Sponsors and winning connections of Costa Del Magnifico


Costa Gets Cup            


You can't beat a home town win and there's no better race to win than the time honoured Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup.


The result in yesterday's Group Three feature was perfect for southerners with Costa Del Magnifico winning for Ascot Park trainer Brent Shirley.


The Mach Three entire handled by Canterbury based junior driver Matt Anderson began well.



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 John Dunn and American Tart

Tart Too Good                     


The Robert Dunn trained American Tart has a handful of races she's targeting in Southland this season and the southern campaign got off to the perfect start at Ascot Park yesterday.


From barrier one the American Ideal filly was too strong in the PGG Wrightson Three Year Old Mobile Pace leading easily from gate one and winning by two and three quarter lengths from another Canterbury visitor Ultimate Desire.


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 Presentation for the Robin Dundee Crown

Motu Moonbeam Too Smart 


Motu Moonbeam is very much a mobile horse and from barrier seven she proved her class in the Arden Lodge Robin Dundee Crown at Ascot Park yesterday.


Her very recent form line wasn't that flash but that included a standing start and a hard run for her last start eighth. 


"Yep I liked her today. I was impressed when she stormed home in 1-53 at Winton. Last week she got overdriven and couldn't win. Today we decided to go forward and get a position and Rory just drove the most perfect race. Great job," said trainer Graeme Anderson who part owns the mare.



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Updated Oaks and Supremacy Leaderboards. See Series section of website.





Shard Farm Yearlings - Sale of the Stars 2016



Lot 409 Mach Shard – Mach Three – Sly Shard



He is an upstanding, strong and correct colt with an attitude that shows intelligence. He is the half brother to the multiple Group winner and millionaire Smiling Shard, and to the mare Pemberton Shard (11 wins, $225,000) who ran 1.49.6 in Sydney Ladyship mile 2015.  He is also related to the current winner from the family Linton Shard 1 win to date. Mach Shard has all the traits of the family, naturally fit and has the Sly Shard competitive streak. He will make a serious race horse. 





 Mach Shard




Lot 263  Major Shard – Art Major – Lady Gaga



Out of a racewinning Christian Cullen mare, this colt is her second live foal. He is compact, strong and correct, a serious young prospect for the early 2yr old races.  He is from the family of Smiling Shard and Pemberton Shard.  His dam is the full sister to Spicey 7 wins, $162,013.  This colt is a full blood brother to Cilantro 2 NZ wins and 7 Aus wins to date.



E1 MajorShardBody_1.jpg 


Major Shard


Lot 494  Rock N Shard  - Rocknroll Hanover – All Time Glory



From the family of New Age Man, Cool Age Man and Averill’s Atom, this filly is the 3rd foal of an unraced Christian Cullen half sister to those horses.  She is short coupled with an excellent hindquarter typical of many of the Rocknrolls. She is long striding and paces naturally in the paddock with a great friendly personality. 


E 5 RocknShardBody_1.jpg



Rock N Shard




Lot 384  Yankee Shard – American Ideal – Shards a Flyin



Full brother to Regal Ideal (7 wins, $45,000) to date, this horse is the good looking bloke of the Shard Farm draft this year.  He has correct confirmation along with an attitude that is like no other.  He paces naturally, is straight and correct. He is the half brother to three winners, all in black print and his dam is the half sister to Sly Shard, the dam of Smiling Shard ($1m 17 wins). 




Yankee Shard




516  Pocket of Grins – Grinfromeartoear – Balgownie



From a race winning In the Pocket mare, this filly is an upstanding, leggy filly with a very kind attitude, works well with Shard Farm team. She shows natural ability to pace and is straight and correct. Only the 3rd foal from the mare, the mare’s first foal is a winner.





  Pockets Of Grin







On Account of Miss Karina Vermeulen - Rangiora



Lot 350 King Of Heroes  - Washington V C - Radiant Guest



This colt belongs to the family of  champion mare Hilarious Guest,  who was owned, raced and bred by Karina's late father, Maurice.

King of Heroes is a half brother to Village Hero 1.50.6, He's My Hero 1.54.3, and a whole host of other top performers. His dam, Radiant Guest, is the dam of ten foals to race for 9 winners, who also include Fake Rose 1.57.8 (6 wins and dam of Overlap 1.54.6, (My) Mustang 1.55.5, and Secret Guest 1.58.3).
This colt  is a real stunner, and his pedigree is stacked with black type. He's by Washington VC, sire of (Im) Themightyquinn (1.50.4 and  $4, 567,457), and Georgetown (1.50.6 and $649,142), and he belongs to an outstanding maternal family.



 King_of_Heroes_head.jpeg King_of_Heroes_Tree.jpeg








Wayne Adam's nice two year old Sportzstar warming up before his Invercargill workout - Photo Bruce Stewart 



Highview – A new view


Bruce Stewart


Riverton preparer and seller Alan Clark reckons he’s only missed presenting yearlings at one Christchurch sale in the last twenty three years he’s been involved in the industry.

The tall Southlander will be missing at next month’s sale in Christchurch and so will the name Highview as the Riverton based horseman and his father Dave are both scaling down their operations.

Part of what was Highview Stud near Riverton owned by Dave has been sold including the boxes and some of the land. Both have been bought by a local ground contractor. Alan has sold his prize broodmare Baptism Of Fire to Hazel van Opzeeland while Dave will retain some interest in horses – mainly young ones, but in partnerships.


“I always said to Hazel that I was planning to sell Baptism Of Fire and she indicated that she would be interested in buying her. We got her independently valued and a deal was done,” Alan said.





Baptism Of Fire with Highview Freddy 



The change for Alan came about with the birth of he and wife Kerri’s first child and also in becoming a franchise owner of Ultra Scan - a dairy herd pregnancy business.


“I also now have an Art Official filly out of Baptism Of Fire so I want to start the next branch of this family at some stage.”


Clark has also sold, as a weanling, Baptism Of Fire’s last foal - a Betterthancheddar colt. He was bought by Tony Dickinson from Alta Breeding Limited who has entered him in the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale in Auckland next month.


“I didn’t want to take the risk on a first season sire.”


The story of Baptism Of Fire began when Dave bought her at the 2001 yearling sales.


“He was looking for In The Pocket fillies but they were too dear. He liked to breed from young mares and to be fair he bred Highview Tommy. Tommy was one of the first Bettor’s Delight’s to be born, the first to win and the first out of a Christian Cullen mare.”


Highview Tommy began a remarkable run for Clark when he was sold in 2007. He was bought by Michael House for $40,000 and was later presented in the 2008 Ready to Run sales where he was bought by Mark Purdon for $200,000.


He won seventeen races and banked just over a million dollars for van Opzeeland and Phil and Glenise Kennard. 

Highview Tommy was one of the horses that launched Bettor’s Delight’s stud career in this country and his two year old wins included the Group One 2008 Sires Stakes Final and Two Year Old Emeralds at Cambridge.

He was named two year old colt or gelding in the 2007/2008 season. He is now heading into new territory - a stud career at Woodlands Stud.




Highview Tommy at Winton 



What followed after Highview Tommy out of Baptism Of Fire for Clark, were a hot run of yearling sale results:-

2008 Highview Chartom (Elsu) $45,000 - Mark Purdon, 2009 Highview Chasue (Elsu) $72,000 - Cran Dalgety, 2010 Highview Teejay (Bettor’s Delight) $90,000 - Mark Purdon, 2013 Highview Freddy (Bettor’s Delight) $122,000 - Ian Dobson and 2014 Highview Joey (Rock N Roll Heaven) $80,000 Cran Dalgety

Highview Freddy was the third highest priced yearling of the 2013 Sale. Bettered only by Titanium $170,000 and Ohoka Hall (renamed Springbank Eden) $127,500.

“The mare’s progeny have sold for close to $500,000 and it could have been more as we lost an Art Major colt.”

Last February in what was to be Clark’s last appearance for the Highview brand (at least in the meantime) he returned home with Baptism Of Fire’s 2013 foal - a filly by Art Official but he was not unhappy.


“I offered her to a few guys on a free lease but they never got back to me. I think rather than risk her in training I’ll breed from her as an unraced three year old. I’ll send her to Well Said. Dad bred Baptism Of Fire to Bettor’s Delight when she was three. Young mares milk better and are easier to get in foal. They don’t have the wear and tear that horses racing have.”


Over the 23 years Clark has not only lead Baptism Of Fire yearlings into the ring, he’s also prepared a number of othere - Isaiah, Highview Badlands, Mister Franklin, Besotted, Any Old Way and Lewy Risk to name a few.


Baptism Of Fire may be gone but I’m guessing Alan Clark will have a keen interest in the progeny of Highview Tommy which will keep his breeding flame alight along with the plans he will have to map out a breeding strategy for the new girl on the block Highview Emjay.




The Wait's Worth It (Friday 15th January 2016)

Bruce Stewart

It’s taken a while but the win at Ascot Park by Franco Sherborne yesterday has been worth it for his four owners.


He's a four year old by McArdle and qualified as a two year old nearly two years ago.


Over that time he’s had a number of preparations and workouts but hasn’t been produced at the trials or races until now.


“He was just a bit immature and it’s taken until now for him to strengthen up. He always had speed,” said trainer Brent Shirley.


This time his preparation consisted of two workouts for a win in December and an unplaced run last Saturday.


“I wasn’t too worried about his run last week. He lifted his game today and went real good. He seems like he’ll pick up another one or two.”


The four year old entire settled ninth in the running for driver Matt Anderson in a fairly strung out field. He finally tacked onto the main bunch with 900 metres to run. At the 750 mark, in a lightning fast move, Anderson sprinted the horse three wide to sit outside leader Rocking Robyn. Under a strong drive Franco Sherborne came down the middle of the track to get up to beat a game Rocking Robyn by half a head. The time was 2-42.8 - a very respectable time for an unraced maiden horse.



 Franco Sherborne winning at Ascot - Photo Fotosouth



 Matt Anderson - Photo Fotosouth




He’s out of the Badland’s Hanover mare Sally Franco which won two races. She's a half- sister to Satire Franco the source of stacks of winners for Shirley including When The Musics Over (5 NZ wins and 11 Australian wins), Turbine (3 NZ wins), Rowchester (3 NZ wins and 7 Australian wins), I Smart (6 NZ wins) and latest star Costa Del Magnifico (7 wins).


He’s owned by John Edminstin (Bluff), Gordy Waldrop (Bluff), Mick Filleul (Tasmania) and Jo Blair (Christchurch) and was purchased by Shirley at the 2013 Sale of the Stars for $13,000.







Cromwell Grass Cuttings (Thursday 7th January 2016)


Bruce Stewart 



At Cromwell yesterday All Jokes Aside confirmed his toughness when he went within 0.3 of a second of the 1800 metres open track record held by Comply Or Die.


The Grinfromeartoear gelding was just too strong for three year old Zenmach which received a better run. At his last start he did the same to another quality three year old Galactic Star. The winning margin was a neck and the winning time was 2-13.9 - a mile rate of 1-59.7.


He's the first and only foal out of the one win Elsu mare Maky Do Dah a half sister to McBeths Boy - the winner of five races for Tim White.  


All Jokes Aside has now won four races from just seven starts and looks destined for better things.




All Jokes Aside (inside) beating Zenmach - Photo Fotosouth




Clark Barron and All Jokes Aside - Photo Fotosouth 


Bootie Bromac which last won a race a year ago capitalised on a good trip and a smart Nathan Williamson drive to win the Golden Gate Lodge Mobile Pace.


The McArdle mare owned by Murray Fowle started her career with Kirk Larsen but changed to the Williamson stable at the beginning of the new season. Except for an eleventh at Omakau her form has been consistent.


Her time for the 1800 metre mobile was 2-15.2 which equalled the track record for mares. She shares the record with Kaka Point Christy. 




Man I'm Good underlined his appreciation for the grass surface when he won at Cromwell.


He started his career with a barnstorming run for fourth at this meeting a year ago. He won his first race on the grass at Oamaru last month.


He's trained at Winton by Alister Kyle who owns the gelding with his wife Vicky. 


“He won his first two workouts and qualifying trial and everyone wanted to buy him. When they found out he got on one knee they backed off so Vicky and I decided to hang on to him. We‘ve played around with his shoeing to help his confidence,” he said.


Kyle gave the four year old a beautiful run three back on the inside. He had a handful of horses turning in and waited patiently until halfway down the straight before he let the gelding run up the inside to beat Likethelook by three quarters of a length. 


“He was travelling well and the two in front of me were the two to beat (Love Ova Gold and Flashing On). They raced each other a bit so that was perhaps the undoing of them and it played into our hands. He’s starting to put it together. He’s been a work in progress and it was always going to take time.” 




Man I'm Good and Alister Kyle beating Likethelook - Photo Fotosouth



 Alister Kyle - Photo Fotosouth  


The Kyles bred the Badlands Hanover gelding. He's out of Novice Franco which they also raced and which won four races including the 2001 Equine Stakes At Winton.


“She’s been a shy breeder but hopefully she’s in foal to Grinfromeartoear. She was a speedy mare and we wanted to breed some staying blood into her.”

Madie Holmes was Novice Franco's first foal. She started three times but ended by with a collapsed wind pipe.

“Mike Brown (vet) wanted to operate on her but we always wanted to breed from her. We have a Courage Under Fire yearling filly from her.”

Kyle's last winning drive was on Man I'm Good's half-brother Bad Boy Mara in August 2014 at Ascot Park.




First starter Razor Rascal nailed a debut win at Cromwell today.

The five year old gelding by Ohoka Arizona trailed early behind Blue For You which began to stop before the home turn holding Razor Rascal up as others were improving around the outside. Driver Rory Mcllwrick steered the gelding a path through the middle and then ran down the inside getting up by a half a length to beat Fiery Ferret.


“That horse (Blue For You) had trialled up well and I thought it was the right one to follow but it hardly got me to the 1200 mark of the 1800 race. Things opened up and I wasn’t sure we’d get to the leaders but he just got quicker and quicker. He had a good attitude and kept lifting,” said McIlwrick. 


Owned by Murray and Marion Herman, Razor Rascal qualified for Tony Barron at Ascot Park in October but has been with Amber Hoffman since.


“He was a funny horse when he first arrived. We didn’t think too much of him. I played around with him and we didn’t get on. He actually kicked me out of the cart. Then Amber started to ride him and got him happy. When he left here (to go to the Central circuit) we thought he was pretty much right from his heart rate readings so I just kept him happy when he was here.”




The Razor gets the Ferret - Photo Fotosouth 


He’s out of the Man Around Town mare Royal Rascal which won five races for Bruce Negus and Craig Parsons including four in a row in December and January 2004. She won at Wairio, Winton, Omakau and Invercargill.

As a broodmare Royal Rascal has an excellent record leaving tough durable horses like Fiery Rascal (7 wins), Racy Rascal (2 Australian wins), Twilight Rascal (9 wins) and Skippy Rascal (6 New Zealand wins and 4 Australian wins).

Royal Rascal is a half sister to Jagged Account (9 wins) and Royal Courage (10 wins).

Hoffman started her career with Graeme Anderson in the 2010 season. She recorded 99 wins with Anderson. In partnership with Jonny Cox she posted a further 52 wins (2014-2015) and since training on her own account she has recorded seventeen wins.

The win was the 60th for driver Rory Mcllwrick.

However it was bitter sweet for McIlwrick as later in the day he was suspended for allowing his horse The Black in Race Ten to strike the wheel of Double Rainbow on a number of occasions. This suspension comes on the back of a careless driving charge at Omakau. The concurrent periods mean that he won't be back driving until January 26th.








Scarlett Falcon Set For Oaks (Tuesday 29th December 2015)


 Bruce Stewart


The radar is now definitely on the Nevele R/Macca Lodge Southland Oaks Final for impressive Winton winner Scarlett Falcon.


The Elsu filly lead after two hundred metres of the Southland Vehicle Sales Mobile Pace and easily beat Bootie Bromac by two and a quarter lengths. 


Scarlett Falcon owned by Cedric Coll and Kevin Cloag and is out of the three win Live Or Die mare Genuine Franco. She arrived as a young horse at trainer Stephen McNally's property to be broken in. 



"She's always shown enough but we didn't ask too much of her when she was two. She was just a bit big but qualified late as a two year old. Every time she's gone off the property she's shown something," he said. 



From barrier four McNally guided the filly out and took the lead off favourite Picobello early in the race.


"There was no plan set in concrete but she did leave the gate nicely without asking too much of her so from there it was the best place to be really. She's got a bit of speed but feels as though she could stay a bit better."


Part owner Cedric Coll had to lead the filly into the birdcage and clip her up with the lead rope before returning her to her box after the race. 


"She's lovely to drive but she's a real handful to walk around. It's just her. I think she'll grow out of it slowly."


McNally plans to visit Southland again later in the season to ensure Scarlett Falcon has the two required runs in Southland to qualify for the $45,000 Group Two Southland Oaks Final.  





Scarlett Falcon and Stephen McNally easily winning at Winton today - Photo Bruce Stewart




Cedric Coll, Scarlett Falcon and Stephen McNally with the lead rope hanging up for now - Photo Bruce Stewart 


Meanwhile the Clark Barron trained All Jokes Aside proved that toughness can often beat brilliance when he simply out muscled quality three year old Galactic Star in the C1 mobile pace at the Wairio meeting today.


Barron led from barrier one and ensured the pace was solid from the start. Hot favourite Galactic Star managed to get through to trail the leader and had the drop on him turning in but the tough four year old Grinfromeartoear gelding was just too good for his younger rival.



 All Jokes Aside and Clark Barron leads from Galactic Star and Alan Beck - Photo Bruce Stewart


All Jokes Aside looks to be developing into a quality staying type worth following for the rest of the season. He's ideally suited to Barron's driving style.


He's out of the Elsu mare Maky Do Dah which is a half sister to the well performed McBeths Boy which won five races for Winton trainer Tim White.



One tough character All Jokes Aside - Photo Bruce Stewart 







Doug's Dissolution (Tuesday 29th December 2015)


Bruce Stewart


Doug McLeish usually has a handy horse but today's winner has tested his patience. 


In the past he raced nice trotter Perfect Hold which won eight races, shared in the ownership in Winton Cup winner Future Fortune and Nelson Cup winner Scottish Sailor, and and he owned Motu Crusader which won four races here including a Sires Stakes Heat at Forbury before he was sold for big money to Australia.


Over the years he's attended most of the yearling sales in Christchurch and has tended to purchase at the lower end of the market.


One of those purchases was an unnamed colt by Real Desire out of the In The Pocket mare Gemside.


Bought for $7,000.00 he was later named Dissolution, and qualified as at two year old in February 2014. 


"We had him in the Sires Stakes heat at Addington last year because we thought he was good enough to go there. If he hadn't gone good enough today I was going to sack him so he's had a reprieve. The last time he started at Invercargill he was dehydrated and he didn't go any good. He's not very good at drinking - not like his owner. He did go good at the workouts last Thursday though," said McLeish.  


His twenty starts up until today yielded a couple of seconds. Just enough the keep the Real Desire gelding in work. 


From a wide draw, in-form driver Brad Williamson took the four year old gelding back before getting three back on the outside. He got onto the back of an improving Get Carter and got a nice drag along until the top of the straight. Once he was let down by Williamson, Dissolution came home resolutely to beat Get Carter by one and a half lengths running the 2400 metre mobile trip in 2-59.1. 


McLeish enjoyed today's success with his nephew Keith Bond son of former Southland trainer Graham Bond and Amberly based horsewoman Robyn McLeish. Keith is one of the ground staff at Eden Park in Auckland. 






Dissolution job done - Photo Bruce Stewart




 Doug McLeish, Keith Bond (sorry mate the photographer wasn't fast enough to get square on), co-trainers John Cox and Tracie McGrannachan, and Brad Williamson. 








Knockmanaugh Wins Maiden (Tuesday 29th December 2015)


Bruce Stewart


He's one of the tallest horses racing at the moment and in today's Highway Services Invercargill Pace Knockmanaugh proved that size does matter when he go up narrowly to beat a game Simple Pleasure by a head.


It was the McArdle gelding's fifth start and he's been driven in all of these by Winton reinsman Alan Beck. 


"He was a bit fractious down in the stables so we just took him onto the track early. He's a big horse and he's definitely going to be better next year but he's got a bit of maturing to do. He'll (trainer Ian Wilson) probably give him another run but if he struggles in that grade he'll put him out until next year," said Beck.


After the early rush Beck slotted the gelding into the one one. At the 400 metre mark he had Knockmanaugh out and rolling towards the leading pair of Tact Minaj and Simple Pleasure. The big horse ground away and got up to beat Simple Pleasure who had sat parked for the last lap.   



Knockmanaugh comes down the outside to nab Simple Pleasure - Photo Bruce Stewart 


"He was travelling all the way. He got a good run so everything worked out well." 






The Big Fella returns - Photo Bruce Stewart 


Knockmanaugh is raced by the Jayarkay Syndicate - members of the Wilson family - and is out of Joycie a maiden Miles McCool mare.  


Meanwhile Costa Del Magnifico became the first horse to win both the Winton and Wairio Cups in the same season when he impressively won the Otautau Four Square Supermarket Wairio Cup by two and a quarter lengths. His overall time for the 2400 metre stand was 3-01.2 and he ran his last 800 metres untouched in 56.3 seconds.


The Mach Three entire now has a C4 rating and looks ideally suited to the Southern Country Cup series and final on Diamonds Day at Ascot Park in April. 









The nominations for the 2016 Northern Southland Trotting Club Autumn Futurity. Check Series and Series Points Update section.   



The Hunted (Sunday 20th December 2015)


Bruce Stewart



Ryal Bush trainer Hamish Hunter recorded wins for two long term clients at Winton yesterday.


Graeme Edgar usually has at least a couple of horses with Hunter and three year old Stanley Ross Robyn - named after Stanley Ross Wilson (trainer Ross Wilson) made full use of the passing lane to beat Franco Tai by a length and a quarter in the Upper Cuts Butchery Mobile Pace. 


"He went quite nicely at two, running seventh at Forbury. Inexperience let him down that day when he got squeezed for room and just broke on one of the bends. He's had a wee bit of bad luck in his racing but had good luck today," said Hunter.


Hunter has been pleased with the Extreme Three gelding's progress but says the horse would need to improve to make the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes Final on Diamonds Day at Ascot Park. 


"He'd have to lift his game slightly to be a Supremacy horse but he's got plenty of time to do that. He's a futures horse because he'll be better with a bit of age on him. He'll just have to strengthen and be putting in those 27 second quarters at the start and at the finish. It's a bigger game when you get into the Supremacy status."  




Stanley Ross Robyn with Shane Walkinshaw getting a nice run behind leader Paddy McCole - Photo Bruce Stewart



  Stanley Ross Robyn returning to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart 


The second win came three races later when Understudy capped off some solid maiden form to win the Highview Tommy at Woodland Stud Mobile Pace.


He's part owned by Graham Cooney and his wife Jill who now live in Tauranga. Cooney is a member of the New Zealand Racing and New Zealand Rugby Boards.


Understudy returning at Winton 800 x 600_1.jpg 

 Understudy returning to scale - Photo Bruce Stewart 


Understudy is by Live Or Die out of the Christian Cullen mare Shamrocks which won five races for the same ownership. This is the mare's first foal. 


"He's got her speed. We rated him early in the season but he just didn't live up to what we thought he could have been. It's taken a bit of time but he's starting to come to it. The more racing he's had he just got stronger and developed. It's not easy running 2-58 when you're a maidener."


Both horses were driven by Shane Walkinshaw. 


The fast times recorded by most horses at Winton yesterday can be credited to course caretaker Ross Clarke and his hard working staff.




The Ford doing the business at Winton on Sunday - Photo Bruce Stewart.




Ross Clarke settling the dust at Winton - Photo Bruce Stewart 






Star Continues To Rise (Sunday 20th December 2015)


Bruce Stewart


The career of Galactic Star continues to rise after he impressively won his second race in just three starts at Winton yesterday.


Members of The Test Syndicate which own the three year old weren't overly confident after the horse drew barrier nine but with the early pace on the race ended up suiting the gelding.


He was taken back to the rear of the field but the sharp early pace suited him and driver Alan Beck was able to rein the gelding home for an impressive win. 


"It's always a worry when you draw nine but it worked out good. They got through the first half in 57. When they go that quick early and you're out the back they'll come back to you. Pass The Speights was bumped out four wide round by the 600 and I got cover and then got inside of him at the quarter so it worked out nice," said Beck.


The overall time was 2-57.3 with the last 800 metres run in 58 seconds. Galactic Star ran his last 800 in 56 seconds. 


"Halfway down he was going to win because he had the momentum up and he was going good."




Galactic Star and Alan Beck get up in the Michelle Caig Breeding For The Premier Mobile Pace - Photo Bruce Stewart



  Galactic Star returning to scale - Photo Bruce Stewart 



Winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart 


The $15,000 sale purchase by Bettor's Delight out of the Christian Cullen mare Petra's Star, was bred by Tuapeka Lodge and Beck says he's likely to race at the Wairio meeting later this month. 


"We don't know how far he can go because he's just lifting the bar each time he goes out there. The world's his oyster." 


Meanwhile the syndicate's other horse Better Buy It has resumed training and is likely to return to the track in February or March. Once jogged up he could be seny to Greg and Nina Hopes in Canterbury.


Yesterday saw a larger than normal crowd at the races with plenty of hospitality tents and good public attendance. 




The Caig clan on the birdcage fence - Photo Bruce Stewart




Some of the punters in the hospitality area - Photo Bruce Stewart 





Madam Spur Wins Again (Sunday 20th December 2015)


Bruce Stewart


Madam Spur looks to be a progressive young trotter and judging by the way she tidied up fourteen rivals she should at least reach the middle trotting grades this season.


Driven by Brad Williamson for father Phil, the Pegusus Spur four year old made it two wins from just six starts at Winton yesterday. 


She's out of champion trotting mare Merinai whose nineteen wins included the 1997 Dominion Handicap and 1998 Rowe Cup.  


"I've always done her (Madam Spur) at home since she first came onto the place. She's quite a big lanky horse - she's all legs and I think in another twelve months she'll be quite nice because she's got the wee bit of speed you need. When she builds up and gets a bit of strength around her frame hopefully she'll be pretty good," said Brad.


Prior to starting in yesterday's AB Lime Limited Handicap Trot there was a late addition to her gear and her trainer wandered out onto the track during her preliminary to make the change.  


"He (trainer Phil Williamson)thought she needed the Murphy Blind and she did have it on in her last start which she won so we just thought we'd put that back on her today." 



 The gear change - Bruce Stewart 


After beginning well Madam Spur settled into the trail. 


"She was trotting out nice and I intended to stay in front but we got a fair bit of pressure from Another Crusher and I thought it wouldn't be the worst one to follow for a bit. She felt really good at the line. She started to knock off halfway down the home straight when she knew she had them beaten so there was a fair bit left in the tank. She's still quite green and learning." 




Brad Williamson in the trail behind Another Crusher and looking out for the opposition - Photo Bruce Stewart



 Madam Spur winning easily at Winton on Saturday - Photo Bruce Stewart 



 Victory salute - Photo Bruce Stewart  


The mare is owned by Woodlands Stud.


Merinai could be in her last season of breeding according to Winton owner Michelle Caig. The twenty four year old Tuff Choice mare, which is currently at Kina Craig Stud, produced her last foal in 2013. The two year colt named Master Merlin has been retained by Caig. 









Racing Colours For Sale


A set of satin and wet weather colours that have only been worn once. Professionally made by Bakers at Pukekohe - they would fit a person of medium build. $100 for the set. 











Winton Harness Racing Club 100 Not Out (Monday 7th December 2015)


John Langford


The Winton Harness Racing Club celebrate their 100th Jubilee next weekend Saturday December 19th.


The descendents of some of the first officials and founders of the Winton club have taken an active part in the club’s affairs down to the present day.


There are currently eleven living Life Members; Garnie Cowie, Peter Duffy, Brian Duggan, John Earl, Ron Hamilton, Frank Hamilton, David Kennedy, Ian McRae, Murray Miller, Graham O'Shannessy and Mervyn Wilson.


All will be among the invited guests at the Club's Jubilee Dinner on the Friday night before the race meeting.


The town of Winton was established in the heart of Southland in 1861 and first came into prominence in the days of the gold rushes, as it was the first stop on the waggoning route from Invercargill to the Queenstown goldfields.


Many of the pioneers of the district showed a keen interest in racing, steeple-chasing, hunting and trotting. In 1870 the government of the day set aside 215 acres (80.9ha) as a Crown grant for the purpose of a racecourse.


The inaugural members of the racing fraternity found it was a hard task to carve out the first track from a flax and scrub covered swamp.
Although several race meetings were held earlier, the first recorded and official meeting was held on November 9, 1875. The programme comprised of six events – including a three-mile (4.8km) trotting race, with a £10 stake.


The Winton Trotting Club did not start racing by itself until 1904. A Certificate of Registration was granted in 1913 and repeated applications for a totalisator permit were rewarded in 1915. The first totalisator meeting was held on December 1, 1915, when £750 was given in stakes and £6273 was handled by the totalisator. Mr John Looney was president of the club from 1904 to 1915, succeeded by James Tobin.


The clubs annual race meeting, held during the Christmas holiday week, quickly became one of the most popular trotting fixtures in the province. An autumn meeting was later added and in 1966 the Wairio Trotting Club also made its headquarters at Winton. Since the 1990's race meetings have steadily increased to seven dates for Winton, and two for Wairio.




The dust flies as the trotters leave the winning post with a lap to run 


In addition, work-outs and trials are also held at the course throughout the season.


Over the years their have been landmark improvements made to the course and landmark moments on the racetrack, and on tracks throughout Australasia from trainers, drivers, breeders and owners from the Winton club.


The formation of the Trotting club over a century ago and the staging of the first meeting meant that the horse-loving community had a chance to encourage the breeding of racehorses as distinct from the working horses that were indispensable to pioneers in their work. Three founding officials, Robert Jamieson, William Norman, and James Duffy had especial success racing and breeding from their broodmares.


Foremast  was owned and trained by Jamieson, of Winton and was the outstanding Southland trotter of the early 1890's. Although he was a trotter, Foremast's sire was a thoroughbred. Foremast won a number of three-mile trotting races in Otago and Southland, frequently giving away starts of up to 500 and 600 yards. It is also claimed of him that he won on the flat and over hurdles on the same afternoon as he won a trotting race at one of the Pine Bush meetings.


Misfortune came into the ownership of Mr William Norman of Forrest Hill in the early 1900's. Misfortune produced no fewer than 16 foals, 12 of which were winners. Mr Norman had a lifetime Association with the trotting sport, including being a race starting official at the highest level. W.R Hamilton of Oreti also had success with this breed.


Regina was a broodmare of obscure blood, bought in the early 1900's by the grand old Irishman James Duffy, of Winton. Duffy was a far-seeing pioneer breeder, and the success  of the Regina family has achieved down through the years has been due chiefly to the foresight he showed in building up his stud on the best blood available. Il Vicolo was just one of countless Group One winners descending from one of the most successful families this country has known.


The consistency with which the southern province continued to produce high-class winners at both gaits clearly demonstrated that the established families in Southland were among the best of any in New Zealand.

Winton was already recognised as the fastest grass track in Southland, when their new all-weather track was opened in 1976.


The new track measured about 1,490m long and 19.2m wide. The whole project was a joint venture of the Winton and Wairio Trotting Clubs. Winton provided two-thirds of the cost and Wairio the rest. The timber guard rail on the inner circumference of the new track was the latest design at the time but was later replaced by the modern-day pylons. Twenty-three trials were held on the opening day of the new track.







At the clubs 1978 autumn race meeting an Australasian record for 3 year-old pacers was set; the Maurice Skinner trained Haughty Romeo was invited by the committee to time-trial after the last race and clocked 1.58.4 for the mile. A light-weight drivers cart was imported from America and Skinner's brother Henry drove a galloping pacemaker.





The late Henry Skinner


Maurice and Henry were apprentice jockeys before their illustrious careers as harness trainers and drivers. One of Henry's major successes as a driver was the 1989 Dominion Handicap in race record time with Tobago for South Hillend owners Ray Jenkins and his sister Diane Kean. Tobago's 4:08.4, lowered the previous mark by a remarkable 3.2 seconds. Earlier that season Tobago became the first trotter in New Zealand to run a mile in less than 2:00, which he did at Ashburton in 1:59.3.


Maurice Skinner's son Neville is the present-day Winton Club President. The Skinner family bred and share in the ownership of Alley Way who has won 11 trotting races and ran a gallant second in last months Dominion Handicap.




Alley Way returning to the winners circle at Winton with Clark Barron.   


One of Winton's more successful racing families is the Cox family. Harry Cox won the 1965 Interdominion Trotting Grand Final with Poupette at Forbury Park.Harry's son John Cox trained David Moss for wins in the 1993 and 1994 Dominion Handicaps. David Moss won 31 of his 89 career starts throughout Australasia. A third generation member, Jonny Cox co-trained and drove the 2014 Dominion Handicap winner Jaccka Justy.


Breaking a New Zealand record with Bonnie's Chance was a highlight of Winton trainer Bill Kyle's 50 years in harness racing. Kyle was in the sulky when Bonnie's Chance won the 1980 Equine Stakes at Winton - her time of 3min 7.2sec (2400m stand) broke the national mares' record. Six of the 32 wins posted by Bonnie's Chance were from Kyle's stable. She was switched to South Canterbury trainer-driver Richard Brosnan in the early 1980s and developed into a champion racemare; contesting three New Zealand Cups, finishing second to Armalight in 1981, turning the tables on that other great mare the next year (1982) and running third in 1983. Kyle's gold and red racing silks are now seen behind horses trained and driven by son Alister, who is the Winton club's current vice-president.
Trevira was another great Central Southland pacer, trained by Heddon Bush farmer Ron Hamilton, Trevira won the 1980 Easter Cup in track record time at Addington. Ron's son Gavan was the driver of the rugged and reliable winner of 16 races. Trevira also ran third in the 1981 New Zealand Cup and second in the Free-for-all behind Lord Module. Ron Hamilton is a life member of the Winton Harness Racing Club, recognition of 25 years service on the committee.


 Trevira_with_Maureen_and_sister_400_x_200.jpg Trevira_wtih_Ron_in_surf_300_x_200.jpg




Another local to star on the national stage was Shorty's Girl trained by Alan Beck; winning 11 races including the Breeders Stakes in 2002 and 2003 and was awarded the New Zealand Pacing Mare of the year as a 4yo and 5yo. Beck was Southland's leading trainer for four seasons during the 1990's. Trotter Diamond Field won 7 races from 38 starts from the Beck stable in the early 1990's and recorded 33 wins throughout his career including the 1994 Rowe Cup and Interdominion Final in the hands of Tony Herily for Patrick O'Reilly.


Hokonui Ben did his early racing for Winton trainer Peter Drummond in 2011, Pete bred and co-owned the Washington VC gelding with his brother Rolly. A winner at six of his 24 starts in New Zealand, he earned another 12 wins for Gary Hall Snr, including the 2014 Group One Western Australian Pacing Cup.



 Hokonui Ben and Alan Beck winning at Wyndham  


The Winton Trotting Club has experienced many memorable race-days for various reasons, an unforeseeable event was the 1965 50th Jubilee summer meeting which was postponed from December 28th until the new year due to a snowstorm that covered Southland. By far the most successful meeting in the clubs history was on 29 December 1981. Club officials were surprised at the record on-course turnover $220,332, an increase of $63,854 on the previous year. Off-course betting at $137,261 up $20,896 on the previous year and the gate receipts of $4164 were up $1326. Seasoned race-goers claimed that the crowd that day was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, they had seen on the course. Race-goers were delayed leaving the course because of the traffic congestion. Winton Trotting Club Officials were at a loss to explain the outstanding patronage. “We would have handled more if we had a bigger totalisator, I just don’t know where all the people came from” said the secretary Mr Bert Lilico.


Lilico endeared himself to many southern harness racing fans during his 29 years as secretary of the Winton Trotting Club. He served the Winton Jockey Club similarly. Bert Lilico was a man of formidable intellect and integrity. Amazingly, he sat his matriculation examination, the then equivalent of University Entrance, and passed when he was 12. He was a highly respected personality about the Central Southland settlement of Winton, and served as bookkeeper, secretary and advisor and consultant to numerous concerns. Bert Lilico’s passed away in 1988 aged 73.


The Club's on-going success has been on the back of committed administrators, passionate local breeders, owners and trainers, course caretakers and public support from local sponsors and race-goers.


Winton HRC Timeline


1861  The town of Winton was established.
1870   The government set aside 80.9ha of land as a Crown grant for the purpose of a racecourse.
1873  The first Winton Racecourse Reserve Trustees were Thomas McWilliam, Richard White and John Thomson whose great-grandson John serves on the WHRC committee today.
1875  The first recorded and official race meeting was held on November 9, 1875. The programme comprised of six events – including a three-mile (4.8km) trotting race.
1904  Non-totalisator trotting meetings were held on the Winton course each year.
1909  Trotting meeting was able to pay its way, prior to this the members of the committee were called on to    make up the deficiencies after each meeting. At the end of that season the club had £23 in hand.
1910-11  The main grandstand was built.
1913  The New Zealand Trotting Association granted a certificate of registration on April 3 to the club.
1915  The first totalisator meeting was held December 1st. £750 was given in stakes and £6273 handled by the totalisator. President James Tobin.
1921  The Members Stand was built.
1939  25th Jubilee December 30th. President J. O’Shannessy.
1958  The Electric Totalisator was installed.
1960  Cardigan Bay, Harness Racing’s first millionaire, won his first race at Winton.
1965  50th Jubilee December 28th. President A. McIntosh (race-meeting postponed – snow on ground).
1966  Wairio Trotting Club race days moved to Winton.
1976  All-weather track at Winton opened October 2nd.
1981  $46,000 was raised from raffles for general funds.
1988  Sudden death of secretary Bert Lilico, replaced by Judy Ward.
1989  Renovations to Owners & Trainers, Stewards Stand at a cost of $157,279.
1990  New tractor and mower purchased
1990  Winton Trotting Club name changed to Winton Harness Racing Club.
1990  75th Jubilee December 29th.President G. M O’Shannessy.
1993  Winton Jockey Club returned to race at Winton (from Ascot Park).
1997  Pylons replaced inside running rail
1998  NZRIB appointed consultants recommend that proposed centralisation of Southland racing be at    Winton.
2001  Winton Duel-Code race day, six gallops, 4 harness races.
2005  Bob Lawrance retires as course caretaker after 15 years, replaced by Ross Clark.
2006-07 Revamp of north boxes into tie-up stalls. Re-cambering of track from 600m to 200m.
2009-10 Refurbishment of existing south stalls, and 24 new stalls.
2011-12 New track conditioner, tractor, tractor-mower and ride-on mower.
2015  100th Jubilee December 19th President Neville Skinner.


Special thanks to John Langford for the excellent researched article on the Winton Harness Racing Club. (Editor). 









Lee’s Set To Return (Saturday 5th December 2015)


Bruce Stewart


A few are asking "where are the Gordon and Colin Lee trained horses this season?"


Records show that they haven’t had a runner to the races at all this season.


No, they haven’t quit the game - it's just circumstances that have meant a slow start to the season for the Wyndham training partnership, but that’s about to change.


“Betty and I went over to Europe for a couple of months for the Rugby World Cup and went to France to see harness racing over there. Colin had open heart surgery (unexpected) in Dunedin so he’s been out of commission for three months. He’s just gone back to work last week. We're taking three horses to the workouts shortly and it looks like we’ll be kicking off at Forbury (Friday 11th December),” said Gordon.




Gordon Lee new 200 x 300_1.jpg 

 Gordon Lee 


The Lees’ are grateful for help from guys like Peter Dobson who've helped to  jog up their team in their absence.


So in the next few weeks, expect to see the light blue colours with grey hoops and sleeves back on the track with horses like Shak’n Cullen, A Moment Of Sun, Moon Countess, Flushing Meadow and Love The Moment.


While in England Gordon and Betty saw all four of the All Blacks pool games but didn’t stay on for the quarters, semis or final.


“It would have cost us $9,000. to get category A tickets and that’s without accommodation.”


While the Lees were in Paris they visited the Vincennes Hippodrome - the home to 157 race meetings a year including 21 Group One events but that’s another story.







Galactic Stars (Monday 30th November 2015)


Bruce Stewart


Des Baynes has always had a handy horse in his stable and judging from the way Galactic Star won at Ascot Park yesterday it looks as if he has another.


His last potentially top liner Better Buy It which has been side lined with injury after running a gallant fourth in the 2014 Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes, is owned by The Test Syndicate the same syndicate that races Galactic Star.


“His debut win at Winton was good and he’s backed up a couple of weeks later and done it nice today,” said driver Allan Beck.


After the early rush for positions Galactic Star settled four back on the outside. He was second last inside the 800. Beck then moved the three year old gelding out of a trailing line and progressed three wide. At the 400 he was three wide and challenging. In the run home he quickly reached the front and held on by a length and a quarter from the late finishing Better Go Hurry.






“He’s a nice striding horse. He’s not a big horse and still lacks a bit of strength. Once he gets to the autumn he’s going to get stronger and I think he’s got a big future.”


Galactic Star is by Better’s Delight out of the three win Christian Cullen mare Petra’s Star. He has Ermis (17 wins) and Iraklis (22 wins) in his pedigree.


“It’s all ahead of him. He won today with a leg in the air.”


Baynes paid $16,000 for the colt at the 2014 Christchurch sales.


The dilemma later in the season for his driver will be when  quality three year old gelding Shortys Mate trained by Beck, clashes with Galactic Star.























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