News Briefs : Jan 13

By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk

Justin Smith clocks up a century

Rakaia trainer-driver Justin Smith reined home his 100th winner when Some Time produced an upset at Ashburton yesterday. Paying $31.10, the Muscle Mass seven-year-old got home by half a head. The 100 wins came up just over 25 years since Smith’s first winner Atom Of Truth at Banks Peninsula. Smith has also trained 84 winners in partnership with his mother Lynn.

Upsets order of day at Ashburton

Some Time’s big dividend was just one of five $20-plus returns at Ashburton. Alan Edge trained a double (Edge Sheeran $33.70 and Off the Edge $22.20), Senorita Margaritas paid $42.90 when winning for Sam Ottley, and Boyz Invasion paid $63.40 for trainer-driver Michael Heenan after being promoted in a roughly run race 9.

Turnovers continue to boom

Betting in the New Year has got off to a rollicking start with turnovers topping a million dollars for the five harness meetings between Jan 4 and Jan 10. Roxburgh on January 4 was $1,075,025, followed by Wyndham ($1,574,762), Nelson ($1,634,113), Cambridge ($1,036,446) and then Nelson’s second day ($1,426,199). To date this season turnovers have gone over $1m 31 times.

Varenne’s sire dies

Waikiki Beach, the sire of the incomparable Varenne, has died in Italy at the age of 37. In all he sired more than 1200 foals from 1990 to 2010, with Varenne a clear stand out. Considered to be the greatest trotter of all time, Varenne won 62 from 73, with earnings of $US5.6m. In this part of the world another Waikiki Beach was also a standout performer. A winner of 23 of his first 24 starts in Australasia for the All Stars stable the now eight-year-old was exported to the United States in 2017.

Let It Ride in cruise control

Former Kiwi pacer Let It Ride has made a winning debut at Yonkers Raceway in New York. Now trained by ex pat New Zealander Nifty Norman and driven by Dexter Dunn Let It Ride duly delivered after going out a pronounced favourite. The seven-year-old won his first four starts for Dunn and trainer Tim Butt at Addington in 2017 before heading to Australia and then to North America, where he is now unbeaten in six starts.

Blenheim $10,000 First 4s

This week’s Marlborough Harness Racing Club’s two-day meeting on the grass at Waterlea Raceway will have a guaranteed $10,000 First Four on all races. The club will run 12 races on both Friday and Sunday. The First 4s have seen some sizeable returns in recent weeks, including a $44,249.60 dividend in race 10 at Ashburton yesterday.

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