News Briefs : March 13

Vale Bob Rochford

A harness racing stalwart in Kaikoura, Bob Rochford, will be farewelled this Saturday. In 2021 he was made a life member of the Kaikoura Trotting Club after around 30 years of service, including stints as President and Vice President. He also trained 22 winners, his first being Chance Haven on his home track in 1989. His last winner was Colonel Klink, driven by Jay Abernethy, at Manawatu in November 2014. His best year was in 2009 when he had four winners, three of them with Funny Boy. He went over to Australia as a four win horse and finished his career with 40 wins from 333 starts. According to his death notice Bob Rochford "passed away suddenly at Westport on March 9, 2024, doing what he loved, racing, floundering and catching up with good friends." A celebration of Bob's life will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2024, at the Kaikoura Trotting Club, South Bay at 1:30pm. He was 73.

Zsa Zoe retired

After winning 14 races and over $200,000 in stakes, Zsa Zoe has been retired. The nine-year-old mare's last race was a third at Reefton on Sunday. Her best season came as a six-year-old when she won five races and $58,758. In all she had 147 starts for 14 wins including her latest at Motukarara on December 29. Her first win was at Addington in October 2017. She was bred by the father-daughter combo of Ken Ford and Amanda Tomlinson and driven in most of her starts by Amanda's daughter Sheree.

Armstrong wins at Rural Sports awards

Nigel Armstrong's contribution to harness racing has been recognised at the New Zealand Rural Sports Awards in Palmerston North. As well as running his own Harness Unhinged Facebook page Armstrong is also involved with the Westview racing syndicates, the Methven Trotting Club and the Canterbury Trotting Owners' Association. He was a winner of the Freebairn and Hehir Lawyers Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand Rural Sports awards that were held at Awapuni Racecourse on Friday night.

Last race for Just Believe before NZ

Kiwi fans should be watching the Melton trots on Saturday night. It is the last chance they’ll get to see champion Aussie trotter Just Believe race before he crosses the ditch to tackle the inaugural $575,000 TAB Trot at Cambridge on April 12. “He’ll fly over on April 3. There’s a race at Cambridge the day after, but we think it’s cutting it a bit fine, so this week will almost certainly be the only run he has before the big one on April 12,” trainer Jess Tubbs said. “I keep thinking it’s a while away yet, but it’s actually just around the corner.”

Gavelhouse auction closes tonight

There's plenty of choice in the latest standardbred.gavelhouse auction that closes from 7pm. Included in the 15 lots is the Purdon Racing-trained Downbytheseaside three-year-old filly Waterfront, who's won one from six. At last look she'd attracted a bid of $7750. Other race winners up for sale include Rakero Scotty, Benson Dude and 10-year-old four win mare Sunnivue Phileah. There are also two Always B Miki fillies from Breckon Farms that were passed in at February's National Yearling Sales at Karaka.

To see the catalogue click here

Club News : Wyndham

Wyndham is the place to be for harness racing action and family entertainment this Saturday. The Wyndham Harness Racing Club hold their annual Cup Day at Young Quinn Raceway and the day features a high-quality programme of races. The MLT Wyndham Cup is the feature with the race held over 3200m for a stake of $25,000. Also on the programme is a heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series supported by the Southern Standardbred Breeders Assn plus a heat of the Macca Lodge/Nevele R Stud Southern Oaks and a Macca Lodge Kindergarten Stakes prelude, each for a stake of $20,000 and over a distance of 1609m. The prestigious Group 2 Macca Lodge NZ Kindergarten Stakes will be held at the club’s next meeting on Thursday 28 March. Bring the gazebo or a picnic blanket and enjoy a great day of harness racing while there will be free Mr Whippy ice creams for the first 100 children on course and free entertainment for the kids with a bouncy castle, sack races, a scavenger hunt and a lolly scramble throughout the day. There will also be Kidz Kartz racing on the programme. The 12-race programme is scheduled to get underway at 11.45am and admission is free.


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