Day At The Track
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Three Southland Harness Jewels runners shared their final hit out in the same race at Ascot Park today with Robyns Playboy beating Rockabilly Blues and Mighty Flying Art finishing fourth. Robyns Playboy was scratched at Gore last Saturday after he was kicked on the leg by stablemate Hans Ideal the Tuesday before the races. Gore was supposed to have been his last run before the Jewels. “If he’d run at Gore I wouldn’t have come here. Very happy with the run and he showed a bit of ticker. He didn’t blow and he surprises you with how fit he is when you think he needs the run,” said trainer Ross Wilson. In today’s Cruickshank Pryde Mobile Pace over 2200 metres driver Craig Ferguson slotted Robyns Playboy into the one one before he took him to the front with a lap to run. He held on to beat Rockabilly Blues by half a length, running the journey in 2-42.5 with Nota Bene Denario nabbing Mighty Flying Art by a nose for third. Winning smile                            - Photo Bruce Stewart  Consequently it’s straight into the Jewels on Saturday at Addington for him where he’s drawn two on the front row. “In the perfect world he’d hop in behind Heisenburg (drawn one) and sit two or three back on the fence all the way. This is going to be a different kettle of fish for him. They’re going to go a 1-53 mile rate which he’s never done before.” Mighty Flying Art’s trainer Murray Brown wasn’t overly happy with his charge’s performance. “Not really. He was travelling real good and then he dropped the bit. When that other horse (Robyns Playboy) went up to take the lead he wanted to go. Brent took a hold of him and he dropped the bit and let him go. He’s done it before. He went in a bit fresh so we’re hoping he won’t do it next start,” Brown said.   Meanwhile Winton mare Rockabilly Blues received a kick by Clerk of the Course horse Vi Et Animo when she was returning to the birdcage. Rockabilly Blues has a dislike of the on-course speakers and she swung round when coming down the lane leading into the birdcage. Clerk of the Course Sally McKay came up to assist and her horse kicked Rockabilly Blues just above the knee, causing it to bleed. The mare’s leg will be monitored over the next few days and it’s hoped she can take her place in the Four Year Old Diamond this Saturday at Addington. Another Jewels runner Wee Man Trouble capped off his preparation with a win at Ascot Park today. The four year old added to his 20 metre handicap when he broke with 2300 metres to run. He regained his gait and stormed home down the middle of the track to win easily by three and a quarter lengths for driver Blair Orange. Wee Man Trouble winning for Blair Orange                - Photo Bruce Stewart. Other winners on the day included Sounds Bettor for Geoff and Jude Knight, Melton Mafia for trainers Gordon and Colin Lee, Sherry Baby for junior driver Kerryn Tomlinson, No More Change for Jamie Campbell and trainer Craig Ferguson and Bettor Rock Again for Ray and Tracee Faithful.   Bruce Stewart

The Gore trained Robyns Playboy looked to be on target for the New Zealand Derby when he impressively beat a quality field of mainly three year olds in the Super Nuggets Final at the Northern Southland meeting at Ascot Park yesterday. In the $20,000 feature, Zinny Mach took an early lead but Robyns Playboy’s driver Craig Ferguson pressed forward and hit the lead with 1600 metres to run. “I thought he had a bit more gate speed and that he would hold the front but when Zinny Mach crossed him it was looking a bit dangerous particularly if Nathan didn’t hand up,” said trainer Ross Wilson. Ferguson then dictated the speed of the race and with his ears pinned back Robyns Playboy went down to the finish line beating two latecomers Memphis Tennessee (second by one length) and Barrett a nose back in third. Wilson says Robyns Playboy has a strong character and can be a bit of a handful at home as well as on raceday sometimes, but today he was fine. “Sometimes he'll pull in the pre-lim and you can’t pull him up but he was more settled today.” So his next start will be on the 5th April is the $200,000 Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Derby. “I’m not going to go for any lead up race. That’ll be his next start. He’s a very fit horse and he doesn’t take a lot of work. He hasn’t come to the end of his run yet. At home he does quite a bit of cantering on the frame and leading up to a race he only needs about three hopples.” This will be the first time Wilson has had a runner in the Derby. “Hopefully we’ll carry on to the Jewels. We’re aiming Bridesdale Robyn at the Jewels too. To have a horse at those events is a real thrill.” Today’s win elevates Robyns Playboy to fourth in the Harness Jewels Three Year Old Emerald. The winning Wilsons - Photo Bruce Stewart  The win was Ferguson’s seventeenth of the season and equals his best season as an open driver and Robyns Playboy is clearly the best horse he’s driven. “He’s got a very high cruising speed and Craig says he just waits on them.” Meanwhile the biggest upset of the day came in the Haras des Trotteurs Southland Trotting Oaks when the Gavin Smith trained Swiss Miss beat more fancied runners in the $20,000 feature for three year old trotting fillies. Just when it looked like Cheerful and Majestic Chevron were going to fight out the finish Nathan Williamson got Swiss Miss wound up and she stormed down the outside to beat Majestic Chevron by half a neck with a nose back to Cheerful. The winning time of 2-47.9 equals the race and track record held by last year’s winner Luby Lou. The New Zealand Trotting Oaks at Addington on the 22nd March looks to be shaping up to be a fairly even contest. Bruce Stewart

The weather and track were sensational at Central Southland Raceway at Winton yesterday, and records tumbled as a result. Robyns Playboy started the run when he bettered the long standing three year old track record of 2-54.5 held since 2007 by Rider On The Storm. His new record time is 2-54.4. The gelding already holds the Southland record of 2-53.0 which he posted at Wyndham last month. From gate eight Robyns Playboy was caught wide early before driver Craig Ferguson had little option but to go forward and take the lead. “He worked bloody hard early. He was out three wide. They went to the mile in 55 (seconds). Then he was able to back it off. Craig said he was really settled today and he tried to get in but couldn’t so he just had to keep going. He said he was still going good at the finish,” said owner and trainer Ross Wilson. Early in his career Wilson said Robyns Playboy didn’t switch onto the racing game but now it’s a totally different story. “At home he’s starting to get too keen. I haven’t hoppled him since Monday because he went that fast on Monday. I’ve just cantered him behind the jogging machine. That’s why he’s going to the races because he’s tearing around being an idiot.” Understandably there has been plenty of interest from buyers to purchase the talented three year old but Wilson says he’s not on the market. “I tell them pretty quick that’s he’s not for sale. People say 'you don’t want to hear my offer' and I say 'No.' I always remember turning down $250,000 for Robyn’s Cullen when he was a two year old. It’s not about the money it’s just about having fun with a horse.” So with two track records in the space of four weeks Wilson says his next target is the Cardrona Distillery/MLT Three Year Old Stakes on his home course on the 27th December. After that there are some good stakes races on the horizon. “He’s the best horse I’ve ever had and you only get one chance with a race like the Derby. We’ll look at the Super Nugget Final, The Supremacy and after that I definitely want to have a go at the Derby.” Regular driver Craig Ferguson says Robyn’s Playboy is the best horse he’s driven. “Although we went a three year old record today I tried to look after him. If I’d let him go at the 600 he would have won a lot more convincingly. He’s got a good high cruising speed,” he said. The winning margin for Robyns Playboy in the John Keenan Memorial was a length and a quarter from Raffy Roo. A race later four year old trotter Majestic Man continued his rich vein of form when he narrowly won the main trot of the day. The four year old son of Majestic Son galloped at the start and settled third last with only Super Fast Pat and Rebel Kibbybones behind him. At the 800 metres driver Brad Williamson hopped onto the back of an improving War Admiral. Halfway up the straight War Admiral had mastered pacemaker Grace O’Malley with Majestic Man starting to make his run down the middle of the track. He just mastered a game War Admiral by a nose. The Phil Williamson trained trotter coming back to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart. His winning time of 3-01.0 was a new track record bettering the previous record of 3-02.5 recorded by Sundons Wish last season. Majestic Man is raced by the Griffins Syndicate and it was some compensation for the group after their class trotting mare Dark Horse had to be turned out again after picking up another injury. Another large syndicate horse Please Shuddup won the next race and his time for the 2400 metre mobile was also a new track record. The Auckland Reactor four year old was tucked away nicely on the running line by reinsman Matty Williamson as Canterbury visitor Pats Dragon set a hot pace. Please Shuddup returning after winning at Winton -     Photo Bruce Stewart Smokin By and Cast No Shadow both had turns in front up the straight but Williamson used the passing lane to perfection to get up and win by three quarters of a length from Smokin By with a nose back to third place getter Cast No Shadow. The winning time of 2-53.3 was a new track record for entires and geldings for the 2400 metre mobile. The previous record of 2-54.0 was set in 2017 by Jimmy Mack. Meanwhile two relatively new trainers posted quinellas in back to back races at Winton. Gore trainer Ricky Gutsell trained Vintage Rose and Maahes to quinella Race One whilst a race later Oamaru trainer Brad Williamson scored a quinella with his two runners That’s The Story and Zoned Scarlett. Gutsell is in his third season of training and this was the first time he’s managed the feat while Williamson who is in his second season as a trainer quinellaed a race once before at Invercargill in February. Other winners today included Zinny Mach who won by an impressive four lengths and Fear Cruisin which won by a length and a half for trainer Peter Robertson of Templeton. Runner up to Fear Cruisin, Betstars Blue Jean was a game second after pulling a peeled tyre. In the last race of the day the Greg and Nina Hope trained and Ben Hope driven Mossdale Art added to her breeding potential when she won her 1609 metre mobile event in a smart 1-52.5. She’s owned by Mossdale breeder Archie Affleck and won by the biggest margin of the day – eight lengths.   Bruce Stewart  

There were plenty of surprises related to Robyns Playboy’s win at Wyndham today. With a winning margin of an impressive nine and a half lengths, and a time of 2-53.0 - a new track and Southland record for both three year olds and all-comers, Robyn’s Playboy was the standout performer of the day. “We were hoping for cover and to drive him for just one run. He hadn’t had a workout and had a fair spell,” said Gore trainer Ross Wilson after the win. Driver Craig Ferguson sat the Shadow Play gelding parked for the first 800 metres before he took the lead. With 400 metres to run he had his eight other rivals struggling. On straightening Ferguson pulled the ear plugs and Robyns Playboy instantly extended his lead, going down to the finish line nine and a half lengths ahead of I’m Trouble. “He’s just got a great cruising speed and doesn’t stop. He’s got a real big motor in him we know that. It was very pleasing.” The time 2-53.0 bettered Return To Senders 2014 Three Year Old and All-comers track record of 2-55.1, broke the long standing 2007 Three Year Old Southland record held by Rider On The Storm (2-54.5) and equalled Nex Time’s Southland’s All-comers record of 2-53.0. The time was only 0.5 of a second outside of the National Three Year Old record of 2-52.5 held by The Dorchester. This season Wilson has seen Robyns Playboy become the real deal and live up to the high opinion he had of the horse when he started his career last season. “Initially he could run but didn’t know what to do. You’d pull him out and he’d just muck around beside the other horse. He’s cottoned on now. When you pull him out he’s got to get going. He’s been working with Bridey (Bridesdale Robyn) the last couple of weeks and she went well at Addington. There’s not much between them. He’s the all-round horse. He’s got gate speed and he can stay.” So now the main worry for Wilson is where to place the quality three year old. “I don’t know what to do with him now because if you start again you’re racing horses that are near cup class.” One race for three year olds that Wilson is considering is at Gore on 27th December. It’s worth fifteen thousand dollar and is sponsored by Cadrona Distillery. The Gore Club hopes to make this race an annual feature. “I won’t go north with him, I’ll just muck around with him down here. We’ve had a few inquiries for him but he’s not for sale. He gets you out of bed in the mornings.” So impressed with Robyn’s Playboy is he, that Wilson plans to send his dam Robyn Maree back to Shadow Play.   Bruce Stewart

Whiterig horseman Ross Wilson has been around horses most of his life and despite wanting to scale down and just be a hobby trainer he still has a racing team of twelve and a band of eight broodmares to look after. The scaling down hasn’t happened yet! Ross grew up in the Winton district and lived next door to legendary Winton trainer Harry Cox so there was always a chance he’d get involved in the industry. “My father (Bob), had an old trotter called Palema which was by U Scott. He trained it for about three years and it finally got to the races at Winton. They had a garden in the birdcage in those days. I remember it backing into the fence and the garden. It was a late scratching because they couldn’t get it onto the track. That was his only foray into harness racing. They’re actually his colours that I race in today. I always had it over him. (His father). I said at least my buggers get onto the track.” Ross’s first horse was bred by the late Eric Butler. “I used to deal with him through Dalgetys (Stock Firm) and he had horses on his farm. I said to him one day could a get a lend of a mare to breed from. I got an old mare called Mary Bank. I sent her to Lord Butler who stood next door at Harry Cox’s. We called him Will Butler. Dad went in shares with me. I couldn’t get a licence at the time so Harry trained it. It won a non-tote race at Winton and that’s all it ever won.” Will Butler did run a couple of placings in his forty start career including a second on Easter Saturday at Forbury Park in 1980. The next foal out of Mary Bank was a Majestic Chance colt called Mister Majestic. “Eric actually bred it and I saw it one day in the paddock and liked it as a foal. I paid $1,500 with two contingencies of $250 for its first two wins. I won eight races with him and won $20,000 and I sold him for $20,000. In those days my salary was $2,000 per year so it set me up for life really. “ Mister Majestic won a further five races in America and his best mile time there was 1-59.2. Ross is still breeding from a descendant of Mary Bank. Grinfromeartoear mare Outkast is out of Walk On By whose second dam is Mary Bank. In the late seventies things got a bit more serious on the breeding and racing front when he met Graeme Edgar from Tapanui. “I knew Graeme also through my work at Dalgetys. There was a yearling sale in Invercargill in those days and he said to me could I sort out a yearling that could make a broodmare one day. We sorted out a few and had a look at them. As soon as I saw Ryal Robyn I said ‘this is the one’. We didn’t actually know what a sour mean …….. she was. She just sat in the back of the box.” Ryal Robyn was purchased for $1,200. She was by Nevele Big Shot out of Ryal Faye and was bred by Ross Dynes at Ryal Bush. Ryal Faye was by Light Mood out of Petronella. Petronella later left Knowing Bret gelding Vita Man which won nine races for trainer Ali Malcolmson and owner Ray Anicich. Anicich had a lot of success with that side of the family, also breeding Kelly Dillon which won five, Mathew Lee (15) and Mystic Gold (9) including the 1997 Southland Oaks. Petronella was by Whipster. Her half-sister Newella (Newport Chief) won six races and was the foundation mare for the late Eddie Hailes of Balfour.   Ryal Robyn was put into training with Les Norman. “He didn’t get on very well with her at all. We sent her up to stud. Ray McNally was working for the stud at the time and saw her arrive. He didn’t know Graeme but he rang him and said he’d like to train her and ended up winning three races with her.” Her wins were at Marlbourgh, New Brighton and Timaru.  So in the mid-1980’s Edgar started to breed from Ryal Robyn with her first foal Pride of Robyn being by Lordship. “One day he said to me, ‘because you did the right thing in buying that mare (Ryal Robyn,) you can get a foal out of her.’ So I went to Son Of Afella and got a filly foal (named Robyn’s Treasure). Graeme said to me ‘what about racing her together’ so we ended up doing that.” Ultimately Robyn’s Treasure won seven races including the 1994 New Zealand Oaks, and seven days later the DB Fillies Final - both at Addington. At that point the family was starting to expand and Edgar was breeding from other branches of the family. “Graeme and I raced a few and he’d give me one mare on the condition that I could get a foal out of it. So I ended up with three branches of the family.” Ross’s son Chris is also breeding from a branch of the family – Brooke Robyn (Artiscape – Maree Robyn). She’s left El Diablo which won four races here and a further ten in Australia. “We’ve actually got a two year old by Mach Three. That’s the first time she’s been to a decent sire,” Ross said. When it comes to breeding Ross Wilson likes to generally stick to a tried and true formula. “I’ve got a philosophy of breeding to proven sires. Although for the first time this year I’ve sent one to He’s Watching only because I’ve heard good things about what he’s doing.” Wilson says he doesn’t do a lot of work with the young horses. “We don’t do a lot with them until they’re two year olds. We break them in as weanlings. We get them back in only to make sure they don’t stick us up. I’ve got a nice American Ideal out of Real Robyn which is the same cross as He’s Watching. It’s the first foal we’ve had that gets around like a race horse. So I’ve sent her back there (to the stallion) because of that.” Robyn’s Treasure died three years ago after she had a paddock accident in which she shattered her shoulder. The Christian Cullen filly foal had to be hand reared. Named Bridesdale Robyn, she is part-owned by Wilson and Judy Dillon who was responsible for hand rearing her. Bridesdale Robyn                  - photo by Bruce Stewart “She wouldn’t drink for a start. I was pulling my hair out but then she started to drink from a bucket. She must have got really hungry. She never looked back and was drinking ten litres a day. Two and a half litres, four times a day," she said.  Despite being talented, Bridesdale Robyn still has some learning to do. “She hasn’t got a very good steering wheel at the moment. She’s got a big motor and she’s a lovely horse actually. The only good ones we’ve breed from Robyn’s Treasure have been by Christian Cullen (Robyn’s Cullen (9), Rocking Robyn (3) and Bridesdale Robyn (1). The rest have been no bloody good but often it comes through in the next generation.” Wilson and Edgar have both named horses after each other. Stanley Ross Robyn named after Ross won two races for Hamish Hunter before being exported to Australia where he’s won another four. He was third in the 2016 Queensland Derby and finished second to Salty Robyn in the Hondo Grattan so it was a breeding quinella for the Robyn breed. Salty Robyn was bred by Tapanui trainer Matt Saunders. He’s by Art Official out of Holly Robyn, a Live Or Die mare out of Robyn’s Treasure. Salty Robyn has won sixteen races in Australia and $214,705 and paced a mile in 1-49.2. Parnell, which is Graeme Edgar’s nickname, was named by Wilson. He was by Santanna’s Blue Chip but never won a race from twelve starts.  So the eight mares Ross Wilson is breeding from are:   Robyn Joan (Holmes Hanover-Robyn’s Measure) Her best winner is My Guy Mac. Regal Treasure (Holmes Hanover – Robyn’s Treasure) winners include Vo Regal (5) and Robs Ideal (7). Von Regal (Village Jasper-Regal Treasure) Regal Art (Art Major-Regal Treasure) Robyn Maree (Holmes Hanover – Maree Robyn) Robyn’s Bad Boy (8) Real Robyn (Real Desire-Robyn’s Treasure) Von Haley (Somebeachsomewhere – Vo Regal) Outkast (Grinfromeartoear-Walk On By) dam of Jerry Fitz (12) and Mulligan (6).   Wilson says that since Ryal Robyn was bred from in 1985, direct descendants from her have won 317 races. And judging by the passion and commitment Ross has for the harness industry there’ll be plenty of Robyns to come. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Consistent mare Annie Fitz provided Whiterig trainer Ross Wilson with his ninety seventh winner at Ascot Park today (Monday). It was the Bettor's Delight mare's eighty eight race start and her second win but over the four seasons she has raced she's banked close to $33,000 for Wilson who also bred and owns the mare. She's run second nine times and third eight times. "She's always been an honest race horse - just a bit small. She used to tie up badly so we've changed her diet. We've cut back on the oats and are giving her more sweet feed," said stable spokesperson Chris Wilson.   The win also provided junior driver Charlotte Purvis with her first winning double. She'd won earlier on her employer Phil Williamson's trotter Springbank Ella.  The pre-race plan from barrier one was to sit behind the leader and it worked perfectly with Chinook Winds taking up the pacemaking role with Purvis and Annie Fitz dropping in to get the trail. Once the field straightened, Annie Fitz sprinted up the passing lane to beat Hot Off The Press by half a length. Returning with a happy driver                                         - Photo Bruce Stewart. "Charlotte did a great job and was driven a treat. She's not a leader and has to hand up. She's starting to come up the lane better in the second half of her career than the first."  The Wilson team have been relatively quiet over the Christmas New Year period with the team being affected by a bad virus. "They've all had a turn in the paddock, but they're on the way up now. She's been working super this week and we weren't completely surprised that she won. It was a free win today being a junior drivers event so she's still in the same grade. With the right draw she'll be competitive in the right races."  With owner - trainer Ross Wilson and son Chris Wilson           - Photo Bruce Stewart. Ross Wilson has been a great supporter of junior drivers. Since he's been training, the majority of his winners have been driven by junior drivers including; Robin Swain, Mark Jones, Nathan Williamson, Dexter Dunn, Matthew Williamson, Jamie Campbell, Adam Sanderson, Cameron Jones and now Charlotte Purvis.   Wilson, who is a member of the Drive With Five tipping competition on this website, selected Annie Fitz to win, placing the "Shu Bet" ($100 each way) on the mare for a return of $2,770. The highest return in the competition ever. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing Annie Fitz winning yesterday  

The royally breed Bridesdale Robyn impressed when she won at Gore yesterday. She's owned by Judy Dillon and Ross Wilson who also trains the filly. Wilson and Graeme Edgar raced Robyn's Treasure, Bridesdale Robyn's dam. She won seven races including the 1994 New Zealand Oaks, DB Fillies Final double at Addington.  Judy was given the mare by Wilson and Edgar so she could retire on the Dillon family farm. "I was allowed a foal which we got but when Bridey (Bridesdale Robyn) was six weeks old Robyn's Treasure had a paddock accident. She shattered her shoulder and had to be put down. I had to hand rear the foal and she wouldn't drink for a start. I was pulling my hair out but then she started to drink from a bucket. She must have got really hungry. Since then she never looked back and was drinking ten litres a day. Two and a half litres, four times a day," she said.  By Christian Cullen, Bridesdale Robyn is named after stock that the Dillons produce on their farm 'Bridesdale' at Ardlussa in Northern Southland. They raise Romney and Dorset Downs sheep on what was originally an 800 acre block - some of the farm has since been sold to their son. The home block is now 100 acres. "All my sheep have the prefix Bridesdale and I couldn't get that name so Ross suggested I try Bridesdale Robyn." Bridesdale Robyn started twice as a two year old last season. "She was up against the Purdon/Rasmussen horses and the boys (colts and geldings) but went round and did everything right." In yesterday's win driver Craig Ferguson took her straight to the lead.  "She likes it out in front. She hasn't learned to relax when she's trailing up so she's a work in progress. It wasn't a very hard run for her today. She'll be lining up again shortly but that's (programming) Ross's job."  She was taken to just two workouts this season prior to yesterday's start   "Ross has always liked her. He broke her in and has done all the preparation. At the workouts two weeks ago she just strolled round and won easily. We don't know what sort of bottom (depth) she has to her yet."  There's plenty of heritage in the Dillon family name. Judy's husband Richard's uncle Charlie Dillon (C.E. Dillon) owned and trained horses at Kaweku near Riversdale. "Bryce Buchanan and John Ryan worked for him. He raced Novelda (Dillon Hall - Charming Child) which won the 1947 Wyndham Juvenile Stakes." He also bred and raced King Hal which won the 1960 Great Northern Derby. He was trained by Ces Donald and driven by Derek Jones.  Novelda's full-sister Nadine left the handy pacer Johnny Dean (Johnny Globe - Nadine) which Charlie raced. He won five races, four as a four year old in the 1960-61 season. He was trained by RJ (Sid) Kemble. Garrison Royal was another handy horse Charlie Dillon raced, also trained by Ces Donald. Dillon raced many horses with the Sherwood prefix. Judy is still an active breeder with a handful of mares. Her Camtastic mare Daisy Belle, which has left the nine win gelding Jimbob Jac, has a nice colt by Somebeachsomewhere called Archman. He's three and is currently getting ready to qualify for Geoff and Jude Knight.  Judy's father Eric Butler with Alan Jones operated the first mobile vehicle in Southland. Eric also bred horses producing Mister Majestic (Majestic Chance - Mary Bank) which won eight races and was the first horse Ross Wilson trained. He was also his winner when he won at Roxburgh in April 1980. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Robyn’s Bad Boy, who set a New Zealand record time in December, has replaced (Im) El Diablo in the Menangle stable of KerryAnn Turner. “He (Robyn’s Bad Boy) was handicapped out of it in NZ as a C6 pacer and El Diablo has just been retired,” said Ross Wilson, their Southland owner. He trained both pacers in New Zealand. Robyn’s Bad Boy had his most recent win at Winton on December 11 when he ran 2400m from the mobile gate in 2.54.1, a NZ record for male pacers. The 5-year-old son of Badlands Hanover – Robyn Maree has won eight races and $55,504 in stakes. Wilson sent El Diablo to Turner three years ago as a 4-year-old after the Extreme Three gelding had won four races in 42 starts. El Diablo hiked his earnings to $111,660 with another 10 wins and took a mile record of 1.52.7 at Menangle. Robyn’s Bad Boy is the fourth horse Wilson has consigned to Turner. He dispatched My Guy Mac in March, 2015 after five wins in 30 starts. The Mach Three – Robyn Joan gelding has now won 13 races and $115,000. He won the $31,800 Group 3 Garrards Horse and Hound Final at Menangle in 2015 in 1.52.1. My Guy Mac ran second there on Tuesday. Wilson sent Milligan to Turner last year after he had won six races. The Grinfromeartoear – Outkast gelding subsequently won twice from eight starts before he went amiss in a suspensory ligament. Wilson has Rocking Robyn resuming at Wyndham on Saturday. “We had a bad virus through the stable and spelled the horses. Robs Ideal came back to racing last Saturday at Winton and I was pleased with his run for fourth,’’ said Wilson. Rocking Robyn, who has not raced since January 28, equalled the 2.54.1 record of Robyn’s Bad Boy at Winton on December 17. Rakarazor had her second win in five starts in Australia with a 1.53 mile at Menangle on Tuesday. She is now trained by John McCarthy for Southland owner, Brendan Fahy. Rakarazor won a heat of the Sires’ Stakes at Forbury Park last season when trained by Clark Barron and she was successful at Alexandra Park in November for Gareth Dixon. Tayler Strong

It was more than a hometown win when aged gelding Jerry Fitz won at Gore today. Jerry Fitz raced in his early days for local harness racing trainer Ross Wilson who bred the gelding. But today he lined up for Geoff and Jude Knight and provided their junior reinsperson Genevieve Crawford with her first winning drive. After winning for Wilson as a two year old back in 2011 the Live Or Die gelding has raced every season from two to eight and won at every age. In the latter years he's been a regular in claiming races and at the end of that he was supposed to have been rehomed by Crawford.  However he's been given a reprieve by a syndicate of owners which includes Crawford's parents. And to complete this great story the race Jerry Fitz won today was sponsored by Ross Wilson, who not only bred the gelding but trained and raced him to win five races.  The Knights have had him for the majority of the latter part of his career and they were thrilled with today's win.  "Ross has been great. He said "you guys just take him and do what you like." He's a real fun horse. He's like a three year old coming up. He's now eight and is as sound as a bell and it's great for Minnie (Genevieve's nick name)," said Geoff after the win.  The horse has had a number of owners over the years and is currently ownded by the Gabriels Gold Syndicate from Lawerence which is run by Genevieve's parents Jimmy and Kerren Crawford. Genevieve has been working for the Knights off and on for four years; the last three fulltime.  "She's a great girl who comes from a farming background and horses are a passion in her life. She's rehomed over a 100 horses. She's been with us since she was a school kid. She helped us in the school holidays and had a small stint with Gavin Smith. We then had an opportunity to take her on full time and she's become a lot more like a family member than an employee. King Kone is a horse we bought for her to give her practice, and her driving has just got better and better."  Crawford who was having her thirty third race day drive today was also rapt to gain her first winner. Jerry Fitz (blue and yellow colours) on the inside winning at Gore      - Photo Bruce Stewart. "It's quite cool to win on Jerry because we've had him for a while. It's his twelfth win and my first. Geoff drove him in his last workout before today but normally I drive him and have the most to do with him. He does what he likes most of the time and deserves to I guess," she said. Crawford is not only a junior driver but her passion extends to rehoming standardbreds that have either not made it as racehorses or have reached the end of their careers.  "I probably rehome about thirty horses a year. The best one I've rehomed is King Kenny who was trained by Graeme Anderson. Jerry was actually given to us to rehome but we thought "we're give him one last go." As long as they (the horses) can come home to the South Otago farm I'll carry on doing it."  And to make this story even more complete Ross Wilson had ten dollars each way on his old mate Jerry Fitz which more than covered his sponsorship of the race. Jerry Fitz paid $42.70 to win.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

He's perhaps one of the most underated harness racing horses in Southland but once again Robyn's Bad Boy with the right run, proves he's classy enough to go to a better grade. He proved that today at Winton when he dented a few reputations by winning the Fairbairn Plumbing Limited Mobile Pace in track record time. He was driven by regular pilot Craig Ferguson. "He's a horse we drive for one run so if he doesn't get any luck he can look pretty ordinary. Even though he was parked for the last 1000 it suited him because he wasn't doing anything," said trainer Ross Wilson. Wilson timed the first 800 metres of the race to be run in 57 seconds and the field went to the mile in 1-55. "That's why they ran the last half in 59 seconds."  The overall time of 2-54.1 lowered the aged geldings and entire track record of 2-55.3 recorded in 2012 by Bettor's Brigadier. Nek Time holds the open track record of 2-53.0 The win didn't surprise his trainer especially after those sectionals and he also said that the horse's work during the week had been first class.  "He'd had a freshener and I just jogged him last week. I was really pleased with his work this week. He was just humming." Robyn's Bad Boy after winning at Winton              Photo Bruce Stewart So the plan now is to map out a programme for him in the next few weeks including the Gore and Roxburgh Cups. "Rob's Ideal is having a bit of a freshener too. I was planning the Gore Cup for him but I don't like racing them against each other too much. There are four or five races over New Year so I'll split them."  Wilson is also a great advocate of sending his horses to Australia when they reach their grade here and that's where Robyn's Bad Boy could end up.   "The appearance fees that Menangle pays, pays for your training fees for a month so anything you earn is basically profit. It's a bit of a no brainer really. He's the perfect little racehorse. The only thing is that he's getting out of his grade so I'll probably have to send him to Australia." Later in the programme the well bred Rocking Robyn led for most of his race and won for Wilson and driver Craig Ferguson. Rocking Robyn winning at Winton        Photo Bruce Stewart He's a full brother to Robyn's Cullen - both being out of Wilson's quality mare Robyn's Treasure which won seven races including the DB Fillies Final and New Zealand Oaks double in 1994 at Addington.   Rocking Robyn after winning at Winton        Photo Bruce Stewart Wilson said prior to the race that if Ferguson could get to the front and not get taken on, Rocking Robyn would be a chance and that's exactly what happened. He was too strong for favourite Royal Bengal, winning by a length and a quarter.    Bruce Stewart Southern Harness Racing

Gore trainer Ross Wilson is hoping yesterday's double at the Northern Southland Trotting Clubs harness racing meeting is a sign of things to come. A win by El Dinero and a race later with Robyn's Bad Boy, has given him hope that he can break his personal best of nine winners this season. El Dinero's formline was written up in the race book as a horror show at his last start but that didn't deter Wilson.  "I've always had a high opinion of him actually. If it wasn't for the fact that he's by Santanna Blue Chip I'd be really excited about him. He works with Robyn's Bad Boy and he's just as good as him. We were pretty confident today with the draw that we'll get some of the money. He got a lovely run but still he did the job," he said. From barrier one, reinsman Craig Ferguson drove the four year old out to lead early before handing up to Ideal Ron with a mile to run. Ideal Ron took him to the passing lane. Ferguson took the opportunity and held on to beat a late charge from Three Hundy and El Dinero won by a neck.  Wilson wasn't surprised by the win but he was at what the winning dividend paid.  "Obviously no one listens to me. I told a lot of people that he would win and he still paid $30. We all made a bit of money off him." El Dinero returning to the birdcage      Photo by Bruce Stewart   In the next race Robyn's Bad Boy capped off some good early season form to win his sixth race. He was second last with 400 metres to run but charged home to beat Jabali by half a neck.  "He's a lovely wee horse that does everything right. He can follow speed and he can sprint at the end of it. For a hobbyist (hobby trainer) he's just a brilliant horse to have. He'll probably end up with Kerry Anne Turner in Australia at the end of the season." That win was Craig Ferguson's 108th. 24 wins have been for Wilson who's been a great supporter of the young reinsman.  Robyns Bad Boy winning out wide               Photo by Bruce Stewart This is the fifth time that Wilson has won two races in one day. Two have been with Robyn's Cullen and Von Regal (September 2009 and September 2010 at Winton) while Robyn's Bad Boy and My Guy Mac at Wyndham, and Von Regal and Jerry Fitz at Winton, both driven by Adam Sanderson provide the other double. Wilson's first training winner was Mister Majestic at Roxburgh in April 1980.  With only a small team he's confident of a good season. "I've got a real good team of horses this year and hopefully I can beat my season's best of nine wins. I've been trying to break ten wins and this year could be the year to do it." Rocking Robyn (Christian Cullen - Robyn's Treasure) and C2 pacer Robs Ideal are two he's looking forward to seeing on the race track again. "He's (Robs Ideal) had a couple of workouts and is on the comeback trail. I'm aiming him at the South of the Waitaki race at Addington."  One race later the Wayne Breen trained pacer Flashing On using Wilson's UFO cart won the Kubala Speeds Limited Mobile Pace by an impressive six and a half lengths.  Meanwhile Mataura trainer/driver Lyndon Bond drove his ninth winner and first since May 2010 when he reined home Explosive Star to win the first race at Ascot Park yesterday. Explosive Star and Lyndon Bond winning Race One at Ascot Park   photo Bruce Stewart The six year old gelding by Great Success was having his second start for Bond after winning one race from thirty four starts for Mike Heenan. His fourth dam is Edis Nova which won twelve races.  Explosiive Star returning to the birdcage                  photo Bruce Stewart He's owned by Lyndon's father Jimmy   Bruce Stewart  Southland Harness

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