family, which includes some good ones like Tactile, Noodlum, and Blacks A Fake,” Broadhurst said. He said he was just rapt to have Patrick Bee back racing again. “I’m very proud where he’s at considering he broke a pastern. He only started racing as a late 5-year-old. In think I’ll target the two-day Nelson meeting with him next month,” Broadhurst said. The Kaikoura horseman said he was introduced to harness racing by his next door neighbour Heber Henson back in the 1950s. He was also on the New Zealand Trotting Conference back in the day. “He had the two-time world trotting champion Rip Cord. He gave me my first drive behind a horse and I became hooked.  “I’ve been involved a long time. The first winner I owned and drove was Patrick Sean in the Kaikoura Trot back in 1970. I love the game and have a couple of others coming through. “I’ve got a 5-year-old Armbro Invasion mare named Schoolhouse Road and she is a work in progress. I’ve also got a 3-year-old Bettor’s Delight filly named Donegal Carrickfin. “I named her after the place where my family are from in Northern Ireland. She is out of a sister to Lyell Creek. I qualified her at Blenheim on April 23 when she won by four lengths,” Broadhurst said. Broadhurst has now driven seven winners since 1978 and trained a further six more since 1981. Patrick Bee won Sunday’s $7,000 Royal Hotel 2400m mobile on the Waterlea grass in 3:17.7 (mile rate 2;12.6) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 60.1 and 28.3. Courtesy of Duane Ranger

Liza Milina can see no reason why Moment Of Truth will not line up as a 14-year-old next season. She said he could even have his 200th start in 2016-2017. “Mentally and physically he’s as good as when I got him two years ago. He loves going fast. He’s happiest when he can go flat out. He really loves his beach training and racing,” owner-trainer Milina said. Does he what!  The Sundon gelding, who was born on October 15, 2002, won his 28th race when having his 176th start in Sunday’s $7,000 Thames Jockey Club C2-C5 Claiming Pace at Alexandra Park. Moment Of Truth (10m) and driver Peter Ferguson trotted the 2700m standing start event in 3:29.9 (mile rate 2:05) with final 800m and 400m sectionals of 60.3 and 29.6. He was the $5.60 second favourite in the nine-horse field. “The only time we put a sulky on him is race-day. I train him on the Murawai Beach behind the 4-wheel drive with my partner Matt ((Bray). He does the driving and I’m sitting at the back with the horses. “He always wants to go flat out. He’s happiest when he can do that. We can get up to 50km/h. Pete does a great job of driving him on race-day,” Kumeu-based Milina said. She said she didn’t mind making the three-hour round trip to the beach to work the old boy. “When he’s happy he races well. He can be a terrible puller when he doesn’t get his own way. I use a lot of natural products on him. I care for him like he’s my boyfriend,” Milina said. Milina wasn’t kidding when saying that. “I have two boyfriends and Matt will tell you I treat Moment Of Truth way better than him. The horse and I will retire together and he will always be with me. “I love him so much. I hate claiming races because there is always the risk of losing him, but I won’t let that happen. I’ve already claimed him back three times and have bought him back once,” said Milina. Moment Of Truth has now provided Milina with her most successful season as a trainer. He won three times for her in her debut training year last season and has won another three in 2015-2016. Yaldy Boyz has also won twice for Milina this season. “I’m loving it. I just want happy horses and when you have got happy horses they tend to race well. Moment of Truth is one of a kind. He is precious. I feel he is part of me,” Milina said. The bay gelding has now banked $247, 202. “If he can’t go fast he gets the sulks. He didn’t like it when I retired him. He was moping about like a sad thing. All he wants to do is race. So how can you retire a horse when all he wants to do is race? “He will tell me when it’s time to retire him,” the 50-year-old said. If Moment Of Truth does turn out in 2016-2017 it will be his 12th consecutive season of racing. Courtesy of Duane Ranger

Angus Fogg is starting to lose his “bull at a gate” tendencies and is slowly developing into a nice racehorse. That’s the opinion of the 4-year-old gelding’s trainer Derek Balle after the son of Angus Hall and Sun Isa nailed his first win in 12 starts at Cambridge Raceway yesterday (Monday). Angus Fogg didn’t just win, he bolted in by 6-1/2 lengths. “He’s starting to put it all together. He’s been a real handful. He gets wound up real easy. I think it’s in his breed. He’s a big horse at 16 hands,” Balle said. Lincoln Farms (John Street) paid $42,000 for Angus Fogg at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka in 2013. He is a half-brother to Flying Isa (by Pegasus Spur) who won 17 races and almost half a million dollars in stakes. “We got him off Ray Green as a 3-year-old and we he came to us he was pretty wound up. He attacks everything at 100 miles an hour. “That’s why I think after a couple of more wins he would go well in Australia. I think the mobile races at Menangle would suit him down to the ground,” Balle said. David Butcher shot Angus Fogg to the lead after 300m in the $6,000 Anzac Day Remembrance Mobile for the maiden trotters. Angus Fogg then trotted beautifully for the remainder of the 2200m mobile stopping the clock in 2:49.9. They lead by three lengths on the turn and then turned it into a one-horse race at the finish. The winning mile rate was 2:04.2 with final 800m and 400m sectionals of 61.4 and 30.6. Angus Fogg was the $1.90 favourite in 10-horse field. He was bred by Cambridge librarian Kym Kearns. “If we can just take the hyper out of him I think he can turn into a serious trotter but he has some way to go yet. He’s gone pretty good after he’s broken a few times at Alexandra Park. “It’s a just a matter of maturity with him and trying to quieten him down a bit. I think the horse that ran second has a brighter future though,” Balle said. The Pukekohe trainer was referring to his Pegasus Spur colt, War Machine. Balle did the driving behind the 2-year-old. “I am hoping to him qualify for the Jewels. He’s a really nice young trotter with a bright future. That was just his second start and I’m hoping he can pick up a cheque or two to make the Jewels Final,” Balle said. It was Balle’s third quinella since April 15. At Alexandra Park that day he drove and trained Kenrick to beat stablemate Ideal World (James Stormont) in a C1 pace and then on April 22 at the same venue it was the same result. “I’ve had a good run of late and I’m hoping it continues,” said Balle who works a team of 18 at Franklin Park on Station Road in Pukekohe. Courtesy of HRNZ and Duane Ranger

Brian Hughes has a habit of winning the Group One Northern Oaks every decade…..and his 10-year anniversary just happens to be at the harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park this Friday night.   The man they call Bunty bred, owned and trained Iman to win the 1995 edition of the Group One classic for 3-year-old fillies, and then in 2005 Hughes owned and trained Tosti Girl to her neck victory over Cruzee Lass. They were the first and fourth favourites respectively. This Friday Hughes will line up one of the best fillies he has ever co-owned, co-bred or trained in the Pascoes The Jewellers sponsored 2700m mobile feature – and naturally The Orange Agent will again be a hot favourite.   “She’s a classy mare all right. She has come through her last win very well. She’s eaten up everything and is rearing to go. She hasn't had a workout or trial since that race but Dad (Bunty) has been putting the work into her.   “From the draw she is going to be tough to beat,” said Gareth Hughes, son of Bunty, and a man who does a lot with his father’s team.   The Orange Agent has drawn perfectly at four this week and compared to her six draw last time out in the second $20,000 Nevele R Fillies heat.   That night she looked like she would have to settle for the runner-up prize after second favourite Democrat Party got away from her on the home turn.   “She’s got a bad habit of drifting wide simply because she goes too fast for her own good around the final bend. Once she got balanced up last start she came again to win. That was a very good performance.   “We are confident she will fly around the final corner untroubled this time,” Hughes said.   The 3-year-old daughter of American Ideal and Lady Fingers has now won seven of her 12 starts and just over $105,000 in purses.   She is yet to nail a Group One victory but did win the $80,000 Caduceus Club Ladyship Stakes at Alexandra Park in December.   All seven of her wins have been at at northern headquarters, but she is yet to start over the 2700m.   “The distance won’t hurt her, especially from the draw. The Oaks has been one of Dad’s main targets with her for some time now. It’s a race that means a lot to him. He’s already won it twice,” Hughes junior said.   Another race that means a great deal to Hughes is the Great Northern Derby, which will be run on Friday week – Auckland Cup night.   The Hughes trained Hughie Green will line up one of the favourites in the sixth race on Friday – the $20,000 Derby Prelude.   With some of the best 3-year-olds missing this week a good performance will be required to make the final Derby field.   Follow The Stars, fresh from his placings in Australia, will be tough to beat but Hughes is confident Hughie Green will put in another bold showing.   “He did really well to beat Ohoka Punter last start and Dad says he’s progressed nicely since then. Both he and The Orange Agent have done everything he has asked of them.   "If I was going to single one out at this stage it would be ‘Agent’, simply because she has the better draw and the Derby Final isn’t for another nine days. Sure we will be trying to win it but the main goal is to make the final,” said Hughes.   In fact the Hughes team has five winning chances on Friday.   Gamma Lady won well here a month ago on debut and then was a nice workouts winner on Saturday. Hughes rated her right up there with The Orange Agent as one of his stable’s best winning chances in race four.   “She is flying at the moment for a young horse that has only had one run." "My Kiwi Mate can also win the last race, while Girls Are Better can also follow up her good trial form in ‘Gamma’s’ race,” said Hughes.   “She ran a nice second behind Gamma Lady in the same Workout at ‘The Park’ on Saturday,” he added. Duane Ranger - Courtesy of Steve Richardson (TAB)

The All Stars harness racing stables have long made a habit of unearthing new stars both equine and human and in young driver Tim Williams the All Stars mentors Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have done it again, “You might want to pack your driving bag just in case.” Little did Tim Williams realise it at the time but those 11 words from his boss Mark Purdon proved to be the birth of his most successful day in harness racing. In fact it was a record breaking night by the Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained Adore Me and Follow The Stars at Cambridge Raceway last Friday. Williams had the privilege, as he put it, of driving both. “Before I came up to the North Island Mark told me to pack my driving gears just in case. I didn’t think much of it really." “But when Mark went home and I stayed up there I couldn’t believe the opportunity I was given. It was a bit unreal. A chance of a lifetime that not many other drivers get. I’m glad I made the most of it,” Williams said. Williams said although he knew he was driving two horses that almost everyone had their money on, he didn’t let the pressure get to him. “I had a job to do and sure I knew they were both hot favourites, but once I was on the track I was focused and knew what I had to do for Mark, Natalie and the owners. Driving champion horses like Adore Me and Follow The Stars is what every driver dreams of,” Williams said. The 25-year-old had never driven Adore Me or Follow The Stars on race-day but you wouldn’t guessed it. He drove them as good as what regular pilot Purdon would have done getting the hot pots home paying $1.40 and $1.10 respectively The Canterbury reinsman said driving Adore Me was like driving a Ferrari, far superior to anything he had ever sat behind. “When I asked her for an effort she just gave me what I wanted. To sit parked and beat a good horse like Gold Ace in track record time is a phenomenal achievement,” Williams said. From gate four Williams sat outside the Todd Mitchell driven Gold Ace (2) in Friday’s Group Two $60,000 Sky City Flying Mile. Then in the lane when he asked the wonder mare for an effort she found another gear to win the mobile mile by a length in a New Zealand Mares record time of 1:51.6. She also slashed Sky Major’s previous track record of 1:52.07 set in May last year. Her winning mile rate was 1:51.6 and she sprinted her final 800m in 55 and 400m in 27.7. It was the New Zealand Cup winner’s 24th win in 31 starts and she’s now amassed $1.43 million in stakes. While Adore Me was always a winning chance a long way from home, Williams at one stage thought Follow The Stars had too much ground to make up in the $20,000 Mitavite Dinny Johnstone Waikato Guineas. Follow The Stars was eased to the rear soon after the start and that’s where he remained until Williams asked him to go at the 300m when he had to get around his four opponents. “I thought we might have been a wee bit too far off them because they were really going for it in front. He had quite a bit of ground to make up at the 400m, but he showed a real will to win – like a real fighter. He’s got an enormous future,” Williams said. With that powerhouse sprint the Art Major colt became the fastest horse to ever pace a 2200m mobile at Cambridge Raceway. Follows The Stars stopped the clock in 2:37.71 slashing Aslan’s January 2010 2200m mobile record by a whopping 2.2 seconds . He also beat Sir Lincoln’s 3-year-old record of 2:40.12. Follow The Star’s winning mile rate was 1:55.3 and he sprinted his final 800m and 400m in 56.7 and 27.4. That was his 11th win in 12 starts and he’s now won $498,779 in purses. Williams said he would never forget Friday’s meeting. “It will go down as the greatest day of my career so far. I’m so pleased I was given an opportunity to drive the team for Mark, Natalie and the owners,” said Williams who has now driven 210 winners (20 this season) since 2008. He said Adore Me and Follows The Stars were both Victorian bound for the derby and Hunter Cup respectively. Meanwhile another champion who didn’t let the favourite punters down on Friday was multiple Group winning trotter Stent. The $1.30 favourite was too powerful along the passing lane for the second elect, Prime Power. The Colin De Filippi trained and driven 6-year-old won the Group Three $30,000 Harcourts Te Awamutu Trotters Flying Stakes by three quarters of a length. He trotted the 1700m mobile in 2:04.9 (mile rate 1:58.2) with a final 800m of 56.8 and 400m of 27.3 seconds. It was Stent’s 21st win in 52 starts and he’s now banked $622,095 for owner Trevor Casey. Courtesy of Duane Ranger - Harness Racing New Zealand      

It’s taken just over three months but Charlie and Anne Hunter have finally opened up about the death of their champion trotter Sovereignty. “It was so sad when we had to have him put down." We wanted to tell no-one because he meant so much to us." "You are the first to get the news simply because you heard about it first. “We didn’t want to announce it because it still hurts.' "He was not only one of the best trotters I have ever owned but he was a wonderful horse with it." "Very sad,” said Hunter the man who has an ONZM for his services to harness racing. Sovereignty, who was put down in September, became the first 3-year-old to win ‘Trotter-of-the-Year’ in the 2007-2008 season. He won 28 of his 94 starts and placed on 34 occasions for $780,386. His Group One wins included the 2008 Northern Trotting Derby, and the 2010 National Trot. He also won three Group Two events including the 2008 Cambridge Trotters Final on his beloved home track. In fact Sovereignty’s last race was in the 2013 edition of the Cambridge Trotters Final on Christmas Eve. He finished second behind Stent. The Monarchy - Lockerup (by Sundon) gelding also won the 3-year-old Ruby Jewels Final in 2008 before it was classed a Group One event. He was 10 when he as put down. “We announced his retirement in the middle of last year." "He had very bad arthritis in his off-front coffin joint." "We had been treating it but it gradually got worse." “We tried several options but the injury gradually got worse." "He was in a lot of pain." "We tried lots of pain relief to treat his nerves but in the end we had to make the decision which was best for the horse." “It was a horrible day when he passed away." "We kept it quiet all these months simply because it hurts every time you mention his name." "He was very special to Anne and I,” Hunter said. Sovereignty was treated throughout his career by Waikato vet Ian McKay. He also did his spelling at McKay’s son’s Ross’s Leanoch Lodge in Cambridge. “Ross kindly allocated him a spot on his property to be buried on." "That was very nice." "We know where he is if we ever want to go and see him,” said Hunter who turns 81 tomorrow (January 3). “He was just such a great horse and great individual." "I’ve still got a Love You 2-year-old gelding with Sean, who is spelling at the moment." "His name is Lemond and he will still keep me interested in the game, which I love so much,” Hunter added. Hunter co-trained Sovereignty with Sean McCaffrey at Cambridge. He rated him right up there with his champions of years gone by – Young Quinn and Jenner. Courtesy of Duane Ranger - Harness Racing New Zealand  

Andrew and Lyn Neal won their second Spring Cup at Alexandra Park last night with a pacer they rate equal in ability to their 2000 Auckland Cup winner, Flight South. They won their first Spring Cup in 2010 when Trigirl Brigade won the 2200m standing start event. This time $13.10 fourth favourite Beyond The Silence proved too strong for Norvic Nightowl and Pembrook Benny in the $25,000 Hydroflow sponsored handicap pace. “He’s only had 14 starts and now this is his seventh win. I have always had a considerable amount of time for him. He’s a quality pacer who has come back well this season. “I just wish Dad was here to watch him race,” said driver Lynn Neal, who co-trains the 5-year-old gelding with her husband Andrew at Cambridge. Dad is former Mid Canterbury conditioner, Frank Bebbington, who passed away in August 2012. “Dad bought him and Andrew and I share the ownership in him with Dad’s estate.  I’d like to race him at Addington one day but this year is a bit too soon. “He needs more racing for that but even at this early stage of his career I rate him right up there with Flight South - and she is one of the best horses we have trained,” Neal (Lyn) said. Beyond The Silence sat in the trail for most of the way behind Te Kawau and Todd Mitchell. Then in the straight he powered along the passing lane to win by a neck and 1-1/2 lengths. He paced the 2200m strand in 2:47.67 (mile rate: 2:02.6) with final 800m and 400m sprint s of 56.7 and 27 even. It was his fourth win in seven starts at Alexandra Park. It was a gutsy performance to win third run back after Beyond The Silence missed most of his 4-year-old season with a fractured cannon bone he suffered in a C2 pace at Addington Raceway on New Zealand Cup Day last year. “It’s been a slow road back but we have always believed in him and tonight he delivered against some of the North Island’s best. “We thought he would go well tonight and he didn’t let us down,” Neal said. The 5-year-old Courage Under Fire gelding won first up after an eight month spell at Alexandra Park on July 11 and then followed that up a third behind Sky Major and Cyamach a fortnight later. He has now won seven of his 14 starts and placed in three others for $59,615. The race didn't pass without some sensation. Averil's Quest was late scratched within minutes of the start of the race after she was found to be lame in the right foreleg. Pembrook Benny earned a tick mark for his fresh up performance - the New Zealand Free-For-All winner made up plenty of ground in his first public outing for the season. Courtesy Of Duane Ranger - Harness Racing New Zealand    

Tony Cameron deserves a break in life.   For the second time his 26 years the South Auckland horseman has defied death.   Cameron, who is employed by Tony and Suzanne Herlihy at Strike Won Stables, was knocked out cold in a training accident at Ardmore on Thursday (September 11) at about 11am.   “I didn’t know a thing about it. I woke up in the hospital on Thursday night. They had to put me under because I was getting too anxious. I think my halfback days were coming back to me.   “Then I thought what am I doing here? I can only tell you what happened from what my workmates told me,” Cameron said.   Cameron, who has driven seven winners since starting out as a junior driver in 2012, was told he was that he was working a filly and the horse in front of him ran out and dislodged him before he was knocked out.   The outer shell of his helmet was torn to shreds. Cameron lay on the track until the ambulance crew arrived from Papakura, which is 10 minutes away.   Cameron spent the weekend in hospital and was released on Monday. He has passed all of his rehab tests and is now just waiting for a clearance to drive.   “I feel as though I can drive now but the doctors have said ‘No’ at this stage. It was just one of those freak accidents. I hope to be back doing light duties the week after next.   “Im not getting the headaches they said I would. I fully understand the risks in the game and I want everyone to know it was absolutely no-ones fault. It was just one of those freak accidents,” said Cameron.   Five years ago Cameron was diagnosed with cancer. He was told he had Hodgkin's Lymphoma (also known as Hodgkin's disease). The cancer originated from white blood cells called lymphocytes.   Cameron said if hadn't contracted the disease he may never have followed his father Dale into the harness racing game.   "I'm the youngest of four children in our family and the only one who got into harness racing. When I left high school I did brick laying for a couple of years and then worked as an engineering labourer.   "Then when I got cancer I thought life was too short and it was time I did something I really enjoyed. I learnt the basic skills off Dad and have been working for Tony Herlihy at Ardmore for just over a couple of years now. He has been really good to me and taught me heaps. You can see why he is a champion horseman," Cameron said.   Cameron is bred to be a top horseman. His father Dale has trained and driven more than 30 winners, while Dale's cousin - Robert was the 1993 World Driving Champion in Macau.   Cameron was born on December 3, 1987 in Southland but shifted to Pukekohe when he was two. He was educated at Waiuku College. Courtesy Duane Ranger - Harness Racing New Zealand

One of New Zealand’s most successful harness racing owner/breeders also knows how to cover himself when it comes to the punt. Terry McDonald, the man who owns and bred three-time New Zealand Cup winner, Terror To Love, has put $500 to win on outsider Hands Christian in the big Group One race on November 11. If Hands Christian does win McDonald stands to collect $10,500. But he would give that all away in a heartbeat to see Terror To Love create harness racing history and win the Cup for a fourth consecutive year. McDonald got Hands Christian at $21. He’s now at $15 after opening at $51. “I backed him because I honestly believe he will be one of the hardest to beat on Cup Day. He beat us in the Easter Cup and went very well against us in Auckland. “I also backed him prior to his nice trial this week,” In that trial at Ashburton (Tuesday) the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained Hands Christian finished a length behind Smolda and Terror To Love. “I thought the horse went really well and reaffirmed my bet. As for ‘Terror’ he’s peaking nicely. I was rapt with that run. He was timed from post to post (last 800m) in 53.2, and both the trainers and driver think he’s still got a lot of improving in him. “He’s also a sensible bet,” McDonald said. New Zealand’s Wellington based harness racing bookmaker, Steve Richardson, who is close friends with McDonald, said he couldn’t believe the Hands Christian bet. “I rang him and said ‘what are you doing?’. I said I’m going to tell the press about you betting on an outsider and he laughed, and said ‘go for it’. “If he won this would easily be our worst result. Just goes to show what a champ both he and Terror To Love are. He has backed the horse each time, even though he calls himself a ‘goose punter’,” Richardson said. He said his mate had understandably been a bit down and believed a story like this would lift his spirits and make him laugh a bit. Life hasn’t been easy for 73-year-old McDonald of late. He is still grieving the loss of his younger Ken (69) who passed away unexpectedly in Brisbane last month. “Yes I don’t think I will ever get over that. I’m still hurting a lot, but I know he is with me. I’ve just had a tooth out today and then in a couple of weeks (24th) I have to undergo a back operation. “I had an operation eight years ago and they are now going to replace all the nuts and bolts. It needs to be done, but I’m furious that I will miss ‘Terror’s’ first run back in the Avon City Ford Cup,” McDonald said. McDonald was hoping the John McCarthy trained and Luke McCarthy driven For A Reason will make the trip over from Sydney for the New Zealand Cup. “We want the best possible field and For A Reason placed in this year’s Inter Dominion Final. It would be really fitting because my brother had a quarter share in him,” McDonald said. Courtesy Of Duane Ranger - Harness Racing New Zealand

The powerful Clevedon combination of Barry Purdon and Zac Butcher won the major training and driving honours - while Purdon trained 3-year-olds also won two age-group titles at the 2014 A Rocknroll Dance North Island Harness Racing awards ceremony at Alexandra Park last night. More than 300 people flocked to the Tasman Room to watch the 21 awards handed out. Fifty nine-year-old Purdon won the Veterinary Associates Equine and Farm North Island Trainer of the Year, while 23-year-old Butcher won the IRT North Island Driver of the Year. Their age group stars Sky Major and Ideal Belle won the Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock North Island 3yo Colt/Gelding and Filly of the Year awards respectively. Purdon trained Pembrook Benny, Sky Major, Maxim and Ideal Belle to Group One victories in 2013-2014. Butcher also drove the Ray Green trained Beaudiene Boaz in the Harness Jewels 2yo Emerald Final at Cambridge Raceway. Pembrook Benny won the NZ Free-For-All at Addington on November 15. Sky Major cleaned up the 3yo Emerald Jewels Final at Cambridge on May 31. Ideal Belle also won the New Zealand Oaks at Addington on May 16. Maxim nailed the Victoria Derby at Melton on February 8. Sky Major was second. The same two horses also produced the quinella in Group One Sires Stakes 2yo Final the season before. “You are only as good as the team around you. This is an honour. We had a very good season and I’m grateful to all my staff for that,” Purdon said. Purdon trained 39 winners from 199 starters last season and amassed $953,433 in stakes. Butcher saluted the judge 72 times from his 551 drives. He banked $1.23m in purses. “I drive to win and night’s like this are a real bonus. I’m very proud to have won this award because there are so many good drivers out there. “I am lucky to be part of a very strong stable. Barry is a legendary trainer,” Butcher said. In other highlights Maurice McKendry won the Sir Lincoln at Lincoln Farms NI Achievement Award, while Richard and Julija Brosnan won the night’s most prestigious (and final) award of the evening – the A Rocknroll Dance Alabar Nevele Stud NI Award for Outstanding Contribution to Harness Racing. Adore Me’s victories in the Group One $100,000 Queen Of Hearts Pace and the Group Three $30,000 Northern Breeders Stakes assured her the Auckland Trotting Club’s Aged Pace Of the Year title. The Charlie Roberts co-owned and bred champ also won the Caduceus Club’s NI Filly/Mare of the Year. In fact Roberts himself collected two awards winning the Garrards Horse and Hound NI Owner of the Year, and the Hygain NI Breeder of the Year 2014 A ROCKNROLL DANCE NORTH ISLAND HARNESS RACING AWARDS - WINNERS Glen Elgin Farm North Island Groom of the Year - Amanda Kiddie Dunstan North Island Amateur Driver of the Year -John Kriechbaumer Magness Video Ltd / Vid-Com LtdNorth Island Licence to Train /Owner – Trainer of the Year - Andrew Grant Mitavite North Island Junior Driver of the Year - Sailesh Abernethy PGG Wrightson North Island 2 year old Colt or Gelding of the Year - Beaudiene Boaz                       PGG Wrightson North Island 2 year old Filly of the Year - Linda Lovegrace Breckon Farms North Island 2 year old Trotter of the Year - Yagunnakissmeornot Breckon Farms North Island 3 year old Trotter of the Year - Mum’s Pride Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock North Island 3 year old Colt or Gelding of the Year - Sky Major Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock North Island 3 year old Filly of the Year - Ideal Belle               Garrards Horse and Hound North Island Owner of the Year - Charles Roberts Caduceus Club North Island Filly / Mare of the year - Adore Me                                Hygain North Island Breeder of the Year - Charles Roberts IRT North Island Driver of the Year -  Zac Butcher Veterinary Associates Equine and Farm North Island Trainer of the Year - Barry Purdon Equine Veterinary Services  North Island Broodmare of the Year - Scuse Me                North Island Stallion of the Year - Bettor’s Delight                                       Harness Racing New Zealand North Island Trotter of the Year - Irish Whisper                          Auckland Trotting Club North Island Aged Pacer of the Year - Adore Me                                Sir Lincoln at Lincoln Farms North Island Racing Achievement Award - Maurice McKendry A Rocknroll Dance/Alabar/Nevele R Stud North Island Award for Outstanding Contribution to Harness Racing - Richard and Julija Brosnan Courtesy Duane Ranger - Harness Racing New Zealand

Simon McMullan has decided to end his junior driving days on a high. The 25-year-old Franklin horseman steered Take A Hint to victory on co-trainer David Butcher’s 50th birthday at Cambridge Raceway last Thursday night – and then said that’s his race-day driving was all done and dusted. “Who knows I might return to the sulky one day, say if I lease a trotter and have to drive him, but that’s it for now. “I certainly won’t be driving as an open horseman next year. I want to concentrate on one thing at a time. I’m in a privileged position working for Steven and I want to keep improving as a trainer. “That’s where my focus is now,” McMullan said. Take A Hint won the last race of the season at Cambridge. He and McMullan sat in the trail and then pounced to win the $7,000 Fairview Motors Mobile for C2-C4 pacers. They won by three quarters of a length pacing the 2200m mobile in a slick 2:42.8 with final 800m and 400m sprints of 58.5 and 29.8 seconds. The black Washington V C gelding won with a 1:59 mile rate. It was the 4-year-old’s fifth win in 28 starts. He was the third favourite and paid $8 to win. “He’s a nice horse. Not many pacers can go 2:42 and that tells me he’s got a couple of wins left in him yet. “It’s a drive I won’t forget in a while,” McMullan said. Pukekohe-based McMullan has driven 55 winners since taking out his licence in 2008. He’s also placed 130 times from his 648 starts, and won $428,521 in stakes. Training-wise he has won 29 races and just over $360,000 since joining forces with Reid at the start of the season. They finished 19th on the national training premiership. But McMullan has been with ‘The Reid Man’ for eight years now. “Steven had no right to make me a partner in his stable at the start of the season. He has rewarded me for my loyalty to him and for that I’m extremely grateful. “That’s why I want to give the driving away. I want to repay Steven’s faith in me and keep doing my best and learning from him,” McMullan said. McMullan’s first training wins came via Roger Ramjet and Sweet Jane in races one and four at Alexandra Park on August 16. McMullan was educated at Burnside High School and has worked for Brent Lilley, Brendon Hill and Doug Gale prior to coming to Reid’s Pukekohe stable. His work ethic soon ensured he was stable foreman before being promoted to a partner on August 1. Reid and McMullan are working a team of about 25 out of the Franklin Trotting Club’s complex on Station Road. “We’ve got some nice young horses coming through the ranks. Potentially I think our rising 3-year-old Art Major colt - Zennart is the most promising racehorse we have got. He won really well first-up at Alexandra Park on Friday. “My ambition is to train a Group One winner next season. Hopefully some of the younger horses or perhaps Unforgiving can do that for us,” McMullan said. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Harness racing trainers' Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick have never had a horse line up in a Breeders Crown Final before, but they won’t be too perturbed if Cyamach doesn’t make the trip across the Tasman next month. “It all depends how he comes through his next race at Alexandra Park on July 25, but after Friday’s race we couldn’t be happier with him,’’ Telfer said. “We will make a decision on the Breeders Crown then. “If we do decide to go he will race over there (Victoria) on August 17 and 24.’’ Cyamach was an impressive winner of last Friday’s fifth event at Alexandra Park – the $14,999 Prudentia Law Mobile for the C2 to C5 pacers. Scott Phelan rushed the recent Winter Cup winner to the lead from barrier five soon after the start of Friday’s 2200m mobile. From there they dictated all the pace to easily win in wet conditions by 2-1/4 lengths in 2:44 even. Central Districts visitor Te Kawau (Todd Mitchell) was an impressive first-up second after sitting outside of Cyamach for the last lap. Cyamach paced a creditable 1:59.9 mile rate in the wet and windy conditions. He sped his last 800m and 400m in 56.6 and 27 seconds. It was his ninth win in 36 starts. His bank balance stands at $154,926. Someone knew Cyamach would win. NZ harness racing bookmaker, Steve Richardson said he received a $5,000 win bet on Friday afternoon on Cyamach at $2.60. That was his also closing price. Telfer is really starting to warm to the exploits of talented 4-year-old. “He’s going really well at the moment. He’s really started to strengthen up and mature lately. He’s a nice horse who has always had speed. But now that he’s strengthened up he’s turned the corner again. “He’s the best we have got.’’ The former Australian, who came to New Zealand from rural New South Wales in 1995, said he was really enjoying his work at present. “We have a nice team, great staff, and a very nice place to work. “Chris is great to work with and Scotty (Phelan) is doing a brilliant job in the sulky,” the 43-year-old horseman said. “I can’t forget my sister Amanda (Tidswell) too. It’s a team effort,” he added. While a Breeders Crown trip would be a real highlight, Telfer said the desire to remain in NZ and focus on some our big races was huge. “It would be nice to win a Breeders Crown but to be honest I’d prefer to win a big Group One race here. “If Cyamach does go then he’s going to have to step up to the next level. Even though there will be some nice 4-year-olds missing good ones like Lennytheshark and Chilli Palmer will be there. “He will either go to Australia or be spelled after his next race,” Telfer said. He said he was quite happy to target the Group One 4&5-year-old races like the Taylor Mile and NZ Messenger with Cyamach next season. Looking to the future Telfer said to watch out for a Grinfromeartoear-Spicey colt named Ashton K. “He’s a rising 3-year-old who has been up for a while now. He trialled real nice as a 2-year-old and we have all got a lot of time for him.’’ By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)    

Waikato trainer and administrator Rob Lawson will go into partnership with his son Simon on August 1. Lawson senior will train out of Newstead in the Waikato while Simon will train a team at Pukekohe. “We intend on having a boutique stable of perhaps eight or nine horses, but they will all race in my name. “We could register them in both names but we felt it might jeopardise Simon’s chances of getting more drives,’’ Lawson snr said. “He’s already driving for top trainers like Ray Green, Steven Reid, and Geoff Small when he can. He’s a naturally talented driver who can send them, and save them, when he has to.’’ He said he would head up to Pukekohe regularly to see how Simon is getting on. He believed his son had what it took to be a good trainer. “I’m biased but I know he’s a top driver and I also know he’s been around horses all of his life - so he certainly knows what training is all about. As well as working for me he’s also worked for Peter Simpson, Steven Reid and Geoff Small. He’s learnt a lot from a lot of people.’’ The Lawsons’ will swap their team around from time to time racing at both Cambridge Raceway and Alexandra Park. “We will also be looking to entice South Island owners and trainers to send their horses north to us. I’m vice president at Cambridge but I realise the stakes in Auckland are too good to ignore, so it makes sense to race there. “Even second-placed money at Alexandra Park is nice. Having two stables reinforces our commitment to the industry. I am also going to be the trainers and drivers rep on the harness racing executive – so as you can see the industry means a lot to me and my family.’’ The Nathan Williamson trained The Wonkey Donkey was a recent South Island addition to Lawson’s stable. While in the north the 4-year-old Thanksgiving gelding recorded two seconds and two thirds. Lawson has trained 41 winners from 362 starters since 1991 and he’s also placed 67 times for $248,278 in stakes. His best year was last season when he trained eight winners. This year Lawson has won four times from 12 attempts. Son, Simon on the other hand has had a season in the sulky he will never forget. He won his first group One race behind the Green trained Besotted at Alexandra Park on May 2. That was one of 24 winners for him so far this season – 23 fewer than his best season in 2010. All up Lawson has won 166 of his 1,516 drives. He’s also placed on 322 occasions for $1.3 million in purses. Not a bad effort considering he only started driving in 2009. The Lawsons’ currently have Ton Tine going around at the moment. That son 4-year-old son of Monarchy has won three of his 23 starts “We’ve also got an exciting young rising 2-year-old named Van Mara. We bought him at the yearling sales and he is quite talented. We have a lot of time for him.’’ By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Kristie Hill has always wanted to campaign a horse at Alexandra Park and now thanks to her father Brian and enigmatic trotter Sunchita, she fulfilling that dream. Hill snr, who trains in Nelson, took Sunchita to Auckland and Kristie took over the reins a couple of days before the 6-year-old mare had her first race at Alexandra Park last Friday. Sent out a $3.40 second favourite and under the guidance and driving exploits of Tony Herlihy, the daughter of Sundon never looked like losing. Away well from her 10 metre handicap, Sunchita settled handy to the pace before Herlihy sent her forward to find the lead at the 500 metre mark from where she simply out-trotted her opponents – winning by 1 ½ lengths. It was Sunchita’s third consecutive win, fifth this season, and seventh in a career spanning 51 starts. She’s now banked $52,101. “She had to earn her trip up north and prove to us she was worthy of going up there and she did that at Nelson.’’ Hill senior said. “I have campaigned Single Lord and McShane up there before but this is the first time Kristie has been in Auckland with one of our team. “She has lots of friends up there and she always believed Sunchita would go well that way around because that’s the only way we train her back home.’’ He said Sunchita would have two more starts at Alexandra Park over the next two Fridays before returning home. The father and daughter combination both believe the often frustrating trotter has finally turned the corner and put it all together on the track. “If she keeps improving the way she is, well who knows she could start in the Dominion Handicap in November, I don’t want to get ahead of myself but that is the goal. “It’s every trainer’s dream to have a horse line up in either the Dominion or Rowe Cup.’’ Kristie is staying with Steve and Ann Phillips in Waiau Pa, while Sunchita is being stabled half an hour away at Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis’s Waiuku barn. “She loves being beach trained and the wet track on Friday would have suited her, she has really turned the corner now,’’ Kristie said. “We haven’t made too many changes to her gear. “Once upon a time she either finished first or last because of her tendency to gallop. “I think we can put her recent improvement down to maturity.’’ Hill, who is the former Education Manager for Harness Racing New Zealand, said the stakes at Alexandra Park also swayed their decision to bring Sunchita north. “The money on offer was too good to resist and I always wanted to bring her up here because I felt she would go better this way around. “It was a great performance first-up and a brilliant drive by a brilliant reinsman.’’ Hill is a graduation driver who has won 12 races since 1998. She has also placed 38 times from 293 starts for $93,897 in stakes. Two of those wins have come aboard Sunchita while Blair Orange and Jimmy Curtin have also won on her twice prior to Herlihy’s victory on Friday night. Hill said she wasn’t tempted to jump in the sulky and have a drive around Alexandra Park on this trip and was happy to leave the driving duties to Herlihy. “No I won’t be getting in the sulky when I’m up there, why would you put me in the sulky when one of the best drivers in the world can do the business?” Brian and Kristie own Sunchita and also bred her. She is the third of six foals (and most successful) out of Hills’ three-win Dancing Master mare, Carmenchita, who was also trained by Hill. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Sam Ottley just keeps breaking records and now the Canterbury driver has her sights set on a couple of other milestones before this season comes to a close. The brilliant young horsewoman’s tally of 42 wins for the season makes her the most successful female junior driver in terms of races won – beating off the old mark held by Jo Herbert of 39 which she set in 1998. And now the 23-year-old is determined to win what she terms the “coveted” junior driving premiership. “That is the main goal now, I’ll drive anywhere to win that,” Ottley said. “I’m also proud of the most-female-wins-in-a-season record as well. “I didn’t realise I had achieved it, this all means so much to me. I love driving and I want to be successful.’’ The female junior driver record for wins in a season came just two months after Ottley created more junior driving history at Forbury Park. The Geraldine-born and educated horse woman became the first ever female junior driver to notch up 100 wins when she reined the Michael House trained appropriately named Gogirl Bromac in race one – the Dunedin City Ford maiden trot on April 17. Ottley is one win clear of the her closest junior driver rival in Sailesh Abernethy, who applied a little more pressure with a winning double at Cambridge last night. She is also three wins clear of Natalie Rasmussen – the country’s second best reinswoman in terms of wins. “It would be great to beat them both, especially Sailesh because I’m getting near the end of my junior driving days and I would love to go out a champion. “The Junior Driving Premiership would be the ultimate way to end the season.’’ Kirsten Barclay was the last female to win the junior driving premiership. That was in in the 2004-2005 season when she won 32 races from 315 drives. Ottley has now driven 112 winners from 1,317 drives since first taking out her licence in 2008-2009. She’s also placed 212 times for $815,799. “It’s been a memorable year. It’[s hard to believe I’ve created a couple of firsts this year. I’m so happy because they can never the achievements away from me.’’ She said other career highlights included winning her first race-day drive behind her mother Denise’s horse Nigel Paul; winning the Geraldine Cup on Just Rose for Colin and Julie (De Filippi) and representing New Zealand at the Australasian Junior Driving Champs (third by a point). Ottley paid a tribute to her mother, Timaru trainer Murray Tapper, the De Filippi’s, and all the owners and trainers who put her on their horses. In an effort to enhance her chances of winning the junior drivers premiership, Ottley is currently on loan to the Woodend Beach stable of Robert and John Dunn with De Filippi low on racing numbers currently. She heads to Forbury Park tonight in search of adding to her season tally with a promising book of five drives. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

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