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Congratulations on a terrific 2019-20 harness racing breeding season. The whole team at Empire would like to thank all our clients for choosing the World Class Sires on offer at Empire Stallions this breeding season; we look forward to seeing lots of healthy foals on the ground come September. Of course it's now sales season, and as always, we will be putting out a comprehensive guide to the lots on offer by Empire sires across the Australian Pacing Gold yearling drafts, starting below with these lots on offer at the Brisbane sale on Sunday 26 January - including the first BETTING LINE yearlings to go under the hammer in Australia. For those chasing a quick return from their sales purchases it's worth noting the Captaintreacherous topped the USA 2YO Pacing Money Winning Sires table for 2019 with his progeny earning over $4.4M, and Somebeachsomewhere in second with $3.2M - over a million dollars ahead of the next sires on the list, which include Pet Rock ($1.01M).                                                                 Lot 1 CAPTAINTREACHEROUS colt (from Famous Forever mare)                                                                                             Lot 6 BETTING LINE colt (from Christian Cullen mare)                                                                                             Lot 8 BETTING LINE colt (from Bookmaker mare)                                                                                             Lot 24 WESTERN TERROR colt (from Flightpath mare)                                                                                             Lot 33 CAPTAINTREACHEROUS filly (from Rock N Roll Heaven mare)                                                                                             Lot 37 SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE filly (from Courage Under Fire mare)                                                                                                                                                                                         Lot 3 BETTING LINE filly (from Major In Art mare)                                                                                             Lot 7 SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE colt (from Bettors Delight mare)                                                                                             Lot 13 BETTING LINE colt   (from Perfect Art mare)                                                                                             Lot 26 PET ROCK filly (from Perfect Art mare)                                                                                             Lot 35 BETTING LINE colt (from Art Major mare)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Click the Sale Logo to see the full Brisbane catalogue and all the pedigrees.   Best of luck to all our consignors - we genuinely appreciate your ongoing support!                                                                                                                                                                                                     317 Tarcombe Road AVENEL VIC 3664 AUSTRALIA p 03 5796 2122    f 03 5796 2137 Australian sales - Les Joslin 0410 414 671 

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North American every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound.   Third WA Cup winner by American Ideal   Mighty Conqueror, winner of the $450,000 Western Australian Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park, is the third winner of WA’s premier race sired by the Western Ideal horse American Ideal. Earlier winners by him were Soho Tribeca (2018) and My Hard Copy (2015 and 2016). A five-year-old gelding, Mighty Conqueror has developed some good form since being shipped from NZ at the outset of his four-year-old campaign. He has won 13 races in WA including the WA 4YO Championship, Easter Cup and the Pat Cranley Memorial.   He has a good deal in his favour on the score of blood. Apart from being by American Ideal, Mighty Conqueror is out of the Presidential Ball mare Ballroom Babe (1:56.2), whose dam, Soky’s Lass (by Soky’s Atom), was a half-sister to the Franklin Cup winner Vance Glory 1:54 ($218,844), Star Motoring (Cambridge Cup), Star Glory 1:54.2 ($128,329) and to Shardon’s Lass, the dam of the Fremantle Cup winner Shardons Aflyin ($500,651).   Mighty Conqueror                                            --Hamilton Content Creators photo   Ballroom Babe, the dam of Mighty Conqueror, won seven races and at the stud left five winners including Beckinsale (10 wins) and Young Conqueror (7 wins) and is the grand-dam of the promising Victorian three-year-old filly She Will Rock, a winner of three of her six starts to date.   Other top pacers further back in this pedigree were Christopher Vance, Luxury Liner, Surprise Package and Napoleon.     Close relatives win at Melton   Mota Mate and The Fortunate Son, who won consecutive races at Melton last Friday, both belong to the same family.   Mota Mate, the winner of the Vicbred Platinum Country Series Final, is a four-year-old Bettor’s Delight gelding out of the noted producer Gemfire, by Torado Hanover from Gold Mistress, by Golden Money Maker from Madame Han.   While The Fortunate Son is a six-year-old gelding by Roll With Joe from Island Dreamer, by Island Fantasy from Dream Chaser, by Classic Garry from Dreamwood, a Lumber Dream half sister to Gold Mistress, the grand-dam of Mota Mate.   This line has been bred from extensively by Goulburn Valley breeder Helen Head and her late husband, Graham, and includes the ‘Cups King’ Safari, the sire of crack racemare Berisari, who won on the same night at Melton.       Sub 1:50 double for Bettor’s Delight   Bettor’s Delight was credited with two new sub 1:50 winners on the same night at Menangle. Wrangler NZ, a six-year-old gelding, won in 1:48.8, while Bettor Enforce NZ, a seven-year-old mare, scored in 1:48.9.   Wrangler, who was bred by Ken and Anne-Maree Spicer, ranks as a brother to the NZ Derby winner Sheriff, being out of Jen Marie (2:01.2), by Christian Cullen from the Falcon Seelster mare Inspiring Dash (1:59), the dam of the outstanding racemare Venus Serena 1:52.1 ($796,397), the Group 1 winner Rona Lorraine ($133,268) and Cracka Stride 1:52.4 ($112,036).   Bred by Ben and Karen Calder, Bettor Enforce, who has won 12 races and almost $140,000 in stakes, is the first produce of Their Excuse (TT1:59), by Falcon Seelster from the Live Or Die mare Last Excuse, a sister to the dual N Z Cup winner Just An Excuse.     APG Brisbane sale on Sunday   The Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sale will be held at Albion Park on Sunday. The entry totals 41 yearlings and breeders from Queensland and NSW are represented.   The yearlings include some royally bred youngsters with some top class racemares such as Forever Gold, Courageous Annie, October Original, Catwalk Beauty, Dont Break My Ark, Pacific Jaccka, Victree Bonita, Paris Pepperell, and others.   There’s half-brothers to a host of smart performers including Colt Thirty One, Sally Fletcher, Forever Gold, Pinup Boy and Sheeza GNP and half-sisters to Rock With Sam, Clintal Do and Hedges Avenue.   A feature of the sale will be the first crop of well credentialled sires Betting Line, Always B Miki, Racing Hill and trotter Sebastian K.       Double for NZ broodmare   The In The Pocket mare Tricky Woman left winners in both hemispheres on the same day last week.   Bettor Trix, a five-year-old Bettor’s Delight mare, won a $US16,000 race in a career-best 1:51.6 at Dover Downs, Delaware, while her younger brother Copperfield posted his second win from only seven starts at Timaru.     A smart racemare in her own right, Tricky Woman has left other winners in Bettor To Be Tricky (1:56), a winner of 11 races and $86,315, and Wat A Woman (1:59.4).   Tricky Woman ranks as a half-sister to Scuse Me (1:53.5), the Group winning dam of Adore Me, Have Faith In Me, Imagine Me, and so on.     Eye-catching win   The highlight of the Geelong midweek meeting was turned in by the three-year-old debutant Private Eye, who broke stride in the last lap and gave the leaders a tidy start.   With 400 metres to run he was still 15 metres from the leaders, and his chance could have been written off. But Private Eye, after recovering his gait, was switched to the outside and stormed home to win by almost a length.   Watch the replay here!   Private Eye’s performance was an amazing one in every respect. He is a son of the American Ideal horse He’s Watching, a top colt pacer and who now stands at Alabar Bloodstock in NZ.   Oh Eye See (1:54.5), the dam of Private Eye, was Armbro Operative mare from Grace Robinson, who proved a great broodmare. She left nine sub 2:00 winners, four $100,000 earners and three Group 1 winners from 10 foals to race.       Won SA St Leger   When he won the $14,000 St Leger at Globe Derby Park on Saturday, Hesashark scored his fourth success on end, and he is entitled to be rated as this season’s top three-year-old in South Australia.   From 12 lifetime starts he has won seven times and been three times placed for $30,000 in stakes.   Hesashark is a gelding sired by the Cam’s Card Shark horse Shadyshark Hanover, who is now standing in North America. He is out of Goodtime Katie, an unraced mare by Grinfromeartoear from the Life Sign mare Lifes Just Magic, the dam of the cup class pacer Idealsomemagic and the Menangle winner Goodtime Slater ($103,888).   Hesashark was bred by Ian and Judi Slater, of the Goodtime Lodge stud, near Colac (Vic.) and was sold as a yearling at the South Australian sales.     By Soho Valencia   Soho Valencia, a well performed Art Major horse from a top broodmare in Benelise, by Vintner, and who is now at the stud in NSW, was represented by his first winner recently in the three-year-old filly Trioli.   She led all the way at Dubbo and has won two of her four starts.   Soho Valencia has been only lightly patronised at the stud and from nine foals in his first crop he has produced a winner and a placegetter from three starters.   Trioli, who is the first foal of the Julius Caesar mare Lily Rapido, belongs to the same family as Royal Three and Mister Langus, two of NSW’s most outstanding colt pacers of the 1980’s.       A real Doozzie!   Doolittle Doozzie, who won her third race for the season at Redcliffe and has now won six races, is one of the best four-year-old mares in Queensland at present.   A product of the Redcliffe Yearling Sale, she has earned $23,280 from only 19 starts. By the Rocknroll Hanover horse Pet Rock and one of his first crop, she is out of the classics winner Cha Ching Chaching (1:56.2), a half-sister to four winners including Irockmyworld 1:57 ($91,881) and the good Tasmanian pacer Vander Jenkins.   Doolittle Doozzie was bred by Burwood Stud, one of Queensland’s leading nurseries who stand Cha Ching Chaching’s sire, Cammibest, and the former NZ superstar Changeover, now making his mark as a sire.     Promising three-year-old trotter   Elite Stride, a runaway winner on debut at the midweek Melton meeting, is a three-year-old trotting colt of all-American parentage.   Bred and raced by Emilio and Mary Rosati, he was got by Muscle Hill from Real Babe, an American bred mare by the Andover Hall horse Donato Hanover. Real Babe, who took a record of 1:52.4 as a five-year-old, was bought by the Rosati’s for $200,000 at a Harrisburg mixed sale in 2013.   She finished up with a stake tally of $386,103.   Real Babe’s dam, Housethatruthbuilt (by Muscles Yankee), won 13 races including the Breeders Crown and Kentucky Futurity and $1.1 million in stakes and was the top three year-old filly of her year.   Elite Stride promises to do this fine family further credit.     Top racemare remembered   Memories of the top racemare of the 2010’s, Shake It Mama, came flooding back with the runaway win of the three-year-old Cool Rocking Daddy at Cobram.   Shake It Mama   A gelding by A Rocknroll Dance, he is the second produce of Shake It Mama, a Mach Three mare whose first offspring, Mamas New Dude (by Western Terror) won twice in December.   Shake It Mama, who was bred and raced by David Sheppard, won 15 races including the Bathurst Gold Tiara and Australian Oaks and $257,588 in stakes. She was a half-sister to the Group winner Fususi 1:59.2 ($180,305) and the Fake Left mare Pyrites (1:57.9), the dam of the Breeders Crown Silver winner Bettor Be Gold (1:52.8) and the Albion Park winner Golden Year (1:54.7).       by Peter Wharton

The latest gavelhouse.com Standardbred auction is online now with 28 Lots on offer including a quality selection of 11 foals from Woodlands Stud. The catalogue also boasts tried and untried racing stock as well as four broodmares.  Bidding is set to close, starting with Lot 1, from 7pm on Wednesday 29 January. Bidding tips Make sure you're registered and your account is set up properly well before the auction is set to close.  Each auction will auto-extend by adding extra time on if a bid is placed in the final 30 seconds. This will happen indefinitely until no further bids are placed and will also add more time onto each of the subsequent Lots.  Use auto-bids to take the stress out of the final countdown and use the refresh button to make sure your page is keeping up with the live auction. If you have any questions about the bidding process please call 09 296 4436 VIEW FULL CATALOGUE Featured Lots Lot 1 DOWNBY THESEASIDE colt Colt out of the American Ideal mare American Grace, making him closely related to Pacing Grace, Jessie's Cullen, Pacing Major, All U Need Is Faith, Linda Lovegrace, Im A Gigolo and many more. This colt is by the newest sire to the join the Woodlands Stud Stallion roster, Downbytheseaside. He is a sire with a staggering race track record – 35 starts for 22 wins and 10 placings and over $2.1 million in earnings. He took a 1.48.6 race record and was USTA 3yo of the year in 2017 over Huntsville and Fear The Dragon. He was the best of his division before retiring sound and serving two quality books of mares in 2018/19 and 2019/20.  Sire: Downbytheseaside Dam: American Grace Seller: Woodlands Location: Auckland VIEW ONLINE Lot 4 DOWNBY THESEASIDE filly This filly is by the newest sire to join the Woodlands Stud Stallion roster, Downbytheseaside. He is a sire with a staggering race track record for the ages – 35 starts for 22 wins and 10 placings and over $2.1 million in earnings. He took a 1.48.6 race record and was USTA 3yo of the year in 2017 over Huntsville and Fear The Dragon. He was the best of his division before retiring sound and serving two quality books of mares in 2018/19 and 2019/20.  Sire: Downbytheseaside Dam: Divine Seller: Woodlands Location: Auckland VIEW ONLINE Lot 6 DOWNBY THESEASIDE filly Filly out of a six-win American Ideal mare and by the newest sire to stand at Woodlands Stud, Downbytheseaside. He is a sire with a staggering race track record for the ages – 35 starts for 22 wins and 10 placings and over $2.1 million in earnings. He took a 1.48.6 race record and was USTA 3yo of the year in 2017 over Huntsville and Fear The Dragon. He was the best of his division before retiring sound and serving two quality books of mares in 2018/19 and 2019/20.  Sire: Downbytheseaside Dam: Idealistic Seller: Woodlands Location: Auckland VIEW ONLINE Lot 7 WHAT THE HILL filly This filly is by the newest trotting sire at Woodlands Stud, What The Hill. He is a champion son of trotting sensation Muscle Hill, out of a full-sister to Majestic Son. He earned $1.34 million in stakes and took a 1.51.4 record and was the 3YO of his year after defeating the older horses in the TVG including millionaire Crazy Wow. He has served a number of quality mares down under in the last two seasons.  Sire: What The Hill Dam: Miss Continental Seller: Woodlands Location: Auckland VIEW ONLINE Lot 10 DOWNBYTHE SEASIDE colt Colt out of a Bettor's Delight mare and by the newest sire to the World Class Woodlands Stud Stallion roster, Downbytheseaside. He is a sire with a staggering race track record for the ages – 35 starts for 22 wins and 10 placings and over $2.1 million in earnings. He took a 1.48.6 race record and was USTA 3yo of the year in 2017 over Huntsville and Fear The Dragon. He was the best of his division before retiring sound and serving two quality books of mares in 2018/19 and 2019/20.  Sire: Downbytheseaside Dam: Supreme Brigade Seller: Woodlands Location: Auckland VIEW ONLINE   gavelhouse.com

By Jonny Turner    All Stars trotter Kings Landing will need to call on his class when steps out for the first time this season at Addington on Friday night. Each of his rivals will have a significant race fitness edge over the 5yr-old, when he starts for in a competitive 1980m feature trot. Kings Landing has looked to have thrived since his last start at the Harness Jewels when winning two trials and a workout ahead of his return from a decent winter spell. But, driver Tim Williams is weary that nothing quite gets a horse ready to take on a smart field like the benefit of race fitness. “His class is going to take him a wee way, but it is definitely not going to be easy taking on some of those seasoned horses first up.” “That would be the only concern.” “The way the draws have fallen, being preferential, that is in his favour.” “It won’t be easy, but if he got the right run and the race unfolded to suit, him he is definitely good enough.” The three horses drawn on the outside of the front line bring both class and race fitness to Friday night’s race. Pres The Belle will be looking to replicate the emphatic win she produced under the same conditions as her 1980m mobile victory in her first run after the Interdominions at Addington, last month. Destiny Jones drops massively in grade after producing a sound fifth in the group 1 National Trot at Alexandra Park in her last start. The 8yr-old has a slight draw advantage in barrier 7 over both Pres The Belle (8) and Great Things Happen (9). Great Things Happen should relish a return to mobile racing despite his draw. The 8yr-old was forced to chase from massive 60m handicaps in his two starts at the recent Nelson meeting. Tailored Elegance is in a similar position to Kings Landing – starting fresh up against race-hardened opposition in race 2 with Williams in the sulky. Though, it is not the class of her opposition that is the main concern ahead of her first start as a 3yr-old. It is how she will be able to negotiate a capacity field from barrier 7. “She has come back well, but being drawn out a little bit wide in a full field probably won’t make things easy,” Williams said. “She is another one that her class should take her a long way in there.” “She generally has good manners, so there is no reason why she shouldn’t go a really good race.” Williams will also combine with another fresh All Stars runner at Addington on Friday night in race 4. First starter Picture Me faces a similar assignment to his stablemate Tailored Elegance when he starts from barrier 12. “He is a little bit the same as Tailored Elegance – he is in a full field and has a tricky enough draw,” Williams said. “He is going to need the right suck in to it or to make a move.” “It is just going to depend on how the race is run from that draw.” “On his trials, he keeps putting his hand up, so on that he is a good chance.” Picture Me has won two Rangiora trials ahead of his debut and beat rival Chubby Checker in the latest of those. Williams has a standout book of drives at Friday night’s Addington meeting that includes strong eachway chances Cheezel (race 5) and Szybka Lane (race 8). The reinsman also combines with Lets Hustle (race 3), Red Hot Poker (race 9) and Peraki Reactor (race 10).  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    Pukekohe mare Best Western is booked to fly to Christchurch next week for two black-type features but first she’ll head to Alexandra Park on Friday night. Her trainer, Jeremy Young, says last season’s Northern Oaks winner is nearing “cherry-ripe” status. “I’m happy with her; she’s working really well and seems very bright,” he said. “I want to have her cherry-ripe for the two Addington races, but she’s pretty close to the mark.” Best Western was an unlucky fourth last week after being held up before the passing lane when trailing a tiring leader. “She just got held up a little bit and there was a very slight snotty nose after the race. “But that’s cleared up now and isn’t a concern. “It had been 17 days since her New Years’ Eve run and I feel like last week has sharpened her up even more.” Complicating matters this week is a wide draw plus the fact her stablemate, On A Roll, is in the same race and has drawn decidedly better. “The stablemate will be going forward so I guess that means we’ll have to look to go back with Best Western.” On A Roll has been a bit of a surprise package for Young since coming north in the early spring. She was effectively ‘sacked’ by previous trainers, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, and arrived at Young’s with no great ambitions. “When we first got her up here from Mark’s, I thought she would be a C2 or C3 horse, maybe. “If we were lucky, we’d be able to get a bit of money for the owners. “But she ran second to Lulu Le Mans, then won one, and then placed a few more times. “So, I threw her in the Group races before Christmas against the best fillies and I thought the second run, especially, was excellent. “She was four-wide down the back and had no right to run fifth, but still battled on well.” It also gave Young and driver, Sailesh Abernethy, an insight in to how she is best driven. “Sailesh and I thought we’d try something different last week and let her roll along in front.” The result? A five-length win in a sensational 2.39.4 (1.56.6 MR). “She’s a funny horse in that she won’t outsprint anything, you’ve got to let her run the whole way. “I had Stylish Memphis here at the same time and she would beat On A Roll off her back every time because she had so much speed. “On A Roll is better off leading and rolling along or even sitting parked, so that’s how we intend to drive her this week and in the future. “More aggressively.” The Oaks races are now firmly in the plans for On A Roll. Rounding out Young’s team this week is Tommy Tukaa, who returns to Alexandra Park from back-to-back wins at Cambridge over the holiday period. “I know he only won at Cambridge, but I think he’s an ‘Auckland horse’ all the same. “Those wins will have given him a bit of confidence and his work has been a lot better since. “The draw is awkward this week but I would expect, just being on the fence the whole way, that he should be able to run in the first three.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    One of our greatest ever trotting mares has died. Martina H, the last mare to win the Dominion Handicap, was put down after taking ill suddenly at Woodlands Stud on Monday. Her former trainer, Derek Balle, said, it was a sad end for the winner of over $400,000, but he looked back fondly on her racing career. “She was such a great mare. “Always had lameness issues, but would get up behind the gate or tapes and trot like a stag. “She had such a big heart. I wouldn’t mind another one like her.” Balle was in his 30s when she won the Dominion, Rowe Cup, multiple races across the Tasman, and threw away an Inter Dominion Grand Final with the winning post in sight. “She took me on plenty of journeys and experiences and, at the time, I probably took it for granted a little bit, you know? “I was a young trainer that got to go to the Inter Dominions at Moonee Valley, down to Addington for the Dominion. “Just great times and ones I look back on fondly.” Balle was going through a tough spot at one point during Martina H’s career and her 2005 Rowe Cup win stands out as his personal favourite, for more than the obvious reason. “Her best performance was beating Delft in the Rowe Cup, but it meant a whole lot more to me. “My mum was very sick and died about a week later. “I had been spending a lot of time at the beach with the horse which was such a big stress relief. “I’d be crying for half an hour on the way out to the beach but when we got there, the worry just went away for a little while. “She helped me through quite an emotional time.” She ran second in the 2004 Inter Dominion Final in Melbourne and was 100 metres away from going one better at Alexandra Park a year later. It was a race that features greats of the track like Take A Moment, Lyell Creek, Delft and Sumthingaboutmaori. “The final was up to $250,000 but she had had a leg problem leading up to the series and I was tossing up whether to even line her up 10 days beforehand. “We blistered the leg and she ended up winning her first heat, running second to Allegro Agitato in the second heat and then winning again on the third night. “Her run in the final was massive. “She drew one the second row and ended up getting parked three-wide down the back. “We went out by four at the top of the straight and I thought she was home. “But I gave her a slap on the bum when I shouldn’t have, because she was trying her hardest, and she rolled in to a gallop 100 metres out. “Play On, who sat three-fence, came up the markers to win and we got disqualified for galloping across the line. “She did deserve to win that; it was a massive performance.” Balle was actually in the throes of buying Martina H, believing that the 22-year-old still had a foal or two to give, “Kevin Marr, her owner, has just sold his property at Karaka where he grazes all his horses during the year. “He didn’t want to pay grazing so was looking at selling all his horses and I’d been talking to (wife) Raelene about buying Martina H. “She had a What The Hill filly foal at foot and was back in foal and since she was always pretty healthy, we thought we might even be able to breed another one out of her to try and get a filly. “But before we said yes, Kevin text me on Monday to say we’d lost her. “She was being walked in the barn at Woodlands Stud then stumbled over. “They called the vet but didn’t know whether it was colic or a seizure but it all went downhill very quickly and they had to put her down. “It saved me $10,000. Usually with my luck, it would have happened a week after I paid for her.” The daughter of Sundon had eight foals, seven of them after retiring and did leave a Group 1 winner. “Miami H was great; he won seven or eight races including a Breeders Crown Final at three. “He was very very good, and the best she left, but he always had a clubby foot and ended up breaking down in the spelling paddock.” The Scruff won seven without being a world beater while Philadelphia H won two and is now at stud with Balle training her three-year-old son, Isaac H. “She had a bad foaling after that, a Dream Vacation which was huge and had to be cut out. “We nearly lost her and it took her quite a few years to get back in foal after that. “But we now have a Love You two-year-old colt that’s working up nicely and then the What The Hill weanling filly, too.” Martina H is seventh on the all-time New Zealand-bred trotting mare stakes ladder behind One Over Kenny, Pride Of Petite, Tussle, Allegro Agitato, Landora’s Pride and Quite A Moment. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

FORMER champion Kiwi driver Anthony Butt is genuinely buzzing heading towards Melton’s huge meeting on Saturday night. Despite his stellar record in some of Australia’s biggest races, headlined by seven Hunter Cup wins, Butt’s record in the Victoria Derby and Oaks has been bleak. Remarkably, he hasn’t won a Derby and has only jagged the one Oaks title, aboard Geoff Small’s brilliant Pullover Brown way back in 2003. “My one chance of winning the Derby was Lavros Star (1997). I won the heat on him, but got suspended and Ricky May won the final on him,” Butt recalled. The now NSW-based Butt is confident of turning it all around at Melton this week. And the punters have thrown their support behind him. Butt trains and drives heavily-backed Derby favourite, Line Up, who ran blistering time leading throughout in his heat at Ballarat last week and is drawn to lead again from gate three. He’s been $2.40 into $2.25 on the Aussie TAB since drawing gate three. “It’s a fantastic draw, especially being inside Governor Jujon, who looks the main danger,” Butt said. “Line Up really impressed me last week. He only came to us a couple of weeks before the heat, but obviously I’d driven him in those big races over in NZ. “He’d been working well and I was keen to hold the front. He did a terrific job in quick time after having to sprint three times. “He’s a great chance of leading again and has come through the heat win really well.” Butt’s hopes of winning a second Oaks sit with Cran Dalgety’s speedy and improving filly, Dr Susan, who led, then took a trail on Stylish Memphis and got clear too late when second in her heat at Ballarat. “She was only starting to wind-up on the line last week. I was keen to hold the front, but Mark (Purdon, driving Stylish Memphis) had one crack at me and then his filly started to pulling hard, so when he came again I took the trail knowing it was a heat,” Butt said. “There will be no handing-up this week, that’s for sure. We’ve drawn really again (gate five) and can hopefully find the front, while Stylish Memphis is outside the back and will have to work hard to get around the field and outside of us. “Maybe she will just be too good Stylish Memphis, but Dr Susan is one of those fillies who has just absolutely thrived on the trip away. She’s getting better and better.” Dr Susan has been backed from $3 into $2.50 and is now equal favourite with Stylish Memphis on the Aussie TAB.   Adam Hamilton

Mark Purdon has talked about his start in the trots and the champions who have passed through his hands in a must-listen, free wheeling chat with Tooth Be Told podcast host Paul Campbell. The New Zealand trainer-driver, who said he "never had any aspirations to do anything else", spoke about his family's passion for harness racing and a champion called Lazarus. "He was phenomenal, he just had everything," Purdon said. "And just a beautiful horse to work with, very intelligent, nothing smart about him or cocky about him, he's just one of the boys. Just a beautiful horse to work with. He was just a champion, an out and out champion." CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN IN:   HRV Trots Media

The Marlborough Harness Racing Club are looking confidently to the future after seeing off their first 100 years in appropriate fashion over the weekend. The Waterlea-based club celebrated 100 years of racing at the Blenheim venue with a well-attended two-day meeting. MHRC chairperson Petrina Shutkowski said that there was high-class, exciting racing action on both Friday and Sunday, with good numbers turning out for the Interislander Summer Festival Day on Sunday. “We had a really good crowd on course [on Sunday] because the weather was good and there were lots of activities for kids. On-course turnover was also strong. “The fields were really strong, with good form. We had to eliminate some horses from the original nominations because we just didn’t have spaces in the fields for them.” There was also live entertainment on-course, plus a special centenary race book designed to mark the occasion, a display of memorabilia in the Waterlea Hall and some vintage cars to honour the historic occasion. “People were just happy to be involved,” suggested Petrina, who envisages a bright future for the sport in this region. “I think harness racing in Marlborough is pretty strong.  There are a number of trainers and a base of horses here … that’s what drives these meetings … so it’s still positive for harness here.” Although the two-day summer carnival will be the only harness event staged at Waterlea in future, with the winter meeting not taking place, Petrina is confident support levels are high going forward. “Harness Racing New Zealand have been pleased with us in recent years, especially since we have moved to the grass track. We have attracted really strong fields and good numbers of nominations. “Also, the visiting trainers enjoy themselves [in the top of the south] … they brought the kids, stayed in Nelson for a few extra days, went to the beaches and the wineries. They mark it in their calendar as a sort of summer holiday.” To help co-ordinate harness racing in the area a Seddon Shields District organisation has recently been formed, involving representatives from Reefton, Westport, Marlborough, Nelson and Kaikoura. They have combined to purchase a mobile start 4WD vehicle, with a view to sharing resources, knowledge and information. Meanwhile, on the track at the weekend, Stars Tonight, superbly driven by top reinsman John Dunn, claimed a notable Waterlea double. The four-year-old gelding, trained by Robert Dunn at Woodend Beach, took out the “100 Years Racing at Waterlea Cup Prelude” on Friday evening, then prevailed in the 100th racing of the Marlborough Cup on Sunday. He was the favourite on both occasions. On Friday he won by a neck from Dadndave, while on Sunday he truly underlined his dominance, scoring by three and a quarter lengths from Hayden’s Meddle, followed by Dadndave in third. On the first day Dunn drove Stars Tonight astutely, staying parked midfield until the final bend when he surged to the lead then held off a fast-finishing Dadndave. Two days later Stars Tonight was well clear at the line. After a strong start he went to the head of the field with a round to go and, despite having to hold off a challenger on the bend, kicked well clear halfway down the straight to win the 100th Cup in fine style. Petrina suggested that Stars Tonight had run “probably the fastest last half on the grass track that has ever been”. “That’s an indication of the quality of the track and the horses as well … it was pretty impressive.” Stars Tonight was one of two double winners across the historic meeting, the other being Heavyweight Hero, trained and driven by Bob Butt from Woodend Beach, who won the sixth race on each day. John Dunn, with three wins was the leading driver across the two days, while Robbie Close, Blair Orange, Sarah O’Reilly and Bob Butt drove two winners apiece. Robert Dunn was the top trainer, with three successes, while Jim and James Geddes and Butt managed two training successes each. Madiba, until recently trained by local trainer Don Morrison, also picked up a win on the first day. Peter Jones Reprinted with permission of The Marlborogh Weekly

If the first-up win by Henry Hu at Menangle last week is anything to go by then you’d think the harness racing gelding would be pitching his tent and staying as close to the New South Wales speed-dome as possible. The son of American Ideal, who was fresh off an impressive second behind none other than Auckland Cup winner Self Assured at Alexandra Park on the 14th of December, proved too strong in his Australian debut beating a respectable field of proven pacers. The overall time of 1.52 flat over the mile distance an indication of the early speed and strong mid-race tempo that defined the race. Henry Hu had it all to do from a wide barrier and was off the speed early but benefited from a nice sit in the running line while the Lauren Tritton driven Colossal Stride made sure that the pace was a true staying test. Peeling at the top of the straight Robert Morris managed to find Henry Hu the space he so desires and the 4yr old did enough in the run home to ensure his introduction to Australian racing was a winning one. Henry Hu Henry Hu has always shown ability with his New Zealand racing record a very good one. After going two-for-two to start his career his gait proved his greatest adversary when going for a trifecta of wins galloping late at Alexandra Park on the 20th of September when looking likely behind the likes of the Group 1 placed Line Up. His more recent runs include a tough 4th when parked out on a 2.39 / 2200m mobile behind the Barry Purdon trained Sole Ambition. His forementioned 2nd behind Self Assured coming after an arrogant win from the front of the pack a fortnight prior. There’s every reason to believe that Henry Hu will, in time, mature into his impressive self and become a genuine open class pacer too. His potential is matched by good bloodlines with his dam Dana Maguire having already left the 4 win pacer The C E O. Dana Maguire is herself a 1/2 sister to the mother of both Group 1 Nursery Flying Stakes winner Burnaholeinmypocket (22 wins) and Positano (9 Australian wins). Lot 5 - Itsamoneymaker The next prospect from this family appears in the form of “Itsamoneymaker” Lot 5 at the upcoming 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale. Offered by Breckon Farms the colt, also out of Kelly Maguire, is by Somebeachsomewhere. A 2yr old 1/2 brother to Itsamoneymaker, the gun-slinging bank-robbing “Ned Kelly” is currently in the Robert Dunn barn.    Ben Mcmillan  

By Jonny Turner    Southern trotter Majestic Man is set to find himself in the middle of Australasia’s trotting showdown of the season. The 4yr-old booked his ticket to the group 1 Great Southern Star after pleasing trainer Phil Williamson with his progress after a huge six weeks of racing in the North Island. Majestic Man has freshened up well after travelling back to Oamaru following his gallant second behind Winterfell in the group 1 National Trot at Alexandra Park earlier this month. With a fit, healthy and happy horse on his hands, Williamson had no hesitation to book his and Majestic Man’s tickets to Melbourne. “I have only really confirmed that he is going in the last 10 days,” the trainer said. “I just wanted to see how he had come through all of the racing he has had. “I am pretty pleased with him, so there is no option but to go, really. “There is no sense in staying here and standing in his box — being a gelding.” Majestic Man had six starts in group races on his northern campaign and finished in a top-three placing in each one. Those results included his second behind Winterfell in the Interdominion trotting final. Majestic Man will not have to clash with Winterfell in the Great Southern Star in Melbourne next week, but he is set to face every other star trotter in Australasia in the race. Majestic Man is part of a star-studded New Zealand contingent alongside Oscar Bonavena, Temporale and Massive Metro. The quartet are likely to clash with the star Australian trotters Tornado Valley, McLovin, Tough Monarch and Dance Craze. Oscar Bonavena, Temporale, Massive Metro and McLovin will clash in the group 1 Dullard Trotters Cup at Melton on Saturday night. Majestic Man will have his first Australian start at Melton in the Great Southern Star. His trainer does not think Australian racing should pose any problems for the 5yr-old. “I don’t have any worries about him racing over there. But, he will need the right run.” Driver Brad Williamson is set to be faced with a tough decision before next week’s Victorian feature. His stable star, Cracker Hill, will race at Geraldine on the same day as the Great Southern Star. New Zealand’s brilliant trotting team is complemented by a star pacing line-up that has already notched a trifecta in the Ballarat Cup. Thefixer, Mach Shard and Triple Eight will have the first starts of their Australian campaigns in the group 2 Casey Classic at Melton on Saturday night. The trio are set to join A G’s White Socks and Chase Auckland in next week’s Hunter Cup. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

You’d be hard pressed to find a harness racing filly with more going for her than Darling Me. The full sister to multiple Group 1 winning filly Sweet On Me and daughter of New Zealand Cup winner Adore Me appears to have inherited all of the family ability as her latest trial win at Ashburton on Tuesday would attest. The trial win, while sedate in time clocking a 2.06.6 overall time for the mile journey, did have a touch of class about it with Natalie Rasmussen guiding Darling Me into a forward position initially before taking a sit three back on the markers behind stablemate Bettor Twist, peeling for a wider bid 400m out Darling Me was never fully extended but accounted for her race rivals in an easy enough fashion. This most recent trial win comes off the back of two impressive outings on both the 8th of January and 23rd of December when in the company of stablemates Yea Baby, Bettor Twist and Dream On Me. Yea Baby (out of Harness Jewels winner O Baby) would seem the most logical threat to a Darling Me at this point in time. The filly by Somebeachsomewhere strips a nice type and looks to have the speed to compile a decent last bid if called upon. Her second to Darling Me on the 8th of January saw her lead up and be caught late while Tuesdays effort may point towards her preferred mode of operation with the filly showing a smart turn-of-hoof from late cover to close within a head.     To watch a video of O'Baby winning a $150,000 three-year-old Jewels Final click on this link. Interest in the stablemates and their prospective abilities will be heightened with the two both likely to reach the track for their race day debuts next week. While claiming a beachhead into the famed Scuse Me bloodlines would seem slim at the moment the chance of picking up some “Braeside Star” speed factor looks far more promising with a Bettor’s Delight colt out of O Baby being offered by Breckon Farms at the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale. Lot 13, “Manchild” is a full sister to Beachbabebeauty who impressed out of the Ken Barron barn winning 3 out of his first 5 starts beating the likes of the Chariots Of Fire placed Hail Christian and Ex Brendon Hill pacer Cullenburn who is now a Group 2 winner in Australia having placed in the Sires Stakes Final as a three year old. Lot 13, Manchild The wider maternal family encompasses the achievements of horses like the Sires Stakes 2yr Old Fillies champion Kayla Marie, the All Stars trained Paddy Brown (5 wins and 4 placings from just 20 starts) and the rugged Australian-based pacer Neighlor (16 wins) To go with those performers you can add a little more spice to the victory dish by adding in the fact that this is the family of Iraklis. Ermis and the horse they called Monkey King.      Ben McMillan 

The Marlborough Harness Racing Club are looking confidently to the future after seeing off their first 100 years in appropriate fashion over the weekend. The Waterlea-based club celebrated 100 years of racing at the Blenheim venue with a well-attended two-day meeting. MHRC chairperson Petrina Shutkowski said that there was high-class, exciting racing action on both Friday and Sunday, with good numbers turning out for the Interislander Summer Festival Day on Sunday. “We had a really good crowd on course [on Sunday] because the weather was good and there were lots of activities for kids. On-course turnover was also strong. “The fields were really strong, with good form. We had to eliminate some horses from the original nominations because we just didn’t have spaces in the fields for them.” There was also live entertainment on-course, plus a special centenary race book designed to mark the occasion, a display of memorabilia in the Waterlea Hall and some vintage cars to honour the historic occasion. “People were just happy to be involved,” suggested Petrina, who envisages a bright future for the sport in this region. “I think harness racing in Marlborough is pretty strong.  There are a number of trainers and a base of horses here … that’s what drives these meetings … so it’s still positive for harness here.” Although the two-day summer carnival will be the only harness event staged at Waterlea in future, with the winter meeting not taking place, Petrina is confident support levels are high going forward. Read the full story here   by Peter Jones Courtesy of The Marlborough Weekly

The Steve Dolan trained Atomic Blast will now do his harness racing, and one would think winning, in the Northern Hemisphere after being exported this week. The son of Auckland Reactor had just three starts on New Zealand soil managing an impressive winning turn at Rangiora on the 3rd of January when fighting off the effort of JR Bromac throughout the length of the home straight. The winning effort came in just his second start with a gallop on debut at Banks Peninsula and a 7th at Timaru after mid-race work being his only other race day appearances. Atomic Blast’s sole win could be largely attributed to the strength of his dam Caroline’s Cullen. Caroline’s Cullen, by Christian Cullen out of a Holmes Hanover mare, amassed a small fortune in stakes after racing successfully throughout both Australasia and North America. While group wins remained elusive in New Zealand Caroline’s Cullen was competitive in top company particularly at age group level and raced with distinction in both the Jewels behind Beaudiene Bad Babe and Sires Stakes Fillies Championship Final behind Joyfulljoy. Her combined North American and Down Under record makes for terrific reading with 27 wins 28 seconds and 26 thirds for $346,049 in earnings. Gavin Smith and Caroline's Cullen A half sister to Atomic Blast is being offered at the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale. Lot 88, named Bettor Blast, is a Bay Filly by sire of sires Bettor’s Delight and is the second foal out of Caroline’s Cullen. Caroline’s Cullen The wider maternal line has produced Cee New York (24 wins) and the Soky Atom mare Warm Soak whose progeny have been most impressive and include Hudy Haxwell (10 wins, 83K) and Hot Mach (6 wins, 50k)  Ben McMillan    

Fresh American Import Major Occasion A, was far too good for her field in Friday nights harness racing $25,000 Fillies and Mares Pace at The Meadowlands. Now trained by Down Under’s Nifty Norman and driven by Dexter Dunn the quality mare completed her mile in a tidy 1:51. The win only being her third American race start. The daughter of Art Major did her previous racing in Australia where she was the winner of 15 races and earned over $235,000 in stake earnings. Notably pacing a winning 1:50.4 mile at Menangle Raceway, while being a Group race winner and placing at Group level 6 times. Her racing future looks bright. Another Down Under export in Franco Totem N, was also successful at The Meadowlands over the weekend. His win being on the Saturday night of racing in the $37,500 Preferred Pace beating the six horse field in 1:51.2. This win capped off another good weekend for Down Under horsemen in Nifty Norman and Dexter Dunn, as they also trained and drove Franco Totem N respectively. "He's a very nice horse and doesn't take anything out of himself in the mile." Said Dunn, of the 7yo Gelding. The win being the son of Changeovers 21st career win. Handy Down Under pacer kicks off American racing career nicely. Quality New Zealand pacer Global Domination N won his second start in the US on Monday night at Yonkers Raceway. Now trained by Peter Tritton and driven by Jordan Stratton, Global Domination clocked 1:53.2 around the half mile (800m) track in the $16,000 Pace. Before recently heading to America, the son of Bettors Delight was the winner of four races and just shy of $50,000 in stake earnings while racing in New Zealand. Major Occasion A Franco Totem N Global Domination N Monday 13th January   Dover Downs DE Hug The Wind N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $7,500   Miami Valley Raceway OH Gunrneedabgrboat A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $12,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Globaldomination N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $16,000 Alberto Contador N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $12,500     Tuesday 14th January   Miami Valley Raceway OH Return To Sender N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $6,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Motu Moonbeam N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $12,500     Wednesday 15th January   Dover Downs DE Bettor Rock On N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $5,000 Bettor Trix N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $16,000   Northfield Park OH Copper Coast A – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $7,000     Thursday 16th January   Yonkers Raceway NY Neon Sky N – Time: 1:57.1, Stake: $14,500     Friday 17th January   Freehold Raceway NJ Bronskimackenzie A – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $9,000   Meadowlands NJ Major Occasion A – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $25,000 All American N  – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $19,000   The Meadows PA Mister Spot A – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $11,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Mach Time N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $20,000 Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Lachie Maguire N, 3rd Anythingforlove A Kotare Yarra A – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $20,000 Rockin The Boys A – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $22,000     Saturday 18th January   Freehold Raceway NJ Texican N – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $5,000   Meadowlands NJ Captain Dolmio N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $11,500 Franco Totem N – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $37,500 Italian Delight N – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $20,000   Miami Valley Raceway OH Lucifers Legend A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $15,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Lord Willoughby A – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $17,000 Soho Lennon A – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $22,000   Previous weeks 15th January 2020 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 7th January 2020 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 24th December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 17th December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 10th December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 3rd December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 26th November 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 19th November 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 12th November 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 5th of Nov 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 29th October 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 22nd October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 15th October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 8th October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 1st October 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 24th Sep 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 17th Sep 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 11th Sep 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 3rd Sep 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 27th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 20th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 12th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 5th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 29 Jul 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 24 Jul 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety     Carter Dalgety    

Harness Racing New Zealand along with the Westport Trotting Club, Reefton Trotting Club and Banks Peninsula Trotting Club are excited to announce that during the 2020 Team Teal Campaign we will see some ladies only races as we did on the West Coast Circuit in March in 2019. Both Westport and Reefton Trotting Clubs in 2019 held a ladies only race for the Teal Pants Campaign which fittingly finished on the 10th February at the Reefton meeting.  13 of our female drivers travelled to the Coast for the races which were won by Kimberley Butt with The Kaik and Sam Ottley with Ford Rule.  This year Westport and Reefton Clubs have decided to programme two races for the lady drivers - One pace and one trot (Programmes available soon from www.hrnz.co.nz).  The final day of the campaign this year falls on the Banks Peninsula meeting on the 15th February. The club have decided to finish the campaign with a ladies only race at their meeting. The Programme for this meeting will be available soon from www.hrnz.co.nz If you are available to drive in any of these ladies only races please contact Courtney Clarke to ensure your name is included with the Programmes as being available.  courtney@hrnz.co.nz or 027 636 4355   Harness Racing New Zealand

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