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By Garrick Knight Every stallion needs a flagship horse in their first crop if they want to join the elite ranks as time wears on. The new stallion game can be a cruel and unforgiving exercise for studs, who take the annual gamble on new sires to try and gather a bigger slice of the ever-dwindling market share. Christchurch’s Nevele R Stud, once the country’s flagship stud farm and nursery, had fallen off the pace in recent years as super sires the likes of Bettor’s Delight and Art Major had boosted their Auckland-based competitors. But like most things, the stud game is cyclical and Nevele R are on their way up the ladder thanks in to part to a little bit of luck. When Ged Mooar and the team at Nevele R secured the frozen semen rights to a new trotting stallion back in 2016, they could not have imagined just what a good move that would turn out to be. The USA-based son of Cantab Hall has since shot to stardom as the father of superstar three-year-old colt Greenshoe, who came from his first crop. “What it marks it more remarkable is that he only had 29 foals in that first crop,” said Mooar, the General Manager at Nevele R. “He was still racing at the time and only covered 40-odd mares. “So, to get a superstar like Greenshoe is quite amazing.” Early last week, the flow-on effects of that were evident when his full brother, Maverick, sold for US$1.1 Million at a Kentucky auction. And Nevele R are now are benefitting too with Father Patrick’s book for this breeding season fully subscribed well in advance. “We started getting calls back in March from a lot of people, a lot of top breeders with good trotting mares. “I must have put the sign up over a month ago that he was full and he’s attracted a wonderful book of mares.” Father Patrick’s first Down Under crop have just turned two and the New Zealand contingent numbers 29 foals, too. Despite the calendar only just ticking over to October, he already has a workout winner and it came from New Zealand’s best stable. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen took the filly, named La Reina Del Sur, for a public hit-out with a stablemate at Rangiora on September 25 and she got home in a 30-second quarter to win. Importantly, she trotted perfectly and did everything right. “That’s in line with everything we have heard from breakers and trainers who have done the early education with the Father Patrick stock,” said Mooar. “Quite a few have said they’re rapt with them and that has been reflected in his book this season. “We’ve been astounded, to be honest, at the interest in him.” And Greenshoe isn’t just a one-off freak, either. Father Patrick’s next crop, juveniles in North America, have been kicking goals too and he is battling it out with the established king of trotting sires, Muscle Hill, at the top of all metric tables there at present. Unfortunately, there are only 12 yearlings in New Zealand this season, but the next crop, foaling down this spring, will number more than 80 while next year’s is expected to be well in to six figures. Trotting buffs will get their chance to buy one though – Mooar says Nevele R and sister company Spreydon Lodge plan on consigning a colt out of the former good mare Hot Pants in the upcoming yearling sales. It wasn’t just Father Patrick doing the job for Nevele R in Kentucky last week – pacing sire Always B Miki also stuck his hand up, his progeny selling incredibly well. Eleven of his stock sold for six-figures at the premium ‘day 1’ sale, including a high price of US$290,000 for a filly. In fact, by all common indicators, he was second only to Somebeachsomewhere in terms of popularity. He’s stood two seasons in New Zealand so far, in a joint collaboration between Nevele R and Alabar Stud, getting just shy of 100 mares both times. But there will be none of the usual ‘third season hangover’ that strikes virtually every stallion – the breeding season before their first crop have been broken in or going through the yearling sales. “He’s going to serve more mares this year than in each of his first two,” said Mooar. “They sold like hot cakes in the USA last week and the feedback has been that he has really left a stamp on his stock. “Really impressive, athletic types with good conformation and that was reflected not only in his American sale results, but in the interest we have been getting down here. “Peter Lagan, from New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred, made a point of telling me that in his recent inspections, he was quite impressed by them” The third strong to the bow for Nevele R as they fight their way back up the stud ladder is Vincent, who is about to embark on his second season at stud, again in a joint deal with Alabar. “He got 260 mares between here and Australia last season, and 150 of them were in New Zealand. “The first foals are dropping now so are we are eagerly anticipating their arrivals. “He’ll serve a nice book again, going by the bookings we have so far.” Recently retired pacing star Ultimate Machete is a new sire for the Stud and already has in excess of 60 bookings. “He’s going ok – it’s never easy for a colonial stallion, but we are happy with the response to him. “He’s impeccably-bred; his brother was last season’s three-year-old of the year and his sister is a Group 1 winner in Perth. “We’re optimistic.” Not just about Ultimate Machete, but the future of the famous nursery, no doubt. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight There are plenty of questions to be answered heading in to tonight’s $22,000 Sires Stakes heat at Cambridge. Local colt Eagle Watch is fresh-up since contesting the Jewels at Addington back in early June but faces the high-calibre Ray Green-trained pair of Copy That and Line Up, and the Robert Dunn’s impressive Mighty Looee. But one, if not both, of Green’s duo have question marks hanging over them and it would be reasonable to think that Eagle Watch could be the benefactor from a preferable gate. But co-trainer Matty White says his horse, too, is not at 100 percent ahead of this crucial race, so punter’s should exercise caution. “The only time I’ve been really happy with any of his three workouts was the last one (last Saturday at Cambridge). “He might just need a bit of racing to get to his peak and I wonder whether a couple of those he faces this week might have the fitness edge on him. “I’m happy enough with him going in to it though and he came through that last workout well.” White says he “would like to think” Eagle Watch can find the markers and trail one of the race’s three favourites, which would set him up nicely for a cosy trip. “He hasn’t got blistering gate speed and he’s never really drawn well enough to be used early, so we will learn a lot more this week.” Line Up, who has a big reputation within the Lincoln Farms camp, has been struggling with the effects of a foot abscess, which burst out of his foot last Wednesday and is believed to be the reason behind his defeat after pacing rough when last produced a fortnight ago. “It could have been brewing for a month and would certainly explain way he galloped out of the gate the other night and put in those funny steps,” Green said on the stable’s website. Green noted yesterday that Line Up had shown vast improvement in the past seven days, but the fact remained he had missed some work. “It’s impossible to say how far down on his best he’ll be but obviously he could be going into the race better.” Copy That, who has herculean when winning at Alexandra Park last time, subsequently won a workout impressively on his home track in Pukekohe last Saturday. But he has shown repeatedly, in both workouts and races, that he has deficiencies in his gait, especially on bends at high speed, and will need a faultless display this time to beat some high-quality opponents. The other leading chance is Mighty Looee, who turned heads with a last-to-first win on September 13, but that was a significantly weaker field than he faces tonight. Bookies opened Copy That a $2.30 favourite, with Mighty Looee and Line Up on the second line at $3.20 while Eagle Watch was on the third line at $16 alongside Cloud Break. White and training partner Mike Berger take three others to the races tonight and he felt the big boy, All Yours, was the stable’s best chance, in a 2700-metre junior drivers’ race. “He’s just so honest and has been running good sectionals lately. “We were a little disappointed last time but he came up with a bruised heel afterwards and that’s behind him now. “He’s quite versatile and the longer trip will definitely suit.” White also gave a lead towards maiden trotter Presidential Jewel in the first race, who he pilots for Roger Villiger. “I quite like her and wouldn’t think she’ll stay a maiden for long. “She’s lovely gaited and the 2700 will suit her as well.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight An inspired plan delivered immediate on-track results when Triple Eight took out the $30,000 Franklin Long Roofing Spring Cup at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Always regarded as a brilliant talent with impressive speed, the big son of American Ideal just had a couple of flaws that he needed to overcome if connections wanted to tackle the best races going forward. “He’s always had a roughness in his gait and, while it will never be perfect, we felt that part of it was because he just wasn’t strong enough,” trainer Steve Telfer told HRNZ post-race. “So, after he ran third in the Uncut Gems at Addington back in June, rather than spell him, we gave him six weeks on the water walker instead. “The result is he came back much bigger and stronger.” It took a canny David Butcher drive to get the win after the horse was four back on the markers with a lap to go. Butcher is the master of the legal push-out shortly after the winning post with a lap to go and he once again pulled it off at the expense of outsider Red Reactor, who was then forced to race three-wide the last lap. Butcher let Triple Eight down over the final two furlongs and he nailed a very brave Mach Shard, who sat parked throughout, in the shadows of the post. So, are we about to see the horse scale the heights of the open class ranks and become a serious threat to the All Stars army? Telfer isn’t getting carried away yet, but he does have ambitious plans. “We’ve mapped out a plan for him and that will include the Inter Dominions, Auckland Cup and then a trip to Aussie in the new year. “I don’t think I’ll be tempted to late nominate for the New Zealand Cup – you just can’t do it all. “To prepare for a big race like that, then return to Auckland for three races in a week, then possibly a final and the Auckland Cup, it’s just too much. “We’ll keep him at home and prepare for a big summer up here – that’s the best option for us.” After only one “soft” trial in the lead up, Telfer expects firm improvement heading forward, with the Holmes D G in a fortnight’s time the next logical aim. “He looked to be getting tired 100 out so I expect he will get a lot of benefit out of it.” Last night’s win was also the first start for a bunch of new Australian owners that purchased a quarter share in Triple Eight over the winter. The group, headed by Victorian commercial breeder Shannon Nixon, now race Triple Eight with his breed, Scott Plant, and Jill and Steve Stockman’s Stonewall Stud. While only finishing sixth, Star Galleria put up a superb performance off his 20-metre handicap to get as close as he did. Trainer/driver Steven Reid was ecstatic post-race. “I’m rapt with that; when they slowed to a 32 quarter that took us out of it, otherwise we might have been a chance of winning. “He’ll come back here in two weeks, over the 2700, a lot fitter horse, and be very hard to beat.” Reid also reported that a scope earlier in the work had cleared the horse of any recurrence of a throat issue that required minor surgery in November of last year. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight It may have said he ran last, but a quiet workout at Cambridge last Saturday told Andrew Neal everything he needed to know ahead of Credit Master’s resumption at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Local spies clocked him home in 56 seconds under a stranglehold and, sure enough, that translated to race night success when he upset hot favourite Lemond six days later in the night’s $23,000 feature trot. “Yeah, it was nice,” said Neal. “And I knew he would improve from it because he needed the run.” Credit Master blasted off the gate to lead and never looked like being headed, the clock stopped in 1.56.9. “I thought he would lead because he’s always shown us good speed. “As it turns out I didn’t really have a choice; he just bolted.” Neal and training partner/wife, Lyn, nominated Credit Master for the Inter Dominions yesterday, believing he is finally in the right head space to deliver on his potential. “We only did it because it’s here and it will help the numbers. “We have no big expectations with him and he will need to continue to improve but tonight was a great start.” The ability has never been in question with the now six-year-old son of Muscles Mass, it’s been his capacity to deal with life that has caused the Neals frustration. “He has mental health issues,” said Neal, seemingly only half-joking. “He worries about everything, especially on race night. “At home he is usually quiet as a lamb, but he gets himself so worried coming to the races. “That’s why we brought his little mate along to for the trip tonight – it helps keep him happy and in a good space.” By coincidence, the little chestnut stablemate, an unqualified three-year-old trotter, has some interesting breeding. “He’s a half-brother to Lemond.” The Neals, who have had a fairly quiet time of it on the racing front over the last 12 months, are about to roll out a plethora of three-year-olds, including four high-quality pacers. “We’ve already had Ideal Agent and Louie The Horse win as two-year-olds last season and they are both back at the workouts stage. “There are two more coming up that are just as good, we think.”   Marshall repays Casey’s faith Having one of the country’s leading owners send you horses is the dream for any young trainer trying to make it in the game. So, when Kyle Marshall produced a quinella at Alexandra Park last night for Canterbury owner Trevor Casey, it’s fair to see he was proud as punch. Casey, who raced champions Lazarus and Stent among many others, sent Cambridge-based Marshall Bettor Sensation and Pembrook Charlie after their previous trainers moved them on. The pair ran one-two in a $15,000 R40-55 mile, Bettor Sensation smoking through a gap late to peg back his smaller stablemate. “I was really happy to get the quinella for Trevor,” said Marshall, who drove Pembrook Charlie. “I got to know him when I was in Australia working for Brent Lilley and Trevor had horses in the stable. “I drove a few of his horses over there and he always said he would send me a horse to train one day. “To have the support of someone like him means a lot to me. “It’s just a shame we didn’t have two sets of the ‘Lone Star’ colours for the photo.” Bettor Sensation has always shown ability, he’s just struggled with getting himself organized early in his races, meaning he’s always had to be driven cold. “We are still working him out and making a few gear changes as we go. “He’s never been able to get going early but he led at the workouts a few weeks ago and there are still a couple of things I think we can do to further improve him.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight A matter of weeks in to her new role, Kimberley Blakemore is enjoying life as forewoman for the Auckland arm of Michael House’s stable. With the guidance of Pukekohe trainer Steven Reid, Blakemore is managing the dozen or so horses House has in the north. “I’m absolutely loving it; it’s nice to be able to run the barn and sort of do my own thing,” Blakemore told HRNZ. “Reidy writes up the board every day and checks in with me on how the horses were that day and it’s all going really well. “We are all working really good as a team and I’m just grateful for being trusted with the responsibility.” Blakemore drove Warloch to victory in a junior drivers’ race a fortnight ago and will hunt her second driving win for her new boss at Alexandra Park tonight. Santanna Mach is a newcomer to the north and is having his first start right-handed, but Blakemore says she cannot foresee any likely issues in the first on the card, another junior drivers’ event. He brings strong Addington form in to the race but has lucked out with a draw on the inside of the second line. “He’s settled in great.” “He’s a lovely big horse and I don’t think right-handed will bother him whatsoever. “I’m just hoping for a bit of speed on early in the race, which will really suit him, but we will need things to go our way from the awkward draw.” Bookies opened Santanna Mach at $12, behind warm favourite Megastar ($2.40), who will be driven by Dylan Ferguson for trainer Robert Dunn. House has a three-strong attack on the night’s R56-67 mile, headed by race favourite Delightful Major, who had been backed in from an opening quote of $3.60 to $3 by Friday night. He made up a stack of ground coming wide in a similar race two weeks ago and Joshua Dickie sticks with the ship this time. But Blakemore is going with stablemate Warloch ($12) from the coveted ace draw while Shillelagh ($26) will need a lot of luck from barrier eight. “I would say Warloch is the best chance as he’s got the handy draw and if he does no work early, I can see him getting over them all at the finish.” Rounding out the team is Final Delight, who came in for a lot of support at the last mile night on September 13 following an impressive workout win in the hands of Reid the Saturday prior. Things didn’t go his way that night, being forced to sit parked in the race won by the exciting Line Up, and Blakemore is expecting a better performance in a modest field tonight. “We are happy with him and he’s drawn this week to get cover and not do it tough which will definitely suit him. “He’s a good chance if things go his way.” Bookies have Final Delight, who will be driven by Zachary Butcher, at $12. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight Inter Dom noms shaping nicely Australian interest in the upcoming Inter Dominion series is strong, according to early nominations received by the Auckland Trotting Club. Racing Manager Regan Cotter says 11 of the 25 pacing nominations received to date are Australian-trained, and there have been indications from connections of a further half-dozen that they are likely to nominate ahead of Monday’s deadline. Among those officially nominated are five from Amanda Turnball’s Sydney stable, two trained by Melbourne’s Craig Demmler and the familiar names San Carlo, Our Uncle Sam, Cruz Bromac and Sicario. Defending champion Tiger Tara, comeback millionaire pacer Bling It On and rising Queensland star Colt Thirty One are all expected to nominated by Monday. Leading trainer Emma Stewart is expected to make a decision over the weekend on a few of her stars, including Shadow Sax and Poster Boy while Kiwi trainer Tim Butt will do the same with Our Field Marshal. In the trotters section, there are already 29 names, including the Australia-trained Kyvalley Blur and Fratellino. At least another six are expected by Monday, including the likes of Tough Monarch, McLovin and Big Jack Hammer. Defending champion Tornado Valley has been ruled out by his trainer, Andy Gath, citing the horse’s dislike for travel. Cotter says while the on-track stuff largely takes care of itself, it’s the off-the-track stuff that is consuming most of his team’s time. “It was always going to come around quicker than we thought and that has sort of been the case. “And for us with 40 other meetings a year, life still goes on, so we’ve been very busy. “The planning for the event is coming along quite well and there are some really exciting things in the pipeline that we hope to announce within the coming weeks.” A massive crowd, possibly the biggest seen in decades, is expected at most of the carnival’s four meetings. “The carnival falls at the same time as Christmas at the Races, which on any given year would see two or three thousand people on course. “Add in all the racing purists and fans that turn up for the sheer fact it’s the Inter Dominions and we are expecting a massive attendance. “We are pretty confident that everything is tracking quite well.”   Retirement for injured trotter Well-performed trotter Heard The Whisper has been retired after fracturing a pedal bone during a race at Alexandra Park last Friday night. Initially disappointed with the run given he didn’t gallop, trainers Jason and Megan Teaz soon realised why he had dropped away from the field down the straight. “As soon as we took the gear off, he was standing on his tip toes, which was unusual,” said Jason Teaz. “Then as we went to walk him away for a wash, he couldn’t put the foot on the ground.” The attending race night vet suspected a fractured pastern and put a special splint on the foot to stabilise it. Heard The Whisper was dropped at a veterinary clinic in Cambridge at 1am, his trainers fearing the worst and hoping for the best. Saturday morning x-rays identified the broken pedal bone and, while far from ideal, it was a best-case scenario. “A broken pedal bone is better news than a broken pastern. “He won’t need surgery, just a bar shoe and being confined to a small yard for a few weeks.” Eventually, the seven-race winner will return to owner Gerald Cayford’s property in North Otago. “Gerald said he will give him a home for life down there in Waikouaiti. “He’s going to put him in a paddock next to his horse and they hope one day to be able to ride him along the beach.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ  

By Garrick Knight Cop that! Brilliant win from unpolished colt He’s far from the finished product, but Copy That showed just why Ray Green rates him as good as stablemate Line Up when recording a sensational win at Alexandra Park on Friday night. He went rough and galloped twice in the 2200-metre event, including at the 400-metre point, but still managed to regather his momentum and storm home to win in the hands of Zachary Butcher. Initial indications were final sectionals of 54.9 and 26.9 coming very wide on the track. Butcher reported to Green as expected – the bends are still an issue, but he’s like a Rolls Royce on the straights. “Zac said it was the corners that he was having trouble with, but once he got round them he was all business,” said Green. The Sires Stakes heat at Cambridge on October 3 is the next aim and then, hopefully, a trip to Christchurch for the $170,000 Final on New Zealand Cup Day. Having won the race in 2009 with Sir Lincoln and run second with King Of Swing two years ago, Green knows the type of horse it takes to be competitive in the Spring feature for three-year-olds. “In my opinion he’s up to the best horses and will be very competitive in a race like that. “That’s the main mission at this point, and it’s a matter of managing him through to there. “We took him to Cambridge last Saturday for a workout and he never put a foot wrong. “He’s possibly better left-handed so that’s a good line, at least with a view to the Sires Stakes.” Copy That was purchased by Green and wife Debbie as a weanling before they on-sold him three months ago to Australian stable clients, Merv and Meg Butterworth, for a handsome profit.   American sale possible for C K Spur Arna Donnelly reckons she might have found the key to training after preparing another winning double. Both Donnelly and stable junior Alicia Harrison spent four days in Samoa to start the week, returning just in time to see both C K Spur and Young Conqueror get the chocolates. “It’s pretty easy, this training business,” she joked shortly after her second success of the night. C K Spur has turned in to a real money machine for his owners, Karen De Jongh-Kennedy and Kevin Foley, and his $25,000 race win took his lifetime stakes over the $120,000. That will soon be boosted further when he earns a promoted win from a recent placing due to a swabbing issue. It means he has shot up the ratings and there has been plenty of interest in him from overseas as a result. “Someone in Perth was keen on buying him but there is also a bit of talk about a sale to America,” said Donnelly. “Nothing has come of it yet, but I was told they were keen to try and get him on a flight next week.” If that doesn’t materialize, Donnelly reckons she might have a crack at one of the country’s two biggest trots. “I know we won’t beat Johnny Dunn’s good horse (Sundees Son), but I reckon he will love the two miles of the Dominion.” Young Conqueror made it two in a row when winning the R53-64 pace earlier in the night in the hands of Scott Phelan. “I’m really pleased for the owner, Robert Symon,” said Donnelly. “He puts a lot in to the game and has been a good supporter of mine.”   Down The Hatch continues dam’s excellent record The brilliant record of broodmare gem Slangevar continued when Down The Hatch cleared maidens for Steve Telfer. The daughter of Mach Three delivered on strong tote support with a commanding all-the-way win in the hands of Benjamin Butcher. Telfer says she’s only really become a racehorse in the last month after battling wayward tendencies as a juvenile. “She was always very lazy and green. “It’s only been in the last month that she has switched on; she’s really come ahead in leaps and bounds. “I was actually a bit surprised Ben led on her, because I wouldn’t even do that at home. “She’s always looking at things and switching off. “But she travelled the whole way, which was great to see.” Down The Hatch is the sixth foal, and fifth winner, out of Slangevar, a one-win mare by Cameleon, following on from First Home (9 wins), Cheers Kathy (14 wins), Prince Of Pops (21 wins) and current stable star for Telfer, Triple Eight (8 wins). “She’s been a wonderful producer,” said Telfer. “And the funny thing is, they have all been different types and different sizes. “Physically, she (Down The Hatch) looks like Triple Eight, but she’s a lot nicer pacer.” The next foal out of Slangevar is a Rock N Roll Heaven two-year-old filly called Little Suzie. “Brent Donnelly broke her in for us and the reports were all good.” Telfer recorded a double on the card, classy mare Ivana Flybye returning to form with a dominant win in the first race on the card, run in an electric 2.38.8 (1.56.1 MR). Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight What a difference a week can make. Eight days ago, John and Joshua Dickie late-scratched their entire team as a precaution against a potential contamination issue. Last night at Alexandra Park, the father-and-son training partnership prepared four winners at Alexandra Park and only a brilliant performance stood between them and five. “It’s been a good turn around and it was nice to get that winning feeling back,” Joshua Dickie told HRNZ. “We had a nice team in and you sort of hope they’ll race well but it never usually works out like that.” The wins of Kay Cee, Bettorstartdreaming, Brydon Earl and Callie’s Delight matched the four winners the pair produced at a meeting in September of 2016. Bettorstartdreaming won the night’s $25,000 main pace, a 2200m standing start, redeeming himself from the tapes after a misstep in the Te Awamutu Cup when last produced. “Cambridge was a disaster and wasn’t really his fault. “He’s a versatile sort of horse and from the front line we had to take advantage if he stepped away.” After settling second, Bettorstartdreaming was pushed back to third so Dickie made a concerted effort for the lead, but eventually settled for the trail behind Kotare Cullen. “I wanted to keep him handy and I knew what he was capable of.” Despite a strong late dig from race favourite The Devils Own, Dickie always had things in control with the New Zealand Cup-nominated pacer. Star pacer Star Galleria made an early error from his 30-metre handicap and was one hundred metres behind the field thereafter, along with Dance Time. Next week’s Spring Cup is firmly on the agenda for Bettorstartdreaming, before the Dickies start to look south. “We really want to get him to the Sales race at Kaikoura and we’ve also nom’d for the Cup. “You’ve got to have goals. “He’s a lovely stayer in the making and will definitely make an open class horse one day. “He’s got the speed and stamina to be a factor in most races.” Dickie says a taxing run back in March spelt a premature end to what was a promising three-year-old campaign. “He worked too hard in the Derby trying to cross Ultimate Sniper and it undid him. “So, we backed off him, turned him out and he has come back a lot stronger. “I definitely think he’ll win a nice race somewhere down the track.” Kay Cee had run four seconds in his last five starts so no-one was begrudging the five-year-old son of Majestic Son a win in the R47-55 trot. But Dickie thinks it might be time to ease up and reset for next year. “He’s had a few issues so has really come a long way from where he was. “We’ll probably just back off him now because there are a couple of things we need to sort out. “He’s fast and does have a bit of stamina. Next year will be his time – I think he’ll make a decent trotter eventually.” All the talk was for West Auckland pacer Cloud Break in the night’s male maiden pace after a super performance over the mile last week. Bookies opened him at $1.50 and never flinched but a lack of ringcraft saw him get bested by the Dickie-trained Brydon Earl in the hands of Zachary Butcher. The five-year-old son of Art Official was the second-last horse bred by the late Bryan Newberry, whose family race him in his memory. He looked handy in five races last season but really showed a nice turn of foot to win his resuming run last night. “He’s been a bit unlucky; he got crook and a few little things haven’t gone his way,” said Dickie. “But his trials have been really good over the last month and I think he’s turned the corner. “Zac said he won well tonight and felt good.” Rounding out a memorable night was Callie’s Delight, who showed too much speed for main rival M T Pockets in the first South of the Bombay series races. “I was pretty confident because her trials had been great and her first up run a Cambridge was good without much luck. “She’s another that has turned the corner and just gotten that little bit stronger. “She has that real high speed and in a field like that, it’s always going to be really potent.” The Paua Diver nearly made it five for the night, but he got monstered late by Copy That, who had to run a sub-55 second half to reel him. “He’s just run in to a good horse on the night, but I was really happy with his run, too.” The Dickies are hoping to capitalise on this kick-starting of their season by rolling out some quality horseflesh in the next few weeks. “We’ve got a couple of nice maidens there, including one that had a couple of starts for ‘Coaster’ Howe up here last season. “There’s also a good bunch of two-year-olds and, while it’s hard to know with any certainty, we are pretty excited about what they’ll do going forward.”

By Garrick Knight After three months on the sidelines, Todd MacFarlane is just happy to be back doing what he loves. The experienced horseman returned to race night driving last week after an extended period of convalescence thanks to a couple of grumpy horses. “I copped a decent kick in the back while out with a jog team,” he told HRNZ. “I had one in the cart and two on the leads and they were fighting with each other. I got caught in the cross-fire.” The result? Some pretty serious injuries. “The main issues were a bruised kidney and a split liver. “It meant two months recovery but for the third month I felt fine and like I could return. “But they wouldn’t give me medical clearance because they felt like it hadn’t given my liver enough time to heal properly. “So, even though I felt alright I had to watch from home.” The worst part, MacFarlane says, was that he was on his own when the incident happened and he had three horses in his control. “I just had to suck it up for a while there and try and get back to the barn.” Any good trainer is only as good the team around them and that more than rung true for MacFarlane, who had to rely heavily on his staff for a fair few weeks. “Luckily I’ve got a good crew and they all did their bit, keeping things going.” MacFarlane has his second night back driving at Alexandra Park this evening and will pilot three horses, including two stable runners. Maiden mare Royal went out very well-supported in her resumption last week off the back of an impressive trial on August 31. But she let her supporters – and MacFarlane – down with a middling effort to finish fourth behind Some Do last week. “She’s no star but I was a little bit disappointed with her last week. “I’m hoping for a bit of improvement this week because if she runs like she did in that trial, she won’t be very far away.” Bookies have let her go this week, opening her at $14, well behind race favourite, Down The Hatch ($1.70), who has drawn the ace for Steve Telfer and Benjamin Butcher. “He went super last time out and will be very hard to beat. “Hopefully we can settle handle and finish in the money.” Recent maiden winner Cyclone S Adams opened at $21 for the R47-55 trot and MacFarlane concedes that he’s still a wee way away from reaching physical maturity. “He’s still very much a work in progress. “I think once mentally and physically he develops, he’ll be a good honest horse. “He’s got a lovely way of going and generally his manners are really good. “But he’s a bit tall and immature and that’s just going to hold him up for now.” MacFarlane expects his race team to ramp up over the next month and is looking forward to the return of stable star Heavyweight Hero, along with a number of promising maidens, including Joshua Richard and Harvey Spector. “Hopefully one or two of them step up; in another month we should have quite a handy team around us.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight Wainui Creek joins Purdon Barry Purdon will roll out his stable’s newest acquisition at the Pukekohe workouts this coming Saturday. And it’s an adversary of his existing stable star, Belle Of Montana. Wainui Creek, twice Group 1 placed in three-year-old fillies’ features last season for Canterbury trainer Richard Aubrey, is now in the north’s most revered stable. “She’s been working great; a pretty decent mare,” said stable foreman Scott Phelan, deputising while Purdon is on holiday in Japan. “We’ll take her to the workouts this Saturday and map out a plan from there.” Also stepping out this weekend will be Purdon’s sole New Zealand Cup hope, Mach Shard. He hasn’t been in public since running third behind Spankem and Turn It Up in both the Taylor Mile and New Zealand Messenger back in April. On The Cards, who raced through until the Harness Jewels in June and won’t be going to the New Zealand Cup, has just started fast work, as has Belle Of Montana. “She looks amazing,” Phelan said of the latter. “She’s come back from her spell in great order. She’s been hoppling a couple of weeks now and is probably a month away from trialing.” Classy trotter retired Group 3 winner Majestic Ali has been retired to stud. Co-trainer Michelle Wallis confirmed the move, saying the now eight-year-old mare could no longer be placed to advantage. “She was a lovely mare, who would probably still be racing if there were mares’ trots. “But the handicapping is too hard on her now.” Majestic Ali, who will be served by Muscle Mass shortly, won eight races and over $117,000, her feature win coming in the 2018 $30,000 Northern Breeders Stakes.   Dominion winner returns Last season’s Dominion Trot winner, Marcoola, reappeared in public at the Ashburton workouts on Tuesday. In the hands of part-owner Clint Ford he defeated three inferior opponents off a 30-metre handicap to win by four lengths. According to Ford, the horse’s fitness is very advanced due to a long preparation. “We gave him a month off after the Rowe Cup and he came back in to work just after the Jewels. “He’s had plenty of work and could easily have raced by now if we wanted.” But it’s the Canterbury Park on October 4 that will be his likely starting point before a trip north. “We could look at Kaikoura with him. “Given the Ford family hails from Kaikoura, the South Bay Trotters Cup is a race I’ve always wanted to win.” A defense of his Dominion crown and a tilt at the Inter Dominions in Auckland are foremost in Ford’s thinking. “But it will be a big test. The good trotting races are really stacking up at present. “It’s great for the public and the punters - no doubt there will be plenty of great racing this season. “I can’t wait to be a part of it.”  Marcoola beating Stylish Duke at the Ashburton workouts

By Garrick Knight The old adage that a change is as good as a holiday rung true at Ashburton on Sunday. It was there that former two-year-old Group 1 winner Renezmae made a return to the winner’s circle for the first time in 17 months. The pint-sized daughter of The Pres was having her first start for beach trainer Regan Todd, who admitted post-race to being a little surprised by the ease of her six-length win. “She went bloody good today, I thought. “I thought she’d race well but that definitely surprised us a bit. She really showed a bit of ‘lick’.” In the hands of Todd’s stable driver, Robbie Close, Renezmae sat last of the nine horses throughout before angling widest at the top of the straight and letting down with a superb sprint. Former trainer Jack Harrington sent Renezmae out to Todd at Woodend Beach after another disappointing effort, at Rangiora on August 11. “I’ve probably had her a month and we’ve just played around with her,” said Todd. “We started from scratch and gave her completely different training to what she was used to. “That sort of thing, with a change of scenery, can often pick them up. “Jack said she wasn’t half-pie going any good and he basically got to the end of the line with her. “He felt she was too good a horse not to try something with so that’s why he rung me.” It didn’t take Todd long to realise he had the basis of a nice horse to work with. “She’s gotten better and better since she arrived and the last few weeks has worked like a nice horse. “I took her down to the Geraldine trials last week thinking we were going to Methven today and she trialed well.” Renezmae is now a rating 69 and a return to Addington is most likely. “She’s up in the ratings a bit and I thought she was probably a bit hard done by being a 64 before today despite not winning for so long. “So, we can’t get too excited because now we’ll have to give her a go against the better ones.” Todd has made a typical impressive start to the season with five winners on the board already, including a double to Friday night winner Lets Hustle. “Things are going bloody good at the moment. “We’ve got 25 in work and some good clientele behind them so it’s exciting times.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight So what if the phone hasn’t been ringing with potential buyers? Steve Telfer and his sister, Mandy Tidswell, couldn’t care less. Because Court On The Edge, a winner at Alexandra Park on Friday night, has turned in to the best earner in their large stable. His win in the $20,000 R57-67 mile took his earnings for the year over the $50,000 mark and secured ‘equine ATM’ status. “Would you believe we’ve never had one call for him?” said Telfer. “I suppose it’s because he has the spreaders on, but he doesn’t even really need them. “We put them on for confidence on race night; most of the time at home he doesn’t even wear them.” Court On The Edge came north to Stonewall Stud last Christmas after winning a maiden for Cran Dalgety. “His owners, Brian and Lesley Court, sent him north. “We often stay with them when we take horses down south and it’s usually Mandy that’s down there with our horses. “So they offered Mandy a share in him and a deal was reached for him to race up here with us.” Court On The Edge’s trademark is his blistering gate speed, something which has proved invaluable given the myriad of mile races being held in Auckland this year. “We’ve been a bit lucky, I suppose,” said Telfer. “When that gate leaves, you’re just a passenger. He drops his bum and wants to really run. “With that much speed, you just go with him, because he will come back to and relax once he’s in front.” That was exactly the case on Friday with driver Benjamin Butcher eventually taking a trail behind the heavily-backed Nanelle Franco. He then surged Court On The Edge up the passing lane for a convincing 1.56.3 win. “It was great to see that,” said Telfer. “I actually think he’s better off a sit but he has been disappointing at times when driven in behind them “At home he will always come off the back of a horse and run past it.” With further mile nights programmed for September 27 and October 25, Court On The Edge has plenty more earning to do. “He’s done a great job for us and I’m hoping that will continue on with all the mile racing they have here now. _____________________________________________________________________ Milestone win for Mangos Brent Mangos recorded New Zealand driving win number 1500 when sneaking up the markers with Vespa to take out the night’s male maiden pace. It was kind of fitting that the milestone came aboard a horse trained by his longtime friend Tim Vince. “Thrilled to give Mango his 1500th winner, but I can’t say I was very confident,” Vince said post-race. “He’s been sick and needed a trial but there were none up here this week so we brought him to the races instead. “I thought he was a run short.” Accordingly, Mangos was more than content to take a trail behind second favourite Double Or Nothing and hope for the best up the passing lane. The horse’s natural speed and a passing lane paved with gold saw him record an overdue maiden win. “We’ve had a lot of issues with him,” said Vince. “A terrible time with minor problems; he’s been sick a couple of times, a stone bruise, it’s been setback after setback. “But he’s a nice little fella that would give you his heart.” _____________________________________________________________________ Solid Gold makes another statement Solid Gold backed up a super resuming win with another dominant display in the night’s $25,000 feature pace. In the hands of James Stormont, he zipped round to parked a lap out and out-muscled the leader, Bettor My Dreamz, down the straight. For a while it looked like Blazen River would reel him in but he dug deep to get the chocolates. “He’s always shown a lot but he’s really grown up this year,” said Stormont post-race. “And I think in another year again he’ll be even stronger, so he’s got a bright future ahead.” Next up is the Spring Cup in a fortnight, a standing start affair which does have co-trainers, Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins, worried. But Stormont saw something last week that gave him some confidence. “I was really happy with how he stepped at the Pukekohe trials last week. “So, he’s heading in the right direction.” _____________________________________________________________________ NZ record for Canterbury mare Sunny Glenis set a new New Zealand record when taking out the R45-76 standing start mile trot. Her time of 2.02.1 bettered the previous mark (2.03.4) set by Mortician on the same track nearly a year ago. “A record’s a record and that will look nice on her page when she becomes a broodmare,” said driver Scott Phelan. It was only Sunny Glenis’ second win in the north since joining Barry Purdon’s stable in May but, such is the earning potential with the good stakes at Alexandra Park, she has earned well over $40,000 in that time. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight Tragedy struck early on Friday morning when highly-regarded broodmare, Zenterfold, died while foaling. The 19-year-old daughter of In The Pocket could not be saved by staff at Alabar Stud in South Auckland shortly after delivering a colt foal by Vincent. Zenterfold is best known as the dam of former Group 1-winning pacer-cum-sire Tintin In America, whose daughter, Shartin, is arguably the best pacing mare in the world given her North American domination over the past couple of years. Zenterfold also left the Group 1 place-getter The Blue Lotus and four other winners, including the 1.52 pacer, Destination Moon. While devastated, her Cambridge co-owner Bee Pears says she has many good memories of the mare, which she bred about-turn with Pukekohe’s Geoff and Aria Small. “She was a very much-loved mare who shuttled between our place in Cambridge, Geoff and Aria's place and Alabar often for foaling. Everyone loved her. “Character is the word you immediately think of with Zenterfold." “She loved people and attention, could be bossy with other horses, and was a super mum to her foals.” “I'm so grateful her daughters and granddaughters are in such good hands. Her legacy lives on in her offspring and theirs, and of course in the deeds of Tintin In America as a sire now.” Both Tintin In America and The Blue Lotus are now based in New South Wales at Yirribee Pacing Stud, Pears having sold The Blue Lotus to the Stud just a few months ago. And while Pears no longer has any female descendants of the family left in her ownership, more memories are still to be made as Zenterfold’s two previous foals, both colts, are in training and showing promise. Ideal Zen (American Ideal) is now three and in training for the Smalls while King Ottokar, which Pears sold to Graeme Rogerson for $30,000 at Karaka earlier this year, has just turned two. “The two colts are getting close to racing and hopefully so will this new boy by Vincent, which Kym Kearns will have. “So, there is lots of legacy but after 20 years of close friendship with this mare, we will all miss her heaps. “I'm so grateful for having known her and what she gave me.” While a healthy foal, the Vincent colt is in desperate need of a foster mum and Alabar Stud were aggressively seeking one as the day wore on. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight The hottest favourite on mile night at Alexandra Park this evening is also Ray Green’s great, white hope for the season. In a climate where he and the Lincoln Farms top brass are sending a numerous horses to Australia, he’s looking forward to taking one to the races full of expectations. That horse is Line Up and despite a wide berth in the R52-55 event tonight, he will start an unbackable $1.15 favourite with bookies. “He’s got a lot of potential, this horse,” Green told HRNZ. “Potentially he could be a very serious racehorse, actually. “But we’ve been down this track before with plenty of horses so I’m not getting carried away just yet. “He’s right up there with anything else I’ve targeted the feature three-year-old races with though.” While he has only won one of four, recent trial efforts have confirmed the suspicions long-held by both Green and driver Zachary Butcher. “He’s inexperienced so we’ve been trying to school him at the trials. Making a racehorse out of him. “He had the full blinds on up until now, but the time has come for them to be removed.” Line Up had one start as a two-year-old for a stylish win back in February before being put aside, though the temptation was great for Green to push on. “I’d liked to have. “But he had a few a growing pains, then got sick and I guess we could have medicated and pressed on, but I thought better of it. “We had Perfect Stride and a few others racing at the time and I always knew he would be better at three.” Line Up was a $130,000 purchase at the Karaka yearling sale last year by Green and John Street, but in an interesting turn of events, he was sold to stable clients Emilio and Mary Rosati at the start of the year. “It’s fair to say it cost them a lot of money to buy him off us. “Emilio had purchased the full brother, Typhoon Stride, the year before.” Both horses are full brothers to former star mare, Partyon. As for tactics tonight, Green says that is purely and solely the responsibility of Butcher. “I don’t try and coerce Zac to do anything; the tactics he adopts are his own. “So, I’m not sure how he’ll play things.” With a lack of quality inside him over the short trip, it’s a solid bet Butcher will likely fancy his chances of putting Line Up in the race early and dominating from the top end. Green takes three others to ‘The Park tonight, the best of them being consistent mare The Empress ($3.50), who trialed well in the strongest heat of the day at Franklin Park last Saturday. She’s come up with what will be an advantageous draw at one the second line given the horse in front of her, Court On The Edge, has clearly the most gate speed of anything on the front line. “I’ve got a lot of time for her; she’s a very nice mare. “If she gets the trip behind Court On The Edge, she’ll be right there.” Double Or Nothing ($3.10) is quickly becoming the punters’ enemy, being beaten as the first or second favourite six times in his career to date. Still, he’s placed in eight of 11 runs so can’t be knocked for his consistency. “He’s won $20,000 without winning a race. One day the penny will drop and he will win them in a row, but I couldn’t tell you if that will be this week.” Rounding out the team is Bettor My Dreamz ($26) who, despite drawing the coveted ace under the race’s preferential conditions, find himself with the short end of the stick in the night’s feature race. “Don’t get me started on this subject,” says Green. “He shouldn’t be in that race; he’s won three and is against horses that have won nine or ten. “He’s a handy horse but he’s up against it in that field.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight A date with Art Major awaits Cambridge mare Juice Brogden after she bowed out of racing at Cambridge on Thursday night. “She is definitely retired,” her trainer, Nicky Chilcott, confirmed. “Her owners want to breed to sell commercially so they have chosen Art Major.” The Group 1-placed daughter of Bettor’s Delight heads to the matron’s paddock with nine wins and just shy of $150,000 in career earnings. Chilcott says she has every chance to be a top broodmare. “She was very lightly-raced, is beautiful looking, well-gaited and had terrific manners. “It doesn’t always work out that way but it’s hard to imagine she won’t leave quality foals.” While it’s never easy losing your stable star, Chilcott is content knowing she has a strong team to tackle the upcoming season. “I haven’t got a superstar, but I have got a really handy bunch of horses. “I do have big raps on Monkey Selfie but you can never get ahead of yourself with trotters. “There is also a maiden coming through, Nice Vintage, that we call ‘Juice Jnr’; I really like her a lot.” * * * * * Coming away with a win was a real bonus for Bulls trainer Doug Gale with American Me at Cambridge on Thursday night. “That race and his start the week prior were basically his trials to get him fit for the season,” said the veteran conditioner. “He was at about the stage that I would ordinarily take him to the trials but, unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury down here at the moment. “So, I was very happy with how he performed considering where he was at, fitness-wise. “He blew up over the back after Thursday night, so there is still plenty of improvement in him.” Gale plans to return to Cambridge on October 3 for the $22,000 Sires Stakes Series heat but before that, a trip to Auckland might be in the offing. “I’ve been reluctant to go right-handed until now because right from the start he has run out a little bit that way. “There is no obvious reason for it, so I’m going to make a gear change and give him a right-handed workout at Palmerston North on Friday. “If I’m happy with the way he steers, the intention will be to race him at Auckland the following Friday.” American Me, who won also won a race as a juvenile last season, is one of just six horses Gale has in work after a measured scaling down over the winter. “It’s not too much difference in workload at home; it just means we have a little more time to dedicate to each horse. “Where we wanted the change was at the races. Taking eight or nine horses to the races without any staff was proving to be very difficult.”  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight The training sect of small West Otago town Tapanui had a day out at Sunday’s Winton races with two of its three licensed horsemen recording wins. And for John Stiven, better known as a highly successful commercial breeder, the win of Countess Of Arden gave him a memorable first training success. It’s not the first time he’s held a training license, but with 2019 being a landmark year for Arden Lodge, he was compelled to give it another crack. “This year is the 50th anniversary for Arden Lodge,” said Stiven. “It was established here in 1969 and that milestone was part of the reason I thought I’d have a wee crack at training again this year.” Stiven is no stranger to the craft, having helped his late father Doug with a team on the same property before his passing in 2001. “I’d been thinking about getting back in to it for a long time,” he told HRNZ. “I took over the licence when dad died, and had just one starter before giving it away to focus on the breeding side of things. “I used to help dad back in the day and knew the times they used to run back then. “So, I spoke to (fellow Tapanui trainer) Alan Shaw about it and he said I wouldn’t need to do much different than what we used to.” The first issue was the farm’s training track, which was somewhat dilapidated after 18 years without being used. “It had a fair bit of grass coming through it in parts that had to be worn off. I actually re-grited it a couple of weeks ago.” Then all he needed was the key part of the equation – a horse. Enter Countess Of Arden, who was a rising four-year-old daughter of Net Ten EOM that had been born and raised on the farm before going through three different stables. “She had been leased to Bob Sandford and Geoff Dunn and they sent her home in May after a couple of starts. “Well she arrived here with new shoes on and I thought, well, rather than pull them off, I’ll wear them off her.” After an encouraging fifth and second at the two Gore meetings, Stiven went to Winton on Sunday semi-confident. That was only magnified when white-hot favourite Chevron Flies was late-scratched an hour before the race. After showing early speed from the mobile start point, Countess Of Arden settled in the trail for junior driver Ben Laughton, whose appointment carried the added bonus of a penalty-free win. The short Winton straight meant she needed to show some zip to reel in leader, Betterthanspraying, but she got there by a half-head in the shadows of the post. With Barry Purdon, Brad Williamson and Dunn having handled her previously, it’s somewhat intriguing that Stiven has managed to get the best out of her. “She’s enjoying life. She’s happy to be home in Tapanui, just like we are.” So, does Stiven have any plans to ramp up his training operation? Probably not immediately with 16 mares nearing foaling and nine yearlings to prepare for next year’s sales. “Just for the moment we will see how it goes, but it’s probably fair to say I’ve got the bug back now.” An added thrill for Stiven was the win earlier in the day of Rah De Rah, who is prepared by fellow Tapanui trainer, Matt Saunders. “Those two horses worked together during the week so it was quite exciting to see them both win on the day. “Matt works them on the galloping track and does a great job. “He’s been up here once and I’ve been down there probably half-a-dozen times.” Like most of Saunders’ winners, he was a recent purchase out of Canterbury and was having his first start from new quarters. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

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