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Bill Feiss is a man of many parts and he may not have been entirely joking when he noted at Addington  on Friday that he might approach wife Jean to add his name in the book to Jesse Duke.  Bill was responding to the habit of the Feiss's to race their horses under separate names even though they are essentially a partnership. The policy may well have cost them Owners of the Year in the past and might again this year. "It is not that big a deal though we were runners up as leading owners at Moonee Valley a few times years ago. We couldn't beat the Knights" Bill said In those days Jean was training the team herself along with son Matthew Last season Jean raced the best two year old filly and the best three year old filly and Vincent was Bill's star. Nobody would quibble with the connections of Lazarus being Owners of the Year but the Feiss partnership has built an astonishing strike rate in a relatively short time.  Jean has added considerably too to Yearling Sales turnover. She has bought  four sale toppers as yearlings just in recent years and the three to race, Vincent, Sicario and Jesse Duke have all made their mark.  Bill is hopeful about the racing future of Vincent after his stem cell operation.  "The op went well and and he has been boxed since. Now he goes into a yard and then into a paddock and he will be exercised every day. Its a long process and hopefully it will work out. The problem is that he is a colt and he is putting weight on. WE have to keep on top of that" Back in Rolleston Vincent will continue light exercise. Like his dad, Roy, Mark is sceptical of the lengthy spell originally prescribed for Vincent "I haven't had much luck bringing horses with suspensory problems back from long spells " Mark said. Most recently he was probably thinking of  the hugely talented Didjamakem Bolt who did everything by the book (including exercise and a long buildup)  but either  failed to  survive the final stages of a race preparation or had a brief racing return before experiencing further problems.  "It's never easy to get them back when they are racing at the highest level" Bill said  "But he is good enough to try and he is a sensible horse which helps" Bill and Jean were at Alexandra Park for the memorable Group One wins with Elle Mac and Jesse Duke last week and  had a tiki tour of the country driving down from Auckland during the week to watch Elle Mac score in the Nevele R heat on Friday. It would be fair to say that Bill, once a rarer visitor on this side of the Tasman where Jean is a devoted follower of her racing team, has become a more regular traveller lately. In the meantime check the ownership of Jesse Duke. Bill's name might work its way into the  book-and he will be even more regular then ! Courtesy of All Stars website http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Jean Feiss has a simple philosophy to buying yearling these days, the only problem is she bumped into somebody with the same attitude at Karaka yesterday. Feiss, best known as the owner of Auckland Cup hero Vincent, outlaid $230,000 to secure the sales topper at the Australasian Classic harness sale, huge money for a standardbred yearling in this part of the world. She did something very similar at the same sale last year when she purchased that sale's top lot in Jessie Duke, who has already won his debut and looks worth every cent of his $220,000 price. "My attitude these days is go and buy the horse you actually want, rather than miss him and buy one that is left," says Feiss. "Obviously [husband] Bill and I are fortunate enough to be in the position to do that but because we are, my approach to the sales has changed a little bit in recent years." While Feiss was pleased to get her prime target it would have cost a lot less had one of the true big spenders of New Zealand racing in John Street not been the underbidder. Street and Feiss went bid for bid in $10,000 increments from about the $100,000 mark and while it made for an entertaining minute on a largely sedate day, either one of them could probably have secured the colt for $150,000 and gone home happy had their other not been so keen. Their bidding war was indicative of how the sale played out, with the big buyers willing to spend up to $100,000 probably numbering around 10 and almost of all of them interested in the same 10-12 colts. Feiss is a filly buyer and will head to the Christchurch sale tomorrow looking for her next Spanish Armada but the fairer sex are becoming a harder sell in harness racing, with many of the top-end buyers focusing on colts. Yesterday's top lot was, as expected, a son of Bettors Delight and a brother to Linda Lovegrace, being the fourth foal of a mare whose only three progeny to race have all won. Bettors Delight was the big dog again, siring the top three lots but Woodlands Stud were just as thrilled with their new stallion Sweet Lou producing the fourth highest lot, a half-brother to Let It Ride, who finished second in the Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on Saturday. Another big winner from the day was Canterbury boutique breeding operation Dancingonmoonlight Farms, the breeding business set up by Robert Famularo of Monkey King fame and now run by daughter Sara. They sold two lots for $90,000 and one for $85,000. Overall the sales average yesterday at $33,850 was down about 10 per cent on last season. The clearance rate of 73.36 per cent will raise to around 77 per cent after the usual business is done on passed in lots but there were still plenty of vendors disappointed. Until harness racing finds 50 new buyers to boost the middle market, that won't change. Big bucks babies $230k Bettors Delight-Linda Grace colt. $140k Bettors Delight-Sossusvlei colt. $130k Bettors Delight-Beach Parade colt. $100k Sweet Lou-Love A Gamble colt. Michael Guerin

She was something of an "Ugly duckling" as a youngster. Rather plain in appearance to the casual eye and even after starting racing she carried more than her share of gear which didn't making flattering photographs easy. But she would  become the ultimate Swan among fillies of her era.  Natalie Rasmussen has driven a lot of stars over the years and is not easily moved to overrate their achievements. But she had a special regard for "Maddy"and always considered her underrated even in spite of that wonderful record. "A lot of people perhaps regarded her as a staying filly but she can sprint with any of them. There isn't anything she can't do. You can have her anywhere in a field and still have confidence. There aren't many fillies who give you that feeling  every time they go out" Spanish Armada's luck finally ran out, but fortunately not on the racetrack. Injured on arrival in Sydney for the Queensland Oaks and the Breeder's Crown, races she went for because she was so well after the Jewels win, it was found the injury  to be a fracture which would have her off the scene for a long time. She would likely have missed all of her four year old career and Jean Feiss, the original owner of the filly who sold  the breeding rights career to Spanish Armada late last year, decided to relinquish her lease to a Southland owner. Jean, a buyer rather than a breeder because she no longer has a suitable property for the latter , has had a wonderful return for her investment. She bought Spanish Armada for $75,000 at the PGG Wrightson Sales and won 10 times that amount over two seasons-by any measure a good day's work. Some highlights of "Maddy" s career *She won first up in Auckland with Philip Butcher in the cart -one of two wins Philip scored with the filly. He also won her third race. *At just her third start she won the Delightful Lady (G2) and at her fifth, sixth and seventh starts she won the Caduceus Club (G1) the Sires Stakes Final (G1) and the PGG Sales Final. She won six of 8 starts and was the Filly of the Year *She was only beaten twice as a three year old in a Sires Stakes Heat and the Pascoe Northern Oaks won by stablemate Partyon. Her win included the Sires Stakes Final (G1) Caduceus Ladyship Stakes (G2) the PGG Sales Final, a heat and the final (G1) of the Nevele R Filly Series, the New Zealand Oaks (G1) and the Harness Jewels (G1). Even by All Stars standards that is one stunning record. And all that time Natalie and Mark were stripping back those gear additions.  What is more while Natalie wouldn't admit excuses, as usual, Spanish Armada certainly had them for the ONLY TWO TIMES she was beaten in a Group One race, both times by the super talented stablemate Partyon. In the 2016 Jewels Spanish Armada drew 10 over the mile and had to come from a long way back, always difficult at Cambridge. Meanwhile Mark was cleverly judging a moderate (by Jewels standard) pace in the middle stages  with Partyon before sprinting home in 27 and change. In the circumstances Maddy's third was a huge effort. In the Pascoe Oaks this year, Spanish Armada also drew badly and dropped back to last. 10 lengths from the leaders on settling, she  was three wide in the middle stages then parked. After all that she couldn't quite hold out pacemaker Partyon. The Spanish Armada magic might not have fallen far from the tree so to speak.  Her full brother fetched $140,000 at this year's Sales being bought by Barry Purdon  and owned by Woodlands.  Hardly surprising since Barry won well over $300,000 with a closely related filly Cheer The Lady a New Zealand Oaks winner herself and a three quarter sister to Maddy. But that colt will have to be very good to have a better record than Spanish Armada.Fillies like this don't come along often. All honour to her achievements.   Courtesy of All Stars Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Well known Victorian harness racing identity Jean Feiss has had a weekend to remember with her brilliant two year old filly Spanish Armarda winning the $80,000 Delightful Lady final for two year old fillies at Alexandra Park and her star three year old Chase The Dream running second to Lazarus in the Woodlands Northern Derby later on the same programme.   Early this morning Jean was a plane to Invercargill via a couple of stops to watch her two year old colt Vincent make a winning debut in the Fight For Glory mobile pace for two year olds at the Northern Southland meeting held at Ascot Park.   Settling back in the seven horse field, Mark Purdon looped the field with Vincent with just over a lap to go and grabbed the front and from there it was just a matter of what he was going to win by.   At the finish he had one and a half lengths to spare from stablemate Mr Kalypso with the other All Star runner Ultimate Machete a nose away in third for an All Star trifecta.   Vincent paced the 2200 metres in 2:44.4 which was just three tenths of a second outside of the track record for a two year old.   Vincent paced his closing sectionals in 58 and 27.1 and seemed to do it with a bit still left in the tank.   Jean was thrilled with the win.   “Mark was really positive when discussing his chances today and he raced accordingly.”   “Being bred in Australia and purchased through the sales there, Vincent is eligible for both the Australian Pacing Gold and the Australasian Breeders Crown and today he was on trial to see if he should be making the trip.”   “I think he is a good chance of making the trip after that run,” Jean said.     Vincent isn't the only horse that Jean had racing at Ascot Park today.   “I have MacKenzie and Benicio in later in the day and both would be leading chances,” Jean said.   Note: Mackenzie was an easy winner.   Even though Jean is having a great run on the track with her juveniles it is not on the back of huge numbers.   “We only own three two year olds with Spanish Armarda and Vincent being two of them.”   “The other juvenile is Riccardo who is just back in work at All Stars now after being gelded and is showing a lot of promise,” Jean said.   It is not uncommon to see Jean at tracks throughout New Zealand following her horses and her enthusiasm for harness racing is there for everyone to see.  Jean is not there for the money but for the thrill of winning a race and it is very refreshing to see in 2016.   Harnesslink Media

The fact that Messini is returning to  the All Stars barn for a New Zealand Cup  preparation is not really a surprise. He has been there done that before with the Harness Jewels in June. But he has a better chance than many of the nominees going on his best performances in this country -which have all been from the All Stars barn. On Cup Day last year just after Bill and Jean Feiss sold a half-share in him to a syndicate which includes Trevor Casey , he smashed a record winning the Junior Free for All running 3.07.2 (mr 1.55.4) in the hands of Natalie, a stunning start to a great Cup day. He then ran a respectable sixth in the NZ FFA before transferring to Brent Lilley's Melbourne stable. After a short campaign in the four year old features in Auckland where his form was below par he celebrated being back at Rolleston with a withering win over Tiger Tara, Sky Magic and Dalton Bromac in the Christian Cullen FFA running 2.18.3 the last half in 54.8. Mark was again at the helm in the Harness Jewels when a 14 marble saw him back and making a big run in the middle stages. He couldn't quite foot it with Sky Major which came out of the one one when Mark attacked and lost second late to Te Kawau but it was a tough effort.                                                                                                   And if there is a drive going in the Cup for the stable Tim Williams is sure to put his hand up. Tim won his first race for Mark and Natalie when he was given the drive on Messini in the Kindergarten Stakes at a time when Tim was based in Southland. It all went good which is probably why Tim is where he is today. David McCarthy Reproduced with permission of All Star Racing Stables  

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