February 2019

Big Burlington Wins

Bruce Stewart

American Ideal gelding Burlington looks to be a horse with plenty of potential judging by his win at Gore today.

The Brent White trained three year old was having his first start and won by an impressive four lengths.

He was bought by Ross McCutcheon at the 2017 National Yearling Sales in Christchurch for $10,000. McCutcheon originally owned him along with White’s partner Alena Henson.

In today’s race, driver Stephen McNally got a nice run through from the second row and was sixth early. With 1000 metres to run Burlington was in front but had to race wide to get there. Coming down the straight having the rein run over his rump was all he needed to beat Mighty George.

“We had a trial at Ashburton and came home super and trialled up well at Methven last week so we were quietly confident,” said White.

Burlington_winning_at_Gore_950_x_418.jpg Burlington winning easily with Stephen McNally – Photo Bruce Stewart.

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Smiles all round – Photo Bruce Stewart

The win was great timing for new owners Kevin and Valerie Schmack who bought 25% shares in Burlington just last week.

White has had the gelding since he was a yearling and there’s always been a bit of buyer interest in him.

“We got him up and running to sell as a two year old. Terry Chmiel drove him and he trialled awful. We came home and found out that he had a lung infection so we just gave him a spell. He’s a big raw boned bugger so we’ve given him a bit of time. I like all the American Ideals. They’re all laid back. He’s just a lovely natured horse really, that wants to run.”

White says Burlington is likely to return for the next Nuggets Final at Invercargill on the 3rd March before looking at the $20,000 Super Nuggets Final at the Northern Southland meeting six days later.

“He’ll definitely come down for the Nuggets Final, then we’ll just take it race by race. Three of the owners come from Nelson so they’d dearly love to have him in Nelson in the winter time.”

Burlington is out of the Live Or Die mare Last Port Of Call who, as the name suggests, is the last foal of the very good producer Port Medley which received a Broodmare Excellence Award in the 2005-2006 season.

She left fifteen foals all of whom raced, and twelve were winners. They included Falcon’s Medley (16 wins) and Lively Medley (20 wins). It’s a family that Southland knows well, with which owner Peter Marshall and former Southland trainer Tony Barron have had lots of success.

Meanwhile Whites progressive trotter One Apollo was beaten by a nose by back marker Jen Jaccka in the feature trot of the afternoon.

It was Jen Jaccka’s ninth career win.

Jen_Jaccka_winning_at_Gore_950_x_633.jpg  Jen Jaccka and Matty Williamson just beating One Apollo – Photo Bruce Stewart.

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Heading back for the birdcage photo – Photo Bruce Stewart

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Star Ruler Gets His Win

Bruce Stewart

Star Ruler finally got his maiden win at Gore today and co-trainer Geoff Knight was happy about that.

The most consistent non-win horse running round in the south, held on to beat Futura Easton by three quarters of a length for Knight, his wife and co-trainer Jude, and the Corner Shop Syndicate.

It was a winning ‘double’ as the syndicate is headed by race sponsor Brian Pitcher; the Gore representative for AON Insurance.

“We’ve made him the patron of the syndicate because he’s only ever missed one of his horses’ races,” said Geoff.

Star_Ruler_leaving_the_arm_950_x_436.jpg  Co-trainer Geoff Knight watching the mobile dispatch with Star Ruler second on the outside and heading to the front – Photo Bruce Stewart.

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Hanging on to beat Futura Easton – Photo Bruce Stewart

Star_Ruler_Geoff_950_x_709.jpg  Enjoying the win with follow trainer Kirsty Adams – Photo Bruce Stewart.

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  Enjoying the moment with sponsor and owner Brian Pitcher – Photo Bruce Stewart.

Star_Ruler_returning_to_Birdcage_950_x_721.jpg Coming back to scale – Photo Bruce Stewart

Today was the Washington VC gelding’s twenty third start and before today’s win he’d recorded six seconds and five thirds.

“He’s a great syndicate horse because he’s run a lot of places and today in a $10,000 maiden he’s got the job done. I’m rapt for the horse because he’s finally won a race.”

Star Ruler was driven by Canterbury driver Tim Williams.

“Really grateful to Tim because he’s stuck with him all the way through. He liked him because he always tries.”

Over the years the Knights have been great advocates of syndicate racing and the Corner Shop Syndicate is one of their oldest groups.

“Central Courage Syndicate is the oldest and the Corner Shop Syndicate is the second oldest. They’ve probably been with us for fourteen years. It was called the Corner Shop Syndicate because in Oturehua near Poolburn there’s a new pub that started up. It used to be the old Poolburn Pub and the boys used to say ‘let’s go down to the corner shop for a beer on Friday night.”

The syndicate have raced a number of horses including Lionels Meddle which won four races for the group and Valhalla which won two races and was placed numerous times.

“We’ll look for a junior driver’s race next. He loves the grass so maybe we’ll go to Oamaru while he’s in the zone because the one win horses get preference up there.”

After years of racing a big team the Knights are looking to scale down their Roxburgh operation to concentrate on race horses rather than young stock.

“We’ve got the RD 1 and RD 2 mail runs now so we’ve scaled down and we’re only going to work ten to twelve horses. A lot of the younger horses will go south to Nathan Williamson and Craig Ferguson for their early education and some of them may even stay there. We’re just at a time in our lives where we want to spend time with our grandkids and do a few more trips. Working racehorses is quite easy but young ones are a big commitment. Unless you give them a 100% the horses (young ones) need to be somewhere else.”

They have five grandchildren – four in New Zealand and one overseas.

“We’re heading to Perth in March for my sixtieth birthday. We’re all going to catch up with my brother over there and my sister’s coming over too.”

Geoff has always been a forward thinker when it comes to the harness industry and he says the wider harness family needs to help boost the diminishing horse population.

“We’re at the crossroads really. Most of the owners that are still in the industry are still breeding but I reckon if every trainer bred one horse it would make a huge difference.”

Today’s stake was $10,000 for non-win horses after Southern Harness announced last week that all maiden races were going to carry that stake level.

“It’s unbelievable. Southern Harness should be really commended because they’re putting the industry money back into the industry. There’s a few clubs that aren’t.”

As a footnote one of the Corner Dairy Syndicate members was course photographer Wayne Huddleston. For this race he had to get Kirsty Adams to take the winning photo.

Star_Ruler_winners_950_x_451.jpg Wayne Huddleston, Geoff Knight, Jude Knight, Tim Williams and Brian Pitcher – Photo Bruce Stewart 

Meanwhile Lady Zara capped off a consistent formline when she came down the middle of the track to win the Hokonui Honda Trot for Winton trainer/driver Alister Kyle.

The Pegasus Spur four year old had recorded two thirds prior to today’s race and the win was her first in eight starts.

Lady_Zara_winning_at_Gore_950_x_569.jpgLady Zara getting a well deserved win for trainer Alister Kyle – Photo Bruce Stewart.

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Winning connections – Photo Bruce Stewart

Ellie Barron did the right thing for the Teal Pants Campaign when she won the Gore Town and Country Club Trot on Nottingham K Two.

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Nottingham K Two on the inside winning for Ellie Barron – Photo Bruce Stewart

Barron is the local Ambassador for the Teal Pants Campaign.

The win means Harness Racing New Zealand ($200), Woodlands Stud ($100), Gore HRC ($100) and Southern Harness ($100) donate money to the Australian New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group for help with research into ovarian cancer.

Later in the day other Teal drivers Sarah O’Reilly (Bigandme), and Sheree Tomlinson (Hurricane Banner), added to the fundraiser. A great day for the cause.

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Another Teal win – Bigandme winning for Sarah O’Reilly – Photo Bruce Stewart

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Huntaway Meant To Stay

Bruce Stewart

It appears that Riversdale trainer Brent McIntyre was meant to hang onto giant American Ideal pacer Huntaway. As an unraced horse he could easily have slipped through his fingers on a number of occasions.

“I originally bred him for the sales but he was such a big lanky skinny thing that I was actually going to put him down. He was awful. In the end we tossed up whether or not to break him in and when we did he actually went all right,” he said.

Roxburgh trainer Rory McIIwrick then lease him.

“I think he took him to the trials but he got lame in the back leg so he pulled the pin. A couple of other guys wanted to lease him but they never turned up so we started working the bugger and today’s the end result.”

Huntaway is out of the qualified but unraced Christian Cullen mare Holly Marie. She’s only left four foals of racing age, one being Annajodi which won three races for Murray Brown and another seven in Australia. Huntaway’s third dam is the 1987 New Zealand Oaks winner Young Eden.

“He’s five, so old enough to go to school but he’s just needed to mature. At home he’s a handful but he is getting better. The family leaves a lot of good horses, Ken Barron has had a few of them.”

Barron trained Ewie Duncan (8 New Zealand wins and 11 USA), Kenny The Cowboy (2 New Zealand wins and 18 USA wins), Roland John (6 New Zealand wins and 8 USA) and Captain Crazy (6 New Zealand and 8 USA wins).

The timing of the win was perfect for McIntyre as he has Huntaway’s half-brother by Bettor’s Delight in this week’s NZB Standardbred Sale in Christchurch. The colt is owned by his breeder Ken Milne.

“That’s one of the reasons I started him today.”

From the outside of the second row driver Nathan Williamson settled Huntaway well off the pace. At the 1200 metres Williamson flushed out favourite Valiant Charger and got onto its back, progressing forward. At the 600 Williamson decided to go round Valiant Charger and in a good burst of speed was up challenging for the lead. He had hit the front with 400 metres to run and at the finish he had a three and a quarter length buffer on the second horse Hans Ideal. The winning time was 2-57.5.

 Huntaway easily winning for Nathan Williamson – Photo Bruce Stewart.
Wanting for his return, Trainer Brent McIntyre, son Kane who part owns Huntaway and good stable client Neil Timms – Photo Bruce Stewart. 

“He’s a nice horse. How good I don’t know but we’ll find out. I think he will progress. He didn’t even pull the plugs on him today. I’ll enjoy a beer on him.”

Earlier this month McIntyre decided to sell his unbeaten three year old filly Balcatherine which was also by American Ideal so today’s win helped in a way, to ease the pain.

“It was very hard to let her go.”

Meanwhile Ashburton trainer Brent White’s hot Southland form continued when quality trotter One Apollo in only his third start overcame a rocky passage to impressively win the Gold Chip Trotters Final. The win was one of four for the country’s leading reinman Blair Orange who now sits on 100 wins for the current season.

One Apollo looked to be out of contention when turning in after Whatwillbeewillbee broke in front of him, forcing him to go off stride. He picked himself up off the canvas and started to trot again but was seven lengths from the leader Somethings Burning. In a phenomenal burst of speed One Apollo trotted down the middle of the track to win impressively by three lengths. He seems destined to win a big race at some point of his career.

One Apollo winning for Blair Orange – Photo Bruce Stewart.
Returning after a super effort – Photo Bruce Stewart. 

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Barclay Joins Elite Southland Drivers

Bruce Stewart

Southland reinsman Brent Barclay joined a very small number of Southland horsemen to drive 700 winners when today on his home track be drove Nota Bene Denario to win.

Clark Barron 1,038, Allan Beck 816, Nathan Williamson 749 and Henry Skinner 717 are the only other drivers in the province to have achieved the milestone.

“That was my main aim this year and to get it early is really good,” he said after winning on the Brett Gray trained four year old.

His first winner was Dougie Wood at Westport in 1989, a trotter that was trained by his father Keith.

“I was only about sixteen then. It was a long time ago.”

Over the thirty one seasons he’s been driving he’s driven some very good horses and says he seems to have had a special affinity with fillies and mares.

“I’ve driven a lot of good fillies actually like Whanau, Natal Franco and Windermere Girl. A lot of them were three year old fillies.”

Early in his career when he worked for Noel Creighton he drove the very good OK Bye juvenile pacer Corumba. He reined him to win the 1995 Welcome Stakes and 1995 Kindergarten Stakes.

“Corumba was a bit of a standout. I was pretty young when I drove him. I think if I drove him now he’d be a lot better horse.”

The following season he won the Southern Supremacy Stakes with Corumba. In all, Barclay drove him to win six times.

He’s had stints with Findlay Road trainer Wayne Adams for whom he’s driven eighty two winners with the first being Nevalookbak in 1997). Other trainers he’s worked for include Kirk Larsen, Bud Baynes and in Australia Darrell Graham and Grant Dixon.

These days he’s firmly attached to Brett Gray’s Ryal Bush stable and he feels he’s driving as good as ever.

“This year I’m probably driving as good as I ever have. I said to Lauren (partner Lauren Pearson) and Brett at the start of the season that I’ve got to be a bit more aggressive this year especially at the start. If you get back these days and try to get round them with the speed they’re going it’s just too hard. But there are certain horses you can’t go forward and burn too much.”

The win on Nota Bene Denerio was Barclay’s twenty seventh of the current season and his seventy second for Gray.

“For me to get this many wins early in the season is really good. We’ve had a really good run with Brett since we’ve come back from Australia. Couldn’t have worked out better.”

Barclay has ventured a couple of times to Australia to try his luck, linking up with Darrell Graham and the powerful Grant Dixon stable.

“Over there it’s just attack attack attack. There’s no looking after them there. I thought I’d go well when I went there but it backfired a bit. But we still had a good run. I might have driven 50 winners while I was there. You were only ever on the second stringers and when you’re working for a stable like that you very rarely got any outside drives.”

Of the 700 New Zealand winners the horses he’s driven the most times to win (seven) have been Bonnie Lass, Be Not Afraid and Jamie.

Barclay rates Duke Of Wellington as the most underrated horse he’s driven. He won five races with him last season including the Southern Supremacy Stakes.

“Last year he was still untapped I thought. We worked him up before he went over to Australia and I thought he’d improved immensely.”

Nice trotters he’s driven include Be Not Afraid (7), Johnny Wishbone (6) and Smokey Mac (6).

“I’m very lucky because I’ve driven 140 odd trotting winners and to be fair I think Full Noise is going to get there (best he’s driven). I really like driving a nice fluent trotter. Full Noise is a bit like that – he’s got a great gait, a good turn of speed and can also stay. I drove a trotter early on called Be Not Afraid. She was only one dimension. She was very fast, could trot all the way with a beautiful gait. This day and age she wouldn’t have won as many races.”

But back to today’s 700th winner. It was fitting that it was for Brett Gray and that it carried the number seven saddle cloth.

“People were probably saying he’s been disappointing but it was probably a drop in grade for him today. Brett’s changed a bit of gear on him and he just felt like his old self. He feels like quite a sharp horse.”

After leading early Barclay decided to hand up to Allan Beck when he came round on Bettor Enforce.

“He felt super in front but when Becky came round I thought it was the one to beat. It worked out perfect.”

For the record the winning margin was one and a quarter lengths.

Win number 700 for Brent Barclay – Photo Bruce Stewart.
All done and dusted – Photo Bruce Stewart 

The Brent Barclay 700 winner’s fact file:

  • Combined pacers and trotters: 7,355 starts, 700 winners, 684 seconds, 665 thirds for stakes of $4,765,303. Just trotters: 1266 starts, 142 winners, 130 seconds and 94 thirds.
  • Only four other Southland drivers have driven more winners: Clark Barron (1,038), Allan Beck (816) Nathan Willliamson (749) and Henry Skinner (717).
  • First winner was the trotter Dougie Wood on Boxing Day at Westport in 1989. He was trained by his father Keith.
  • Trainers worked for: Keith Barclay, Wayne Adams, Noel Creighton, Kirk Larsen, Bud Baynes and Australian trainers Darrel Graham and Grant Dixon.
  • Biggest winner: Corumba 1995 Welcome Stakes and 1995 Kindergarten Stakes.
  • Southland Junior Driver of the Year 1996 (10 wins) and 1997 (11 wins)
  • Southland races he’s won three times: Kindergarten Stakes; Corumba (1995), Bought In The Pub (2003) and Waikiki Beach (2015)
  • Southern Country Cups Final; Bonnie Lass (2001), Whanau (2003) and The Jaccka (2005).
  • AON Insurance Equine Stakes; Magnetic Chip (1993), Whanau (2002) and Shezacullengirl (2018)
  • Supremacy Stakes; Corumba (1996), Looksaflyer (2006) and Duke Of Wellington (2018)
  • Best season; 2003 – 51 winners
  • Winner of 2006 Interprovincial Drivers Championship
  • Winner of Southland Drivers Premiership in 2006 (37), 2007 (44) and 2008 (38)

Trainers- Most winners for: Wayne Adams (82-First: Nevalookbak 1/11/1997), Brett Gray (72-First: Frampton Bromac 8/1/2009), Lauren Pearson (41 – First: Eweburn Sun 8/1/2004) and Roger, John and Katrina Price (31 – First: Gypsy Road 26/11/1999)

Four winners in a day: Wairio 15th December 2006 (Jamie, Hillarys Home, Mystic Sun and Fino) and Forbury Park 13th December 2002 (Cool Chip, Sayonara, Cripple Creek and Jay See Eye).

Biggest wins:

  • 2018 Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes Final (Duke Of Wellington)
  • 2015 Alabar Kindergarten Stakes (Waikiki Beach)
  • 2006 Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes Final (Looksaflyer)
  • 2006 NZ Sapling Stakes (Jackson Brown)
  • 2005 Nevele R Stakes (Western Dream)
  • 2003 Southern Country Cups Final (Whanau)
  • 2001 Southern Country Cups Final (Bonnie Lass)
  • 1999 Southland Oaks Final (Windermere Girl)
  • 1995 New Zealand Kindergarten Stakes (Corumba)
  • 1995 New Zealand Welcome Stakes (Corumba)
  • 1996 Southern Supremacy Stakes Final (Corumba)

Biggest winners;

  • Bonnie Lass (7)
  • Be Not Afraid (7)
  • Jamie (7)
  • Johnny Wishbone (6)
  • Smokey Mac (6)
  • Corumba (6)
  • Duke Of Wellington (5)
  • Windermere Girl (5)
  • Natal Franco (5)
  • Scotty Mac (5)

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All Heart Gets Great Price

Bruce Stewart

Winton breeder Michelle Caig has felt this is going to be her year.

Having prepared horses for the national yearling sales for the past twenty two years, this year she felt that her Love You colt All Heart, had qualities that would attract good money at the NZB Standardbred National Yearling Sale in Christchurch and she was right.

At the Sale today, the colt was knocked down to New South Wales buyers Emilio and Mary Rosati for $90,000 after a spirited bidding battle between Barry Purdon and the Rosatis. The price was the second highest in the trotters section.

“He looked a picture and he was the nicest colt at the sale. Peter Lagan (Standardbred Manager) actually said that. Everybody that came around to look at him said he was very hard to fault, including Barry Purdon.”

It was strange not seeing Caig lead All Heart into the ring but there was a good reason.

“He nicked me in the nose yesterday and I’ve got a swollen and very sore face. He was just being a dick. I was feeling tired today but Debbie Smith and her girls have been a wonderful help. Just this last month he’s got a wee bit colty so he’s spent a lot of time on the jogger.”

However that’s about to change.

“Mary said in front of him, that he was going to be gelded. And he walked away in disgust. He seemed to know he was going to have a little operation.”

All Heart, which was named after his second dam Merinai due to the courage she showed on the race track, carried a reserve of $60,000.

“I got $60,000 for the Angus Hall (yearling colt) last year and I thought he (All Heart) was worth more purely because he was by Love You. The Angus Hall was a lovely colt but being by Love You this horse had that French X factor.”

“He will miss me because I’ve had him since he was a few months old and he’s been pretty spoilt really.”

All Heart’s dam Sun Mist has done an exceptional job at stud producing seven foals all of which have been winners, including Pretty Sunday the winner of fifteen races, and Son Of Earl which won twenty three.

“I’ve now had her (Sun Mist) for ten years. Every one of her foals has won. You cannot fault her. She’s a beautiful broodmare who does her foals well. She never raced and sometimes I think they’re the best broodmares. I believe some of those top mares have strong male genes and they don’t breed on until perhaps the second or third generation.”

Sun Mist’s latest winner She’s Like The Wind looks very talented, and won her only start at Omakau in track record time.

“I’ve also got a Pres filly which I love. She’s just a baby and Sun Mist is in foal to Pegasus Spur. I’ll probably go back to Love You this year.”

Caig has sent her mares to cheaper stallions in the past but now feels it’s not the best way to go.

“Once upon a time you just went to the cheaper stallions but you learn you can’t if you want to survive in the world of commercial breeding. Those bigger operators have loads of money and to compete you just need to have quality mares.”

Other southern news to come out of the trotters sale today; Branxholme owners Lindsay and Ian Thomson paid $42,000 for a half-brother to their quality three year old trotter Get Lucky, whilst neighbour Nathan Williamson sold his Father Patrick colt out of Kylie Ree for $42,000. He was bought by Barry Purdon.

A good day for Southern Bred Southern Reared yearlings on day one of the National Sale and more good prices are expected tomorrow when the pacers take centre stage.

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Magic Day For SBSR

Bruce Stewart

It was a magic day for southern breeders at the NZB Standardbred National Sale in Christchurch today with two Southern Bred Southern Reared colts topping the sale, and plenty of others providing a great return for their owners.

The Shard, owned by Debbie and Mark Smith of Shard Farm, and Beaudiene Bigtime owned by Dave Kennedy of Bayswater both sold for $170,000.

Emilio and Mary Rosati of New South Wales purchased The Shard whilst another regular Australian buyer Jean Feiss, put in the winning bid for Beaudiene Bigtime.

“Unbelievable,” said Kennedy when I spoke to him a few hours after the sale. And the follow up question had to be; was that a surprise?

“Was it ever. I knew I had a good colt but I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d get $170,000. As the day went on I was starting to get a bit worried because the big buyers had been spending their money.”

But worry soon turned into elation as Kennedy sat on the sideline watching the bidding war unfold.

“It was an unbelievable experience I can tell you. Stonewall Stud were chasing him and Nigel McGrath had a go. There were quite a few onto him. I’m pretty sure Stonewall were the under bidders.”

At the end of the day though, it was Jean Feiss who walked away with the Bettor’s Delight – Beaudiene Maja colt.

“He’d be the nicest colt I’ve handled. He’s so intelligent and so willing to work with you every step of the way.”

Topping the Christchurch sale is becoming a regular occurrence for SBSR.

Chicago Cub bred by John and Katrina Price was the top lot last year, selling to Emilio and Mary Rosati for $190,000.

In 2016 Shard Farm prepared Mach Shard to sell for $200,000, whilst back in 2015 Bollinger sold for $200,000, and in 2014 Beaudiene Beaufighter was top of the pile.

Kennedy said he had a feeling this year’s sale was going to be special for the SBSR group of breeders.

“I said to John (Stiven) and Debbie (Smith) that the Southland team had the best group of yearlings that they’ve ever travelled up to Christchurch with. I knew damn well there would be some money coming our way. It was a great day for the Southern boys and girls.”

Another success story was Captain Nemo, a Captaintreacherous colt owned by John and Katrina Price of Winton which sold for $110,000. He was first spotted on the SBSR Bus Tour by Ray Green who took a keen interest in him and has now bought him for Lincoln Farms.

SBSR___Price_360___Green.jpgRay Green looking over Captain Demo with Katrina Price – Photo Bruce Stewart 

The Prices also sold their Bettor’s Delight colt out of Surprise Party – another one bought by Jean Feiss, for $100,000.

Shard Farm also had a $100,000 sale with Romeo Shard selling to Kennard Bloodstock.

Other good SBSR sales were: $90,000 for the Tuapeka Lodge colt The Frankster (Bettor’s Delight – Tuapeka Maddy), $90,000 for Arden’s Ace (Art Major-Venus Serena) and $82,500 for Captain Arden (Captaintreacherous – Southwind Arden).

Kennedy says a big part of the success today stems from the SBSR Bus Tour which gives prospective buyers the opportunity to take a look at the yearlings on offer in their own environment, whilst showcasing Southland.

One of the trainers on the tour, Ray Green, commented to Kennedy that he could see why Southern Reared horses are so good. “Ray said with all the green grass their bones are so much better. And the climate is so conducive to breeding top animals.”

Kennedy states “You can’t buy advertising like that. The guys that come down on the tour just can’t believe it. Bringing the buyers down has been one hell of a win for us.”

SBSR___Kennedy_Group_3.jpg Buyers on the SBSR Tour at Dave and Dawn Kennedys – Photo Bruce Stewart

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