News Briefs : May 22

NZ Cup contenders clash in Sydney

Jason Grimson’s two New Zealand Cup contenders will clash at Menangle on Saturday night. Last year’s NZ Cup hero Swayzee and his brilliant stablemate Nerano will tackle a 2300m free-for-all as they prepare to chase some Queensland winter riches through late June and July. Although Queensland is Grimson’s focus, he said he would love to have another crack at the NZ Cup in November.
“I’m setting Nerano for the Redcliffe Cup (June 29) because it’s a standing start and with the NZ Cup in mind,” he said.
“But there’s still a chance Swayzee could return (to Addington), too. I certainly haven’t ruled it out.
“I want to get through Brisbane with Swayzee and then start to think ahead. Ideally there would be a direct flight we could get into Christchurch, rather than having to go through Auckland.”
Swayzee has only raced four times since winning last year’s NZ Cup and all runs were in the Brisbane Inter Dominion series where he finished a huge third in the Leap To Fame on December 16.

NI trainers to be consulted

Well-known to many in harness racing, Lynda German has been employed by HRNZ to improve engagement with North Island trainers. The appointment comes at a time when 48 new dates have been confirmed for the 2024/25 season including 14 new Friday nights at Alexandra Park and 13 new meetings at Cambridge. German's job will be to complete an assessment of the horses available now and to get feedback on what would be required to get more horses, currently not being raced, to get to the racetrack.

Terry McDonald to be farewelled at Addington

The life of prolific and highly successful owner Terry McDonald will be celebrated in the Silks Lounge at Addington Raceway on Friday, May 24 at 11 am. Originally it was scheduled to be held in the Terror To Love Lounge. McDonald, who bred and raced the three time New Zealand Cup champion among more than 200 other horses, died in Christchurch over the weekend, aged 83.

Paramount Kiwi out of Derby

A hoof abscess has forced Paramount Kiwi out of Friday's $110,000 Group 1 Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby at Alexandra Park. The winner of five from seven, the talented Father Patrick gelding was the second favourite for the Group 1 behind Empire City. Paramount Kiwi's expected to make a race day return once he's fully recovered. Empire City's odds have since shortened to $1.75.

Top earning stable tops $1.5m in stakes

After providing the quinella in the Magness Benrow Sires' Stakes 3YO Fillies Final at Alexandra Park last Friday, the Barry Purdon-Scott Phelan stable has been the first to top $1.5m in stakes this year. The Clevedon partnership is currently at $1,545,977, ahead of premiership leaders Robert and Jenna Dunn ($1,288,657). The Dunns' Diamond Racing has the most wins with 78, with Steve and Amanda Telfer second on 63, and Purdon-Phelan third on 33. Duchess Megxit won the Fillies Final and collected $75,000 while second-placed Ultimate Racy Girl pocketed just over $21,000.

Gavelhouse closes tonight

The latest gavelhouse standardbred auction closes from 7pm tonight, with two one-race winners among the lots for sale. They are Breeny's Rock N Roll and Elephantintheroom. Studholme Bloodstock is also selling an Art Major two-year-old filly (Underscore) and a Downbytheseaside colt (Lifes A Gamble).

Club News : Winton

The Winton Harness Racing Club host a 10 race programme at Central Southland Raceway in Winton this Saturday (25 May) with the first race timed to start at 11.55am. The last of the ten races will start at 4.25pm. Admission on the day is free.

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