January 2020

Enchantee Wins Roxburgh Cup

Bruce Stewart

It was a case of getting away and going straight to the front for Prebbleton mare Enchantee and driver Blair Orange in today’s Peters Genetics Roxburgh Cup.

“She’s a great stand start horse. When she hits the ground there’s not many can beat her over the first 100 metres,” said trainer Nick Le Lievre.

The task was made easier when second favourite Spirit Of St Louis broke at the start and took no part in the days feature.

“We thought we might end up in front and then perhaps hand to one of the good horses because she’s so much better coming from behind. She just doesn’t like being niggled at if horses come up and have a look at her.”

Orange kept up a steady pace with the Bettor’s Delight mare and when fourth favourite Robyns Playboy which had sat parked for most of the last lap, began to give ground Orange must have been confident of winning.

“She’s a very good staying mare and the faster they go the better. Blair probably went as quiet as he could as she doesn’t like being in front. We got away with a relatively cheap lead but she was still good enough to do it.”

Nota Bene Denario was a length and a quarter back in second and Triroyale Brigade ran another honest race finishing third.

The winning time was 3-27.1 with the last 800 metres run in 57.7. The race and track record of 3-22.9 is held by Comply Or Die.

Enchantee and Blair Orange winning the 2020 Roxburgh Cup – Photo Wayne Huddleston – Wild Range Photography.

Today’s win was Enchantee’s seventh. She was good enough to run third in last season’s New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes won by Dream About Me.

“That was my first Group One race. It was a massive thrill for both of us.”

It’s not the first time Orange has won on the mare. He drove her to win at Banks Peninsula in March 2017.

The win was very much a family affair as Le Lievre first winner at Rangiora in August 2010 was Amelie the dam of Enchantee.

“She (Amelie) was a really game mare. She would have won a lot more races if she’d stayed sound. She broke down twice. She only won once but she was hardly out of the money in just seven starts.”

Le Lievre said he will now target the big mare’s races coming up at Addington.

“This will probably be her last season of racing. We’re not going to over race her. If she’s racing well we may just race her a bit longer into the autumn.”

For All Roxburgh Cup winners CLICK HERE

Richard Reigns For Baynes

Bruce Stewart

Richard The Third became part of a purple patch of form being experienced by owner Kenny Baynes and Baynes Racing Limited.

His win today at Roxburgh was the third for Kenny and his sister in-law Penny in as many days and two races later Mach Three three year old Stratofortress also won for the pair. Both are trained at Ryal Bush by Brett Gray.

Richard The Third was widely tipped to win today after running a gallant second to tearaway pace maker Time In A Bottle at Gore last month.

The giant trotter drew barrier one today and had to be on his best behaviour as two false starts were declared prior to the race finally getting underway.

“He’s just matured. The false starts didn’t bother him,” Kenny said.

Driver Brent Barclay settled the four year old in fifth early, with Galleons Future making the pace. At the 800 Barclay got on the back of stablemate Brandy And Dry and got a nice drag into the race. As the field opened up inside the last 500 metres he sent Richard The Third forward. At the top of the straight he was three wide and wore down a gallant Galleons Future to win by a length and a quarter.

The winning time of 2-53.4 was a new all-comers record for the 2180 metre stand, beating She’s Allthe Craze’s previous record of 2-54.1.

One of three winning drives for Brent Barclay – Richard The Third – Photo Wayne Huddleston – Wild Range Photography.

Richard The Third is out of the Gee Whiz ll mare It’s A Whiz which was bred by the late Bert Crooks.

Crooks, a long time President of the Southland Racing Club, raced many good gallopers including Wellington Cup winner Ed and Kurdistan mare Bonny Alouise. She won the 1975 New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Stakes at Ascot Park, trained by Rex Cochrane.

It’s A Whiz won three races for Crooks when trained at Makarewa by Tony Barron.

As a broodmare her first foal was Springbank Richard which was bred by Northern Southland couple Alister and Denise Smith. He won twenty races including the 2009 Dominion Handicap when driven by Nathan Williamson.

The Smith’s bred from It’s A Whiz until 2012 without too much luck and Baynes bought her in 2017

“I was up at Macca Lodge looking for a trotting mare. Alister said that he had one (It’s A Whiz). I asked him what he wanted for her and he said I could have her for nothing on one condition; that he didn’t get her back.”

Smith told Baynes he was sick of breeding fillies out of the mare.

“We’ve only bred from her twice and we’ve bred two colts.”

Since Richard The Third the mare has left a Lucky Chucky gelding named In The Groove which qualified for Gray at Winton in May.

“She’s (It’s A Whiz) just down in the paddock. She’s twenty two. Who knows whether I’ll breed from her again. She’s just in the spare parts department at the moment,” said Baynes who’s well known for his one liners.

Richard The Third got his name by being the third colt out of It’s A Whiz. He’s only had nine starts and this is his second season of racing.

“We might have been asking too much of him last year. He threw away a couple of races when he galloped in front.”

The investment in Richard The Third has turned out to be a good one for Baynes. Not only was the mare given to him for free but the service fee to The Pres (the sire of Richard The Third) was also won as a prize.

Two races later Stratofortress having his first start also won for the Baynes/Gray/Barclay combination.

“After Full Noise ran third in the first race I gave Brent a Jimmy’s pie. That’s what got him on a roll.”

Stratfortress is out of the Bettor’s Delight mare Better Hurry and is named after the long range B52 Bomber.

Stratofortress gets up on the inside to beat Yuko – Photo Wayne Huddleston – Wild Range Photography

The two wins today capped off a great start to 2020 for the Baynes family.

Further up country Play Ball trained by Michael House won for the partnership at Tauherenikua on Thursday while Miss Mucho also won in the Baynes colours at Omakau on the same day. She’s trained by Tony Barron.

Baynes has a host of horses spread across the South Island and says his tighter assessed trotter War Admiral is due to return to the race track this month.

The now five year old last started in the Four Year Old Ruby on Jewels Day at Addington in early June. He’s now trained by Michael House who’s given the horse two trials to get him ready to resume racing.

“He’ll be racing at the end of the month in the longer distance races around Canterbury. We want to target the shorter distance mobile races for War Machine.”

Franco Too Good In Summer Cup

Bruce Stewart

Nathan Williamson’s race strategy worked out well yesterday in the House Of Travel Lakers Summer Cup.

Driving Franco Santino and drawing the outside of the front line he knew he had the gate speed to cross all of the inside runners and that’s what he did.

“I was quite keen to leave the gate but I had to work a lot harder than I thought to cross, so I elected to trail Bettathanfast which was good. He’s a rolling horse that was never going to hand up. He was a good target to follow,” he said.

Bettathanfast took Franco Santino to the passing lane and the two horses fought out a sterling finish, Franco Santino winning by a head.

“He was travelling that good turning for home but I struggled to get him to the inside. He flattened out when he got there. They ripped home in 27.”

The overall winning time was 2-43.7.

It’s the second time Williamson has won the Summer Cup, also winning with Costa Del Magnifico in 2017.

Owned by Neville Cleaver, Franco Santino has now won eight races. His racing has been restricted each season to a limited number of starts, as the stable  waited for him to mature.

“He still needs probably another six months to develop. His hind quarters aren’t real strong yet. He’s racing really well so you can’t knock him too much.”

The rescheduled Omakau Cup at Wyndham and the Invercargill Cup the week after are two of his immediate targets.

“The Northern Southland Cup is also coming up so there’s plenty for him”

Belle Heat Winner Started Life As Orphan

Bruce Stewart

Southern Belle Speed Series heat winner at Ascot Park yesterday Bridesdale Robyn didn’t have the best start to life, as at six weeks old her mother Robyn’s Treasure had a paddock accident shattering her shoulder, and she had to be put down.

From that point part-owners Judy Dillon hand reared Bridesdale Robyn, feeding her two and a half litres of milk four times a day.

Understandably that experience has shaped who she is.

“That’s why she’s got a bit of bolshiness about her,” said part-owner and co-trainer Ross Wilson.

At the start Bridesdale Robyn was left three wide on a hot pace set by Stay Aboard. With a lap to run of the 1700 metre race driver Craig Ferguson had reached the front, but he’d used a bit of petrol to get there.

At the 300 Ferguson pulled the ear plugs and pinched a break on the chasing bunch and she held on to beat Bella Sara and Yankee Party who both came late down the middle of the track.

The time was 2-04.2 and the winning margin over Bella Sara was a length and a quarter.

Bridesdale Robyn holding out Bella Sara (3) and Yankee Party (wide out) – Photo Bruce Stewart

Winning connections and sponsors Vet South – Photo Bruce Stewart

Co-trainer Chris Wilson wasn’t able to enjoy the win on-course. Previously he’s missed stable wins because of his children’s hockey tournaments and family holidays, but this time he was busy at work.

As a senior technical field rep for the Gore based Advanced Agriculture, at this time of year there’s a fair bit of demand from farmers requiring his services.

The win was Bridesdale Robyn’s seventh and she’s now inelidgible to start in any further heats of the Southern Belle Speeds Series.

“We may have to look at going to Christchurch and look at those mares races. The fact that we have two horses we can take (Robyns Playboy for other races) will make it a bit easier.”

Wilson however is holding his breath as the stable has a virus running through it at the moment.

“That’s why Swift Robyn dropped out at her last start. It’s probably just a matter of time before they all get it.”

The races was delayed a considerable time as the previous race result was under review and given Bridesdale Robyns record, Wilson was understandably starting to get nervous.

“She’s on the warning list from the other day. At Winton she was just looking out at the car park, not concentrating and broke. She’s done it before. Same race, same day.”

By Christian Cullen, Bridesdale Robyn is named after stock the Dillons produce on their farm ‘Bridesdale’ at Ardlussa in Northern Southland where they also raise Romney and Dorset Downs sheep on their 100 acre home block.

Amore Lancome Wins Crown

Bruce Stewart

The well-bred Amore Lancome is enjoying life in the south.

The Art Major mare out of the thirteen win Courage Under Fire mare Lancome has been at the Oreti Beach stable of trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis for four weeks.

Amore Lancome won twice for her previous trainer Bob Butt.

“Brian West sent her down just to race in the south and race into the winter. Then he wants to breed from her,” said Tank Ellis.

This was her second start for the stable after running fifth at Wyndham two weeks ago. She was 6/6 in the betting.

“She’s a lovely horse and we were quietly confident.”

The winning margin was one and three quarter lengths with Divinia Bellezza running second.

Amore Lancome stretching out for Kirstin Barclay – Photo Bruce Stewart

Returning to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

Under Wraps enhanced the great record of stallion Terror To Love when he easily won the Sheet Metalcraft Mobile Pace.

Trained by Paul Court and driven by Blair Orange the winning margin was three and a quarter lengths from favourite Croesus.

Under Wraps and Blair Orange winning – Photo Bruce Stewart

Winning salute – Photo Bruce Stewart

Jacks N Jazz made a lot of owners happy when he won the Forklifts New Zealand Mobile Pace, capping off a consistent run of form to win his fourth race.

Trained by Geoff and Jude Knight at Roxburgh he’s owned by the Have Fun Syndicate, the Goes All Day Syndicate and TW Croft.

Jacks N Jazz winning at Ascot Park – Spot the winning trainer and owners in the background – Photo Bruce Stewart

Returning to the birdcage with Brad Williamson – Photo Bruce Stewart

Winning connections and sponsor – Photo Bruce Stewart

Bettor’s Delight filly Nikasa won her second race when she took out the Pure Pac NZ Cherries Mobile Pace.

Driven by Brent Barclay the Darryn Simpson trained filly beat Revitalise by three quarters of a length.

Nikasa winning at Ascot Park – Photo Bruce Stewart

There were nervous moments when Tolkien won the All Things Harness Ownership Trot due to him galloping on or near the line but the Stewards dismissed the enquiry.

It was the second win for the Kirk Larsen trained trotter from eighteen starts.

Tolkien returning to face an enquiry – Photo Bruce Stewart

The Merv and Meg Butterworth owned trotter Cuchulainn under a great drive by Brent Barclay, won the main trot of the afternoon.

While other runners had to work for their spots the five year old Skyvalley gelding trained by Brett Gray did nothing in the run and came with a last run down the middle of the track to beat a game Sekkie Monkey. Third place getter Get Lucky will derive plenty of benefit from the run today. It’s his first run since the Harness Jewels in early June.

Driver Brent Barclay (Cuchulainn) looks over to tell Nathan Williamson he’s just got beat – Photo Bruce Stewart

Betterthanbrie made it a double for the Barclay/Ellis stable when she returned to winning form.

The five year last won in July 2019.  Stablemate Chuckles ran second just a neck away from the winner.

A brave Betterthanbrie (5) winning for owner Murray Little – Photo Bruce Stewart.

Looking at the camera – Photo Bruce Stewart

Dadndave Wins Cup

Bruce Stewart

He’s been a bit underrated but today at Ascot Park West Melton trained Dadndave had his day in the sun when he won the $30,000 Group Three Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup.

This race was not initially on the horse’s radar, but Southern Harness CEO Jason Broad who was raceday Secretary for the recent Nelson circuit, mentioned it to trainer Tim Trathen.

“Yeah, Jas mentioned it on the first day at Nelson. I thought it was a bit of a quick turn around and I actually thought the race was next week. A few said it was a bit of a tough call. He’s had a bit of racing but pulled up well (last start) and he’s just been thriving so we bit the bullet. He can have a wee freshener after this,” Trathen said.

The Bettor’s Delight four year old brought a consistent form line into today’s feature and his trainer was confident of a good run.

“He hasn’t had much luck. At Blenheim he was fairly much last on the turn a couple of times and he ran home in 55. I wasn’t worried about any of them really. I thought if he was handy he’d go well.”

Driver Brent Barclay took Dadndave straight to the top which kept the field rolling and at the end of the 2700 metres only Franco Santino which was trailing, got close. The winning margin was three quarters of a length.

Dadndave and Brent Barclay in front with a lap to run – Photo Bruce Stewart

Down the line beating Franco Santino – Photo Bruce Stewart

The winning time was 3-22.9 with the last 800 metres run in 56 seconds.

“It was a great drive. I said (to driver Brent Barclay) he usually steps good so let him roll. It worked out great.”

Back to the birdcage 2020 Invercargill Cup winner – Photo Bruce Stewart

This is the first time in twenty three years  the Cup has been run over 2700 metres, as since 1996 it’s been contested over 3200 metres.

Dadndave is owned by Trathen, his father John and host at the Yaldhurst Hotel in Christchurch Dave McHugh.

“It good for Dad because he’s been a bit sick and Dave’s got a few with us. I’m only allowed to drink at the Yaldy otherwise he’d probably take the horses off me.”

Winning connections with trainer Tim Trathen fourth from right – Photo Bruce Stewart.

Today’s win is Trathen’s biggest since he started training thirty years ago and his first group winner.

“I have a few horses but I don’t race that many. I do a few for Mark (Purdon) and Natalie (Rasmussen). I just tick away and breed a few of my own.”

Trathen said he’s expecting two establishments to be going off tonight – the Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill and the Yaldy in Christchurch.

“I’m staying with Brownie (Ascot Park trainer Murray Brown) so I’ll have a few friends tonight. I’m flying home in the morning. My wife and friends are all at the Yaldy. Dave will be gutted he’s not here. He went to Nelson and Blenheim and said he’d better stay at home this time.”

Pay Me Speedy Wins On Debut

Bruce Stewart

Young Winton trainer Chelsea Faithful feels lucky she was able to secure a lease in the well-bred Pay Me Speedy.

Faithful shares in the ownership on the first start winner with her grandparents Norm and Bev Cox and her mother Louise Cox.

“I was very lucky to get her off the Horse Trader website. Her full-brother Pay Me Mach was a good horse that Hamish (Hunter) had but he broke down. Hopefully she’s got a wee bit of what he had,” she said.

Pay Me Mach started at the races seven times, winning twice and running three other placings.

Faithful has had the daughter of Mach Three and Pay Me Painter since the horse was an unbroken yearling.

“She’s been great to do anything with. She used to buck every now and then but that’s out of her system now.”

In today’s PGG Wrightson Mobile Pace the three year old drew one and trailed pacemaker Weren’t Watching before coming up the passing lane to beat her  by a neck.

“I wasn’t overly happy with the run. She’s better than that but it was her first start and she got pretty nervous. I think she got quite hot as well. Nathan was a bit disappointed…… but she did what she had to do.”

Pay Me Speedy and Nathan Williamson winning on debut – Photo Bruce Stewart.

Returning to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

 Faithful’s phone has been ringing with offers, prior to today’s debut.

“Mum’s not too worried about selling. Grandma loves her. If she’s not sold I’d like to think she’ll be good enough to run in the Southland Oaks. We’ll look at the Ladyship next though.”

Faithful, who’s into her fourth season of training has five horses in work. She  said Tartan Trilogy won nicely at the Winton Workouts on Friday in 3-03 and is likely to race at the second day at Wyndham.

“I’m loving the training. You put so much into (it).  It’s disappointing if they don’t go that well but if they win you get a great thrill. I’ve got five boxes – one taken up by the pony, and I have one in the paddock.”

Mates Get The Gold

Bruce Stewart

Two harness mates, Bronson Munro and Craig Ferguson combined to win the $15,000 Gold Chip Final for trotters at Wyndham yesterday.

Skyvalley mare Sunny Valley trained by Munro and driven by Ferguson caused a minor upset when she beat Galleons Future by two and a quarter lengths.

“She went well at her last run but we thought being in the Nugget Final we were up against it. But she stepped up,” Ferguson said after the run.

He took the five year old to the lead early before handing up to Matai Jetstar. who took him to the straight and from there Ferguson was able to angle Sunny Valley into the clear.

“We got to the middle of the track at the top of the straight and when I pulled the ear plugs and asked her to go she showed speed like a pacer – changed gear and went.”

It was the mare’s first win in ten starts and the biggest of her young trainer’s short career.

“I’ve been down here a couple of weeks staying with Craig. To get a result like that with the two of us, I’m rapt. Craig and I have been great mates for a long time.  $15,000 stake for a maiden is pretty good,” said Munro who’s in his second season of training.

Sunny Valley was bred by Lew Driver and is a product of a long line of Roydon Lodge mares. Her mother Sundon’s Sensation recorded two thirds in fifteen starts and Sunny Valley was her only foal.

“She’s a contagious tart. She’s pretty hard to deal with sometimes. Out on the track her manners are perfect and that’s a credit to Donny Ross who did a lot of education with her. He’s still got a share in her so it’ll be a great thrill for him as well.”

Local Southern Harness Board member Tom Kilkelly scored back to back wins at Wyndham yesterday.

The double was kicked off by Gotta Go Cullen six year old Lite Percussion which led all the way winning the MLT/Three Rivers Hotel Mobile Pace by three and a half lengths and running the 1609 metres in 1-56.2.

He was taken to the front by driver and co-trainer Kirstin Barclay and won easily.

Consistent Major Meister won the next race for the same combination.  He led early before handing up to favourite Raksjameson. Barclay waited for the passing lane then reined the three year old colt up the inside to win by a length and a half from Raksjameson.

Meanwhile four nicely bred two year olds appeared at the Winton Workouts today.

Beach Start (Net Ten EOM – Weka Lass) won the heat by a neck from Yorokobi (Bettor’s Delight – Rockin Cullen) with a neck back to Who’s My Mother (Sweet Lou – Dancing Dixie) and another neck back to Special Dream (Bettor’s Delight – Christian Dreamer).

Beach Start and Brent Barclay beating Yorokobi and Tristan Larsen at the Winton Workouts – Photo Bruce Stewart.