Just Ned  - First winner for Matt Saunders

Matt's in for a big week


Matt Saunders bought four horses to the Winton race course yesterday without too many expectations. After all, the former Stag and Highlanders rugby player had only had his training licence this season and his new racing colours haven't even arrived.  


In the first race Wotudion having her first start broke and ran last. In the second Beaudiene Gambler got parked and fared slightly better finishing second last....

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Rakarolla wins on debut for Clark Barron.

Raka Rolls Them 


Debut winner Rakarolla hasn't been the easiest horse trainer Clark Barron has ever got to the races.


The well bred and talented youngster was a bit of a handful early but his ability was never in question as we saw at the Central Southland Raceway at Winton  yesterday. 

"He's settled down now but he was a bit of an outlaw for a year. He broke my ribs at one point and knocked us all around. He was just a wild character....






Milligan well deserved winner at Winton

Milligan Wins 


Perhaps Southland's most consistent pacer, Milligan won his first race in the new season when he easily took out the Southland Vehicle Sales Mobile Pace at Winton yesterday.


From barrier six driver Craig Ferguson moved Milligan forward to sit outside leader and favourite Highview Freddy

Halfway down the home straight Highview Freddy and Milligan were locked together and it looked to be a real battle but Ferguson got to work on the Grinfromeartoear gelding and he came away






A New Diamond (Sunday 21st December 2014)


Bruce Stewart


The new Diamonds Day concept for Finals Day at Ascot Park next April continues to gather momentum.

Southern Bred Southern Reared and Southern Harness Clubs are delighted to announce that Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania USA is the new sponsor of the two year old race for Diamonds Day.

The Diamond Creek Farm Classic will add to the already excellent race card which includes the Group Two Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes and Nevele R/ Macca Lodge Southland Oaks Final.

The stake for the race is expected to be $22,000 – up from last seasons $13,500.
“We’re excited about this major announcement. It’s great to have Diamond Creek Farm on-board and special thanks must go to Principal  Adam Bowden. To have another high stake two year old race in the province to add to the Alabar Kindergarten Stakes is great for the industry and Diamonds Day. The race timing is also very important as the Two Year Old colts and fillies try to qualify for the Harness Jewels,” said SBSR spokesperson John Stiven.

Stiven says Harness Racing New Zealand is also keen to help build this feature into a Group race and will consider extra funding for it in 2016 and beyond.

Southern Bred Southern Reared are also offering incentives for SBSR horses that go through the PGG Wrightson Sales in 2015 that make the race in 2016. The owner of the first SBSR horse home in the Diamond Creek Farm Classic will receive an additional $1,500. and $500 will go to its breeder.

Southern Harness would also like to acknowledge the assistance of Alabar and Nevele R who have the rights to Diamond Creek Farm’s A Rocknroll Dance in New Zealand.
“We’d also like to thank Brian Ferns from McMillan Equine Feeds for helping us get this race off the ground last season.”

Bruce Stewart, who is co-ordinating Diamonds Day says The Diamond Creek Farm Classic will add to the already strong race line up on the day.
“SBSR have done a great job in getting this race together. We expect to announce three other new races including a graduation series for trotters and pacers in the next month. There are also some great on-course promotions and hospitality options.”

Diamonds Day will be held at Ascot Park in Invercargill on Sunday 12th April 2015.



Cup Field Wrecked
(Sunday 21st December 2014)


Bruce Stewart


What promised to be the race of the day ended up being a disaster for the Wairio Trotting Club.


The $15,000 Wairio Cup which had drawn a top field was decimated when Shak'n Cullen, In The Kitty and Jango Fett ran into each other. The chaos also affected the chances of Char Do Neigh and The Wrath Of Robyn.


Char Do Neigh was able to recover and he and the other runners continued to race. Canardly Lover trained by Hamish Hunter took the cup, beating Twilight Franco by three quarters of a length. It was Hunter's fifth success in this race, with previous winners were Josephine Bret (1984), Yandoon (1992),Grenadier (2004) and Franco Ledger (2013). 


After the race the Stewards launched an enquiry as to whether In The Kitty, Shak'n Cullen, Char Do Neigh, Jango Fett and The Wrath Of Robyn had been denied a fair start and whether what happened prejudiced their chances. After hearing evidence from the Stewards, starter Ben Ward and the respective horsemen, the JCA ruled that all of these horses had been denied a fair start and all were declared late scratchings.  




Williamson 99 Not Out (Sunday 21st December 2014)


Bruce Stewart


The Williamson name is at the forefront of sport at the moment with cricketer Kane Williamson in superb form for the Black Caps in the one day series against Pakistan, and local harness trainer/driver Nathan Williamson is also grabbing the spotlight, producing two winners at Wairio yesterday.  


The most important win came with up and coming trotter Dwindle Mist's win in the Jaccka Lodge Handicap Trot. She won in impressive fashion.


Surprisingly the six year old mare started as the fifth favourite. Her form this season has been impeccable with the only glitch being a last start 8th at Oamaru in an invitation drivers event. She had impressively won at Invercargill on the Friday and then backed up two days later at Oamaru. 

"She just missed away at Oamaru. She's a funny horse. You have to do things systematically with her. She had a different driver there and things didn't work out. I'm sure she would have backed up but on the day she missed away," he said.


In yesterday's race Dwindle Mist easily made up her 40 metre handicap and Williamson had her camped three back on the outside. When No Potato shot to the lead at the 600 metres he moved off the back of Moon Countess and issued his challenge. She came away to win by three lengths from No Potato with Experiment making ground late for third. It was the Sundon mare's fifth win in just nineteen starts. 

"She's racing really well and got her confidence. She's a nice mare. We'll race at Gore next week then perhaps on to Omakau or Roxburgh. But it depends on what she does in the meantime. She may get handicapped out of some of those races." 


Dwindle Mist returning_1.jpg


  Dwindle Mist and Nathan Williamson returning with win number 99 - Photo Bruce Stewart 

Dwindle Mist is part owned by Williamson's parents Phil and Bev and she started her career with Phil. She's been with Nathan since the start of this season.


Earlier in the day Williamson trained and drove Grey Power to win. The five year old Monkey Bones gelding was bought at the sales and Williamson did a late preparation with him as a two year old.

"I thought he went near enough. He was then turned out and I didn't see him for a couple of years. Last year he qualified as a four year old and had one start at Roxburgh where he galloped. He was pretty inexperienced back then but with a spell he's matured and he's come back good. He's not 100% yet but his manners were impeccable today."




 Grey Power rests up after winning at Wairio yesterday - Photo Bruce Stewart 






Christian Grey Win For Adams (Sunday 21st December 2014)

Bruce Stewart


Ascot Park trainer has had a quiet start to the season but you can expect his green and white colours to be to the fore over the Christmas New Year as more of this team hit the race tracks.


Adam's scored yesterday at the Wairio meeting with maiden winner Christian Grey.

He was bought at the 2013 Sale of the Stars for $15,000 is by Christian Cullen and is closely related to Courage Under Fire on his dam's side.

"I bought him at the sales for Michelle and Jess (Horton) and I've had him since he was a yearling. Craig Kennedy in Christchurch broke him in. He wasn't a two year old because he was a big sort of rangy horse so he's just taken a bit of time. His first run (6th at Wyndham) was quite good and today's run was really good. I think he'll progress. In the last week at home he's really lifted and I think he'll do a good job."


In the Nightcaps Hotel Mobile Pace driver Craig Ferguson settled the gelding three back on the rails while Dexter Dunn took favourite Leolas Delight to the lead. When the field straighten Ferguson shot the three year old up the passing lane to nail the favourite by a



Christian_Grey_returns.jpg  Craig Ferguson gets one for boss Wayne Adams with Christian Grey - Photo Bruce Stewart 


Meanwhile the promising Arden Castle from the Adams stable is due to return to the race track shortly. The Major In Art gelding won one race and was placed in just a handful of starts last season. 

"He'll go to the workouts today (Sunday) and I'll nominate him for Gore or Winton. I think he's come up real good." 


























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