News Briefs : December 16

By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk

Methven pushes turnover over $5m

Turnover on harness racing over the past week topped $5m – for just the second time this season after NZ Cup week. The popularity of grass track racing was again to the fore with Methven’s total for Sunday’s meeting at $1.46m. A key part of the meeting’s success was the guaranteed $10,000 First Four on each race. That’s been confirmed for Rangiora this Sunday as well. Auckland’s meeting on Friday night was the second biggest for the week at $802,861.

New Role for Matt Damon

Six-race winner Matt Damon has joined Robert Dunn’s Pukekohe stables and has been nominated for the Auckland Cup on New Year’s Eve. The five-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight was with the Kerrs in Christchurch. His last win was in the Akaroa Cup last December and he was second to Spirit of St Louis at Addington in July.

Breakthrough victory as trainer

The milestones keep coming for Jessica Young-Grant. Last month she had her 100th driving success with Aveross Majesty at Oamaru, only for the horse to win at Akaroa as well on December 6. Now Young-Grant has had her first win as a trainer, with John James Preston winning at Methven on Sunday.

Injury rules out Tommy Lincoln

Only weeks after beating Copy That in the Summer Cup, Ray Green-trained stablemate Tommy Lincoln is out for the rest of the season, with bone chips in both front ankles. He has been a great performer for the stable this season, winning four from 12, and $51,445.

Stars collide for Hunter Cup

February and March are poised to see two of the best races this season. It seems the A.G. Hunter Cup at Melton will feature, among others, King of Swing, Lochinvar Art, New Zealand Cup winner Self Assured and Chicago Bull and then they will potentially line up again in the $1m Miracle Mile at Menangle a month later.

Gimpanzee off to Kentucky

Boom trotter Gimpanzee is heading to stud, and will stand at the Diamond Creek Farm in Kentucky in 2021. He will serve a book of 80 mares for a stud fee of $US30,000. The winner of the Breeders Crown at two, three and four, Gimpanzee finished his racing career with 25 wins from 34 starts, and earnings approaching $US3m.

430 yearlings to go to auction

The catalogue is out for the NZB Standardbred national yearling sale, at Karaka (Feb 13-14) and Christchurch (Feb 15-17). The third annual catalogue has been on line for a couple of weeks, with printed copies being sent out now. A total of 134 yearlings will go under the hammer in Auckland with a further 296 in Christchurch. Included in the catalogue are 39 siblings to Group One winners.

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