Shezacullengirl Heads To Auckland (Friday 1st December 2017)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

Quality Southland mare Shezacullengirl has been floated to Auckland in preparation for a couple of big assignments during the next fortnight.

 

The Christian Cullen four year old mare left for Auckland on Wednesday and will be stabled at Brent Mangos's Pukekohe stable.

 

"She does all her work on the beach and it's 20 minutes from Mango's place to the beach, so it's spot on," said trainer Paul Ellis. 

 

Her targets are the Group Three Caduceus Club Northern Breeders next Friday, and the $100,000 Group One Rosslands Queen Of Hearts on the 15th December. Both are raced over 2200 metres from the mobile.

 

At her last start at Invercargill Shezacullengirl was impressive when she tenaciously held on to beat Franco Tai by half a length in a smart time of 2-41.2. 

 

"Real good. She's got a bit of a ticker. Gav Smith (driver) was worried about Franco Tai on his back. He (Franco Tai) did bugger all work. We had a go at the other one (Delishka) and still held them off so she's gone bloody good." 

  

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Shezacullengirl holding out all challengers at Ascot Park on Friday  - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

Shezacullengirl was initially trained by Nathan Williamson who won two races with her in her three year old season. She was later transferred to Ellis's Oreti Beach barn where she's enjoyed the smaller stable and beach environment. 

 

"She never sees a hopple. She canters and plays around then goes to the races and tries her guts out. Can't see that there's any point in changing anything." 

 

Ellis acknowledges that the Auckland races will be a bit of a test but says his mare is in peak condition at the moment. 

 

"Fitness isn't an issue. The trip up there won't worry her too much. The Auckland way round might be the only thing but the only way you're going to find out is to try. I'll run her that way round at Mango's on Monday and may take her into Alexandra Park for a bit of pace work on Wednesday." 

 

Ellis will travel up to Auckland on Sunday to supervise the mare's preparation.  

 

"We'll see what happens. We'll probably give her a spell after that. They're (owners) pretty keen to have a go at the Jewels at Cambridge. We just need to be earning money I suppose."

 

Shezacullengirl is currently fourteenth on the leader board for the Four Year Old Diamond. 

 

The last time Ellis was in Auckland was with trotter Idle Bones which won three races there before she was sold to clients of Brent Mangos.  

 

 

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Ardtoo Gets One (Saturday 9th December 2017)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

It's taken not quite a season, but Ardtoo finally lived up to the potential Wyndham trainer Russell Ferguson always knew was sitting there.

 

"We really liked him as a two year old. We had him set for the Kindergarten (Stakes) but it came undone that day. We turned him out straight away and he's come back as a better three year old. I think he'll be better still in the Autumn," said Ferguson.

 

After sitting wide early, the three year old Auckland Reactor gelding held on easily to win his maiden race at Ascot Park today.

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Ardtoo (5) and Craig Ferguson beating TC Business (8) and Dexter Dunn - Photo Bruce Stewart.  

 

Ardtoo which is owned by Ferguson and his wife Susan was driven by son Craig making a family affair.  

 

"I work my horses on their own. They don't get company. Craig and I swap horses over every now and then. It helps turn them into race horses."  

 

It was a good change of luck for horse, trainer and driver as a fortnight ago on the same course Ardtoo went over the top of Jennys Rose and driver Shane Walkinshaw in a nasty accident that saw Walkinshaw taken to hospital. 

 

"He (Ardtoo)came out of that good. Craig did exceptionally well to hold onto him. I gave him a workout last weekend and didn't ask him to do anything. He handled that really well so there are no long term effects."

 

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Returning to scale - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

Ardtoo is the last foal out of the Dream Away mare Tobetoo. 

 

"I bred his mother and his grandmother. His mother could really run but she had a wind problem so we retired her from breeding. She had a Washington VC filly but she was small so I gave her away."

 

Ferguson doesn't train many but likes a Betterthancheddar two year old which is out of the Mach Three mare Warp Speed which won three races. He bought the gelding at last year's sales for $15,000. Named Bottle Rock he's closely related to Il Vicolo and Stunin Cullen. 

 

Today's win was the trainers first since Ohbeoperative won at the Riverton meeting in October 2007. 

 

  

 

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Plenty In The Tank (Saturday 9th December 2017)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

Oreti Beach trainer Paul 'Tank' Ellis has put the disappointment of Shezacullegirl's poor run at Alexandra Park on Friday behind him and the win at Ascot Park today by Machjagger certainly helped.

 

"It's taken ages to get her looking good again. She's looking good now and has gone good," said Ellis after the Justa Tiger mare won narrowly. 

 

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 Machjagger (15) beating Wayward Roc (1) by a half a head - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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The Winner - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

Ellis has had the mare at his stable for a while now, having transferred out to the beach while still under Ryal Bush trainer Brett Gray's name. The mare has officially raced under Ellis's name twice, and he's been able to try different training methods with her. 

 

"This week Hilly (stable foreman Paul Hillis) has been riding her. Dexter (Dunn) was happy with her last week. He said that she just got outsprinted. This week he drove her more aggressively and he wasn't going to get outsprinted. She gets down on her bumpers but when she's looking good and she's all muscled up over her behind she doesn't get down on them."

 

Machjagger has now won four races including on the grass at Waikouaiti. The Wyndham Meeting at Cromwell early in the New Year is one of her targets. 

 

"She's got a real good group of owners. There'll be a few drinks over Christmas hopefully for them. The boys have got a crib up in Cromwell so that's where she'll be." 

 

Meanwhile Ellis's quality mare Shezacullengirl which finished last in the Northern Breeders Stakes in Auckland on Friday night is coming home.

 

"She chaffed up real bad on one side. She never chaffs up. It was caused by going that way round. She's in a real happy spot down here so I'll bring her back. Mango (driver Brent Mangos) said she just didn't feel right the whole way. We'll get her back. There are plenty of races after Christmas for her."

 

  

 

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Bene Back Up (Saturday 9th December 2017)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

Well Said colt Nota Bene Denario showed his versatility when he won at Ascot Park today.

 

The three year old, which had led all the way at Wyndham on November 19th, came off a nice early sit before driver Brent Barclay took him round to the front with a lap to run.

  

"I think he can race from pretty much anywhere. They backed off the pace so I thought because they were going that slow that I'd better get around them. I think he probably knocks off a bit in front," said Barclay.

 

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 Flying - Nota Bene Denario and Brent Barclay - Photo Bruce Stewart.

  

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Heading to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

Nota Bene Denario stayed down in the south at Brett Gray's stable after his win at Wyndham and went to the Winton Workouts last Friday where he was driven from behind. He won his heat impressively running his last 800 metres in better that 54 seconds. 

 

"He's a very very fast horse if you saw his run at the Winton Workouts. He's got wheels," said Gray.

 

The colt, which was bought by Robert and Sharyn Symon and placed in Terry and Glenys Chmiel's stable, has now won two of his three starts and Gray presumes he will return home to the Chmiel's Leeston stable. 

 

 

Meanwhile junior driver Ellie Barron knocked off another of her early season targets when she won on her grandfather's horse Mass Invasion today.

 

She had her first win on Somejoy, part-owned and trained by her father Clark, and this is another win for the family.

  

The seven year old Muscle Mass mare owned by Owen Crooks ran down pacemaker Grace O'Malley.

 

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Ellie Barron and Mass Invasion getting the better of Peter Hunter and Grace O'Malley - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Returning - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

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Class On Grass (Friday 8th December 2017)

Bruce Stewart

Although there are a few things to finalised the decision has been made that the Invercargill Harness Racing Club will race on grass on Saturday 3rd March.

One of the main issues yet to be sorted is the distance of all the races. They will either be 2000 or 2100 metres. Course caretaker Warren Broad and local Stipe Liam Tidmarsh will look at dispatch points and talk about safety limits before distances are confirmed.

Southern Harness General Manager Jason Broad says if the weather's wet the meeting will be transferred to the all-weather surface as early as Wednesday of that week. If this is necessary, the distances raced will be 2200 metres.

The last time the Invercargill grass track was used for harness racing was in 1971. 

 

The March meeting feature races will include a heat of the Country Cups ($12,000) for R60 and faster pacers, and a $12,000 Nugget Final. All other races will be raced for either $8,000 or $9,000.


Broad says some thought has been given to running a Grass Track Series with Oamaru, Gore and Waikouaiti.

Meanwhile a new race named The Southland Trotting Oaks, worth $20,000 is likely to be confirmed in the few weeks. Broad says final confirmation of sponsorship just needs to be signed off.

He says Haras des Trottuers have expressed an interest in supporting the race and the NZSB Association is very supportive and will help publicise it to the industry.

“It’s down to be raced at the Northern Southland Meeting in March which is two weeks before the New Zealand Trotting Oaks at Addington,” Broad says.

A total of $195,000 in stakes will be up for grabs on the day. The club will be holding the Group Three Yardhurst Hotel Northern Southland Cup, Group Three Southern Lights Trotting Handicap, Caduceus Club of Southland Fillies Pace and a $20,000 Super Nuggets Final. Broad says it's the second biggest day on the Southern racing calendar behind Diamonds Day in April.

All horses that finish first or second in any Nuggets race during the season are eligible for the Super Nugget Final.

Further Nugget heats have been programmed for Winton (31st December), Northern Southland (11th January), Wyndham (4th February) and Invercargill on the grass (3rd March).

The next heat of the Gold Chip trotting series will be held on Saturday 23rd December at the Wairio meeting at Winton.

 

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Tact Tickets (Thursday 14th December 2017)

Bruce Stewart

Two horses from Tactile Farm qualified impressively at the Winton trials yesterday, although both need paperwork to be completed to get final sign off.

Trainer Trevor Proctor says it's just a formality.

Lis Mara mare Tact Maggie paced the 2400 metres in 3-02.7 nearly 9 seconds under the required qualifying time. She won her heat by an impressive nine lengths. She’s out of ten win mare Tact Lizzie.

“She’s like her mother. She relaxes and just keeps trucking on. She does it at her own pace unless you ask her to do something,” said Proctor.

Tact Maggie had been to three workouts before yesterday’s trial, winning twice.

“At the other one she had a gear malfunction and was pulled up. But Brent Barclay (driver) said she was travelling well at the time.”

The other qualifier was Auckland Reactor filly Tact Bess which is named after the matriarch of the Dynes family Bessie Dynes who passed away earlier this year.

Tact Bess won by three and a half lengths with the last 800 metres run in 56.7 seconds.

“She’s more of a sit and sprint type. She’s got a good turn of foot.”

Tact Bess is out of Tact Hayley who has left a host of winners including Tact Lizzie (10), Tact Hayley Jane (10) and Spectactular (8).

The last time Proctor had two handy mares in the stable they both won their first races on the same day. It was at the Invercargill January meeting in 2008 when Tact Aunty won and Tact Lizzie repeated the dose a few races later.

For the first time Proctor has entered a yearling in next year’s sale. He’s by Rock N Roll Hanover out of Tact Lizzie but Proctor says he’s unsure if the colt will make sale day.

“He just has a bit of swelling in one of his hocks so we’ll get it x-rayed. He’s a striking horse. That’s why we entered him in the sale but he may have to come out.”

Two of Tact Lizzie's foals that have raced have been winners. Tact Tate has won fourteen races, eleven in Australia and paced a mile in 1-51.9 while Tact Rousey, which was recently retired, won once here and recorded a further four wins in Australia. Her best mile time is 1-53.2. 

 

Another impressive qualifier at the trials was Washington VC filly Alfie Romeo.

 

 

She ran the 2400 metres in 3-01.7; the fastest of the day winning by five and a half lengths. She’s trained by Des Baynes at Browns and is out of the Holmes Hanover mare Holmezy which won seven races for Ryal Bush trainer Hamish Hunter. She ran sixth as a four year old, in the first ever race at the Harness Jewels at Ashburton in 2007.

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Syndicate Day At Winton (Sunday 24th December 2017)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

Three horses owned by syndicates won at Winton yesterday.

 

The first was the Murray Brown trained Miss Waikiwi which won the Winton Night 'N Day Foodstore Pace. 

 

The four year old Big Jim mare was having her tenth start for the Southern Oddfellows Syndicate Number One which have had horses with Brown for over twenty five years.

 

One of the orginial members, assistant race day starter Neil Popham, says Peter Sherlock formed the syndicate.

 

"We raced Brilliant Franco which won four and Absolutely Brilliant which won eight and ran third behind Molly Darling and Mainland Banner in the 2005 Nevele R Fillies Series Final. We also raced The Odd One (2 wins) and Jaclyn Smith (1win) which we claimed. In the last ten to twelve years when we've needed to fill a gap (membership) we've just got them in. We had a galloper at one stage. It won at Invercargill and the jockey got off and said 'you guys are going to have some fun with this.' It then ran in the Tapanui Cup and was dead last so we got rid of it," Popham said.

 

Other original long serving members of the syndicate still involved are Rose Langford and Greg Somerville. 

 

Miss Waikiwi is leased off Myross Bush breeders Alan and Sarah Donaldson. 

 

"They're good friends of mine. We've got a fiftieth wedding anniversary to go to tonight so I've already told him (Alan) to bring a bottle of rum." 

 

Miss Waikiwi driven by Sheree Tomlinson beat Bettors Atom driven by her partner Craig Ferguson by three quarters of a length.

 

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Miss Waikiwi with Sheree Tomlinson winning at the Wairio meeting on Saturday - Photo Bruce Stewart
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Returning to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart 

 

Two races later the longstanding MCC Syndicate's horse Bettor B Ready trained by Brett Gray won the junior drivers event. 

 

Syndicate member Ron Barron says this syndicate have been going for twenty five years.

 

"We just celebrated twenty five years last weekend. There are three of the originals left. Allan Blacker, Margaret West and myself. We've had a bit of luck. The best horse we had was Franco Goodtime which won five." 

  

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Bettor B Ready and Matt Purvis winning the Panspacificflight At Macca Lodge Junior Drivers Mobile Pace - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

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Back to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart
 

 

Barron is also a member of the Setarip Syndicate (Pirates spelt backwards)which is the oldest syndicate in the country. He says it's been in operation for forty eight years. He's been involved with that syndicate for the last twenty five to thirty years. The syndicate owns Makarewa Rum which ran second to King Cassidy in the Gold Chip Final. 

 

"There's still two original members in Joe Wilson and Clark Neil. It originally was made up of members of the Pirates Rugby Club but interestingly enough Joe was a Waikiwi Man but he was working for Ray Harpur (who organised the syndicate) at the time and Clark who played for Old Boys. He just happened to work for Harpur too." 

 

In Race Six, the Willy's Flooring Limited Mobile Pace, Triroyale Brigade started his three year old season off on a winning note for the Better To Have Tried Syndicate.

 

"I was happy with him. They went a wee bit quicker than I thought they would but it didn't feel like we were going that quick. He was a wee professional out there today," said trainer driver Nathan Williamson.

 

The Branxholme trainer has a strong bunch of three year old pacers this season with Franco Santino, Born To Run and Triroyale Brigade. 

 

"Triroyale Brigade and Born To Run will contest the Nuggets Final next week. Franco Santino is still a wee way away from coming back. We'll keep them all ticking over. They all have different attributes and we'll find out which is the best when we have too. It's just a nice position to be in."

 

All three have been in work a similar amount of time, but Triroyale Brigade has been the last to hit the race track. 

 

"It's just taken a long time to get the weight off him. He's still fat. I've been working him hard but he seems to cop it pretty good so I thought a race or two might tightened him up." 

 

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Triroyale Brigade beating Poldark - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Back to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

Triroyale_Brigade_winning_connections_950_x_463.jpg Winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart 

 

The Better To Have Tried Syndicate is made up of friends and family of Ross and Robyn Jones. 

 

They include; Yvette Mortimer, Pam and Carl Yaxley, Murray and Dianne McEwan, Peter Stack, Mary Turnbull, Austin and Miriam Stack, Liz and Morgan Greene, Ross and Robyn Jones, George Youngman, Alan Jones and Barry Dent. 

 

Triroyale Brigade had a length and a half advantage at the finish line on the second horse Poldark at the end of the 2400 metre mobile journey. The overall time was 2-56.7 with the last 800 metres run in 57.2 seconds and the last 400 metres in 28.3.

 

Triroyale Brigade is out of Trigirl Brigade which won seven races and is the dam of eleven win pacer Classie Brigade. The breed goes back to Girl Brigade, a family the late Peter Campbell of Browns/Winton developed. He had them trained by Winton trainer Harry Cox and the bloodline produced many winners. 

 

 

  

 

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King Wins Gold (Sunday 24th December 2017)

 

Bruce Stewart


King Cassidy capped off a fine vein of form, by winning the Gold Chip Final for trotters at Winton yesterday.

 

It was the five year old's third win on the trot and a very good pay day for his connections, trainer Chris Gerken, Taylor Davies and his partner Tracey Ashton.

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King Cassidy (7) inside  beating Makarewa Rum (3) Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Returning with Brent Barclay - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Brent Barclay, Sonia Gerken, Chris Gerken, Taylor Davies and Tracey Ashton - Photo Bruce Stewart 

  

Gerken, who trains at Fleming near Gore has had the The Pres gelding since August last year.

 

"Neil Munro sent him down to me. He's got a wee bit of a hitch in his gait and he thought he needed a bit of time and they weren't prepared to wait on him. I think the gait thing is just conformation. The first race he had off the place was at the Hawea Gymkhana last year where he beat a couple of pacers," he said.

 

He won his first race at Forbury Park in May this year when driven by Brad Williamson. 

 

"He won that first race probably too quick for his own good. He got chucked in against horses like Golden Gate. It was way too rich and they were just rushing past him."

 

Gerken, who shoes his own horses says the past few weeks have been a bit of a balancing act in deciding when to renew the horses footwear. 

 

"Last week when he raced here the shoes were buggered. But I didn't want to change them before he raced. He got reshod during the week. It was perhaps one of the reasons he trotted rough today. He just needs a bit of wear and tear on his shoes." 

 

In yesterday's race driver Brent Barclay allowed King Cassidy to settle at the rear before moving him round the field at the 1200 metre mark to sit parked outside leader Sky Tower. With 400 metres to run Barclay had the gelding in front and he held on to beat a late charge from Makarewa Rum by half and length.

 

"His next start will be at Hawea on Wednesday. I'll see what sort of rating he gets after today. At Omakau he may have to start against the Free For All horses in a mobile. I don't want to start in a mobile just yet so I may have to look at Cromwell in a fortnight." 

 

Taylor has been a loyal supporter of Gerkens and they were partners in John Henry Galleon and James Galleon.  

 

 

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Hopes And Dreams Wins Cup (Sunday 24th December 2017)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

Hopes And Dreams added to her very good record when she outstayed a game Steiger in the 2017 edition of the Wairio Cup.

 

"When they started to come at the 800 I'd had such a good run I had to come out and get going. So I worked forward and it worked out lovely. Dexter had pinched a bit of a break down the back and around the side. I knew she was a good stayer so I thought I'd get rolling from the 400 and make it hard for the ones at the back. It was 27 flat from the quarter so it did make it hard for the horses coming from the back. She hasn't got instant speed but rolling from that quarter she was pretty good," said driver Nathan Williamson.

 

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Hopes And Dream (11) beating a game Steiger (10) Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Back to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

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Winning connections, committee members and sponsors. The winning owners are Kevin Strong (third from left) and Neville Cleaver (fifth from left) - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

The five year old mare by Christian Cullen out of One Dream is raced by Neville Cleaver and Kevin Strong and is trained at Westward Beach by Graeme Anderson. She has now won seven races and banked $49,400.

 

Prior to yesterday's race she was taken out on the track and warmed up by Sheree Tomlinson. 

 

"I think she feels her joints every now and then so they warm her up the race before every time she races. It seems to have done the trick again."

 

 Hopes And Dreams is likely to head to the broodmare paddock this season as her owners are keen to get her in foal to Bettors Delight.

 

Cleaver is having a great season, having success with Hopes And Dreams, Sundons Wish, Franco Santino and Scarlett Lane.

 

The cup time was 2-58.7.  

 

 

 

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Chinook Stays On Feet and Wins (Wednesday 27th December 2017)


Bruce Stewart


The Geoff Gibson-Smith trained Chinook Winds was lucky to stay on her feet during the Arden Lodge Fillies and Mares Mobile Pace at Gore today.

Driver Robin Swain had to take evasive action when favourite Liberty Rose ducked out in the run home.

“I think she was lucky to stand up and for Robin to stay in the cart,” said Gibson-Smith.

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Action One

 

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Action Two

 

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Action Three

 

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Action Five

 

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Finally winning with Robin Swain in the cart - Photo Bruce Stewart

   

The Santanna Blue Chip mare in only her tenth start, recorded her first win and Gibson-Smith wasn’t overly confident with a second line draw.

“Drawn twelve I thought that it might be hard enough but she got a beautiful run through. The driver made the difference.”

The four year old is a ‘home bred’ and goes back to a breed that Bruce Stirling developed. 

As a three year old Chinook Winds recorded a number of places but at the end of the season she was having problems tying up.

“She’s always been nice. She ran a half in 55 (seconds) at the workouts one day. She’s been a nice pacer but I’ve had a few problems with her tying up last season so we turned her out. I’ve been mindful of that this year. I’ve been feeding her Vitamin E as much as I can. I’m normally a seller but the kids are in on her. We’ll see how she handles the next grade.”

Chinook Winds is owned by Kent Gibson-Smith, Scott Gibson-Smith and his partner Charlotte Berry and Glen and Ange Gibson-Smith along with Geoff’s wife Jill.

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Returning to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

 

 

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Baynes Gets Two On The Trot
(Wednesday 27th December 2017)

Bruce Stewart

 

 

Gore Harness Racing Club President Kenny Baynes won the first two trotting races of the day on his home track today.

Too Cool, a four year old Majestic Son mare, won the Norman Family Trot by three quarters of a length.

The mare was bred by Kenny and his sister in-law Penny and is raced by Baynes Racing Limited (which is Kenny and Penny) and is trained at Ryal Bush by Brett Gray.

“He (Gray) raves about her and gets a bit excited,”  Kenny said after the mare had won her second race in just three starts.

“Jo (his wife) and I do most of the early preparation then we send them on to the trainers that know what they’re doing.”

Baynes didn’t see much of the race as he was driving the water cart and was over the back of the course when the mare raced.

“She was jogging along nice when she went past me.”

Too Cool is out of Cool Maiden which has left Cool Cobber (9 trotting wins), John Of Arc (19 pacing wins) and One Cool Chick (3 trotting wins). 

 

“We’ve bred a nice two year old colt by Muscle Hill out of her. He looks a beast.”

 

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 One Cool Chick (7) and Brent Barclay beating Gorilla Playboy (6) - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Returning to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart 

 

Kenny's second winner came in the Gore Mitre 10 Trot when War Admiral backed up after racing and breaking at the Wairio meeting (at Winton) five days ago.

The talented three year old which is raced by Kenny and his wife Jo was nicely handled by Dexter Dunn who nursed him around in the one one before getting him out and rolling at the top of the straight.

He won by three quarters of a length. 

“At Winton he went from first gear to third gear. Today he came home in 29 and absolutely jogged it. He lost quite a bit of ground at the start so it was a good effort. He’s got a big motor and a nice action and takes care of Phil’s (Phil Williamson trained horses),” he said with a laugh.

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War Admiral and Dexter Dunn holding out Kenny's Dream and Phil Williamson - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

 

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Returning a winner - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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War Admiral, Dexter Dunn, Rebecca Heads, Jo Baynes, Kenny Baynes and trainer Tony Stratford - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

 

Ironically the horse that got second to War Admiral which was trained by Williamson was Kenny’s Dream.

 

The Baynes' trotting luck ran out in the main trot of the day when one of their other runners War Machine broke on the final bend when starting to run into the finish.

 

 

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Nemera Franco Breaks Track Record
(Wednesday 27th December 2017)


Bruce Stewart


Nemera Franco lived up to her high billing today when she dealt to a handy field of R52-R59 horses and in the process broke a fifteen year track record.

The three year old Bettor’s Delight filly is trained at West Melton by Steven McRae.

“We thought she was a classic two year old filly but she went in the wind and had an operation. After that we’ve been very cautious about what we've said about her,” he said.

McRae, a former Southlander, said he’s keen to bring the quality filly back to the province but she’ll have a week off before he looks at heading back to qualify for April's Southland Oaks Final.

“We’ll try and get her back down here before she gets up in the grades.”

In today's race, driver Craig Thornley settled the filly four back on the outside. With 800 metres to run Thornley had the favourite out three wide. Just before the run home he launched her five wide and she sprinted away to win by an impressive eight lengths. Her time of 2-41.4 for the 2200 metres mobile was a new track record for three year old fillies. The old record, of 2-43.2, was set by Champagne Princess in 2002.

“She got a great trip today and he drove her a treat. It was more the way she did it that impressed me.”

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Nemero Franco and Craig Thornley winning by eight lengths - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Returning to scale - Photo Bruce Stewart


Nemera Franco is out of the three win Union Guy mare Nature Franco and McRae said he wondered if she’d return to the potential she showed as a two year old.

  

 

“She’s very lazy, trots round on one rein and won’t tighten the bit. This time round we've wondered if what we thought of her (early on) was right. She didn’t seem to be the same horse and you had to make her do what she did. A couple of times at the trials, Craig has come back and said not to worry about her. She’s picked up the bit and really charged (at the trials). Today he had to give her a couple just to get her to go but when she went she disappeared. He also said in the first ten strides when she came out she just wasn’t going to go anywhere. She’s still got a lot to learn.”

Nemera Franco is part of a new syndication scheme that Spreydon Lodge has been running for the last two seasons.

“For the last two years we’ve found three yearlings that broke in well that we’re going to keep for breeding. We leased them out for a half share - three year racing only lease. People take five or ten percent. It’s a nice cheap way of people getting into what we hope will be a classic horse one day.”

He said a lot of the syndicate had driven down from Christchurch for the day and others were old rugby mates from Waikaka.

"There’s a lot of them here today so the bar takings will be up.” 

 

 

 

 

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The Baynes Train
(Wednesday 27th December 2017)

 

  

Bruce Stewart

 

After winning two trotting races early in the day Kenny and Penny Baynes were in the spotlight again when they won the Mataura Licensing Trust Gore Cup with Royal Bengal. 

 

"We developed him down here with Robin Swain. Penny wanted to race a horse in Christchurch. Last season he got a virus and didn't finished off the season every well. We spelled him and sent him directly to Ken and Tony Barron in the winter. They've developed the horse and done a great job. He ran some good times over Cup Week. He's a nice wee horse," said Kenny. 

 

In today's pacing feature driver Dexter Dunn settled the four year old into the one one. At the top of the straight Royal Bengal had hit the lead and held out a spirited late challenge by outsider Gotta Del. 

 

 

 

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Royal Bengal (9) holding out Gotta Del (13) - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Returning with winning driver Dexter Dunn - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Winning connections (mostly Baynes) - Photo Bruce Stewart 

 

Baynes says short term the horse, which has now won four races, is likely to race in New Zealand. 

 

"Penny's not a great seller so we might hang onto this one. He might go to Australia and race in Perth later on."

 

So in the final washup, Kenny in partnership with his wife Jo and sister in-law Penny won three races on the card today on their home track. 

 

"It's pretty special and a goal of mine. I ran second in 2007 Gore Cup with Wattie. I've been around this Club for a long time. I first worked here about forty years ago when I was a kid keeping the birdcage clean. I was watering the track today and turning up here and winning three races was just a delight." 

 

Kenny's father Colin won the Gore Cup in 1982 with Dab Chick. 

 

 

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