Day At The Track
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Alabar and Nevele R strike again

Alabar and Nevele R are thrilled to announce that they have joined forces to secure the lifetime rights to the reigning US Horse of the Year, Always B Miki – the fastest horse in the history of harness racing. He will stand at Alabar’s Victorian farm with his fresh semen available throughout Australia and New Zealand. Always B Miki is undoubtedly a modern day cult hero in North America. He won the crowds over with his incredible will to win. The battles in the free-for-all ranks were epic – but Miki proved again and again that he had the heart of a champion. And he put an exclamation mark on his career when he won in 1:46 at The Red Mile on October the 9th 2016 - the fastest mile ever. With Miki being such an imposing equine athlete, the world record is something that many harness racing followers felt was an inevitable achievement for him. At the end of 2016, Miki was rewarded not only with the Pacer of the Year title but also the overall Horse of the Year title.  The voting for which he dominated 102-32 He retired at the end of his all-conquering 2016 season to stand at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania where he commands a fee of US$12,500. He is currently serving a full book of mares which includes the virtual who’s who of North American broodmares.   The Always B Miki phenomenon is best put into perspective by his Hall of Fame trainer, Jimmy Takter. After all, Takter has been six times the US Trainer of the Year - including the last three years straight. He’s trained as many great horses as anyone ever has. Many people would say he’s the greatest trainer in harness racing – and it’s not hard to make that case. When Jimmy Takter talks horses you tend to listen – and Always B Miki is a horse he knows better than anyone else. He knows Miki is not only a champion – but maybe, just maybe he’s the best there’s ever been. The Jimmy Takter quotes on Always B Miki are captivating. After winning the William Haughton Memorial in what was his third straight world record performance, Takter was moved to say “I think this could be the greatest horse that ever lived.” And then, through the tears after Miki’s world record performance at Lexington, Takter stated: “I get very attached to my horses. He’s just a wonderful horse. He’s the greatest horse I’ve ever been around in my life, and I’ve been around the best horses in the world, like Moni Maker and those horses. This horse is my number one horse that I’ve been around … He’s a big horse but you’re not going to see everything inside. He has probably the best lungs ever, the biggest heart ever and the smartest horse ever.” And later: “He’s my all-time favourite. He is the greatest. He has such charisma, it’s unbelievable.” Miki was a talented two-year-old and a tremendous three-year-old finishing an astonishing second in the Meadowlands Pace (where He’s Watching set his world record) after being three wide the entire trip. Tragically, later as a three-year-old and as the Breeders’ Crown favourite, he suffered a serious injury and raced the rest of his career with multiple screws in his hind pasterns - making what he achieved as a four and five-year-old even more incredible. Jimmy Takter said after his world record at Lexington, had it not been for these problems: “He would have smacked at least another second off the record” All told, Miki won 30 races and banked $2,826,176 in a career highlighted by back-to-back Breeders’ Crown victories. You cannot help but be moved by his final surge to win the 2016 Crown after his fierce battle with Wiggle It Jiggleit. He’s the only horse in history to win 4 races in 1:47 or faster. Remarkable, given no other horse has done it more than once. He shares the world record for a five-eighths track and holds the Canadian mile record to sit alongside his fastest-mile-ever title. Miki is by Always A Virgin - a son of the sire of sires Western Ideal and the sire of the winners of over $22 million with 150 in 1:55. He’s out of the Artsplace mare, Artstopper. The US Pacing Broodmare of the Year in 2016, Artstopper is also the dam of the tremendous racemare Yagonnakissmeornot (41 wins, $1,458,850). She ranks a half-sister to Cheyenne Rei ($729,933). Of great significance to the breeders of Australia and New Zealand, Always B Miki has no Cam Fella blood in his pedigree whatsoever so is an ideal option for daughters of Bettor’s Delight. In a wonderful show of respect for our breeding industry, Always B Miki’s stud fee will be A$7,000 (incl GST) in Australia and NZ$7,000 (plus GST) in New Zealand. This is a tremendous opportunity. Just listen to Jimmy Takter. Always B Miki Retirement Ceremony at The Meadowlands Always B Miki - World Record Allerage Farms Championship Series Open Pacers Always B Miki - Breeders Crown Open H&G Pace Always B Miki - World reacord Ben Franklin Elimination

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Eagle Galleon wins his way into Jewels

The Robert Wilson trained Eagle Galleon won his second race in a row when he won the Breckon Farms Trot on Saturday. As favourite, the four year old by The Pres, beat Larch by two and a half lengths. Wilson who trains from his Balfour stable is having a great harness racing season with eleven wins on the board; his best since he started training in 2012.  The win places Eagle Galleon eleventh in the McMillan Feeds Four Year Old Ruby. Win number 164 for driver Blair Orange                        - Photo Bruce Stewart. Meanwhile the John and Katrina Price trained Repartee capped off her consistent form by beating her older rivals at Ascot Park. The two year old filly by Well Said is the first foal out of the Christian Cullen mare Surprise Party. Surprise Party is a half sister to six win mare Democrat Party. Returning to scale                                 - Photo Bruce Stewart  Repartee's winning margin today was three quarters of a length from outsider Mandolin. The Prices will have to consider a start in the Ashburton Guardian Two Year Old Diamond on Harness Jewels Day at Ashburton as she sits at number eleven on the leader board.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing    

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Harness Jewels qualifying order finalised

Ruthless Kayla and Paravani qualified for the Harness Jewels at the eleventh hour with wins at Oamaru on Sunday. “The order of qualifiers (based on stake earnings in New Zealand this season for the Jewels has now been finalised and the owners of the top 20 horses in each category have been notified,’’ said Darrin Williams, Racing Manager at Harness Racing New Zealand. Acceptances close on Friday (May 26) at noon with confirmation of the final fields of a maximum of 13 horses for the meeting at Ashburton on Saturday, June 3. One Muscle Hill (2-year-old trotter)and Mr Mojito (4-year-old pacer) are the confirmed Australian invitees and an invitation is still out to Rockstar Angel (4-year-old pacing mare). The 3-year-old trotting filly Ruthless Kayla backed up from finishing third to Enghien and President Roydon in the New Zealand Yearling Sales Final at Addington on Friday, albeit a neck and nine lengths from the winner, who was not at his best on a hard surface. Ruthless Kayla won decisively against three-win horses at Oamaru, her second win. She raced handy and finished a length and a quarter clear of She’s Allthe Craze, who came from four back  on the inner with a neck to Red Hot Poker, whose effort was outstanding after leaving stride at the start and losing some 50m. He is in the 4-year-old section of the Harness Jewels. “She (Ruthless Kayla) just keeps getting better,’’ said Kevin Fairbairn, who trains Ruthless Kayla for Ross Simpson, of Karamea Farm, Leithfield (north Canterbury). Fairbairn bred Ruthless Kayla and sold her for $7000 to Simpson through the 2015 PGG Wrightson premier yearling sale. She is by Muscle Mass from Ruthless Jenny, a Britewell mare who won the listed Greenlane Cup at Alexandra Park in 2005 and finished third in a NZ Trotting Championship. It is the family of Tyrone Scottie, who won the NZ National Trot twice; Clover Don (24 wins) and Clover Mac, winner of the group three Coulter Crown at Melton on Saturday. Fairbairn gave Ruthless Jenny to Simpson in 2014 and the latter has bred a filly by Bacardi Lindy for whom Simpson is the NZ agent for frozen semen. Bacardi Lindy is the sire of Dark Horse, a HJ candidate in the the 4-year-old trotter section. Muscle Mass is the sire of five qualifiers for the 3-year-old trotter section. Fairbairn, who trained Whatsundermykilt (2006 Dominion Handicap), qualified Magical Mel for the 4yr-old pacing section of the Harness Jewels in 2012. Jim Curtin, who won the 4-year-old section of the Harness Jewels in 2012 with Franco Emirate, has  the 2-year-old gelding Paravani, a maiden winner at his third start, Paravani a gelded son of Christian Cullen and Enchanter Franco, was a $10,000 purchase by Curtin in the 2016 premier yearling sale when offered by Paul Renwick. Enchanter Franco is a half sister by Badlands Hanover to Elisit Franco (by Falcon Seelster), the dam of Franco Emirate, who was by Christian Cullen. Franco Emirate won his first eight races. Ewen Pycroft, who is among the eight owners of Paravani, drove trotter Stormy Morn in early wins at Greymouth and Addington in 1979 when a junior driver with the stable of Trevor Thomas. Stormy Morn won 32 races. Malik had his third win from six starts when he overcame the unruly position over 2600m (mobile) in a 13-horse field. The 3-year-old Somebeachsomewhere – Slipinn colt is trained by Paul Court for breeders Graham Court, of West Melton, Les  Purdon, Ann-Maree Lund, her sister Jo Lund and Peter Lucas, all of Auckland. The Lunds took over horses after the death of their father, Bob in 2015. Malik is the fourth foal of Slipinn, the winner of four races. Her first two foals are Raffaello,a winner and Aquickone (five wins). Denham Maguire, the highly regarded 3-year-old in the Nathan Williamson stable, was scratched on Sunday due to a blood disorder. Astral Ruler was a late scratching due to showing signs of a cold. Tayler Strong    

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Mid-winter Christmas parties popular

Alexandra Park’s mid-winter Christmas parties are back and are more popular than ever. The evenings will be held over four consecutive Friday harness racing  nights on 23 and 30 June and 7 and 14 July.  “This year’s mid-winter Christmas parties are selling really well helped by plenty of traditional and online marketing but also last year’s success. What’s more people are now able to organise their tickets through our new website,” says Alexandra Park Sales & Marketing Manager Joel Reichardt. “We’re hearing from groups of friends, colleagues, and families all just looking for a fun night out this winter with great food and first-class entertainment.” Mr Reichardt says overall Alexandra Park’s race night hospitality events are growing in popularity and are proving key to attracting new audiences to the Friday night trots. Alexandra Park has mid-winter Christmas packages starting from just $65 per person, with the parties set to be hosted in the Top of the Park, Tasman, and Rutherford rooms. “The dining packages are exceptional value. As well as our delicious all-you-can-eat carveries and buffets, the racing under lights is always a spectacle. We’ve got some prime inside viewing spots overlooking the track and there’s always plenty of atmosphere.”  Mr Reichardt says the function rooms will be beautifully themed and there’ll be live entertainment afterwards. “We’ll be through the shortest day by then. For others, the reason to celebrate might be the end of the financial year or the start of the new one. Whatever the reason, our June and July parties are increasingly talked about and attended.” For further information or to purchase mid-winter Christmas tickets visit www.alexandrapark.co.nz or telephone race night reservations on (09) 630-5660. Alexandra Park’s internationally-themed cuisine race nights continue with French Night on 26 May and Spanish Tapas Night on 9 June. General admission into Alexandra Park as well as car-parking and race books remain free on Friday night. www.alexandrapark.co.nz Joel Reichardt: (021) 786-034

For a horse who four weeks ago wasn’t a show of making the Harness Jewels, Buster Brady has certainly risen to the occasion. And judging by his effort to win Friday night’s Winter Cup at Addington, the old Buster is firmly back in business and that means he’s not without a forlorn hope in a very good field in the 4YO Emerald in two weeks time. The win also gave further plaudits to the decision of Buster Brady’s trainer Jock Austin to send his star pacer out to the beach and into the care of Regan Todd. “He’ certainly feels like the old version of Buster Brady,” driver Dexter Dunn said after the race. Having his third start since becoming a beach resident, Buster Brady enjoyed a saloon run in the trail throughout the two mile event behind the pace-making Classie Brigade. With that run and a last mile which was recorded in 1:53, Dunn had the pleasure of simply angling Buster Brady into the clear air up the passing lane and surging him to the line to hold off the late challenge of Piccadilly Princess to claim the win. The performance will elevate Buster Brady up the rankings ahead of the Jewels - a race which now becomes a realistic target. “We have to have a look at it now,” Todd said. “But ultimately that will be up to Jock, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t work out that way. “He’s going good and really enjoying the beach.” The second placing of Piccadilly Princess should be enough to see her into Jewels contention, although there are some contenders still to race over the weekend who could usurp her if they are successful. Waikiki Beach, who started off a 30 metre handicap, was brave in his effort for third after sitting parked -a performance which sees him right in contention for Jewels success when he squares off with Heaven Rocks on June 3. Matt Markham  

A very good crowd and a sizeable southern buyer contingent produced a pleasing harness racing Autumn Sale result at Karaka culminating in a turnover of $811,160 at an average of $7,374.  The main show was always  going to be the weanlings and it seemed everyone had come for one or more of the youngsters,  including  quite a few Yearling Sales ‘pin-hookers’. Of the 113 weanlings offered on the day, 103 sold, 40 to the South Island, a clearance of 91%. Top price of $35,000 was paid for the sister to Isaiah, by Art Major from E J Becks and the highest priced colt at $25,000 was the  Sunshine Beach from Presidential Affair, making him a half to Maczaffair (2017 WA Oaks). Woodlands Stud and Alabar who between them offered the majority of the weanlings both reported they were more than pleased with the result. Especially so the interest in their first season progeny by He’s Watching, Sunshine Beach and Sweet Lou. Buyers obviously liked what they saw and responded positively in the ring to the progeny of all three of them. It was very evident from the amount of inspection on the Open Day on  Saturday afternoon  and on Sunday morning that the buyers were  keen to get a close look at as many as they could. Certainly the whole weanling sale concept is very well accepted now and buyers appreciate that both studs do a really conscientious job of rearing the horse’s and are genuine sellers. That positive atmosphere of buyer confidence prevailed throughout the sale. Of the 9 broodmares offered 6 sold including Gentle Audrey in foal to Bettor’s Delight for $13,500 and the empty mare Czanyi, who is a half-sister to De Lovely sold on the day for $10,000. For full results click here. The following lots were unsold at the Auckland Weanling and All Age Sale yesterday. Pedigrees and photos are at www.standardbred.co.nz/Sales/Results/98. Should you wish to purchase any of these lots please phone Peter Lagan on 0274 338 255 or email plagan@pggwrightson.co.nz   Lot Reserve 1 $3,000 5 $2,000 8 $4,000 29 $1,000 39 $15,000 42 $15,000 56 $7,000 58 $2,000 65 $3,000 86 $8,000 105 $4,000 114 $10,000 119 $2,000

Trainer Peter Hunter may be confined to the kitchen for a while, making his favourite bangers and mash, and because of the way his team is going on the race track at the moment he's afraid he may have to stay there. The Ryal Bush harness racing trainer has been sidelined after being concussed in a nasty smash on Diamonds Day at Ascot Park at the end of last month. Since then his wife Jo has been doing most of the hands on work with the team, and in the last two weeks the stable has picked up three wins.   “They told me to take it quietly and said I’d get tired, and I do. The teams going quite good without me so I’d better stay put. I like bangers and mash and can cook spuds," he told me after Bold Ruler won his second race at the Invercargill meeting today (Saturday). It seems that the Changeover gelding, which is owned by Hunter's brother in law Brendon McIntyre and Bill Moffatt has been around forever. Today's was his sixty fifth start. His last win was on this track at this meeting two years ago. Brent Barclay, Bold Ruler, Jo Hunter and Brendon McIntyre       - Photo Bruce Stewart. “He’s a bit different – precious. He had a bit of ability when he was young but wasn’t strong enough to run young. He qualified behind Pulp Fiction. His three year old season was a washout, he just wasn’t strong enough. He’d just gone the odd good race to keep you interested. This year he’s been really good.” Bold Ruler was on warning after refusing to go with the mobile arm at Winton last weekend resulting in driver Brent Barclay pulling him out of that race. “He never races good at Winton. The starting point throws him a bit because it’s near the gate. With those sorts of things he plays on it and he over thinks things. Brent didn’t pull the plugs on him today. He couldn’t believe how different he was (in mood) from last week.” Bold Ruler and Barclay ended up slotting into the one one. He managed to get on to the back of Magnetic Watch inside the last 800 metres. He was carted up by that horse until the field straightened and he came resolutely down the middle of the track to beat pacemaker Wayward Roc by a length. Bold Ruler and Brent Barclay winning at Ascot Park       - Photo Bruce Stewart But not happy with just winning, the horse carried on under a tight hold for another lap before Barclay was able to point him in the direction of the birdcage.  “That’s him showing off.” The Hunters and Bold Ruler's owners have had to be patient with the five year old which has a few tricks.  “He races a bit more kindly. He's not so revy out there and he’s quite nice to train now. He never used to be. Pull down blinds make a difference to him. They just sort of bluff him. I wouldn't play cards with him, he’d be quite good at it I’d imagine.” Hunter also says he's a bit bossy around the stables and needs to be watched. “I’ve got to be careful (with who he’s paddocked with) because he beats them up. He’s by himself at the moment because he beat up the last one.” Bold Ruler was purchased at the 2013 Sale of the Stars for $19,000 when he was offered by Regal Lodge Stud. He's closely related to Bogan Fella. His lifetime earnings are now over $25,000. Later in the programme Rakarover owned by loyal stable client Brendon Fahy cleared maiden ranks when he beat the favourite The Night Hawk by a length. It was the three year old's first start in six weeks. Prior to today's win he'd run second twice and third four times.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Classy pacer Mr Mojito is a definite Harness Jewels runner. The four-year-old returned from a lengthy spell at his first run for new trainer-driver Kerryn Manning when third in the Group 2 4&5YO Championship at Melton last night (Saturday). Owner Merv Butterworth was delighted with the run. "I'm thrilled times three," he said. "It was his run in a long time and to push through at the start when they were really burning and still fight it right out at the finish was terrific. "It was such a solidly run race and, even though he got the inside run, his lack of racing was always going to be the issue. "He hit the front a fair way out and just kept digging in. We were delighted." Butterworth said it was an ideal lead-up to a Jewels raid. "He'll come on a lot for the run and the trip across will tighten him up, too," he said. Mr Mojito boards a plane to Auckland on Thursday, will stable briefly at Tony Herlihy's then fly down to Christchurch to stable back his old "home" the Allstars' barn to prepare for the Jewels. Butterworth knows the enormity of the challenge. "We wouldn't be going if we didn't think he was a winning chance," he said. "Heavens Rock is the one to beat. He's a tremendous talent, but he's still got his quirks and has to do it all right on the day." Mr Mojito is a $4.50 third favourite on the Aussie TAB behind Heavens Rock $1.60 and Our Waikiki Beach $3.50. Butterworth is also looking forward to the 3YO Ruby where his young trotter President Roydon is $7.50 equal second favourite behind Enghein. "His run was terrific last Friday and it's given us hope we can cause the upset at the Jewels," he said   Adam Hamilton

After impressively qualifying earlier this season Dali Bread cleared maiden ranks today (Saturday) in the Anka Pipe Fittings Mobile Pace at Ascot Park. Harness racing trainer Clark Barron said after the win that the gelding has had his share of bad luck.  "Apart from one run in which he hung badly the rest he’s had bad luck. He’s still a work in progress but he’s got ability. He was only broken in twelve months ago so he’s come a long way in a short time and he was gelded late as well. He’s got talent but he’s just weak and immature,” he said.  The three year old gelding by Dali Bread is owned by Aucklander Grant Dowdall. “He’s been sending horses down here for a while. He's had a few slow ones but we won a race last season with Something Special. I’ve never met him but I’ve talked to him on the phone for about four years.” Dali Bread qualified at Ascot Park in March this year winning a 2200 metre mobile heat by ten lengths in 2-45.7 and Barron has rated him from day one.  “He’s a good looking horse and a very good pacer so it’s just a matter of waiting on him to develop.” In an inch perfect drive by Nathan Williamson Dali Bread ended up four back on the inside running line. With 1800 metres to run Williamson was able to get the gelding off the running line and followed the three wide train forward. With 900 metres to run he was sitting parked outside leader Matai Valour. Dali Bread went down to the post to win easily by a length from Matai Valour.  Returning to the birdcage                                  - Photo Bruce Stewart  As a stallion Dali has left twenty one named foals in New Zealand. Eleven have qualified including winners El Barcelona (5), Gotta Go Dali Queen (4), Dali Bread (1), Jeremy Jones (1) and The Dali Express (1). Clark Barron doesn't do too much driving these days, preferring to concentrate on training a large team at his base at Rakauhauka. The stable is going through a rebuilding stage after horses like Rakarolla and I'm Full Of Excuses were sold to Australia.  “We’ve got ten to a dozen being jogged up for next season already.” One horse he's enthused about is Black Ops. He's by McArdle out of the twelve win mare Special Ops. Black Ops, which is a half brother to Bettor Ops, qualified at Gore in February and is raced on lease by The Setarip Syndicate.  “We’ve just had to wait on him but he qualified pretty nicely.” Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Tim Butt has his sights set on Australia's best pacers with My Field Marshall. Butt arrived in Sydney a few weeks back with those ambitious plans, but had to rethink after My Field Marshall's Newcastle Mile flop. But the five-year-old made a lie of that run when he stormed home to beat a hot field in the Group 2 4&5YO Championship at Melton last night (Saturday). "Newcastle left me wondering," Butt said. "He ran such a top race behind Lennytheshark in the Bulli Cup in that quick time and I thought he'd be even better at Newcastle. "As it turns out, I think he didn't back-up after the big run in fast time behind Lenny. "I nearly scratched him from the Bulli Cup because he'd had a virus back home and I wasn't totally happy with him on the day of the Bulli Cup. I ended-up running him and he ran a huge race. "I was so confident going to Newcastle after that because I thought he'd improve again. "Looking back, the big Bulli Cup run when he wasn't quite right must have flattened him." Butt said all the signs were great again heading to the Melton feature, but he wanted to see a big showing. He got that and more. In a frantically run 2240m race where the pace never slackened after a blazing lead time, My Field Marshall sat backed and then sustained a long, strong finishing burst around the field to win impressively. "Ants (driver Anthony Butt) told me we'd need the pace on all the way to get into the back and thankfully we got that," Tim Butt said. "Still he had to go super to win. He really just outstayed them in the end." My Field Marshall beat a super brave NSW raider Mattgregor by 1.9m with Harness Jewels-bound Mr Mojito in third spot in a very slick 1min54.9sec mile rate for 2240m. Mattgregor's run to do so much work at the front of the field, look beaten rounding the last bend, but lift again late was simply amazing. My Field Marshall now returns Sydney for a clash with Lennytheshark in the Golden Mile at Menangle in June 10. The comes the Group 1 Len Smith Mile also at Menangle on June 25.  "If he goes well in both of those we will head up to the big Queensland winter races with him as well," Butt said. Adam Hamilton

Because of the weather Phil Williamson knew it could take a bit longer to get to Ascot Park today(Saturday) and with the first race starting at 11:17am he certainly cut it fine when his float rolled into the float park at about 11.00am. His stable runner in race one, two year old Majestic Connies handled the rush like a pro and with a helping hand from others the horse made it on to the track in time to start and subsequently to win impressively. "He just stood there like a lamb and then went out there and did the job," said part owner Alan Mason who had also travelled down from Oamaru to see the run. He shares in the ownership with Peter Evans of Christchurch, NJ Simpson and the Wagovi Sydicate which is managed by Gordon Stewart of Cromwell. The son of Majestic Son was purchased by Williamson for just $9,000 at the 2016 Sale of the Stars. “Right from day one Phil liked him so he just pushed on. The Yearling Sale race came along and we decided to pay up. He was working with Springbank Lachie and Majestic Man and he was going with them. We were going to go to Ashburton a few weeks ago. I was halfway there in the car and Phil rang and said 'you can turn around and go back again. The horse had got a cold.' So we turned him out for eight days. We carried on and thought we’d try to get some money back (from the purchase price) in the Sales Series and he trotted all the way and got a pretty good third. We then thought we might have a shot at this race down here and if he won we’d go to the Jewels.”  Mason said Williamson rang him last night to tell him the horse was really well and had been bucking and kicking in the paddock but that he wasn't sure whether he would be able to make the trip south. However horse and trainer made it through the hail and snow.   The winning margin was six and a half lengths and Majestic Connies winning time of 2-58.1 was a new track record for two year old trotters for the 2200 metre stand. The old record of 2-59.0 was recorded by Duke Of The Moment in 2011. He was also trained by Williamson. Returning back to the birdcage          - Photo Bruce Stewart. Of the run today Mason said “That was only his second race and first from the stand. He’s a sensible wee fella and he’s got a bit of lick. He’s got a lovely gait so that’s why we’ve kept him going." Mason, who had a royal delivery mail run in Oamaru, has raced horses for over twenty years. He held a training license in the 1985 season. "I used to potter around with horses after work. I had twenty acres, a wee track and a barn."   Winning connections                                  - Photo Bruce Stewart  He raced Adios Bachelor gelding Lochinora which won at it's second start at Methven in April 1985 when trained by Mike DeFilippi. He was then sold to Amercia. He's also raced some handy trotters with the best being Lets Get Serious which won ten races for him before he was sold. The Sundon gelding went on to win a total of forty races and $803,799. He's also had success with Galleons Triumph (5 wins), All Action Man (4 wins) and Nickelson (6 wins). "All the horses I've had with Phil have now won."  Majestic Connies win today now elevates her to tenth position for the Neumann Tyres and Tyre General Two Year Old Ruby on Harness Jewels day in two weeks. The top two slots in this race are also Phil Williamson runners Majestic Man (1) and Springbank Lachie (2).  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Oamaru harness racing fixed odds movers as at 10:45am Race 1 - Jerry Garcia $4.20 - $3.80 is best backed in win betting.   Race 2 - Bettor Chance $3.30 - $2.80 is easily the best backed runner with the largest bet $1,000 at $3.30.   Race 3 - Theboyslightup $4.00 is the best backed runner over Make it rain $4.20.  Largest bet on Theboyslightup $1,000 at $5.50.   Race 4 - Junkyard Mase $9.50 is best backed over Millwood Stefanie $11.50.   Race 5 - Martin McGuiness $8.00 leads early win betting over Game Changer $12.00.   Race 6 -Muscles Galore $3.00 is best backed in win & multi betting.    Race 7 - It's All Over Now $4.20 - $3.20 easily leads win betting over My Cash $12.00.   Race 8 - Troy Castleton $9.20 - $5.50 leads win betting over She's Allthe Craze $6.50.   Race 9 - Havinaravup $6.20 is best backed over Nearis Green $14.00- $11.00.   Race 10 - Alderbeck $3.00 leads multi betting over Sundons Flyer $4.50.   Race 11 - Ace High $3.20 is the only runner wanted in multi betting.     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

She’s Allthe Craze could reward the patience of her connections with a fresh up win at Oamaru on Sunday.   The 4-year-old trotter in race eight is among several prospects at the meeting for Ryal Bush (Southland) trainer – driver Nathan Williamson, who is on the road early on Sunday after racing a team at Invercargill on Saturday.   She’s Allthe Craze had a first up second, a win at Roxburgh and a fourth from five starts as a 3-year-old. She was put aside to develop in March last year.   “She had a long break and was ready to race before Christmas when she had a minor injury. We decided to give her extra time and hopefully that will be repaid,’’ said Williamson.   She’s Allthe Craze won a workout at Wyndham on April 15 against Ambro Ameigo and stablemate Poppy Malda, who has won her two starts since resuming.   Williamson selected the race at Oamaru in preference to one closer to his home base.   “I didn’t want to put her in a race with a lot of better rated horses fresh up,’’ he said. Her assignment is for R52 –59 trotters.   Red Hot Poker and Astral Ruler are among her rivals.   Red Hot Poker who is eleventh in qualifying order for the 4-year-old trotter section of the Harness Jewels, won a maiden trot by five and three quarter lengths at Oamaru in January with Dexter Dunn the driver.   Red Hot Poker has since won at Rangiora and Addington. Dunn is back in sulky. Astral Ruler, striving for a berth in the HJ, won a trial at Oamaru on Wednesday.   The Williamson stable is also represented by Ash (race 1), Takenoprisoners (race 6) and McKenzie Mara (race 7).   Ash is a 3-year-old having his first start. Ash has been twice placed in workouts.Williamson has scratched another 3-year-old Denham Maguire, who has won two workouts at Winton in the past month.    “Denham Maguire is a lovely horse whom I have got a lot of time for. Ash may need race day experience,’’ said Nathan.   McKenzie Mara, who has not raced since January 2, won a workout at Winton on May 12. She will be driven by the stable junior driver Matt Purvis.   Takenoprisoners ran fourth at his last start at Winton on May 13.   “Takenoprisoners was running on well last time and McKenzie Mara has come up well this campaign,” said Nathan.   Nathan is also driving Mighty Flying Deal (race 9) and Jen Jaccka (race 10) for Ryal Bush trainer Brett Gray.   Mighty Flying Deal is opposing Hannity, who  has won two of his four starts. Hannity has not raced since he won at Oamaru in fast time last July but he has won two trials there in the past month, the most recent on Wednesday.   Hopeful Harriet, who finished second to Hannity at Oamaru carried on to win three races. Hannity’s return to racing has been hindered by a virus.   “He (Hannity) was ready to race in November and he got the virus. He has had it three times,” said Colin Harrison, his Levels (South Canterbury) owner-trainer.   Harrison feels Hannity has been “hit hard” under the new rating system.   “He has a 64 rating and Mighty Flying Deal who has won four races is on 63.’’   Matthew Williamson, who drove Hannity in his last win, is staying with Idealistic Lass, who is 16th in qualifying order for the Harness Jewels. Brother Brad will drive Hannity.   Tayler Strong

Greg and Nina Hope wouldn’t have had too many concerns in signing off on Ricky May’s driving fee for his effort behind Enghien in the PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Series Final last night. Because while horses winning is as much about the motor they possess, success should also be attributed to, and if often not, the person sitting behind and guiding them and in May’s case last night, it was great horsemanship. It was as clear as day for all in sundry to see that Enghien wasn’t handling the Addington bends as well as he should, and it was just as clear that it was May’s patient and kind hands that helped nurse him through those rough patches which ultimately won him the race. “I think the track was a bit hard for him” May said after the race. “He just wasn’t that comfortable on them as what he should be, he never trots them that well but he was a little worse than usual tonight.” While many will see it as a major flaw heading into the Harness Jewels in two weeks time, there was very little concern if any from the Hope camp. A few gear changes and the more roomy Ashburton bend should help sort the issues. “I’m not worried,” Greg Hope said. “It’s just minor things that we can sort I think. The main thing is that the motor is there.” While May’s drive drew plenty of plaudits there was also just as many for Mark Purdon for his effort on President Roydon who set the terms from the top and went down fighting. Purdon identified that Enghien wasn’t comfortable around the bends and did everything he could to try and ensure that his rival was hitting the bends at speed by holding the running line. In the end Enghien’s class, once balanced up in the straight, showed through and he won reasonably comfortably with May rather quiet in the sulky up the straight. The two bits of horsemanship drew plenty of praise on social media with former World Champion driver, Mark Jones weighing in on twitter to say that it was “true horsemanship from two of the best.” An hour later it was Brad Williamson who was earning the praise for his handling of the exciting Majestic Man who was simply stunning winning the Sires’ Stakes Final for the baby trotters. Trained by his father, Phil the excitement machine did some work after being balanced along early by Williamson and showed his staying potential with a bold effort to run past BJ Lidenny and the brave More Shades Of Gold who set the speed from the front. “I nearly lost him a few times around the first bend,” Brad said. “But after that he was great, he’s going to be a really good three-year-old but is doing a good job now.” Owned by the well-populated, Griffins Syndicate, most of whom were on hand last night to enjoy the win, Majestic Man gives Brad a great chance to follow in the footsteps of his brothers, Nathan and Matty and become a Jewels winning driver in two weeks time. Matt Markham

Natalie Rasmussen’s reserved, but powerful, raise of the fist at the end of last night’s New Zealand Oaks at Addington was a salute to a filly who she is fast considering to be one of her favourite horses of all time. Naturally, nothing will ever quite measure up to the legendary Black’s A Fake, but if you asked the 16-time New Zealand Group One winning driver who was next, Spanish Armada’s name would be right up there. “I’ve just got so much time for this horse,” Rasmussen said. “She’s everything you could ask for in a horse really, she’s one of my most favourite horses at the moment.” With brimming confidence and a strong knowledge of what was going on around her, Rasmussen was on a one-way mission in the $150,000 Group One last night and was never going to back down from the challenge of starting off the second row and having to work her way into the race. “I just had so much faith in her, and what she is capable of. “Her work during the week was exceptional I thought and she really felt on top of her game so I knew we were good to go heading into the race. “The circumstances worked out alright, but she did have to work quite a few times in the race in tricky conditions. “But her staying ability was always going to be her best asset and it showed with the way she really kept at it the entire way to the line.” Despite the inclement weather, Spanish Armada still managed to stop the clock in a staggering 3:09.1, obliterating the previous best mark for a three-year-old filly in a 2600 metre mobile, which was held by De Lovely from when we won the Oaks in 3:10.9 back in 2010. It was another magical moment for Jean Feiss, who has enjoyed a stellar run over the past few seasons. And that fun hasn’t stopped. The Harness Jewels are the next stop on the path to greatness for Spanish Armada and based on her performances over the past two weeks, she’s going to be the one they all have to beat again over the mile at Ashburton. Bonnie Joan was a gallant second, beaten by a superstar, after doing plenty of work. “She’s gone great, as good as she could have really,” Dexter Dunn said of his drive. Upmost Delight emerged from the pack to run a strong third and earn herself a Jewels berth while Mark Purdon was simply beaming at the effort of Partyon who ran on strongly from well back in the field for fourth. Purdon, less than 45 minutes earlier, had been tasting big race success himself as a driver when he partnered Spankem to win the Sires’ Stakes Final for the two-year-olds. The Jewels leader in the Emerald, Spankem enjoyed a nice trip just off the speed before unleashing to win effortlessly. “He deserved that big one,” Purdon said after the race. “And with that run he was always going to be very hard to beat I thought. “He’s quite an exceptional horse.” Spankem is owned by the same connections who enjoyed the win of The Devil’s Own in last week’s Yearling Sales Series Final, capping a big week for the group who will now look forward to the Jewels with both horses.   Matt Markham  

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Alabar and Nevele R are thrilled to announce that they have joined forces to secure the lifetime rights to the reigning US Horse of the Year, Always B Miki – the fastest horse in the history of harness racing. He will stand at Alabar’s Victorian farm with his fresh semen available throughout Australia and New Zealand. Always B Miki is undoubtedly a modern day cult hero in North America. He won the crowds over with his incredible will to win. The battles in the free-for-all ranks were epic – but Miki proved again and again that he had the heart of a champion. And he put an exclamation mark on his career when he won in 1:46 at The Red Mile on October the 9th 2016 - the fastest mile ever. With Miki being such an imposing equine athlete, the world record is something that many harness racing followers felt was an inevitable achievement for him. At the end of 2016, Miki was rewarded not only with the Pacer of the Year title but also the overall Horse of the Year title.  The voting for which he dominated 102-32 He retired at the end of his all-conquering 2016 season to stand at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania where he commands a fee of US$12,500. He is currently serving a full book of mares which includes the virtual who’s who of North American broodmares.   The Always B Miki phenomenon is best put into perspective by his Hall of Fame trainer, Jimmy Takter. After all, Takter has been six times the US Trainer of the Year - including the last three years straight. He’s trained as many great horses as anyone ever has. Many people would say he’s the greatest trainer in harness racing – and it’s not hard to make that case. When Jimmy Takter talks horses you tend to listen – and Always B Miki is a horse he knows better than anyone else. He knows Miki is not only a champion – but maybe, just maybe he’s the best there’s ever been. The Jimmy Takter quotes on Always B Miki are captivating. After winning the William Haughton Memorial in what was his third straight world record performance, Takter was moved to say “I think this could be the greatest horse that ever lived.” And then, through the tears after Miki’s world record performance at Lexington, Takter stated: “I get very attached to my horses. He’s just a wonderful horse. He’s the greatest horse I’ve ever been around in my life, and I’ve been around the best horses in the world, like Moni Maker and those horses. This horse is my number one horse that I’ve been around … He’s a big horse but you’re not going to see everything inside. He has probably the best lungs ever, the biggest heart ever and the smartest horse ever.” And later: “He’s my all-time favourite. He is the greatest. He has such charisma, it’s unbelievable.” Miki was a talented two-year-old and a tremendous three-year-old finishing an astonishing second in the Meadowlands Pace (where He’s Watching set his world record) after being three wide the entire trip. Tragically, later as a three-year-old and as the Breeders’ Crown favourite, he suffered a serious injury and raced the rest of his career with multiple screws in his hind pasterns - making what he achieved as a four and five-year-old even more incredible. Jimmy Takter said after his world record at Lexington, had it not been for these problems: “He would have smacked at least another second off the record” All told, Miki won 30 races and banked $2,826,176 in a career highlighted by back-to-back Breeders’ Crown victories. You cannot help but be moved by his final surge to win the 2016 Crown after his fierce battle with Wiggle It Jiggleit. He’s the only horse in history to win 4 races in 1:47 or faster. Remarkable, given no other horse has done it more than once. He shares the world record for a five-eighths track and holds the Canadian mile record to sit alongside his fastest-mile-ever title. Miki is by Always A Virgin - a son of the sire of sires Western Ideal and the sire of the winners of over $22 million with 150 in 1:55. He’s out of the Artsplace mare, Artstopper. The US Pacing Broodmare of the Year in 2016, Artstopper is also the dam of the tremendous racemare Yagonnakissmeornot (41 wins, $1,458,850). She ranks a half-sister to Cheyenne Rei ($729,933). Of great significance to the breeders of Australia and New Zealand, Always B Miki has no Cam Fella blood in his pedigree whatsoever so is an ideal option for daughters of Bettor’s Delight. In a wonderful show of respect for our breeding industry, Always B Miki’s stud fee will be A$7,000 (incl GST) in Australia and NZ$7,000 (plus GST) in New Zealand. This is a tremendous opportunity. Just listen to Jimmy Takter. Always B Miki Retirement Ceremony at The Meadowlands Always B Miki - World Record Allerage Farms Championship Series Open Pacers Always B Miki - Breeders Crown Open H&G Pace Always B Miki - World reacord Ben Franklin Elimination
The Robert Wilson trained Eagle Galleon won his second race in a row when he won the Breckon Farms Trot on Saturday. As favourite, the four year old by The Pres, beat Larch by two and a half lengths. Wilson who trains from his Balfour stable is having a great harness racing season with eleven wins on the board; his best since he started training in 2012.  The win places Eagle Galleon eleventh in the McMillan Feeds Four Year Old Ruby. Win number 164 for driver Blair Orange                        - Photo Bruce Stewart. Meanwhile the John and Katrina Price trained Repartee capped off her consistent form by beating her older rivals at Ascot Park. The two year old filly by Well Said is the first foal out of the Christian Cullen mare Surprise Party. Surprise Party is a half sister to six win mare Democrat Party. Returning to scale                                 - Photo Bruce Stewart  Repartee's winning margin today was three quarters of a length from outsider Mandolin. The Prices will have to consider a start in the Ashburton Guardian Two Year Old Diamond on Harness Jewels Day at Ashburton as she sits at number eleven on the leader board.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing    
Ruthless Kayla and Paravani qualified for the Harness Jewels at the eleventh hour with wins at Oamaru on Sunday. “The order of qualifiers (based on stake earnings in New Zealand this season for the Jewels has now been finalised and the owners of the top 20 horses in each category have been notified,’’ said Darrin Williams, Racing Manager at Harness Racing New Zealand. Acceptances close on Friday (May 26) at noon with confirmation of the final fields of a maximum of 13 horses for the meeting at Ashburton on Saturday, June 3. One Muscle Hill (2-year-old trotter)and Mr Mojito (4-year-old pacer) are the confirmed Australian invitees and an invitation is still out to Rockstar Angel (4-year-old pacing mare). The 3-year-old trotting filly Ruthless Kayla backed up from finishing third to Enghien and President Roydon in the New Zealand Yearling Sales Final at Addington on Friday, albeit a neck and nine lengths from the winner, who was not at his best on a hard surface. Ruthless Kayla won decisively against three-win horses at Oamaru, her second win. She raced handy and finished a length and a quarter clear of She’s Allthe Craze, who came from four back  on the inner with a neck to Red Hot Poker, whose effort was outstanding after leaving stride at the start and losing some 50m. He is in the 4-year-old section of the Harness Jewels. “She (Ruthless Kayla) just keeps getting better,’’ said Kevin Fairbairn, who trains Ruthless Kayla for Ross Simpson, of Karamea Farm, Leithfield (north Canterbury). Fairbairn bred Ruthless Kayla and sold her for $7000 to Simpson through the 2015 PGG Wrightson premier yearling sale. She is by Muscle Mass from Ruthless Jenny, a Britewell mare who won the listed Greenlane Cup at Alexandra Park in 2005 and finished third in a NZ Trotting Championship. It is the family of Tyrone Scottie, who won the NZ National Trot twice; Clover Don (24 wins) and Clover Mac, winner of the group three Coulter Crown at Melton on Saturday. Fairbairn gave Ruthless Jenny to Simpson in 2014 and the latter has bred a filly by Bacardi Lindy for whom Simpson is the NZ agent for frozen semen. Bacardi Lindy is the sire of Dark Horse, a HJ candidate in the the 4-year-old trotter section. Muscle Mass is the sire of five qualifiers for the 3-year-old trotter section. Fairbairn, who trained Whatsundermykilt (2006 Dominion Handicap), qualified Magical Mel for the 4yr-old pacing section of the Harness Jewels in 2012. Jim Curtin, who won the 4-year-old section of the Harness Jewels in 2012 with Franco Emirate, has  the 2-year-old gelding Paravani, a maiden winner at his third start, Paravani a gelded son of Christian Cullen and Enchanter Franco, was a $10,000 purchase by Curtin in the 2016 premier yearling sale when offered by Paul Renwick. Enchanter Franco is a half sister by Badlands Hanover to Elisit Franco (by Falcon Seelster), the dam of Franco Emirate, who was by Christian Cullen. Franco Emirate won his first eight races. Ewen Pycroft, who is among the eight owners of Paravani, drove trotter Stormy Morn in early wins at Greymouth and Addington in 1979 when a junior driver with the stable of Trevor Thomas. Stormy Morn won 32 races. Malik had his third win from six starts when he overcame the unruly position over 2600m (mobile) in a 13-horse field. The 3-year-old Somebeachsomewhere – Slipinn colt is trained by Paul Court for breeders Graham Court, of West Melton, Les  Purdon, Ann-Maree Lund, her sister Jo Lund and Peter Lucas, all of Auckland. The Lunds took over horses after the death of their father, Bob in 2015. Malik is the fourth foal of Slipinn, the winner of four races. Her first two foals are Raffaello,a winner and Aquickone (five wins). Denham Maguire, the highly regarded 3-year-old in the Nathan Williamson stable, was scratched on Sunday due to a blood disorder. Astral Ruler was a late scratching due to showing signs of a cold. Tayler Strong    
Alexandra Park’s mid-winter Christmas parties are back and are more popular than ever. The evenings will be held over four consecutive Friday harness racing  nights on 23 and 30 June and 7 and 14 July.  “This year’s mid-winter Christmas parties are selling really well helped by plenty of traditional and online marketing but also last year’s success. What’s more people are now able to organise their tickets through our new website,” says Alexandra Park Sales & Marketing Manager Joel Reichardt. “We’re hearing from groups of friends, colleagues, and families all just looking for a fun night out this winter with great food and first-class entertainment.” Mr Reichardt says overall Alexandra Park’s race night hospitality events are growing in popularity and are proving key to attracting new audiences to the Friday night trots. Alexandra Park has mid-winter Christmas packages starting from just $65 per person, with the parties set to be hosted in the Top of the Park, Tasman, and Rutherford rooms. “The dining packages are exceptional value. As well as our delicious all-you-can-eat carveries and buffets, the racing under lights is always a spectacle. We’ve got some prime inside viewing spots overlooking the track and there’s always plenty of atmosphere.”  Mr Reichardt says the function rooms will be beautifully themed and there’ll be live entertainment afterwards. “We’ll be through the shortest day by then. For others, the reason to celebrate might be the end of the financial year or the start of the new one. Whatever the reason, our June and July parties are increasingly talked about and attended.” For further information or to purchase mid-winter Christmas tickets visit www.alexandrapark.co.nz or telephone race night reservations on (09) 630-5660. Alexandra Park’s internationally-themed cuisine race nights continue with French Night on 26 May and Spanish Tapas Night on 9 June. General admission into Alexandra Park as well as car-parking and race books remain free on Friday night. www.alexandrapark.co.nz Joel Reichardt: (021) 786-034
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