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Tomorrow night at Alexandra Park we see a huge night of racing with SEVEN feature races going ahead!   With three Group 1 races to be run we will be bringing you a short video on each of these to showcase the horses that are racing at Group 1 level!!   First up is the Group 1 Woodlands Stud NZ Northern Derby which is set to go at 8.27pm!   Congratulations to all of the connections getting a chance to contest this year's derby - we wish you all the very best of luck!     HRNZ

Stallion acceptance in a very conservative marketplace is a hard thing, it is even harder when your pedigree is a just a bit different to what harness racing breeders have come to expect, so the tale of Sweet Lou down under begins. Despite banking over USD$3.4 million and starting his career as 2yo pacer of the year and book ending his racing life as USTA horse of the year, Australasian breeders where icy cold, apart from Woodlands Stud and some hardcore breeders who knew Sweet Lou’s racetrack deeds but researched his pedigree a bit deeper than most.  So, the long road began to make a stallion book commenced on limited numbers and a variety of mares from all walks of life. A push through weanling sales and then a $100,000 yearling sale in his first crop in New Zealand plus a stunning start to his first USA crop saw Sweet Lou gain acceptance on a large scale.  Sweet Lou was the leading first season sire in Australia and New Zealand with his first crop and then suddenly there was little room on the bandwagon when Sweet Lou returned to stallion duties ‘down under’.  In the New Zealand standardbred national yearling sale to be conducted from February 13th – 17th, Sweet Lou carries into the sale over 70 lots, amongst them some stunning progeny from some elite maternal pedigrees.  In the Auckland sale his moniker is carried via 30 lots and in Christchurch via a catalogue of over 40 lots. At the recent Australian sales, Sweet Lou’s progeny have been well sought and his racetrack deeds continue to evolve, to a level where he now has a son at stud and many pedigree pundits are saying Sweet Lou, just might be the saviour of the Adios line. Lot 20 by Sweet Lou - Sea Of Gold - Bettors Delight Lot 20 by Sweet Lou - Sea Of Gold - Bettors Delight ......................................................................................... Lot 35 Sweet Lou - Walk Of Fame - Bettors Delight Lot 35 Sweet Lou - Walk Of Fame - Bettors Delight ...................................................................................... Lot 76 Sweet Lou - Dream Offer - Dream Away Lot 76 Sweet Lou - Dream Offer - Dream Away ............................................................................... Lot 113 Sweet Lou - Lady Smack - Bettors Delight Lot 113 Sweet Lou - Lady Smack - Bettors Delight Sweet Lou has paved the way down under, now for acceptance of first season sires and pedigrees that remain a bit different, you can thank those willing to take a chance and be different when the breeding industry needed it the most! Woodlands Stud wishes all vendors the best of luck in the upcoming New Zealand Standardbred yearling sales with their ‘Great White Blaze’ progeny.    Harnesslink Media

Times are changing ‘Down Under’ where first season sires are concerned. The nature of the majority of breeders was to breed to proven sires and let the new sires charter the own course, which was mainly through stormy waters! With this thought process, these sire’s chance of making a name and a book as a stallion was diminished.  Then, all of a sudden, things changed in the pacing ranks and now the trotting gait has joined in.  For Woodlands Stud, freshman sire ‘What The Hill’ represents that change. A star son of the legendary ‘Muscle Hill’, ‘What The Hill has successfully shuttled and his first crops appear in the NZ Standardbred Sale in Auckland and Christchurch from February 13th -17th.  A total of 25 yearlings are catalogued and for any sire, this is a great promotion, a quick look suggests that What The Hill may have the most square gaiters for sale in the sale! What The Hill was USTA 3yo trotter of the year and won the Breeders Crown and the Canadian Trotting Classic and defeated the older horses at The Meadowlands in 1.51.4 in the TVG Open Trot. What The Hill is represented by a number of high quality colts and filles, by world class dams including Regal Volo, Yagunnakissmeornot, Fear Factor, Landora’s Pearl and Luby Ann.  Lot 91 What The Hill – Fear Factor, Bay Colt      Lot 134 What The Hill – Miss Pegasus, Bay Colt   Lot 149  What The Hill – Surfin Sunsation, Bay Filly   Lot 154  What The Hill – Viola Eyre, Bay Colt What The Hill started the ‘down under’ sale season by clearing all lots in Melbourne and generated a great average for a first season sire. In North American, his progeny where very well received across all sales and there is a quiet optimism amongst trainers in the USA, that What The Hill will make it. What The Hill represents a changing of the guard in how breeders now think about breeding to first season sires and then placing their progeny in yearling sales.  Woodlands Stud wishes all NZ breeders the best our luck as they head towards their ‘grand final’ at the New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred sale in the coming days.     Woodlands Stud

Standardbred Yearling On-Farm Parade Tour - NORTH ISLAND Tuesday 19 January 2021 - North Island 9.30am Tardina Stud 908 Koheroa Road, Mangatawhiri 11.00am Woodlands Stud Jacks Ridge, Ridgeline Way, Brookby (+ Lunch) 1.45pm Woodlands Stud 460 North Road, Clevedon 3.00pm Alabar (NZ) Ltd 480 Seagrove Road, Waiau Pa 3.45pm Hollis & Robertson 27C Royal Doulton Drive, Pukekohe 4.30pm McGowan Partnership & M Hjalmarsson Franklin Park, 214 Station Road, Pukekohe Wednesday 20 January 2021 - North Island 9.30am Leanach Lodge 114 Norrish Road, Ohaupo 11.00am Breckon Farms 18 Ngaroto Road, Te Awamutu (+ Lunch) For more information about the tours contact Rachel Deegan +64 3 381 0141 or email

When Woodlands Stud picks a stallion the process is not a decision made over night. With over 25 years of success in shuttling stallions, Woodlands Stud remains Australasia’s leading stallion base and the decision to acquire the equal fastest pacer in history, Lather Up, was a fastidious one. Lather Up was simply one of the USA’s greatest pacer’s in recent times. He broke two world records and became the fastest four-year-old in history over a mile and the single fastest horse over a mile and one eighth. Lather Up won the 3yo race all horses aspire to when he won the North American Cup in 1.48.1, he bankrolled over USD $1.9 million and was a genuine star. Lather Up not only brings speed, stamina and a great gait, he brings two of Australasia’s greatest ever producing sires in Bettor’s Delight and In The Pocket to the table. Lather Up’s sire, I’m  Gorgeous, was amongst the best 3yos of his generation and the maternal side of the family is very rich in vein with his dam, Pocket Comb, a mother of nine winners from 10 foals. Simply his pedigree rocks! The great news for breeders is that Lather Up has a number of mares in foal early on both sides of ‘the ditch’ and his semen quality is outstanding. Standing along side super sire American Ideal at Northern Rivers Equine at Kyabram, Lather Up has a quality book of mares for a first season sire, amongst them Australian mares of the year and mares who won seven figures on the racetrack! Lather Up’s service fee is $6600 GST INC, with discounts applicable. When we shuttled ‘Sweet Lou’ down under, some pundits scoffed at our decision and all the hard yards Sweet Lou has done have proved that a stallion like Lather Up has a place in Australasia. Australian breeders have taken notice over time that when you breed to a Woodlands Stud, you are breeding to stallions that are meticulously chosen. In a results driven business, we get results. For bookings to Woodlands Stud stallions in Australia, contact Woodlands Australian manager Mark Hughes on 0451 650707 or via email at CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT WOODLANDS STUD

A tall, powerful stallion with extraordinary conformation, named after a Presbyterian Minister, is about to make an impact on the harness racing breeding Industry throughout North America and the Southern Hemisphere. Pastor Stephen, the 2010 Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year in North America, has been purchased from Europe for an undisclosed price by Taylor Made Stallions and will be standing in Indiana for the upcoming 2021 breeding season. His race record of 1.52.4 and $1,058,188 in earnings, together with his pedigree makes him one of the most impressive prospects available to Breeders in recent years. The fact that he is a full brother to the $2.6m winner Father Patrick is even more appealing.  Now standing at US$30,000 Father Patrick has been an instant hit at Stud in North America with the sensational trotter Greenshoe t3;1.49.4 emerging from his first crop. Pastor Stephen is by one of North America’s leading sires in Cantab Hall, the sire of winners of just under $100m in North America. Pastor Stephen is from the Broodmare gem Gala Dream, who in turn is a half-sister to World Champion trotter Chocolatier 1.53 ($1.3m). Pastor Stephen’s pedigree is loaded up with two year old speed, aside from his own record; Father Patrick  -  the USTA Two and Three Year Old Trotting Colt of the Year. Cantab Hall  -   the USTA Two Year Old Trotting Colt of the Year. Chocolatier  -   the USTA Two Year old Trotting Colt of the Year Pastor Stephen, the Dan Patch two-year-old Trotting Colt of the Year and a winner of more than $1m as a two and three year old was exported to Europe after his brilliant race career ended in his 3 year old season upon suffering a broken coffin bone.  Pastor Stephen Pastor Stephen has been very successful in the breeding shed all across Europe with a more than 70% rate of his foals making it to the races, all despite the fact that he was held up in a court case and losing two full breeding seasons. With his progeny making a good impact early on the European breeding scene American interests had fixed their eyes on the grand circuit super star Pastor Stephen. They entered into an agreement early 2018 to purchase the “Dan Patch two year old of the Year” and bring him back to North America. However, there were disagreements in connection with the purchase contract, and after almost two years of legal fighting, the case was finally heard in the Uppsala District Court, Sweden. The case has now been resolved with the American interests winning the case. Pastor Stephen has now arrived back in the USA!  “He was a really good gaited colt, easy horse to be around and to race. He was top three of his class as a three-year-old. Unfortunately he got injured in a transport incident before the Hambletonian where he finished third in his elimination and fifth in the final from post 10. After that a coffin bone injury put an end to his career in the USA and was sold to Europe. I am glad he is back in the USA. He will be a big asset to the Indiana Breeding Industry as he is the full-brother to Father Patrick, as a matter of fact I reserved two breeding rights to Pastor Stephen myself.” Jimmy Takter on Pastor Stephen Pastor Stephen was recently purchased by Taylor Made Stallions, adding to their exceptional group of Standardbred stallions, What The Hill, Lazarus and Lather Up, Pastor Stephen will no doubt enrich the Taylor Made Standardbred stallion portfolio with influence throughout the breeding world. Pastor Stephen is now in Lexington, Kentucky with semen being frozen for distribution to Australia, New Zealand and Europe in 2021. Pastor Stephen is now back in the US and frozen semen is available in NZ nationwide by contacting either Stacey White on 021 595 492 or the Woodlands Stud office on 09 2998932. The 2020/21 stud fee is $5,000 + GST POLF.  by Steve Wolf

Harness Racing Australia has gone ahead and put Rules in place just weeks before the breeding season and failed to consult properly with stakeholders. More mares are bred in Victoria than any other state yet the Harness Racing Breeders Association of Victoria executive were waiting for answers when Harness Racing Australia announced the limits. How many stallions does this affect? Based on the 2019 figures five stallions served over 150 mares; Art Major, American Ideal, Always B Miki, Sweet Lou and the deceased Alta Christiano.   After contacting the Harness Racing Breeders Association of each state it is clear they do not accept that a proper consultative process has taken place. Based on the number of outraged breeders contacting Alabar Australia and Woodlands Stud it appears the majority of commercial broodmare owners are against the HRA proposal as it is written.  There is no one that is against limiting books but it needs to be properly worked out with consideration of free returns and other economic considerations. Below is the outline of the letter written to Andrew Kelly. A reply from the HRA board is expected this week. 1. Phase limits in:   There should be no limit for 2020 season, 180 plus returns for 2021 season,150 plus returns for 2022 and beyond:   Reasons why?    a) Implementing changes at this late stage of the season simply makes it all too hard to implement without creating upheaval and ill feeling between HRA and both broodmare owners and Studs.   b) there will be cases when travel and delivery of semen due to  Covid -19 will not reach a mare when needed and having flexibility has never been more important than this 2020 season.   c)  the follow-on economic effects of Covid-19 means 2021 will have its challenges. By 2022 we hope to see some sense of normality.   d) HRA should follow the example of other countries. The implementation of stallion limits would  normally be done over several years seasons as what happened with USTA. The overseas experience of limiting books has always provided a lead-in time to allow corrections to the worth of stallions being purchased or syndicated. The latest example was the Jockey Club (USA) where limits were introduced this year.   The conditions were that a limit of 140 but starts for those stallions born in the 2020 foal crop. All stallions born 2019 and before  are not affected as they were valued for syndication differently . There is no mention of free returns in the Jockey Club Rules because there are no live foal guarantees to consider as it is “pay on live foal” (POLF). Attached Jockey Club rule below.   2. Remove the limit of 20 on free returns:  There should be no limit or other conditions imposed on a genuine free return: a) There have been instances in NZ and Australia over the years where through no fault of the stud or stallion more than 20 free returns have occurred in any one season. These can be the accumulation of returns over previous seasons or unexpected losses from climatic changes or infection. For instance an abortion outbreak can cause significant unforeseen losses well in excess of 20 per stallion, as happened in 2001 with Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS) in the U.S. state of Kentucky when some farms had between 20% to 30% of pregnant mares aborting.How can a stud be expected to carry the uncertainty of such a loss of income with no recourse of providing free returns to all losses if required? b) the broodmare owner should be able to transfer a free return and use another mare. The first mare may no longer be a viable breeding proposition,or a substitute maybe a more fertile option, or the mare died and needs replacing are examples why this makes sense.  c) I see a big difference on how free returns are adopted in future by studs if there is a limit imposed. In the T’Bred a standard free return is only provided for the first 24 hours of the foal’s life and thereafter it is the mare owner who takes the risk or insures the foal. In S’Bred's studs more often than not they provide free returns for foals that die much later than 24 hours, in some cases months later. That eases the burden of the broodmare owner carrying insurance from 24 hours. Under the current proposed HRA 20 free return criteria stallion owners could not allow this leniency to continue towards the breeder. d) Free returns are easy enough to police with the studbook registrations checking each free return is valid, and the registered stallion owner would have to justify the free return number yearly with HRA. I declare my conflict of interest as co owner in Woodlands Stud and the stallions Sweet Lou and American Ideal. Andrew Grierson Woodlands Stud .................................................................................................................................................. Thursday, May 07, 2020 The Jockey Club Adopts Rule Regarding Thoroughbred Stallion Breedings The Jockey Club board of stewards today announced that it has adopted a final rule limiting the annual breeding of individual stallions. The rule reflects The Jockey Club’s goal to preserve the health of the Thoroughbred breed for the long term and will apply prospectively to stallions born in 2020 or later. Effective today, The Jockey Club’s Principal Rules and Requirements of the American Studbook are amended by adding the following italicized language to the text of Rule 14C: C. Based on the information on a completed Report of Mares Bred form, The Jockey Club will forward to the stallion owner, lessee or authorized agent a preprinted Service Certificate for each broodmare bred, including the name of the stallion, the name of the broodmare, the name of the dam of the broodmare, and the date of the last cover. The total number of broodmares bred per individual stallion whose year of birth is 2020 or thereafter shall not exceed 140 per calendar year in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The Jockey Club shall limit the number of Stallion Service Certificates for such stallions to a maximum of 140 per calendar year. When the stallion owner, lessee or authorized agent receives the preprinted Service Certificate, it should be examined for accuracy, signed by the stallion owner, lessee or authorized agent and forwarded to the breeder of the foal or submitted to The Jockey Club through Interactive Registration™ at The Service Certificate is required to register a foal. Service Certificates will not be issued unless a completed Report of Mares Bred form is on file at The Jockey Club and until genetic or re-DNA typing of the stallion has been completed (see Rule 5). In an effort to illustrate the operation of the new rule, The Jockey Club offers the following examples of how it will be applied: (1) For stallions born in 2019 and earlier, there will be no limit to the number of mares reported bred in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The Jockey Club will issue stallion certificates for all mares bred by such stallions within the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico during a calendar year. (2) For stallions born in 2020 and later, the maximum number of mares covered within the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico in a calendar year will be 140. It would be a violation of Rule 14C for such a stallion to cover more than 140 mares within the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico during a calendar year. The aforementioned limit will apply to all mares bred during a calendar year regardless of when The Jockey Club receives a Report of Mares bred (or any amendments or supplements thereto). The Jockey Club will modify its Report of Mares Bred form and other related forms in recognition of the amendment to Rule 14. Stallion Service Certificates will be issued on the basis of first cover date in the order of mares listed on the Report of Mares Bred. The Jockey Club is grateful for the many thoughtful comments in response to its September rule proposal. The stewards carefully considered those comments in formulating a rule that will promote diversity of the Thoroughbred gene pool and protect the long-term health of the breed. The Jockey Club will continue to maintain the Principal Rules and Requirements of the American Studbook in keeping with its mission to ensure the health of the Thoroughbred breed. The Jockey Club, founded in 1894 and dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, is the breed registry for North American Thoroughbreds. In fulfillment of its mission, The Jockey Club, directly or through subsidiaries, provides support and leadership on a wide range of important industry initiatives, and it serves the information and technology needs of owners, breeders, media, fans and farms. It is the sole funding source for America’s Best Racing, the broad-based fan development initiative for Thoroughbred racing. You can follow America’s Best Racing at Additional information is available at  

Trotting breeders are advised that Horsham HRC's stallion tender to Speeding Spur NZ  1:52.8 and $1,305,000 will close at midnight (AEST) Friday September 11th.   The nine-time Group 1 winning entire has returned from USA to join the outstanding roster at his birthplace, Woodlands Stud, proud sponsors of the 2021 Horsham Trotters Cup.   Horsham's tender gives breeders of the square-gaiter an opportunity to send their broodmare to this exciting first season stallion at a discounted price.   For a tender form and further information contact Tony Logan on 0427 857411 or email -  

Woodlands Stud is proud to announce that the world’s fastest pacer Lather Up is set to join their imposing roster in the 2020/21 harness racing season. In a major coup for Australasian breeders the World Champion $1.9 million earner will shuttle from America to join Bettor’s Delight, American Ideal, Sweet Lou, Downbytheseaside, What The Hill and Speeding Spur. Lather Up will be standing in Australia alongside star sire American Ideal at prominent Victorian farm Northern Rivers Equine. Woodlands Stud has enjoyed a very successful relationship with Dr Kath Mcintosh’s Kyabram base and with the arrival of the World’s fastest pacer this will continue in the 2020/21 season  Lather Up is one of the greatest horses of his time. He broke two world records and became the fastest four-year-old horse in history, the equal fastest horse in history over a mile and the single fastest horse in history over a mile and one eighth. He raced against all-comers and broke seven track records as a two, three and four-year-old as well as two world records as a four-year-old. He was a very good two-year-old, a top three-year-old and a world champion four-year-old. At two, Lather Up set the track record for a two-year-colt pacer winning in 1:52.2h. At three, he won a heat of The Little Brown Jug in 1:49.3h (half-mile track), and the $1 million North American Cup elimination and Final in 1:48.1. And at four, he set a world record 1:46 for a mile and a world record of 1:59.2 for a mile and one-eighth. North American Cup When he took his 1:46 world record he raced at the Meadowlands against 10 runners and won by open lengths against an incredible group - including six millionaires. He then backed that world record up the following week with his other world record, going 1:59.2 over a mile and an eighth pacing his first mile in 1:46.3. The Graduate Final in 1:46 The Sam McKee Memorial Just when one thought they had seen it all, a first quarter in :24.4, a favorite who looked hopelessly beaten in the stretch came a Phoenix out of the ashes as Lather Up showed what the heart of a champion can do even when a victory seemed out of the question. With a final time of 1:47.2, Lather Up turned in a stunning performance to capture the 26th edition of the $330,000 Dan Patch Stakes at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, August 9. -The Hambletonian Society The $330,000 Dan Patch Stakes His sire, I'm Gorgeous by Bettor's Delight, was among the top colts of his year winning a heat of the Little Brown Jug in 1:50.4 and finished a close second to 'Horse Of The Year' Rock N Roll Heaven in the $410,000 final. He has a tremendous maternal line as well, with his super dam being one of the best producers by In The Pocket, leaving 9 significant winners, 5 of them in under 1:51.  His pedigree combines two of the greatest producing sires ever down under in Bettor's Delight and In The Pocket but they are far enough removed to be able to be bred to almost all mares across Australasia. His book is full and closed in America for his first season as a sire and with his speed, conformation, gait, looks and pedigree he is set to make his mark on the Australasian harness racing industry too. Lather Up will be available via fresh, chilled semen throughout Australasia and his 2020/21 service fee will be $6,000 + GST in New Zealand and $6,600 GST Inc in Australia, with discounts available. For bookings or inquires about Lather Up in New Zealand please contact Stacey White on 021 595 492 or via email and in Australia contact Mark Hughes on 04 5165 0707 or via email Harnesslink Media

Woodlands Stud boss Andrew Grierson knows he is about to gift somebody a bargain. But he says that is all part of game for the breeding powerhouse as they count down to New Zealand’s largest ever online auction of standardbred stock. Grierson started Woodlands Stud nearly three decades ago with Charles Roberts, his good friend who passed away last week aged 96. “Of course it was sad to see Charles pass on but what a life he had,” said Grierson this week. The business of running New Zealand largest standardbred nursery continues and a new chapter has begun with the catalogue for Karaka All Aged Sale now online at, with bidding to start on May 20 and the sale commencing on May 27. The change to the online format have been forced by Covid-19 restrictions and come after success of far bigger thoroughbred sales in Australia online. Grierson says his team has done a wonderful job meeting the new challenge. “We have a lot of horses going through, which is what you have to do when you breeding as many horses as we do,” says Grierson. “We breed between 150-170 mares a year and not all those foals can go to the yearling sales. “Some go there, some we retain and some we do private deals on but this sale has been a very good outlet for others.” That could easily lend the cynics to think of the traditional May sale as a dumping ground but Grierson says that is definitely not the case. “We have sold horses like Hard Copy and Line Up at this sale,” explains Grierson. “Hard Copy fetched $6000 as a weanling and and went on to win over $1million while Line Up we sold the day before his sister Partyon won the Jewels. “The Breckons bought him and made huge profit reselling him as a yearling and he has since gone on to win two Derbys and be the top three-year-old. “And that makes me happy. You want to see people do well because they are still our horses by our stallions out of our mares out there winning.” Grierson says that has also been the case with Australian buyers who have pin-hooked weanlings, taken them home and made big profits selling them at yearling sales in Australia. So how does an operation the size of Woodlands decide who will head to the May sales as opposed to being retained or go to the more commercial February yearling sale? Obviously being by the King, Bettors Delight, helps get you a February date, especially as demand at the yearling sales is based so much around the leading five or six stallions. “The reality is, and it has become even clearer in the last five years, is that if we didn’t support the new stallions we brought in they would struggle to get established,” admits Grierson. “Because so many breeders want to go to the well-known commercial which we can understand. “So we will breed to our stallions and then sell some in February but some go to the May sale and people can tend to but them cheaper. “That gives buyers two chances, they can pin-hook them the next February or race them and have the option to sell them as horses. “Again, with us breeding so many mares we can’t race up to 100 horses if they aren’t among the yearlings we sell. Grierson says Woodlands use the stallion’s service fee as a good indicator for the reserve at a sale. “Obviously you don’t want to go much lower than that but sometimes we do. We get together as a team and work out what we think is a fair but also realistic price and go from there.” With this month’s sale on the Woodlands team have had to approach the sale’s marketing differently, with even more emphasis on photos and video because buyers won’t be able to see the horses for sale on the day. “So we have taken a lot more photos than we would with previous sales and concentrated on things buyers might find important, like specific areas of the horses to check conformation. “We are lucky we have a good team here with Tony Grayling, whose daughter Maddy did the photos, and Kelly Blakemore and then Stacey White has been able to package those up with details about the horses. “So we are really lucky to have that done so well. “I think it will come up really well.” So how does Grierson expect the sale to go on Gavelhouse at a time of such economic uncertainty? “I think it will go well. I think we can expect good Australian interest because of the prices and the good pin-hooking success they have had and the fact they are not disadvantaged in any way by not being here. “And it is a big bonus that weanlings offered here will be eligible for the Harness Millions series. “But of course there will be bargains. That is the attraction of this sale.”   Michael Guerin

It doesn’t matter which way you look, for Woodlands Stud’s Andrew Grierson and the Roberts and Kenny families, it’s basically harness racing business as usual. A wise man once said there’s a reason that the windscreen of a car is bigger than the rear-view mirror. That’s because it pays to look forward more than you look back. A quick glance in the rear-view however would be prudent for the Woodlands team because in March before we came to a grinding halt, they bred four individual Group Race winners. If it wasn’t for an ‘amazing’ filly winning the Derby, it could have easily been three in two days. The party started with Sweet Lou securing his second Group Race winner in New Zealand when the Stephen Reid trained Shes No Lady won the Delightful Lady Classic. She was bred by the stud after racing her dam Bettor Be A Lady with very same ownership group. The group includes ex All Blacks captain Kieran Read, halfback Andy Ellis and Dave Hewett together with 1974 Commonwealth Games star and harness racing identity Dick Tayler MNZM, who have raced Speeding Spur, Victors Delight and others with the larger Woodlands syndicate group. “We leased her mother Bettor Be A Lady out to the group and she won on debut for Cran, but she was just a bit of a carry-on and a bit of a difficult mare, so we retired her to stud after four starts,” said Grierson. “We leased her mother, Lady Retton and got a filly which was great, but we took the foal straight off her as she had had killed two or three of her foals. She went to a foster mare at Hallmark Stud and returned to us at weaning,” he said. Shes No Lady traces back to the famed 2009 Broodmare of Excellence winner in Coo Doo. Her dam, Bettor Be A Lady was the second live foal from Lady Retton (1:58 mile rate, 1700m), winner of 10 races from 31 starts for John and David Butcher. Lady Retton, by the Abercombie sire Crouch, was Group Two placed when runner-up to top mare Alta Serena in the 2005 $50,000 Queen Of Hearts at Auckland. Bettor Be A Lady’s third dam was Pamelene, who managed two grass track wins for the late Jack Smolenski from just 16 starts. Pamelene (Scottish Hanover-Coo Doo) was more importantly a sister to former top 1970s pacer Palestine (18 wins), who beat Speedy Guest, Noodlum and Micron in the 1976 Wellington Cup for Methven trainer-driver, Terry May. Palestine also won the 1977 Kaikoura Cup, scored an upset win in the 1977 Allan Matson FFA (mobile 2600m) on the final night of the NZ Cup meeting (beating Greg Robinson and Balgove), two Hannon Memorials, and beat Greg Robinson and Sunseeker in a 1979 Interdominion Consolation at Addington in the twilight of his career as a 9YO. “Shes No Lady was always a big strong filly, right from day one. “Her first couple of starts she had gone out of her gait and lost a bit of confidence but she had never done that at Pukekohe or with Steven (Reid) in the cart. “We hatched a bit of a plan and decided he should drive her in the big race, and the rest was history,” said Grierson. Covid-19 came at the wrong time of the year for anyone with a smart age group horse, but Shes No Lady will no doubt develop into a very nice filly for her three-year-old campaign. “We sold her full brother for $41,000 to Graeme Anderson at the sales this year and he was a really nice horse too,” said Grierson. One day after Shes No Lady’s triumph in Auckland, Henry Hubert smacked a nice field of pacers by 4 lengths to go back to back in the Group 3 Northern Southland Cup. He was bred out of the Christian Cullen mare Queen Camille, the producer of four winners including: Apollo Thirteen (ironically 13wins), Lambros (10 wins)and Kolovos (2 wins). Like Henry Hubert, they were all sired by Bettor’s Delight. Last term he showed he would make a nice open class horse when he won at Northern Southland, and a fortnight later scored the biggest win of his career in the 2019 Group 2 Four & Fiver Year Old Superstars at Addington. He beat Thefixer, Hail Christian and A G’s Whitesocks home before going on to run second behind Turn It Up in the Jewels G1 4YO Emerald. He showed he could mix it at the highest level when running 6th in last year’s New Zealand Cup finishing less than 2 lengths from Cruz Bromac in a sizzling 2 mile time. Copy That continued the good run for the stud when winning the Group Two Vero Flying Stakes from the outside gate on the 20th of March at Addington. He had been in sensational form this season since running second in the Sires Stakes Final after being drawn 14 and going down by only a lip. He then went on to win the G2 Alabar Classic and more recently was desperately unlucky when running into traffic issues on the final turn in the Northern Derby, finishing second behind Amazing Dream. “We got his dam Lively Nights from a connection with John Dickie who trained her throughout her career. “She was a reasonable race mare having won seven, and the people in the ownership didn’t want to breed from her so we took her over,” he said. That is the case with a lot of the mares at Woodlands now with the stud being offered well-bred mares with people cutting back on breeding or choosing not to breed at all. Grierson remembers Copy That being prepared for the All Age Sale at Karaka in 2017. “He wasn’t a big horse, just a nice horse, not big, not small. “We sold him as a weanling and it was Ray Green’s wife who bought him. She had brought Hard Copy as well and was never happy when Ray sold him, but probably wasn’t unhappy with the price,” laughed Grierson. “She’s obviously got a good eye because he showed something right from the start and (My) Hard Copy won $1.1 million also.” The two are both by resident sire American Ideal, and Grierson is frank in his understanding as to why the sire is continually overlooked by New Zealand breeders. American Ideal was moved to Victoria this season which was a reflection of where he sits in the Australasian market having done a full book in Australia again this season, yet a paltry 62 mares in the last two seasons in New Zealand. “The stats speak for themselves, he’s done a better job in Australia to be fair. “I mean he’s had some fantastic horses in Democrat Party, Ideal Belle, The Orange Agent etc but he lacked some good colts over here,” he said. His best colts being Ideal Scott and Besotted, but his progeny are continually showing up in big races and he recently triumphed in the WA Derby with Patronus Star. “I remember a few years ago he had the best two-year-old in NSW, the second best two-year-old in Victoria, the best horse in WA and was the second leading sire of two-year-olds in Australia, and yet he had only one two-year-old winner in New Zealand. “When you look at him in America he is never out of the top eight every year. “His stock is probably not as precocious as some of the other top stallions, but he is a good-looking horse and an athletic, thoroughbred type with a fantastic nature. He’s a gentleman. The most fantastic sire to look after and he just wants to please you. He’s happy to see you and throws that in his offspring as well,” said Grierson. The fourth Woodlands bred runner to win a Group Race in March was the former New Zealand Two-year-old of the Year in Another Masterpiece. He won the NZ Superstars on the 20th of March impressively having returned from a somewhat disappointing Australian trip cut short after failing to qualify for the Miracle Mile. This is a horse however who is easily overlooked in terms of his quality given over 50% of his races have been at Group One or Two level. He is bred to be good being out of one of the best-bred mares on the Woodlands Stud property in Elegant Art. David McCarthy detailed this a few years ago; Another Masterpiece, champion two-year-old of 2018, is by Bettor’s Delight from a Christian Cullen mare. Like Lazarus. Like well nearly every youngster popular at the sales and in big races these days. Nothing to see here?  Not quite.  Because once you get past that oh so fashionable cross, things get a bit interesting.  Another Masterpiece’s dam Elegant Art is the last Kiwi bred mare in the family. After that, it is all USA. Like a surprising number of top buys by All-Stars over the years.  And that USA family is not one of ordinary performers. In fact, Another Masterpiece’s third dam TOWN PRO was the champion American two-year-old filly of 1989 and the champion three-year-old filly of 1990 as well as being a Canadian Horse of the Year and the first to win back to back Breeder’s Crowns filly finals.   In 2004, she was elected to the Hall of Fame. She lived until 2014.  Town Pro won 12 of her 13 starts at two and 14 of 17 starts at three. Besides her ability, she was extraordinarily tough.    Her outstanding winner was Darlins Delight who won over $US2.9m but she left 12 winners from 17 foals altogether. Some tough.    Town Pro had been bought by trainer Stew Firlotte for $US60,000 as a yearling because Firlotte had had considerable success with her dam Programmed.  Programmed developed into the champion aged pacing mare in Canada and retired the highest earning daughter of the great Bret Hanover, no less.  Town Pro, in turn, was the richest racehorse by her sire Big Towner.  Grierson secured the dam of Another Masterpiece in a package negotiated by Hazel Van Opzeeland and once again the rest is history. “Elegant Art doesn’t have a lot of foals out there. She doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses in her pedigree either and has done a great job for us,” said Grierson. Looking further ahead to the All Age Sale, Woodlands will take a record 67 offerings to the sale now being conducted on the online selling platform, Gavel House. “It would have been nice to go to Karaka but who could have written the story we have now,” he said in reference to the pandemic that has forced the hand of New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred. “It will be interesting going through Gavelhouse but I believe with lag and some of our internet speeds around the country there could be a problem for the live auction route at this stage. “And in saying that we have had a lot of interest from Australia which being on Gavelhouse and the extended type of auction it can open up that market up a bit more while giving everyone a chance,” he said. Offering 55 lots last year, the All Age Sale is a big part of the Woodlands Stud business model by necessity. Having bred upwards of 170 mares of their own this season, they can’t take everything to the Yearling Sales and this has become a great avenue for the stud to sell some stock and put cash back into the business. It bodes as a great opportunity for the racing fraternity also who can secure some well-bred weanlings, knowing they have had the best start to life. Usually at a pretty good price also! This year is particularly exciting for Grierson and the stud with the first public offerings of Downbytheseaside and What The Hill progeny in the Southern Hemisphere. “We’ve got some fantastic looking weanlings. I don’t know if you have seen many What The Hill’s around Canterbury but he is leaving some fantastic looking types, he’s got a big chance and as does Downbytheseaside,” he said. The full Woodlands draft includes two American Ideals, two Bettor’s Delight’s (one yearling), 36 Downbytheseaside’s (which is slightly more than half of his live foals), 18 Sweet Lou’s and nine What The Hill weanlings. With Covid-19 and restricted travel and freight both domestic and internationally, a lot of breeders have begged the question “what does this mean for shuttle stallions this coming season?” A season without a Bettor’s Delight would not only be a major loss for a stud like Woodlands, but the stud book as well with many commercial mares simply not being bred at all. “We haven’t heard any different that at the moment they are not doing freight for horses.  It is a little bit early to know whether that is going to suddenly change, because it is big business for both sides and we own part of those horses. It’s not like a lease deal. “We’re hoping it will be just like business as usual, but there will be some additional costs no doubt with grooms who come down who will need to go into quarantine for 14 days. All of these things are unchartered waters for everybody so a lot will come out in the wash in a bit of time,” he said. Bettor’s Delight isn’t getting any younger but is showing no signs of stopping either having just won eight leading Sire of Pacers titles in New Zealand consecutively. He recaptured the title in Australia last season for his fifth crown while in North America he captured his sixth Leading North America Sire of All Age Pacers title and second in a row. “I wish he wouldn’t keep on being leading sire in America,” laughed Grierson when asked if he would have a forever home at the farm in the near future. “He is just unstoppable. We did a full physical before he went back to America: blood tests, hormone tests, feet x-rayed etc and he was all completely as he was the previous year and the year before. “We had him on a pretty strong rigorous diet. He was on a major exercise programme so he looked great as well. We got complimented on his physique when he go back. “Who knows, age catches up one everyone, but I have said to the American owners that when he is retired up there he has a forever home down here as we believe the weather and climate would be a lot more suitable for a horse his age and we would look after him like the champion he is,” said Grierson. By Brad Reid  To read more articles like this in the Breeders Update, click here.

NZB Standardbred’s 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale is underway at Karaka and will showcase the very best harness racing yearlings New Zealand has to offer over four action-packed days of inspections, parades and selling. The Auckland Sale on Monday 17 February will be broadcast live on Freeview Channel 200 and  from 10.45am with a Preview Show hosted by Greg O'Connor.  Live updates here from 10:45am Please refresh your browser to check for latest additions to the live feed updates  Good start to the sales with Lot 1 Jesse J (American Ideal – Jessies Cullen), Bay Filly going for $45,000 to the bid of Steve Stockman.  Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd were the vendors Lot 1 Jesse J Lot 3 Hoppy's Way (Art Major – Joanne's A Delight)Brown Colt, sold for $65,000 to Mr JR & Mrs W Giumelli – Western Australia , Hollis & Robertson Equine Services the vendors. Lot 3 Hoppy's Way   Lot 10 Ebury Delight (Bettor's Delight – Meet Me In Mayfair) Bay Filly sold for $75,000 to Dawe Contracting Ltd – Canterbury, Hollis & Robertson Equine Services the vendors. Lot 10 Ebury Delight    Lot 13 Manchild (Bettor's Delight – O Baby) Bay Colt sold for $100,000 to PI & GJ Kennard Bloodstock Ltd – Canterbury, Breckon Farms Ltd were the vendors Lot 13 Manchild Lot 25 Sweet Spirit (Sweet Lou – Major Spirit), Bay Filly, Sold for $52,000 to Mr RW Todd – Canterbury, Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd were the vendors Lot 25 Sweet Spirit    Lot 32 Precious Belle (Bettor's Delight – Precious Rose), Bay Filly sold for $95,000  Old Ridge Services No. 4 Ltd the vendors Lot 32 Precious Belle   Lot 33 Gossip Girl (Bettor's Delight – Our Melody), Brown Filly  sold for $50,000, Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd Lot 33 Gossip Girl   Lot 35 Cover Girl (Bettor's Delight – Sossusvlei), Brown Filly sold for $95,000,Breckon Farms Ltd the vendor Lot 35 Cover Girl   Lot 42 Maddys Nino (Art Major – Spanish Armada), Bay Colt sold for $105,000 to Mr JR & Mrs W Giumelli – Western Australia,Hollis & Robertson Equine Services the vendors Lot 42 Maddys Nino   Lot 44 Splice The Mainbrace (Captaintreacherous – Twilight Beauty), Chestnut Colt sold for $55,000, Tardina Stud Ltd the vendor Lot 44 Splice The Mainbrace   Lot 49 Argyle (Bettor's Delight – Royal Gem), Bay Colt  sold for $210,000, Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd the vendor Lot 49 Argyle   Lot 63 Next To Me (Bettor's Delight- Splendid Deal ) continues the strong run of Woodlands Stud and sells for $200'000. The family is well known with Maixm and Splendour both group 1 performers.   Lot 71 Casino Action (Bettor's Delight- Super Deal) goes to USA interests for $80'000. That's a good indication of the increased market attention that New Zealand breeds are generating across the globe.  Lot 79 Big Boy Louie (Bettor's Delight- Big Lucy) sells for $60'000 to Phil Kennard. Big Lucy being an 8 time winner. It carries on what has been a busy time for the Kennards as purchases.   Lot 89 Instant Classic (Muscle Hill- Classic Armbro) proves just that and brings a $90'000 bid from G Hope. The colt is a brother to Tailored Elegance.  Lot 102  Bo Duke (Bettor's Delight - Daisy Dundee) sells for $115'000 to Stonewall Stud. The colt is a brother to Jesse Duke and calls upon the Deborah Dundee dam-line.   Lot 112 Whiskey On The Rocks (Art Major-Double Shot) stripped a grand prospect and is hammered down at $65'000. It continues the strong showing by Art Major and is closely followed by Lot 113, Georgias Bettors, a Bettor's Delight colt who threatens to top the action with a bid of $200'000 registered by Jean Feiss who has a strong record for selecting the very best come sales time.  Lot 122  Im Cushty (Captain trecherous- Hi Ho Silver) sets a new high for the sale today with a $250'000 bid from Australian interests. The Captain certainly making an impression at Karaka. That lot is followed by Lot 124 Pasquale (Bettor's Delight - Holly Madison) which makes $110'000 for Breckon Farms.   Lot 122  Im Cushty The last lot of the day is passed in. That's wrap of the day here. Day two sees the action travel down to Christchurch where the trotting bloodlines will be present for sale before pacing blood is offered on Wednesday.    Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    Woodlands Stud reaped the rewards from giving a rookie trainer a go on a big weekend for the breeding giant. The Auckland stud secured its second confirmed starter in the group 1 Nevele R Fillies Series when Princess Jessie scored a front running win in a series heat at Methven on Sunday. The Simon McMullan trained 3yr-old will join fellow Woodlands Stud product Need You Now, who won a series heat in Auckland on Friday night, in the $140,000 final. McMullan credits Woodlands Stud for taking a chance on an emerging trainer like himself with his promising filly. “I have to credit Andrew Grierson for giving a young trainer a go and giving me such a nice filly to train,” McMullan said. “They could have sent her to any trainer in the country.” Princess Jessie made her way to his West Melton barn after the trainer made enquiries with the stud to see if he could take on one of their horses after he had looked after Utmost Delight for former training partner, Steven Reid, ahead of her group 1 win in New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes, almost two years ago. “I trained a few for Woodlands when I was in partnership with Reidman and I looked after Utmost Delight when she won the group 1 down here,” McMullan said.  “Not long after that, I sent an email saying I would really love the opportunity to train one for them.” Princess Jessie ran three sound races in strong fields before turning heads with a 1.54.9 mile (1609m) win at Wyndham in her start prior to Saturday’s win. McMullan puts the filly’s upgrade in form and back-to-back wins down to him making some minor changes to her training regime. “She probably wasn’t going quite as well as I was hoping in her runs previous to her last two starts.” “So, I have changed her training around a little bit and it really worked.” Princess Jessie had formed a strong partnership with driver Jonny Cox, who has had her in the lead to win her last two starts. “I think she is a better filly driven like she has in the last two starts,” McMullan said. “I think she likes to be up amongst it up.” The filly will step up significantly in class from Saturday’s conditioned heat to the Nevele R Fillies Series. McMullan is hopeful Princess Jessie can handle the task. “I always thought she could measure up to the Classic races.” “I am not saying she is going to win one, but she is definitely still on the way up and hopefully she can step up to that level and be competitive.” Princess Jessie scored by three-quarters of a length over runner-up Maharani, who tracked her throughout. Vesnina put in an eye-catching performance to run third on debut. The Darren Keast trained 3yr-old may have tested the winner had she not paced roughly in the straight. The favourite, Miss Graceful, who like Princess Jessies is also bred and raced by Woodlands Stud and raced by one of its syndicates, ran fifth. The stud’s syndicates enjoyed an excellent weekend with Some Do joining Need You Now in the winner’s circle at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV), Trots Clubs Victoria (TCV) and Paul Campbell will launch a new live streamed show tonight at 5pm across Trots Media digital channels. Titled Thursdy for Trots, the show will cover news and views from the harness week with a large focus on the Trots Country Cups Carnival. Hosted by Campbell and TCV’s Toby McKinnon, the show will feature interviews with clubs, trainers, drivers and other trots characters for the duration of the Country Cups season (until May next year). Woodlands Stud has signed up as naming rights partner for the new show, which will air live on HRV’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Twitch channels, and be replayed on Instagram. “Securing a partner like Woodlands is just fantastic and we’re really excited by this new project,” HRV Media and Communications Manager Cody Winnell said. “Paul Campbell and Toby McKinnon will be the regular hosts. They both have knowledge and enthusiasm in spades. HRV’s Nikkita Ross will also appear on many episodes and her passion for the trots is infectious. “Engaging video content, especially live streaming, is a big part of our media plan. The live aspect allows fans to engage directly with the hosts, so it encourages conversation. We’ve seen this with recent barrier draws and awards nights and there will be more of it.”   Campbell is looking forward to Thursdy for Trots. “We want this to be fun, energetic and interactive. It won’t be scripted, so it’s all natural. Just us talking trots with the stars themselves – the industry participants and clubs – and promoting the greatest racing code in the land,” he said. Appearing on episode one will be drivers Greg Sugars, Chris Svanosio and Tayla French.   HRV Trots Media

Woodlands Stud welcomed their first foal for the 2019-20 breeding season overnight, just nine days into the new season.   It is thought to be the first standardbred foal born in New Zealand this season and better yet the first foal in Australasia by Downbytheseaside, Woodlands Stud’s newest pacing sire.   The foal born is a filly out of the Falcon Seelster mare, Tania Tandias who is the dam of horses such as Lincoln Road and Tommy Lincoln. She is a terrific type, upright, strong and has plenty of leg.   Woodland Stud co-director Andrew Grierson has been designing a range of reproductive light masks for broodmares both foaling and getting in foal and Studmaster Tony Grayling thinks that this was part of the reason for such an early foal.   “She wasn’t due to foal for another seven days, but she is strong and healthy. The mare had a light mask on which promotes early foaling, so it seems to have done it’s job well on this one.”     Downbytheseaside stood his first season ‘down under’ last year and served a good number of quality mares both in New Zealand and Australia. He is a champion son of the late Somebeachsomewhere, he made $2.1 millon on the track and was the 3YO of his Year in 2017, defeating top horses such as Huntsville and Fear The Dragon.   He is currently being advertised for the upcoming breeding season at the special price of $4,800 + GST in New Zealand and $5,280 inc GST in Australia.   Woodlands Stud are expecting to have over 140 mares foal on the farm throughout the season and are also excited about the arrival of the first foals by their new trotting sire What The Hill.   The shuttle stallions are due to finish quarantine and arrive on the farm in 10 days time ahead of their first collect day on September 4th.   For bookings or more information please contact:   In New Zealand – Stacey White – 021 595492 –   In Australia – Mark Hughes – 0451650707 –   You can also view the stallion roster at     Stacey White

Dominant ‘dual hemisphere’ harness racing stallion American Ideal will stand the coming 2019/20 breeding season in Victoria. Woodlands Stud NZ, in conjunction with Dr Kath McIntosh’s Northern Rivers Equine at Kyabram, will stand the brilliant son of Western Ideal in the heart of standardbred country in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley. American Ideal remains one of the 21st Century’s most influential stallions in both hemispheres. American Ideal’s progeny now has earnings of over $110,000,000 million and his CV runs very deep with thirteen millionaires and 44 in the 1.50 list! American Ideal remains a rich source of winners at all racing levels. Watch American Ideal pace his record of 1:47.4 in 2005 Dr Andrew Grierson, principal of Woodlands Stud, is excited about the move of American Ideal to Victoria. He commented, ‘Australian breeders have supported American Ideal significantly in recent seasons and his race track results combined with outstanding yearling results made the decision to send American Ideal to Victoria an easy one’. ‘We are delighted to work along side one of Victoria’s most progressive vet’s in Dr Kath McIntosh and her staff. ‘In a results driven business, Northern Rivers Equine is a standardbred leader in Victoria. We look forward to a successful and long-term relationship’ said Dr Grierson. A beautiful natured and intelligent stallion, American Ideal will be a significant addition to the Australian standardbred ranks. His progeny continues to deliver as juveniles and at the Grand Circuit level. His is now starting to impact as a broodmare sire also. In Australia, American Ideal has left 173 bred Australian winners from 231 starters and they have amassed $11,000,000 million, an average of a remarkable $47,000 per starter to end of May 2019. The depth of American Ideals progeny in Australia has continued into the 2018/19 season. He is currently the leading dollar average sire in Australia for 2yo’s at $23,000. His daughter Pelosi is comfortably the best 2yo filly in Australia following her dominant Australian Pacing Gold final victory. To watch Pelosi win this race click on this link. For the 2019/20 season American Ideal service fee in Australia will be $11,000 GST INC and in NZ $10,000 + GST. Normal discounts will apply and semen will be available to NZ Breeders. American Ideal already has a significant number of early bookings in Australia for the 2019/20 season. For all enquiry’s regarding American Ideal in Australia please contact; Woodlands Stud Australian manager Mark Hughes on 0451650707 or email and in New Zealand contact Stacey White on 021 595492 or email

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