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A feature of the Australian and New Zealand sires’ statistics to date this season is the rise to the top of the two and three-year-old trotters only section by Love You. The champion French stallion is more than $20,000 ahead of the second sire, Muscle Hill, in the NZ three-year-old sires’ premiership and leads Majestic Son by $75,000 on the Australian list. Love You enjoys a comfortable lead in both countries on the two-year-old table. Recent winners by Love You include the two-year-olds Kyvalley Picasso NZ (Ballarat) and the NSW Foundation Trot heat winner Tough Love (Menangle) and the three-year-olds Locksley Lover (Yarra Valley and Kilmore), the NSW Foundation heat winner Affaire De Cover (1:58.4, Menangle), Outamyway (Addington), Love And Faith (Cambridge Raceway) and Simone Lindenny (Winton). Not to be outdone, Love You’s champion son Quaker Jet weighed in with winners in Victoria and Queensland recently. Night Whisperer made it four wins from eight starts this year at Stawell, while Gunner overcame a 30 metre handicap to win at Albion Park. Both are members of Quaker Jet’s first Australian crop of 24 foals which has produced 12 winners – an amazing 50 percent strike rate. Orlando Vici, a nine-time Group winner in Europe, sired his first two-year-old winner of the season at Auckland in the talented Voronov, one of six foals from his third NZ crop. Meanwhile, Orlando Storm, one of Orlando Vici’s amazing first Australian output, won her seventh race at Goulburn in a career-best 1:59.5. Love You, Quaker Jet and Orlando Vici are all members of the star-studded Haras Des Trotteurs’ stallion lineup at Ballarat, Victoria.   By Peter Wharton

The lower half of the North Island is one of the big winners, with 16 meetings confirmed for next season. After months of consultation between clubs, the TAB, Harness Racing New Zealand, NZ Thoroughbred Racing and New Zealand Greyhounds  the Dates Calendar has been released for next season. There will be 257 meetings in the new season, a drop of four on this season. “It’s a massive balancing act,” said HRNZ’s General Manager - Racing Catherine McDonald, “we have to be fair to all the clubs and at the same time ensuring the sport itself isn’t disadvantaged. We think we’ve achieved that.” The lower North island gets a total of 16 meetings, up from 12 this season.  Hawera will host two  grass track meetings over Waitangi weekend (Feb 4 and 6 2022). Manawatu also gets 12 dates for the season – ten 8-race meetings and two 5-race meetings. Two will be dual code with the greyhounds. The other meetings will be at Wairapapa and Kapiti. In the South Island Wyndham is back racing at their venue with five meetings, plus their annual grass meeting at Cromwell in January. Gore will race four times, with two at home on the grass, and two at Wyndham. Wyndham will also pick up two of the Forbury Trotting Club’s four meetings for the year, with the other two going to Wingatui. The  popular summer racing circuit in Central Otago and the top half of the South Island will continue to be a feature while Geraldine will host two meetings next season, one in November, the other in April after their very successful meeting at Orari last November. “We asked  clubs to front up and Geraldine was one to really do that, so they have been rewarded. Grass track racing really was one of the success stories of last season and we have amendments in the calendar to reflect that,” says McDonald. With Methven and Motukarara among those to get plenty of grass track meetings Canterbury has the same number of licenses as last year with Addington racing twice a week in June and July and Ashburton getting three new dates, and Rangiora one. “This calendar is a compromise but we feel we have got it right and look forward to building on what have achieved this season,” said McDonald. To see the full 2021-22 calendar check here .   HRNZ

FROM THE CHAIR Industry Update from John Coulam, HRNZ Chair Dates Calendar Last week the TAB approved the racing calendar for the 2021/2022 season. Through Racing New Zealand the codes have agreed to release the calendar simultaneously, therefore, the calendar will be public this Friday 30 April. The Board of HRNZ recognizes the consultation process and leadership of our Racing Manager, Catherine McDonald, and her team, in the reshaping of our calendar.   Special General Meeting – Proposal to Change Horses’ Birthdate and Breeding Rules On 27 May, a Special General Meeting of HRNZ clubs and kindred bodiesis to be held at 11.00 am, with attendance by either Zoom or in person, to consider changing the birthdate of the Standardbred to 1 January. Early indications are that there is overwhelming support and compelling reasons why we should be doing this and, in particular, aligning the birthdate with Australia and other overseas harness associations. Documentation has been sent to clubs and kindred bodies to consider the reasons for the proposed change. Also out for consultation and approval at the same time will be the updated breeding rules. Now that the calendar is finalised, a working party is focused on re mapping all group, feature and series races across our season. This work will not be completed until the outcome of the Special General Meeting is known regarding the birthdate of the horse.   Regional Racing Reviews Following on from the review of racing venues in the Otago/Southland area, Racing New Zealand has agreed to two more venue and racing reviews. The first of these reviews will focus on the greater Canterbury area and the second review, while focused on the Waikato, from a harness perspective will look at the whole of the North Island. Subject to funding being available, work will commence on the reviews this year.   TAB NZ Board Code Nominations It’s no secret that the Minister for Racing has asked each of the codes to submit a second name for consideration for the TAB NZ Board. The HRNZ Board once again considered the criteria outlined by the DIA for the position and as a result has nominated Doug Freeman, who has a wealth of wagering experience in his former role with Tabcorp in Australia. Nominations closed last week.   Racing Industry Act – Obligations on Clubs All clubs need to be aware that under the Racing Act 2020, no club can enter into a land sale or purchase agreement, nor take out a mortgage against their land without the approval of the HRNZ Board. Seek approvals early so that the Board has time to obtain and consider all the information it needs to make an objective and considered decision before you commit your funds. Key Performance Indicators We are seeing some positive trends in the key performance indicators for the season to date, and some areas where we continue to look for improvement.   New Initiatives As an industry we need to be open to reviewing our processes and practices, always looking for improvement and daring to try new things. If we keep operating in the same way without being open to change then we will lose our relevance as a sport. Following input from sector groups, the HRNZ Board has approved for industry consultation a number of exciting possibilities to stimulate racing numbers and opportunities for horses and our junior drivers. The Board will consider feedback at its June meeting, with the intent that any agreed changes will be implemented on 1 August. Keep an eye out for detail of this on our website.   Industry Day Feedback In case anyone is wondering, feedback received from the Industry Day last year has been collated and is being used to inform both the strategic plan and business plan of HRNZ.   Tentative Date for Annual Conference and AGM Club secretaries note that this year’s Conference and Annual General Meeting are tentatively booked for 15/16 October in Christchurch.     John Coulam Chair Harness Racing New Zealand Inc April 2021

Two more of Kentuckiana Lodge's Two-Year-Old Class Of 2021 will make their highly anticipated debuts this weekend. National Yearling Sales purchases will step out across the South Island with Ajira in race 1 at Addington on Friday and Republican Party to start in the Group 2 Diamond Creek Farm Stakes at Ascot Park on Sunday. Republican Party was set to debut over the summer before Cran & Chrissie made the call to give him a short spell after he went through a growth spurt. That decision looks to have paid off with the colt trialling superbly in his latest outing at Rangiora. "He has come up super and we were very pleased with his last trial, he really got to the line and he was under a nice hold," Cran said. "That told us he was ready to get to the races and now we are off to Invercargill." Cran admitted he was a little surprised when Republican Party was opened the fixed odds favourite for the Group 2 Diamond Creek Farm Stakes. But he goes into the race knowing the colt won't lack class. "I just hope that the bookies are really good judges, that is all I can say," Cran joked. "He will get better, he is not the biggest horse in the field, but he is very fast." "The only thing he lacks is racing and ringcraft and he can only get that by going to the races." "In summary, he is in the well above average category." Ajira has also pleased in his trial efforts leading into his debut in a two-year-old lineup at Addington. The gelding got keen in his latest trial and dug deep to run third after Cran & Chrissie experimented with his gear. "He has pleased us and he is ready now to get to the races," Cran said. "He is a typical Bettor's Delight, they can be very relaxed at home but when they get to the races they tend to lift a couple of notches." "I am expecting him to do that and I am sure he will race well." Kentuckiana Lodge also start Fabrizio and Cardinal Sin at Addington in race 9. Both will head back to the races fitter for their last outings. "The race really wasn't run to suit Fabrizio first up." "Off 20m and back in the field he didn't have a chance when it turned into a walk and sprint up front." "Physically he is very well and he loves the mobile." "I think this week he is going to be very competitive." Cardinal Sin goes into race 9 after disappointing in his last outing at Rangiora following his booming third first-up at Addington. Cran expects the pacer to quickly bounce back to his best. "He went super first up but in hindsight he deceived us a bit going into Rangiora." "I will put my hand up there and say that was my fault." "He is a much better horse than that and we are expecting much better things on Friday night." Alta Sensation and Invaluable will accompany Republican Party on his trip to Diamonds Day on Sunday. Alta Sensation looks a genuine threat in the Group 2 Southern Supremacy Stakes Final despite drawing the outside of the gate. "This race looks within his range, he has been to the top level and run in the Northern Derby," Cran said. "We have respect for the opposition but we definitely won't be fearing any of them." "He should race well." After running into an open class pacer at Addington in Matt Damon and finishing just a length from him, Invaluable gets into a winnable race at Invercargill. Cran hopes the four-year-old can race well on the home patch of his co-owner Ross McKerchar. "He is very honest and he is a bit of a quiet achiever." "He tries his guts out and runs well no matter who he lines up against." "He looks well placed in that race on Sunday so I expect him to go well." McKerchar races Invaluable with the estate of one of Kentuckiana Lodge's best longtime supporters, the late Trevor Beaton. Alta Sensation also has connections in the deep south through his owners Keiran Fahy and Nigel Fahy, who is now based in the North with Breckon Farms. The Fahys race the pacer with friend John Holding, with Chrissie Dalgety also in the ownership.   By Jonny Turner

View the Alexandra Park harness racing fields clcik here! By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Fresh from his 800th driving success at Cambridge last night with Eagle Watch, Zachary Butcher is now after his first Group One win as a trainer. He already has the best part of 20 Group Ones as a driver. The South Auckland horseman had plenty of success with Zeuss Bromac two years ago when he trained and drove him to a win and two placings in New Zealand, including running third in the Gr.1 2YO Emerald (1980m) at Addington Raceway. He subsequently travelled to Australia with the son of Bettor’s Delight where he placed in the Breeders Crown 2YO Colts and Geldings heat and semi-final, before running fourth in the final. The now four-year-old is part-owned by Lynette Philpott, who also owns Call Me Trouble, who will give Butcher his first chance at Group One trotting glory at Alexandra Park on Friday. The five-year-old son of Superfast Stuart will contest the Gr.1 2021 “What The Hill” Rowe Cup (3200m) and Butcher is excited about his prospects in the two-mile feature. He heads into Friday in good form, having won and placed in his last two starts, and in March he proved he was up to racing top-class company when finishing fourth in the Gr.3 Greenlane Cup (2700m). “It’s nice that we have managed to get hold of a horse that has done a good job, and it’s nice to have one in a big race,” Butcher said. “It is going to be pretty tough against Sundees Son and there are about four or five that are probably a class above him, but it’s 3200m. “If I can stick him on the fence or cuddle him up and if a few of them do a bit of work and he can follow that speed, he won’t be far away.” While Group One success is nothing new to Butcher as a driver, he said it is a whole different feeling training in the lead-up to an elite-level target. “When you are a driver you just have to look at that field and do your form on those other horses, but as a trainer it’s all the extras that you have got to do through the week,” he said. “Trainers deserve every dollar they get because it’s a lot more stressful than driving them.” While excited about the Rowe Cup, Butcher also has a couple of other feature drives on Friday. He is particularly excited about the prospects of the Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan-trained Bad To The Bone in the Gr.1 Dawson Harford LTD 2021 NZ Messenger Championship (2700m). The gelding finished second behind Copy That in the Gr.1 Taylor Mile (1600m) last week in his New Zealand resumption after a couple of months campaigning in Australia. He has drawn barrier five for Friday’s feature and Butcher is slightly disappointed that a few competitors sporting the Jewels silks - Copy That and Amazing Dream - have drawn inside of him. “He went super last start over the mile,” Butcher said. “It’s a bit of a shame that the ones to beat have drawn inside of us, but that’s the way it has turned out. “If they go hard and he gets a nice drag into it, he will be right in it. “He is tough. I think that Menangle racing has got him really sharp for these couple of races and it showed in last week’s run that he is right up to them.” Butcher will also partner stablemate Miki Montana in the Gr.1 Magness Benrow NZ Sires Stakes Championship (1700m). He wasn’t complimentary of his drive behind her when finishing seventh in the Gr.1 Caduceus Club Fillies Classic (2200m) in inclement conditions at Alexandra Park last week, and is hoping to make amends on Friday. “It was driver error last start,” he said. “I was pretty disappointed with my drive. She was pretty unlucky in the run home and the conditions weren’t great, so I couldn’t really see where I was going. Had she had a bit more luck I think she would have been right there. “Hopefully things can go her way on Friday and if she gets the right run and is following the right horses, I don’t think she will be too far away.”

View the Addington harness racing fields click here! By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Amanda Telfer is dipping her toes into Canterbury life before she makes the plunge later this year and moves south from her South Auckland base. Telfer, who trains in partnership with her brother Steve, is campaigning a handful of their runners in Canterbury and she is looking forward to heading their permanent South Island barn from November. “We (Stonewall Stud) have bought Jack Smolenski’s old place,” Telfer said. “It doesn’t actually all happen until the end of November this year. We are looking at setting up a stable down here as well as one up north.” While she spends a good portion of her year in the South Island, she said the region’s harsh winters will take some getting used to. “It’s pretty good down here, but I am not too fond of the frosty, cold mornings. We don’t get that in Auckland,” she quipped. “But it is going to be good to be able to split our horses up. Up there (Auckland) we have four or five in a race, so to split the stable up will be a good thing.” While their new Canterbury base won’t be available until later this year, Telfer is enjoying utilising the facilities at Dancingonmoonlight Farm in the interim. “Sara (Famularo) has a few broodmares of ours down here. They invited us to come to their place and it has been good,” Telfer said. Telfer will have three runners at Addington Raceway on Friday, all of which have Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks ambitions. Their charge will be led by Allamericanlover in the ‘Hilarious Guest’ 3YO Fillies Prelude (1980m). The promising filly has won two of her three starts to date, and finished runner-up two starts back behind The Honey Queen. Telfer is happy with the way she has settled into her new surroundings ahead of her first southern hit-out where she will be driven for the first time by northern reinsman David Butcher. “She has settled in really well down here,” she said. “She went good against The Honey Queen so hopefully she measures up against La Rosa.” “David is coming down to drive her, so that’s an advantage. David hasn’t driven her before and he is going to be driving her in the Nevele R Final and Oaks.” Allamericanlover will be joined on Friday by stablemate Ruby Mach who has drawn two on the front line and will be driven by Craig Thornley. She finished fifth in her first-up southern run last week behind Bettor Twist and Telfer is hoping for an improved result on Friday. “She is an honest little filly, she tries hard,” Telfer said. “She has got a better draw on Friday so we will just see what happens. “She is always running on so if she can get a bit more handy she might be a place chance.” Although Show Me Heaven is entered in the same race, she is dual accepted for the meeting and Telfer is leaning towards starting her in the First Direct Taxis Mobile Pace (1980m). “She will probably start in the last race,” Telfer said. “We have got two already in the other one, so it will be good to split them up a little bit.” The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere disappointed when tailing the field home at Addington last week and Telfer expects an improved performance on Friday. “She did a fair bit of work early, but I thought she would have boxed on a bit better,” Telfer said. “She has come through the race well and has been working well. Hopefully she has improved this week.”

View the Cambridge harness racing results click here! By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Consistent trotter My Royal Roxy rewarded trainer Ival Brownlee’s patience when winning the Ike Unsworth Bayleys Handicap Trot (27000m) at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night. The daughter of Majestic Son began like a bullet off the front row to take an early lead for driver Jay Abernethy who maintained a solid tempo throughout. The pace told on her rivals, with the six-year-old running away to a comfortable 2-1/4 length win. Brownlee was delighted with the result and he was full of praise for Abernethy’s tactics. “She is not a bad little horse,” he said. “She is pretty limited but what she did tonight in that grade was pretty good. “You get the odd one that makes a mistake and you end up in front. He ran her along a little bit. “It all comes down to the start. She is a really good beginner. If you get a good start and run a good time like she did tonight, it’s really hard for them to make up that ground.” My Royal Roxy finished fourth when first-up at Cambridge Raceway a fortnight ago and Brownlee took plenty of confidence from that run. “That was a good run first-up,” he said. “He (Abernethy) didn’t knock her around at all and she was probably unlucky to not get a little bit closer. “At the moment she seems to be in a really good space, she is eating really well and doesn’t have any tying up problems. Everything has been going really well.” While My Royal Roxy has been in good form this season, placing in seven of her previous 12 starts this term, Thursday was her first win since 2018. Coincidentally it was the last time Brownlee’s silks greeted the judge, but he hasn’t been overly perturbed by that. “We have been knocking on the door plenty of times, but I am not too worried about having the photos up on the wall,” he said. “As long as they are paying their way I am happy. “She has been a great cashpoint card, she nearly averages $1,000 a start. She has definitely been carrying the team for a while. “You only need a couple like that in the barn. We have got a couple of young ones coming through that look quite nice, including a full-sister to her, she is a nice animal.”

View the Alexandra Park harness racing fields click here! Trainer Ray Green has some advice for punters worried about Copy That’s staying stats heading into tonight’s $95,000 Messenger at Alexandra Park. “Go back and watch the Auckland Cup,” says Green. Because Green says Copy That’s massive third in that 3200m thriller on New Years Eve is the only proof punters should need that he will handle the 2700m mobile in tonight’s four-year-old Group One. Copy That is the hot favourite for the Messenger as he tries to complete a double with last week’s Taylor Mile that tends to lead to greatness for those special enough to achieve it. He led all the way last Friday and from barrier two is expected to assume control even easier tonight so the Messenger looks his to lose but any punter looking to get seriously involved in backing him might do a double take as his staying stats: one win in six career starts past 2400m. With his high cruising speed and short coupled frame Copy That probably is at his most potent sprinting but trainer Green says the Auckland Cup third behind Amazing Dream and Spankem after he was parked for much of the race leaves no doubts his stable star will stay. “That allayed any fears for me and should for anybody else,” says Green matter-of-factly. “He was great that night and he was also luckless in the Northern Derby last year over 2700m so I am not worried about that at all. “He has come through last week well and I think he will lead and be very hard to catch.” Copy That has actually won over 2700m from a standing start in a very quick time and had excuses in all his other longer distance defeats so as much as he has yet to totally prove himself as a big boy stayer deeper investigations of his stats suggest he can snare his second group one tonight. He should be aided by what appears to be a lack of pressure in the race. Bad To The Bone poured in on last week over a mile but it would surprise to see him try that over 2700m. So if Copy That can get to the 800m mark having only run even, solid sectionals not only should be be able to whizz home in 55 seconds but his greatest danger, Amazing Dream, will not have had the tempo needed to finish over top of him. Having won both that Northern Derby and Auckland Cup, Amazing Dream is the logical danger if things do get hectic tonight and her male rivals come back to her but she is not really a mare who can do that bullying herself and expect to win at this level. While Copy That will be looking to make a lie of his staying stats in the Messenger, Sundees Son should continue on his way as a staying freak in the $150,000 What The Hill Rowe Cup. He has only had two starts over 3200m and won them both, this race two years ago and the Dominion at Addington in November and he thrives on distance racing, whether driven aggressively with a sit. It would be easy to be concerned by him drawing barrier one at the busy 3200m start but he has actually started from barrier one in standing starts four times in the last 18 months and stepped away beautifully every time. “I am not worried about the barrier,” says driver John Dunn. “He is never super fast away but I am confident he will step away with them and be handy enough.” Aiding Sundees Son is the fact only six horses start off the front line, the other four on the unruly, so he shouldn’t have to stand too long after coming into line first. If he trots squarely throughout he should win but if he does make a mistake then Bolt For Brilliance in the obvious danger while Majestic Man should improve lengths on last week and is likely to be one of the first away of the favourites. Temporale looks the best place value as a good standing start horse and former winner of this race.   by Michael Guerin

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Premier harness racing hits Alexandra Park tonight with a ten race program starting at 5:29pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a great night of racing. Alexandra Park selections 30th April 2021 Best Bet:  R3 Queen Of Strathfield Best Value:  R5 Suntan   Race 1 American Pride (6) Rain Mist And Muscle (5) Forget The Price Tag (8) Springbank Mason (7)   Race 2 Magic Thompson (7) Hesashorething (3) Lalibela (5) Ronda (1)   Race 3 Queen Of Strathfield (3) Phoebe Majestic (5) Aldebaran Flame (9) Cyclone Lebron (1)   Race 4 Cashlodo Flybye (2) Louie The Punter (4) Kerri Maguire (6) Chris Kyle (1)   Race 5 Suntan (3) A Bettor You (2) Miki Montana (10) True Fantasy (13)   Race 6 Five Wise Men (4) Son Of Patrick (10) Time Up The Hill (7) Leaf Stride (3)    Race 7 Sundees Son (1) Bolt For Brilliance (7) Oscar Bonavena (9) Temporale (2)   Race 8 Copy That (2) Amazing Dream (4) Bad To The Bone (5) Kango (10)   Race 9 Last Tango In Heaven (1) Cya Art (4) Alta Wiseguy (8) Happy Place (3)   Race 10 The Honey Queen (2) Warloch (3) Mimi E Coco (1) Dance Time (5)   Harnesslink Media

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Premier harness racing hits Addington this afternoon with a ten race program starting at 1:06pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. Addington selections 29th April 2021 Best Bet:  R2 Outamyway  Best Value:  R8 Artatac   Race 1 Mr Ibiza (4) Star Casino (1) Opawa Louie (7) Ajira (6)   Race 2 Outamyway (12) Franco Jorik (3) Sundons Flyer (2) Royal Del (5)   Race 3 Stag Party (6) Sonic Reign (2) Razors Edge (13) Rocket Boy(AUS) (7)   Race 4 Allamericanlover (5) Off N Gone (8) La Rosa (7) Ruby Mach (2)   Race 5 One Majic Kenny (7) Navara (3) Phoebe Onyx (1) Show Me The Gray (4)   Race 6 Done Deal (3) Mossdale Mac (7) Unchanged Memory (2) Searing Light (1)    Race 7 Overzealous (4) Bright Glow (1) Gold Chain (9) Salvo (3)   Race 8 Artatac (4) Ivana Legacy (11) Radioactive Jaffa (18) Rockntommy Rulz (10)   Race 9 Fabrizio (6) Belmont Major (7) Matt Damon (8) Cheezel (4)   Race 10 Rock Legend  (6) Teagan Banner  (7) Silk  (1) Last Of The Mohicans  (3)   Harnesslink Media

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound.   Byron unbeaten two-year-old My Ultimate Byron, who is being aimed at harness racing's NSW Breeders Challenge in the spring, won the $125,000 APG Gold Bullion Final to mark the close of his first campaign with a good deal to spare. His winning sequence of three two-year-old starts by a combined margin of 48 metres makes him one of the best of his age, and he looks to be well in line for the remaining classics. A well developed youngster, possessing both speed and stamina, My Ultimate Byron is a particularly easy going juvenile by the great Somebeachsomewhere, and is likely the best pacer to be trained by former Riverina horseman Jarrod Alchin. My Ultimate Byron’s earnings totalled $77,220. My Ultimate Byron’s dam, Our Sleeping Beauty, was only a moderate, being by Bettor’s Delight from Bishop’s Dream, an unraced mare, and by the Artsplace horse Dream Away, a Meadowlands Pace winner. Bishop’s Dream was a half-sister to two high class pacers in Devil Dodger 1:50.8 ($724,666) mand The Devil’s Own 1:48 ($293,495), being out of Bishop’s Blessing, by Live Or Die from the Soky’s Atom mare Atomic Lass, dam of the outstanding NZ pacer Auckland Reactor 1:52.9 ($1.7 million), now at the stud in NSW. My Ultimate Byron won the $125,000 APG Gold Bullion Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle last Saturday night. Photo Club Menangle.   Brother to Poster Boy Beach Villa, who won the Victoria Sapling Stakes for two-year-old colts and geldings, after leading and carving out his final four quarters in under 30 seconds, could develop into one of the best his age this year. He has an all-American breeding background and one which has been most successful. By Somebeachsomewhere (son of Mach Three), he is out of the Artsplace mare Aston Villa (1:58.1), who won four races at the Victorian provincials. At the stud Aston Villa, the 2019 Broodmare of the Year, has left six individual winners, five of whom took records of 1:56 or better including a champion colt in Poster Boy 1:49.1 ($803,310), the winner of five Group One’s and the 3YO of the Year in 2018. Others from Aston Villa have been Yankee Rockstar 1:52.2 ($329,048), who won the Sapling Stakes in 2013, the Breeders Crown champion Born To Rocknroll 1:52.5 ($300,684), Zoliver (1:53.6) and Yankee Showgirl (1:56.5). Aston Villa, bred in Canada by the Armstrong Brothers, was out of Villa Storm 1:53.2 ($328,817), a half-sister by Storm Damage to the top Canadian pacers Art’s Secret and Cam’s Secretary. Beach Villa was bred and is raced by Bill and Anne Anderson, of Lauriston Bloodstock. Photo Stuart McCormick.   Champagne Classic winner A two-year-old to take high ranking in Western Australia this year is Bushwacked, one of the third crop sired by Follow The Stars, who is now at Goulburn Valley Equine in Shepparton, Victoria. Bushwacked has won three races with a second in eight starts for $50,553. He won the $50,000 Champagne Classic over 2130 metres in the smart mile rate of 1:57.2 and appears every bit as good as the Sandgropers rate him. He is out of Aleta Anvil (1:59.7), by In The Pocket from the American-bred Aleta Hanover, an Albatross mare from the same family as the top Canadian pacer High Ideal. Aleta Anvil, who won six races including two at Gloucester Park, produced others in Warrior’s Code (1:55.6), Rapid Red River (2:00.2) and The Witness. She was a half-sister to Maiden America, the dam of the Australian winners Cashel Rohan (1:58.3) and Cashel Eclipse. Aleta Anvil was 22 when she left Bushwacked. West Australia's Bushwacked is one of the third crop sired by Follow The Stars. Photo Gloucester Park – Paceway Photos.   Heavens Showgirl’s breeding background Heavens Showgirl, who won her fourth race from five starts in WA at Gloucester Park, is a five-year-old mare expected to graduate far beyond her present rating. A member of Nathan Turvey’s Ravenswood team, she has a good deal more in her favour on the score of blood than most. By Rock N Roll Heaven, the sire of horses the calibre of Wolf Stride, Heaven Rocks and Expensive Ego, Heavens Showgirl is out of a useful racemare in Miss Deville with a record of 1:58.8, who is proving a successful broodmare. Miss Deville is also the dam of Knights Templar (1:55.1), a Group placegetter as a two-year-old, Misty Cullen (1:56.6) and Modern Ville (1:57.3). Miss Deville is a D M Dilinger mare from the Moonee Valley winner Lauraville (2:00.8), by Hilarious Way from Gift Ray, by First Variety from Philray, by the Raider horse Raglo. Miss Deville is a half-sister to Jasville 1:59.7 (who won 12 races), to Nextville 1:59.1 (14 wins) and Stoneville (2:00.9), dam of Some Stone 1:57.3 (12 wins). Heavens Showgirl was bred by the late Gordon and June Turner, from Victoria’s Gippsland district. Heavens Showgirl won her fourth race from five starts in WA at Gloucester Park. Photo Gloucester Park – Paceway Photos.   Another star from Fususi Captain’s Queen, who won the $125,000 APG Gold Bullion Final at Menangle, is a two-year-old sister-in-blood to a NSW Breeders Challenge winner in Soho Almasi 1:51.8 ($124,950). They are out of a fine racemare in Fususi 1:59.2 ($180,305), by Village Jasper from Gold Sarn, by Muckalee Strike from Muma Sarn, by Caliburn, a son of Bullet Hanover. Muma Sarn was a most successful broodmare, being also the dam of Muma’s Little Girl (1:59.9), How Is He (1:59.7), Gold Sarn and My Mate Leigh. Fususi is a half-sister to the Australian Oaks winner Shake It Mama 1:54.7 ($257,588) and to Pyrites (1:57.9), the dam of Bettor Be Gold (1:52.8) and Golden Year (1:54.6). Star four-year-old by A Rocknroll Dance Chubby Checker, who has won four races from as many starts at Menangle, and has graduated to a NR75 mark, is regarded as one of the best young stayers in NSW. Chubby Checker is a four-year-old gelding by the Rocknroll Hanover horse A Rocknroll Dance, who has sired numerous top performers including No Win No Feed, Its Rock And Roll, Bar Room Banta, Whereyabinboppin and others. He is out of a former smart racemare in Just Gorgeous (1:59.7), a Washington VC mare from the same family as the 2YO Filly of the Year Maajida. Just Gorgeous, a Group winner at two, ranks as a half-sister to the NZ winner I’m Watching You, being out of I’m Gorgeous (2:01), by Peace Of Art from the Soky’s Atom mare Moonshaker, dam of the Harvey Cup winner Galactic Galleon 1:52.2 ($449,371). In the back removes of Chubby Checker’s pedigree are pacers of the calibre of the NZ Cup winner Gracious Knight, King Alba (NZ Flying Stakes), Black Cam 1:52.2 (Popular Alm FFA), and Alta Leonie (NZ Stratford Cup).   Well related three-year-old Sayitaintso Joe, a most impressive winner at Ballarat recently, showed ability as a two-year-old last season when he qualified for the Breeders Crown semi-final. He has opened his three-year-old season on a winning note and will be well in line for the major classics at the end of the year. He is a gelding by the Cam’s Card Shark horse, Roll With Joe, from the Group winner Beach Shack 1:53.3 ($148,702), a half-sister to a top flight racemare in Rockstar Angel 1:51 ($438,053). Their dam, Arty Alice (by Artiscape), ranks as a half-sister to the mighty Christian Cullen and the Auckland Cup winner Kate’s First. Sayitaintso Joe was bred and is raced by Brendan and Anne James, of Ballarat. Won SA Oaks The Victorian filly, Alien’s Exist, who firmly clinched her claim to being one of the best three-year-old fillies of the season when she won the South Australian Oaks at Globe Derby Park, is a member of one of NZ’s top ranking standardbred families. Alien’s Exist, who has now won four races, is a filly by the In The Pocket horse Courage Under Fire, who also sired the dam of the runner-up Doug’s Babe (by Western Terror). Courage Under Fire has been most successful in Australia. His stock include the Inter Dominion champion Smolda, Alta Orlando, Turn It Up and Carla’s Pixel. Alien’s Exist is out of the smart racemare Low Velocity 1:56.8 ($121,993), by the Artsplace horse Fully Loaded from Claire Lane (1:59.1), a NZ bred mare by New York Motoring from Claire Vision, by Windshield Wiper and tracing to the taproot Lutie Rodgers (by the thoroughbred Cannon’s Whip colt). Claire Lane was the dam of a top Queensland pacer in Presidential Lane (1:55.3), winner of 14 races including the Gold Coast Derby and $142,411, and the Albion Park winner Claire Jasper (1:58). Claire Vision was a half-sister to What’s Fair, a What’s Next mare who left the smart Tasmanian pacer Whata Dragon. Polly Put Kettleon (also by Courage Under Fire), who won the Norman Memorial on the same night as Alien’s Exist won, is another member of the Lutie Rodgers tribe.   Siblings win at Albion Park It was no mean feat for the siblings Manila Playboy (by Pet Rock) and Cheesandkisses (by Betterthancheddar) to win on the same card at Albion Park recently. Manila Boy, a three-year-old gelding, has won five of his 11 starts to date, while Cheesandkisses, a four-year-old mare, has won four. Bangkok Dancer, the dam of Manila Playboy and Cheesandkisses, won 11 races including the Paleface Adios Classic and took a record of 1:56.4 and was a smart racemare in her own right. She was a half-sister to the Albion Park winners Perfect Pegasus 1:55.7 ($150,702) and Courageous Cam 1:56 ($104,154), being out of Killarney Beauty, by Caroldon Lehigh from Killarney Betty, by Stormyway. A top Brisbane free-for-aller from an earlier decade in Manila Lover Boy belongs to this family. He won 48 races including 12 at Albion Park and one at Harold Park. Victorian trotter has strong bloodlines Hatchback, the winner of the recent Bendigo Trotters Cup and earlier the runner-up in the Mildura Cup, is a five-year-old trotter of some potential. He has won $87,875 in stakes, a worthwhile return for the $23,000 paid for him at the 2015 Australasian Premier Trotting Sale in Melbourne. By the Garland Lobell horse Angus Hall (whose frozen crops ‘down under’ have been most impressive and have run up a particularly good record), he is out of a champion racemare in Jauriol 1:59.9 ($248,824), a winner of 22 races including the Victoria and NSW Oaks, the NSW Derby and The Redwood. Jauriol was by Wagon Apollo, also a champion trotter, and from New Karamboo, by Keystone Gondola from New Everest, by Mt Everest from the Apepa mare Newry Star, the grand-dam of the Victorian country cups winner Rockey. Hatchback ranks as a brother to the dual Vicbred champion Endsino 1:58.1 ($185,203), now at the stud, and a half-brother to the smart SA square-gaiters Skyflyer and Joekenn.   Peter Wharton

Calling collectors of harness racing memorabilia. The family of the late Bob McArdle has a swag of photos, trophies and other items and they want them to go to a new home. Born in Tasmania he was a high profile harness racing figure on both sides of the Tasman, and was a founding partner of Nevele R stud along with Wayne Francis. Both Bob and his brother John were bloodstock agents, and it was from Brothers McArdle that “Bromac” would become their trademark. Among the best horses Bob McArdle owned were 2005 Auckland Cup winner Howard Bromac while one of Bob’s favourites was Montini Bromac, who won eight from 16 races in the late 1970s. He was the first winner in NZ by one of the foundation sires of Nevele R in Timely Knight. Holmes Hanover and Falcon Seelster were two of the most successful sires purchased by Bob for Nevele R with Holmes Hanover being the first NZ based sire to sire over a thousand winners. Bob McArdle died in January 2018 aged 75. Anyone wanting more information should contact Lisa Fabri -

By Frank Marrion courtesy of the HarnessXpress    Not many horses are sent out a $1.20 favourite on debut in a maiden at Addington, but that was Stac just recently. The four-year-old gelding by Well Said is now unbeaten in four public outings and clearly has a very bright future, all of which is all the more surprising when one considers that up until about a month ago, he’d looked nothing out of the ordinary. In fact he’d been looking very ordinary if not hopeless. “We broke him in and gave him a few preps, but you wouldn’t see a lazier horse – we just couldn’t get him to go at all,” said trainer Regan Todd. “Then myself and Dave (breeder-owner Clemence) sort of went different ways and rather than having 5-6 in work for him, we were doing just 1-2. “So Stac spent a year and a half in the paddock while we worked our way through a few others.” Stac wasn’t much better when he was finally brought back into work late last year, and he wound up in Todd’s barn at Lavros Lodge at Yaldhurst, where he does the young ones and a bit of pre training, along with those that don’t really need to be at the beach such as That Alexander Guy. “I like to keep the numbers at the beach to no more than 15 and when a space becomes available, we’ll go and grab something from Yaldhurst. “Murray Howard runs that side of the operation for me and is full-time, with Davy Moore helping out in the mornings. “We’ve been doing things that way for about a year now and it’s working really well. “We weren’t getting far with Stac last year and in the end we just threw the hopples away as he can free-leg it. “We were just using him to educate the young ones, but he got to a stage where we figured it was worth taking him to the workouts the next week. “Well he’s just got better and better with each and every run – got sharper every time he’s gone off the place. “It’s amazing to think how far he’s come in such a short time.” Stac won his first workout at Ashburton on March 23, coming his last quarter in 26 in a heat for learners. Six days later he qualified at Rangiora over 2600m from a stand in 3.24.5, scoring by two and a half lengths with sectionals in 56.6 and 27.3. The following week he won another trial at Rangiora from a mobile, making him eligible for his debut. With Robbie Close in Auckland with Play Filly, Blair Orange eased Stac out from the gate before sending him forward to take the lead off Adhara with 1800m to go. Adhara has developed into a pretty good maiden for Darren Keast and drew level with Stac about 100m out, but Orange was just kidding and Stac was pulling away again at the finish. Leconte was third over four lengths away after following the two favourites around, which would underline just how good was the performance of Stac, even if it was a little too close for comfort for the punters. He has certainly made up for all that lost time in a hurry. What he has also done is almost certainly given his dam, Star Rhapsody, the record for the most winners from a New Zealand broodmare. He is the 16th and last foal from Star Rhapsody and is her 14th winner. Her first foal in Star Rosette qualified and went unraced, while another in Roxy Star raced five times without winning. So Star Rhapsody had 16 foals for 16 to qualify, 15 to race, and 14 winners. The previous record is thought to be Sakuntala’s 13. Clemence has bred the last nine foals from Star Rhapsody after acquiring her from his grandmother Jessie Alabone, a sister to Bill McDonald of Starship fame. The first two foals McDonald bred from the unraced Good Chase mare Star Nurse were top colts in Ian Mac and Starship in the early 80s. McDonald owned Starship with Alabone and trained him to be a brilliant two-year-old, second best to another freak youngster in Tuapeka Knight, before selling him to a syndicate. That syndicate included John Reedy, who took over the training of Starship as a five-year-old and won the Ashburton Flying Stakes first-up with him. Starship was unplaced in the New Zealand Cup that year, but almost won it a year later, finishing second to Neroship by half a length, while he was also beaten only a neck by Christopher Vance in an Auckland Cup. Ian Mac was sold to Perth after winning two of his first three races and went on to win a WA Pacing Cup. Later Star Nurse produced a Lordship sister to Starship in Venetian Star and her first foal was a top colt in Anvil’s Star, who was also second in a New Zealand Cup, to Il Vicolo. Venetian Star later produced Star Rhapsody, a daughter of In The Pocket who won four races for McDonald and Alabone. McDonald had given away the training by this time and Star Rhapsody was trained by Ian Cameron and later John Lischner. When McDonald passed away around 15 years ago, Alabone inherited all the horses they had together, but she was in no position to keep them. “She was about 96 at the time and said to me she was going to have to sell them all,” recalls Dave Clemence. “She put two colts in the yearling sales (in 2007) and I figured I’d buy them both and race them with her to give her an interest. “I had no interest in the horses at that stage and thought she would be dead within a year or two. “Well she lived until she was 107 and when she did die a few years ago, she was the second oldest living person in New Zealand. “She was still driving at the age of 100 and she died the same week that her last living son did. “I can recall being in the hospital with her and she told me that she had said to a nurse, that if she looked like passing on, to not worry about trying to revive her. “I said now hang on, don’t forget we’ve got a good horse coming (Strata Star). “She said go and get that nurse because I’ve changed my mind.” One of the colts that Clemence bought was by Christian Cullen from Venetian Star and he was “a stark raving lunatic”, but the other one was Rocket Star. A Badlands Hanover colt from Star Rhapsody, Rocket Star was a lovely horse that could be left entire, and he won six of his first seven starts going into the 2009 New Zealand Derby. Regan Todd was just starting out as a junior driver at that point, and drove Rocket Star in five of those wins before trainer David Butt took over for the Group races, finishing second in the Southern Supremacy before a big sale to Perth, where he won over $400,000. “I put Regan on as the driver because he was doing all the work with him at home, which put Davy’s nose out of place,” said Clemence. Rocket Star wasn’t Todd’s first winner, but at that point he was easily the best horse he’d driven. “You could put him in the middle of the track and he’d still win,” Todd recalls. Clemence had also gone and bought Star Rhapsody from a dispersal sale of McDonald’s estate and the first foal he bred from her was Strata Star, a nice mare by Bettor’s Delight who Todd trained to win five races and $40,000. She later raced in Australia for Clemence and won another three races at Menangle under John McCarthy, one a mile in 1.53.3. Strata Star returned home with a colt by A Rocknroll Dance in Vulcan Star, who won three of his 11 races for Todd before a sale back to Australia last year, where he has yet to be sighted. Clemence has also bred Sandvik Star (5 NZ wins, $40,000) from Star Rhapsody and five other fillies, but Strata Star is the only one he has been breeding from and she hasn’t produced a foal in four seasons. “I’ve had some health issues in recent years, with cancer and then a stroke last year, and I haven’t had much to do with the horses to be honest. “I’ve got 80 acres next to Davy Butt at Woodend Beach and I’ve had to just leave the horses to Regan to sort out.” Clemence purchased the property with a view to setting up Todd in a training establishment, but delays with consents and a downturn in his water drilling and pump business resulted in Todd forging ahead and setting himself up. So it’s been a tough few years for Clemence, but in Stac he suddenly has something to cheer him up. – By Frank Marrion FOOTNOTE: Stac is short for St Andrews College, where Clemence had sons in the primary school.

View the Cambridge harness racing fields click here! By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Cambridge trainer Ross Paynter has an exciting couple of days ahead of him. The appetiser will come at his home track on Thursday when he lines-up As Free As Air in the IRT. Your Horse. Our Passion Handicap Trot (2700m), with the main course coming a day later at Alexandra Park when Anditover competes in the Gr.1 Rowe Cup (3200m). As a trotting enthusiast, the Rowe Cup has always been held in high regard by Paynter who previously finished fourth in the staying feature with Group One winner Lemond. “It is the one race I would like to win,” he said. “You need a pretty classy horse to do it. I had Lemond and he was right up to winning it but didn’t get a lot of luck in the run a couple of times, but still went good races.” While Anditover isn’t in the same class as his former stablemate, Paynter is hopeful of a bold run from the son of Andover Hall after he returned to winning form a fortnight ago at Alexandra Park. “He is a nice horse, he just lacks a bit of real speed,” Paynter said. “The two miles will suit him. There are five or six there that are a lot classier than him, but the rest of them he can handle. “But you just never know. You only need one of those good ones to have an off day. “He is feeling really well and racing really well at the moment.” While he is holding out hope of ticking a major bucket list item off on Friday, Paynter is looking forward to Cambridge Raceway’s Thursday meeting with As Free As Air. The six-year-old mare returned to form when placing at Alexandra Park last week and Paynter said she will appreciate a return to Cambridge. “She hasn’t done a lot of racing at Auckland, but she just cost herself around the last bend,” he said. “She should have really finished second, but it was a good run. “She will be better going back left-handed this week.” As Free As Air has won one and placed in three of her last five starts, with her only blemish coming at Cambridge two starts back when breaking at the start. But Paynter has taken plenty of confidence from her last start and has entrusted her to the care of junior driver Luke Whittaker on Thursday. “He has been ringing up for a while to drive her,” Paynter said. “She is not really a junior drivers horse but she is in really good form and she always behaves better over the 2700m. “He is going to have a go on her this week to see if we can get a penalty free win.”

The Southern Country Cup is back on the cards this Sunday after not being held last season. The 2700 metre harness racing feature dates back to 2001 when Bonnie Lass trained by Brent McIntyre won the race beating Pickapocket. This year’s feature sponsored by Regent Car Court has drawn a small field with backmarker Pembrook Playboy odds on to win the feature. Southern Country Cups Facts and Figures: This year is the 20th running of the Country Cup, first run in 2001 when the winner was Bonnie Lass. Current race record: Pemberton Shard 3-21.2 (2014) Most successful driver: Dexter Dunn (3) and Brent Barclay (3). Winners include: Shortys Girl (2002), Howard Bromac (2004), Beaudiene Bad Babe (2010), Franco Ledger (2012) and Vintage Cheddar (2019). No horse has win the race twice. Leading point’s scorer 2020/2021: Memphis Tennessee (58). The race was not held in 2020. Southern Harness will talk to trainers Brett Gray, Nathan Williamson, Alister Black, Regan Todd, Tony Barron and Mark Jones about their runners for Diamonds Day and their comments will be posted on this website on Wednesday.   Bruce Stewart

The Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic is into its eighth year and this years’ field is the biggest since its inception. The race was initiated by the Southern Bred Southern Reared breeding group and this Sunday’s event will be run for a stake of $50,000. In its seventh year of existence the All Stars Stable has dominated the race, winning it four times with Kept Under Wraps (2014), Lazarus (2015), A Bettor Act (2018) and Virgil (2019). The only race day winner entered this year is Franco Indie trained by Hayden Cullen, and he’s likely to start favourite despite his wide draw. Leading Southland chance is the Brett Gray trained You’re So Fine. Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic – Facts and Figures: This year is the eighth running of the Two Year Old Classic. The most successful trainers: Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen (4). Most successful driver: Tim Williams (3). Winners include: Lazarus. Race record: A Better Act 2-40.6 (2018). First stake: $12,000. This year’s stake: $50,000. Current group status – Group Two. Southern Harness will talk to trainers Brett Gray, Nathan Williamson, Regan Todd, Alister Black, Tony Barron and Mark Jones about their runners for Diamonds Day and their comments will be posted on this website on Wednesday.     by Bruce Stewart

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