Three for Paisley (Sunday 4th March 2018)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

Longbush trainer Alan Paisley stole the show with three winners at Ascot Park yesterday when grass track racing returned to Invercargill after a forty eight year break. 

 

His three winners were; Gotta Good Looker, Glacier Coaster and Overcast. Kirk Larsen drove Gotta Good Looker while Ellie Barron reined Glacier Coaster and Overcast; her first ever driving double.

 

It's the second time Paisley has trained three winners in one day. In December 2006 at Invercargill he won with Mystical Lad, Atom Queen and Glacier Holmes all driven by Alistar Black. Black drove five winners that day. The other two for Wayne Adams were Weka Lass and Jaccka Turbo.

 

Gotta Good Looker, owned by Paisley and his wife Gail, trailed leader Razcal Alley until the top of the straight and let down nicely to beat Vintage Rose by three quarters of a length. It was the Gotta Go Cullect mare's fifteenth start and first win. She'd been knocking on the door with two thirds in her previous two starts.

 

Three races later the gold and black colours of Paisley were to the fore again when junior driver Ellie Barron got three year old Ohoka Arizona filly Glazier Coaster home in the Waikiwi Tavern Mobile Pace.

 

At her previous start at Winton she'd locked wheels with another horse tipping Barron out of the cart. Glazier Coaster's win was very similar to her stablemate. She trailed the leader Star Reactor until the passing lane. Barron then reined the three year old filly up the passing lane holding on to beat Idol Matinee by a head.

 

Glacier Coaster is out of the unraced Bettor's Delight mare Glacier Delight who is out of the seven win Holmes Hanover mare Bernanne Chip whom Paisley trained in the late 1990s, early 2000s. Her wins included the 2001 Gore Centennial Trotting Cup. 

 

A race later the Paisley - Barron combination was in the winners circle again when Sundon mare Overcast won her eighth race. The eight year old is part-owned by Paisley and long time stable client Kevin Schuck. 

 

"We've been trying to get her in foal. She been seen by vets and we've mucked around with her so we haven't been able to train her properly. She didn't hold so in the end she had two workouts before Dexter (Dunn) drove her when she won at Gore two starts ago on the grass. She's been working outstandingly at home. She's been racing in the right grade. The system (rating system) has definitely worked for her," said Paisley.  

 

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Overcast and Ellie Barron too good for Moniburns - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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 Winning salute - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

  

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Gray Day (Sunday 4th March 2018)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

There's no doubt the Ryal Bush trainer Brett Gray will get a personal training best this season. The only question is whether he can hang onto his lead in the Southland Trainers Premiership.

 

He geared up two feature race winners yesterday at the Invercargill Harness Racing Clubs meeting on the grass at Ascot Park.

 

The well bred Convair Hustler was the first of his two winners in the $12,000 Invercargill Licensing Trust Nuggets Final. Driver Dexter Dunn sat parked with the Mach Three gelding for a good part of the 2050 metre race before getting cover from Duke of Wellington from the 800 metres. Duke of Wellington looked to have his rivals covered but Dunn drove Convair Hustler off his back on the inside to score by half a head. The time of 2-37.6 was the fastest of the day for 2050 metres.

 

The win qualifies Convair Hustler for the $20,000 Super Nuggets Final at the Northern Southland Trotting Clubs meeting this Saturday but Gray is not sure whether he'll line up.

 

"I don't know how he'll back up being so close. I'll see how he pulls up and have a talk to the owners. He did disappoint me over the mile the other day (when he backed up) but he's a Mach Three so a wee bit in and out," Gray said after the win.

  

Convair Hustler, which is raced by the Baynes Racing Syndicate, is named after the Convair B-58 Hustler plane, the first operational jet bomber capable of Mach 2 flight. I suspect he was named by John Baynes, a keen aviator whose wife Penny is one half of the Baynes Racing Syndicate with her brother in-law Kenny. None of the winning owners were on course today with Penny reported to be in Whitianga. 

 

 

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 Convair Hustler (6) and Dexter Dunn winning the Nuggets Final from Duke Of Wellington (8)  - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Victory salute - Photo Bruce Stewart


Young Conqueror, also trained by Gray won the next race - the ILT Foundation Autumn Cup. Starting off the 10 metre handicap, the Mach Three four year old settled ninth for driver Brent Barclay. With 600 metres to run Young Conqueror was fourth last with plenty of work to do. He tracked Shortys Mate into the race then came home with the good stayers run to beat Shortys Mate by a neck with another length back to Pass The Speights. It was the geldings fifth win in only nineteen starts and qualifies him for the bMac Sheetmetal 2005 Limited Southland Country Cups Final to be held on Diamonds Day at the end of April. Other leading candidates for the series final are; Gotta Del, Royal Bengal, Shortys Mate, The Big Boss, Bevan's Cullen and Deliska. 

 

The two wins yesterday put Gray on twenty five wins for the season - six wins clear of his nearest rival Nathan Williamson. From a PB prospective for the last two seasons he's trained twenty six winners. 

 

Gray's set to line up some of his big guns at this Saturday's Northern Southland meeting including Smokey Mac and Jen Jaccka who will race in the Group Three Pryde's Easifeeds Southern Lights.

 

"Zealand Star will line up in the Super Nuggets Final. He went really good at the workouts on Friday. I'm really happy with him at the moment." 

 

Other features on the card at the meeting are the $20,000 Haras des Trotteurs Southland Trotting Oaks, the $25,000 Group Three Caduceus Club of Southland/Alabar Two Year Old Fillies Mobile Pace and the Group Three Yaldhurst Hotel Northern Southland Trotting Cup worth $40,000. 

 

Meanwhile grass racing has helped turn the corner for the Hamish Hunter trained Tiziano. Up until the beginning of February her form had been average at best, but since grass track racing became an option for the four year old Big Jim mare she's regained form.

 

A fourth at Gore indicated she had a liking for the surface. That was followed up by a win at Oamaru, a third at Waikouaiti at the end of last month and another win yesterday at Invercargill. 

 

 

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 Another grass track victory for Tiziano and Matty Williamson - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

 

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Ready to salute the judge - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

 

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Luby Lou Wins Inaugural Oaks (Saturday 10th March 2018)

Bruce Stewart


The royally bred Luby Lou trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen won the first ever Southland Trotting Oaks at Ascot Park today.

The race was sponsored by Haras des Trotteurs.

  

“She trotted pretty fluently and was happy, so that was the main thing. I’ve driven her in three of her trials this preparation so I’ve had a bit to do with her, that always helps. Marks done a super job with her,” said winning driver Tim Williams.

By Muscle Hill, the three year old filly is raced by Breckon Farms - Six of the Best Syndicate. She's the first foal out of the Andover Hall mare Luby Ann which won four races from eighteen starts for Mark Purdon. In one of her wins she beat the mighty Stent at Ashburton.

 

In today's trotting features for three year old fillies, Williams took Luby Lou straight to the top with favourite Renezmae hard on his back. At the end of the 2200 metres only five runners were in with a show of winning and Luby Lou proved too dominant beating Renezmae by a length and a quarter. 


“She was happy in front and she’s got a bit of quality.”

The winning time of 2-47.9 was a new track record. The previous record of 2-50.2 was jointly held by Kumbya (2006) and Avenge (2001).

 

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Luby Lou and Tim Williams too strong for Renezmae and Dexter Dunn - Photo Bruce Stewart
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The winner of the first Southland Trotting Oaks - Luby Lou - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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The presentation - Tim Williams talking to Trackside presenter Jason Teaz, Stable Manager Michelle Neilson, Northern Southland President Bill McDonald and Dave Sanders from Haras des Trotteurs - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

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Kilo Has Too Many Watts
(Saturday 10th March 20180


Bruce Stewart


At the start of the season Branxholme trainer Alister Black rated Kilowatt Kid as his best three year old. But  that was before Lawrence started to hit his straps and looked to have an advantage over his stablemate. However Kilowatt Kid has made a bit of a comeback in recent weeks and today's win in the Caduceus Club of Southland Super Nuggets Final has swayed Black's opinion again.

“I don’t know what to put it down to really. I gave him a freshen and I've always thought he goes well fresh. Today he was like that and raced accordingly,” he said.

The American Ideal gelding's form has been impeccable this season. He's won three of his eight starts and Black knew during the week that he was in tune for today's feature.

 

“His work on Thursday was nothing short of superb. I woke him up a bit, saying come on son, it’s time to be a race horse.”

  

Black, like all trainers, gets to know his horses and he's discovered how Kilowatt Kid  best operates.

 

"I’ve looked after him all the way through because I’ve really really liked him. Maybe I was being a wee bit soft on him.”

Kilowatt Kid is owned by Ian and Lindsay Thomson both of whom have been great supporters of the young Branxholme trainer.

 

“Without them I wouldn't be here. Ian and Lindsay have been so good to me. Words can’t describe it. What they’ve put into the game - I hope they get a good horse one day and I hope I’m around to see it and train it.”

In today's final driver Blair Orange had Kilowatt Kid in the outside running line. With a lap to run stablemate Lawrence was putting pressure on the leader as well as on the favourite, The Bus. At the 600 Orange improved the gelding, taking him three wide and at the top of the straight he challenged the two leaders. In what was a  real staying test Kilowatt Kid got the better of The Bus just before the post, winning by half a neck. 

 

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Kilowatt Kid (5) and Blair Orange beating The Bus (12) and Samantha Ottley - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Coming back - winner of the first Super Nuggets Final - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Ian Thomson, Lindsay Thomson, Alister Black, Shirley Leakie (sister of the Ian and Lindsay), Blair Orange, Riley Black, Sheree Black and McKenzie Black. - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

“He’s got an awesome attitude and a lovely way of going. I thought we had a good chance today even though Trottech completely wrote us off. I wasn’t so sure that we could bet The Bus, but we did.”

 

Kilowatt Kid won't be targeting the New Zealand Derby, with Black preferring to stay close to home and aim at the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes on Diamonds Day at the end of next month.  

 

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More The Better Wins Cup
(Saturday 10th March 2018)


Bruce Stewart


Driven by Tim Williams, More The Better, the winner of twelve races and over $500,000 proved to be too strong in the Group Three Yardhurst Hotel Northern Southland Trotting Cup.

Owned by co-trainer Mark Purdon, his father Roy Purdon MBE and David Levene OBE, the four year old entire was having his first start for the season.

 

“His three year old season wasn’t as good as we'd hoped. He was a fanastic two year old. He seems to have come back just as good as he was at two. We’ve been happy with his trials and we were very confident today,” said stable manager for the Purdon/Rasmussen stable Michelle Neilson.

 

Neilson says as a young horse he raced over the shorter sprint distances but his forte is staying races.

 

“Our next aim is the Easter Cup at the end of the month at Addington. He’s a strong horse so it’s nice to slow him down a bit. They race a bit over short trips as young horses so the distance won’t be any worries for him now.”

After beginning well from the twenty metre mark Williams settled More The Better in seventh place as the field settled into single file. With 1200 metres to run he decided to move around the field and for the last lap he sat parked beside leader My Wee Man. Inside the last 400 metres these two runners cut away from the field and were both in for the fight. But More The Better proved too good.  Williams had only to run the reins over his rump to win by three and a half lengths from a late charging Buster Brady. A brave My Wee Man was a nose back in third.

 

“He’s got great manners and he won today with the plugs still in.”

 

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 More The Better and Tim Williams out on their own - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

 

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Returning as winners of the Northern Southland Cup - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Sponsor Dave McHugh, his wife, and Michelle Neilson from the All-Stars Stable with the Northern Southland Trotting Cup - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

This is the second time Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have won the Northern Southland Cup. They won with Isaiah in 2015. His time of 3-20.1 is a race record. The winning time today was 3-22.6. 

 

More The Better is out of the In The Pocket mare Lucky Pocket which is a full sister to Christian Cullen.

 

The win by More The Better caps off a very profitable two days for the Purdon/Rasmussen All Stars stables. They starters thirteen runs at two race meeting (Auckland and Invercargill) winning eight races and stakes of $347,900.

 

Driver Tim Williams scored three wins at the Northern Southland meeting and one in Auckland. 

 

 

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Destiny Jones Wins Main Trot
(Saturday 10th March 2018)


Bruce Stewart


Dean Hunter has only been living in Canterbury for the last month having relocated to the garden city from Blenheim and today's win by Destiny Jones in the Pryde's Easifeeds Southern Lights was his first from his new barn at Russley.

In today's trotting feature The Pres mare beat a nice field of squaregaiters, improving on her last start second to quality trotter Bordeax at Addington last week.

  

Hunter has trained Destiny Jones for most of her career but good friend Kevin Townley has also had a stint at training her.

  

“Kevin and I are very good friends and I’ve learnt most of my stuff from him.” 

 

Hunter says Destiny Jones career hasn't been without drama. 

 

“We’ve had our problems with her so it’s nice to have her back. She's had a wee nose bleed because she’s been popping blood vessels in her nose. It looks worse than it is. It isn’t happening further down but we’ve had to scratch her a few times. Hopefully we're on top of it now.”

 

 

The hot pace set primarily by Splash Cola suited Destiny Jones and driver Blair Orange. With a lap to run they got a drag into the race when Sundons Wish improved. Just before straightening Orange hooked the six year old mare out and she came three wide to make her claim. She trotted nicely to the line beating a late run from Harriet Of Mot. The winning margin was one and a half lengths with another head back to Jen Jaccka.

 

 

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 Destiny Jones trotting out to win the Southern Light - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Returning to the birdcage with Blair Orange - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

  

The winning time of 3-27.2 was just outside Dark Horse's track record of 3-26.7 but the time is a new race record as this was the first time the Southern Lights has been run over 2700 metres. 

 

Hunter has held a trainers licence since 1988. He's trained twenty nine winners - twenty three of those being trotters.

 

Other good trotters he's had in his stable have been Mo Hahn (by Earl) which won five races and Avon Develd (Gee Whiz II) which also won five.

 

He also trains Dolly Jones a half-sister to Destiny Jones by Monkey Bones which ran third at Westport yesterday. 

 

 

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Northern Southland Briefs
(Saturday 10th March 2018)

Bruce Stewart


Bettor’s Delight colt Another Masterpiece showed that he’d improved from a good third in the Sapling Stakes when he easily won the ILT Northern Tavern Mobile Pace for two year olds.

Taken straight to the front by Tim Williams Another Masterpiece, the only runner with raceday experience, beat two Southland trained runners Eloquent Mach and Bottle Rock.

“He’s still pretty green but every time he steps out he improves. We’ll see how he pulls up today as to whether he comes down for the Kindergarten. We have two other horses pencilled in to come down – Jack Jones and War Dan Delight,” said stable manager Michelle Neilson.

Another Masterpiece is trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.

 

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 Another Masterpiece winning for Tim Williams - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

  

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Back to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

 

A former Purdon/Rasmussen trained horse Bettor Be Gold won the next race.

He's now trained by Regan Todd at Woodend Beach, and he was too good for a large field of R45-R54 horses.

Driven by Samantha Ottley, the four year old had to settle in second place after being beaten for gate speed by Ansett Flight. But with 1800 metres to go Ottley came off the back of Ansett Flight to take the lead. That was how the order stayed with Better Be Gold winning by one and a half lengths.

It was Bettor Be Gold’s fifth start. As a two year old, he won the Garrards NZ Sires Stakes Series Silver and only had one start at three.

  

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Better Be Gold winning for trainer Regan Todd and Samantha Ottley - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

 

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Bettor Than Gold - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

The Canterbury run was broken by 16-1 long shot Carlo Gambino when the Wyndham trained four year old came from the back in the field to win by three quarters of a length.

 

The Mach Three four year old is out of Holly Patron.

 

“He needs the right run and he got that today,” said trainer driver Brendon McLellan.  

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Carlo Gambino and Brendon McLellan winning at Ascot Park today - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

 

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Maiden winner Carlo Gambino - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

Trainer Jack Harrington is considering nominating BD Son for the New Zealand Trotting Derby after the three year old gelding won the AON Insurance Brokers Gore Handicap Trot at Ascot Park today.


“After today’s win we’ll have to throw in a nomination. He’s a good wee horse. The biggest issues are in his head. We’ve had six starts with him. And the situation is that in work with another horse or in a race, he tries to get into fifth gear and goes too good for himself. When he gets in front he just latches on (to the bit) or when he sees another horse it’s all handlebars down,” he said.

  

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BD Son and Dexter Dunn beating Spotlight The Valley - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Three year old gelding BD Son after winning his third race - Photo Bruce Stewart 

  

Diminutive filly Kayla Marie showed she's all heart when she won the Caduceus Club of Southland/Alabar Fillies Classic.

By Bettors Delight out of Braeside Star the two year old is owned by Braeden Whitelock and his wife Caroline who bred the filly.

Driver Michelle Neilson settled her near the back of the field and when stablemate and favourite Dracarys broke and was out of play she moved Kayla Marie up to sit parked.

Inside the last 700 metres she moved the filly up to go head to head with leader Havtime and she won by half a length from Olivia Rachel who followed her into the race.

The winning time was 2-45.2.

“She’s got a lot of guts and tries her heart out. She sat parked at her last start and narrowly got beat and it was a gutsy run. Today she’s gone even better,” said Neilson.

It's been a magic few days for the Whitelocks. Princess Tiffany, which they part own with Phil and Margaret Creighton won the Group Two Delightful Lady Classic at Alexandra Park last night. 

 

 

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 Kayla Marie holding out Olivia Rachel - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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 Winning salute from Michelle Neilson.

 

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Michelle Nielson, Kayla Marie, Clark Barron (CCS), Brendon Fahy (CCS), Debbie Smith (CCS), Vin Devery (CCS) and Nigel Fahy (Alabar) Photo Bruce Stewart.

  

Envious underlined her class when she won the Fillies and Mares feature at the Northern Southland meeting at Ascot Park.

Trained by Jo Baynes, who shares in the ownership with husband Kenny, the Changeover mare worked her way to the front and stayed there for the rest of the 2200 metre trip.

 

 

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Envious easily beating Diaba - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

 

 

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 Winning salute from Matt Anderson - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

 

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Dark Horse Out For The Season (Monday 12th March 2018)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

Smart trotter Dark Horse won't race again this season.

 

The five year old mare was scratched from the Southern Lights at the Northern Southland meeting on Saturday after her trainer Nathan Williamson came back from the Winton Workouts to find her lame in the paddock.

 

The injury was diagnosed on Friday as a hind suspensory injury. 

 

"It's worse that it happened the day before her race. You spend three months working towards this race. It's very frustrating. She's like one of the family and I spend a lot of time with her," Williamson said when I spoke to him on Friday.

 

Dark Horse was scanned today by local vet Brendon Bell, and a year away from racing was recommended.

 

"She'll stay at home and be boxed for a while, re-scanned, do some hand walking and have a long slow build up. The vet sounded hopeful. I guess we'll aim at the Southern Lights next year."

 

The Bacardi Lindy mare is raced on lease by the Griffins and Seafield Trotting Syndicate who have been eagerly awaiting her return to the racetrack as have all of the Southland Harness Racing fraternity.

 

From her twenty race-day appearances Dark Horse has won nine races and banked $84,541. One of her attributes was her high speed and Williamson was certainly happy with her condition and buildup going into Saturday's feature. She last raced at Addington in the middle of November.

 

Meanwhile he was very complimentary of Haras des Trotteurs for sponsoring the inaurgural Southland Trotting Oaks on Saturday.

 

"I have a couple of nice two year old trotting fillies who will certainly be aimed at the race next season. It's good that it was supported by Northern trainers along with locals," he said. 

 

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Dark Horse after winning at the Riverton Trotting Club's October meeting in 2016 - Photo Bruce Stewart  

 

 

 

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Santino Smashes Record (Saturday 24th March 2018)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

Mile racing, more than most, is about breaking records and Neville Cleaver - owner of Franco Santino which smashed the Southland three year old record at the Wairio meeting today, was over the moon about not only the win, but the record that came with it.

 

And so too was the horse's trainer and driver Nathan Williamson. 

 

"Thrilled to be doing that. We were humming along right from the start. We'll have to look at the Southern Supremacy now," he said after the Christian Cullen colt ran out the mile in 1-52.0.

 

The super quick time was set up by Mach's Back who lead for driver Dexter Dunn from barrier one with Franco Santino getting the perfect run behind the leader. Turning in, Dunn pinched a break and Williamson decided not to take the passing lane and drove Franco Santino down the middle of the track to get up by half a neck. 

 

"That other horse was really making him work to get there but my horse just kept coming and he was real genuine."

 

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Franco Santino (2) getting the better of Mach's Back - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Back a new track and Southland track record holder - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

The time of 1-52.0 broke Gentle Western's three year old colts and gelding track and Southland record of 1-55.0 set in 2013. It also bettered Fly Like An Eagle's Open Geldings and Entires record of 1-53.9. The all-comers track record of 1-51.9 is held by Delightful Memphis. 

 

"He's still pretty physically immature. We just have to make sure we look after him all the way. We have to space his races." 

 

The win was Williamson's 199th as a trainer. 

 

Cleaver, who likes to look deep into a horses pedigree said that he was taken by Franco Santino's second dam's time trial record of 1-52.6 and the rich pedigree the colt had on his dam's side.  

 

"Before I went to the sales to buy him I looked at the breeding and thought what a lovely well bred horse this is. I showed Nathan a picture of him before we went there and he said yeah buy it. I managed to get him for $55,000. The brother at the next years sale went for $190,000," he said.  

 

Cleaver expects the phone will ring with buyer interest, but he said he loves to race them.

"It's about putting a few cups on the mantlepiece." 

 

 

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Somejoy Wins Eighth Race  (Saturday 24th March 2018)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

 

Logic said Somejoy would easily win her heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series today and she did just that.

 

From barrier nine driver Blair Orange realised he was on a hiding to nothing if he pressed forward so he eased the mare out of the gate and settled at the rear.

 

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Somejoy and Blair Orange leaving the gate - Photo Bruce Stewart 

 

At the 600, Dexter Dunn who was second last driving Especial, decided to press forward and Orange got right on her back. Just  before the turn Somejoy was running into the race four wide. Orange just had to  run the reins over her rump and she responded to win easily by two lengths from a game Especial.

 

The mile was cut out in 1-53.2. It was a new track record for four year old and older mares. The previous record of 1-53.3 was set by Rocker Band in 2015.

 

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Somejoy winning in 1-53.2 - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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 Back to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

Trained by Clark Barron at Rakauhauka , the Somebeachsomewhere mare was fitted for her assignment today with two trials at Winton on the 14th March and three days ago at Wyndham, winning both impressively. 

 

"She does take plenty of work. We're lucky to have the Southern Belle series and after the final we'll have to reassess things I suppose. I haven't thought as far as the Jewels but it's a possibility," said Barron.

 

It was the mare's eighth win from just eighteen starts and six of those have come this season.  

 

"She's a lot stronger this year but we've been lucky enough to race the same pool of horses down here which makes her look good." 

 

The winning time was 0.1 of a second outside of Kiwi On Show's Southland record of 1-52.2.

 

The wins also means she surpasses her dam Jumpforjoys record of seven career wins.  

 

"Like her mum her gait is immaculate."

 

So the next race on the radar for Somejoy is the Southern Belle Speed Series Final on this track over the 1609  metre distance on 14th April. It's a race Barron hasn't yet won but this year could be different.

 

"I've always been all for it. We've been luck enough to to keep a lot of mares and fillies and you always try to target those sort of races."  

 

 

 

 

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Mac Smokin (Saturday 24th March 2018)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

Ryal Bush trainer Brett Gray doesn't want to look too far ahead but by the way his trotter Smokey Mac in going he may have to.

 

The four year old Thanksgiving gelding - after his win today at the Wairio meeting, leads the Four Year Old Trotting Ruby for the end of season Harness Jewels. 

 

"Yeah he's heading the table now. It's a long time between now and then but we'll definitely have a go if he's going good. He's the type of horse that'll get around that track (Cambridge). You still have to cop a draw up there but fortune favours the brave," said Gray.

 

In today's Western Electrical 2008 Limited Mobile Trot, Smokey Mac led early before handing up to stablemate Jen Jaccka. Just before straightening driver Brent Barclay pulled Smokey Mac out from the trailing position and he let down nicely to beat Jen Jaccka by half a length with War Machine a nose back in third. 

 

"I'm rapt with both of them and happy with the way Jen's (Jen Jaccka) going too. Smokey will go to Addington for the four and five year old championship and Jen will go up the following week," said Gray. 

 

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Smokey Mac (4) winning the main trot of the day for Brent Barclay - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Back to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

Gray says Smokey Mac's next target is the $30,000 Group Three Lamb and Haywood Four and Five Year Old Trotting Stakes at Addington on Easter Saturday.  

 

"I'm going to go there next, then give him a wee freshen up and then concentrate on the Jewels maybe. But I'm a bugger to change my mind."  

 

The win was his seventh from seventeen starts and all the way through he's been driven by stable driver Brent Barclay. 

 

"Brent's done a big job with this horse by just improving his attitude. He's been the key to his success. I can't thank him enough. But he's got a long way to go yet. He's got a lot of natural ability but we just have to pipe it. He's been pretty lucky because Brent's been driving him without knocking him around. He's a horse that needs that too."     

 

 

 

 

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Come Dance With Me Oaks Chance (Saturday 24th March 2018)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

 

Rangiora trainer Mitch Kerr missed his flight south today but his quality three year old filly Come Dance With Me did all the flying.

 

The Bettor's Delight filly was caught three wide early so driver Dexter Dunn sent her forward and she was travelling so well that she was taken to the top inside the 800 metres. From there she was never in doubt of winning, going to the finishing post under a hold to win by six lengths from Triroyale Brigade.  

 

"With Dexter on he gets the best out of them doesn't he. It was very pleasing. I really think the mile was right up her alley today," said stable representative Matt Anderson.

 

The winning time was 1-54.5 with the last 800 metres run in 56.9.

 

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Under a tight hold - Come Dance With Me - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Back qualified of the Southland Oaks - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

Come Dance With Me is now qualified for the Nevele R/Macca Lodge Southland Oaks Final on Diamonds Day at the end of April.

 

She was bred by Dennis Bennett and Linda Joyce and is out of the seven win Christian Cullen mare Lady Dancer. Her dam Jodi Vance left quality colts including Surprise Package which won thirteen races, a Victoria Cup and a further fourteen races in America. Jodi Vance also left Gentle Western which won four races here and thirteen more in the states.

 

 Come Dance With Me was bought by Paul Kerr at the Sale Of The Stars for $17,500. 

 

 Meanwhile Anderson notched up his 100th winner when he drove The Doorman to win at Forbury Park on Thursday. He currently leads the National Junior Drivers Championship with thirty two winners.  

 

"It's all coming together quite nicely. We just have to keep the foot down. Down south has been my main support, trainers have put me on unconditionally. Up home it can get a bit hard but if you draw the line and focus down here it's helpful. The travel's okay. You can't drive winners sitting on the couch at home."

 

 

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