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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Scarrymcleary after winning at Gore

Scarry Is Back 

Southland owned pacer Scarrymcleary has returned to New Zealand after a successful campaign in Australia where he won five races, banked $113,549. and paced a mile in 1-52.3.


The Elsu six year old gelding owned by the Southland based Dolamite syndicate will be trained in Auckland by John and Josh Dickie and will be tried as a trotter.

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Noddy Orr and Dave McHugh

3G's For Northern Southland Club 


The Southern Lights Trotting Handicap run by the Northern Southland Trotting Club will be run as a Group Three event next year.


Won this season by Royal Aspiration with Sleeman and Springbank Sam deadheating for second, the race becomes the third group race staged by the go ahead club.


The Southern Lights is raced over 3200 metres and this season carried a stake of $19,598. Now that it has Group Three status it will be staked at $25,000.


The club has had to find a new sponsor for next season with Bmac Steelmetal shifting their sponsorship dollars to The Southern Country Cups Final. Northern Southland Trotting Club committeman Ross Jones from Kina Craig Stud has stepped up to sponsor of the new group race.





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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