Harness racing community rally around after Covid delay

Overwhelming offers of support for the Southern Bred Southern Reared group have demonstrated how close-knit the New Zealand standardbred breeding industry is following this week’s postponement of NZB Standardbred’s National Yearling Sale at Christchurch.

Many southern vendors were at Canterbury Agricultural Park putting the finishing touches on their yearlings when a change in the country’s COVID-19 alert levels forced NZB Standardbred to delay its Christchurch yearling session by a week until 22 – 24 February.

Southern Bred Southern Reared committee member John Stiven of Arden Lodge was among those affected.

As his 12 yearlings were settling in for their first night in Christchurch, news of the change in alert levels was confirmed.

Just moments later an outpouring of support began from Canterbury standardbred breeders and the wider harness racing industry.

“It is a great industry to be in and people have just been extremely helpful,” Stiven said.

“It started when we were covering up the yearlings for the night, it was getting dark and there wasn’t a lot you could do.

“But the phone started going and people started offering to help us out.

“There were more stables and boxes than we had horses to put in them by the end of it, it was rather encouraging,” he said.

The Southern Bred Southern Reared vendors waiting the week out in Christchurch include Shard Farm, Michelle Caig, Beaudiene Breeding, Denario Breeding and Tuapeka Lodge.

Canterbury breeders and stables to offer their support included Long Acres Stud, Studholme Bloodstock, Kentuckiana Lodge, Regan Todd Racing Stables, Ripple Creek, Dangingonmoonlight and Nevele R Stud, along with many others.

Stiven likened the outpouring of support for southern vendors to the same kind of encouragement harness racing industry members extend to each other when their horses compete on the track.

“It is a bit like at the races you always congratulate the winner and if you are down the track you try again,” Stiven said.

“It is pretty much the same.”

Stiven has his and wife Judy’s Arden Lodge draft is currently stationed at Kentuckiana Lodge for the remainder of the week, with the yearlings settling into their new surroundings in fine style.

“They are pretty happy.”

“We are lucky enough to be at Cran Dalgety’s and they are in his yearling barn.

“We are really grateful and so far they are as happy as can be,” he said.

Waiting a week to offer their yearlings in the Christchurch session of NZB Standardbred’s National Yearling Sale has been made a little easier for southern breeders by the strong results seen in Auckland on Sunday 14 February.

The Auckland session saw a rise in all key sale indicators, with the aggregate, average and median prices as well as the clearance rate all rising.

Southern vendors a buoyed by the strength of the yearling market at the Auckland Sale and the endorsement of the New Zealand-bred on the world stage.

"It is always encouraging, I think the past will show that when it has gone well in Auckland it has gone even better in Christchurch,” Stiven said.

“It is a really good indicator.”

Buyers wishing to inspect Southern Bred Southern Reared yearlings this week can find each vendor at the following locations:

Arden Lodge Kentuckiana Lodge
Shard Farm Long Acres Stud
Michelle Caig Breeding Canterbury Agricultural Park
Beaudiene Breeding Dancingonmoonlight
Denario Breeding Regan Todd Racing Stables
Tuapeka Lodge Studholme Bloodstock


All unbroken yearlings purchased at the 2021 National Standardbred Yearling Sale are eligible for the lucrative $1million NZB Standardbred Harness Million Sale Race Series, with an estimated one million dollars in the prizepool.

Buyers who cannot physically attend the Christchurch session are encouraged to visit standardbred.bidonline.nzb.co.nz to register and verify their online bidding accounts 24 hours prior to the Sale, which begins with the trotting session at 3PM (NZT) on Monday 22 February.

2021 National Standardbred Yearling Sale Calendar - Christchurch

  • Christchurch Parade & Sale of Trotters: Monday 22 February 2021, 3PM (NZT)
  • Christchurch Sale of Pacers: Tuesday 23 & Wednesday 24 February 2021, 1PM (NZT)

All parades and sale sessions will be broadcast live on Freeview channel 200, on nzbstandardbred.co.nz and NZB Standardbred’s facebook page.


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