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First foals by Andover Hall in New Zealand to sell as yearlings in 2018 go under the hammer at the harness racing Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka, on the 12th of February.  Andover Hall had his first crop (via frozen semen) of 24 live foals born in 2015 and are now current 2-year-olds. His second crop total 31 live foals and are current yearlings. There are just the two yearlings by Andover Hall entered in the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale. They are both colts, both entered on account of Breckon Farms and interestingly both colts are bred on the outstanding cross by Andover Hall from Muscles Yankee dams and they are two of the most influential trotting sires in the world over past decade. Before we delve into the two colts pedigrees we need to give you some details of these two great stallions as they are both sensational and prolific stallions that have changed the trotting breed world-wide. Andover Hall A $482,000 yearling, Andover Hall was the US Trotting Colt of the Year at two years of age (winning eight of his nine starts that year) and a world champion at three. Despite his illustrious racing career it is as a stallion that he has excelled, becoming one the current generation's most influential sires. Andover Hall is the sire of 534 North American winners of over $77,500,000 including 11 millionaires world-wide. He has 184 progeny as $100,000 plus earners to date with 130 trotting in better than 1:55. Andover Hall progeny include Nuncio ($4,409,198), Donato Hanover ($3,058,058), Creatine ($2,182,138), Pampered Princess ($1,740,605), Brad De Veluwe ($10,739,393 SEK), Spider Blue Chip ($1,229,717), Cedar Dove ($1,200,462), Beatgoeson Hanover ($1,151,959) and Adrian Chip ($1,136,910). Muscles Yankee The great son of Valley Victory, Muscles Yankee is still standing at stud in North America. He has progeny earnings of over $100,000,000 to date with 13 millionaires produced just in North America alone. They include Mr Muscleman ($4,032,206), Muscle Hill ($3,318,682) and Deweycheatumnhowe ($3,177,112). He has 51 live foals bred in Australia and they have progeny earnings of over $1.5m to date. In New Zealand Muscles Yankee has 100 live foals, bred over 14 years, small crops and all by frozen semen that have progeny earnings of just under $3m to date. They include the full-brothers I Can Doosit 1:55.5 ($1,139,695), Sno's Big Boy 1:58.4 ($215,309) and a full-sister Yankeedoosie ($43,999). Yankeedoosie has a colt entered in the sale called American Pride selling as Lot 43, more on him shortly. These two great stallions Andover Hall and Muscles Yankee have combined progeny earnings world-wide of over $180,000,000.  Two sons of Andover Hall that have stood in New Zealand that have been successful to date, are the ill-fated Monkey Bones and The Pres who have shown that they can produce top trotters. Monkey Bones has progeny earnings of over a million dollars to date and the young stallion The Pres has progeny earnings of $827,000 to date. Now on to the outstanding cross, horses by Andover Hall from Muscle Yankee dams. Look at what this cross has produced to date (the top 14 only); Creatine T4, 1:51.2 ($2,182,138) Now standing at stud in New Zealand. Spider Blue Chip T3, 1:51.3 ($1,264,522) I Can Doosit 1:55.5 ($1,139,695) Upfront Billy T4, 1:52 ($810,422) Sea Raven T4, 1:53.2f ($525,803) Upfrontluckycarol T4, 1:53.3 ($311,934) Kasha's Kid T6, ($299,478) Vibe Blue Chip T3, 1:53.3f ($294,144) AJ's Baby T4, 1:55.2f ($279,345) Cue Hall T4, 1:53.3f ($267,186) Lady Andi T3, 1:55.3f ($241,204) Grana Padanno T4, 1:53.1s ($225,210) Martino T4, 1:54.3f ($223,021) Andy M T3, 1:54.1f ($221,202) If you are a buyer at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sales this year then you have an opportunity of buying two of the best bred trotting colts at this years sale both bred on this outstanding cross, by Andover Hall from a Muscle Yankee dam. They are; Lot 43 – American Pride (brown colt Andover Hall / Yankeedoosie) American Pride is the third foal of the Muscles Yankee mare Yankeedoosie who won four races and $43,999 in stakes.Yankeedoosie is a full sister to the Group One winning millionaire I Can Doosit and Group 3 winner Sno's Big Boy who won 15 races and $215,309. Lot 93 – Cyber Attack (bay colt Andover Hall / Cyberspace) Cyber Attack is the first foal from the Muscles Yankee, Group placed, race winning mare Cyberspace.Cyberspace is from a Pine Chip daughter of the 3-year-old trotter of the year Inda Bank (10 wins and $126,410) who in turn is out of the champion trotter Indette (21 wins 29 places - 1983-1984 Trotter Of The Year) This colt is blessed with that much speed in his pedigree and with the great cross (Andover Hall - Muscles Yankee) an added attraction this colt is for the most discerning buyer. To view the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale catalogue click on this link. To view the entire Breckon Farms yearlings click on this link. Australasian Classic - Sale of the Century Muscle Hill - World's greatest trotting sire Speedster He’s Watching a life-changer Harnesslink Media

Often in racing, failure depends on your expectations. For most horses, especially trotters, three group race seconds in 16 days and $35,000 in stakes might sound like a handy December. But not when that horse is Speeding Spur, and trainer John Dickie is not hiding from the fact his comeback star may have lost his title as the best trotter racing in New Zealand. Speeding Spur returned from nine months on the sidelines with a huge second to a race-fit Temporale at Alexandra Park on December 15, suggesting that with champion Monbet sidelined, once Speeding Spur worked his way to peak fitness he would dominate the open class trotting scene. That has proven to be wrong. He was outpointed by Aussie veteran Kyvalley Blur at Cambridge nine days later and then was run down without an excuse by Temporale in the $100,000 National Trot at Alexandra Park on December. Three starts, three seconds, and a slipping crown. "To be honest, we were a bit surprised he got beaten in the National Trot," said Dickie, who trains Speeding Spur with son Josh. "But maybe, after so long away from racing and as a six-year-old, he simply needs more racing. "There is that, with the fitness and sharpness you can only get from racing, and also the fact these good young horses like Temporale are always going to be coming through. "So it is not easy when you have a horse who has broken down twice. But do I think he will can get better with more racing? Yes." Speeding Spur is having his workload increased for a shot at the $300,000 Great Southern Star at Melton on January 27. He actually won it when it was a heats-and-final sprint affair two years ago before finishing second last year, when it became a 2760m mobile. It is still clearly the richest trot in the southern hemisphere and, Dickie says, a juicy target: "That ... is a huge race, so we are definitely going. But he won't have a lead-up run over there, just a trial before we go." Speeding Spur has won half his 36 starts, and $726,891, and needs only to remain sound to become a rarity, an Australasian millionaire trotter which is also a stallion prospect. He will probably be on the same plane to Melbourne as Temporale, whose trainer Tony Herlihy has decided to also go into the Great Southern Star without another run. "I was looking at Ballarat on Jan 20 but with the heat wave they have had over there I might miss that and go straight to the Great Southern Star with the Dullard Cup a week later."   Michael Guerin

Samantha Ottley drove five winners at the recent Timaru harness racing meeting, equaling the feat achieved by Natalie Rasmussen last year at Addington. Sam won with her first five drives before coming unstuck on her sixth drive "Belle Of Brooklyn" who did not handle the slushy track conditions and dropped out to finish second last. Her five winners were, Show Gait, Maninthemirro, Stellar Success, Mr Midnight and Castlereagh. Ottley almost made it six wins in the last race when her horse Immortal Change shot to the front at the 100m mark, but she was run down by the favourite De Lancome and John Dunn and eventually finished second beaten by 2 lengths. ______________________________________________________________________________ New Zealand's leading harness driver Blair Orange still has a sizable lead over Dexter Dunn in this years national driving premiership. Orange won three races at the Rangiora grass track meeting yesterday to increase his lead to 26 wins half way through the season. He is currently sitting on 96 wins for the season with Dexter on 70 in second place.    Name Starts Wins ▾ 2nds 3rds UDR Blair Orange 555 96 71 61 0.2807 Dexter Dunn 463 70 51 48 0.2469 Matthew Williamson 393 44 41 32 0.1971 John Dunn 281 42 37 33 0.2618 David Butcher 199 37 38 19 0.3238 Samantha Ottley 257 32 19 25 0.1980 Ricky May 277 31 17 33 0.1857 Gavin Smith 184 27 23 18 0.2488 Natalie Rasmussen 51 26 4 4 0.5795 Zachary Butcher 138 24 21 16 0.2971   Harnesslink Media  

Hornby trainer Brad Mowbray was 'King Of Cups' for the Central Otago race meetings, winning all three cups on the circuit which wrapped up today(Sunday) at the Wyndham HRC meeting at Cromwell. Never before has a trainer won all three cups; Central Otago, Roxburgh and Cromwell in one year. A remarkable feat spread over just five days.  The winning spree began at Omakau on Tuesday when Tiger Thompson won the Group Three Central Otago Cup. He's a quality son of Big Jim and from a limited career he's now won five of his eighteen starts. Last season as a three year old he was just below the best in his age group, but had some wayward tendencies and Mowbray says he was always going to get better with age. "He starting to string a few together. We think he's maturing but I'm not going to nail my colours to the mast. All these trips away to Wyndham and Central Otago are really going to help him."  There has been some talk about taking Tiger Thompson to Auckland to tackle some of the big four year old races but Mowbray hasn't got any set plans. "I haven't decided with him. I think we might be able to do enough round here (South Island) and then worry about things when we get a bit older. He needs a little bit of nurturing as much as he needs toughening up. He's a pretty headstrong horse. You need the right people to handle him and you can't send the kid out to put him in the paddock. He's in charge. He starts misbehaving a bit more when he gets to the races. He's like a little kid at Christmas." The second Cup in the prize cabinet was the Roxburgh Cup won on Thursday by quality four year old mare Delishka. She showed her toughness when under a hard drive by Matty Williamson she held out a spirited challenge to beat Royal Bengal by a head. It was the mare's first race from a standing start.   "She's probably a bit underrated. It didn't surprise me that she won. I was really pleased she stepped because it was her first ever try." Although there's some very good mares races like the Group Two Mares Championship and the Group One New Zealand Breeders Stakes coming up at Addington in February, Mowbray says he's looking to head across to Australia to race for some big money.  "I think we're going to send her to Aussie. There's some pretty big mares races over there. Over a month there's about $400,000 in stakes she can run for just against the mares. Mel (Brad's wife) will go over with her. The Jewels is our main aim once she gets back." Seven year old gelding Four Starzzz Shiraz completed the three cup wins when at odds of 57-1 he won the Cromwell Cup on the Cromwell grass track today.  "He's an older horse who's done a few miles and he was always going to be a bit happier on something a bit softer. We just brought him down because we were bringing all the others but we thought he'd be half a show. I thought he'd go a good race today because he wasn't far away from a handy field on Tuesday (Central Otago Cup) and with the class difference I thought he won't be too far away." The Four Starzzz Shark gelding was well handled by first season junior driver Charlotte Purvis. It was her third career win and first driving a pacer. "She drove him one night at Addington for us and got on really well so we thought we'd give her another go." Mowbray shares in the ownership with Christine Maynard, wife of amateur driver Mike Maynard.  "We'll just potter way and might have another start in the Country Cups so we can get into the final. I didn't have any money on him and Mike only had five a place." Four Starzzz Shiraz was bought by Mowbray and Maynard primarily as a horse to race in amateur driver races. He's been with the stable since July last year but had only had four starts for the stable prior to today's win. It was the gelding's ninth win in a sixty five start career. Over the space of five days the three pacers banked the stable $33,000.   "It'll be good if it was the Coast. We'd be getting a bit more," Mowbray said when reminded that the three race meeting circuit in Central didn't carry any bonuses unlike the one run on the West Coast.                          Maybe this is something the Clubs could look at for next year. In the meantime Mowbray's pretty happy with his haul.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing Tiger Thompson winning the Central Otago Cup   Deliska winning the Roxburgh Cup    Four Starzzz Shiraz winning the Cromwell Cup

Cromwell harness racing fixed odds movers as at 11:30am Race 1   Majestic Lavros is easily best backed in both FF win and Multibetting. Nathan D has taken some early money and is in to $21.00 from an opening of $29.00 Race 2 Jacks N Jazz is best backed in both FF win and Multibetting Race 3 Nadine Franco is a solid favorite and is the only runner wanted in this race Race  4 A quiet market early but Justamollyarcher has taken a bit of support and is in from $16.00 to $14.00. Race  5 Elva Jackka is best backed in both FF win and Multibetting Race  6 She Aint No Angel is the big mover in this race and is in from $12.00 into $6.50 Race  7 No More Change is best backed in win and multis Race  8 Groomsmen has drifted from $3.60 to $4.00 in what is an even market Race  9 Clive is getting the best early support in this trace from Better Enforce Race  10 Valmagne leads multis while Father Christmas is best backed Race  11 Gypsies Choice  is best backed in both FF win and Multibetting Race  12  Son Of Brahma is best backed and is the only runner wanted in Multibetting   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)    

With the abandonment of the Mornington Races in Melbourne due to heat on Saturday, a unique opportunity has been presented for the Wyndham Harness Racing Club's entire meeting at Cromwell to be broadcast on SKY 1 in Australia. New start times have been allocated to some races in light of this to allow maximum coverage of the meeting. Please be aware that some of these times are now earlier than initially advertised and new start times can be found on the fields page on the Harness Racing New Zealand website. Affected races with new start times are: Race 7- 3.05pm Race 8- 3.35pm Race 9- 4.10pm Race 10- 4.45pm Race 11- 5.18pm We appreciate the effort those involved have gone to, to ensure this wonderful opportunity to for Southern Harness is not missed. It's a great way to get our product to a large audience and show our beautiful country and showcase New Zealand country harness racing at its best. Jess Smith Communication and Ownership Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

Ontario harness racing trainer Dave Menary has a lot of horses to be thankful for, but not many come close to He’s Watching, the pacing speedster-turned-stallion that Menary surprisingly plucked out of the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sales Company yearling sale in Harrisburg, PA for just $3,000. He’s Watching went on to earn 366 times that amount, a cool $1.1 million.   “He really helped put me on the map. I had a lot of fun with the horse,” Menary said. “Between racing him and selling pieces of him, it put me in a lot better position in business and in life. It was just a fun ride. I really look forward to seeing his offspring.”   He’s Watching, a son of American Ideal out of the Real Desire mare Baberhood had 13 wins in 21 starts and equaled the 1:46.4 three-year-old world record while winning the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace in 2014.   “He has raw speed,” Menary said. “When I bought the colt, I thought he was above my budget for what I wanted to pay for him. I kind of pegged him as like a $30,000 June, New York-bred. I was lucky enough to open my book and when he was in the ring I thought they were on the wrong horse. He was way below the budget I would have set for him. Two bids and I owned him. I sold a quarter the next day at par.”   He’s Watching was initially owned by Ontarians Menary, Brad Gray and Mike Guerriero. When Menary finally got around to working with the colt as a baby, He’s Watching opened the trainer’s eyes immediately.   “He was the last one to come in that year to break. We had quite a few to do and because he was the cheapest and I owned the majority, he came in really late,” Menary said. “We had some expensive Somebeachsomewheres and Camlucks that year, including the highest-priced colt in Canada. There was a handful of expensive ones and when we brought He’s Watching in, the second day in the cart, we kind of giggled that the colt could go as much the ones that had been in for two months. He was just good all winter training down. He never made a mistake. He was always buried up in the top set and once we started to go fast, once we broke 2:14 he started to really shine. The two-year-old year was super impressive and I had a lot of fun in his three-year-old year. He gave me some of the highest highs you could have in the business.”   Muscara Racing Trust of Ivyland, PA bought in before the start of He’s Watching’s three-year-old season which included the colt and Menary’s career highlight — the world record Meadowlands Pace victory orchestrated by driver Tim Tetrick. 2014 Meadowlands Pace Final - He's Watching - July 12, 2014 “To go that kind of mile and come home the way he did with a lot more in the tank that day, on the big stage, that was super exciting. But I go back as pick-me-ups a lot of times and watch previous replays. Some of my favourite replays of him are some of his two-year-old replays, like Saratoga when he ran twice and spotted them over 30 lengths and won. I get as much enjoyment watching that replay as I do the Meadowlands Pace,” Menary said. He's Watching, NYSS Saratoga 28th June 2013 He’s Watching now stands at Tara Hills Stud in Port Perry, ON and in New Zealand at Alabar Stud and his impact is still being felt by Menary and his fellow owners.   “It really helped out all the partners — me, Mike Guerriero and Brad Gray. We were able to go out and spend extra after that. Some have gone well and some have gone badly, but now that He’s Watching is a stallion we’re still enjoying the ride and I’m looking forward to the next chapter of his life,” Menary said. The above article was written by Dave Briggs for Ontario Racing in March 2017. The first yearlings to be sold anywhere in the world by He's Watching will feature at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka, in New Zealand on the 12th of February 2018. There are only four entered, two fillies and two colts. Breckon Farms have entered one outstanding filly with a pedigree full of speed, speed and more speed. The best a man can get........yes, that is the name given to the dam of the first yearling filly ever to be sold by He's Watching in the world and that is in the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka on the 12th of February. It is Lot 30, a filly called Em I Six, by He's Watching from Thebestamancanget by Mach Three from the good Sokys Atom race mare Ciccio Star ($102,499). Ciccio Star is the dam of 9 to the races for 9 winners. Thebestamancanget is a full-sister to Dana Duke ($73,000 to date) and a half-sister to 8 other winners including Major Star ($212,228) and Idancedallnight ($103,655).. Lot 30, Em I Six is a half-sister to Vasari ($80,000) and to Nolessthanperfect a filly that has only had the three starts in Australia to date including a fourth in the $100,000 Group 1 2-year-old Diamond Classic. The sire of Em I Six, He's Watching and the dam-sire Mach Three both won the Meadowlands Pace in record time. When He's Watching won the Meadowlands Pace in a world record 1:46.4 he was only four weeks into his 3-year-old season and this race is still the equal-fastest mile ever run at The Meadowlands but the fastest for a 3-year-old. When Mach Three won the Meadowlands Pace in 1:49 in 2002, that was the 3-year-old record at that time.  And please do not forget that Mach Three is the sire of both Somebeachsomewhere 1:46.4 and the emerging sire Auckland Reactor. He's Watching broke the track record for a 3-year-old and equaled the all-aged world record of 1:46.6 at The Meadowlands in 2014 while Somebeachsomewhere broke the world record for a 3-year-old and all-aged record of 1:46.4 at The Red Mile in 2008. The Red Mile is regarded as the fastest track in the world, where records are traditionally broken. Lot 30 – Em I Six (black filly He’s Watching / Thebestamancanget) To view the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale catalogue click on this link. To view the entire Breckon Farms yearlings click on this link. Australasian Classic - Sale of the Century Muscle Hill - World's greatest trotting sire Harnesslink Media

Cambridge harness racing fixed odds movers as at 1:30pm Race 1 - Bettor Step Aside $3.40 - $2.40 is the big mover here and easily leads win & multi betting. Ohoka Maximus $5.50 is starting to attract some win support.   Race 2 - Conway Beach $2.50 leads multi betting over The Thug $2.60 with Kiwi Tintin $14.00 - $9.50 best backed in win betting.   Race 3 - Lis Rulz $9.00 - $7.50 leads multi betting over My Cash $3.30.   Race 4 - The back marker starting from 30 metres Tereskova $8.50 leads multi betting over the $4.20 favourite Girls On Film $4.20.   Race 5 - Lerato $1.60 - $1.45 is the only runner wanted here.    Race 6 - Temporale $2.10 leads win & multi betting but that runners stablemate is attracting some strong win support also $31 - $18.00.    Race 7 - Dance Time $1.65 - $1.60 is the only runner wanted here and is racing away in multi betting.   Race 8 - Heaven Rocks $1.65 leads multi betting over Star Galleria $2.90 who leads win betting over Seaswift Joy $10.00.   Race 9 - Last start winner on the tonight's track Luck Of The Moment $4.50 leads multi betting.   Race 10 - Ex southern trained runner The High Achiever $2.40 easily leads multi betting.   Race 11 - In a very quiet win market early Star Of Olesya $3.10 leads multi betting over her stablemate and opening 'book' favourite All Over The Stars $2.90.   Best backed runner on the win 'book' early race 1 Bettor Step Aside $3.40 - $2.40.   Best backed runner in multi betting is in race 5 Lerato $1.45 with the next best Dance Time $1.60 in race 7.    Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Timaru harness racing fixed odds movers as at 1:20pm Race 1 -Show Gait $3.90 - $3.40 is easily the best backed in win & multi betting with some win money also coming for Beat The Heat $5.00.    Race 2 - Mega Watt $12.00 - $8.50 is best backed on the win 'book' with the $2.30 favourite Homebush Lad $2.30 clearly leading multi betting.   Race 3 - Going To California $5.20 - $4.50 leads win betting with the $4.00 favourite Sky City King leading multi betting over Maninthemirror $7.00.   Race 4 - Mr Majestic $9.20 leads win betting over Fira $4.40.   Race 5 - Diamond Life $2.70 is a last start winner and also won at this meeting last year and is easily best backed in win & multi betting.   Race 6 - Ask Me Art $5.00 leads win & multi betting over Enchantee $5.00.   Race 7 - Castlereagh $3.80 is the only runner wanted in early win betting and also easily leads multi betting.    Race 8 - Gore Bay $4.50 - $3.90 is best backed in multi betting over Doitson $2.50.   Race 9 - Scotlynn Mach $11.00 - $9.00 leads win & multi betting over Boomer Bailey $14.00.   Race 10 - De Lancome $5.00 - $4.60 leads win & multi betting over the $2.90 favourite Glenledi Angel $2.90.     Best backed runner at the meeting early on the win 'book' race 1 Show Gait $3.90 - $3.40.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Heaven Rocks may have finally met his match at Cambridge tonight. Because the goof with the mega motor is being paired up with Brent Mangos is what looks an inspired catch driving choice for the $60,000 Cambridge Flying Mile. Heaven Rocks will be the warm favourite for the sprint even though a dash around Cambridge hardly seems ideal for the long-striding pacer and his erratic ways. He won a Jewels over a mile there 19 months ago but that was a three-year-old and he seems even more eccentric now, not to mention he has two genuine speedsters drawn inside him in Star Galleria and Jack’s Legend. But enter Mangos, the Mr No Nonsense of the northern driving ranks and the master of the balance-em-up-and-launch-em school of driving. Mangos has been called in as the All Stars usual drivers head home or in the case of Mark Purdon to Perth tonight to drive Lazarus. So Mangos has been entrusted with getting Heaven Rocks away, around the first bend and then deciding when to push the button. He looks the ideal driver for the job but while he sits behind the most talented horse in the race it may not be a simple stroll around Cambridge for the mad mammoth.  Star Galleria was a brave fourth, just behind Heaven Rocks in the Auckland Cup last Sunday and Jack’s Legend sixth after missing away. Both are wicked sprinters with natural gate speed so should have a huge tactical advantage over Heaven Rocks. If you can back the pair at an average of $5, giving you basically a $2.50 bracket to beat Heaven Rocks, it wouldn’t be the worst bet. Heaven Rocks isn’t the only big name catch drive for Mangos tonight as he has also picked up the reins behind Kyvalley Blur in the Flying Stakes Trot after the Victorian trotter’s three huge runs during this New Zealand campaign. He has been beaten twice in as many meetings by a race rival tonight Temporale so far this summer but both runs have been excellent and if he could stay in front of the favourite he can severely test him, so against Mangos’s aggression could be an asset. Trainer-driver Tony Herlihy is using tonight’s race as a trial to confirm Temporale’s trip to Victoria later this month and says the left-handed track won’t be an issue even though only four of his 21 starts have been anti-clockwise for one win. “He does a lot of work left-handed and I don’t think it will be an issue,” says Herlihy. “But it could be a tricky little race with Kyvalley Blur drawn inside us. Still, my fella is well.”Herlihy has a vastly-improved second string in The Almighty Johnson, who from barrier one could get the perfect trip. He has really stepped up and with that right trip I wouldn’t be stunned if he tested the two favourites.” Meanwhile, Lazarus should be too good again when he returns to racing in a A$22,000 event in Perth tonight. He has drawn two in the 2536m mobile and should win without Mark Purdon needing to ask for his best, with stablemate Ultimate Machete set to be even shorter in the race before.   Michael Guerin

Muscle Hill was purchased by Greg Peck for $55,000 at the Harrisburg Yearling Sales in 2007. He showed great promise as a harness racing 2-year-old winning the Peter Haughton Memorial and 2008 Breeders Crown 2 Year Old Colt Trot. He went on to win $817,301 and eight of nine races and was named the United States 2-Year-Old-Colt Trotter of the Year. In 2009 he went on to win all of his races as a 3-year-old, including the Hambletonian, the Canadian Trotting Classic, the American-National, the World Trotting Derby, the Kentucky Futurity and the Breeders Crown. In The Hambletonian he won in 1:50.1 which was a stakes record and tied the fastest time for a trotter of any age at The Meadowlands. He won by six lengths, the largest winning margin in The Hambletonian since Mack Lobell in 1987. At the end of 2009 he retired to stud with career prize money of $3,273,342, and having won the last 20 of the 21 races in which he competed. The $2,456,041 that he won in 2009 was a record for a single season for either a trotter or a pacer. He was voted United States Harness Horse Of The Year for 2009, the first time a trotter had won the award for an undefeated season.  He never came close to defeat in his twenty wins which were all by a margin of at least one length. If you had forgotten how good this horse was well we will refresh your mind with an example of what Muscle Hill did in The Hambletonian. 2009 Hambletonian Final - Muscle Hill Now, not only was he a great race horse but Muscle Hill has leaped ahead of all his competition in the stallion ranks with an incredible once in a generation siring performance that will be hard to match for many years to come. Just look at these facts; His first crop of foals that hit the racetrack were 6-year-olds in 2017. They total 77 eligible to race (61 have raced) and they have earned to date a staggering $8,703,335. 18 of them have won over $100,000. Average earnings per eligible live foal is $113,030 as at the end of 2017. They include the sensational Resolve 1:50.4 ($2,749,545) who is now retired to stud at a Fee of $7,500, the Hambletonian winner Trixton T3,1:50.3 ($988,696) now retired to stud at a Fee of $12,000 and EL Titan 1:51.2 ($726,344) now retired to stud standing at a Fee of $6,000. His second crop of foals that hit the racetrack were 5-year-olds in 2017. They also total 77 eligible to race (54 have raced) and they have earned to date a massive $7,913,986 to the end of 2017. 20 of this crop have won over $100,000. Average earnings per eligible live foal is $102,799 as at the end of 2017. This crop includes the triple world record holding mare Mission Brief T3, 1:50.2 ($1,657,399), Muscle Diamond 1:52.3 ($721,609) and Pasithea Face S 1:50.4f ($$591,473). His third crop of foals that raced in 2017 were 4-year-olds. They total 80 eligible to race (65 have raced). Traditionally the third crop of any stallion is his least performing crop but with Muscle Hill he has defied the odds and it is his best performing crop to date. It has already produced four millionaires to date, Marion Marauder 1:51.2 ($2,678,708), Southwind Frank T3,1:52.1 ($2,115,999), Bar Hopping T3,1;51.4 ($1,385,293) and All The Time T3,1:52.1 ($1,026,356). This crop has an incredible average earnings per eligible live foal of $141,357. His fourth crop of foals were 3-year-olds in 2017. They total 100 eligible to race (76 have raced). It is hard to believe that this crop produced the champion filly Ariana G T3, 1:51.3 ($1,982,422) and the champion colt What The Hill T3,1:51.4s ($1,345,999). There were 18 individual $100,000 plus winners in this crop, just 3-year-olds. As at the end of 2017 this crop had amassed $9,251,661 in earnings. They have a per eligible live foal earnings of $92,517. His fifth crop of foals were 2-year-olds in 2017 and they total 104. Wait for it.......68 raced and 34 won including the unbeaten champion 2-year-old Filly of the Year, Manchego T2,1:52.4s ($910,348) 12 starts 12 wins. Here are some North American statistics for Muscle Hill in 2017. Leading Money Winning Sires - 3 Year Old Trot (2017) Starters Sire in 2017 Money ==== ======== ===== MUSCLE HILL 62 $6,218,732 CHAPTER SEVEN 61 $2,879,952 CREDIT WINNER 52 $2,814,367 CANTAB HALL 74 $2,653,968 KADABRA 51 $2,380,633 ANDOVER HALL 35 $2,198,920 MUSCLE MASSIVE 45 $2,111,906 DONATO HANOVER 61 $1,805,030 MUSCLE MASS 40 $1,798,634 ARCHANGEL 22 $1,600,980 Leading Money Winning Sires - All ages Trot (2017) Starters Sire in 2017 Money ==== ======== ===== MUSCLE HILL 174 $12,660,237 CANTAB HALL 283 $9,949,419 KADABRA 203 $8,374,352 MUSCLE MASS 197 $6,680,817 DONATO HANOVER 210 $6,407,925 CREDIT WINNER 187 $6,014,403 SWAN FOR ALL 134 $5,683,126 ANDOVER HALL 162 $5,199,436 CHAPTER SEVEN 100 $4,887,541 CRAZED 132 $4,594,372 Top ten money earners from Muscle Hill's North American two-year-olds in 2017 MANCHEGO (f) SECRET MAGIC 1:52.4s MOH S $910,398 YOU KNOW YOU DO (c) YOU WANT ME 1:54.2m M M $401,704 LILY STRIDE (f) STERLING VOLO 1:55.2m LEX M $256,867 MAXUS (c) GERRIS JOY 1:54m LEX M $173,485 NIGHT RHYTHM (c) TAIL OF NIGHT 1:55m LEX M $90,620 FRONT CIRCLE (f) SHEENA HALL Q,1:56.1m LEX M $80,152 VIVACIOUS ALLIE (f) KD GIRL 1:55f MEA F $73,228 MSNAUGHTYASHILL (f) MSNAUGHTYBUTNICE 1:56s HOP S $70,519 QUALITY KEMP (c) IMPRESSIVE KEMP 1:54.3m LEX M $67,962 GARNET (c) A PERFECT GEM 1:58.1f PCD F $59,271 Do you need any more convincing that Muscle Hill is the greatest trotting stallion on the planet right now? Down Under, Muscle Hill has only a handful of mares bred to date with crops of around twenty each year coming on stream from this year onwards as 2-year-olds. These foals are starting to appear in the New Zealand and Australian yearling sales. At this year's Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka on the 12th of February there are six yearlings by Muscle Hill entered, four colts and two fillies. Breckon Farms have three Muscle Hill yearlings entered; Lot 123 – Cheeky Babe (bay filly Muscle Hill / Factor The Odds) Cheeky Babe is the first foal from its dam who is a half-sister to the New Zealand record holder Prince Fearless 1:55 ($185,517). Lot 127 – Triple Treat (bay colt Muscle Hill / Fear Factor) Triple Treat is a half-brother to the New Zealand record holder Prince Fearless 1:55 ($185,517) and is from a Sundon mare that was 2005-06 2-year-old Trotting Filly of the Year. This pedigree is choked up with blinding speed. Sundon has always produced blind speed in his progeny and coupled with the world's hottest stallion Muscle Hill argurs well for the racing career of this yearling. Lot 160 - Heezadoosie (brown colt Muscle Hill / Love Ya Doosie) This yearling represents two of the greatest stallions in the world today, a Muscle Hill colt from a race wining Love You mare that is a half-sister to two top trotters including the champion million dollar plus earner and 9-time Group 1 winner I Can Doosit 1:55.5, 30 wins. Heezadoosie is his dams second live foal, the first one is a current 2-year-old. To view the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale catalogue click on this link. To view the entire Breckon Farms yearlings click on this link. Australasian Classic - Sale of the Century Art Major hits $170,000,000 in earnings  

Popular Southland horseman Allan Beck reached a harness racing milestone at Winton on Sunday when he drove his 800th winner - Gotta Minute. He said he was aware he was getting close to the mark and that it was possible he'd achieve it on his home track.  “I thought I would (go close) because my own team was starting to go good. Then Des (Des Baynes) was on a roll, winning with his three and that helped the tally a bit. I thought Alfie Romeo would be my best chance (on Sunday) with the way it’d been trialling. But it was that wee fella (Gotta Minute) that won the last. He went a good race when he won three weeks ago but he wasn’t impressive. He jumped up in grade quite a bit. I thought it might have been out of his league but he got the good run and it worked out good,” he said. Beck began his career under the guidance of his father Bob who was training at Winton at the time. Allan's  first win came in February 1984 when he guided the classy filly Josephine Bret home to win by two lengths at Gore. He drove eleven winners in his first season as a Junior - all for his father. They included Josephine Bret (3), My Girl (2), Free Bret (2), Beaudiene Scott (2), Awakite and Paleface Bret.  Also in his first season of driving, he won four races in one day. It was at Winton in March 1984 when he reined home Josephine Bret to win the Southland Oaks Final, and Awakite, My Girl and Beaudiene Scott to win their respective races. His second, and what was to be his last season as a Junior, produced nine winners. In 1986 he joined the Open Drivers ranks and also started his career as a trainer after his father relocated to Ashburton. "I was up there too and we worked together. He had a job at the works in Ashburton. I was going to get one as well but couldn’t. I still had my job at the Freezing Works down here so I came back and leased land off Roddy McFarlane right beside where I’m living now. I ended up with a few horses so decided to stay and train them. I had Beaudiene Byrd in that first season and she won five of her seven starts. That got me going. I stayed at the works for a few years and did the horses. When I applied for my Trainers Licence they took my Junior Drivers Licence off me so that’s why I was only a Junior for two seasons.” In the early days Beck also had a Jockeys Licence.  “I had an amateurs licence for one year. When I left school Hunter McHugh had a jumper and he talked me into getting an amateurs licence so I could ride it.”  Alongside driving has own horses, he started to drive for Ray Faithful in the early 1990s, with his first winner for Faithful being Oberoni at Forbury Park October 1991. It was a partnership that was to win many provincial cups and Tartan Lady was to provide Beck and Faithful with a Group One winner in Tartan Lady which won the New Zealand Breeders Stakes in 1999. “I drove all his horses when he was at Lochiel. Tartan Lady ran out of her class down here and went to Cran Dalgetys. Then he got Feverish and she won about six.” Of all of the 800 winners, Josephine Bret his first winner stands out.  “Your first one is always special. I think the most precious one was with Shortys Girl when she won the Breeders the second time. She hadn’t raced for quite a while and went into the race fresh. She won and broke the track record.” Beck has also had a good association with a handful of good trotters over the years and he developed multiple group winner Diamond Field. He also trained handy intermediate square gaiter Prince Whiz which won the Forbury Park Trotting Cup. “That was always a good race and he was only a three win horse. Eastburn Grant was in it and he’d come back from winning the Rowe Cup.” Tact Tar was one horse Beck trained and drove that he says never reached it's potential. The Boyden Hanover gelding raced for one season as a six year old, winning three of his twelve starts including a double at Ashburton in June 1988. “He had a lot of issues but was unsound. He would have gone a lot further.” As Beck looks back at his long career in the race cart, he reflects on the many changes. He says one positive change has been the number of younger drivers that are involved in the industry.  "When I started there weren't the same amount of young fella’s in the game. Now they’re all younger." Another change has been the way races are run. He says an uncontested lead for a horse is very much a thing of the past. “Those days are gone.” He also says the standardbreds are more durable now. “The horses seem to be able to work a bit more and they don’t seem to stop. Once upon a time if you worked a horse too hard it would only run home in 30 seconds. Now they can work and still run home in 28. The Standardbreds have improved so much. When you go back forty years in the galloping side they used to go 1-08 to win the Telegraph Handicap at Trentham. They still only go 1-08. Forty years ago in the Standardbreds they were flat in going 1-55 (for a mile). Now they’re going 1-50. We can get the best artificial semen in the world for our mares but all the gallopers are served naturally, so if you want the best you have to send your mare over to England to get them served. The race carts have improved, so that’s made a difference.” He says the country now has a very good depth of young driving talent.  “When I started off Henry (Skinner) was the best. Southland’s probably blessed with a lot of good drivers like the Williamson boys and Brent Barclay. You wouldn’t be disappointed to have any of them driving for you. Dexter’s just another dimension. He’s just a freak and we’ll probably not see another one like him again. He’s just like the Chris Johnson of the racing world. Dexter’s just got a gift and they seem to run for him.” Beck freely admits that he's not an overly aggressive driver, something that was instilled in him early on. "It was something I was brought up with. If you burnt them out you couldn’t back up with them the next week.” And like many drivers in those earlier years he was pretty much self taught.  “You just picked it up yourself. Dad hardly ever drove. You’d sit down after a race and talk about the drive with him but you’d know yourself what you'd done wrong.” In thirty four seasons of driving he says he's been lucky to have escaped any major injuries. In January 1988, in a heat of the Forbury Park Four Year Old Series, seven horses went down or were pulled up including his drive Black Print. He walked away injury free from that smash but wasn’t quite so lucky when Franco Cuisine, in a heat of the Sires Stakes at Invercargill in October 1994, fell. Beck was away from driving for six weeks after that accident. He rates Josephine Bret and Shortys Girl as the best female pacers he’s driven, Bee Bee Cee as the best male pacer and Diamond Field as the best trotter. Shortys Girl was the horse he drove to win the most races (11), followed by Bee Bee Cee and Tartan Lady (10). Other trainers he drove successfully for were Graham Bond (23), Des Baynes (22), Ian Wilson (16), Peter Davis (11), John Keenan (10) and Derek Dynes (10).  “Graham had a good team when he was at Drummond and I did all his driving. In the last ten years I haven’t been chasing the drives - now that I’m a bit older.” Beck has won the Southland Drivers Premiership five times; 1989,1992,1993,1997 and 1999. His best season as a driver was in 1999 when he drove 42 winners for a UDR of .2348.    Summary: First winner: Josephine Bret at Gore February 18th 1984. 800th winner: Gotta Minute at Winton December 31st 2017.    Beck driving stats: Trained by Allan Beck  295 Ray Faithful 70 Graham Bond  23 Des Baynes  22 Bob Beck (father) 16 Ian Wilson  16 Peter Davis  (EJP) 11 John Keenan 10 Derek Dynes 10 Beck has won most Provincial Cups and Finals in Southland and Central Otago including: Southland Oaks: Josephine Bret (1984), Adrenalin (1989), Tartan Lady (1998) and Shortys Girl (2001). Wyndham Cup: Tact Halsey (1996), Feverish (2000), Franco Novella (2003) and Flamin Tact (2006) Central Otago Cup: Horatius (1990), Admiral Smooth (1992), Preiswert (1996) and Tartan Lady (1999) Roxburgh Cup: Imperiora (1997), Brydone (2004) and Seelster Blue Jeans (2005). Group One wins: New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes: Tartan Lady (1999), Shortys Girl (2002 and 2003)  Group Two wins: Southland Oaks Final - Shortys Girl (2001), Law Courts Hotel Trotting Cup at Forbury Park - Prince Whiz (1998), Southland Oaks Final - Tartan Lady (1998) and Forbury Park Four Year Old Championship Final - Bee Bee Cee (1994). Group Three wins: Southland Oaks Final - Adrenalin (1989)  Pacing winners: 728/800 Trotting winners: 72/800 Total stakes won: $4,846,019   Biggest winners (by wins) Shortys Girl 11 Bee Bee Cee 10 Tartan Lady 10 Tact Halsey 8 Amiable Popular 6 Diamond Field 6 Preiswert 6 Prince Whizz 6 Feverish 6 Imperiora 6 Cordon Hops 5 Black Print 5 Mavora Boy 5 Glen Atom 5 Gotta Minute winning at Winton Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

It was the 'old firm' at work on Sunday when the Regan Todd trained Spirit Of Delight and driver Brendon 'Snow' McLellan won the AON Insurance Southern Belle Equine Stakes at Winton. Todd began his harness career with McLellan before heading north to work for Davey and Catherine Butt and then later for Mark Jones.  "He drove my first winner (Del Sur - Gore September 2010) and my fiftieth winner. He's got a pretty good strike rate for me old Snowy," said Todd.  In Sunday's race, McLellan took Spirit O Delight straight to the front from barrier one and despite been tapped up inside the last 400 metres she came away to beat Kiwi On Show by three quarters of a length. Todd says this race had been on the stable radar for some time.  "When we turned her out at the end of last season Charlotte Mooney was in charge of the Syndicate and we thought this race would be a good one for her. Winning the race also qualifies her of the Southern Belle Speed Series Final. It's worked out perfectly and it's pretty pleasing when it pays off."   Spirit Of Delight has been with Todd since June last year after starting her career with Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick at Papakura. Her three wins to date have been from the Todd barn. "She raced in some good races up north but they decided to send her down for some beach training so we're pretty lucky to get her really. I think she used to feel her knees a bit but we've had no issues that way with her. Being on the soft surface all the time has helped her."  She's owned by the Woodlands Partnership Syndicate who are All Black captain Kieran Reed, former All Black halfback Andy Ellis, Dave Hewitt new Southland Stags coach, and RJ (Dick)Taylor. The same partnership owns trotter Speeding Spur. "I haven't met them yet but it'll be good to bump into them one day. I'm still a Stags fan." Todd says although Spirit Of Delight has started over shorter sprint distances for the majority of her career he feels she'll be even better over longer distances. "When she races in those mares races, (for example the) 2600 metre mobile you'll probably see the best of her then. She doesn't worry about things too much and she's pretty laidback and relaxed. It looked like she was going to get beat on Sunday, then at the end she kicked away."     Her dam Spirit Of Eros has been a great broodmare leaving Crown Law, the winner of 18 races in Australia and another 10 in America, Bettor Spirits the winner of 14 races, Spirit And Desire 14 wins and Spirit Of Art 6 wins.  Spirit Of Eros has a Sweet Lou colt in next month's Australasian Classic Yearling Sale in Auckland. "There's some good mares races (for Spirit Of Delight) at Addington at the start of February so I'll target them now to see if she can measure up to those better ones. I think she can, but you don't know until you try. I know she lead up the other day but she's probably better driven off them."   Todd had further success yesterday when first starter Hicori won at the Central Otago meeting at Omakau.  The three year old was initially trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen but was transferred to Todd's barn after having one workout as a two year old for the pair. "He's just needed time and it was good of the owners to send him out to me at the beach. He's probably another three months away from being at his best. He's still a bit weak in his gait."   Prior to yesterday's win he'd been to two workouts, won his qualifying trial at Banks Peninsula in October and finished third in another trial in North Canterbury in the middle of last month.  Hicori's winning time of 3-20.9 for the 2600 metre stand was a new track record for three year old colts and geldings. The old mark of 3-21.1 was set by Guru in 2004. "I've still got a bit of ironing out to do with him. He seems untapped really and every time he's gone off the place he's stepped up. He's going to have to keep improving but I don't think it's going to phase him going up in the grades. Dexter's (driver Dexter Dunn) of the opinion that he's still pretty green and he's going to take a lot of improvement out of it. It's good to hear that from a fella like him."  Hicori is out of the five win Christian Cullen mare Paddy Brown and was bred by the Braeside Lodge in Palmerston North which is run by the Whitelocks. "There's a Nuggets Final at Northern Southland next week but I've sent him home as it's probably going to be too much for him. It was stinking hot yesterday and you could tell he'd had a run after. We might come back in two or three weeks to see if he can measure up and be a Supremacy horse later in the season."   Todd has had a training license for eight years and says he has twenty horses in work at the moment at Woodend Beach. At one point he was also looking after a good number of horses for Burnham trainer Mark Jones whom he used to work for fulltime. "He just keeps two or three at the beach now. Not the numbers we used to. He's concentrating on the young ones now."   Meanwhile quality gelding Swamp Major, who was knocked over and injured his hind fetlock at Winton last month is on the road to recovery. He had to be boxed after the injury and has been looked after by local vets Brendon Bell and Heather Cottle. "The vets (Canterbury) are going to see him today and hopefully we can get him out into a paddock and get a bit of weight on him because he's lightened up heaps. Brendon and Heather did a great job in looking after him down south. He was boxed for four days before he was floated home. He should be alright. It's just a matter of letting that wound heal up. It's pretty disappointing because the owners have waited eighteen months to get him back to the races."  Hicori winning at Omakau   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

The Wyndham trained Ardtoo upset some more fancied runners in the Fairbairn Plumbing Limited Nuggets Final at Winton on Sunday. He was the rank outsider in the small field at $62.60 to win on the tote. Driver Craig Ferguson got the Auckland Reactor gelding through from the second line draw but was left parked for the first 1400 metres of the races. When Born To Run came around Ardtoo finally got cover. At the top of the straight he came out four wide and ran home resolutely down the middle of the track to win easily by two and a half lengths from favourite Shebang. His time of 2-59.1 was good on the slushy Central Southland Raceway.  The three year old is owned by his trainer Russell Ferguson and his wife Susan. Sunday's win was his second in a row, having had a win earlier in the month at Invercargill. "I knew it was a strong field but I was half confident because he's got this sheer amount of ability. People didn't share my confidence." Russell said he was surprised at how much the gelding paid. As part of the horse's training regime Ferguson has been taking him into Invercargill for some fast work. "I brought him to Invercargill on Thursday and he fast worked against one of Steve Lock's galloping pacemakers. He worked super."  Ferguson says he's now considering taking the horse for a road trip to Addington. "Yes, we'll look at that because he'll need to be ready for what we're targeting. We'll look at some age group racing so we can watch our rating points. We don't want to be racing older seasoned horses. Craig has backed me on that and has said to aim him at some decent races."  In the meantime Ardtoo has been turned out for a bit of a mid season break.  "He's in the paddock for ten days to a fortnight. Then we'll come back for the super final of the Nuggets. We'll support that Series all the way through because its a good concept. That'll lead us to the Supremacy Stakes."   Ardtoo is named after Wyndham Rural Delivery (RD2). "We own the RD run at Wyndham which Susan does so that's how he got his name."  Ferguson says he had some interest in the horse as a two year old but he declined it, and says he's not surprised he hasn't been approached this season. "It doesn't surprise me. I turned them all down last season and told them I was keen to keep him. We'll carry on racing him at the moment because we're having a bit of fun."    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

January will see the start of a new era for two South Island harness racing clubs, when their new female leaders step into their first race meetings at the helm. Kristie Hill was elected President of the Nelson Harness Racing Club in October, whilst Petrina Shutkowski became Chairperson of the Marlborough Harness Racing Club just over six weeks ago. Both are the first females in these roles for their respective club. Kristie Hill was a former Education Officer at Harness Racing New Zealand, but has also held her driver’s licence for 21 years. She works part time for Pro-Doosa Boost, as Sales and Marketing Manager and works horses with her father, Brian. Hill is kept busy volunteering her time for the committee of the Motueka Pony Club, which her daughter Ava attends. Her involvement with the club is a huge part of her family history. “My late grandfather Joe Hill was the President of the Nelson Trotting Club, as it was called then, for many years and was instrumental in the building of our Members Stand and Redwood Hall. He was also the President of the Nelson Jockey Club,” Hill explains. “My father Brian has been on the committee for over thirty years, and my mother Cheryl stepped down from the committee when I came on in April 2015, she is still involved as a steward.” Her first year on the committee provided many rewarding challenges as she was heavily involved in the club’s 125th Jubilee celebrations. A huge milestone to reach. She has some big goals ahead too for the club, the first of which has already been completed. The first goal for our club this season was to address the racing surface of our track which we had some issues with over the winter.  In December we were able to start this project and completely removing the current surface and replacing it with a washed crush dust.  We were extremely fortunate to be able to have John Denton come and oversee this project for us, and he will be working with our staff over the races to ensure the track is in the best possible condition so watch for some records to fall!” said Hill.  Another goal for our club is to see an increase in patronage for both our summer and winter race meetings.  We will be working on developing the experience on course for our patrons, so they have a great time and come back next meeting bringing friends with them.” “We are most definitely looking to promote race horse ownership in the Nelson/Tasman region. Another goal for our committee is to hold the Jewels which will mean some work on our infrastructure. But what a weekend to be had with the Abel Tasman and Nelson Lakes on our backdoor, and a newly laid track with the ideal mile start. Giving opportunity to all starters.” Meanwhile over in stunning Marlborough, Petrina Shutkowski has been involved with harness racing for over 30 years, having helped her husband Allan train horses in the district. “I’ve been with the club for two years, and the reason I didn’t get involved sooner was due to having a full time job with BNZ and also running a small vineyard, along with working our own horses. I just didn’t have the time to fully commit,” Shutkowski explains. “But now I can give it my full attention and I really think it’s a great opportunity for me to give back to racing and get some new ideas out there.” The Marlborough meeting this year will be unique in that it will be held on the grass surface. “Our caretaker has been working on the track and it is in good condition. We are really looking forward to being able to bring the racing action closer to the crowd given the 1850m mobile start point will be right there in front of them,” Shutkowski says. The newly reopened state highway between Picton and Christchurch will hugely assist those wanting to travel to the meeting, be it socially or to bring horses to race. “The Majestic Horse Truck recently travelled the new road, and reported it only took half an hour longer than it did pre earthquake,” said Shutkowski.  “The new road is a very scenic drive, and another good reason for people to get away and enjoy our two day meeting.” The Marlborough club secretary, Cheryl Thompson, is also a new comer and is new to the sport of harness racing too.  The Nelson summer meeting will be held January 12 and 14, whilst Marlborough will follow on January 19 and 21. Those contemplating starting horses at the meeting are encouraged to contact the clubs to arrange accommodation or paddocks, should they need any assistance. Kristie Hill advises there are multiple options for accommodation for racegoers and horse people at Nelson also. We have the Richmond Holiday Park that is located two minutes from the track. They have a variety of accommodation options.  If you would like to be situated in Nelson City (12 mins from the track) the Palms Motels also sponsor at the race meeting.  For those of you who want to try camping we have that option available on course.  If you have any specific stabling requirements do contact the club.” Jess Smith Communication and Ownership Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand

The annual meeting at Roxburgh will be highly anticipated for locals. And they’ll notice a new appearance of the track this year. After recently being resurfaced, Geoff Knight of the Roxburgh Trotting Club has described the track as being beautiful to work on, and when watered produces a beautiful cushion to drive on. “We had a heap of volunteers help us get the track ready. We took about 15 years’ worth of crusher dust off of it, and put on 300 cubic metres of the sand surface that is on Addington and Forbury tracks,” Knight said. “John Denton has given it the thumbs up following a recent inspection.” Commentator, Dave McDonald, has hand crafted a unique and stunning mailbox out of Central Otago schist to be auctioned off on race day at the Roxburgh race meeting. A talented model maker in his spare time, he wanted to give back to the industry. “I really wanted to do something that reflects Central Otago, and I’m quite proud of the way the letterbox turned out. It’s only the second one I have made like this and I’m happy that I can support the club in this way,” McDonald said. Cambridge Waikato Flying Mile Night – Friday 5 January Waikato Bay of Plenty Harness will host two Group race features this Friday evening at Cambridge Raceway. The Waikato Flying Mile and Trotters Flying Stakes will be part of a guaranteed $25,000 Pick Six, starting on Race 6. Heaven Rocks will back up in the feature pace following his third placing in the Auckland Cup on New Year’s Eve. He will meet seven rivals including former Jewels winner, Jack’s Legend. Oncourse patrons will also be able to witness dual Group One winner, Temporale, in action in the Trotters Flying Stakes. He’ll take on a field with depth, including Aussie visitor Kyvalley Blur, and last season’s Australian Trotting Mare of the Year – Sunny Ruby. Coinciding with the Waikato Greyhound Racing Club, the dual code meeting also offers plenty of racing entertainment, and the Alfresco Bites Food Truck market will be oncourse with food for every mood. The first race is 5.06pm. Entry to the course is free. Timaru HRC – Friday 5 January Port FM Family Fun Day. With the first race scheduled for 2.33pm, the Timaru Harness Racing club is focusing on the family entertainment for racegoers. Club President, Liz Shand, reports that there will be a heap of activities for families providing a perfect Friday afternoon for everyone. “We’ve got kid’s running races, sack races, winning number competitions, lolly scrambles and a bouncy castle. Also our unique contests – hidden lucky horse shoes, and the treasure in a hay bale contest.” For the racing purist, there are ten competitive races carded, plenty of refreshments and food available, and entry to the course is free. Wyndham HRC at Cromwell – Saturday 6 January The final day of the Central Otago holiday circuit, the Cromwell and Districts meeting will be held on the grass at Cromwell Racecourse.  It features the 2018 Pure Pac Cherries Cromwell Businesses Cup, which is a part of the Southern Country Cups series. On course entertainment includes: Picnic Racing Fashion In The Field; Best Dressed lady, man, couple, boy, girl, under 7. Best Hat/fascinator, Abs For The Lads Competition, Best Car Park Picnic Competition, More FM Kids Go Racing Area, f ree mini jeep rides, kids running race (mobile start), losing ticket draw for mobile rides, Punters Club. Rangiora HRC – Sunday 7 January   If you’re seeking the best way to see out your summer holiday, then the Rangiora Harness Racing Club’s meeting this Sunday is the perfect event. With free entry, the meeting is a great place for a picnic with family and friends. Or indulge in the oncourse food and beverage options. Competitive grass track harness racing will entertain all, with the action up close and personal with a live MC to keep you informed and entertained. A reminder, packages are selling quickly for the Summer Festival meeting at Banks Peninsula on January 28. Book early and avoid missing out. Hawera HRC – Sunday 7 January  The Farmlands Family Fun day will be exactly that this Sunday at Hawera Racecourse. Again the perfect option to see out the summer holidays, with relaxed grass track atmosphere. And entry to the course is free. “The event is aimed at those wanting to enjoy a picnic atmosphere, and we encourage families to come along and enjoy the day,” said President, Brendan Towers. “We have two manned bouncy castles, for different ages of children, and also the Taranaki Kidz Kartz will be holding races on the course too.” An entrée to the Hawera Easter meeting, the fields are set to be competitive and provide good wagering options for punters.  Jess Smith Communication and Ownership Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand

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