January 2021

Juggling Jamie

Bruce Stewart

6th January 2021

As a school teacher and A horse trainer, young Southlander Jamie Campbell is familiar with juggling a few things at once.

He had a few balls in the air today at the Wyndham Harness Club’s meeting at Cromwell, one of which landed very nicely with Micky Fitz providing his first winner as a trainer.

Jamie Campbell and Micky Fitz – Photo Monica Toretto

Jamie is a member of the crash crew, but he took a break from his duties to watch the race on the hill beside the birdcage with his father Bruce.

“It’s just a bit awkward to be out there with the crash crew when I’ve got a horse running. It’s hard to watch because there’s no radio coverage anymore, and you can’t see,” Campbell said.

He’s a PE and Agriculture teacher at Central Southland College. He trains his horses out of a stable block owned by Wendy Swain and formally used by the late Alan Scobie.

Micky Fitz was bred by Gore horseman Ross Wilson and started his career for Wilson and his son Chris before Campbell took over at the beginning of this season.

Micky Fitz is out of Outkast which has also left handy horses in Jerry Fitz and Milligan.

“I’ve been asking Ross for ages if he had a horse I could have because he’s got a nice breed. Ross said Micky had a bit of ability and always showed something but not on race day. He gave me the horse and said if he wins a race to give him $500.”

Handled by Blair Orange the five year old gelding came from three back on the inside to run up the passing lane. He won by three and three quarter lengths from Zircon Lass.

“I always knew he’d get one (win). He’s thrived up here and was well before the race. I was confident without expecting too much. The Blair Orange factor goes a long way.”

Campbell shares in the ownership with Joe Popham.

“He’s my best mate. He lives in Christchurch. He’s a plumber and used to work for Marty Fairbairn and working for Marty sparked his interest. He was pretty rapt to be here.”

The red and black colours were designed by Jamie and originate from the colours of Midlands rugby club in Midlands wears.

As a junior driver Campbell’s recorded nine wins including a double this season on the Gordon and Colin Lee trained Melton Mafia.

Not only does he teach and train his own small team he also helps Branxholme trainer Nathan Williamson.

“I help Nathan out in the holidays and try to get down there in the weekends.”

Campbell also has shares in Major Purchase and Paddy Finn, both maidens. He has time for both of them and is hopeful they’ll develop into nice racehorses.

Change of luck for Get Lucky

Bruce Stewart

6th January 2021

Branxholme trainer Alister Blacks feels he’s finally making headway in getting Get Lucky back to full health.

The five year old gelding rewarded his trainer’s patience when he won at Cromwell today. There was a bit of a gap between his last win (Oamaru May 2019 as a three year old) and this one.

Get Lucky – Photo Monica Toretto

“He got crook and I couldn’t get him healthy but I think we’re starting to head it off now. He seems very bright and happy within himself,” Black said.

Get Lucky had a number of small niggly health issues and Black says he has high GGTs.

“We don’t really know why he suffers. We’ve done all sorts of tests on him. Trying to work out his workload having high GGTs has been hard. I’ve had to experiment this year and I think I’m on the right track.”

Black wasn’t prepared to disclose how he’s got on top of the problem.

“That’s my trade secret. They can all work it out for themselves.”

Due to Covid Get Lucky had only two starts as a four year old. “We had to pull up stumps and start again.”

This season he’s started ten times prior to today’s run having taken out four seconds and two thirds. Today he was handled by regular driver Brad Williamson.

“It was an absolute peach of a drive. To come out and then drop back down. It surprises me why he hasn’t got a full book every meeting.”

Owned by Lindsay and Ian Thomson Get Lucky is out of the unraced Sundon mare Bree.

Meanwhile Black was very happy with Vintage Cheddar’s run in the Cromwell Cup.

“He started off forty metres, he was fresh up and Brad came back in and said it might have been a different story if they’d gone five to ten seconds quicker, because it was really only a dash up the straight.”

Vintage Cheddar got within half a length of winner Plutonium Lady.

“They ran home (on the grass) in 28.6 and he didn’t quit.”

Unfortunately the Omakau race meeting had to be cancelled due to heavy rain but Black’s hopeful the Omakau Cup will be rerun. This will be the next likely target for Vintage Cheddar.

“I heard they may run it on the 20th (January) at Winton. He’s also got the Invercargill and Northern Southland Cups and the Summer Cup at Addington. Later on the Easter Cup. It looks as though he’s going to be here for the New Zealand Cup next year which is even better.”

Hurrell Gets Ton

Bruce Stewart

6th January 2021

Today Waikouaiti horseman Mark Hurrell reached a milestone when he drove his hundredth winner at Cromwell.

Driving Tad Lincoln trained by Paul Andrews, the junior reinsman fittingly saluted as he punched out the six year old to win the twelfth race by two and a quarter lengths.

Mark Hurrell getting win number 100 – Photo Monica Toretto

“It was Mum (Maria) and Dad’s (Ross) twenty fifth wedding anniversary today so it was a great present for them. They come to every meeting I drive at south of Dunedin. They’re my biggest supporters and told me to chase my dreams,” Hurrell said.

Earlier in the day he’d driven talented trotter Aveross Majesty for win number 98.

“I was pretty confident I’d get to 100 today but not on Tad Lincoln. My best drive was Aveross Majesty and he won really easily.”

Twenty two year old Hurrell started working for Wyndham trainer Brendon McLellan whilst at High School.

“He taught me a lot. I didn’t even know which way the hopples went on. He taught me all the basic skills and how to drive. He was really good to me. I was there for four and half years.”

Hurrell’s first winner was at the Riverton meeting in October 2016 when he drove the Alan McVicar trained It Ain’t The Money, to win.

After working for Brendon McLellan, Hurrell headed north working for Peter and Tom Bagrie for eighteen months. He also did small stints in Canterbury with John Dunn and Regan Todd.

“I’ve had some good people to learn off.”

Of the one hundred winners, seventeen have been from the stable of Amber Hoffman, his current employer.

“I moved down here about ten months ago. I was struggling up in Canterbury, not getting too many drives. It’s hard up there. They want the best drivers all the time and I was at a crossroads. Amber offered me a job – to be her stable driver. It’s been excellent. The beach is real quiet and that’s the lifestyle I like.”

Hurrell currently holds second place in the Junior Drivers National Premiership, ten adrift of current leader John Morrison.

“I’ll get a good crack at the Premiership once Johnny (Morrison) and Sheree (Tomlinson) finish up at the end of this season. Next year is my last year as a junior.”

Hurrell also had success at Syd Breen’s stable at Gore, driving fourteen winners for Syd.

“Syd was one of the first trainers to give me a crack. I was driving Sagwitch when he was winning those Country Cups. Syd had faith in me to drive his horses. He’s been a big supporter of mine. He never bags my driving.”

Hurrell is sponsored by Gore seed company Kubala Seeds.

“Pete’s been my sponsor since day dot. He’s sponsored all my gear and sign writing. He’s a keen follower and likes to have a bet.”

Mark’s successful hundredth winner today demonstrates the value of supporting and mentoring young people into the industry.

Track Records Broken At Roxburgh

Bruce Stewart

5th January 2021

The realignment and resurfacing of the Roxburgh track proved to be a winner when three track records were broken at yesterday’s annual meeting.

The well-bred Light Of Da Moon broke She’s Allthe Craze’s trotting record for three year old fillies for the 2180 stand when she recorded 2-51.0. The previous record was 2-54.1.

Six year old trotter Girls Get Loose also broke a track record for four year old and older mares when she won the Kea Wai Building Handicap Trot running the 2700 metre stand in 3-28.8. Davy’s Gift held the record when she recorded 3-29.6 in 2015.

The final record to be broken was in the Roxburgh Cup when Enchantee’s 3-24.7 bettered Delishka’s track record of 3-25.0.

This was Enchantee’s second win in the Roxburgh feature. She won the race last year. It’s only the second time a horse has won the Roxburgh Cup twice. The feat was also achieved by Fait Accompli in 1972 and 1973.

Knights Go Out With Special Win

Bruce Stewart

13th January 2021

“We’ve decided to pull the pin. It’s pretty emotional,” said Geoff Knight after Deus Ex won today’s Northern Southland Summer Cup at Ascot Park.

Deus Ex and Matty Williamson leading the Summer Cup with a lap to run – Photo Bruce Stewart

The fifth favourite got back early for regular pilot Matty Williamson before he made a lightning move and took up the leader’s role. He hung on to beat favourite Watch Me Now by a neck.

“He’s a good horse and I said to Matty don’t be unlucky.”

It was fitting that Williamson was the driver for the win.

“We’ve trained 250 odd winners and he’s driven over 200 of them for us. He’s been so loyal from the time he was a kid. He’s part of the family.”

At the finish – Photo Bruce Stewart

Perfect- Job done – Photo Bruce Stewart

Geoff started training in 1987 and had thirty six winners in his own right before Jude came into the partnership in 2010.

Their biggest winner was Pembrook’s Delight in the Group One Four Year Old Diamonds at Cambridge in 2012.

Geoff says he and Jude will carry on with the Rural Mail Run and are still breeding horses.

“We’re going to take life a bit easier. Matty’s going to train Deus Ex and a few of the others. Instead of sending out the bills we’re going to be paying them. I’m sure I’ll miss it, particularly the people, because the people are everything. I’m still on the board of Southern Harness and the Horseman’s Association. Jude’s good with it. She said it had to be my decision because it’s been my passion.”

Although Pembrook’s Delight holds a special place in the couple’s training career Deus Ex also rates highly.

“I’ve always said that this horse from the age of three could be the best horse I’ve trained. I don’t think I’ve had any other horses including Trojan and Pembrook’s Delight that could have done what he did today so that backs my judgement.”

And who knows they could be back at some stage.

“I’m not selling all my gear.”

Better’s Tart Stunning In Nuggets

Bruce Stewart

13th January 2021

She had every right to get beaten, but the class and fighting qualities of Ashburton filly Better’s Tart prevailed and provided the highlight of the Southern Harness scene so far this season.

“From what she did today she’s got a future. It was only her third start and it was a pretty tough run,” said driver Sam Ottley.

Better’s Tart warming up – Photo Bruce Stewart

From a wide draw Ottley wasn’t able to get cover and sat three or four out until sitting parked with a lap to run.

“They all punched up and made us work a bit but that’s competitive racing isn’t it.”

Ottley said the Brent White trained filly wasn’t overly fazed at being posted wide.

“She was very relaxed. Typical Bettor’s. She dropped the bit wherever I put her. Down the back straight she was still relaxed and entitled to get tired but to her credit she picked the bit up in the straight and wouldn’t let anything pass her.”

The winning margin at the end of the 2200 metre mobile was three quarters of a length with second favourite Magic Mike running second.

Better’s Tart moved up to sit parked with a lap to run – Photo Bruce Stewart

Neck out and ears back and winning – Photo Bruce Stewart

Southland Oaks candidate returning – Photo Bruce Stewart

King Turns Up Trumps

Bruce Stewart

13th January 2021

King Of Trumps looks to have a bright future – he won well on debut at the Northern Southland meeting at Ascot Park today.

He was taken straight to the front by driver Brad Williamson and while some of the more favoured runners struck trouble, the talented American Ideal gelding stayed on nicely to beat Tommy Waterhouse by two and a half lengths with Speights On Tap running third.

King Of Trumps winning on debut at Ascot Park – Photo Bruce Stewart

King Of Trumps was bred locally by Russell Morton and is out of the McArdle mare Queen Of The Crop. The three year old gelding is closely related to the handy New York Town. He’s owned by Black along with stable helpers Craig Milne and Paul McEntyre, and the partnership payed $17,000 for him as a yearling.

“I had New York Town a few years ago and he did a good job. Craig (Milne) and I spotted him (King Of Trumps) at the sales. I was saying stop (bidding) and Craig carried on. It’s good for Russell. He’s got a full brother to him at the sales. The win today by this horse should help the price a bit,” Black said.

King Of Trumps had a couple of workouts as a two year old but was immature and was turned out.

“I’ve always like him. He’s always had speed and he’s tough too, and he showed that today. He’s still a bit green but he’ll come to it. He’ll have a few days off now and we’ve got a bit of time before the Supremacy if he’s not sold.”

Back to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

Winning connections – Photo Bruce Stewart

Black’s two stable stars Vintage Cheddar and Get Lucky are down to start again at Winton next week.

“Really happy with them. The Central Otago Cup will be for Vintage Cheddar and there’s a nice trotting race for Get Lucky.”

HRNZ announce Team Teal Ambassadors.

Press Release

All female drivers in New Zealand will wear teal driving pants from February 1 to March 14 to raise awareness and funds for Ovarian Cancer.

In addition to that our four ambassadors will wear teal designed silks to further promote the cause.

The ambassadors for 2021 are Nicky Chilcott (North Island), Alicia Harrison (North Island), Samantha Ottley (South Island) and Ellie Barron (South Island).

We are also pleased to announce that the individual sponsors for each of our ambassadors have agreed to come on board again to support the campaign.

Nicky Chilcott: Whales Harness (Craig Thompson)

Alicia Harrison: Arbonne (Ange Herlihy)

Samantha Ottley: Harcourts (Stevie Golding)

Ellie Barron: McCallums Group

Most of our Clubs racing during the campaign have also committed to donating to the cause this year as well as Harness Racing NZ who will donate $100 per female win. We are also extremely thankful of the support from Woodlands Stud who have agreed to be a part of the campaign again in 2021 and will donate $100 per female win.

Various clubs will also host teal themed events this year including, Team Teal racedays, ladies only races, and fashion in the field, to help in the fundraising efforts. We are looking forward to announcing some exciting events very soon on our website https://www.hrnz.co.nz/team-teal-2020/

Founded by Duncan McPherson in Victoria in 2014, the campaign was started to help raise awareness and raise funds for research of Ovarian Cancer.

McPherson lost his wife to Ovarian Cancer and vowed to continue her fight, and has grown the movement from Victoria, to nationwide Australia and now New Zealand.

If anyone would like to be involved in the Team Teal Campaign or would like any further information please contact Courtney Clarke at Harness Racing NZ – courtney@hrnz.co.nz or 027 635 4355

Black Watch – The Southern Story

Bruce Stewart

Never having delved deeply into it’s pedigree lines, I’ve always thought the famed Black Watch breeding line was created in the North Island by the Yardley family.

Yorokobi one of the latest stars from the famed Black Watch family – Photo Bruce Stewart

 

But looking into the history, I’ve discovered the family actually had it’s inception at the beginning of the  1900s, and that it was nurtured by the Duffy family before the Yardleys began their remarkable run with what breeders refer to today as ‘The Black Watch Family.’

This story is about an Irish family that started the legacy, and of two decedents – father Paul and son Brendan Duffy who have recently bought back into the breed and are enjoying it’s success.

“Although the breed has been in the family for a long time we can’t say that our involvement has been totally uninterrupted,” said Paul.

The story begins with James Duffy, Paul’s Great Great Uncle, who immigrated from Co Mayo in Ireland to New Zealand in the late 1800s.

“He spied this mare pulling a dray from Wallacetown to Invercargill. Her name was Regina. He had a gift for spotting animals and breeding so he latched on to her and bred a mare called Regina Belle.”

From there the legacy grew.

Regina Belle left the talented Logan Chief which won the 1923 New Zealand Free for All in the hands of Jack Kennerley. The stake was 750 sovereigns.

“He broke an Australasian record so that was the start of the family.”

Regina Belle left a daughter Regina de Oro. She left Native Chief, which won the 1925 New Zealand Derby.

Regina Belle

Native Chief was a brilliant racehorse and one day he was timed to run a half mile at Addington in 58 seconds. But he had a habit of bolting for his owner in training as a youngster, and he was hard to control in races.

In 1928 he clashed in a flying mile with Great Bingen at the Metropolitan Summer meeting. After five false starts Native Chief led throughout and won by three lengths in 2-04 and 1/5.

Native Chief also won the NZ FFA four years after Logan Chief, driven by Freeman Holmes.

Native Chief

Regina de Oro’s second foal Regina Logan didn’t race, but left a string of winners. Her nine foals collectively won forty three races. Her best performers were Southern Chief (11 wins), Walter Moore (7 wins), Southern Smile (6 wins), Voloma and Southland (5 wins each).

So from Regina came a host of winners over the years and Dillion Hall mare Brown Owl was one of note.

She only left two foals; a colt called Night Owl which won four races in the 1950s and Black Globe mare Rosehaven which won three.

Rosehaven when crossed with Scottish Command, left Black Watch, the winner of fourteen races. Her foals included Tay Bridge, winner of nine, Remarkable which won eleven and her 1987 foal by Mark Lobell, Aberfeldy, who created her own legacy with winners Reba Lord (17) and Megaera (8).

During those early years, after word got back to the homeland, more Duffys immigrated to New Zealand, including Martin, a nephew of James who arrived in 1911.

“He was much more proactive in breeding and racing than Dad was” stated Paul. “I remember Dad telling the story about when Martin got off the train in Winton (he’d landed at Bluff) and his uncle James was there to pick him up with horse and cart. The horse had a new kind of gait which was called pacing, and Martin had never seen or heard of it before.”

James died in the early 1920s and left his two nephews a mare each. James (junior) and Martin Duffy carried on breeding, while at the same time working hard to pay for their interests.

“They dug power pole holes all around Southland and West Otago back in the day.”

Martin actually bred Fledgeling. As she showed no talent as a racehorse she was sold to John Morton of Seaward Downs in 1961 as a replacement farm pony.

Fledgeling was served by Adam Hunter’s stallion Viking Water and when Hunter saw the resulting yearling he leased the youngster off Morton with a right of purchase.

“Fledgling was sold to JT Morton for ten pounds and they bred Trusty Scot out of her.”

1978 New Zealand Cup winner Trusty Scot

Paul Duffy as a boy has fond memories of some of the early horses raced by the family.

“When I was ten I remember Spring Edition (Regina was her fourth dam). They mated her (Spring Edition) to Flying Song and the foal was Southern Song. Dad and his brother Luke raced her in partnership. She was sold to a Mrs Deans (of Cardigan Bay fame) in Auckland. He was later sold to America and went on to win $100,000 back then.”

The brothers also raced Southern Songs older brother Spring Garrison which won eight races. He was trained by Harry Cox before stints with Wes Butt and Colin McDonald.

Over the years the Duffys became well known dairy farmers at Seaward Downs in Southland. Paul’s father Jack started farming there after the Second World War.

“He bought the family farm in 1946 which was 100 acres. Over the years we bought other land around it. Now I live at Edendale and Brendan is on the home farm.”

As a young man Paul’s property was next to his father’s and he often helped his Dad who was always keen to pass on his knowledge of horse pedigrees.

“I’m kicking myself. I was busy dairy farming and we had a Scottish Command mare at home. She never held any foals until we started giving her hormone injections. She had to have one every month so every month I’d go over and he’d tell me the lineage of these horses. It was like that Roots programme on TV and I was too stupid to remember it all. He wrote them all down for me but I can’t bloody find it. Dad knew them horse by horse.”

Over the years there’s been plenty of stories were shared about James Duffy.

“A shearer was telling Dad one day about the old James Duffy. There was a hare running across the paddock and James said he’d breed a dog that would catch that hare. He did. He had a great gift around breeding.”

In those days race horses had to be taken north by train.

“He took a horse from Winton to Auckland on the train. It won and when the horse got back to Winton he (James) was joed out on the floor with a whole lot of whiskey bottles rolling around. He became quite social in his later years.”

In those days there was plenty of skull duggery too.

“There was a mare with a foal at foot that went away to Canterbury to be bred from. They got the word that the foal had died so James Duffy got straight on the train and went up. They could never show him the body. Anyway there was a horse racing later on (that won four races) that they were quite convinced was the foal.”

In amongst all the breeding and racing, the cows still had to be milked.

“The family went away to the races one day and Luke who was twelve was left to milk the cows. Luke and a friend from across the road got into Grandad’s pipe tobacco. They were as sick as parrots, and they went to bed. The family got home and the cows weren’t milked. The only thing that saved Luke’s life was that the horse had won.”

In his later years Jack Duffy decided time was marching on and he made the decision to hand over the reins to his son Paul.

“He was running sheep then and I was milking cows. One day when we were making hay he said to me that he didn’t think he’d breed from the mare (Southern Miro) again because he didn’t think he’d be around to see the foals. He was in his eighties. I thought about it for a few days and said to him about going into partnership. He was over straight away with all these catalogues with stallion pedigrees, with a great heap of enthusiasm. We sent the mare to Armbro Raven who didn’t exactly have a long list of winners and we bred this horse called Armbro Rex. He looked like he was completely useless so we leased him out and lo and behold be started winning races.”

Armbro Rex won two races for Edendale trainer Alex Milne.

“When Dad had finished with the mare I sent her (Southern Miro) up to Nyhans’ to be bred to Stortford Lodge for a two hundred dollar service fee, and bred Regal Lodge. He won his first two starts but he went crazy and they couldn’t really control him. He was sold and ended up smashing his shoulder in a paddock accident but he had tremendous speed.”

So Regal Lodge was the end of the early association with the Regina breed but it was not the end of breeding Standardbreds for Paul and Brendan.

Paul used to milk cows for Seaward Downs trainer Ronnie Macdonald who trained more than sixty  winners including New Zealand Oaks winner Chipaluck which Macdonald bred.

“He gave us a mare Chipalong (Apollo’s Way – Chipaluck). Brendan and I then started to breed from that family.”

Chipalong’s first foal for the partnership was Washington VC mare Biddy Mulligan which qualified, but was unraced.

Her second foal, also by Washington VC, was Rushmore which won two of it’s three starts for Branxholme trainer Kirk Larsen before being exported to Australia in March 2008 where he won another two races. Chipalong also left Levi Lowe (2) and Lucy Lowe (1).

They also began to breed from Biddy Mulligan and she’s left three winners; Arthur Lowe, Melina Lowe and Eli Lowe.

Arthur Lowe – Photo Bruce Stewart

Melina Lowe won seven and holds a New Zealand record for mares of 2-53.6 over 2400 metres mobile which she won at Winton in September 2018.

Arthur Lowe won four of his forty eight starts in New Zealand before he too was shipped off to Australia where he’s won another fifteen.

“I was always keen to get back to the old Duffy breed,” Paul said.

In 2010 the Duffys decided they would buy back into the Regina family and they purchased Rockin Cullen from the Ian Dobson dispersal sale. She won her first race for Kirk Larsen at the Invercargill meeting in December 2012 and finished her career having won three races including the final of the
Forbury Park Sprint Series (1200 metres). As a broodmare her first filly by Bettor’s Delight died, but her second foal, a colt by the same sire named Yorokobi looks very talented.

From eight starts to date Yorokobi has won twice and has been placed twice. And like all good horses he’s attracted buyer attention.

“The last one was tempting. We figured you could take that money and use it up racing other horses that aren’t as good. We’ve waited a long time for a good horse, we’re not starving so we think we’ll just play this one a little bit longer.”

Yorokobi winning at the Riverton meeting – Photo Bruce Stewart

Yorokobi with Brendan and Paul Duffy and family – Photo Bruce Stewart

Yorokobi was named by Brendan.

“Our oldest son’s wife is Japanese and Yorokobi means ‘delight’ in Japanese.”

The family farm at Seaward Downs is now 450 hectares (1,100 acres) and Brendan milks 850 cows. The Duffys also have a 174 hectare run off at Otara.

“Alison (Paul’s wife) and I milked 200 for a long time so when you’re doing that and you have a lot of kids, horse racing doesn’t feature high on your list of priorities. It all came in good time.”

The Duffys are also breeding from Melina Lowe and Bettina Lowe (Bettor’s Delight – Lucy Lowe).

They also have shares in Glenferrie Classic a Bettor’s Delight a daughter of New Zealand Cup winner Mainland Banner. Glenferrie Classic won four races for Burnham trainer Mark Jones. As a broodmare she has left a Rock N Roll Heaven filly which is two, and an Art Major yearling colt.

Glenferrie Classic after her win at Cromwell

At this point Paul and Brendan haven’t put yearlings through the national sales but that could change, as they realise they can’t keep and race all the progeny from their broodmare band.

“It’s something we’re looking to do now. We were too late to enter Yorokobi’s brother by Art Major.”

Their broodmares are looked after at Macca Lodge in Northern Southland but some of the young stock is brought home to the farm.

“We’ve built a few boxes at home and Brendan does a pretty good job in looking after them. It’s also a calf shed which was the reason it was built.”

Paul and Alison have six children – four girls and two boys. Alison is a Canterbury lass and her uncle Lex Stewart raced horses.

“When he was down one day he said ‘if you don’t like someone, give them a broodmare. If you really hate them give them two.”

Alison’s Uncle Harry O’Boyle also raced the odd horse and had a share in Bellam trotter Manlam which won five races.

It was quite a hiatus, but the Duffy name is back in the pages of the ‘Regina’ breed. They’re pretty happy to be there, especially with a horse (Yorokobi) that looks decidedly talented.

Editors Note: Entered in the upcoming National Yearling Sales in Auckland and Christchurch, there are twenty nine yearlings whose pedigree goes back to the Regina (45) family. Twelve are in the Auckland sale and seventeen are in the Christchurch sale, proof that the breed is alive and well in both Islands.

Kindie Back On

Bruce Stewart

12th January 2021

The time honoured Kindergarten Stakes is back on.

It was thought the Group Three Two Year Old feature may not be run this season due to the Wyndham Harness Racing Club having only one official date assigned to it.

However, thanks to the co-operation of the Wairio Trotting Club, the Wyndham club has been given Wednesday 31st March, and will be able to run the Kindergarten on it’s home course.

“Wairio have transferred their license and we’d like to thank the committee for that. Since the change at HRNZ the process has been sped up. It’s all been rubber stamped and it’s a happening thing,” said Wyndham HRC President Russell Ferguson.

Ferguson says the meeting will be a twilight one with the Club yet to decide whether it’ll be a 2pm or 3pm start.

“It the Wednesday prior to Easter so you can have the Thursday off and have a long weekend (laughter).”

Ferguson says there’s still a bit of work to be done around the number of races and stakes levels, but the Wyndham Cup will be included in the programme.

“We’ll try and run a programme similar to what we run on Kindergarten Day. We’re looking at a decent trot and a junior driver race. The Wairio Club will be guests of ours for the day.”

HRNZ announce Team Teal Ambassadors.

Press Release

All female drivers in New Zealand will wear teal driving pants from February 1 to March 14 to raise awareness and funds for Ovarian Cancer.

In addition to that our four ambassadors will wear teal designed silks to further promote the cause.

The ambassadors for 2021 are Nicky Chilcott (North Island), Alicia Harrison (North Island), Samantha Ottley (South Island) and Ellie Barron (South Island).

We are also pleased to announce that the individual sponsors for each of our ambassadors have agreed to come on board again to support the campaign.

Nicky Chilcott: Whales Harness (Craig Thompson)

Alicia Harrison: Arbonne (Ange Herlihy)

Samantha Ottley: Harcourts (Stevie Golding)

Ellie Barron: McCallums Group

Most of our Clubs racing during the campaign have also committed to donating to the cause this year as well as Harness Racing NZ who will donate $100 per female win. We are also extremely thankful of the support from Woodlands Stud who have agreed to be a part of the campaign again in 2021 and will donate $100 per female win.

Various clubs will also host teal themed events this year including, Team Teal racedays, ladies only races, and fashion in the field, to help in the fundraising efforts. We are looking forward to announcing some exciting events very soon on our website https://www.hrnz.co.nz/team-teal-2020/

Founded by Duncan McPherson in Victoria in 2014, the campaign was started to help raise awareness and raise funds for research of Ovarian Cancer.

McPherson lost his wife to Ovarian Cancer and vowed to continue her fight, and has grown the movement from Victoria, to nationwide Australia and now New Zealand.

If anyone would like to be involved in the Team Teal Campaign or would like any further information please contact Courtney Clarke at Harness Racing NZ – courtney@hrnz.co.nz or 027 635 4355

Ladyship Fitting Reward For Barron

Bruce Stewart

21st January 2021

She has a number of false starts on her score card but trainer Clark Barron has never gave up hope on Washington VC mare Omaggio.

“One day we thought she’d get it right. We had her in the Ladyship at Invercargill and she ran a very good third,” he said.

Omaggio (11) getting the better of Miss Auckland

Yesterday’s Ladyship final at Winton was a tough ask with outstanding filly Better’s Tart, Wattlebank Star and Seventh Heaven among the opposition. But the four year old showed her toughness and took out the $12,000 feature.

“The harder the run the better and that’s what happened today. Perhaps the weather helped us a wee bit and a few of the favourites had hard runs. The slowest part of the race was the last bit and we knew she’d keep going.”

Returning winner of the Ladyship Final

Clark Barron, Omaggio, Ellie Barron and Jackie Barron

Omaggio is out of ten win mare Whanau whose wins include the 2002 Group One Nevele R Fillies Final.  Whanau’s best foal has been Mabrook which won twenty races – nineteen in Australia.

“She (Omaggio) was very slow to mature. All the rest of Whanau’s progeny showed something as late two year olds or three year olds. Although Omaggio had ability we just had to wait on her.”

Barron said Whanau had to be put down during lockdown last year.

“She got a bad parrot mouth and the condition fell off her. Her last foal is a colt by Always B Miki.”

Today’s win was Omaggio’s first in ten starts.

“It’s quite a good maiden win when it’s a $12,000 race. She’ll just race through the grades now.”

Omaggio is raced by Miracle Lodge which consist of Barron and Eric Parr. Barron is credited with introducing the idea of Ladyship Finals to the province so it was fitting that a horse he trained won the fillies and mares feature today.

“He (Parr) raced gallopers and we were talking and he told me they could win a maiden race and then have a crack at a $20,000 race. That’s how I got the idea for these races. We’re not racing for that much though.”

Barron says the concept has also found favour with punters.

“These races are always the best betting races on the day.”

Barron’s daughter Ellie drove Omaggio.

Meanwhile Branxholme trainer Alister Black uncovered another quality horse when he produced first starter Keep On Dreaming to win the PGG Wrightson Mobile easily by two and a half lengths.

Keep On Dreaming warming up for driver Brad Williamson

Keep On Dreaming winning on debut

Close up action

Returning to the birdcage

Owned by Lindsay and Ian Thomson the three year old looks like Southern Supremacy Stakes material.

Ian Thomson, Alister Black, Riley Black, Brad Williamson and Lindsay Thomson

Playboy on the front cover

Bruce Stewart

21st January 2021

Although it’s early days, the race is on for the Southland Horse of the Year title and Pembrook Playboy continues to stake his claim for the prestigious award that will be announced at the end of the season.

With the likes of Vintage Cheddar, Watch Me Now and rising star Ragazzo Mach also in the frame, the Group Three win in the Central Otago Trotting Cup run at Winton yesterday was an important step for Pembrook Playboy in order to be in the frame for the title.

Pembrook Playboy warming up with rival Vintage Cheddar

The pacing feature at the Winton track yesterday for the second time in as many years, was not held at Omakau.

Unfortunately the Ricky May incident halted the feature last year and this year the Omakau meeting was abandoned because of heavy rain.

Yesterday’s Cup wasn’t without a small dollop of drama either,  as Pembrook Playboy cast a shoe and had to be reshod before the start.

Being reshod

“He handled that well. He was better out there than he is here (stables) because he can get worked up around other horses,” said trainer driver Nathan Williamson.

Once underway Pembrook Playboy showed he was in the zone early.

“The plan wasn’t to go forward. He was quite keen off the gate.”

The Robert Dunn trained pair Henry Hubert and Classie Brigade took up the early running with Henry Hubert taking the lead and Classie Brigade slotting into the trail.

“We got squeezed up early and ended up three back. I always knew we were going to get a good run behind Classie Brigade.”

Henry Hubert leads with Pembrook Playboy three back on the inside with a lap to run

Inside the last 400 metres the small field was compressed with runners starting to improve around the outside and Pembrook Playboy was shuffled back to last on the inside.

“I thought Classie was just going to shoot through but he just went through the gap okay. I really wanted to follow him through and come off his back.”

Williamson followed Classie Brigade through but had to wait for a tiring Henry Hubert before getting a clear run to the finish line. By that stage it looked as if Classie Brigade and Watch Me Now were going to fight out the finish with most of the crowd and the course commentator thinking Classie Brigade had the win.

“I just got out so late. I wasn’t sure whether I got there but it was good – we got the money.”

Pembrook Play was coming so fast the winning margin ended up being a half a head.

Pembrook Playboy (middle) coming late and fast

A closer look

The win was the four year old entire’s seventh in fourteen starts and the most important to date for Invercargill owner Chris Alcock.

“You couldn’t get a better owner. We’ve had our setbacks like you do with horses and it’s never been a problem.”

Williamson with owner Chris Alford (right) and his daughter Justine

Williamson says the Invercargill Cup at the end of the month and the Summer Cup at Addington are the next targets for the Better’s Delight entire.

Later in the programme exciting three year old Ragazzo Mach blitzed a field of R56 and R70 pacers, winning the Fairbairn Plumbing Mobile Pace by nine and three quarter lengths.

Owned by Neville Cleaver the son of Mach Three ran the 2400 metre mobile on an easy track in 2-58.2. In his first season of racing for Nathan Williamson he’s won five of his six starts.