Day At The Track

Mark Dennis - Flying at age 11

08:35 PM 28 Jan 2020 NZDT
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Mark Dennis
Mark Dennis
Franca Cabone Photo

Mention the name Mark Dennis to New Zealand based harness racing fans and they might vaguely remember a young Purdon / Payne trained runner with a fair bit of ability. Mention the same name to Australian followers of the game and you’ll be quickly made aware that the horse is still winning! That’s right, the now 11 year old ex-kiwi brought up his 45th win just last week at Menangle clocking an impressive 1:52.9 for the mile in the hands of Lauren Tritton.   

Mark Dennis started his career in victorious style in late mid October of 2011 at Addington Raceway with a victory over the likes of All Star Man (8 subsequent wins) and the Cran Dalgety trained speed-machine Texican. His last start on New Zealand soil came just three weeks later in the Sires Stakes 3yr Old Final and saw the gelding by Bettor’s Delight produce a fighting 5th behind Texican after having to work around the field mid-race, his late charge up the passing lane peaking a little too soon to see him victorious.  

The horse was almost immediately exported to Australia where he’s excelled ever since.  

His racing career on the track in Australia has seen it’s fair share of highlights and close calls. A Group 3 victory in the ‘Temprid Insecticide Pace” eradicated any notion that the horse couldn’t compete for Group honors. That effort was quickly followed by a slew of group racing appearances with a 3rd in the Group 1 Cordina Sprint of 2014 behind Suave Stuey Lombo most probably representing the zenith of his career. A long stint in South Australia from 2014-2018 saw consistent results particularly around the Globe Derby track with both Mark Billinger and Ryan Hryhorec enjoying success when partnered with the bay.

Mark Dennis

The well travelled horse, whose career now spans a total of 249 starts, has won races at tracks throughout Australia with victories at Mildura, Melton, Albion Park, Kapunda and Cranbourne to go alongside his most winning ways around Menangle and the fore-mentioned Globe Derby.

His most recent turning-back-the-clock performance a reminder to all that  writing off  Mark Dennis due to his advancing years is a very risky proposition indeed.

The racing success of Mark Dennis can, at least partly, be attributed to his impeccable breeding as the son of Bettor’s Delight is out of the proven broodmare Twice As Good. Along with Mark Dennis the Butler B G mare has foaled Fight Fire With Fire (7 wins, $150,000) the Group 1 Queen Of Hearts winner Waitfornoone and the consistent St Barts who ran Monkey King to a nose at Addington in the Winter Cup of 2009.  He’d go on to notch up 14 wins and over $150,000 in earnings across both New Zealand and Australia.

A number of yearlings from this strong family are to be offered at the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale. Two of which both come from the Breckon Farms draft.

Lot 118, a brown filly by A Rocknroll Dance, is out of Fellamongstabeauty (1 win from 2 starts) who is a 1/2 sister to the mother of the dominate 4yr old Pacing Mare Of The Year Elle Mac. Elle Mac claimed numerous Group 1 titles including, but not limited to, the Northern Oaks, Sires Stakes 3yr Old Fillies Championship, Caduceus Club 2yr old Fillies and Harness Jewels. The A Rocknroll Dance sire choice makes sense when you consider that the now Australian based Miss Streisand, who placed 4th in the Victorian Oaks, is also by the sire and raced with distinction in New Zealand prior to being exported.

Lot 118 - Dancing Desire

Lot 121 is another yearling with close ties to Mark Dennis. “In The Spotlight” a Bettor’s Delight filly is out of the early-going Goodlookingbabe who was impressive on the track with 3 wins from just 14 starts when racing out of the Geoff Small stable. “In The Spotlight” is only the second foal out of the mare with her first foal being sold for $35’000 at the 2019 sales.

Lot 121 - In The Spotlight

Ben McMillan

 

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