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Successful day on the racetrack for Down Under racehorses. Sundays harness racing meeting at Harrah’s Philadelphia Chester in Pennsylvania saw down under racehorses play a huge part in the day’s events winning five races and among that scoring the trifecta in one of the feature. In a day of honest times run around the 1000m (5/8 Mile) racetrack located on the Chester waterfront down under harness horses were back to their best.  Down under trio of Permission A and driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Kelvin Harrison kicked off winning proceedings with a 1:51.2 victory in a $9,900 Pace, beating another down under pacer in Dina Bolt N who finished in second place.  Another down under trio win came along when Claytons Bettor N put on near the exact same figures also winning a $9,900 Pace in 1:51.3 for down under’s Kelvin Harrison and Andrew McCarthy.  Alluneedisfaith N was also sighted in the winners circles clocking 1:51.1 and taking home $11,200.  An intriguing and impressive winner on the day was Shoobee Doo A, who was having his north American racing debut in a strong field racing for $16,200. The 6yo son of Shoobee’s Place dropped back to last off the starting gate and remained there until three quarters (400m peg) where he then received live cover and was soon unleashed four wide nearing the end of the last turn and when straightening let down with a powerful sprint, sailing on by rivals with ease to win in 1:51.1. With an impressive debut like we saw here I am sure we will hear more of Shoobee Doo A in the near future. The big result of the day was when down under mares scored the trifecta in one of the feature $22,500 Paces. Soho Burning Love A was the winner and continued on her brilliant patch of form when saluting in a sharp 1:50.1. Demeter N did well in second place and backed up her recent climb to Open Mares company. Then the 9yo of Eclipse Me N was also tough finishing third.    Overall on the day down under racehorses won five races and down under trainers and drivers won three, making it yet another positive day for Down Under harness racing in North American harness racing.   Monday 26th April Harrington Raceway DE Major Pocket A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $11,000 Mister Ohanzee A – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $6,000 Mister Daytona A – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $8,200   Plainridge Park MA Bettors Fire N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $8,500 Stihl N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $12,000 Mach Up A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $5,500 Duplicated N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $10,500   Saratoga Harness NY Le Reveur N – Time: 1:58.1, Stake: $4,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Solid Asa Rock A – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $17,000   Tuesday 27th April Harrington Raceway DE Shes Pukka N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $20,000 Rock N Shard N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $8,200 Women In Gold N – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $11,500   Miami Valley Raceway OH Persistent Threat A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $5,500   Saratoga Harness NY Gunpowder N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $8,500 Some Waratah A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $13,000 Bettor Spirits N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $6,200   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Chancellor Cullen N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $4,800   Yonkers Raceway NY One Off Delight A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $14,000   Wednesday 28th April Bangor Raceway ME Millwood Faith N – Time: 1:57.3, Stake: $3,500   Buffalo Raceway NY Milliondollargem A – Time: 1:58.1, Stake: $6,000   Monticello Raceway NY Ohoka Texas N – Time: 1:58.1, Stake: $2,600   Saratoga Harness NY Misty Memory N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $10,000 Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Hereslooknatyou N, 3rd Glenferrie Blade A Donegalartchokin N – Time: 1:57.0, Stake: $6,200   The Meadows PA  Majestic Moment N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $7,900   Yonkers Raceway NY Rckaroundtheclock N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $14,000   Thursday 29th April Yonkers Raceway NY Sudden Change N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $12,000 Bronze Over N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $17,000   Friday 30th April Freehold Raceway NJ Askmeilltellya A – Time: 1:57.4, Stake: $6,300 Betacool N – Time: 1:57.1, Stake: $5,000   Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Saying Grace N – Time: 1:49.2, Stake: $20,000 Prince Mcardle N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $13,000   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Tall Poppy N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $7,600 Darkrshadeofpale A – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $9,900 Statement Made A – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $11,200   Yonkers Raceway NY Campora A – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $12,000 Tin Roof Raider A – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $14,000   Saturday 1st May Freehold Raceway NJ Sporty Spook A – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $5,000   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Slick Artist A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $6,300 Laredo Torpedo N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $6,300   Meadowlands NJ She’s Nun Bettor N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $16,500 Stars Align A – Time: 1:49.0, Stake: $30,000   Rosecroft Raceway MD Ideal One A – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $4,600   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Tullow N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $16,000   Tioga Downs NY Kotare Yael N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $5,000   Sunday 2nd May Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Permission A – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $9,900 Soho Burning Love A – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $22,500 Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Demeter N, 3rd Eclipse Me N Shoobee Doo A – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $16,200 Claytons Bettor N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $9,900 Alluneedisfaith N – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $11,200   Maiami Valley Raceway OH Statham N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $14,000   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Georgie Martin N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $9,900   Click here for previous weeks articles   by Carter Dalgety

Welcome to the Addington Raceway harness racing news update for May 5 with Greg O'Connor and Darrin Williams.

Lorraine Nolan will be remembered as a history-maker – the first woman to train a New Zealand Cup winner. The trainer of Yulestar, who won the country’s biggest race 21 years ago in a then world record, has died in Hawera, Taranaki aged 81. Lorraine Nolan’s feats made her the first woman to train a New Zealand Cup winner since the race’s inception in 1904. It came 12 years after she took up training in 2008. Post race she said : “It’s a great priviledge to be the first female ..because it’s the greatest race we have.” “I think men have accepted women more now.” Starting off 10 metres Yulestar was a narrow favourite over old rival Holmes DG. But Yulestar found the front midrace and went on to win by over three lengths, with driver Tony Shaw saying the horse was cruising. "I knew at the 1600m we had it won." "And the further he went the more confident I got. He absolutely jogged it and I was smiling to myself at the 800m point." Yulestar's winning time of 3:59.1 was well inside champion Chokin’s world record of 3:59.5 set in the 1993 Auckland Cup. Lorraine and her late husband Ron bought Yulestar as a yearling for $9000. The Camelot colt was so called because he was born on Christmas Day. Yulestar’s stellar career netted him 34 wins from 170 starts, and nearly $2m in stakes. The Nolans were relative latecomers to harness racing after being involved with thoroughbreds for decades. Lorraine Nolan had 42 wins as trainer from 325 starts between 1990 and 2008 but she will forever be associated with November 14, 2000.   Harness Racing New Zealand

You’re So Fine (NZ) (Always B Miki) smashed a New Zealand harness racing record in just his second start to brilliantly win the $40,000 Group Two Diamond Creek Farm Classic (2200m) at Ascot Park on Sunday.  The two-year-old unleashed a powerful finish to stop the clock in a sizzling 2-39.6 time, taking a full second off the previous national 2200m record for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. You’re So Fine was a $14,000 purchase by trainer Brett Gray at NZB Standardbred’s 2020 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch. He was secured from the Ripple Creek draft. Little more than a year later, the classy colt handed Gray his first black-type success with a dazzling display in Sunday’s feature. Gray brought the M C C Syndicate, who have raced horses in Southland for almost thirty years, into the colt’s ownership. “It’s a great syndicate, we’ve bought a few at the yearling sales and had a bit of success,” the trainer said. You’re So Fine impressed Gray from the moment he joined his stable. “I have always liked him and have had a bit of an opinion of him,” Gray said. You’re So Fine headed a trifecta of NZB Standardbred graduates in the Diamond Creek Farm Classic. Franco Indie (NZ) (Always B Miki) ran a brave second for trainer Hayden Cullen and driver Tim Williams when forced to do plenty of midrace work after drawing on the outside of the front line. His game effort helped freshman sire Always B Miki (USA) seal a race quinella and continue the brilliant start his stock have made to their debut two-year-old season. Franco Indie was a purchased by Alabar (NZ) and Nevele R Stud for $35,000 from Spreydon Lodge at the 2020 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch. Together, the two studs stand Always B Miki in Australasia. Cantfindabettorman (NZ) (Sweet Lou) also produced a strong effort to run third for trainers Graeme Anderson and Mike Love and driver Matthew Williamson. The two-year-old worked hard to find the lead before setting up the race’s national record-breaking tempo. Cantfindabettorman was a $41,000 purchase by Graeme Anderson out of Woodlands Stud’s draft at the 2020 National Yearling Sale at Karaka.     Consignor Ripple Creek Purchaser Mr BR Gray Breeding Always B Miki x Syriana Sale Lot 264, 2020 National Yearling Sale Christchurch, $14,000 Bred by Jordash Breeding Trust     NZB Standardbred

More withdrawals for Harness Jewels Four more horses are out of the Harness Jewels. Peregrine, who was 11th in the 3YO Ruby, and Casino Action – tenth in the 2YO Emerald – have been withdrawn, along with Mitsi Gaynor (2YO Diamond) and James Cagney (2YO Emerald). The top 12 in each of the divisions will make the final field for the nine $100,000 Group Ones that will be held at Cambridge on June 6.   Fast times in Ashburton The babies have been flying around Ashburton. Trainer Hayden Cullen had four of the six in yesterday’s two-year-old trial and they were the first four home, with Akuta leading the way. He came home in 55.4 for the last 800 and cut out his last half in 25.4. On a day when fast times were the norm top three-year-old filly Bettor Twist won her 2400m trial, cutting out her last 800 in 54.2 and the last 400 in 26.2.   Rasmussen goes 300 When Natalie Rasmussen drove True Fantasy to victory in the Group One Magness Benrow Sires Stakes Championship at Auckland on Friday night it was her 300th on New Zealand soil. The milestone coming from just 778 drives dating back to when she moved from Australia a decade ago. From 2014 to 2019 she won six consecutive training premierships with Mark Purdon (All Stars).   Butt bolsters team Woodend-based trainer Bob Butt’s had a big influx of horses to his stable. There are six newcomers to his barn – Typhoon Tere, Mils McArdle, Ruakaka, Arminius, and four win pacers A Taste Of Honey and Koenigsegg. Suzie Rocks, a two race-winning mare formerly with Ray Faithful in the deep south, has also been transferred to Regan Todd in Canterbury.   Club News : Invercargill The Invercargill Harness Racing Club will host its annual ILT Race Day at Ascot Park this Saturday. It is a quick turnaround after Diamonds Day was held there last Sunday. The feature of the day is the opportunity for on-course patrons to win one of 15 meal vouchers at various ILT establishments. It could not be easier – just drop your losing tote tickets with your name and contact details on the back in the barrel in the main foyer on the racecourse and late in the day a draw will take place with fifteen names to be drawn to win one of the vouchers. The first race is scheduled for 12.10pm. Admission is free.

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk    Former topliner Chase Auckland could be just days away from his first race in this country in 16 months. The Auckland Reactor six-year-old came through his latest trial at Ashburton on Tuesday with a strong second behind stable-mate and star filly Bettor Twist. “He led them up and she came off his back …. it was the hardest hit out he’s had and they ran 2:59 so it was a decent run,” said trainer Hayden Cullen. Bettor Twist’s last 800 was in 54.2 though they were aided by a tailwind. It was Chase Auckland’s third trial back and all going well Cullen will line up him up in a Free For All mobile pace at Addington next Friday (May 14). “I will nominate him for that race and hopefully there’ll be enough to get the race off the ground” If not then Plan B could be a standing start race the following week. Chase Auckland hasn’t raced here since winning the Group Two Flying Mile at Cambridge on January 10 2020. His last win before that was his defeat of Classie Brigade, New Zealand Cup winner Cruz Bromac and Spankem in the 2019 Show Day Free For All. Overall Chase Auckland has won 14 races from 34 starts and earned $805,281. But he has not raced since getting injured in Australia in February last year. “He fractured a hock,” said Cullen. Since then there’s been a lengthy rehabilitation, in Sydney and Matamata before heading to Cullen’s barn in January. “He’s a very good horse , he’s in good nick and very strong.” While Cullen’s taking it one trial, and hopefully one race, at a time there are ultimate hopes the bay gelding could be a player come November’s New Zealand Cup.

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk    Bruce Negus went to Auckland for what he called “a day’s entertainment” He ended up buying 10 horses, more than any other purchaser, at Monday's NZB Standardbred weanling sales at Karaka (May 3). He forked out between $2000 and $9000 each for them. “The market was quite strong, and dearer than anticipated.” But still Negus got 10 weanlings - five colts and five fillies - for a total $40,000 - just $4000 more than the price of just one of the sales toppers, an Art Major filly and a Bettor’s Delight colt. “I will break them in as time permits …. it might be 18 months before we see what they’ve got.” While most of the offerings coming from reputable and/or established stallions Negus says he was often buying on price alone. “I’m a chip off the old block, Dad used to buy cheap horses and I like to buy cheap horses.” Bob Negus trained for more than half a century from the late 1950s, and drove 134 winners including Armalight in her 1981 New Zealand Cup win over Bonnie’s Chance and Hands Down. Though Bruce Negus says he bought on “sentiment” as well. For example, he was interested in the opening lot of the day, a What The Hill – On The Mantelpiece filly because she is a close relative to Sundons Flyer, a 12-race winner for Negus who’s won more than $130,000. She is a bit on the smaller side – but she’s a kind filly.” Negus snapped her up for $3000. Three of the colts will stay and get broken in in Auckland, the remainder will head to his property at Burnham on the outskirts of Christchurch. Buying big numbers at auction is nothing new to Negus. Years ago he secured more than a dozen at one All Aged Sale. “And a lot of them turned out pretty good.” Among them were now three-year-old race winners Katherine ($15,062), Mark Dunnett ($13,295) and Buffy Northstains ($5,185). “I can afford to buy them because I train them myself” Negus will forever be associated with the great Courage Under Fire (41 wins, $1,551,941) and twenty years on still has a strong love for the sport. “I do it while I still can,” the 68 year old said, “I reckon I’ve got shares in 50 horses.” So far in 2020/21 he’s trained 20 winners, with Corravally Star leading the way with four wins this season, including the listed $40,000 Harness 7000, and earnings of more than $50,000. His purchases at Karaka were : Lot 1 What The Hill – On the Mantelpiece Filly $3,000 Lot 22 Downbytheseaside – So Many Words Colt $4000 Lot 29 Majestic Son – Susan Colt $9000 Lot 43 Sweet Lou – Yasmine Bromac Filly $4000 Lot 47 Sweet Lou – Arden’s Pearl Filly $4000 Lot 73 A Rocknroll Dance – Chevelle Star Colt $2000 Lot 75 Ultimate Machete – Cracka Dawn Colt $3000 Lot 95 Downbytheseaside – G B Blaze Colt $4000 Lot 101 What The Hill – KC Spur Filly $4000 Lot 129 Sweet Lou – Nicky’s Power Filly $3000

Haras des Trotteurs is sponsoring a fillies and mares race at Addington on Friday night in honour of one of New Zealand harness racing’s prominent trotting personality Heather Williams, who with her husband Lex Williams bred and raced such notable trotters as One Over Kenny and One Over Da Moon.  Heather passed away from a short illness in November last year, and her husband Lex approached Pat Driscoll with a view of putting on a race in her honour, and this week the inaugural Haras des Trotteurs Heather Williams Memorial will be raced at Addington.  “I wanted to do something positive for fillies and mares and recognize the work that Heather did in the industry,” said Lex from his home in Ocean View Beach, Dunedin, this week.  Fillies and mares trotting races are thin on the ground in New Zealand, and Williams initial idea was to provide a mile race so that they got the opportunity to post a mile time, but mile races at Addington are problematic because of the start position, and Ashburton could not find a place on the calendar for it. So a compromise of 1980m at Addington was agreed upon.  “I came up with the idea for the race and approached Pat to see if he would support the race, and he agreed to match my contribution, which is exceptional really.”  Williams says the race with a $20,000 stake is close to a listed race and hopes to get the race to that level in the near future.   Lex  has been active in racing administration and was President for the Waimate Trotting Club for  a decade, while Heather was also actively involved behind the scenes.  “She was a very big part of it for 20 years. She was always very involved in the breeding, and also in the preparation of the yearlings,” Lex said.  Heather loved horses, although that was not that way when they were first married,  Lex says.  “She was actually scared of them, and didn’t like them at all,” says Lex but in time, Heather became a wonderful horsewoman  “She loved preparing the horses for sales. She got a lot of accolades from people on how quiet and well mannered our horses were at the sales, and that was down to Heather,” says Lex.   Lex and Heather, who lived most of their life at their Waimate farm, were particularly fond of trotters, perhaps because the first one they ever bought was a certain One Over Kenny , who they purchased in  the 2003 yearling sales in Christchurch.  The mare, by Sundon, won 32 races and over a million dollars including the Rowe Cup twice, among 17 black type races. She also won six races in Australia including the Group One Australasian Trotters Championship.  One Over Kenny and her son One Over Da Moon also both won the VHRC The Holmfield in 2005 and  2014, a race Lex holds a special place for.  One Over Da Moon has become a successful sire in his own right, despite limited opportunities and will have a daughter representing Lex and Heather in the Memorial race, in Samantha’s Moon, a promising type who has one once and placed three times while racing the best of this year’s 3YO fillies.  Heather, like Lex, was also a fan of the French trotter, breeding multiple times to Haras des Trotteurs stallions including Love You, Orlando Vici and En Solitaire, who stands in Southland.  “We were very big on them. There are a lot of them around.”  Heather and Lex bred the 2018 annual yearling sale topper Ultimate Stride, who is by Love You out of  One Over Kenny.  “We have a lovely En Solitaire filly out of One Over Kenny and we sent her back to him this year,” says Lex, who is also breeding from mares by Orlando Vici and Love You, while he has another in foal to Love You.  “We were keen on the French bloodlines, we have always believed that they will help the breed with their gait and their temperament.”    by Haras des Trotteurs 

New Zealand import Raukapuka Ruler N was supreme through a downpour in the $37,000 Open Pace at Yonkers Raceway on Monday, winning the featured harness racing contest in wire-to-wire fashion.   Jordan Stratton commanded Raukapuka Ruler to take the lead from post five, and the horse did so in a :26.3 opening stanza. He stole a :56.1 second quarter and continued to the three-quarters in 1:24.3 with little opposition offered from the seven others.   Raukapuka Ruler N tuned for home with a two-length gap and put the race to bed with only mild encouragement from Stratton, winning in 1:52.4. A plucky Speed Man N (Scott Zeron) trudged on first-up, but he completed the Kiwi exactor a length and a half short in second. The Real One (Pat Lachance) closed for third off his second-over trip.   RAUKAPUKA RULER N REPLAY     Raukapuka Ruler's score was his 17th from 59 lifetime outings. The eight-year-old gelding's earnings now exceed $340,000. Tritton 2 Inc of Pine Bush owns, and Peter Tritton trains. The son of Bettor's Delight moved to North America in October 2019.   Ostro Hanover captured the $30,000 Preferred Pace one race later in a similar effort.   The six-year-old gelding directed three other leavers to form up behind him going into the first turn, as he used his rail draw to attain front-end control. He governed the tempo through fractions of :27.2, :56.4, and 1:24.3 under orders from Tyler Buter and consolidated the 1:53 victory with a convincing stretch drive.   Ostro Hanover got home a length clear of Ehrmantraut (Zeron), who finished second, and Herrickroosevelt N (Stratton), who took show.   OSTRO HANOVER REPLAY     Ostro Hanover is now 21-for-69 lifetime with a bankroll in excess of $435,000. Daniel Renaud trains the son of Betterthancheddar for the ownership trio of B and I Stables LLC of Closter, Kapildeo Singh of Yorktown Heights, and VIP Internet Stables LLC of Piscataway.   Stratton had a hot night despite the drizzle. He drove four winners: Victorias Maverick (1:52.4) in the first, Lets Have Another (1:51.4) in the fourth, Sheriff N (1:52.1) in the sixth, and Raukapuka Ruler. He leads the drivers' standings with 105 victories.   The total handle of $1,254,745 was the highest on a nighttime card for the track in more than eight years.   Yonkers Raceway returns on Tuesday, May 4 with a nine-race program beginning at 7:15 p.m. EDT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred saved the best for last at their harness racing weanling sale at Karaka on Monday. The equal two top lots of $36,000 each inside the final 15 minutes of a busy day capped a successful sale for the industry. An Art Major filly from Matuvutu sold to Beaufine Park and a Bettors Delight colt from five-race winner No Liability, purchased by Robert Dunn, shared the honours for the day as lots 124 and 130 of the 130-lot catalogue. They didn’t win that title by much with a Bettors Delight sister to Henry Hubert going for $33,000 early in the day to Trent Yesberg, while there were three other lots of $30,000 or above including the Father Patrick-Con Grazia filly, who was the sales top trotter at $30,000. While many of the top lots were purchased by New Zealand trainers there was strong Australian interest, particularly from Team Bonds in West Australia and Tumby Park in NSW (headed by Scott Whitton), best known for their successful string of horses carrying 'Ultimate' in their name. Weanlings being weanlings and the pinhooking market nowhere as developed or lucrative in harness racing as in thoroughbred racing, the sale was solid and left NZB Standardbred’s James Jennings happy. “The average is up, clearance was exceptional and it was a hard day for the pinhookers because the nice lots went for good money,” said Jennings. Especially pleasing for NZBS was so much activity on their online bidding platform, much obviously from Australia, which shows how comfortable buyers have become with it. “That was great, but it was also really good to see some of our Australian friends here and we can’t wait to welcome more back for the yearling sales next year,” Jennings said.   HRV - Michael Guerin

True Fantasy (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) further cemented her status as New Zealand’s best two-year-old pacing filly with an emphatic harness racing win in the $120,000 Group One Magness Benrow New Zealand Sires Stakes Championship (1700m) on Friday 30 April.  Just seven days after her brilliant winning performance in the $90,000 Group One Woodlands Stud Caduceus Club Fillies Classic (2200m) at Alexandra Park, the Hayden Cullen trained filly returned to the same track to claim another Group One title in equally impressive fashion. True Fantasy became a dual Group One winner in just her fourth start for prolific owner Jean Feiss, who purchased her for $70,000 at NZB Standardbred’s 2020 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch from Studholme Bloodstock’s draft. Just like last week, True Fantasy was handed a tricky draw in barrier 13, which meant she had plenty of work to do when the leaders turned for home. The two-year-old unleashed a stunning sprint to power down the outer to win, just as she had the week prior in her first Group One victory. Driver Natalie Rasmussen praised True Fantasy’s will to win after she determinedly chased down her rivals on Friday night. “She tried very hard to the line and I think she is just a very genuine little filly,” the reinsman said in her post-race interview. NZB Standardbred graduate Montana Glory (NZ) (Always B Miki) produced an excellent effort to score her second consecutive Group One placing behind True Fantasy. The Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan trained filly was pushed four-wide at the 600m but kept digging deep in the home straight for an incredible third placing. Montana Glory was purchased as a weanling by Dean Shannon’s Montana Park for $24,000. He secured her from Alabar’s draft at the 2019 NZB Standardbred All Age Sale at Karaka. Also on Friday night, NZB Graduates filled second and third placings in the A$200,000 Group One Sky Racing WA Derby (2566m) at Gloucester Park. Jumpingjackmac (NZ) (Mach Three) ran a tenacious second after leading and setting up a fast 1:56:1 mile rate. The three-year-old was purchased by Mr MP Kerr for $36,000 from Lisa Orange’s draft at the 2019 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch. Sugar Sweet (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) produced a fine third placing. The pacer was a $90,000 purchase made by Lynley Park from Tuapeka Lodge’s draft at the 2019 National Yearling Sale in Christchurch.   Vendor Studholme Bloodstock Purchaser Jean Feiss Breeding Bettor’s Delight x Secret Poison Sale 2020 Christchurch National Yearling Sale, $70,000 Bred by Studholme Bloodstock, Miss P M Hanley       NZB Standardbred

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk     Grasstrack racing has been a massive success this season , and there will be even more meetings in 2021/22. The dates calendar was released last week and it has 38 grasstrack meetings next season, including three dual code meetings. That’s an increase of four on this season, and includes the return to Hawera in Taranaki. Their two meetings will be held over Waitangi weekend (February 4 and 6 2022). There will be two other North Island meetings at Wairarapa and Kapiti, and 34 in the south. Mt Harding at Methven and Motukarara will be the busiest grasstracks in the country with seven meetings each next season while Westport gets three and Geraldine doubles its quota to two. Gore will also race on the grass twice, as will Oamaru, and the Forbury Park Trotting Club at Wingatui. Methven hosted the last grasstrack meeting of the season on April 26. Methven Trotting Club president Mark Lemon is reasonably happy with next season’s allocation saying “we can handle one meeting a month” though he thinks nation-wide there is still potential to have even more grasstrack meetings over the warmer months. “We should be having a meeting on every Sunday – and we are not doing that.” Grasstrack racing’s popularity with the punter is well known. This season for instance Methven turned over more than a million dollars at five of its seven meetings, with a best of $1,565,647 on October 11. The Hororata Club’s meeting there also did $1,132,720. Mark Lemon : “When you add it all up it was over $9.5 million at Methven … the only two we didn’t do a million on were the two when we only had nine races.” And Lemon says having big open races is the key. “We are very conscious of carding races that get full fields… we don’t have favourite-dominated races.” Of the season’s 34 grasstrack meetings, held between September and April, 25 surpassed turnover of a million dollars. The biggest was Westport on Boxing Day at $1,893,014, while Marlborough (Jan 17), Banks Peninsula (Jan 24), Methven (Oct 11), Banks Peninsula (Dec 29) Wyndham (Jan 6) and Gore (Dec 27) all went over $1.5m.

New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred saved the best for last at their weanling sale at Karaka on Monday. The equal two top lots of $36,000 each inside the final 15 minutes of a busy day capped a successful sale for the industry. An Art Major filly from Matuvutu sold to Beaufine Park and a Bettors Delight colt from five-race winner No Liability purchased by Robert Dunn shared the honours for the day as lots 124 and 130 of the 130-lot catalogue. They didn’t win that title by much with a Bettors Delight sister to Henry Hubert going for $33,000 early in the day to Trent Yesberg while there were three other lots of $30,000 or above including the Father Patrick-Con Grazia filly, who was the sales top trotter at $30,000. While many of the top lots were purchased by New Zealand trainers there was strong Australian interest, particularly from Team Bond in West Australia and Tumby Park in NSW (headed by Scott Whitton), best known for their successful string of horses carrying “Ultimate” in their name. Weanlings being weanlings and the pinhooking market nowhere as developed or lucrative in harness racing as it is for thoroughbred racing, the sale was solid and left NZB Standardbred’s James Jennings happy. “The average is up, clearance was exceptional and it was a hard day for the pinhookers because the nice lots went for good money,” said Jennings. Especially pleasing for NZBS was so much activity on their online bidding platform, much obviously from Australia, which shows how comfortable buyers have become with. “That was great but it was also really good to see some of our Australian friends here and we can’t wait to welcome more back for the yearling sales next year,” said Jennings.   by Michael Guerin

A strong session concluded NZB Standardbred’s first-ever dedicated National Weanling Sale, with healthy competition on quality harness racing lots found throughout the buying bench.  NZB Director and Operations Manager James Jennings was thrilled at the conclusion of the inaugural session.   “It was a great result, with the sale beginning and ending well. We couldn’t be happier.” “It was great to have a physical sale again, with a number of Australian buyers making use of the trans-Tasman bubble which I think added a lot of strength to the buying bench. “To have a 92% clearance rate following off the back of a strong National Yearling Sale shows there is still buoyancy in the market,” he said. The two highlight purchases were made during the latter end of the session, both secured for a $36,000 pricetag. Lot 130 (Bettor's Delight x No Liability) purchased for $36,000 by Robert Dunn. Saving the best until last, leading trainer Robert Dunn purchased the last lot of the day, (130) a Bettor’s Delight colt out of No Liability (NZ) (Christian Cullen) from Woodlands Stud’s draft.  “We had to wait all day for this colt but he was bred on the golden cross, Bettor’s Delight out of a Christian Cullen mare.” “He wasn’t a big colt but he was very correct, had a nice head on him, walked very well and his breeding is just impeccable. “Ross Gordon, one of my big owners has put his hand up to buy him. He will be going straight to the spelling paddock now for three months and then we’ll send him down to Christchurch to be broken in,” Dunn said. Australian-based trainer Barry Howlett was pleased he managed to secure Lot 124 via the online bidding platform. He purchased an Art Major filly out of Matavutu (NZ) (New York Motoring) from Alabar Farms’ draft. “We bought her based on her pedigree and have had good success with relations from the family,” Howlett said.   “We were bidding online and we missed out on a couple, I thought we might have got her for a bit less than what we had to pay but it seemed like there were good prices for the quality lots. “We train the half-brother, Jack Mac, who is a really smart horse. “She’ll be coming over to Western Australia to get broken in and we’ll train her.” Ripple Creek’s Trent Yesberg claimed the leading purchaser by aggregate title after he secured five lots for a total turnover of $120,000. His purchases are highlighted by Lot 8, a Bettor’s Delight filly out of Christian Cullen mare Queen Camille (NZ) for $33,000. Offered on account of Woodlands Stud, she is a full sister to multiple Group-winning Henry Hubert (NZ). Yesberg also secured Lot 71, a Father Patrick filly out of Con Grazia (NZ) (Majestic Son) for $30,000 from the Georgia Brooke Lodge draft. Alabar Farms was leading consignor by both aggregate and average, selling 49 weanlings for a total turnover of $626,000 and averaging $12,776. General Manager Graeme Henley was feeling positive at the conclusion of selling. “I thought it was a really strong Sale and the nice horses sold really well with a great clearance rate.” “It’s pleasing to see how the sale has grown over the years, with horses presenting really well and selling accordingly,” he said. All weanlings purchased at the Sale are eligible to be nominated for the lucrative Harness Million Sales Race Series, with entries closing 17 May 2021. To enquire about Passed In lots, contact Bloodstock Sales Representative Cam Bray by calling +64 21 737 199 or email Cam.Bray@nzb.co.nz, or use the ‘Bid Now’ function on the website. View the full results online here. View key sale highlights and interviews here. 2021 National Weanling Sale Statistics Aggregate $1,265,500 Average $11,199 Median $8,500 Clearance 92% Catalogued 130 Sold 113 Top Price $36,000 Lot 124 (B.F) Art Major – Matavatu $36,000 Lot 130 (B.C) Bettor’s Delight – No Liability       NZB Standardbred

View the harness racing jewels leaderboard click here! Just over a month out from the big event, and You’re So Fine has been the big mover in this week’s Harness Jewels leaderboard update. The Always B Miki colt was in 22nd place in the 2YO Emerald category before accruing $27,500 for his win in Saturday’s Group Two Diamond Creek Creek Farm 2YO Classic at Invercargill. He’s now been propelled up to fourth place, with Franco Indie going from 16th to 11th after finishing second in the same race. Mossdale Ben and Bollinger, who were 11th and 12th, are now 13th and 14th. The top 12 horses in each of the nine categories will make the final fields for the Jewels at Cambridge on June 6. The last week has seen no changes to the top dozen in both the 2YO, 3YO and 4YO Diamond though in the 3YO division Bettor Talk Art goes from 10th to fifth after winning Sunday’s Group Two Southland Oaks final. With Luke John heading off to Australia there’s one change to the 12 in the 3YO Emerald, with Alta Wiseguy going from 13th to 10th after his barnstorming finish to win at Auckland on Friday night. In the 4YO Emerald Bad To The Bone goes from 10th to 4th following his second to Copy That in the Messenger. Taipo has been been withdrawn, with Pull The Other Leg going from 13 to 12. In the trotting ranks there are no changes to the top 12 in the 2YO, 3YO and 4YO Ruby.   HRNZ

Former top class Kiwi mare Spellbound made it two easy wins from as many starts for Nathan Purdon at Melton on Saturday night. Backing-up a week after her stunning Aussie debut win, Spellbound enjoyed an easier trip this time and have Stewie McDonald an armchair drive on her way to an soft 2.3m win in a brisk 1min53.2sec mile rate for 1720m. Watch the race replay click here! The early signs say Spellbound will be one of the top mares in Australia in coming months. And she’s potentially the sort of stable headline act the now Aussie-based Purdon wished for. Formerly trained by Robert Dunn the Art Major four-year-old had five wins from 29 starts in New Zealand before heading across the Tasman in March.   __________________________________________________________________________________ What a shame it is former star Kiwi pacer Alta Christiano died before we got to see much of him at stud. His record from limited opportunities in the breeding barn have been stunning, headed by last Friday night’s $200,000 Group 1 WA Derby winner Mighty Ronaldo. It’s the second time in as many seasons Mighty Ronaldo has won WA’s biggest race of his age group and both times he’s proven a giant-killer. Last Friday’s Derby was billed as a match race between stars Lavra Joe and Jumpingjackmac, but Mighty Ronaldo stormed home off a soft trip to blow them both away. Jumpingjackmac led, while Lavra Joe was snagged out from a bad draw and circled the field to sit parked and pressure the leader through the middle stages. Trainer-driver Justin Prentice sat and hoped for clear air from four pegs and when it came, Mighty Ronaldo showed dazzling speed to score easily. “It’s up there with my very best wins and the Derby is a special race, one I’ve always wanted to win,” Prentice said. “This was extra special to beat those big guns after the all the huge build-up to the race. “The only sad part was no crowds on track because of Covid. There was no atmosphere and the owners not being allowed there for such a special moment was so disappointing.” Prentice hinted at a possible Victoria Derby raid later in the year. “It’s a chance. I haven’t travelled horses yet and I’d love to, but he’s got a few big races here first and I don’t have to rush into any decisions,” he said. Prentice took he reins himself last Friday, which is rare these days as he prefers to use Gary Hall Jr as stable driver. “Junior has been as loyal as he can to me, but Senior (Gary Hall Sr) locked him into Jumpingjackmac a month ago, so I had a month to prepare for the drive myself,” he said. “It was certainly a thrill to drive myself, but it won’t change anything, Junior is my go-to driver whenever he’s available.” __________________________________________________________________________________ What a week it’s been for NSW power couple Kerry Ann and Robbie Morris. Just days after the birth of their second child, Stella, they defied a strong batch of interstate raiders to win the Group 2 NSW Trotters’ Oaks with Aldebaran Ursula. Just when it seemed Brent Lilley’s former Kiwi filly Queen Elida was home, Aldebaran Ursula dived and snatched a half-head win in a 1min58.3sec mile rate for 2300m. Aldebaran Crescent capped a big night for the Aldebaran Lodge breed when she won the Group 3 La Coocaracha for trotting mares at Menangle for trainer David Aiken and driver Jimmy Rattray. It was another second for Lilley with Tailored Image 3.8m away in the minor spot with Chris Alford aboard. __________________________________________________________________________________ Exciting filly Cat King Cole stole the show from the two Australian Gold 2YO finals at Albion Park on Saturday night. After a luckless debut run, the daughter of Hurrikane Kingcole has won her past three starts in great style, including the Gold final by a thumping 29.7m for the Darren Weeks and Kylie Rasmussen combination. The boys Gold final produced a quinella for the dominant Grant Dixon stable, but in the wrong order for punters. Dixon finished second aboard $1.80 favourite Leap Of Faith, while his wife, Trista, took the prize with American Ideal colt Class To The Max in a slick 1min55.2sec mile rate for 1660m. __________________________________________________________________________________ First it was Kima Frenning now it’s Sofia Arvidsson. The two former Swedes have made a huge impact in Victorian harness racing. While Frenning has opted for a behind the scenes role in training and some media work now, Arvidsson’s on-track success and profile continues to grow. She teamed with partner Matty Craven for a breathtaking win aboard the promising Crime Writer at Melton on Saturday night. In what looked a strong and open race, Crime Writer destroyed his rivals with an 18m victory in a slick 1min54.9sec mile rate for 2240m. Throw in the recent success Arvidsson’s had with the likes of Kimble and Kowalski Analysis and she’s really going places. __________________________________________________________________________________ The McDowell clan has been a huge contributor for harness racing and richly deserved their upset win with $26 shot Michelle Lee Mac at Melton on Saturday night. The daughter of Bettors Delight, superbly driven by Greg Sugars, enjoyed camping off a hot tempo and cruised to a 6.7m win in the $210,000 Australian Gold 4YO Mares’ final in a slick 1min54sec mile rate for 1720m.   by Adam Hamilton

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