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As 2010 Horse of the Year, Rock N Roll Heaven became the inaugural recipient of the Harness Racing Museum’s Delvin & Mary Lib Miller Horse of the Year Perpetual Trophy. The members of the Museum elected Rock N Roll Heaven to harness racing’s Hall of Fame in December 2016.   Year of Induction: 2017 Year of Birth: 2007 Inducted as a: Racehorse Election Into Living Hall of Fame: 2016 Gait: Pacer Record: p,3,1:47.3 Earnings: $2,748,818 Sire: Rocknroll Hanover Dam: Artistic Vision Sire of Dam: Artsplace   Biography:  Bred by Charles “Cotton” Nash, Julie Nash, Francene Nash and Steve Stewart, 2010 Horse of the Year and world champion pacer Rock N Roll Heaven was foaled on April 29, 2007 in Paris, Kentucky. The yearling was purchased at the Lexington Selected Sale in October 2008 for $57,000 by Roy O’Hagan, who then sold the colt to current owner Frank J. Bellino of Bronxville, New York the following June. Rock N Roll Heaven was trained by Bruce Saunders and his primary driver was Dan Dube. At the time of his retirement from racing, Rock N Roll Heaven was the tenth-leading single-season money winning Standardbred of all time, recording 20 wins out of 30 career starts. Rock N Roll Heaven’s 2009 two-year-old season was highlighted by victories in the New Jersey Sire Stakes final and a division of the Bluegrass. At Harrah’s Chester in September, he set the world record for two-year-olds on a five-eighths mile track (1:50.3). The freshman finished with an impressive 9-4-4-1 record and $592,626 in earnings. In 2010, three-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven won sixteen of twenty-one starts, earning $2,156,192, and was that year’s leading money winning Standardbred. Victories included the Breeders Crown, Little Brown Jug, Tattersalls Pace, Battle of the Brandywine, Messenger Stakes, Berry’s Creek Final, Matron Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes and the New Jersey Sire Stakes Final. In winning the Little Brown Jug in record time (1:49.2h), Rock N Roll Heaven became the first horse to pace two sub-1:50 miles on the same day, while setting the world record for pacing on a half-mile track in a two-heat race, and the record for three-year-old pacers on the half-mile. Rock N Roll Heaven winning the Little Brown Jug in record time (1:49.2h) In 2010 he paced a record 11 sub-1:50 miles, with victories in 1:49.2 or faster on half-mile, five-eighths, seven-eighths and mile tracks.  Rock N Roll Heaven was voted 2010 Dan Patch Horse of the Year, Dan Patch Pacer of the Year, and Dan Patch and O’Brien Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the Year, and joined the ranks of the top ten single-season money winning Standardbreds of all time. As a stallion with five crops racing in North America, Rock N Roll Heaven has sired the winners of $26,673,814 with one millionaire to date. He has produced 253 winners, 82 with $100,00 plus earnings, 24 with $250,000 plus earnings, 8 with $500,000 plus earnings, 3 with $750,000 earnings and one millionaire, a filly Sassa Hanover. He progeny have average earnings of $56,623 per eligible horse and a per starter average of $84,411 a very good result for a young stallion. He also has 18 progeny with a record of 1.50 or faster. His leading North American progeny are detailed below - Leading Foals: Top 10 All Time by Earnings Foal Name YOF Gender Life Record Total Earnings Dam Last Raced SASSA HANOVER 2012 M P 3, 1:49.4 S   $1,227,824  SAYO HANOVER  2018 DIVINE CAROLINE  2012 M P 3, 1:49.2 M   $880,335  LOVING CAROLINE  2016 ROCKIN IN HEAVEN  2012 H P 6, 1:49.2 S   $681,335  TROPIC'S BEACHGIRL  2018 BLAZIN BRITCHES  2014 M P 3, 1:48.4 M   $575,911  SOGGY BRITCHES  2018 SOTO  2012 H P 4, 1:48.4 F   $569,565  INCREDIBLE BEAUTY  2019 SPRINGSTEEN  2015 H P 3, 1:48.3 F   $557,762  AMERICAN CHARM  2018 FINE DIAMOND  2013 H P 5, 1:50.0 S   $518,290  YELLOW DIAMOND  2019 ARQUE HANOVER  2012 H P 4, 1:49.4 F   $502,794  A PIPPIN HANOVER  2018 MACKENZIE A  2012 M P 5, 1:52.4 H   $487,263  KEPT FOR PLEASURE  2018 BAND OF ANGELS  2012 M P 3, 1:50.0 M   $484,038  TIME N AGAIN  2015 Leading Foals: Top 10 All Time by Record  Foal Name YOF Gender Life Record Total Earnings Dam Last Raced SPRINGSTEEN  2015 H P 3, 1:48.3 F $557,762  AMERICAN CHARM  2018 BLAZIN BRITCHES  2014 M P 3, 1:48.4 M $575,911  SOGGY BRITCHES  2018 SOTO  2012 H P 4, 1:48.4 F $569,565  INCREDIBLE BEAUTY  2019 HEAVEN'S GAIT  2014 H P 3, 1:49.0 S $250,860  BOOYA BEACH  2018 BELL I NO  2012 G P 6, 1:49.1 M $213,229  JERSEY DREAM  2019 DIVINE CAROLINE  2012 M P 3, 1:49.2 M $880,335  LOVING CAROLINE  2016 BEAST MODE  2013 G P 4, 1:49.2 S $135,618  GAIA'S GOLD  2018 ROCKIN IN HEAVEN  2012 H P 6, 1:49.2 S $681,335  TROPIC'S BEACHGIRL  2018 MYSHARONA BLUECHIP  2012 H P 4, 1:49.3 F $193,897  MARIAH BLUE CHIP  2019 HEAVEN ROCKS A  2012 G P 6, 1:49.3 F $418,856  MENDELICO  2018     Millionaire, Rock N Roll Heaven filly Sassa Hanover winning the Jugette Rock N Roll Heaven has also stood Down Under and his progeny have done exceptionally well especially in Australia where he has sired the winners of over $10,500,000 to date. He has produced 209 winners from 304 starters that have average earnings of over $34,000 per starter a grand record. Rock N Roll Heaven was the Sire of the Champion filly from last year Shez All Rock, 11 starts for 10 wins with $426,350 in earnings. She came to New Zealand prior to been exported to North America winning two Classics in the process, completely dominating her class like never before. Shez All Rock winning the $160,000 New Zealand Oaks Shez All Rock winning the $150,000 New Zealand Jewels Let us not forget Heaven Rocks another top colt by Rock N Roll Heaven that was bred in Australia but raced mostly in New Zealand and now making a name for himself in North America. Heaven Rocks won 11 races in New Zealand mostly in spectacular fashion. He had earnings of $362,000 in New Zealand alone Here is just one of his outstanding and unbelievable impressive wins. Heaven Rocks winning the $150,000 Emerald   In New Zealand Rock N Roll Heaven has 126 foals of racing age for just under $2 million in progeny earnings, his best performer to date the Open Class Pacer AGs White Socks who has won $249,513 to date. AGs White Socks best win to date was in The Taylor Mile at Auckland. AGs White Socks winning The Taylor Mile At this years inaugural National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka, Auckland on the 18th of February 2019, there is a Rock N Roll Heaven colt for sale entered by Breckon Farms called Shape Of You. He is Lot 106 and is from the race winning Artsplace mare Stateofthenation. This colt is a ¾-brother in blood to (HEZA) HEAD HONCHO (p.2, 1.55.8f, 1.53.7f, 5 wins, $58,371) from the race winning Artsplace mare STATEOFTHENATION (1 win, $4,898). 2nd Dam is the Group 1 placed Affairs Of State (p.3, 2.00.1, 1 win, $50,811) who is a half-sister to 5 winners and has produced 5 winners from 6 starters to date including 2-time Group 3 placed (MY) CHACHINGCHACHING (p.2, 1.56.6, 1.51.6m, 15 wins, $175,474), RING THE TILL (1.57.4h, 6 wins, $31,085), HIGH SOCIETY GAL (p.3, 1.57.7, 4 wins, $18,737) and Group 1 placed Smart Fortune (p.2, 2.01.1, 1 wins at 2, $24,593). 3rd Dam is Champion mare UNDER COVER LOVER, a Million Dollar earning international Group 1 winner who is the dam of 6 winners incl Group 1 placed and Listed winner (MY) EXOTIC LOVER (p.2, 1.59.5, 2 wins, $110,336) who is the dam of Group 2 winner & Group 1 placed MATCH IN HEAVEN (p.2, 1.53.7m, 1.50.9m, 19 wins, $289,579).  This is the family of Million Dollar earner, Harness Jewels and 5-time Group 1 winner and 2YO NZ Record holder BETTOR COVER LOVER (p.2, 1.55, 1.53.8; 19 wins, $1,061,534). Lot 106 - Shape Of You Smooth Deal sensational in Young Guns Breckon Farms Young Gun Series kicks off $100,000 Queen Of Hearts – Who wins Miss Streisand makes it four straight Funatthebeach too strong in Ashburton Cup Captaintreacherous leading two-year-old sire Never Say Never N in 17th victory Greatest trotting stallion on earth – Muscle Hill Breckons make impact in three Countries Harnesslink Media

The "bridesmaids" are set to get their chance in Cambridge's race of the season. Because both Jack's Legend and Star Galleria have drawn to try and upset the All Stars apple cart in the $60,000 Waikato Flying Mile on Friday night. The sprint race is the centrepiece of the club's centenary celebrations and has drawn a field worthy of the occasion, with the first ever clash between New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer and last week's Auckland Cup champ Turn It Up. The latter will start a hot favourite after drawing the ace in the mobile mile while Thefixer faces a huge task in his first start for two months after drawing the outside of the eight-horse field. But while Turn It Up will dominate betting, the draws of Jack's Legend (barrier three) and Star Galleria (four) at least suggest some early fireworks. Both have proven Cup bridesmaids to All Stars runners before - Jack's Legend finishing second to Lazarus in last season's New Zealand Cup while Star Galleria was second to Turn It Up last week. But what Jack's Legend and Star Galleria both have is real gate speed and they have also used it before to upset highly favoured Purdon-Rasmussen favourites. Jack's Legend began brilliantly to lead and down Ultimate Machete in the Jewels as a 3-year-old while Star Galleria led and won this race last season defeating Heaven Rocks. And their trainers agree their only chance of beating Turn It Up this Friday is crossing him at the start. "Usually those good horses have good gate speed but we have to have a crack to find out," says Star Galleria's trainer Steven Reid of Turn It Up. "My horse is flying and came through the Auckland Cup great so he will be heading forward and with Jack's Legend in there too at least Turn It Up will have some pressure early." Reid also has Utmost Delight in the race and his pair will then head to Australia to be campaigned in both Victoria and New South Wales. "I want to qualify Utmost Delight for the Ladyship Mile in Sydney so she will contest the Ladyship Cup at Melton on January 26," explains Reid. "Star Galleria will race is a sprint race [Casey Classic] that night and then the Hunter Cup on February 2 and then they both head up to the Miracle Mile meeting at Menangle." Rival trainer Barry Purdon is also hoping Jack's Legend can at least test Turn It Up early and set himself up for an Australian campaign. "He has really good gate speed whereas we haven't seen Mark's horse [Turn It Up] from the mobile all that much so we have to have a look at the start and see how we go." Purdon is eyeing Australia with three of his horses, with Jack's Legend still a chance to chase a Miracle Mile spot in Sydney next month. If he heads there that might increase the chances of exciting filly Belle Of Montana making the trip to Sydney after owner Queensland-based owner Dean Shannon left the decisions between the Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park and the NSW Oaks the same weekend to Purdon. "He said it is up to me so she will race here on February 8 and then we can firm up which Oaks to aim at." Purdon will send 3-year-old pacer Supreme Dominator to the Victoria Derby heats next week, where he will join Another Masterpiece as New Zealand representatives. Michael Guerin

Every horse has the dream of writing their name in the history books, and some accomplish just that. But in recent years, there was one special Australasian pacer who was so captivating on the track and also captivated the hearts of so many off the track that he was simply too memorable for a place in just the history books. The only fitting testament to his greatness was for him to have his very own book. So, his co-owner Marcus Kirkwood, a Hunter Valley resident in Australia, set out to do just that. Gathering some of Smolda’s best mates who were all eager to tell their stories of the champion, who to them was a friend more than a horse, a book quickly began to take shape. Marcus’s dream of having a book about Smolda was becoming a reality.  In the end, this book has not one author, but many; making it truly one of a kind. You are probably wondering how I fit into this story about a story. Well, I became friends with Marcus through social media. After many messages via Twitter, Marcus and I met in person when I attended the prestigious Miracle Mile in 2016, in which Smolda was a contender, as a part of my trip to Australia. It was nice to finally be able to put a face to the name.  After that, we remained connected through social media. When he told me about the idea for a book about Smolda I thought it was a great idea. When he told me how it was going to be written by people who were friends of Smolda,  I thought it was an even better idea. Who better to tell the story of a champion than the best friends of the champion.  One day I received a message from Marcus giving me an update on his horses and how the idea of writing a book about Smolda was getting lots of positive feedback from industry participants he had been talking to. Reading this message, I was very happy for him. This is when the message took a surprising turn, which had me at a loss for words. Marcus asked me if I would be interested in contributing to Smolda’s story. As my fingers hovered over my keyboard  I tried to find the right words to say. I felt so honoured to be asked that I was not sure what words to use that would fully convey how honoured I truly felt.     I wrote back to Marcus expressing how grateful I felt that he asked me, but I mentioned that I was concerned about how much I would be able to contribute as I had only had the pleasure of watching Smolda race in person on one occasion. Nevertheless, I got to work as I waited for a response. Thinking back to my time of meeting Marcus and the night of the Miracle Mile.  Soon Marcus responded to my concern and told me told not to worry. That is when I had a realization, which had a profound effect on me, and the piece I was working on. I realized that when it comes to Smolda and me, like in many friendships the length of time you have known one another is not always the most important aspect, it is about how close you become in a short amount of time.  With this in mind, I had a new source of inspiration. I was a friend of Smolda and Smolda gave me Marcus as a friend. Smolda touched my life in more ways than I previously realized. His greatness touched my life beyond watching him race; without him, Marcus and I would not have the friendship we do. Soon, a short chapter lay before me. Writing the chapter provided me with great joy and a chance to reflect on what Smolda and Marcus meant to me. As I typed the last words, I was filled with a greater sense of appreciation of not only of the champion racehorse Smolda was but what he meant to me on a personal level and the true friend I gained through him.  Marcus kept me updated on how the book was progressing. Then one day I got a message saying that it was complete! I was so happy for Marcus and Smolda, and I felt truly honoured to have been included.  Marcus kindly put a copy in the post for me. It arrived at my home address while I was away at university. My mom sent me a message to say it had arrived and tucked the precious package away until I came home for Christmas break a few weeks later. With a slit to the envelope, I pulled out the special contents. On the front cover in a stunning colour photo was Smolda,  and in a charming font, it read Our Mate Smolda and I was in awe. I opened the front cover to heartwarming surprise. On the first page, Marcus had inscribed it to me. This made an already cherished gift even more of a treasure.  I delicately turn the pages, stopping to admire the photos which were woven throughout the book. Then my eyes fell on the page that had my name on it. Seeing my name in print, as a part of a  unique collection was truly surreal. I knew what I had written just a few months prior, but seeing those same words as a chapter, complete with photographs made it more overwhelming, real and, it ‘hit home for me’.  Even after a minute or so, a part of me remained in disbelief. Here is my writing in with some of the greatest people in the sport of harness racing. They were names I look up to, and most of them I only by association or through social media, or I met them once or twice. But, one horse… one common friend brought us all together, and his name was Smolda. But my story is not about me. It is about Smolda and his everlasting legacy. To an outsider who does not know who Smolda is, this story, which in a way is his biography, offers a window back in time to experience his greatness. To those who knew him best and worked with him every day, this serves as a reminder of the unforgettable times and accomplishments they shared over the years. To those who were there in the grandstands when he raced, it acts as an opportunity to reminisce about memories made not so long ago. No matter who you are or how you are connected to Smolda, this collection of anecdotes can mean something to you. That is why it so precious, everyone can still be a part of his legacy if they are not already. The unique multi-perspective biography which tells the life of Smolda ensures everyone can be a part of his journey to greatness and beyond. Just how they say many hands make light work, it takes many hands, and hearts to write a wonderful book about a remarkable pacer. This story is one that everyone who loves harness racing should read, at least once. To learn more about Smolda and his book, or to purchase a copy and become a part of his legacy, please visit: https://www.ourmatesmolda.com.au/product/our-mate-smolda/   By Sydney Weaver, for Harnesslink

Skyvalley gelding War Admiral scored a deserving win in testing conditions in the main trot today(Sunday) at the Wyndham Harness Club’s meeting on the grass at Cromwell. Driver Sheree Tomlinson settled the gelding at the rear of the field and with 800 metres to run War Admiral was still six lengths off the lead. From that point Tomlinson elected to stick to the inside running line and on straightening she was right behind the leader Gorilla Playboy giving her rights to the passing lane. From that point Tomlinson held War Admiral together and he trotted up the inside to beat Playboy’s Brother by two and a quarter lengths. “The plan was to not let him go. To be honest I thought that at some part he’d make a mistake. She’s a good wee driver. She said he trotted really well and she hung on and made sure he kept trotting,” said Gore trainer Tony Stratford. The heavy track was a major concern for a lot of trainers and at his last start War Admiral had broken when looking likely. “I was pretty confident he would have won at Roxburgh if he hadn’t made a mistake so it was nice to see him get a win today.” The win - War Admirals second this season, elevates him to third on the Four Year Old Ruby for the end of season Harness Jewels at Addington. “We’ll plan round that. I’ll be surprised if you don’t see him at the Jewels in June.” As a three year old War Admiral showed immense ability, winning three of his seven starts and Stratford says he’s more consistent this season.    “He’s a bit of a rattle head and a hard horse to work with but when you get him in the cart and get him out on the track he’s certainly a lot more mature than last season. Clearly he’s trotting a lot better.” And he says he may start at the Wyndham meeting in a fortnight. “We’re better off just ticking away. I’ve learnt that when a trotter’s in form you’re better off keeping them going. He won’t be turned out but he’ll have a few easy days.” When asked if he’d consider travelling, Stratford pointed out that he may not have to. “We’re racing for such good money down here. Today’s raceswas worth $14,999 which was the same as the main pacing race. Most races he lines up for in Southland he’ll be racing for $10,000 or more. Providing we are not too far back in the handicaps there’s nothing wrong with racing down here.”    And on the conditions at Cromwell today? “The horses were coming back caked in mud. That’s as bad as I’ve ever seen (track conditions).” Meanwhile Canterbury visitor Zadaka proved his toughness when he won the Havtime Breeding/M&S Little Cromwell Cup. Due to the heavy track conditions his time of 3-42.6 was the slowest recorded in the twelve year history of the race. Devil May Care’s 3-37.4 in 2014 was the previous slowest (recorded on a Dead track). The race and track record of 3-20.8 is held by Glencoe VC. This was the third time Robert Dunn has won the race. He also won it in 2009 with Luckisaladytonight and in 2010 with Niraadi. The day was full of twists and turns and the Stewards had their busiest day of the season: --Because of a programmed TAB Website change and the introduction of their new App at 12 midnight tonight the Cromwell meeting started early at 10:38am. --Persistent rain starting falling from 8.00am in Cromwell and the track conditions were down-graded during the day to Dead after Race Three then to Heavy after Race Six. --There were ten late scratchings due to track conditions. --The mobile vehicle lost traction after the dispatch of Race Four and the later mobile starts programmed for Races Seven and Nine became moving starts. --The Clerk Of Course’s horse bolted leading to some scary moments. Both horse and rider were replaced with Otago trainer Amber Hoffman taking over the role. --During the day a variety of winning running lines were chosen by the drivers. Sheree Tomlinson chose the inside path in Race Eleven to win easily while in Race Twelve Mark Hurrell came  hard against the outside fence to gets Raksbets home by a half a length. --Winners were often hard to find with only four favourites winning during the twelve race programme. Many horses failed to handle the conditions.   Bruce Stewart

New Zealand bred, Breckon Farms bred, had a big week in three Countries this past week wiith harness racing winners in New Zealand (Elle Mac), North America (Never Say Never N) and Australia (Miss Streisand). The winning started at the Auckland Trotting Cup Meeting on New Year's Eve with Jean Fiess owned Elle Mac putting up a sensational run in a New Zealand record of a 1:51.6 mile rate over 1700 metres recording her 11th victory in just the 22 starts for stakes off $519,827. Elle Mac now has six track records to her credit including two overall New Zealand records for a four-year-old and older mare. Elle Mac is bred on the golden cross, she is a Bettor's Delight from a Christian Cullen mare, the same as champion Lazarus and many others that are racing. Elle Mac winning in a New Zealand record of a 1:51.6 mile rate over 1700 metres Your chance of securing a close relation to Elle Mac has improved dramatically with three outstanding entries from the Breckon Farms draft at the Inaugural 2019 National Yearling Sale held in Karaka, Auckland, on the 17th and 18th of February. Lot 6 an American Ideal filly from a race winning full-sister to Elle Mac, Lot 12 an American Ideal filly from a race winning Mach Three sister to Elle Mac and Lot 18 an Art Major colt brother to Elle Mac who is appropriately called Billion Dollar Boy. Lot 6 - Needamargarita is a filly by American Ideal from Fellamongstabeauty by Bettor's Delight from the Christian Cullen mare Goodlookinggirl. Lot 6 - Needamargarita Lot 12 - Allamericanlover is a filly by American Ideal from Goodlookinbabe by Mach Three from from the Christian Cullen mare Goodlookinggirl. Lot 12 - Allamericanlover American Ideal has produced ten millionaires in North America in total. Four have been fillies including his richest progeny American Jewel 1:48.2s ($1,834,823) and also the champion current North American three-year-old filly of the year Yourmycandygirl 1:48.2 ($1,497,000). American Ideal has produced the winners of over $87 million to date in North America. In New Zealand he is the sire of progeny that has earned $7.5 million to date and in Australia he has progeny earnings of over $10 million to date.  Therefore, American Ideal now belongs to the $100 million club an outstanding achievement. He best performing mare in New Zealand is The Orange Agent ($516,974) and in Australia, American Ideal has produced two millionaires to date. They are Bling It On 1:50.8 ($1,656,656) and Soho Tribeca 1:53.8 ($1,103,374)  Lot 18 - Billion Dollar Boy is a colt by Art Major from Goodlookinggirl by Christian Cullen from the Butler BG mare Twice As Good. Billion Dollar Boy is the first colt from Goodlookinggirl. Lot 18 - Billion Dollar Boy The stallion Art Major needs no introduction. He has sired the winners of over $122 million in North America alone. In New Zealand he has sired the winners of over $13 million and in Australia he has sired the winners of over $51 million.  The second winner this last week for Breckon Farms was Miss Streisand, the A Rocknroll Dance half-sister to Elle Mac, who won at Newcastle this past Friday night in New South Wales, Australia. Miss Streisand has been unbeaten in her last five seasonal starts putting together a very good record of 16 starts lifetime for 9 wins, 4 placings and earning $115,000 in the process taking a record of 1:53 flat. Miss Streisand is a half-sister to Lot 18 - Billion Dollar Boy featured above and of course Miss Streisand is a half-sister to Elle Mac. What more needs to be said for this great family of Elle Mac, Miss Streisand and especially for the close  relations of these outstanding winners in the Breckon Farms draft at the Inaugural 2019 National Yearling Sale held in Karaka, Auckland, on the 17th and 18th of February.  Miss Streisand winning her fifth race on end at Newcastle on Friday night The third winner this last week for Breckon Farms was the ever improving Never Say Never N winning at Dover Downs in North America on Thursday of this past week and what a win it was. It was his second win in a row and 18th lifetime from 58 starts and it was a very impressive victory in 1:50.4 a new lifetime nark, and he beat home the former New Zealand open class pacer Tiger Thompson N who was having his first start on American soil finishing second.   RACE 7 - Dover Downs - DE - January 3, 2019  Conditions: WINNERS OVER $9,500 (DE $11,400) LAST 6 STARTS OR WINNERS OVER $110,000 LIFETIME    Gait: Pace     Purse: $14,000     Class: WO9500L6     Distance: 1 mile     Track Cond: FT     Temp-Allow: 45-0     Off Time: 6:21 PM HN  Horse  PP  1/4  1/2  3/4  Str  Finish Actual LQ Odds  Driver  Trainer     3  Never Say Never N  3  3°/2Q  1/1H  1/Q  1/1H  1/1 1:50.4  28.1 *1.70   Corey Callahan  Dylan Davis         1  Tiger Thompson N  1  5/5T  5°/3  4°/1Q  3/2H  2/1 1:51.0  28.1 7.40   Art Stafford Jr  Joshua Parker         6  Last Gunfighter  6  1/2  2/1H  3/1Q  2/1H  3/1Q 1:51.0  28.1 7.30   Mike Cole  Joseph Columbo         8  Sweet Rock  8  8/10Q  8°/6  8°/3T  6/3T  4/2T 1:51.2  28.0 17.40   Allan Davis  Wayne Givens         7  Soto  7  2/2  4/2T  5/2Q  4/3H  5/3 1:51.2  28.2 6.40   Russell Foster  Eric Ell         5  Machiavelli  5  7/8T  7/5H  7/3T  7/4Q  6/3Q 1:51.2  28.0 28.10   Victor Kirby  Mark Harder         4  Sprinter N  4  4/4Q  3°/1T  2°/Q  5/3H  7/3H 1:51.2  28.4 1.70   Tim Tetrick  Michael Hall         2  Star Messenger  2  6/7Q  6°/4H  6°/2T  8/5Q  8/4Q 1:51.3  28.2 33.60   Anthony Morgan  Gary Ewing       Time:  26.2 54.3  (28.1) 1:22.3  (28.0) 1:50.4  (28.1)     HN  Horse  Driver Win  Place  Show    3  Never Say Never N  Corey Callahan 5.40  3.60  2.80    1  Tiger Thompson N  Art Stafford Jr   6.20  4.20    6  Last Gunfighter  Mike Cole     4.00       Wager Type  Numbers/Payouts Pool     Exacta  (3-1 $42.00)      Trifecta  (3-1-6 $227.80)      Superfecta  (3-1-6-8 $853.40)       1st Never Say Never N  (6, H   Bettor`s Delight - Maid In Splendor - Christian Cullen) Registered Owner(s)/Lessee(s):  Thomas Lazzaro - NY Breeder(s):   ** View Top 3 Finishers (-) 2nd Tiger Thompson N  (6, G   Big Jim - Aziza - Pacific Rocket) Registered Owner(s):  Nanticoke Racing Inc - DE, Joshua Parker - DE, Stephen Messick - DE, Prestige Stable - DE Breeder(s):  H 3rd Last Gunfighter  (5, H   Rocknroll Hanover - One Last Kiss - Artsplace) Registered Owner(s):  George & Tina Dennis Racing - DE Breeder(s):  Steve Jones - NY   Never Say Never N was sold to North America by JC International in November 2016 and has been a good earner there making a tidy $236,728 to date. Before he was exported, Never Say Never N had only five starts in New Zealand for trainer Ken Barron, for one win at Ashburton over 2600 metres rating a 2.05.9 mile rate over the distance. When he arrived in North America Never Say Never N won his first five races in a row with the last of those five wins coming in the $61,800 Sagamore Hill Final at the half-mile oval of Yonkers Raceway in 1:54.2 which was a great effort for a new import from New Zealand. Never Say Never N is the first foal of the Group placed race winning mare Maid In Splendour who has produced three to the races for three winners to date. A full-sister to Never Say Never N was a recent winner for The Allstars stable at Addington called Ruby Rose. Another full-brother is entered in the inaugural National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka on the 18th of February 2019. Entered on behalf of The Breckon Farms draft as Lot 58 this full-brother to Never Say Never N  is called Pace N Pride and is the fifth foal of Maid In Splendour. Lot 58 - Pace N Pride Pace N Pride is by Bettor's Delight, who needs no introduction as he is the dominant leading pacing stallion in the world right now, yes that is right he is the overall leading money winning sire in all four Countries, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA. Bettor's Delight has bred over 7,500 mares in all Countries and he is heading towards $300 million in progeny earnings right now. Maid In Splendour Maid In Splendour is from the race winning and now great producing Holmes Hanover mare Diamonds N Gold, dam of ten winners to date including Diamonds N Furs 1:54.8f ($231,399). Diamonds N Gold is a half-sister to the super racehorse Desperate Comment ($1,033,065) who won many races including the 1996 $250,000 Victoria Cup seen here; Harnesslink Media

Auckland Reactor gelding Chase Auckland ran a close second to the New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer at the Auckland Trotting Club workouts run at Pukekohe today. In what was his second public appearance after an injury layoff, Chase Auckland ran a narrow second to Thefixer after moving up to sit parked outside him for the last lap.  Chase Auckland was timed to run his last 800m in around 58seconds and the final 400m in a tick under 27 seconds.   "I was really pleased with his run. He is such a beautiful pacer," said trainer Mark Purdon.   "I want to look at possibly giving him another trial during next week if needed and then it will be off on the plane to Australia."   Harnesslink Media  

It felt like a homecoming for Ashburton trainer Ben Waldron when his mare Queen Bee Bardon won the Peters Generics Roxburgh Cup today. He was born and bred in Omarama which is just over the hill from Roxburgh, but he moved to the Canterbury region when he was ten. “It’s a massive thrill for me to win a race like this because it’s a wee bit like coming home. Of all the big races this means as much as any of them. It’s a great bunch of guys that run the Roxburgh Club,” he said. Many were surprised to see Queen Bee Bardon back up so soon after a gut busting run in the record breaking Central Otago Cup just two days ago at Omakau.   “All things considered it was a pretty good run. It looked bad but it was a 25 (second) opening quarter. Then she worked again shortly after settling and it was always going to take it’s toll. We had to be realistic and there was improvement there if we could just use her once (in today’s race).” Waldron said the Gotta Go Cullen mare recovered well from the Omakau run. “She’s as hard as nails. As she’s got older and older she’s got tougher and tougher. She’s one of those horses that bounces back remarkably quickly. She’s a good bit of livestock, you might say. She ate up and got on with it. She was tired after the run but recharged her batteries and got back into it.” In today’s 2700 metre Cup, driver Craig Thornley settled Queen Bee Bardon last with Mr Kiwi making the pace. When Pats Dragon and Especial moved forward three wide Thornley latched onto the three wide train. On turning in Queen Bee Bardon was the widest runner and she powered home down the outside to nail Nearis Green by half a length with a head back to Mr Kiwi.   Queen Bee Bardon winning the 2019 Roxburgh Cup - Photo Wayne Huddleston Wild Range Photography.  “I like to leave my drivers to do their thing otherwise I’d do it myself. We obviously wanted to give her an easier trip. Craig did a fantastic job. He’s a bloody good horseman,” said Waldron after the race. Today’s win was Queen Bee Bardon’s seventh in forty four starts and according to Waldron in many of her races she’s been unlucky. “She’s very rarely copped a decent run. She ran second in a Jewels Final behind Piccadilly Princess as a four year old. Generally speaking she hasn’t had a whole lot of luck. She’s been crook at the wrong time. It sounds pretty silly but her record is disappointing compared to what she feels like. She’s pretty sharp.” Waldron says her rating of 79 puts her into a challenging grade. “It is difficult. There is always a nice horse coming through. It’s a tricky grade because you’ve got a lot of potential cup horses on the way through. Or do you try off big marks in a race that’s a bit easier?” Queen Bee Bardon’s next target is likely to be the $100,000 Group One New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes at Addington on the 15thFebruary. “I’ve never been frightened to line her up. You’ve got to have a go.” Although she’s six, Waldron feels Queen Bee Bardon is just starting to peak. “Unfortunately she’s been a slow developing mare. She’s quite a big mare. She’s had a lot of wee niggles and quite a bad virus at one point. Sometimes these types of horses that are from left field breeding can turn up later in life.” Queen Bee Bardon is out of the Bionic Power mare Margaret Bardon and is owned by Renee Williams (Ben’s Fiancée), Gordon Guthrie and Mike Chequer. Guthrie and Chequer had shares in Mr Molly which Waldron trained to win fourteen races including the 2009 Northern Southland Cup Invercargill Cup double. Although she seems to have been round the racetracks for a long time Waldron says there are no plans to retire her. “There’s been no real reason to retire her because it’s felt like she’s got more wins in her.”          Bruce Stewart

Cambridge’s centenary meeting is set to host a rare clash of New Zealand’s biggest Cups winners. Because both New Zealand Cup hero Thefixer and this week’s Auckland Cup winner Turn It Up are being aimed at next Friday’s $60,000 Flying Mile. The super sprint is the centrepiece of Cambridge’s celebration of 100 years of racing and while the Flying Mile often attracts an elite level star like Lazarus, it rarely sees the two major Cup winners clash. And they are likely to be joined by defending Mile champion Star Galleria as well as last season’s New Zealand Cup runner-up Jacks Legend, making it one of the strongest Flying Miles in years. The Purdon-Rasmussen camp confirmed both Thefixer, who hasn’t raced since winning the New Zealand Cup, and Turn It Up will clash in the Mile after their trainers sat down to plan out where most of their superstars are heading for the summer. Thefixer missed the Auckland Cup after being given an easy time after the New Zealand Cup but looked very fit working between races on Monday. So his clash with Turn It Up could, depending on draws and runs, indicate just who the best pacer in New Zealand is at the moment. The All Stars also likely to have Ashley Locaz and All U Need Is Faith in the race so Cambridge officials will be beaming that their centenary night will attract a field appropriate for the occasion. Thefixer will be using the Mile as a lead up to the Ballarat Cup on January 19 before the Hunter Cup two weeks later. He will be joined at Ballarat by stablemates Cruz Bromac and Spankem, who are already in Australia after competing in the Inter Dominions. Cruz Bromac will also head to the Hunter Cup on February 2 but Spankem will be aimed at the Bonanza at Melton on January 26 to attempt to qualify for the Chariots of Fire in Sydney a month later. The All Stars have decided Another Masterpiece will be their Victoria Derby contender while unbeaten three-year-old Ultimate Sniper will be saved for the NSW Derby on March 2. He will be joined in Sydney by Chase Auckland, who is being aimed at the Chariots Of Fire while Elle Mac will be the stable rep in the Ladyship Mile, with Dream About Me returning to Christchurch after a rare below par effort in the Auckland Cup. Trainer Steven Reid has indicated he will look to take both his Auckland Cup contenders Star Galleria and Utmost Delight to Australia. While next Friday’s meeting shapes as Cambridge’s best of the season, this Friday's twilight offering is far more sedate, with small-time trainer Cheree Wigg maybe the punter’s best friend as she has winning chances with Wait For Success (race two) and Crackared (race three), both legs of the Pick6. Michael Guerin

For the past few years Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson has packed up his horses and set up at Cromwell for the duration of the Central Otago Harness Racing Circuit. He's dominated one race in particular – the Trotting Free For All at Omakau. Since 2013 he's won the race six times and in yesterday’s feature he started three horses; Smokey Mac, Jen Jaccka and up and comer Majestic Man. It was the latter that came out on top. Williamson said the win was a bit of a surprise for him. “He’s a very nice horse but today was a bit of a step up. This was his first free for all type race. I didn’t really expect him to beat them. He’s in the zone, in form and has got the winning habit going.”  Driver Brad Williamson sat the Majestic Son gelding parked for the first part of the journey. He moved him forward to the lead when stablemate Jen Jaccka started to progress forward realising she may well take the lead, which she did. Jen Jaccka looked to have the race in safe keeping when she shot clear by three lengths with 300 metres to run but Brad Williamson didn’t panic and Majestic Man ground down a game Jen Jaccka to win by a neck. “I knew it would be tough as Jen Jaccka has been really pleasing us of late.” As a young horse Majestic Man progressed through age group racing at two and three. “Last year he was running second to good horses at Group One level in races like the Derby.” The only real blip on the radar last season was his performance in the Harness Jewels at Cambridge. “He got a kick in the leg so that’s why he didn’t go any good in the Jewels. We had to treat him with a fair amount of antibiotics to clean up the injury. This year he’s come back bigger and better which we hoped he would and were just hoping he can improve more to get up to the very elite level.” After yesterday's win Williamson will give the gelding a break as he plans his path to the Jewels at Addington. “We are going to be a bit cautious with him. We’re Jewels bound and we won’t be doing too much racing in the interim. We’ll try and have him as good as we can for that race. He’ll have a freshener. He’s in great form at the moment and it seems a strange time to back off but you just can’t keep pushing the accelerator all the time.”        The Trotting Free For All has been run twelve times since it started in 2008 and Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson has won the race six times – the last four on the trot. His previous winners have been Alderbeck (2018), Monty Python (2017) and Springbank Sam (2013, 2014 and 2016). “We get a great thrill out of winning any race. We try to have our horses at their best for these types of meetings. We plan to have our horses at their peak at Christmas time and at Cup time.” Meanwhile another Williamson runner Shes Like The Wind won on debut at Omakau. Shes Like The Wind winning in the Williamson colours - Photo Wayne Huddleston Wild Range Photography By Majestic Son out of the Sundon mare Sun Mist the three year old filly was taken straight to the top by driver Matty Williamson winning by eight and three quarter lengths. His time from behind the mobile was 2-35.4 setting a new track record for three year old trotting fillies. “Yeah good filly with potential there. We just have to work on gait. It’s just not 100% yet, it’s just on the bends. Some horses can trot the bend really fluently and with some it takes them more time to get confident with it. It’s just a matter of having more practice and we’ll see if she gets better or not but when she does she’ll be competitive to race in the nice three year old fillies races we’re hoping.” Sun Mist is a daughter of champion mare Merinai which won nineteen races including a Rowe Cup and Dominion Handicap. Sun Mist has been a great breeder for her Winton owner Michelle Caig, leaving Pretty Sunday the winner of fifteen races, Sonofearl which won twenty three and Rosemma which won eight. Caig is presenting a quality Love You colt out of the mare at next month’s New Zealand National Standardbred Yearling Sales.  Meanwhile the Mark Purdon Natalie Rasmussen trained Funatthebeach set a new track record when he won the McLarens Transport/RD Petroleum Trotting Cup. His time for the 2000 metre mobile was 2-22.2. The previous open track record was 2-25.8 recorded by Bettor Think Twice in 2015. Funatthebeach winning the McLarens Transport/RD Petroleum Trotting Cup - Photo Wayne Huddleston Wild Range Photography The New Zealand record for 2000 metres mobile of 2-21.8 is held by another Purdon runner Auckland Reactor. That was recorded in Auckland in 2008. In today’s pacing feature driver Tim Williams didn’t get involved in the early rush with the Somebeachsomewhere gelding settling him at the tail of the field as Mossdale Rose, Queen Bee Bardon and A G’s White Sock took turns at leading. When Letspendanitetogetha made a lightning move with 900 metres to run Funatthebeach hopped onto his back. At the 600 it became obvious the race winner was going to be either A G’s White Socks or Funatthebeach, but Funatthebeach was the bravest winning by half a length.   Bruce Stewart  

Winton breeder Neville Skinner had one of those harness racing rarities when his name was in the race book four times for the first race on the card at his home track at Winton on Monday. He bred the winner Only One Way, as well as Helluva Way (5th) and Tommy Tiddler (9th).  All three horses drew next to each other at the barrier. The occasion would have been even rarer if Lucky Me which had drawn five, had started. After a good start driver Matty Williamson took Only One Way straight to the top and he remained there for the entire journey, running out a three and a quarter length win over Star Dude. This was the three year old’s second career start and after the highly promising Chinese Whisper was scratched, he was made a commanding favourite. “Last time in (as a two year old) we thought quite a lot of him but he just weakened off a bit. Although he went quite a nice race (in the New Zealand Two Year Old Trotting Stakes) we thought he might have done a little bit more than he did. Hopefully this time after a break he’ll be a better horse and kick on a bit,” said Williamson. The Skinner trio - Helluva Way (Allan Beck), Only One Way (Matty Williamson) and Tommy Tiddler (Ellie Barron) - Photo Bruce Stewart  Trained by Phil Williamson he’s owned by Neville Skinner, his sister Judy Ward her husband David and their cousin Grant McMaster. The same group owned the ill-fated Alley Way which won eleven races. Matty Williamson says the Majestic Son three year old will still have to improve if he’s to step up to the better grade. “He didn’t steer very well today so hopefully we can iron that out because going up a grade he’ll be wanting to be doing everything right. He was hanging a bit today but he’ll be a lot better for that one.” The winning connections with Maurice Skinner holding the Jimmy Dillion Cup - Photo Bruce Stewart Williamson says the Hambletonian at Ashburton in February will give the team a better idea if the horse is worthy of a start in some of the age group races later in the season. Only One Way is of a breed that former local vet Peter Williams and the Skinner family have had a lot of success with. The breed stems back to the broodmare Princess Way which produced a host of winners for Neville and Judy’s father Maurice including Arbitrator (3), Gregory Peter (6), Arlington (3), Whizz Way (3) and Sundon’s Way (15). No Way is a daughter of Whizz Way. Once again Canterbury based trainers dominated the Southern meeting with Ivan Court winning Race Two with outsider Choice Lustre. Aylesbury trainer Stephen Boyd won with Back In Black, Vi Lee and I’ve Already Told You. All were driven by Mark Jones. It was the first time Boyd had trained three in one day.   Bruce Stewart

Two legends of New Zealand racing shared a remarkable Auckland Trotting Cup victory with Turn It Up at Alexandra Park last night. But sadly only one of them was there to see it. Turn It Up did what no pacer had ever done before, winning Auckland’s richest harness race at just his ninth start. Still just a baby he led almost throughout for champion trainer-driver Mark Purdon and unleashed a 54.3 second last 800m to beat a brave Star Galleria and Ashley Locaz, leaving harness insiders wondering just how far Turn It Up can go. But with every step he takes on that path there will be an air of sadness as one of the men who he was purchased for as a yearling won’t be there to enjoy it. His former co-owner Neil Pilcher was one of the best known and popular owners in New Zealand racing, having shook the hands of probably half the horsepeople in the country during his decades transporting horses. He was a major owner for the All Stars Stable until he passed away just a few months ago before he could see Turn It Up win what would have been the first Auckland Cup for the man affectionately known as Pilch. “Neil loved the stock of Courage Under Fire and this was the one we bought that particular year for him so obviously we are sad he is not here to enjoy it,” said Purdon. Pilcher’s brother Lee has taken a small share to keep the family connection there but one of the other owners of Turn It Up might have created a unique piece of New Zealand racing history all of his own last night. Jim Gibbs is a thoroughbred training Hall of Famer and universally respected after a wonderful career as a galloping trainer and has now owned an Auckland Cup winning pacer 30 years after training Spyglass to win the thoroughbred racing equivalent.  I won an Auckland Cup with her and was beaten a narrow margin a couple of times but this is a lot of fun,” said Gibbs, whose wife Ann also shares in the ownership of Turn It Up. Joining them in the winner’s circle was Gibbs’s son Chris, who five days earlier co-trained Danzdanzdance to win the Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie, continuing the impressive family doubles. While Turn It Up’s win was expected the shock of the night came in the group one National Trot when Massive Metro outsprinted hot favourite Marcoola up the passing lane. He was beautifully handled by Todd Mitchell to give trainers Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett one of the most satisfying wins of their careers. “This means a lot to me because this horse’s dam, Paris Metro, gave me my first group in this race 14 years ago,” said Wallis. Marcoola did himself no favours galloping in the score up but driver Clint Ford was making no excuses. He would have settled back anyway and didn’t lose that much so we were beaten by the better horse on the night.” There were no such dramas with Ultimate Sniper as he led throughout to win the $200,000 Sales Series Pace while Belle Of Montana divebombed Wainui Creek in the last stride to win the $150,000 Sires’ Stakes Championships. Earlier in the day favourite punters were left with a black eye and then a bleeding nose when first $1.10 chance Smooth Deal galloped and tailed off in the two-year-old race while Oscar Bonevena was a costly failure after an early gallop in race three.   Michael Guerin

Impressive Regent Car Court Nugget Final winner Mossdale Art looks to be the early favourite for the Southland Oaks in April. The Bettor’s Delight three year old has been impressive in both her wins at Winton in the last three weeks and her win today against a field of primarily three year old colts and geldings stamped her as a quality filly. “I think she’s a filly that should have a pretty good season. She’s had two starts for two wins and hopefully she’ll carry on learning,” said driver Ben Hope, son of Greg and Nina Hope who train the filly. In today’s final Vintage Rose showed early gate speed to lead before Zinny Mach took over. With 1300 metres to run Hope moved Mossdale Art out from three back on the inside to take up the parked positon for 200 metres before taking her to the front. In the last 50 metres she held out Zinny Mach which came up the inside to get within a neck of the winner with another half a neck back to a late charging Just Wondering for third. Mossdale Art (1) hanging on to beat Zinny Mach (2)                  - Photo Bruce Stewart. “I had the second and third horse well covered. I let her cruise to the line herself. As soon as Zinny Mac snuck up I had to nurse her across the line again. She had them well covered but just pulled up because of her inexperience.” Mossdale Art is owned by Mossburn breeder Archie Affleck and Hope thinks she can perform at a higher level. “It’s hard to know how far she’ll go but I’d say she’ll be able to keep up with most of the fillies.”  Affleck was one of Greg and Nina Hopes first clients. They have been training horses for the Mossburn based breeder for fifteen years with the first ‘Mossdale’ winner (Mossdale Cam) winning at Marlborough in January 2003. Winning connections       - photo Bruce Stewart Today’s win was the 31st ‘Mossdale’ the Hopes have trained for Affleck. The combination’s biggest winner so far has been Mossdale Conner which won thirteen races including the 2015 Taylor Mile. “It’s really great to get another win for Archie. He’s been with Mum and Dad for ages. He couldn’t make it last time when she won over a mile so it was great to have him here today.”   Bruce Stewart

Harness racing up-and-comer Turn It Up has remarkably won the Gr1 $250,000 2018 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup at only his ninth start. He had to be good to win the race too after a somewhat slow beginning and also being trapped wide for the first 700m. In the end the Courage Under Fire gelding was simply too fast with trainer/driver Mark Purdon sending the speedy 4yo around to the front and dominating for the rest of the race. A very slick last 800m cut out in 54.3 seconds meant game over for the rest of the field with Star Galleria and Tony Herlihy getting closest albeit more than a length from the winner at the line. Mark Purdon said after the race he was always keen to bring him to Auckland at some stage as the horse paces better the Auckland way around.. "When he ran second in the Free For All at Addington that really impressed me and knowing he was a better pacer this way around that sealed it," he said. "We might take him to Australia later, he is still eligible for the Vic Bred series but we will see how he comes through this race before making any decisions.  "There is plenty here for him with the Taylor mile and the Jewels so we will see how it pans out,"  Turn It Up paced the 3200m from a stand in 4-03.0 and the winning margin was one and a half lengths. _______________________________________________________________________ Massive Metro caused a boilover of epic preportions beating the race favourite Marcoola in the Gr1 $96,000 Sims Pacific Metals 2018 National Trot at Alexandra Park tonight. In doing so the 5yo Muscle Mass gelding shaved 0.2 of a second of the New Zealand set by Stig in this race in 2012. Trainers Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett got a huge thrill winning the race as they also trained Paris Metro the dam of Massive Metro to win the same race back in 2004. An emotional Todd Mitchell gave credit to the trainers for supporting him with drives and also for correcting the bad manners the horse had at his last start at Cambridge. "He is a very exciting trotter. "I am not sure what happened last start at Cambridge, but Bernie and Michelle have done a great job with him and rectified that," he said after the race. "He felt so much happier right handed. "When they backed off I thought this is my chance and if we are going to get the front we will get it now. "In the end he had to come off Marcoola's back to beat him so it shows this guy has got a bit of heart." The race was run in 3-21.1 with a final 800m in 57.4 and the last 400m in 29.2 seconds _________________________________________________________________________ Wow how good is he? Ultimate Sniper remained unbeaten winning his sixth race from six starts in tonights $195,000 PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales Open final for 3yo pacers. Any questions asked that Ultimate Sniper may not hold the lead off the gate were quickly answered by a flick with the reins from driver Natalie Rasmussen and the imposing son of Bettor's Delight blasted off the gate to lead easily. With no attackers mid race Ultimate Sniper was able to reel off a sizzling last 800m in 54.5 seconds and win easing down by more than three lengths from stable mate Another Masterpiece. Rasmussen had no doubts Ultimate Sniper could hold the lead. "He is just a natural high speed horse. "A lot of these good horses have that high speed and he has just got instant speed so the other horses have to be extra good to get near him at the start," she said post race. The overall time for the 2200m mobile was a quick 2-39.8 and Ultimate Sniper zipped over his last 400m in 26.4 seconds. Top sire Bettor's Delight sired the first three horses in the race a feat he achieved two more times during the night. ________________________________________________________________________ Speedy filly Belle Of Montana made it four wins from five starts when she won the $150,000 Gr1 Alabar Sires Stakes Fillies Championship by a narrow margin. Driver Zachary Butcher gave the Barry Purdon trained 3yo a lovely run three deep on the fence and produced her wider at the turn to rush home down the middle of the track to grab the leader Wainui Creek by the barest of noses. "You can not take it away from her, she has won four out of her last five starts now," Butcher said after the win. "She is a filly with high speed and to be competitive against these better ones you need that. "When I pulled her out at the bend and straightened her up she really drove to the line when the plugs came out," he said. Belle Of Montana ((Bettor's Delight - Lady Cullen) ran the mobile 2200m in 2-40.6 with a closing 800m in 57.0 and the final 400m in 27.3 seconds.   _________________________________________________________________________ The Paul Court trained 2yo Mach Da Vinci has dominated the second heat of the Breckon Farms Young Gun Series leading all the way and winning comfortably by a length over the 1700m mobile. A sensation shortly after the start of the race saw the raging hot favourite Smooth Deal go in to an uncontrolled gallop and lose his chance in the race with a stunned Mark Purdon saying after the race he was not sure what caused the $1.05 favourite to break stride. Mach Da Vinci was driven confidently by Joshua Dickie and paced the 1700m journey in a sedate 2-06.4 with a quicker last 800m on 57.6 and a closing 400m in 27.8 seconds. The mile rate was 1-59.6 Mach Da Vinci (Art Major - Mach's Love) is a half brother to the two win 3yo pacer Stun Gun who ran third in a heat of the Young Gun Series last year.   Harnesslink Media

Farrier come trainer Richard Aubrey has been waiting his entire career for tonight. Because for the first time in his 20 years in harness racing, Aubrey can see the group one mountain top. The mountain in question is the $150,000 Sires’ Stakes Championship at Alexandra Park and Aubrey’s exciting three-year-old filly Wainui Creek has emerged as potentially the horse to beat. She has looked an elite-level talent over the last six weeks and was a brave third on her northern debut two weeks ago.  Aubrey, who shoes horses for a job and trains horses on the side with his wife Julia, is adamant Wainui Creek will be better than last start and the filly has already cleared the toughest of obstacles. Because in most pacing group ones trainers like Aubrey can only dream of beating the All Stars but after Princess Tiffany went sore, the country’s leading stable doesn’t have a runner in tonight’s filly’s feature. “Obviously that is a huge help,” says the Cantabrian. “And I think we have a real chance. She was as good as any filly in the race when she ran third here sitting parked last start and she was still big in condition. “She is better now and at her peak. I’ve never won a race worth more than about $40,000 before so yes, I’m a bit excited.” Wainui Creek’s best chance of winning would be if early favourite Chevron Supreme got crossed from the ace, meaning last-start winner Belle Of Montana wasn’t guaranteed the trail. If Belle Of Montana gets that trip she becomes the filly to beat. But for Aubrey and Wainui Creek it is a case of so far, so good.   Michael Guerin

Ken Ford has never been happier with his trotting bodybuilder Marcoola than he is heading into tonight’s $100,000 National Trot at Alexandra Park. And that spells huge trouble and maybe certain defeat for his rivals in the group one. Not that Canterbury trainer Ford coined the nickname Bodybuilder for Marcoola, the trotting star of the New Zealand summer. That is hardly Ford’s style, not the way they do things on the farm down south. “Somebody called him that the other day,” he laughs. “We have some visitors come out to where we are staying and they said that horse looks like a bloody bodybuilder, the way he is all muscled up and glistening. “So I took that has a compliment. This time of year, with the sun on his back and being a stallion, he looks super. “And he is as well as I have ever had him going into a race.” Those words won’t give rival trainers a lot of comfort after Marcoola was breathtaking beating an even better field than the one he meets tonight in the $300,000 Dominion at Addington last month. He then brought that form north to jog away with the Lyell Creek two weeks ago, suggesting he is just as comfortable right-handed. Both wins came after driver Clint Ford was able to balance Marcoola up early then launch him about 1000m from home before disappearing into the distance. Similar tactics looks likely tonight as he has drawn wide so will probably look for cover early and the most nerve-wracking section of the race may be when Ford decides to push the go button. If he is able to stride to the lead he should win, if he has to raced parked outside a high class rival like defending champ Temporale that will at least even things up. Temporale struggled for part of the spring but looked far more like the horse who won this race 12 months ago when he dominated the Flying Mile at Cambridge last Monday. With his natural gate speed he looks the likely first favoured leader tonight and with the advantage of the marker pegs and some question marks over key rivals who galloped at Cambridge he is the obvious danger to the favourite. One trainer confident her National Trot rep will be better tonight than at Cambridge is Michelle Wallis with Massive Metro, although he couldn’t be much worse as he didn’t even score up from the ace last Monday. “He used to be good left-handed but we have put so much work into getting him to go well right-handed he didn’t like being back left-handed,” explains Wallis. “I think back to Alexandra Park he will handle the ace draw this time and should be handy on the markers, which will give him his chance.” Before his Cambridge brain fade, Massive Metro was a luckless and fast finishing fifth against a similar field in the Lyell Creek and if he races up to that form and can cut the corners tonight he appeals as the place value. Amaretto Sun and Lemond were also not on their best behaviour at Cambridge but were group one winners last season so add to the puzzle behind the bodybuilding favourite.   Michael Guerin

Not many would argue with the fact the Southern region of the South Island is one of the best places to raise young stock, whether it be lambs, calves or young harness racing Standardbreds. At February’s NZB Standardbred National Standardbred Yearling Sales fifty two yearlings will be presented under the Southern Bred Southern Reared umbrella and buyers know these youngster have had a good start to life. Lawrence breeder Dan Cummings has produced yearlings for the National Sales for years and he says daylight hours play a big part in a young horse’s development. “The days are shorter and colder in winter, but as spring progresses into summer the days become two hours longer, one in the morning and one in the evening. I think the process of light affecting grass growth (photosynthesis) lets the grass grow for two hours longer at the height of summer in the south,” he says. Cummings says he’s spoken to a lot of local dairy farmers who bought cows down from Taranaki and Waikato in the late 1990s and early 2000s and they have noted an increase in production in their herds. “To their great surprise the same cows produced around 20% more milk in the south than they had in the north. The farmers attributed it to the longer days.  Apparently in the north milk production peaks just before Christmas then tapers off till May. In the south the peak is during January and the taper is far more gradual.” He says another significant influence of light for breeding in the south is the fact that an increase in daylight is what stimulates cycling in the mares and that increase occurs later in the south. So foals tend to be born a month to six weeks later than in the north.  “That’s a generalisation of course but it’s an influence that will still be apparent when the foals come to be sold as yearlings.  This factor definitely still has an influence at the yearling sales.  We live with it but will continue to try and counter its effect. But because of the way the seasons work the foals catch up quickly.”  Local vet Brendon Bell has worked in Southland for 22 years and he also says our climate is well suited to raising young stock. “Our temperate climate means there is plentiful grass over most of the critical phase of the foal’s development – from birth to yearling stage. This supply of grass means minimal hard feed is necessary to raise young horses.”  He adds that the summer climate gives the Southern region an advantage over the rest of the country. “Moderate temperatures – not too hot but not really cold. Adequate rainfall ensures grass growth over the summer. Somewhat cheaper land prices means more people can own and graze their own horses, keeping control in the hands of the horse owner.” He says the dairy boom has changed farm ownership but there’s still a groundswell of farmers who own or graze horses on their properties, in contrast to many horses in other provinces which are agisted at studs.  “Farm based horses exist with other stock which ensure minimal health issues, minimal parasite burdens from cross grazing, and normally plentiful feed.” He says Copper, Calcium, Phosphorus and Magnesium are important minerals for good animal development. So plenty of hard evidence to suggest southern foals get the best of starts to life. Bruce Stewart

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