Day At The Track
Search Results
17 to 29 of 29

Ever since Yonkers Raceway announced plans to bring back the International Trot on October 10, 2015 – with a $1 million purse – interest has been very strong from trotting owners and harness racing trainers around the globe.   The Yonkers Raceway Race Office has been in contact with the connections of top New Zealand trotter Stent. The altered son by Dream Vacation out of Belle Galleon by Chiola Hanover has amassed 28 wins and 17 seconds in 61 lifetime starts with earnings of more than $1.1 million.   Stent is owned by Trevor Casey and co-trained by Colin and Julie DeFilippi and driven by Colin De Filippi. Stent has raced at distances ranging from 1609 meters to 2800 meters in both Grade 1 and Grade 2 races on his home New Zealand soil and in some of Australia’s most prestigious trotting events.   The International Trot will be held at a one mile and one quarter distance at Yonkers Raceway, which is approximately 2000 meters.   Reports are also beginning to surface from Europe on possible participants who are just now leaving the breeding shed to start their traditional mid-July preparations for the upcoming Masters Season. A possible trip to the US for the International Trot and/or the Breeders Crown can still leave time for European trotters to return home and prepare for the Prix d’Amerique in Paris in January.   Yonkers Raceway is planning a week-long celebration for the International Trot, with several New York themed events for invited participants and their guests. Details about on track events for October 10 are still being finalized.   The SOA of NY is working closely with Yonkers track management to help make the return of the International Trot a success. Yonkers Race Secretary Steve Starr will have a large task ahead of him as he sorts through the international contenders and puts together a star studded global field, with a million dollar pot of gold on the line and international bragging rights for one country’s breeding program.  

The New South Wales Trotting Oaks was run at last Saturday nights harness racing meeting at Menangle and as expected Arya produced a polished display to take out the Group  1 feature. Trevor Casey must be racking up those frequent flyer miles points as he once again crossed the Tasman to watch one of his star trotters compete and he was duly rewarded when Arya showed that manners are just as important as ability and luckily she has got big dollops of both. The minor highlight of the race was the run of the Italian bred filly My Tribeca who put up a huge performance after getting badly checked at the start. Bred to northern hemisphere time, My Tribeca was only born on the 14th of May 2012 so was barely a three year old on Saturday night and was only having her second lifetime start which adds even more merit to the run. Both Arya and My Tribeca now head to the Victorian Trotting Oaks on Saturday week and the rematch should be worth going a long way to see. Greg Hayes spoke to the connections of both horses post race. Harnesslink Media   

New Zealander Trevor Casey is enjoying a lot of success with his team of harness racing horses both sides of the Tasman. The popular owner has 30 horses including Australasia's best trotter Stent, leading two year olds Our Waikiki Beach and Lazarus and Saturday night's NSW Trotters Oaks winner My Arya. Saturday night's victory meant a lot to Casey as he bred the talented daughter of Angus Hall. "I did breed her and she's the only daughter that Belle Galleon (Stent's mother) has had and I certainly will be retaining her as a broodmare at the end of her career," said Casey. "I raised her right from day dot, watched her grow up, then saw her get broken in and have since watched her all the way through." Casey chose to target the New South Wales Trotters Oaks rather than the NZ Harness Jewels after a narrow defeat in the Menangle feature twelve months ago. "My Arya could have got into the Harness Jewels and she would have been a show but I wanted to win the NSW Oaks because I ran second last year with Daenerys Targaryen and I wanted to come back and have another go at it and we were successful." "We won't be coming back for the NSW Trotters Derby next week, the Victorian Oaks is the week after which means she would have to race four weeks in a row and I just don't think that's fair on her." While at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night Casey took the opportunity to speak with club officials about Stent returning to race on the 1400 metre track. "Stent will be back, I actually said to the team here tonight I'd like to see a mile race here for the open trotters again, I would really love to see the horse at Menangle over the mile again because I think he could go 1:52.0." My Arya's trainer Brent Lilley was excited with the victory and thought her manners took her a long way. "She's proved over here she's the best trotting filly at the moment but I thought the run of the second horse (My Tribeca) was great, My Arya has got manners but the gap between her and the rest is definitely closing," said Lilley. "In saying all that, we still wouldn't swap her for any of them, so after the Victorian Trotters Oaks she will head towards the Breeders Crown and then spell." Greg Hayes

One of the complaints you hear most often from harness racing owners and trainers in New Zealand is the lack of opportunities for age group trotters compared to their pacing counterparts. The situation has improved a lot in the last few years but the trotters still seem like a poor relation compared to the pacers. Which makes this week's lack of nominations for the $20,000 Cambridge Trotting Stakes that much harder to understand. A well established feature on the the northern trotting scene, the race only attracted three nominations and was deleted from the programme. Prominent owner Trevor Casey cannot believe only one other  stable nominated for the $20,000 three year old trot at Cambridge on Thursday. The lack of runners denied his star filly Arya a start at a vital stage of the season and will hasten her return to Australia where she was a Breeder's Crown winner last year.   "Very disappointing" was how Trevor described the result where only the Michelle Wallis /Bernie Hackett stable nominated runners (two) and Arya was the only other nomination.   "It's a damn shame when they put on a $20,000 race and get that response."   "Ok Speeding Spur is around but he wasn't in it and there are quite  few three year old trotters up north."   "So because there is really nothing here for Arya I am virtually forced to send her back to Australia," Trevor said.   The lack of runners for a lot of age group classics and group races is becoming a real problem for Harness Racing New Zealand and the clubs and with the reduction in breeding numbers every year, the current situation can only get worse.   Harnesslink Media  

The skills of Mark and Natalie and the success of regular owners, Phil and Glenys Kennard , Neil Pilcher and Australian Marcus Kirkwood were underlined after Natalie's memorable drive to win her 30th Harness Racing Group One in the Len Smith Mile.   Finally after a long  history of frustration which bordered on resignation Smolda reminded Australians of his great class.   It was only in November that his career was in limbo.   His Cup preparation was in disarray and since the beginning of 2014 he had raced only five times.   This was after Mark was the man who insisted that Smolda had the full time off senior veterinary adviser Dr Bill Bishop had recommended. No short cuts.   Reassessing the situation with the horse who won eight of his 12 starts at three including a sensational Harness Jewels victory (1 52.1) and the NSW Derby and when Mark was rating him among the best horses he had trained, it was back to the drawing board.   Promising, then a little disappointing at the Auckland Cup carnival his only win since January 2014 came at Addington in March in a field he had to beat.   But Mark and Natalie sensed that all the racing was helping him after a long time off and with no opportunities here it was off to Australia where he is now unbeaten in two starts on the campaign which is likely to last longer yet.   And a cherry ripe Smolda is suddenly looming in 2015 NZ Cup contention.   But then all his life Smolda has been surprising people.   He was not in keen demand as a yearling shares being advertised on the All Stars site which brought Marcus Kirkwood into a ride he has enjoyed to the full.   Phil and Glenys of course are rarely out of the All Stars headlines and Pilch-well he has always loved his Courage Under Fire's.                                                                      Waikiki Beach   Neil Pilcher became the most successful APG two year old final winning owner in history when Our Waikiki Beach which he races with Trevor Casey and Cheryl Rasmussen won at Menangle on Sunday.   He ran his last 400m in 25.9 and 1.54.3 overall after a superb rating from Natalie who was posting her second APG final win.   Mark has figured in the training of all three of Pilch's wins which began with Mr Nickel in 2011 when the longshot came out best after Fly Like An Eagle got a horrible run.   Last year Follow the Stars was the winner with Pilch again in the partnership.   Waikiki Beach was knocked down to Neil, selected by Mark, for $A50,000 at least year's Melbourne sale and  it is hardly a matter of regret.   He is still unbeaten having won the Welcome Stakes at Addington after winning the Kindergarten Stakes and has won  his heat, semi and Final of the APG series.   OUR AUSTRALIAN RECORD THIS SEASON   13 WINS   Fight For Glory -2 wins - NSW Oaks Prelude. NSW Oaks   Follow The Stars- 3  wins - Caduceus Club   Adore Me - 2 wins - Ladyship Mile G1   Hug the Wind 1 win - NSW Derby Prelude   Waikiki Beach 3 wins - APG heat, semi-final, final   Smolda  2 wins - Penrith Cup-Len Smith Mile   EIGHT  GROUP WINNERS   FOUR GROUP ONES !   OVER $500,000 IN STAKES   Courtesy All Stars Racing Stables    

Harness racing most frequent high-flyer Trevor Casey set off for Sydney on Saturday brimming with confidence that Waikiki Beach can cap a memorable weekend by winning the A$322,000 APG Final at Menangle.   The champagne glasses had barely been put down after Friday night’s terrific wins at Alexandra Park by Stent in the $150,000 Rowe Cup and Sky Major in the $100,000 Messenger than Casey was getting a boarding call for his 11th flight to Australia this season to watch his burgeoning team of horses race.   And if Casey is right, and Waikiki Beach uses his great gate speed from the ace and leads all the way in the rich two-year-old final on Sunday afternoon it would put the seal on what is surely the most prolific winning season enjoyed by any Kiwi owner.   Casey, 54, struggles to recall every winner he’s cheered home but his best guess is that 17 horses, which he either owns outright or has shares in, have won 59 races since last August - 24 of them at home and 35 in Australia.   Some of them, like Stent, have been in his now familiar black and white colours sporting the Lone Star logo of the Riccarton restaurant he owns, the profits from which have seen his equine empire treble in the last nine years.   Others, like the Barry Purdon-trained Sky Major, he races with a big group, but are providing him with thrills of the like he’s never previously experienced.   But with 30 horses on the go at the moment, at varying stages of their preparations, he says he needs to be winning like he is to pay for all the training bills.   Then there’s the cost of looking after his seven well bred trotting broodmares and their seven weanlings which are now conveniently all together  on his Prebbleton property and on another 8ha over the road which he bought from Nevele R Stud to house them all.   ‘‘Someone comes in to help feed and handle them but I’d see them daily,’’ says Casey who is sure all the handling helps them make a good early start as racehorses.   ‘‘I’ve always had quite a few horses - but I’ve now been able to upgrade the quality rather than the quantity. And if they’re not good enough to race at two or three, where the big money is, I usually try to sell or lease them.’’   Casey is also culling three broodmares, Una Bromac, Shesachristian and Pita Pocket, who will go under the hammer at next month’s PGG Wrightson mixed sale in Christchurch- ‘‘you soon learn how quickly your numbers multiply.’’   Casey says he’s lucky Stent - the horse he named after having triple stenting of his aortic vessels five years ago - has won him $637,216 this season and $1,108,788 in all  ‘‘paying for all the others.’’ The Rowe Cup win, which Casey says trumps all Stent’s previous achievements, fulfilled his own lifelong ambition and that of trainer Colin de Filippi.   ‘‘Winning the Great Southern Star was impressive but this is the best win I’ve ever had. He’s a super, super trotter, just something else.’’   In his victory speech Casey took great pleasure in pointing out to the knockers who claimed Stent couldn’t stay that he had just won the country’s premier staying race in 4:03.5, only 0.6s outside Stylish Monarch’s New Zealand record.   Stent’s season earnings of $637,216 have now passed those of the retired champ I Can Doosit ($621,764) and leave him second only to trotting’s all time ‘‘Freak’’ Lyell Creek who banked $658,325 in 2000-2001, when unbeaten in 14 starts, before campaignng in the northern hemisphere.   Casey beams when he is reminded Stent is now a shoe-in to be named trotter of the year on both sides of the Tasman.   ‘‘It’s still only a hobby, but it’s become a large hobby,’’ says Casey who has recently sold his other horsepower hobby, a  Harley Davidson motorcycle, because he no longer has time to ride it.   ‘‘ I really enjoy my racing and it occupies all my time now. I’m sponsoring quite a few races, and the Australasian junior drivers’ champs coming up, and I love to watch my horses go round.’’   Casey’s Facebook followers always know when he’s on the move, his postings from Melbourne and Sydney alerting his friends to his latest conquests.   Horses have always pressed Casey’s buttons, right from his days as a teenager when he started helping out at Tommy Knowles’ Kumeu stables in the early 1970s.   Where his passion for racing came from he’s not sure given none of his three brothers or two sisters liked horses - ‘‘but there were always horses around us in Kumeu.’’   Casey even took out a training licence for a few years in his early 20s,  training a winner, the dual gaited Speculate, to win a $1500 trot at Kumeu in 1985.   But when Casey became friends with local trainer Jim Cole he no longer needed a licence and from then on he left the training up to the professionals.   These days champion trainer Mark Purdon is his main man, but Casey also has a few with de Filippi, Tony Herlihy, Bruce Negus and one with Amber Hoffman.   It was on a trip to Melbourne in 2014 that Casey, his mate Neil Pilcher, Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen bought Waikiki Beach.   Having just sold a baby by Somebeachsomewhere named Assassinator to Perth, they were looking to replace him with another by the same sire.   A colt out of Cyclone Betty fitted the bill and they got him for $50,000.   It didn’t take Purdon long to discover he had a beautiful gait but when he wasn’t quite ready for the Young Guns series in Auckland earlier this year, and ‘‘started to get a bit colty’’ Purdon gelded him and turned him out.   Waikiki Beach came back to a winning debut in February and is now four from four and a raging favourite to win today after a super impressive semi-final win in 1:56.1.   ‘‘He has gate speed and I thought if he drew one to five there was a very good chance of his leading. But now, from one, he should lead easily,’’ Casey said.   Casey is hoping Waikiki Beach can win the rich final, just like Mr Nickel did for his partner Neil Pilcher three years ago, and go on to take the  Breeders’ Challenge and Breeders’ Crown.   They would be thrills that would rate right up with Pocaro’s Jewels win, Escapee’s two derbies, Mah Sish’s Hunter Cup or Arya’s Breeders Crown.   But if it all goes bad, like the night Pocaro had the 2009 Northern Trotting Derby all sewn up but galloped 50 metres out, Casey will just shrug and move on.   If he’s learned anything over the years it’s that you have to be a good loser. ‘‘You have a lot more losses than wins. I’m never over-confident. So long as they race well, and pull up good, you have to be happy.’’    Trevor Casey has lost count of the number of wins he’s enjoyed this season but we’ve done the maths for him. 17 horses, that he either owns outright or has shares in, have won 59 races   NEW ZEALAND    24   Stent      8 Lazarus  4 Hot Pants 3 Waikiki Beach 2 Messini   1 Sluggem   1 Ygritte       1 Bonechip    1 Madam Simone 1 Eilish Aimee 1 Sky Major   1     AUSTRALIA    35   Hand Of The King 6 Arya     6 Stent     5 Sky Major 4 Daenerys Targaryen 4 Sun Of Anarchy 4 Messini 2 Waikiki Beach 2 Saratoga 1 Crusader Acey 1   Courtesy of Barry Lichter

On paper tonights $145,000 Rowe Cup for elite class trotters at the harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park looked a one horse race with Stent in outstanding form and a clear favourite. Plenty of pundits were concerned about it being his first standing start for nearly five months and the 3200 metres was another query that was also regularly mentioned in the lead up to the race. As it turned out Stent trotted away brilliantly for Colin De Filippi from the stand to grab an early lead over Alley Way and Matthew Williamson. Mark Jones was away well with the defending champ Master Lavros and worked forward and took over the lead from Stent after 700 metres. There was no loitering in front as Mark Jones looked to take a bit of the speed out those in pursuit of Master Lavros and he kept the tempo up the whole way. Applying even more pressure as they went past the 400 metres mark, it was clear as they turned for home that Master Lavros only had one serious challenger and that was Stent who waited for the passing lane to lodge his challenge. These two knuckled down to fight it out and Stent got in the deciding stride to claim his first of the big 3200 metres cups To Master Lavros's credit it took Stent every inch of the straight at Alexander Park to get his head in front right on the line. Alley Way was 2 3/4 lengths back in third which was a great effort first up in the big time and there was a further four lengths back to One Over Da Moon in fourth. Stent trotted the 3200 metres from a stand in a very quick 4:03.6, a mile rate of 2:02.4 with closing setionals of 57.9 and 28. The time was a new race record, taking one point six seconds off the old record held by I Can Doosit. Colin De Filippi was very emotional on returning to scale, fighting back the tears. " My father won this race forty years ago and it really means so much to me to win this race." " It is a race I have wanted to win for a long time so its very special." " I can't say enough about what a great owner Trevor Casey has been to train for." " Even when things weren't going that well early in Stent's career, Trevor never even once questioned what I was doing" " He deserves all the success he is having," Colin said.  It has been a stellar season for the son of Dream Vacation with tonights win his 13th from just 18 starts this season with earnings of $637,216. Harnesslink Media

If anyone thought that Stent was vulnerable in the $80,000 New Zealand Trotting Championship at last nights harness racing meeting at Addington, (we did) then it took just three minutes and fifteen seconds to well and truly put that idea to bed. Before the race had even got under way there was a major surprise when the well performed Kincaslough refused to score up twice and was late scratched as a result. Everyone thought driver Colin De Filippi from barrier three would head straight to the front with Stent and that was the first surprise as Colin stayed out of the early rush. Todd Mitchell and Prime Power flew the gate to lead from barrier seven with Stent settling into the one by one behind One Over Da Moon in the death. Mark Jones worked Master Lavros forward from the second line and grabbed the lead after 700 metres and set a quick tempo up front. Due to the tempo there were few mid race moves with the exception being Clover Don who worked forward to the death with 1200 metres to go. At the 500 metres mark Mark Jones tried to steal a break on the field and turned for home four lengths in front  but the challengers were emerging from the pack. First King Denny appeared and then Stent went straight past them all to grab a very game Masters Lavros in the shadows of the winning post for an emphatic victory. Sheemon who followed Stent everywhere switched to the inside in the straight and flew late for third just in front of King Denny who made a very promising debut in town hall company. A minor highlight of the race was the run of Alley Way, who flew late for sixth after being last on the final bend. Colin was a touch apprehensive turning for home. " I thought I may have left it too late to move because Master Lavros is a class trotter and is hard to reel in." " Having said that I have a lot of confidence in my fellow and I knew they would know we were there," Colin said. Owner Trevor Casey was one proud man post race " That was a huge performance." " I thought we were too far back on the turn so to get up and win was a great run," Trevor said. Master Lavros went his best race for the season and there is plenty of room for improvement. " I didn't even give him a trial before last week and I've left him really big this time in so there should be plenty of improvement in him." " His condition gave out the last bit but I couldn't be happier with how he is trotting." " We will head to the Rowe Cup now with a bit of confidence, " Mark said. The unlucky horse once again was the northerner Prime Power. Trainer Todd Mitchell was rueful about a shoeing change he had made. " I changed his shoes four starts ago and fitted him with a lighter shoe." " He was fine with them at Auckland but he struggled with them on the Addington surface." " I was jogging tonight on the corner which makes it even more disappointing." " I think back at Auckland he will be fine, but we may change the shoes back anyway," Todd said It was a special night for Trevor Casey at Addington as not only does he own Stent but he also shares in the ownership of the brilliant Welcome Stakes winner last night in Waikiki Beach. The cherry on top for Trevor was last nights win edged Stent over the $1,000,000 mark in lifetime earnings and the way he is going he could set new overall marks for stake earnings for a trotter in Australasia in the next couple of years. Harnesslink Media  

Any harness racing breeder will tell you there are no guarantees when it comes to breeding standardbreds regardless of their racing record or pedigree. Plenty of top class well bred mares fail to fire as broodmares for reasons that in the main are a mystery to everybody. Well known breeder Trevor Casey has raced a lot of horses over the years and one of his better racemares from a few years ago was Belle Galleon. The daughter of Sundon was bred by Garry Allen, the HRNZ chairman and raced initially by Trevor Casey and Bruce Negus of Courage Under Fire fame who trained the filly. Bruce sold his share in Belle Galleon to Mike Bowden after the filly had had a handful of starts as a three year old and Trevor and Mike raced the mare for several seasons as she accumulated eleven wins and $116,144 on the track. Trevor remembers her as quite difficult to get organized in the beginning. " She took ages to get the hang of it early on." " We would take her to the trials quite a few times and she would just gallop." " She did eventually come to it and we started her at Oamaru but she ran into a real smart one in Jasmyn's Gift and finished second. " We lined her up the next night at Forbury Park and she won easily," Trevor told Harnesslink today.   At her third lifetime start she ran fifth in the New Zealand Trotting Oaks but was disqualified for an early gallop and in just her fifth lifetime start Belle Galleon ran second in the New Zealand Trotting Derby to Thedonsson after having no luck in the running. Belle Galleon changed camps a couple of times during her career moving between Bruce Negus and Colin De Filippi. After been retired to the broodmare barn, tradegy struck the Belle Galleon camp soon after when part owner Mike Bowden passed away. In his will Mike left his share in Belle Galleon to well known Amberley trainer Kevin Chapman. So Trevor and Kevin take year about breeding from the mare and while she was a very smart mare on the racetrack, Belle Galleon is fast becoming a broodmare gem. Trevor bred the first foal, a colt by Dream Vacation that he named Stent due to having had stents implanted earlier that year. He entrusted him to Colin De Filippi and as they say the rest is history.  A smart two year year old Stent has just got better and better every year to the point where he has just gone through a five start Australian campaign including the Southern Star final unbeaten. His earnings stand at a tick over $950,000 NZ and there appears plenty more in store for the now six year old gelding. Kevin sent Belle Galleon to Majestic Son when his turn came around and the resulting foal was named Belles Son. He has hit a purple patch in the last fortnight winning his last two starts and three lifetime from just ten starts and looks to have a bright future. Trevor then sent the mare to Angus Hall and the resultant filly foal was named Arya. Placed with the All Stars barn, Arya was a star two year last year, only missing a place once from seven starts when she was controversially disqualified in the Harness Jewels. Sent to Australia for the Breeders Crown, she was dominant throughout the series, winning the final effortlessly. Arya was left in Australia with Brent Lilley by Trevor as he also has top class filly Wanna Play with the All Star barn and didn't want the two fillies to clash. This season at three she has carried on her winning way for Brent and on Saturday night took out the Group 1 $60,000 Need For Speed Princess final on the undercard to the Southern Star. Arya is now the winner of seven of her eight Australian starts and has taken her earnings over the $160,000 mark and she is still only half way through her three year old season. When Kevin's turn to breed a foal came around he sent the mare to Muscles Yankee and bred a colt he named Izmok. Izmok was sold at last months New Zealand Premier Yearling sale at Christchurch for $90,000, the top price for a trotting yearling at the New Zealand sales this year. Izmok was purchased by Charlie and Kaye Templeton from Invercargill. Trevor sent the mare back to Dream Vacation and has a full brother to Stent on the ground while Kevin has had Belle Galleon served by Muscle Hill. Trevor was at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday and was still bubbling today when speaking to Harnesslink. " It is not very often that you win a Group 1 but to win three Group1s on one night was unreal." " I don't think many mares will have ever left three Group 1 winners on one night apart from maybe Scuse Me." " The funny thing is that the three foals that are old enough to race from Belle Galleon have all won a race for the last two weeks in a row, " Trevor said. There are never any guarantees when breeding from smart racemares but in Belle Galleon, Trevor and Kevin have got that rarest of creatures - a broodmare gem. Harnesslink Media 

Trevor Casey is having one of those runs with his harness racing team that most of us can only dream about. The winners just seem to keep coming at the moment and today at Motukarara Trevor added another winner to the ever growing list when Ygritte was way too strong in the maiden trot. The three year daughter of Majestic Son bounced to front from barrier one for in form junior driver Loren Lester and that was just about game over from that point on. Ygritte was really travelling as they turned for home and Loren didn't have to get too busy for Ygritte to hold on for a really impressive victory. Trevor wasn't too surprised about the performance of Ygritte. " She has taken a wee while to get organized but has really been on the up lately." "I thought if she went away she would be tough to beat," Trevor said. Trevor bred the filly from the Simon Roydon mare A Touch Of Son who is also the dam of the high class full brother to Ygritte in King Denny 2:00.1 ($174,379) who was the dominant three year old trotter in New Zealand last season. Trevor no longer has the Simon Roydon mare in his broodmare band. " Since I had a full sister to King Denny, I sold the mare last year," Trevor said. Plans for Ygritte were settled pretty quickly post race today. " She can have a wee break after that run today"  " We will get her back and maybe aim her at the Oaks," Trevor said. Trevor already has the star filly Wanna Play on song for the Group 3 race and in Ygritte he has a more than capable second stringer. Harnesslink Media  

Plenty of harness racing pundits thought that the smart 2 year old Lazarus would be hard pushed to repeat his debut win when he lined up in heat two of the Young Guns series at Alexandra Park today. After all his main competition in Swamp Major and Motown had both drawn nicely in close while Lazarus had drawn badly at barrier eight. With the margin from their first meeting being so narrow, many thought that the result would be reversed this time. Swamp Major with Blair Orange in the bike left the gate quickly and grabbed the early lead while Motown slotted into a lovely trail from barrier two. Mark Purdon went forward from barrier eight with Lazarus and when Sabrage galloped he was able to slot onto the back of Kimani in the one by one. That is the way the order stayed until 150 metres from home where Mark angled Lazarus off Kimani's back and dashed home the last bit for a narrow but impressive victory. Swamp Major was game in second place with Motown battling into third place along the passing lane. Lazarus paced the 1700 metres in a quick 2:03.1, a mile rate of 1:56.5 with closing sectionals of 55.7 and 27. Part of last years Studholme Bloodstock's consignment to the yearling sales, Lazarus was purchased by long time All Stars clients Kennard Bloodstock for $75,000 and they were joined in the ownership by Trevor Casey and Kevin Riseley.  While loath to compare him to previous top 2 year olds he has trained, Mark Purdon gave the son of Bettor's Delight a good rap. " He is just a natural 2 year old and has great manners and that counts for a lot in these races." " The time didn't surprise me as they have been running time in most of the races here," Mark said. When quizzed about whether Lazarus looked the early favourite for the Young Guns final Mark was a touch more circumspect. " Bit early to say but he is certainly heading in the right direction,"Mark said  Harnesslink Media  

Nearly everyone was left breathless at Alexandra Park on Friday night when New Zealand records fell like ninepins and even lower class horses ran unheard-of times. But there was one horse, who just missed out on a record his owner longs for, who definitely didn't run out of puff. Stent put the memory of his poor Dominion Handicap run well behind him when he crushed his opposition in the Lyell Creek Stakes, becoming an unbackable favourite for Wednesday's $45,000 Flying Mile at Cambridge. And it was all down to the treatment the horse has been getting since Show Day after which he was diagnosed with symptoms of asthma. Trainer-driver Colin de Filippi knew something wasn't quite right with Stent when he was gone at the quarter, a run completely out of character for a horse who always tries his heart out. And when his vet did a lung wash it revealed the problem. "The vets said given what they found they were surprised he could run as well as he was," de Filippi said. "We're not sure what caused it but it could be pollen at this time of the year, or dust." In the ensuing weeks Stent has been treated with a number of powders and has been on a course of inhalers, just like humans with asthma. Each morning before he works Stent has a few puffs of Ventolin and afterwards another inhaler, before going on a nebuliser for 20 minutes. The regime has to be stopped a number of days before he races but its effectiveness was evident on Friday night when Stent burst out of the gate, easily held an early challenge for the lead by Prime Power, then just as easily repelled his passing lane run in the stretch. Owner Trevor Casey was delighted with the return to form but sorry Stent missed Royal Aspirations' national 2200 metres record of 2:43 by just four tenths of a second. "I'd love him to get a record because he so deserves it. He's broken records before but only been placed." But Stent, who clocked a mile rate of 1:59.5 and zipped his last 400 in 27.6, looks well placed in the next few months to gain the recognition Casey says is well overdue. After Cambridge he has the $80,000 National Trot back at Alex Park on New Year's Even then a smorgasbord of races Casey has mapped out in Australia where last year he won the A$100,000 Grand Prix. First stop is the A$30,275 Maori Mile at Bendigo, a race his speedy mare Escapee won two years ago. Then he has unfinished business with former Kiwi Keystone Del in both the Glenferrie Challenge and Great Southern Star. "He was three back on the fence in the Glenferrie and got out too late to catch Keystone Del and in the final of the Great Southern Star he drew one, led, but was attacked all the way by Blitzthemcalder and Keystone Del beat him again." It's not a schedule rival trainer Todd Mitchell has much appetite for with Prime Power unless he can beat Stent on December 31. "If we can't beat Stent here there's no point going over there to run second to him. We'll miss Cambridge and I'll freshen him up with a couple of trips to the beach and make up our minds about Australia after his next run. "If we do go it might be just for the one race at Menangle. The Great Southern Star (heat and final the same day) could be a year too soon for him." Trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen will wait until after Queen Of Hearts winner Adore Me runs in the $60,000 Waikato Flying Mile at Cambridge on January 9 before confirming her Australian targets. Purdon was super impressed by the way Adore Me dug deep in the home straight to get the better of Helena Jet and Lancewood Lizzie. "It was a very, very tough effort as we went a pretty solid 300 metres to get round them to the death." Fellow Canterbury trainer Benny Hill knows exactly where and when he wants to land in Australia with Dalton Bromac, who ran a supersonic 2:36.1, smashing Bogan Fella's New Zealand 2200m mark by two seconds. His whole campaign has been aimed at the A$200,000 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on March 1, the reason he is running in Wednesday's $50,000 Futurity at Cambridge, where a win would gain him automatic entry. Dalton Bromac was by far the most impressive of all the record-breakers on Friday - as good as Gold Ace, Delightful Lana and Itz Bettor To Win were - his run prompting pinch-hitting driver Dexter Dunn to rate him the most impressive horse he had driven since Christen Me was coming through the grades. Courtesy of Barry Lichter - Sunday Star Times - Check site here  

Harness racing is one of those sports where luck plays a big part at times. Sometimes when things are going bad nothing positive happens where as when your luck is in, the world is your oyster. No one knows that better at the moment than well known owner Trevor Casey who has been riding a wave of success in the last few years. One of his many stars at the moment is the talented Majestic Son filly, Hot Pants. A $30,000 purchase at the Australasian Classic Yearling sale in Auckland in 2012, Trevor races Hot Pants in partnership with co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen and right from the start Hot Pants has shown promise. Although she didn't win as a 2 year old, Hot Pants ran second in the $82,000 Sales Trot to stablemate Dieu De L'Amour ($58,839) and fourth to another of Trevor's youngsters in Daenerys Targaryen ($106,923) in the 2 year old Trotters Championship. Hot Pants looked to have come back bigger and better at three when she won her maiden race by 10 lengths just prior to the New Zealand Trotting Oaks. But thats where things started to go wrong and Trevor didn't see it coming. "Mark was very confident of a big run in the Oaks and although she ran third, she was beaten 10 lengths and was very disappointing," Trevor told Harnesslink this week. A few days later Trevor got the call all owners dread. "Mark rang to say that Hot Pants had bled badly after the Oaks and the vet advice was that she was finished as a racehorse and should be retired,"  he said. Trevor put Hot Pants in the broodmare paddock but was toying with the idea of selling her. " I have plenty of well related and performed broodmares as it is and didn't fancy another one, he said. Trevor watched Hot Pants tearing around the broodmare paddock and wondered to himself if there was anything that might help Hot Pants get over her bleeding episode. It was at this point Trevor contacted well respected Victorian vet Alastair Maclean who is a good friend for advice. " Alastair sent me some powder to treat her with which over time seemed to pick her up and I became keen to try her again" he said. The next hurdle for Trevor was convincing Mark Purdon to try her again. "Mark was reluctant initially but came round after a couple of conversations," he said. So four months after being retired, Hot Pants returned to the All Stars training establishment at Rolleston to try to resurrect her racing career. No one involved really knew how it was going to turn out let alone Trevor. So there was some understandable nervousness in the camp when Hot Pants lined up for her first start back at the end of September at Addington. A nice fifth in the hands of part owner Natalie Rasmussen was as good as could be expected in the circumstances and it was decided to press on The first up start had qualified Hot Pants for the $24,505 final of the Alabar Super Series and with a peach of a drive from Mark Purdon she got home over Indiana Jones and Commander Paris. Next up was a junior drivers race but Trevor wasn't sure if it was the right move. "Mark was keen to put up stable driver Matt Anderson" "He had great confidence he would get the job done and as usual his judgment was spot on," he said. From there Trevor was keen to start on Cup Day but Mark had sorted out a 1950 metres mobile on Show Day and it was there Hot Pants lined up. Wide for 500 metres before finding the death seat, Hot Pant was left parked as Sunny Ruby set a scorching pace in front. Able to slot down onto the running line at the 700 metres mark when a horse broke, Mark angled her off the inner on the corner and burst through the middle late in the piece to claim a great win. Hot Pant's time of 2:25, a mile rate of 1:59.6 was a new New Zealand record for a mare 4 year old or older. Trevor was suitably impressed with Hot Pant's performance. "She has always had speed but now she has developed a staying game as well."  "To set a New Zealand record after doing so much work was a great effort,"he said Just as important was how she came through the race. "She has come through the race really well and all going well we are planning to head to Auckland now," Trevor said. It should be of little surprise that Hot Pants is going as well as she is when you look at her bloodlines. By boom trotting sire Majestic Son, Hot Pants is the first foal from the lightly raced but talented mare Dutch Annie (4 wins) ($35,719)  The second foal is last years talented 2 year old filly Yagunnakissmeornot ($26,180) who won four times in her debut season and finished fourth in the Harness Jewels. The grand-dam of Hot Pants is the brilliant racemare Miss Whiplash 1:58.6 ($151,765) who left last years 2 year old trotting filly of the year in Wanna Play 1:58.9 ($52,171)  who is also raced by Trevor. Wanna Play is also by Majestic Son making her a 3/4 sister to Hot Pants. One thing you can guarantee now is that when Hot Pant's racing career comes to an end for the second time, Trevor will manage to find a spot for her in his broodmare band. There is a fine line between success and failure in harness racing and the story of the successful return of Hot Pants to the track shows how fine that line can be at times. Harnesslink Media  

17 to 29 of 29