Harness Briefs 2nd February

Forbury Park meeting abandoned

The Forbury Park Trotting Club’s meeting, scheduled for Thursdauy was abandoned yesterday afternoon due to surface flooding on the track.

“It’s very much typical of South Dunedin – when it gets this much water that quickly, it can happen,” said Harness Racing New Zealand’s Racing Manager, Darrin Williams.

Forbury Park is also very close to the sea and a king tide was expected right around the scheduled kick-off time for the meeting.

“The corner of the track, by the home bend, is probably only 100 metres from the water,” said Williams.

A rescheduling of the meeting was unlikely, but not completely off the table, he said.

“At this stage there will probably not be a replacement date, but we will look at the calendar and make a decision in due course.”

Ash ready for Gold Chip Final

Ash quit the ranks of non-winners at the mid-January Wyndham meeting last month and returns there on Sunday to face a number of other recent graduates in the Gold Chip final for trotters.

Trained by Nathan Williamson for his wife Kate and former landlords, Ben and Karen Calder, the four-year-old by The Pres was bred by Gay McClymont out her good mare Tamarix.

McClymont is a daughter of the late Lionel Given, best known for his deeds with Sapling, who won the 1977 Northern Derby, 1978 Messenger, 1979 Auckland Cup and was named New Zealand Pacer of the Year for the 1978/79 term.

Trained by McClymont for much of her career, Tamarix won five times and has left the winners Larix, Given and Larch.

Williamson knew the family, had won races on both Larix and Given, and was the trainer/driver for two of Given's wins.

“I had Given for a while when I was at Ben and Karen's,” Williamson said. “Ben liked him and was keen to buy Ash.”

Offered by McClymont at the 2015 premier sale, Ash was secured by the Calder's Grinaldi Lodge for $15,000.

“He was physically weak but is stronger this year.

“That has helped with his gait, it's much better now,” said Williamson.

“He's still green but got plenty of upside.”


If nothing else, Raksbet is a survivor.

But it looks as though she is something else as well.

A member of the significant Rak dynasty, established in the Southland farming district of Rakauhauka by Brendan Fahy, Raksbet clocked 1:56.6 when winning a mobile mile at Wyndham on January 18 at just her second start.

The Bettor's Delight–Raksplace filly returns to the Young Quinn Raceway on Sunday, hopefully to continue on her winning way when contesting the 2400-metre Nuggets final.

It was a prospect that 18 months ago seemed a distant hope.

Fahy can recall feeding mares in the paddock next door to where, as an early two-year-old, she was grazing with two others.

“They got up, I noticed one of them did the splits and heard a crack like a gun going off,” he said.

It was Raksbet, an operation was required to remove a chip of bone and she was out for six-to-eight months.

The successful op saw her make it to the races last November but she wasn't out of the woods yet, breaking early and having a warning placed on her record.

“She panicked,” said trainer Clark Barron, who trialled her successfully at Gore six days before her race win.

Last Sunday, in preparation for this week, the filly was back at Wyndham for a workout, beaten only by her five-win 1:55 stablemate Somejoy over 2400 metres.

Raksbet is half sister to former top three-year-old Raksdeal, who was third in the 3YO Diamond won by Venus Serena at the Cambridge Jewels in 2014.

Raksdeal went amiss in Australia soon after when preparing for the Queensland Oaks.

Half brother Rakarolla, by Rocknroll Hanover, went 1:51.0 winning at Menangle a fortnight ago. He won again last Tuesday in 1:52.7.

Raksmach, another half-brother, won at Alexandra Park in 2016 before moving across the Tasman where he has won 10 and gone 1:55.7.

He has just been sold to North American interests and arrived at his new home in New York last week.

“Raksplace has a He's Watching yearling gelding and Rock N Roll Heaven colt foal,” Fahy said,

“The Oaks is the aim for Raksbet.”

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