News briefs - January 12

Cromwell leads the way

Turnover topped a million dollars at four harness racing meetings in New Zealand over the past week. Wyndham's meeting at Cromwell on January 6 had the highest turnover of the week's six meetings with $1,483,701, followed by Nelson ($1,338,833 Friday and $1,201,228 Sunday), and Roxburgh ($1,161,649). Total turnover for the week topped $6m. The biggest turnover at a meeting so far this year was at Omakau on January 2 ($1,540,237).

$1m looms for Sundees Son

Superstar trotter Sundees Son is inching towards becoming just the tenth trotter in this part of the world to make a million dollars. Ahead of today’s Group Three Pryde’s Easifeed Southern Lights at Invercargill Sundees Son has accrued $975,417. He has won 26 from 59 and today will be heavily to make it win number 27 against a small but quality field that includes Oscar Bonavena. The race is set to go at 7.18pm. 

4 from 4 in Central Otago

Omakau’s big meeting on January 2 had four races that were penalty free if won by a junior driver. And in a rarity, that’s exactly what happened with victories going to the way of Ben Hope (Mossdale Ben), Carter Dalgety (Callie’s Delight), Gemma Thornley (Franco Norton) and Ellie Barron (Ariella).

Hot early season form

Former Kiwi pacer Let It Ride loves racing at the Meadowlands in January. For the second year running the son of Rock N Roll Heaven has been the fastest going around the Big M in the early season, winning his last start in 1:49. The now nine-year-old won nine from 21 before heading to Australia in May 2018.

Willie equals record in Tassie

Trained by Michael Purdon to win two of his three starts in this country, Willie Go West not only obliterated his rivals in the $40,000 Hobart Cup on Sunday he broke the long-standing track record in the process.The Dean Braun-trained pacer clocked 1:57.5 in the 2579m feature, lowering the previous record held dually by Blacks A Fake and Flashing Red in the 2006 Inter Dominion series. Willie Go West has now won nine of his 19 starts and is being aimed at his biggest task to date, the $500,000 A.G. Hunter Cup at Melton on February 5. The Auckland Reactor gelding was exported to Australia in March 2020.

Win for the ages in Victorian

More than a quarter of a century after her last training success Josie Justice is back in the winner’s circle. The 90 year old, who's the mother of champion drivers Lance and John Justice, won with High In The Sky at Melton at the weekend. She’s the oldest person to train a winner in Australian harness racing history. John drove the horse to her first win in five starts in Australia after winning here three times for Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis.  

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