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By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk    The dominance of Bettor’s Delight up to and including 2020 has evoked memories of another super sire born exactly one hundred years ago. In the season just gone by Bettor’s Delight’s progeny were a league above any other, and when he is crowned champion sire at next month’s Harness Racing awards it will be his ninth New Zealand premiership in a row. The first sire to do nine straight was a horse that sounds more like a driver or trainer – Jack Potts. Born exactly one hundred years ago Jack Potts was the leading sire from 1937/8 to 1945/6 after a mixed racing career. Foaled in 1920 the American-bred two-year-old was imported to this country by Alex Anderson of Christchurch. Plagued by leg injuries he won nine races including being placed twice in the New Zealand Cup. In the 1927 Auckland Cup he was narrowly beaten by dual New Zealand Cup winner Ahuriri. As a sire he not only topped the list for nine years straight but was in the top three for 13 seasons. During the depression he stood at just seven pounds and many breeders were so hard up that they would pay the fee off a pound at a time as they could afford it. Altogether he sired 271 individual winners (1212 races) and his daughters produced over 320 winners. His list of winners include some impressive names, among them Inter-dominion champion Emulous (1948) and two-time New Zealand Cup winner Lucky Jack (1937 and 1939). The stock of Jack Potts also won four New Zealand Derbies. As a sire of broodmares Jack Potts was even more successful. Among the major winners his daughters produced were Tactician, the first two-minute racehorse outside North America who won 20 races including an Inter-Dominion in 1955. There was also 18-race winner Van Dieman, the winner of the 1951 New Zealand Cup for Cecil Devine. 1953 Auckland Cup winner Thelma Globe was another stand out with 17 victories and a world record over 1 ¼ miles (2000 metres). In all the direct offspring of Jack Potts won more than 1200 races. He died in 1948 aged 28. Another champion sire U Scott took over from Jack Potts and equalled the nine premierships but they were between 1946/7 and 1961/2, not consecutively. Other top stallions at the time were Dillon Hall, Hal Tryax and Light Brigade. The great Vance Hanover was the champion sire for 10 years in a row, between 1987/8-1996/7. He was unraced (because of a cracked sesamoid) and the first son of world champion pacer and sire Albatross to be made available to New Zealand breeders. His progeny had 2106 wins from 1983 to 2001. In contrast stock from the now 23-year-old Bettor’s Delight have produced nearly 3500 wins from more than 1200 NZ-bred winners in this country since 2007, including five of the last six New Zealand Cup winners (The Fixer, Lazarus, Adore Me, Arden Rooney) and other stars like Tiger Tara, Have Faith In Me and Chicago Bull. Just like U Scott took over from Jack Potts, Bettor’s Delight took over from Christian Cullen. Many millionaires have been produced by the Bettor’s delight production line, with the prospect of many many more in the future.

Down Under horsemen headline one of the biggest days of the year for American Harness Racing, Hambletonian Day. Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands on Saturday consisted of some of the best harness racing horses in the world racing, extremely fast times and a lot of success.  Down Under driver Andrew McCarthy was the star of the show winning 5 races on the day and taking out the $1 million Hambletonian with filly Ramona Hill, for trainer Tony Alanga. McCarthy and Ramona Hill headed out favourite and backed up her huge elimination win the week prior when running her last quarter in 25.4 seconds. On Saturday night the 3yo daughter of Muscle Hill had race rivals covered by a length to win in 1:50.1. McCarthys other wins were with Angers Bayama in 1:48.3, Reflect With Me in the $90,525 Shady Daisy in 1:48.3, Caviart Eva in 1:53.3, and Darlene Hanover in the $350,300 Jim Doherty Memorial for 2yo trotters in 1:55.1. Dexter Dunn also had a successful day winning two races. Firstly he teamed up with Down Under trainer Chris Ryder who had Bettors Wish back to career best form when beating a quality field of Free For All ers. Dunn sent the Bettors Delight colt forward and worked overtime early to find the lead just after the first quarter that was run in 25.3. Race favourite Dancing Lou went up to eyeball past the half in a blistering 52.1. But Bettors Wish proved so tough to kick away and hold off late challenges from Backstreet Shadow to win in 1:47.3.  Down Under Trainers Brett Pelling and Mark Harder also picked up wins on the big day.  Pelling won the $166,550 Dr. John R. Steele Memorial Mares Open trot with When Dovescry in 1:50.0, with David Miller in the bike.  Mark Harder won the $319,000 Peter Houghton Memorial Final for 2yo trotting Colts and Geldings, with Zenith Stride in 1:55.1 and Brian Sears doing the driving. For owners Emilio and Mary Rosati of Stride Corporation, who have their own harness racing stable Down Under in Sydney, Australia with successful trainer/driver Anthony Butt. Champion Down Under mare Shartin N was also in the winner’s circle on the day after she won the $177,100 Lady Liberty Mares Open. Trainer Jim King Jr had her in fine form for driver Tim Tetrick who had her on the top end of the field for the trip and fought off all challenges to win in 1:48.2. Making it back to back wins in the Lady Liberty for her. Down Under trio of Major Occasion A, trainer Nifty Norman and driver Dexter Dunn came in 2nd.  On the day Down Under harness people and horses won 10 of the 18 races. An amazing day for Down Under Harness racing and puts in perspective the impact of Down Under harness on American Harness Racing.   Monday 3rd August   Northfield Park OH Elrama N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $5,000   Plainridge Park MA Shady Secret A – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $7,500 Saratoga Harness NY Crockets Cullen N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $8,500   Tuesday 4th August   Running Aces Casino & Racetrack MN Motu Moonbeam N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $5,200 Saratoga Harness NY Two Fiftyeight N – Time: 1:55.0 Stake: $4,550 Onspeed N – Time: 1:56.3 Stake: $4,550 Pasultimatedelite N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $4,800   Scioto Downs OH Executive Dash N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $4,500 Yonkers Raceway NY Kasey John A – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $8,500 Century Downs Racetrack CA Sell A Bit N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $7,600   Wednesday 5th August   Harrahs Philadelphia PA English Rose N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $8,800 Northfield Park OH Sporty Spook A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $3,800   Saratoga Harness NY Naughty Maravu N – Time: 1:54.1 Stake: $3,500 Scioto Downs OH Cyclone Kiwi N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $5,500   Thursday 6th August   Plainridge Park MA Rock Diamonds N – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $14,000 Major Crisis A – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $12,000 Sign To Inverell A – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $5,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Ambro Courage N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $12,500 Imprincessgemma A – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $18,000 Zach Maguire N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $15,500 Hundie N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $12,500 Charlottetown Driving Park CA Misty Memory N – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $2,100 Rideau Carleton Raceway CA Darcee N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $5,500 Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Bute Courage N – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $10,000   Friday 7th August   Harrahs Hoosier Park IN Sprinter N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $10,500 Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Random Task A, 3rd Brilliant Strike N Tulhurstsantanna A – Time: 1:49.4, Stake: $10,500 Meadowlands NJ Love The Blues N – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $9,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Mister Daytona N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $8,500 Ohoka Johnny N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $12,500   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Gold Orchid N – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $18,000 Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Bettor Trix N, 3rd Firebby A   Saturday 8th August   Batavia Downs NY Sir Richie N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $5,500 Stening A – Time: 1:57.0, Stake: $3,800   Meadowlands NJ Shartin N – Time: 1:48.2, Stake: $177,100   Scioto Downs OH Stars Align A – Time: 1:50.0, Stake: $17,500 Flying Wingard A – Time: 1:50.2, Stake: $14,000   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Joesstar Of Mia  A – Time: 1:50.0, Stake: $14,000 Alluneedisfaith N – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $14,000 Vettel N – Time: 1:50.2, Stake: $11,200   Tioga Downs NY Coveredndiamonds A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $5,500   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA General Joy A – Time: 1:49.3, Stake: $22,000   Sunday 9th August   Harrahs Philadelphia PA Somwherenbrookln N – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $8,800 The Moonshadow N – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $11,600 Jacks Shadow N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $10,000   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Billy Lincoln N – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $12,000 Shes Nun Bettor N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $12,000 Delishka N – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $14,000 Georgian Downs CA Premier Joy A – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $10,000 Rideau Carleton Raceway CA Darcee N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $5,500   Click here for previous weeks articles   by Carter Dalgety

The six-year-old mare Havana Magic, who was bred in Victoria by Pat Driscoll’s Yabby Dam Farms, is the leading trotter in Queensland for the 2019/20 harness racing season. Her end-to-end triumph at Albion Park last Saturday (August 8) was her ninth success for the season and her second in the space of just four days. The winner of $64,252, Havana Magic is the second foal out of the Kadabra mare Pepperell Magic, a half-sister to the Victoria Trotters Oaks winner Adella’s Dash, dam of the Group winners Glenferrie Dreamer and Glenferrie Burn. Havana Magic, a half-sister to Group 2 winner All Cashed Up, is one of six winners bred by Yabby Dam Farms during the last fortnight. Majestic Player, bred and formerly raced in Victoria by Driscoll, has taken American trotting by storm since being exported last year. The five-year-old gelding stretched his winning sequence to 10 and took his USA earnings to beyond $100,000 when he won an $US18,000 Open in 1:51.8 at Hoosier Park, Indiana on August 1.  In further American news, Ready Cash, whose leading son Bold Eagle and Group winning sons Brilliantissime and En Solitaire (NZ only) are all available for this season from Haras Des Trotteurs, sired the placegetters Ready For Moni (2nd) and Back Of The Neck (3rd) in the record equalling $1 million Hambletonian. The pair are members of a crop of seven foals in America sired by the French champion. Imsettogo, a four-year-old and one of the first crop of resident stallion Used To Me, continues to fly the flag for her sire, winning for the seventh time this season at Ballarat from the front end and clocking the last 800 in a blazing 56.7. The French stallion Orlando Vici, another of the Haras Des Trotteurs frozen semen roster, produced the runaway 1:57.6 Menangle winner Adelle NZ and the homebred Orlando Jolt, who completed back-to-back successes at Stawell. The pair are from Orlando Vici’s initial Australasian crop of 19 foals, 14 of which have been successful! Brilliant Love You colt Eurokash, a double winner at two, opened his three-year-old campaign in style with a dashing come-from-behind winning effort at Addington. Other Yabby Dam Farm-bred winners were Petite Love (Cranbourne) and the pacer Live For Peace (Launceston).   by Peter Wharton

Another pacer looks set to take a step in the right direction for Mick Gadsden, who’s latest reclamation project strides on to the track at Shepparton tonight for her first start, an achievement that's no small feat. Supremely bred Sporting Model makes her debut in the Equine After Care 3YO Maiden Pace tonight, something of a milestone for her owners, including trainer Shaun McNaulty, who snapped her up at the 2018 Australian Pacing Gold sales. The Art Major filly is out of 27-time winning mare All Eyes On Me ($349,926), which makes her a full-sister to Breeders Crown Graduate winner All Eyes On Us ($307,515). However, that royal breeding hasn’t yet shone through. McNaulty recently handed the three-year-old to Gadsden, hoping the latter's extensive experience as a farrier could overcome the prospect’s early difficulties. “She had a few tries with Shaun and was getting on her knee a bit,” Gadsden said. “He decided to send her to me to try and get her sorted out.” Two months on and good progress has been made, including a competitive third placing in a Stawell trial on July 1. Gadsden said being a professional farrier made it much easier for him to continually experiment with different practices to overcome the pacer’s troubles. “I can work with her, make changes and little adjustments, trial and error,” he said. “I think we have got the knee knocking under control and am pleased she is starting to look like a racehorse.” It’s not an unfamiliar situation for the Charlton trainer, who is one half of Mickbeigh Racing, along with partner/driver Denbeigh Wade. “Nearly all the better horses we have had have come with foot issues, including King Denny and Ainthatrightmacca,” he said. “It’s definitely a challenge I enjoy and it can give you an edge to be able to shoe your own horses and fix things there and then.” Having said that, his expectations are modest for Sporting Model in tonight's third race, which streams at 6.23pm on Trots Vision. “She is quite a large horse for a three-year-old, well over six or seven hands, and is a little slow picking things up,” Gadsden said. “She definitely has a race in her, but it may take her four or five races to learn what it takes to be a racehorse. Being the size she is and the issues with her knee knocking she has lost a bit of conficence, but I feel she is improving each time.” Gadsden will also race Markleigh Caz tonight, with the consistent six-year-old mare contesting the Saddleword Shepparton Pace. “She’ll need the run. She lost out a bit when the Maryborough meeting was called off. She needs to race once a week to stay in race shape, so she’ll be a run short,” Gadsden said. “She draws awkward, but she will run an honest sort of race.” Markleigh Caz is a consistent race day presence for the stable, which has recently relocated to Charlton’s training centre and is thriving. “We’re up to working 12 now with another due to come back in,” Gadsden said. “We have had a few wins and King Denny was good first up and will be in at Shepparton on Saturday night. “There is a Charlton meeting next Monday and we are looking to have three or four there, and it will be good to get out on the new home track.”   HRV - Michael Howard

THE GOOD The Marburg to Albion Park Series’ are always popular and the latest running culminated with the Final held at Albion Park on Saturday night. With five heats held at Marburg on the preceding Sunday, the first two placed runners in each heat progressed through to Saturday’s Final, run over the Albion Park 1660-metre trip. The Dudley Warburton-trained ten-year-old Bukthsystem claimed the race, using the passing lane to arrive for victory in a new career best of 1.55.5. In another superb advertisement for the longevity of the standardbred, the PB came at start number 203, recording the 14th win of his career for the rising eleven-year-old. It was a well-deserved victory, with Bukthsystem having been in great form in recent times and backed up his heat win at Marburg. In a superb training feat, Bukthsystem has raced at least three times every month consecutively since July 2018. However, it has not always been smooth sailing with the gelding for his trainer. “When he was younger, he threw me out of the cart when he was playing up and I fractured two vertebrae in the accident, that’s why we gave him the name Buk,” Warburton said. “Even now he will pull hard and is keen in the preliminary, yet when he races, he never seems to pull that much.” And it was at the instruction of his driver Nathan Dawson that some gear adjustments in recent times seem to be paying dividends. Dawson also may have provided punters with a lead in opting to drive Bukthsystem in Saturday night’s final after having the choice of drives. “Nathan said to me on Wednesday night with a cheeky grin, by the way, I will be driving Buk on Saturday night because only a bad driver will get him beat,” the trainer said. That left Dudley with some nerves to overcome as he began to feel a little bit of pressure in breaking a Saturday night victory drought. Some light-hearted banter between trainers on the night added to the mix. With trainer Graham White stabled next to Warburton on Saturday, he had a light-hearted jibe with Dawson with regards to how many winners the leading driver had reined home until that point of the evening. “Nathan replied ‘no worries Whitey, I’m about to get my first’ which then made me feel some more nerves because after what he had said Wednesday as well,” Warburton said. Dawson delivered on the promise, with a perfect drive to score victory up the passing lane. It was the first Saturday night success for Warburton since the win of Itzallinthetimin back in 2012 and a win that he won’t forget in a hurry. “It will take a while for this happiness to wear off that’s for sure,” quipped Warburton. “I hope it’s not another eight years for my next Saturday night winner.” Asked as to what sort of regime keeps Bukthsytem racing so well and consistently for such a long period now, Warburton was more than happy to reveal his secret. “Old Buk is just such a beautiful horse, my wife has him looking superb all the time - she looks after that,” he said. “I mostly let the racing keep him fit and I think when I threatened him a while back when he wasn’t going so well, it got him back into form. “You see he was racing a bit flat and so I pulled Buk aside and threatened him with retirement! “That was just what he needed and he turned the corner.” The entire Warburton family is involved in equine pursuits of some form, with a son involved in rodeo and a daughter in quarter horses. Buk even has a miniature pony in the yard next to him at the stables and all the family both two and four-legged having a contribution to Bukthsytem and his journey. “Buk is such a great horse, he even picks his hay up and will carry it to the fence so the pony can share it with him - that’s just him, he is such a great character,” Warburton said. The next race for Bukthsystem now provides Warburton with another challenge, a dilemma that he is quite happy to be faced with!   THE BAD Happiness was quickly replaced with despair at Redcliffe on Thursday following the ‘win’ of Inciter in Race 3 - the Dan Costello Photography Pace. Owned and trained by Greg Elkins and driven by his son Matt, Inciter had been winless since December 9, 2018 heading into the race. Running down the straight, Inciter was first across the line, with Doolittle Dandy using the passing lane second over the line and Major Grandeur third. Delaying the all-clear to view the patrol film, connections of the third-placed Major Grandeur lodged a protest feeling they were hampered in the run to the finish by Inciter. Following the hearing, the stewards deemed the interference greater than the winning margin, amending the official results to Doolittle Dandy first, Major Grandeur second, and Inciter in third position. Not the best day for Elkins, who had two runners in for the day; his other Tearaway Diamond also facing the ire of the stewards, banished to the trials for breaking in running.   THE WILDCARD Some people enjoy a stiff drink as a pick-me-up, and for Gail Geeson Scotch En Ice would have been the ideal tonic, with the two-year-old claiming a maiden breaking victory last Tuesday. With Geeson battling ill-health, Scotch En Ice was sent to Darren Weeks and Kylie Rasmussen to prepare. With Gail and husband Vic Frost cutting back on the workload, the COVID situation also became a factor with their stables based in Northern New South Wales at Sleepy Hollow. Scotch En Ice - a gelded son of Hurrikane Kingcole - had shown a win was not far away, having placed in two of his previous three starts. The victory last Tuesday came at his fifth career start, leading all the way in scoring a 10.8m victory in a slick 1.55.9 mile rate. With a QBRED first win bonus for Scotch En Ice, he became the seventh winner from nine foals to race for his dam Frostiness. In some bittersweet symmetry, it was also the first winner ranking Frost’s champion Westburn Grant as the sire or damsire since the dual Inter Dominion winner passed away back in late June.   THE MILESTONE The boutique stable of Stephen Cini ticked off a milestone at last Tuesday’s Albion Park meeting with the victory of Mymatepog. Scoring victory in a new personal best over the mile of 1.53.9, the win saw Cini notch up a half-century of winners for the season. Last reaching 50 winners in a term back in the 2009/10 Season with 71, the 2019/20 Season results have been returned at an impressive strike-rate. Following the win on Tuesday, Cini’s figures were 50 wins and 75 placings from 335 starters, equating to a 14.9% win and 37% place strike-rate. With only a small team, the Season has been highlighted by multiple wins from the stable including Garland Greene (seven wins), The Cruise Missile (six), The Doorman (five), The Money Ball (five), Quietly Spoken (five) and no doubt the source of tremendous frustration, Macey Jayde (four).   THIS WEEK Following the two heats of the Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sales Graduates, this Saturday night will see the $100,000 Group 1 Final take place. The first five across the line from each heat have progressed to the Final, with heat one winner Jasper looking mighty impressive and every bit an Oaks filly for next season. In the second heat, Chamonix made it a double for Dixon/GSM Racing trainer/owner combination and will be hoping to draw a good barrier for Saturday’s Final to challenge his stablemate. Friday’s card at Albion Park will also see the inaugural running of the QBRED Trotting Finals; a $10,000 event for the two-year-olds and a $10,000 event for the three-year-olds will be held, confirming the commitment at growing the square gait population in Queensland following on from the Springboard Series. Next Monday (August 17) will see a meeting conducted at Redcliffe, with nominations closing on Wednesday August 12. Races are programmed at $3,499 with all races also carrying a QBRED cash bonus should the winner be an eligible QBRED horse.   by Darren Clayton

Popular Goulburn Valley harness racing trainer-driver Carmel Belot is still kicking herself after she forgot to give her mum a victory wave as she crossed the line at Echuca. "I told my mum Pat that if I won, I'd raise my arm and give her a little wave as I went over the finish line," Carmel, of Lancaster, near Kyabram, said. "To be honest, I didn't really think about it at the time- and I wasn't sure that I'd actually won the race because our horse is so small and the other one was huge so it was hard to line them up!" she said. "Mum is in Wallan, in the Mitchell Shire of Melbourne, and can't be at the meetings at the moment because of the COVID-19 restrictions. But I knew she'd be watching on TV and would have put a few dollars on." But at better than 20-1 odds the six-year-old bay mare Levina (Majestic Son-Flash Muscles (Muscles Yankee), who Carmel races with her husband Bruce, got the judge's verdict in the Trot Handicap by a short half head over Get Smart Max, trained by Heather Morrissey, of Woodvale, near Bendigo. Watch the race click here. The fighting finish brought back memories of more than 45 years ago when Heather (nee Birthisel) was one of a pioneering group that saw women permitted to compete against men in races. "I came along a bit later than Heather, who was among the first ones to blaze the trail for us," Carmel (nee Conboy) said. "After I started, it took me 10 attempts to get my first winner. I drove a horse called Greig (named after champion North Melbourne footballer Keith Greig) which was owned by mum. It was at Kilmore on August 29, 1983," she said. "Mum was only a breeder and loved that side of things, while my dad John was a well-known bookmaker." Carmel said while growing up at Doreen, north-east of Melbourne, she wasn't allowed to have horses when she was young. "But when my uncle Keith Hogan packed up from Ascot Vale and moved out to be with us, I was rapt because he trained horses and was a breaker. I think Yarrambat was just starting up then," she said. "He had a freak two-year-old at one stage in the early 80s in Bayadere (by Black Gamecock) which was one of the terrific John Glide breeding line. It was winning some of the real top races for driver Peter Caldow. When Peter was killed in a road accident, the horse only ever won one more race and that was with another great reinsman in Andrew Peace." Carmel said the first-ever horse she trained to win would always be special as it was driven by Caldow. "It was Bohrah, a 10-year-old, and he'd helped me get my driver's licence. The race was at Bendigo on the old track on March 3, 1980. Peter's mother Mary, who still lives at Melton, believes it was the only trotting winner that Peter ever drove, so that's fantastic," she said. Carmel, who trains on a property at Lancaster, said while any win was a good one, the one that sticks in her mind was her first with Greig. "The horse was my best little mate and a pet as I'd been with him since he was a foal," she said. Carmel said her husband Bruce was a great supporter with her harness racing pursuits. "He's not all that hands on preferring to leave it me, but says he loves the horses," she said. "I reckon that's probably because they have provided him with a job over the years because he was a fencing contractor!"   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Tests have found Lochinvar Art was suffering a “minor viral infection” during Saturday night’s Ballarat defeat, with trainer-driver David Moran confident it will only be a short-term hiccup. The reinsman joined RSN927’s Gait Speed to reflect on the third placing behind Major Times and My Kiwi Mate in the Flying Horse Takeaway Pace, which was billed as a final hit-out before a superstar showdown with Ride High at Shepparton this Saturday. That clash is now on ice, with Moran saying Lochinvar Art required short-term treatment. “He was a bit flat on the night, he sort of wasn’t himself and obviously we found a few little issues that we need to rectify there,” Moran told RSN. “He had an elevated heart rate, which can mean a few things – can mean soreness, can also mean a virus or a respiratory problem. “Sunday morning we scoped him to make sure he hadn’t had a bleed and that came back all clear, done a bit of a lameness exam on him and that came back reasonably good. And then we also run a bloods and yesterday afternoon the bloods came back about five o’clock and they were a bit ordinary. “He’s got a viral infection. All we can do there is give him a few easy days and treat him accordingly with antibiotics and whatever else he needs, and get him right.” Moran said the setback had put immediate plans on hold, but “I’d say he will bounce back pretty quickly”, and that includes no ill effects for the approaching Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup on October 10. “It won’t affect him in anyway whatsoever, it’s a minor viral infection – it’s nothing too serious or too major. It’s not ideal, but something we can fix and probably a short-term fix rather than a long-term fix. He will be back very quick and doing everyone proud.” CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE TODAY’S EDITION OF GAIT SPEED     Harness Racing Victoria

The hot favourite for next month’s rescheduled Sires’ Stakes Final will contest next week’s Addington heat even though he probably doesn’t have to. And co-trainer Nathan Purdon says he is happy to have a three-year-old race to target with Krug, even though it is oddly on the way to the two-year-old Sires’ Stakes Final. As we all know the unique situation of having the two-year-old final early in the horse’s three-year-old careers came about when the group one, usually held at Addington in May, was canned because of Covid lockdown. It will now be held at Alexandra Park on Thursday September 17, a week before the first Harness Millions Final (the former Sales Series Pace) is held at the same track. The fact both races were able to get off the ground at all and our young horses can then roll straight into the actual three-year-old Sires’ Stakes heats for the Addington final in November and the Sales Series at Alexandra Park on New Years Eve is one of the great miracles of harness racing coming out of lockdown. And was undoubtedly a lot harder to pull together than harness administrators get credit for. But what many won’t know is there are only two heats of the series at Addington on August 21 and Alexandra Park on September 3 to be run before the final as three were run last season. Kinda. Because of time restrictions meaning a full set of heats couldn’t be run the first actual Sires’ Stakes heat at Addington held in March still counts while the final Young Guns heat at Alexandra Park in February and the Kindergarten Stakes at Wyndham in March are now also counted as Sires’ Stakes qualifying races. They carry slightly less weight, with the winners of the three actual heats getting first ranking, then the Young Guns heat and Kindergarten winner next rank, then the Sires’ Stakes second placegetters and so on. That means should they want to take their place at Alexandra Park in the final, First Class and Better Call Me (Addington heat), American Dealer and It’s All About Faith (Young Guns heat) and Delightful Dude (2nd in Kindergarten won by First Class) are all qualified. With a double up in First Class and Delightful Dude (third in the Addington heat) it means that even counting back to third, after three of the qualifying races run there are only five finalists. Two of the other third placegetters won’t be in the final with trainer Graeme Anderson confirming he will be keeping American Lightning (third in Kindergarten) home in the South Island cause he wasn’t paid up while Platinum Stride, third in the Young Guns heat, is now trained in Sydney. With more double ups likely, there is a very real chance fourth in a heat could get you into the final, which is great news for punters taking the $2.30 about Krug to win the final because that is where he finished in that Addington heat way back on March 20. So while he will contests next week’s heat if he happened to be unlucky or even had to be scratched for any reason, Krug will almost certainly qualify for the final regardless. “We actually want to go to the heat anyway,” says Purdon. “He has won his last two easily but he can’t keep racing those good older horses on their way to open class every week so dropping back to three-year-old company will do him some good. “Then all going well at Addington he will head to Alexandra Park for the two finals up there and we are looking at taking at least another couple up as well. “But it is real pleasure to train a horse like him. He is definitely better now than at the back end of his two-year-old season last campaign. “He is more than a little bit special.” The Addington heat will be very strong and it will be interesting to see whether last week’s stunning winner It’s All About Faith returns for another clash with Krug. And while the north many not have the big bangers their September third heat could also be very strong with First Class and American Dealer there, along with recent winners Mr Fantastic, Marathon Man and Nevada and the likes of Hot And Treacherous, who was back at the workouts last Friday set to be there. The 2020 Sires’ Stakes Final, to be contested by a field of three-year-olds 1000kms from its usual track and four months late, should be worth the wait.   Michael Guerin

Another heavyweight sponsor, Dunstan Horsefeeds, has been confirmed for the upcoming Sires’ Stakes Series.  The Hamilton-based company will support the three-year-old fillies, following on from Woodland Stud’s recent announcement that it will sponsor the three-year-old colts and geldings.  “Dunstan Horsefeeds has always viewed the Sires’ Stakes as a great innovation,” says Dunstan Horsefeeds director David Smith.  The arrangement continues a long association with harness racing since the company’s inception 35 years ago.  “Dunstan Horsefeeds has always been a proud sponsor and supplier of the New Zealand Standardbred Industry and we are only too happy to increase our involvement with the Sires’ Stakes; this is a great opportunity to give back to an industry that is a great supporter of our New Zealand brand,” says Smith.    The series will start at Ashburton in November and continue through to the Group One Final at Alexandra Park on New Year’s Eve.  The full schedule is :   Dunstan Horsefeeds Sires’ Stakes        : Heat 1 , Ashburton, Thursday, November 12, 2020.                                                                :  Heat 2, Auckland, Friday, November 20, 2020.                                                                :  Heat 3 , Addington, Friday, November 27, 2020                                                               :  Heat 4, Auckland, Friday, December 4, 2020                                                                :  FINAL Auckland, Thursday, December 31, 2020                                                                : Silver - TBC   For more information contact :  Martin Pierson  NZ Sires’ Stakes Executive  Email :  TELEPHONE  03 964 1186   MOBILE  027 4711 081 

At a scheduled meeting of the HRA Executive last week, a decision was made to provide a concession to studs and stallion owners regarding Free Returns in the 2020/21 Breeding Season. In light of COVID-19, this was already going to be a year like no other, but as 1 September approaches the Executive understands the difficulty’s breeders will face with transporting semen not only between countries, but also across borders within Australia for the foreseeable future.  Sporadic and necessary shutdowns at airports and borders along with reduced airline schedules and cargo space will cause issues with freight and distribution, likely requiring either private charter or road courier.  Further, the compounding impacts of the Avian Influenza (AI) outbreak/declaration in Victoria also put agriculture, primary industry and reproductive material transports under more scrutiny - which in turn will apply time pressures for semen distribution. While ultimately decision for each State and organisations therein, HRA will continue to work cooperatively with interested stakeholders on border entry and transport permit issues, but today a concession of 20 free return services above the 150 mare limits (stallion services) for the 2020/21 season is being announced in an effort to assist studs and stallion owners with their planning given the various circumstances at play. These free returns will be regulated with studs applying to HRA for approval for each free service.  This process will be designed to ensure that the semen from the same stallion can only be used for the same mare within this additional 20 free return service cap. Free returns aside, there has been widespread support for the 150-mare limit, and it is important to note that this announcement does not alter that proposition into the future.  It does, however, illustrate that the HRA Executive are monitoring, listening and have an appreciation for the range of difficulties and impacts faced by breeders in the coming season – a year like no other. For further information, please contact Andrew Kelly on or 03 9227 3000.   Andrew Kelly

She may only be 15, but Chloe Formosa has already found the passion that drives her life, harness racing. The year nine student from Mount View High School is on the final straight to following her father harness trainer/driver Michael Formosa into the racing industry. Chloe celebrated her 15th birthday with her first barrier trial at Cessnock Showground. It had been a long wait, but Chloe handled the drive behind Doubledelight Brigade, a horse her father trains, with class. Since then there have been two more trial sessions at Newcastle and she is looking more comfortable in the driving seat each outing. Chloe said she was nervous at first but once she was on the track her nerves settled and she drove to instructions. "Dad wanted me look after my horse so I did just that. I settled back in the field and pulled her out with a lap to go," Chloe said of her first outing in senior company.  DAD'S GIRL: Chloe Formosa is set to follow in her father Michael's footsteps by becoming a harness racing trainer/driver.   Chloe will need 20 trial drives and be 16 before she can become a professional and drive in races. It's something she has dreamed of since starting in the mini trots ranks when she was just five. Mum Kirsty said there was never any doubts their eldest child would follow in her father's footsteps. "It really is her passion. I'm not that nervous when she is driving because I know just how talented she is," Kirsty, who was a jockey when she was younger, said. "Chloe has been driving track work for her dad for 12 months now and has learned all her skills off him. "She drives a lot like Michael. She is calm, collected and once she is on the track the nerves go. She's told me 'I just know what to do'." Kirsty said it would be a long year for Chloe waiting to become professional, but she would have driving opportunities in her final year of mini trots. The mini-trots have taken her to some amazing places.. She got selected to represent Australia in New Zealand. She went over there in December last year and she actually won the Inter Dominion Consolation over there. "It was the first time an invited Australian driver had won a big race over there." By Michael Hartshorn Reprinted with permission of the Cessnock Advertiser

The American import He’s Watching (1:46.4), a former world champion and who now stands at Tipperary Equine stud, Young (NSW), sired winners in four different countries in the last fortnight! The two-year-old Chamonix, one of his second Australian crop, led the vanguard with his fighting win in the APG Brisbane Sales Graduate heat at Albion Park, his third success from 10 starts. The gelding will be among the leading fancies for the Group 1 $100,000 Final on Saturday night. To watch the replay of Chamonix winning click here. Another recent Australian-bred winner by He’s Watching was the three-year-old Illbewatching, a 1:58.8 winner at Redcliffe. He’s Watching has the amazing score of having sired 18 individual winners from 57 foals in his first Australian crop – a 30 percent strike rate. In New Zealand, He’s Watching was represented by the recent three-year-old winners Sophia Bromac (Addington) and Miss Impression (Invercargill). Hereslookinatyou, a NZ bred three-year-old filly, made it four wins from five starts in America when she scored at in 1:57.2 at Saratoga, New York. Other recent winners by He’s Watching in North America have been the two-year-old colt Saratoga Blue Chip (1:53.2) and the three-year-olds Kendall’s Cousin (1:55.4), Baywatching (1:55.6), Watch Me Boogie (1:55.8 and 1:56), Kat (1:56), Lil Screamer (1:58) and Shesaprivatedancer (1:59.8). Peter Wharton

The Sunday afternoon (August 9) Harness Racing program at Running Aces featured the three year old Minnesota-sired trotters in three divisions, going for a total purse of $23,000.   The $11,500 "A" division went to post with seven sophomores on the gate and the wagering favorites were Teachmehowtotory (Nick Roland, 1-1) followed by SB Madam Secretary (Darrell Wright, 9-5) and Hearduwhispermynam (Rick Magee, 4-1).   The going was sloppy after heavy rains moved in during and after race one.   Hearduwhispermynam and SD Eliminator (Brian Detgen) both left alertly from their inside posts and Hearduwhispermynam was able to secure the lead quickly from post two, taking control right near the :30 second quarter mile.   Once on the lead, Magee stepped on the gas pedal and opened up two lengths on the field before the :58.3 half mile check-in. Hearduwhispermynam ($10.40) continued to step lively and open up more ground over the field, passing three-quarters in 1:28 and then coasting home in :30 seconds to stop the timer in 1:58, 4-1/4 lengths on top for his second straight win. SD Eliminator held second over late closing Teachmehowtotory and Passion In Paris (Jacob Cutting).   The winner is a gelded son of Braggart, who now has three wins on the season and eight lifetime tallies and $67,294 in career earnings for owner/breeder Jenni King, who also handles the training.   The $6,900 "B" division went to SB My Boy Gideon (Gerald Longo, $17.60) with a last-to-first rally in the final quarter to score a one length victory in 2:00.4 over the rain-soaked oval. The winning owner is Debra Davis and the winning trainer is Rick Davis. The Justin Anfinson trained entry of Go Margeaux (Mooney Svendsen) and Musclestobragon (Nick Roland) picked up second and third, respectively in a near dead heat for the runner-up spot.   The $4,600 "C" division went to Bekkum's Black Rose (Nick Roland, $7.80) who took control down the backside and drew away from the field by 4 lengths at the wire in 2:00.1, for a new career mark. Al Mar Lovie Dovie (Rick Magee) was second and Al Mar Money Woman (Brandon Jenson) was third. The winning owner is Sarah Bekkum and the winning trainer is Dave Ginter.   Multiple race winners on the card included driver Nick Roland with a book-end double, and trainers Kathie Plested-Wiseman and Rick Bertrand, who each scored a double on the card.   Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday, August 11 with first post at 1:00 pm (CDT) and will feature two notable Carryovers: $794.90 for the early 50 cent Pick-4, and $1,079.62 for the 50 cent Hi-5 in race nine.   Darin Gagne

Ridley’s bargain buy About six seeks ago Brian Ridley was seriously considering buying New South Wales performer The Golden Cross after the gelding had won twice in the space of five days at Menangle, but he was dissuaded by Blythewood trainer Michael Brennan. Brennan advised Ridley that The Golden Cross was unlikely to be suited to racing on the tighter Gloucester Park circuit and he suggested that he should consider purchasing Rebel With A Grin, who had just set the pace and scored an easy Gloucester Park win over 2503m for champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond. Ridley now has no regrets that he heeded the sage advice from Brennan, who told Ridley that Rebel With A Grin was up for sale. Ridley paid just $14,000 for the New Zealand-bred four-year-old, who then entered Brennan’s stables and is proving a bargain. Rebel With A Grin gave an excellent first-up display for Brennan and Ridley when he was held up for a clear run until late when an eye-catching fourth behind stablemate Forgotten Highway in the BOTRA Cup. And then at his fourth start for his new connections, Rebel With A Grin won the Retravision Marathon Handicap, a stand over 3309m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This took the gelding’s earnings for Ridley to $16,329 and his new owner is confident of further successes with a pacer who is closely related to a couple of $1 million performers. His sire Smiling Shard was a grand stayer who amassed $1,178,792 from 17 wins and 22 placings from 50 starts, and his dam Highview Chasue is a half-sister to Highview Tommy, a brilliant pacer who earned $1,021,904 from 17 wins and 27 placings from 104 starts. Rebel With A Grin has certainly inherited much of his staying ability from Smiling Shard, who coincidentally finished second to Highview Tommy in the 3200m group 2 Franklin Cup. And Highview Tommy finished third to Terror To Love in the 3200m group 1 New Zealand Cup in November 2011 and second to the same pacer in the same event 12 months later. After The Golden Cross had won two in a row at Menangle in mid-June, rating 1.52.1 over 1609m and 1.54.6 over 2300m Ridley said: “I was looking very seriously at buying him, but Michael (Brennan) told me that he was a seven-year-old unlikely to be suited to WA racing and that I should buy Rebel With A Grin, a four-year-old with a promising future.” Rebel With A Grin’s victory on Friday night made amends for This Time Dylan’s second to Rocket Reign in the 2014 Marathon Handicap. This Time Dylan was owned by Ridley and trained by Brennan, who then prepared Naughty Maravau and The Bucket List for seconds in the 2016 and 2017 Marathon Handicaps, respectively. Friday night’s win by Rebel With A Grin brought to mind another of Ridley’s bargain purchases. He outlaid $20,000 to buy This Time Dylan in a claiming race in December 2103, and at his third start for his new owner finished third behind Hokonui Ben in the WA Pacing Cup in January 2014.  This Time Dylan, whose many victories included the group 3 2014 Narrogin Cup and the Mount Eden-No Dill Christmas Handicap in December 2016, earned Ridley more than $150,000 in prizemoney. Ridley’s other feature successes have been with Kasey John in the Kerry Clarke Four And Five-Year-Old Classic in August 2018 and Back On Board in the group 3 Four Year-Old Championship in March 2015. Rebel With A Grin, a $11.50 chance began safely off the 10m mark and settled in eighth position for champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr, who made a significant decision to vacate the one-out and three-back position 1000m after the start. The gelding then raced in the breeze for a lap while the $2.70 favourite Donegal Art Chokin set the pace. Forgotten Highway ($5) was eighth with two laps to travel before Michael Grantham urged him forward, three wide, 1350m from home to move into the breeze. Forgotten Highway dashed to the front 120m from the post and was overhauled in the final stride by Rebel With A Grin, with 40m backmarker Bettor Party finishing powerfully, out five wide, to be third. Bettor Party galloped at the start and settled down 80m from the early leader. He was still last 350m from home. The win gave Hall his fourth success in the Marathon Handicap, after winning with Im Themightyquinn (2010), Code Red (2012) and Runrunjimmydunn (2018).   City century for the Bonds Rising star Patronus Star gave star trainers Greg and Skye Bond their one hundredth metropolitan success for the 2019-20 season when he was not extended in setting the pace and coasting to victory in the $50,000 San Simeon Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. It was a notable success for the New Zealand-bred three-year-old, who proved the master of his older and more experienced opponents. Patronus Star, the $1.10 favourite, gave leading reinsman Ryan Warwick an armchair drive, setting the pace from the coveted No. 1 barrier and rating 1.55.2 over the 2130m, with quarters of the final mile in 29.1sec., 29sec., 28.6sec. and 28.8sec. Later in the program the Bond stable completed a double with Starlight Destiny’s win in a 2130m event for mares. The Bonds now have had 373 city starters this season for 101 wins, 65 seconds and 31 thirds for $2,056,862 in prizemoney. On all tracks in the State for the season the Bonds have prepared 207 winners, 105 seconds and 55 thirds for earnings of $2,579,245. Patronus Star coasted to victory by one and a half lengths over $19 chance Boom Time, who finished powerfully, three wide, from tenth at the bell. Patronus Star, winner of the WA Derby in April, is unbeaten at his five starts in Western Australia that have netted $171,530 in prizemoney. He will be one of the chief contenders for the rich Golden Nugget championship early next year.   Now for the August Cup Superstar Chicago Bull was untroubled to extend his winning sequence to five when he strolled to an effortless victory in the 2130m Zippay At Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he will have a brief spell after contesting the August Cup next Friday night. “I was real happy tonight,” said champion trainer Gary Hall snr. “He didn’t have too hard a run and went to the line pretty good. After the August Cup he will have a few weeks off, just doing nothing at home. “There are no interstate trips planned because of the travel restrictions. If we do go away it will be for the Hunter Cup at Melton early next year.” Chicago Bull, favourite at $1.04 from the outside in the field of six, was not bustled early before Gary Hall jnr sent him to the lead after 650m. He then bowled along easily in front before sprinting over the final quarters in 28.4sec. and 27.5sec. and winning by just over a length from Convert Denario, rating 1.55.5. This improved his remarkable record to 81 starts for 53 wins and 22 placings for stakes of $1,883,419. When Chicago Bull is spelling, Convert Denario and Bletchley Park (who led for the first 550m and finished solidly along the inside to be third) will pay to follow. Convert Denario dashed to the front after 550m and then enjoyed a perfect sit behind the pacemaking Chicago Bull before finishing solidly.   Cups mission for Sangue Reale Smart four-year-old Sangue Reale is developing nicely into a realistic contender for the rich Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups at the summer carnival. Starting a hot favourite at $1.50 Sangue Reale gave his rivals little chance by setting the pace for Chris Voak and sprinting over the final quarters in 28.5sec. and 27.8sec. and winning by 2m from Destined To Rule ($23) in the 2130m Retravision Lowest Price Guarantee Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He’s pretty lazy in front, but he got the job done,” said trainer Michael Brennan. “Leading is really not his go, but when you draw a good barrier (No. 2) you’ve got to take advantage of it. He waited for them (the opposition) before running away late. That’s just him. Hopefully, he’ll be able to run in both the big Cups. “Once he gets up in grade, you’ll see that he will be a bit sharper. Following the speed is his go. Once he’s up in grade you’ll see the real Sangue Reale.” Sangue Reale now has raced 35 times for eight wins, 15 placings and $169,599 in stakes.   American Delight on the march Up-and-coming four-year-old New Zealand-bred mare American Delight continues to perform at a high level and Capel trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo is looking forward to her contesting feature events for mares in the coming months. De Campo drove American Delight, favourite at $1.80 from the No. 1 barrier, to a convincing all-the-way victory in the 2536m Shop Online At Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.   “She’s getting through the classes quickly,” said de Campo. “She wasn’t proven at that grade and over that distance, but we got an easy enough time. She was star gazing a bit at the top of the straight but on the line she was getting away from them. “She won a couple in own as a three-year-old and a $30,000 event at her previous preparation. So, she’s got a good record and, hopefully, she will keep improving on it. Every time she comes back after a spell she gets a bit stronger. “I think she will measure up to contesting feature events for mares. She’s definitely not better than them, but with the right run she will have the chance to beat the better mares.” Robbie Easton ($7) maintained his consistent form when he worked hard in the breeze for almost the final two circuits and fought on doggedly to be second to American Delight on Friday night.   High praise for Alta Blues Champion trainer Gary Hall snr lavished praise on Alta Blues after the big West Australian-bred gelding scored a narrow victory in the 2130m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Alta Blues, second fancy at $2.60, had a tough run in the breeze outside the pacemaking $1.90 favourite Be My Rock before taking a narrow lead 450m from home and fighting on grandly to defeat the fast-finishing Power And Grace by a head, with Be My Rock wilting to third. The winner rated 1.56.6 over the 2130m and improved his record to six starts for three wins and two seconds. “He is one of the better three-year-olds I’ve ever trained,” said Hall. “I really like him and I reckon he’s probably better than Chicago Bull was as a three-year-old. Chicago Bull didn’t have the depth that Alta Blues has now. “But Alta Blues has a lot to learn; he’s not great gaited, but every time he goes around he gets better and better. I think he could develop into a very good horse. “We’ll see how he pulls up, but he’ll probably go for a month off and then get ready for a few more three-year-old races before the end of the year on his way forward for the Golden Nugget next year. “I expected him to sit on the outside of the odds-on favourite and win. Junior (Gary Hall jnr) reckoned Alta Blues never got going until Power And Grace challenged him, and then he just took off again. He’s not the type of horse who will win by two lengths.”   Combination scores again The combination of eight-time WA premier trainer Ross Olivieri and leviathan owner Merv Butterworth continues to thrive, with the partners celebrating a double at Gloucester Park on Friday night with five-year-old mare Queen Shenandoah and six-year-old trotter Mr Sundon. Queen Shenandoah, the $2.80 favourite driven by Chris Voak, made the most of the prized No. 1 barrier by leading all the way and winning the 2130m Retravision 60 Day Price Promise Pace. She dashed over the final 400m section in 28.3sec. and won by a neck from $17 chance Anime, who had enjoyed the perfect trail behind the pacemaker throughout. This improved Queen Shenandoah’s record to 46 starts for 11 wins, 15 placings and $128,563 in stakes. Mr Sundon maintained his status as the State’s best trotter when Chris Lewis drove the $1.22 favourite to an easy three-length victory over the pacemaker Tenno Sho in the 2130m Retravision Your One Stop Electrical Shop Trot. Mr Sundon was not bustled from out wide at barrier No. 7 and he settled down in seventh position, some eight lengths behind Tenno Sho, who dashed to the front after 150m. Mr Sundon took the lead 220m from home and raced away from his rivals to score easily at a 1.59.4 rate. Mr Sundon now has had 45 starts for 17 wins, eight placings and $141,393 in prizemoney.   Just Rockon Bye in the twilight Talented mare Just Rockon Bye notched her 25th victory when she finished powerfully to snatch victory in the Members Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and will soon be retired to enjoy the second stage of her splendid career --- as a broodmare. “She’s been a good mare,” said trainer Gary Hall snr. “She’s booked into Bettors Delight and will race while in the early stages of her pregnancy before being retired.” The much-travelled Rockon Bye has proved a great bargain for her South Australian owners Adam, Ben and Terry Cormack, who purchased her for $15,000. Rockon Bye is a winner of two races in New Zealand, 14 in South Australia, three in Victoria and six (plus ten placings) from 28 starts in Western Australia. Her stake-earnings now stand at $206,660. Rockon Bye, a $6.20 chance (and at $8.50 on the fixed market), started from the No. 4 barrier and she settled in fourth position for reinsman Gary Hall jnr in an Indian file event for just six runners in Friday night’s race. After Our Alfie Romeo moved to the breeze 1200m from home Hall obtained a perfect trail with Just Rockon Bye in the one-out, one-back position. Ryan Warwick sent Our Alfie Romeo past the pacemaker Golden State and to the front 90m from the post. But she failed to hold out Just Rockon Bye, who went three wide at the 250m mark and got up in the final stride to score by a head at a 1.57.9 rate.    Polemarker Rock Me Over, the $2 favourite, was beaten by Golden State for early speed and raced behind that pacer all the way. He was badly blocked for a clear passage until the final stages and finished an unlucky fourth.   Starlight Destiny holds on New Zealand-bred mare Starlight Destiny revealed good fighting qualities to set the pace and hold on with grim determination to beat the fast-finishing My Prayer by a short half-head in the 2130m Retravision Your Fujitsu Specialist Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Starlight Destiny, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and driven by Deni Roberts, was favourite at $4.10 and from the No. 1 barrier she was able to dawdle through the lead time in 38.9sec. and the opening quarter in a slow 31.8sec. before she sprinted over the final 400m sections in 28.5sec. and 27.8sec. My Prayer ($4.40) trailed Starlight Destiny until Chris Lewis was able to get her into the clear on the home turn. She finished fast to fail narrowly. Starlight Destiny is the sixth foal out of Western Starr, who produced Pal Amino, who raced 18 times in WA for two wins (at Pinjarra in November 2014 and at Kellerberrin in August 2015). Starlight Destiny has had all of her 38 starts in WA for ten wins, 17 placings and $69,376 in stakes.   Ken Casellas

The progeny of champion sire Muscle Hill stole the show with four big feature race winners on Hambletonian Day at Meadowlands last Saturday (August 8). Muscle Hill led in the winners of the $1 million Hambletonian in Ramona Hall, who equalled the race record of 1:50.2, the $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks in Sorella (1:51), the $319,000 Peter Haughton Memorial for two-year-old colts in Zenith Stride (1:55.2) and the $166,550 Dr John Steele Memorial for mares with When Dovescry (1:50). Interestingly, Muscle Hill’s two fastest three-year-old colts Trixton and Tactical Landing and his world champion two-year-old son Southwind Frank are all members of the Stallions Australasia frozen semen roster for this season. Trixton himself was represented by an important winner on Hambo Day in the three-year-old filly Caviart Eva, winner of the $30,000 Continentalvictory in 1:53.6. He also sired the recent Bendigo three-year-old winner Van Sank, who posted his third lifetime success. On the same night Keayang Ninja, a two-year-old gelding by international trotting star Wishing Stone, was a most impressive winner on debut, clocking 60.1 for his last 800 metres. Wishing Stone boasts the enviable record of seven winners from seven starters from a total Australian foal crop of 10.

An exceptionally strong draft of harness racing yearlings has been nominated for the inaugural Nutrien Equine Standardbred Sale including siblings to the likes of Hunter Cup, Miracle Mile, Derby, Oaks, Vicbred Super Series and Breeders Crown winners. In total, 300 lots will go under the hammer at the sale, which will run over two days on April 10 and 11, 2021 at the plush new Oaklands Junction complex.  Of the 237 pacers listed, 136 are colts and 101 are fillies, while the 62 trotters comprise 28 colts and 34 fillies. The sale features progeny of 30 Group 1 race-winning mares and 32 Group 1 winner-producing mares. There are 54 sires represented in the catalogue including champion sires such as Bettor’s Delight, Art Major, Somebeachsomewhere, American Ideal, Rocknroll Hanover, Rock N Roll Heaven,  Four Starzzz Shark, Western Ideal, Roll With Joe, Sportswriter, and emerging sires in Captaintreacherous, Sweet Lou, Betting Line, Always B Miki, A Rocknroll Dance and He’s Watching. Leading trotting sires in Majestic Love, Love You, Father Patrick, Muscle Mass, Angus Hall and Quaker Jet all have progeny listed for sale. Nine first season sires will also be represented at the Nutrien Equine sale including the pacers Huntsville, Downbytheseaside, Fear The Dragon, Vincent and Control The Moment and the trotters What The Hill, Centurion ATM, En Solitaire and Uniclove. “We are thrilled by not only the total numbers committed to our inaugural sale, but also the quality of the horses, with such strong mare families represented in the sale,” Nutrien Equine sales manager Mark Barton said. “The decision made to breed these young horses is a two-year commitment made by the breeder and its now our privilege to offer these magnificent young horses to the sport of harness racing! “Our team is really excited about this catalogue and can’t wait until April.” Pacers are eligible for heats and separate $175,000 finals for two-year-old colts and geldings in NSW in 2022. Trotters can compete in a $50,000 final for two-year-olds in NSW in 2022 and $125,000 finals for three-year-olds of both sexes in 2023.  The three-year-old finals, which are jointly sponsored by Haras Des Trotteurs, will be the richest age trotting classics ever held in the southern hemisphere. The breakdown of sires are: PACERS Sire                                          Colts    Fillies   Total Art Major                                17        14        31 American Ideal                        16        11        27 Betting Line                             15        7          22 Sweet Lou                               14        6          20 Always B Miki                         10        9          19 Captaintreacherous                8          10        18 Huntsville                                5          6          11 Bettor’s Delight                       6          4          10 Rock N Roll Heaven                 4          5          9 A Rocknroll Dance                   4          3          7 He’s Watching                         3          4          7 Roll With Joe                           2          5          7 Vincent                                    5          2          7 Well Said                                 3          4          7 Downbytheseaside                  5          -           5 Sunshine Beach                       3          1          4 Somebeachsomewhere          2          1          3 Auckland Reactor                    1          1          2 Four Starzzz Shark                   1          1          2 Genuwine                                1          1          2 Rocknroll Hanover                  1          1          2 Shadow Play                            2          -           2 Sportswriter                            1          1          2 Tintin In America                    1          1          2 Bitobliss                                   1          -           1 Bling It On                               1          -           1 Fear The Dragon                     1          -           1 Goodtime Sammy                   1          -           1 Pet Rock                                  1          -           1 Western Ideal                         1          -           1 Control The Moment              -           1          1 Major In Art                            -           1          1 Yankee Rockstar                     -           1          1   TROTTERS Sire                                          Colts    Fillies   Total Orlando Vici                            1          6          7 Used To Me                             6          1          7 Father Patrick                         4          2          6 Muscle Mass                           2          3          5 What The Hill                          1          4          5 Creatine                                  2          2          4 Majestic Son                            2          2          4 Bacardi Lindy                          1          2          3 Quaker Jet                               2          1          3 Wishing Stone                         2          1          3 En Solitaire                              -           2          2 Love You                                  -           2          2 Tennotrump                            1          1          2 Trixton                                     -           2          2 Angus Hall                               1          -           1 Dreamcatcher                         1          -           1 Dream Vacation                      1          -           1 Pegasus Spur                           1          -           1 Centurion ATM                       -           1          1 Skyvalley                                 -           1          1 Uniclove                                  -           1          1   by Peter Wharton

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