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Yes Lynette The Vet is actually named after a vet. The five year old mare which won at Gore yesterday for Wyndham harness racing trainers Colin and Gordon Lee is owned by Neil Manson from Little River near Christchurch and he takes up the story. "I have a bit of land that backs on to the local vet clinic and Lynette Curry a vet who worked there, got attached to the mare and foal. She used to feed them apples. I'd got the stitch from racing and the foal was left on her mother until she was two. A mate of mine was getting a horse branded so we got the foal done at the same time. I couldn't get close to them. Lynette was the only one who could catch them," said Manson.  So to reflect Lynette's attachment to the mare and foal Manson thought he'd better fire a few names into Harness Racing New Zealand. "I sent away three names; Lynette, The Vet Lynette and Lynette The Vet. Lynette The Vet was the one that came back. Lynette goes everywhere to see her (namesake) race." As a young horse Lynette The Vet was given to Murray Edmonds to train. He managed to get one win out the five year old Raffaelo Ambrosio mare from eleven starts before the Lees took over the training.   "I was talking to a mate of mine Ginger Timms and he said Gordon was bringing a float up to get Seaswift Joy from Shinnie (Malcolm Shinn). So he took her home as well."  Lynette The Vet has been in the Lee stable for four starts prior to yesterday's race with her best effort having been a second on her home track in February.  Lynette The Vet beating Larch (15)                 Photo Bruce Stewart After getting an absess on her shoulder she hadn't raced for nearly two months. Her return to the race track was without a trial or workout so it was a very good training effort by the Lees and as Gordon pointed out she got the perfect trip.  "That's what counts - getting a nice trip. You don't have any excuses then. I did think that she would be a bit short today. She went out there fresh so maybe that's the key to her," he said.  The Lees trained Lynette The Vet's mother Accelerando Del to win at Forbury Park on September 2008. She was a Sundon mare out of Del's Lass who was a sister to Game Nian (7 wins), Gypsy Del (7 wins) and Allegreto Del (8 wins).  The horse has plenty of southern connections with Southlanders John Harrington, Jim Hannan and Eddie Lowe breeding Accelerando Del.  The mare and her Monarchy foal are no longer around, but Lynette The Vet may just rejuvenate Neil Manson's enjoyment of harness racing Bruce Stewart Southland harness Racing  

Three three-year-olds dominate pre-race discussions for the Southland Standardbred Breeders Mobile Mile at Winton on Saturday and one of them is Seaswift Joy, but her co-trainer Gordon Lee doesn't see it is as that simple. The scratching of Gotta Del will reduce the field size to six and Lee sees them all as threats, including Seaswift Joy's stablemate Royal Counsel who hasn't raced for 11 months.. “She was retired but didn't get in foal, we've had her back a bit over a month, she is shaping up very very well, we're very pleased with her, she's not out it,” said Lee, who trains the former Southland Oaks winner with his brother Colin, Royal Counsel's driver on Saturday. Gordon Lee will be in the sulky of Seaswift Joy and is also pleased with her. “She is going from strength to strength, has raced against most of the best three year old fillies and proven herself.” Seaswift Joy has the four draw with Eamon Macguire and Delightful Memphis outside of her. An added bonus for the two fillies, Seaswift Joy and Delightful Memphis is the $2000 attached to the stake for the first of them to finish. On a day known in the south as Wairio Mile day and previously staged in the spring, all 10 races on the programme are mobile miles. The Lees have Art Exhibit in the Southern Vet Centre Southern Belle Speed Series heat and her chances will be improved by having drawn two. “She's a frustrating horse but if she is handy in the running and doesn't have to be used up, she is a chance,” Lee said. Their other rep is Jeremy Jones, drawn one in the Morris Contracting Ltd Mobile Mile. “He was a surprise favourite at Wyndham, especially being a first starter, and was a bit disappointing,” Lee said of the three year old who broke early and galloped out of contention. “He's got the draw and not the ringcraft but if he did everything right he could run in the money.” Clark Barron has two in the same race and from the draw favours A Smart Excuse who tries a mile for the first time. “He's been knocking on the door, got a good draw, I hope the mile suits, I think it will,” he said. First starter Dali Bread represents Barron in the same race and the three year old goes from three on the second line. A son of Dali, he qualified in 2:45.7 a fortnight ago and won by 10 lengths. Barron said there is an element of risk with a first starter but as an introduction to racing he favours the distance. “Sometimes they are run off their feet but generally a mile is okay first up for a young horse.” The Rakauhauka trainer also has two in the Otautau Vets Ltd Fillies and Mares Mobile Mile and once again favours the one with the best draw, Manuka Valley over first starter Final Excuse. “It makes a big difference,” he said of the draw. “Manuka Valley is as honest as they come, (driver) Blair (Orange) has had a good run on her. Final Excuse has a lot of ability, she can run but is a bit highly strung, not sure of her manners and the draw is against her.” Rakarolla is the sole Barron rep left in the Southland Standardbred Breeders Mobile Mile. The five year old was on debut when he gained the first of his four wins, beating Rocker Band over a mile at Winton, and has won twice on the track since. “He'll give an honest account of himself but is against some very good three year olds,” Barron said. One of them, Eamon Macguire, relegated Rakarolla to runner up at Invercargill a fortnight ago in a 1:56.9 mile. Tayler Strong

The two leading candidates for the two harness racing age group features on Diamonds Day in April, Whittaker (Supremacy Stakes Final) and Seaswift Joy both recorded wins at Wyndham yesterday (Sunday). Both were racing older horses and in Seaswift Joy's case having her first start from a stand. She began well before handing up to Gotta Del driven by Matty Williamson. "I was quite happy to lead but Matty was pretty keen to get to the front. She's still only a three year old filly so it's difficult to get up and punch against this grade of horse. I'd like to give her a bit of a freshener. There's some big races coming up for her. There's no sense in racing silly at the moment," said co - trainer and driver Gordon Lee. Seaswift Joy and Gordon Lee too strong for Gotta Del   -  Photo by Bruce Stewart Seaswift Joys winning time was 3-00.1 for the 2400 metre stand - a new track record for three year old fillies. The previous record has held by Bonnie Lass. Her 3-01.4 was recorded in 1999. The time is also a Southland track record. Class three year old Sportswriter colt Whittaker received an identical trip trailing Royal Bengal for most of his race. He sped up the passing lane and won easily untouched by four and a quarter lengths.   Bruce Stewart Southland harness Racing

Excuses could have been made for Seaswift Joy if she hadn't won the Clark Barron Racing Stables Fillies & Mares mobile mile at Wyndham on Friday but the former Canterbury filly is made of sterner stuff. Trained now by Gordon and Colin Lee and driven by Gordon, Seaswift Joy went from the outside of the second line. She followed out the Dunn colours on Dancing In The Dark but they didn't go forward and Seaswift Joy was last after 200 metres.  A sprint three wide down the back saw Seaswift Joy parked outside Dexter Dunn aboard favourite Bonnie Joan 700 metres out. Bonnie Joan had pressed on from the outside of the front line and dictated terms from the 1200. The Cran Dalgety-trained filly lifted but not as much as Seaswift Joy who stopped the clock at 1:54.2, a new track record for three year olds of any gender on a significantly rain affected (easy) track.  Lee said he was surprised by the time, given the conditions and having to go back at the start. “And I've been round Wyndham enough times to know they go hardest from the half to the quarter so I had to go to get handy,” Lee said. Seaswift Joy was previously with Malcolm Shinn. She has been with the Lees for the latest three of her 12 starts and won them all, including a mile on Central Southland Raceway in 1:54.8 before Christmas. Three years ago, Shinn transferred Royal Counsel to the Lees for seven second-season starts which yielded three wins, including the group two Southland Oaks, two seconds and a third. Lee rates both fillies as good and tough but said “this one has got more speed”.  Lee said he is not able to plan too far ahead but intends to have Seaswift Joy back at Wyndham for the Stella Frost Mile on 5 February. Although beaten, Dunn still managed a successful day with three wins. The meeting was postponed from Thursday because of a power outage at the course which couldn't be repaired until the high winds abated.  Dunn had the option of driving at the Marlborough meeting on Friday but chose Wyndham. He is currently in a battle at the top of the drivers premiership with Blair Orange, who chose Marlborough. Orange managed one win there while one of his Wyndham drives went to Dunn and won. It was Betta Go Fernco in the Kindergarten Stakes Day - Saturday 4th March Handicap. The five year old is trained by Aaron Swain who shares the ownership with his father Murray and the mare's breeders Brian and Liz Ferns. Dunn's first win was in the Peter Dobson sponsored Mayor Of South Wyndham claimers with the second starter San Fermin. A daughter of Washington VC, she is described by her trainer Brian Norman as “definitely not useless”. First starter Art Courage was Dunn's third winner, pacing the mobile mile of the Alabar (NZ) Ltd Fillies & Mares in 1:56.7. Springbank Eden's co-owner Alistair Smith was so confident Moment Of Sun held on to the win the Wyndham Workouts Committee Trot that even before the call he had congratulated the mare's co-owner Brian Church. The token was reversed after the judge announced Springbank Eden got up by half a head. Both from northern Southland, the pair live about eight kilometres from each other and regularly play bowls together. Smith races Springbank Eden with his wife Denise. The five year is named after a grandson Eden and he has an unqualified two year Springbank Lachie named after another.  “I've got one more grandson (to name a horse after) so I'll have to keep buying,” Smith quipped. Springbank Lachie is being prepared for racing by Phil Williamson who trains Springbank Eden. Earlier in the day, Williamson had won the Lee's Dairy And Cafe Trot with Pyramid Mustang. Gore trainer Syd Breen also works at the Falls Hotel in Mataura and he arranged to have Thursday off because all four of his team were racing. They all started on Friday, in four of the last six races, Breen was due to report for duty at 5pm, but was probably given some leeway by Hotel Manager Paul Matheson who is also a co-owner of the four. Breen has made a good start to the season, winning six from 34 with Flashing On (3), Sagwitch (2) and now Santanna's Rocket, who broke through for his first win when appropriately claiming the Mataura Licensing Trust Pace. The three year old provided Brent Barclay with the first of his two winners. Sharing the ownership of Santanna's Rocket with Matheson are Ross Cleland of Gore and Barry Harvey of Darfield. In the 1990s, Cleland and Matheson bred from Trendy Miss (three wins), she left Trendy Cracker (three wins), who left Trendy's Rocket (one win),dam of Santanna's Rocket. Breen said Santanna's Rocket has still got a way to go in the ringcraft department but hopes he will be at his best for the Northern Southland Autumn Futurity on 11 March. Barclay's second winner, Young Conqueror has also been aimed at the Futurity. Winton Club president Alister Kyle gained a breeder, owner, trainer and driver victory when Man I'm Good won the Thanks Kina Craig Stud Mobile. January is proving lucrative for the five year old who won twice during the month last year. Kyle said he added a noseband to the gear of Man I'm Good who races without an overcheck, but otherwise “just needed a change of luck, he was stiff at Cromwell”. Lamborne Road continues to make up for lost time with success in the Sinclair Brothers Mobile Pace. The five year old, trained by Wayne Adams for Joe and Raeleen Thompson, Niki and Stephen Keast, missed most of last year with a near career-ending lung infection. Mac Henry

There aren't a lot of stars in the opening trot at Wyndham and its 18 months since The Badger gained his one and only win. However, the six year old showed enough in a workout win last Sunday to suggest he should be considered a hope on Sunday. The Badger is now with Lindsay Veint, his fourth trainer, and has recently been leased by Southland Times scribe Jamie Searle. Races two to five make up the day's first quaddie and race five is also the beginning of pick six. First starters never make good anchors but a spot should be found for Ideal Legs in the second. Two and a half weeks ago the Murray Little co-owned filly dominated her qualifying trial at Gore and scored by four in 2:50.0. She was driven by trainer Nathan Williamson who is charge again on Sunday.  Matt Saunders would appear to have a strong hand in the second and third legs with Longevity and Sketching. The pair contested the same race at Ascot Park last week, Longevity enjoying the one-one. She found clear air on straightening and closed strongly. Sketching sat parked throughout and could have been forgiven for retreating. Instead, he kept fighting for fourth. There is another first starter in race three who deserves a second look. Jimmy Nga is trained on the course by Colin and Gordon Lee and qualified there in September. Driven by Colin Lee, also a co-owner, he trailed the leader on a solid pace and finished along the lane to stop the watch at 3:04.6. Although Colin doesn't do a lot of raceday driving, his CV includes group-race success and he'll be in the sulky on Sunday. The final leg of the first quaddie and first of pick six has a number of realistic chances with Terracotta perhaps the best of them. A leader and then parked early last week, the filly was carted back and even when brought wide on the turn, was denied clear air until too late. Justasip needs to be considered in race six. At long odds last week, she secured a nice trip three back on the poles but struggled to get the gaps when needed.  The second quaddie opens on race seven which is the third of pick six. Once again there are a few chances with Jayedgar one of them. During the week, the Art Official three year old was transferred from Murray Swain to his son Arron but Blair Orange retains the drive. From the outside of the front line last week, Jayedgar had no sooner gone back than he got a cart up to sit parked for the final 1200. Entitled to quit, the gelding did the opposite at the end of 2200 metres run in a two minute mile rate and wound up second. Mention should also be made of Tour Director, beaten favourite when racing for the first time in 20 months. With only two behind him on settling the son of Art Major got carted forward three wide and was four wide across the top. The effort told but his close fifth was full of merit. Four year old mare Alderbeck is fresh-up for the season and faces some battle-hardened performers in the second trot. She looks though to have the upside and be worth more than a second glance. In a 2600 metre trial at Oamaru mid-October containing five Williamson trotters and one other, Alderbeck was second to Blazing Under Fire, the trial run in a 3:27.2, home from the 800 in 58.7. Craig Ferguson on Robs Ideal will be looking for a return to form in the penultimate pick six and quaddie leg. The combination contested the stand-start Riverton Cup last week and a couple of checks within the first 500 metres put paid to their chances. Back to a mobile and drawn one, they will not be the worst. Mighty Flying Deal is a must for the last of the day. After doing work from the outside of the second row last week to get handy, the four year old was shuffled to midfield. Four wide on the turn, his finish was huge and he came up just a head short.   Mac Henry

A few are asking "where are the Gordon Lee and Colin Lee trained horses this season?"   Records show that they haven’t had a runner to the races at all this season.   No, they haven’t quit the game - it's just circumstances that have meant a slow start to the season for the Wyndham training partnership, but that’s about to change.   “Betty and I went over to Europe for a couple of months for the Rugby World Cup and went to France to see harness racing over there." "Colin had open heart surgery (unexpected) in Dunedin so he’s been out of commission for three months." "He’s just gone back to work last week. " We're taking three horses to the workouts shortly and it looks like we’ll be kicking off at Forbury (Friday 11th December),” said Gordon.   The Lees’ are grateful for help from guys like Peter Dobson who've helped to  jog up their team in their absence.   So in the next few weeks, expect to see the light blue colours with grey hoops and sleeves back on the track with horses like Shak’n Cullen, A Moment Of Sun, Moon Countess, Flushing Meadow and Love The Moment.   While in England Gordon and Betty saw all four of the All Blacks pool games but didn’t stay on for the quarters, semis or final.   “It would have cost us $9,000. to get category A tickets and that’s without accommodation.”   While the Lees were in Paris they visited the Vincennes Hippodrome - the home to 157 race meetings a year including 21 Group One events but that’s another story. Bruce Stewart Reproduced with permission of Southland Harness Racing   -   Check site here

The Council meeting proper began with consideration of a number of matters discussed at the previous meeting last October. These included the proposal to Extend Three year old Concessions until the end of August to bring us into line with Australia, and the Points Ranking System which, following the recent Handicapping Committee meeting, appeared to have been set aside in favour of a money won system, however some Clubs were still resisting its’ introduction. Gordon Lee and Ken Barron disagreed on whether the current split stake system was working in Southland. Peter Ferguson suggested that each region was different and felt that nominations should be called for C0, C1 and C2 races with split conditions. He suggested that Clubs be lobbied to make better use of race conditions, however the Canterbury reps reported they were continually thwarted in these endeavours. The RIU was to be asked about progress on whether Starters were to be employed by that organisation. Peter Ferguson also reported that pay scales for Clerks of the Course varied considerably, and suggested that the RIU could employ these also. Ken Barron suggested that appearance money be paid (for example back to sixth placing in a twelve horse field), but should not come from the stakes paid to other place-getters. This was supported in general and would be discussed with the Owners, and Breeders organisations. Rob Lawson reminded the meeting that the role of the Association was to support license-holders, and such a move could take money away from that group. The meeting then moved on to agenda items, with Rob Lawson reporting on an HRNZ Animal Welfare Sub-Committee that he had been part of. Basically it was to ensure that a policy document existed that showed HRNZ were being pro-active in the animal welfare field. The Committee took a reasoned point of view that whips were needed, and agreed that our whip use rules were better than the Australian equivalent. Ken Barron suggested the introduction of padded whips, however it was decided that such a move would not alter the perception issue. Peter Ferguson suggested that half the driving fee should be paid if a horse is scratched after declaration time, as a driver is still committed to attend the meeting even if he or she is left with only one drive. Gordon Lee and Rob Lawson advised that the money from unused driving fees was being paid out in various bonus schemes in some areas, however the meeting agreed that the money involved in the proposal would barely effect those schemes. Following discussion it was decided that the Association should put up a remit to achieve the above, however asking that a full fee be paid to the drivers affected. A proposal that the same sulkies be supplied by HRNZ for all races was considered, however the meeting felt that the financial problems involved made it impractical. Mark Jones suggested that larger excesses be applied to insurance for the more expensive sulkies. He also felt that there should be insurance cover for colours and drivers gear, etc. Gordon Lee once again outlined the advantages of the Bulls-Eye Barrier Draw system, particularly in regard to fixed-odds betting. Following discussion, it was decided to write to HRNZ suggesting that this system be used for the Harness Jewels only, as is the case with the Miracle Mile and Interdominion Grand Final. Ken Barron led discussion on the subject of the makeup of the HRNZ Board, with John Lischner advising that the HRNZ Strategic Plan contained an investigation into this, although that did not mean there would be a change. It appeared that the optimum Board size was seven, and the problem was to decide who missed out on representation, while maintaining a reasonable balance. It was decided that the opinions of the Council should be conveyed to HRNZ to be included in their deliberations. Mark Jones, in suggesting the micro-chipping of all horses, suggested that much time, energy and paperwork could be saved by HRNZ and the RIU if this system was introduced. There was full support and a letter of recommendation was to be sent to HRNZ. Consideration was given to various changes to the current scratching penalties, however it was decided that further consideration was needed before any recommendation was made. Mark Jones was supported in suggesting that Clubs with no pylons and passing lanes should not be granted a license to race. Peter Ferguson and David Butcher also felt that lanes should be a consistent length. Following discussion the meeting agreed that the lane should be between 200m and 250m long, and these suggestions were to be made to HRNZ. The current stakes limits applied to Three year-old Concessions were discussed, mostly around whether they were still relevant due to stake increases. There were various opinions on this topic with no agreement being reached at this point. Following discussion it was decided that an increase in driving fees to $75 + GST should be applied for. Due to the resignation of John Lischner, a new Chairman needed to be appointed. John Lischner nominated Rob Lawson as the new Chairman, and this was seconded by Peter Ferguson and supported unanimously. National Council Meeting Feedback The following is a summary of feedback from HRNZ and the RIU on matters raised at the recent National Council meeting. From Edward Rennell, HRNZ CEO: Q. Can you advise any progress on extending the Three year-old concessions until the end of August, as suggested by Wayne Reid. A. CONSIDERED BY HANDICPPING SUB-COMMITTEE 9 APRIL – NO SUPPORT FOR CHANGE TO STATUS QUO RE THIS. Q. Bulls Eye Barrier Draw. There was full support at the Council meeting for using this as a one-off for the Harness Jewels. Is it too late for this year? A. TOO LATE FOR THIS YEAR. CAN CONSIDER IN DEBRIEF FOR NEXT YEAR, WHICH WILL BE DONE IN LATE JUNE. Q. There is a proposal to pay a full driving fee for declared drivers for scratched horses. The idea is to put up a Remit - is that the way to go? A. LET ME CHECK – IF REMIT, I WILL GET CHRIS LANGE TO DRAFT AND PUT UNDER TDA NAME IN ORDER PAPER. Q. It was suggested that larger excesses should be applied to Sulky Insurance to cover at least some of the larger costs involved recently. How would that be done? A. COLIN HAIR, JENNY AND I DISCUSSED THIS WITH JOHN LISCHNER TODAY. SUBJECT TO COMPUTER WORK REQUIRED, ONE OPTION MIGHT BE TO GIVE TRAINERS AN OPTION OF PAYING RATE A OR B SAY, WHICH WILL THEN HAVE DIFFERENTIAL MAXIMUM PAYMENTS AVAILABLE. WE WILL DO SOME MORE ANALYSIS OF OPTIONS AND THEN BRING BACK FOR CONSULTATION. THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE PRIOR TO THE END OF MAY AND LICENCE RENEWALS BEING SENT OUT. From Mike Godber, General Manager RIU: Q. Has there been any progress on the RIU employing Starters, which the Association fully supports? Also has any thought been given to the RIU employing Clerks of the Course? A. The matter of Starters and whether the RIU should employ them will be reviewed in the new season. The RIU contracting Clerks of the Course has not been considered. My initial thoughts are that local knowledge is pretty important in finding competent people who can do the job so Clubs are probably better placed to continue to find and contract Clerks of the Course than the RIU. Q. Are there any plans to test frozen samples for Cobalt Chloride? A. Regarding the potential to test frozen samples for cobalt I would advise yes that is definitely part of our testing policy. You can take it that this policy will not only apply to cobalt but to any new prohibited substance. There is no point in freezing samples and holding them for 6 months if you don't then take the opportunity to test them when a new substance comes about. I understand the Australians have also tested frozen samples when new tests come available. Q. Can you clarify the policy concerning late scratching of horses that have been sold, and there are no emergencies in the field denied a start. There seem to have been inconsistencies in the level of fines for this recently. A. The policy is that where a horse is scratched after being sold and it does not deny a horse a start and the trainer has been in contact with the stewards in the lead up to the sale the RIU will not charge. While that is the general policy we do consider each case. Recently a trainer was charged even though the scratching did not deny another horse a start. The Stewards were advised the horse would be scratched at 5.50pm on the night of the races, and there had been no contact prior, advising the horse was possibly being sold. There was another situation which may have caused this matter to be raised. I believe it was up north a trainer was charged $350 by the JCA who, in their decision, considered it a deliberate act when their horse was scratched around 10am on race day. Perhaps a week later at Methven, a horse was scratched 7pm the night before the races the fine was $250. The stewards who had noted the northern JCA decision submitted to the JCA that they did not consider the scratching a deliberate act and the result was a lower fine. The variation in fines is ultimately down to the JCA and there may be some variation in circumstances. Thanks to Edward and Mike for their prompt responses to our questions. There are further matters up for discussion and consideration, details of these will be posted at a later date. Rob Lawson expressed his thanks for his appointment and was supported by those present in paying tribute to John Lischner for his years of hard work as Chairman and representative on the HRNZ Board. John Lischner in turn, expressed his thanks for the being given the opportunity to represent the Association, and wished his successor well for the future. By PETER T COOK (TRAINERS AND DRIVERS ASSOCIATION)

Also prior to the Council meeting proper, HRNZ CEO Edward Rennell came along to outline HRNZs’ plans for the Industry in the near future and discuss any issues that the Association may have. He began with comments on Trackside, saying that he felt that the new format should have been fully set up prior to the launch, instead of on 1 August. He was hopeful that the new domestic only channel (Trackside 1) would benefit harness racing, particularly on the two meeting Fridays, when there would be no greyhound racing shown. With regard to Industry funding, it was likely that extra funding would, once again be available this season, the question to be considered by the Board was how that would be allocated to Clubs. He outlined the proposal for next seasons’ Premier meetings, with Addington holding eight and Auckland six, all with $20,000 minimum stakes and, in conjunction with the Sires Stakes Board, five new feature races for three and four year-olds would be included in these meetings. Unfortunately, due to constraints of the Calendar, four of these Premier dates would clash with minor meetings in the other Island. However this format was planned to be a constant structure for five years, with suitable gaps between the meetings to ensure maximum inter-island participation. Next years’ Calendar had been virtually finalised with 3 or four less harness meetings that the current season scheduled. This season was currently up on last season in regard to turnovers and horse participation, with stake levels up around 5%. Exports were slightly down on last season, with the reduction of Australian interest due to the new levy being offset by interest from China, which was considered to be moving in a positive direction. A major concern for the industry was the reduction of funds allocated from gaming money, and on-going problems with trusts etc. Ken Barron questioned why the stakes for Sires Stakes, Sales, and Fillies Series heats should vary, when all participants paid the same payments. There was also a feeling that more money should be paid for heats, with a reduction in stakes for Finals, so that the money is spread more to connections who have paid up for the Series. Edward suggested these matters should be taken up with our representative on the Sires Stakes Board. Edward also outlined details of remits that were planned to be submitted to the Annual Conference, including the change to the Protest Rule, which had been prepared by Rob.Lawson and the Rules Sub-Committee, and was supported by the National Council. Under the new Rule, the potentially disastrous situation surrounding the inquiry into interference at the start of the Sales Series Final by Alta Orlando would not have happened. Other remits would include ensure there would be more regular alcohol testing of drivers, the introduction of new Rules to cover Monte racing, and the banning of dual acceptors at the one meeting, which all present agreed offered an unfair advantage, and caused confusion for Pick Six etc. punters when a horse was left in two races. Other issues covered with Edward included the underutilisation of a number of tracks, such as Cambridge, complications surrounding centralisation (HRNZ were investigating aspects of this in regard to the Reserves Act), the allocation of actual costs to Clubs instead of the current flat rate, the swabbing of claimed horses (Edward undertook to request that the RIU swab all claimed horses where practical), the independent review of the RIU, and the developing issue of Cobalt Chloride. Edward had asked HRNZ’s veterinary advisor to address the Council, however he had been unavailable, so he suggested that Association representatives meet with Andrew Grierson at the end of May, or hold a telephone conference with him to discuss drug related issues. A suggestion that Andrew could be perceived as having a conflict of interest due to his interest in Woodlands Stud was rejected by Edward, who considered that he simply provided opinions based on veterinary expertise. However Gordon Lee countered this by quoting his recent case involving Boldenone, where that opinion had proven to be flawed. Edward advised that consideration was being given to standardising pay-outs to Clubs for on and off course turnovers, due to many on-course punters using new technology such as phones to place bets. (Part 3 next week) Peter T Cook (NZ Trainers & Drivers Association)

A nasty smash which caused the $45,000 Group Two Southern Supremacy to be abandoned put a dampener on what was otherwise a great days harness racing at Invercargill. As the talented 12 horse line-up raced into the back straight, Meticulous (Natalie Rasmussen), who was four back the fence, galloped and then fell, causing chaos to the second half of the field. Both Mark Purdon (Gentle Western) and Kirk Larsen (Jango Fett) were dislodged from their sulkies. Jango Fett then galloped off driverless and the race was quickly called off due to safety precautions. All horses and drivers came through the crash relatively unscathed but because the race had gone further than 1000 metres the race was unable to be re-run and was therefore abandoned. It is currently unknown if the race will be rescheduled for a later date. Meanwhile, the $45,000 Southland Oaks was taken out by the Gordon and Colin Lee trained Royal Counsel, who clocked a track record time of 2-39.4 when winning the Group Two feature. Driven patiently by Gordon Lee, who celebrated the win with a victory salute, Royal Counsel boomed down centre track to down Raksdeal by a head. Goodness Gracious Me and Willow, who was made to work hard early, were close up in third and fourth. Royal Counsel, who was sent South to Gordon & Colin Lee by Malcolm Shinn, is owned by Shinn’s partner Lisa Daily along with Jan Calvert. The big strong daughter of Gotta Go Cullect has now won three of her nine starts. For Colin Lee, it was his second win in the prestigious Southland race after taking out the 1988 edition with Scapa Chip. Other impressive winners on the card included stylish two-year-old debutant Kept Under Wraps, who downed the previously unbeaten Itz Bettor To Win, while Pemberton Shard claimed victory in the $25,000 Southern Country Cups Final. By Mitchell Robertson    

Perception - PR or a Plague At this time of year, matters of administration tend to either dry up and/or be put on hold while our members get involved in what they do best, train and drive horses. While the majority of workers in New Zealand are about to put their feet up for a week or two, because harness racing is part of the entertainment industry, the holiday period can be one of the busiest times of the year for horses and their connections. If that sounds like an excuse for not being able to come up with anything in particular to put on this site this week, you're right - it is! So, what I will do is reprint an e-mail sent to various industry figures earlier this week by our Otago/Southland Chairman, Gordon Lee. I've taken the liberty to edit/censor it a little, but the following is the general idea: Consider the word perception,a word we consistently hear from HRNZ and the RIU. If we continue to keep making decisions for this Industry based on that stupid word, our Industry is in for huge failure. For those people who wish to listen,let me give you a lesson in grammar. The dictionary meaning of perception: "a process by which one detects or interprets information from a means relating to the senses or power of sensation". There is absolutely no mention of the word meaning factual,yet we allow so called intelligent people in this Industry to continually use it to justify their decisions which far too often is then interpreted as fact. These people need to take a step back and open their eyes to the fact they are dealing with human lives where their actions can so easily ruin individuals and families forever,when they are quite clearly innocent of any wrong doing. Don't know what I'm talking about ?? Well try that one on someone else. I'm living proof and I do know. So, by what means do we approach these issues that will give people a better understanding of our Rules? Obviously the RIU believes perception is extremely important because the they have not changed their position or approach,they have recently announced dumb statements about some race-day treatments etc. that are quite farcical, and further theyfailed to involve the NZT&DA in any consultation. The whole announcement gives the perception these treatments, some of which are simply icepacks, are a means of cheating. Why not tell the public the truth - they have NO effect on the performance of a horse. Simple. So let's get rid of all this theoretical rubbish and assumptions about corruption going on in the Industry, if Board members, RIU and the like keep running around saying and agreeing with 'dickheads' that the drug culture is rife in the Industry, we might as well all throw our licenses in now. These people need to grow up and show a bit of honesty, maturity and common sense. Try working with the license-holders instead of accusing them generally of being cheats. I have not ever heard one public statement where the license-holders have been given high accolades of honesty - why? Because, they don't believe it. Gordon Lee/Peter Cook RIU Notice You will no doubt by now have seen the notice issued by the Racing Integrity Unit, entitled "Race day treatment of Racehorses Notice". The Trainers and Drivers Association is disappointed with both the content of this document, and also the way that it has been presented. First of all, there has been no consultation with the Association on the matters contained in the notice prior to its' publication. The RIU has, a number of times, been critical of articles written and comments made by representatives of the Association, and we have been asked to discuss any matters of concern or interest prior to going public. Sadly this policy appears only to apply to one party in this arrangement. It is understood that the details of the notice have been worked out between the RIU and the Equine Veterinary Association, who have been described as "the professionals in the Industry who are the obvious group to consult". It seems the professionals who are most affected by these guidelines, i.e. trainers, are not considered to be quite so obvious, despite the stated RIU policy of "preventative action though providing information to participants". The Association has been regularly told that the RIU merely exists to administer the HRNZ Rules, and do not make them, yet many of the items included in the notice do not appear to be covered under the Rules of Harness Racing. Rules 1004 (5) & (6) cover the possession of a prohibited substance and the race-day use of any substance by injection, nasal gastric tube, ventilator or nebulizer. The Association is fully supportive of these Rules, however we struggle to see where these or any other Rules cover the use of the likes of magnetic or ice boots. Such products are considered beneficial to the horses' welfare and are not performance enhancing. Also, the paragraph entitled ‘Topical Applications' is considered vague at best. For instance, does a treatment for greasy heel such as EMU oil, which contains no medicaments, fall into this category or not? Perhaps some constructive consultation with the Trainers & Drivers Association may have assisted in making this notice a useful tool to "assist trainers and veterinary surgeons in interpreting some of the ‘grey areas' associated with the definition of a race day treatment," instead of a document which creates more questions than answers, and will probably result in yet more costly and damaging legal arguments. Peter T Cook To View more information on the Trainers and Drivers Assocation website click here.

Southland harness racing trainer Gordon Lee has no regrets selling his share of last Sunday's (April 28) Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling. 'I did want to keep her because even though she was little she showed a lot of ability when she was young.

The Wyndham harness racing track was flying fast today (Sunday Febuary 3) and Seabreeze Star capitalized on that in the third heat of the Kiwi Ingenuity Southern Belle Speed Series by putting a 1-54.0 mile time next to her name and in the process running a new track record.

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