November 2020

Miss Jessica Wins For Tim

Bruce Stewart

8th November 2020

Trainer driver Tim Robertson got plenty of satisfaction from Miss Jessica’s win at Ascot Park today.

He raised the whip just after the finish line as the five year old trotting mare scored her second win in a career’s spanned thirty two starts.

“She just needed time to grow into her frame,” Robertson said.

He trains a small team of nine horses at his Makarewa stable with help from his father Leith.

“She (Miss Jessica) just does a lot of slow work, and a lot of it. Dad does most of the jogging and I do most of the fast work.”

A second placing three starts ago indicated Miss Jessica wasn’t too far away from getting her second win.

“She’s been working well all week and I was expecting a big run, but you can never be too confident with her because she makes up her mind on what she wants to do in that last 800.”

After getting away well Robertson had the mare handy early –  either two or three back on the inside. Within the last 600 metres Miss Jessica was moved off the inside to challenge the leader Helluva Way. Turning in she took over the lead and held on to beat King Of The North by a neck.

It was Robertson’s seventh winning drive. His first was at Wyndham in April 2008 when Blue Eden jointly trained by himself and Leith won.

Robertson comes from a chefing background having worked at the Kelvin Hotel and Eat on Windsor.

“I left that about 18 months ago.  I’m a truck driver in the morning delivering to the restaurant and I still do three shifts a week at the local restaurants just to give them a hand.”

Partner Anne-Maree Fulton and children Grace and Amelia were on-course today to see the win.

“It was good to have them here. They don’t normally come to the races.”

Racing Minister capped off some good form when he won his second race for Myross Bush trainer Doug McLachlan. He got up to beat Bunter’s Dream by half a length.

Auckland Reactor gelding Tiger Moth in only his third start for new trainer Lyndon Bond, won the R40-R45 Mobile Pace.

The six year old started his career with Bond’s uncle Graham.

Prince Envy which had been backed and beaten in his first two starts won his first race for Australian owners Merv and Meg Butterworth.

Trained at Ryal Bush by Brett Gray the five year old Majestic Son gelding lead for most of the trip for driver Nathan Williamson and bolted in,  winning by seven and three quarter lengths from stable mate Peregrine which made up a stack of ground after breaking in the running.

Peter Hunter produced Glenledi Captain to win his maiden race. Taken straight to the front (where most Somebeachsomewhere progeny run well) the four year old was too strong for Leconte winning by six and a half lengths. Glenledi Captain’s stable mate Port Au Prince was a close third.

A big drop in class helped Whatwillbeewillbee win the main trotting race of the afternoon. He’s raced against better quality horses in his recent outings and led all the way for driver Jonny Cox to hold out a late run from Tweedledee.

The Wayne Adams trained Tulsa Jaccka came with a late run to nab El Dorado in the Level One Restaurant and Bar Mobile Pace.

This was her nineteenth start and third win.

Williamson’s Busy Week

Bruce Stewart

8th November 2020

Branxholme trainer Nathan Williamson is in for a big week.

Pembrook Playboy and Andy Hall are his two starters for Cup Day in Christchurch on Tuesday, and Dark Horse, Franco Santino and Longueval will start on Show Day.

Giant trotter Andy Hall will run in the Hydroflow Handicap Trot a 3200 metre race, on Cup Day.

“He hit the line well in his first start and did much the same at Ashburton.  He’s been going well and I think the two miles won’t worry him. He’s drawn handy and he doesn’t possess a lot of early speed but hopefully he ends up handy.  I think he’s a top five chance.”

Andy Hall

Pembrook Playboy represents the stable in the Group Three Junior Free For All and comes into the race with excellent form line, including a last start second to Burnham Boy in the Southern Supremacy Stakes.

“I thought it was one of his career best runs in the Supremacy. He was just beaten by a better horse on the day. He’s trained on well and I can’t see why he can’t run another good race. He seems happy in himself so we’ll go up there with a wee bit of confidence.”

Pembrook Playboy

On Show Day quality mare Dark Horse is down to start in the Group One $270,000 Majestic Son Dominion Handicap. The eight year old mare has been domiciled in Oamaru for the last month based at Williamson’s father Phil’s property.

“She trialled on Wednesday (Oamaru) and she went okay.”

Dark Horse

Chinese Whisper will be missing from the carnival having  been turned out for a short spell.

“I wasn’t happy with his run at Tuapeka and subsequently he hasn’t trained on so he’s in the spelling paddock. It’s just a couple of wee niggly things so we’re just backing off and reassessing things. He won’t have long off and we’ll look at Christmas racing. There’s no point in going up there if you’re 90%.”

Consistent entire Franco Santino will represent the stable in the Free For All on Show Day.

“We’re racing him on Friday rather than the Tuesday. On Friday it’s 1980 metres. He seems to be more of a speed horse and we’ve left the 2600 metre race on Tuesday for Pembrook (Playboy). He seemed to have come though his last race well and he’s in good form.”

Franco Santino

Four year old Longueval will start in the highly competitive South of the Waitaki also run on Show Day.

“He’s a nice wee horse and he’s going to get a good draw so he’s going to get a run along the markers not doing too much. He’s a good follower of speed. He’ll be competitive but there’s one or two smarty’s that might be a bit good for him. If he can run a competitive race he could be attractive to buyers at Cup Week as the owners are looking to sell him on.”

Longueval

Nathan also drives Majestic Man, one of the favourites in the New Zealand Trotting Free For All. He won this race driving Jasmyn’s Gift in 2006.

Vintage Cheddar Wins Junior Free For All

Bruce Stewart

10th November 2020

Southland pacer Vintage Cheddar might have missed out on a start in the New Zealand Cup, but his win in the Junior Free For All goes someway to compensating his connections.

Vintage Cheddar winning – Photo Race Images

Trained by Alister Black for Lindsay and Ian Thomson who bred the gelding, the six year old was taken back early by driver Brad Williamson and was third last for most of the race. With 700 metres to run Vintage Cheddar was last, with Williamson reining him up with the aim of getting on the back of another runner to get a tow into the race. As the field came inside the last 400 metres he got on the back of On The Cards which took the lead as the field straightened up. Vintage Cheddar under a hard drive, wore down the leader to win by one and three quarter lengths from On The Cards.

“A lap from home I was thinking we were in a world of hurt. At the 600 I was feeling a bit better. At the top of the straight I was feeling really good. I just knew he wouldn’t quit,” Black said.

The winning time was 3-08.3. The race record was posted in last season’s Free For All by Ultimate Sniper which ran the 2600 metre mobile in 3-06.4.

“To win the Junior Free For All is a huge thrill. It was massive.”

Brad Williamson and Alister Black – Photo Race Images

Blacks wife Sheree was on the course but unfortunately the couple’s son Riley, an avid harness fan missed the day.

“Riley got the flu a couple of days ago so he’s at home. He was real gutted.”

This was Black and the Thompson brothers first Group winner although they’ve had plenty of medium grade horses like Kilowatt Kid, Lawrence, Six Diamonds and Ossessione.

The win was Black’s seventy second, and fifty nine of those have been owned by the Thomson brothers. His first win for the pair was New York Town at Winton in December 2012.

Today’s win was Vintage Cheddar’s ninth.

For the pedigree buffs Orbell,Vintage Cheddar’s fourth dam has a great record in this race.

She was the dam of Lento which won the Junior Free For All in 1994 and Orbell was the second dam of Belle’s Boy which was successful in 2005.

Southland trained horses also have a good record in this race, albeit in the 80s and 90s. Roman Gladiator won the race in 2004, further back, Whale Of A Tale in 1995, No Return in 1993, Honkin Vision in 1991 and Zabadak in 1982.

It was a pretty good day for Southern horses with Andy Hall winning the two mile trot and Southland bred Amazing Dream bred by Vin and Daphne Devery taking out the Nevele R Fillies Final.

Bad To The Bone bred by Todd and Fleur Anderson impressed when he won the R65-R80 Mobile Pace. By Bettor’s Delight out of Beaudiene Bad Babe the four year old looked tough and mature in leading, and he won by two lengths.

Watch Me Now Rated Best Mare

Bruce Stewart

13th November 2020

After today’s impressive win in the Macca Lodge South of the Waitaki Mobile Pace co-trainer and driver Kirstin Barclay had no hesitation in rating Watch Me Now as the best mare she’s driven.

“I’ve been lucky to drive some nice horses but she’d be by far the best mare,” she said.

Watch Me Now winning at Addington – Photo Race Images

Into today’s $30,000 feature for horses trained south of the Waitaki River, Barclay said she was unsure what her raceday plan was but she felt she had options from a wide draw.

“She’s more than a one trick pony. She can do a bit of work, sit parked or lead.”

From gate seven Barclay pushed the mare forward early.

“Once she scored up behind the gate she was pretty keen, came out well and we got across quite easily.”

Once in front she settled into a nice rhythm.

“She’s a funny mare. She switches off easily and relaxes. She just enjoys rolling along and that’s what she did.”

At the 600 metres Watch Me Now was just cruising.

“I thought I’d gone a lap too soon. I expected them to come at her at the bend but they didn’t.  She did it very easy in the end.”

At the finish she was six and a half lengths clear of second place getter Sentry.

“I didn’t think it was going to be easy by any means. Primarily she’s been racing against fillies and mares so it was quite a step up. I was confident of a good showing but I wasn’t dead set confident she would come out and win like she did.”

The winning time for the 2600 metre mobile was 3-10.0 – a mile rate of 1-57.5. The last half was cut out in 56.0 with the last 400 run in 26.8.

Today’s win was Watch Me Now’s sixth from just ten starts.

“That’s a credit to Tank. He’s spaced her races out really well and looked after her. That’s one of his talents – plotting a path with horses and he’s done it to perfection with her.”

Watch Me Now is out of the Mach Three mare Mach N Elle which is owned by Steve and Claire Sloan and Macca Lodge Stud master Brent McIntyre who sponsored today’s race.

As a broodmare Mach N Elle has left Darcee the winner of eight races in New Zealand, and she was also successful in America.

Barclay and Ellis have had Watch Me Now from day one, Ellis having had success with her half-sister Machjagger.

“Right from day one we liked her.v She’s always been a beautiful gaited horse who felt like she had a bit of a motor.”

So are there any bigger plans for the mare?

“No. I’ll leave that to Tank. He does all the planning. My job is to drive these sorts of horses in work and on race day.”

Watch Me Now is owned by Steve Sloan, Claire Sloan, Brad Sloan, Mrs J Sloan and Hayley Gibb.

Winning connections – Photo Race Images

Meanwhile other stable star U May Cullect has come home to Southland after an unsuccessful campaign running in some of the big races leading into the New Zealand Cup for which he held a nomination.

“He’s home having a month off on good grass. He lost a bit of condition and he had a couple of joint issues which we thought we were on top of.  His dicky leg is really good.                                                                                                                                      Everything that could go wrong did go wrong but the good thing is that he’s sound. When you’re racing at that level you just have to be one hundred percent right. We were just on the back foot all the way through. We just have to get him right and happy again.”

 

U May Cullect – Photo Bruce Stewart

Pay Me Speedy Impressive

Bruce Stewart

15th November 2020

Winton trainer Chelsea Faithful admits she gets nervous prior to her horses racing and today on her home track at Winton she was doubly so, with two runners in the New Zealand Bloodstock Junior Drivers Mobile Pace.

Pay Me Speedy warming up for Mark Hurrell – Photo Bruce Stewart

Four year old mare Pay Me Speedy, having only her second start, duly did the business, coming from the back and winning by three quarters on a length from Robyns Shadow.

“It’s always a bit nerve wracking watching one of your own especially her, because I’ve got a bit of a wrap on her,” Faithful commented after the win.

Although she holds a junior license herself,  she chose to give the drives to Mark Hurrell (Pay Me Speedy)and Ollie Kite (Tartan Roxy 11th ).

Prior to today’s run Pay Me Speedy had had two workouts.

“I just wanted a quiet one for the first (workout) but she wanted to over race and broke. Nathan drove her the next time and we changed a bit of gear.”

Driven by Mark Hurrell today, her winning time of 2-56.8 was impressive for a mare of her grade. This was her second win in as many starts.

“She settled pretty well for Mark today. She can get keen but she’s still learning the game. I did expect her to go well but perhaps need the run and to do something like that was pretty impressive.”

Pay Me Speedy winning impressively – Photo Bruce Stewart

Pay Me Speedy is owned by Faithful, her grandparents Norm and Bev Cox, and her mother Louise Cox.

Norm, Bev and Louise Cox, Chelsea Faithful, Pay Me Speedy and Mark Hurrell – Photo Bruce Stewart

She’s out of the Artsplace mare Pay Me Painter which won four races and was placed in the Southland Oaks.

“She’s still pretty green and I’ve never really screwed her down. Providing everything goes to plan I think she’ll have a bright enough future. The phone will start ringing again and for now I’d like to say I’ll keep her. She’s my baby.”

The win reinforces Faithful’s remarkable strike rate but with the recent retirement of Tartan Trilogy, the sale of Toby O’Gara to Australia, and Imperial Tartan breaking down, her training numbers have been halved.

“I’ve gone from six to three so I’ve got a bit of time on my hands and I don’t know what to do with myself.”

Meanwhile Panspacificflight gelding Macandrew Aviator won at his second start for trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis.

The four year old came home nicely on debut on this course in October in the hands of Brent Barclay. He reined the gelding today as well, beating second favourite Angus by a nose.

Macandrew Aviator (16) and Brent Barclay winning by a nose – Photo Bruce Stewart.

Back to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

Harry H having his third start for Southland trainer Shane Matheson won at odds of 29 to 1. The Muscle Yankee gelding had previously won seven races for a number of North Island trainers. He’s a half -brother to Martina H and Tony H.

Harry H winning for trainer Shane Matheson and driver Sheree Tomlinson – Photo Bruce Stewart

Lock It In Eddie On His Game Today

Bruce Stewart

15th November 2020

Not many trainers would have had the faith to lock horse Lock It In Eddie in to a long term contract but Winton trainer Tracie McGrannachan has a special bond with the six year old and doesn’t have any problems with the gelding these days.

The horse got it’s name from a phrase contestants use in the Australian Television Series “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” hosted by Eddie McGuire. He’s related to handy types Mark Hanover and Mark Roy.

Lock It In Eddie warming up – Photo Bruce Stewart

Lock It In Eddie rewarded Tracie’s faith in him once again when he won his second race on his home track today.

“He was the worst horse you’ve ever seen when we got him. He was gelded the day he came home. He haemorrhaged, and the vets came out a few hours later. We thought he was going to die. I stayed with him the night and he ended up pulling through,” she said.

The six year old Changeover gelding is owned by McGrannachan, her daughter Brooke, her husband to be Bryan Trethowen, Ian Goodman and Peter Kane.

“He has taken a wee while but as you can see he’s big and overgrown. Every time you did something with him he’d buck and kick. He was a shocker so we’d turn him out and bring him back in. We just kept doing that. Every time we did it he forgot what his habit was the time before.”

In today’s event driver Nathan Williamson settled the gelding back. With a lap to run he settled into the one one after sitting parked. With 450 metres to run Williamson moved off the tiring The Night Watchman’s back to come down the centre of the track. Bunter’s Dream, which took the inside passing lane, got a half a length in front but Lock It In Eddie under a hard drive from Williamson got up to win by half a neck.

McGrannachan says the horse reponds well to hitting the shaft and making some noise. “I dare say Nathan’s probably got a sore throat.”

Lock It In Eddie winning for Nathan Williamson – Photo Bruce Stewart

Back to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

“He’s really chilled now but early on everything scared him. John Dunn drove him at Wyndham one day and he nearly put him over the fence. That was what he was like. Brad Williamson said one day ‘if he clicks he should win a couple in a row.”

Maybe this is the first of a double Tracie?

Winners side by side – Pay Me Speed and Chelsea Faithful and Lock It In Eddie and Tracie McGrannachan- Photo Bruce Stewart

Southland’s Favourite Passes Away

Bruce Stewart

19th November 2020

Franco Legend was one of Southland’s favourite horses in his racing days.

Sadly he died on Sunday at Macca Lodge,  where he has been a resident on farm stallion for the past few years.

During the Hannon Memorial in September 2016, he suffered a leg fracture and subsequently he had to be retired.  

From 98 starts he won 25 races, and was second and third 11 times. He won two thirds of his stakes in New Zealand and the remainder in Australia where he was trained by Geoff Webster.

For a horse that was primarily trained in Southland he achieved a remarkable record.

Fifty nine of his ninety eight starts were Group races.

“All the way through his racing career he raced against the top level and was 100% sound. It’s been a terrific ride really. He raced from a two year old to nine and won all that money. He’s seen a lot of Cup horses come and go,” trainer and part owner Hamish Hunter commented after said after Franco Legend retired.

As a two year old the Falcon Seelster colt had just four starts.

“I would regard him as a B grade two year old. At his last race at two he ran in the Kindergarten Stakes. He was three wide for the first half and parked after, and they went 1-54 and he was still there at the top of the straight. That gave me an idea of his future.”

His best season was as a three year old when he won seven races from twelve starts.

“He just grew another leg once he got another year on him which is typical of the Falcon Seelsters. He developed this real high speed and on his day he was very very good.”

His biggest win was at Menangle in Australia in the Group One Bohemia Crystal.

Franco Ledger winning the Bohemia Crystal at Menangle

He also won the Group Two Shepparton Cup, beating Philadelphia Man and Lennytheshark.

He was placed second behind Arden Rooney in the 2015 Group One Hunter Cup.

On the national front Franco Ledger became the fourth horse to win back to back Hannon Memorials (2012 and 2013). The others were Palestine (1976-1977), Idolmite (1980-1981) and Iraklis (1997-1997).

“Winning two Hannon’s was special.”

Franco Ledger winning the 2012 Hannon with Hamish Hunter beating Franco Emirate

Throughout his racing career he was a bit of a Cups king, winning the Central Otago Cup (2012), Wyndham Cup (2012 and 2014), Wairio Cup (2013), Invercargill Cup (2013), Southern Country’s Cups Final (2012), Methven Cup (2014) and Waikouaiti Cup (2012 and 2014).

“He won two Waikouaiti Cups and a Methven Cup and was never beaten on the grass.”

His win in the 2014 Waikouaiti Cup was one of the highlights for Hunter in the horse’s career.

“It’s probably a World record on grass because they don’t have too many two mile races on grass.”

He held two 3200 metres all-weather track records – one at Invercargill (3-58.7) and one at Wyndham (3-57.0), which still stands.

“He beat the New Zealand Cup winner (Arden Rooney) in the Wyndham Cup (2014). It was a terrific run.”

Franco Ledger coming back after his Wyndham Cup win – Photo Bruce Stewart

He was twice named Southland Horse of the Year (2012 and 2013).

Hunter remembers him having his little quirks. “If you were standing next to him in a stall and everyone was relaxed and he wasn’t getting the attention he’d kick the back wall and you’d swear the building was going to fall apart.”

His biggest stakes winning season was in 2015 when he won four races – three in Australia and one in New Zealand. He banked $233,781 that season.

Trainer Hamish Hunter drove him to win 15 races while others who were successful on him were; Peter Hunter (3), Geoff Webster (3), Anthony Butt (2) and Colin De Filippi (2).

Hunter is rightly full of admiration for the Falcon Seelster stallion which he part owned with the much travelled and boysterish What Ever Syndicate.

“You’d run out of tape if you talked to them (laughter).”

As a stallion Franco Ledger has 16 two year olds on the ground and 11 yearlings.

“We should see the first of his progeny on the track this season. My brother (Peter) has got a nice two year old running round and you’ll see him later on.”

His name is Justalittlesip and is out of the three win Bettor’s Delight mare Justasip.

The What Ever Syndicate and mates after Franco Ledger’s Invercargill Cup win – Photo Bruce Stewart

For the record:

Group Wins:

  • Group One Bohemia Crystal
  • Group Two Shepparton Cup
  • Group Three Hannon Memorial (twice)
  • Group Three Invercargill Cup
  • Group Three Central Otago Cup

Group and Listed Seconds:

  • Group One Hunter Cup
  • Group One Easter Cup
  • Group Two Kaikoura Cup
  • Group Two Ashburton Flying Stakes
  • Group Three Rangiora Classic
  • Group Three Central Otago Cup
  • Group Three Invercargill Cup
  • Listed Five Year Old Emerald

“In the Harness Jewels when they had a race for five year olds he came from the rear. Terror To Love won the race but Franco Ledgers sectionals were unbelievable. A galloping trainer told me after the race that he had gallopers that couldn’t come home as quick as he did that day. So that gave you an idea of the spear speed he had.”

Group Thirds:

  • Group Two Interdominion Heat
  • Group Two Interdominion Consolation
  • Group Two Superstars
  • Group Three Canterbury Classic
  • Group Three New Brighton Cup
  • Group Three Forbury Park Four and Five Year Old Championship
  • Group Three Northern Southland Cup
  • Group Three Casey Classic
  • Group Three Bendigo Cup

Roughie wins for Hunter and Nally

Bruce Stewart

19th November 2020.

Ryal Bush trainer Hamish Hunter has trained a few roughies during his forty three season career but probably none that paid as big a dividend as Indulgence, his winner today at Winton, at odds of 141 to 1.

“It didn’t surprise me in a sense because she’s been a great track worker. That’s the only reason I’ve kept her. She hasn’t performed on race day as well as I thought she would,” he said.

Indulgence coming down the outside – Photo Bruce Stewart

It was the Net Ten EOM mare’s second win in forty one starts. Her last was at Gore nine months ago.

“Her start two runs ago wasn’t too bad. I said to Matty (Williamson) that that’s how she works. At her last start at Tuapeka she got back on a 1000 metre track and it was a sprint home.”

From a wide draw junior driver Tom Nally let the giant mare find her feet, settling at third last. Indulgence was the last of the bunch inside the 600 but then got on the back of an improving Tetrick. On straightening, Nally let her run and she came down the outside with her ears back, getting up to beat The Night Watchman by half a head.

Tom Nally bringing Indulgence back to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

It was Nally’s second career win in his first season of race day driving.

“Just bring the smoko tomorrow morning and we’ll be right,” Hunter said to Nally after the win.

Indulgence is owned by Graham Cooney and is out of the OK Bye mare Burlesque which won six races as a pacer but was also tried at the trotting gait.

Also on the the day’s programme, Robin Swain trained and drove The Kingsman to win for his wife Mandy and Australian owners Merv and Meg Butterworth. He won be a length and three quarters.

The Kingsman winning for trainer driver Robin Swain – Photo Bruce Stewart

Consistent four year old Alexis Rocket won for trainer Brett Gray and driver Brent Barclay. His formline has been impeccable all season and the win was well deserved.

Alexis Rocket winning for Brent Barclay – Photo Bruce Stewart

Backmarker Rydgemont Milly won her tenth race for trainers Debbie and Mark Shirley.

The nine year old mare had broken at her last start at Addington  but back home she trotted faultlessly to beat Tweedledee by three quarters of a length.

Rydgemont Milly and John Morrison beating Tweedledee and Sam Ottley along with plenty of banter – Photo Bruce Stewart

Bull Wins Group One Feature

Bruce Stewart

21st November 2020

Chicago Bull’s win in last night’s Freemantle Cup in West Australia elevated him on a number of fronts.

He’s a diminutive wee champ. He won by 5.7 metres over another Southern Bred Southern Reared horse Galactic Star, and the win was his sixtieth.

Chicago Bull – File photo

Chicago Bull is now the second highest race winner in the history of Southland Harness Racing, with only champion Cardigan Bay ahead of him at 80 lifetime wins.

Themightyquinn (58 wins) still holds the record for the highest stake earning horse to come out of the province, having won $5,520,066.

“He’s (Chicago Bull) exceeded everyone’s expectations. Just the way he tries so hard in every race. He’s so consistent and never lets anyone down,” said Katrina Price who bred Chicago Bull with her husband John and his parents Roger and Helen Price of Winton.

It was Chicago Bull’s fifth Group One and second Freemantle Cup and his stake earnings are fast heading towards a quarter of a million. All his wins bar one, have been at Gloucester Park.

He also becomes his sire Bettor’s Delight’s second biggest Australian stake earner with only Lazarus ahead of him with $4,423,391. Adore Me is third on the list with $1,677,032.

Price says Chicago Bull may now be aimed at The Hunter Cup in February after he runs in the WA Pacing Cup early next month.

Chicago Bull as a two year old at Winton

Chicago Bull is out of the Christian Cullen mare Chicago Blues.

“She’s having a forty two day scan on Monday so hopefully there’s a little baby sister there.”

The Prices have a full-brother to Chicago Bull named Chicago Bear going to next year’s sale.

“He’s got rock star good looks whereas poor little Chicago Bull missed out on all that. He’s pretty determined and was really tough to break in but he’s onside now. He loves people and is very social. If he has that determination out on the racetrack he’ll do alright.”

Katrina and John recently purchased American Ideal mare Hartofdixie that won six races for Barry Purdon.

She’s out of a half-sister to Maxim which won twelve races including the 2014 Victoria Derby. Hartofdixie’s third dam is Scuse Me, New Zealand Broodmare of the Year in 2012-2013 and 2014-2015.

“We’re preparing her yearling colt by Bettor’s Delight and he’s going to go through the sale.”

Katrina is also preparing four yearlings for Tuapeka Lodge, including Tuapeka Dan, the first foal out of Bonnie Joan – the winner of ten races and just over $200,000. He’s by Bettor’s Delight. Also in the draft is a Bettor’s Delight colt out of five win Art Major mare Break Dance, named Point Break.

“They’re coming down on Tuesday. It’ll be a pretty nice draft. I’ve also got two of Dave Kennedy’s trotters. There’s a bit of everything this year and with eight yearlings we’re going to be pretty busy.”

Port Au Prince Sails Home

Bruce Stewart

25th November 2020

The last couple of weeks have not been easy for Southland owner Brendon McIntyre.

As an integral part of the What Ever Syndicate which raced Franco Ledger, he was saddened when the stallion died suddenly at Macca Lodge earlier this month.

“It was a pretty good death if you’re going to have one. It was painless. I was always worried about him because he served mares naturally. If he got injured because of that someone was going to have to make a tough call one day,” McIntyre said.

However his Somebeachsomewhere gelding Port Au Prince which won today may have helped soften the loss a little.

Trainer Driver Peter Hunter settled the gelding at the back of the second half of the field before letting him slide forward with just over a lap to run to sit parked.

“Pete talked about it before the race. If they slackened off he was going to get round them and take luck out of play.”

Port Au Prince moving up to sit parked with a lap to run – Photo Bruce Stewart

When the leader Leconte started to get reined, Hunter took Port Au Prince to the lead and he went down to the finish to beat favourite Lynryd Skynryd by three and three quarter lengths.

Port Au Prince winning his first race – Photo Bruce Stewart

McIntyre who races the gelding with his wife Jaque bought Port Au Prince from breeder Ron Croon

“We liked him at two, but racing didn’t get off the ground (for that age group) and when it did he was probably ready for a spell.”

Franco Ledger is gone, but McIntyres, Peter Hunter and his wife Jo who is Brendon’s sister, have a promising two year old called Justalittlesip by the stallion.

“He’s just having a spell at the moment but he’ll come back and we’ll give him an opportunity. He ticks all the boxes at the moment. From what we’ve been told and from what we’ve seen all the Ledgers have got great manners.”

Half Hopples Help Kiwitrix

Bruce Stewart

25th November 2020.

He’s not ready for the free legged trotting game yet, but the well-bred Kiwitrix has put two good performances together wearing half-hopples.

A last start third encouraged his trainer Nathan Williamson to leave the hopples on for today’s race and superbly handled by inform driver Ricky May, the four year old won easily at Ascot Park today.

“We might have to fly Ricky down each week to drive him,” said Williamson.

May got the gelding away safely and let him find his rhythm. With a lap to run May was in front and he didn’t have to move on the four year with the combination winning by three lengths.

Kiwitrix winning for Ricky May – Photo Bruce Stewart

“He had the hopples on last start and trotted all the way. Two good runs from two starts, which is good. Concentration’s a big thing. He never breaks at home. We’ll just keep going the same way we’re going hopefully. He’s building a bit of confidence now.”

Returning to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

Kiwitrix was bred by Williamson and his wife Katie and her parents Ross and Robyn Jones hold a share in the son of Trixton and Kylie Ree.

Kylie Ree won four of her eleven starts including the Hambletonian Classic and Two Year Ruby. She was trained by Mark Purdon and Grant Payne. All of her foals have won races with She’s Allthe Craze winning eight.

Kylie Ree is a dam of the very promising Son Of Patrick trained by Barry Purdon.

Today’s win by Kiwitrix was one of three for Mid-Canterbury reinsman Ricky May. He also won on Swift Robyn and Onesmartfella.

Swift Robyn winning for Ricky May – Photo Bruce Stewart

Returning – Photo Bruce Stewart

Onesmartfella – win number three for May – Photo Bruce Stewart

Ricky May, Onesmartfella, Brent Shirley, Tony Whaanga, Stacey White fror Woodlands, and John Edminstin – Photo Bruce Stewart