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The well bred Doitson did just that at his first start at Ascot Park yesterday. The Bettor's Delight colt is part owned by Tony Hickman who was on-course yesterday to see the three year old beat second favourite Franco Santino. "He's gone alright at trials but it's a different story on race day, " said Hickman whose brother Kevin owns Valachi Downs - a thoroughbred stud near Matamata. Tony's owned a handful of nice horses including In The Pocket gelding Jackson Browne. He won six races for Gerard O'Reilly before Davey and Catherine Butt won another five races with him including the 2006 Northern Southland Cup.   Doitson (Red) beating Franco Santino - Photo Bruce Stewart. Doitson had been sighted at two trials - running second in May to the Nigel McGrath trained Sheriff while he won his second trial on the same course last month.  "We expected him to go well and hoped he'd do things right. He'll come back for the final and if he's going good in April he'll come back again for the Supremacy," said co-trainer Davey Butt. The final he's referring to is the second final of the Nuggets Series at the Riverton Trotting Club meeting on Sunday 5th November. If he wins that final he'll also be eligible for the $20,000 Super Nuggets Final in which all Nugget winners and second place getters are eligible to start. That race will be held at the Northern Southland meeting in March. Winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart. Doitson is the first colt out of the one win Christian Cullen mare Sister Bertrand. Her third dam is Hazel Hanover the dam of Holmes Hanover.  Butt has reined 1,134 winners. However he's been suffering from vertigo and prior to yesterday hadn't driven at the races since June when he drove Wilma's Mate to win the $100,000 Four Year Old Ruby at Ashburton.  "I'm still driving work at home but not at the races. The specialist reckons in another three to six months it should be gone. I can't balance properly and everything's a bit shaky when I'm moving." When asked if he was missing race day driving he said, "A wee bit with horses like Wilma's Mate. You miss the good ones." Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing   Doitson winning his race

The latest harness racing star to come out of the John and Katrina Price Winton stable Chicago Bull, is now doing a fantastic job in Western Australia for trainer Gary Hall. The diminutive gelding was bred by Roger, Helen, John and Katrina Price from their Christian Cullen mare Chicago Blues which they bought off Aidan Johnstone for $40,000 at the 2008 Yearling Sales. Chicago Blues is from the famed Black Watch family and her dam Bluejeanbabyqueen is by Jenna’s Beach Boy out of the nine win Vance Hanover mare Pacific Flight whose wins included the 1993 New Zealand Oaks. She then went on to have a successful racing career in America winning a further thirty eight races and recording a mile time of 1-51.2. Bluejeanbabyqueen despite her international pedigree didn’t reach any great heights on the race track. She started her career in America in 2004 before she came to New Zealand where David and Catherine Butt took over her training. Her only win was at Wyndham in March 2016. Chicago Blues is Bluejeanbabyqueen’s first foal and one of only two winners from her eight live foals. “We were interested in her (Chicago Blues) but she was passed in. She wasn’t a big filly. It was Aidan Johnstone who sold her. He had a terrible sale that year. One other yearling that he had which was probably going to fetch a bit slipped over on the concrete and broke a pelvis. She (Chicago Blues) went early in the sale but after that I guess he was keen to sell because he hadn’t had a very lucky sale at all.” Katrina said. Consequently Chicago Blues was bought by the Prices privately a week later. “We always wanted something out of the Black Watch family and she was one that we targeted for that reason.” Looking back into Chicago Blues pedigree; as well as leaving Bluejeansbabyqueen, Pacific Flight also left the unbeaten Sirius Flight (The Big Dog) which won five of its five starts in America. Chicago Blues third dam is Significant which has made a major contribution to the New Zealand breeding scene. She’s left winners of 104 races with her biggest winners being Pacific Flight (47 wins) and The Unicorn (29). Sirius Flight after her stint in America went to stud in New Zealand where she has left Malak Uswaad (9 wins) and Timeless Perfection (6 NZ wins). She’s owned by Cavalla Bloodstock and they continue to breed from her. They offered a colt foal by Raging Bull out of Lady Moonlight (Sands A Flyin – Sirius Flight) at last year’s Yearling Sales which was bought by Chrissie Dalgety for $27,000. Commentator Mark McNamara and Cavalla Bloodstock are breeding from another one of Sirius Flight’s daughters Miss Moonlight Shadow (Christian Cullen). Her son Schweinsteiger by Falcon Seelster was purchased by the owners of Franco Ledger – the Whatever Syndicate,and Hamish Hunter for $16,000, also at last year’s sales. But back to Chicago Blues.As a racehorse she showed potential. “She had a lot of ability but she had a few problems as well. She used to lock on and hang very badly. As a four year old she used to tie up really badly. We only had her right a couple of times. One of those days she ran a super second to Malak Uswaad at Winton when those two cleared out from the field. She was hormonal and always in season so we had to make the decision to quit,” said Katrina. “She showed a lot of speed when we first broke her in,” added John. It was just a matter of slowing her down.” At the end of her racing career Chicago Blues was sent up to Cran Dalgetys. “She just wouldn’t go for him because she just kept hanging so we brought her home,” said Katrina. So twenty three starts yielded three wins, two seconds and a third. She was sent to Bettor’s Delight to begin her stud career. Her first foal Chicago Bull was born on the 14th October 2014. “He was small but nuggety so he got the nickname Bull straight away,” said Katrina.  We castrated him early because Peter Williams said “I think you should cut him. It might help him grow,” said John. He never did grow much and for a start there were reservations about him even making it as a racehorse. “He wasn’t a natural at the start. He just wouldn’t pace at all. I was going to give up on him but John had another go and the day he started pacing he was just off.” It was then that he started to show real potential. “Up here at Winton one day be worked 2-04 one day, half in 56 in September and did it on his ear. The year before we’d had Democrat Party and we thought he was as good as her at the same stage,” stated John.  I’ve had other horses that have felt good until you hit top speed. Whereas he never felt good until you hit that top speed. The faster you went the bigger he felt,” said Katrina. He won at Winton twice as a two year old and buyer interest began to heighten but his size was putting some off. “They’d ring up and say they’d checked him and he was too small. The guy that wanted him originally from Perth said he wasn’t good enough for him. He ended up buying another horse that’s gone no good,” Katrina said. Chicago Bull finished his two year old season by running seventh in the Two Year Old Emerald at Ashburton behind Lazarus. His time for the 1609 metres that day was 1-53.7 and he was less than five lengths from the winner. He was then sold to clients of Gary Hall Senior’s stable in West Australia. “It was a strong crop that year with horses like Lazarus. He ran home in better than 25 that day when he came along the rails. That’s what sold him really. They bought him a week after that,” said John. North Island bloodstock agent Peter Blanchard did the deal. “He was a neat wee horse to work with. He was always on your side. As far as a two year old goes whatever we asked him to do at home he never ever stop trying and he was always hitting the line really strongly,” said Katrina. “At home I always thought we never got to the bottom of him. He always had his knockers because he was so small and you were always worried that he’d reach his limit quickly. He’s in the right spot at Gloucester Park. He just seems to like that track.” His Australian record is impeccable - sixteen wins, three seconds and four thirds from twenty three starts. Chicago Bull His wins include the Group One West Australian Derby, Group One McInerney Ford Four Year Old Classic and $450,000 Group One West Australian Pacing Cup. He has now won $854,314. Chicago Blues continues to be bred from, producing a colt by Somebeachsomewhere named Maliblu Beach and a two year old filly by Rock N Roll Heaven.   “He (Maliblu Beach) was just the complete opposite in every respect to Bull. He was huge, ugly, slow and dirty, said Katrina.                                                                                                 “We roped him so many times but he’d still kick you so he’s not around.” added John.  The two year old Rock N Roll Heaven filly appears to be better. “She’s really big. She’s done a bit and is a nice filly but she’s in the paddock.” And the good news is that Chicago Blues has just had a colt by Bettor’s Delight making him a full brother to Chicago Bull. And she’s returning to that sire. “We want a colt. Don’t want fillies. We had a run where we had 23 foals and we had 21 fillies. We really want colts,” said John. Although the Prices are having a quiet time on the training front there are plenty more foals to be broken in and tried and certainly some rich pedigrees to match up with the wide array of stallions available. Chicago Bull still has plenty of racing ahead of him and the Prices will no doubt continue to watch a bit of late night Trackside as he tends to do most of his racing in Western Australia. And despite his diminutive stature he’s proof that size doesn’t matter.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Harness Racing trainer/driver Bob Butt may have won the feature at Phar Lap on Sunday but his second win of the day was the most satisfying. Butt topped off a big weekend by winning the Timaru Winter Cup when driving Easy Rider to victory for his parents David and Catherine Butt who train the winner of four races at their Woodend Beach base. However, Hall Of Fame's win in the last race, a c1 pace, gave Butt a race-to-race driving double but more importantly a training win of his own. An eight length winner on debut at Addington in October, Half Of Fame went to Alexandra Park for the Christmas carnival but was never able to show his best.  "I took him up north and he got really crook so I had to give him a long spell," Butt said. The Rocknroll Hanover three-year-old was a one and three quarter length winner in a c1 pace on Sunday - his first start since December 18. Sunday's win was a major relief for Butt as the talented pacer returned to form. Butt said Hall Of Fame is likely to have one or two more starts before being sent for a spell in preparation for a cup week campaign. Easy Rider was quick away from the front tape in the Timaru Winter Cup and Butt drove him hard to beat Well Armed to the lead but with just over a lap to run he give it away when Blair Orange sent Highview Freddy, who started off 20m, forward. "Highview Freddy's always better in front so I knew if I could hold the lead he would be coming around at some point." Easy Rider was then able to sit in the trail until he was let loose up the passing lane. "He's just that sort of horse, if he gets that perfect run he's always dangerous," Butt said.  Easy Rider, raced by Tony McGrath, beat home Highview Freddy by a head with a further length back to Well Armed. The Art Official four-year-old made it back-to-back victories after winning a c1-c2 junior drivers race at Rangiora in the hands of Matt Anderson on June 19. Hall Of Fame's win was Butt's second training win over the weekend with Matatoki winning a c1-c2 trot at Addington on Thursday night to give him a 100 per cent success rate with just the two runners being lined up. Matatoki was Butt's third driving win at Addington with earlier wins coming in Breeders Crown heats behind the Paul Nairn-trained pair of Conon Bridge and Wilma's Mate. Matatoki is likely to have another start before also being spelled for cup week. Matt Kermeen

Canterbury Harness Racing participants are starting to talk. *Can we have faith in the Racing Integrity Unit? *Will a racecourse investigator turn up on my home doorstep? Those are just some of the questions being asked by drivers, stable hands and trainers. Those with little faith in the RIU will now have almost none, after it was revealed that Racing Investigator Ms Kylie Williams turned up on Woodend based driver/trainer Bob Butt's door step and demanded that Butt travel to the Rangiora Racetrack to take a urine and saliva test for prohibitive substances. That was after Butt had called in sick after being struck down with illness, meaning he was unable to take up his drive on Easy Rider at Rangiora. Easy Rider is trained by his parents, David and Catherine Butt at their Woodend training establishment. With the Racing Investigator testing a large range of drivers and stable hands at the Rangiora meeting, and Butt calling in sick, it appears as though they thought Butt had been tipped off and had called in sick to dodge being tested. After arriving at the Woodend stables and repeatedly knocking on the door, the Racing Investigator was unable to raise Butt from a deep sleep, so continued to walk around the Butt's training centre until they found another license holder in Robbie Close, who works for Mark Jones. Jones lease's a section of the Butt's establishment. With the Racing Investigator demanding that Close enter the household and wake Butt up, they then requested that Butt travel to the Rangiora Course to undergo a drug test. With Butt refusing to leave his home due to his obvious illness, Racing Investigator Ms Kylie Williams then arranged for the testing equipment to be transported to Butt's house in Woodend. "I'm not a big fan of them coming to home to do it because I was just sick and only had one drive so didn't bother going. "But I also know why they test for it. So I'm moving on." said Butt, when spoken to by the NZ Herald. With the Racing Investigator also wanting samples from Junior Driver Matthew Anderson, he was forced to travel from his Rolleston base to Woodend after already having left the racecourse after his driving engagement in Race 5. It took over a hour to get the two tests they were after, which both returned negative readings for drugs and alcohol. What were they looking for? David and Catherine Butt were reportedly upset by the events and wrote a letter to RIU general manager Mike Godber and was talked about at a recent HRNZ board meeting last week. The RIU sent Butt a letter yesterday outlining that legal opinion. When spoken to by Michael Guerin from the NZ Herald - RIU's Chief Investigator Neil Grimstone had the following to say:  "When Mr Butt didn't attend the meeting, and only pulled out after it may have become obvious there was testing going on, that may have raised some suspicions," "But his test showed nothing irregular and he has no case to answer, we want to be very clear about that. "We are not looking to catch people inside the racing industry who want to drink, even if they choose to do so to excess. "We are about providing a safe environment at race and trials meetings and that can extend to all licenced racing people, but most importantly trainers and drivers. "But this is not the start of some random, out of race or trials day testing of everybody in the racing industry for alcohol or drugs. "Obviously drugs are illegal but alcohol isn't and what racing people do, within limits of course, away from race and trials days is their business." Other questions that need to be answered: How can Peter Lamb be a “Racing Investigator, Stipendiary Steward and a Starter? Take a look at our recent article on the conflict of interest... Why aren't the other three Racing Investigator's doing their jobs and testing for alcohol and drugs in their areas? Why can't it become policy that each driver must sign in when they arrive on course and while they are doing that, then process to do a alcohol test? Would this not be the best way to show the public that our drivers are free of any alcohol prior to their driving engagements. Harnesslink Media

Ten horsemen and one horsewoman were inducted into the Noel Taylor New Zealand Trotting Hall Of Fame on Auckland Cup night last Friday. But it was harness racing legend, Charlie Roberts, who stole the limelight at the 4pm ceremony. He was one of four industry participants who were also bestowed with ‘Harness Racing Contribution Awards’. Mr Roberts, who turned 90 this month, left hospital on Friday especially to be at the function and to watch Adore Me run second in the Auckland Cup.  A renowned veterinarian, breeder, stud master and owner, Mr Roberts has been a driving force in New Zealand harness racing circles for more than 60 years. Initially involved in thoroughbreds it has been his association with Woodlands stud that has kept him a household harness racing name. For example at last year’s annual Harness Racing Awards he Christchurch Mr Roberts won five trophies including Owner and Breeder-of-the-Year, as well as awards for his champion stallion and broodmare Bettor’s Delight and Scuse Me. As co-owner of Christen Me and Adore Me, added to his status as a true harness racing legend. Mr Roberts is also the only person to be named Breeder-of-the-Year in both the standardbred and thoroughbred codes. Being an original shareholder in Sir Tristram is another one of the many feathers in his cap. Long before Woodlands Stud Mr Roberts was associated with Haunui Farm, and later qualified as a veterinary surgeon based at Takanini. He became an expert on the reproductive aspect of breeding and more than six decades ago he helped set up the original swabbing proceedings on a national basis. In 1976 Mr Roberts established the Riverside Veterinary and 11 years later the Auckland Vet Centre in partnership with Andrew Grierson, who is now the leading advisor to both codes in all veterinary matters. In partnership with Grierson, Mr Roberts in 1987, bought what was then ‘Harness World’ at a mortgagee sale. They returned its original title of Woodlands and revolutionised standardbred breeding in New Zealand by concentrating on shuttling stallions from the United States and then buying the Southern Hemisphere rights. In The Pocket was the first and his line changed the face of breeding in this country. Then Bettor’s Delight made an even greater impact, now dominating premierships on both sides of the Tasman as well as premierships in North America. He has also been our most dominant forces at recent yearling sales. The 15 people to receive a commemorative plaque and Hall Of Fame cap were: TRAINING ACHIEVEMENT (500 wins or more): Tim Butt – 583 wins and $7,406,072. Tony Herlihy (MNZM) – 670 wins and $8,304,330. Doug Gale – 524 wins and $4,809,758. John Hay – 530 wins and $4,168,136. Grant Payne (Mark Purdon) – 585 wins and $14,433,012. David and Catherine Butt ¬– 676 wins and $5,420,711 DRIVING ACHIEVEMENT (1,000 wins or more): Dexter Dunn – 1,232 wins and $12,047,272. David Butt – 1,100 wins and $9,789,301. Ken Barron – 1,024 wins and $8,557,176. Jim Curtin – 1,430 wins and $11,225,559. 3,000 WINS: Maurice McKendry – 3,002 and $25,452,271. OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO HARNESS RACING: Charlie Roberts. Alby Gain. Bob McArdle Pat O’Brien. Note: Statistics were as at March 10, 2014. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing NZ)

A big night of trotting at Tabcorp Park Melton Friday night was capped by New Zealand's most exciting squaregaiting filly in a dominant harness racing Group 1 display. Habibti muscled her way to the front in the Glenferrie Farm Victoria Trotters Oaks then cruised to a stunning seven-metre win.

Victorian harness racing trainer David Aiken is confident his filly Spidergirl can run a big race in the New South Wales Trotters Oaks at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night despite lining up against the best New Zealand three year old filly Habibti. Spidergirl has been the benchmark for her age and sex this season in Australia, remaining undefeated after six runs this year but Aiken acknowledges this is her biggest test.

Not only did she beat the boys, she set yet another NZ record in the process. That was the remarkable feat Habibti pulled off when winning the $80,000 New Zealand Trotting Derby at tonight's feature harness racing meeting at Addington.

In the first heat of the harness racing Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star it was Kiwi-champion Stig who cast aside his demons to sit parked for the last lap and prove too good.

Everyone expected a Love You sired quinella in tonight’s (Friday March 22) harness racing feature for the three-year-old trotting fillies at Addington.

Classy Love You filly Habibti justified her late-payment for the Sires Stakes Series when winning tonight’s (Friday March 15) Hutton Racing Stables Sires’ Stakes Trot Prelude at Addington.

Canterbury harness racing driver Bob Butt described his first win back in New Zealand, at his first drive since returning, as only he could.

Barrier number three should be all it takes to see Justalittlebettor back in winning form in tonight’s (Friday February 22) harness racing fillies feature at Addington.

All eyes will be on the clock; as well as the star-studded three-year-old trotting line up that is, when Royal Aspirations and a number of other young talent's contest Saturday's (February 9) harness racing feature for the 3yo trotters-The Group Three Hambletonian Classic ($25,000).

The David and Catherine Butt trained star 2yo filly of last season, and group one Caduceus Club Classic winner Opulent (Christian Cullen-Imprint) has been sold for a 6 figure sum to Western Australian interests and is set to join the harness racing stable of top Perth trainers, Greg & Skye Bond.

The David and Catherine Butt trained Opulent put her Alexandra Park hoo-doo behind her when she won harness racing's Group One $120,000 Nevele R Stud Caduceus Club Classic for 2-year-old pacing fillies at Alexandra Park tonight (Friday April 20).

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