Day At The Track
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Weekly Spotlight on Breeding

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound. WA Oaks winner Benesari Lane, who won the $150,000 WA Oaks, is a WA bred filly with an interesting and successful family background. Bred by Dr Ed Dewar, of Meelon she was got by Mach Three from Terrifying, a WA bred mare by the Western Hanover horse Western Terror. Benesari Lane, who took a record of 1:57.8 in the Oaks, has run up a tidy score of four successes and six placings from 23 starts for $135,749 in stakes. Benesari Lane’s dam, Terrifying (1:55.3), the winner of 19 races and $131,200, was by Western Terror, a Breeders Crown champion from the Medio family, and who proved a successful in North America, NZ and Australia.  Benesari Lane     --Paceway Photos                          Terrifying was out of Whitby’s Rhapsodie (2:04.7), an Astreos mare from a capable racemare in Typhoon Whitby 1:59.7 ($163,751), who won 17 races including the WA Sires 2YO Final and became the dam of winners in Bronzwhaler Whitby (1:55.6, the winner of 19 races and $135,652), Mach Destroyer (2:01, who won three) and Decima’s Whitby and the unraced Island Life, dam of Delightful Mandy (1:56.7) and Ideal Life (1:59.2). Typhoon Whitby was a sister to the WA Pearl placegetter Tempestuous Whitby (1:59.4) and a half-sister to Tempt Me Whitby (2:02) and Pipes Of Whitby (2:00.3), who both bred on with marked successes. Tempt Me Whitby ranks as the dam of the WA Sires Stakes placegetter Go On Tempt Me (2:00.2) and the second dam of the two high class pacers Kimba Bay 1:56.8 ($219,382) and Scot Bay 1:56.5 ($134,886). Pipes Of Whitby left the WA North East Derby winner Time Passenger (1:56.4) and Top Gun Whitby (1:59.5). Tempting Franco, the fourth dam of the WA Oaks winner, was a half-sister to the Miracle Mile winner and Grand Circuit hero Franco Tiger.   Mach Dan wins Mildura Cup The most important race in Victoria’s Sunraysia district, the $60,000 Mildura Pacing Cup, was won by the Mach Three four-year-old gelding Mach Dan, who downed a top field including Silent Major, Like A Wildfire and Malcolm’s Rhythm. Mach Dan, who was bought for $100,000 as a yearling, has now earned $304,072 from 14 wins and six placings in 24 starts. He has won at Group level as a two, three and four-year-old. Mach Dan, who was bred by Shannon and Meaghan Nixon, of Nixon Bloodstock, was sired by Mach Three from the Bettor’s Delight mare Bettor Give It 1:57.4 ($138,061), whose dam, Giveitawhirlgirl, was by Jenna’s Beach Boy from Impish (1:54.9), by Falcon Seelster from the noted producer Smarty Pants (1:58.6), by El Patron from the Lordship mare Smart Doll. Bettor Give It, a dual Listed winner, ranks as a half-sister to the NZ Great Northern Oaks winner Twist And Twirl 1:56 ($283,258), dam of the dual Miracle Mile winner and 2020 Horse of the Year King Of Swing 1:48 ($2.2 million) and to the thrice Group 1 winner Bettor Twist 1:52.1 ($284,300), winner of the GN Oaks recently. Mach Three, the sire of Mach Dan, sired the 2019 Mildura Cup winner San Carlo.    Aladdin is Derby material Aladdin, who won the Mildura Guineas in runaway fashion and is regarded as Derby material of the highest order, is a three-year-old gelding by Sweet Lou from Pacing Delight, an unraced mare who is proving a successful broodmare. Aladdin      --HRV Photo A $140,000 purchase at the NZ Yearling Sale at Auckland in 2019, Aladdin has earned $163,769 from four wins and seven placings in 18 starts. He is a member of an old time NZ family, which was represented by the recent Tamworth Gold Nugget winner Marty Major and the SA Fred Jones Trotters Cup winner Milly’s Magic. Marty Major won again at Menangle in 1:51.6.  Pacing Delight was a Bettor’s Delight mare from Pacing Grace (1:57.7), by In The Pocket from the noted producer Jessie Grace, by Vance Hanover. Pacing Grace was the dam of a top NZ juvenile in Pacing Major 1:52 ($636,036), a cup class pacer in All U Need Is Faith 1:49.8 ($386,877) and Our Amazing Art 1:57.4 ($165,363) and to Grace Way (1:56.8) and the unraced Maddison’s Delight, who both bred on with distinction. Maddison’s Delight (by Bettor’s Delight) left the NZ Sires Stakes 2YO Final winner American Dealer 1:53.3 ($200,978) and the star WA filly Sweet Maddison (1:57), while Grace Way became the dam of the VHRSC 3YO Cup winner Three Ways 1:54.1 ($243,434), the Redcliffe Derby winner Make Way 1:51.7 ($150,495) and Forgotten Highway 1:55.6 ($150,540). Aladdin ranks as a brother to the Group 2 winner Virgil 1:52.3 ($137,405) and a half-brother to the Menangle victor Mason’s Delight (1:51.9).   Ignatius in 1:50.9 Ignatius gave a further taste of his class when he easily won the Group 3 Free-for-all, the main event at Menangle last Saturday. He was not in danger of defeat over the last half mile, running out the mile in a brisk 1:50.9. By Roll With Joe, and one of the second crop of the Cam’s Card Shark horse, he is out of Ashkalini 2:00.2 ($124,338), winner of the Tasmanian Sires Stakes as a two and four-year-old. Ashkalini was by Art Major from Gorse Bush (10 wins), by Ticket To Heaven from the Holly Sand mare Barrington Lass, who founded a good winning batch of the Black Annie family. Ashkalini, who produced earlier winners in Goggo Gee Gee 1:58.2 ($137,010) and Harshali, ranked as a half-sister to the Miracle Mile winner and dual Inter Dominion champion Beautide. Ignatius was bred by the Rattray family in northern Tasmania.   Siring feat to Bettor’s Delight Rather a notable siring feat was credited to the Cam’s Card Shark horse Bettor’s Delight at Addington recently, when he had five runners in the 14-horse field in the NZ Pacing Derby. Three of his stock, Krug, a good type of colt, The Falcon and Shan Noble finished first, third and fourth respectively, while his other runners were Yorokobi (9th) and Pace N Pride (13th). Krug became the seventh NZ Derby winner sired by Bettor’s Delight, whose earlier winners included Ultimate Sniper (2019), Sherrif (2018), Lazarus (2016), Have Faith In Me (2015), Border Control (2013) and Gold Ace (2011).   Petillante is promising Petillante, a most impressive winner on debut at the recent Melton midweek meeting, is a two-year-old filly who can claim some worthwhile blood. Petillante winning at Melton – Stuart McCormick Photo Petillante was an Australian Pacing Gold purchase in 2020 in Melbourne, and is a filly by the Mach Three horse Somebeachsomewhere from Art De Triomphe (1:58.8), who ranks as a sister to a champion juvenile in Follow The Stars 1:53.8 ($707,237), now a successful sire in WA, and a half-sister to the APG runner-up Stefsbest 1:54.7 ($148,527). Their dam, Smyrna Duruisseau (1:56), an American-bred mare, won two races but left five winners. She was by Cam’s Card Shark from Secret Date, by Abercrombie from the Race Time mare Dateable, who has founded an outstanding family of winners. They include the Metro Pace winner Historic, a top racemare in Seven O Clock, Dontgetinmyway (Woodrow Wilson) and the Breeders Crown champion Digger Almahurst.   A star from Beaudiene Bad Babe A star four-year-old in NSW so far this year is Bad To The Bone, who was bred in NZ’s Southland by Todd and Fleur Anderson and is trained by Paul Fitzpatrick. A gelding by Bettor’s Delight, he is out of a top flight racemare in Beaudiene Bad Babe 1:55.7 ($404,898) and the first of her progeny to race. A younger sister to Bad To The Bone in Five Bangles won at her second start at Pinjarra earlier this month. Bad To The Bone won the Waikato Guineas at three and a Group 3 race at Menangle and looks a four-year-old with the potential one would expect of his breeding.   Mirragon on top A bright future is being predicted for the Art Major four-year-old Mirragon, whose success at Gloucester Park last Friday was his fourth winning run from nine starts since being shipped to WA. Mirragon winning Gloucester Park – Paceway Photos The entire has a good deal in his favour on the score of blood. Apart from being by Art Major, a leading sire in Australia for many years, Mirragon is out of the Mach Three mare The Waratah (1:57.9), a half-sister to a champion racemare in Lady Waratah, being out of Waratah Way, by Tompkins Hanover from the Select Yankee mare Yankee Leanne, and tracing back to Miss Tommy, whose family today is one of the best in the Australian stud book. It includes the million dollar winners Lennytheshark and Frith, the Derby winners Greg Kelly and Albert Kelly and others in McRae’s Mate, Miss Paula, Von Trap, Midnight Dylan, Sandy Bay, Blacksweet Adda and Intoxicated. Mirragon was bred in Victoria by former leading studmaster Ross Gange.   First winner by Guaranteed The Artsplace horse Guaranteed, a dual Vicbred champion and now at Goodtime Lodge stud in Victoria, was represented by his first winner when the two-year-old Pas Guarantee was successful on debut at Shepparton. Bred and raced by Sue-Ellen Thompson, who also owned Guaranteed, Pas Guarantee is out of the Live Or Die mare Dieing Secret, whose dam, Secret Bonus was by Barnett Hanover from the What’s Next mare What Bonus, who left several useful winners including the Moonee Valley winner Golden Czar, who later competed successfully in America. Dieing Secret, the dam of Pas Guarantee, won nine races and $68,688 in stakes and took a record of 1:57.1 and at the stud, left the Tasmanian Matron winner Gone And Forgotten.   Victorian trotter has strong bloodlines Peregrine Phoenix, a double winner at Melton this year, who had been placed in Group 1 company as a three-year-old, is rated one of the most capable young trotters racing in Victoria at present. Peregrine Phoenix winning at Melton – Stuart McCormick Photo Peregrine Phoenix has a wealth of blood to back up her claims to further promotion, being by the great American sire Muscle Hill from Maple Eve Phoenix, by Malabar Maple from Dodo Rocket, by Wagon Apollo. Her dam, Maple Eve Phoenix, who was unraced, left an outstanding juvenile trotter in Eljaykay Phoenix 1:58.6 ($256,877), who won eight races as a two-year-old including the Breeders Crown, Vicbred Final and The Redwood. Maple Eve Phoenix was a half-sister to the Vicbred 2YO champion Princess Phoenix 1:55.5 ($167,515), Veruckte Phoenix (1:59.1) and Hadrian’s Phoenix (2:00) and to Fortunate Phoenix, the unraced dam of last year’s Breeders Crown and Vicbred placegetter Ofortuna. Other trotters further back in this pedigree have been the cups winner Joseph Boppard, Justa Phoenix (Vic. Princess of Speed), Supreme Gent, Go Ahead Makemyday and Aldebaran Eastwood.   by Peter Wharton

Winterfell,Harness racing

Winterfell has run his last race

Reigning trotter of the year Winterfell has run his last race, and will spend his retirement as a trekking horse. The four-time Group One winner finishes his harness racing career with 13 wins from 36 starts and earnings of $429,917. Owner breeder Trevor Casey made the decision after the Majestic Son gelding struggled to get back to his best, with seven unplaced runs this season. “It was looking promising, but he had issues so we decided to do the best thing by the horse and retire him.” Casey rated Winterfell in the “top three or four horses he’s been associated with.” “He wasn’t as good as Lazarus but he’s up there with Escapee and Pocaro.” Escapee (Sundon – Una Bromac) won 11 from 39 and was Winterfell’s half-sister while Pocaro (Sundon – Niamey) won 13 from 42, including the 3YO Ruby at the 2009 Harness Jewels. As for racetrack performances, Casey says two spring to mind immediately with Winterfell. “The Inter-dominion Final and that race at Auckland (National Trot) when he beat Oscar and Majestic Man.” Always more suited to racing right-handed, the 2019 Inter-Dominions at Alexandra Park saw Winterfell at the peak of his powers. He won two heats and then took out the final by half a neck as a $1.80 favourite for trainer-driver Mark Purdon. A fortnight later In the Group One Sims Pacific Metals National Trot on New Year’s Eve, this time with Natalie Rasmussen driving, he outfinished Majestic Man and Oscar Bonavena, trotting his last half in 55.6 and the last 400 in 27.4. “He was a very good horse but very headstrong, and sometimes he could become very keen.” After his dominant form in the north Winterfell was duly named Trotter of the Year at the last Harness Racing New Zealand awards in September last year. Winterfell was trained for all his early career by the All Stars stable (Purdon and Rasmussen) but then had stints with Regan Todd on the beach at Woodend and then Joshua Dickie at Cleveland as they tried to get him back to his best. At home Winterfell, who was named after the so-called “Capital of the North” in hit TV series Game of Thrones, was known as “Dale” (as in the cartoon character in the TV ad for Chesdale Cheese). “It was because he was in the paddock with Cheezel, who was by Betterthancheddar and I thought Cheez and Dale, ” says Casey. Now as a six-year-old Winterfell has already been re-homed as a trekking horse in Auckland, with Casey saying the horse will be special to him and those who got to know him. “He was a character and everyone loved him.”   HRNZ

Tony Herlihy,Harness racing

Good book of drives for Herlihy

Tony Herlihy can’t win the race named in his honour at Alexandra Park on Friday night but he can win a few others. The champion horseman will have his feat of training 1000 domestic winners recognised in the $17,500 sixth event tonight, the Congratulations Tony Herlihy 1000 Training Wins Mobile. Ironically, Herlihy has neither a stable rep or even a drive in the race but not for any official reason. “I didn’t even know it was going ahead until Karen (Blanchard, ATC racing manager) told me on Tuesday,” says Herlihy. “It is a nice thing for the club to do and I have had a lot of great feedback from people since the milestone.” That was when Lord Verde won at Alexandra Park on March 26, making Herlihy the ninth member of the 1000-winners trained domestically club. While he can’t win his race, Herlihy has one of the favourites in Mr Kaplan in the second northern heat of the two-year-old fillies Sires’ Stakes, which will be a clear highlight of tonight’s meeting. While Mr Kaplan was dominant winning the Delightful Lady at Alexandra Park on March 5 she was beaten by the Purdon/Phelan pair of Montana Glory and Montana Miki in the first northern heat of this series, won stunningly by Montana Glory. Tonight’s field is even stronger with talented southerners Play Philly, Suntan and Cover Girl, who was excellent at the trials last weekend, joining the fray and another Purdon/Phelan starter in Artisan also having a touch of class. “It is a really good field for fillies at this stage of the season but my filly is very tough so she will be hard to beat,” says Herlihy. On a night where he has few drives Herlihy rates stable rep Forget The Price Tag an each way chance in the main trot. “As a younger horse we thought he would go right to the top but he broke a pedal bone and was off the scene for a year and he really didn’t come back last campaign. “But he has been good so far this time and this looks a nice race for him.” Perhaps Herlihy’s best chance comes early in race two with I See Fire if he can behave himself from barrier one. The talented three-year-old trotter beat the older horses at Cambridge last start and after some recent work on his back trotted well at the workouts last week. “He seems really well and provided he behaves himself he has to be hard to beat.” Meanwhile, Herlihy says stable star Bolt For Brilliance will race in the Anzac Cup next Friday even after disappointing slightly when only third in the NZ Trotting Free-For-All last Friday. “He wasn’t quite as sharp as the start before but hopefully the trip has bought him on more.”   by Michael Guerin

Bob Butt, Harness racing

Manners the key for Butt pair

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk Woodend Beach trainer Bob Butt will take two trotters to Addington Raceway on Friday night and he believes if they bring their manners they are both winning chances. Six-year-old mare Gold Chain recovered well after breaking in her 2600m contest at the Christchurch track last week to finish fourth, and Butt put her early indiscretion down to gear. “I was rapt with her run last start,” he said. “It was a really good field and I was hoping she would go a good race against them. She had that little mistake early, but it was a bit of gear that caused that. “I had a crupper on her that I usually race her in, but she hadn’t had it on for a while and she didn’t like it much.” Gold Chain had won two of her previous three starts, placing in the other, and Butt is hoping she can return to her winning ways in the McMillan Equine Feeds Mobile Trot (1980m) on Friday. “She is quite a nice mare, she has been going good times,” he said. “You always need a bit of luck and I think she is the best horse in it, but it makes it a bit harder over 1980m off the unruly. If she can get a good run they will know she is there.” Butt will also line-up KD Hawk in the HRS Construction Mobile Trot (1980m). The five-year-old son of Andover Hall had strung together a win and two placings before breaking at Addington last week, costing him all chance in his race. Butt will have his fingers crossed that KD Hawk brings his manners on Friday night, and if he does Butt believes he will figure in the finish. “He didn’t trot as well last start,” Butt said. “He just needs to be in the right headspace. “Hopefully he can bring it on Friday night and he will be a chance in that field. He just needs to bring his manners.” Meanwhile, Butt is looking forward to next season with Group One-winning trotter Heavyweight Hero after his autumn campaign was curtailed through illness. “He had a virus so I had to tip him out for the season,” Butt said. “It was a bit close to all of those big races coming up, where you have got to be 110 percent. “We will aim him at the spring again. “He went great through the whole spring last year, he never went a bad race. He is a lovely horse, he tries his guts out and he has got good manners as well.” View the Addington fields click here!

Scott Phelan knows Major Perry’s win at Cambridge on Thursday night means more than just a spot in next month’s Sires’ Stakes Final. He knows he means the plan of training partner Barry Purdon is working. Phelan drove the speedy son of Art Major and Katy Perry to the juvenile’s first career victory in the Sires’ Stakes heat and he looked the winner a long way from home. Major Perry, who had been luckless so far in his career, dived straight on to the back of stablemate Montana D J at the 1700m start and was in the box seat when Classy Operator keep the pressure on the leader throughout. That saw Classy Operator first beaten from parked and Montana D J in trouble at the top of the straight as Major Perry went straight past him up the passing lane before holding out the very strong late charge of debutante Strength And Honour. The runner-up was every bit as good as the winner and the upside down nature of the race, with a 1:55.6 mile rate for 1700m even though the last 800m was in a pedestrian 59.8 seconds, also means Montana D J lost few fans. But while the margin was only a neck Phelan says that is more from Major Perry shutting off when he hit the lead rather than him getting tired. “He is very fast and just got there too soon and shut off but the second horse must have gone well too,” said Phelan. “But this horse is still learning. Once I got that trip behind that sort of speed he was always going to be hard to beat. “He is the speedster of the two whereas Montana D J is probably the better stayer.” With both horses safely into the Sires’ Stakes Final now they have their goals set for next month while the Purdon/Phelan stable also has three high class juveniles fillies in the Sires’ Stakes Fillies heat at Alexandra Park on Friday night. “It is great to have so many young horses in the team,” says Phelan. “Obviously it is not an easy thing to achieve and Barry has done such a great job getting most of them from the sales and that is what owners usually want, horses who can race for that big money at two.” The stable clearly has plenty of those in their around 30 horses in work, with three of those talented young juveniles owned by Queensland-based Dean Shannon. “Dean is a great owner, you never ever hear him complain and he has got some lovely horses.” The best of them, Belle Of Montana, is due back into work on June 1 after a long spell with indication she is healthy and happy and ready to start a new campaign.   by Michael Guerin

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Addington tonight with a ten race program starting at 5:15pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good night of racing. Addington  selections 16th April 2021 Best Bet:  R2 Stac  Best Value:  R9  Oliver North   Race 1 Rick Reilly (7) Sonic Reign (8) Ruby's A Delight (3) Conquer Me (2)   Race 2 Stac  (3) Owhatanight (13) Ashes Of Desire (4) Adhara (2)   Race 3 Sods Law (54 KD Hawk (11) Some Time (6) Salvo (9)   Race 4 Invisible Girl (1) Majorca (6) Tiger Lou (7) Mighty Reactor (4)   Race 5 Teds Legacy (13) Twilight Bromac (1) Mossdale Mac (5) Kennedy (8)   Race 6 Highgrove (7) Ellaria Sand (5) Wy Fi (2) Kowhai Sunset (3)    Race 7 Queenofdance (1) Radioactive Jaffa (5) Ashes To Ashes (2) Deus Ex (9)   Race 8 Overzealous (7) Luminosity (2) Gold Chain (10) Sioux Princess (9)   Race 9 Oliver North (7) Sweet Loress (5) Miss Mucho (6) Storm (14)   Race 10 Reflectionsofmylife (2) The Conqueror (9) Jeremy Wells (4) Le Pole Dancer (6)   Harnesslink Media

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Alexandra Park tonight with an eight race program starting at 6:06pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good night of racing. Alexandra Park selections 16th April 2021 Best Bet:  R7 Queen Of Strathfield Best Value:  R3 Cashlodo Flybye   Race 1 Frankie Jones (7) Maurice (10) Prodigal Pete (9) Kayla Maguire (3)   Race 2 Saint Michel (3) I See Fire (1) Gaz Man (10) Liaison (4)   Race 3 Cashlodo Flybye (4) Commander Cathy (3) Cloudy Bay (1) We Have A Mach Two (8)   Race 4 Cover Girl (6) Suntan (1) Montana Glory (8) Play Philly (4)   Race 5 Rain Mist And Muscle (5) Forget The Price Tag (8) Kay Cee (7) Call Me Trouble (6)   Race 6 Alta Wiseguy (4) Tartan Robyn (10) Cya Art (2) Mimi E Coco (5)   Race 7 Queen Of Strathfield (5) Cyclone Lebron (3) Sky High Flyer (8) Constellation (2)   Race 8 Art Nouveau (2) Hesashorething (1) Four Kisses (4) Louie The Punter (7)   Harnesslink Media

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk   Mike Brown knew the time was right - the time for his grand old campaigner Johnny Eyre to say goodbye to the racetrack. “The horse is well,” says Brown, “but I just didn’t want him to go off the boil and drop out of races. It’s just the right thing to retire him. ” “Johnny” after all is now 10 – and his finale, a sixth at Methven last Sunday, was his 166th start. He finishes with 13 wins and 30 placings, with earnings of $146,351. To illustrate just how long he’s been around he made his debut in the 2013 Sapling Stakes as a two-year-old.   “There are so many highlights,” he says, including three Country Cup victories. The North Canterbury-based Brown bred and raced the son of Christian Cullen out of Wai Eyre Lady.  He’d earlier won two races with Wai Eyre Lady in 1999 and 2000 before she became a broodmare and produced good racehorses like Eyre County (6 wins) and  Drover’s Eyre (9 wins). But Johnny Eyre was the most successful progeny. Of his 166 starts, 123 of them were on grass, for 12 wins and 23 placings. His sole victory on the grit was at Addington in September 2016. “He was always a pleasure to do anything with,” says Brown. Fittingly it was Methven where Johnny Eyre had his swansong. He is the most “winningest” horse ever at Mt Harding.  He’s believed to be the only horse to have had four wins there.  His fourth win there in February this year was also the last of his career. He also won four races at Reefton – and raced there 16 times. And his record in the Reefton Cup is remarkable. In 2016 he won the Cup for the first time, only to deadheat with Baileys Knight the very next year. There were also three second placings, to Seel The Deal (2015),  Franco Hampton (2018) and Just Holla (2019) before a ninth in 2020. In 2017 Johnny Eyre had his most successful year, earning $38,030. The West Coast circuit was very much Johnny’s go – he trekked across the Southern Alps every year since he was a three-year-old Over the years Johnny had at least 20 different drivers, with Sam Ottley winning five races with him, more than anyone else.   Brown says Johnny Eyre finishes his career in good health – “his legs are perfect” - and that right now he deserves to enjoy the good life on the farm.

Veteran pacer Alexy wrote a record into the final chapter in the history of Forbury Park with his fast finishing win at the track yesterday. The Waikouaiti trained 11-year-old became the most experienced winner at the Dunedin course and any other track across New Zealand when he clinched victory in race 5 with a late dive. Already New Zealand’s most experienced harness horse, Alexy extended his own record as the country’s most experienced winner when scoring in his 318th start. The evergreen pacer previously clinched the record by winning in his 281st start in August of last year. Six of Alexy’s 10 seasons of racing and nine of his eleven wins have come from trainer Denis O’Connell’s Waikouaiti stable. After those years together and their treks up and down the South Island to race meetings, the thrill of winning has not faded. If anything, it has gotten stronger. “That was a great effort, he really finished it off strong, I was so thrilled,” O’Connell said. “In fact, it brought a tear to my eye, to be honest.” Alexy did not come into yesterday’s 2200m event in the form of his life, having run eighth and 10th in his two prior starts. His win was a case of the veteran bringing the kind of form he had shown in his recent trackwork at Waikouaiti Beach to the races. “He has been working a treat, but he hasn’t been racing as well as I have been expecting to recently,” O’Connell said. “I have been expecting better and he showed his old class on his favourite track.” “I was very proud of the old boy.” With Alexy thriving in his work at home, his owners, O’Connell and his brothers Daniel, Gerald, Eugene and his wife Pru, as well as well as the trainer’s sister, Joan Braam, are not likely to retire him any time soon. The pacer’s career has outlived those of many of his rivals over his ten seasons on the track and it is set to outlive the Forbury Park track, which is slated for closure at the end of the current racing season. While the horse is happy in his work, O’Connell will continue to campaign the pacer across the South Island. “If he carries on working the way he is we will keep on trucking with him.” “When he starts telling us he has had enough it will be the end of the road for him racing.” Alexy was patiently handled by driver Nathan Williamson, who sat him off a hotly contested speed before perfectly timing his late-closing finish. The pacer is scheduled to race at Winton on Saturday, but that will depend on how many rating points he collects for yesterday’s win. View the Forbury Park results click here!   By Jonny Turner

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    He has already won one Group One race in his short career and now smart juvenile Montana DJ is marching on to try and add a few more to his burgeoning record in the coming months. The Gr.1 Garrards NZ Sires’ Stakes 2YO Final and Gr.1 Harness Jewels 2YO Emerald are firmly on the radar and he will continue his preparation towards those targets in the Garrard’s Sires’ Stakes (Heat 2) Mobile Pace (1700m) at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday. The son of Captaintreacherous won his 1609m trial at Pukekohe a fortnight ago following a freshen-up after his win in the Gr.1 Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes (1700m) at Alexandra Park last month. Trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan are pleased with the way he has returned and said they elected to bypass the Gr.2 Welcome Stakes at Addington last week in favour of the Sires’ Stakes heat. “He’s come through that race well and had a good trial about 10 days ago and he is forward enough,” Phelan said. “There wasn’t really much for them in the way of two-year-old races. There was the Welcome Stakes which wasn’t good timing for them having to travel down there and then travel back home, or stay down there for six weeks.” Montana DJ will continue his rivalry with the Graeme Rogerson-trained Classy Operator on Thursday, who he has beaten in his last two outings. “He is a nice enough horse, that one of Rogerson’s, but we have got a good draw (1) so we will see what happens,” Phelan said. Phelan will be in the bike himself behind stablemate Major Perry, who has followed a near identical preparation to Montana DJ. While he has lived in the shadow of his more fancied stablemate, Phelan said he expects his charge to perform well after drawing barrier two. “He has finally got a good draw, so he will settle pretty handy and will go a good race,” he said. As well as the Sires’ Stakes Final and Harness Jewels, the Listed Harness Million is also in the sights for both runners at Addington next month. “They will head down for the Sires and Harness Millions and then head to the Jewels,” Phelan said. “We will just try and find a suitable race in a fortnight or just give them a trial before they head to Christchurch.” The Clevedon stable will also contest the Dunstan Horse Feeds Mobile Pace (2700m) on Thursday with Montana Storm and Montana Jet. Montana Storm recorded their maiden victory at Cambridge Raceway last week, while Montana Jet extinguished his chances in his 2200m contest when breaking down the back straight. “Montana Storm got a deserved win,” Phelan said. “He has gone some good races at Auckland and the drop back to Cambridge he got his win, which was good. “Montana Jet got a couple of things wrong, but he is a nice enough horse. He is probably the better of the two chances.” View the Cambridge fields click here!

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Cambridge tonight with a ten race program starting at 5:24pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good afternoon of racing. Cambridge  selections 15th April 2021 Best Bet:  R1 Oroua Best Value:  R4 Kelvinz Luck   Race 1 Oroua (6) Tuxedo Bromac (7) Barbarossa (9) Harvey Specter (5)   Race 2 Ya Know (8) Random Jude (7) Thank You (13) My Royal Roxy (12)   Race 3 Bankers Gold (2) Mahia (5) Sarandon (7) The Blue Beat (4)   Race 4 Kelvinz Luck (2) Fira (4) Phoebe Imperial (5) The Hulk (7)   Race 5 Spirit Of Anzac (8) Pull The Other Leg (9) Eagle Watch (6) Bodrum Boy (1)   Race 6 Classy Operator (4) Montana D J (1) Cya Doit (5) Strength And Honour (3)    Race 7 Montana Storm (2) Ticking Over (1) Allamericanlover (8) Montana Jet (3)   Race 8 Pocket Book (2) It's A Laugh (1) Silver Lady (3) Carse O Fern Tom (6)   Race 9 Hooray Henry (8) Big Skewy (3) Je T'Aime (2) Nyla (6)   Race 10 The Big Bird  (7) Griffins Hall  (8) Mackali  (2) Safrakova  (1)   Harnesslink Media

Down Under trainer, driver and horses have fantastic harness racing day of winning. Kelvin Harrison and Andrew McCarthy who are both ex-pat down under horse trainer and driver respectively had a big day at the office on Friday at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Trainer Kelvin Harrison won four races and driver Andrew McCarthy won five races. It was a large day for the pair and to top it off all four of Harrisons winners were with down under racehorses all driven by McCarthy. Starting of the successful day came Big On Personality N who lead throughout and hung on to win in 1:51.4 for American Owner and big time supporter of down under horses Richard Poillucci. Next was well bred mare Bettor Trix N who found her way back into the winners circle in North America after a successful Canadian racing campaign. She got up to win in 1:52.1. Big On Personality N winning at Harrah’s Philadelphia Persimmon A then backed straight up in the following race and smashed fellow race competitors to clock 1:51.4. Finally making it three races in a row Claytons Bettor N made a mess of rivals when leading up in the running and shooting clear to cruise past the wire in 1:52.4. Bettor Trix N, Persimmon A and Claytons Bettor N are all owned by Curtin ANZ Stables who also has a large down under connection. Overall it was an outstanding effort by all down under horse people and races horses involved.   Monday 5th April Miami Valley Raceway OH Ideal Legacy A – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $4,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Leonidas A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $40,000   Tuesday 6th April Yonkers Raceway NY Galante A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $15,000 Speed Man N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $15,000   Wednesday 7th April Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Jenora A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $5,600 Real Lucky N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $6,800 Trojan Banner N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $6,800 American Boy N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $8,800   Saratoga Harness NY Rckaroundtheclock N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $5,100 Gina Grace N – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $4,825 Misty Memory N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $7,200 Pasultimatedelite N – Time: 1:57.1, Stake: $3,600   Thursday 8th April Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Thebuckeyebullet N – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $8,500 Imshortandsweet N – Time: 1:53.3 Stake: $9,000   The Meadows PA Dream Out Loud N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $7,200   Yonkers Raceway NY Motu Moonbeam N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $12,000   Friday 9th April Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Bigonpersonality N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $6,800 Bettor Trix N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $8,800 Persimmon N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $6,800 Claytons Bettor N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $5,600 Steel The Deal N – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $10,000   Meadowlands NJ Bettor Not Bitter A – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $11,250   The Meadows PA Dream Out Loud N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $7,200   Yonkers Raceway NY Im Benicio A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $12,000 Wardan Express A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $10,500   Saturday 10th April Freehold Raceway NJ Solid Asa Rock A – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $6,300 Sporty Spook A – Time: 1:57.0, Stake: $4,200   Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Callmequeenbee N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $8,500   Meadowlands NJ Ana Afreet N – Time: 1:49.4, Stake: $30,000 Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Colossal Stride A, 3rd Vettel N   Miami Valley Raceway OH Lucifers Legend A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $6,500   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA   Blow A Cloud N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $8,800   Sunday 11th April Bangor Raceway ME Media Queen N – Time: 1:58.1, Stake: $3,300   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Robbie Burns N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $10,000 Tango Dancer N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $10,00   Northfield Park OH Rub Of The Green N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $10,500 He Can Fly N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $7,200   Click here for previous weeks articles   by Carter Dalgety

Following a Judicial Control Authority hearing last month harness racing trainer Mitchell Kerr has been banned from ever training horses again. The JCA has handed down the life ban effective immediately, after Kerr was found guilty of four charges. NON RACEDAY INQUIRY RIU V M P KERR - REASONS AND PENALTY DECISION DATED 13 APRIL 2021 - CHAIR, HON J W GENDALL QC Created on 14 April 2021   BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY Information Numbers: A11694, A11696, A11698, A11699 In the matter of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing BETWEEN RACING INTEGRITY UNIT S A Irving, Investigator Informant AND MITCHELL PAUL KERR Licensed Trainer and Open Driver Respondent Inquiry held at Addington Raceway, Christchurch on 25 March 2021 REASONS, and PENALTY DECISION DELIVERED 13 APRIL 2021 Judicial Committee: Hon J W Gendall QC - Chair Ms F Guy Kidd QC - Member Present: Mr D Jackson – Counsel for Informant Mr S Irving – Informant (RIU) Mr D Bates – Witness for the Informant Ms K Williams – Registrar On 25 March 2021 there were other persons present including Harness Racing and press representatives. 1. The Informant RIU charged Mr Kerr with 4 Serious Racing Offences as provided in Rule 1001, alleging that he on each of the occasions, or during the periods defined, committed dishonest or fraudulent acts connected with harness racing. 2. The Informations allege that he offended, by acting in breach of New Zealand Harness Racing Rule 1001(1)(p) and subject to penalties pursuant to Rule 1001 (2) in the following ways: CHARGE 1: Information A11694 “Between September 2019 and November 2020, fraudulently sold a horse and charged training fees and expenses to the owners of the said horse that did not exist, for the purpose of his own financial gain…” [Although perhaps inelegantly worded, the charge was understood to mean, in its first line that he purported to sell a horse that did not exist, and later charged training and other fees to the owners when such did not arise for the non-existent horse] CHARGE 2: Information number A 11696 “Between 2017 and 2020 dishonestly syndicated ownership in horses “A Taste of Honey” and “Come Together” for the purpose of his own financial gain…” CHARGE 3: Information Number 11698 “Between 2019 and 2020 fraudulently over syndicated ownership of the horse “California Dreaming” for the purposes of his own financial gain…” CHARGE 4: Information Number 11699 “Between 2018 and 2020 dishonestly charged owners for insurance premiums on horses when no policies were purchased, for the purpose of his own financial gain…” 3. Rule 1001 (1) in its relevant provision, states: “Every person commits a serious racing offence …who…. (p) commits any dishonest or fraudulent act connected with harness racing”. 4. The penalty provisions for a Serious Racing offence are contained in Rule 1001(2), an offender being liable to (a) a fine not exceeding $30,000 and/or (b) Suspension from holding or obtaining a licence for any specific period or for life, and /or (c) Disqualification for a specific period, or for life. 5. We record some of the background process leading up to the hearing as follows: • After complaints had been made, and Mr Kerr had surrendered his Trainer’s Licence, he refused any interview with the RIU Investigator. • The Informations (originally 5 but one was later withdrawn) were lodged with the JCA on 21 December 2020 and Mr Kerr was served with them on 22 December 2020. Receipt acknowledged by Mr Kerr on 12 January 2021. • He was requested on 13 January 2021 to advise the JCA and RIU whether he admitted or denied any or all of the charges and whether he had legal representation. • He sought time to engage counsel and advise of his plea(s). This was granted. • On 12 February 2021 his counsel advised the Committee had he had received initial instructions to act but there had not been sufficient time to advise as to any plea(s). • Consequently the Committee accorded the Respondent a further indulgence, and asked him to advise by no later than 22 February 2021 whether Mr Kerr proposed to admit or deny any or all of the charges. • No response was forthcoming. • The JCA then fixed the hearing date for 25 March 2021 at Addington and advised the parties. Over 2 months had elapsed since Mr Kerr was served and further delay was unacceptable given his silence. 6. Then, on 15 March 2021, the JCA was advised by Counsel that Mr Kerr had dispensed with the services of Counsel and that “Mr Kerr will now be representing himself in this matter”. 7. The Executive Officer of the JCA at the direction of the Committee advised Mr Kerr that he was required to attend at the hearing on 25 March 2021. He has not attended. 8. Mr Kerr at 8.53am on the morning of the hearing sent an email to the JCA Executive Officer. He said he “could not afford to attend” because of cost and “mental health” issues. He gave no particulars and we cannot see cost of attendance was an issue given that he was representing himself. He said, “I dispute the allegations”. He apologised to the JCA. He added: “I would ask that any material that is prejudicial to me is to be suppressed as it is likely that I will be facing police charges and therefore I would like to protect my fair trial rights”. 9. We heard Submissions on that issue from Counsel for the Informant and a Press Representative present. The application for suppression was declined (Fifth Schedule, Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Judicial Committee and Appeals Tribunal) • Under R 20.1 all hearings are open to the public unless the Committee makes an order that it or any part be held in private. Members of the public are present, and in any disciplinary hearing it is inevitable that “prejudicial material” will be presented to support charges. The profession and public are entitled to know if there has been misconduct through breach of the Rules of the profession. • No criminal proceedings are pending. • Issues of admissibility of evidence and standards of proof are specifically different. • What the Respondent does not want is publicity but that has in a large measure already occurred in Media articles since the Respondent handed in his Trainer’s Licence in late 2020. • Even if later criminal charges were to occur, a Judge (if trial before a Judge alone) will well understand which evidence or material can be admitted. If, which is unlikely, a jury trial occurred – as is always the case, the Judge can properly direct a jury on only using evidence heard in court, and to ignore and put aside anything they may have heard earlier. • Respondents in professional disciplinary proceedings – whether in Racing or other professions – cannot expect a cloak of secrecy to prevent embarrassment when other community and industry interests prevail. • Finally, any decision of the Judicial Committee shall be published by the JCA on its website, unless there is otherwise a direction – Rule 30.2 10. Given the non-attendance of the Respondent, and he clearly had notice of it, he chose to dispense with Counsel and maintain the cloak of silence, we have had to proceed under R. 24.1. Rule 24.2 provides that evidence of fact or opinion which could have been given orally may be given by way of written statement or affidavit and that the Committee has the same power to deal with the Respondent as if he had appeared. 11. We received written statements, properly certified as required, from 7 witnesses together with 39 Exhibits. The evidence which we accepted as persuasive, and which was relevant to the Informations to which it applied, established to our comfortable satisfaction, that is on the balance of probabilities (as required by Rule 31.1 Fifth Schedule) that each Information was proved. Indeed, we concluded by a wide margin, well beyond what the Rule required, that the charges were established. 12. Having delivered our findings as to liability we heard Submissions from the Informant’s Counsel as to penalty. We also heard oral evidence or Statements from Mr D Bates, and Mr P Varcoe (by telephone from Queensland), in the form of victim impact statements. 13. We have since accorded Mr Kerr a further opportunity to submit any penalty submissions he wished us to consider. These were to be received by 5pm Tuesday, 6 April 2021. He has not responded. 14. We now record our reasons for the findings on each Information and deliver the penalty decision. 15. At the outset we need to make it clear that Mr Kerr cannot escape a disciplinary hearing and possible sanctions by relinquishing his Trainer’s Licence. Apart from the fact that his serious misconduct occurred when he held a licence, in any event the long-established law (as early as 1934 by the Privy Council in Naylor v Stephen and the New Zealand Supreme Court in Caddigan v Grigg [1958] NZLR708), any person who so acts as to bring himself within the ambit of the Rules of Racing is liable to the sanctions provided in those Rules. Indeed the NZ Rule of Harness Racing, in Rule 102(1)(o) specifically provides that the Rules apply to “every person who acts so as to bring himself within the purview of these Rules”. That proposition has been applied in several New Zealand cases of discipline for those who infringe against a Racing Code. 16. Information 11694 – Dishonestly or fraudulently selling a “horse” and charging training fees and expenses to the owner, for his own financial gain, when the horse did not exist. 17. Mr P Varcoe is a businessman residing in Queensland. His evidence was that he had been involved in the NZ Harness Racing Industry for many years and he had 3 horses with the Respondent whom he regarded as a friend. In September 2019 he was telephoned by the Respondent. His evidence was that he was told: a) He had a horse brought to his stable and that he had “driven the horse and it was that good that I had to buy it”. b) He was told the price was $40,000 but he only had $20,000. A persuasive salesman, the Respondent said it was by “Bettor’s Delight” (a colt or gelding) and “it’s too good to miss, you’ve got to buy it”. c) Mr Varcoe talked a good friend, John Beverley, into buying the other $20,000 half share in the horse. He advised the Respondent the next day, who told him that the “horse was good to go and it would be ready to run in 3-4 weeks”. An invoice for $40,000 was sent to Mr Varcoe and partner, and paid. 18. Over the next 9 months the Respondent sent monthly invoices to the “owners”, which have been produced as exhibits, for incidental expenses, shoes, vitamins, winter and summer covers, hopples, bridle, herpes injection, training fees, grazing fees, massage and the like. These totalled $26,175.75 over the 9 months. 19. The “horse” was given the stable name of “Beaver” as that was Mr Beverley’s nickname. 20. Mr Varcoe and Mr Beverley telephoned the Respondent monthly to inquire as to progress that their “horse” was making over those 9 months as they had not been able to sight it at workouts, given they had been told it was likely to run 3-4 weeks after October 2019. The Respondent deflected inquiries by saying he would take the horse to workouts “the next week”. 21. By 9 November 2020, the parties’ concerns increased and Mr Beverley emailed the Respondent to say that since purchasing the horse on 27 September 2019 they had received no proof of ownership; he had seen his solicitor; they would like a copy of the “vendor/purchaser document and would like to see a photo of the horse with brand neck visible; and a copy of “insurance papers which has expired”. 22. Mr Beverley concluded: “If we don’t have these documents within 7 days my solicitor will be contacting NZ Harness as well as Christchurch police. Cheers, Beaver.” 23. The Respondent’s email reply was immediate. He said: “No worries Beaver. I will get all this through to you within 7 days. I’ve had nothing but a challenge with this horse and it’s very frustrating as I’m trying to do the best I can for you guys; it certainly hasn’t worked out like I thought it would ….. I am hopeless with the paperwork side but understand your frustration. I will get you what you are wanting, that is fine and hopefully we can get a result soon”. 24. Next, within a week, on 16 November 2020, the Respondent sent an email to the “owners”, in which he said: “Hi guys. I will call you both today to discuss the future of this boy but he is not shaping up at all and I don’t think he is going to make the grade. He has really failed to progress like he should have and I expected, his attitude has certainly slipped and his work on Saturday morning was very ordinary and he is failing to impress me. Enough is enough he either goes for a break and try again next year, give him away as a hack or I will try and sell him to someone else for you guys (this will be hard but I’ll do my best and is the best option I feel). There’s not enough money in the game at the moment for a horse like him … Anyway will call you both today …” 25. The deception and pretence continues. Mr Beverley is not to be fobbed off. Within 8 minutes on 16 November 2020, he sent an email to the Respondent. He said: “I am very disappointed in your email reply you have not answered one of my requests Theirfor (sic) you give me no option but to take legal action. You have continually avoided sending any photos or ownership documents this is why you give us no other option but to take this action”. 26. The fat is now well in the fire. But the Respondent continues the pretence. He emailed back the next day on 17 November 2020, and said: “For God sake!!! I sent an email yesterday outlining my thoughts around the horse and ask for you to get back to me. A: What you wanted to do and B: if you still wanted me to register him now that you had my views and that it would be a waste of money. Now that clearly is all you want is this. I will get this organised, give me a couple of days and it will be done. …. However, I will get an email away to the old owner and get that side sorted hopefully today. I’m really upset that you both think you don’t have a horse, this is insane! I agree paperwork is not a strong point but gee whiz I’m certainly not like that! …. Now please hold off on whatever your thinking as you are way off the mark. Leave it with me.” 27. The stance of a professional Trainer is breath-taking. He endeavours to demean those who he has cheated by saying how upset they have made him by the “insane” belief they did not have a horse. It reflects a continued betrayal. 28. The Respondent is now desperate. The evidence is clear that: a) He immediately sought to acquire a 4yo Bettor’s Delight gelding that a Senior and highly respected Canterbury Trainer had (or he thought he had). He desperately wished to buy this horse but was honestly and responsibly told by the Trainer that “he was no good and I’ve sacked him”. His evidence was “the horse was simply not good enough and I could not recommend him”. His evidence was that the Respondent was “insistent that he wanted to buy” the horse. So he referred him to the owner so as to ask if it could be leased. “No, (said the Respondent) I want to buy him”. b) Two days later the Trainer was told by that Owner that she had “the most bizarre call ever from Mitchell Kerr … he had offered her $20,000 to buy (the horse) but she wouldn’t sell as it was not worth that.” c) The Senior Trainer’s evidence was that he was really surprised “how Mitch was so desperate to buy him after I told him he was no good”. 29. It is obvious, now that the full facts are known, why there was such desperation to find a horse so as to perpetuate his deception. 30. Undeterred, the Respondent, then approached the Spreydon Lodge training operation on 19 November 2020. The evidence of Mr McRae, which we accept, was: • The Respondent, by phone, asked if Mr McRae had an unraced Bettor’s Delight for some owners of his. • He was told there was an unraced 4 year old (Franco Lebanon) spelling in a paddock (nearby). • The Respondent said he would go out and have a look at it that day. • Later that day the Respondent rang back to say he “had just looked at the horse, and he’d take it.” • Price was discussed and he agreed to pay $25,000. • The whole thing was “really unusual and he was in a real hurry. Buying and selling horses is never done like this and it’s just not normal”. 31. The $25,000 was never paid so the horse never left the property. 32. But, the Respondent had something of what he wanted; a photograph of a Bettor’s Delight horse. He immediately sent to the Australian clients the photo of Franco Lebanon, which he obviously took, with the message: “Hopefully it works this time, if it doesn’t I’ll try a different method. If you cannot read the brand – Breeding Bettor’s Delight/Lucca Bromac. Ring today with what you decide with, regarding me training for free and scraping (sic) the bills and taking a share. We’ve come this far so now I’m invested as well and want a result for us all”. 33. Mr Varcoe’s further inquiries revealed that he was certain the Respondent had “deceived, defrauded and lied to me about this horse for over a year.” The partners had paid out $66,175.75 for a horse that did not exist. The Respondent further has not said how they might be repaid and restitution has not occurred. 34. The evidence was overwhelming. There had been not only one act of deceit in securing the purchase price of $40,000 but 9 further and separate frauds on the clients in obtaining monthly payments for expenses that did not, and could not, exist. There had been multiple acts of dreadful betrayal. The serious Racing offence, and corruption, involved multiple dishonesty. Information A11696 – Between 2017 and 2020 dishonestly syndicated ownership in the horses “A Taste of Honey” and “Come Together” for the purpose of his own financial gain. 35. Mr Don Bates was a retired mature person who owns a standardbred horse breeding business. He has spent all his life involved in the Harness Racing profession/industry. He bred a filly by Art Major out of the mare from a family that he had developed and loved over many years. It was named “Taste of Honey”. He was a friend and client of the Respondent. 36. In 2017, when the filly was a yearling, she was offered to the Respondent on a “50/50 deal”. This is a common arrangement in the Racing Industry – where the owner pays no training fees, and 50% of incidental expenses are shared, as is any stake money earned split 50/50. But Mr Bates’ evidence, which we accept, was that he explicitly told the Respondent he was not to sell his share as he did not want to have anyone else in the racing of the horse. 37. Despite those clear directions, the Respondent proceeded to try to syndicate his “share” in the horse. It came as a complete surprise to Mr Bates, about 6 months later, when he was told by a stranger that he had a 10% share in the filly. He went to see the Respondent to tell him, again, that he had given him a half share to train, not to sell. The Respondent said that there were no other owners. 38. The next development was about 2 days prior to the horse’s first race on 12 April 2019, when the Respondent presented Mr Bates with change of ownership papers which showed that 40% of the 50% share of the Respondent had been sold, the Respondent retaining 10%. Mr Bates, a compliant and kindly man, thought it was a fait accompli and did not want the horse prevented from racing because of an ownership dispute. 39. It was later on 2 July 2020 that the Respondent told Mr Bates that he “had a real problem that I’m like the only one that can help him out, he said he had sold 60% of Taste of Honey and he only had a 50% share” … he said it was a genuine mistake. He said he had sold 6 shares for $10,000 each, having valued her at $100,000. Mr Bates said the Respondent should have to pay him the $10,000 he had received for his 10% he had sold. The Respondent said he did not have the money but if Mr Bates would agree to be shown as having only 40% of his filly, he would make up the deficit from any stakes thereafter won. Mr Bates was very unhappy about this yet felt he had to reluctantly agree so that this promising filly could continue to race. There was never any such payment made by the Respondent to Mr Bates. 40. There were other matters of concern to Mr Bates including the non-payment of insurance premiums (although paid by him to the Respondent) for the filly, and this is dealt with under Information A11699. 41. Mr Bates also bred a filly by Art Major named “Come Together”. It was given to the Respondent to train, on the same 50/50 deal and he had no agreement or consent to dispose of his share. Within 10 days, on 10 December 2019 the Respondent had, unbeknown to Mr Bates, emailed his other clients as follows: “Hi …. Here is an awesome opportunity to get involved in a beautiful 2yo filly called “Come Together”. “She is an Art Major out of Blackbird Fly I’ve done everything with her from day dot and she is very nice! She will be all set to race in February. There is a 25% share available for $12,500 10% $5,000 I own 25% Don Bates 40% [this was false] Mark … 10% Really nice guys…” 42. Mr Bates confronted the Respondent and told him that he did not have to honour any sales, but he was told that “he had to”. On 26 November 2020 the Respondent told Mr Bates that he had sold shares to 5 persons for percentages of 25%, 25%, 10%, 12%,25%, and it was not difficult for Mr Bates to conclude that with his 50%, the total ownership shares was 147%. So, whoever was to be the loser, the Respondent was obtaining 97% on his half share. Mr Bates was adamant that he would not agree to any change of ownership and has advised those persons from whom the Respondent has obtained funds to seek refund from the Respondent. 43. The evidence, which we accept, overwhelmingly establishes Information 11696 that the Respondent dishonestly over syndicated (and indeed oversold), for his own financial gain, ownership in the 2 horses, and seriously breached his duty of good faith to his owner and friend. Information A11698 -Between 2019 and 2020 fraudulently syndicated ownership in the horse “California Dreaming” for the purpose of his own financial gain. 44. California Dreaming was a $20,000 purchase at the 2019 sales and owned by a Nelson client of the Respondent. He gave the horse to the Respondent on the usual 50/50 deal. Mr Bates was offered and took a 15% share for $8,000, but later found out that the Respondent had “oversold” his 50% share to 14 persons. He had obtained $92,300 payment for what represented 152.5%, without the knowledge or permission of the original 50% owner. Exhibit “6”, a message from a financial advisor to those who “invested”, confirms that figure. It appears that there were actually 29 “shareholders” who became victims, as some smaller shares were secured on behalf of groups. The Advisor says: “As for the debt Mitch has with us ….. It may be a good idea that we issue a request for payment of the $92,300 he has taken off us before we consider setting up any syndicate with the proper owner so that he has the chance to pay or face the consequences. Does anyone not wish to chase him for their share?”. 45. As with his actions under Information A11696, the evidence clearly establishes that the Respondent for his own financial gain corruptly obtained funds from others by selling that to which he had no entitlement. His modus operandi as used with Mr Bates’ horses was repeated. He has offered no explanation or information to illustrate that he has any answer to what on its face is apparent. Information A11799 – obtaining funds from several owners for insurance premiums for hoses he trained when he did not obtain policies and pay those premiums 46. This was a representative charge. The evidence before us was that, at the very least, despite invoicing clients and receiving payments, for insurance premiums the Respondent did not take out any insurance policies and pay premiums on the following: Taste of Honey The Major William Wallace Come Together California Dreaming Manhatten Absolute Dynamite The “Dummy” horse 47. This has been confirmed by NZB Insurance and Crombie Lockwood. And the Respondent has provided no answer. There are likely to have been other horses not insured and premiums unpaid, although paid by owners to him. There is ample evidence to prove the representative charge. Amounts in excess of $20,000 have been obtained. And, seriously, some of the horses had calculated insurance values, (upon which premium were invoiced) at levels as high as $150,000, $100,000, $120,000. So, the owners were, unbeknown to them, having to carry the uninsured risk. 48. This charge was proved. 49. The Committee received expert evidence which may have relevance to each of the 4 charges as it relates to possible financial issues of the Respondent. It is evidence of B D Payn, an expert Betting Analyst employed by the RIU. The essence of his evidence was (a) Between 2009 and 2016 the Respondent had opened and closed a number of accounts with the New Zealand TAB (b) In November 2020 information had been received that the Respondent had been betting with accounts with the Australian based corporate bookmaker Ladbrokes. On 27 November 2020 Ladbrokes was (under its formal agreement with the New Zealand TAB) requested to provide betting details for the Respondent’s account for 2019 and 2020, (c) The account was opened on 9 November 2016 and spreadsheet detailing all activity encompasses over 60 pages and was produced to the Committee. (d) expert analysis of the spreadsheet data is that the Respondent’s account showed betting on New Zealand and Australian harness, thoroughbred, and greyhound racing and; in the 2019 year it lost approximately $320,000 in the year 2020 it lost approximately $630,000 50. That evidence naturally does not prove any of the allegations but might be seen to provide a background to the fact that the Respondent, a horse Trainer, needed access to some source of funds to accommodate, in 2020, a net deficit of about $50,000 per month. PENALTY OUTCOME 51. The various considerations that ought to be taken into account in the exercise of the sentencing/sanctioning exercise are well known. We have been referred to the comments made by an Appeal Tribunal in RIU v Lawson (13 May 2019) (in particular in paras [26] – [33] as to the general purpose of disciplinary sanctions . We need not repeat all that was then said. Suffice if we say that factors may include: • punitive outcomes on a transgressor • the professional body marking its condemnation and disapproval of the offending conduct • the gravity of any transgressing conduct • the need to protect the public and profession and those who participate in it • the need to maintain or restore public confidence in the profession • the upholding of proper standards of conduct and behaviour • protection of the reputation of the profession and Trainers • deterrence both personal, but also crucially in a case such as this, general deterrence. That is that others who might be tempted to offend in similar ways will know the sanction that they will face if they offend. Other offending is to be deterred so as to protect others and the Industry/profession. 52. We have been referred to comments by the Supreme Court in Z v Complaints Assessment Committee [2009] 1 NZLR 1 as to the purpose of professional disciplinary proceedings which essentially marry with remarks made in Lawson. 53. The Respondent’s conduct as illustrated over the 4 Informations, reaches in its cumulative sense the highest level of serious misconduct. We find it to be seriously corrupt as mentioned in Rule 1001 (1). The interests of Harness Racing requires that the Respondent be subject to an order for disqualification, he has by his repetitive actions forfeited any right (which there is none in that sense, as rather it is a privilege) to be involved in the Harness Racing profession or enjoy any of the benefits of horse racing. 54. As mentioned, the need to deter others who might choose to deceive owners or others in the misguided view that they are entitled to operate in similar ways is crucial. The confidence of owners and others in the absolute integrity of Trainers in whom total trust is vested, is vital. The Sport cannot endure if owners cannot trust Trainers. We heard somewhat poignant evidence from Mr Bates when he said that he found it hard now to trust other Trainers any more having felt cheated and defrauded. He has spent 50 years in the Code that was part of his life. Disturbingly, he said that he has been subject to adverse comments from some sections of the Canterbury Harness Racing community, in a sense ostracising him, and blaming him, he feels, for daring to make his complaints about the Respondent. If that is correct, it is lamentable. So as a consequence he has had to remove his horses to race in Southland and no longer in Canterbury. The significance of that is, if there should be any Trainers or others who might breach these Rules, the general deterrence following from this sanction may prevent similar abuse and deceit of, helpless, owners. It is that general deterrence principle to which we give special weight, in the sentencing balancing exercise so that any Trainer who might tend to forget to whom their duty lies, are aware of possible sanctions they might face if they transgress in similar ways to their owners’ detriment. 55. The confidence of owners in Australia who invest in the New Zealand Harness Racing Industry, must have taken a serious impact, with significant harm to the Code. 56. The Respondent must be disqualified. The only question is for what period. The aggravating features of his offending are many. They include: • dishonest betrayal of many clients over a lengthy period • multiple separate deliberate deceptions of the Australian clients over a year with the reputational harm to New Zealand Harness Racing that must follow • the amounts of funds in excess of $60,00 extracted from the Australians • his blatant actions and attempts to hide his actions and continued self-entitled demeaning of their legitimate concerns • the degree of harm, financial and otherwise, he has caused to those who paid him large sums for shares in horses that could not be supported • his leaving the owners of valuable horses uninsured without their awareness, but took the premium payments for which he rendered invoices • the cumulative impact of the four Informations with the estimated loss to others is in the region of $250,000 which might be greater if smaller syndicate members and owners, and close associates of the Respondent are included • The multiple individual victims – as many as 50 – although precise number are to ascertain • The emotional impact, apart from financial, on many who have been betrayed by the professional they believed they could trust. • Mr Bates’ emotional harm and loss of many thousands of dollars, after 50 years in the sport he has loved is immeasurable • the Respondent has a previous historical offence in 2015 for betting in a race, on a horse which he was driving, for which he was fined $650 57. There are no mitigating factors. All the Respondent has said was that: he has “mental health issues”, but provides nothing in support. It may be that, as a result of the proceedings and disclosure of his grievous wrongdoing, he has developed anxiety, worry, depression and the like (who would not in the circumstances). But there is nothing to suggest intellectual incapacity or compromise over the lengthy period of his offending he says that he has no financial means to meet any financial or costs orders. 58. He cannot call in aid an early, or any guilty pleas. He has continually declined to cooperate and as recent as the day of hearing maintained a denial. Sadly, he has never expressed any remorse or contrition to his victims or the RIU or the JCA. This attitude of self-entitlement illustrates no genuine remorse or sorrow for his victims or the serious harm that has been done to the Harness Racing Code to erode the trust all persons must have in Trainers. We allow the possibility that he has been so embarrassed and traumatised by the discovery of his actions that he cannot “face the music”. But he cannot call in aid as mitigation on sentence any claim of remorse, contrition, apologies (of which there have been none), guilty pleas. 59. The seriousness of the totality of the Respondent’s actions over an extended period, affecting multiple owners/clients, involving very substantial amounts of money, with egregious, appalling breaches of duties of faith and fiduciary obligations, (the ghost horse, the taking of insurance premiums, and the deliberate overselling of syndicate shares), require disqualification for life. Where there is egregious corrupt practice, over an extended period, life disqualification should follow. No other sanction can meet the need to uphold the objectives to which we have already referred in para (51). He is unfit to be involved in any way in the Racing Industry or profession. He can access the provisions of the Rules (Rule 1303,1205) to see the effect of a disqualification order. OUTCOME 60. The Respondent is disqualified for life commencing, in terms of Rule 1301 immediately today the 13th day of April 2021. 61. Somewhat benevolently, the RIU did not seek an order for costs, despite what we gather had to involve vast expenses incurred in investigating and prosecuting the charges. 62. So too, the costs incurred by the JCA have increased expotentially only because of the actions, or inaction, of the Respondent. They now amount to very significant amounts and have arisen only because of the Respondent’s actions. He is ordered to pay a small contribution towards those expenses. We fix that sum as $3,000. It may be that he will not meet that order but under Rules 1401 – 1410 the JCA requests the Board of Harness Racing NZ to direct that Mr Kerr be put on the Unpaid Forfeit List. 63. Likewise, those many victims who have sustained financial loss, are entitled to act under Rule 1403 and request the HRNZ Board to direct that the debts (arrears) owing to them by Mr Kerr be recorded on his Unpaid Forfeit List. By the Judicial Committee. Dated this 13th day of April 2021. Hon J W Gendall QC Chair Ms F Guy Kidd QC Member

Welcome to the Addington Raceway News update for April 14 2021 with Greg O'Connor and Darrin Williams.        

The Rangiora Harness Racing Club’s richest race of the season, the $30,000 Rangiora Classic, is set to be a cracker again this year with two superstar, millionaire pacers in hot form included in the field. Self Assured and Spankem quinellaed Addington’s big feature races, the New Zealand Trotting Cup and the Easter Cup, this season and the Hayden Cullen-trained stablemates will certainly be the ones to beat again in the Rangiora Classic this Sunday. The Group Three free-for-all mobile pace is the feature race at the meeting, starting at noon at Rangiora Raceway. The race was not held last year because of Covid 19 lockdown restrictions but it has proved a thriller in previous seasons with big-name winners such as AG’s Whitesocks, Alta Orlando, Classie Brigade, two-time winner London Legend, and three-time New Zealand Cup winner Terror To Love all part of the race history. This year the Rangiora Classic has attracted a large group of sponsors including the Angler's Arms Hotel, the Kaikanui Tavern, the Leithfield Hotel, the Kaiapoi Club, Canterbury Honda, Farmlands Rangiora, Floorpride Rangiora, Goodwin Contracting Ltd, NDA Sites Services, Vallance, Rangiora Hyundai and Clean Up Canterbury. Sunday’s meeting also includes the $15,000 Kotare Downs Stakes for three-year-pacers with a strong field expected to line up, including the flying filly, Bettor Talk Art, trained by Regan Todd at Woodend Beach, and the winner of her last two starts. View the Rangiora fields click here!   HRNZ Club News

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Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound. WA Oaks winner Benesari Lane, who won the $150,000 WA Oaks, is a WA bred filly with an interesting and successful family background. Bred by Dr Ed Dewar, of Meelon she was got by Mach Three from Terrifying, a WA bred mare by the Western Hanover horse Western Terror. Benesari Lane, who took a record of 1:57.8 in the Oaks, has run up a tidy score of four successes and six placings from 23 starts for $135,749 in stakes. Benesari Lane’s dam, Terrifying (1:55.3), the winner of 19 races and $131,200, was by Western Terror, a Breeders Crown champion from the Medio family, and who proved a successful in North America, NZ and Australia.  Benesari Lane     --Paceway Photos                          Terrifying was out of Whitby’s Rhapsodie (2:04.7), an Astreos mare from a capable racemare in Typhoon Whitby 1:59.7 ($163,751), who won 17 races including the WA Sires 2YO Final and became the dam of winners in Bronzwhaler Whitby (1:55.6, the winner of 19 races and $135,652), Mach Destroyer (2:01, who won three) and Decima’s Whitby and the unraced Island Life, dam of Delightful Mandy (1:56.7) and Ideal Life (1:59.2). Typhoon Whitby was a sister to the WA Pearl placegetter Tempestuous Whitby (1:59.4) and a half-sister to Tempt Me Whitby (2:02) and Pipes Of Whitby (2:00.3), who both bred on with marked successes. Tempt Me Whitby ranks as the dam of the WA Sires Stakes placegetter Go On Tempt Me (2:00.2) and the second dam of the two high class pacers Kimba Bay 1:56.8 ($219,382) and Scot Bay 1:56.5 ($134,886). Pipes Of Whitby left the WA North East Derby winner Time Passenger (1:56.4) and Top Gun Whitby (1:59.5). Tempting Franco, the fourth dam of the WA Oaks winner, was a half-sister to the Miracle Mile winner and Grand Circuit hero Franco Tiger.   Mach Dan wins Mildura Cup The most important race in Victoria’s Sunraysia district, the $60,000 Mildura Pacing Cup, was won by the Mach Three four-year-old gelding Mach Dan, who downed a top field including Silent Major, Like A Wildfire and Malcolm’s Rhythm. Mach Dan, who was bought for $100,000 as a yearling, has now earned $304,072 from 14 wins and six placings in 24 starts. He has won at Group level as a two, three and four-year-old. Mach Dan, who was bred by Shannon and Meaghan Nixon, of Nixon Bloodstock, was sired by Mach Three from the Bettor’s Delight mare Bettor Give It 1:57.4 ($138,061), whose dam, Giveitawhirlgirl, was by Jenna’s Beach Boy from Impish (1:54.9), by Falcon Seelster from the noted producer Smarty Pants (1:58.6), by El Patron from the Lordship mare Smart Doll. Bettor Give It, a dual Listed winner, ranks as a half-sister to the NZ Great Northern Oaks winner Twist And Twirl 1:56 ($283,258), dam of the dual Miracle Mile winner and 2020 Horse of the Year King Of Swing 1:48 ($2.2 million) and to the thrice Group 1 winner Bettor Twist 1:52.1 ($284,300), winner of the GN Oaks recently. Mach Three, the sire of Mach Dan, sired the 2019 Mildura Cup winner San Carlo.    Aladdin is Derby material Aladdin, who won the Mildura Guineas in runaway fashion and is regarded as Derby material of the highest order, is a three-year-old gelding by Sweet Lou from Pacing Delight, an unraced mare who is proving a successful broodmare. Aladdin      --HRV Photo A $140,000 purchase at the NZ Yearling Sale at Auckland in 2019, Aladdin has earned $163,769 from four wins and seven placings in 18 starts. He is a member of an old time NZ family, which was represented by the recent Tamworth Gold Nugget winner Marty Major and the SA Fred Jones Trotters Cup winner Milly’s Magic. Marty Major won again at Menangle in 1:51.6.  Pacing Delight was a Bettor’s Delight mare from Pacing Grace (1:57.7), by In The Pocket from the noted producer Jessie Grace, by Vance Hanover. Pacing Grace was the dam of a top NZ juvenile in Pacing Major 1:52 ($636,036), a cup class pacer in All U Need Is Faith 1:49.8 ($386,877) and Our Amazing Art 1:57.4 ($165,363) and to Grace Way (1:56.8) and the unraced Maddison’s Delight, who both bred on with distinction. Maddison’s Delight (by Bettor’s Delight) left the NZ Sires Stakes 2YO Final winner American Dealer 1:53.3 ($200,978) and the star WA filly Sweet Maddison (1:57), while Grace Way became the dam of the VHRSC 3YO Cup winner Three Ways 1:54.1 ($243,434), the Redcliffe Derby winner Make Way 1:51.7 ($150,495) and Forgotten Highway 1:55.6 ($150,540). Aladdin ranks as a brother to the Group 2 winner Virgil 1:52.3 ($137,405) and a half-brother to the Menangle victor Mason’s Delight (1:51.9).   Ignatius in 1:50.9 Ignatius gave a further taste of his class when he easily won the Group 3 Free-for-all, the main event at Menangle last Saturday. He was not in danger of defeat over the last half mile, running out the mile in a brisk 1:50.9. By Roll With Joe, and one of the second crop of the Cam’s Card Shark horse, he is out of Ashkalini 2:00.2 ($124,338), winner of the Tasmanian Sires Stakes as a two and four-year-old. Ashkalini was by Art Major from Gorse Bush (10 wins), by Ticket To Heaven from the Holly Sand mare Barrington Lass, who founded a good winning batch of the Black Annie family. Ashkalini, who produced earlier winners in Goggo Gee Gee 1:58.2 ($137,010) and Harshali, ranked as a half-sister to the Miracle Mile winner and dual Inter Dominion champion Beautide. Ignatius was bred by the Rattray family in northern Tasmania.   Siring feat to Bettor’s Delight Rather a notable siring feat was credited to the Cam’s Card Shark horse Bettor’s Delight at Addington recently, when he had five runners in the 14-horse field in the NZ Pacing Derby. Three of his stock, Krug, a good type of colt, The Falcon and Shan Noble finished first, third and fourth respectively, while his other runners were Yorokobi (9th) and Pace N Pride (13th). Krug became the seventh NZ Derby winner sired by Bettor’s Delight, whose earlier winners included Ultimate Sniper (2019), Sherrif (2018), Lazarus (2016), Have Faith In Me (2015), Border Control (2013) and Gold Ace (2011).   Petillante is promising Petillante, a most impressive winner on debut at the recent Melton midweek meeting, is a two-year-old filly who can claim some worthwhile blood. Petillante winning at Melton – Stuart McCormick Photo Petillante was an Australian Pacing Gold purchase in 2020 in Melbourne, and is a filly by the Mach Three horse Somebeachsomewhere from Art De Triomphe (1:58.8), who ranks as a sister to a champion juvenile in Follow The Stars 1:53.8 ($707,237), now a successful sire in WA, and a half-sister to the APG runner-up Stefsbest 1:54.7 ($148,527). Their dam, Smyrna Duruisseau (1:56), an American-bred mare, won two races but left five winners. She was by Cam’s Card Shark from Secret Date, by Abercrombie from the Race Time mare Dateable, who has founded an outstanding family of winners. They include the Metro Pace winner Historic, a top racemare in Seven O Clock, Dontgetinmyway (Woodrow Wilson) and the Breeders Crown champion Digger Almahurst.   A star from Beaudiene Bad Babe A star four-year-old in NSW so far this year is Bad To The Bone, who was bred in NZ’s Southland by Todd and Fleur Anderson and is trained by Paul Fitzpatrick. A gelding by Bettor’s Delight, he is out of a top flight racemare in Beaudiene Bad Babe 1:55.7 ($404,898) and the first of her progeny to race. A younger sister to Bad To The Bone in Five Bangles won at her second start at Pinjarra earlier this month. Bad To The Bone won the Waikato Guineas at three and a Group 3 race at Menangle and looks a four-year-old with the potential one would expect of his breeding.   Mirragon on top A bright future is being predicted for the Art Major four-year-old Mirragon, whose success at Gloucester Park last Friday was his fourth winning run from nine starts since being shipped to WA. Mirragon winning Gloucester Park – Paceway Photos The entire has a good deal in his favour on the score of blood. Apart from being by Art Major, a leading sire in Australia for many years, Mirragon is out of the Mach Three mare The Waratah (1:57.9), a half-sister to a champion racemare in Lady Waratah, being out of Waratah Way, by Tompkins Hanover from the Select Yankee mare Yankee Leanne, and tracing back to Miss Tommy, whose family today is one of the best in the Australian stud book. It includes the million dollar winners Lennytheshark and Frith, the Derby winners Greg Kelly and Albert Kelly and others in McRae’s Mate, Miss Paula, Von Trap, Midnight Dylan, Sandy Bay, Blacksweet Adda and Intoxicated. Mirragon was bred in Victoria by former leading studmaster Ross Gange.   First winner by Guaranteed The Artsplace horse Guaranteed, a dual Vicbred champion and now at Goodtime Lodge stud in Victoria, was represented by his first winner when the two-year-old Pas Guarantee was successful on debut at Shepparton. Bred and raced by Sue-Ellen Thompson, who also owned Guaranteed, Pas Guarantee is out of the Live Or Die mare Dieing Secret, whose dam, Secret Bonus was by Barnett Hanover from the What’s Next mare What Bonus, who left several useful winners including the Moonee Valley winner Golden Czar, who later competed successfully in America. Dieing Secret, the dam of Pas Guarantee, won nine races and $68,688 in stakes and took a record of 1:57.1 and at the stud, left the Tasmanian Matron winner Gone And Forgotten.   Victorian trotter has strong bloodlines Peregrine Phoenix, a double winner at Melton this year, who had been placed in Group 1 company as a three-year-old, is rated one of the most capable young trotters racing in Victoria at present. Peregrine Phoenix winning at Melton – Stuart McCormick Photo Peregrine Phoenix has a wealth of blood to back up her claims to further promotion, being by the great American sire Muscle Hill from Maple Eve Phoenix, by Malabar Maple from Dodo Rocket, by Wagon Apollo. Her dam, Maple Eve Phoenix, who was unraced, left an outstanding juvenile trotter in Eljaykay Phoenix 1:58.6 ($256,877), who won eight races as a two-year-old including the Breeders Crown, Vicbred Final and The Redwood. Maple Eve Phoenix was a half-sister to the Vicbred 2YO champion Princess Phoenix 1:55.5 ($167,515), Veruckte Phoenix (1:59.1) and Hadrian’s Phoenix (2:00) and to Fortunate Phoenix, the unraced dam of last year’s Breeders Crown and Vicbred placegetter Ofortuna. Other trotters further back in this pedigree have been the cups winner Joseph Boppard, Justa Phoenix (Vic. Princess of Speed), Supreme Gent, Go Ahead Makemyday and Aldebaran Eastwood.   by Peter Wharton
Reigning trotter of the year Winterfell has run his last race, and will spend his retirement as a trekking horse. The four-time Group One winner finishes his harness racing career with 13 wins from 36 starts and earnings of $429,917. Owner breeder Trevor Casey made the decision after the Majestic Son gelding struggled to get back to his best, with seven unplaced runs this season. “It was looking promising, but he had issues so we decided to do the best thing by the horse and retire him.” Casey rated Winterfell in the “top three or four horses he’s been associated with.” “He wasn’t as good as Lazarus but he’s up there with Escapee and Pocaro.” Escapee (Sundon – Una Bromac) won 11 from 39 and was Winterfell’s half-sister while Pocaro (Sundon – Niamey) won 13 from 42, including the 3YO Ruby at the 2009 Harness Jewels. As for racetrack performances, Casey says two spring to mind immediately with Winterfell. “The Inter-dominion Final and that race at Auckland (National Trot) when he beat Oscar and Majestic Man.” Always more suited to racing right-handed, the 2019 Inter-Dominions at Alexandra Park saw Winterfell at the peak of his powers. He won two heats and then took out the final by half a neck as a $1.80 favourite for trainer-driver Mark Purdon. A fortnight later In the Group One Sims Pacific Metals National Trot on New Year’s Eve, this time with Natalie Rasmussen driving, he outfinished Majestic Man and Oscar Bonavena, trotting his last half in 55.6 and the last 400 in 27.4. “He was a very good horse but very headstrong, and sometimes he could become very keen.” After his dominant form in the north Winterfell was duly named Trotter of the Year at the last Harness Racing New Zealand awards in September last year. Winterfell was trained for all his early career by the All Stars stable (Purdon and Rasmussen) but then had stints with Regan Todd on the beach at Woodend and then Joshua Dickie at Cleveland as they tried to get him back to his best. At home Winterfell, who was named after the so-called “Capital of the North” in hit TV series Game of Thrones, was known as “Dale” (as in the cartoon character in the TV ad for Chesdale Cheese). “It was because he was in the paddock with Cheezel, who was by Betterthancheddar and I thought Cheez and Dale, ” says Casey. Now as a six-year-old Winterfell has already been re-homed as a trekking horse in Auckland, with Casey saying the horse will be special to him and those who got to know him. “He was a character and everyone loved him.”   HRNZ
Tony Herlihy can’t win the race named in his honour at Alexandra Park on Friday night but he can win a few others. The champion horseman will have his feat of training 1000 domestic winners recognised in the $17,500 sixth event tonight, the Congratulations Tony Herlihy 1000 Training Wins Mobile. Ironically, Herlihy has neither a stable rep or even a drive in the race but not for any official reason. “I didn’t even know it was going ahead until Karen (Blanchard, ATC racing manager) told me on Tuesday,” says Herlihy. “It is a nice thing for the club to do and I have had a lot of great feedback from people since the milestone.” That was when Lord Verde won at Alexandra Park on March 26, making Herlihy the ninth member of the 1000-winners trained domestically club. While he can’t win his race, Herlihy has one of the favourites in Mr Kaplan in the second northern heat of the two-year-old fillies Sires’ Stakes, which will be a clear highlight of tonight’s meeting. While Mr Kaplan was dominant winning the Delightful Lady at Alexandra Park on March 5 she was beaten by the Purdon/Phelan pair of Montana Glory and Montana Miki in the first northern heat of this series, won stunningly by Montana Glory. Tonight’s field is even stronger with talented southerners Play Philly, Suntan and Cover Girl, who was excellent at the trials last weekend, joining the fray and another Purdon/Phelan starter in Artisan also having a touch of class. “It is a really good field for fillies at this stage of the season but my filly is very tough so she will be hard to beat,” says Herlihy. On a night where he has few drives Herlihy rates stable rep Forget The Price Tag an each way chance in the main trot. “As a younger horse we thought he would go right to the top but he broke a pedal bone and was off the scene for a year and he really didn’t come back last campaign. “But he has been good so far this time and this looks a nice race for him.” Perhaps Herlihy’s best chance comes early in race two with I See Fire if he can behave himself from barrier one. The talented three-year-old trotter beat the older horses at Cambridge last start and after some recent work on his back trotted well at the workouts last week. “He seems really well and provided he behaves himself he has to be hard to beat.” Meanwhile, Herlihy says stable star Bolt For Brilliance will race in the Anzac Cup next Friday even after disappointing slightly when only third in the NZ Trotting Free-For-All last Friday. “He wasn’t quite as sharp as the start before but hopefully the trip has bought him on more.”   by Michael Guerin
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk Woodend Beach trainer Bob Butt will take two trotters to Addington Raceway on Friday night and he believes if they bring their manners they are both winning chances. Six-year-old mare Gold Chain recovered well after breaking in her 2600m contest at the Christchurch track last week to finish fourth, and Butt put her early indiscretion down to gear. “I was rapt with her run last start,” he said. “It was a really good field and I was hoping she would go a good race against them. She had that little mistake early, but it was a bit of gear that caused that. “I had a crupper on her that I usually race her in, but she hadn’t had it on for a while and she didn’t like it much.” Gold Chain had won two of her previous three starts, placing in the other, and Butt is hoping she can return to her winning ways in the McMillan Equine Feeds Mobile Trot (1980m) on Friday. “She is quite a nice mare, she has been going good times,” he said. “You always need a bit of luck and I think she is the best horse in it, but it makes it a bit harder over 1980m off the unruly. If she can get a good run they will know she is there.” Butt will also line-up KD Hawk in the HRS Construction Mobile Trot (1980m). The five-year-old son of Andover Hall had strung together a win and two placings before breaking at Addington last week, costing him all chance in his race. Butt will have his fingers crossed that KD Hawk brings his manners on Friday night, and if he does Butt believes he will figure in the finish. “He didn’t trot as well last start,” Butt said. “He just needs to be in the right headspace. “Hopefully he can bring it on Friday night and he will be a chance in that field. He just needs to bring his manners.” Meanwhile, Butt is looking forward to next season with Group One-winning trotter Heavyweight Hero after his autumn campaign was curtailed through illness. “He had a virus so I had to tip him out for the season,” Butt said. “It was a bit close to all of those big races coming up, where you have got to be 110 percent. “We will aim him at the spring again. “He went great through the whole spring last year, he never went a bad race. He is a lovely horse, he tries his guts out and he has got good manners as well.” View the Addington fields click here!
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