Hero Gets The Diamonds (Monday 18th April 2016)
Mister consistent Mongolian Hero was rewarded at Ascot Park yesterday when he won the Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic.
Prior to yesterdays win the Mach Three colt had won just once from six starts but had finished third twice, behind the classy Purdon/ Rasmussen pair More The Better and Pacing Major.
“He’s always showed a lot of ability and he’s just got better with racing. He’s improving his all round game. It’s like he’s an old toff now – been there and done that before. He copes very well and recovers well,” said trainer Paul Court.
From a wide draw driver Blair Orange settled Mongolian Hero second last of eight. When The Lone Ranger improved with 1400 metres to run Orange hopped onto his back. Mongolian Hero had to be reined up to get to the parked position. The Lone Ranger broke at the 800 and Serengeti took over the lead again with Mongolian Hero slotting into the trail. On turning in, Orange steered the colt up the passing lane and under a hard drive got to the winning post a neck in front of Serengeti.
“He was starting to hang a bit at the end but it’s just a teething problem and we’ll get on top of that, and get him cherry ripe for the big ones.”
Mongolian Hero’s time of 2-43.8 was a new track and Southland record, erasing Waltzing With Cullen’s 2-44.1.
Mongolian Hero (8) beating Serengeti (2) and Bettor To Be Tricky (4) - Photo Bruce Stewart
“He’s already made the final of the Sires Stakes so we’re going there and he’s got the yearling sale race coming up as well and then it’s off to the Jewels. He probably deserves a bit of a break after that.”
Blair Orange, Dave Kennedy, Tara Blyth, John Stiven, Nigel Fahy, Ivan Behrnes and Charlie Smaill with Mongolian Hero -Photo Bruce Stewart.
Mongolian Hero is out of the one win Live Or Die mare Motu Living Doll. He started life as Motu Paint The Town and was sold to his current owners, Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry (NZ) for $38,000 and renamed Mongolian Hero.
Later in the day Court won again when Beyond Belief impressively took out the Caduceus Club of Southland Mobile Pace.
The winning margin was one and three quarter lengths. Her mile rate for the 1700 metres was 1-57.3.
The Big Boss looks destined for better things and his record breaking win at Diamonds Day yesterday further emphasised it.
From the outside of the second line the American Ideal gelding and driver Shane Walkinshaw was able to punch through and with 2300 metres to run he’d hit the lead. The favourite Major Ben settled last. The Big Boss paced beautifully in front and Walkinshaw keep the pace solid. At the winning post he had a four length lead, and at the 700 he had ten lengths on Major Ben. Mark Purdon then had to move Major Ben four wide to make up ground. At the top of the straight Walkinshaw had a two length buffer, and the two battled hard up the straight with the winning margin being one length. Blow A Cloud was a further nine and three quarter lengths back in third.
“Yeah he’s a pretty nice horse. We just kept running - he felt super and when I saw Purdon was out wide and back a bit I thought we’ll just keep going and hopefully he wouldn’t catch up which he didn’t. My horse actually knocked off with a quarter to go. The other horse (Major Ben) kicked up and he got to my horse's girth but he was not going to get any further," said Walkinshaw who drove the gelding for trainer Ray Faithful.
"He doesn’t know anything. He’s got a massive motor and the harder they run the more he’s going to like it. I think Ray’s aiming at the more premier meetings. He’s just got a bit of ringcraft to learn. He doesn’t know a lot.”
The Big Boss proves too strong for Major Ben - Photo Bruce Stewart.
The Big Boss last raced at Wyndham on the 20th February and was fitted for yesterday’s race with just one workout.
“These sorts of days you’ve got to be pretty ready. He hadn’t had a race day run under his belt so Ray’s done a massive job. He’s an unbelievable trainer and it’s always good to drive for him.”
The Big Boss set a new bench mark for 2700 metres mobile; recording 3-18.2. It’s the first time 3-19 has been broken in Southland for that distance. Highview Tommy held the previous record at 3-19.1 - recorded in 2009.
“He’s quite a deceiving horse because he’s got such a massive stride and he didn’t feel like he was going that quickly.”
The Big Boss is owned by Ken Scott, Jane Pritchard and the big boss himself, Noddy Orr.
It was Shane Walkinshaw’s 22nd win of the season and he’s currently in third place on the Southland Drivers Premiership behind Nathan Williamson (67) and Craig Ferguson (26).
Walkinshaw was also in hot form on the www.southlandharness.co.nz Drive with Five competition. He had The Big Boss and long shot Dipendra in the opening trot. His $1,050 return was a record in the competition.
Anychance one of three winners for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen - Photo Bruce Stewart
Captain Dolmio comes through the middle to win for Nathan Williamson - Photo Bruce Stewart
The Captain Dolmio syndicate go crazy in the stand - Photo Bruce Stewart
Grand Start (Sunday 3rd April 2016)
The Mark Purdon Natalie Rasmussen two year old factory continues to roll out talented juveniles and Grand Rainbow was the latest to win at Ascot Park today.
Last month the stable trained the first three runners home, Vincent, Mr Kalypso and Ultimate Machete in the two year old feature at the Northern Southland meeting.
Today Grand Romance settled third last as Jody Direen sped to an early lead. With some of the tailenders going roughly, driver Tim Williams wasn't going to hinder his horse's chances so he took Grand Romance around the field to sit parked for the last lap. On straightening for the run home Williams had to encourage the Art Major gelding right to the line holding out a late charge from Righteous Brother to win by a neck with another half a neck back to the winners stablemate Serengeti.
Grand Romance (4) holding out Righteous Brother (9) and Serengeti (2) - Photo Bruce Stewart
Returning a winner - Photo Bruce Stewart
"He was pretty strong at the finish. Probably stronger that he felt turning in, and he's learning all the time and should improve on that. He's one that's just got better each time he's gone off the place," said Williams after the win.
The $30,000. Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic at Ascot Park in a fortnight on Diamonds Day appears to be a nice stepping stone for Grand Romance.
"Not sure what the plans are but it looks like a pretty suitable race for him."
Tim Williams and Grand Romance warming up - Photo Bruce Stewart
Badger Out On A Winning Note (20th March 2016)
He has a bit of growing to do and that's what the connections of two year old winner The Honey Badger plan to let him do after his gutsy win at Winton yesterday.
From the outside draw driver Dexter Dunn nursed the big Somebeachsomewhere gelding into the first bend with Jayedgar holding an early lead. With 1200 metres to run he'd cruised to the top. Just when stablemate Jody Direen and Jayedgar looked to be getting the better of The Honey Badger, Dunn lifted the gelding and he came back to win by a head from Jayedgar with another head back to Jody Direen.
The Honey Badger and Dexter Dunn in the Central Southland Raceway birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart.
The Honey Badger was bred by Paul Hailes who races the gelding with friend Cane McIntyre.
He's out of the five win Live Or Die mare Glenburn Jewel.
"I sent away to Aussie to Do You Love Your Broodmare (website).They did the match (for Glenburn Jewel)and came back with Somebeachsomewhere being the top stallion," said Hailes.
It's the mare's second winner as his older sister Glenburn Joy won her maiden race at Wyndham last month.
"He's a big solid boy and doesn't look like a natural two year old."
The winning time yesterday was 1-57.9 with the last 800 metres in 56.8 and the 400 in 26.3.
Hailes says The Honey Badger will now have a good break and be left to mature into his big frame.
"He was supposed to have been turned out after last weekend. Since this race was on they thought they'd nominate and see what the field looked like."
Millionaire Takes Up Residence In Bush (Tuesday 15th March 2016)
New Zealand's latest pacing superstar Have Faith In Me has taken up residence in Southland at Diane and Noel Cournane's Diamond Head Lodge at Grove Bush.
Understandably the four year old isn't exactly roaring around the paddock as he recovers from a fairly arduous campaign that culminated in a sensational win in the Group One Miracle Mile with an Australasian record of 1-47.5.
Natalie Rasmussen and Have Faith In Me against a backdrop of those sensational sections on the semiphore board.
"He's fairly tired but that's understandable as he's done a few miles. I'm feeding him 10 kgs of fattening food twice a day with my own brew and there's plenty of grass here as well," said "landlady" Diane Cournane.
The diminutive gelding is no stranger to the Grove Bush meadows. He was a boarder after winning at Ashburton in July 2014, when he arrived as a colt and left as a gelding.
Have Faith In Me after winning the Auckland Cup in December, headed to Australia, winning his four starts there and banking $668,994.97.
From twenty two lifetime starts he's won fourteen races and $1,381,274.00.
Have Faith In Me resting up at Grove Bush on a fine Southland day - Photo Bruce Stewart
The Cournanes have had a host of horses from Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's All Stars Stable; they know that sending a horse south has many benefits, not least of which are the good Southland pastures and the excellent individual attention.
Another boarder from the All Stars barn is five win Mach Three gelding Alta Ronaldo. He won the Geraldine Cup In November at his last start beating stable mate Itz Bettor To Win. He's recouping from tendon problems.
Alta Ronaldo behind a deer fence at the Cournanes - Photo Bruce Stewart.
The Cournanes had a very good yearling sale selling Honor and Glory (Art Major-Breath Of Life) for $170,000 whilst Sheer Bliss (Mach Three - Nitouche Franco) was sold for $51,000.
The next line of yearlings heading for the sales is lead by Hopeing For Glory (Mach Three - Breath Of Life).
Breath Of Life with her latest foal Hopeing For Glory - Photo Bruce Stewart
A Neck By Heck (Sunday 13th March 2016)
Elsu gelding Sioux West made it three wins in a row but had a lucky bird on his back to do it.
Just when it looked like the Regan Todd trained five year old was going to get nabbed by a late charging Hank Bromac the latter went in to a gallop and had to be restrained by driver Ricky May.
The winning margin was a neck at the end.
Sioux West (6) and Terry Chmiel hold out a galloping Hank Bromac and Ricky May - Photo Bruce Stewart.
Sioux West returning a winner - Photo Bruce Stewart.
Sioux West was bred by Northern Southland Trotting Club committee man Neil Timms who still shares in the horse's ownership. Sioux West is out of Ali's Fella which won one race for Invercargill trainer Murray Brown. She is also the dam of Ted West which won six races for Ray Faithful.
Sioux West started his career with Ben Waldron.
"They sent him up to the beach for a change of scenery. He's grown another leg here really. He's done a good job but he works like a fairly nice horse at home. He's on the market so hopefully someone will snap him up shortly with a bit of luck," said Todd.
Sioux West shares the same pedigree as Northern Southland Cup winner Mossdale Conner. Keyanau is his third dam while she is the fourth dam of Mossdale Conner.
Regan Todd was also in charge of the Mark Jones Delightful Memphis which won the Caduceus Club of Southland/Nevele R Stud Mobile Pace for two year old fillies.
Delightful Memphis (10) and Ricky May beating Renske B (obscured) - Photo Bruce Stewart.
Winners are grinners - Photo Bruce Stewart.
Pete Smith, Ricky May, Tracee Sherborne, Charlie Smaill and Debra Smith with Delightful Memphis - Photo Bruce Stewart
Alabar Syndicate (Saturday 27th February 2016)
Southlanders have been offered the opportunity to race four well bred yearlings trained by some of the country’s leading trainers including Ryal Bush horseman Nathan Williamson.
“Nathan is an outstanding young trainer and driver and is someone Alabar is excited to be associated with,” said syndicate manager Ivan Behrnes.
The stud has put together a four horse syndicate with trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen who will train two, and Geoff Small and Williamson who have one each.
“We wanted the three trainers to choose the yearling themselves as all three have a great record of producing top class horses from their sales purchases.”
The syndicate purchased four yearlings at the recent yearling sales in Auckland and Christchurch - three by Auckland Reactor and one by Mach Three.
“The intention is to attract more people into racing at an affordable cost and also to help the siring career of our young new sire Auckland Reactor.”
Behrnes says another draw card is the plan for two horses to by champion trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, and syndicate members will be able to see their horses racing in Auckland, Canterbury, Southland and even possibly in Australia.
The two yearlings chosen by Mark Purdon - both colts, are Ringside (Auckland Reactor-Gemside) and Chase Auckland (Auckland Reactor-Delicata).
“He (Chase Auckland) was the top priced Auckland Reactor at both sales. Mark rated him the best Auckland Reactor yearling he had seen and a replica of his sire.”
Geoff Small selected colt Charlie Hebdo (Mach Three-Unrehearsed) from the Auckland sale. He's a half- brother to Northern Oaks and Harness Jewells winner Lizzie Maguire, the winner of $421,480.
“Geoff really liked this colt's strong constitution and attitude.”
Williamson's pick was Tempest Bromac (Auckland Reactor-Tasmcmanian) from the Christchurch sale and he chose a half sister to a horse he currently trains, Tas Man Bromac.
“Her price of $35,000 was the highest priced Auckland Reactor filly at both sales. Nathan thought she was a really strong attractive filly who could well run early.”
Behrnes says interest in the syndicate is already high including from people from Australia.
The Alabar website has further details and application forms.
The Smiling Shards (Thursday 25th February 2016)
Invercargill breeders Debbie and Mark Smith from Shard Farm near Invercargill could only dream about presenting the top lot at the Sale of the Stars in Christchurch.
But in the space of five minutes yesterday their Mach Three yearling colt Mach Shard was sold to Auckland trainer Barry Purdon for $200,000 – the top lot at this year’s sale.
“It’s amazing. We didn’t expect that. One guy inspected him before the sale and as soon as he saw him he said put him back in the box. I thought there must be something wrong with him (the horse) but he said that he had a budget of $50,000 and he thought that that would be blown out of the water. I said he may get to 70 or 80 (thousand dollars). He said that he would pass that. He was right,” said Debbie Smith.
The bidding started at as moderate $20,000, progressed, then stalled at $100,000 before two heavyweights in the industry Ray Green from Lincoln Farms and Barry Purdon went to war to secure the colt.
“I think Barry stopped at $130,000 but he was encouraged to go on by Trevor (Riseley), they went to $190,000, Ray came back at $195,000 and then Barry went to $200,000. They really wanted him.”
The result was a stunning one for Southern Bred Southern Reared yearlings.
“We’ve had yearlings that have made $105,000 (Mr Presley 2009) and $110,000 (Mighty Shard 2006) and won a Group Two (with Pemberton Shard) but this is like winning three Group One races in one day. The horse got a standing ovation - lead by the SBSR breeders. Then Diane’s (Cournane) horse (Honor And Glory) finished it off at the end of the sale. Southern Bred Southern Reared horses are really on the map now. Not that they weren’t before.”
Mach Shard was first spotted on the SBSR Yearling Tour. Both Ray Green and Trevor Casey where on the tour. Little did they know they’d be rivals on sales day.
Smith says she won’t have a big draught at the sales next year.
“She’s (Sly Shard) got a nice Changeover colt which we’ve decided to retain and race to celebrate yesterday’s success. Sly Shard’s in foal to Bettor’s Delight. Next year we have a Bettor’s Delight filly out of Shards A Flyin which is a half-sister to Regal Ideal and two Art Major colts to sell.”
Success didn’t stop at Mach Shard’s sale topping deeds though. They also sold Major Shard to Jean Feiss for $80,000.
So how are the Smith’s going to celebrate?
“Georgia our daughter has qualified for the World Junior Rowing Championships. The team will in announced on 23rd April. If she gets in we’re all off to Europe.”
It’s the fifth time Southern Bred Southern Reared yearlings have topped the Christchurch sale.
Previous Southern Bred Southern Reared top sellers have been: Titanium $170,000, Bollinger $200,000, Tuapeka Mariner ($250,000) and Beaudiene Beaufighta $140,000.
There were other good news stories for Southland bred yearlings at the Sales.
Noel and Diane Cournane from Diamond Head Lodge sold Honor and Glory for $170,000 to Merv and Meg Butterworth from Australia. The Butterworths own his half-brother GI Joe.
Southern bred filly Bettor Joy (Bettor’s Delight – Joyfulbelle) was the second highest selling filly at the sale. She was bought by Cran Dalgety for $80,000. The full sister to Jumpforjoy was presented by The Miracle Lodge Syndicate – Southland breeder Clark Barron and Mid Canterbury’s Eric Parr.
Meanwhile Southland’s biggest buyer was Grinaldi Lodge’s Ben and Karen Calder who outlaid a total of $242,500 at the Christchurch sale for four yearlings.
Their biggest purchase was Paramount King (Love You – Paramount Star) a chestnut colt whose a half - brother to Paramount Geegee (14 wins) and a full-brother to Paramount Queen (8 wins). He was the highest selling trotter at the premier sales.
They also purchased at the Auckland sale, a Betterthancheddar half-brother to Highview Tommy for $22,000.
Honor and Glory Paramount King