News Briefs - June 12

Change of dates for Clerking Course

There's been a minor date change for the Clerking Clinic being held at Cambridge Raceway next month. Originally the two-day course was set down for July 17 and 18. Now it will be held on July 18 and 19. The course will be run by experienced clerk and well-known personality Craig Wiggins and there will be no charge, with HRNZ covering costs. All current NI clerks are expected to be there while anyone interested in becoming a clerk in the North Island should contact Craig Wiggins in the first instance on 0274 576694 or [email protected].

The end for NZ Horse and Pony

It's the end of an era for this country's highest selling equestrian magazine. It's been decided the June 2024 issue will be the last printed edition of NZ Horse and Pony. Adverse trading conditions, including increased costs and dwindling advertising revenue, have been cited among the main reasons behind the decision. All options are now being looked at as to what happens next, and if the magazine has a future on-line. NZ Horse and Pony was first published in 1959.

Duo's change of scenery

Two well-known racing identities are moving on to new challenges. After more than nine years with trainer Regan Todd, Robbie Close has moved to Andrew Stuart's barn. Close will continue to train his own horses and drive for outside trainers including Todd. The Todd-Close combo have had a lot of success together including Group wins with the likes of Bettor Talk Art and Treacherous Gall. And James Stephens, the long-serving strapper of the now retired Self Assured, is heading from the All Stars stable in Christchurch to Lincoln Farms in Pukekohe. The two Jimmys, as they are known, will both be based at the South Auckland stables as Self Assured, the winner of 30 races and $2.4m, enjoys his life after racing.

Sky Major goes back to back

What an afternoon it was for the progeny of Sky Major at Addington on Sunday. Auntie Deb (Sky Major - Queen Of Glory) won Race 3, the North Canterbury Flashings Mobile Pace, only for Sky Rocket (Sky Major - Pandora's Rose) to take out the very next, the Camelot 1984 NZ Cup Winner Mobile Pace. It was Auntie Deb's first career win, while Sky Rocket has now won three from 18 starts. Sky Major stands at Wai Eyre Farm in North Canterbury for $2500.

Woodlands Stud roster details for 2024/25

Woodlands Stud have announced an unchanged stallion roster for the 2024/25 year. The superstar sire Bettor's Delight will headline the roster with a service fee of $25,000. His price is unchanged from last season, as are Downbytheseaside, Lather Up and Speeding Spur, while the in-demand Sweet Lou is up from $7500 to $11,250 and What The Hill is down from $7000 to $5000 and the now defunct American Ideal is down from $11,250 to $9000. Woodlands Stud still have a limited amount of his frozen semen in both New Zealand and Australia and it is suggested that breeders contact the team direct for any initial enquiries and terms and conditions.

Downbytheseaside has 100th individual winner

The surge of Downbytheseaside’s progeny continued over the weekend when he celebrated his 100th individual winner in Australasia. The milestone was reached by Doteldo who won at Marburg in Queensland on Sunday. The three-year-old filly did it in style, winning by over 20 metres. It was also a quinella for Downbytheseaside with Let Me At It (Bettor's Delight dam) finishing second. Across Australasia among Downbytheseaside's multiple Group 1 winners have been Coastal Babe and Aardiebytheseaside.

Uncle and niece finish in top three

Here's one for the breeding trainspotters. On Friday at Invercargill close relations Dragon Power and Aretha finished first and third in the Regent Car Court Mobile pace. As it turns out Dragon Power (Fear The Dragon - Shipshewana Flight ) is the uncle of Aretha (Fear The Dragon - Zoetica) as Zoetica is by Art Major and also out of Shipshewana Flight. It was Dragon Power's first win in seven starts for trainer Murray Brown while Aretha was on debut for her breeder-trainer Brent McIntyre (Macca Lodge).

Win 15 for Franco Huntington

What a great campaigner Franco Huntington has been, and continues to be. At start number 247 the 12-year-old gelding secured his 15th career win at Invercargill last Friday, winning the Betavet Mobile Pace by more than a length for driver Mark Hurrell and trainer Doug McLachlan. Bred at Spreydon Lodge, Franco Huntington's first win was at Invercargill when trained by Robin Swain in 2015. He's been remarkably consistent since then, winning every year since apart from 2017. In total he's earned more than $150,000 with start number 250 seemingly only a matter of time.

Orange two clear in drivers' premiership

Just two wins separate Blair Orange and John Dunn at the top of the drivers' premiership. Orange, the reigning six-time champion, has 86 wins in 2024 after winning with Cheer Me On at Addington on Sunday, while Dunn has 84 wins. His latest success was with Sonoma Tyron trained by Team Dunn (Robert and Jenna) and they now have 90 wins for the year, giving them a commanding 23 win lead over second placed Steve and Amanda Telfer. Dunn, Orange and trainer Regan Todd all tasted dual code success on Sunday after boom greyhound He's All Go won the Group 1 Waterloo Cup at Auckland. A winner of 18 from 21 starts, He's All Go is raced by the White Horse Toaster Syndicate which features a number of horse racing identities including John and Dexter Dunn, Orange, and Todd. It's his fourth Group 1, with the Waterloo Cup, this country's oldest greyhound racing trophy, first being held in 1874.

Club News : Invercargill

The annual Regent Race Day takes place at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill this Saturday (15 June) with a nine-race programme that will kick off at 12 noon and run through to 3.53pm. Both Regent Car Court and the Invercargill Harness Racing Club are also pleased to join forces on race day to support the Light The Way Annual Appeal for Hato Hone St John.

The annual appeal is raising funds for the build of ten new Ambulance Stations throughout the country, including one in Southland where there is an initial goal of raising $500,000 due to the fact St John have outgrown their current ambulance station in Invercargill.

There will be collectors on course on Saturday so bring along a little extra in your pocket to help a very worthy cause that will benefit so many Southlanders.

Regent Car Court General Manager, Holly McKenzie says, “Regent is proud to be associated with St John and all of the great work they do" while Southern Harness Racing Club & Finance Manager, Julie McEwan-Franks expressed gratitude to Hato Hone St John Ambulance.

“They are an integral part of our race day services. They attend all meetings in the Southern Region (Oamaru south), which for the 2024/2025 season will total 59. Thankfully, they are not often needed but their presence is appreciated by the racing fraternity. We urge you to support them by giving generously on Saturday."

People can learn more about the appeal and make a donation here 

Admission to the course on the day will be free.





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