Exciting New Series for Two Year Olds

Exciting New Series for Two Year Olds

Bruce Stewart

13th December 2021

Southern Harness is excited to announce a new Southern Series for two year old pacers.

The initiative led by Southern Bred Southern Reared, is supported by American breeders Diamond Creek Farm who are naming right sponsors for the series. Local stud Macca Lodge are also sponsoring a race within the series.

The Series will be called the “Diamond Creek Farm – 3 Diamonds.” See logo below.

The three races in the Series are:

The Diamond Creek Farm Oamaru Juvenile Stakes to be run on Wednesday 9th March, worth $25,000.

The $50,000 Group Two Macca Lodge New Zealand Kindergarten Stakes to be run at Wyndham on Thursday 14th April.

The $60,000 Group Two Diamond Creek Farm Southern Two-Year-Old Classic to be run at Ascot Park on Saturday 30th April.

“The opportunity to expand with HRNZ providing more funding to Group races allows us to provide greater coverage for Diamond Creek Farm and Macca Lodge,” SBSR President Mark Smith said.

As the Oamaru Club has now joined the Southern Harness group, SBSR felt there was an opportunity to resurrect the Oamaru Juvenile Stakes. The last time the race was run was 25 years ago in 1997. The race is steeped in history, going right back to 1941. Offering the race at Oamaru will attract more two year olds from the Canterbury region, that being the main source of horses for juvenile racing in the South Island.

“With this race, (and) a heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series, heats of the Southern Oaks and Southern Supremacy along with the Hannon, Oamaru has become a harness racing destination,” said club President Dave Ovens.

The 60 year old Kindergarten Stakes is an iconic two year old race on the New Zealand Harness Calendar.

First run in 1961, Lordship was the first ever winner. He went on to win the 1962 and 1966 New Zealand Cups. The mighty Young Quinn won the Kindergarten Stakes in 1972 and New Zealand’s current rising super star Akuta won this year’s edition.

Akuta winning the 2020 Kindergarten Stakes

The Kindergarten Stakes is the third oldest two year old race nationally, and this year will be worth a record stake of $50,000.

“As you can see from the list of past winners it’s been a race won by our best juveniles. We’re excited about racing for $50,000 and the Kindie being a Group Two race again,” said Wyndham Club President Bathan Muir.

The series will culminate in the Diamond Creek Farm Southern Two Year Old Classic, and it will be run in Invercargill on Saturday 30th April.

You’re So Fine winning the Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic

Outside of the Breeders/Owners funded Two Year Old races, the Diamond Creek Farm Southern Two Year Old Classic (Group Two) is the highest funded race for that age group at $60,000 and is the highest stakes race south of the Waitaki.

“This race is one of the fastest growing races stakeswise, for juveniles. The stake in 2015 when Lazarus won was $22,000. It’s now worth $60,000 and has Group Two status. We’re really proud with how far it’s come in a short while,” said SBSR spokesperson John Stiven.

This Series will be a great addition to the Southern Harness racing calendar.