Posts Tagged ‘Harness Jewels’


Bachelorette (RIP) – didn’t win the Harness Jewels but was such a tough classy mare. She died before she could leave any foals.

This is the second in the series I’m doing looking at New Zealand Harness Jewels fields in terms of their breeding.

This time I have gone back to the first “Jewels” held in 2007.  The winners of the 2007 mares Harness Jewels Diamond are now 11yo broodmares, and probably at a fairly critical point in their broodmare career when there are 2 or 3 foals of racing age. About now, breeders have their fingers crossed that something will have shown or start to show some real potential, as this makes the prospect of future breeding more likely to at least bring in some decent return on investment (if they are breeding to sell) or some optimism (if they are breeding to race themselves).

So look at this page for the detail I’ve put together on how they are doing as broodmares. You are invited to add information via comments/response or direct to me at bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz if you want.

Particularly if you have information about Lucy Thundercloud, who raced in that event and then went to North America with considerable success, and….. I’d love to know if she has had any foals and what has happened to her? I  don’t have access to USTA in that detail. Thanks! Add a comment to the blog if you have any information.

Another puzzle is Slick Lavra who appears not to have any progeny yet, in spite of doing so well after exported to Australia. Any ideas why?

But updates on how any of these mares and their progeny are going is welcomed.


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Thanks to those who have entered already my “Match my mare and win a share” competition. Remember you are welcome to recommend a sire that I have used before or mentioned, they are not excluded. I am looking for the quality of your thinking about the match – put forward a thoughtful and interesting rationale for the sire you are suggesting. You can have more than one entry.

Harness Jewels – breeders missing from the programme

P.S. Cracker day at the Harness Jewels – brilliant sunshine, a couple of New Zealand records, some super finishes, and a good crowd. Congratulations to Harness Racing Waikato for putting on a fantastic event, and to the sponsors for supporting it.

Just one glitch – no mention of the breeders of the horses, either in the racebook, the pull-out booklet from HRNZ in the Harness Weekly, or during the announcements and presentations. Such a shame, as the horse only exists because some breeder somewhere put it together.

It is definitely time the Harness Jewels took a stronger lead in acknowledging the breeders – not so much with the proposed photo and presentation months from now, but on the day – at the very least, a mention in the notes.

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I’ve been too busy doing the day job, feeding mares afterwards and getting dinner ready to really focus on any analysis of the Harness Jewels fields in terms of breeding, so I won’t even try until afterwards. What I will be most interested in, is what sort of broodmares are producing good horses (any horse that makes the fields). Are they the top performers? Are they the great long-standing families? Are they middle range mares who have become consistent producers? Are they out-of-left-field mares?

But on the day ( Saturday 31 May), I’m just enjoying myself. What a day it is – our local equivalent of Little Brown Jug Day – and once again it looks like Cambridge will put on a cool but bright, sun-shiny day for the event where aged/sex group pacers and trotters go around a mile for high purses, record times and prestige than endures.

I will be there around the open public area, and will have a few bets on my sentimental favourites despite draws, just because this is a day to enjoy and get into the spirit of harness racing.

Catch up with you later – and don’t forget to check out my competition (last blog) and start THINKING about your entry.

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Cambridge Raceway, New Zealand on Jewels Day 2012

Cambridge Raceway, on Jewels Day 2012

Cambridge turned on a nearly perfect day weatherwise for the Harness Racing Jewels –  a few records tumbled, a couple of favourites stumbled, and overall it was a fitting climax for the racing season.

Yes, the course, distance and the draw can combine with little luck in the running and the fact that some of these horses are coming to the end of a pretty big season… and I don’t think anyone would claim that the Jewels winners are necessary the best of the best horses taken over the full season. But the winners can say they beat the top earners in their age group in one of the real tests of speed, on the day that it mattered. Congratulations to them and their trainers, owners and breeders.

The shocks – Bettor Cover Lover being beaten, Gold Ace scratched, and Ideal Scott fading out.

The highlights for me?

A 2yo trot where,  although some made mistakes, the improving quality and class of young trotters made for an excellent race. Big, bold Royal Aspirations (Monarchy-Aspiring Gal-Sundon) was dominant – fantastic feat by trainer Fred Fletcher, and a lovely confident drive from Sam Smolenski.

The similarly dominating, crushing run by Smolda (Courage Under Fire-Under the Mattress-Safely Kept)  in the last race – and a NZ record of 1.52.17. By then the beautiful sunshine had clouded over and the temperature had dropped by about 5 degrees. Some of the crowd had already left, and what a race they missed! Smolda took on Ideal Scott, and couldn’t get the lead, but sat parked, challenged again, and won. On that speed, absolutely TOUGH!

Two other runs caught my eye in terms of  horses who had to do it so tough and still ran on bravely for a place… Cheer The Lady’s run for 3rd in the 3yo fillies Diamond from draw 13 and parked wide without cover for a significant time. And I understand she was pulling a flat tyre for the last 800m. Gutsy! Likewise Border Control’s run from draw 6, parked out and having to come wide and yet made considerable ground in the straight. There were several more – interested to get comments from those who noticed some “wow” moments.

Now looking at the breeding of those who came 1st, 2nd or 3rd in their age/sex race:

Here’s a quirky one – Safely Kept appears as a damsire of the 3yo pacing colts and geldings winner (Smolda) and the 3yo trotters winner (Cyclone U Bolt) – Safely Kept was a sire able to leave good quality in both gaits over the course of his career, but never had many foals here, so a quite remarkable feat to pull off as a broodmare sire on one day of top racing!

Trotting 2yos – 1st and 2nd places taken by horses sired by Monarchy (out of  Sundon and  Yankee Reb mares) and Monarchy doesn’t really have a rep as a sire of young trotters. And in the trotting 3yos Ruby – 1st and 2nd places taken by horses sired by Dream Vacation (out of Safely Kept and Sundon mares).

Bettor’s Delight sired the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placegetters in the pacing 4yo mares Diamond (out of Christian Cullen, What’s Next and Save Fuel mares), as well as siring the 3rd horse in the 2yo fillies Diamond (from a Holmes Hanover mare), the 3rd horse in the 3yo Diamond (from an Albert Albert mare). Bettor’s Delight also sired the 1st and 3rd placed horses in the colts and geldings 2yo Emerald (out of Butler BG and Artsplace mares) and the 3rd placegetter in the 3yo Emerald (out of a Frugal Gourmet mare). The conclusion I’m drawing here is not just the class of Bettor’s Delight as a sire (particularly in races that need speed and huge desire to win) but that he is doing such a great job as a sire with a wide range of mares/damsires.

Unfashionable damsires to poke their noses into a win or place were Jaguar Spur, Albert Albert and Frugal Gourmet. You just never know – and I kinda like that!

No space here to put the full results, but those reading this can find all the details including the breeding of each horse on the HRNZ website (see the link on the right side bar of my blog)under the Results/Cambridge page.

The only quibble I had about the whole day, is that lack of real “event buzz” on course, and that might partly be the laid back Kiwi nature, or the pleasure of relaxing in the sunshine…but it did feel more like a highly successful “Summer at the Races” event rather than the Jewels. There was an absence of bright buntings, active compere on course, and I didn’t even spot signs in Cambridge township pointing to the event.  I felt a cheery local band playing some live jazz would have kept the crowd warm between races when the day started to cloud over. But those were minor quibbles on a great day. I am sure lessons can be learnt to keep this great concept buzzing into the future.

PS  What was the name of that Pizza stand again? They were scrumptious! Italian pizza base, real fresh basil…Yum!

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Apologies for a bit of a gap in blogging, but there are a number of reasons (recalcitrant mouse and old computer, got new computer but delay in hooking up, got a virus – me, not the computer! – and being dizzy with the viral infection made me fall, falling cracked a rib – oh, and I’m moving house) so it is a challenge to blog at the moment, but after a week or so me and my computer should be in full working order again!.

However the good news – some topics coming up include a look at Bettor’s Delight and his full brother Roll With Joe, and some observations on other “brothers at stud”. What are the pros and cons from breeding, commercial and genetic perspectives? Also I am collaborating with Ray Chaplin of equineexcellence.biz to do some in-depth analysis of Life Sign sons at stud. This follows our previous collaboration on the great mare Rich N Elegant and her sons at stud (see previous blogs). The question in both cases is: Why do some top sons perform at stud and others are flops? That article will initially be published in Breeding Matters magazine (official magazine of NZ Standardbred Breeders Assn) probably in August and then posted on this blog.

In the meantime, I will continue to post up my usual range of observations and articles as often as I can.

Jewels this Saturday!

Locally (Cambridge, New Zealand) we are hosting the Harness Racing Jewels event this Saturday, where the top earning 2, 3 and 4 year old pacers and trotters compete over a mile for top stakes in one day of fantastic racing. (2 June 2012). The Jewels is an event that has great memories for me with Tintin In America winning the 4yo Emerald for pacers last time it was held in Cambridge in 2010, the 3yo Emerald in Ashburton in 2009, and placed 3rd in the 2yo Emerald in Cambridge in 2008.

It’s also an event the captures the mix of fun day out and intensity of top racing that are the hallmark of The Little Brown Jug and Breeders Crown race days internationally. Well worth supporting – and Cambridge is a really lovely place to visit.  Cross our fingers for a fine day – we’ve had some beautiful clear sunny days after overnight frosts this autumn, and one of those on Saturday would be superb.

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