A Night Of Celebrations (Tuesday 1st August 2017)

Bruce Stewart


The Southland Harness Awards celebrates its thirtieth year next Sunday night at Ascot Park.

Southern Harness INC will be the new sponsors of the Awards, following in the footsteps of Cullen Breeding, who had provided sponsorship for the past seventeen years.

The finalists in the much sought after Washington VC/Bryleigh Stud Southland Broodmare of the Year Award are Chicago Blues, Especial Franco, Rakarach and Sly Shard.

Chicago Blues is the dam of Chicago Bull, the winner of ten of fifteen races this season including the Group One West Australian Pacing Cup and Freemantle Cup. He’s won $674,769 this season and looks destined to become the provinces next millionaire pacer.

Especial Franco’s progeny include Expressionist, the winner of seven races in Australia this season. His best time during the season was a 1-51.7 mile. Especial Franco is also the dam of Envious – which won three races this season from just nine starts. One of her wins on the grass at Gore, was in race record time. Especial Franco’s latest named foal Especial won twice in the season under review.

Rakarach is the dam of Rakarazor which won one race in New Zealand this season before heading to Australia where she’s won another nine. Her biggest win in Australia was the Group Three Tailamade Lombo Stakes at Menangle when she paced 1-52.2 for the mile. Rakarach is also the dam of Rakasinc which ran second on debut in Australia as a two year old this season.

Evergreen mare Sly Shard left three winners this season lead by Mach Shard. The Mach Three colt won three races for trainer Barry Purdon including the Group One Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes.

She’s also the dam of Jamieson Shard which won his first two starts this season, and Linton Shard the winner of one race.

The finalists in the Horse of the Year category are Bettor Ops, Dark Horse and Seaswift Joy.

Bettor Ops won three races this season; at Gore, Invercargill and Addington. His Invercargill win at Ascot Park was in the bMac Sheetmetal Southern Country Cups Final in a smart time of 3-24.3. He won at Addington on Show Day,taking out the Macca Lodge ‘South of the Waitaki’ Mobile Pace in 2-20.4, a mile rate of 1-55.8 for the 1950 metres. The four year old gelding by Bettors Delight was trained at Branxholme by Kirk Larsen. He’s since been exported to Australia where he’s owned by David and Reg Turner.



Bettor Ops winning at Addington


Dark Horse won six of her ten starts this season for the Griffins Syndicate and The Seafield Trotting Syndicate.

She broke two track and Southland records in the season under review. In April she recorded 3-26.7 for the 2700 metre stand at Ascot Park. This was a new mare’s record for Southland and Ascot Park.

In the following month at Winton she ran 2-58.9 for the 2400 metre mobile. This was a new mare’s track, Southland and all-comers record for the province. Her time has only been bettered by Habibti Ivy which holds the New Zealand Record of 2-58.5.

She also ran third in the Group One McMillan Feeds Four Year Old Ruby on Harness Jewels Day at Ashburton.

Dark Horse finished her season in style in winning the listed Uncut Gems Trotters Classic at Addington by four lengths. In all she banked $57,200 for the season.

If Dark Horse wins the Southland Horse of the Year Award she’ll become the first trotting mare to win in the award’s history. Other trotters to win the award have been David Moss (1991 and 1993) and Alley Way (2015).





Dark Horse winning at Ascot Park 

For the majority of the season Seaswift Joy was trained in Southland by Gordon and Colin Lee.

From their Wyndham base, she won six races from eleven starts.

Her Southland wins included two records, each on her home track at Wyndham. She won over a mile in 1-54.2 in January which was a new track record for three year old fillies while in February she broke a track and Southland record for a three year old filly when she recorded 3-00.1 for 2400 metre stand.

Her other wins during the season were at Rangiora (for Malcolm Shinn), Wairio, Winton, Hororata and Invercargill.  

Her record for the season was; 17-7-1-3 $55,010.



Seaswift Joy after one of her Wyndham wins. 

There’s been a name change for the Person of the Year Award, and it’ll now be called Southland Achievement of the Year.

Finalists are Southern Harness board member Kevin McNaught, leading Southland trainer Brett Gray, Northern Southland stalwart and trainer Robert Wilson and Southern Harness website editor and journalist Bruce Stewart.

In honouring contributions to Harness Racing in Southland, recognition will be made to George Youngman (Gore), Doug Stewart (Wyndham), and Peter Drummond (Winton).

Also attending the Awards dinner will be Peter Burns, long time club secretary, Trotting Conference representative and recipient of the first Person of the Year award in 1988.

This year Roman Gladiator is the horse that will be honoured for past racetrack achievements.The Christian Cullen gelding won nineteen races for trainers Colin Baynes and Robin Swain.

He reached a pinnacle when he took out the Group One 2003 NRM Sires' Stakes Series Final. He also won the Group Two 2003 International Cargo Express Rising Stars 3YO Championship and the 2003 Ferrymead Restaurant& Bars NZ Welcome Stakes.

Other wins included the 2004 Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes Final Mobile Pace and $100,000 2004 NSW Derby over 2565 metre

If you’d like to attend the Gala Night, tickets are still available. Please contact Karen Milne, Clark Barron, Peter Hunter or Neville Skinner. 








Southland Harness Awards Winners (13th August 2017)


Bruce Stewart


The Southern Harness 2016/17 season's achievements were celebrated tonight at Ascot Park Hotel with the Southern Harness INC Southland Harness Awards taking centre stage.


The major winners at the Awards were broodmares Chicago Blues and Sly Shard, trotting mare Dark Horse and Northern Southland Trainer Robert Wilson. 


The Southland Broodmare of the Year title went to Chicago Blues, which is owned by Katrina, Roger and Helen Price of Winton. 

She's the dam of Chicago Bull, which won ten of his fifteen starts this season including the Group One West Australian Pacing Cup and the Freemantle Cup. He took away $674,769 this season and looks destined to become the province's next millionaire pacer.

This is not the first time the Price family have had their achievements recognized at the regional awards night, with Presidential Reign winning Horse of the Year in 2007 and Champagne Party named Broodmare of the Year in 2014. 



John and Katrina Price with Tracey Norman from Bryleigh Stud and John Stiven from the Southland Standardbred Breeders - Photo Bruce Stewart 

Also in the broodmare category Sly Shard, owned by Debbie and Mark Smith, joined Bella Regazza, Dreamy Atom and Beaudiene Babe who have been previously honoured, as a Southland Elite Broodmare.



Debbie and Mark Smith with John Stiven - Photo Bruce Stewart 


The prestigious Southland Horse of the Year Award went to Dark Horse - the first trotting mare to win the Award in the past 30 years.


She had a stellar season, breaking two track and Southland records. In April she recorded 3-26.7 for the 2700 metre stand at Ascot Park. This was a new mares record for Southland and Ascot Park.

The following month at Winton she ran 2-58.9 for the 2400 metre mobile. This time she set a new mares track, Southland and all-comers record for the province. Her time has only ever been bettered by Habibti Ivy which holds the New Zealand Record of 2-58.5.

She also ran third in the Group One McMillan Feeds Four Year Old Ruby on Harness Jewels Day at Ashburton.

Dark Horse ended her season in style in winning the listed Uncut Gems Trotters Classic at Addington by four lengths. In all, she banked $57,200 for the season.



 Members of the Griffin and Seafield Syndicates with trainer Nathan Williamson - Photo Bruce Stewart


Northern Southland Trotting Club member and licensed trainer Robert Wilson was the recipient of the Southland Acheivement of the Year Award, which replaces what was previously called The Person of the Year Award.


Robert Wilson - Photo Bruce Stewart 



The Award reflected Robert's success in training 13 winners this season, along with his ongoing and long standing involvement in harness racing administration. 


Keiran McNaught was another winner, receiving an Award of Excellence for being named New Zealand Harness Racing's Cadet of the Year in Christchurch recently.



 Kieran McNaught with Clark Barron - Photo Bruce Stewart


The three recipients of the Contribution Awards were George Youngman of Gore, Doug Stewart of Wyndham and Peter Drummond of Winton. This award reflects their service to their own individual clubs over many years.


Other award were:



Southland Standardbred Breeders:


Two Year Old Filly of the Year: Repartee - FJ Price, KV Price, TG and VI Bell






Three Year Old Filly of the Year: Seaswift Joy - MI Shinn, JR,GS,DC,AG and Mrs PR Redmond



Seaswift Joy  

Age Race Mare of the Year: Dark Horse - Griffin and Seafield Trotting Syndicate




 Dark Horse

Group Certificates:


Bettor Joy (CJ Barron)


Mach Shard (DE and CM Smith)


SBSR/Shard Farm Fastest Winning Mile Rate Mares/Fillies:


Betta Go Fernco 28/01/2017 1-54.9 Invercargill - Owners: BW and Mrs EJ Ferns and MJ and AD Swain 


Southland Harness Awards


Two Year Old Colt/Gelding of the Year: Simply Dreaming - M Saunders, P and G and Miss J Breen, G Anderson and A Gow



Robin Dundee Club Awards:


Three Year Old Filly of the Year: Venice Beach - LJ Smith


Three Year Old Colt/Gelding of the Year: Young Conqueror - RF and Mrs SF Symon


Caduceus Club and Southland Awards:


Caduceus Club Trotter of the Year: Spotlight The Valley - RE Wilson


Members Award: Perrin Smith - All Settled Down



Southland Trainer and Drivers Association Awards:


Leading Southland Trainer: Brett Gray (36)


Leading Southland Driver: Nathan Williamson (44)


Leading Southland Junior Driver: Sheree Tomlinson (24)


Leading UDR Driver: Gordon Lee


Leading UDR Trainer: Tony Stratford


Licensed To Trainer: Robert Wilson  

Breeders Awards:


1:58 pins (trotters two minutes) for horses raced by members of the Standardbred Breeders Association


  • Betta Go Fernco (MJ Swain)
  • English Rose (SWR Gillan)
  • Luciano (M and B McLellan)
  • Paramount King (B and K Calder)
  • Pay Master (A and G Paisley)
  • Rakarolla (BJ Fahy)
  • Sheezacullengirl (MJ Little)
  • Sweet Loress (P O'Brien)
  • Delight My Soul (SR Baucke)
  • Kayteeoh Denario (MP and PM O'Connor)
  • Nerve Of Steel (MDJ Saunders)
  • Pat's Delight (P Kubala)
  • Pegasus Merrily (MDJ Saunders)
  • Share The Road (MJ and WM Swain)
  • Somejoy (CJ Barron)
  • The High Roller (R and B Ludemann) 






The Manipulator In Work (Sunday 20th August 2017)


Bruce Stewart


Forgotten pacer The Manipulater is back in work at Macca Lodge in Southland.


The now six year old by Panspacficflight last raced at Rangiora in June last year.


From just eight lifetime starts he's won four races and $32,496.


His career began with Southland trainer Tony Stratford, who qualified him at Gore in August 2014 before winning on debut the following month at Winton.


He was then transferred to the Mark Purdon Natalie Rasmussen stables at Rolleston from which he won a further three races.


Macca Lodge's proprietor Brent McIntyre who's been jogging The Manipulator since May of this year, recalls a  memorable run at Addington in May 2015 which showcased the horses ability, but ended with an unlucky ninth placing.


"He broke his knee cap in that race. He lost about 200 metres shortly after the start. Natalie said he still would have run in the money if he hadn't run into traffic in the straight. So that was the end of it. He was boxed for about three or four months. He won first up (a year later) then he started two more times before he got injured again. We've got him back jogging. Timsy (owner Neil Timms) gave me a half share in him. He threw him out on the Mataura River banks for about six months. We picked him up in May and he was looking a million dollars. I've just started hoppling him now and I'll send him down to Tank (Tank Ellis at Oreti Beach) to see whether he'll stand up. It gives him his best chance down there," McIntyre said. 





Brent and Caine McIntyre of Macca Lodge - Photo Bruce Stewart. 


McIntyre has since purchased a two year old full-sister to the Manipulator called Ivy McIvy.


The dam of both horses Luckisaladytonight has been an excellent broodmare for Neil Timms. She has left Cullen Keffe (5 New Zealand wins), The Manipulator and Ladys Are Ideal ( 1 New Zealand win) and Afterdinnerspeaker ( 2 wins from just six starts).


He has a two year old filly by Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare and she was last served by a son of Somebeachsomewhere, Captaintreacherous.











Williamson Winding Up (Sunday 20th August 2017)


Bruce Stewart



There's a good buzz around the Nathan Williamson stable as he prepares a large team for the new season from his Branxholme headquarters.


There's a mixture of new blood and an established line-up in the stable for the coming season and part of his 'early' team will be out at workouts, trials and races in the next few weeks. 


The first horse to appear will be Williamson's most highly assessed pacer Tas Man Bromac.


He only raced three times last season and his progress was hindered by a number of issues. 


"He's wintered well. I gave him a break after the Bluff Cup and he's freshened nicely. He got dehydrated going up to Kaikoura. I was getting him ready for the Cup races like the Roxburgh Cup and he pulled a muscle in his hind quarter and that sidelined him for a large part of the season. He'll go to Gore (Sunday) without a workout or trial so he's bound to improve from the run. In the grade he's in, he should be pretty competitive," Williamson said.


The six year old American Ideal gelding comes back with a R90 rating. From twenty nine starts he's won nine races.


Another pacer that had limited track time last season was Statham. He only lined up five times with his best performance being at his first start of the season when he finished second to Glenferrie Classic in the Cromwell Cup. 


"He won't race at Gore but will trial next week. He had a bit of a viral infection which curtailed his season. The infection was a hard one to track down. He's had plenty of work."


He too has been lightly raced, only lining up twenty one times in three seasons - winning six races. 


Another promising gelding by American Ideal, Foo Fighter, is also in work. He's currently being jogged by part-owner John Earl at his Oporo Flat farm. 


"He'll be back here in the first week of September. He was the same as Statham. He had something deep down in his lungs which we couldn't see with a scope. We've given him a good break and treated him and hopefully he'll bounce back this season." 


Promising filly Excellent hasn't returned to the stable yet but she's not too far away. The Somebeachsomewhere three year old did most of her racing in Auckland last season, running second in a heat of the Sires Stakes Two Year Old Fillies Series. 


"She ran a real good second first time up there and then she got crook. She's come back home and she's back jogging at the beach with Murray Little (owner)."




Some of the jog team at the Williamson stable - Photo Bruce Stewart. 


As you;d expect there's a good number of trotters in the barn, including recently named Southland Horse of the Year Dark Horse, and also Poppymalda. Both have been nominated for the Hara's Des Trotteurs Dominion Handicap. 


"She (Poppymalda) didn't really get a break. We've freshened her after her Forbury win and she'll be back at the races in September whereas Dark Horse won't be back until October." 


Another former stable runner De Vito is also nominated for the Dominion.  


"We had him nominated for the Rowe Cup but he ended up getting an abcess in his foot which must have been brewing for some time. He's still spelling in Auckland because we haven't been able to transport him home. He'll probably do his training in Auckland." 


Another trotter back on the active list is Grey Power. The eight year old by Monkey Bones was last sighted at Gore nearly eighteen months ago.


Ash, a four year old half brother to Larix, Given and Larch by The Pres hasn't returned to the stable yet. He's owned by Williamson's wife Katie along with Ben and Karen Calder.  


"He's still spelling. We took him up to Christchurch for a bit of a trip, we hope that'll be the making of him next year. He's a wee bit physically immature (but) he's quite a talented trotter so we're happy with him."


The stable also appears to have a handful of handy three year olds.


Triroyale Brigade which started three times as a two year old last season is back in work. He was placed behind the likes of Ashley Lopez, Sicario and All U Need Is Faith. That form stacks up pretty well when you look at the races and stakes those three Purdon/Rassmussen horses have since won.


Another three year old colt Williamson has some time for is Franco Santino. He's a three year old by Christian Cullen out of the ten win mare San Rafaella. He was purchased for $55,000 by stable client Neville Cleaver at the 2016 Sale of the Stars 


"We'll qualify him in the next month to six weeks and work out a plan for him." 



 Off to work - from back left to right Delightful Deal (3 year old filly Bettors Delight - Deal On The Day) - Ron Lilley, Dream Fantasy (4 year old gelding Washington VC - Tupelo Madam) Ollie Kite, Franco Santino (three year old colt Christian Cullen - San Rafaella) - Nathan Williamson and Tempest Bromac (3 year old filly Auckland Reactor - Tasmcmanian) - Austin Stack - Photo Bruce Stewart. 


One to watch out for down the track is an unregistered two year old colt.  


"I bred a Sundon out of Little Contessa. Dad lent her to me (the mare) for the season. He's a two year old now and Dad was in love with him so I think he was wishing he bred from her that year."    






Some Consolation For Syd (Sunday 27th August 2017)


Bruce Stewart



It hasn't been the best of times recently for Gore trainer Syd Breen.


Five weeks ago he lost an old mate when the Flashing Red gelding Flashing On, winner of four races, had to be put down wih a twisted bowel.


"It was gut wrenching. I saw him every day and he was just a big awesome horse. He was just full on nonsense around the place but as soon as you put the cart on he was just all business," said Breen.


Although the whole experience is still pretty raw the win today by another stable runner Lorretta Franco would have gone some way in healing the hurt. 


She's a product of Spreydon Lodge and Breen has had the Changeover mare since April when she came down for the Winton meeting.


Today from barrier three driver Matty Williamson powered Lorretta Franco off the gate and took her straight to the front. Turning in for the run home Williamson still had a handful of horse. He looked over his shoulder and promptly pinched a nice break. The five year old mare held on to win easily by two and a half lengths from a fast finishing Shawami Lass.  




  Lorretta Franco winning with Matty Williamson - Photo Bruce Stewart.


"She's a wee tradesman who can pull a bit. We've been lucky that we've got a few good draws. We've tried a few different bits on her and I think she'll learn to relax again. She was a ready made racehorse when she got here and a great doer who loves being in work."


Lorretta Franco is raced by the Organ Donations Save Lives Syndicate along with The Flashing On Syndicate who were transferred into the ownership recently along with Breen, Ross Cleland and long time stable helper Stevie Heads.


Going into today's race there was a certain amount of confidence. 


"I told the Organ Donation syndicate that I thought she could win. It's not very often that I label them. She can win another race and still start in the Nuggets Final in October (Northern Southland Meeting on 7th October). It's a great idea."



Returning to the birdcage with Matty up for a chat - Photo Bruce Stewart 


Breen is only working a small team but two of his stable stars Santanna's Rocket and Sagwitch are progressing well. 


"I'm pretty happy with Santanna's Rocket. He's thickened up through the girth and he's a strong horse now. He was a bit immature last season. Sagwitch won three races last year and not many three year olds do that. His coats taken a wee while. I've always had a bit of time for him and I think he's a horse that will just get better and better. They both really wintered well and they were only out for six weeks. Get Real is going through his paces. The money's so good for these maiden pacers now. He's only a kick in the bum away from winning a race."    









The Bus Goes Round And Round  (Sunday 27th August 2017)


Bruce Stewart



Burnham trainer Mark Jones rarely heads south without a horse ready to win and a plan to be executed.


The Bus driven by Samantha Ottley duly won for Jones today and I suspect the plan may be to line up in a special maiden initiative introduced by Southern Harness this season  - a $12,000 Nugget Mobile Pace Final at the Northern Southland meeting on 7th October.


The Bus is now qualified for this race and the conditions of the series allow him to carry on winning in the meantime. Jones is also a fan of the Northern Southland Club and has been a sponsor for a few seasons.


All horses that start between today's Gore meeting and the end of September in non-win races and accumulate enough points will be eligible to start in the final. 


And Jones's plan could also extend to getting early points on the board for the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes in April. 


In today's race Ottley eased the three year old into his stride from a tricky second line draw. She moved The Bus out with 1800 metres to run but was beaten to the jump by a fast move from Clark Barron driving Some Excusesomewhere. Ottley got onto the back of the Barron runner and was taken forward with cover. With just under a lap to run The Bus had taken up the running from the favourite Black Ops. 


The Bus and Sam Ottley heading to the front with a lap to run - Photo Bruce Stewart


The Bus held on to win by three quarters of a length from Black Ops with Benio Ben another length and three quarters back in third.


"He was a wee bit too smart today which he had to be from the draw. But he had to get round them. He did it quite comfortably but actually knocked off at the end. He still had a bit there (at the finish). It's his first trip down here and there looks to be a bit of improvement in him," said Ottley after the run.



The Bus beating Black Ops - Photo Bruce Stewart.



Winner returning, job done -  Photo Bruce Stewart. 


Last season The Bus raced in the Young Gun Series in Auckland against the likes of Alta Maestro and Spankem. 


He resumed this season at Addington last Friday night. 


"I was really pleased with his run at Addington the other night. I know it was only fifth but it was a good fifth. He was nice and relaxed today because he can go the other way."


The three year old Art Major colt is raced by loyal stable client Grant Hatton. He's out of the Falcon Seelster mare Rondel Franco which won thirty seven races in a career that included racing in New Zealand, Canada and America.


Hatton raced The Bus's half brother Saveapatrol which won eleven races including the first ever Northern Southland TC Futurity in 2013.   






Brown Gets 500 (Sunday 27th August 2017)


Bruce Stewart


He only had one runner at Gore today in Soapbox but that was enough for Findlay Road trainer Murray Brown to reach a milestone of 500 winners.


Brown, who's in his thirty fourth season of training, won his first race with Mike Adios at Invercargill on September 22nd 1984. So his 500th winner came almost 34 years to the day later.



Win number 500 for Murray Brown-Soapbox (1) getting up on the inside to beat Franco Huntington - Photo Bruce Stewart. 


He began his career with Henry Skinner; an association that started while Brown was playing rugby for Central Pirates.


"Henry and Alan Devery and John Hay who trained at Ryal Bush used to come down and watch the rugby. We ended up with horses with Henry. I was at the works (Freezing Works) and used to go and help him in the off-season. I then went over to Bryce's (Bryce Buchanan) when he broke his leg. Henry and Bryce signed my form to get a training licence," said Brown.


He initially rented boxes at what is now Wayne Adam's property but then bought his current stable off Stewart Barlow. 


His best season came in 2012 when his horses won thirty two races. His UDR that season was .2792 and stable runners won $138,917.


He's the second Southland trainer to join the elite 500 club. Hamish Hunter was the first, two seasons ago. 


"It's pretty hard to do. There's only Hamish and I. We've had some good trainers down here but we've probably had more opportunities."   


Brown has won the Southland Trainers Premiership seven times: 1998, 1999, 2000 (jointly with Tony Barron), 2001, 2002, 2006 (shared with Hamish Hunter) and 2012.  


He named his best horse as Beaudiene Bad Babe which won the Group Two Caduceus Club of Canterbury Premier Mares Championship twice (2010 and 2011).


She also won the 2010 Nevele R Stud Four Year Old Diamond at Cambridge and the 2009 Group Two Macca Lodge/Nevele R Southland Oaks Final. In all she won twenty two races.


Another group winner for Brown was Hemisphere which won the Group Three Nevele R Two Year Fillies Mobile at Addington in 2008.


He's won numerous cups in the Southland region including the Wairio Cup three times; Hebe Gebe (1997), Loch Nagar (2008) and Beaudiene Bad Babe (2009). He also won the time honoured Hannon Memorial with Freeway Don in 1999. 


Brown's best winners list include:


Beaudiene Bad Babe (22)

Freeway Don (11)

Awesum Teddy (10)

Highview Jude (9) 

Rimesaut (8)

Mister Dale (8)

Absolutely Brilliant (8)

The Receptionist (6)

Blue Jay Way (6)

Rakanra (6)

Loch Nagar (6)

Bali Mystic (6)

Mister PB (5)

Titan Bloss (5)

Hebe Gebe (5)

Tahlia Jaccka (5)

Padraig (5) 


Back to today's winner Soapbox. She got a dream trip in the trail and ran along the passing lane to beat a game Franco Huntington by half a neck. A desperately unlucky No More Change ran third.


Soapbox is raced by the Tricode Racing Syndicate Number Two. It was the Santanna Blue Chip mare's second win from thirty starts. 



Murray Brown (left) with the Tricode Racing Syndicate Number Two - Photo Bruce Stewart. 





Major Back In Ranks (Thursday 31st August 2017)

Bruce Stewart

Quality Art Major gelding Swamp Major is back on the active list at Ken and Tony Barron’s West Melton stable.

The now five year old has been away from the stable for 10 months and by the time he's expected to return to the track in October it’ll be sixteen months since he last raced. He missed all of his four year old season.

How he was injured still remains a mystery.

“Tony was out jogging him in the cart with two other horses on the lead. We don’t know what happened but the next thing the horses were bolting around the place. Swamp Major with the cart on went mental, and we couldn’t catch him. Tony was tipped out and was kicked in the head by one of the lead horses. He had blood coming out his ear and was taken to hospital. He can’t remember what happened. When he (Swamp Major) came back he was sore. It was an accident. A few weeks later we discovered a stray cat without a tail hanging around. We think it could have come out of the hedge and frightened the horses but we don’t really know,” said Ken.

Swamp Major was x-rayed and had cracked a pedal bone and was turned out. The injury was scanned at three months and again at six months and he was given the all clear and returned to work in May.

“He spent the first two weeks on the tread mill and then we mixed jogging with tread mill work. Then we started pace work. He’s getting a good mixture and we're giving him a long buildup. Normally it takes three months but we’ve designed it to take four to five months.”

And the Barron’s are very pleased with his current condition.

“He ran a quarter in 32 the other day and felt very very good. He’s grown a bit but has really filled out.”

Ken says he’s expecting Swamp Major will go to the trials at the end of September or beginning of October.

“He’ll have one or two runs (races) before going to Cup Week.”

His last race was the Harness Jewels at Cambridge in June last year in which he ran tenth behind Heaven Rocks.

During his three year old year he also ran third behind Heaven Rocks and Classie Brigade in the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes and third in the Flying Stakes at Addington.

As a two year old he ran second twice in the Young Guns series behind Lazarus.

His ten career starts have yielded three wins, two seconds and two thirds with $43,296 in stakes.




 Swamp Major after winning on Cup Day at Invercargill 2016 - Photo Bruce Stewart


He’s owned by his breeder Trevor Ryder along with friends Alan Lindsay, Cleland Murdoch and John Duff of Southland and Scott and Sue McCrea of Christchurch.




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