News Briefs - June 28

Bella heads winner's list in 2023

With her win at Addington on Friday night, Bella Button has now won the most races of any harness horse in New Zealand this year. Driven by regular pilot Gemma Thornley the six-year-old mare justified her favouritism by winning by three quarters of a length. It was the Mark Jones-trained trotter's seventh win in 2023, eclipsing the six wins by the unbeaten Millwood Nike and Muscle Mountain. Bella Button has now had eight wins overall, with earnings of $81,329.

Change of role for Darrin Williams 

Well-known harness racing administrator Darrin Williams is changing codes, and has been appointed Welfare Strategy and Operations Manager for Greyhound Racing New Zealand. Williams brings nearly 40 years of racing administration experience to the role, having most recently worked as the Racing and Marketing Manager at Addington Raceway and previously as the Racing and Marketing Manager for Harness Racing New Zealand.
“Darrin’s appointment brings a tremendous amount of industry experience to this role, and I am sure he will add value with his common sense decision-making and drive to make things happen,” said GRNZ CEO Edward Rennell, who recused himself from the appointment process owing to his past working relationship with Williams.
“I’m very excited and looking forward to a new challenge,” said Williams.

July deadline for latest Sires' Stakes Series

Breeders and owners involved in the latest round of NZ Sires’ Stakes payments have until Monday to pay up. Payments officially close on July 1 but because that's a Saturday payments will be accepted on Monday July 3. These payments are for Foal Nominations, Yearling Sustaining and next year’s 3YO Series which includes the Nevele R Fillies Series and the Caduceus Club Fillies Series. All queries should be directed to Martin Pierson at the Sires’ Stakes Office - 027 4711 081 or [email protected]

Kiwis to fore across the Tasman

Next stop Queensland for proven Grand Circuit star Spirit Of St Louis. The Team McCarthy gelding was driven by John McCarthy when he led throughout and narrowly won the Golden Mile at Menangle over the weekend in a 1min51.5sec mile. Kiwi-bred Taipo continued his rapid rise for trainer-driver Brad Hewitt with a slashing second. High-class former Kiwi pacer South Coast Arden suffered his first defeat in four NSW starts when a close and strong fourth. Earlier, evergreen former Kiwi pacer Cash N Flow returned to winning form for Team McCarthy in a 1min51.6sec mile. It was the 10-year-old’s 41st win from 95 starts and John McCarthy took the reins for Team McCarthy.

Son of Walner heading Downunder

North American star trotter King Of The North will be available to New Zealand and Australian breeders this breeding season. The 1.50.6 son of Walner will be standing at Northern Rivers Equine Veterinary Clinic & Llowalong Farms in Victoria. King Of The North, a 2021 Dan Patch two-year-old trotting colt of the year and Breeders crown champion, is a world champion, by a world champion (Chapter Seven) and out of a world champion (Check Me Out). Check Me Out's grandam is also the millionaire earning world champion No Nonsense Woman.

12 wins in on day

They talk about drivers being "in the zone" but this is ridiculous. Matt Kakaley won nine races at Yonkers in New York over the weekend, and finished second in the only race he didn't win. It was a record equalling performance, and remarkably it gave him 12 wins for the day, after being victorous earlier in the day three times in Pennsylvania. He now has 277 wins this year, the fourth highest in North America, and is the second highest stakes earner with $4.4m, just behind leader Jason Bartlett.

Ex Kiwis 1-2 at Redcliffe

It was a Jason Grimson-trained quinella with two ex Kiwis in the Group 2 Redcliff Gold Cup on Saturday night. Loyalist, who had four wins with Hopes in this country, and The $1m Nullabor winner Betterzippit finished 1-2, for Seaton Grima and Jack Trainor. Favourite  Tims A Trooper galloped early and was never really a factor.

Tommy goes trans-Tasman

Southern pacer Tommy Waterhouse will do his future racing in Australia. The winner of seven from 44 starts and just $100,000 has headed across the Tasman after a 2023 that has seen him race below his best. The last of the horse's wins was at Addington in May 2022 at the Uncut Gems Gelding and Entires Classic at Addington last year.

99-year-old winning combo

Together they are one year shy of century. At the weekend in North America 85-year-old Bob Nadeau drove his 14-year-old Putnams Storm to victory at Cumberland Raceway in Maine. Bred in Nova Scotia, the grey has now had 38 victories in 331 starts. Nadeau was first licensed in 1966, and acquired Putnams Storm in 2021. The gelding has changed hands no less than a dozen times over the past 13 seasons with a fastest winning time of 1:50.8 as a five-year-old.

Club News : Winton

The final harness racing meeting of the season will take place at Central Southland Raceway in Winton on Friday (30 June). The meeting hosted by the Winton Harness Racing Club will feature six Winter Rewards Series races each carrying a stake of $20,000. The first race is scheduled for 11.52am on the day. Admission to the course will be free. The 2023/2024 season will commence at Winton on Thursday 10 August.


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