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Haras des Trotteurs are delighted to announce that Swedish Group 1-winning stallion Volstead, who went 1.51.5 on a 1000m track, will stand the coming harness racing season at Cardigan (Ballarat) and will be available to both New Zealand and Australian breeders. This will make the beautifully American-bred stallion the first son of Cantab Hall to be available as a chilled semen option in the Southern Hemisphere. Cantab Hall has become an outstanding sire of sires with with his sons Father Patrick, Explosive Matter and Uncle Peter all in the top 10 of 3YOs US sires this season An outstanding competitor in Sweden’s elite gold division Volstead raced out of the top Swedish barn of Stefan Melander and won 5.87M SEK from 23 of his 72 race starts including the Group 1 King’s Cup and the prestigious Sweden Cup, or Little Elitlopp, in 2015. Volstead Sweden Cup He qualified for the Elitloppet the following year where he just missed out on the final (won by his stablemate Nuncio) and was also an unlucky second to Nuncio in the Group 1 Swedish Sprint Masters, after sitting parked the whole race, getting to the front in the shadows of the post only for his stablemate to come off his back and nab him on the line. Volstead and Johnny Takter “Volstead was very fast from the beginning when we started training him and was a very very strong horse.” said his Swedish owner-trainer Stefan Melander. “Volstead could race on the outside the whole race. If it was a distance race or a mile race, it didn't matter and he could still win racing outside the entire race. Melander bought Volstead as a yearling because of his great conformation and excellent pedigree (by Cantab Hall from a Yankee Glide mare) with a tremendous number of stakes winners and race horses he said. ‘I have retained breedings to breed my own mares in USA as I can see Volstead within the next five years becoming highly successful and one of the top trotting Stallions in the world,” said Melander. Volstead will stand for $A5500 (gst inclusive) and $NZ5000 + gst  at Haras des Trotteurs in Cardigan, Victoria, alongside successful group winning French stallion Used To Me. Both stallions will be available in chilled semen form in Australia and New Zealand. Multi-mare discounts are available, with a special single mare discount available for Volstead for VSTA  and NZSBA members.   In Australia contact; Karen Starr karen@harasdestrotteurs.com.au M: +61 459 342 525 ‚Äč In New Zealand contact; Dave Sanders dave@harasdestrotteurs.com.au M: +64 212 452 584  

This year’s Interdominions return to New Zealand for the first time in eight years. Last held at Alexandra Park (transferred from Addington, Christchurch as a result of the devastating earthquake of 22 February 2011), the Auckland Trotting Club are this year’s Championship hosts. Christchurch (NZ) based travel agency Holland, Clarke and Beatson (HCB) whose specialist tours include many sporting events, will this year offer three tour durations (17 or 10 nights or Grand Finals weekend packages) for the 2019 Interdominion Championships to be held in Auckland, New Zealand. This year’s Championships feature both Pacing and Trotting heats and Grand Finals. All transfers, accommodation (various options available), tours/functions and specified meals/drinks are included in the tour costs. Air Travel bookings can also be arranged for you by HCB. Full tour details are available by viewing HCB’s Interdominion brochure and registration form below : Registration Form Brochure    

Welcome to the Harness Half Hour Podcast brought to you by HRNZ marketing and Airpark Canterbury. Jess Smith brings the latest harness racing news and interviews with colorful and interesting industry participants from New Zealand and around the world. This week’s show features Jo Herbert, who will make a comeback to race driving after nine years out of the sulky; Kirsty Adams, co-owner of Rake, who remarkably paid for the horse with bags of feed. And Barry Dent chats to us about the upcoming Combined Canterbury Awards Dinner. Richard Wilson takes a break this week, but will return next week with our Bookie Update.   Jess Smith HRNZ Marketing

The future of the TAB and the way Kiwis bet on racing and sport is under the most in-depth investigation in its history. But those expecting quick changes or a wholesale outsourcing of the TAB's activities to overseas operators could be in for a shock. The Racing Industry Transition Authority took over the running of what used to be known as the New Zealand Racing Board last week, the six-person RITA panel replacing the former NZRB executive on July 1, a change that will have gone largely unnoticed by most punters. But RITA will now be charged with deciding the future path of the racing industry and which recommendations outlined in the Messara Report, released by Racing Minister Winston Peters last year, can and will be implemented. While there were initial calls for the Messara report to be implemented in its totality, that won't, and almost certainly legally can't, happen. Several key recommendations around betting levies, race fields legislation and the formation of RITA have already been put in place and the Weekend Herald understands RITA met with the TAB's leaders this week to ask some hard questions. The answers they glean about the TAB's performance, both in the marketplace and internally, will help with their eventual report to the Minister around any potential outsourcing of the TAB or the creation of joint ventures. Outsourcing of the TAB was one of the hottest topics post the Messara report, especially as many in the racing industry are disappointed or angry at the TAB's performance, costs and returns to the industry. Those returns would seem unlikely to grow this year although the exact funding figures for the new season are yet to be released. There have been very vocal calls for the whole TAB business to be outsourced, which would mean a lot less costs but would result in the industry being controlled by an overseas betting agency. As that conversation has matured the appetite for a total outsourcing has waned in many quarters as it has become more apparent while the licence to bet on New Zealand racing and sport could be granted for a set period of time, once the local TAB is dismantled, there would be no putting it back together again. The thoroughbred code has been by far the biggest advocate for outsourcing but they failed to get their preferred nominated rep on RITA and the six-person panel now has a neutral look to it, whereas an NZTR rep would almost certainly be a vote for outsourcing. Instead it looks more likely RITA would advise the Minister that rather than outsourcing the TAB as a whole, all and any joint ventures should be investigated and any future bidding process for betting rights should be open to all parties to increase competition and boost the price. The Australian TAB, known as Tabcorp, are certain to bid for the licence and most other facets of the TAB's business, while Sportsbet, like Tabcorp, put forward an initial soft offer when outsourcing was first investigated by a committee from NZRB and the codes last year. The Weekend Herald understands those initial offers, which were always going to be lowball, were of around $100 million for a 25-year licence, including broadcasting and digital media rights as well as the right to programme New Zealand race times. While $4m a year doesn't sound a lot of money, the real benefit to the industry was seen as the cost savings. Betting industry insiders suggest at least two other massive overseas bookmakers are investigating bidding for the New Zealand betting licence, one reason RITA will want any tendering process to start with a clean sheet of paper. While that TAB entire package could still potentially be up for grabs for the right money, RITA's members are more likely to suggest to the Minister he protect the independence of New Zealand racing first and look at joint ventures to increase returns to the industry without dismantling the TAB. That could mean protecting the likes of broadcasting and the times local meetings are programmed, inside a co-operative framework with Australia, which already takes place. Complicating the matter is how any overseas operator who won the licence for betting on New Zealand racing and sport would meet retail obligations — running your local TAB or pub tab. Retail outlets are expensive and nowhere near as profitable as ever-growing online gambling but are still seen as an important link between betting and the general public. That is just another piece of a very complicated outsourcing or joint venture puzzle and one that RITA looks increasingly likely to start working on with a clean sheet of paper. And if overseas examples are anything to go by, the process could take more than two years to complete if a major outsourcing, or more likely joint venture, was entered into. WHAT THE CODES THINK Mauro Barsi, chief executive, Greyhound Racing NZ: "There is merit in investigating the outsource option, and we should definitely complete a proper due diligence process for the industry, one capable of clearly communicating the risks and rewards of such a major transaction for an iconic New Zealand owned business. Outsourcing is, however, only one option of many. This type of choice is a once in a lifetime decision. Once outsourced it would be very difficult to return to the industry and while there may be substantial monetary rewards initially, there are also questions to be answered about commitments to ongoing investment, control of the racing calendar and the place for "industry good" in a more commercial environment. Overall, we welcome the discussion and believe that the outcome of a robust process — whatever that might be — will be good for the industry." Bernard Saundry, chief executive NZ Thoroughbred Racing: "Outsourcing is not a true description of what we are attempting to achieve — in effect, the racing industry is seeking to partner with an international operator to run the TAB. This would allow continued investment in the betting business to stay relevant and compete. We do not have the scale to compete successfully in a global betting and entertainment marketplace. Improving returns to the 50,000 people involved in NZ racing is our priority. Partnering with an international operator will provide operational synergies, access to better technology and an improved customer experience for punters on and off the track while ensuring we can control our industry and its future." Peter Jensen, chief executive, Harness Racing NZ: "Our focus is on improving returns to our stakeholders and the key to this is growing distributions, in a meaningful way, from the wagering operator. We are agnostic on whether this is achieved through improved performance from the TAB or via an outsourcing or joint-venture arrangement with an off-shore operator. Punters in New Zealand now have many options in terms of who they choose to bet with so the focus must be on innovation, improving engagement and ensuring the local offer is competitive. As an industry we cannot take a short-term view on this decision. While we need an immediate injection of new funding, what is equally important is that we are building a sustainable industry that our participants are able to invest with." $400m dilemma for industry It is the industry money maker nobody seems to be talking about and many punters won't want put in place. But banning New Zealanders from betting with overseas agencies could be one of the quickest money makers for the struggling racing industry. At present Kiwi punters enjoy some of the most liberal internet betting laws in the world and many, including those at the top of the three racing codes, bet not just with the TAB but with overseas bookmakers, most via the internet. Latest estimates suggest more than $400 million a year is lost to overseas betting agencies and while the new point of consumption tax and race fields legislation will claw some profits back from that, if that $400m was bet with the New Zealand TAB, the returns to the local industry would be enormously higher. Of course not all that $400m would bet here if the overseas options disappeared but put simply, if Kiwis could only bet with the TAB here, the racing and sports industries would make a lot more money. That would effectively give the TAB a monopoly on all racing and sports gambling conducted in New Zealand and has a second, hugely important benefit. Officials from overseas agencies set to bid for a New Zealand betting licence have confirmed they would pay significantly more for those rights if they were a monopoly, which would translate to a much bigger up-front payment to the racing industry. Of course, having only one bookmaker available to New Zealand punters could see them at the mercy of markets set to brutally high percentages but that could be tempered by rules around setting markets and even a punters' watchdog agency, who ensured markets and restrictions on winning punters were kept in line with overseas norms. Closing New Zealand punting borders would require a legislative change and wouldn't be popular with the punters who currently enjoy a myriad of options. But it poses the question for punters: are you willing to cop less choice about where you bet if the whole industry profits?   Michael Guerin

Natalie’s sister Kylie has joined the Rasmussen train of G1 winners in partnership with Mark Purdon with an effortless effort in the Queensland Oaks, one that almost guarantees she will run in the Queensland Derby next week. That being the case Kylie will again most likely be in the cart. “All going well through tonight I think I would be asking Kylie to drive her again and I would drive Self Assured” Mark said before Saturday’s race. He drove Princess Tiffany to win the Breeders Crown last August. It will add a real edge to the race. Self Assured is unbeaten and his form has been a revelation in Queensland, at least outside the stable where he has always been held in high regard. But Princess Tiffany quickly back to the peak of her rare ability meaning the club has a blood curdling clash on its hands. Mark conceded yesterday it was very rare for him to tackle a Derby with his best filly. He hasn’t done it since the days of Adore Me who wasn’t a bad sort of pacer. “No I don’t often do it but I feel this filly is good enough to do it and she is in a good place at the moment. This is All Stars third win in the race. Natalie pioneered the trip in 2012 with O Baby and repeated the triumph with Fight for Glory. Kylie had previously won the race with Forever Gold in 2011 a filly Natalie also drove to G1 glory in Australia.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Harness racing veteran reinsman Jim O’Sullivan, who makes no secret of still having an unbelievable love of the game, wound back the clock at Swan Hill this week. The highly respected horseman, now in his early 70s, showed fine touch to take out the Elliott Print Pace with brown gelding Sands Of Zanzibar (Art Colony USA-Spy Games (Armbro Operative USA) in one of his rare visits to the far north-west circuit. After not showing much gate speed at all, the pair found themselves buried three back the pegs early on.  But O’Sullivan was quick to pop off into the one-out two-back position, then got shuffled back to near-last with 600 metres to go. A well-timed run out five wide saw Sands Of Zanzibar snatch a narrow win. O’Sullivan, based at Heathcote, near Bendigo, is well remembered through the deeds of terrific horses like My Lightning Blue, winner of the 1987 Inter Dominion grand final at Christchurch; Yankee Loch who took the 1991 Trotters Inter at Moonee Valley and multiple cups winner Quite Famous, purchased from the Charles family at Mildura. O’Sullivan enjoyed a tremendous relationship with big-spending owner Alan Hunter in the heady days of the 1980s and 90s. Another more recent highlight was becoming the 17th recipient of the Gordon Rothacker Medal In 2017. These days O’Sullivan trains a small team and can be found helping out other trainers with farrier duties, as well as cheering on his daughter Shannon, who is steadily making her mark as a talented junior driver. A passionate and successful competitor in the annual Indigenous Drivers’ Series in NSW in recent years, Danny Gibson, is again wearing a huge smile. Gibson, who lives at Elrington, near Cessnock (two hours north of Sydney), made the long trip to Albury on Tuesday along with nine other drivers. The popular hobbyist took the honors in the HRNSW and Tabcorp Park heat, landing 3yo filly Madame Annie (Sportswriter-Madame Lily (John Street North USA) for trainer Robert Walters. Madame Annie showed her customary gate speed and was well rated by Gibson, who had a handy eight metre advantage up his sleeve at the finish. The mile rate was a creditable 2.00 for the 2170m journey. Gibson and his wife Janelle aren’t afraid to travel.  Earlier this year they hit the road for a 13 hour trip to campaign with two horses at the famous NSW Silver City mining town of Broken Hill. They tasted success with Evils Afoot and enjoyed a holiday to remember! Danny and Janelle Gibson Buyers at this Sunday’s Shepparton Mixed Sale have some interesting opportunities to invest in the bloodlines of promising sire Auckland Reactor (Mach Three – Atomic Lass (Sokys Atom), who’s continuing to get winners on both sides of the Tasman. Offspring of the former champion NZ pacer were again to the fore this week, winning in good style in WA and NSW. Chestnut gelding Gold Horseshoe (Auckland Reactor-Aussie Vision (Grinfromeartoear) looked good at Pinjarra for trainer Colin Reeves and driver Morgan Woodley. Sent out the punters’ elect at $2.30 fav, the three-year-old came with a late rush and proved too good. Astute NSW trainer Dean Chapple produced Aucklander (Auckland Reactor-Leagueoferown (Fake Left) to land the money at Tamworth on Thursday. Chapple took the reins and had a four-metre advantage over his rivals on the line. One lot at the Shepparton sale that will generate interest from buyers is the magnificent-looking Lot 27 weanling filly.  The youngster, out of Passionate Embrace, is one of several offered on behalf of clients by Alabar Farms. There’s also an unnamed colt by Auckland Reactor out of Elegant Art. Breeders should also take note of broodmare Kitty Macguire (Badlands Hanover-Tuapeka Dancer) who has a positive to Auckland Reactor. The Shepparton sale starts at 12 noon. Auckland Reactor Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Mark Purdon will be backed up on the couch watching Queensland unfold on the tv screen on Saturday but still has some salient thoughts about how the races may unfold. “The good news is that the team trained well on Thursday and Poi is happy with where they are at. That is obviously a big thing going into the races “ he said How those races may unfold is the crucial question and it is probably Princess Tiffany will be out to use her class to dominate the race with her best rival drawn badly in the second row. “There’s not a lot speed inside her and she can really sprint out of the gate if you ask her. The one horse (Write About Lexy) can go out of the gate but you would think they would be looking to trail us” “Over a sprint distance you want to be on the boil so she may well stay in front the trip. “ Mark is not fazed by the fact Princess Tiffany (parked, fought well but close) seemed to have a hard run in her leadup race last week. “She is funny like that. There is not that much of her but when she has a hard race she often improves with it. She is tough” Miss Streisand, who fought well last week and has Sydney form has to come from outside the second row which makes things difficult for her. Breeder’s Crown plans for Princess Tiffany will be confirmed after the race. Mark concedes both Jesse Duke and Self Assured face challenges in the South East Derby. “You would think Lochinvar Art would want to lead all the way and he has the speed to get there. If Self Assured followed him out on his back he might not be too far back maybe in the second and third line on the outer which means he won’t have to do too much work” Mark said. “Jesse Duke will have to go forward from where he is drawn so I could see him parked out. It means both ours could be close enough to have their chance. Hopefully that is how it will work out . I would say the one on the inside of the second row IMake Mine Memphis) will be looking for a similar run and they may not be far away “   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Auckland Reactor harness racing gelding The Great Buzz, formerly trained in Southland by Clark Barron is creating a bit of a stir in North America. “He was always a pretty nice maiden. While he didn’t win we threw him into a couple of Nugget Finals and he was never out of the money. I thought he’d get better as he got older. He was a big overgrown horse,” Barron said. The Great Buzz raced eight times for Barron finishing second three times and third twice before he was sold. He’s out of the unraced Bettor’s Delight mare Risonanza and was bred by Kakukuri Bloodstock Limited and Brian West of Studholme Bloodstock Limited. He was bought by Barron for $7,000 at the 2017 Sale of the Stars in Christchurch. Elmer Gantry (18 wins), Dillon Dean (20 wins) and Dillion Dale (17 wins) feature further back in his pedigree. In America, The Great Buzz won his qualifier in 1-56.2 on 15th June. “The horse that ran second (Starznheaven) has won 41 races and nearly $400,000,” said Auckland Bloodstock Agent John Curtin who sold him to regular American buyer Kevin Quinn. He won his first race in America at Saratoga, New York, on the 26th of June recording his lifetime mark of 1-53.3  The Great Buzz “53 on a half mile track is a hell of a run,” stated Curtin, who also sold Nerve Of Steel (5 wins) and Kiwi Tintin (9 wins) to Quinn. “That’s (The Great Buzz) the dearest horse he’s bought. I said to him it’ll be the best horse he’s ever bought. He said ‘no chance it’ll be Kiwi Tintin.’ He’s changed his mind now.” The Great Buzz is trained by Paul Zabielski and was driven on both occasions by James Devaux. “The owner rang me quite a few times. They’ve liked him from day one,” Barron said. The gelding is due to start at Saratoga again on Thursday where he’s drawn the outside of the gate. Because of his impressive form the Saratoga Club officials have also taken him out of the betting market and placed him on the outside. Curtin is not impressed. “He’s drawn seven on a half mile track. That’s brutal, it’s just a joke. The owner’s upset. This horse has only won $6,000.” Bruce Stewart

TAB News Pick6 this week - $40k Terminating at Forbury Park Harness on Thursday night. $40 Terminating Turbo Pick6 Friday night between Alexandra Park and Addington. Wish for Fish Fundraiser – Addington Raceway 19 July We are a registered charitable trust called wish for fish (www.wish4fish.co.nz). We help people with physical disabilities, mental illness and financial hardship to enjoy salt water activities. We have a large fundraising dinner planned at Addington Raceway, Christchurch on 19th of July. This event is to be held to raise our profile, some funds for our cause and also launch our supporters club. We are excited this year to be working in conjunction with the Child Cancer Foundation  https://www.childcancer.org.nz/) & Conductive Education Canterbury http://www.cecanterbury.org/)  in which funds raised will support their awesome causes. Help an amazing cause and enjoy a fabulous night out at Addington Raceway. TICKET COST: $130pp includes 3 course buffet & drinks package. The night will include charity auctions, raffles, lucky draws and a punters club ($10 per share). For more information and to order tickets please phone Mac on 027 471 2000, Bryce on 021 616 601 or email bryce@wish4fish.co.nz   Canterbury Harness Racing Awards - 21 September 2019 Woodlands Stud Canterbury Harness Awards Dinner - Saturday 21 September Silks Lounge - Addington Raceway, Addington 6.30pm for a 7.15pm start Tickets $60.00 incl. GST Drinks extra at individual's cost. Watch our for our stallion tender for Downbytheseaside and Pegasus Spur services which close on 02 September 2019. All enquiries to 021 969 969 or cantyawardsdinner@gmail.com    Addington Raceway and Events Centre – Friday 12 July What’s happening at Addington? Thousands of dollars to be won - Pascoes The Jewellers Ladies Night Friday 26 July is based in Silks Lounge to view all the races! TICKETS ON SALE, please go to - https://www.addington.co.nz/events-centre/events/ladies-night/ Major Prizes to be won include; 1 carat diamond ring valued at $3,300 thanks to our overall naming rights sponsor and principal partner Pascoes The Jewellers. 3-night escape on the Sunshine coast at the Peninsular Beachfront Resort Mooloolaba courtesy of Addington, with $1,000 towards airfares from Harness Racing New Zealand.   This fabulous night includes; A glass of bubbles on arrival Gourmet buffet dinner Treat yourself to our nail art bar or a neck massage Opportunity to win a horse ownership experience on the night Entertainment throughout the night with harness racing action and live music after the last race Spot prizes throughout the night from Pascoes The Jewellers, Caci Riccarton, Lancôme and Addington   Macca Lodge South of the Waitaki Winter Warmer Series is underway! This series consists of three heats and has a total stake money of $43,000.  To be eligible for this series, horses had to be registered with HRNZ in the name of a trainer(s) based South of the Waitaki River as at 1 May through to 26 July 2019.  The series will be for 3YO and older pacers assessed up to R60 as at the closing of nominations for heat one.  The first place getters in each heat will have automatic entry into the final on Friday 26 July. For further details, please visit; http://www.addington.co.nz/racing/promotions-incentives/, or call Brian Rabbitt on 027 407 7234. Only 3 chances left to win $500 in our $50 All Up July Challenge!! 12, 19 and 26 July 2019 Simply place a $50 All Up on any of our last three meetings in July and if your bet has the highest return for the week you will win an extra $500. Entries and further enquiries contact Richard Bromley, Email: richard@addington.co.nz or call him on 021 888 900.  Richard will be based in Christian Cullen  Lounge each week.  Please also visit our website for further - https://www.addington.co.nz/racing/50-all-up-july-challenge/ Have a great week everyone.  We look forward to hosting you again soon.  From the Addington Team Alexandra Park News – Friday 12 July  Arabian Night – Friday 26th July from 5.30pm – Top of the Park Nurahib bik, we welcome you! We are extremely excited to host the first ever Arabian Night here at Alexandra Park! Let your senses get carried into a world of rich culture and mystical wonder, with the all-you-can-eat buffet transporting your taste buds to the Middle-East and the ever-exciting harness racing action taking place on the track below! Set in Top of the Park on Friday 26th July from 5.30pm, be sure to secure your table today! Phone 09 631 1165, email dining@alexandrapark.co.nz or book online at https://racenight.alexandrapark.co.nz/event/TOP260719/ Christmas at the Races featuring the Inter Dominion Championship 2019 Christmas at the Races are some of the hottest nights on the Alexandra Park Harness Racing calendar. Choose from our various rooms and packages the best option to suit your guests, get into the festive spirit with our amazing Christmas themed all-you-can-eat buffet and keep your eye out for Santa. There will be competitions, entertainment, photographers and non-stop harness racing excitement, plus live entertainment after the last race. This year offers added value with the Inter Dominion Championship being run in New Zealand for the first time in 8 years. Explore the best Alexandra Park has to offer, but don’t forget to book quickly as these popular nights don’t last long. For more information visit: https://www.alexandrapark.co.nz/whats-on/christmas-races-2019/ To make a booking, do it online or contact us 09 631 1165 or email dining@alexandrapark.co.nz South of the Bombays Race Series ($14,999) JUNE 14 & 21 / JULY 5 & 12 This series of races are primarily targeted for those horses who have predominantly raced at North Island tracks outside of Alexandra Park during the current 2018-2019 season. Eligibility Criteria: Since August 1, 2018. (All to be totalisator starts) (1) A minimum of two starts at a North Island track outside of Alexandra Park or Cambridge Raceway, or (2) A minimum of two starts at Cambridge Raceway plus one other start at a North Island Track outside of Alexandra Park, or (3) Alternatively a minimum of three starts at Cambridge Raceway. These criteria do not preclude horses who have had starts at Alexandra Park as long as they meet any of the other eligibility criteria. Mid-Winter Christmas – Christmas Party 21 & 28 June & 5 & 12 July 2019: Indulge in the festivity of mid-winter Christmas with Alexandra Park. Embrace the winter chills and find some festive spirit whilst enjoying the best harness racing in New Zealand. Offering FOUR function rooms and packages over four mid-winter Friday nights, there is something to suit all groups and budgets. Dream of mulled wine, all-you-can-eat buffet and a lively social atmosphere. Explore the best Alexandra Park has to offer, but don’t forget to book quickly as these popular nights don’t last long. Tables are selling fast so don’t miss out on the best spots. Go to www.alexandrapark.co.nz to book your tickets or ring 096131165.   Ashburton TC Family Farming Day – 14 July The Ashburton Trotting clubs July 14th meeting will host for the second year its Farming family Day at the races. Local racing identity Bruce Taylor and rural advocate an Ashburton TC Clerk of the Course Craig Wiggins have managed to rally a good team of supporters and rural industry sponsors to run this event. An idea Wiggins took to the Ashburton TC after noticing the stress farmers were under with Mycoplasma Bovis and other rural issues during the winter months. Wiggins said: “the Ashburton club got right behind the idea and Bruce with his local connections made it happen,” This year the the event has been ramped up with skydivers jumping in during the day, classic car displays, mini health checks for farmers, sulky races good food, racing and spot prizes for many including those unlucky on the tote and lots of children's activities. With the Ashburton TC making the amenities available this year and some serious interest being shown on social media they expect another full house. The organisers hope to get a few drivers into the room for some one on one interviews and some punting help for those new to the track, but mostly we hope that farmers and their families just have a really good day off farm and enjoy the atmosphere.   Cambridge Raceway News – New Season Launch! You’re invited to a birthday party! Join us to celebrate the brand new racing season and the horse’s birthday! We are holding a special season launch event on Thursday 1 August at Cambridge Raceway in the Skyline Lounge (level 2). Kick off is 5pm, first race 5.21pm. And entry is free!   HRNZ Marketing

Branxholme brothers Lindsay and Ian Thomson have been enjoying their best harness racing season as owners, their horses having won a total of ten races. There was also excitement when they won three races back to back on premier nights at Addington in May. On the 10th  Vintage Cheddar won the last race on the card, then on the following Friday night Get Lucky and Vintage Cheddar won the first two races. The brothers winners have also helped their trainer Alister Black to enjoy a successful season, his thirteen winners equalling his previous best season. Black also achieved the third best national UDR rating of the season for trainers with ten wins or more. His 0.3889 was only bettered by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen 0.4603 and Barry Purdon 0.3947. In fact 50 of Black’s 65 career winners since he started training in 2010, have been owned by the brothers. Most have been owned by Ian and Lindsay but they also raced The Jinja Ninja in partnership with Sheree Black, Craig Milne and Paul Duggan. In all the brothers have won sixty races since Highland Heights won for the pair at Forbury Park in June 2006. Their biggest winners have been Vintage Cheddar (7), Six Diamonds (6), Ossessione (6), New York Town (6) Kilowatt Kid (4) and Get Lucky (4). Vintage Cheddar                              - Photo Bruce Stewart Lindsay and Ian have been interested in harness racing for a good while with their father Frank and Uncle Ernie having been keen followers. Frank and Ernie had a trotter called Wilton Lad which raced in the mid-1950s. By Swordsman, he won five races – four as a six year old. His first win was at Invercargill in March 1956 and he followed it up with wins at Wyndham, Invercargill (where he dead heated with Jean Able) and finally at Ashburton. His Ashburton win was on the same day as False Step won the New Zealand Futurity Stakes by twenty four lengths. The following season he won once from seven starts at Invercargill. All his wins were for Winton trainer Harry Cox. “He went in the throat,” said Lindsay who added that Ernie and Coxs were great mates. “The story they told years ago was about a day at the trials at Addington. Ernie looked a bit like Harry. Harry reckoned that Ernie wouldn’t be game to drive at the trials. He put all of Harry’s gear on and drove in the trials and got away with it. He actually won the trial and as they were pulling up old Doug Watts came alongside and spoke to him, calling him Harry. Ernie just muttered something and kept going. Les Norman and Ken Balloch were up there and they knew about it,” he said.   Ernie left Southland when he was nineteen and went to Wellington where he was breaking in draft horses. “Uncle Ernie broke in thousands of horse over the years. He used to break in all the Cummings horses. He had a farm at Otahuti and then he retired on a wee thirty acres place next to the Makarewa Freezing Works. He spent all his time breaking in horses for the likes of Brian O’Meara,” said Ian.  In later years Ernie shifted to Ashburton and became great friends with Jim Ferguson. Lindsay and Ian grew up in Morton Mains and went to Morton Mains Primary School before heading to Southland Boys High School. “The year we left school Dad died so we just kept the place ticking over. The farm wasn’t terribly big at the time. It was only about 240 acres. At that stage we started working at the freezing works. I had 21 seasons at Makarewa. We just ran the farm at nights and over the weekends. Over a period of time we bought a little bit of extra ground here and there. We spent fifty years at Morton Mains before we shifted here,” said Ian. Lindsay also dabbled in breeding and getting foals out of Moreover (Tuft – Vitesse Lass) including Star Bay (Count Bay) and Young Reb (Yankee Reb) which won two races for trainer Brendon McLellan. Lindsay also bred from Star Bay with some success, breeding Star Reb (Yankee Reb) the winner of three races for Jim Ferguson and Star Invasion (Armbro Invasion) the winners of two. At that point the Alliance Group, which ran the Makarewa Works were looking at streamlining their Southland operations and Makarewa went down to one chain. “We had an opportunity to lease our neighbours’ farm. We also bought another block up the road,” said Ian.   They ended up 480 acres with 300 acres on lease from the neighbour but sheep farming was falling on hard times. “We talked to another neighbour on the other side of the road. He was about the same age. We talked about selling up at some stage and the dairy boom was just starting to take off. The neighbour said if we were ever going to sell to let him know. He said the whole lot can go in one big amalgamation,” said Ian. After three bad years the brothers decided to get serious about getting out of sheep farming. “Lamb prices were about fifty odd dollars. The second year they said it was just a correction so we thought we’d sit tight. The third year came and things weren’t much better. We came in one night, it must have been a wet night and we’d had a guts full,” said Ian. But that wasn’t the only reason Lindsay and Ian were thinking seriously about selling. In those days the Alliance was paying a premium over and above schedule price to its big suppliers and that didn’t impress some of the company’s smaller shareholders. “We’d heard stories that ranged between five and ten dollars a head. We were out in all the shitty weather feeding stock and weren’t happy. We had a shareholders meeting at Wyndham one night and it opened a few eyes as to what was going on,” said Lindsay. In 2008 it was time to sell. “The neighbour we were leasing the place off also decided to sell. Where we were, the land prices had doubled in twelve months. Less than 48 hours the deal was done and we thought we’ve sold too cheap. As it turned out later the shit hit the fan. We got out at the absolute peak,” said Ian.  They decided to buy a nice piece of land, put in a training track and as Ian put it ‘play around with horses.’   Subsequently they bought a property at Branxholme from local stock agent Stephen Joseph. “It started as just a hobby that’s got out of hand (laughter),” said Lindsay. Initially they had horses with Longbush trainer Alan Paisley, including their first winner Highland Heights. He was by Tinted Cloud and won two races. His wins, both at Forbury Park, were back to back in June and August 2006 and he was driven both times by Alister Black.   It was from there that the brothers relationship with the young horseman began. “Originally Alister was just going to be pre-training them and would then pass them onto Alan but we decided we might as well keep them here,” said Ian.      At the time Black was working night shifts at the Venison Plant but that changed after a bad accident. “He was breaking in Successful Way and he bolted on him one day. He hung onto him instead of letting him go. He hit the end of the gate and Alister broke his neck. He was within two millimetres of death. He ripped his sternum, had a punctured lung and had some cracked ribs,” said Lindsay. The accident lead to other complications and Black had to give up his job at the works and that’s when he started working full time at Branxholme. “He shoes all the horses himself other than Get Lucky. That’s important and in the last few seasons a few nice horses have come along,” said Ian.         Over the years the brothers have also been regular buyers at the yearling sales. Highland Heights was their first purchase. “We had no intention of buying, and this horse came up. We quite liked the look of him so we bought him, and ever since then we can’t keep away,” said Ian. After having years around stock they have a sharp eye for conformation and also a good understanding of pedigrees. “Someone asked us about what we look for at the sales. We get the catalogue and you look for something that has as much breeding on the dam side as you can afford. We’re not frightened to go to a new season sire that’s been a top race horse in America. We’ve had quite a few horses that have been by first season sires. Alister’s been coming along in a last year or two and just going over them,” he said. Over the years they’ve been under bidders on a number of good horses including Ultimate Machete, Bettor Move It, Copperfield and Idealindiamonds. “We’d picked him (Ultimate Machete) out later on the second day. We were going to push the boat out and have a go. We stood back and were watching and no bugger was going near him. We thought we might have a bit of a show here. But we never got a look in. They kicked him off at $40, 000 and he went either for eighty or eighty five,” said Ian. The brothers are also in the fortunate position of not needing to sell their horses. “Everyone knows now we’re not sellers - we just want to race them. The only horses we ever sold were Aveross Brochole and New York Town. We’ve had six figures offered for Kilowatt Kid, Lawrence, Vintage Cheddar and Get Lucky. Some Aussie fella wanted to take the whole four of them all at six figures,” said Ian. New York Town was the brother’s first good horse and he won six races here before heading to America. He was by Falcon Seelster out of Top Of The Pile and was bred in Southland by Russell Morton. “He had bad quarter cracks and he ended up at the Hopes. They won a couple of races with him,” said Lindsay. Lawrence is another Sales purchase. He’s won two races but hasn’t reached his potential. He looked to be in for a good season this season but suffered a stress fracture to the pastern after running second at Gore. Lawrence warming up prior to his run at Gore                       - Photo Bruce Stewart  “He was washed down and got put back in the box. An hour later when we went to go home he couldn’t walk. He was scanned a month or so ago and it’s a 100% so he’s back in work now,” said Ian. Kilowatt Kid, despite winning once from six starts wasn’t able to complete the season after disappointing in the Roxburgh Cup where he dropped right out. Kilowatt Kid at Gore with driver Terry Chmiel                   - Photo Bruce Stewart  “He’d picked up a bug. His lungs were full of it and it took a good while to get over it,” said Ian. The brothers are very much hands on and all the horses are spelled on the 106 acre property. They also have another 14 acres at Makarewa. They usually have 25 horses on the property and undoubtedly the stable star this season has been Vintage Cheddar who has come a long way in a short time. “When Vintage Cheddar was younger he had a few funny little tricks. He hated the sound of Velcro on the shin boots. He’d climb the walls. Each time he came back in he was better and he grew out of it, said Ian. They both agree he’s the best horse they’ve raced – so far!! “As Alister says he’s got that high speed but he’s also tough,” said Lindsay.  He looked above average when he won on Diamonds Day last season but his second to Mach Up at Addington three weeks later stamped him as a real up and comer. “Just as they were turning in he was blocked for a run. He had his head in the air trying to get a gap, and he finally got one. He dived through and Purdon (Mark Purdon driver of Mach Up) had kicked clear. Vintage Cheddar was closing and got beaten by a half neck. We thought ‘shit we have a bit of a nice horse here,” said Ian. In among the good winners, like any owners, they’ve had their share of disappointments, with perhaps the biggest being Abraham Jones. He was by Southwind Vernon out of the three win Armbro Invasion mare Jani Franco. Jani Franco is a full-sister to Jag’s Invasion, the winner of ten races. From just twelve starts he won twice before he broke down. “He showed a ton of ability,” said Ian. It didn’t put them off trotters and they also have high hopes for a half-sister to Show Gait called Sienna Lindenny. “She’s three now and she’s never stopped growing. You’ve got to wait on them. It’s not all success,” says Lindsay. Another young horse showing promise is Plaschke (Sportswriter Holm’s Spirit). “He qualified at two real easily but we’re not great fans of racing them as juveniles. He’s back in work now,” said Ian. He’s a half-brother to good winners Springsteen, The White House, and Pulling The Strings which the brothers won three races with. “Noeline Ferguson once told me if you haven’t got the best two year old in the country you’re wasting your time. That’s the philosophy we work on,” added Lindsay. Lindsay and Ian both have their roles at the Branxholme property but they also get excellent support from their old stock agent at Morton Mains Craig Milne, and Paul McIntyre who recently retired after being foreman in the yards at the Alliance Lorneville Plant. Craig Milne and Alister Black working horses at Branxholme           - Photo Bruce Stewart “When he’s (Craig Milne) not here Alister and I do all the driving. There’s not too much point in having them if you can’t be hands on,” said Ian. Lindsay’s in charge of the jogging frame.    The brothers are breeding from five mares which reside at their Makarewa property.  “There are nice sheltered paddocks and we shift them two or three times a week,” says Ian. They’re breeding from Howfarnow which is by Grinfromeartoear out of the ten win Sands A Flyin mare Whanau. Whanau’s biggest win was in the 2002 Nevele R Fillies Final. She’s the dam of Vintage Cheddar, a rising three year old filly by He’s Watching, A Rocknroll Dance yearling filly and is in foal to Betterthancheddar. Also on their books is Trieste Franco. She’s by Badlands Hanover and is out of a Live Or Die daughter of ten win mare There’s A Franco. Trieste Franco was unplaced in three starts and from four live foals she’s left Ellie May which qualified at Gore in March. She’s in foal to Betterthancheddar. “We bought her at the sales but she injured herself,” said Lindsay. Chilli Franco, which raced for the brothers, won once in twelve starts before she was retired. “She had a wind operation and it didn’t work so we didn’t persevere” said Ian. Chilli Franco is by Vintage Master out of Cherish A Franco and is a half to Franco Cristiano (which won nine races in a twenty one start career) and Cruiser Franco the winner of twelve races. She’s in foal to Captaintreacherous. On the trotting side of the breeding list is Star Commando. She’s by CR Commando out of Charlotte Galleon. Star Commando won four races for Bruce Hutton. Her third dam is Rob The Nest, the mother of King Of Stratfield (21 wins), Galleons Assassin (13) and Thedonson (9). Star Commando’s fifth dam is Robyn Evander the mother of Diamond Field. Star Commando has foals on the ground by Trixton and Father Patrick and is in foal again to Father Patrick. Their second trotting mate is The Jinga Ninja. She’s by Sundon and started her career with Alan Clark before Brent White took over training her. He got one win out of her before Black took up the challenge, and he managed another three wins before she was retired. The Jinja Ninja after her Ascot Park win                 - Photo Bruce Stewart She’s well related, being out of the CR Commando mare Ezackly. She was a half-sister to Moon Princess the winner of six races, Rona’s Jewel which won eight and Midnight Moon which won five here and another six in Australia. The partnership have a Quaker Jet filly out of the mare and she’s in foal to Father Patrick. They were active buyers at the February Yearling Sales in Christchurch this year, paying $42,000 for an Andover Hall colt out of Bree which is a half to their star trotter Get Lucky. Bree’s dam Naraya, is the mother of Stig the winner of both the Rowe Cup and Dominion Handicap and $784,033. He won twenty two races in all. “We were pretty keen on him (Andover Hall). Chris Lang was the under bidder and if we’d pulled out the Williamsons were going to chase him. So we had good judges against us on that one,” said Lindsay. “We spent a bit more than we wanted to there,” added Ian. They also bought a He’s Watching colt out of Millwood Touché. She’s left six foals that have raced and all have been winners, with the best being Ohoka Texas which won twelve races in New Zealand and another thirteen in America. “He’s a half to horses thay have won seventy seven races. We picked him up for $12,500 because he was by He’s Watching,” said Lindsay. They also bought a Bettors Delight colt Keep On Dreaming for $45,000. He’s the first foal out of the Mach Three winning mare Secret Notion. The colt is well related to a host of winners including Secret Potion, Expresso Martini and Silver Lined Pocket. After a great season that culminated in Lindsay and Ian Thomson having two runners at the Harness Jewels, the brothers have plenty to look forward to in the new season. They have plenty of quality racing stock to go on with and the next generation of Thomson owned horses to look forward too. “That’s why we got into,” said Lindsay.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Sixteen year old Ollie Kite, works for Branxholme harness racing trainer Nathan Williamson and is on a bit of a high at the moment. Last week he was announced as the Southern representative in the Catch Driver Cadet of the Year Final which will be held in Christchurch on Wednesday 24th July. The winner will be announced at the 2019 Annual Harness Racing Awards on Saturday the 28th September. “It’s great to represent Southland. I won the local competition by a good 50 points. I’m pretty happy with that,” he said. Kite says the Cadet of the Year competition is not just about Standardbreds. “From the videos from the last two years it’s been very out there. They’ve done rock climbing, dancing and commentating. I’d like to say I’ll go pretty well at dancing but you never know.” Southlanders have a very good record at the Cadet of the Year with Ellie Barron winning last year’s final and Kieran McNaught the previous year. Kite, who has no family involved in the industry, became involved in Harness Racing when he lived at Makarewa. “I used to live over the back of Tony Barron’s and I’d watch the jogger going round. I thought that looks cool. I went over and met them and that’s how it all started.” He was also part of the Kidz Kartz. “I asked Mum if I could do Kidz Kartz on a Wednesday night at Wyndham when I was seven. She thought I was talking about Go Karts. After doing a year of Kidz Kartz I wanted to work with the big horses.” So he started worked for Tony and Cheryl Barron on Saturday mornings. When the Barron’s moved to Christchurch he started working at the weekends and during the holidays at Nathan Williamson’s barn. He left school last year and took up full-time work with Williamson. “I love working full time with Nath. I learnt a lot at Nathan’s especially with the driving side of things. I’ll hopefully stay with him throughout my junior drivers career. There’ll be a lot of good opportunities down here as there’s always a shortage of juniors.” He says he enjoys being involved in the industry and has taken up the challenge of breaking in yearlings. “I like working with young stock; seeing yearling coming from nothing, winning a race or trialling and selling for good money. It’s a thrill.” He’s already broken in three young horses. “I’ve been pretty lucky really. They’ve all been quiet and I haven’t had any difficult ones yet. I’m sure they’re coming.” The first horse he broke in was Sunday Invasion, a rising three year old trotter out of the unbroken stallion Majestic Invasion (Armbro Invasion). He’s owned by Grant Sim. “Nathan got him for me for a wee challenge. I was lucky he was really quiet.” He’s also broken in a Bettor’s Delight filly out of Bootie Bromac. Bootie Bromac, a McArdle mare, won six races and won a mile in 1-56.8 at her first start as a two year old. She was also placed in 1-54.8. This is her first foal. Another to have his early education part supervised by Kite is a Bettors Delight colt out of Wanaka Bay. He’s a brother to Mr Mojito (8 New Zealand wins and 5 Australian wins) and Mr Kiwi (4 wins). Another is rising two year old filly Pop Denario (Rocknroll Heaven – Southern Delight). Owned by Pauline and Mark O’Connor Southern Delight won three races from just nine starts and was placed in four other starts. “She’s only a yearling so it’s hard to really tell but I think she should be pretty good.” Kite says he’s sent away his application for a trials licence and hopes to get his junior driver’s license at the beginning of the 2020-2021 season. His favourite drivers are Nathan Williamson and Mark Purdon and the best horse he’s driven is Tasman Bromac.   Bruce Stewart

New Zealand racing is losing one of its rarest talents with leading commentator Mark McNamara returning home to his native Australia. The voice of predominantly Canterbury racing will call his last meeting in this country at Addington on August 22 before returning home to Australia for family reasons. McNamara has been snapped up by leading Australian racing channel Sky and will commentate and present for them starting in September. “I’ll be sad to go but I am also looking forward to the new challenge,” says McNamara. “I’m going home to be closer to family so it is a personal decision but on a professional level I am thrilled to have a role with Sky and looking forward to seeing where that takes me.”McNamara has been commentating in New Zealand for 10 years and the now 40-year-old quickly became a favourite with racing’s fans. While he has the most obvious and important of commentating skills, accuracy, a strong voice and an understanding of racing, his quirkiness helped make racing interesting. McNamara also developed strong ties with both the thoroughbred and standardbred industries, enabling him to add personal touches to his commentaries. “I have loved it here and have worked with so many good people so I really want to thank them,” says McNamara. “And whoever gets the role I wish them the best because it is a real privilege.” McNamara is adept at calling either equine code — his Te Akau Shark commentary in the Couplands Mile this season added fun, hype and a narrative to what was a seemingly obvious odds-on winner. But it was when calling harness racing that he was world class and when feeling at home at Addington he produced some of his most famous quips. “I’ve been lucky enough to call some great, great horses but Terror To Love’s third New Zealand Cup, after he galloped away at the start, that was my favourite race. “And as much as I have loved Riccarton and so many of the other tracks I have been lucky enough to call at, Addington has been my home track so I’m happy my last night calling here will be there on the (August) 22nd.” While McNamara will be missed from the calling ranks Canterbury racing at least has a commentator capable of stepping into McNamara’s shoes in Matt Cross. Trackside, now run by RITA, will advertise the role but it will be a huge surprise if Cross doesn’t secure the role at main Canterbury commentator. While young he has developed into a very professional broadcaster and as a local has enormous knowledge of the industry in the region. To that extent the racing industry may have dodged a bullet as Cross was nearly lost to an overseas job last year and finding a similarly-qualified replacement for McNamara would have been incredibly difficult. Cross would be a deserved caller of the New Zealand Trotting Cup, which sits alongside the Vodafone Derby at Ellerslie as New Zealand’s greatest horse race. McNamara’s move is not the only shift in the South Island commentating ranks with Jason Teaz stepping away from his fulltime job as commentator in Otago and surrounding regions to work on a contract basis. That will see veteran caller Dave McDonald add the Forbury Park greyhounds to his extensive duties in the short-term while former Victorian commentator Craig Rail, who recently moved to New Zealand, will call Forbury Park harness and possibly other meetings in the region as a contractor. Michael Guerin

Sky Vale a promising 3yo harness racing filly by Auckland Reactor has kept her unbeaten run intact by winning her second race in succession today at the early winter meeting at Rangiora. Trained at Rangiora by Glenn Gillard, Sky Vale (Auckland Reactor-Countess Vale) blasted straight to the lead in today’s race for leading driver Blair Orange, before handing up to Jazelle (John Dunn) and settling for a cozy ride home in the trail. Turning for home Sky Vale came off the back of the tiring leader and easily had the measure of the field cruising down to the line to win by more than 2 lengths at the line. Arocknatthepark (Gavin Smith) ran home well for second and Secret Bet (Terry Chmiel) finished on ok for third. The winning time in today’s race was a very quick 3-14.3 for the mobile 2600m. That represented a mile rate of 2-00.2 with a closing 800m in 58.4 and a final 400m in 28.2 seconds. Blair Orange moved well clear of his rivals in the New Zealand drivers premiership with the win on Sky Vale and he is currently sitting on 206 wins for the season, more than twice as many wins as his closest rival John Dunn who has driven 100 winners. Another of Auckland Reactor’s progeny Armed Reactor won his first race at his fourth start at Alexandra Park on Friday night. In the race Armed Reactor (Auckland Reactor - Pomis Arms) settled back in the field before making a sharp midrace move to sit parked with a lap  to go. Up the home straight Armed Reactor showed some of Auckland Reactor's toughness and dug deep to hold off his rivals for driver Peter Ferguson,  The 4yo gelding finally got to the line a half length clear of Vespa and Tony Herlihy, with the favourite Man Of Action a further head away in third. Auckland Reactor has sired over 100 winners in New Zealand and Australia with his oldest progeny now four-year olds. He also sired a winner in North America recently when The Great Buzz N won at Saratoga Raceway in 1:55.2   Harnesslink Media

Alan Gary Clarke (Clarkee) was born on November 18, 1958 to Harold and Ngaire Clarke. Growing up on Racecourse Road in Riccarton was the start of a passion for horses and horse racing for Alan and younger brother Steve. Alan was a part of the start crew in Canterbury and was also interested in the ownership side of racing horses. Alan was invited to join the start crew by Jack Mulcay 20 years ago and even in his final days he could still recall the horses in the cup field from his first NZ Cup. The 1999 NZ Cup was won by Homin Hosed. A race Alan would never forget. Over the 20 years that Alan worked at the start he made a lot of great friends and worked on many different race tracks from Waikouaiti to Nelson including the West Coast races in Westport and Reefton. Westport and Reefton races were a highlight for Alan each year. For the Christmas races Alan and a group of family and friends would head to Reefton, set up tents and spend the week together, with him, working at the start during the week. It was always a great week and Alan enjoyed spending the time on the track with his racing mates during the Christmas holiday. Over the years Alan raced horses with Steve or in syndicates including the Weedons Racing Syndicate and the Organ Donations Save Lives Syndicate. His first win as an owner came from Glen Mist at Greymouth raceway on 6th March 1982, trained by Trevor Thomas. Another special win for Alan as an owner was Curly’s Pride, trained by Steve. Alan also helped out Jim Curtin on a Saturday morning for quite a few years. The Curtin family were always well regarded in the Clarke household and in his final days, a visit from Jimmy and Sandi truly brightened his day. At this time he had shares in Devilish Loie which Jimmy trained. The gelding won two races while he was in the ownership. In the last five years the syndicate horses have won approximately 15 races, headlined by the unbeaten Nemera Franco which is due to return to racing next season. Although racing was a big passion of Alan’s he also had a lot of interests and friends outside of the racing game. Alan was a strong competitor in indoor bowls, representing the South Island, winning numerous titles including a Gold Star. As a youngster he enjoyed playing rugby and cricket and more recently enjoyed the Weedons Golf Club 19th hole. Other significant places where he would meet up with mates were the Swamp where he worked for a few years and recently the Springston Hotel which he would visit most Tuesday nights. Clarkee has left a big gap in the Harness Racing Industry, bowling scene and amongst his beloved family and friends whom he had a lot of. You could always count on Clarkee to put a smile on your face. Alan was 60 years old and is survived by his wife Rayleen, daughters Danielle, Rebekah and Emma and granddaughter Ruby. A celebration of Clarkee’s life will be held at Westpark Chapel on Wairakei Road, Burnside on Thursday 11th July at 2pm.   HRNZ

The 2019 McMillan Equine Feeds NZ Junior Driver Champion has been found. Congratulations to Sarah O'Reilly who finished the Championship on 38 points. Second placing was taken out by Kimberly Butt and third place was John Morrison. The South Island team were successful in taking out the InterIsland Challenge on 187 points. The championship was a hard fought contest with first place to sixth place only having one point between each placing. "I am very overwhelmed that I won because I really didn't expect to. I would like to thank all of the trainers that put horses in for us to drive," says Sarah. We would like to thank all the trainers who supported this series and also our sponsor Mcmillan Equine Feeds.   Please see the full final standing below: Sarah O'Reilly 38 Kimberly Butt 37 John Morrison 36 Alicia Harrison 35 Ellie Barron 34 Luke Whittaker 32 Dylan Ferguson 27 Mark Hurrell 27 Benjamin Butcher 25 Fergus Schumacher 21 Craig Smith 15 Sheree Tomlinson 15     Courtney Clarke Marketing and Communications Executive Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

Tonight saw the first heats of the 2019 McMillan Equine Feeds Junior Driver Championship held at Addington Raceway. Dylan Ferguson was successful in the  first heat with  Diana Harbour whilst John Morrison and Mark Hurrell were able to gain placings.  The second heat was taken out by Kimberly Butt on Friend with  Sarah O’Reilly and Benjamin Butcher second and third. On Sunday we head to Rangiora Raceway  for the final two heats. John Morrison goes into Sunday leading the Championship, “It’s a great position to be in but anything can happen.” The InterIsland Competition is currently being led by the South Island team. Team member  Mark Hurrell said “team South Island have really picked up their game after an early loss in the Escape Rooms this morning.” Please see below the standings as of tonight. If you require any further information please contact me on the details below.   Points after heats 1 & 2 Benjamin Butcher 13 Craig Smith 6 Dylan Ferguson 19 Fergus Schumacher 10 Luke Whittaker 12 Alicia Harrison 16 Sarah O'Reilly 14 Sheree Tomlinson 11 Mark Hurrell 15 John Morrison 21 Kimberly Butt 18 Ellie Barron 13   Courtney Clarke Marketing and Communications Executive | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

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