Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 470
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Outsider Sagwitch became the eleventh winner this season for Gore trainer Syd Breen when he won the House of Travel Lakers Summer Cup at Ascot Park today. When talking to Breen early in the season I remember him being quite frustrated as his horses were running lots of placings at the time. But things have certainly changed since the beginning of November, and junior driver Mark Hurrell has been a big part of the success, driving seven of the winners – some penalty free. “Mark went to school with my nieces. He kept ringing me up. I told him to keep ringing. His first drive was on Lorretta Franco. Everything he’s driven for me he’s won on,” said Breen.     Sagwitch is by Lisa Mara out of Shoshoni Sunrise, an OK Bye mare which won six races for trainer Alan Paisley including the 2002 Roxburgh Cup. He’s a half-brother to millionaire Southern Bred Southern Reared pacer Washakie. Breen weaned Sagwitch as a foal and broke him in for breeder Lester Paisley as a yearling. He’s now won six races from thirty five starts and banked $41,678. After running tenth in the Roxburgh Cup six days ago Sagwitch didn’t have today’s Summer Cup on his schedule.   “I only really started him here but the race wasn’t going to get off the ground so I put him and Mucho Macho Man in. It was Santanna’s Rockets (another Breen runner) race to win as far as I was concerned.” Since Roxburgh Sagwitch has had a quiet time. “He hasn’t done much since Roxburgh, just four days jogging round the hill.” In today’s feature pacing race driver Mark Hurrell drove the five year old forward, surprisingly beating out stablemate Santanna’s Rocket which had drawn his inside. Hurrell then let Jonny Cox and Santanna’s Rocket take the lead before Please Shuddup took up the running which left Sagwitch three back on the inside. At the 400 Sagwitch was second last on the inside in the eight horse field. Hurrell plotted a path up the inside and he beat Royal Bengal by a length and a quarter. The overall time for the 2200 metre mobile was 2-42.0. Mark Hurrell driving out Sagwitch                       - Photo Bruce Stewart “He’s just got a wicked quarter on him and saved (for one run) he can go swoosh. Mark was pretty happy with him at Roxburgh and he wanted to drive him today. He was going to go to Wyndham next but he won’t be going there now. That race today was worth two races (in stakes) anyway and he’s got a cup and a dress rug.” Breen owns the gelding with Paul and Nancy Matheson. Winning connection and sponsors                                         - Photo Bruce Stewart  It paid $25.30 to win and $3.90 for a place. “Aaron Swain dropped off a bag of feed I’d won from winning a race at a Sunday meeting (part of the McMillan Equine Feeds promotion) and Sagwitch was out in the paddock just being an absolute clown. Aaron said ‘who’s that? I said it’s Sagwitch.’ He said ‘he’s well and I said yeah he’s paying four (dollars) for a place.’ He went over to his truck got on his phone and backed him. It’s rare, but when he’s right he tells you.”   Bruce Stewart

Despite not having the use of the Balfour track, local trainer Robert Wilson still managed to chalk up a double at the Invercargill Harness meeting at Ascot Park yesterday. Spotlight The Valley got the ball rolling in the first race when she got the prefect trip in the trail and came up the passing lane to beat Canterbury visitor Rebel Kibbybones by half a length. “She’s as solid now as she’s been for a couple of years. She went super early on but like a lot of horses she had a year off last season (didn’t go quite so well). She’s muscled all round so it’s just a maturity thing and she looks a million dollars,” Wilson said. Four races later Betterthancheddar mare Better Galleon capitalised on a similar run beating Excellent by a length and a half. “She went super and won with a bit in hand. There’s more in store for her.” Better Galleon is owned by Cleland Murdoch The Fanny Allen Family Trust and Wilson. Back to the birdcage                                                  - Photo Bruce Stewart. His only other runner at the meeting, Franco June was severely checked and took no serious part in his race. Another horse in the stable, De Vito, has come up well in this preparation after returning to Wilson following a stint in the North Island. “He’ll line up in some of the better trotting races over the Christmas circuit. He’s a class horse and he’s not properly fit yet. He’s a bugger of a horse because he’s hard to keep condition on. Our main focus is to try and build him up.”   Bettor Galleons win was Wilson’s thirtieth win as a trainer and it wasn’t the first time he’d won two races in one day. In November 2014 Mr Mayfly and Lucky Lands both won at Forbury Park. Wilson trains on the Balfour track which has been unusable in the last week. “We've been struggling getting work into them because we got six inches of rain in five days. The track has been out of action and will probably be for all of next week as well. We might have to go to Gore.”      Bruce Stewart

The owners of Ivana Legacy are having the time of their lives. So far the diminutive American Ideal mare has provided them with four wins and a trip to Christchurch for Cup Week and the ride looks set to continue. She’s owned by the Chop A Nick Syndicate which is made up of members of the Squash City Club, Jess Ramsay, Karen Ramsay, Anika Sollitt, Grant Milne, Steve Clarkson, Danny O’Connor and Kayla Rusk. She qualified and was trained initially by Wyndham trainer Brendon McLellan before the group bought her off the Horse Trader website run by new Southern Harness board member Tom Kilkelly. “Scott Ramsey rang up and bought her off Brendon for $1,000. We were looking for a horse to replace trotter Nathan D. We watched a few replays of her races and thought we might have a bit of fun and get a win out of her. We’ve got four now,” said driver and stable spokesperson Andrew Armour whose wife Shannon trains Ivana Legacy. In yesterday’s Invercargill Workouts Committee Handicap Pace Ivana Legacy got the perfect trip tucked in behind the pacemaker Go Getta. “She’s a good standing start horse and has got good manners and if she gets the suck along she’s got a potent 200 metre sprint.” Little horse beats Big horse - Ivana Legacy beating Go Getta - Photo Bruce Stewart  Despite running out of the money on Cup Day, Armour says the trip to Christchurch has done the mare the world of good. “That’s what the trip was all about. The long term aim is to hopefully take her back up there for the South of the Waitaki Winter Series. She’ll have a couple more runs and we’ll turn her out because she’s been up for a while now.” Trainer Shannon Armour wasn’t on-course yesterday to enjoy the win. She was away at a horse show with her hack. She’s into her second season as a trainer taking over the colours her husband used up until 2017. “She’s taken over and does a fair bit with her (Ivana Legacy). She maps out her programme. She’s been placing her quite well to be fair.” Happy bunch - Photo Bruce Stewart  Andrew, who has been involved in the harness industry for a good part of his life now works for ICC Parks and Reserves Department at Queens Park while Shannon manages the Travelex Foreign Exchange Booth at House of Travel Lakers. They have two children; Brooklyn who is three and Beauden who is five months. “I’m really enjoying it. I’m able to mix work and horses and the children. So we’re just busy enough.”    Bruce Stewart

Gore trainer Syd Breen admits that Santanna Blue Chip gelding Santanna’s Rocket struggled last season. Going into last season expectations were high after he recorded some good results against a good crop of three year olds. But at the end of his four year old season he’d only won once from fourteen starts. “After he ran second on the grass at Oamaru we just couldn’t get him right. He’s had bad feet and we’re pretty sure it was a deep seated corn and we just couldn’t get it to come out. In the end we just had to bite the bullet and butcher his feet back and  we just waited for them to grow. It’s taken six months for his feet to come right and he’s still got a bit of a hole there. Shoeing wise we’ve just got aluminiums (shoes) all round and just elevated them two degrees behind. Aluminiums give him more surface areas to stand on. Franksie (farrier Brendon Franks) has done a great job,” he said. This season Santanna’s Rocket started off with a twelfth placing at the Riverton Meeting before he won easily at Forbury Park two weeks ago. And after his work during the week Breen was confident of a top showing yesterday in the Regent Car Court Mobile Pace. “I thought he was the best thing I’d ever taken to the races. He’s just gone from a nice enough horse to one that I think will go a long way. Brad said today that he still wasn’t concentrating properly. He said he feels like he could run 36 (2-36 for 2200 metres) if he concentrated. We’ve got the galloping hood on him and it just sharpens him up a bit.” In yesterday’s race Santanna’s Rocket was taken straight to the top by driver Brad Williamson and ran the field along at a solid clip. He went down to the line winning easily winning by two and three quarters of a length. The showy style of Santanna's Rocket winning easily for Brad Williamson - Photo Bruce Stewart. Next up will be the Gore Cup on the 27th of this month. “After he worked the other day I said 'he’ll win today and then we’ll go to the Gore Cup.' It’s a 60 front (R60) and he’ll be off the front.”   Yesterday’s win was Breen’s 30th from 298 starters. “I wanted to win 30 races by the time I had 300 starters so that was done today.” Santanna’s Rocket is owned by Paul Matheson, Ross Cleland and Barry Harvey. “They had a good old bet up in Christchurch so they’ll be pretty happy. They did multis with Mucho Macho Man (which won at Forbury Park on Thursday).” Breen is having a good trot at the moment having won eight races in four weeks. His winners have been Lorretta Franco (2), The Night Hawk (2), Santanna’s Rocket (2) and Mucho Macho Man (2). “Ross bought me a one armed spreader and it’s just helped him (Mucho Macho Man) and The Night Hawk out no end. You just put it on one side. It’s not tight and it just keeps them off the knee. It works like the old type of guiders used to work. Brett Gray put me onto them. He’s had a bit of success with them. Now he’s probably wishing he hadn’t told me.” Breen also credits regular drivers Brad Williamson and Mark Hurrell for the run of successes. “Mark gives them the trip, gives you good feedback and the Williamson boys you just can’t get better.”   Bruce Stewart

With the scratching of Rockabilly Blues, Honor And Glory was always going to be hard to beat in today’s Nuggets Final at Ascot Park. Although only sixth at his last start driver Brent Barclay wasn’t too disappointed with the run. “We just got too far back. They ran a good half and a good quarter and he still made ground at the finish. At the end of the day when I analysed it, it wasn’t a bad run after all,” he said. In todays $12,000 feature, Barclay settled the gelding four back on the inside. At the 400 metres he moved forward and was forced three wide when Bottle Rock came off the inside running line. Once balanced Honor And Glory ran home nicely down the middle of the track to beat Bottle Rock by four and three quarter lengths running the 2200 metres in 2-40.5. “He’s still very green. Today is only his third start and he’s had a couple of workouts and a trial. We might just give him a wee spell and see what’s coming up further down the track. It didn’t feel like 2-40 (pace) today but he got to the line really good.” Returning to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart One of Honor And Glory’s main goals is the $20,000 Super Nuggets Final at the Northern Southland meeting on 9th March. He’s out of the former New Zealand record holder for 2200 metres Breath Of Life and is owned by Diane and Noel Cournane and The Butterworth Racing Syndicate. Rockabilly Blues was scratched due to a minor leg injury.   Bruce Stewart

Blair Orange knows Ascot Park well and he drove RnR Windermere to her strengths in an inch perfect performance for an all the way win today. The big Rocknroll Hanover mare is best in front according Andrea Tither who part owns her with husband and trainer Jack. “Three times in front for three wins,” she said. RnR Windermere qualified at three and won her first race as a five year old. “She’s taken a lot of time. She’s six and has just come right. But she’s very big and has been growing all the time. The whole breed is a bit like that. Jack has got more patience than me.” She’s out of the maiden Christian Cullen mare Sheza Windermere who’s been an excellent broodmare for the Tithers. Her first foal VC Windermere won four of his eighteen starts while the mare,s next foal BD Windermere won four races here and another five in Australia. Blow A Cloud followed, and won four races in New Zealand and another nine in Australia. He’s since headed to America where he’s also won races. Returning to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart The race was part of the Woodlands Stud sponsored Invited Drivers Series and Andrea says once they drew Orange they were confident the mare would perform well. “We were pretty happy when we drew him. Putting the sliding blinds on has really done the trick too.” The only other horse the Tithers have in work is a three year old by A Rocknroll Dance out of Sheza Windermere. “He’s a nice horse but he’s going to take time too.” The Invited Drivers Series was won by the South Of The Waitaki Team with sixty two points while the individual competition was won by Nathan Williamson with twenty nine points. Samantha Ottley was second with fourteen points.   Bruce Stewart

Border rivalry will be to the fore when the What The Hill Drivers Challenge takes place at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill on Friday (23 November). The challenge repeats last year’s successful format where a team of six from North of the Waitaki took on a team from South of the Waitaki. The North of the Waitaki team took the team honours on that occasion spearheaded by a former Southlander now domiciled in Canterbury, Gavin Smith, who took the Individual honours. However both teams were tied on points going into the final heat so it was a close run thing. As the defending champion Smith returns as part of the north team this year joined by Ricky May, Blair Orange, Samantha Ottley, Tim Williams and Jim Curtin. Attempting to wrest the silverware back onto this side of the Waitaki is the South of the Waitaki team led by the Williamson brothers – Nathan, Matthew and Brad along with Brent Barclay, Craig Ferguson and Allan Beck. The invited drivers compete in four heats with points allocated to the first five home on each occasion with 10 points for a win, 7 for second, 5 for third, 3 for fourth and 1 for fifth. Each driver receives the points they accumulate towards finding an individual champion while their points also go into their teams score to find the champion team. The event is a twilight meeting with the first race timed to start at 3.38pm. It is a perfect night to come out and enjoy some top class racing. Admission to the course will be free. One punter will take home a meal voucher from Level One Restaurant & Bar in Invercargill when a draw of all losing on course tote tickets is made after Race 6 while also after race 6 all children on course receive a free bag of lollies.   HRNZ Marketing

Picketts Ridge won his fourth race at the Riverton meeting on Sunday and Gore trainer John Ryan realises he's going to have to travel with him.  The Skyvalley gelding, owned by Ryan and Tony and Philippa Holland is now rated R75 and his days of racing consistently in the province may be numbered. "He's going to get handicapped out of it shortly. We won't be going to the Cup meeting or anything like that. We may have to take a wee trip up there at some stage to see how he can handle those trotters," said Ryan after the five year old came off 30 metres to beat King Cassidy by a head in the Neville Cleaver Fishing Aparima Handicap Trot. Picketts Ridge, in only his second season of racing is one of the province's most promising squaregaiters. At the end of last season he was starting to show his qualities and the rate of improvement has continued this season.  "He's developed a wee bit more. Last year he couldn't handle a 1000 metre track. At his first start at Gore he'd just break round the corners but that was also because he was recovering from injury. Last season we stuck to the big tracks." Ryan says he's trotting a lot better this season and is more relaxed on race day.  "This season he's working 10 seconds quicker on the Gore track and he's handling the bends a lot better. He's had three runs on a 1000 metre track now...... I'm real happy with the way he comes to the races. He goes to sleep in his stall and is more relaxed about it all." Driven by regular driver Nathan Williamson, Picketts Ridge settled midfield early before following King Cassidy forward with just over a lap to run. At the 550 metres mark King Cassidy took over from pacemaker Grace O'Malley with Picketts Ridge up challenging. King Cassidy and Picketts Ridge set down to fight out the finish and there was a head between them at the line. "He (Williamson) said he didn't trot as good today. I put it down to leaving the old shoes on. I should have perhaps reshod him. It's been a bit of an experiment in the last couple of weeks. I went from a mid weight heavy shoe with him to aluminiums and he won two races. The old saying is weight takes away the speed. He's handled the transition (shoe changes) well in that respect," stated Ryan. Ryan is a dab hand with trotters, he previously trained ten win mare Golden Gate.  "She had sheer speed. I'm not sure whether he'll get to that speed but he's only had ten starts." Sunday was a good day for Ryan with Golden Gate producing her first foal at Macca Lodge - a colt by Love You. "I got a photo from Brent (McIntyre). The mare's looking happy and the foal looks a bit bedraggled." Meanwhile it was a good day for good mates Alan Lindsay and Cleland Murdoch. The Invercargill based owners who have a share in quality pacer Swamp Major won with separate horse yesterday. Zenola's Art at odds of 14 to 1 won the Ryder Plumbing and Roofing Mobile Pace for Kirstin Barclay and Paul Ellis, while in the next race Triple VC owned by Murdoch and the Fanny Allen Trust overcame recent bad luck when he won the SBS Bank Mobile Pace. Ryder Plumbing principle Trevor Ryder also bred and shares in the ownership of Swamp Major.  Meanwhile Murray Little in partnership with his nephew Malcolm and Malcolm's wife Sarndra won the Fillies and Mares Feature with Excellent, while Allaboutdreams owned by Malcolm and Sarndra came in a half a length back in second place   Bruce Stewart

The Riverton Cup was always going to be tactical and when driver Matty Williamson took Airpark Flyer to the front with 1600 metres to go he knew his brother Nathan on Franco Santino, sitting at back of the field, was going to have to be good to beat him. With a lap to run Nathan did move Franco Santino forward to sit parked but Airpark Flyer proved every inch a stayer when he out muscled Franco Santino winning by a length and a half. The Dali five year old owned by Graeme Harris and Heather Jerard started his career with trainer Peter McClelland. "I always love the horses. As a young fella I worked part time up in Auckland as a waiter round the race tracks. I always wanted to own by own horse. My neighbour Peter McClelland asked me if I was interested in buying him. I fell in love with him and stuck with him through wind operations. I thought it was good to name him Airpark Flyer like the old freight train that he is. It's good for putting my business name out there," said Harris who owns Airpark Canterbury - the only South Island privately owned 24/7 off-site airport car parking business. Airpark Flyer winning the 2018 Riverton Cup - Photo Bruce Stewart. Harris has really got the racing bug and is enjoying the success Airpark Flyer's bring to Jerard and himself.  "His stable name is George. Trent brought him down yesterday. He checked him in the float and he was vitually asleep. He's got a kind demeanour about him but he's like Mike Tyson going into a boxing ring. When that gear goes on him he knows it's game on." With all the spoils - Photo Bruce Stewart Airpark Flyer won his first race for McClelland in November in 2017 at Rangiora when driven by Williamson. His form then deserted him and in September 2018 under the guidance of his new trainer Trent Yesberg he returned to the same track to record his second win. From that point on he's proved to be one of the finds of this season, winning four of his five starts.     "He's been a funny horse to work out but he just seems to be getting better and better. I don't do a lot of traditional training with him. We do a lot of interval training. He's thrived and gone to another level. I went to University and studied science and that sort of stuff and I try to incorporate a lot of that in my training techniques so whatever I do it's backed up by science. I work very closely with my vets and I'm big on soundness," Yesberg said.  Yesberg is perhaps best known as being one of Canterbury's best yearling preparers but he was always going to get into the training game.  "I've worked with some great trainers but I've never seen a horse go from what he was doing to what he's doing now. I think he'll go a long way particularly with the way he can stay. It's impressive."  Like most good horses Airpark Flyer has a tremendous will to win and has developed into a robust racehorse.  "When I got him he wasn't really quick but he's just getting faster and faster. Now his whole body is sound and he's really athletic. He has a great will to win. I can't really work him in company because he just runs them into the ground. You literally can't pull him up if you work him with company so he does a lot of his work by himself." And Yesberg is also big on individual feed regimes. "I'm pretty particular with my diets. All my horses are on individual diets. I don't feed one thing across the board. Airpark Flyer is quite a big horse and he does really well so I've got to be really careful with his weight management." And he points out that Williamson and Airpark Flyer are the perfect match.  "Yeah it suits his driving style a lot. Matty's a nice aggressive driver and the horse loves that sort of thing." Yesberg is in his fifth season of training after working for Brent Lilley, Greg and Nina Hope and having also spent time in America. "Greg and Nina have been a big influence on my career. I've picked up a lot of their training techniques." He's starting to get a few racehorses around him and he continues to prepare yearlings as well.  "It's a really successful part of my business. I've got twenty yearlings coming in for the sales so it's going to be busy for the next couple of months." Yesberg says Airpark Flyer is likely to have his next start in the Geraldine Cup on the 24th November. "The Country Cups is probably his go. He's such a good stand start horse so that's where he's placed best."  Yesberg also won earlier with trotter Missy Moo which won by twenty three and a quarter lengths. She was also driven by Matty Williamson.      Bruce Stewart 

Expensive yearling Honor and Glory recouped some of his $170,000 price tag when he impressively won his first race at Ascot Park today (Sunday). He was bred by local breeder Diane Cournane who shares in the ownership with her husband Noel and The Butterworth Racing Syndicate. Honor and Glory was originally assigned to Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s Rolleston stable after his sale to Merv and Meg Butterworth but because of his size he was never going to race as a young horse. “I think he was just growing too fast for his body,” said trainer Lauren Pearson who's also a niece of the Cournanes. The gelding was also trained for a short period by Knapdale trainer Robin Swain. “He was at Robin's jogging up. He couldn’t get around his track and kept galloping. Thankfully for us Robin recommended that he come here so he could be trained on a big track. We’ve had no problem with him galloping here.” Honor and Glory winning easily on debut - Photo Bruce Stewart. Prior to today’s debut the four year old Art Major gelding had won two workouts and two trials, hence his $1.30 starting price. “The first time he went to the workouts he showed a bit of speed and has just got better and better.” Pearson and her partner Brent Barclay who drove Honor and Glory, were relatively confident of a good showing today but had question marks around how he would go on the smaller Invercargill track. “He worked really well with Duke Of Wellington on Tuesday but you can never be too confident. We were just worried about the track and the first bend.” Brent Barclay, Honor And Glory, Lauren Peason and Diane Cournane - Photo Bruce Stewart. Meanwhile Pearson is happy with the way Duke Of Wellington went at Friday’s workouts. He won his three horse heat in a good fashion and looks set for another very good season. “He went real well and we’ll take him back (to the Workouts) again. He’s pulled up well and was bucking and kicking which is not like him.”   Bruce Stewart

Kilowatt Kid looked smart enough last season but he appeared to have gone to another level when he won the Woodlands Motors Mobile Pace at Ascot Park today. Last season Black found a formula for driving Kilowatt Kid that seemed to suit him. “He’s just one of those horses that had to be covered up, then from about the 600 you’d start driving him positive,” said trainer Alister Black. But Black has seen changes in the gelding this season. “He's stronger this year. He’s probably eating better too. Hopefully he’ll be able to do more work. Last year he couldn’t and he showed that. In the Supremacy he lead up and they went 3-20 (2700 metres) but he was found wanting at the top of the straight. But he still kept giving, and ran fifth.” The South of the Waitaki is a race specifically for horses trained south of the Waitaki River. It features on Show Day at Addington and although it's on the cards for Kilowatt Kid, it's not a certainty. “I haven’t decided yet but we’ll see how he comes through today and we’ll try and time it right.” In today’s race junior driver Kimberly Butt got Kilowatt Kid into the perfect position in the one one with Mach’s Back trucking along in front. Kilowatt Kid was hooked out just before turning in and he won by a length and a quarter. The winning time for the 2200 metre mobile was 2-39.6 and equalled the track and Southland record held by Mongolian Hero set in April last season. It was the second time Mach’s Back has set up a Southland record. He led for most of the journey in Franco Santino’s track and Southland record of 1-52.0 at the Wairio meeting in March. Today’s win by Kilowatt Kid was Black's fiftieth as a trainer. His first was with Rome at Forbury Park in May 2010. Winning connections in the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart  Meanwhile Black’s other star four year old Lawrence is recovering from an injury after running a brave second to Please Shuddup at Gore two weeks ago. “He was sound as a bell after running second at Gore. He was fine after the wash and a half an hour later when we were to go home he couldn’t walk. It turned out to be a slight stress fracture in his pastern. It’s only about three or four mls long. It’s a month to six weeks out before he starts work again. We’re just very grateful for what Southern Vets have done for us. I thought I’d lost him. I thought he’d come back better than any of them. He’ll be back for the Country Cups Final and all things going well I’ll take him with Get Lucky to the Easter meeting. “He’s (Get Lucky) come up really well. He’s still a bit cranky. He’s going to the workouts this Friday and he seems really bright.”   Bruce Stewart

Memphis Tennessee showed today at Ascot Park that he’s likely to be a force in the province's major three year old races later in the season. He showed a lot of tenacity in holding out a spirited Mighty Flying Art in the Rogerson’s Footwear Nuggets Final at the Invercargill HRC club meeting. The Bettor’s Delight gelding is owned by Southland couple Robert and Sharon Symon and is trained at Leeston by Terry and Glenys Chmiel. “He was owned by Wayne Higgs and trained by Mark Jones. He was actually sold but when the guy found out he wasn’t nominated for the Breeders Crown he wasn’t interested and that’s when we came on the scene. Terry trialed the horse and liked him and we purchased him as a two year old,” said Symon who gets a lot of satisfaction from racing his horses in his home province. Some thought was given to starting Memphis Tennessee in The Harness Jewels at the end of his two year old season but time was always going to be the gelding’s best friend, and he was turned out for a good spell. “He was close to getting into the Jewels but we decided being a small horse, he just needed time to bulk up which he had to do.” The two major Southland targets this season are the $20,000 Super Nugget and the $50,000 Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes in April. “You probably won’t see him down here till later in the season I don’t think.” Being the highest rated horse in today’s Nuggets Memphis Tennessee drew the outside of the front row. “Even though we got a bad draw Terry wasn’t too concerned.” The winning margin was a neck from the very promising Mighty Flying Art. Memphis Tennessee is a full brother to Delightful Memphis, the winner of seven races. The Symons trying to get their photo taken with their horse - Photo Bruce Stewart  Symon has been a very good investor in harness racing in the last twenty five years. The first horse he owned was the Son Of Afella gelding Sonny Brown which won nine races and was trained by his late father Russell.   “I’ve never been a breeder but I am this year. My good horse Nek Time has had a positive to Bettor’s Delight. With the breeding side too much can go wrong in my opinion and it’s painfully slow. I’d sooner pay a bit extra and have them running along.” The Symons have been in the transport industry for 30 years and Symon’s Transport is now owned by Russell and Sharon’s son, making it a third generation business. The Symons now farm deer on 200 acres at Waianawa. For them the last year has been a bit of a roller-coaster having recently lost the services of Franco Tai which they'd sent to Australia for Amanda Turnbull to train. “He was only there for two weeks, fell over and broke his pelvis and had to be put down. He was always my favourite and it was this time last year we were at Kaikoura winning the four year old race. So to be fair that was really upsetting.” Fortunately racing has it's highs as well as lows. Memphis Tennessee and Terry Chmiel beating Mighty Flying Art and Brent Barclay. Other winners on the day included Better Galleon for Balfour trainer Robert Wilson, Pickett's Ridge for John Ryan, and Vin Scully for trainer Hamish Hunter.   Bruce Stewart  

The Murray Brown trained Dallas Grimes an unlucky second on debut, got the winners cheque at the Northern Southland meeting at Ascot Park on Saturday when she proved too good in the Kubala Seeds Fillies and Mares Mobile Pace. Initially trained by John Hay she was offered on lease to Brown as a two year old. “He (Hay) was cutting down a bit and had a couple for lease, and I chose her. She’s been to the workouts as a two year old. She’s a nice wee mare and can only get better, we gave her a whole year off from her two year old season. John always said her was a bit light but she’s filled out,” said Brown. After qualifying nicely at Winton the camp was confident of a good first up run on this track two weeks ago but she had to settle for second after clearing a tight pocket and closing late. “He thought she’d win first up after the way she qualified. She’s got a good temperament and can be a bit rough in her gait but she’s getting better.” The four year old mare is raced by Gone Trotting Syndicate, Jonah’s 11 Syndicate and regular Brown clients Scottie Ramsay, Murray Heath, Kevin McCallum, Barry Brown, Reece Rogers and Bevan Brown. Winning connections with Dallas Grimes - Photo Bruce Stewart. Dallas Grimes is named after a secondary antagonist in Beavis and Butt Head. She's by Changeover out of the Bettor’s Delight mare Madison Lee and is closely related to Courage Under Fire. Later in the programme some of the owners of Dallas Grimes tasted success again when the Shannon Armour trained mare Ivana Legacy in the hands of junior driver Charlotte Purvis won the Advance Agriculture Junior Drivers Pace.   Bruce Stewart

“It was a glorified trial more or less,” commented trainer Darryn Simpson after Pres The Belle won impressively at Ascot Park today. It was the mare's first run of the season and her sixth win from just seventeen starts. Prior to today’s race she’d had just one trial at Forbury Park (last week) in which she won easily by ten lengths. “She won her trial quite nice. Her work's been really good and her heart rate has been super. The way she worked on Thursday I thought she’d be very hard to beat.” It’s expected that Pres The Belle will be improved from the run and Simpson noted she wasn’t blowing at all afterwards. “She’d blow harder after a run at home.” At the end of last season some thought was given to starting Pres The Belle at the Harness Jewels at Cambridge but Simpson says he’s glad he didn’t. “I just didn’t think it was her. If it was in Christchurch we would have gone but I think it may have taken a bit more (weight) off her.” And he says The Pres mare has matured during her break after spending six weeks at one of her owners - Dexter Nind’s Mataura Valley property. “She had a bit of a growth spurt when she was out. She probably should have been racing a month ago but I thought I’d wait on her.”   He says the plan now is to race at the Tuapeka meeting at Forbury at the end of the month. “Cup time is what we’re looking at after that. I think she’ll be competitive up there. She can do a bit of everything and she’s improved from last year.” Finding a driver for Cup Week is also on the to do list for Simpson. “I said to Tim we’ll get through Tuapeka where hopefully he can drive her, and we’ll go from there. I’m sure we’ll find someone up there.” Pres The Belle is out of the Sundon mare Daisy Belle which won eight races for trainer Stu Campbell who has a share in Pres The Belle. Meanwhile Ryal Bush trainer Peter Hunter was in sparkling form at the Northern Southland meeting, winning with Unloaded and My Georgie Boy and also getting a second with Bunter’s Dream. His only other runner Rakabeamer ran eleventh. Brendon McIntyre Hunters brother in-law, shares in the ownership of My Georgie Boy and is in the Gottashearasheep Syndicate which races Unloaded.   Bruce Stewart 

John and Judy Stiven got a lot of satisfaction when Countess Of Arden won in their racing colours at Ascot Park today. The Net Ten EOM filly which was bred by the Tapanui couple had a tough introduction to racing last season, fronting up as a two year old to the unbeaten Princess Tiffany. At that point she was trained by Barry Purdon. After three starts in the north she was bought home to West Otago and sent to the spelling paddock. When she went back into work it was with Oamaru trainer Brad Williamson. In today’s race from the inside of the second row, she had to be eased round Last Hurrah who was slow to start in front of her. Once the field settled Countess of Arden was second last. As the speed dropped off with just over a round to run Williamson sent the filly forward and with a lap to run she was in front and held on to win by a neck from the trailing horse Gomeo Denario. It was noticeable that Countess Of Arden was switching off and on as she went down to the line so you’d expect once she fully learns the racing game she’ll improve. Countess of Arden is out of Young Tegan and her pedigree goes back to a host of good fillies including Eden’s Joy which won six races for Henry Skinner and Young Eden which won the 1987 New Zealand Oaks. “The depth of Southland in this family is unbelievable. We took a foal out of her before this one - a filly by Panspacificflight. She was a cracker but unfortunately she got a virus and died before it was weaned. I’d only borrowed the mare at that stage and I rang Russell (owner Russell Hollows) to tell him about the dead foal and he asked me if I wanted to buy the mare. We ended up doing that and it was the first year Net Ten EOM came out so we put her to him and this is the result,” said John Stiven. Young Tegan is now part of the extensive band of broodmares at Arden Lodge. “Last year we sold A Rocknroll Dance colt out of her which Colin MacPherson bought. This year she’s got a Sweet Lou colt and is in foal to Always B Miki.” The Stivens are now the biggest Southland vendors of yearlings at the National Sales and they have five colts and six fillies on their books for next February sales. John is particularly excited about an Art Major colt out of Venus Serena. “He’s sensational.” He says others that are looking good are an Art Major colt out of Tricky Woman and a Captaintreacherous colt out of Southwind Arden. Interesting times ahead, at the track and at the Sales.      Bruce Stewart

Trainer Phil Williamson knew today that if Davey Mac had his mind on the job at Ascot Park he’d be hard to beat. Williamson had openly stated that quality trotter Majestic Man whom he also trains would be the hardest to beat but the start would perhaps be an issue for him, and that’s the way the race panned out. “Once we got round the first bend and he started to trot solid I knew then that they’d have to come and get him. Wee Majestic Man missed the start so he’s probably gone massive,” he said. Once in front Williamson put the handlebars down and it was all about ‘catch me if you can.’   “He’s always had ability but he’s been decidedly disappointing in some of his races because he hasn’t gone as good as he can do at home or at the trials. But today he got cracking a bit. Actually I couldn’t pull him up so that’s a good sign.” The winning margin was five and a half lengths with Williamson sitting quietly on the gelding. Majestic Man came a gallant second. “I didn’t want to put too much pressure on him at the end of the race because if you go into a gallop right at the end you think ‘what did you do that for?” Back to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart  Last season was Davy Mac’s first, and he went with a big rap. But after winning his first start as a five year old his form dropped away. “He was a whole lot more on the pulse today. He wanted to race a lot more than he did when he won his first race here. You’d have to say he’s come a wee way but there’s plenty of room for him to come a lot further. He’s got the ability of a good horse but he’s probably going to be one of those horses that’s going to be a work in progress.” He’s owned by Williamson’s wife Bev who bred the Sundon six year old out of her Britewell mare Little Contessa - making him a full brother to Irish Whisper, the winner of eleven races and Heard The Whisper, which won seven. “He’s a nervy Sundon and he wants to go out and run his first half in a quick time.” Williamson says he’s going to have to manage the gelding’s programme carefully so he reaches his full potential. “I’m going to space his races because he puts a lot in (to racing) and he takes a lot out of himself.” Phil’s win on Davey Mac was one of five driving wins by the Williamson family on the day. Meanwhile former Invercargill Cup winner Vi Et Animo made a surprise visit to his favourite track today as the mount for Clerk of the Course Sally McKay. He was on the fresh side and certainly put McKay’s arms to the test.   Bruce Stewart

1 to 16 of 470
1 2 3 4 5 Next »