News Briefs : January 31
Junior drivers to the fore
The junior drivers had a great day out at Cambridge on Monday, winning five of the day's eight races, including Crystal Hackett's win in the feature, the Group 3 Dunstan Horse Feeds Waikato Trotting Breeders' Stakes with Faith In Manchester. Nathan Delany, Monika Ranger, Steph Burley and Zev Meredith were the other winning juniors on the day, with Ranger's win coming in the first heat of the Hygain Revell Douglas Memorial Series with the hot favourite Lou Baby. The series now heads to Hawera with two more heats on Friday and Sunday. Revell Douglas was a lifelong participant and supporter of harness racing who sadly passed away after rescuing his children at Karioitahi Beach in 2021.
Clash of the codes at Cambridge
Team Standardbred had to settle for second with Team Thoroughbred winning this week's Cross Code Challenge at Cambridge. The event was held around the eight races as part of the anniversary weekend meeting on Monday. In the Dunstan Horse Feeds Battle of the Breeds standardbreds and thoroughbreds are judged in three different disciplines - in-hand, on their paces and manners, and then over the fences (hunter jumping). Team Thoroughbred prevailed with the star performer being On the Rocks and his rider, multiple Group winning jockey Ryan Elliot. The best standardbred on the day was Comedy Act, ridden by Paxton Conder while the monte trot was won by jockey Tayla Mitchell who rode the Andrew and Lynn Neal-trained trotter Trifolium.
Teal it up
Who wants to experience a dual sulky race with a Team Teal Driver?! There are four spots available for a dual sulky race at the Amberley Trotting Club on Tuesday 6th February at Rangiora Raceway! The spots with Sarah O'Reilly, Sam Ottley, Kim Butt and a mystery driver still to be named will be auctioned off at Spectators Bar & Bistro with a Silent Auction on Friday 2nd February. Anyone is welcome to attend and bid on these with all proceeds going to Team Teal and the fight against Ovarian Cancer. The auction will start at 6pm and finish at 8.30pm. There will also be donation buckets available and The Teal Racer, a special Teal Cocktail, will be available to purchase with $2 from every cocktail sold going to Team Teal!
Brad trains a ton
Brad Williamson secured his 100th training win when Kerryn Tomlinson and Night Watch combined to win race 4 at Riverton on Sunday. Fittingly the race was sponsored by Brad's older brothers Matthew and Nathan. Brad's century has come from 664 starts, with his most successful season being the 27 training wins he had in 2022. Williamson's first winner was with Jeddy R Ya Ready at Forbury Park in 2017. He also drove the horse that day and has driven 449 wins since starting out as a junior driver in 2011.
Montana DJ for sale
The latest standardbred.gavelhouse action closes from 7pm tonight and included in the lots for sale is six race winner Montana D J. The Captaintreacherous five-year-old gelding won the last of his 30 career starts at Cambridge on January 19. At last look the top bid was just on $30,000. In all there are 13 lots. To see the catalogue click here
Date change for Sires' Stakes Heat
The heat of the Garrard's three-year-old colts and geldings (Series 40) scheduled for Cambridge on Thursday, April 4 will now be held as part of the Night of Champions at Cambridge on Friday, April 12. The heat will be part of a bumper night's racing highlighted by the $1m Race by Grins and the $500,000 TAB Trot. This change was at the request of the Club, with the NZ Sires’ Stakes delighted to be associated with one of the sport's biggest nights of the year.
Brady to be remembered at Alexandra Park
A celebration of Neil Brady's life will be held in the President's Room at Alexandra Park from 5pm on Friday, February 9. The multiple Group 1-winning trainer-driver died in Dubbo New South Wales a fortnight ago. Among his best known and best-performing horses were Elect To Live and Franco Ice. He had 239 training successes and 153 driving wins in this country between 1983 and 2005. Brady was 79.
Baz's trial winner
With an ownership group that includes cricket legend Brendon McCullum, Light Me Up was in winning form at the Rangiora trials last Thurday. The three-year-old colt (Bettor's Delight - Solandra) was a $150,000 purchase from the 2022 NZB National Yearling Sales in Christchurch by Ronnie Dawe's Rakero Racing and has so far had four, all unplaced, starts. Light Me Up is trained by Gavin Smith. McCullum, the former Blackcap captain turned England test coach, is a big racing fan and prolific owner.
$1m milestone passed - twice
What a night Jess Tubbs and Greg Sugars had at Melton on Saturday night with stablemates Better Eclipse and Just Believe both surpassing $1m in career earnings. Better Eclipse topped seven figures with his win in the Allied Express Casey Classic, ahead of rising Kiwi star Don't Stop Dreaming, while Just Believe was dominant in the V.L. Dullard Trotters Cup half an hour earlier. Just Believe is the first Australian bred trotter to earn $1m in prizemoney.
On-farm parades head south
The first of the South Island on-farm parades for the NZB National Yearling Sales will get underway from Sunday. The North Island farm visits were held last week, with the Canterbury visits set down for February 4 and 5, before heading to Southland on February 12 and 13. The yearling sales will start at Karaka on February 18 before moving to Christchurch on February 20 and 21. For more information check out NZB Standardbred's Facebook page.
Club News : Invercargill
A quickfire eight race twilight programme starting at 4.43pm is the ideal evening out at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill this Thursday. Featuring Heat 2 of the Southern Belle Series, supported by VetSouth Equine and the Craig at Harcourts Gold Chip Final Handicap Trot, it is an ideal evening to finish your day’s work before heading to the course to enjoy a race programme in the long southern twilight. The last race is at 7.47pm and admission is free.