News Briefs : April 3

New appointment at HRNZ

Well-known industry figure John Mooney has been appointed to a new role as a Strategic Racing Advisor at Harness Racing New Zealand. The appointment is for a fixed term of three months. The role will focus on a number of projects including horse utilisation, investigating a new handicapping system, preparing for the formation of a new National Racing Bureau, and building relationships with key stakeholders including Entain. The role is not intended to replace the Racing Manager's position which has been vacant since Catherine McDonald's departure earlier this year. Mooney, the executive manager of the NZ Standardbred Breeders Association, will report directly to Acting Chief Executive Mauro Barsi and the HRNZ Board.

Two horse race in trainers' premiership

We are only a quarter of the way through the season and the trainers' premiership looks like it's going to be a two-way battle between the two stables who have dominated in recent years. Steve and Amanda Telfer currently have 46 wins in 2024, with Robert and Jenna Dunn on 42. Robert and/or Jenna Dunn are vying for their fourth premiership in five years, with the Telfers breaking their winning run in 2022. Mark Jones is currently third on 20 wins. Blair Orange is a clear leader in the drivers' premiership with 49 wins, with John Dunn second on 38.

Cup start secured for NZ bred pacer

Kiwi bred pacer Jumpingjackmac has earned a Golden Ticket into the $300,000 Fremantle Cup later this month after winning the Bunbury Cup over the weekend. Bred by Clark Barron and Eric Parr, trading as the Miracle Lodge Syndicate, Jumpingjackmac was sold for $36,000 at the 2019 national yearling sales and has now won over $730,000 with 18 wins from 58 starts.

Rare, if not unique, treble

In what could well be a first, a mother-son training-driving combination had a race to race treble at Wagin in Western Australia last Thursday. Sarah Suvaljko trained the three winners, all driven by her 21-year-old son Joseph. They were The Thirsty Vet (paying $7.20), Rockin The Trend ($8.10) and Isaidboo ($25.10), meaning a $1 all up win bet would have returned $1,463.83.

April deadline for Lavros Lodge

The deadline is fast approaching for Lavros Lodge in Christchurch. The harness racing establishment, owned by prominent Christchurch businessman Kypros Kotzikas, is on the market with all offers presented on or before Tuesday April 23. Up for sale is a total of nearly 34 hectares, complete with a 1200m double race track, an eight horse jogging machine and an equine swimming pool, stabling for up to 32 horses, a separate house above the stables and then the main homestead that was built around 20 years ago. It alone has four bedrooms, even its own teppanyaki bar as well as an indoor pool and gym. For more information contact Max McGillivray, Harcourts Ilam 2, 027 207 3046.

Turnovers for March :

Last Saturday's Addington meeting had the highest turnover of any harness racing meeting in this country last month. The total was $1,092,532. The average turnover per race was just under $100,000 with the Auckland March 1 meeting the next best during the month, at an average $90,103 per race. Two meetings exceeded $1m in turnovers, with the other being Motukarara on March 17 ($1,071,851). Rangiora on March 3 was another success story with a 27% Gross Betting Ratio on turnover of over $828,000.

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