The Gazelle

The Southern Gazelle

A Southland engineer has joined the highly competitive market of building high tech harness race carts.


Dave Brown has not background in harness racing, but with the encouragement of local harness enthusiast Artie Shirley, he's become interested in designing and manufacturing lightweight tubular steel carts.


Brown did his time as an engine reconditioner before spending six years in aircraft engineering.

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Matty Williamson and Pyramid Magic

Locally Owned Trotter Wins at Gore 

Pyramid Magic carried on a strong family tradition of winning early when, at only his second start, he won the A.W. & A.M. Osborne Contracting Gore Trot at the Gore Raceway today.

The four year old by Armbro Invasion is owned by Southlanders Steve Hardiman and Neville Hazlett and was broken in by Keith Norman before joining the Williamson Oamaru barn.

"He's big but we quite like him. He's taken a wee bit of time to make it but hopefully it'll be worth it.

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Tisbury Hardlife and Kirstin Barclay

Barclay Trains First Winner For Kilkelly 


Kirstin Barclay has driven a few winners for Tom Kilkelly, but today's win on Tisbury Hardlife at Gore was the first as a private trainer for Kilkelly.

"It was a bit of a surprise. I thought that Nathan (Williamson driving Fantasy Dream Girl) may have got back at me. I've been a bit nervous about it so it's real good to get the first win for Tom," said Barclay.


The margin at the end of the 2200 metres was just a nose. From gate six Barclay speered Tisbury Hardlife to an early lead before handing up to Fantasy Dream Girl. At the top of the straight Barclay shot Tisbury Hardlife... 




The Southland Standardbred Breeders Assn are having a Breeders Seminar on Wednesday 10 September 2014 at The Ascot Hotel starting at 4pm.

Entry is free, also refreshments and finger food. Anyone interested in meeting with representatives from studs throughout NZ are welcome to attend.

For catering purposes contact Gail Paisley 03 2313462 or 0272221114.






Diamonds Day Launch - It's D Day! (Sunday 24th August 2014)

A new concept for Southern Harness Racing was launched at the Southland Harness Awards at Ascot Park last night.

Finals Day, usually held in April each year, is the culmination of a number of series raced throughout the season, and has always been a big event on the Southern Harness Racing calendar. It's now time to more aptly reflect it as a great day of quality finals racing, and it's been given a new name - Southern Harness Diamonds Day.


The initiative has been lead by Riverton Trotting Club president Bruce Stewart and has the support of all the clubs in the Southern region.

As well as continuing to showcase the established features such as the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes, Macca Lodge/Nevele R Southland Oaks Final and the Bmac Southern Cups Final, additional exciting features will be added.

"It was felt that the Finals Day needed stronger branding and more of a promotional push so that it truly celebrates the end of the season. Diamonds Day also fits in nicely with the Harness Jewels as horses chase stakes to make the cut for the final fields," said Stewart.


It's planned to introduce a number of new races including "The Hot To Trot Graduation Final" for trotters, "The Rising Stars Graduation Final" for pacers and "The Elite 1700" for mares.

"We're still working out the finer details but to have more finals on the day will really make it a must go to meeting."


The two year old feature, initiated by Southern Bred Southern Reared last season, will carry a new name and trophy. The race will be named after the champion Southland two year old Honkin Vision and will be called "The Honkin Vision Stakes."

"I know John Stiven and Dave Kennedy from SBSR are keen to get this race up to twenty to twenty five thousand, and the family of the late Henry Skinner who trained and drove Honkin Vision are keen to come onboard as well."


On-course there are plans to offer a number of new hospitality options. "The Class on Grass" marquee is an exciting concept and will host 150 ladies. In their package they'll each get to dine, enjoy their wine, receive betting vouchers for the first four races, and go into the draw to win a diamond!

"The Legends Lounge" will be another feature of the day where the club will host owners, drivers and trainers of some of the former stars of the Southern region. It's planned to have a display of cups, covers and the carts of some of these stars.

"Imagine a room full of trophies and covers won by Young Quinn, Robalan, Trevira and the like. I think this will be a real hit and the plan is to name a race "The Legends," Stewart said.


In order to help attract owners down from more northern parts, it's planned that the new Diamonds Day concept will include a dedicated area for all owners. This will have a seafood theme and will be called "Catch of the Day Cafe."

"We're known for our seafood and who wouldn't come down for oysters, blue cod and other seafood treats."


A travelling horse cover has been designed with the Diamonds Day logo, along with two promotional jackets which will be used throughout the season.

"We plan to send the rug away with horses like Franco Ledger who regularly visits Canterbury. This will help reinforce the brand when he walks through the barn at Addington. The two promotional jackets will be used on days like Invercargill Cup Day and of course will be worn by the girls leading in winners on Diamonds Day."






Hayley Croft and Tracee Sherborne with the new Diamonds Day cover and jackets - Photo Stu Malcolm Fotosouth


Southern Harness Clubs are very excited about this new concept and believe it will help to embed the event as a great day out for all those involved in the industry, and the public.

The first Diamonds Day spectacular will be held at Ascot Park next year on Sunday 12th April.




 Southland Harness Awards 2014 Winners

Southland Horse of the Year:

Although the Western Ideal-Raksplace filly is an ordinary type of horse with a large white blaze, she has a huge motor and an underlying stamina. During the season under review she started 15 times for 4 wins, 5 seconds and a third, amassing stakes of $101,029 and recording her best placed time of 1.52.7. Raksdeal can take some credit for Willow running a NZ record of 2.39.1 - a mile rate of 1.56.3. as she lead most of the way before getting run down late. She ran third in the Group One Diamond Jewels and recorded seconds in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks and the Sires Stakes Final - a race when her fans showed as much pace as she did up the straight! She was run down late again and finished second in the Group Two Southland Oaks. Her very creditable performances for the season saw her nominated in her age group at the National Awards.

Brendan Fahy and family with the spoils won by Raksdeal at the Southland Horse of the Year 2014
- Photo - Stu Malcom Fotosouth


Southland Person of the Year:


Keith Norman: Congratulations to Keith Norman who is the majority shareholder of imported stallion Washington VC; a stallion he brought to New Zealand after studying the stallion’s race performance and pedigree in depth. Keith then syndicated Washington VC, and the stallion has rewarded shareholders with a very healthy return each year. Keith is the breeder of this season’s multiple group winner I’m Victorious. He also bred Vice Consul, the winner of four in the season under review. As an owner, Keith recorded 11 wins in the 2013-2014 season with Vice Chairman winning seven, Miss Pembroke two, while VC’s Honour and Bryleigh Jewel both won a race. Keith, the owner and stud master at Bryleigh Stud is a very generous sponsor under the banner of Bryleigh Stud and Washington VC.


Salute to a Southland Star - Sundon's Way

Sundon’s Way is a 1993 gelding by Sundon out of Princess Way. He was owned by Billy and Janine Heads and Pam Yorke and was trained by Mark Purdon.
Over five seasons of racing he won fifteen races and recorded lifetime earnings of $316,723.

His wins included:
1998 - Interdominion Consolation in Sydney
1998 – Ashburton Flying Stakes in a New Zealand Record time of 1.57.4 (one fifty seven point four).
1999 – The Bill Collins Mile in Melbourne.
1999 – Two Interdominion Heats in Auckland.
1999 – Canterbury Park Trotting Cup at Addington.


Other points of interest:
He raced and often finished second to the mighty Lyell Creek.
Well travelled, he raced in Sydney in 1998, Melbourne in 1999 and 2000, and Brisbane in 2001.
Sundon’s Way also raced in the Interdominions in Brisbane in 2001, but was injured and withdrawn from the final.
He was exported to America in September 2001, racing twice before suffering an injury and being retired.


Southland Broodmare of the Year:


Champagne Party: John and Katrina Price purchased Champagne Party in 2010 after racing one of her foals Surprize Party, the winner of one race. The mare had seven named foals with five to race for four winners. Elsa was the winner of nine races and 19 placings for stakes of $112,700. In her early career she had a first and third in group races. Champagne Driller was the winner of two races. Her two year old, Democrat Party, won two races in the season under review including the Group 2 Delightful Lady Classic. She has won stakes of $60,500.



John and Katrina Price - Photo Stu Malcolm Fotosouth

Southland Harness Contributors Awards:


Jimmy Bond: Jim Bond gave sixty years of his life to harness racing; as a stable lad, driver and trainer, and he spent time on the committee of the Southland Owners, Trainers and Breeders Association. Jimmy’s career began when he was a lad when he started out by assisting trainers at the Greymouth races. He then moved south and was employed by Jack Walsh of Robin Dundee fame. His next move was to Canterbury where he was employed by Cecil Devine before another stint in the South working for Derek Dynes. It was while he was in Derek’s employment that he drove his first winner Deft in 1962. Jimmy had the honour of being strapper for Tactile when he went to Australia. The lasting memory he has of that time was the DC3 freight plane. There was only one way in and one way out and a sack had to be put over Tactile’s head to get him to load. Jimmy was informed there was a gun on board and if necessary it was to be used. This plane had a lot of air conditioning - not the kind we know today! Jimmy took out a trainer’s license in 1970 when he shifted to his present property at Mataura. Some of the horses he trained and drove that made a great impact on the Southland scene were Young Al, Crafty Kobba, Auchen Bay and Cle Vallee.

Peter Williams: Peter with his veterinary skills has serviced the racing fraternity of Southland for 45 years. In 1979 he came to work for Paddy Dunne who was suffering an injury. He subsequently worked from the Southland Veterinary Clinic at Waikiwi. In 1978 he and the late Mike Brown felt there was a need for an operating theatre to accommodate horses so they set to and built a padded cell theatre at Peter’s property on East Road. Outside of the practice, Peter held the position of on-course vet at the races for many years. Not only has he given to harness racing as a vet, he has also bred and raced a number of successful horses. In 1971 he bred Lucky Chance from Just Lucky who was the dam of Lucky Boy, Vendetta and Jan’s Chance. All his pacers trace back to Lucky Chance - they are Second Avenue, Rocketship - the 1995 Southland Horse of the Year and Mr Williams just to name a few. Princess Wrack was given to Peter while on one of his early freeze branding trips. She left Princess Way, whose breeding line includes Sundon’s Way, the horse that was included in this year's honours. She has also left this year’s horse of the year nominee Alley Way. Others from this branch are Arbitrator, Whizz Way, No Way; I Did it Myway and a promising three year old in Any Old Way. As well as speaking to harness cadets, Peter served for 23 years on the Southland Standardbred Breeders Assoc.

Murray Bradford: Murray has been a committee member of the Gore Harness Racing Club, an owner and an all round contributor to harness racing for well over thirty years. One of the many tasks Murray has undertaken includes collecting supplies for the hospitality room, where he works on race day looking after winning owners, sponsors and guests. He has assisted at the start and on the crash crew on race day, at trials and workouts. He has driven the water tanker and tractor in preparation for raceways. In earlier years Murray drove the mobile barrier for the late Don McDonald - this was mostly at Forbury. Some of the horses he tasted success with over the years were Crafty Cobba, Cle Vallee and Ata Lord . Murray who has been on the administrative side of the club is one of the unsung heroes, giving freely of his time, equipment and financial support, and his humour.


Southland Standardbred Breeder Age Group Winners:


  • Two Year Old Filly of the Year: Land Patrol  
  • Three Year Old Filly of the Year: Raksdeal
  • Aged Racemare of the Year: Christy Breanna


Southland Standardbred Breeders 2013-2014 - 1:58 pins and the recipients:


Raksdeal – Brendan Fahy
Invercargill 1.54.9
Riverton 1.57.2
Northern Southland 1.57.7


Rocknroll Arden –John Stiven
NZ Met 1.54.8
Timaru 1.57.3


Third Avenue - Jan Williams
Winton 1.55.8


Whisper Jet - Dianne and Noel Cournane
Harness Racing Waikato 1.55.5


All Star Man -Dianne and Noel Cournane
NZ Met 1.56
Auckland 1.56.5


Harry Mac - Ben and Karen Calder
Waikouaiti 1.57.9


Someardensomewhere - John Stiven
Ashburton 1.57.3


Vice Chairman - Keith and Tracey Norman
NZ Met 1.51.9
NZ Met 1.54.9
NZ Metro 1.56.4


Come On Jaccka - Charlie and Alisa Smaill
Winton 1.56.3

Democrat Party – John and Katrina Price
Auckland 1.56.1

Luminesce –Paul Pearce
Wairio 1.57.6

Pemberton Shard - Debbie and Mark Smith
NZ Met 1.57


Picobello - Des Baynes
Winton 1.55.9


Record Certificates:

Pemberton Shard - Mark and Debbie Smith


Members Award: Brendan Fahy - Raksdeal


Southland Harness Awards:


  • Two Year Old Filly - Land Patrol
  • Two Year Old Colt or Gelding of the Year: Pulp Fiction
  • Four Year Old Mare: Vera's Delight
  • Four Year Old Horse or Gelding of the Year: Sammy The Bull
  • Washington VC Majestic Floats Mare of the Year: Vera's Delight
  • Caduceus Club of Southland Trotter of the Year: Moon Countess


Award of Excellence: Bit of a Legend - Pat Kubala


Southland Trainers and Drivers Association Awards:


Leading Trainer: Hamish Hunter (33)


Leading Driver: Nathan Williamson (64)


Leading Junior Driver: Craig Ferguson (24)


SSBA/Shard Farm Fastest Mile Rate for a Mare or Filly: Raksdeal - Brendan Fahy

Southland Standardbred Breeders Association - Group Certificates – 2013-14


  • Beaudiene Boaz – Dave Kennedy - Christian Cullen 2 year old Emerald Mobile Pace - Group 1
  • Democrat Party – John and Katrina Price - Gotta Go Cullen Young Guns Delightful Lady Classic (Mobile) Group 2
  • Jaccka Justy – Charlie and Ailsa Smaill -Country Feasts D G Jones Trotting Cup - Group 3





Open Letter - The New Zealand Handicap System 


Dear Editor,


The handicapping system we have currently with the 2 and 3yrs olds should have been changed at the last handicapping meeting – why it wasn’t is beyond me.  I would like them to tell me why it wasn’t done. 


I believe that my proposed system would work better than the current one as follows:

3yr olds – every 3rd win penalty free – this would free up the clogged 1 win grade which we have at present and would give better dividends to punters as the better 3yr old is now in the 2 win grade.  The 3yr old still has the ability to drop back after 10 starts if not competitive in the 2 win grade.


2yr olds – when re-graded when they turn 3, their first win if under $15,000 would be deemed penalty free then they would drop into the same category as the current 3yr olds.  If for example a current 2yr old has won 4 races under the stakes threshold above he would come back as a 2 win 3yr old.  Any 2yr old who has won 2, 3 or 4 races is obviously a horse with ability and to drop it back into the maiden grade as at present is harming our industry and again clogging up the maiden & C1 grades.


It was mentioned at our local Trainers & Drivers meeting held recently in Invercargill that this system would mean that owners would sell their 3yr olds if my suggested system was in place.  I disagree as owners choose to sell or not to sell their horses.


I believe we are belittling racing by not having these nice horses up in the grades where they should be and competing against each other instead of beating up a C1 field.  We need horses in higher grade races.


We also need Australian racing strong, it is really the only market we have.   Imagine if we couldn’t export our milk or meat, it would be worth next to nothing.    I wouldn’t want the Australian system here because the Australian buyers need to see that they can get out of the horse under their system.  If we had the same system why would they buy our horses?   As an owner you still have the option of racing your horse over there or in partnership with someone there.  With them buying our horses it generates income for our owners to then reinvest which most do whether it is by breeding or purchasing at sales.  Australia are trying to rejuvenate their breeding system with the tax on our horses going towards it which hasn’t helped our lower grade of horses being sold – good luck to them with that.  We are really a partnership with Australia – they need us as much as we need them.


Anyone who has an opinion either for or against I would appreciate hearing from you as we are in this together for the future of our industry.


Yours sincerely,

Murray Swain.

10 August 2014


The opinions of the writer are independent of




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