News Briefs

 By Garrick Knight


Lets Elope retired

Veteran West Auckland pacer Lets Elope has been retired.

He raced for nine seasons in all, on both sides of the Tasman, and accumulated over half-a-million dollars in earnings for his connections.

“He’s been retired and it’s well-deserved because done such a great job,” said co-trainer Tate Hopkins.

Let Elope returned to Hopkins and breeder/former co-owner Frank Cooney last year after spending the best part of four years racing in Victoria with Brent Lilley.

In a fairytale result, he took out the Holmes DG Handicap at Alexandra Park back in October, defeating the likes of Jack’s Legend and Northview Hustler.

Lets Elope was a star youngster, winning the Group 1 $165,600 Sires Stakes 2YO Final at Addington for Cooney back in 2011.

He also ran second in Smolda’s now-famous 1.52.1 3YO Emerald demolition at Cambridge’s 2012 Harness Jewels.

The son of Real Desire retires with 26 wins and 45 placings from 171 career starts.


New Swedish stallion

Haras des Trotteurs have confirmed this week that it has secured the rights to Swedish Group 1-winning stallion Volstead.

The son of Cantab Hall, who went 1.51.5 on a 1000m track, will stand the coming season in Victoria and will be available to both New Zealand and Australian breeders.

He will become the first son of Cantab Hall to be available as a chilled semen option in the Southern Hemisphere.

Cantab Hall is an established sire of sires with his sons Father Patrick, Explosive Matter and Uncle Peter all in the top 10 sires of three-year-olds in America this year.

Volsted won 23 races for trainer Stefan Melander including the Gr. 1 King’s Cup and Sweden Cup.

“Volstead was very fast from the beginning when we started training him and was a very very strong horse,” said Melander.

“Volstead could race on the outside the whole race. If it was a distance race or a mile race, it didn’t matter and he could still win racing outside the entire race.”

“I have retained breedings to breed my own mares in USA as I can see Volstead within the next five years becoming highly successful and one of the top trotting Stallions in the world.”

Volstead will stand for NZ$5,000 + GST at Haras des Trotteurs’ base in Cardigan, alongside successful French stallion Used To Me.

Both stallions will be available in chilled semen form in Australia and New Zealand and multi-mare discounts are available, with a special single mare discount available for VSTA and NZSBA members.


Pukekohe pacer heads to Canada

One of the pre-race favourites for Friday night’s $25,000 Franklin Country Cup has been scratched after being sold.

Big Mach will leave the country tomorrow bound for Canada after a deal was finalised on Thursday morning, according to one of his trainers, Logan Hollis.

“We’re disappointed to sell him as we thought he was a great show this week.

“But the decision was based on the fact that he is basically a ‘cup’ horse now on rating but is a step below the best ones, although he has been racing great.

“Shane (Robertson, co-trainer) bought him as a yearling so after all these years it is sad to see him go.”

Big Mach won 11 races and just shy of $100,000 for Robertson and his fellow connections in the son of Mach Three.

He recorded two wins this season – a double at Manawatu in April/May and previously won three races during an extended Australian campaign, in Victoria with Nathan Jack.


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