News Briefs : February 28

House rules in 2024

What a time of it Wilson House is having right now. The talented junior driver was runner-up to Carter Dalgety in Cadet of the Year at the annual Harness Racing New Zealand annual awards, then made the finals of the Young NZ Rural Sportsperson of the Year at Palmerston North on Friday March 8. Now to complete the treble he won the Hygain Revell Douglas Memorial series which wrapped up at Cromwell on Sunday. He finished with 44 points, two ahead of Monika Ranger. Now in its third year, the series was set up to honour Revell Douglas, a well respected trainer and administrator, who drowned at Karioitahi beach in January 2021. The two previous winners were Leah Hibell and Alicia Harrison.

Ferguson on a roll

Craig Ferguson has racked up a second milestone in as many weeks. Last week he got his 100th training success last week when Da Vinci win at Gore. He has had three more since then (Smokin Bandar, Cormac Leo and Netherton Franco). And then on Sunday he brought his 300th driving success when he reined Nyla to win at Cromwell. His first driving success came with Lucy Legacy at Forbury Park in 2010. 2023 was his most successful season with 48 wins from 252 starts. As a trainer he has seven wins from just 14 starts this year, his strike-rate being an incredible .6270.

Confederate tops poll

After winning 13 of his 15 starts, Confederate has been named the 2023 Horse of the Year in North America. Trained by ex-pat Kiwi Brett Pelling Confederate got 112 of the 129 votes cast. Hambletonian and Breeders Crown winner Tactical Approach was named Trotter of the Year, after winning 10 of 19 starts last year. Scott Zeron was named driver of the year, after Kiwi star Dexter Dunn took the title four years straight from 2019-2022. Both Confederate and former star two and three-year-old Cannibal will both stand at Cobbitty Equine in New South Wales this breeding season. By a son of Sweet Lou and out of the A Rocknroll Dance mare No More Losses, Cannibal shares the same golden cross as Confederate. Cannibal's service fee will be $NZ5000 plus GST, while Confederate's will be $NZ12,500 plus GST.

Record in marathon trot

How's this for the ultimate staying test? In France Hussard de Landret has won the Group 1 International Prix de Paris. It is held over 4150 metres with the winner setting a new record mile rate of 1:55.68. That beat the old record set in 2022. It was Hussard de Landret's 10th win 58 starts. Sixteen trotters were in the race which used to be run over 3400 metres but was extended to 4150 in 1994. Previous winners of the race include Etonnant (2021) and Bold Eagle (2017).

Kiwi wins debut in Oz

The formerly Greg and Nina Hope-trained Maria Allegonda has won her Australian debut, after starting a $1.40 favourite at Menangle yesterday. Bred and raced by Cambridge's Pat Laboyrie, the four-year-old mare headed across the Tasman late last year and is now with David Thorn at Menangle, after having one win from 19 starts in this country, at Addington in June last year.

Tickets available for Night of Champions

Tickets are now on sale for the Grins Night of Champions at Cambridge on Friday, April 12. General admission starts at $50 with a number of options available. The night promises to be a hummer and will feature the $1m Race by Grins as well as the TAB trot, with the after party headlined by the award-winning Coterie. For more information go to nightofchampions.nz or the Cambridge Raceway's Facebook page.

Gavelhouse auction closes tonight

Just five horses are up for sale in the latest Gavelhouse standardbred auction that closes from 7pm tonight. Included in the lots is Rockin Roman, who's had two unplaced starts for Stonewall Stud/Team Telfer. At last look he was at $3100. To see the catalogue click here

Club News : Invercargill

The Invercargill Harness Racing Club host a ten-race card at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill on Friday, 1 March. Admission is free with the first of ten races scheduled to commence at 3.00pm and the last at 7.20pm. The feature race is a heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series, supported by the Southern Standardbred Breeders Assn. It is the ideal opportunity to make an early start to the weekend by finishing work early and relaxing trackside with an evening of harness racing action. For hospitality opportunities contact Southern Harness Racing’s Promotions Officer, Lindsay Beer on 021 351 499 / [email protected]

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