News Briefs : 23 February
The look for "The Race"
The look has been confirmed for New Zealand's first slot race at Cambridge on April 14. "The Race" will be New Zealand's richest race, worth a total of $900,000. The branding for the new event is being rolled out this week and will become synonymous with the big race over the next seven weeks or so.
Kiwi connection in Dan Patch awards
Trained by former Southlander Brett Pelling, Test Of Faith has been voted North America's Horse of the Year at the annual Dan Patch awards over the weekend. She's just the fourth three-year-old pacer to take out the ultimate prize, after winning 14 of 16 starts and more than a million dollars in 2021. She got 85 of the 146 votes cast. It's the second time Pelling has trained the Horse of the Year, following on from Rocknroll Hanover in 2005. Pelling joins fellow ex-pat Kiwis, trainer of the year Richard "Nifty" Norman and three-time driver of the year Dexter Dunn who were announced winners of their categories late last year.
50 for new All Stars
The All Stars' pairing of Mark Purdon and Hayden Cullen trained their 50th winner together when Ellaria Sand won for driver Maurice McKendry in Auckland on Friday night. The milestone has come from just 160 starts. Cullen was in the charge of the Rolleston barn after Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen took a break from the sport at the end of 2020, before Purdon and Cullen joined forces last year.
Chinese Whisper off to Oz
Eight win trotter Chinese Whisper has been sold and will race in Australia. Bred by Bev Williamson and trained by son Nathan the Sundon gelding is lightly raced with eight wins from just 19 starts. The horse will be trained by Andy Gath in Victoria and has been sold to prominent owner Norm Jenkin, of Tornado Valley fame. The same connections also recently bought Vintage Cheddar, who won first-up at Terang at the weekend.
Doff Your Cap wins Aussie debut
From a Group One during Cup week at Addington to a Tuesday meeting at Menangle, how's that for a change of scene for Doff Your Cap? The winner of seven from 54 in New Zealand Doff Your Cap was a $1.50 favourite for new trainer Jarrod Alchin in his Australian debut yesterday and he delivered for driver Cameron Hart. It was Doff Your Cap's first run since the Dominion at Addington on Show Day. Another former Kiwi Vacation Hill was second.
What's in a name?
An interesting question has been asked on social media about the last at Melton on Saturday night. All seven drivers in the race have a first name starting with "J" including ex-pat Kiwi Josh Dickie. His partner Sammy Kilgour is asking "has this ever happened before?". The seven drivers are - Jack Laugher, Jack MacKinnon, Jason Lee, Josh Duggan, Jodi Quinlan, Jackie Barker, and Josh Dickie.