The NZB weanling sale – it’s a numbers game

The country’s two biggest studs say numbers are behind the large draft they will take to Karaka for Thursday’s weanling sale. And with that comes opportunity. Woodlands and Alabar dominate the New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred sale which has over 100 lots. “We breed around 150 foals a year between Paul and Mary (Kenny), my own and some of our staff even having a mare or two,” says Woodlands Stud boss Andrew Grierson, “we simply don’t have enough boxes to prepare that many horses for the yearling sales.” “Next year we…

Franco Marek goes four from four

by Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk Lincoln-based trainer Greg Manson believes his star pacer Franco Marek could well “become something”. But he’s in no rush with the horse he says is just “a big kid”. The four-year-old has won four from four since March with Manson saying that next year’s New Zealand Cup is very much in his thinking. Bred by Spreydon Lodge, Franco Marek is by A Rocknroll Dance out of Miss Lisa. He was bought and trained by the late Donald Jones, who was Manson’s boss at…

Wildwest to debut for Team McCarthy

By Adam Hamilton  Reigning WA Pacing Cup winner Wildwest finally has his first run for Team McCarthy at Menangle on Saturday night. The highly talented Kiwi-bred is owned in similar interests to King Of Swing and was across from Perth in the hope he could follow in that champion’s hoofprints. Wildwest made it 13 wins from just 28 starts when he caused a huge upset for trainer Gary Hall Sr to win the Group 1 WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on February 4. Soon after, he was sent across…

Rasmussen to drive Self Assured in Auckland Cup

By Michael Guerin The sulky-go-round leading into Friday’s $400,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup has stopped with Natalie Rasmussen to now drive hot favourite Self Assured. And that puts the great race’s most successful ever driver Tony Herlihy on Spankem, the horse Rasmussen herself drove to finish second the last time the Cup was run. The Cup, Auckland harness racing’s biggest prize, will have its first May running this Friday as the final feature of a huge autumn after Harness Racing New Zealand radically altered the feature-race calendar. The change from…

Former halfback now racehorse owner and sponsor

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk  Some people are born into racing. Others, like former Crusaders and Hurricanes halfback Tyson Keats, marry into it. And for someone who says he “doesn’t know much” he’s now getting involved at various levels of the sport. After marrying the then Chelsea Jones, Keats found himself part of the extended Jones clan, one of racing’s most famous families. His in-laws are Derek and Adele Jones, who have recent success with the likes of open class trotter Majestic Lavros and Rangiora Winter Cup winner Kiss…

NZB weanling sale this Thursday

More than 100 weanlings, from established as well as emerging sires, will go under the hammer when the NZB Standardbred weanling sales are held at Karaka this Thursday, a day before the Auckland Cup meeting at Alexandra Park. Sixteen sires feature. In the pacing ranks Art Major, Sweet Lou and Downbytheseaside front up with the biggest numbers while super sire Bettor’s Delight will be represented by just two fillies, including Lot 52 who is a full sister to Spanish Armada. Buzz sire Always B Miki will have six lots, closely…

Reid to ponder his driving future

By Michael Guerin Steven Reid says his driving days may be over after a freak accident at Alexandra Park on Friday night. But he realises it could have ended a lot worse. Reid was driving Take The Miki, the talented pacer he trains with partner Simon McMullan, in race two when the sulky seat came loose and slipped off, dumping Reid on to the track around the 180m mark. That wasn’t much fun but Reid was relatively unscathed until Enjoy Me ran over him as he lay on the track,…

Bright future tipped for Wheels Of Fortune

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk A bright future has been tipped for Wheels Of Fortune after his dominant win in the Anne Thompson Memorial Graduation Final (2600m) at Rangiora on Sunday. Trainer-driver John Hay pushed the three-year-old gelding forward early to wrestle the lead off Backburn. Driver John Dunn then sent race favourite Absolute Dynamite three-wide to sit outside Wheels Of Fortune, but Hay resisted handing up the lead. That move proved to be a masterstroke, with Wheels Of Fortune running away to a 2-3/4 length lead over Absolute…

Aussie News – May 22

by Adam Hamilton  Former high-class Kiwi pacer Triple Eight looks set for another big campaign. The Jess Tubbs-trained seven-year-old returned from a break with a dominant win, thanks to a perfect trip and a lovely Greg Sugars drive. It was Triple Eight’s first start finishing third in the Group 1 Ainsworth FFA on that rain-drenched track on the Miracle Mile night which was postponed straight after that race. Triple Eight has thrived in the care of Tubbs and Sugars and now boasts 18 wins and 30 placings from his 82…

Faithful dedicates win to Crawford

By Jonny Turner Trainer Chelsea Faithful dedicated Pay Me Speedy’s win at Ascot Park on Saturday to the memory of Dunedin horseman Leon Crawford following his passing earlier in the week. Known as a man of many talents with horses, Crawford was a successful trainer and driver, farrier and worked on many horses’ ailments through his work as an equine therapist, chiropractor and acupuncturist. The former Tomahawk trainer died peacefully, surrounded by his family, in Dunedin on Thursday. Crawford was a close family friend of Faithful’s and he also treated…