Matchmaking in Kaiapoi New Zeland

Every year as the yearling sales approach, the Harnesslink staff have always have a discussion pre sale about who they think could be one of the "sleepers" of the sale that year. It has always been an interesting exercise in the past but one that we have taken a lot more seriously this year. We have come up with half a dozen candidates at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka on February 22nd who we think may slip under the buyers guard due to a variety of circumstances and we have found it hard to separate them. In the end we decided to highlight one of the fillies that really took our eye but who we also thought may struggle to reach her value.

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She is the third foal from her dam whose oldest foal is the three year old Will Desire who has already won a race from a handful of starts. The grand dam Birchbrook has produced four winners from just six foals including Charger The third dam is the very successful broodmare in Going Royce who has produced eleven winners from just twelve foals including the outstanding pacer Tribute However we were quite taken with the Willshewin photos and think she is a lovely filly.

Like a lot of the Auckland Reactors she is nicely put together, she has got a bit of size about her and all the early reports that we have had from the breakers on the Auckland Reactors have been excellent. So we came to the conclusion that Willshewin had a lot more to offer than it appears at first glance. Weather the buyers see it like that, we will know on February 22nd at Karaka.

Most of the fillies associated with the Direct Scooter line down under have a reputation for getting 'hot' at times but that hasn't stopped them producing some outstanding fillies and mares in the last few years. Mach Three took over from In The Pocket as Direct Scooters flag bearer down under a few years back and has produced a string of fillies of the highest class in the last few seasons which has earned the son of Matts Scooter a belated acknowledgement that he is a top filly sire in his own right.

The third foal from the former outstanding age group performer in Pullover Brown She is a full sister to the brilliant Montecito Jersey Bay herself is a typical Mach Three in type which was another big plus for us. On breeding and type, Jersey Bay should attract a lot of buyer interest at Karaka in a months time.

Harness racing breeding enthusiasts are always looking at those golden breeding crosses which seem to have a big advantage on the track. One of the most obvious in recent years is the cross of the champion sire Bettor's Delight over an In The Pocket mare. That 'Golden Cross ' has numbers are mind boggling for not only producing so many winners but streams of elite level colts and fillies. The total number of winners bred in New Zealand on this 'Golden Cross' to date is while another 43 have qualified. One Bettor's Delight mare bred on this cross to have already done the job is Delightful Dale whose first foal is the very smart three year old Shandale Lot 13 at this years Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka is a full sister to Shandale named Lorna Jane and comes from a great juvenile family.

With the way the harness racing stallion business is these days, it is becoming harder and harder for the home grown stallions to break into the lucrative market that is dominated by the shuttle stallions from North America. Breeders have access to the very best from North America and that means the local stallion has a huge challenge when going to stud.

Christian Cullen proved he was up to the mark in his prime but few others have made it to the top of the sires list down under. The jury is still out on Changeover with the son of In The Pocket churning out plenty of nice horses but he badly needs one or two genuine stars to lift him into the elite level of stallions. Another local who is attempting to break the grip of the Northern Hemisphere stallions is the son of Mach Three in Auckland Reactor.

Auckland Reactor has also done really well in Australia with in year one followed by in year two and is on track to serve about again this year.

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It's long been accepted that for a stallion to establish himself, he needs to have the numbers on the ground and Auckland Reactor has certainly been given the opportunity with the numbers he has coming through. Auckland Reactors first lot of foals hit the yearling sales this year with five entered at Auckland and twenty four in Christchurch. One that caught our eye was the colt Jordan's Jury, the first foal from the former smart racemare in Georgia's Jury Georgia's Jury ran 2nd in the Sires Stakes at three behind the champion Adore Me and all up only had 22 starts for 5 wins and 7 placings.

The dam of Georgia's Jury is the racewinning Christian Cullen mare in Van Seraa whose first three foals old enough to race have all been winners.

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This branch of the Rosalie family has been prominent since the very speedy racemare Good Going went to stud in the s. Winners have flowed from that time with two of the best being Tribute When In The Pocket mares started to go to stud in big numbers, they immediately had a major impact on the harness racing broodmare charts. The resulting progeny tended to have the gait and speed from their dam sire with the attitude and demeanor from Art Major and Bettor's Delight which quickly became a hot cross.

It should be no surprise then that another grandson of Direct Scooter in Mach Three is starting to have a similar impact.

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Very similar to In The Pocket in that his progeny can get a bit hot, Mach Three is starting to show up in the pedigrees of a lot of promising horses. Al Raza One of the two year olds that has really impressed in this years Young Guns Series at Alexandra Park is the Art Major juvenile Vasari who has already won a Young Guns heat and will start one of the favourites in the final in March. Vasari is the second foal from the Mach Three mare Thebestamancanget who comes from a very successful branch of the Black Watch family. Thebestamancanget is from the former top age group filly in Ciccio Star The yearling filly is named Nolessthanperfect and is a daughter of the leading New Zealand sire in Bettor's Delight and as you can see from the photo she is a standout type.

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Like a lot of top fillies she has a masculine appearance and with Vasari going great guns as a two year old, Nolessthanperfect will attract a lot of attention on sale day. Last years results announced the arrival of another descendant of Direct Scooter in Australasia in Somebeachsomewhere who had a sensational season down under with the brilliant Menin Gate and Waikiki Beach who each dominated their respective age groups in Australia. With Somebeachsomesomewhere only available via frozen semen and in limited supply, the market was wide open for a well performed son of Somebeachsomewhere to stand in Australasia.

Alabar Bloodstock have taken the bull by the horns and have brought in the very well credentialed Sunshine Beach Sunshine Beach on the track was hindered throughout his career by kidney and bladder stones but when free from pain he produced some outstanding performances. At two, he had a handful of starts, winning in Treated extensively in the break between his two and three year old seasons, Sunshine Beach came out at three and showed what a high class colt he was.

In fourteen of those twenty starts Sunshine Beach broke the barrier. The kidney and bladder stone issues came back to haunt Sunshine Beach in a big way at four and his form wasn't what it should have been. After he was retired, Sunshine Beach went on the operating table to remove the most humongous golf ball sized kidney stone you will ever see.

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For Sunshine Beach to have raced as well as he did with that stone annoying him every inch of the way is a testament to how genuine and tough he was. Memories of former New Zealand superstar pacer Christian Cullen will be revived when Chevrons Champion clashes with other talented fillies, including the brilliant Dodolicious, in the m Clipsal Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Chevrons Champion, part-owned, trained and driven by Nathan Turvey, will start from barrier four in a highly-competitive field of just five runners. After winning twice from nine starts in New Zealand for Cran Dalgety, Chevrons Champion has impressed greatly in Western Australia where her four starts have produced three wins and a second placing. Dodolicious, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, is on the doorstep of a wonderful career after her first nine starts produced five wins and four seconds. That was her first outing since she set the pace and finished second to the fast-finishing gelding Sprinter in the Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park in mid-July.

She is sure to appreciate competing against her own sex this week. They are excellent frontrunners.

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Baby She Rocks has led and won at Gloucester Park and Pinjarra in her five-start career and The Spinster was a smart all-the-way Pinjarra winner two starts ago before setting the pace and finishing third behind Scoobys Delight and Dodolicious on the same track a week later. Ken Casellas. It is not often in harness racing that a great sire doesn't go on to become a great broodmare sire although the degree of that success can vary every now and again. In The Pocket has done in the broodmare paddock exactly what he did as a sire, having already won the overall title of leading broodmare sire and being the leading pacing broodmare sire in the season just concluded.

In The Pocket has been first or second on the New Zealand broodmare siring charts for the last five years but is under real pressure going forward to hold off the challenge of one of his sons in Christian Cullen. Christian Cullen has made rapid progress up the broodmare siring charts in the last five years as more of his mares are bred from, rising from 27th in to third overall last season and a close second on the pacing list to In The Pocket.

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