Smart Type Emerges (Saturday 5th May 2018)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

On what was a run-of-the-mill raceday at Ascot Park today a two year old trotter emerged as being a horse to watch in the future.

 

Majestic Son gelding Full Noise handled the pressures of his first start against more experienced runners like a pro, and easily beat eleven other runners in the Hamil Saddlery Trot over 2700 metres.

 

Full Noise began slowly but well and settled in sixth place early. With 1600 metres to run driver Brent Barclay moved him off the running line to sit parked for the last lap.

 

"He never batted an eyelid out there. He's so laid back when he's parked so it worked out really good. I'd say he's got a very bright future," said Barclay. 

 

As the leaders turned for home Full Noise was asked to go and he trotted nicely down to the winning post to beat Superfast Ninja by three quarters of a length. 

 

"He's a lovely horse and a beautiful trotter. I've driven him in every workout and trial and he's just a natural."

 

His time of 3-35.2 was a new track record for two year old trotters who rarely run this distance. 

 

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Full Noise winning on debut in those famous Baynes colours - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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  Full Noise and Brent Barclay - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

Trainer Brett Gray was also suitably impressed but he's known what's under the horses bonnet for a while. 

 

"Kirstin (Barclay) broke him in. I did a few weeks with him before Christmas and loved him. I turned him out and brought him back in. He's just a natural. The second row draw today worried me a bit but Brent drove him a treat and the horse would have learned a lot today. He hasn't raced in a big field," he said. 

 

After the win Gray wouldn't be drawn as to what the plans are for the two year old.

 

"I've just got to talk to the owners. I think he's a horse for the future and I really want to look after him." 

  

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Winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

The Majestic Son gelding which is owned by Kenny Baynes and his sister in-law Penny, is out of the Sundon mare Knapdale Girl which won three races in New Zealand and a further five in Australia. Knapdale Girl is from a family the late Colin Baynes developed and raced over many years. It's the family that's produced quality trotters like Cool Cat which won ten races and Bearcat which won seven.

 

Full Noise is the first foal from Knapdale Girl. She has a yearling colt by Coktail Jet stallion The Best Madrik and a weanling filly by Pegasus Spur.  

 

Another branch of the family produced many good trotters for Maurice Skinner including Adiantum which won eight races and Maori Maiden the winner of seven. 

 

Full Noise is named after a Yak-3 V12 World War Two fighter owned by Graeme Frew, an Air New Zealand pilot.

 

Frew qualified for the National Championship Air Races in Reno in America where he broke a race record last year. He also recently bought the plane down to Wanaka for the Warbirds Over Wanaka. And in true pioneering spirit the plane carries the same number (35) as Southlander Burt Munro's Indian Motorcycle which also raced in America.

 

"We were actually in Reno last year when he was there. They put the plane in a container and took it over there. A local guy Jay McIntyre who is a renowned engineer who lives in Blenheim now, went over with him and put the plane back together. They did a fantastic job over there," said Penny. 

 

The win by Full Noise brings the number of wins for Kenny Baynes this season to 17. War Machine (5), War Admiral (3), Especial Convair Hustler(1) Too Cool (1) Royal Bengal (3) and Full Noise (1) Envious (1) and Especial (2). 

 

Full Noise, Royal Bengal and Convair Hustler are raced by Baynes Racing Limited (Kenny and Penny) while the other horses are raced by Kenny and his wife Jo. 

 

 

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Please Shuddup Wins For Big Group (Saturday 5th May 2018)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

The crowd that gathered in the birdcage after Please Shuddup's win made up a fair portion of those that were on-course today at Ascot Park as many racegoers, including the horse's trainer Murray Brown, were in their Mai Mais for the opening of duck shooting in the province.

 

By Auckland Reactor, Please Shuddup drew two on the second row in today's R51 -R9 Mobile Pace. With the rush to the first bend, driver Craig Ferguson was able to ease the gelding off the inside running line and he settled fifth on the outside. At that point he started to get keen and threw his head in the air. 

 

"He's perfect at home but when he gets to the races he gets a bit keen. He's got a lot to learn, but with a bit more racing he should grow into being a nice racehorse," said stable representative Haley Croft, who does most of the work with the gelding.

 

With 1600 metres to run Ferguson came out three wide and progressed forward. With a lap to run he moved to sit parked.

 

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Craig Ferguson moves Please Shuddup (10) forward with a lap to run - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

With 800 metres to go Please Shuddup was level pegging with leader Machitelli. Just before turning in Ferguson got busy on the gelding and while favourite Just Dance had to wait on the passing lane Ferguson pitched a bit of a break and that proved to be the winning of the race. Please Shuddup held on by a head. His winning time on a cold day was a respectable 2-43.5.  

 

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Please Shuddup driven out at the finish line - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

Please Shuddup showed a lot of promise early this season running second on his home track in early December before winning at Winton later that month. His form then tapered off. 

 

"He had a problem with a tooth and that set him back quite a bit. We just lost too much time to race those good ones (in the Supremacy Stakes) so we just had to take a different road. But he's all good now."  

 

Croft says the stable has also tried a different tactic when presenting the horse to the races. 

 

"We've taken a bit of a different approach this time and come in fresh. Last time he had a trial and a workout. He probably ran his race in his trial because they went 2-45. It was a fresh approach today and obviously it worked. He doesn't take too much work. As you can tell he's a lean machine."

 

He's raced by the Tricode Racing Syndicate, The Tricode Racing Syndicate Number 2 and The Dolce Syndicate, and was bought by syndicate manager Peter Kett for $22,000 at the 2016 Sale of the Stars. The Tricode Syndicate had raced his half-sister Soapbox which won three races before she was exported to Australia.

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Happy winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

"He's the type of horse that can't race week in week out so he'll probably have a couple more starts and then head to the paddock."

 

Meanwhile Jilaire's Mac won his first race for owner Gordon Hamilton and trainer Kirk Larsen. He's shown steady improvement in his seven previous starts and thanks to a great drive by Larsen got up to win his MR40 - MR 44 race.

 

The McArdle gelding is out of Jilaire's Standby and is closely related to Jilaire's Chance which won ten races and Jilaire Bogart which won the inaugural Southland Oaks in 1983.

 

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Jilaire's Mac (7) winning for Kirk Larsen today - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Returning to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart 

 

The well bred Buzinga also impressed on debut when she won the Southland Standardbred Breeders Association Fillies and Mares Mobile Pace.

 

 

 

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Buzinga (4) winning for Dexter Dunn - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Back after her first win - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

 

The two year old filly, which is trained by Cran Dalgety is by Bettor's Delight out of the ten win Mach Three mare Safedra which Dalgety also trained.

 

Safedra is now part of the rich band of broodmares owned by Winton couple Todd and Fleur Anderson under the Taffy Limited umbrella.


The Anderson's have a full sister to Buzinga.  

 

 

 

 

 

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Dunrobin Wins Nuggets (Saturday 12th May 2018)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

She looks at least a year away from maturing, so two wins in three starts this season have been a big bonus for the connections of nice filly Dunrobin who won the $12,000 Ryal Bush Transport Nuggets Final at Winton today.

  

"She's a very light framed filly so that's her last start for the season. She can go out now and grow up and come back next season. She's got a bit more of a turn of speed than the others (out of the mare) so hopefully that'll follow on into next season. She had to sprint hard to catch them today," said trainer Brent Shirley.

 

From barrier four, driver Mark Hurrell stayed out of the early rush for the front and settled the filly in the outside running line. Inside the last 300 metres Hurrell launched Dunrobin three wide to make her run. She still had a heap of ground to make up in the home straight but produced a sustained sprint to nab a game Alfie Romeo by a half a head. 

 

"Mark drove her an absolute treat so that was bloody great."

 

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 Mark Hurrell getting the best out of Dunrobin (4) to beat Alfie Romeo (7) - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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The victory salute - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

  

Hurrell is having a great run. Today's win was his eleventh of the season and seventeenth in his short career. He's currently in the top six on the New Zealand Junior Drivers table. 

 

Dunrobin, which is by Well Said out of Satire Franco, is owned by Shirley's wife Raewyn and loyal Bluffies John Edminstin and Earl Shannon.

 

Edminstin, surprisingly wasn't on course today, but he was out fishing. He's one of the driving forces behind next weekends Bluff Oyster and Food Festival so getting seafood had to take priority. 

 

Shirley said the 'road to the races' hasn't been easy for Dunrobin but that's been the case for all of Satire Franco's foals.

 

"The whole family have been hard. They're horrible yearlings, terrible two year olds and pain the arse three year olds. But they mature into nice four year olds. They're not dirty but it's a lot of work just getting them going. If they show something at three you're usually looking at getting a nice four year old."

 

Two races later one of the forgotten horses of Southland harness racing Fiddlethefool made an unexpected return to the races for Shirley. He's been away from racing since his win on this course in December 2016. It was thought that he wouldn't race again.

 

From his twelve starts he'd won four races and ran second behind Heaven Rocks at the Northern Southland meeting in March 2016. 

 

The now the five year old has been gelded and his new part-owner Grant Shirley said that was because he had intended to use the horse as a hack for his children.

 

Grant has done the majority of work with the horse and now owns him with Pat Langford, Mark and Martha Hogan and Raewyn Shirley.

 

"Martha's in the syndicate because she gelded him," said Brent. 

  

The horse's excellent third today is testament to Grant's ground work and Brent's finishing qualities.

 

"He broke down and has been away from racing for eighteen months. He was forward and working as good as he's ever worked. His aim is the Bluff Cup," said Brent. 

 

Meanwhile Ryal Bush trainer Brett Gray extended his lead in the Southland Trainers Premiership when the Charlie Smaill owned Elva Jaccka won her second race in just nine starts. The win was Gray's twenty eighth win of the season. He is now six clear of Nathan Williamson.

 

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Elva Jaccka winning for leading junior driver Matt Anderson - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Coming back to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

Grace O'Malley also returned to the winners circle when she beat Scarlett Lane by a half a head in the Murray Gray Memorial Trot. It was the nine year old Sundon mares second win of the season and sixth career win. She was driven by Peter Hunter who has reined her in all six of her wins.

  

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Grace O'Malley beating Scarlett Lane at Winton - Photo Bruce Stewart.

  

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Returning for owners Go Ziggy Go Limited and trainer Curly Thomas - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

  

 

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I'mallaboutthewin (Saturday 12th May 2018)

 

 

 

Bruce Stewart 

 

It's been a while coming but three year old filly I'mallaboutthebase recorded her breakthrough win at Winton today.

 

The Shadow Play filly trained by part-owner and breeder Steve Baucke, showed early promise as a two year finishing second to Dizzy Miss Lizzy in the Group Three Alabar New Zealand/Caduceus Club of Southland Fillies Mobile in March last year. Since then she's recorded three other seconds and a third in her thirteen starts.

 

In today's PGG Wrightson Mobile Pace, driver Craig Ferguson took luck out of play and from a handy draw went straight to the front with the favourite. He got away with a few 'cheap' quarters and the filly sped home in 56.7 seconds (last 800 metres) which put paid to her rivals. The winning margin was three lengths and the overall time was 3-01.9.

 

"She got a nice draw today, got out in front and did what she likes to do. She's hard to beat when she pulls a 56 half. It was a very good drive from Craig. He said she just jogged it," said Baucke who owns the mare with his wife Carol. 

 

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I'mallaboutthebase cruising in front for Craig Ferguson with a lap to run - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Winning easily by three lengths - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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In the winners circle for the first time - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

"She hasn't had too much luck and had a few bad draws. We took her shoes off at Addington and the track was deep (on the night she raced) and she wasn't getting any grip. The start before that she was second which was a good run for her. We've also had a few problems with her back muscles. Suzanne Toomey (masseur) came once a fortnight and she also massaged her a couple of days before she raced. When she was sore she was hard to steer round the corners. Being young and longer in the back I think there's just a weak area there. It's not uncommon." 

 

Baucke has also been keeping a close eye on I'mallaboutthebase's half-sister Delight My Soul which is now racing out of the Ray Green stable in Auckland.

 

"She's doing a great job up there. I'm proud of the little girl. She's bringing a bit of money in too."

 

Since racing in Auckland she's had six starts for her new stable which resulted in two wins, a second, a fourth and a sixth. With the higher stakes in the north, she's banked $19,381.00. 

 

"She's going to stud in the spring. I haven't finalised anything but I'm looking at Captaintreacherous."

 

I'mallbaouthebase is out of the In The Pocket mare Soleil D’or from which the Bauckes have bred three fillies – Acapulco Sunrise (Santanna Blue Chip) which was unraced, Delight My Soul (Bettor’s Delight) and I'mallaboutthebase.

 

Soleil D‘or is out of Corbie, a Vance Hanover daughter of Black Watch.

“She had about six fillies so we decided to sell her. Then she had a colt. She hasn’t been bree from since so I’m not sure what happened there.”

Steve and Carol Baucke have been in Southland for seventeen years, having shifted shifting south from Te Pahu south of Hamilton.

 

They have a 320 cow dairy herd on 300 acres near Woodland. It’s also the home of four broodmares and a small team of racehorses which Steve trains.

 

Carol’s parents Reg and Joyce Davey had horses too and raced Most Happy Milly, a Smooth Fella mare out Armbro Mill. Armbro Mill was a half-sister to Gold Rand which won eleven races.

 

 

Most Happy Milly won five races, all as a three year old. She was trained by Maurice McKendry.

The Daveys also raced thoroughbreds and actually bred Arwon the winner of the 1978 Melbourne Cup. He’s was by Aritzo out of Fair Flash and was originally named Flash Guy. His Australian owners changed his name to Arwon which is Nowra spelt backward. One of the syndicate members lives in Nowra.

Also in the winners circle today was the Brian Norman trained Easton Foxglove. The three year old Washington VC filly has been a model of consistency this season with wins or placings in her last seven starts.

With Dexter Dunn on board, the winning dividend was a surprising $8.90.

It was the Tahakopa trainer's thirteenth winner of the season. Norman is having his best season ever since he started training in 1985. His previous best was twelve in 2013.  

 

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Easton Foxglove, the widest horse in the picture with the blinds on, is about to make his winning run at the top of the straight - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Back in the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

 

 

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Kiwi Crusher Gets Business Done (Saturday 19th May 2018).

Bruce Stewart

Kiwi Crusher has always had ability but the string of outs early in this season indicate she doesn’t always bring her A game.

Today at Gore she was on her best behaviour and at start twenty three and second run for new trainer Graeme Anderson, she recorded her second win.

Anderson has had the four year old Sundon mare six weeks, after she’d spend time with Craig Laurenson and Brian Norman.

“She arrived in good order from Brian Normans. The straight line beach training has changed her attitude,” said stable representative Andrew Suddaby.

A return to form looked immanent after she ran third at Forbury in her previous start.

“She was probably one run short at her last start. Today she was pretty spot on and it was a winnable race. The pull down blinds made a difference today.”

From the unruly mark on the 35 metre handicap, driver Dexter Dunn settled the mare last of the bunch. With 800 metres to run he launched her three wide. She was shunted out four wide at the 600 but came five wide with her run turning in and trotting boldly down the middle of the track.

Kiwi Crusher appeared not to see Nottingham K Two coming up the inside, so Dunn had to drive her right out to win by half a length.

“It’s definitely not her last win today but she may find the step up a bit tougher. That run today showed she’s definitely got another couple of wins in her at least,” said Suddaby.

 

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Dexter Dunn getting busy on Kiwi Crusher (14) - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Kiwi Crusher coming back to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

  

Kiwi Crusher is out of the Son Of Afella mare Cushion. Cushion was out of Evasion which was by Lordship. Evasion left Arden Meadow which won nine races, and Arden’s Dream, one of the foundation mares for Arden Lodge in Tapanui.  

The win on Kiwi Crusher was one of three by Dexter Dunn. His other wins were on the Tony Stratford trained Little Rain and Betstars Blue Jean trained by Matt Saunders.

  

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Little Rain (10) winning for Dexter Dunn - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Betstar Blue Jeans winning for Matt Saunders and Dexter Dunn - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

 

 

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Schweinsteiger Scores First Goal (Saturday 19th May 2018)

Bruce Stewart

Schweinsteiger looks to be a horse with a bit of speed and the way in which he finished off his race today at Gore the win in the Advance Agriculture Mobile Pace won’t be his last.

The three year old gelding is raced by the What Ever Syndicate and trainer Hamish Hunter – the same group that won twenty five races and $682,514 with Cup Class pacer Franco Ledger.

Schweinsteiger was purchased for $16,000 at the 2016 Sale of the Stars by the syndicate.

“He was the only Falcon Seelster at the sale that year and he was a second thought. He was a similar size to Franco Ledger – very small,” said syndicate member Tony O’Neil.

The What Ever Syndicate are mainly from Central Otago and are made up of Rugby fans. However Mike Cornelius is the odd one out.     

“He’s the only soccer fan in the syndicate which is a bit sad. He’s happy that the horse is named Schweinsteiger because he’s named after a famous German soccer player. His stable name is Mad Mike,” said another syndicate member Ken McConnell.

Football player Bastian Schweinsteiger played for thirteen seasons for Bayem Munich, represented Germany between 2004 and 2016 and is the fourth most capped German football player of all time.

 

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  Schweinsteiger winning for Matty Williamson - Photo Bruce Stewart.

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 Tony O'Neil and his wife (left) with Ken McConnell after Schweinsteiger's win at Gore - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

The syndicate was confident of a good showing today after a promising fourth at Winton last weekend.

“Hamish doesn’t give much away but we were happy with the way he came home last week,” said Tony.

The syndicate also race Broadway Banner and plan to have a get together next weekend at Invercargill. Their ‘frontman’ Brendon McIntyre was noticeably absent today.

“He’s playing rugby and trying to kill himself. This is far easier,” said McConnell.

O’Neil is also in the Gotashearasheep Syndicate that owned the third place getter Unloaded, trained by Peter Hunter.

Schweinsteiger was bred by Cavalla Bloodstock and Canterbury Race Caller Mark McNamara and is out of Miss Moonlite Shadow.

Miss Moonlite Shadow is by Christian Cullen out of Sirius Flight which is the dam of classy pacers Malak Uswaad (9 wins and 1-49.4 USA) and Timeless Perfection (6 wins).

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Forget Horse Wins (Saturday 19th May 2018)

Bruce Stewart

The Bull Pen bred and owned by Riversdale breeder Neil Timms has come a long way in a short time.

The Tintin In America five year old gelding is only in his second preparation after Timms completely forgot about him.

“He (Timms) broke him in as a yearling and forgot about him until he was a four year old. We got him out of the paddock and started jogging him for about three months. We thought we‘d better throw some hopples on him to see whether he was any good. We qualified him in his first prep and he went 3-02. We threw him out and brought him back this year so it’s only really his first season of racing,” said trainer Brent McIntyre. 

The Bull Pen is named after a Welsh holiday destination.

“A friend of mine owned a cattle stud in Brecon in Wales and they made it into accommodation and called it The Bull Pens. It’s in Clanfigangel Nat Bran. I used to work for the guy's father in the 1970s when it was a farm,” said Timms.

The Bull Pen is out of the Live Or Die mare One Ali which was trained by Ben Waldron.

“She was a high speed mare who ran quite a few placings. She would have won from a stand but wasn’t good enough from behind a mobile. She’s in foal to Raging Bull,” Timms said.

So why Tintin In America?

“I went to him because of his high speed and he was within my price bracket for that year.”

In today’s race, after the early rush, driver Maruia Parker who works for McIntyre restrained The Bull Pen into the one one. At the 300 metre mark she was travelling well enough to move out and start to challenge the leaders. And in a dogged finish, The Bull Pen got up to beat Misty Memories by a neck with another half a neck back to El Dinero.

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The Bull Pen (2) winning his second race at Gore - Photo Bruce Stewart.

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A happy Maruia Parker - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

 

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Belle Presses The Button (Saturday 19th May 2018)

Bruce Stewart

The Pres mare Pres The Belle is one of the most improved trotting mares south of the Waitaki.

From thirteen starts this season she has won four races - the last three in a row.

“She’s getting a bit of ring craft and is strengthening up. Getting her off the unruly was a big thing. It puts her in the race now. Being on the unruly did teach her to get away,” said Mosgiel trainer Darryn Simpson.

Today’s at Gore, the country’s leading reinsman Blair Orange took the mare to the top with a lap to run.

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Pres The Belle leading with a lap to run - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

With 500 metres to go he pressed the go button and she put three lengths on her opposition. She came away in the straight to beat Miss Bamboocha by five and a quarter lengths.

“She’s the real deal. Just a nice horse all round and steps up on race day.”

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 Pres The Belle easily winning at Gore - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

Pres The Belle is raced on lease by Stewart Campbell, Des Minehan, Dexter Nind and Stewart Heal.

“What she has done this year has been a bonus. She’s going to be better with time and I’d like to think she’s going to be better next season. There’s a race for her in Invercargill so that may be it for the season.”   

Pres The Belle was bred by the Grice Brothers and is out of the eight win Sundon mare Daisy Belle which Stewart Campbell trained.

It’s a family that has left primarily very good pacers like Palestine (18 wins), Barbara Del (9), Derby (11), Cock Robin (6) and Bahrein (5).

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Ben Gets First Ascot Win On Kingslayer (Saturday 26th May 2018)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

 

 

Junior driver Ben Hope saw first hand how rough the weather can get in the deep south when he drove at Ascot Park for the first time today.

 

The day was probably at it's best when he reined Kingslayer to win the Watts Backflow Junior Drivers Mobile Pace.

 

Trained by his parents Greg and Nina Hope, the Christian Cullen gelding at only it's third start is still green and showed a few wayward tendencies in his preliminary. 

 

"In the warm up he was keen and galloping and wasn't really on the job. When we got up on the gate he was very keen to go and had that wee gallop but to his credit he came back down quite quickly," said Hope.

 

Three lengths off the gate at dispatch, Hope didn't panic and settled the favourite in last place with Ellie Barron taking second favourite Black Ops to the front. 

 

 

"With a lap to go he was really pulling hard. I felt he probably would have choked down if I'd stayed there much longer."

 

So Hope sent Kingslayer forward three wide with a lap to run.  

 

"I saw Ellie batting her one (horse) up a bit so I thought I might be able to go round quickly enough to get in front of her which I did. It took a bit of work to get there and lucky enough the horse kept going for me." 

 

Hope didn't get to the lead until the 500 metre mark and with 400 metres to run pulled the ear plugs and started to tap the gelding up to keep him rolling. Under a hard drive Kingslayer held on to beat a late charging Shelby Bromac by three quarters of a length with a nose back to a game Black Ops, and Machs Mareta another nose back in fourth.  

 

"He's got the ability but he's a green horse and likes to run around. He has two prickers on and a jaw breaker to help his steering. He's got a big motor and we came down to try and win a junior drivers race with him and get points for the junior drivers championship. I'm currently in the top six. That was the goal and he duly delivered. It's my tenth win of the season." 

 

 

 

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Kingslayer (6) and Ben Hope beating Shelby Bromac (8) -Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

 Kingslayer_returning_950_x_704.jpg Ben Hope recording his first Ascot Park win with Kingslayer - Photo Bruce Stewart 

 

Kingslayer is out of the Bettor's Delight mare Millwood Manhattan and was bred by Katie Carville. Millwood Manhattan won three races for Auckland trainer Tony Herlihy including her first start as a two year old. Kingslayer is her first foal.

 

He's closely related to big winners; Ohoka Arizona (8 New Zealand wins), Ohoka Samson (3 NZ wins and 12 Australian) and Ohoka Colorado (3 NZ wins and 20 Australian wins).  

 

"I'd say he should be able to win four or five at least. He just needs a bit more racing. He'll probably go out for a break now."  

 

Although it was cold for his first drive on Kingslayer, the weather turned later in the afternoon and was at it's worst when Hope drove Rockntommy Rulz in Race Six. The first start two year old settled last early and lost his way in the doom and gloom finishing twenty two lengths from the winner - the aptly named Fun In The Dark. 

 

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Fun In The Dark winning in murky conditions at Ascot Park - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

 

Fun In The Dark is trained and was driven by Matt Purvis.

 

Purvis's sister Charlotte won earlier in the day on the Phil Williamson trained Madison Jane. It was the Monarchy mare's third win in four starts. She's now won five races in total and was up against a field made up primarily of one win horses. 

 

 

 

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Madison Jane winning her fifth race with Charlotte Purvis - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Returning to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

Meanwhile it was a super day for Ascot Park trainers Mark and Debbie Shirley. They brought two horses to the races; Cullens Avenue and Mighty Conqueror and they both won.

 

Mark shares in the ownership of both with good friend Malcolm Dewe. Mighty Conqueror's half-brother Young Conqueror ran second to his younger sibling. 

 

Shane Walkinshaw drove both. 

 

Mark is the President of the Invercargill Harness Racing Club. 

 

 

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Top Marks For Another Motu (Saturday 26th May 2018)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

 

Westward Beach trainer Graeme Anderson doesn't start too many two year olds and Motu Top Mach was the first he's taken to the races since Eamon Maguire won his first start at Forbury in July 2016.

 

"He's a natural strong wee two year old. I had his half-sister Motu Moonbeam which was a good mare for me. She's won about $450,000 in America. That was the reason I bought him. He was only seven thousand dollars so that helped," said Anderson.

 

From two on the second line driver Dexter Dunn pushed the gelding through and was in front inside the first four hundred metres. From there it was easy with Motu Top Mach winning by four and three quarter lengths without the removable deafeners being released. 

 

"He's been in front in his previous start. He's got a bit of gate speed and got through from the second line today. Dexter said he wasn't concentrating last week so I put the half blinds on him today and it was a lot better. There's still improvement in him."

 

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Motu Top Mach beating Glens Of Tekoa (2) - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Victory salute - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

Motu Top Mach was broken in by Mark Fuller in Christchurch.

 

"He did a wonderful job. He came home to me bullet proof and gaited up. I get the easy part really."  

 

He's owned by Gerard Cayford, Ray Chalklin, Stuart Gillan, Tony Gow, Steve Pulley, Anderson and the Hunter Boys Syndicate. Chalklin, Gow, Anderson and Pulley along with Stuart Gillan's wife Pauline share in the ownership of Eamon Maguire which is one of the favourites for the $150,000 Group One Four Year Old Emerald at Cambridge next Saturday. 

 

"This is the first horse the Hunter Boys have had with me. There's fifteen in the syndicate including Andrew Hunter and David Hunter who trains the Taieri Rugby Prems (Seniors)."

 

Anderson has had a good run with the stock of Mach Three. Other winners from the stable by that stallion have been Belkmyster, Onedin Mach and Mako Banner.

 

Motu Top Mach is the sixth foal out of the Live Or Die mare Top Tart. Her best winner is Motu Moonbeam which won four of her five wins for Anderson before heading to America. All of her six foals have qualified and won races.  

 

The win was great for Tony O'Neil who's part of the Hunter Boys Syndicate. He's also in the Shearasheep Syndicate which owns Unloaded which also won earlier in the day. And he's a member of the What Ever Syndicate which own Schweinsteiger which won at Gore last Saturday.

 

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Unloaded with Peter Hunter winning for the Shearasheep Syndicate - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Returning to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

  

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