Broken In,




        Ready to Run



Not a lot of clarity from Classic

Last Friday night’s Canterbury Classic was supposed to provide some clarity to the New Zealand Cup but instead the picture became a whole lot more clouded.

Sure Christen Me was great holding on for third after being savaged in front and was not disgraced.

But the suspicions raised by three earlier races this season were more or less confirmed that Christen Me is still a long way short of his best form, or the sort of form that brought such memorable wins in last season’s Miracle Mile, Victoria Cup and Auckland Cup.

Sure Christen Me will improve further and can regain that sort of form in time for the Cup.

But so too will everybody else be improving.

Tiger Tara and Smolda both had ideal runs with their Cup preparations in mind although it was a funny sort of race, or a stop-start affair.

Both sat in behind Christen Me smoking pipes and were entitled to get past him in the straight, but there was also much to admire about the performances of Mossdale Conner and Bit Of A Legend.

Throw in the class of Ohoka Punter and Sky Major and the Cup is looking very much wide open as we speak.

With the retirements of Adore Me and Terror To Love and with Beautide never coming, most thought this year’s Cup would be ‘Christen Me’s Cup to lose’.

That might still prove to be the case, particularly if the real Christen Me turns up at Ashburton in a fortnight, but as it stands at the moment, he has lost any air of invincibility if indeed he had some.

It has been a difficult situation for Cran Dalgety to be in.

Christen Me returned to racing this season as everybody’s ‘pin up boy’ and he was expected to win everything for fun.

But Dalgety obviously wants him first peaking this season on the second Tuesday in November, not the second Friday in October as was this case.

The plan is to head straight to the Inter-Dominions after the Cup and then there’s also all those other rich plums for the picking in the ensuing months.

So in considering the big picture, races like the New Brighton Cup, Hannon and Canterbury Classic are not all that important, or they will not make or break Christen Me’s season.

But sooner or later, and hopefully at Ashburton, Christen Me is going to have to put his hand up and say ‘I’m back!’

Because unless he does, any confidence which remains in the Christen Me camp, is going to be badly shaken.

Already we have seen Christen Me easing in the Cup markets while the likes of Tiger Tara, Smolda, Ohoka Punter and Sky Major have been shortening.

But Dalgety and Dunn are still not panicking and their class needs to be respected as well.

“If I was looking for positives, the most pleasing thing I got out of the race was the way he stepped so well from barrier one,” said Dalgety.

“That was a real bonus because it can be the trickiest place to be.

“I was quite happy with the run because I daresay if any other horse had been attacked that way in front for that long, they wouldn’t have run third.

“And if ever a horse was going to improve with a run, that will be it.

“He will sleep well tonight, and no doubt better than me,” he added.

There are no question marks surrounding Tiger Tara – he is a great beginner and a terrific wee stayer.

While this may have been his first win in open company, his class has been evident since the Sires Stakes Final on Cup Day two years ago.

He won the Great Northern Derby beating Lochaburn and Sky Major and a string of placings in top company last season included a close fourth in the Easter Cup.

He can most definitely win the Cup with his attributes and ability and there would be no more popular winner, with the principle connections being Bob Sandford, Geoff Dunn and Gerard O’Reilly, all truly ‘nice guys of the game’.

Mark Purdon was thrilled to bits with Smolda’s first outing since July in Australia, although for a horse of his class and with the run he enjoyed, anything less would have been disappointing.

Mossdale Conner was super in running home strongly for fourth after being pushed back in the running and having to come seven and eight wide on the turn.

A ‘tenner’ on him to win the Cup at 41s would not be the silliest bet in the world.

Bit Of A Legend was right alongside Mossdale Conner after again blowing the start and doing a stretch.

He used to be good at stands and one could tell Blair Orange is getting frustrated if not annoyed.

While everything is going as smooth as ice with Tiger Tara’s campaign, Geoff Dunn is now in two minds about what to do with Venus Serena.

She had an excuse but Gavin Smith also thought she was disappointing.

“I was told to drive her handy because that’s the way she likes to race, but if I’d handed up to Brilliant Strike a lap out, we would have both wound up behind Ideal Success,” said Smith.

“They’ve gone 3.14 but she could do that as a 3yo and she was beaten a long way out,” he added.

No doubt the quarter in 28.3 between the mile and finishing post had something to do with that, and Christen Me’s defeat.

And so it’s on to Ashburton where Ohoka Punter and Sky Major will join the party and hopefully there will be some clarity.

Or maybe not.

- by Frank Marrion.

Avon City Ford New Zealand Welcome Stakes at Addington on 5th April prove good trial for sale

Two 2 year old pacers, Class Of Tara and Tiger Tara, proved they had class when finishing 2nd and 3rd in the Avon City Ford New Zealand Welcome Stakes and as a result have now been sold on the strength of that showing. Class Of Tara (Bettor's Delight - Tara Magic) in a time of 2-21.7 (MR: 1-56.9) finished on a head behind the winner Zacharia over the 1950m mobile pace and was a length ahead of the 3rd placed Tiger Tara (Bettor's Delight - Tara Gold) who recorded 2-21.8. In showing their class they beat such opposition as Regulus and Isaiah and were sold.



Class of 2013 Sale of the Stars Yearlings from the Auckland and Christchurch sale nearly all syndicated

All but one of the yearlings purchased at the 2013 NZ Premier Yearling Sale and the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale have now been syndicated and have been broken in. They all went very well throughout their first preparation and have now been turned out for a spell before coming back for the second preparation.



Australian 2yo Ready to Run sale at Menangle December 2012 Successful for Greg Payne’s New Zealand Stables

Greg Payne changed the way he sells his ready to run stock this year after the demise through lack of support for the PGG 2YO Ready to Run sale normally held in Christchurch was cancelled.

I have decided that this year I will do something different and take the horses to the people showing the most interest even if that involves a trip to Australia, Payne said.

This is what eventuated with a trip to the Australian 2yo Ready To Run sale in Menangle on Sunday 2nd December 2012. Payne packed up 9 horses and all their gear and transferred to his Australian base at the Menangle facilities 10 days before the sale so that the horses could get acclimatised and enable those interested purchasers the opportunity to get behind the horse and try them out.

The idea proved a success with a full clearance and the results better than what would have been received back home in New Zealand.

The sale itself is set to enable all the horses will be trailed and videotaped on the morning of the sale which represents a unique opportunity for to see two-year-old pacers trial and have the opportunity to buy them on the same day. For the buyers convenience the videos are replayed of all trials to run through on-track televisions during the trials and the auction in the early afternoon. These are shown from two camera angles - inside the track (to check on the gait of horses) and outside the track. All 2YO’s will work from the 800m and at full speed from the 400m.

Payne’s top priced colt, American Dream, (American Ideal/Whale Watcher) who sold for A$80,000 went to Australia with high expectations and he did not disappoint. His trial over 800m was the fastest on the day of 56.3 (1st quarter in 28.2 and the 2nd in 28.1). The new owner a local NSW owner/breeder at the end of the auction was Colin McDowell & Family a great supporter of harness racing.

A very happy Colin McDowell said of his purchase: “He ran the fastest half of the day, we went to the sales to buy the fastest horse and that’s just what we did.” “We were very lucky to get him, we’ve got the best horse and were very happy we got him” McDowell went on to say “This is the most I have ever paid for a horse” which also pays great testament to the Greg Payne prepared son of American Ideal.

Of the sale Payne said “I am very pleased and the hospitality we were proved and the facilities at Menangle were 2nd to none. I am very excited about this sale and would like to continue to support it but this will depend on what horses are available in the future. The sale was organised and run very well although there are a couple of small points I have mentioned to the organisers that I felt could make an improvement.”

“Overall I am very happy with the trip and the results achieved and have made a great numbers of contacts” Payne concluded with.


13 Oct 2012

PGG Wrightson has cancelled its Ready to Run Sale in Christchurch.

West Melton horseman Greg Payne who used to enter about 20 horses for the Ready to Run Sale annually, is trying a different marketing plan this year.

Most of his 30 2-year-olds are for sale. Payne said 15 to 20 of them would sprint over 800m at the Ashburton Racecourse in October. Videos of each horse's run, their times and sale details will be posted on Payne's website.

The horseman intends to take six to eight 2-year-olds to the Ready to Run Sale at Menangle Park, Sydney, in December. Horses nominated for the Australasian Breeders' Crown and Bathurst Crown will be consigned to the sale by Payne.

''The market's a bit flat here at the moment,'' Payne said of his reason for supporting the Sydney sale.

Most of his 2-year-olds were bought at the yearling sales in March. Two colts by Santanna Blue Chip and two Mach Three colts are starting to shine in Payne's line up.


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