December 2020

The Hornet Has Plenty of Sting

Bruce Stewart

3rd December 2020

Smart qualifier The Hornet put his poor debut behind him and scored like a quality horse at the Riverton Trotting Club meeting at Ascot Park today.

The three year old trained by Tony Stratford at Gore is owned by Kevin and Jennifer Walsh, who bought The Hornet’s dam Sally Franco in foal to Gold Ace.

“He (The Hornet) was a lovely foal, very athletic. He’s a big fella and both Tony and I think his best season will be next year,” said Kevin Walsh.

The gelding was broken in by Doug McLachlan before he went to Stratford.

He qualified nicely in 3-02.3 at Central Southland Raceway in October before he debuted on the same track two weeks later. He was posted three wide in that start and weakened to run ninth.

“This is the first horse we’ve had with Tony. He’s got that touch. We also had New Zealand’s best driver (Blair Orange) on him today.”

The Walsh’s youngest son Chris holds a trainers license. His only winner was with Great Success mare Cum Laude. She’s the dam of Postgrad Success which won her first start for Kevin and Jennifer and Gore trainer Brian Norman.

They also raced Caprock gelding Captain Hugh. He was trained by Colin Devery and was placed twice as a two year old before being exported to Australia where he won twenty eight races.

Kevin and Jennifer also owned Mattuity gelding Young Marmion which won it’s only start for Ryal Bush trainer Murray Gray before also heading off across the Tasman.

The Walshs are also breeding from In The Pocket mare Maria Die Monti which has just foaled a colt by Downbytheseaside, and Roman Goddess, a young Mach Three mare that’s part of the Tact family.

But Kevin’s interest in horses goes further back than that.

“My grand uncle owned a horse called Matchem which won the South Island Jump at the show grounds in Invercargill in 1942, 1943 and 1944. I’ve always had a love of horses.”

Meanwhile Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson scored a trotting double when first starter Celebration Stride won on debut and talented mare Miss Crazed overcame a midrace break to get up and win her second race. The Crazed mare looks to have unlimited talent.

Celebration Stride winning for Matty Williamson – Photo Bruce Stewart

Miss Crazed and Kerryn Tomlinson – Photo Bruce Stewart

Junior reinsman Jamie Campbell won his eighth race when he partnered the Gordon and Colin Lee gelding Melton Mafia to win the Ryder Roofing –Aparima Mobile Pace.

Jamie Campbell and Melton Mafia – Photo Bruce Stewart

Dark Horse underlined her talent when she put the disappointment of breaking in the Dominion Handicap behind her today, winning her eleventh race and bringing her wins at Ascot Park to five.

She overcame a fifty metre handicap to win the Bill Keast Memorial Handicap by two lengths and was brought another success to the well-travelled Griffin Syndicate and the Seafield Trotting Syndicate.

The day was capped off when the locally owned Yorokobi won for Paul and Brendon Duffy. The Bettor’s Delight gelding was initially educated by Kirk Larsen before heading to Woodend Beach trainer Regan Todd.

Kagee VC Real War Horse

Bruce Stewart

3rd December 2020

Sylvia Crichton loves Kagee VC and her partner Doug McLachlan who trains the gelding, reckons her pampering has made the gelding into the consistent performer he’s become.

“He’s Sylvia’s horse. She absolutely spoils him and it’s great what a bit of loving can do,” he said after the horse’s fifth win.

The Washington VC seven year old started his career with Matt Saunders, had a short stint with Ascot Park trainer Murray Brown, and was also trained by Paul Ellis.

“I got him off Artie Shirley. I went down to his place to get another horse and asked him about a little black horse that was there. I ended up with him at home instead of the one I went to get.”

In today’s race despite trying to get to the front twice in the hands of John Morrison, Kagee VC had to sit parked outside leader Swift Robyn.

“He did attack a couple of time so his run was commendable. He’s a funny wee horse. He’s aggressive. If he gets back in the field he can lose interest.”

Kagee VC and John Morrison – Photo Bruce Stewart

On the pedigree side Kagee VC goes back to open class pacer Elmer Gantry the winner of eighteen races.

McLachlan says he doesn’t train the horse in the cart at all. “I never work him in the cart. He’s always on the lead with Franco Huntington. No matter what Franco’s going he goes with him.”

Racing in Central Otago appears to be the horse’s next target.

“I think this wee horse will suit Roxburgh.”

Meanwhile Brown’s trainer Des Baynes looked to have another promising race horse in Might Be Me. The American Ideal mare was hunted out of the gate for the first time in her short career and still had enough in the tank at the end of her race to win the $12,000 Fear The Dragon Ladyship Final. She was rated superbly by driver Blair Orange.

Might Be Me and Blair Orange winning the Ladyship – Photo Bruce Stewart

Winton Qualifiers and Workout Winners

Bruce Stewart

19th December 2020

A Rocknroll Dance three year old Jaccka Wally trained by Ascot Park trainer Wayne Adams won his qualifier, holding out a late charge from Pure Art.

Jaccka Wally is the second foal out of unraced Artsplace mare Withdrawn Jaccka.

Cannon Of Gold won her qualifying heat for Robin Swain beating Dalvey Robyn.

Get Up N Dance won a Leaners Heat. He’s by Rock N Roll Heaven and his pedigree features the famed Tuapeka bloodline.

Atomic Reactor in the hands of Brent Barclay won his heat. The now five year old, trained by Lauren Pearson at Winton, qualified for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen at Ashburton as a two year old and has had a number of workouts over the past three years but has never raced.

Atomic Reactor (inside) beating Speights On Tap – Photo Bruce Stewart

His dam Make Mine Roses is a half-sister to Breath Of Life and Anvils Top Gun both of which won seven races.

Atomic Reactor beat another Auckland Reactor gelding Speights On Tap.

Quaddie VC won his workout from The Mighty Mondo which was headed, but came back close to the line.

Quaddie VC (roll band winning his workout – Photo Bruce Stewart

Ferguson Gets Trotting Double at Addington

Bruce Stewart

18th December 2020

Wyndham driver Craig Ferguson had just two drives at Addington today and he won both.

Smokin Badar got the double underway and looks to have turned a corner under Ferguson’s care.

Smokin Bandar winning for Craig Ferguson – Photo Race Images

The erratic but talented trotter won at long odds at Winton before backing that up with a win and a third at Addington before today’s victory.

Smokin Bandar was bred by Southern Harness Chairman Tom Kilkelly and is a half-brother to the equally talented Madrik.

“They sent him out to Wyndham just to try the pool to help sort him out. He’s brilliant to drive and perfect at home. It was just the stand starts he was having trouble with. He’s had a few runs now and got a bit of confidence,” Ferguson said.

He sat parked in today’s race, clinging on to win by half a neck.
“It was windy at Addington. He kept on fighting and I don’t think the other horse was going to get past him so it was a pretty good run really. He still had a bit left and I think he was knocking off a bit at the line. I don’t think it’ll be his last win.”

Photo – Race Images

Later in the Fast Ten programme Ferguson handled Dark Horse for Branxholme trainer Nathan Williamson who was supervising his team at the Winton Workouts.

The eight year old mare impressively beat a former Williamson trained Splash Cola by three and a quarter lengths running the 1980 metre mobile in 2-24.7.

She settled in the last half of the field early before getting on the back of Pres The Belle and Heavyweight Hero who both began to improve with a lap to run. Inside the last 400 metres Ferguson peeled the southern mare out of the one one and brought her three wide to issue her challenge. She won with a bit in hand.

“She felt super today. She travelled pretty good in the running and felt like she was going to be pretty hard to beat. She’s got high speed and when she got the run she did, she was just too quick for them.”

Photo-Race Images

The time equalled the New Zealand Mares record for the distance which Dark Horse now shares with Missalyssa.

Dark Horse – Photo Race Images

It was Dark Horse’s twelfth win for the well-travelled Griffins and Seafield Trotting Syndicates.

Southland Top Pacers at Winton Workouts Today

Bruce Stewart

18th December 2020

Two of Southlands top liners were rivals at today’s Winton Workouts and both have the Free for All at Omakau as their next goal.

The Southern star of the Cup Week Vintage Cheddar lead for most of the 2400 metres but was run down at the post by Pembrook Playboy.

Vintage Cheddar won on both days of the Cup Carnival with his defining win coming in the Junior Free for All.

“He’s come back really well. I gave him a week off and I was surprised with how much weight he put on. He piled it on – 30 to 40 kilos. I think the grass grew a couple of inches while he was away,” said trainer Alister Black.

Black said Vintage Cheddar will benefit from today’s workout.

“He does take a fair amount of work to get really fit. Now that he’s six you can work him really hard and it doesn’t bother him. He’ll have a quiet workout next week and get ready for Omakau.”

Vintage Cheddar has won most of his races on the bigger tracks and Black said he’s hopeful the horse will handle the Omakau course.

“The last bend could be a bit tricky but he’ll be okay if he’s up sitting outside the leader.”

Winner Pembrook Playboy ran fifth behind Vintage Cheddar on Cup Day before returning south.

“He lighted up a bit after the trip. We gave him a couple of weeks off and he put on condition,” said trainer driver Nathan Williamson. He felt good. He was a wee bit fresh but he’ll benefit from that run. He’ll just go to Omakau now. The Invercargill Cup will be the main goal.”

Pembrook Playboy (outside) getting the better of Vintage Cheddar – Photo Bruce Stewart.

Ragazzo Delivers

Bruce Stewart

19th December 2020

There were a few questions around Ragazzo Mach and today’s Wairio Cup.

One was, how would he handle his first standing start and first run against race hardened higher assessed horses?

Ragazzo Mach heading to the birdcage prior to his win today – Photo Bruce Stewart.

It turned out to be no problem as the province’s rising star answered all the questions with an emphatic win in the feature, and in doing so broke a long standing course and Southland record.

“He did bobble for a couple of strides. He just panicked when everyone rushed off but he hit his straps pretty quickly,” trainer driver Nathan Williamson said about the start.

Williamson summed up the race perfectly when, with just under a lap to run, he eased Ragazzo Mach off the inside running line.

“I saw Robyns Playboy beginning very quickly and saw him move behind me so I thought it was a good opportunity to nip round and then take the trail because he was the one to follow.”

Robyns Playboy carried Ragazzo Mach to the passing lane but second favourite Watch Me Now was quickly on the scene when the field turned in.

“He felt real good turning in. I was just a wee bit worried that the other horses had their speed up and had kicked clear on the bend while I was held up. Once he came through though he levelled out and sprinted up well.”

Three year old Ragazzo Mach winning the Wairio Cup easily – Photo Bruce Stewart.

The winning margin was two lengths with Watch Me Now finishing second and there was another length and a quarter back to Love On The Rocks.

The winning time of 2-59.0 was a new track and Southland record for three year olds, bettering Shorty’s Chance’s 2009 record of 3-01.3. The time was just 0.8 seconds outside the New Zealand record for Three Year Old Colts and Geldings held by Pembrook’s Passion.

Heading back to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

Ragazzo Mach became the first three year old to win the Cup since Kawarau Gold won in 1973.

Some were surprised to see Ragazzo Mac in the Cup field, but Williamson made the call after the colt recovered well after his last start nine days ago.

“It’s never easy. I’ve made no secret of the fact I didn’t want to go to Gore and race on the grass. Racing on the grass for three year olds – I‘m not a real fan. Some may have viewed it as a bit of a risk to bring him here today but I was happy with the way he was and I thought he’d improve on last weeks race.”

Williamson has had plenty of nice three year olds in his stable since starting his training career in 2010; horses like Tas Man Bromac, Franco Santino, and Pembrook Playboy.

“He’s a very nice three year old. Pembrook Playboy was hamstrung last season because of Covid. I would have loved to have tested him against the better three year olds. I think Ragazzo Mach is more mature (at the same age) so he’s more a natural three year old. I thought Pembrook Playboy would develop into a better horse at four and five. This fella’s there now so he has to be right up there.”

It was the second time owner Neville Cleaver has won the Wairio Cup, taking out the race in 2017 with Hopes And Dreams, trained by Graeme Anderson and driven by Williamson.

In the birdcage with Neville Cleaver – Photo Bruce Stewart

A happy Cleaver with the Wairio Cup – Photo Bruce Stewart

It was the fifth time Williamson has driven the winner of the Wairio Cup. Prior to today’s win which was his first as a trainer, he’s driven Here Comes Soky (2007), Costa Del Magnifico (2015), Hopes And Dreams (2017) and Smokin By (2018).

Meanwhile quality mare Yankee Party overcame a second line draw to win the first heat of the SSBA Southern Belle Speed Series.

Yankee Party winning the first heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series

Back to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

The American Ideal five year old mare’s winning time was 1-53.7 and was her fourth win in just eight starts.

She was driven by Nathan Williamson, one of three winning drives for the Branxholme reinsman.

Big Run From Love N The Port

Bruce Stewart

19th December 2020

Hot favourite Love N The Port gave his followers heart flutters when he galloped at the start of his race  at Winton today but he recovered to win brilliantly.

“He hasn’t had a lot of experience with horses around him. He just panicked and galloped but settled quite quickly which was good. After that it was a very good run,” said driver Matty Williamson.

Love N The Port warming up for Matty Williamson – Photo Bruce Stewart

The gallop surprised Williamson.

“He doesn’t gallop much at home so I thought it might have been one that was terminal. He sorted it out and was very professional afterwards.”

He tagged onto the back of the field and Williamson said he was always travelling well.

“They were going along a bit but at the 600 he was ready to go.”

Williamson launched the three year inside the last 600 metres.

“He trotted the bend beautifully. We were close to the outside fence but he bowled round them beautifully and was strong to the end.”

Love N The Port stormed down the outside to win untouched from Miss Bamboocha.

“He’s got a nice motor but he’s still learning, as today showed. Abilitywise he wants to do it and he’s got stamina to go with his speed.”

Love N The Port winning at Wairio, beating Miss Bamboocha- Photo Bruce Stewart

Williamson said Love N The Port will start next on New Year’s Eve in the Gold Chip final at Winton.

Although still someway off, the New Zealand Trotting Derby could be on the radar for the horse.

“He’s got a bit of bottom to him. With the three year old ranks you have to see how the rest come back. With what I’ve seen you’d have to think he was in the top five in the country. We’ll just have to see whether we can get higher in the pecking order.”

Back to the winners circle – Photo Bruce Stewart

Meanwhile chestnut mare BK Merlot won at her second start at Winton today.

Peak mare BK Merlot winning at Winton today – Photo Bruce Stewart

The Peak mare trained by Nathan Williamson lead from the mobile and won easily by four and a half lengths for Otautau owner Brent Smith.

The four year old is a half-sister to quality trotter Bordeaux which won eleven races.

Back to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

The Hustler looks to have turned a corner having backed up his last start second to win impressively for new trainer Lauren Pearson and driver Brent Barclay.

The Hustler stretching out for Brent Barclay – Photo Bruce Stewart

First win – Photo Bruce Stewart

Winning connections – Photo Bruce Stewart

The Bettor’s Delight four year old started his career with Katrina and John Price.

Ashburton visitor Better’s Tart improved on a last start second when she beat Jaffie J by a neck.

Better’s Tart (6) winning her first race – Photo Bruce Stewart

Winning salute by successful driver Stephen McNally – Photo Bruce Stewart

Tough gelding Willangus Lad showed his liking to lead and race on big tracks, when he held out Kiwitrix in the Southland Vehicle Sales Handicap Trot.

Willangus Lad winning in the hands of Blair Orange – Photo Bruce Stewart

This was the Robert Wilson trained five year old’s third race in just twelve starts. Bred by Kevin Schuck the gelding is a half-brother to the well preformed De Vito which won six races.

Winning connections – Photo Bruce Stewart

Emotional Hometown Win

Bruce Stewart

28th December 2020

“I’m on top of the world. I haven’t had anything better.” These were the words of Mataura trainer Lyndon Bond after winning the Gore Trotting Cup with Tweedledee, owned by his father Jimmy.

Jimmy Bond second left with his wife Colleen, after Tweedledee’s win at Gore

In the hands of Blair Orange the five year old settled Tweedledee third on the inside. He moved him off the fence at the 400 metre mark and pushed the gelding out to win by three quarters of a length from Get Lucky.

Tweedledee with Blair Orange beating Get Lucky on the outside – Photo Bruce Stewart.

The winning time of 3-50.1 was a new track record for trotters. The previous record of 3-51.5 was set earlier in the day by Playboy’s Brother.

Returning to the winners plate – Photo Bruce Stewart

It was the gelding’s fourth win. He’s had three seconds and five thirds in his twenty nine start career.

“He’s been super consistent and we set him for this race. It’s a good pick me up for Dad.”

Although it was Tweedledees’s first start on the grass, Bond said that wasn’t a concern.

“We worked him on the grass during the week and we were super happy with him.”

Lyndon says although his father has had a few health issues he’s still active around the stables.

“He still does most of the work in the yards and feeding up at night.”

Morrison Tickled Pink

Bruce Stewart

28th December 2020

Standout provided young West Melton trainer John Morrison with his biggest payday to date in his short training career when he took out the $15,000.00 2020 Mataura Licensing Trust Gore Cup yesterday.

Standout warming up at Gore yesterday in the pink colours of John Morrison

Morrison is still driving in the junior drivers ranks but has held a license to train since 2018 and yesterday Standout was his sixty eighth starter and ninth winner.

He’s had the five year old since June, Standout having begun his career with Ian Munro who won one race with him.

“I was lucky to get the horse readymade. He’s done a good job in a short space of time,” said Morrison who’s driven him in all of his twenty five starts with the first win being at Addington.

“Ian had only sent him up to me five days before so I didn’t have to do anything.”

Prior to yesterday’s win the Stunin Cullen gelding had won on the grass at the Geraldine meeting, and he’d come in second on the grass at Oamaru, so it was surprising he went out as sixth favourite.

Prior to the start Morrison gave him a practice standing start in the home straight, and had to tap him up to get his mind on the job.

“He’s a laid back customer but he can be the opposite at times and get a bit fired up.”

In  yesterday’s pacing feature Standout settled fifth on the inside running line with I’mallaboutthebase taking up the leaders role.

“I just tried to keep him as relaxed as possible over the long trip. He did relax.”

At the 400 Morrison had to push  through a number of gaps and in turning in he got onto the back of Franco Santino. He squeezed through tight quarters between Franco Santino and Tartan Robyn, came home three out from the inside and got up to beat a game Mucho Macho Man by half a length.

Standout (outside) getting the better of Mucho Macho Man – Photo Bruce Stewart

In the birdcage with Cheryl and Ian Munro (left) Photo Bruce Stewart

“When I asked him he went. He’s always had a bit of speed. His manners were a problem at one stage but he’s alright now so Ian and Cheryl have done a great job to get him to where he is now.”

Morrison says he plans to start the gelding at the upcoming Roxburgh meeting before heading to Cromwell.

Gore Briefs

28th December 2020

Bruce Stewart

Jannah Jaccka continued the Jaccka legacy, winning her first race on the grass at Gore yesterday.

The four year old Muscle Hill mare is the first foal out of the talented but lightly raced Jocy Jaccka whose dam Janine Jaccka began the impressive run Charlie and Alisa Smaill have had with the trotters they’ve  bred from this family.

Jannah Jaccka (2) winning her first race – Photo Bruce Stewart

Just four seconds into the race Jannah Jaccka was taken to the lead by regular pilot Brent Barclay. She held on to beat favourite Shandon Bells by a nose, with Whangamata a neck back in third.

Back to the winners plate with driver Brent Barclay – Photo Bruce Stewart

Winning connections – Photo Bruce Stewart

Ideal Robyn scored at long odds in the second race for local trainers Ross and Chris Wilson. The four year old American Ideal gelding’s formline was poor but her trainers were confident of a more positive showing, with Ross picking the horse in the Southern Harness website’s ‘Drive with Five.’

Driven by Matty Williamson, Ideal Robyn made a sweeping run to get close to the front, turning in in the long Gore straight. She cleared out to win by five and a half lengths, bringing in a winning dividend of $19.80.

Ideal Robyn winning for Matty Williamson – Photo Bruce Stewart

Playboy’s Brother, a ten race winner having his first start in just over a year, proved age was no barrier. The ten year old having 112th start won the Hokonui Honda/Food Affair Trot by fifteen and a quarter lengths.

Trained by Colin McKay and driven by Brad Williamson, Playboy’s Brother led for most of the trip and broke the trotter’s 2700 metre stand record on grass. The new record of 3-51.5 erased the previous record of 3-54.4 held by Priority dating back to 1974. However Playboy’s Brother held the record for a short time only as it was broken later in the day by Tweedledee.

Playboy’s Brother leading with a lap to run – Photo Bruce Stewart

Way out in front down the straight – Photo Bruce Stewart

A happy finish – Photo Bruce Stewart

The Wilsons notched up a second win in Race Four with Swift Robyn taking out her third race.

The American Ideal mare went straight to the top, driven by junior Kerryn Tomlinson and rated perfectly, winning by five and a quarter lengths.

Swift Robyn is first off the gate – Photo Bruce Stewart

At the finish – Photo Bruce Stewart

Winning connections – Photo Bruce Stewart

The win was hugely satisfying for the Wilson family. Chris is vice-president of the Gore HRC and his father Ross is on the committee.

The Roy Henley Memorial Mobile Pace was won by Templeton visitor and favourite Magic Mike. He came down the middle of the track to win by half a neck from Shards Fury which stuck to the inside.

Magic Mike (13) getting up on the outside – Photo Bruce Stewart

The A Rocknroll Dance four year old has been a consistent performer for Peter and Mitchell Robertson, finishing third five times and second once in eight starts prior to yesterday’s maiden win.

The race was delayed by one race when sadly Scratcher Mitchell had to be put down after injuring a leg.

Carrera Belle trained by Craig Ferguson won the Arden Lodge Fillies and Mares Mobile Pace.

Carrera Belle winning for Craig Ferguson – Photo Bruce Stewart

The Bettor’s Delight mare owned by Michelle Horton came down the centre of the track in the hands of her trainer to win by half a length.

Carrera Belle qualified for Grant Payne at Ashburton in September after earlier being trained by Brendan Hill. She was purchased by Horton in October.

Sponsors and winning connections – Photo Bruce Stewart

The win by Call Me Keith was a special one for the well known Hunter family. Trainer Hamish Hunter and driver Peter Hunter wore black armbands in acknowledgement of their sister who sadly died on Christmas Eve.


Call Me Keith winning for Hamish and Peter Hunter – Photo Bruce Stewart

Returning to the winners plate – Photo Bruce Stewart

The five year old gelding by Washington VC was also bred by Hamish and was well suited by the big and roomy grass track.

Later in the day Gore trainer Tony Stratford quinellaed the Mitre 10 Gore Mobile Pace with Dodgethebullet, beating stablemate Mr Clooney.

Kiwitrix A Chip off The Old Block

Bruce Stewart

31st December 2020

Manners were the key to the Gold Chip Final at Winton today.

On one hand favourite Love N The Port broke and missed his chance to win, and on the other, Kiwitrix was on his best behaviour.

Kiwitrix warming up – Photo Bruce Stewart

It was a quick turnaround for Kiwitrix who was pulled up after breaking at Gore four days ago.

“He was down on the inside and hit a bit of a soft patch and didn’t enjoy it,” said trainer driver Nathan Williamson.

After sitting fourth early in the running Williamson progressed forward to take the lead with a lap to run, while Love N The Port was making up lost ground.

“I wasn’t aware of where he was but I did have a look round once I got to the lead at the 1000 and I couldn’t see him. That was quite good because I expected him to be around if he was trotting.”

As Kiwitrix headed for home Williamson hardly had to move and he trotted to the line faultlessly to win by two and three quarter lengths from Miss Crazed. Both Love N The Port and Aveross Majesty stormed home late.

“I was pretty impressed with him today. He felt a lot sharper and he’s starting to switch on.”

Kiwitrix beating his rivals in the Gold Chip Final – Photo Bruce Stewart

The close up action – Photo Bruce Stewart

Sponsor Michelle Caig, Nichol Gray, Dave Henley, Kiwitrix and Nathan Williamson.

Dave Henley, Michelle Caig and Nicol Gray with the Jimmy Dillion trophy won by Kiwitrix – Photo Bruce Stewart

The key to the four year old’s improved performances this season have been the inclusion of half-hopples along with other minor gear changes.

“He doesn’t concentrate that well. I put a blind on his other side today to go with the Murphy Blind. He loses focus at times so the half-hopples help him focus. At Tuapeka he led early and went off stride early for no reason. He’s a big green horse and we won’t see the best of him until another twelve months.”

Williamson says the half-hopples will eventually come off.

“He can work as well as anything at home without them. The half hopples will come off again but not just yet.”

The Gold Chip Series which give horses the chance to qualify for a $12,000 final is in its third season.

“It’s a great concept. Dad’s good trotters were in today and I’ve always tried to support it. It helps those progressive horses. The rating system looks after the older horses. The Nuggets, The Ladyship and The Gold Chip series are important for Southland. Clark Barron came up with the concepts and I’m right behind them.”

Kiwitrix was bred by Williamson, Brian McCully and Hugh Catto.

McCully raced her dam Kylie Ree which won four of her eleven starts including the Group One Harness Jewels Two Year Old Ruby and the Group Three Hambletonian at Ashburton.

As a broodmare Kylie Ree has an impressive CV, having left five foals of racing age, all of whom have been winners, including She’s Allthe Craze, the winner of eight races and the highly promising Son Of Patrick which was placed in the Harness Million 1 Trot his season.

Katie Williamson, McCully and Catto own one of Kylie Ree’s daughters Hawaiian Hula. She showed a lot of promise as a young horse but unfortunately injury curtailed her career.

Today’s win was Kiwitrix’s fourth in seventeen starts. He’s owned by Katie Williamson, her parents Ross and Robyn Jones, Nicol Gray, Dave Henley and the Triple R Sulkys Syndicate which is made up of members of the Riversdale Senior Rugby team.

Williamson now moves his focus to Omakau on Saturday where he has Pembrook Playboy in the Free For All.

“I’m really happy with him. He’s fresh so anything he does he’ll improve on. I’m pretty happy with his training so he’ll be pretty hard to beat. It’s a small field so it’ll be interesting to see how things pan out, but I’m very confident with him.”

Quality three year old Croesus returns to the track in the R40-R54 Junior Drivers race after a short break. He’ll be driven by stable junior Ollie Kite.

“He’s fresh and he’s had a couple of workouts that have just been okay. He’s got a good draw so hopefully he can use it. I think he’s good enough to win.”

Dark Horse runs in the main trotting race of the afternoon and she too faces a small quality field.

“She’s racing really well. She’s got a tricky draw which will make it more difficult but it’s not a big field so that’s a real assist for her. If there’s a heap of pace on I think she’ll be running on at the finish.”

Change of Scene Works for A Taste Of Honey

Bruce Stewart

31st December 2020.

Tank Ellis and Kirstin Barclay haven’t had Art Major mare A Taste Of Honey for long but she appreciated the drop in class, and her fresh new training regime at Oreti Beach.

A Taste Of Honey after winning a heat of the Southern Belle – Photo Bruce Stewart

In today’s Vet South Equine Southern Belle Speed Series she sat outside the leader for most of the trip and still toughed it out – winning by three quarters of a length from a late finishing Pearl Harbour.

In today’s second heat of the Belle Series driver Kirstin Barclay moved forward to sit outside early leader Swell Time before Plutonium Lady took up the pacemaker’s role.

On straightening up Barclay reined the four year old mare up and she eventually mastered Plutonium Lady and held off a late charge by Pearl Harbour by three quarters of a length.

A Taste Of Honey (5) beating Pearl Harbour (8) – Photo Bruce Stewart

A Taste Of Honey has only been in the south for a few weeks after being transferred from the Paul Kerr stable.

“Today we were coming in without knowing too much – a bit of trial and error. They went pretty slow today and she’s raced a better quality horse at Addington so she should be able to do that,” said Barclay.

Principle owner Don Bates has had other horses with Barclay and Ellis including Ride In A Concorde and Her Majesty.

Meanwhile ‘in and out’ Somebeachsomewhere gelding Tairlaw Toll was ‘in’ today with an impressive win in the NZ Bloodstock Mobile Pace.

In the hands of Nathan Williamson, the Brent McIntyre trained six year old came home late to beat stablemate Sweet Annie.

Tairlaw Toll beating his stablemate Sweet Annie – Photo Bruce Stewart\

Returning to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

Rakarippa, under a confident drive from trainer Peter Hunter, won her first race when she sat parked and beat Sassy’s VC by half a length.

Rakarippa and Peter Hunter winning at Winton – Photo Bruce Stewart

Back to the winners circle – Photo Bruce Stewart

Evergreen pacer in his 149th start won his ninth race for Myross Bush trainer Doug McLachlan. He had three quarters of a length to spare on Holy Havoc at the end of the Regent Car Court Mobile Pace.

Franco Huntington holding out Holy Havoc – Photo Bruce Stewart