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Ben Hope and Kingslayer

 

 

Ben Gets First Ascot Win On Kingslayer


Junior driver Ben Hope saw first hand how rough the weather can get in the deep south when he drove at Ascot Park for the first time today.

 

The day was probably at it's best when he reined Kingslayer to win the Watts Backflow Junior Drivers Mobile Pace.

 

Trained by his parents Greg and Nina Hope, the Christian Cullen gelding at only it's third start is still green and showed a few wayward tendencies in his preliminary. 

 

 

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Dexter Dunn and Motu Top Mach warming up 



Top Marks For Another Motu
  

 

Westward Beach trainer Graeme Anderson doesn't start too many two year olds and Motu Top Mach was the first he's taken to the races since Eamon Maguire won his first start at Forbury in July 2016.

 

"He's a natural strong wee two year old. I had his half-sister Motu Moonbeam which was a good mare for me. She's won about $450,000 in America. That was the reason I bought him. He was only seven thousand dollars so that helped," said Anderson.

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 Blair Orange and Pres The Belle 

 

Belle Presses The Button

 

The Pres mare Pres The Belle is one of the most improved trotting mares south of the Waitaki.

From thirteen starts this season she has won four races - the last three in a row.

“She’s getting a bit of ring craft and is strengthening up. Getting her off the unruly was a big thing. It puts her in the race now. Being on the unruly did teach her to get away,” said Mosgiel trainer Darryn Simpson.

 

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Schweinsteiger Scores First Goal
(Saturday 19th May 2018)

Bruce Stewart

Schweinsteiger looks to be a horse with a bit of speed and the way in which he finished off his race today at Gore the win in the Advance Agriculture Mobile Pace won’t be his last.

The three year old gelding is raced by the What Ever Syndicate and trainer Hamish Hunter – the same group that won twenty five races and $682,514 with Cup Class pacer Franco Ledger.

Schweinsteiger was purchased for $16,000 at the 2016 Sale of the Stars by the syndicate.

“He was the only Falcon Seelster at the sale that year and he was a second thought. He was a similar size to Franco Ledger – very small,” said syndicate member Tony O’Neil.

The What Ever Syndicate are mainly from Central Otago and are made up of Rugby fans. However Mike Cornelius is the odd one out.     

“He’s the only soccer fan in the syndicate which is a bit sad. He’s happy that the horse is named Schweinsteiger because he’s named after a famous German soccer player. His stable name is Mad Mike,” said another syndicate member Ken McConnell.

Football player Bastian Schweinsteiger played for thirteen seasons for Bayem Munich, represented Germany between 2004 and 2016 and is the fourth most capped German football player of all time.

 

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  Schweinsteiger winning for Matty Williamson - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 Schweinsteiger_birdcage_950_x_596.jpg Tony O'Neil and his wife (left) with Ken McConnell after Schweinsteiger's win at Gore - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 


The syndicate was confident of a good showing today after a promising fourth at Winton last weekend.

 

“Hamish doesn’t give much away but we were happy with the way he came home last week,” said Tony.

The syndicate also race Broadway Banner and plan to have a get together next weekend at Invercargill. Their ‘frontman’ Brendon McIntyre was noticeably absent today.

“He’s playing rugby and trying to kill himself. This is far easier,” said McConnell.

O’Neil is also in the Gotashearasheep Syndicate that owned the third place getter Unloaded, trained by Peter Hunter.

Schweinsteiger was bred by Cavalla Bloodstock and Canterbury Race Caller Mark McNamara and is out of Miss Moonlite Shadow.

Miss Moonlite Shadow is by Christian Cullen out of Sirius Flight which is the dam of classy pacers Malak Uswaad (9 wins and 1-49.4 USA) and Timeless Perfection (6 wins).

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Swamp Win - Major (Sunday 29th April 2018)

 

Bruce Stewart

 

Art Major gelding Swamp Major repaid his group of loyal owners when he won the bMAC Sheetmetal Limited Diamonds Day Handicap Pace at Ascot Park today.

 

It was the gelding's first win in over two years after he went amiss.  He was good enough as a three year old to run placings behind the likes of Heaven Rocks, Lazurus, Moonrock and Buster Brady.

 

He's been trained for most of his career by Ken Barron but has  recently been transferred to the Woodend Beach establishment of former Southlander Regan Todd. 

 

"He's just got better with racing but that's what you'd expect after being away from the track for so long. I toyed with putting him in the Northern Southland Cup the last time we were down. In hindsight I'm glad we didn't. We were going to go to Ashburton (cancelled meeting) with him so we were real lucky," Todd said.

 

Going into today's R60 and faster handicap he was one of three runners off the front mark and driver Samantha Ottley made the most of that advantage. 

 

"After Thursday's work we were going into it happy. I knew the back markers would be hard to beat but it was just good that he stepped out and got to the front real early."

 

After trailing for the first part of the race Ottley hooked the gelding out from the trail and took over the lead with two laps to run. She held on to the lead right to the finishing post beating Mighty Santana by three quarters of a length. 

 

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Swamp Major beating Mighty Santana - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

Swamp Major is owned by breeder Trevor Ryder, along with Allan Lindsay, Scott McCrea, Sue McCrea, Cleland Murdoch and John Duff. 

 

"I'm pretty lucky really. Most people would start panicking. They've just let me do my thing and the horse has paid them back today."  

 

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Returning to scale - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Cleland Murdoch, Trevor Ryder, John Duff, sponsor Brendon McIntyre and Allan Lindsay - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

 

 

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Jewels South Island Goes To Addington (Monday 30th April 2018)

Bruce Stewart

Next season’s Harness Racing showcase - the Harness Jewels, will not be at Ashburton next season but up the road at Addington in Christchurch.

The decision was made by the HRNZ Board last week after it was presented with proposals from the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club and Ashburton Trotting Club.

“In the end the decision wasn’t too difficult to make. It came down to a number of factors. Perhaps the most compiling fact is that the Ashburton Club is going through a transition phase in terms of their management and their club. I don’t think the Board was instilled with confidence for them to run the event. Addington have a good track record of putting on big events,” said HRNZ Chairman Ken Spicer.

The first ever Harness Jewels were held at Ashburton in 2007 and from that point on it’s been the preferred South Island host every second year.

The event was great for the town and Spicer says the Ashburton TC may reapply to host the event again.

“I rang the President straight away. Obviously they’ll be disappointed but in saying that it’s only for one year and there’s a chance for them to regroup and have a crack at in two years time. It’s not as though it’s been taken away from them forever.”

Spicer said there are advantages in racing at Addington.

“I think from the horsemen’s (trainers and drivers) point of view, they’ll be in favour in going to Addington with a covered barn and the nice track. At a grassroots level I think there’ll be a few people saying it shouldn’t go to a big club, that it should stay at a smaller club. But it wasn’t about this club and that club it was where we thought the Jewels would be better suited in 2019.”

He says there’ll be more opportunities to grow the event with a wider range of hospitality options and more corporates getting involved in the event.

“There’s also a chance that we may get some major sponsorship by being in a bigger centre. We’ll also pick up on the off-course betting in Australia because Addington seems to get premium betting as opposed to some of the country tracks.”

Spicer says there’ll also be some cost saving by hosting the event at Addington.

“Obviously we don’t have to set up Marquees.”

He says no decision has been made on whether Cambridge could lose it’s North Island hosting rights to the Auckland Trotting Club.

“We’ll have a look at Cambridge next year based on what they’re doing this year but all indications are that they’re doing a great job. If it’s a great event (this year) there’s every chance it’ll go back to Cambridge in 2020.”

Spicer says some consideration is being given to altering the time of the season when the Jewels are run.

“The option we looked at was going to January and putting it over a calendar year. But that would take out the two year olds and you’d have three, four and five year olds (racing) because you’re obviously only having half a season for the two year olds.  The only problem is that we felt it would get lost at that time of year with so much else going on. June is not an ideal time with the weather, but it suits the calendar because there’s not too much on at that time of year.”

Spicer also indicated the Board could look at a different location altogether. He mentioned they’d considered bringing it to Southland. And that there was some support for the idea.

“I think if it came to Southland it would be a big boost and it would go well but it’s a long way to come and at that time of year it might not be the ideal place to be. But’s it a possibility,” he said.

Wouldn’t that be a gem!

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Diamonds Day Wrapped In Pictures (Monday 30th April 2018)

 

 

Bruce Stewart

 

 

 

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The style of an inform horse - Sundons Wish and driver Dexter Dunn - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Winning connections and sponsors - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Number two for Dunn in similar style - Pres The Belle winning on Diamonds Day - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

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Winning connection and sponsors - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

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Tough type Vintage Cheddar winning his first race - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Heading back with successful driver Brad Williamson - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Rydgemont Milly winning her fifth race - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Winning connections and sponsors - Daryl!!!! Photo Bruce Stewart


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Dexter Dunn again with Feel The Money winning easily - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Sponsors, connections and witches - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

 

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Especial continues the run of the Baynes Train with winner number four for Dexter Dunn.

 

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 Winning connections and sponsors - Photo Bruce Stewart

 

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Jabali (13) at the end of the day when lights would have been good - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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 Trainer Ross Hope with representatives of South Port the sponsors  - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Anthony MacDonald to hold ownership seminars in New Zealand

 


Harness Racing New Zealand is thrilled to announce that Canadian harness racing trainer and driver, Anthony MacDonald, will visit New Zealand in September.

 

Best known as the founder of the fractional ownership operation ‘The Stable’, MacDonald has been a driving force in
increasing ownership in Canada and introducing new blood into harness racing.

 

MacDonald ran for local government in Guelph in 2014, campaigning to help save harness racing following the loss
of slot machine funding and raising awareness about the sport and what it provides in terms of local employment and
economy.

 

During his time campaigning he knocked on hundreds of doors, and realised that there was a huge untapped market
of potential owners.
He talked to people who had heard of horse racing, but had the perception that it was only for
rich people. They had no idea that they could be involved; let alone how to become a part of it. With this in mind,
MacDonald started ‘The Stable’ in September 2015, with the aim to make horse ownership easy for a whole new market,but also to break down the walls of communication and demystify harness racing to the outside world.

 

He would take on horses that hadn’t sold at yearling sales for vendors, but also has been purchasing yearlings from
sales too, and would market the horses to potential new owners as they were being broken in and worked. This allowed people to see the horse in action and follow its progress by way of video and live drone updates, before committing to purchasing a share.


MacDonald has ensured that the shares remain affordable, with shares as small as one percent available. With initial
buy in costs varying, depending on the purchase price of the yearling, and then a set fee per month ensures the owners know what it will cost them. The Stable markets itself strongly on the fact that this is not a money making venture –but an affordable form of entertainment.


Each yearling is then listed on www.thestable.ca with its own profile, cost breakdown, monthly progress video reports
and stunning live drone footage of the horse working in a set with other young horses. There is a strong focus on utilisingsocial media as a communication tool also so you can watch the horse work from anywhere in the world. In fact,The Stable has owners all across the world now, including New Zealand.


The results in just three years have been outstanding. In the first year The Stable had 65 owners join into 25 horses.
The following year 140 owners went into 62 horses. And in 2017, 392 owners went into 106 horses.

But what is most impressive is the retention rate. 97 percent of those owners have now gone on to join into other horses,from year one to two to three with The Stable.


The Stable has been a huge success story in not only selling shares, but selling the industry of harness racing and the
thrill it provides just by being an owner. Reaching a whole new market of owners who previously felt ownership was
far out of their league financially.


A passionate public speaker, MacDonald will bring his experience and findings to New Zealand and will hold free
seminars in Invercargill, Christchurch and Auckland. These seminars will not only be open to trainers and syndicators
who are interested in finding out more about how they can attract new owners, and find out more about communication options that are available to them, but to all who are interested in attending.


“I’m really excited to be coming to New Zealand. It has always been a place I wanted to visit. I might have a foreign
accent, but my love for racing is the same as yours,” MacDonald joked.


 “The future of our industry will rely heavily on its ability to provide the general public with a fresh option for their
entertainment dollars. We are the only industry that offers participation at an affordable price and that alone has the
power to tip the entertainment scales in our direction in the future,” MacDonald said.


“The Stable’s pillars are: Communication; Customer Service; Professionalism and Hard Work. These are things that
are very attainable and sustainable in any industry, especially ours.”


This will also be a wonderful opportunity for cadets and junior drivers to learn more about self-promotion and
communication, first hand from a harness racing trainer and driver who has forged a new path in the international
industry.


Below are the dates for the Anthony MacDonald seminars proudly presented by Harness Racing New Zealand, which
will be free to anyone who wishes to attend. Please note numbers are limited at some venues:

 

Friday 21 September 2018 7pm Mararoa Room - Ascot Park Hotel, Southland.


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