August Stories 2018

Stick Man Wins On Debut

Bruce Stewart

Shadow Play colt Stick Man delivered on his $1.60 favourites tag when he won the Hanley Formula Mobile Pace at Gore today.

Stick Man was bought as a foal by Reg Storer and trainer Paul Court. Storer shares in the ownership with Georgia Bay Limited.

He’s out of the Pacific Rocket mare Aziza who is also the dam of quality racehorse Tiger Thompson.

“When we bought him we didn’t know too much about Tiger Thompson so it’s worked out to be a good buy really,” Court said.

Stick Man qualified in November as a two year old at Ashburton.

“I probably could have raced him but I thought we should look after him. We gave him a bit of time out and he’s come back really good.”

In today’s race driver Blair Orange positioned the colt nicely on the outside and moved forward to challenge leader Beaudiene Overtake with a lap to run. He was taken to the lead with 600 metres to run and held on to beat The Croupier by three quarters of a length.

“I told Blair not to be unlucky because he was good enough to win and he proved that today. The track was a bit testing. He did it pretty easily and Blair said he knocked off when he got to the front. That’s a sign of a nice horse – they know when to go and when to button off. I think we’re not finished with him yet.”

  Stick Man and Blair Orange (4) winning at Gore today – Photo Bruce Stewart.

                      Heading back to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart.

Prior to today’s debut he’d been to the trials twice for a first up second followed by a win at Rangiora on the 25th July.

“When my horses go back to the trials for the first time (new season) it’s a building process. Every trial he’s got better. In the last trial we pepped it up a wee bit and ran home. I expect him to improve quite a bit on that run. He’s still quite big and round so we’ve got a bit to work with.”

This was also Stick Man’s first real trip away.

“I’m going back tonight so it’s going to be a big long trip for him but he’s handling his first trip away really well.”

And Court is upbeat about the progress he thinks the horse can make.

“I think he’s a very good stayer but he does have speed. The further and the harder they go it’ll be right up his alley.”

And he says he’s got a host of three year olds, all maidens, ready to appear at the races. They include Mongolian Cavalry (Mach Three), Mongolian Spear (A Rocknroll Dance) and Mongolian Machete (Art Major). All three were at the Ashburton trials on Tuesday.

Meanwhile junior driver Chelsea Faithful got her season off to the perfect start when in her first drive for the all conquering Phil Williamson stable, she drove Pyramid Magic to easily win the Brendon Franks Farrier Handicap Trot.

     Pyramid Magic and Chelsea Faithful trotting down to the line for an easy win.

               Heading back to the stables job done – Photo Bruce Stewart.


Santino Gets Perfect Trip

Bruce Stewart.

“Like I said to you during the week it’s the only way he could have won today,” said Nathan Williamson after Franco Santino won the Heartland Hotel Mobile Pace at Gore.

It couldn’t have panned out better, with a fresh Benio Ben and driver Dexter Dunn setting a very solid clip in front.

Dunn had his charge humming with 400 metres to run and Franco Santino was off the speed by seven lengths.

“They went fast up front and got (they) tired in the straight and they came back to me.”

The winning margin was half a length with Franco Huntington up close in third, three quarters of a length back.

The time was a respectable 2-42.5 on a track that had a new sand surface put down during the week.

Franco Santino and Nathan Williamson (6) getting the better of a game Benio Ben (3) and Dexter Dunn

“There’s plenty of nice races coming up with the Cup races around Christmas time. He’s not too bad off in the ratings being 78 after today. We’ll try and pick up a junior drivers race. He’s going to keep working through the grades hopefully.”

With the Cup races on the radar Williamson was asked about Franco Santino’s standing start ability.

“He’s only had one start from the stand which he won at Oamaru. He was safe away. He’s so sensible and doesn’t have any hype or get wound up. Starting off those handicaps sometimes can be quite good. You can go in and be away and it gives them good confidence.”

The win today was the entire’s fifth in only nine starts. He’s owned by Riverton fisherman Neville Cleaver.

               Franco Santino, Nathan Williamson, Oliver Kite and Neville Cleaver 

Meanwhile Changeover gelding Bold Ruler won his forth race when,aided by a super drive by trainer Peter Hunter, he held on to win the Barclay-Ellis Harness Racing Mobile Pace.

Hunter who darted from the back to take the lead with 600 metres to run said the win didn’t surprise him.

“No not really. He’s had a couple of good runs at Winton and he raced good at the end of last season. It’s probably the best he’s ever gone (last season). He’s good to have around now. He wasn’t in the early days,” he said.

The now seven year old seems to have been around for a lifetime and Hunter says the owners Brendon McIntyre and Bill Moffatt have a goal in mind.

“The owners want to get a hundred caps for Southland and he’s four starts away from getting that.”

It was the second win of the day for McIntyre. He won the previous race as part of the What Ever Syndicate when Broadway Banner cleared maiden ranks in the Sir Lincoln at Alabar Mobile Pace.

Driver Matty Williamson looking for the challenges aboard Broadway Banner 

Southland Harness Awards Dinner

Bruce Stewart

Southland celebrated another very good harness racing season last night with Southern Harness supporters celebrating the achievements of 2017-18 at Ascot Park Hotel. The big awards for the season went to Kenny Baynes, Duke Of Wellington and Joyfuljoy.

Chatton farmer and horseman Kenny Baynes won the Achievement of the Year Award on the back of a stellar season as an owner. Kenny races horses in partnership with his wife Jo as well as Penny his sister-in-law under Baynes Racing Limited.

Horses he owned won twenty one races, of which seventeen were trained in Southland.

Three of his horses qualified for the Harness Jewels at Cambridge with young trotter Full Noise running second in the 2 year old Ruby.

Baynes is also President of the Gore Harness Racing Club and a generous sponsor of harness racing in the province.

It was a good night for Baynes, Full Noise won the Two Year Old of the Year – the first time a trotter has taken out this category.

Kenny Baynes, Jo Baynes and Karen Milne

The Southland Horse of the Year this year sponsored by Elite Racing Products, was won by quality three year old Duke Of Wellington. He was also named Southland Three Year Old Colt or Gelding of the Year.

The strapping American Ideal gelding was bred by local lawyer Lester Smith who owned him up until he end of the season, when he was bought by Merv and Meg Butterworth.

He faced the starter ten times for five wins and four placings, earning stakes of $54,280.

He then capped off his season with a good win in the Group Two Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes over 2700 metres.

Duke Of Wellington was trained by Lauren Pearson at Winton and he proved his versality by recording a 1.53.6 mile at Wairio in March.

Sponsors John Earl, driver Brent Barclay, owner Lester Smith and trainer Lauren Pearson

Road Machine mare Joyfulbelle won the prestigious Southland Broodmare of the Year. She’s owned by the Miracle Lodge Syndicate which consists of Eric Parr and Clark Barron.

As a broodmare Joyfulbelle has produced eight named foals. These include; Joyfuljoy (11 NZ wins and 1-51.6 USA), Jumpforjoy (7 wins), Fullofjoy (1 win), Pride N Joy (Qualified 1-59.5), Bettor Joy (10 wins), and Somejoy (6 wins).

Pride N Joy is the dam of two winners this season; Gift Of Joy, and this year’s Group One winner in Australia Majorpride.

Joyfulbelle’s latest two foals are Vergeofgreatness (a Washington VC 3 year old colt) and Alexjoy (an Art Major two year old filly). Her breeding legacy now extends into her daughters who are also leaving quality race horses.

     Clark Barron and Peter McKnight from the Washington VC Syndicate

Other awards:

Contribution Awards

Jason Broad

Jason has held the position as Secretary of many different harness associations over the years, and include the Trainer & Drivers Association, Southland Standardbred Breeders, Caduceus Club, S.T.O.T.B, Invercargill Workouts, and NZ Racing Managers.

He has also been raceday secretary for the Omakau Trotting Club since 2002 and the Nelson Trotting Club since 2006. He’s currently a trustee of Kids Kartz, which he helped set up 2009.

Jason was appointed General Manager of Southern Harness in 2016.

Ross Wilson

Ross has been instrumental in helping junior drivers to get on the map.  Dexter Dunn drove the five Wilson winners in 2010, Adam Sanderson 12 wins, Craig Ferguson 19 as a junior and 11 since becoming an open driver and many others have had wins for the stable.

Outside training, Ross has been on the Gore Harness Racing Club for many years and the Gore Workouts Committee. Ross has held a icence to train since 1980.

Graeme Robertson QSM

Graeme has made an extraordinary contribution to the Riverton Trotting Club, being elected to the Committee in 1961 and serving concurrently for the next fifty seven years.

He served as Vice-President between 1972 and 1974 and was Club President 1974-1977.
Since 1978 he’s been the Treasurer of the Club – forty years! He clearly remembers 1978 as the year the club was granted its first totalizator licence.

Graham was made a life member in 2002.

He’s seen the club develop from a small on-course only club that raced on a Thursday to a fully licenced trotting club that punches above its weight.

Graeme was awarded the QSM for his Services to Sport in 2017.

Southern Standardbred Breeders Trophies (leading stake earners 2017-2018)

  • Two Year Old Filly: Rise Above This – Owner: Lester Smith – Trainer: Lauren Pearson.
  • Three Year Old Filly: Betterthanbrie – Owner: Murray Little – Trainer: Paul Ellis.
  • Aged Mare: Somejoy – Owner: Miracle Lodge Syndicate – Trainer: Clark Barron.

1-58.0 Pins

  • Betterthanbrie – Murray Little – Wyndham 17.03/2018 1-56.2.
  • Debnita Rose – Paul Hailes, Jonny Turner and Carl McIntyre – Oamaru 24/09/2017 1-57.4.
  • Franco Tai – Robert and Sharon Symon – NZ Metro 20/10/2017 1-57.0.
  • Havtime – Murray Little and Malcolm and Sarndra Little – Auckland 11/05/2018 1-58.0.
  • Mach’s Back – Murray Little – Winton 14/04/2018 1-57.3.
  • Mighty Conqueror – Mark Shirley and Malcolm Dewe – Winton 14/04/2018 1-57.7.
  • Patanjali – Robert and Sharon Symon – Forbury Park 05/04/2018 1-58.0
  • Raksbet – Brendan Fahy – Ashburton 25/02/2018 1-55.1 and Wyndham 18/01/2018 1-56.5

Group Certificates

  • Bettor Joy – Breeder – Miracle Lodge Syndicate (Group Two Ladyship Stakes)
  • Duke Of Wellington – Breeder – Lester Smith (Group Two Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes)
  • Pat’s Delight – Breeder – Charlton Park Enterprises (Pat Kubala) (Group One Three Year Old Emerald and Group Two Summer Cup).

New Zealand Records

  • Jen Jaccka – Charlie and Alisa Smaill – 2400 metre stand (trotting mares) 28/09/2017 – Winton – 3-00.9.
  • Full Noise – Baynes Racing Limited 2700 metre stand (two year old trotting colts and geldings) 07/05/2018 -Ascot Park –3-35.2.

Southern Standardbred Breeders Fastest Mile Rate – Filly or mare 2017-2018

  • Somejoy 1-53.2 Wairio Trotting Club at Winton 24th March 2018 – Owner: Miracle Lodge Syndicate – Trainer: Clark Barron.

Southland Harness Awards – Two Year Old Colt or Gelding of the Year

  • Full Noise – Owner: Baynes Racing Limited – Trainer: Brett Gray.

Robin Dundee Club – Three Year Olds Of The Year

  • I’mallaboutthebase (filly) -Owners: Steve and Carol Baucke – Trainer: Steve Baucke.
  • Duke of Wellington (colt/gelding) – Owner: Lester Smith – Trainer: Lauren Pearson.

Caduceus Club of Southland Trotter of the Year

Grace O’Malley – Owner: Go Ziggy Go Limited – Trainer: Curly Thomas

Southland Trainers and Drivers Association 2018 Awards

  • Trainer of the Year: Brett Gray (34)
  • Driver of the Year: Nathan Williamson (42)
  • Junior Driver of the Year: Sheree Tomlinson (30)
  • Trotting Driver of the Year: Brent Barclay (12)

Southland Harness Racing Award of Excellence

  • Sheree Tomlinson – First woman driver to win the time honoured Dominion Handicap Trot
  • Pat’s Delight – Winner of the Group One Three Year Old Emerald.
  • Havtime – Winner of the $146,250 Listed New Zealand Yearling Sales Fillies Final

It’s Ella was also honoured on the night. The Washington VC mare won sixteen races including the Group Two Caduceus Club Mares Championship in 2007 and 2008 as well as the 2007 Group One PGG Wrightson New Zealand Breeders Stakes.

Another excellent season for Harness Racing in Southland. Congratulations to all winners and to those who were nominated. We look forward to another successful season where Southland breeders, trainers and drivers put their names on the harness racing map.

The Duke Back In Work

Bruce Stewart

The recently named Southland Horse of the Year Duke of Wellington is back in work at Lauren Pearson’s Winton stable.

Now owned by the Butterworth Racing Syndicate, the four year old gelding has been lodging at Diane Cournane’s property (Pearson’s aunt) since winning the Alabar Group Two Southern Supremacy Stakes on the 29th April.

“He’s just back to be jogged up for Merv and then he’ll go elsewhere I suppose. I’m not too sure where he’s going after that. He’s come back in real good order, didn’t get too fat and he’s still got a shine on his coat so he looks real good. The break did him the world of good,” Pearson said.

She’s resigned to the fact that her star will only be here for a short time but she’s pleased to have been a part of his early four year old preparation.

“It’s great having a nice horse in your stable to make you get up and out on the cold mornings.”

Pearson says the Duke of Wellington is also pleased to be back.

“He went straight back into his old box down in the back paddock. He’s still lazy as on the track but he’s bucking around and playing in the paddock.”

The American Ideal gelding qualified at Ascot Park in late October and in ten starts won five races and was placed another four times. He won his last four starts in a row including the Supremacy.

“That was his first season (last season) because he didn’t do anything as a two year old. To do what he did on one prep was a hell of a good feat.”

Duke of Wellington and Brent Barclay

Pearson and partner Brent Barclay are jogging up three Butterworth horses; Governor’s Bay, Zealand Star and Duke Of Wellington. All horses have been in work since the 24th July and will have six weeks jogging.

“He’ll (Merv Butterworth) give us a yodel and tell us what’s happening after that.”

Pearson says Governor’s Bay has been well looked after since being turned out.

“He’s in really good condition and has got a lot to fall back on. Hopefully he does a good job for Merv.”

He was owned by George Bennett, Paula Holmes and Peter and Ann Bagrie and won two races for Tom Bagrie before he was bought by Merv and Meg Butterworth. He had one start at the end of his four year old season for Brett Gray’s stable, running seventh in the fast run 2400 metre mobile event at Winton on 14th April. He was turned out after that.

Pearson, after a two week holiday in Cairns and Townsville has most her team back in work, including promising trotter Super Fast Pat.

“When he gets his mind on the job he’ll earn his keep. The motor’s there and he’s got a lot of ability. He hates the grit so that’s the main problem with him.”