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.

Pembrook Playboy Star On Cup Day

Bruce Stewart

30th January 2021

Pembrook Playboy’s star is well and truly on the rise.

With two Group wins in his last two starts he’s already being talked about as a potential New Zealand Cup runner next season.

Pembrook Playboy warming up – Photo Bruce Stewart

After a great beginning in today’s Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup Nathan Williamson settled the entire in third place as Franco Santino took over the pacemakers role.

With 1600 metres to run Williamson came off the inside running line and took Pembrook Playboy to the front.

“I thought the opportunity was there to take the lead and then they have to come and get you. He’s never been beaten when he’s been in front. He travelled lovely throughout and dropped the bit when he got to the lead. I think it was the right move,” Williamson said.

Pembrook Playboy leading with a lap to run – Photo Bruce Stewart

Henry Hubert began to put pressure on Pembrook Playboy inside the last 600, and the second favourite The Fixer was on Henry Hubert’s back.

Williamson had a quick peek inside the last 400 metres knowing  his horse was still travelling well within himself. Driven out,  Pembrook Playboy responded.

“He actually pulled up in the home straight. He just knocked off once he sprinted clear. Luckily he’s so quick he put a bit of a gap on them and he was good enough to hold on.”

Pembrook Playboy stretching out to win the Invercargill Cup – Photo Bruce Stewart

The winning time was 3-20.2 just outside Robyns Playboy’s track record of 3-19.8. The time was a new race record, bettering Dadndave’s 3-22.9 recorded last season. This is the second year the race has been run over 2700 metres.

The closing splits 54.4 from the 800 metres, and 26.3 from the 400 metres, made it too hard for his rivals to chase him down.

The Fixer got closest, a length and a quarter away in second, with Henry Hubert another length and a half away for third.

Back to the winners circle – Photo Bruce Stewart

The win was the first for a Southland trained horse since 2016 when Costa Del Magniifico won the feature.

“It was a massive thrill winning the race. I’ve made Southland my home for the last ten, twelve years. I’ve always thought it’s the biggest race in our province to win,” said Williamson.

Chris Alcock holding the Invercargill Cup with Chairman of the ILT Alan Dennis – Photo Bruce Stewart

Williamson, who only arrived home from driving at Addington at 4.00am this morning says Pembrook Playboy has grown up in the last few months and backing him up after his Central Otago win was not a problem.

“He’s so much more mature now. Since Cup Week he’s come on leaps and bounds. I’m looking forward to giving him a few more trips away.  He’s definitely a better horse than he was three months ago.”

Pembrook Playboy is owned by Chris Alcock and has now won eight of his fifteen starts and has banked over $80,000.

Williamson says the horse will start next in the $30,000 Group Three Summer Cup at Addington in a fortnight. The race is run over 1950 metres under free for all conditions. His travelling companion will be Ragazzo Mach who will line up in the Listed Woodlands Stud Sires Stakes Harness 7000. It’s  worth $40,000.

Three for Black

Bruce Stewart

Saturday 30th January 2021

Branxholme trainer Alister Black is running hot at the moment, winning three  races at the Invercargill Cup Meeting at Ascot Park today.

Zaccy Mac got the ball rolling. Having his second start, he beat Beauty Barry by a length and a quarter in the Beach Road Holiday Park Mobile Pace.

Zaccy Mac winning for Matty Williamson – Photo Bruce Stewart

“I was pretty happy with his run at Winton. Nathan (Williamson) came back in and said if the horse had got a go he would have run in the first six,” Black said.

Driver Matty Williamson settled the Net Ten EOM gelding just beyond midfield on the outside running line before improving to sit parked with a lap to run.

“I said to Matty today not to be frightened to send him (forward). He just lacks that bit of high speed so he took the speed out of them down the back, so it couldn’t have worked out better.”

With 600 metres to run Williamson served it up to pacemaker Beauty Barry and finished the race off too well.

Zaccy Mac – Win number one – Photo Bruce Stewart

Winners circle, pretty relaxed.   Photo Bruce Stewart

Zaccy Mac was bred by Brent McIntyre at Macca Lodge and is named after his grandson Zac. He’s out of the Falcon Seelster mare Lillian which was bred by Tuapeka Lodge. The gelding is raced by the Thomson brothers Lindsay and Ian, who raced Lawrence, a half-brother to Zaccy Mac.

Three races later Wai Key Wee won his second race from as many starts in the hands of Blair Orange.

Wai Key Wee warming up – Photo Bruce Stewart

By The Pres, the four year old began well and with two laps to run Orange took Wai Key Wee to the front. There he stayed, winning by a length and a quarter from early pacemaker Steve.

“He’s got beautiful manners. He hasn’t really learned his trade yet. It’ll come. Being out of a Sundon mare, I’ve just let him find his way. Blair said he had plenty left,” Black said.

Wai Key Wee winning for Blair Orange – Photo Bruce Stewart

It was the gelding’s second win for his owners Art Shirley, Paul McEntyre and the estates of KJ Egerton and RD Hampton.

“It’s hard in Southland. They just get handicapped out of it. We’ll try and find a penalty free race now.”

Winning connections and sponsors – Photo Bruce Stewart

Normally Oamaru driver Brad Williamson would be at the reins for Black but he’s in Australia looking to win Group races with Majestic Man.

“I hope he drives a couple of Group Ones over there because he’s missed out on about six winners so far. Hat’s off to him to be going.”

Later in the day Black made it three winners for the day when the highly talented Keep On Dreaming won his second race in two starts.

The Better’s Delight showed just how green he is, goofing around a bit while challenging for the lead with 1600 metres to run.

Keep On Dreaming winning like a nice horse – Photo Bruce Stewart

Win number two for Matty Williamson – Photo Bruce Stewart

The win was one of two for Matty Williamson who is in a hot vein of form at the moment too, winning four races at Forbury Park on Thursday.

Keep On Dreaming is also owned by Lindsay and Ian Thomson and looks to be a leading candidate for the end of season Southern Supremacy Stakes.

Meanwhile Boarding Pass won for Kennington trainer Greg Hunter . She won the first race on Cup day in the hands of Craig Ferguson.

Stretching out – Boarding Pass – Photo Bruce Stewart

Michelle Caig – The Sales and Sun Mist

Bruce Stewart

24th January 2021

Michelle Caig has been in the Standardbred industry for twenty five years and has experience of highs and lows that come with selling yearlings at the sales.

She’s fought a few battles in that time, but her upbringing has certainly made her resilient.

“I’ve come from pretty much doing. I went to eleven different schools and lived in twenty eight houses; living in State Houses and off Birthright. I never dreamt I’d own the land that I’ve got or have the horses I’ve got,” she said.

Over the years she developed a critical eye for horse flesh and started to hone those skills as a judge at the show pony section of local shows.

“I initially plaited horses up for the late Paul Browman and attended the national yearling sales in Christchurch for twenty three years. I’ve only missed two sales in that time.”

The first mare Michelle bought was Mitequila, an Andrel mare out of the four win Transport Chip mare Trist Mist which was raced in Southland by Terry Stumbles, Peter Donaldson, Ian Donaldson and Noel Eade. She won four races from eighteen starts for Wyndham trainer Gary McEwan.

Michelle bred her first foal by Courage Under Fire out of the mare. Named Mistefire, he was her first sales yearling in 2005 and was bought by Tim Butt for $30,000.

Most of her success at the sales in twenty three years has been with yearling out of Sundon trotting mare Sun Mist a daughter of champion trotting mare Merenai.

She leased Sun Mist in 2010 after she’d answered an advertisement in the Harness Racing Weekly.

“She had a terrible reputation as been cantankerous. They paid $38,000 for her at the yearling sales. She was trained by Geoff Small and used to stop the jogger. She just didn’t want to be a race horse so they sent her to Michelle Hackett’s on the beach. Most horses love the straight line training. She used to get up to the point where they turned around and she’d lie down.”

Sun Mist was promptly sent to stud and when she was leased by Caig she’d already left Sonofanearl.

Over the years Caig has bred Rosemma (10 wins), Stuey D (12 wins), October Rain (5 wins), He’s Like The Wind (6 wins), Shes Like The Wind (1 win), Dreamsinthemist, Leaf Stride (2 wins) and her weanling colt by Pegasus Spur was sold late last year for $25,000 to Neville Cleaver and is with Southland trainer Nathan Williamson.

In total, Sun Mist from nine foals that have raced, has left the winners of seventy four races.

Australians Sue and Mike McGuire have been great supporters of Sun Mist’s progeny, buying Pretty Sunday and Rosemma. They’ve raced both successfully in Australia and are now breeding from the pair. They’ve been given good chances to succeed with Pretty Sunday producing foals by Angus Hall, Majestic Son and Father Patrick while Rosemma has two foals by Majestic Son.

Caig is also breeding from one of Sun Mist’s daughters Shes Like The Wind, who’s in foal to Pegasus Spur.

“She (Shes Like The Wind) won in track record time at Omakau at her first start and hit the mobile arm at her third start in the Southland Trotting Oaks. She never wanted to be a race horse after that. She just got herself so upset when she got onto the track.”

Shes Like The Wind

Unfortunately two fillies by Sun Mist had to be put down.

This season she hoped, like a host of trotting breeders, to be able to send Sun Mist to Bold Eagle.

“I waited for the semen but it hasn’t come. It’s coming next year so she’s booked in. I had her served by What The Hill but I don’t know whether she’s in foal. She’s getting older and didn’t get in foal last season so it’s a bit of a challenge.”

At the end of her breeding career Michelle was also given Merinai.

“I met John Bedwell at Alexandra Park one night through my wonderful friend Neil Pilcher. We got talking about yearlings and mares and he realised that I had Sun Mist, a daughter of Merinai. She (Merinai) was at Woodlands Stud on a three year lease. John offered the mare to me and I said yes.”

Merinai and John Bedwell

Caig only managed to get one foal out of Merinai – Master Merlin, which won one race for Arna Donnelly. Merinai was served by Angus Hall, Majestic Son, Pegasus Spur and The Pres between 2014 and 2017 but never got in foal. She died in 2019.

Although Merinai had moderate success at stud her daughters lead by Sun Mist are doing an excellent job at stud.

Madam Spur won five races and has left two foals by What The Hill. Owned by Woodland Stud they’re offering an unnamed yearling filly at the Auckland sale next month.

Madam Spur

Miss Pegasus won nine races. She’s the dam of the highly promising Miss Crazed which has won three races from eleven starts. A yearling colt by What The Hill out of Miss Pegasus is also in the Auckland sale.

Miss Crazed

Classic Armbro was the winner of two races. As a broodmare she’s left Sertorius, the winner of ten, Tailored Elegance which won four including the Southland Trotting Oaks, and the promising I See Fire which has won two of his six starts for Tony Herlihy.

Michelle has been at her Price Road property for sixteen years, where she runs her mares and prepares her yearlings. She built a new house on the property and then subdivided the house and two acres, retaining the stable block and the balance of the land.

“It’s really good land. I’ve got a bit of iron in my bore. You can’t drink the bore water out of the ground but the horses do really really well on it. If I have a really good sale this year I’ll build another house.”

Michelle is taking four yearlings to the Christchurch Sale next month including a Pegasus Spur colt out of the Lindy Lane mare City Lane. Lindy Lane won seven races, competing in Victoria and New South Wales and has left Australasian Breeders Crown winner Our Renezmae and Saratoga, the winner of seven races.

Lot 165 – Pegasus Spur – City Lane

“He’s the nicest type that City Lane has had. Renezmae was pretty and feminine whereas this yearling is a real boy. He’s got a nice bright eye and he just trots around the paddock. He’s a lot like his mother and runs along with his head out like Speeding Spur. He’s easy to get along with and he’ll be a two year old.”

Lot 165 Pegasus Spur- City Lane

The first pacing yearling she’ll be leading into the sales ring is a filly by Rock N Roll Heaven out of Christian Cullen mare Sonjador. This is the family that’s left quality pacing stock including millionaire pacer Holmes DG which won twenty two, and Giovanetto the winner of eighteen races including the Welcome Stakes at two, Southern Supremacy Stakes at three and Superstars Four Year Old Championship.

Lot 228 Rock N Roll Heaven – Sonjador

“John Curtin really likes her. She can get a bit toey but every time you get her in she’s just getting better and better. She’s a lovely long rangy filly and I bet she can run. It’s an old family so why not a Rock N Roll Heaven filly out of a Christian Cullen mare?”

Lot 228 Rock N Roll Heaven – Sonjador

She’ll also be presenting an Art Major colt out of the Life Sign mare Zoe’s Charm. He too is out of the family that has left Holmes DG and Giovanetto.

Lot 269 Art Major – Zoe’s Charm

“He’s just got better and better. He could go through the ring now. He’s got a bit of Art Major in him but he’s stunning. He’s big and strong and could make a late two year old.”

Lot 269 Art Major – Zoe’s Charm

Her final yearling is the second lot on Day Two of the sale. He’s a colt by Sweet Lou out of the Grinfromeartoear mare Chloe Finn whose second dam is the tough Holmes Hanover mare Chloe Hanover which won eleven races and was named Four Year Old Pacing Mare of the Year in 1999-2000.

Lot 307 Sweet Lou – Chloe Finn

“They reckon the smaller Sweet Lou colts are the better ones and he fits into that bracket. I love him. I trimmed his ears the other day without the twitch which never happens so he’s pretty sensible. He’ll be tough because he comes from a tough family.”

Lot 307 Sweet Lou – Chloe Finn

Caig like all breeders, goes into the Christchurch sale with a good level of hope that her yearlings will attract plenty of buyer interest. She’s hoping those house plans can be implemented.

“I’m not one that requires the glory. It’s just a nice feeling to know that you’ve done it.”

Buyers can see Michelle Caig’s yearlings on Monday 8th February between 7:00pm and 7:20pm at 110 Price Road Winton.

Not Plain Sale-ing For Kennedy

Bruce Stewart

28th January 2021

Long-time Southland breeder Dave Kennedy has had his challenges in recent times but they won’t keep the Bayswater farmer away from the upcoming Sales in Christchurch, which he’s attended every year for the last thirty nine years.

In 1982 he took his first yearling (a filly by Honkin Andy out of Masters Girl) north to the National Sale.

“We got two and a half thousand dollars for her, John Seaton bought her. She was runner up in the best presented competition to Lord Module’s full sister,” Kennedy said.

Over the years Kennedy and his wife Dawn have bred a host of winners, including millionaire pacers Themightyquinn and Beaudiene Boaz as well as Harness Jewels winner Beaudiene Bad Babe. In the 70s he also sold stock at the Southland Standardbred Sales. And there was a Sale that used to be run by horseman Kevin Patterson at Gore.

Last year though, was a tough one for Kennedy as he battled with his health and he may have thought at one point that the Sales would be out of reach this year.

The problems first emerged when Dave and Dawn were travelling to Queenstown to attend a funeral with friends from Riverton, Ray and Jill Lindsay.

“I said to Ray at Athol ‘we’ll have to stop.’ I nearly fainted and fell over. The pain in my stomach and back was that bad.”

Dave needed to be taken to Frankton Hospital and quick.

“When I arrived the first thing they did was put me in a wheel chair and rush me through. They probably thought it was my heart. I told them it wasn’t – it was just the pain. They did an ultra sound and told me it wasn’t gall or kidney stones so they did a CAT scan.”

The CAT scan showed Kennedy had two enlarged lymph nodes – one in his aorta and the other in his stomach.

“He said all you can do is get a biopsy in Invercargill. A week later I was told I had B Cell Lymphoma and they told me it would be four to six weeks before I could go to Dunedin to see an Oncologist. I gave the lady a bit of a barrel and told her I wasn’t waiting that long.”

A quicker time was ‘negotiated’ and Kennedy was taken to Dunedin Hospital for further investigation and treatment.

“They couldn’t work out why I was getting so much pain because the two tumours shouldn’t have caused that much pain. I had my first round of chemo and then they did another CAT scan and they found another couple of wee tumours against the spine so that’s why I was feeling so much nerve pain. It felt like some bugger was sticking a hot iron into my right shoulder and trying to burn his way through. On the inside it felt like someone was screwing my guts to pieces.”

Kennedy said after chemo, the number of attacks decreased markedly.

“There was no doubt that the chemo killed the pain so that was brilliant and I haven’t had an attack since.”

But the side effects of the chemotherapy took their toll.

“I was buggered. I could hardly walk ten metres without nearly fainting. They took me off the blood pressure pills and within three days I was a different man.”

And now Dave is getting out and doing what he loves, preparing the horses for next month’s sales, with his strength returning.

“It’s come back. I’m still leading the colts and fighting with them, drenching calves and working with the stock.”

He’ll have another scan in Christchurch in early February.

“It’s to see how it’s all gone but they do say B Cell Lymphoma is one of the better cancers to get.”

Dave is very indebted to Dawn and Shay Laurie who have been looking after the yearlings up until six weeks ago.

“Shay’s been a godsend. She ran one of the trekking stables in Queenstown but now lives in Riverton. She’s been coming out in the mornings and then doing some relief milking in the afternoons. The way I was early on I couldn’t have pulled a skin off a sausage.”

And he’s also lost seventeen kilos. “It was there too lose (laughter).”

Kennedy said the diagnosis never worried him.

“But it does make you think (about) where you want to go and what you want to do. You realise money isn’t the main thing in life. If you haven’t got your health you’ve got nothing.”

He said that he and Dawn are looking at moving off the farm and changing their lifestyle.

“We’re looking at buying a few acres – 40 to 80 somewhere and just setting up for the horses and putting a few more dairy cows on the farm. It was the goal a few years ago but the health issues have just sped things up.”

This year the Kennedys are taking seven yearlings to the sales. All bar one are owned by the couple with the Captaintreacherous colt out of Northview Desire owned by good friend Cleland Murdoch.

The other change is that Katrina and John Price are preparing the Kennedy’s two trotting colts.

Let’s take a look a Dave and Dawn’s yearlings for the upcoming sale in Christchurch.

Cochise (Father Patrick – Rae Galleon – Colt)

Out of the four win Sundon mare Rae Galleon. Rae Galleon is a sister to the eleven win mare Belle Galleon who was named three year old Trotting Filly of the Year (2002-2003) and is the dam of Stent which won 23 races ($633,763).

“He’ll make a two year old. He’s more of a thoroughbred type. He’s got a real speedy look about him. He’s long, balanced and powerful. I think we’ll get a wee bit of money for him.”

Southern Diamond (Creatine – Ugly Betty – Colt)

From the first crop of Andover Hall stallion Creatine, Southern Diamond’s second dam Naimey has left nine winners including Springbank Sam (20 wins), Sun Of Anarchy (28 wins) and Pocaro (13 wins). Ugly Betty has left two foals to race, both winners.

“He’s a lovely big horse and a tough bugger to start with. If he could get away with anything he would. He’s a nice type and a beautiful mover and lovely trotter. He’s a bigger horse, a bit raw boned but well balanced. Coaster Howe has got the two year old (Quaker Jet) and he said he’s going to make a horse. John Morrison’s got Ugly Betty’s three year old filly called Galleons Devotion. He thinks she’s special. He might bring her down here for the Southland Oaks. ”

Treacherous Reign (Captaintreacherous – Absolutely Delighted – Colt)

Out of young two win Bettor’s Delight mare Absolutely Delighted. He has Christian Cullen and Holmes Hanover blood in his pedigree.

“A real powerhouse who is identical to the one we sold last year with a fraction more class. A beautiful horse to work with. He’ll make a two year old.”

Bettor Cheer (Bettor’s Delight – Galleons Cheers – Colt)

Out of the highly talented Galleons Cheer, an Albert Albert mare that won five races from just nine starts. Quality pacers Cheer The Lady, Duke Of Wellington and Spanish Armada are on Bettor Cheer’s pedigree page.

“Lovely colt with a beautiful nature. He’s a great doer. I’ve just got him on chaff and oil. You could have taken him to the Sales in November. He’s got a magnificent coat and looks after himself. He’s early maturing and got class.”

Beaudiene Lougi (Sweet Lou – Beaudiene Beaut Babe – Colt)

Beaudiene Louigi is out of the lightly raced Art Major mare Beaudiene Beaut Babe. Her only foal to race, Beaudiene Hustler, has been a winner. Beaudiene Louigi’s second dam is Beaudiene Babe, the dame of ten foals including millionaire pacer Beaudiene Boaz and Beaudiene Bad Babe, the winner of twenty two races and the dam of promising Bad To The Bone.

“He’s an athlete. On type he’d be the classiest yearling in my draft. He reminds me so much of Beaudiene Bad Babe. He’s the same cut. Even as a foal he had a great ass end on him. If you were having a flash at a nice racehorse I’d have a go at him.”

Treacherous Gall (Captaintreacherous – Galleons Pleasure – Filly)

By boom sire Captaintreacherous out of a Bettor’s Delight mare this filly has instant value as a broodmare. She too has Cheer The Lady, Duke Of Wellington and Spanish Armada in her pedigree and the fillies in this family have performed well on the race track.

“She’s got a bit of size. She’s a bit of a female and gets grumpy at times. Once you start working with her she works with you all the way. The boys (From NZB Standardbreds) were pretty impressed with her when they were down inspecting the horses.”

Northview Captain (Captaintreacherous – Northview Desire – Colt)

Northview Captain is out of the unraced Real Desire mare Northview Desire. As a broodmare Real Desire has left 14 race winners in Northview Hustler (Bettor’s Delight) and West Australian winner Northview Orator. This colt’s second dam is the American bred Watch Your Step whose best foal was Northview Punter, the winner of twenty two races in West Australia and another ten in America.

“He’s a big horse that loves his tucker. I’m pleased he’s got a good nature because he could be so powerful. He’s kind and walks up to you each day in the box. He loves the attention and is so relaxed, so he doesn’t take too much out of himself.”

We’re all pleased that Dave Kennedy has overcome his health challenges and I guess we’re not surprised he’ll be back at the Sales. Missing them was never an option.

Buyers can see the Beaudiene Breeding Yearling draft on Monday 8th February between 5:25pm and 6:05pm at 662 Gladfield Road Otautau.

Brad’s the Man

Bruce Stewart

31st January 2021

Oamaru trotter Majestic Man and driver Brad Williamson finally got their Group One win last night when they won the TAB VL Dullard Trotters Cup at Melton Australia.

The Group One spotlight was always going to happen, it was just a matter of time.

Brad Williamson and Majestic Man after a win at Gore

In his forty nine start career Majestic Man has recorded two Group Two and three Group Three wins. He’s also had eight Group One placings and numerous other Group placings.

“It’s good for the syndicate that owns him. They raced Monty Python and a Group One win eluded him as well. He’s been so consistent throughout his career he really deserved it,” Williamson said.

Majestic Man is raced by the Griffins Syndicate and the Seafield Trotting Syndicate.

His time of 2-40.6 for the 2240 metre mobile was a track record bettering Keystone Del’s 2016 record by six tenths of a second.

The trip to Australia took meticulous planning by trainer Phil Williamson with Covid playing a major part but Brad knew when the gelding warmed up prior to last night’s trotting feature that he was ready to go.

“He was looking a million dollars. I was pretty confident after he warmed up. He felt the best he’s ever felt so I knew he was going to be pretty hard to beat.”

Williamson took Majestic Man forward from the barrier. He had no trouble reaching the front and there he stayed.

“That’s how he likes to race in New Zealand from behind the mobiles so it was good that he could foot it with them over here.”

The pair are based at Anthony Butt’s stable close to the Melton track where Majestic Man has settled in well.

“He’s the perfect horse to travel with because he settles in and eats up. He’s had a couple of years in that top grade and I feel he’s just starting to come into his best form.”

Williamson says he himself struggled with the high temperatures when he first arrived.

“The first night I arrived I couldn’t sleep; it was 38 degrees. I went to sleep in front of the air conditioning in the lounge. The day after it was 43 degrees.”

Their next target is the Great Southern Star in five days which is run in heats with the final on the same night. Williamson says it’s completely unknown whether Majestic Man will handle the short turn around between the heat and the final.

“We don’t know but it’s like that for a lot of the horses. Not many have raced under that format. You’d think they’d go 1-54 (mile rate) in both races so it’s certainly going to be a big test.”

Williamson says there’s a handful of good trotters in Australia at the moment who are expected to provide stern opposition in the Great Southern Star. They include Majestuoso, Dance Craze, Red Hot Tooth and former kiwi McLovin.

“They’ve all been waiting for the Southern Star so it’s not going to be easy.”

The Knight Pistol at Melton on 13th February, then the $100,000. Grand Prix a fortnight later on the 27th February also at Melton are two other targets for the gelding.

“Potentially he could race in a Group One Trot at Menangle on 6th March over a mile. That race is a ‘maybe’ because it’s pretty hard to plan that far ahead because of Covid.”

Williamson says he plans to return to New Zealand in the middle of March but will then have to quarantine for 14 days.

The win last night was the first Group One win for the young Oamaru reinsman and he joins his father Phil and brothers Nathan and Matty who’ve all reined Group One winners.

Phil has driven two Group One winners – Jasmyn’s Gift and Allegro Agitato while older brothers Nathan and Matty both have Group One wins on their CVs.

Nathan drove Springbank Richard and Jasmyn’s Gift in New Zealand and he also recorded a Group One win in Australia driving 2007 Victoria Trotting Derby behind Springbank Richard.

Matty’s three Group One winners are Luisanabelle Midfrew, Pembrooks Delight and Leighton Hest.

“I’m on the board so I’m pretty happy to be joining them.”

Although he wasn’t able to drive on Invercargill Cup Day yesterday he was able to watch his brother Nathan win the Invercargill Cup on Pembrook Playboy.

“It was good to see Nathan win the Cup. Alister Black had a good day and Matty won on a couple of what would be my drives so it was a good day for the team.”