Diamonds Day Launch - It's D Day! (Sunday 24th August 2014)
The initiative has been lead by Riverton Trotting Club president Bruce Stewart and has the support of all the clubs in the Southern region.
"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.
Southland Harness Awards 2014 Winners
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
Other points of interest:
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.
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.
Southland Standardbred Breeder Age Group Winners:
Southland Standardbred Breeders 2013-2014 - 1:58 pins and the recipients:
Raksdeal – Brendan Fahy
Rocknroll Arden –John Stiven
Third Avenue - Jan Williams
Whisper Jet - Dianne and Noel Cournane
All Star Man -Dianne and Noel Cournane
Harry Mac - Ben and Karen Calder
Someardensomewhere - John Stiven
Vice Chairman - Keith and Tracey Norman
Come On Jaccka - Charlie and Alisa Smaill
Picobello - Des Baynes
Pemberton Shard - Mark and Debbie Smith
Members Award: Brendan Fahy - Raksdeal
Southland Harness Awards:
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
Open Letter - The New Zealand Handicap System
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.
10 August 2014