News Briefs : February 22

Hope hits 900

What a week it's been for Greg Hope. This time last week he was on 895 training wins only to pick up a double at Addington on Friday night and then three at Rangiora on Saturday to take him to 900 wins overall. Hope's first win as a trainer was with Natural Magic in 1987. He had 108 wins on his own account and currently has 792 with wife Nina. Included in his latest batch of wins was Muscle Mountain's new New Zealand record of 2:21.8 at Addington on Friday night. And then earlier this week Team Hope purchased Muscle Mountain's full sister at the NZB National yearling sale in Christchurch for $130,000.

Mills successful yearling vendor

Former Black Cap Kyle Mills was among those selling horses at Karaka on Sunday, with an Art Major colt out of his Group 2 winning dam Cyclone Kate fetching $70,000. Mills, a long time racing enthusiast, is in a syndicate that also includes his brother Heath and former All Black Ant Strachan. They have been racing horses for around 20 years. The colt was offered by Hollis and Robertson Equine Services. Cyclone Kate won 21 races between 2014 and 2017.

Vale Ray Pledger

Clerk of the course for the Forbury Park Trotting Club for over 30 years Ray Pledger has died in Mosgiel. On retiring, after 34 years, he was was made a life member of club. He also clerked at Wingatui and Cromwell. Always passionate about horses, Ray was known for his calm and professional approach. As an owner he also had a share in First Gift, who won three races for trainer Terry May in the 1990s. Ray Pledger was 85 and Harness Racing New Zealand would like to send its condolences to his family.

Arty goes two from two

Ex Australian Lochinvar Art has gone two from two in North America, this time at the half mile Yonkers Raceway in 1:53. He'd earlier won at the Meadowlands in 1:50.2. The millionaire pacer is trained by Shane Tritton and driven by wife Lauren. He is being aimed at the upcoming MGM Borgata Series at Yonkers Raceway.

Two firsts at Gore

There were at last two firsts at Gore on Sunday with Matty Williamson training his first quinella (Jordan Anne and Dem Bones Dem Bones) in the Abernethy Contracting/Gore Night 'N Day Trot, and Tom McNally driving his first double with I'm Watching You and Jimmy Steel.

Club News :

Ashburton :

The Ashburton Trotting Club is planning a "legends" day - and you're invited. This Saturday, February 25, which is Ashburton Cup day, the club is putting on a get together and it wants to re-connect with those people it's lost touch with in recent years. This includes trainers, drivers, owners, stipendary stewards, farriers, and assistants - in fact anyone who's connected to the sport, especially in Canterbury and Mid Canterbury. The last time the club got its legends together was pre Covid. Such was its popularity they've decided to try it again. The club will provide nibbles and refreshments free of charge. Anyone who is keen to attend can contact Simon Adlam on 027 2287339 or [email protected]

Motukarara :

The Motukarara racecourse/ Sports centre will be closed this weekend (February 25 and 26) for track maintenance. The club apologises for any inconvenience.

Wyndham @ Cromwell :

Cromwell Racecourse will feature two extra days of harness racing this season as the Wyndham Harness Racing Club returns to the course this week for two new dates on Friday 24 and Sunday 26 February.

Each year the club has brought a harness race meeting to the area in January but with two more dates this season there is plenty of harness racing action in store. To celebrate the addition of two new dates the club is offering free admission to both events.

The first of the two new dates is on Friday 24 February with a twilight meeting commencing at 3pm. This is a Tradies Day, a great opportunity for tradies to put down the tools early on a Friday afternoon for a day at the races. There will be a $250 Prezzy Card up for grabs in a competition on the course while there will be some free activity for the children as well.

Sunday 26 February will be Family Day with a 12 noon start. Once again there will be a $250 Prezzy Card up for grabs with another competition while the children’s entertainment will be free and there will be more of it with bouncy castles, a colouring competition, sack races and a lolly scramble.

The Sunday meeting will also feature a Best Picnic Competition as judges try and seek out the best picnic on the course, as well as a Punters Club.

There will be no public bar operating on the course at this meeting.

Lindsay Beer
Promotions Officer
Southern Harness Racing
021 351 499


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